Free-kicks and penalties cost Chichester City Ladies in Portsmouth defeat

Chichester City Ladies fell to a 3-1 loss against Pompey Women in the FA Women's National League southern premier.
Jess Lewry, pictured scoring earlier in the season, was on target at Pompey / Picture by Sheena BookerJess Lewry, pictured scoring earlier in the season, was on target at Pompey / Picture by Sheena Booker
Jess Lewry, pictured scoring earlier in the season, was on target at Pompey / Picture by Sheena Booker

Free-kicks from Katie James and Jade Bradley put the Blues ahead but Jess Lewry hit back quickly capitalising on a defensive error.

Chi had two penalties in the second half but both were saved by Hannah Haughton - and Rachel Panting fired home in injury-time to seal the win.

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There was only one change to the Chi starting line-up from the previous outing as Sara Tubby started plus Gemma White and Gracie White were called up from the development squad.

The encounter started quickly with both sides eager to attack and Lauren Clark dragged a shot wide, while Lauren Dolbear tipped a Shannon Albuery effort out for a corner.

With just 11 minutes on the clock James opened the scoring when Pompey were awarded a free-kick outside the box and directly in front of goal. James struck her set piece well aiming low and curling the ball neatly around the wall and just getting the better of Dolbear.

Albuery was denied again by Dolbear and Haughton came out strong to punch clear a Molly Clark corner.

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Pompey were awarded another free-kick this time just right of the goal and Bradley, the former Queens Park Rangers player, struck it well and smashed the ball into the top corner to double the lead.

Chi hit back straight away through Lewry, her fourth goal in as many games. She reacted quickest as Haughton played out from the back, and after Lewry's initial shot was blocked by the goalkeeper the ball hit the defender and fell back for the winger to tap in.

The game's intensity remained high and constant as the two sides headed to half-time.

Molly.Clark had her corner cleared by Haughton as it headed towards goal and Gemma Simmonds was denied on the rebound by her own team-mate.

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The second half started as the first ended, Lewry hit the crossbar from 30-yards out while up the other end Dolbear was quick to parry a fierce Jade Widdows effort.

Pompey also struck the woodwork from a James corner while Molly Clark's 40-yard shot was tipped over the bar by Haughton.

With just over 10 minutes Lewry was pushed inside the box by her former team-mate Alexandre Collighan, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Having score three penalties so far this season, including one for Sussex, Lewry stepped up. She went left and low but Haughton guessed correctly to block the spot-kick.

Four minutes later and Lewry was brought down again inside the Pompey box. The winger stepped up to take the second penalty of the match this time going for the bottom right-hand corner and Haughton guessed correctly again to keep her side ahead.

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There was time for one more goal and it went to the hosts. Panting, a constant threat for Pompey, had time and space for a powerful shot at the Chichester goal her effort smashing in off the underside of the crossbar.

Full-time signalled a first defeat against the Blues for Chi in all competitions.

Chichester City Ladies head to face league leaders Coventry United in the league on Sunday, March 31.

City: Dolbear, Cheshire (C), Taylor, Waine, Bazan (Capel-Watson 46'), M Clark, L Clark, Simmonds, Lewry, Stephens (Stenning 78'), Tubby (Ogle 58'). Unused subs: Gemma White, Gracie White.