“It was a very good and important result. It keeps us up amongst the top four or five. ”
Jimmy Wild in FA Vase action (Picture: Tommy McMillan)
Reporter: Dan Andrade
A second Jimmy Wild brace in as many games, along with a late goal in stoppage time from December player of the month Kaleem Haitham helped City see off a stubborn Saltdean United at Oaklands Park.
The visitors were 1-0 winners when the sides met at the start of the season. And with only three points between them in the league this was a match with a bit of an edge to it.
City were without Lorenzo Dolcetti and had Kieran Hartley serving a one match ban. The hosts welcomed back Ant Ender in goal and Dan Hegarty made his first start after an injury lay-off.
There were few chances in a scrappy, cagey first half littered with stoppages. Hegarty, whose combative qualities served Chi particularly well, headed wide from a Scott Murfin cross after five minutes. At the other end Ender had to have his wits about him to take a free kick with Rob O'Toole rushing in and Chichester had Ben Pashley, who worked tirelessly, and captain Jack Lee to thank for clearing danger as the Tigers pressed.
Next a linesman's flag bailed Chi out when Lee's back pass fell kindly to O'Toole.
The Saltdean striker then squandered an opportunity for the away side to take the lead, failing to control the ball when through on goal. Murfin then picked up the ball and put a teasing cross into the box which was fortunately deflected back to United’s keeper, Rikki Banks.
Playmakers Murfin and Dave Herbert posed a threat at times looking for Scott Jones and Wild, but in general much of the football in the first 45 wasn't pretty.
Lucas Franzen Jones had an effort in the 37th minute that was wide of Ender's post. Two minutes later the Chi No.1 gathered well as the visitors whipped in another corner.
The home side mounted a spell of pressure just before the break. Charlie Williamson went on a determined run and picked out Herbert, but his shot was blocked. In the 44th minute Herbert set up Murfin who out-foxed the defender but just dragged his effort wide.
Chi just couldn't find a way to score.
City did break the deadlock however two minutes after the interval. Wild smashed in a loose ball after a quality delivery from Harry Williams for his third goal in three games since returning to the club.
Chi pushed on. Ruben French found Wild who touched the ball to Hegarty, with the box to box midfielder fizzing a shot straight to Banks’ hands.
Even though the home side were controlling possession, Saltdean had a golden chance on the hour mark to equalise from a set piece, only for the busy Wes Millis to head over from within the six-yard box.
Five minutes later Chi’s lead was doubled. Herbert crossed a ball to the back post, Jones headed it into the path of Wild, who stabbed it home much to the delight of the home fans.
City pushed for a third. Wild took the ball down nicely on his chest, passed to Murfin who moved it on to Herbert but there wasn't enough on his flick to trouble Banks.
Hegarty, who'd give everything to the cause and looked done in, was replaced by Alfie Lis for his debut.
Wild might have had another on 81 minutes but skewed his effort and either side of this O'Toole and Billy Barker should have done better to test Ender.
Rutherford brought Murfin and Herbert off with five minutes to go and introduced Haitham and Rob Hutchings.
In time added on Haitham latched on to a super pass from Hutchings after great work from Jones and slotted the ball into the left hand corner.
The hosts also had a couple of penalty appeals turned down late on.
The win keeps Chichester in the mix with the league front-runners.
After the match Rutherford said, “It was a very good and important result. It keeps us up amongst the top four or five. We thought Saltdean were going to be one of the top two or three sides this year after we played them earlier this season.
“I think they were missing a few players today perhaps, but we kept at our jobs. They're a big, strong, aggressive side. They're proper men. They're one of the older sides in the league with experienced players.
“The first half we were very poor for thirty minutes and then looked dangerous in the last ten. We needed to get the ball forward quite early for our us to be effective. With the strike force we've got we need to get the ball into good areas to the front three or four players. We've got goals in us at the moment.
“We've got a very attack minded side. If you score more than the other side then you're winning games. And it's entertaining. We're also keeping clean sheets at times. We look good at times but haven't played well in a whole game.
“Jimmy Wild is scoring goals. He might not be doing as much as I'd like him to be doing but Jimmy's Jimmy. He's a good player and he will score goals for you.
“We've got three games at home now Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday and we need to be winning as many points as we can.”
Chichester - Ender, Williamson, French, Pashley, Lee, Williams, Herbert, Murfin, Jones, Wild, Hegarty. (Subs: Peake, Hutchings, Martin, Lis, Haitham)
Updated 11:41 - 18 Feb 2018 by Ian Worden