Despite heavy overnight rain the Loxwood home pitch was again passed fit for action for a 10.00am kick-off, and although the surface was soft, both sides were able to make passes across the slick surface.
Today's match-day squad was Eron in goal; Joe, Fraser, Rory and Mags in defence; Josh, Louis, Harry, Max and Tom M; Hamish up top; and Ben, Daniel and Brodie to come on.
Chichester are a very good side who started the match well with both teams competing hard in the opening ten minutes. Josh did very well on the right as an attacking threat as Loxwood probed for an opening. At the other end Fraser and Rory dominated the opposition strikers in the middle at the back, and Joe and Mags were equally strong on either side. Chichester pursued the central route but were either closed down or restricted to shots from outside the box.
On the two occasions that Chichester did break as far as the edge of the box, they unleashed venomous shots on goal, but each time Eron was on hand to make solid saves, pushing the ball wide.
Loxwood were always a threat at the other end with Harry probing behind Hamish. A through-ball allowed Hamish to wriggle past the last defender and shoot at the keeper and then he hit a dipping lob just over the bar which ran down the back of the net. Moments later a great long throw from Tom created danger in the box. The ball bounced loose and Harry was first to react to tuck the ball home from 6 yards. 1-0 Lions. The goal seemed to unsettle the visitors and the Lions moved up a gear with Fraser stepping in to beat the strikers and carry the ball forward to launch more attacks. Loxwood forced a number of corners courtesy of Max and Josh which Harry fired over brilliantly, but each time the Lions couldn't quite capitalise on the dangerous deliveries.
When another long ball found its way to Eron he launched a giant kick forward which bounced deep in the opposition half. Hamish gambled on the shoulder of the last defender who misjudged the bounce; as he broke clear he waited until the last moment before flicking the ball wide of the keeper with the outside of his right boot. 2-0 Lions. Eron with another assist and a facsimile of the goal in the opening match of the season at Felpham.
By now the Lions were in full control and Tom M, Louis, Rory and Fraser were winning the middle of the park with Harry just in front and Max and Josh either side. Another flowing move found Josh wide right. Josh beat his defender and found Hamish with a great pass; Hamish fired at goal and Harry again reacted superbly, leaving defenders behind him, to divert the ball into the corner giving the keeper no chance. 3-0 Lions.
At half-time Ben replaced Hamish, Daniel for Joe at right-back and Brodie for Josh at right-midfield.
Ben was immediately in the action and tore into a defender before charging up the right to force a corner. Minutes later he did the same before being spoken to by the referee for protesting that the defender was fouling him (which he was). Great to see. From the next dangerous corner from Harry, Louis jumped at the near post to beat the keeper to the ball and head home. Another headed goal from a corner! 4-0 Lions.
Max was really coming in to the game and becoming a real influence. Harry found him with a terrific pass to the left which Max took in his stride but then fired just wide. Louis too was getting stronger alongside Tom M who was superb again. Brodie battled hard on the right to help the team and Daniel made some great passes forward. At the back Fraser was rock solid with Rory and Mags smashed into tackles to keep out the danger.
With 15 minutes to go Louis went down injured and was replaced by Josh with Max tucking inside. Three minutes later Joe replaced Mags with Rory moving to the left, and Hamish replaced Tom M. Loxwood continued to threaten the Chichester goal but on the counter-attack Chichester launched a long ball down the right channel which ran to Eron with a striker lunging for the ball. The referee who was back in the centre-circle awarded a penalty which was duly converted. 4-1 Lions.
The Lions responded immediately with another great pass from Harry which found Max running into the box free. This time Max coolly slotted the ball home to the keeper's right. Superb finish. 5-1 to the Lions. With a couple of minutes to go the Chichester striker ran clear to hit a thumping half-volley in off the post for an eye-catching goal. 5-2 Lions.
Well done to Chichester who played well and will definitely be a top half of the table team.
Another win for the Lions to strengthen their position in top spot. Well done to all the boys for some great football again with some fabulous passing and support. The two late goals though are a reminder to the Lions that you cannot switch off or you will be punished.
Well done to Ben for a great display full of heart and desire. Josh too had his best game so far in a Lions shirt.
Player of the match: Fraser for backing up a super game last week with another solid show again full of commitment, courage and strength.
Next week: Home to Felpham.