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Chatham Town Women take on Billericay Town in the National League Southern Premier Division after defeats to Cardiff City and Portsmouth Ladies

Chatham Town women face a make-or-break midweek trip to Billericay as they hang onto hopes of survival.

A thumping 7-0 defeat at league leaders Portsmouth on Sunday came a week after a frustrating loss at home to Cardiff City - a team who they had hoped to gain ground on in the battle to escape the drop in FA Women’s National League South.

Chatham Town Women’s manager Keith Boanas takes his side to Billericay tonight for a must-win game Picture: Allen Hollands
Chatham Town Women’s manager Keith Boanas takes his side to Billericay tonight for a must-win game Picture: Allen Hollands

Chatham’s task is huge. They are sitting second bottom, nine points from safety with seven games left. Directly above the Chats and the drop zone are the team they play tonight.

Manager Keith Boanas knows that defeat could all but end their hopes of retaining their place in the third tier of the women’s game.

“It’s a watershed moment,” said the experienced manager. “It’s make or break. Mathematically it still wouldn’t be impossible but this is a game I targeted (to win).

“They haven’t been in great form either but they will be fighting for these points for the same reason, they don’t want to be dragged into a situation where they have to compete with us in that sense.

“It is a vital game, it is everything now and we have prepared as best we can.”

Boanas’ side have yet to win a game in the league and he knew they would have it tough on Sunday away to Portsmouth. The league leaders have now scored 60 goals in their 15 games, conceding just four and they raced into a three-goal lead inside 20 minutes against Chatham.

Boanas said: “Portsmouth are a very good side and I would put them up there with Crystal Palace, who beat us in the FA Cup, with the goal record and the goals conceded record they have got, an athletic powerful side and from watching videos I probably underestimated them and overestimated what we could do.

“Our players gave what they could but we were out-gunned, exposed to a club on a high, a semi-professional model, they showed that they probably are a Championship club and based on what I saw on Sunday they will justifiably go on and win that league.”

FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division table

A more damaging result was their loss to Cardiff the week before, however, a match where the big decisions didn’t go their way.

Boanas said: “We went 1-0 down from a free-kick that shouldn’t have been in my opinion and then had an equaliser disallowed which would have been contender for goal-of-the-month.

“The assistant gave off-side and it’s been proven since through video footage that it wasn’t in any way shape or form even close to being off-side. If that’s given I think we would have won the game because we had the momentum.

“They went up the other end, there was a scramble in the goal, Lenny Priest has fallen to the ground, the ball has bounced and hit her on the arm and the referee has given a penalty. We found ourselves 2-0 down when it should have been 1-1.

“That summed up the whole afternoon in a sense but we still kept battling, we didn't look like conceding again and we had other chances but couldn’t convert.

“We came off completely gutted for the girls because it was one of the targets we had anticipated getting three points, let alone losing three. I don’t think it was through any fault of the players.

“I am not sure I can demand too much more from the players in their effort and commitment, we do need a bit of the rub of the green, we do need a bit of Lady Luck.”

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