Chichester City Ladies boosted by Stenning equaliser to ensure point made against Gillingham
Goals either side of half-time saw Chichester pick up their only draw of the campaign away to Gillingham in the FA Women’s National League southern division.
The Green Army made it five unbeaten with the 2-2 score on the final day of the 2018-19 season, writes Hayley Newman.
A missed penalty saw Gillingham fail to gain the early advantage as the ball hit the post.
Chichester took the lead moments later as Laura Ingram volleyed in from a corner.
Chi couldn’t maintain the advantage after the break as Maddison Chamney-Farrand scored direct from a corner before Breon Grant put the Blues ahead, however with less than 10 minutes to go Kim Stenning scored the equaliser.
Chichester were without Lauren Dolbear, who was suspended following her red against Queens Park Rangers, so in came Tammy Waine.
Gracie White received a call-up to start after recent good performances across the club’s teams while Gemma Simmonds also started.
The game started in a frantic and cagey manner, Jess Lewry could have had an early goal as she turned three defenders to shoot but found the goalkeeper right in her path.
Both keepers were kept aware from the off but neither was forced into a dramatic save as the teams struggled to settle on the small pitch.
Alice Bussey worked herself into space and caught Waine off her line from 25-yards out but her shot failed to hit the target while Helen Ogle nearly converted a Lauren Cheshire corner.
The referee awarded Gillingham a penalty to the displeasure of Ingram who looked to have won the ball from the attacking player.
Chamney-Farrand took the resulting spot-kick but could only look on in disbelief as the ball smashed off the post and into the arms of Waine.
The stand in keeper launched the ball forward where Chi were awarded a set piece of their own.
Captain Cheshire delivered the in-swinging corner which was excellently volleyed in by Ingram at the back post for her second goal of the season.
Sharna Capel-Watson replaced an injured White at half-time, the teenager hurting her ankle in a challenge as the first-half came to an end.
Not content with just the one goal, left-back Ingram tried to recreate her goal against Gills from the season before but this time lacked the power to test the keeper.
The play was all Chi who looked to have finally settled into the match but despite the attacks, corners and free-kicks a second goal alluded the southerners.
Lewry was gifted a wonderful chance to double the lead when a perfect through ball was met by Simmonds for the pass across the box for the winger who only managed a scuffed shot.
Minutes later and Gillingham found an equaliser through Chamney-Farrand just after she hit the crossbar from a free-kick.
She was their set-piece taker and it was from a corner on the near side that Chamney-Farrand sailed the ball over everyone to nestle in the goal.
The hosts were galvanised from the goal and 10 minutes later they took the lead although to cries of handball.
Grant brought the ball down from the cross before neatly finishing under Waine with several in Chi colours claiming that the scorer had handled in controlling the ball.
That lead lasted five minutes as substitute Stenning bagged her third goal in seven appearances after doubling up as a player/coach back in March to draw the game level.
Lewry played a great ball through for the striker who jumped through before dinking the ball over the keeper while still in the air.
As the game edged towards full-time Chi missed chances to take home all three points, Lewry’s curling effort just rounded the goal while a free Ingram headed over.
The draw left the Green Army on 46 points, 18 points better off than last term, and with a third-place finish which they can be very proud of.
Chichester City Ladies: Tammy Waine, Lauren Cheshire (c), Gracie White (Sharna Capel-Watson 46min), Tiffany Taylor, Laura Ingram, Helen Ogle (Sara Tubby 59min), Gemma Simmonds, Rebecca Barron, Lauren Clark, Tash Stephens (Kim Stenning 75min). Unused sub: Nadine Bazan