Tigers Burn Too Bright For Chi
Saltdean United 1-0 Chichester City
Ender in pre-season action against Bognor (Picture: Tommy McMillan)
City keeper Ant Ender made some excellent saves but couldn't do anything about Andy McDowell's goal in the 17th minute that helped SCFL premier new boys Saltdean to a hard fought victory over Chi at Hill Park.
The East Sussex side, who were promoted as division one champions last season, started the brighter and Ender did well to parry the game's first opportunity after only sixty seconds.
Josh Jones flashed a shot over the bar a minute later and Ellis Martin had to have his wits about him to deal with a cross from full-back Harry Shooman who posed a real threat down the left flank.
Then Ender kept out a header from Ash Jones following a free-kick.
It was all Saltdean, and City skipper Jack Lee's comment to his teammates “Quicker out of the blocks, all of us!” was spot on.
Ender claimed another Shooman cross under pressure from Wes Millis before players in front of him blocked a set-piece.
Chichester launched a couple of attacks of their own on 15 minutes - Max Thoms, Kieran Hartley and Martin combining down the left before Harry Williams tried to find the third Jones on the pitch, Scott Jones, with a cross from the other side.
The Tigers went ahead two minutes later following a good move. Shooman played a one-two with Millis and then picked out McDowell who cushioned the ball, swiveled and smashed it in.
Video of goal available on Your Instant Replay (Twitter link below)
Jones then brought a save out of Rikki Banks with Chi's first real opportunity of the game.
Next in the 24th minute Matt Fleming got on the end of a cross but couldn't get enough on his header and Ender gathered easily.
Tempers flared across the pitch and between the dugouts.
Referee Jonathan Wilks dished out cards to Martin and Ruben French in quick succession before with five minutes to go to half-time Ender denied first Jones and then McDowell as Saltdean looked to double their lead.
Chi looked a different side after the break.
A long ball from Martin found Jones who got a shot off that was blocked. Then Dave Herbert went close after a bit of skill from his strike partner and a neat exchange between Thoms and Hartley.
The more direct tactics might have paid off in the 56th minute but for a timely tackle that prevented Jones making more of a flick-on from Herbert after some vision from Lee.
Then Dan Hegarty, who had replaced Hartley, got his head on the end of a cross, only to be ruled offside.
A series of passes between Williams, George Way and Josh Clack earned City a corner. Martin took this but it was too deep for Lee at the far post.
Martin next tried to play Clack in but Banks was quick off his line and out of his box to head the ball away.
Then on the hour mark the visitors had two chances when Thoms pulled a drive wide and Heggarty, brushing off a couple of challenges, had an effort deflected for a corner.
The equaliser just wouldn't come.
And but for two outstanding saves Chichester could have been further behind when Ender stopped an effort from Ryan Warwick after he'd been set up by sub Ash Rees and then somehow got a wrist to a header by Fleming that looked destined for the back of the net.
Another good chance came Saltdean's way on 76 minutes but Ender and his defenders managed to smuggle the ball away.
Way had a go for Chi in the last ten after a cheeky back-heel between Clack and Herbert before Matt Geard's shot was charged down.
Then Chichester might have nicked a point when Jones was just off target with a spectacular overhead kick.
William Blake's short poem 'The Tyger' that begins with the famous lines 'Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night' asks question after question. The Tigers asked a few of City in this game.
Chichester are home in the league against Lancing on Bank Holiday Monday (11am kick off)
City – Ender, Williams, Lee, French, Martin, Hartley (Hegarty), Way, Thoms (Hutchings), Clack, Herbert, Jones
Saltdean – Banks, Doherty, Shooman, Keehan, A. Jones, Rowland (Turner), Warwick (Geard), Millis, McDowell (Rees), Fleming, J. Jones