Coventry too strong for City Ladies – again

Chi Ladies in action against Coventry / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Chi Ladies in action against Coventry / Picture by Tommy McMillan

A second defeat to Coventry United in the space of two weeks – this one a 3-0 loss at Oaklands Park – saw Chichester City slip to eighth place in the WPL southern division.

Lois Jefferies opened the scoring in the first half, tapping home a rebounded effort, with Amber Hughes doubling the lead minutes after half-time. Marie Gauntlett sealed the win in the 66th minute with a neat chip over Poppy Shine.

Captain Emma Alexandre had to be stretchered off in the first half with a knee injury and looks set to miss the rest of the season.

Laura Ingram, Tiffany Taylor and Rebecca Barron returned to the starting line-up with Alexandre starting in an unfamiliar central-midfield role.

It was a chilly afternoon at Oaklands and both sides took a few minutes to settle.

Coventry had the advantage early on as they enjoyed the possession, but Chichester grew into the game with Alexandre looking more and more comfortable. The skipper set up chances for Natasha Stephens and Jess Lewry.

With 20 minutes gone, Alexandre dropped to the ground in pain. After several minutes of treatment she was stretchered off and taken to hospital.

Young Ellis Bloomfield took her place and Lauren Cheshire assumed the captain’s role.

In the 32nd minute, Coventry scored the opener having just struck the bar. Taylor was racing back to prevent a United goal with Shine racing out to join the defender, and the ball rebounded to Jefferies, who tapped home.

Three minutes later Coventry nearly had a third but Barron cleared off the line.

Lewry had Chi’s best opportunity when she was played in over the top, but the striker couldn’t find the pace to beat Susan Wood.

Two minutes after the restar, the score was doubled by United, Hughes turning inside the box to slip the ball into the net.

An Ingram free-kick floated over everyone towards Lewry but Wood remained untested.

With 66 minutes on the clock a third goal was found by the visitors, Gauntlett neatly chipping Shine and sealing the win.

Moments later Shine reacted quickly to prevent a fourth as she tipped an effort over the bar.

In the final ten minutes Stephens had a great chance to reduce the deficit but couldn’t find the touch to score from Lewry’s through-ball.

On Wednesday night Chi Ladies slipped to a 6-0 defeat at home to Charlton.

Next up for Chichester is another home game, against Queens Park Rangers this Sunday - get along to Oaklands Park and support the girls if you can.

Chi City Ladies: Shine, Alexandre (Bloomfield), Cheshire (Walford), Tucker, Taylor, Stephens (White), Barron, Lewry, Phelps, Collighan, Ingram. Unused subs: Wride, Challen.

HAYLEY NEWMAN