Chi City Ladies go west – and so do cup hopes

Jade Widdows goes through to score for Chi City
Jade Widdows goes through to score for Chi City

Chichester’s hopes of a lenghty WPL League Cup cup run ended abruptly at Plymouth as the hosts avenged their two defeats against the Green Army last season with a 3-1 win.

City were still without star striker Charley Wilson-Blakely through injury, so forward duties were down to Cherelle Khassal and Jess Lewry.

The game, on a sunny afternoon at Elburton Villa FC, started at a frenetic pace.

Plymouth’s top markswoman Natasha Knapman, the 2016 FA Women’s player of the season, almost put the hosts in front after only five minutes with a shot from long distance Sadie Wilson-Blakely saved.

Chichester found their feet on a heavy surface but it was some time before Khassal had a chance. The striker turned to leave a defender for dead and surged into the box but her effort from a tight angle was grabbed by keeper Michaela Phillips.

Knapman had been a thorn in Chichester’s side last season and found her range to open the scoring just after the half-hour. She found space on the right side of the Chichester box and seemed to scuff her effort but somehow it bobbled under the dive of Wilson-Blakely and in.

Chichester needed to regroup and they were rewarded right on half-time as Jade Widdows smashed a shot into the roof of the net.

Plymouth should have made it two minutes later then Rebecca Dandridge burst through but she shot over the bar when it seemed easier to score.

Chichester needed to regroup and they were rewarded right on half-time as Jade Widdows smashed a shot into the roof of the net. Gemma Simmonds placed a perfect ball over the top on to Widdow’s right boot and the strike gave Phillips no chance.

In the first minute after the restart Plymouth’s Ezme Wells found space near the area from a quick attack but her effort was well-saved and Knapman couldn’t stretch to reach the rebound.

Jess Lewry went agonisingly close for Chichester when through on goal. One on one with Phillips she chipped the keeper but the effort eased past the post.

On the hour the hosts got their noses back in front through impressive substitute Tori Marks, who powered into the area and found the net.

That was harsh on Chichester, who had been much improved in the second period.

Khassal had two further chances to level the scores again but she was not at her sharpest.

Substitutes Ellis Bloomfield, Alex Collingham and Tiffany Taylor came on for Chichester as they searched for a way back into the tie but Knapman came back to haunt them again late on.

This time Marks surged clear down the right and sent a teasing low ball into the centre of the box. Knapman got to it but Wilson-Blakely made a supreme save but could do nothing about the rebound.

The loss left Chichester frustrated – and they will travel to QPR this week hoping to put this result firmly behind them as they resume their league campaign.

CCLFC: S Wilson-Blakely, Cheshire, Wride, Lewry, Tucker, Simmonds, Alexandre, Khassal, Ryan, Widdows, Ingram. Subs: Collingham, Bloomfield, Taylor.

ALAN PRICE