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REPORT | Chi stun leaders in 3-2 win at Daventry

By Hayley Newman

Molly Clark scored twice as Chichester defeated Coventry United

Chichester City shocked league leaders Coventry United as Molly Clark’s free-kick brace saw the Green Army inflict the first league defeat on the Midlands side.

It was United who went ahead though through Nicki Miles but M.Clark struck twice from dead balls before the break.

Another M.Clark free-kick was turned in by Kim Stenning and despite Amy Watham firing a second Coventry goal in from range, the Southerners held on to take the three points.

There were three changes to the side that had faced Portsmouth four days before as Rebecca Barron, Helen Ogle and Kim Stenning all started.

Coventry started hard and fast as they continue their pursuit for the FA Women’s National League South title.

Beth Merrick posed a threat early which was dealt with by Lauren Cheshire and then the midfielder engine Marie Gauntlett forced Lauren Dolbear into a great save, putting the ball out for a corner.

The resulting corner saw the hosts take the lead.

Miles was picked out from the set piece and headed the ball at goal, Tiff Taylor put her foot in the way causing the ball to, unfortunately, beat Dolbear to break the deadlock.

United kept coming as Lois Jefferies controlled the ball from a free-kick turning into face to shoot but Dolbear managed to get her right hand to protect the goal, Taylor provided some heroic defending that denied Amy Watham at the post.

Chi grew into the game as the got on the ball and won a free-kick in dangerous territory, M.Clark whipped the ball in and Waine couldn’t get a touch as Susan Wood collected.

Amber Hughes blasted the ball over inside the Chi penalty area, Ogle alongside her to put her off target.

The physicality increases with both teams putting in strong challenges, Gauntlett and Barron looking like the midfield walls for their teams.

Just past the half-hour mark, M.Clark was fouled and the midfielder took her chance to draw her side level.

30-yards out M.Clark’s initial attempt was blocked by Jefferies however, the rebound was controlled by the midfielder on her left to her right foot she then quickly curled the ball around the blocker into the box where Wood was beaten and the ball found the bottom corner.

The visitors increased their pressure on the league leaders and M.Clark had another free-kick claimed by Wood.

Minutes later Chi had a free-kick as Gauntlett handled before the set-piece was taken the midfielder’s afternoon came to end through a knee injury and was replaced by Helen Dermody.

Despite all of this M.Clark fired in the dead ball beating the wall and the Coventry goalkeeper to put Chi ahead just before half-time, her 15th goal of the season.

Coventry were looking to get back into the game right from the restart and they had an early free-kick headed clear on the line by Jess Lewry.

The home side in the space of a few minutes had three chances to equalise, Watham’s effort was claimed by Dolbear while Dermody and Miles hit theirs wide.

64 minutes on the clock and Chi made it 3-1 from another M.Clark free-kick.

The ball curled into the box to the back post, bouncing for Stenning who under pressure from Chenise Austin neatly put the ball into the net.

United found a second goal in the 71st minute from Watham striking from 30-yards out from a nothing move to give the hosts a chance with plenty of time remaining.

Chi’s defensive unit remained solid and resolute, Waine heading clear from a cross before committing herself to a strong challenge outside her own penalty area.

Merrick smashed the corner upright with less than 10 minutes of normal time remaining and they kept up the pressure as Chi denied Coventry again on the line.

Game management was key with six minutes of injury-time to be played and in the final minute, Merrick had a free-kick 35-yards out to at least salvage a point for United.

The free-kick came to nothing the ball firing straight over the net along with Coventry last chance of the match.

Full-time came to cheers from the visitors the 3-2 today ended a 19 game winning streak for Coventry, their last defeat a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on May 5th, 2018.

Next up Chichester City host Watford at the Countrywide Gas Stadium on Sunday, April 14th kick-off 2pm ahead of the Sussex County Women’s Challenge Cup final on April 18th.

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Starting XI: Lauren Dolbear, Nadine Bazan (Laura Ingram 86’), Lauren Cheshire (C), Tammy Waine, Tiff Taylor, Lauren Clark (Gemma Simmonds 55’), Rebecca Barron, Molly Clark, Jess Lewry, Helen Ogle, Kim Stenning (Tash Stephens 70’)

Unused sub: Sara Tubby.

Updated 19:58 - 1 Apr 2019 by Hayley Newman

Where next?

REPORT | Chi had the Wright stuff in 1-0 win over Watford Captain Cheshire struck from the spot as Matt Wright calls time at Oaklands
REPORT | Lewry on target as Chi lose on the road The Green Army slip to a first defeat against local rivals

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