Chichester were left to ponder on what might have been after having three separate leads cancelled out and then fluffing a late penalty stroke in a 3-3 Eastern Conference thriller against Spencer at Chichester College.
Had they won, Chichester would have leapfrogged their Surrey visitors and gone into the winter break in third place in the table; instead they put their feet up one slot lower, nine points adrift of unbeaten leaders Wapping.
Talented teen Alex Pendle twice gave Chichester the lead, but when he limped out of the action with a hamstring injury soon after the half-time break, Chi’s prospects of victory possibly went to the sick bay with him.
Pendle fired Chichester into a 17th minute lead from a penalty corner, but saw his efforts cancelled out soon after when Alex Thakore was caught napping and James Turton equalized for Spencer.
Seven minutes before the break, Pendle began and finished a right-side move to restore Chichester’s lead – the youngster robbing a Spencer defender and playing a neat one-two with Alex Baxter before making it 2-1 at the break.
When he limped off, Chichester’s attacking threat diminished and midway through the second period Steve Dowds squared it up again at 2-2 for the visitors.
But Chichester, who had played arguably some of their best possession hockey of the season in the first half, responded again – Ollie Baxter making it 3-2 with eight minutes left after Thakore and Jack Lerwill had done the spadework. It was his 11th goal of the season.
Back came Spencer with a superb individual goal by Kyle Good, who barnstormed his way through a host of Chichester challenges before rifling his equalizing shot past Chris Bristow.
The drama didn’t end there as minutes from the end of a pulsating six-goal thriller, Chichester were awarded a stroke when a Spencer defender stopped a shot on the line.
But Alex Holton sent his penalty flick straight at the Spencer goalkeeper – and Chichester’s late chance of a victory disappeared.
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