After their exit in the FA cup the previous week Chichester city ladies looked to book their place in the Sussex cup final against Hassocks this past Sunday. The competition for all Ladies teams in Sussex was down to the final 4 teams with Worthing Town hosting Brighton in the other semi-final. The green army were looking to reach their second final in recent years having lost out to Brighton last time they made it. With the terrible recent weather the game was played at Bognor’s Arena leisure centre on their artificial pitch.
In glorious sunshine Chichester started the brighter of the two teams and an early throw from Cheshire created the first opportunity. Chichester won the throw high on the Hassocks left and showing great urgency Cheshire launched the ball into the 6 yard area where a perfectly timed run by Hollie Wride saw her make contact with the ball only to see the keeper push her effort away for a corner.
The home side looked dominant throughout the opening stages and several through balls saw players in one on one, unfortunately for Chichester’s attacking players the surface was a lot faster than grass and the ball was running through in favour of the Hassock’s goalkeeper.
As the half grew Chichester created numerous chances to take the lead and were finding the visiting keeper in good form. The home side began to force several corners and were looking extremely dangerous due to some creative movement in the box and near perfect deliveries from Wride. Finally the deadlock was broken when Wride provided a superbly weighted through ball, putting Ambler in on goal, although her effort was saved the ball rebounded to Lucie Challen who was in the right place at the right time to put into an empty net.
After the goal Chichester began to really dominate forcing Hassocks into long balls to their strikers, which the ever impressive McGlashan and Alexandre were easily able to deal with. The home midfield pairing of Widdowson and Wride were now beginning to pull the strings, Widdowson herself had two opportunities to grab Chichester’s second, the first a speculative volley from 18 yards and the second a strike across goal to the back post that went narrowly wide. When the second goal came it was Widdowson who got it. The home side had looked dangerous from corners the whole game and after some excellent movement from the midfielder she found herself free to head the ball into the net.
At half time the home side went in with a two goal advantage knowing that the tie was far from over. After the restart Chichester continued their domination and positive play from Alexandre was creating chances, after seeing one of her drives lead to a chance for Challen, which was saved, her next foray forward created a goal for Ambler. Having driven out of the back line the defender played in Ambler on the right hand side and she finished from what looked like an impossible angle.
Hassocks knew that if they stood any chance of making the final they needed to score soon and began to throw more players forward. They were given a lifeline when a ball into the Chichester area was uncharacteristically misjudged by McGlashan leaving the simplest of finishes for the on rushing Hassocks player. Needing two more goals the away side kept sending players forward, this created a lot of space in midfield that Widdowson and Wride were beginning to take advantage of, Cheshire and Ambler were also causing problems by constantly stretching the away sides defence.
Chichester all but ended any hopes Hassocks had of getting to the final when Ambler got their fourth and her second, the build up to the goal was impressive and again Ambler found herself with a tight angle to score from. She flashed the ball across the keeper and into the goal the ball then ricocheted and back out of the goal and into the goalkeeper’s hands. As the home side celebrated the victors carried on and the referee seemed to not give the goal. It was like a scene from a football bloopers DVD until the linesman made contact with the ref to signal that the ball had indeed crossed the line. That goal had really knocked the wind out of the Hassocks sails and they played out the rest of the game without troubling Chichester.
As the final whistle went no one could deny Chichester deserved their place in the final. The final will be held at Sussex FA headquarters in Lancing on Thursday the 13th of March. Next Sunday the Green army return to league action for the first time since December the 15th with an away game to Exeter.