Sadie Blakely’s Chichester & Selsey side bounced back from an opening day defeat to record a 1-0 victory over title hopefuls, Oxford United, thanks to a goal from Sophie Phelps.
After having to go so long being unable to attend football matches it was fantastic to be able to attend two in two weeks, after seeing Portsmouth vs Plymouth Argyle last weekend. This one was extra special as I was able to bring my eighteen-month-old daughter Erin with me. Yes, I did have to spend large parts of the afternoon chasing her around the touchline and making sure that she didn’t run onto the pitch but she had a massive smile on her face and she seems to be a hit with the other fans and players which was lovely.
During the first half Oxford looked assured and patient in their build-up play and had the majority of the possession. However, both sides were unable to create any meaningful chances, so the keepers, Issy Foster and Rose Kite were able to deal with everything comfortably.
Going into half time with the score 0-0, both managers will have been content but instructing their side to be positive and push for that crucial first goal.
The second half began in similar circumstances to the first, at least until in the 50th minute when Chichester & Selsey took a lead. Club captain Megan Fox drove in a low free-kick into the box which fell to Phelps at the back post, she was able to tap home and spark big celebrations from the home fans.
This setback refocused Liam Gilbert’s side and they searched for the goal which would get them back into the game. Almost immediately they forced a smart save from Foster at her near post. Oxford continued to look dangerous from set-pieces but the home side were able to hold firm.
In the 75th minute, Foster made a superb save from a powerful strike inside the box, tipping it over for a corner. The shot was hit with that ferociously that I thought it was destined for the net even if Foster got her hands to it. This save was as important as a goal to the home side, giving them a massive confidence boost while Oxford having the opposite effect on the visitors.
Oxford pushed for an equaliser in the closing minutes but too many misplaced passes in the final third meant that Chichester & Selsey were able to see the game out and pick up their first three points of the season.