Goals from Ben Mendoza, Callum Overton and – four minutes from time – Scott Jones earned a 3-2 home win over Ashford United that knocked them off their league perch.
City found second wind after seeing the ten-man visitors wipe out the hosts’ 2-0 interval advantage and manager Miles Rutherford said it showed the spirit in the camp that they’d taken on one of the division’s biggest outfits and deservedly beaten them.
City are up to ninth having put a wobbly start to the season behind them but face another stiff test – away to seventh-placed VCD, who beat them on the opening day – on Saturday.
They have Velocity Trophy and RUR Cup home clashes with Westfield and Steyning coming up before Christmas and need to find a new date for their home Sussex Senior Cup tie with Brighton U23s, which was called off in Storm Barra on Tuesday. Rutherford said: “We’re doing all right at the moment.
“After losing to Hastings, where we felt we’d had a good first half and might have won if we’d scored first, it was pleasing to beat Ashford.
“The difference was we took our chances when playing well. In the second half we struggled, even when Ashford had a man sent off, but we kept going at them and deserved the win.”
City have been without key players in recent weeks like forward Gicu Iordache and defender Connor Cody. Iordache is back in his native Romania and City are uncertain over his future, but Cody is likely to be back as a regular soon.
Coach Danny Potter said: “We can compete with most sides in this division and we’ve shown that recently.
“Ashford are real title contenders but we took them on and beat them. In previous seasons, going 2-0 up then letting them come back to 2-2, we’d have been thinking we’d lose. But we had the confidence to go for it and bring on Scott Jones – and he got the winner.
“We just want to keep this good run going and see where we are in the New Year.
“We’re showing we belong at this level.”
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