Match Report: Gareth Nicholas
Chichester City 2-2 Worthing
Once again, Worthing had to come from behind at Chichester to salvage a draw, thanks on this occasion to substitutes Alex Parsons and Mo Diallo.
A half-cleared corner after only five minutes led to Jesse Starkey nearly finding Portsmouth with a shot from outside the area, stopped only by the huge inflatable dome behind the goal.
Play switched quickly to the other end where Ryan Davidson’s low cross from the right was about to be knocked home by Josh Clack but the former Red was upended by Jasper Pattenden. Clack dusted himself down to convert the penalty.
A long ball from Davidson was headed down by Callum Overton for Gicu Iordache to sweep out to Kaleem Haitham on the left and his shot brushed the side netting.
Roco Rees had to be alert moments later to push away Iordache’s deflected free-kick before a right-sided Ollie Pearce flashed a rare chance for the visitors wide of the far post.
The Premier Division leaders came close again when a driving midfield run by Ricky Aguiar saw his effort go inches over the crossbar.
An inch-perfect corner from Starkey resulted in Alfie Young – lucky to still be on the pitch – meeting it with his head, only to see the attempt cleared off the line.
Omar Koroma then went for the spectacular after Reece Myles-Meekums had slipped in Aguiar down the right and his low cross had looped up off Captain, Connor Cody but he sliced an attempted overhead kick across the face of goal with a sliding Pearce just unable to prod home.
Aguiar fired straight at Steven Mowthorpe in the Chi goal, then shortly afterwards, the hosts tried to play out from the back but Starkey nipped in to dispossess Corey Heath and find Pearce who soon spotted Omar Koroma on the left-hand side of the box, though Mowthorpe did well to deny the striker with his legs.
Good link-up play on the left between Marvin Armstrong, Starkey and Pattenden allowed the latter to drift inside and test Mowthorpe again and the ‘keeper held on at the second time of asking, as a predatory Pearce lurked menacingly.
The second-half got underway with a turn in the penalty area that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Strictly, as Armstrong pirouetted away from sub, Joe Masters, only to be brought down by Iordache for a second spot-kick of the afternoon. Unfortunately, with Pearce going off at the break it was left Pattenden to take from twelve yards but his effort was too close to Mowthorpe who saved easily.
An error by the recently introduced Danny Pappoe saw the big defender gift possession, from a Leon Moore throw-in on the left, straight to Iordache, who couldn’t believe his luck as he gleefully swept in past a horribly exposed Rees, to double his side’s advantage.
Fifteen-year-old Masters took advantage of a heavy touch from Pappoe to tee himself up for a shot from distance that struck the right-hand upright, with Red’s struggling to clear their lines.
The two Mo’s – Diallo and Jammeh – combined well to produce a delightful one-two and were only denied a better outcome when the former put a little too much on his return pass and the ball ran safely though to Mowthorpe.
Worthing finally got a goal back when a lovely reverse pass by Jesse’s younger brother, Ollie was laid back by Diallo to Shaq Gwengwe and despite Mowthorpe keeping his goal bound attempt out, he could only parry as far as the edge of the six-yard box for Parsons to bury the rebound.
Chichester very nearly restored their two-goal cushion in the last ten minutes, when a Theo Bennetts piledriver almost deceived Rees but the netminder was able to readjust and palm away impressively.
Lloyd Rowlatt took a pass from Masters and outfoxed Mo Jammeh, only to be frustrated by Rees who turned away his twenty yarder at the expense of a corner.
The equaliser arrived with six minutes to go after Diallo nicked the ball off the toes of Bennetts and set Parsons galloping clear on the right. His deep delivery was headed down at the back stick by Gwengwe for Diallo to swivel and dispatch into the bottom corner.
A forward ball by Darren Budd to Jammeh and subsequently onto Parsons on the right, saw the latter look to catch out Mowthorpe at his near post, from the corner of the eighteen-yard box but the home number one gathered at the second attempt.