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Chi edge opening day thriller
 Women's Football WNL South News - 22 Aug 2018
 
WNL South News - Chi edge opening day thriller - 22 Aug 2018 - Women's Football NewsChichester City 2 Oxford Utd 1
Chichester City made a successful start to their FAWNL Southern Premier Division campaign with a hard fought 2-1 home win over league newcomers Oxford United.
 
Ahead by two well taken goals just after the hour, the hosts had to withstand a late rally from the Us before claiming the points. Oxford pulled an 85th minute goal back and then were awarded an injury time penalty after Lauren Allison was brought down but the initial decision was reversed after the referee consulted her assistant.
 
After a quiet opening, Oxford threatened first with Chi defender Chloe Tucker blocking a goalbound Georgia Timms effort for a corner and skipper Lauren Haynes heading just wide from the set piece on 13 minutes. Tash Stephens won the first home corner and Hollie Wride then tested Oxford keeper Lucy Thomas from distance.
 
Oxford were lively in attack and a low cross from the right evaded home keeper Lauren Dolbear but skipper Lauren Cheshire was on hand to clear. Dolbear then made a fine save from Timms, with Tiff Taylor completing the clearance on 23 minutes.
 
Chi debutants Helen Ogle and Sarah Tubby were well involved in the attacking areas and it was the latter who opened the scoring with a firm far post header on 35 minutes after excellent work on the right by Stephens.
 
Oxford nearly levelled soon after the restart with Laura Hennessy denied by a fine Taylor block.
 
Thomas prevented Chichester doubling their lead with a superb point blank save to deny Stephens but was left stranded by Molly Clark's perfect strike on 66 minutes. From a Clark corner, Haynes defended the set piece but the midfielder marked her return to the club with a perfectly weighted and flighted follow up from wide left.
 
Both sides made attacking substitutions in an admirable attempt to freshen their line up and the match became end-to-end in the last twenty minutes. Allison was a real threat as United sought a way back. Ellie Noble reduced the arrears with an 85th minute free kick from the edge of the area and both sides had chances before the final controversial moment.
 
Allison got in behind the home defence and went down in a challenge with Dolbear. With the penalty initially seeming clear cut, further consultation overturned the decision and awarded a goal kick, much to Oxford's disappointment. Even so, they continued to press and Noble had a final free kick held by Dolbear before the final whistle.
 
Both teams can take many positives from a very good contest. A much changed Oxford United had lots of pace and good movement which caused the home defence many problems whilst the hosts, themselves with several newcomers, defended expertly and created plenty of good chances.
 
Chichester City:
 
Lauren Dolbear, Lauren Cheshire, Tiff Taylor, Sharna Capel-Watson, Chloe Tucker, Molly Clark, Helen Ogle, Sarah Tubby, Rebecca Barron, Hollie Wride, Natasha Stephens. Subs: Jade Widdows, Jess Lewry, Lauren Clark, Laura Ingram, Gemma Simmonds.
 
Oxford Utd:
 
Lucy Thomas, Lauren Haynes, Amber Roberts, Stephaney Bent, Steph Mobbs, Ellie Noble, Sophie Baker, Laura Hennessy, Flo Fyfe, Emily Allen, Georgia Timms. Subs: Lauren Allison, Lena Stroem, Bobby Lynch, Rebecca Moody, Kerry Walklett.
 
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
 
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
 
(top) Georgia Timms takes on Sharna Capel-Watson
(middle) Lucy Thomas dives to keep out Sara Tubby
(bottom) Ellie Noble scores for Oxford from a free kick

 
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