Early defeat seems an age ago as Chichester ladies take the title

Chichester City ladies celebrate the title  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Chichester City ladies celebrate the title Picture by Tommy McMillan

Chichester City Ladies clinched the London & South East Regional League title with a gritty 0-0 draw at Eastbuorne.

The sides met in the first match of the season at Oaklands Park, where Eastbourne Town beat Chichester 2-1.

Such an early slip-up in the Lillywhites’ league campaign left the team frustrated and they have remained undefeated in the league since.

Eastbourne have spent the majority of the season in top spot, at one point being 12 points in front of Chichester.

But as games in hand were played, Chichester worked their way up the table and went above Eastbourne in the league by one point knowing a win or draw at Eastbourne would be enough to secure the league title with a game remaining.

Chichester set up in a defensive shape knowing they could not afford to concede and the midfield was boxed out with Widdowson, Madden and Richardson all taking up central positions.

The early exchanges went in Chichester’s favour as they hit the bar in the first five minutes.

Eastbourne grew in strength and put Chichester under pressure for long periods.

The Lillywhites midfield took control and gave Evans several opportunities. But as a lone striker she was outnumbered and struggled to find a clear-cut chance.

Both sides showed strength down the flanks with captain Kirsty Willett containing Town’s strongest player.

Neither side looked like scoring and the game was going to plan for Chichester.

With ten minutes left Eastbourne went for broke. They hit the post with a long-range effort and keeper McNamara stayed resilient in a goalmouth scramble.

Bourne and Starkey stayed strong at centre-back and Chichester held out to be crowned as champions.

This promotion will put the girls on a national stage as they progress into the division below the National South League.

As most female teams rest over the close season, Chichester ladies will be working hard on a female youth initative where they will be voluntarily coaching girls in local primary schools to help promote the girls’ football club.

This starts on May 12 at Chichester College. For more information keep reading the Observer or contact Matt Wright on matt.wright@chichester.ac.uk

CHICHESTER: McNamara, Hughes Jones, Bourne, Starkey, Harnett, Wride, Madden, Richardson, Willett, Widdowson, Evans. Subs Challen, Halford.

Chichester City Reserves 1 Albion Community Women 1

With Albion and Chichester playing regularly against each other over the past few years this was always going to be a close and competitive game.

Chichester had a couple of players playing in an unfamiliar roles in the back four and Albion took the lead early on.

This sparked Chichester into life and some of the passing and movement down the Chichester left through Georgia Selby and Natalie Spencer made it very difficult for their opponents.

A great through-ball found Lauren Ellis through on goal and she lifted a great effort over the onrushing Albion keeper for her first goal of the season to make it 1-1.

After half-time the game was played mainly in midfield with both teams struggling to keep possession.

Chichester had a couple of opportunities from corners but were denied by some great blocks from the Albion defence.

CHICHESTER: Bernard, Wright, Steed, Dowle, Spencer, Selby, Bateman, Cottam-Verbruggen, Ogden, Harnett, Ellis. Subs: Smith, Grant, Digby.