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Chichester City 2 Luton Town 0
Chichester City took their place in the last 32 of the SSE Women's FA Cup for the first time with a hard fought 2-0 home win over Luton Town.
Both goals came in last ten minutes of an evenly contested tie where the FAWPL South East Division One visitors gave the higher ranked hosts plenty of problems before falling to well taken efforts from Alex Collighan and Cherelle Khassal.
Luton created the first real chances of the match when Nicola Henman had a first effort saved by Sadie Wilson-Blakely, then follow up shots blocked by Laura Ingram and Emma Alexandre on the line. Stephanie Gale headed over from a corner as Luton continued to threaten early on. Chichester's first dangerous moment came from Collighan reaching a free kick on 19 minutes but Erica Byron was alert to clear the danger.
Luton keeper Kezia Hassall made an important double save on 24 minutes as Chichester started to press, blocking efforts from Jade Widdows and Jenna Fowlie. From the resulting corner by Lauren Cheshire, Alexandre had a header cleared off the line by Henman.
Hassall was again in action to deny Widdows and then Khassal at close range as the hosts built up the pressure just after the half hour. A Chloe Tucker corner nearly curled in at the far post and only another clearance off the line prevented Chichester from taking the lead on 37 minutes.
Luton had done well to be level at the break and were very unlucky not to take the lead on 54 minutes. Jess McKay found space in the area to hit a low shot from ten yards which hit the inside of both posts before being cleared for a corner.
Fowlie's run and cross set up Collighan for a header over the bar, then Chichester went close in a goalmouth scramble after a corner before Hassall was able to drop on the loose ball on 66 minutes.
Dionne Manning's run and cross on 75 minutes saw Luton's Kim Farrow shoot inches wide at the near post as the tie remained in the balance. Wilson-Blakely had to be alert to grab a Manning header under pressure on 82 minutes but it was the hosts who made the crucial breakthrough on 84 minutes.
Collighan was played through on the right edge of the area and just beat the advancing keeper to chip home a delightful finish from a tight angle.
The scorer then turner provider, playing in Khassal to lob in another super finish from 25 yards and seal Chichester's progress into Round Four.
Luton had played very well, matching Chichester's dangerous attack with solid defence and often carrying a threat in attack, but were ultimately undone by two fine instinctive finishes after a good contest.
Sadie Wilson-Blakely, Lauren Cheshire, Laura Ingram, Emma Alexandre, Tiffany Taylor, Jenna Fowlie, Cherelle Khassal, Alex Collighan, Chloe Tucker, Rebecca Barron, Jade Widdows. Subs: Poppy Shine, Ellie Bloomfield, Sophie Phelps, Chloe Dowdell, Alice Walford.
Kezia Hassajj, Rachel Kosky, Zara Carroll, Lucy Webster, Erica Byron, Nicola Henman, Stephanie Gale, Jess McKay, Dionne Manning, Lisa Nixon, Kim Farrow. Subs: Joanne Rutherford, Rachel Carter, Jodie Southby, Funmi Babalola.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Cherelle Khassal plays the ball past Rachel Kosky
(middle) Chloe Tucker and Nicola Henman in a 50-50 challenge
(bottom) Jade Widdows makes a challenge on Erica Byron
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