Chichester city ladies looked to build on an impressive performance last Sunday, when they defeated Gosport Borough 3-0, as they hosted Shanklin ladies at Oaklands park.
In a largely even first half both teams enjoyed their fair share of possession but most of this was contained in the middle third with neither side creating any clear cut chances. Chichester's biggest threat looked to come from wide areas with Cheshire and Challen both going through the gears several times however when they played the ball into the middle Greene found herself outnumbered and the well organised Shanklin defence were able to clear the ball to safety. The visitors were very keen to put pressure on the home defence when they were in possession in their own third. The Chichester back line remained calm under the pressure and rarely lost the ball and were able to play the ball into midfield and launch counter attacks. At around the half hour mark Shanklin began to tire and were unable to keep up their early pressing dropping deeper into their own half and relying on long balls that the Chichester defenders and goalkeeper organised well to scupper.
The half ended with neither side really taking initiative but the game was definitely up for grabs.
After the break the Green army came out all guns blazing looking to take the lead early on. The pressure high up the field they felt in the first half did not continue and Shanklin set up a lot deeper, looking for the long ball forward. This meant Chichester were able to enjoy greater levels of possession and build attacks patiently. Wide areas were still proving fruitful for Chichester. Then, against the run of play, Shanklin took the lead when a long range free kick was punched clear by Piiroinen only for the ball to be tossed back into the box over the heads of everyone and landed in the net.
Chichester, perhaps feeling hard done by, rallied and continued their dominance, now looking to draw level. A succession of corners were well defended by the away side followed by a fantastic double save from their goalkeeper first saving a Cheshire free kick and then tipping the rebound out for a corner. It was surely only a matter of time before Chichester got the goal they deserved. It finally came on 88 minutes when the home side won a free kick wide on the right, Cheshire played the ball to Symonds on the edge of the area, she then hit a looping strike to the back post and over the goalkeepers head for her first ever goal for Chichester city. Queue wild celebration from the crowd and players alike.
When Shanklin kicked off Chichester immediately pressed sensing they could still gain all three points out of this game. Unfortunately time ran out for the home side and they had to settle for a draw after a second half performance that deserved a win.
The Green army now visit Exeter on Sunday the 28th of September KO 14.00.