Chichester ladies made their longest away journey of the season on Sunday as they took on Exeter city ladies. The Grecians were growing in strength after an indifferent start to the season. Chichester themselves were looking to get their season going in earnest after an impressive performance at home to Shanklin ladies the previous week saw them get a point in a game they really deserved to win.
In the early exchanges of the game both teams shared even levels of possession. Exeter were keen to press the Chichester back line very high up the pitch and didn't give defenders or mid-fielders a moment on the ball before trying to regain possession. For the most part Chichester coped very well, playing themselves out of trouble with Exeter's enthusiasm to press leading to Chichester gaining several free kicks in their own half. As the home side pressed high up the pitch they left space in behind their back line, Symonds and Challen both looked to capitalise upon this with some very direct runs and crosses into the box however the front line were unable to connect with any of these balls and Exeter's goalkeeper remained largely untested. The home sides best chance of scoring looked to come from corners, they had a large succession in the later stages of the half however good organisation meant Chichester were able to clear their lines with relative ease.
Exeter did break the deadlock, in bizarre circumstances, late on in the first half. After saving a harmless effort on goal from wide on the right goalkeeper Piironein mistakenly placed the ball on the floor for a goal-kick. The home teams centre forward, sensing the ball had not gone out, walked up to the ball and passed it into an empty net much to the bemusement of the away side. Shortly after this incident the referee blew for half time, Chichester found themselves a goal down in a half they deserved to go in level.
The second half got under way and Chichester knew they had to work hard if they wanted to go home with all three points. Exeter continued their high pressing style but were now tiring and were unable recover so quickly when the ball went past their midfield line. Greene and Cheshire were now working much better as a pairing and the latter found herself clear of her marker a few times early on, thanks to a couple of good saves and some tenacious tracking back she was unable to gain any meaningful strikes on goal. Twice Symonds found herself with just the goalkeeper to beat however the Exeter defence applied just enough pressure to put her off taking her chances. It was beginning to look like one of those days for the green army as Symonds hit the bar, Challen found herself in on goal but unable to control a difficult bouncing ball to get her shot on target and Widdowson came agonisingly close with a volley from outside the area. Sure enough Chichester were made to pay for not taking their chances but it was not through the home side creating a goal for themselves. Widdowson played a back pass to Piironein and as she tried to control the ball it rolled under her foot, as she tried to recover the home side forward showed good anticipation to follow the ball in and once again had the easiest of chances into an empty net.
After another set back the Green army did not become despondent rather they upped their game another gear sensing they could still get something from this game. They created several more chances but were unable to really test the home team goalkeeper.
The ladies now play Southampton Saints on Thursday night at Sholing f.c. followed by Cheltenham town ladies on Sunday at Oaklands park with a slightly later kick off time than usual at 15.00.