AFTER a fiercely-contested first league encounter, Chichester Ladies’ home clash against Crawley was always going to produce a few fireworks.
Chichester started well but looked disjointed as they pressed Crawley in the early exchanges.
Soon a lofted through-ball fell to Megan Thompson. Crawley stood still as they waited for the offside flag, and having evaded the trap, Thompson neatly volleyed home from ten yards past a stranded keeper.
Many heated exchanges occurred on the pitch. Chichester kept their cool and squandered chances while McNamara was tested only once in the Chichester goal and saved superbly.
The introduction of Starkey gave Chichester further attacking options. Chichester frustrated the Wasps and it became very scrappy.
In the 85th minute the Lillywhites finally broke through as Annie Richardson headed home neatly from a set-piece to ensure a 1-0 win.
The league campaign continues for the ladies this week in London and with a return of captain Kirsty Willett the team can only get stronger.
CHICHESTER: McNamara, Hughes Jones, Bourn, Pittounkous, Wride, Challen (Starkey 45), Richardson, Madden, Evans, Thompson, Shrubb (Hammond 72).
Chichester Ladies Res 1 Crawley W 0
With both teams fighting relegation, three points were a must here.
Chichester began well with Kerri Grant and Lauren Ellis linking well up front. Chelsie Collins in the Chichester goal became a spectator as City dominated but it was 0-0 at half-time.
The second half began in the same fashion with Chichester having most of the ball and the Crawley keeper making several superb saves from Grant.
Grant and Chloe Digby each hit the bar and sub Spencer hit the post before Grant was put through by Lizzie Ogden to make it 1-0.
Woman of the match Becky Steed and the rest of the back four controlled things. Crawley had two good opportunities but Collins’ fine saves meant Chichester ran out winners and are off the foot of the table.
This Sunday they host table-toppers London Corinthians (2pm).
CHICHESTER: Collins, Wright, Steed, Harnett, Dowle, Ogden (Jarman 60), Smith, Cottam-Verbruggen, Digby, Grant, Ellis (Spencer 55).