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Crawley Wasps 2 Chichester City 0
Crawley Wasps maintained their perfect record in all competitions this season with an SSE Women's FA Cup Second Round victory over higher division Chichester City at Worthing FC.
Two headed goals from corners gave Wasps a deserved half time advantage and they contained an improved Chichester second half display to record a historic win and secure a Third Round away tie with FAWNL Southern Division leaders Coventry United in the new year.
After early defensive uncertainty nearly presented Jade Widdows with a Chichester opener on 10 minutes, Crawley started to show their sting. Corners proved a constant threat to the Chichester goal with Rachel Palmer and Naomi Cole equally adept at delivering inswinging balls right at the point of maximum danger. Chichester managed to scramble away the first two with last ditch defending but this was to prove only temporary relief.
Chichester's Cherelle Khassal found the top of the bar with a dangerous cross on a breakaway but Cole set up a Crawley chance with a perfect through pass for Faye Rabson, only for the advancing Lauren Dolbear to make a fine save from her shot on 25 minutes.
It was Palmer's left foot corner which brought the opener on 37 minutes with Kemina Webber rising high to flick home with defenders unable to clear this time.
Five minutes later the advantage was doubled with Cole delivering from the opposite flank and Darcey James thumping home a header from close range.
Inbetween the two Crawley goals, Molly Clark fired a free kick just over from 20 yards but the away team had been second best for much of the half.
On the restart Crawley seemed more content to sit back and contain in a tight first quarter hour but even so, Sian Heather created the best effort on goal. well saved by Dolbear.
Chichester made personnel changes and found another gear in the final quarter of the match, spurred on by sub Gemma Simmonds' calm authority in midfield. The Southern Division side nearly found joy from Molly Clark corners, Frankie Gibbs making a fine save from one under her bar and a second leading to a header against a post by another sub Laura Ingram on 74 minutes. Khassal then tested Gibbs with a fine run and shot on 83 minutes as Chi fought hard to claw their way back.
However, Wasps always looked equally capable of adding to their lead, going close from another Palmer corner but the winners were not just about set pieces. The defence was very solid throughout, the midfield won most of the important battles, especially in the first hour of the match and the attackers never gave Chichester time and space to play comfortably from the back.
Crawley Wasps thus were able to celebrate reaching the Third Round of the FA Cup for the first time, with all to play for in a variety of competitions as a superb twelve months' achievement comes to a close.
Frankie Gibbs, Naomi Cole, Rachel Palmer, Niamh Stephenson, Darcey James, Charlotte Young, Jenny Drury, Megan Stow, Kemina Webber, Sian Heather, Faye Rabson. Subs: Lauren Graves, Ariana Fleischman, Ellie Russell, Suzanne Davies, Abbie Measures.
Lauren Dolbear, Lauren Cheshire, Tiff Taylor, Jade Widdows, Hollie Wride, Molly Clark, Cherelle Khassal, Tammy Waine, Lauren Clark, Jade Simmons, Becca Bell. Subs: Laura Ingram, Natasha Stephens, Sara Tubby, Becky Barron, Gemma Simmonds.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Naomi Cole battles with Jade Widdows
(middle) Hollie Wride slides in to tackle Faye Rabson
(bottom) Sian Heather in a chase with Laura Ingram
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