For the ladies final game of 2013 they made the long journey to play against Newquay. Everyone knew that a win would see them cement a place at the top of the table going into the Christmas. Despite Newquay being second from bottom they have had some impressive results at home this season, beating both second placed Swindon and third placed Plymouth in previous games. Knowing that the home side had produced some strong home performances Chichester knew they had to be at 100% from the off.
Chichester got off to the worst possible start, conceding two goals in the first 12 minutes. The visitors were put under a lot of pressure from the first whistle and with the strong wind and heavy rain favouring their style of play Newquay managed to force a corner. As the ball was floated in the wind altered the flight of the delivery causing Alexandre to misjudge her headed clearance and put the ball into her own net. The second goal came shortly after when an attack down the Newquay left produced a low cross just past Chichester’s six yard box providing the home side’s right winger with a simple tap in at the far post.
The visitors began to see how other teams had slipped up against the home side. Going two goals down seemed to spark the green army into life and with passes becoming sharper and more tackles being won. Despite their renewed vigour Chichester couldn’t create any clear cut chances with the wind playing its part in preventing them playing forward quickly. It was vital that the deficit was reduced by half time and when Fowlie played a first time ball into space Ambler beat her defender for pace to leave her with only the ‘keeper to beat Chichester knew they had found their lifeline. Ambler placed the ball into the net giving even more belief to the visitors. The teams went in at the break with Newquay leading but Chichester in the ascendancy and looking to turn the game around in the second half.
Manager Matt Wright made two changes at half time, introducing Symonds and Cheshire, which also resulted in a slight change of tactics. As the second half started the weather began to improve meaning that Chichester could begin to play some of the football that has seen them unbeaten all season. Willet and Wride were beginning to become a lot more involved in the second half. With an injury to Georgina Starkey, playing at centre back, Wright had no option but to throw caution to the wind and replace her with Shrubb meaning that the visitors were now playing with three up front. The forced substitution paid off almost immediately when Shrubb was put though on goal, her effort was saved however from the rebound the tireless Ambler challenged the goalkeeper for the loose ball and sent it crashing into the net.
Chichester were now really finding their stride and creating chances regularly. The goal that sent them into the lead was worthy of winning any game. A free kick from 20 yards that perfectly dispatched over the wall and into the top corner by Wride who was really starting to grow into the game. The goal sparked wild celebrations both on the pitch and in the dug-out as the whole team knew how important this result was.
The away team were looking good for their lead but with about 20 minutes to go Newquay managed to play a through ball into the Chichester box. As Symonds recovered to challenge for the ball she went shoulder to shoulder with the Newquay player and the referee decided that was enough to award a penalty. A decision that looked extremely harsh when all Symonds had seemed to do was out-muscle her opponent. It was left to the homeside’s number 7 to bring them level however she blazed the kick over the bar.
After the penalty miss the green army continued to look for another goal that would put the tie beyond the hosts. With Challen and Fowlie combining well down the left Chichester won another free kick in an almost identical location to the one that saw them take the lead. Again Wride put herself forward to take the kick. This time the ‘keeper appeared to misjudge the flight of the ball as it looped over her and into the net. More celebrations for Chichester as the team knew that the three points were now theirs.
The win sees the ladies two points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand on Swindon in second place going into the Christmas break. The green army return to action on January the 5th with an away tie against Shanklin KO 14.00.