Having previously lost 7-1 to FA Women’s National League leaders Crawley Wasps in the league at the start of the season and trailing 32 points to them in the league, Chi City were the underdogs in the lead up to the final. The green and white army took the FAWNL league leaders all the way to penalties after Becca Bell scored an equalizer in the 55th minute.
Crawley’s Ellie Russell headed home to take the lead and started to take control until the half-time whistle.
The Wasps couldn’t keep up this momentum as Chi moved up a gear in the second half. Wasps weren’t able to deal with Wild’s pace in the lead up to Bell’s goal to equalize. A stand-out performance from Issy Foster in goal kept Chichester firmly in the final and contenders for the Sussex Challenge Cup.
In the realms of extra-time, Crawley were in full force with the majority of possession, however Chichester successfully threw everything they had to keep the game to a draw and take it to penalties.
After Amy Martins scoring to put Chi in the lead and Crawley missing the target completely on their first penalties, the cup final win was within reaching distance for Blakely’s side. However, Crawley’s experience shined through the shoot-out to finish with a 4-3 win.
Chairwoman Caz Evans said “I couldn’t be prouder of this team right now! They pushed Crawley all the way tonight and showed what they are capable of. I’m gutted for them but excited for the future of this young side.”
After an incredibly disciplined performance, first team manager Blakely said “This is credit to all CCLFC players, coaches, staff and committee. This wouldn’t have happened without these amazing people so thank you all but it’s onwards and upwards now until the end. A big fight [in the league] lies ahead.”
City’s focus is now a relegation battle to stay in the FAWNL next season. They face Crawley Wasps away in their second league match on Wednesday evening, days after their Sussex Challenge Cup Final tie.
Starting XI: Foster, Burke, Lake, Howden, Capel-Watson, Laczkovszki, Fox (c), Simmonds, Bell, Wild, Martins
Photos: Sheena Booker