City Can't Burn Bridges
Three Bridges 2-2 Chichester City
Action from the game at Jubilee Field (Picture: Three Bridges)
Sure there's a cavalier 'we're gonna score one more than you' side to Chi, but at other times Miles Rutherford's team can be dogged and determined, as they were away at Crawley Down Gatwick the other week when they dug in and battled to earn a point with a late goal.
And so it was in this mid-week fixture. Another 2-2 draw, another dramatic comeback, another exhibition of tenacity, another Scott Jones goal, another road trip – the fourth in a row with two more to come before a match back at Oaklands Park against Horsham YMCA a week Saturday.
Chichester started with Jones, Dave Herbert and Rob Hutchings up front. Dan Hegarty picked up a knock on Saturday so George Way, Ruben French and Lorenzo Dolcetti featured in midfield with Dan Watts, Jack Lee, Ellis Martin and Kieran Hartley at the back and Ant Ender in goal.
The visitors' high pressing game had the home team on the back foot in the early stages. Chi had a shot block after a neat move between Hartley, Jones and Dolcetti. The Italian midfielder then crashed an effort into the side netting.
For the hosts Michael Campbell got on to the end of a cross from the right but flicked the ball high and wide before, some five minutes later, trying his luck from distance.
Connor French came out best in a crunching tackle that set him up for the best chance of the opening passages of play – a fierce drive that was inches wide of Ender's post.
Campbell next picked out Jensen Grant but he couldn't direct his header on target.
The ball wouldn't sit up for French at the other end in a goal-mouth scramble and in a hectic three minute spell around the half hour Ender did well to get a glove to a dangerous corner kick, Jones prodded a header goal-bound and Hartley had to block another effort.
On the stroke of half-time City forged a couple of opportunities when Dave Herbert brought a superb tip-over out of Kieron Thorp before Hutchings' shot was deflected away in time added on to what was a lively first 45.
Just after the break Jones steered the ball away off the line from a Bridges' corner.
A minute later though Mitchell Casselman broke the deadlock as Chi struggled to clear their lines from another corner.
Jones was unfortunate not to get more on the end of free-kicks by first Martin on 52 and then Way on 55.
Campbell, who had a good evening, pulled an effort wide on the hour.
Then referee Alex Bradley brandished three yellow cards in as many minutes as things heated up.
The home side doubled their lead through Campbell in the 72nd minute on a counter attack thanks to the No11's blistering pace and a nice finish.
Chi got back into the game two minutes later from the penalty spot after a foul on Lee. Martin coolly slotting the ball into the right hand corner.
Jones, who is on a hot streak off ten goals in five games now, made it 2-2 to set up an intense last eight minutes or so.
Suddenly the momentum changed.
French had a chance for City following good work from sub Tafadzwa Kanjanda, Hartley had a go but his shot was always rising, Dolcetti tried a spectacular overhead kick and Jones had a tough angle to deal with following a flick on from Herbert.
To be fair, neither team seemed prepared to settle for a point and Ender made two big claims from set pieces with the clock running down.
Miles Rutherford's side topped the SCFL premier division coming into this match at Jubilee Field but the point means Peacehaven & Telscombe leapfrog them after a win at Newhaven. With the way the league is going so far, they'll be plenty of this over the next few weeks, and other teams have games in hand.
City's next two matches are away. They travel to Littlehampton on Saturday 30th September (3pm kick off) and face Haywards Heath Town in the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup on Tuesday 3rd October (7:45pm kick off)
Chichester Team – Ender, Watts, Lee, Martin, Hartley, Way, French, Dolcetti, Hutchings, Herbert, Jones (Subs: Kanjanda, Smith, Pashley, Williams, Hegarty)