Ladies’ football: City suffer as Eagles soar to win

Chichester try to unlock Crystal Palace at Bromley
Chichester try to unlock Crystal Palace at Bromley

A Gemma Bryan hat-trick left Chichester City Ladies to reflect on more awayday pain as they came away pointless after a frustrating 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Bromley.

The Eagles took a two-goal lead into the break in the FA WPL premier south clash, Bryan with the opener and Nikita Whinnett with a superb strike that beat Sadie Wilson-Blakely. Chichester weren’t without their chances and reshuffled in the second-half.

Two second-half Bryan penalties sealed the points either side of a Cherelle Khassal goal for Chi.

Both teams and their supporters respected a minute’s silence for Armistice Day and when the game began, Khassal was playing the lone role up front.

Goalkeeper Sadie Wilson-Blakely returned to the side with Jade Widdows making up a strong bench for the visitors.

The match took a while to get going with both sides testing each other out and very few clear-cut chances to speak of in the first quarter hour.

Chichester never gave up and their determination finally paid off when Khassal converted at the far post from a lovely low cross from Cheshire.

Holly Wride went close for the visitors, volleying over from yards out after some excellent work from Khassal.

With 20 minutes gone Bryan netted her first of the match to break the deadlock with a sublime finish from the edge of the area, having been found with a lovely touch by Ellie Bailes.

Despite the setback Chichester found the gaps to carve out their own chances.

Jess Lewry was a constant threat with searing pace and determination to win the ball at every turn. On the wings Lauren Cheshire and Tiffany Taylor did their level-best to work opportunities, with the final balls just failing to find a player in the box.

Chichester looked likely and were close to knocking on Palace’s door until a quick break from the hosts saw Whinnett in on goal. The former Spurs striker slotted home with a calm finish to double the hosts’ advantage.

Right on half-time Chichester had another close call and again Khassal was at the heart of it. Some great inter-passing from Gemma Simmonds allowed Khassal to dart through on goal but her effort lacked power.

Palace pressed on and the dangerous Whinnet came close with a curling effort.

The game looked sealed when keeper Wilson-Blakely brought down Bryan inside the box as the keeper rushed out to deny another attack.

From the spot the in-form striker coolly sent the Chichester keeper the wrong way to make it 3-0 with 18 minutes left.

Chichester never gave up and their determination finally paid off when Khassal converted at the far post from a lovely low cross from Cheshire.

Minutes later joy turned to despair as Wilson-Blakely again brought down Bryan for a second spot-kick that was dispatched by the striker for her hat-trick.

Chichester: S Wilson-Blakely, Cheshire, Tucker, Ingram, Alexandre, Khassal, Lewry, Wride, Simmonds, Taylor, Barron. Subs: Widdows, Fowlie, Collighan, Walford, Shine.

Chichester City’s development squad enjoyed a stonking 9-4 win against Margate Ladies.

Sophie Phelps bagged a hat-trick with Lucy Cook and Annie Dunn each scoring two. Gabby Hobday and Terri Foster also got on the scoresheet.

In the youth games, Chichester’s two under-13 teams, the Greens and Whites, went toe to toe. The Greens won 9-1.

City’s under-16 girls travelled to face Ringmer Rovers and came away victorious. Sophia Wickenden got a hat-trick while Elisha Hounsome netted twice and Holly Heffron made it six.