Maidenhead make City ladies work for the win

Charley Wilson-Blakely has been in fine form for Chi ladies lately
Charley Wilson-Blakely has been in fine form for Chi ladies lately

Chichester City Ladies were made to work for their latest FA Women’s South West Division 1 victory.

Second half efforts from Molly Clark, Jess Lewry and Charley Wilson-Blakely helped City to a comfortable 3-0 home win over Maidenhead United.

The success ensured Chichester remain ten points clear of second-placed Plymouth Argyle at the summit. Despite that ten-point cushion, Argyle do have three games in hand on City.

Having sealed an emphatic 8-0 victory over Southampton Saints in the league on Thursday, manager Liam Greenfield made one change with birthday girl Chloe Dowdell starting in place of Lucie Challen.

With place-below Plymouth, third-placed Southampton Saints and Keynsham Town in fourth all winning, the pressure was on City to take all three points.

Chichester thought they had the opener as Lewry fired home, only for the offside flag to rule her effort out after 25 minutes.

Maidenhead goalkeeper Eleanor Parker was in inspired form, pulling off a fine stop to keep out Cherelle Khassal’s strike.

Another chance then came and went, before a frustrating opening 45 minutes came to a close for City.

This time Khassal missed the target after being picked out by Dowdell’s cross.

Chichester’s constant pressure was finally rewarded six minutes after the restart.

Becky Barron’s corner was only half cleared, with the superb Clark picking up the pieces on the edge and unleashing a thunderbolt, which flew past Parker.

Having waited so long to find the breakthrough, a second came just five minutes after the first.

Once again, Maidenhead failed to clear their lines following a corner, with Lewry on hand to drive an effort into the bottom corner.

With time running out, extra gloss was added to the scoreline as the unstoppable Wilson-Blakely got on the scoresheet.

This time, Dowdell delivered a fine cross, with Wilson-Blakely taking a touch and finishing in the same movement to make it 3-0.

As City cruised home, manager Greenfield handed highly-rated Loulou Robson her much-anticipated debut.

The 16-year-old talent has been with Chichester for three seasons and was part of the first-ever City girls’ youth team.

Loulou plays for Chichester’s under-16 side but has also been training with the senior squad of late.

Once Loulou turned 16 last month, Greenfield signed her to the first-team immediately and she impressed during her short debut.

Chichester travel to Exeter City Ladies in the league on Sunday in a rich vein of form, having netted 31 times in the past four games, as their charge for the title continues to gain momentum.