A home game at last - and a win for Chi City Ladies
Jess Lewry's 61st-minute header was enough for Chichester City to take the points against Gillingham in City's first home FA WPL South league game for many weeks.
It was honours even in the first half with the visitors enjoying most of the efforts at goal but struggling to get past in-form Sadie Blakely.
A double substitution at the break saw a positive change and substitute Lewry smashed home a header from a Laura Ingram corner.
Bognor’s Nyewood Lane hosted Chichester’s first home Women’s Premier League match of 2018 with Jack Wheeler’s Gillingham the visitors.
Manager Matt Wright brought in Jade Widdows and Lewry from spells on the sidelines and Alice Walford made her full senior debut.
Sophie Phelps looked strong at the back for Chichester and was a nuisance for Kallie Balfour and Gillingham all afternoon.
Alex Collighan was in the right place at the right time to deny Courtney Gibson a golden chance on goal as the visitors continued to threaten.
Approaching the half-hour, Tiffany Taylor had a half-chance for City when the ball was played back to keeper Courtney Shanly, who just beat the defender to the ball.
Blakely made a stunning save to deny Kallie Balfour – then unleashed the hosts on a quick break. But when Lauren Cheshire put Natasha Stephens clear, an offside flag halted progression and the Blues were able to regroup and come at Chichester once more.
Balfour was left dejected as she missed two chances to put the Gills ahead; her first effort blocked by Blakely before she blazed over from the rebound.
Ellis Bloomfield and Lewry replaced Taylor and Walford for the second half, which started positively for the home side with Cheshire and Stephens having opportunities to score.
With 61 minutes on the clock, a goal arrived. Lewry applied the moment of quality, powering a header home from Ingram’s perfectly-placed corner to put the green army in front.
A heart-stopping moment came with seven minutes left with the Gillingham narrowly missing an equaliser through Gibson. Her rocket shot smashed on to the underside of the bar but somehow stayed out and Cheshire cleared to keep Chichester in front.
It was a nervy end to proceedings with Gillingham carving out a few half-chances.
Deep into injury-time Collighan had a chance to seal the win but with defenders either side of her, the effort lacked power.
CCLFC: Blakely, Cheshire, Taylor, Phelps, Stephens, Collighan, Tucker, Barron, Ingram, Alexandre, Walford. Subs: Lewry, Widdows, Shine, Bloomfield, Fowlie.
ALAN PRICE & HAYLEY NEWMAN
* City’s under-11s and under-13 Greens and Whites were all victorious, while the under-16s just missed out on a place in the League Cup final.
An excellent team performance saw a great 7-2 win for the under-11s in a development game.
The under-13 Whites won 4-1 at home to Shoreham & Adur, all four goals coming from Amy Overington.
The Greens were 9-1 victors against Uckfield Grasshoppers thanks to goals from Charlie Davey (4), Ellie Jefkins (2), Molly Stoddart (2) and Ellen Middleton.
In their League Cup semi-final away to Ringmer Rovers, Chi’s under-16s lost 2-1. A depleted Chichester took the lead through Sophia Wickenden but conceded twice.