Heroic Haitham To The Rescue

A goal, early in the second half, from Kaleem Haitham was enough for Chichester City to claim all three points against a struggling Eastbourne United side.

It was the league’s bottom side who threatened first through Dylan Clifford, but he saw his shot go wide of Ryan Young’s goal.

City responded almost instantly. Haitham found David Herbert, who crossed the ball, finding his midfield partner George Way, but his shot went narrowly wide.

In the 18th minute, Sam Schaaf had the audacity to try and lob Young, but his cheeky effort flew over the bar and into the car park. Schaaf tried to pick out Chris Cumming-Bart, but again Young was smart and advanced off his line to smother the visitor’s chances.

In a game where Chi didn’t play to their full potential, Eastbourne battled and caused problems. Schaaf, involved again, set up Kane Penn, who was only denied by a vital last ditch tackle from Herbert, much to the relief of the home fans.

Tyler O’Callaghan then headed over when he should have done better, as the visitors showed true fighting spirit throughout.

Schaaf was denied again, three more times by Young, whilst Clack and captain Conor Cody caused problems down the other end.

City came into the game shortly before the break with Gicu Lordarche hitting the side netting, Way volleying wide and Herbert being denied by a fine save when one-on-one.

Half Time: Chi City 0-0 Eastbourne United

City started the second half with a high intensity and were rewarded two minutes after the restart as Clack picked out Haitham with a delightful ball, and the winger guided it into the net with a first time, slick volleyed finish.

The visitors looked for an instant reply, but Schaaf and Cumming-Bart both had their shots saved by the trustworthy Young.

Goalscorer Haitham continued to impress, almost forcing Harry Ducatel to head into his own net. From the resulting corner, Cody’s clever front post flick was cleared off the line, as City looked to double their lead.

February’s Chi City Player of the Month, Rob Hutchings, then had a shot, but it flew wide after a captivating team move, and Clack had an effort blocked moments later.

Last weeks match winner, Ryan Peak, came up for a corner and caused chaos leading to both his and another shot from Clack, being blocked through some last-ditch defending from United.

Clack, who was influential in the second half, then saw his header go wide after a brilliant cross from Way.

Despite not making it easy for themselves, City held on for victory after two hard-fought matches in as many weeks.

This keeps their nine-point lead intact, with eight games still to play. City next play Lancing away on Saturday.

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