Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Chichester City - Oaklands Park



Chichester City FC
Oaklands Park
Oaklands Way
Chichester
West Sussex
PO19 6AR



01243 533368






Ground Number: 799
Tuesday 2nd October 2018
Chichester City 2-1 Hassocks
SCFA Senior Cup 1st Round







CHICHESTER CITY - A BRIEF HISTORY

The club was formed in 2000 following a merger between Chichester City (established 1873) and Portfield (also established in 1873). Both clubs were members of the members of the top tier of the Sussex League at the time, initially playing until 2008 at Portfield's Church Road ground while Oaklands Park was redeveloped, their former home being sold for housing. Initially known as Chichester City United, they dropped the 'United' part in 2009 to revert to their former name. They have remained in the top tier of the Sussex League for all of this time with the league changing names to the Southern Combination in 2015. League finishes have ranged from winning the league in 2004 to finishing bottom in 2012, but the latter saw then saved from relegation by league expansion. Recent seasons have seen much-improved form and they have not finished outside the top 6 in the last few seasons. This season has seen this continue with Chichester City sitting 2nd and with a game in hand at the time of tonight's game.



The FA Cup has not presented the club with much success, with them sitting out the 2007 and 2008 seasons due to forgetting to enter. Their best progress when they did is the 1st Qualifying Round in 2001/02 when they beat VCD Athletic before losing to Hastings Town. The best run in the FA Vase came last season where Chichester City beat Deal Town, Whitstable Town and Horley Town before losing 1-0 at 1874 Northwich in the 5th Round. Local cup wins include the Brighton Charity Cup (twice) and the Sussex Royal Ulster Rifles Cup in 2007. The most well-known player to play for the club is current Forest Green Rovers player Omar Bugiel who played for the club's youth team. The city of Chichester is one of the smaller ones in the UK, with a population of  26,795. Famous people from the city include actor Peter Baldwin (played Derek Wilton in Coronation Street), radio presenter Tommy Boyd. comedian Hugh Dennis and  actor Michael Elphick (played Magowan in Auf Wiedersehen Pet)



MY VISIT

Originally on this day, I'd been planning on revisiting Fleetwood Town with Wycombe. I'd booked the week off especially and even pre-booked a hotel. It was going to cost me over  £100 all-in including petrol & hotel, though some of those costs would be negated by doing a game on the way back. But that plan was blown to smithereens on Saturday as we turned in a dreadful performance against Southend United at home, going 3-0 down and being very lucky to grab two goals back. It was probably our worst performance in around 5 years and with 2 people backing out of coming with me, I decided that working for two whole days was not worth it, despite there being a great pub right near the ground.  I cancelled my hotel and started making plans with other hoppers. Anwar was available for our usual Tuesday jaunt. Initially, he was quite keen on a long trip to Droylesden, but once he checked his bank balance, it became apparent that I'd have to be choosing the cheapest option. This happened to be St Andrews v Aylestone Park which was a real local derby with less than 2 miles between the grounds.



I researched the history for the club, but on the morning of the game, Anwar pulled out due to illness. I walked down town to get my hair cut, before getting a lift back with my Dad. I then had a bath and a change of clothes before deciding on where I'd be going. As I was on my own, I'd be heading south as it made sense with my two main hoppers being based north of me. There were 15 options in all, though 4 were dismissed for various reasons such as 3G pitches and being able to do them on a Saturday via public transport. The vast majority of the options were Sussex Senior Cup and although I'd initially wanted to save them for early Bank Holiday kickoffs, Chichester City v Hassocks stood out as the area around the ground could provide a decent range of pre-match eating and drinking options. Entry was reasonable at £6 too and the 165-mile round trip would not have too bad an impact on my football costs for the season. There was plenty to keep me occupied, including listing potential games for Friday and doing research for tonight's game. I left at 3.50, hoping for a good journey. It was in all fairness, around 15 minutes delay, mainly on the A3 near Guildford. I got to Chichester two hours later and parked up at the ground. It was around 20 minutes walk to my first stop, a nice micropub called The Hornet Alehouse. A nice pint of Meon Valley Dragonfly Cider was had, which was very nice. From there, I went in search of food. Wetherspoons did the job, a gourmet burger and a can of San Pellegrino lemonade for £6.60. As it was a fairly light one, I also had a pint of Rosie’s Pig for a bargain £1.75 a pint. Both food and drink were great, with me heading back to the ground at 7.15.



I got to the ground at 7.30. Entry was, as promised, £6, but there was no programme. I got a nice portion of chips for £1.50 while I waited for kick off. The game was pretty even, but the scoring was opened on the half-hour mark. Rob Hutchins put a decent cross in and Scott Jones bundled home from close range to give Chichester the lead. It was 1-1 on 40 minutes when a good cross was put in and the ball was headed home by Liam Benson. Shortly after, the same move nearly caught out the hosts again, but it as headed narrowly wide. Right on half time, Chichester retook the lead, a long-range shot went right through Hassocks keeper Green to make it 2-1. The first half had been pretty even, but the second saw the hosts assert their authority on the game. Their right-back Terrell Lewis was especially impressive and they grazed the top of the bar with a good free kick. The bar was hit a couple more times and Green made a couple of great saves from powerful strikes, getting firm hands behind them. Hassocks very nearly grabbed a late equaliser, but the opportunity was snatched at and soon after the whistle was blown for full time.



I left the ground at 9.40. Wycombe had gained an excellent 1-1 draw at Fleetwood and so I was in a pretty decent mood as I headed home. I tried to listen to Radio 5 on the way home, easier said than done as both radio and phone signal were patchy as I drove through 20 miles of poor roads before eventually reaching consistent civilisation. This gave way to Radio Jackie and some pretty decent tunes as I got nearer Londo, before I switched to the Peter Crouch podcast as I neared home. I got in at 11.15 and with no work to be up for, relaxed while typing my blog and watching my YouTube subscriptions.



THE GROUND

I first visited OAKLANDS PARK in 2012 on the way to a game at Bognor Regis Town and was fairly impressed with them having a few areas of cover (two standing and one seating) and a well-kept setup overall. It was pretty much the same upon my return, the stand being especially impressive with 150 padded seats. There’s enough cover to keep any normal crowd dry and plenty more hard standing.


The ground is near the city centre, so you have a great choice of pre-match food and drink places. The Hornet Alehouse and the Dolphin and Anchor are excellent, the latter being a Wetherspoons. Back at the ground is a decent tea bar with chips for £1.50 which were very nice. There’s also a bar, but I didn’t see what they had on offer. 

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