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Chichester City 4 Seahaven Harriers 0
Holders Chichester City booked a Sussex FA Cup Final repeat against Brighton & Hove Albion with a 4-0 win over Seahaven Harriers at Oaklands Park.
The FAWPL South West Division One side were made to wait 44 minutes for a breakthrough against their South East Counties Division One West opponents, who gave a lively and spirited display throughout but the hosts were always in control, sealing their place in the March 12th showdown.
Seahaven forced the first corner in the opening minute but Chichester were soon threatening the visitors' goal with a series of crosses. Jenna Fowlie went close to an opening goal from Lucie Challen's cross whilst Chloe Dowdell had an effort ruled out for offside from a Jess Pike cross. Lauren Cheshire was just wide with a cross shot which drifted beyond the far post, then Seahaven keeper Angharad Hills made the first of several fine saves to deny Dowdell again.
Seahaven's Lauren Smith was very lively in attack with one run and cross causing a dangerous moment in the home defence, but most of the play was at the other end where Seahaven defended with brave committed work, especially from Charlotte Lloyd and skipper Emma Flynn, to keep the Chichester attack at bay. Both Chi wing backs Cheshire and Emily Symonds were frequently found high up the pitch in support of their attackers and both added to the pressure with effective long throw ins.
Challen went close with a diving header and an effort from distance but it seemed that Seahaven would reach the break all square. However, the hosts took the lead with a superb opener from Rachael Waller on 44 minutes. The ball fell centrally 25 yards out and Waller hit an unstoppable drive which flew beyond Hills' dive into the top right corner.
Chichester returned for the second half with real purpose and the second goal came when a Symonds throw was flicked on by Pike for Fowlie to cross beyond Hills' reach and Dowdell headed home at the far post. Chichester went three up on 54 minutes when Cheshire, lurking beyond the far post at a corner, nipped in to tuck away a loose ball.
Seahaven were far from beaten despite the double blow so early in the half. They fought their way in the match and had a number of near misses in their best spell just after the hour. A free kick from the left led to a shot against the bar and a lengthy scramble in front of keeper Nea Piiroinen before the ball was cleared. One minute later the home keeper did well to keep out another close range effort.
Meanwhile, Chichester were finding space to mount their own attacks as the game became more and more open. Hills did well to turn away one long range effort, then Challen hit the bar with a fine shot from 30 yards on 75 minutes. Cheshire was denied by another good reaction save from a close range effort but she notched her second from the spot on 81 minutes after a Pike cross was handled.
Seahaven sub Georgia Ungoed went very close to a deserved consolation late on from an excellent Smith run and cross, just failing to turn the ball in at the far post. Smith had her own effort well held by Piroinen, then midfielder Taylor Coade had another effort from distance but Chichester were comfortably through to the final, despite a good showing from the visitors, who are going well in second place in Division One West.
The match was played in an excellent spirit in front of a three figure crowd and was a very entertaining spectacle on a gloriously sunny afternoon in West Sussex. No doubt the 'Green Army' will turn out in force at the Sussex FA Headquarters in Lancing to see if Chichester City can repeat their heroics of last season.
Chichester City: Nea Piiroinen, Lauren Cheshire, Emily Symonds, Laura Ingram, Emma Alexandre, Becky Barron, Jenna Fowlie, Lucie Challen, Jess Pike, Rachael Waller, Chloe Dowdell. Subs: Naomi Green, Nat Clarke, Jemma Cottam, Hannah Chalk.
Seahaven Harriers: Angharad Hills, Natalie Ring, Emma Woodcock, Lauren Smith, Katie Franks, Emma Flynn, Beth McKellar, Taylor Coade, Sharnie Franks, Kiri Canning, Charlotte Lloyd. Sub: Georgia Ungoed.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Rachael Waller is foiled by a brave save by Angharad Hills
(middle) Lauren Cheshire leaps past a tackle from Charlotte Lloyd
(bottom) Sharnie Franks is challenged by Rachael Waller
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