Heath Hold Out For Draw At Chi
Chichester City 0-0 Broadbridge Heath
Assistant manager Graeme Gee on the touchline last week at Whitstable (Picture: Andy Nunn)
Reporter: Dan Andrade
Chichester suffered an FA Vase hangover after last weekend’s excellent third round victory over Whitstable Town as they struggled to get going in a disappointing goalless draw against battling Broadbridge Heath.
Assistant manager Graeme Gee said, “After the highs of last week we're obviously a little bit deflated. We wanted to pick up the three points and keep in touch with the leaders and all the other sides around us.”
Dave Herbert had the game's first chance against visitors who won the reverse fixture 2-0 in the opening game of the season. Dan Hegarty lifted the ball into Herbert's path but Bears defenders managed to clear for a corner.
Then a super tackle by Ben Pashley won the ball back for the home side. Hegarty forced a save out of shot-stopper Michael Chester and Herbert misfired from the rebound.
Hegarty then sprayed a cross-field pass to Josh Clack. The winger exchanged a pass with Dan Watts who'd gone on a driving run down City’s right flank and picked out Herbert but his effort from the edge of the box sailed over. And on 18 minutes Hegarty had a header saved by the impressive Chester.
City No.1 Ant Ender was called on to do his first piece of housekeeping two minutes later cutting out a testing cross from Jamie Robinson as the visitors sought to make something of a spell of possession.
Herbert, who might have gone on himself, then squared the ball unselfishly to Scott Jones but a couple of defenders snuffed out the danger.
Next Clack might have made Chester work more from a set-piece on the edge of the box, whilst at the other end Javlon Campbell went close for Heath with a header from a delivery that Ender did well to take.
After the break Ender had a free kick to deal with and then got down to deny Devon Fender moments later as the Bears started strong.
Jones came closest to scoring in the 54th minute but he saw his brilliant effort saved by Chester on to the post to protect his clean sheet.
Clack and Herbert were in the thick of it and the No.10 missed a golden chance after Jones jumped and nodded the ball down on a plate for his strike partner.
The away side continued to defend resolutely. Clack had an effort blocked, Hegarty was denied at point blank range by the outstanding Chester and Clack found the side netting as the home side pushed for a goal.
Boss Miles Rutherford brought on Kaleem Haitham and Scott Murfin in a double-substitution bid to change things up and Haitham pulled another fine stop out of Chester with a powerful drive that seemed destined for the bottom left hand corner.
For all Chi's pressure it was the visitors who had the ball in the back of the net in the last minute for what could have been a smash and grab win. After a tussle with Jack Lee a burst of pace from Campbell got the Heath striker one on one with Ender. Campbell calmly slotted the ball past the keeper and reeled away to celebrate with his team mates, prematurely it turned out as the nearside assistant had spotted an infringement.
Ruben French might have won it for Chichester in stoppage time but his fierce effort drifted past the post.
It was a match where a below par Chi huffed and puffed to maintain a sixth clean sheet on the spin but didn't quite have that usual cutting edge. And afterwards a disappointed Gee added, “The players didn't really perform the first 45 minutes. It's always difficult and you can't turn a game on and off like a tap. We've been a little bit too inconsistent all year if I'm honest.
“That's two points dropped today and we know we've got to improve. We've still got faith in the players that we've got at this football club. They're all good players. But for some reason we didn't start well enough today. There were periods of the second half where we started to get going and to be fair I think we've missed six good chances today. Normally, we'd expect to take at least one or two of these.
"The keeper for them has done well and they've come here and got the point they probably wanted at the start of the game. They defended deep and did it very well - a bit like we did last week against Whitstable. So no complaints about them at all, they did their job but ultimately we paid for not taking our chances.”
City are at home to Horsham YMCA in the quarter finals of the RUR Cup this Tuesday.
Chichester – Ender, Watts, Williams, Lee, French, Hegarty, Hartley, Clack, Pashley, Herbert, Jones. Subs. (Haitham, Hutchings, Murfin, Mendes-Borges, Killner)
Broadbridge Heath - M.Chester, Frankland, Robinson, S.Chester, Findlay, Howard-Bold, Weller, Godfrey, Fender, Campbell, Martin. Subs. (Griffin, Kutaa, Maxwell, Clark, Sim)