The 2016-17 league campaign ended for Chichester City Ladies protecting their season-long unbeaten record with a 2-0 win away to Keynsham.
Despite a hailstorm during the second half, City got the job done to send a strong statement to those they will face next season in Premier League South.
The hosts welcomed the champions with a guard of honour before kick-off which was well received.
Chi were without star striker Charley Wilson-Blakely and in-form Chloe Dowdell but still had a strong side.
It took Chichester less than a minute to break the deadlock, when, after only 36 seconds, Lauren Cheshire added to her tally for the season.
Molly Clark showed excellent skill to work space on the left and played a dangerous ball into the area. Jess Lewry failed to make contact but the ball arrived at the feet of Cheshire, who smashed it past keeper Colette Bell.
Cherelle Khassall and Kally Ambler looked dangerous but Keynsham settled and had Chichester’s Kerry Ryan, Laura Ingram and Emma Alexandre working hard to keep them at bay.
Danielle Beazer and Cristina Vega went close for Keynsham but Sadie-Wilson-Blakely made a couple of smart saves.
Ambler had a couple of near misses for the visitors as Keynsham steadily improved during the half.
But, just after the half-hour, Chichester doubled their lead through the impressive Lewry. Clark set Khassall scampering clear down left and her ball in was bundled over the line by Lewry.
In the second half and Keynsham came out intent on trying to find a way back into the tie. But chances were rare.
Chichester were looking frustrated as their final ball let them down.
Jenna Fowlie replaced the tiring Ryan and her dangerous forays down the right had the defence back-tracking.
Both teams ploughed on through a hailstorm and Carmen Kager made a late appearance for the visitors and seemed to enjoy the opportunity.
Keynsham played the last five minutes with only ten players after two players succumbed to injury with all substitutes having been used.
The incredible record of going the entire season unbeaten had been achieved and the squad will, no doubt, be raring to go for next season and new challenges.
CCLFC: S Wilson-Blakely, Cheshire, Challen, Ingram, Alexandre, Khassal, Lewry, Clark, Ambler, Ryan, Barron. Subs: Fowlie, Kager.
Chichester City Girls FC have been selected to be an official FA Wildcats mini soccer centre to help improve participation in football for girls.
The FA have announced 200 centres across the country as part of a new initiative which aims to provide opportunities for girls aged 5-11 to start playing football.
Chichester City have been providing an outstanding service for girls’ football for the past five years so it was fitting the FA should ask them to run one of the new mini soccer centres.
Each centre will provide weekly sessions run by FA-qualified coaches with all the relevant safeguarding checks.
The Chichester centre is unique as all the coaches are females from within the Chichester City Ladies set-up.
Head coach and City Ladies’ first-team player Emma Alexandre said: “The Wildcat centres are a great opportunity for young girls to get involved in football in a relaxed and encouraging environment.
“The fact that all of my coaches are female footballers is a bonus as they become fantastic role models for the youngsters.”
Players are welcome to come along on a weekly basis to enjoy the sessions, with the long-term aim of them joining one of the sides at the club and playing matches in the local league system.
The Wildcats centre runs every Saturday at Chichester College from 10am to 11.30am. The first session is free and each subsequent session is £3. For more details, contact Matt Wright on email@example.com
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