There were contrasting fortunes for Chichester City Ladies’ first and development teams in their latest games.
Gosport Ladies 0 Chichester City Ladies 3
Chichester City returned to winning ways by beating one of last year’s promoted sides, Gosport Borough, at the Hampshire side’s first game on their new pitch at Privett park.
Lauren Cheshire, playing at right-back, was superb throughout, her pace putting Gosport on the back foot and her intelligent runs creating space for others.
Emma Alexandre captained Chichester impressively.
In between them, in an area where the Sussex side have traditionally been very strong, the largely-untested partnership of Becky Barron and Cherelle Jameson slipped seamlessly into their central midfield roles.
In the first half in particular, Barron was the epitome of calm, playing simple but effective balls to team-mates and always there to clear up when things broke down.
Her touch is top class and her perceptive passing – certainly over short and mid-range – matches that of any of her illustrious predecessors.
Jameson grew in influence as the game progressed, showing wonderful control and intelligent use of the ball.
Gosport, having been promoted to the south west division one last season, have been finding the step up hard having not registered a victory in either the league or league cup.
Chichester began the much brighter with the fantastic new surface at Privett suiting their style of football. For all of the possession and pressure they were supplying the visitors were struggling to create clear-cut chances with Gosport getting plenty of players behind the ball. Their best opportunities arose when the home side tried to play out from the back and Chichester kept them in their defensive third with some good pressure.
It was only a matter of time before Chichester took the lead and the goal came after 15 minutes when Ambler intercepted a pass from the Gosport centre-backs and after jinking past a couple of challenges fired a fierce shot that hit the post and went in.
Gosport’s most likely source of a goal came from set-pieces; however Chichester did not look like conceding, thanks to their organisation at the back. This meant debutant goalkeeper Nea Piiroinen had very little to do in the first half apart from being a good option for her defence to play back to.
After half-time Chichester introduced Ogden on the right wing and it wasn’t long before she made her first contribution. After some good work between Cheshire and Ogden she whipped in an accurate cross, and Naomi Greene met the ball with a diving header that was just wide.
But it was the visitors who almost doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when Greene got ahead of her marker to meet Ogden’s cross, but headed just wide.
Chichester continued their pressure and were denied what looked like two clear penalties when Greene was brought down by the home team goalkeeper, followed by Ambler having her legs taken from underneath her when through on goal.
The Green Army didn’t have to wait long for their second as a great cross from Cheshire was met by an equally great run by Challen who met the ball and placed a shot into the net to give Chichester a deserved second.
Shortly after the goal, Clarke replaced Greene and had an almost instant impact. She received the ball on the right hand side and placed a shot aiming for the far post the ball hit the post and bounced harmlessly to safety.
The home side began to pour forward in numbers, perhaps sensing there was nothing to lose and almost got one back. They gained a free kick that was smashed against the bar; the ball fell back into the box and Piiroinen reacted well at her near post to save the resulting rebound.
It was shortly after this that Chichester got their third when Cheshire capped a fine performance by making a devastating run into the box before firing a shot high into the net from the right-hand side.
The ladies are looking to build on a fine performance at home to Shanklin ladies this Sunday – kick off is at 2pm at Oaklands Park.
Charlton Athletic Ladies 6 Chichester City Dev Squad 0
CHICHESTER were always likely to find it tough away to a team from a higher level.
The first half started well with Chichester closing Charlton down well.
Amy Bailey, partnering Kerri Grant up top, was a constant nuisance to the defence as Chichester played a good passing game .
Bailey had a shot saved, as did Amber Beaven, but eventually a corner delivered into the Charlton keeper’s hands saw her start a counter-attack which ended with the opening goal.
Chichester’s new-look defence of Becky Steed and Lauren Ellis were trying to click and Ellis was winning the ball in the air with Steed covering.
Charlton’s fast striker broke behind the defence and hit a delightful chip over Hannah McNamara to make it 2-0.
Three individual errors in quick session saw Charlton score three goals in five minutes.
Chichester never gave up and substitutes Georgia Selby and Zoe Hughes-Jones made an impact.
Selby playing a couple of passes through for debutant Rachel Towler.
Chichester thought they had a consolation when Ellis was put through by Hughes-Jones – but her shot cannoned off the bar.
McNamara made a couple of greats reaction saves from range but Athletic added another goal.
It is clear that the huge step up by three leagues this season for the development squad will be a learning curve and taking their chances when they come is going to be important.
City host Tottenham at Oaklands Park at 2pm on Sunday, September 28.