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Chichester City 5-0 Hythe Town
Chichester City 5-0 Hythe Town

Following last week’s successful Sussex expedition, the Cannons ventured further westwards when they took on unbeaten Chichester City who are ground-sharing at the impressive Bognor Regis stadium whilst yet another artificial surface is being installed at their own place.

Perhaps the “home” team will be having a few doubts about future plans as they certainly performed well on this excellent natural surface, attacking at speed and in numbers, and playing in a way that will surely lead to end-of-season success if this current form can be maintained.

Both sides showed each other due respect in a cagey opening 15 minutes, but apart from this spell and a similar period after half-time, Town were second best all over the park and eventually had to settle for damage limitation as the game progressed. 

Things started to go downhill on 17 minutes when a furious home attack left both Brad Schafer and Ethan Smith down injured but with no free kicks awarded by the referee who then cautioned Frannie Collin for his observations on the matter. 

Town escaped this time with their defences intact but just three minutes later dangerous home forward Ethan Prichard broke free from his own half to run through unchallenged for his side’s opening goal.

10 minutes later burly centre forward Steve Hutchings used his body to turn a defender and fire home an unstoppable shot past stand-in Hythe keeper Jack West-Astuti. Jack had been brought in to cover for the returning Steve Phillips who was always going to be unavailable for this match. 

The deputy could not be blamed for either goal and indeed prevented another by diving full length to push another shot round his goalpost. However, he rather foolishly got involved when challenged by the very lively Seok-Jae Lee and both went head-to-head in a rather comical way that saw each of them cautioned. 

As half-time approached the hard-working Caney-Bryan who had spent the half mostly in splendid isolation was the recipient of what seemed to be a totally unjustified yellow card when he accidentally caught a defender who was approaching him unseen from behind. 

Hythe started the second half in determined fashion with Jake Embery on to partner Caney-Bryan up front and the home bench now suddenly looking a little concerned, but when City broke free on 56 minutes Prichard found himself in space inside the area and fired home his side’s third and deciding strike.

Three became four minutes later when Lee planted another accurate attempt into the net and now it seemed that keeping the score line respectable had become the game-plan. 

The rampant home side were not finished yet though and the again exposed West-Astuti left the attacking Conrad Honore in a crumpled heap as he homed in on goal. As the keeper ruefully departed the scene, oft-time sub keeper Liam Smith stepped into the fray and at last gave the travelling supporters something to cheer about when he dived brilliantly to save the resultant penalty.

The Hythe captain then came out confidently to save at the feet of Prichard but was eventually undone when Honore squeezed in a sneaky low shot just inside the foot of the post. 

It was apparent from quite early on that this young Chichester side were going to be a handful and so they were. Way back in last season Chatham inflicted a similar score line on these Cannons who responded in fine fashion from then on so let’s hope that history will be repeated. 

Hythe play a Velocity Cup match at Sittingbourne on Tuesday evening before preparing for a difficult FA Trophy tie on Saturday(23rd) away to Chertsey Town in leafy Surrey.

Team: Jack West-Astuti, Sam Flisher, Marcus Goldsmith, Jack Steventon, Liam Smith, Aaron Barnes, Ethan Smith, Johan Caney-Bryan (Kane Phillip 66 mins), Frannie Collin (Jarred Trespaderne 76 mins), Bradley Schafer (Jake Embery 46 mins).

Subs Unused: Kai Garande, Charles Noyelle.

Scorers: Chichester City – Ethan Prichard 20 & 56 mins, Steve Hutchings 29 mins, Seok-Jae Lee 63 mins, Conrad Honore 90 mins.

Red Card: Jack West-Astuti 72 mins – Yellow Cards: Frannie Collin 17 mins, Jack West-Astuti 38 mins, Johan Caney-Bryan 45 mins, Aaron Barnes 59 mins, Sam Flisher 68 mins.

Attendance: 148