Eastbourne Town secured their first league win since late September on Tuesday at The Saffrons, with 10 first-team members missing.
Three second-half goals, including a brace from striker Kai Bichard, saw Town overcome sixth-place Chipstead in cold blustery conditions.
Town had the best chances in the first-half but were unable to find an end product. Several Luke Denton long-throws caused havoc in the Chipstead box, with one producing a fine save by keeper Steve Northwood from a Steve Elliot header in the ninth minute.
Striker Nathan Crabb came close to ending his goal-draught when he outpaced the Chipstead defence on the left, after being played in by Owen Kessack, but rattled the bar in the 36th minute.
But Town only had to wait four minutes after the break when in the 49th, Bichard grabbed his first from an upfield punt by Kieron Thorp.
Chipstead’s defenders and keeper left it for each other and so Bichard was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net.
Bichard’s second was a powerful header across the keeper in the 74th minute after a whipped in-swinging free-kick from the right by Owen Kessack. Then, five minutes later, Bichard was able to control a pass into the box and lay off to midfielder Stacey Freeman, whose calm side-footed finish took a deflection past the wrong-footed Northwood.
Chipstead, however, continued to look for a way back into the game but were unable to regularly test Thorp in goal, who had earlier dealt with a long-range effort from Jordon Brown on 70 minutes.
But their persistence was rewarded when a Matt York header found its way in amid a congested penalty area on 82 minutes.
This meant for a tight finish, with Town recently relinquishing an identical winning position two weeks earlier to Burgess Hill.
However, Towns’ forwards were able to relieve the pressure away from their defence when the ball came up the pitch, and so Town finished with all three points.
Boss Danny Bloor was delighted with the hard-earned victory. He said “Credit to the boys. I thought they were outstanding. We didn’t need to make a substitution as all 11 gave 110 per cent.”
Bloor was praiseworthy of match winner Bichard. “Kai is a goal scorer. It was nice to see somebody in the number nine shirt finally score some goals.”
Town: Thorp, Denton, Storrie, Elliot, Fogden, Freeman, Davidson, Crabb S., Bichard, Crabb N. Kessack
Booked: Freeman, Davidson
Referee: Graham Kane
LEFT: Kai Bicard
picture: Jack Gracie