Chichester City Ladies made another emphatic statement on Thursday evening with a sensational display of attacking football to thump south coast rivals Southampton by eight goals to nil to move ten points clear in the table and send out a firm warning to their rivals that the green army are hot to trot at the moment and will stop at nothing to achieve their season ending dreams.
Chichester made an explosive start to the match by establishing a three goal lead in just a quarter of an hour leaving the red and whites stunned at what was happening to them with the green army in dominant mood. Molly Clarke opened the scoring after just two minutes, lashing home after being set up by Cherelle Khassal who cut the ball into her path sublimely and Clark fired it home passed the helpless Hannah Haughton. Minutes later and Charley Wilson-Blakely opened her account for the evening with a sumptuous finish from a cushioned header from Khassal who reacted quickest to a dangerous cross from Lauren Cheshire.
Just on the half hour and it was three as Wilson-Blakely got her second, heading home strongly from a teasing cross put in by the exquisite Khassal. Chichester looked for more but, slowly, the foot instead started to come off the pedal seeing Southampton getting more of the ball and, at last, able to get out of their half. However their enterprise came to nothing as Chichester were just to good and too strong at the back with the likes of Kerrie Ryan and Laura Ingram in total control to snuff out any advances and set Chichester on their way again.
Further chances came for the hosts before the interval with Jess Lewry and Khassal both going close as keeper, Haughton, put under serious examination but she survived to keep the score at three at the break. Again Chichester were on the front foot from the resumption but it was now their turn to be lack lustre in the final third in their unwavering search for more goals but, just on the hour they did add to their tally for the evening.
This time Khassal got her name on the score sheet with a typically venomous effort that Haughton failed to keep out and with it, effectively, end the match as a contest. Danger player for Southampton, Krystal White, did her level best to inspire her teammates but with Chichester ruthless in keeping her out of the game the visitors looked clueless at times at how to try and stop the Chichester juggernaut from rolling remorselessly on. Next, from a corner the visitors were all at sea and from the resulting scramble Wilson-Blakely poked in for her third of the night and Chichester’s fifth of the match. Chloe Dowdell then came off the bench and her fresh pace and quality down the right hand side had Southampton in all kinds of problems and she was involved in the build up to Chichester’s sixth goal which was gleefully accepted by Clark. Dowdell put a terrific ball into the area which narrowly missed
the encroaching Lewry’s head but did arrive at the feet of Ryan on the far left hand side. Turning quickly onto her right peg she delivered a superb cross that Clark met with a firm header into the bottom corner to grab her second strike of the match. Lewry then poked number seven with less than ten minutes to go and in the last five, Clark saved the best till last with a thunderbolt drive from fully thirty five yards which crashed onto the cross bar, with Haughton well beaten, and came down over the line to which the nearside official confirmed to referee, Paul Barratt, that the goal was good.
So on a very cold evening in Chichester the hosts came good in every sense of the word and Maidenhead need to be wary when they make the trip south in attempt to try and come away with any kind of morsel from fortress Oaklands.
Written by Alan Price