Kemina Webber celebrates her goal with captain Naomi Cole (Picture: Alan Sillwood-Brown)
By Tom Scarborough at East Court
Kemina Webber’s strike late in the first half secured Wasps a narrow victory and extended their lead at the top of the FA National Women’s League Southern Premier Division.
The 1-0 win over bottom-side Chichester increased the gap to second-placed Watford to nine points.
Webber’s goal, her third of the season, came on her first home league start of the campaign.
The two sides, meeting for the second time in just six days, battled freezing conditions on Wednesday evening at East Court.
After a penalty shoot-out in Wasps’ County Cup final victory on Sunday, both Crawley and Chichester were eager to get stuck into each other once again.
In the early exchanges, Wasps keeper Frankie Gibbs was called into action to palm behind Gemma Simmonds’ long-range effort, while at the other end Tash Stephens hit low against her former club, but the chance was collected by Chi ‘keeper Issy Foster.
Tash Stephens in action against her former club (Picture: Alan Sillwood-Brown)
Wasps skipper Naomi Cole drove a shot that fell just the wrong side of the post – but just as the first-half looked set to peter out, we struck the crucial blow.
Cole swung in a free-kick from the right and following a short scramble, the ball fell to Webber and last season’s top scorer poked the ball home.
The second half proved to be a quieter affair, with Chi happy to sit deep and Wasps unable to open them up.
Charlotte Owen sent a shot sailing over the bar before Megan Stow’s powerful header was glanced wide. Webber looked to double her tally after turning and shooting in space, but the chance was collected by Foster.
Wasps controlled possession as the match entered the closing stages.
A handful of further half-chances were squandered, including a Chichester corner deep into injury-time, which was defended with purpose as Wasps saw out their 12th league win of the season.
We are next in action on March 8, when we host Keynsham Town at East Court.
Wasps: Gibbs; Nash, Russell, James, Palmer; Cole, Stow; Heather, Owen, Stephens; Webber. Subs not used: Graves, Taylor, Fleischman, Ledezma-Viso.