Chichester City Ladies 1 - 2 Lewes Ladies
Chichester frustrated as Lewes take the points home with them.
Having been heavily frustrated by the midweek draw away to Portsmouth Ladies, Chichester City Ladies were hopeful that they could re-energise for the home tie this weekend against a tough Lewes side who have a mean defence but, on the other side of the coin, seem to be finding it difficult to score goals at the other end of the park.
The sun shone brightly on Oaklands Park as the game kicked off with sizeable crowd glue to the action and the home support there in numbers to cheer on their team throughout the match. The green army started brightly with good passing on show and the continuing form of Cherelle Khassal and Charley Wilson-Blakely evident in the early stages.
Chichester it was who had the first meaningful opportunity on goal and it fell to Khassal who, with twinkle toes, dances her way passed defenders before striking for goal from the edge of the area only for keeper, Leah Samian to make a comfortable save to deny her. The home side continued to impress and enjoyed good spells of territory and possession and Khassal again had a chance to open her account in the nineteenth minute when put through on goal by Jess Lewry.
Swain was up to the task and saved well but when Khassal rescued the ball at the bye line she slid it back into the path of Jenna Fowlie who drew another smart save from Samain to keep the score sheet blank, at least for now. Finally the pressure had to tell but the opener didn’t come from open play, instead appearing from a free kick, lashed home by the impressive Chloe Tucker. Her effort went like a rocket into the top corner, giving Samain no chance, and giving the green army a deserved lead. The hosts continued to pose the questions and their keeper, Sadie Wilson-Blakely was, for the most part, untested as the game moved past the half hour mark. Lewes improved and, close to the interval, but against the run of play, snatched an equaliser through the pacy Katie McIntyre. McIntyre burst through the Chichester back line, rounded Wilson-Blakely and slotted into the back of the net, all in the blink of an eye.
Chichester were undaunted, though, and pushed forward in search of another goal before the interval and Tucker went very close with another set piece that rattled the bar and in the ensuing melee, Kerrie Ryan blasted over from just yards out when, seemingly, easier to score. Lewes went into the break the happier but the hosts would have been encouraged by their showing and would know that there was still room from improvement after the restart.
Ironically it was the visitors who made the better of things after the interval with their captain, Kelly Newton, having a really strong game at the back and really martialing her troops to great effect and the blues began to take the game by the scruff of the next whereas Chichester just seemed, unusually, flat. On the hour the visitors got their noses in front when Rebecca Carter poked home from a few yards, taking full advantage of Chichester’s inability to deal with a corner sufficiently and that seemed to really knock the host’s confidence. To their credit though they battled on and had some late chances to get back on terms but the lack quality in the final third let them down.
Try as they might Chichester just couldn’t find a way back into the tie and with Lewes growing in confidence they held firm to come away from this very tricky outing with the points in the bag. Chichester will have to regroup again for the trip to Swindon next week and be of the belief that they can put on a positive show to get the vibes flowing again and quickly.
Written by Alan Price