Chichester City Ladies moved to the brink of the FA Women’s Premier south-west one title with a perfect performance at Oaklands Park to stun Plymouth 3-0.
On a sunny day in front of one of the best gates of the season, the win left Chichester in pole position to wrap up the glory in the coming weeks.
Chichester started brightly and soon had the visitors on the back foot with Charley Wilson-Blakely looking particularly dangerous and Cherelle Khassall showing express pace to get behind the back line.
It wasn’t too long before the crowd had something to shout about when Wilson-Blakely opened the scoring for Chichester after only ten minutes.
Working a little space, the striker turned and fired in an effort on goal that flew past keeper Michaela Phillips and into the roof of the Argyle net.
Natasha Knapman was the biggest threat for Plymouth and it was vital Chichester kept the striker quiet – and the back line of Emma Alexandre, Kerrie Ryan, Lucie Challen and Laura Ingram did the job with consummate ease.
Sadie Wilson-Blakely made a couple of easy saves towards the end of the first half but was pretty much otherwise untroubled, such was the quality performance of those in front of her.
Plymouth were resurgent after the break and twice Knapman got through on goal but each time Wilson-Blakely was there in a flash to shut down the opportunity.
All the while, Chichester looked to hit the visitors on the break. With numerous chances having come and gone during the first half, the nerves were certainly in evidence among the supporters – but they needn’t have worried as soon after the hour, a second goal finally arrived.
Chichester broke quickly from defence and Molly Clark spotted a clinical run behind the defence by Khassall and placed a perfect ball over the top. Phillips came rushing out off her line but Khassall easily beat her for pace and confidently nodded the ball past her and sidefooted the ball into the empty net to spark celebrations all around the ground.
Plymouth stuck to their guns and threw everything at Chichester to try to get back into it.
A tiring Jess Lewry made way for Kally Ambler to bring added pace to the hosts’ attacking options and on another day, she could have notched a couple of goals.
Chloe Dowdell came on for Khassall, who received a huge ovation as she made way off.
In the 90th minute the points were wrapped up for Chichester with Dowdell in the right place at the right time to fire home.
Having missed a gilt-edged chance just minutes after coming on she made it to the back stick and met a perfectly-placed low cross by Kerrie Ryan to score at the far post and seal a scorching double.
CCLFC: S Wilson-Blakely, C Wilson-Blakely, Ingram, Alexandre, Challen, Cheshire, Clark, Baron, Khassal, Lewry, Ryan. Subs: Ambler, Dowdell Kager, Robson.
* Chi’s development squad lost 5-2 at Ashford. City’s under-12 girls won 2-0 at home to Shoreham and Adur. Izzy Walford and Evie Clarke were the scorers.
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