Chichester City Ladies’ league cup run came to a crashing end, this week, at the hands of last season’s beaten finalists, Cardiff City Ladies. It was a, somewhat, chastening experience but the score line certainly flattered the hosts as Chichester certainly didn’t deserve to be on the end of such a result although the gulf in class was clearly evident and the process for improvement for the green army will certainly leave the management with lots of thoughts in the mind but with the squad able to return home with heads held very high.
Affectionately known as ‘the machine’, Kerry Bartlett opened the scoring for Cardiff as early as the second minute, latching onto a sublime cross from Chloe Lloyd. Chichester needed to respond quickly and, indeed, after only five minutes were deservedly back on level terms through Chloe Dowdell. Goal keeper, Laura O’Sullivan flapped at a corner from Lucie Challen and Jess Lewry headed the ball back towards goal only to see the effort hit the bar. Fortunately the ball came down on the line and Dowdell was the first to react to the loose ball to poke it into the unguarded net.
That was as good as things were going to get for Chichester as things, sadly, went steadily downhill after that. Cardiff player at a very high tempo and began to break down the visitors defences seemingly, at will as the half wore on. In quick time they had established a two goal lead through a swift double from the dangerous Laura Williams and around the half our strikes from Cori Williams, Chloe Chivers and Abbie Britton all but ended the tie as a contest. Cardiff were in sublime form and hit the bar several times through Laura Williams, Lloyd and Chloe Chivers before the interval with Chichester having to endure wave after wave of attack from the hosts. To their credit they held firm to prevent further damage and Sally-Ann Thomas made some terrific saves along the way.
At the break Chichester management made a change with Kally Ambler coming on for the re-start to replace Laura Ingram, who had made her first appearance since returning from an ankle injury and the green army were a completely different side after that showing huge improvement in determination and also creating a lot more in the attacking half than before the interval. Cardiff’s defence were all too aware of the threats and had little problem in preventing shots on goal but Chichester’s passing was more direct and sharp and, at times, they looked the more likely to score as they search for a way through to attain some respect in the score line.
Alas Chichester weren’t to achieve that goal and Cardiff did manage to add one more goal to their tally, before the end, as Laura Williams nailed her hat trick with a terrific shot from distance. And so the match ended with Cardiff progressing serenely to the next round leaving Chichester to look forward to finally being able to enjoy a home game for the first time in a long while next time out against Keynsham Town Ladies in the women’s FA Cup.
There was a good deal of food for thought, then, for the future, from this game along with a good deal of positives to take away from the Welsh Valleys on another intriguing day on the road for Chichester City Ladies.
Written by Alan Price