Chichester City Ladies kicked re-started their title challenge this week with a resounding win against a struggling Shanklin side at Oaklands park as the New Year got under way for the green army in the perfect way with a sumptuous birthday present for manager, Liam Greenfield and a stark warning to their rivals that Chichester are certainly gunning for the big time.
Only nine minutes on the clock and Chichester were already three goals to the good and coasting towards an easy victory. First up Charlie Wilson-Blakely opened the scoring when following a howler from the visitor’s keeper, Kirren Shaw, who got it all wrong from a back pass allowing Jess Lewry to steal the ball away and lay it on a plate from Wilson-Blakely to slot into the empty net. Chloe Dowdell then opened her account for the day, in the right place at the right time to slot home after Lauren Cheshire fired a low cross into the area and the defence failed to deal with it. Dowdell was waiting at the back stick, unchecked, and finished sweetly to double the Chichester advantage. With Shanklin reeling the green army soon added a third, again through the ever impressive Dowdell. This time the blues rearguard were all at sea at the back and Dowdell had time to fire a firm effort past Shaw to see Chichester in total control.
A few minutes later and Dowdell sealed a wonderful hat trick to heap more misery on the visitors when set up, unselfishly, by Wilson-Blakely. The finish was easy and the celebration showed how much it meant to the side, whilst Shanklin were shaken to the core with what was happening to them on this damp afternoon at Oaklands Park. Wilson-Blakely then made it five just after the quarter hour to net her second of the game with the visiting defence once more torn apart at the seams. Cheshire stormed towards the box from the right and fired a low drive at goal. Shaw did well to keep the effort out but Wilson-Blakely had a simple job to tuck away the rebound as the green army continued to storm along as the half wore on.
Becky Barron didn’t want to be left out of the scoring stats and found her route to goal just after the half hour with a lovely, volleyed, finish from a Cheshire cross to make it six of the best for the hosts and Wilson-Blakely made it a sumptuous seven before the break with an exquisite finish from a tight angle out right with Shaw failing to beat Wilson-Blakely to the ball and left to watch the ball nestle into the bottom corner to round off the perfect half for the rampaging Chichester Ladies FC.
The interval wasn’t about to stop Chichester from continuing their attacking ventures and the second half was only a few minutes old when Dowdell grabbed her fourth of the game. This time, following a good save by Shaw from Wilson-Blakely, Dowdell fired a rocket into the roof of the net from the rebound and duly spun away to celebrate with delight with her team mates. Around the hour mark, Greenfield let loose all three of his substitutes allowing Kerrie Ryan, Kally Ambler and Jade Widows an opportunity to shine and their introductions only went to strengthen Chichester’s resolve and soon more goals were flying in. Next up Wilson-Blakely netted her fourth with a great header from a teasing cross from the excellent Lucie Challen and then, minutes later took Chichester to double figures for the game with her fifth, this time benefiting from a delightful cross from Ryan.
If things were that bad for the visitors the wounds were further inflamed a short time later when Sophie Wade-Smith put the ball into her own net with Ambler having been very unlucky with an audacious back heel. With time running out Wilson-Blakely completed a sensational double hat trick, slamming home following good work from Challen and then Dowdell grabbed her fifth, to keep in touch with her team mate, again firing into the roof of the net leaving Shaw with no chance.
The last word on the tie was left to Barron, who, on ninety minutes, scored a sensational free kick from wide out on the left and sent her effort sailing into the far top corner to round off a superb day for the ladies in green who extend their lead at the top of the table and significantly improve their goal difference to boot. Next week sees another away day, this time, to the racing town of Cheltenham and, hopefully, goals aplenty for the all powerful green army.
Written by Alan Price