Chichester ladies back in Sussex Cup final

Scorer Lauren Cheshire on the attack against Seahaven   Picture (James Prickett)
Scorer Lauren Cheshire on the attack against Seahaven Picture (James Prickett)

Chichester City ladies booked their place in the Sussex Cup final for the second consecutive season after defeating Seahaven Harriers 4-0 at a packed Oaklands Park.

As cup holders, Chichester were keen to start quickly against a team ranked below them in the football pyramid but the heavy pitch and a fine defensive performance from Seahaven proved a tough challenge.

Chichester trotted out in front of more than 100 fans but Seahaven started brightly with a fine passing move that led to an early corner.

City defended well and cleared their lines – and this proved to be Seahaven’s best chance of the first half.

Chichester asserted themselves on the match and a plethora of chances ensued. Player of the match Lucie Challen came closest with a fine diving header followed be some close-range efforts which the Seahaven keeper denied.

After having a goal disallowed for offside, it seemed the breakthrough would never come. Then in the 44th minute, debutant Rachel Waller unleashed a fine effort from outside the box into the top corner.

The second half was a more open affair which suited Chichester as they started to exploit the space. Captain Emma Alexandre dominated the back line, with Cheshire and Dowdell proving too much for Seahaven to cope with on the right flank.

A swift passing move led to another cross reaching the box, and the Chichester College duo Jess Pike and Chloe Dowdell linked well as Pike looped a ball to the back post for Dowdell to head home.

After many threats from Baron corners, Cheshire soon converted an effort to take the tally to three. The full-back got her second after slotting home a penalty.

Ever-present centre-midfielder Challen tested the Seahaven keeper several times from range in the latter stages of the game and only the woodwork prevented her from scoring a well-deserved goal.

Just before the final whistle, Seahaven had their best chance with a sliding effort on the back post, but a goal evaded them.

Chichester will face Brighton in a repeat of last year’s final.