ON A glorious sunny afternoon at Oaklands Park, Chichester City Ladies knew anything less than a win over Enfield could see them forfeit second place in the league. And they didn’t let anyone down - running out 3-1 winners.
They started dominantly and were attacking the Enfield back-line from the off. With Enfield rarely getting out of their own half it was only a matter a time before Chichester’s dominance paid off.
A glorious through-ball from midfield left Abbey Shrubb one on one with the Enfield goalkeeper and she calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing keeper.
Chichester’s early dominance continued with another one-on-one chance from Challen down the left. However, the ball took a bobble just as Challen shot and went narrowly over the bar.
Enfield started getting into the game and were pressing at every opportunity. In the 28th minute a crossfield ball led to a mistake from Hughes-Jones and the Enfield left winger cut inside and fired a low shot past the helpless McNamara to make it 1-1.
Enfield pressed for the remainder of the half but Shrubb hit the bar with a left-foot strike after cutting in from the right.
Starkey and McGlashan were working well in central defence with Widdowson and Wride working tirelessly in the heart of the Chichester midfield.
Half-time came with Chichester soaking up the Enfield pressure.
Chichester came out for the second half a different side and soon took the lead, when the tireless Challen found herself at the back post to fire across goal and into the net.
The referee seemed to have found his voice and was suddenly blowing for everything in Enfield’s favour.
Ambler was working hard going forward, helping the midfield and closing down at every opportunity. This created mistakes from Enfield, who were beginning to figure out that Ambler wasn’t going to pull out of a tackle.
Widdowson was later cautioned for delaying an Enfield free-kick but the referee failed to give the same punishment to the Enfield players when roles were reversed.
Willett came on for Harnett in the 64th minute and was an instant threat going forward. Five minutes later, Willett broke down the right, laid the ball off to Wride, who crossed superbly on to the head of Shrubb, who found the net brilliantly.
Chichester were 3-1 up but the game wasn’t won yet.
Enfield were beginning to rattle Chichester.
After a swipe at Shrubb’s leg’s, an Enfield defender received only a caution - much to the displeasure of the green army faithful.
The last 20 minutes were stop-start with the referee pulling both teams up for every little thing.
With three minutes left, Shrubb went in strongly on the same Enfield defender in an attempt to get the ball. The referee deemed this a reckless tackle and sent off Shrubb .
Chichester host Brentwood at home on Sunday (April 14, 2pm).
CHICHESTER: McNamara, Hughes-Jones, Paul, Starkey, McGlashan, Widdowson, Harnett (Willett, 64mins), Wride, Shrubb, Ambler, Challen.