Connor Cody scored a spectacular goal late on (Picture: Daniel Harker)
Reporter: Dan Andrade
A George Taggart double condemned SCFL premier division leaders Chichester City to a first home defeat in what was a thrilling spectacle on National Non-League Day.
Eastbourne Town came into the game on the back of a dramatic 3-2 win against Broadbridge Heath the previous week, scoring the winning goal in the 100th minute. Footage of the goal deep into time added on and crowd reaction went viral on Twitter complete with comments from Ian Wright.
City, on a run of eight wins in nine, started strong, with Kaleem Haitham putting in a near inch perfect ball, only for it to float past Scott Jones.
Jones then had two efforts, dragging his first shot just wide after a smart pass by Man of the Match Kieran Hartley, before Chi’s No.9 headed agonisingly wide from a Lorenzo Dolcetti corner.
Dolcetti next went on a mazy run, gliding through the Eastbourne midfield with ease. His fierce drive looked to have been blocked by a visiting defender’s hand but the referee waved away the home side’s appeals for a penalty.
In the 35th minute Town broke the deadlock with their first attack of the game. Taggart battled his way into a shooting position after City overplayed things in midfield, and smashed the ball into the top right corner, giving Jordan Matthews no chance.
The lively Haitham then linked up with Matt Axell, only for Axell’s goal bound effort to be headed over the bar, by a resolute Eastbourne defence.
Winger, Gicu Iordache, who has shone in the last few matches, crashed a stunning free kick on to the frame of the goal on the stroke of half-time.
City started the second half slowly, allowing Eastbourne attacker Daniel Perry to run through on goal, but he cut back when shooting seemed the smarter option.
There was then a scramble in the box, with Terrell Lewis heading the ball off the line to prevent a second for the visitors.
Substitute Rob Hutchings sparked some life into City’s attack, linking up with Haitham who unfortunately blazed his shot over the bar.
Taggart came close to getting his brace, firing a free kick inches over Matthews' crossbar, much to the relief of a large home crowd.
Jones had further to chances to level but was denied by a top save from Jordan Hawkins and then a heroic clearance by a covering defender.
Moments later, Hawkins denied Jones again with an even more impressive save, tipping his header over.
Eastbourne went on the counter attack, and Taggart bagged his second of the game with another long-range effort, which slid under Matthews.
Connor Cody, wearing a face mask after breaking his nose in the match with Little Common, did pull one back with an unbelievable overhead kick, giving the home fans hope with five minutes to go.
City pushed on and Hutchings, Jones and Cody all had chances to equalise but a stonewall Eastbourne defence held on for the three points.
Chi face Pagham in the Peter Bentley Cup on Tuesday and travel to ACF Uckfield Town on Saturday.
Chichester – Matthews, Lewis, Hartley, Dolcetti, Cody, Pashley, Haitham, Axell, Jones, Dave Herbert, Iordache. Subs: (Tiago Andrade, Martin, Hutchings, Steve Herbert, Ndlovu)
Updated 12:59 - 17 Jan 2019 by Ian Worden