Chichester Start 2019 With A Win
Loxwood 0-2 Chichester City
Chichester City started 2019 as they ended 2018 with a win over one of the SCFL premier division bottom three sides.
Dave Herbert, who scored twice in the 6-1 win against Arundel before the new year, came in for Scott Jones in an otherwise unchanged starting XI.
And it was Herbert who extended City’s lead this time out just before the interval after December player of the month Gicu Iordache put the visitors ahead.
Chichester have now scored 63 goals in 22 league games. Only Somerset based Bidgewater Town have bagged more in the country at football’s Step 5 level.
And Miles Rutherford’s side has a habit of scoring against the teams in the league whose name begins with the letter ‘L’. So far this season Chichester have beaten Lingfield 7-0, Little Common 2-0, Lancing 4-1 and Langney 3-2. In the reverse fixture against Loxwood at Oakland’s Park in September City were 4-2 winners, although the visitors set up a nervy last ten minutes with a goal late on before Herbert ensured the points with a 90th minute strike.
The Magpies have struggled at home this season - their only victories at the Recreation Ground coming against fellow strugglers Arundel and Eastbourne United and when Iordache put Chichester ahead just before the half hour mark they faced an uphill challenge. As well as banging in the goals City have a mean defence that has kept 16 clean sheets in all competitions.
Things might have been different but for a couple of fine saves early on from Chi shot-stopper Jordan Matthews.
The win extends Chichester’s unbeaten run in the league to eight games. Coach Danny Potter said, “We were aware of the danger of playing a side whose form has improved since when we last met. This is a side that has taken points off Pagham and Uckfield. The game started evenly, neither team created much early on, though Loxwood did open us up and Jordan has had to make two very good saves to deny them. Both typical stops from close range.
"After those scares we started to control the game. Gicu saw lots of the ball and was dangerous with it. His goal was a nice finish. Kaleem also created a few chances for himself and others before he went on a mazy run, put two defenders on their backsides and squared the ball to Dave Herbert who finished calmly from the edge of the box for his third goal in two games.
"The second half saw fewer chances than the first. We introduced Matt Axell at the break and he pretty much pulled the strings from the middle of the pitch. Loxwood sent their centre back up front and started to go more direct, though Ben Pashley and Connor Cody defended well. The Gicu saw red late on after an incident off the ball.
“I think that the score line was fair and that we controlled the game, though credit to Loxwood for really giving it a go in the first half and trying to press from the front. There’s a great set up at Loxwood. If they show that determination and attitude in future fixtures, they will start to pick up some important points.
We’ll lose Gicu now for three games after his red card late on. We’re pleased to be up there in the league though we are well aware that there will be plenty of twists and turns as no game will be easy and Newhaven are the team in form at the moment and they are the ones to watch.”
Newhaven moved up into second place five points behind City but with two games in hand whilst earlier pace-setters Horsham YMCA suffered a third loss in four games.
Chi travel to Eastbourne United on Saturday.
Chichester - Matthews, Hutchings, Peake, Biggs, Cody, Pashley, Clack, Edwards, Herbert, Iordache, Haitham. Subs: Williams, Axell, Jones, Lewis, Ndlovu