Chichester Ladies ended 2016 with a very comfortable 5-0 win over a Keynsham side who had dumped them out of the FA Cup a few weeks ago.
A win was a must in order to maintain City’s slender lead at the top and the ladies didn’t disappoint their fans on their return to Fortress Oaklands after several months on the road.
Chichester gave a start to new signing Sadie Blakely, their new goalkeeper, and the first half saw the new shot-stopper have a quiet time.
City were quick out of the blocks and exerted pressure on the visitors but keeper Colette Bell looked strong to keep the likes of Charelle Khassall at bay.
After 15 minutes, Chichester took the lead through the very impressive Charley Wilson-Blakely. Lauren Cheshire crossed and Wilson-Blakely met it with a firm header that flew in.
Keynsham applied good pressure with the likes of Cristina Vega and Alys Hinchcliffe looking dangerous but Kerrie Ryan and Laura Ingram were able to dealconfidently with any attacks.
Following the restart, Khassal was first to get sight of the visitors’ net but an excellent save from Bell kept out her effort.
Vega tested Blakely but she was up to the task.
Chichester doubled their lead just after the hour as good work from Khassal down the left had the defence back-pedalling and when her delivery was only half cleared it fell to Jess Lewry who unleashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net.
City were now first to tackles and causing the visitors’ defence multiple problems and a third goal came from Khassal. Ryan hit a searching ball into the box and the Keynsham defence made a mess of the clearance and Khassall smashed home a volley.
City boss Liam Greenfield used his substitutes and there was a huge ovation when Wilson-Blakely made way for Chloe Parkes shortly after running from halfway into the Keynsham box and squared perfectly for Molly Clarke to send a rocket into the roof of the net.
Clarke rounded off the scoring with added time looming – she was in the perfect place to benefit from a lovely one-two with Parkes and fire home off the inside of the post.
So Chichester end the year at the top, one point ahead of Plymouth and nine ahead of Keynsham, who lie third.
CCLFC: Blakely, Wilson-Blakely, Khassall, Ryan, Alexandre, Challen, Cheshire, Barron, Clarke, Lewry, Ingram. Subs: Price, Dowdell, Parkes, Ambler, Thompson.
* City’s development squad drew 0-0 with Eastbourne.
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