Double-tops for classy Chichester

South West Combination League table 15/12/13SCWL Div One West league table 15/12/13The mighty Chichester City juggernaut is ending the year on an unprecedented high, with both its senior women’s teams sitting pretty on top of their respective leagues.

Its first team overtook previous South West Combination leaders Swindon Town after staging a comeback in wet and windy Newquay to triumph 4-2, leaving them two points clear of their Wiltshire title rivals with a game in hand.

And their reserves – already 11 points clear in SCWL Division One West – made it a weekend to remember with a season-best 8-0 league win to extend the gap between them and second place to 14 points.

It caps a remarkable year for the two sides, who between them are unbeaten in 25 competitive matches this season.

The first team are yet to lose, having drawn only two league games and progressing in both the FA and County Cups.

And the reserves have not lost since going down to Rusthall in only their second league game of the season – since when the same opposition are the only team to take points off them. They, too, have progressed in the League Cup.

Teams to beat

The mighty pair have already scored 118 goals between them in all competitions, conceding just 23.

And they are already proving the teams to beat in their respective leagues.

In fact, with the reserves already so far ahead by the Christmas break, the competition in SCWL Div One is really for second place.

They gave manager Caroline Henry-Evans precisely the response she was looking for on Sunday after their disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Rusthall the previous week, thrashing early-season pacesetters Eastbourne 8-0 at Hunston.

They raced into a two-goal lead within five minutes, and rarely let up thereafter, sealing their biggest win of the campaign courtesy of a hat-trick from in-form Amy Bailey, two from Sian Payne and a goal each from Gemma Halford, Lauren Ellis and Jess Harnett, who scored directly from a corner.

Henry-Evans said it was their best display of the season and an all-round display of footballing class.

“If they continue to play like that, it will be hard to see who will take points off them for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile, the first team looked to be facing their first defeat of the season when they went 2-0 behind within the first 12 minutes of their match on the Cornish coast.

They struggled to adapt to the gusty conditions, but managed to pull a goal back before half-time through Kally Ambler, who finished clinically after being put through by Jenna Fowlie.

Manager Matt Wright sent on Emily Symonds and Lauren Cheshire for the second half, and later replaced injured defender Georgina Starkey with striker Abbey Shrubb as Chichester stepped up their revival.

Chichester spirit

Within minutes, they had drawn level when Ambler scored her second after Shrubb’s effort had been saved.

And they went ahead when Hollie Wride dispatched a 20-yard free-kick with aplomb.

Newquay spurned a chance to equalise when they missed a penalty, and Chichester made them pay with a fourth. Wride was again the scorer, again from a free-kick.

The comeback, in alien conditions, characterises the Chichester spirit, and takes them to the Christmas break with a psychological advantage over their rivals.

They also, unsurprisingly, have a superior goal difference to every other team in the Combination.

Tables courtesy of Chichester City Ladies FC/TheFA.com

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