Taggart double gives Eastbourne three big points

A George Taggart double was enough to punish a sluggish Chichester City, despite Connor Cody’s late consolation goal, in what was a thrilling spectacle on Non-League Day 2018.

City started strong, with Kaleem Haitham putting in a near inch perfect ball, only for it to float past Scott Jones.

Jones then had the first two efforts of the game, dragging his first shot just wide after a smart pass by Kieran Hartley, who was voted man of the match, with Chi’s number 9 heading agonisingly wide from a Lorenzo Dolcetti corner.

Dolcetti went on a mazy run, gliding through the Eastbourne midfield with ease, releasing a shot, which looked to been ‘saved’ by one of the visiting defenders, only for the referee to wave all appeals for handball away.

Town’s threat increased, and on the 35th minute they broke the deadlock with their first attack of the game. Taggart battled his way into a shooting position, and smashed the ball into the top right corner, giving Jordan Matthews no chance.

The lively Haitham then linked up with Matt Axell, with the latter firing a shot, only to see the goal bound effort headed over the bar, by a resolute Eastbourne defence.

Winger, Gicu Lordache, who has shone in the last few games, hit a stunning free kick, only to have his effort denied by the frame of the goal.

Half Time: City 0-1 Eastbourne

City started the second half slowly, allowing Eastbourne attacker Daniel Perry to run through on goal, but he cut back when shooting seemed the smarter option.

There was then a goaline scramble, with Lewis heading the ball off the line to deny the visitors a second.

Substitute Rob Hutchings sparked some life into City’s attack, linking with Haitham who unfortunately blazed his shot over the bar.

Taggart came close to getting his brace, firing a free kick inches over Matthew’s crossbar, much to the relief of a large home crowd.

Jones had a further to chances to level, only to be denied by a top save from Jordan Hawkins and then a heroic clearance off the line by a covering defender.

Moments later, Hawkins denied Jones again with an even more impressive save, tipping his header onto the crossbar.

Eastbourne went on the counter attack, and Taggart bagged his second of the game with another long-range effort, which slid past Matthews.

Cody did pull one back with an unbelievable overhead kick, giving the home fans hope.

City pushed on, with Hutchings, Jones and Cody all having chances to equalise, only for the stone wall defence of Eastbourne to deny them all and hold on for the three points, in what was classic advert for non-league football, on ‘Non-League Day 2018’.

City travel to Pagham on Tuesday evening, hoping to bounce back from today’s disappointment.

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