Chichester City Ladies enjoyed a 13-goal feast in the rain away to Exeter – and it means they can win the FA Women’s Premier League south-west one title in front of their own fans at Oaklands Park this evening (May 4).
Chi were very quickly into their stride in heavy rain and established a lead after only five minutes when a sublime move saw captain Becky Barron slam home from just inside the box after Kerrie Ryan’s dangerous cross was played to her by Chloe Dowdell.
A minute later and a welcome goal arrived for Loulou Robson, her first for the senior side, with an easy finish after excellent work from Cherelle Khassal.
Exeter keeper Durva Vahia was on hand to make tremendous saves to keep her team in the contest with the likes of Khassal, Charley Wilson-Blakely and Kerrie Ryan all having chances to extend the lead.
On the quarter-hour the lead was extended when Khassal caused havoc and her low cross was diverted into her own net by the unlucky Kate Finch.
Exeter’s heads didn’t drop despite the adversity and they kept Chichester at bay until just after the half-hour when Wilson-Blakely notched her first with a simple finish having been set up by Khassal.
Moments later Jess Lewry got in on the act to slide the ball home from another perfect set-up from Dowdell.
Just after the hour, the visitors broke through again. Lucie Challen, who had only just come on to replace Lauren Cheshire, floated a lovely ball into the danger area and Dowdell finished superbly to make it six.
Chichester continued to pile on the agony into the final 15 minutes. Laura Ingram let fly with a scorcher from long distance that flew in – then Khassal got on the scoresheet a minute later.
Challen unleashed an unstoppable drive past Vahia with her trusty left boot. Wilson-Blakely netted her second and Dowdell, again supplied by Challen, scored the 11th.
In the dying minutes Wilson-Blakely completed her hat-trick, deflecting home an effort from Kally Ambler, and the best was saved ’til last with a spectacular free-kick from 35 yards from Ryan.
With Plymouth also winning, Chichester take to the park against St Nicholas this evening knowing the title will be sealed with a win. Get along and support them if you can.
CCLFC: S Wilson-Blakely, C Wilson-Blakely, Cheshire, Barron, Ingram, Ryan, Lewry, Dowdell, Khassal, Robson,Alexandre. Subs: Ambler, Fowlie, Challen.
* Chi’s development squad secured third place in the South East Counties Premier Division with a 3-2 home win again Abbey Rangers. This is the highest league finish in their history. Goals came from Lauren Ellis, Steph Mills and Michaela Collins.
It was Dick Semark’s last game in charge as he retired after 43 years on football.
Semark has managed a variety of teams through Hampshire and Sussex in his illustrious career starting off in men’s football and completing his days in female football.
The second string have had a remarkable season under the experienced manager.
Oaklands Park saw a record attendance for a development squad game and the players gave Seamark a guard of honour on to the pitch. Two quick goals from Steph Mills and Lauren Ellis saw the home side in control. Rangers scored a penalty just before the break.
Resurgent after the half-time talk, City’s Miki Collins restored the two-goal advantage, only for their opponents to get one back soon after.
* Chi’s under-16 girls won 6-1 at home to Withdean Youth in the league in a rehearsal for next week’s cup final. Alex Collighan scored three, Laura Irvine two and Alice Walford one.
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