Chichester are the champions - with plenty in reserve

Chichester ladies' reserves celebrate the title  Picture by Darran Stevens
Chichester ladies' reserves celebrate the title Picture by Darran Stevens

Chichester City Ladies Reserves have won the South East Counties League division one west.

In a season which started with the club having to release several players, the team have gone from strength to strength as each game has passed.

After the disappointment of the last three games last season, the squad knew they needed to play well for the whole season if they were going to win the league this year.

With a few new players and the younger players starting to mature, the team seemed to have the right balance.

The older heads were at the back and the youth, full of pace, were on the wings and up front.

The team progressed to the semi-final of the league cup, beating two teams from the league above in the process, and going out on penalties to the team who look like they will be the champions of the league above.

City reserves have kept many clean sheets and in ten league games have scored four or more goals. In total 62 goals have been scored and only eight conceded.

Goals have come from all over the pitch this year but Lauren Ellis, Sian Payne and Amy Bailey are all fighting for the title of top scorer.

The team clinched the title with two league games left to play and having dropped only five points all season, and have gained promotion to the South East Counties premier division, a league in which they feel they can compete.

The team have grown in confidence as the season has progressed and will look to start next season quick out of the blocks.

Chichester City Ladies 2 Exeter 2

THIS was a must-win game for Chichester to keep their chances of winning the league in their own hands - but they had to settle for a point.

That means they must now rely on other resutls if they are to be the champions.

Chichester welcomed back several players and the home side dominated possession early on.

The reliable duo of Alexandre and McGlashan at the back repelled anything Exeter could throw at them.

After seven minutes, after determined work in the box from Kirsty Willett, the ball fell to Lauren Cheshire, whose looping cross was met at the back post by the head of Hollie Wride.

Lizzy Laws worked well with Widdowson to orchestrate attacks for Chichester but on 30 minutes a lapse in concentration allowed Exeter back into the game. A deep cross to the back post was nodded back across goal to draw the visitors level.

Exeter took the lead when a close-range free-kick was floated over the wall and in.

In the second half, Chichester created several chances but the finish was lacking.

City finally got their reward when a strike at goal was handled by an Exeter defender. At first the referee waved play on but after consulting with his assistant awarded the spot kick. Wride kept her nerve and struck the ball in.

Exeter put every player behind the ball but Chichester side thought they had won it when the goalkeeper got her hands to a well-struck Lucie Challen effort only for the ball to run towards the goal. Despite protests from the home players, the referee and his assistant said it hadn’t crossed the line.

This Sunday (April 6) sees the ladies make the long journey to face Plymouth (2pm).