Chichester City Ladies were given a reality check as life in Women’s Premier League South began with a frustrating 2-0 away defeat to C&K Basildon.
Nerves were on show in the early stages from Chichester, making their debut at this level after the resounding promotion success from last season.
After only five minutes they were behind to a sensational goal from April-Rose Bowers, who was given too much time on the edge of the area to pick her spot and she produced a superb curling effort to leave Chichester keeper Sadie Wilson-Blakey rooted to the spot.
Basildon continued to probe with the likes of Karissa Rodney and Angela Addison looking dangerous but the Chichester defensive four kept the Blues at bay.
As the half wore on Cherelle Khassal and Charley Wilson-Blakely saw more of ball and Chloe Dowdell found space down the right to plant some teasing crosses into the area.
Jess Lewry got sight of goal and let fly only for keeper Nikita Runnacles made a good save.
Wilson-Blakely showed excellent strength to out-muscle a defender on the by-line and send in a quality cross, but Khassal’s volley flew into the welcoming hands of Runnacles.
A minute had elapsed in the second half when the Blues doubled their lead. Addison, a constant threat, toyed with Chichester defenders before shooting through a crowd. Wilson-Blakely saved it but could only parry into the path of Danica Revell, who slammed the ball home at the back stick.
Chichester, to their great credit, never gave up and had two golden chances to open their account for the season as both Wilson-Blakely and Khassal got clean through on goal – but Runnacles was excellent between the sticks to deny them.
Chichester were having by far their best period but luck just wasn’t with them and time ran out.
Their efforts have to be applauded and will give them great heart for the games to come.
This afternoon (Sun 27) comes their first home game of the new season against Crystal Palace.
CCLFC: S Wilson-Blakely, Cheshire, Challen, Taylor, Ingram, Khassal, Dowdell, Bloomfield, Simmonds, Lewry, C Wilson-Blakely. Subs: Fowlie, White, Robson, Farr.
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