In the gloom of November, Chichester’s men won on their longest away trip of the campaign - triumphing 3-0 at the home of Harleston Magpies in the national Conference East.
After the luxury of a night’s stay in Ipswich, the men started their game fresh but were soon reminded Harleston would be no push-overs.
Early exchanges were pretty even and the Suffolk side might have claimed a slight advantage in front of a partisan home crowd. Chichester were limited to breakaway opportunities, and Chris Bristow in goal needed to be alert to smother early Harleston efforts.
Ollie Baxter might have broken the deadlock after 14 minutes when he was released behind the defence following good work by Andrew Sparshot, but his effort went agonisingly wide.
He was shown the way minutes later when his older brother Alex Baxter dispatched a penalty corner won by Connor McLaughlan.
The second quarter was a carbon-copy. Much of the play was between the two circles but tempers were starting to flare, and the umpires struggled to keep it under control.
Twice the umpires had to separate players following less controlled challenges from the frustrated Harleston players. The crowd started to get involved, and it must have been quite a challenge for the officials to not be intimidated.
For Chichester, the key was to remain calm and take their lead into the half-time break. Marshalled by Alex Thakore in the centre of defence and Bristow in goal they achieved this.
Early in the second half Chichester established a little more possession and gained more space.
The crowd had been warned about some of their feedback, and had become a little subdued, as had the play. The game tilted towards Chichester when Harleston’s latest indiscretion left them a men down following a yellow card.
Capitalising on cards being given has become one of Chichester’s strengths and became a catalyst for a strong fourth quarter.
Alex Pendle ghosted past three Harleston defenders from midfield and dispatched a shot past the goalkeeper. Five minutes later McLaughlan might have done better when he was released one-on-one with only the goalkeeper to beat.
A rash challenge from Joe Budgen led to a yellow card, tempered attacking instincts for a few minutes, but when Harleston again lost a player to a yellow card the game was effectively over.
Alex Holton started to extend an important influence on the game with rushes forward and imaginative bits of play. However, it was Chichester’s flying strike partnership of Pendle and Ollie Baxter who sealed the deal, with Baxter getting the final touch on another rush forward by his young partner.
Chichester Ladies II 3 South Saxons 1
Sussex Ladies division one
Chichester beat a very young South Saxons team from Hastings.
Chi started hesitantly but soon got into their stride, Alex Hurd again showing what a great midfield player she is.
The home side weren’t as clinical as in last week’s 8-0 win over Honeybees, which let them down in some areas and allowed Saxons to attack.
Chi were still on top and Sarah Jessop scored a cracker from midway in the D.
The second half followed in a similar vein with Saxons applying a little more pressure, from which they were awarded several penalty corners – but the Chichester defence stood firm.
Chi‘s passing was not as dynamic as the previous week but determination led to their second goal, Gabby Crisp scoring at the near post. Saxons got a break and after a few rebounds off Julie Abson in the Chi goal, they scored. Chichester had the willpower to march on and ease the tension and Crisp added their third.
Chichester: Julie Abson, Tracy Austin, Jackie Baxter, Vicky Oliver-Catt, Kayleigh McKay, Connie Stockman, Kate Woods, Alex Hurd, Sarah Jessop, Juste Balkyte, Lindsay Hauxwell, Gabby Crisp.
Chichester’s under-eights went undefeated in the Portsmouth Festival with four wins and two draws.
They scored lots of goals and only conceded one. Everyone played every minute of every game showing great tackling and passing skills as well as excellent sportsmanship.