A late goal from ex-Chichester City Ladies player Molly Clarke denied the visitors a victory as hosts Portsmouth Ladies snatched a 2-2 draw at a West Leigh Park.
Goals from Charley Wilson-Blakely and Cherelle Khassal looked to have handed City a victory but a late, late show from Pompey meant the spoils were shared.
Chichester started positively and Khassal had their first effort on goal after only five minutes but the keeper Michelle Beazley made a comfortable save.
Chichester kept up the pressure and Charley Wilson-Blakely looked dangerous every time she got the ball and relationship between her and Khassal looked as strong as ever with the blues struggling at times to keep them at bay.
The hosts finally got a sight of goal on the quarter hour when Natasha Stephens found the ball at her feet on the edge of the area and had Sadie Wilson-Blakely at full stretch to keep her goal bound effort out.
Jess Lewry went agonisingly close on the half hour with a shot that just went over the bar with Beazley well beaten. Minutes later Chichester took a deserved lead through asuperb Charley Wilson-Blakely header from a cross after Jade Widdows exchanged passes with Lauren Cheshire.
Portsmouth went close to scoring in final minutes for the half when Stephens forced an excellent save from Sadie Wilson-Blakely and Cheshire averted any follow up danger by beating Shannon Albuery to the ball to clear the lines for the visitors.
Chichester were then dealt a blow when the excellent Emma Alexandre was forced off with a recurrence of an ankle injury but the redoubtable Holly Wride slotted into the back line as a replacement.
Chichester went in search of a second goal and just before the hour they got it through the superb Khassal. Chloe Tucker put her through and she needed no second invitation to fire low under the approaching Beazley.
Kerrie Ryan’s dismissal after two yellow cards left Chichester to play the last quarter of the game with only 10 players and Portsmouth cashed in with 10 minutes left on the clock Albuery nodded home from a delightful cross from Katie James.
The Blues upped the tempo and with time running out Clarke delivered one of her trademark long-range efforts that took a slight deflection and flew into the back of the net for the equaliser.
This was a superb advert for our great game and Chichester will certainly look forward to the rematch at Oaklands Park next month. Sunday sees Lewes Women make the trip to Chichester.
With thanks to Alan Price
CCLFC: Sadie Wilson-Blakely, Lauren Cheshire, Kerrie Ryan, Emma Alexandre, Chloe Tucker, Cherelle Khassal, Charley Wilson-Blakely, Jess Lewry, Tiffany Taylor, Gemma Simmonds and Jade Widdows. SUBS: Jenna Fowlie, Laura Ingram, Holly Wride and Ellis Bloomfield.