Chichester City Ladies beat Cardiff to put pressure on leaders

Chi City on the attack against Cardiff / Picture by Sheena Booker
Chi City on the attack against Cardiff / Picture by Sheena Booker

Molly Clark’s seventh goal of the season meant Chichester City stayed second in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier ss it secured a 1-0 win at home to Cardiff City.

It was a dominant performance from the hosts who forced the Cardiff City goalkeeper to make some good saves.

The only goal came in the 40th minute from Clark with a bicycle kick and then some solid defending meant Chi bagged the three points.

Chi took control of the game early on – their first home league match for several weeks – and looked to press a Cardiff side filled with Welsh international players.

Hollie Wride watched her early free-kick sail over the bar before Clark struck from 45 yards without testing the keeper.

Clark was in the thick of the action and saw her free-kick graze the crossbar. Then the Beach Soccer Women’s Best Player nominee did have the ball in the back of the net but was offside as she slotted in the rebound from a saved Gemma Simmonds volley.

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Cardiff had to wait for the counter and in the 36th minute they forced Lauren Dolbear into a good save with Tammy Waine clearing the loose ball.

Five minutes before the break, Chichester went ahead. Nadine Bazan, making her home debut, drove down the wing to deliver a ball into the box,

Wride’s header was blocked but Clark took her chance with a bicycle kick for her seventh goal of the season.

Cherelle Khassal nearly doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time, but her looping effort was tipped over the crossbar by the Cardiff keeper.

A couple of half efforts fell for Simmonds – a long-range free-kick claimed by the keeper before she scuffed a shot.

The action was being contained in the Cardiff half as Khassal fired straight at the keeper and Clark forced a quick reaction from the stopper as Chi searched for a second.

Cardiff managed to break from Clark’s attack but were denied by Rebecca Barron and Dolbear smothered the ball.

Dolbear made another good block by making herself big and getting down low to deny Cardiff a sniff of goal.

Sub Helen Ogle was making her presence known to the Cardiff defence, trying to nip one past the keeper, and she dragged the shot-stopper out again trying to set up Khassal who couldn’t find the target.

Cardiff threatened only rarely, and the Chi defence remained calm under pressure from quick counters before the final whistle came.

The win leaves Chi second and just a point off league leaders Coventry United.

Chi City Ladies: Dolbear, Cheshire, Taylor, Bazan (Capel-Watson 71’), Waine, Wride, Stephens, Simmonds (Ogle 64’), Khassal (Clark 82’), Barron, Clark. Unused subs: Simmons, Bell.

Chichester City host Gillingham in the league this Sunday (2pm).