With Sir Tom Jones cancelling a performance at nearby Stanstead Park on Wednesday night, it was Worthing who put in a no-show of their own at Oaklands Park on Tuesday evening.
In what was, at best, a disjointed first-half display from the visitors, nothing should be taken away from the hosts as they comfortably gave their Bostik Premier opponents their toughest pre-season test so far.
Youth team goalie, Taylor Seymour got his first run-out ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, after lining up against his parent club for Worthing United last week, while Taylor Keens came off the bench around the hour mark as he looks to earn a place in the newly set-up Academy. Chi took to the field with former Reds Dave and Steve Herbert, Connor Cody and Ryan Peake, the latter coming on in the second-half. They were lead by the legendary figure of Miles Rutherford, a Sussex Senior Cup winner in his time at Woodside Road.
The early exchanges saw both sides test the respective defences as home ‘keeper, Jason Matthews comfortably dealt with a right-wing cross and new signing, Gicu Iordache almost found a way through at the other end. A clearance from Connor Cody and a routine save from Matthews preceded the opening goal of the game after fourteen minutes. Hesitancy from Seymour saw Dave Herbert loop a header over his former team-mate, after his initial effort had been blocked by Will Miles. Worthing immediately went in search of an equaliser but Jesse Starkey’s weak effort drifted past the post. Five minutes later though and is was Chichester who extended their lead. The pace of Iordache, who was proving to be a constant thorn in the visitor’s defence, saw him latch on to a long clearance from Matthews and, with Seymour rushing out to the edge of his area, Miles was eventually penalised for handball. Fellow new-boy, Tiago Andrade took the resulting penalty and sent the young Worthing custodian the wrong way from the spot.
The Isthmian League Reds tried, in vain, to get back in the game but a low shot from Starkey was met with a low save by Matthews, with an excellent challenge from Terrell Lewis also helping to keep them at bay. Goalscorer, Herbert came close to making it two with another header six minutes before half-time but it was that man, Iordache who made it three when he applied the finish to an impressive run from Kaleem Haitham.
The second forty-five minutes saw a shell-shocked visitors turn the game on it’s head, as they pulled the deficit back to 3-2 when a pin-point left-wing cross from Starkey was met with a powerful header from Curt Gayler. On the hour mark it was the turn of Ross Edwards to get on the scoresheet as he doubled his side’s tally for the night when his shot dipped under the crossbar. Worthing kept their foot on the gas and only the intervention of ex-red Peake and sub ‘keeper, Lewis Boughton prevented them from getting an equaliser. Gayler went looking for his second and Sam Rents forced a good save from the former Bognor number two.
The final third of the game saw the usual multitude of changes in playing personnel but by now it was anyone’s guess as to where the next goal was going to come from, with the two sides exchanging attacking moves. Andrade, previously with Broadbridge Heath, watched his header give a rejuvenated Seymour a reassuringly comfortable catch following good work from Rob Hutchings and Scott Jones and, he was at it again when he released Sam Ndlovu who burst into the area. This time, his pull-back was met by a clearing defender while the home side’s final chance of what, by now, had become an intriguing contest, saw Kieran Hartley’s free-kick narrowly evade the City forwards.
The men in red also had chances late on, as a barn-storming run down the middle from Matt Boiling lead to a Harrison Mott cross from the left which was easily dealt with by Boughton. This was followed a couple of minutes later by a delightful back heel from Tyrese Mthunzi which sent the overlapping Mott away down the same flank, his cross being put behind by the outstretched leg of a home defender. There was one last attempt on goal for Adam Hinshelwood’s ambitious outfit as Mthunzi played a key role once more, putting Gayler through on goal where only an unfortunate bounce saw the ball run away from him and straight through to a relieved City no.1.
WORTHING: Seymour, Colbran (Boiling 63’), Miles (Barker 46’, Luff 77’), Rents (Clarke 68’), Parsons (Cocoracchio 71’), Edwards (Gayler 31’), Budd © (Pattenden 63’), Crane (Mott 68’), Starkey (Keens 63’), Rance (Edwards 46’, Dramis 71’), Kealy (Mthunzi 71’)
CHICHESTER CITY: Matthews, Lewis, S.Herbert, Pashley, Cody, Haitham, D.Herbert, Way, Hutchings, Andrade, Iordache. SUBS; Jones, Boughton, Hartley, Ndlovu, Peake
Referee – Michael Ryan Assistants – Brad Bilson & Ian Willkins Att – 75