Southern Combination Premier
(Jordan Dudas, Alex Biggs, Josh Biggs)
Chichester City 4
(Scott Murfin x2, Kaleem Haitham, Jack Lee)
It has been a long two weeks without a game but I have had a super amount of university work to get finished before the Christmas break. Football has had to take a back seat whilst I completed my assignments, but with everything handed in I am back on the south coast and lining up the football matches.
First visit was a game over in Sussex. I was visiting my grandparents in Bognor Regis in the morning then continued my journey to Arundel for their game with Chichester.
I had taken to Twitter to ask what teams and grounds I should visit and Arundel came up more than once. The lure of being able to see the castle from the pitch was enough for me to venture over to Mill Road and of course take my camera (pictures on my Facebook page).
Unfortunately, as great as the views are, there was no programme or pin badge available but even so, the goals and the game made up for it, as well as a chance to practice some photography.
This was the first time watching a Southern Combination game and first time watching Arundel. This is the second time seeing Chichester City play after watching them in a 2-2 friendly draw with Salisbury in July 2016.
Mill Road is a gem. By car it isn’t the easiest place to find. I drove through the middle of Arundel and around the castle before heading down the hill towards the ground. My sat-nav said we had arrived but all I could see from the road is a bowling club and a pay & display car park. With free on road parking I pulled up and strolled back towards the big car park. If you want to park by the ground, drive onto the car park and the entrance to the ground is tucked up the corner. As it stood there was little space to park and cars were driving around the pitch and through a gate behind the main stand into some overspill parking at the Petanque club.
The ground is quaint. A little sign welcomes you to the club and you pay your admission to an elderly chap in the shed, very non-league. On entry you find yourself behind the goal. The clubhouse is on the right and still behind the goal, bar and toilets (very standard) and the main stand on the left. A small-seated area is run down but looks classic.
If you walk to the opposite goal and turn back, the castle towers over Mill Road. The main stand has a very retro feel with ‘Arundel Football Club’ written on the front giving you a real sense of where you are. Too many grounds look too generic and it can be easy to look at some photos of grounds and not have a clue where they are, especially in non-league.
On the opposite side to the stand there is a small covered standing area up the corner near the clubhouse but despite it being cold, it was a dry day and perfect for watching football.
I would love to come back here for a game where a programme and pin badge could be available. The views are incredible and certainly worth the £4 student entry. I want to thank those who recommended Mill Road to me and I would recommend any hoppers in the area to go and make the trip to see it for themselves.
Chichester City captain Jack Lee scored deep into injury time to complete an unlikely comeback to beat Arundel 4-3 in the Southern Combination Premier.
Scott Murfin had given City the lead before Jordan Dudas levelled the score before the break. Arundel scored two quick goals in the second half to command a 3-1 lead however three goals in the final 15 minutes through Kaleem Haitham, another goal from Murfin and Lee’s winner for the visitors stole the result as the death.
Dion Jarvis had a good early chance for the hosts when he collected a searching diagonal ball and fired a low shot at the near post that ‘keeper Ant Ender could only tip out for a corner.
It was the visitors who were putting the pressure on in the early exchanges with Scott Jones sending a header into the hands of French debutant goalkeeper Come Griel.
Arundel soaked up a lot of the Chichester pressure and attacked on the break with Jarvis travelling into the box and squaring the ball across the box allowing City to clear their lines.
Chichester’s Josh Clack then forced a good save from Griel when he received a diagonal ball from right back Kieran Hartley before running through on goal and firing at the ‘keeper.
The visitors were piling on the pressure and Jones forced Griel to save with his legs from low drive at goal.
Jones saw another chance blocked away when a man on the post cleared out his header for a corner. From the resulting set piece, a penalty was given for a push on one of the Chichester players by the home goalkeeper. Murfin stepped up to take the spot kick and slams the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the day on 22 minutes.
It wasn’t long before City had the ball into the back of the net again when Murfin raced through on goal, rounded the ‘keeper and slotted in, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.
Arundel did manage to level the scores just a minute before the break through defender Dudas. The corner was swung in from the left side and it hit Dudas inside the six-yard box and trickled into the bottom corner.
After the break Arundel came out looking like the better side, spurred on by their equaliser and they almost took the lead when Lee Mottershead’s volley was blocked and landed to a team mate who smashed the ball into the box only for it to be turned onto his own crossbar by a City defender.
The visitors made a couple of changes in what was turning into a scrappy game of football with the hosts just shading the proceedings.
Lorenzo Dolcetti’s shot put the corner flag in more danger than the goal, going out for a throw in when Griel scuffed a punch clear.
Alex Biggs then scored a worthy goal of the season contender to put The Mullets in the lead on 67 minutes. Rob Lofting sent a curling ball to Alex Biggs who took the shot on the volley and across the ‘keeper and into the corner of the net.
Just seven minutes later Arundel were gifted a penalty after Shane Brazil was squashed between two Chichester defenders as he cut inside from the left wing and made inroads into the area. It was the turn of Josh Biggs to join his brother on the score sheet as he smashed in a penalty that rippled the back of the net despite Ender guessing the right way and getting fingertips to the ball.
Just a minute later City were able to reduce the deficit with a goal from substitute Haitham on 75 minutes. The number 17 lumped a deep cross into the area from the left side that managed to evade everyone and the goalkeeper and dip into the bottom corner.
The goal kick-started City’s revival and they piled men forward in search for the equaliser. The almost got it when a cheeky Murfin back heel set Rob Hutchings away on goal but his shot clipped the crossbar after beating the ‘keeper.
With four minutes of normal time remaining, Murfin managed to grab his second of the day when he slotted the ball in from close range to guarantee a point for the visitors and break Arundel’s spirits.
The winner came just two minutes later when a Chichester player took a shot into the crowded box, one team mate stepped over it and captain Jack Lee was in the right place to get a toe to the ball and send it over the line.
2017/18 Games: 41
2017/18 Grounds: 38 (9)
Total Grounds Visited: 187 (51)