A result that at first suggests a bad performance is not at all what it seems. Facing the team that beat Bexhill 16-0 last year, with lots of new players and a new coach, the game was hard to predict. But with some good preparation and a large squad, the team started very strongly.
The game was extremely even in the first half, before an unfortunate goalkeeper mistake from our first of three goalkeepers for the day led to Chichester taking a 1-0 lead. However, from here the team showed good character, using this setback as motivation. A well struck free kick from Izzy Foot meant that Bexhill were level, 1-1. This energised the team and soon the score quickly went from 1-1 to 2-1 to Bexhill, thanks to Minnie Sheppard who started the game very strongly before smashing the ball into the near post top corner.
Bexhill were staying focused in what was an extremely physical affair; Chichester seemed to adopt an aggressive approach to match Bexhill's energy and quality. However, just before half time, some lazy defending from Bexhill saw one of Chichester's defenders dribble through the centre of the pitch, before cleverly finishing past our inexperienced goalkeeper from 20 yards out. Half Time, 2-2.
Half Time saw Bexhill make a few changes, in order to try some things out in what was their first game as a team. Unfortunately, the second half didn't start so well, with Chichester quickly taking the lead: 3-2. The game then worsened as Chichester scored from a corner, making it 4-2. Chichester then furthered their lead to 5-2, with some very nice play and a smart finish.
Although the game was not going Bexhill's way, they did create chances in the second half. Becky Simmons caused issues for the opposition with her direct runs from midfield, which she was unlucky to not score from. Chichester's goalkeeper made the save of the day, at 5-2, diving across the goal to tip Izzy's shot onto the post.
With Bexhill's 3rd goal keeper of the game in goal, Chichester took advantage of a mistake by the goalkeeper to make the game 6-2. Still pushing for goals, Bexhill were tiring. They started leaving more space open for Chichester to counter-attack, and Chichester capitalised on this late in the game. One of their strikers was played the ball and with an excellent first touch, she set herself up for a good finish. Final score: Bexhill 2 – 7 Chichester.
Hindered by not having a natural goalkeeper, and having a relatively inexperienced side, Bexhill College Ladies made a good account for themselves. This was supported by the referee saying "this is a 250% improvement from last season.” And further supported by Chichester having to use players from their bench that they had intended to rest, showing we gave them a fright come half time.
Excellent performances across the board with Minnie Sheppard and Naima Pitts linking up well on the left, Izzy Eason-Warner and Caitlin Tewkesbury battling hard in midfield, and Lillie McSweeney leading well from the back. A performance with more positives than negatives, viewed as a building block, on our way to picking up our first win of the season.
Player of the Match: Minnie Sheppard. A constant threat whenever she had the ball, her direct dribbling was matched by her work-rate. A performance topped off with a fantastic goal.
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