City ladies ring changes to stop Belles chiming

Chichester celebrate their equaliser against Luton Belles  Picture by Darran Stevens

Chichester celebrate their equaliser against Luton Belles Picture by Darran Stevens

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There’s news of a draw for Chichester City and two defeats for their reserves in our latest ladies’ football round-up.

Chichester City Ladies 1 Luton Belles 1

Chichester knew a win would put them in a good position to put pressure on second-placed Ipswich - but had to settle for a draw.

The hosts started slowly while Luton looked strong going forward. Alexandre and McGlashan were working well together at the heart of the defence for the first time together.

McGlashan was winning everything in the air at the back.

Chichester slowly worked their way back into it but weren’t playing their normal passing game.

Chichester’s best effort of the first half fell to Jenna Fowlie after she ran on to a forward ball and cut back inside the defender and, with her weaker left foot, floated one just over the bar.

Happily, Chichester came out for the second half a different team. Danni Paul came on for Starkey and had an immediate influence.

Ambler and Challen started to break down the Luton defence.

City stopper McNamara tipped bouncing ball on to the crossbar but it fell nicely to the Belles centre forward who smashed the ball in.

Chichester threw caution to the wind and Ambler was played through to hit the post after good work by Fowlie, Wride, Widdowson and Willet.

The Belles keeper produced some excellent saves but from a Wride corner, Widdowson lost her marker and headed home.

The Luton keeper was bombarded and took a couple of knocks.

In the 91st minute, a brave Willett run down the right hand side brought a penalty. Wride took it but another excellent save from the Luton keeper kept the scores level.

Still Chichester pressed in the hope of a winner - before they almost lost to a counter-attack.

CITY: McNamara, Starkey (Paul 45), Harnett (Hughes-Jones 75), Alexandre, McGlashan, Willett, Wride, Widdowson, Fowlie, Challen, Ambler.

Chichester City Ladies Res 0 Wivelsfield 2

Chichester went into this game knowing only three points would keep the title chase alive.

Wivelsfield started brighter of the sides and an early corner was only partially cleared, and the follow-up shot was carried by the wind over Ellie Thorne in the Chichester goal.

Wivelsfield were pressuring Chichester, who lost their shape.

Another corner came into the box and Lauren Ellis, in an attempt to clear, caught a Wivelfield player on the edge of the box with the referee pointing to the spot. A well-taken penalty gave Thorne no chance in the Chichester goal.

Amber Beaven and Kerri Grant tried hard to get City back in it but Chichester’s final shot wasn’t good enough.

A change in formation during the second half saw Chichester start to get back to passing the ball around. Woman of the match

Grant couldn’t have given any more.

The result meat City reserves’ unbeaten run this season came to an end.

CITY: Thorne, Thorpe, Stanbridge, Steed, Halford, Beaven, Cottam-Verbruggen, Whelan, Ogden, Ellis, Grant, Subs: Selby, Harnett, Payne.

Wivelsfield 1 Chichester Res 0

Chichester went into the second game of their double header knowing three points would secure second place in the league.

They finally started to pass the ball around and looked a threat going forward. Corners still looked like their best hope, though.

A few long-range free-kicks lofted into the area were causing problems for the Wivelsfield defence, who were starting to tire.

Lauren Ellis went for a 50/50 with the keeper and was unlucky to have a free-kick given against her.

The referee seem to become whistle-happy and the game was slowed a lot by a lot of needless free-kicks when Chichester felt they were just stronger on the ball.

Chichester hit the post twice and the ball rolled along the goal-line after a great run from Amber Beaven as she chipped the keeper from an acute angle. Captain Gemma Halford commanded the back three and Chloe Luff was having a great game in an unfamiliar role.

Debutant Sian Payne was having a great game in midfield and was a calming influence.

The Wivelsfield striker then fell over her own feet into the penalty area and Georgia Selby fell over her and to the amazement of both sides, the referee gave Wivelsfield a penalty. Lizzie Ogden got her fingertips to the strike but couldn’t stop it finding the net.

Chichester tried to hit back but it wasn’t meant to be and another loss on a forgettable day means Chichester have to hope Wivelsfield slip up in their remaining games if they’re to finish second.

CITY: Thorne, Thorpe, Steed, Halford, Beaven, Selby, Whelan, Payne, Grant, Ellis, Stanbridge. Subs: Harnett, Benfield, Luff, Cottam-Verbruggen, Ogden.

The reserves’ last game of the season is away to Haywards Heath seconds on May 5.