Chichester Ladies' first draw brings excellent top three season to a close

Tiff Taylor challenges for Chi at Gillingham / Picture by Sheena Booker
Tiff Taylor challenges for Chi at Gillingham / Picture by Sheena Booker

Chichester City Ladies made it five games unbeaten with a 2-2 draw away to Gillingham on the final day of the 2018-19 season.

The hosts could have gone ahead from the spot, but it hit the post and Chi took the lead moments later as Laura Ingram volleyed in from a corner.

After the break Maddison Chamney-Farrand scored direct from a corner before Breon Grant put the Blues ahead – but with less than ten to go, Kim Stenning scored the equaliser.

Lauren Dolbear was suspended following her red card against Queens Park Rangers, so in came Tammy Waine.

Gracie White received a call-up to the XI for recent performances across the club’s teams while Gemma Simmonds also started.

The game started in a frantic manner and Jess Lewry could have had an early goal as she turned three defenders to shoot but found the goalkeeper in her path.

Both keepers were busy from the off but neither was forced into a dramatic save as the teams struggled to settle.

Alice Bussey worked herself into space and caught Waine off her line from 25 yards but her shot failed to hit the target, while Helen Ogle nearly converted a Lauren Cheshire corner.

The referee awarded Gillingham a penalty – which disputed by Ingram, who looked to have won the ball from the attacking player.

Chamney-Farrand took the resulting spot-kick but the ball smashed off the post and into the arms of Waine. The stand-in keeper launched the ball forward where Chi were awarded a set-piece of their own.

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Captain Cheshire’s in-swinging corner was excellently volleyed in by Ingram at the back post for her second goal of the season.

Sharna Capel-Watson replaced the injured White at half-time, the teenager hurting her ankle in a challenge as the first half ended.

Not content with just one goal, left-back Ingram went for another but this effort lacked the power to test the keeper.

It was all Chi but despite the attacks, corners and free-kicks a second goal eluded the southerners.

Lewry was gifted a wonderful chance to double the lead when a perfect through-ball was met by Simmonds but the winger scuffed her shot.

Minutes later Gillingham found an equaliser through Chamney-Farrand, just after she hit the bar from a free-kick. From a corner on the near side, Chamney-Farrand’s ball sailed over everyone to nestle in the goal.

Ten minutes later they took the lead although to cries of handball from Chi. Grant brought the ball down from a cross before neatly finishing under Waine, with several in Chi colours claiming the scorer had handled.

The lead lasted five minutes as substitute Stenning bagged her third goal in seven appearances to draw City level. Lewry played a great ball through for the striker, who jumped past the defender before dinking the ball over the keeper while still in the air.

Chi missed chances to take home all three points, Lewry’s curling effort just rounding the goal while a free Ingram headed over.

This was a first draw of the season for Chi which left the Green Army on 46 points, 18 better off than last term for a history-making third-place finish in the FA Women’s National League southern premier.

City Ladies: Waine, Cheshire, White (Capel-Watson), Taylor, Ingram, Ogle (Tubby), Simmonds, Barron, L Clark, Stephens (Stenning).

Unused subs: Bazan.