Chichester leapfrog Horsham YMCA at summit after '˜moment of madness' but Buckland is upbeat
Chichester City leapfrogged Horsham YMCA at the top of the Premier Division with the sides separated by an 83rd-minute penalty as a result of a '˜moment of madness' on Saturday.
Ellis Martin’s spot kick saw City complete the double over previous leaders YM, adding to a 2-1 victory at Oaklands Park back in August.
Just three points separated the teams before kick-off with the Gorings Mead outfit on a run of five straight wins in the league.
And although YM, who were team of the month in November, slipped from the summit, boss Peter Buckland says he is more than satisfied with where they are going into Christmas.
He was less impressed with some poor defending by Ollie Gill which gave away the spot kick, but was nevertheless philosophical as they were unable to break through a resilient Chichester, who recorded their tenth league clean sheet of the season.
Buckland said: “The scoreline did not suit me, but the performance and everything else did and that’s not trying to put a gloss on it.
“Two good sides pretty much cancelled each other out and not much happened in terms of real scoring chances.
“The conditions did not help. It was torrential from start to finish and you couldn’t really play football, it had a real impact on the game. I thought it was going to fade out into a 0-0 draw and I think both managers would have turned around and settled with that.
“But it was a moment of madness from Ollie Gill in the box to give away a sloppy penalty and we could have no complaints – the referee could not do anything else but give it. As your luck goes though, Tony Garrod had the same situation close to the end and it was not given.
“I tend to base my disappointment on how we performed and consider Chi are not a bad side that always give you a game, it wasn’t too bad.
“From six points available from the games against Newhaven and Chi, we have taken just one. Whatever permutations you may look at we are still second and at the start of the season, I said come Christmas if we were in the top four we could push on, and we have guys coming back now as well.”
Aaron Jeal palmed away an early Josh Clack free-kick, while at the other end Garrod broke through, but fired wide.
Jeal saved again with his feet and Garrod almost caught out City goalkeeper Ant Ender.
The visitors had a goal disallowed for handball in the box as the ball was fisted home. Just before the break Garrod had another good chance blocked after he was put through.
Guy Harding put a header from a corner just wide, before YM had a penalty appeal waved after what they felt was a trip in the area.
Jeal then dived to keep out a 35-yard free-kick before an Alex Barbary back heel almost worked an opening and Dean Bown saw his long-range strike safely gathered.
YM were made to pay the price when Martin tucked home a penalty after Rory Biggs had been fouled. The goal was even more agonising for YM as it clipped in off the inside of the post past Jeal.
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Donaghey, Gill, Harding, Hartley (Donaldson 69), Gedling, Dugdale (Mobsby 2), Barbary (Nwachukwu 77), Garrod, Bown. Unused: Hunt, Evans.