Man of the Match Ryan Peake celebrates his goal (Picture: Daniel Harker)
Ryan Peake’s late winner sealed a second half comeback as Chichester snatched all three points at Langney Wanderers to keep in touch with premier division pace-setters Newhaven and Horsham YMCA.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening exchanges.
Josh Clack latched on to an under-hit back pass but couldn’t find a teammate when his shot rebounded off Langney keeper Dan Hutchins.
Scott Jones then made Hutchins work again a minute later.
At the other end Wayne Wilkinson tried an ambitious effort after he robbed a pass intended for left back Ellis Martin.
Next Clack linked up with Jones who fed Kaleem Haitham. Haitham jinked past a defender or two but his cut-back just eluded on-rushing players in the box.
Clack was involved again in the eighth minute when he raced away down the flank and sent a cross in that almost picked out Jones.
Max Hollobone and Wilkinson nearly combined as the hosts pressed and Paul Rogers dragged an attempt wide.
A mistake on 16 minutes got Evan Archibald in. The Langney player, recently signed from Eastbourne Town, still had a lot to do but he found the back of the net with a nice finish.
Hollobone then went close from distance – a shot that fizzed past Jordan Matthews’ upright.
Martin was booked for a challenge on skipper Adam Davidson and David Smart beat Matthews with a set-piece the Chi keeper might have kept out on another day.
City were in trouble and Matthews had to come a long way out of his area to intercept a through ball as the hosts threatened to add a third.
Clack had a chance though to get the visitors back in things but missed from close range as he got on the end of Terrell Lewis’ cross.
Hollobone spurned an opportunity to make it 3-0 as he reached Connor Cody’s header back to Matthews before the keeper only pull his shot wide.
With half-time approaching George Way rolled a free-kick to Clack whose fierce drive was deflected for a corner and when this came in Hutchins gathered under pressure from Jones.
Then Lewis picked out Rory Biggs but the midfielder couldn’t get enough power on his effort.
Only a combination of Matthews and Lewis denied the home side a third goal minutes after the restart. Matt Fear, another recent signing from Eastbourne Town, was in the right place at the right time but his second shot at the far post was turned out for a corner.
Top scorer Jones hauled Chichester back into the game on 51 minutes with a well-directed header meeting an inviting delivery from Haitham.
Two good chances came and went for the hosts in as many minutes. First Hollobone lifted a shot over the bar and then Archibald headed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Langney paid the price just before the hour mark when Haitham equalised after a super cross from Clack wasn’t cleared.
Jones, had a couple of good opportunities but headed off target twice in the space of a minute.
The momentum had swung Chichester’s way. Haitham went close; Peake, who’d come off the bench, almost got something on a Clack free-kick; and Dave Herbert wasn’t far off with a left footed effort.
A lovely piece of skill from Sam Ndlovu helped him drift past his marker to set up a shot that was inches wide.
City finally scored on 86 minutes when Peake slid in to connect with a Clack cross.
There was still time for another chance for Jones and the hosts were reduced to ten men when Paul Weatherby was given a straight red for a foul on Haitham.
It wasn’t always pretty, particularly for much of the first half, but Chi found a way to beat spirited opposition.
Next up is a Parafix Sussex Senior Cup match away at East Preston on Tuesday night (Kick Off 7:30pm) before Shoreham visit the CGS Stadium in Oaklands Park on Saturday (Kick Off 3:00pm).
Chichester – Matthews, Lewis, Martin, Biggs, Cody, Pashley, Clack, Way, Jones, Hutchings, Haitham. Subs: Peake, Herbert, Ndlovu, Potter, Callnon.
Updated 10:10 - 30 Dec 2018 by Ian Worden