There was a home defeat in the National League for Chichester – but good away victory for the club’s second ladies’ team and for Middleton ladies.
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Chichester 1 Holcombe 5
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Chichester went down to league leaders Holcombe and their sprinkling of five Great Britain players.
The visitors included current GB captain Barry Middleton, so Chichchester knew this would be tough.
Despite being in their first-ever season in the National League, Chichester started the day second, six points behind Holcombe who had scored double figures in each of their past three games.
In front of a packed house at Kingsham, Chichester made a nervous start while Holcombe started with purpose and controlled the opening encounters. Holcombe slowly started to make inroads into Chichester’s half and soon won a penalty corner, which resulted in a Chichester’s foot being hit by a goalbound shot. A penalty stroke was awarded and was scored.
The goal seemed to kick Chichester into life and they started to play the ball around with purpose. Alex Thakore and Matt Cox were linking well down Chichester’s right.
Chichester should have got back on level terms when Jack Lerwill and Matt Cox linked up through the middle. Cox slipped the ball to Dean Symons on the back post but his effort was brilliantly saved by the Holcombe keeper.
Holcombe made it 2-0 through a slick move into the Chichester D and a fierce shot left Chichester keeper Dan Godsmark with no chance. It was 3-0 just before the break when Holcombe capitalised on a sloppy Chichester pass, leaving a tap-in for a Holcombe forward.
After stern words at half-time Chichester came out for the second half knowing they could still get something out of the match. They started the half with purpose, and their pressure on Holcombe told when two opposition players were shown yellow cards.
Despite the pressure Chichester struggled to create meaningful opportunities and paid the price when Holcombe counter-attacked and took a 4-0 lead.
Chichester kept going forward and won a penalty corner and a slick move resulted in Thakore flicking the ball into the top right corner.
Defenders Kieran Henn, Dan Brook and Gerald Cox continued to push Chichester forward and made some heroic interceptions. But a late Holcombe goal secured a 5-1 victory.
Despite the loss, Chichester will be pleased they competed for large parts of the game and pushed a star-studded Holcombe to the end.
Chichester welcome Oxted to Kingsham on Saturday in the league and City of Peterborough on Sunday in the last 16 of the national cup.
CHICHESTER: Godsmark, Henn, Brook, G Cox, Spear, Lerwill, M Cox, Thakore, Salmon, Emmett, Robinson, Symons, Baxter, Gough, Blakesley, McLaughlin.
East Grinstead Ladies III 0 Chi Priory Park Ladies II 1
After a week’s break Chichester travelled to East Grinstead’s water-based surfce.
The rain held off and Chi started in a very positive manner, which continued throughout. The sides were well matched and both sides had chances to score first.
With great play from Damelza Peake on the left and Merryn Young on the right, players farther forward could make some great runs and linked up well with the forwards of Lindsay Hudson and Sarah Jessop.
Chichester had a number of chances and the pressure paid off 25 minutes in as Jessop put the ball pastd the EG goalie – another one to add to her tally.
Tracy Austin and Amy Chaplin at the back and Claire Young in goal had to stand firm when the opposition forwards pressurised the Chi defensive half.
Once again Chichester’s young players came to the fore with Rachael Trent, playing out of her usual position, adapted well and gave EG a headache down the left.
In the centre, Meg Goring dominated the midfield and worked very hard, with help from Pack on the right and Jenny Horton in a centre.
As the second half went on, Chichester gained in confidence and pestered the home team’s defensive circle. They were unlucky not to add to the score but this was probably their best game of the season so far.
Chi PP: Claire Young, Merryn Young, Tracy Austin, Meg Goring, Rachael Trent, Jenny Horton, Damelza Peak, Lindsay Hudson, Amy Chaplin, Sarah Pack, Sarah Jessop.
Lewes Ladies 0 Middleton Ladies 4
Middleton ladies travelled to Lewes intent on regaining top spot. They thought we were in for a tough match – but were wrong.
Lewes managed to get the ball past the halfway line only three times in the first half and about six times in the second. The Middleton keeper did not get to touch the ball.
Middleton had 15 shots and ten short corners and could have won 7-0.
This great good team performance put Middleton back on top of the league and fully intending to stay there.