Sun 12
First Team
2
-
1
League
Larkhall Athletic Ladies
K Ambler (89')
Chichester City Ladies 2 - 1 Larkhall Athletic Ladies

Chichester City Ladies 2 - 1 Larkhall Athletic Ladies

By Caroline Henry Evans
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Last gasp winner gives the ladies all 3 points


Substitute Kally Ambler came off the bench this week to grab a hugely important winner for Chichester City Ladies to maintain the winning feeling at Oaklands Park after Larkhall had threatened to spoil the party.

Conditions were set to testing after overnight rain and the pitch was wet and slippery for the off with light rain still falling and the green army made a tentative start to proceedings with Larkhall proving to be tough to break down. Chloe Dowdell had the first meaningful effort on target after around ten minutes when she wrapped the hands of keeper, Nicola O’Connell who showed good form to keep the effort out.

Larkhall were struggling to get out their half at times with Chichester enjoying sizeable periods of possession and territory but when the visitors did get a chance to attack the defensive prowess of Laura Ingram, Emma Alexandre and Lucie Challen was more than a match for blues and Sadie Wilson-Blakely in the Chichester was able to enjoy a comfortable time between the sticks.

Eventually Chichester’s persistent pressure paid off when the deadlock was finally broken on the twenty two minute mark. The ever dangerous Cherelle Khassal darted clear down the right and surged towards the box. Looking up she spotted fellow players arriving and sent in a low drive into the danger area and it Charley Wilson-Blakely got her foot to the ball ahead of the defenders to divert the ball passed O’Connell and into the back of the net. The lead was well deserved but could have been found earlier had the quality, up till then, been a little more clinical in the final third.

Chichester continued to find their stride now that they had their noses in front and just after the half hour should have doubled their lead when Jess Lewry was put in one on one with O’Connell but the Larkhall keeper did superbly to deny the Chichester striker at her feet to keep the blues in the tie. Just before the interval the lurking Lizzie Barratt got clear in the Chichester box. Her shot was deflected goal ward but the every alert Lauren Cheshire was on hand to clear off the line to keep the green army lead intact into the half time break. Certainly a nervy moment but the real drama was yet to come.

Into the second half and Chichester continued plug away in search of a crucial second goal and Lewry was the first to get a sighter but her shot was comfortably dealt with by O’Connell. Chichester were then dealt a worrying blow when Alexandre was forced off after a nasty looking, accidental, clash with a Larkhall player and that drew a change of personnel from manager, Liam Green field, introducing Molly Clark from the bench enabling Kerrie Ryan to slot back into the centre half position for the remainder of the game.

The big question now was would Chichester be made to pay for missed opportunites as they continued in search of that crucial goal to settle any lingering nerves. Becky Baron bought the very best out of O’Connell from distance and Wilson-Blakely went narrowly wide with a powerful volley and was then denied later by a terrific challenge from Tash Miller when through on goal. Despite all their efforts the goal just wouldn’t come and with time running out Chichester were hit by the sucker punch their feared most.

Barratt got clear down the right and placed a perfect ball into the box and with Sadie Wilson-Blakely for once in no man’s land, the on rushing Katy-May O’Connell-Nash bundled the ball home at the far post to haul Larkhall level. With the crowd roaring them on Chichester pushed once more in search for what might be a winning goal in the dying minutes and in the last of those, Ambler came up trumps to snatch the crucial strike to send Oakland Park into frenzy. Wilson-Blakely surged into the box and laid the ball square to which Amble provided the perfect flick with the outside of her right boot and watch as the ball beat the outstretched hand of O’Connell and nestled into the back of the net off the post.

Overall it had been a frustrating and certainly strength sapping encounter and Chichester showed their determination to grab the points and edge a little further ahead at the top and with Plymouth’s game postponed against Basingstoke the pressure on them grows with every week that passes.

Written by Alan Price

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Match details

Match date

Sun 12, Mar 2017

Kickoff

14:00

Competition

South West Division 1