Ladies Lose Out in Five Goal Black Country Thriller

24th July 2018

Cheltenham took a trip to Midlands Division 1 side Sporting Khalsa on Sunday in buoyant mood following a positive performance last time out against West Bromwich Albion Women.

The tempo of the last game was carried over as Cheltenham made all of the early running and it took them all of 6 minutes to take the lead as Garland and Martin combined for the latter to set up Ella Hitchcox to tap home.

This eased Cheltenham into the game and they continued to play high up the pitch, although Khalsa’s neat football was posing cause for concern. 16 year old debutant Becky Wilkins was influential throughout the first half and her neat combination play with Sally Butterfield would lead to excellent chances for the Robins.

However it was Khalsa that struck the equaliser after 30 minutes when a mistake led to a turnover in possession high up the pitch. An expertly delivered ball was duly tapped home to make it 1-1. In the past this would have deterred Cheltenham and for a while it looked to swing the game that way again, however a new resolve has been found by the team and they gradually got on top again.

Before half time goal number two would come for the visitors as a neat pass by Wilkins into Holly Kay would allow the young forward the chance to swivel and play an acute pass through to the on rushing Butterfield. Clear of the defence, Butterfield had time to compose herself and pass the ball into the net to give Cheltenham a reward their play deserved heading into the break.

HT: Sporting Khalsa 1 v 2 Cheltenham Town Ladies

The second half started similar to the first with Cheltenham on top but they would be quickly pegged back by the games finest piece of skill. The equaliser came after 55 minutes when Khalsa’s number 7 picked the ball up just inside the Cheltenham half. With nimble feet, the midfielder danced her way around four players before slotting home past Hannah Bingham to cap off a fine move.

At this point Khalsa were on top as fitness levels started to show. The introduction of Emma Levett, Abby Dance, Charlie Rowlands and Hitchcox offered a swing in momentum away from the home side as they knocked firmly on Cheltenham’s defensive wall. It was on the counter attack that Cheltenham looked most dangerous and chances came and went.

The home side were to have the final say in the match and much like the week before, Cheltenham were guilty of switching off to concede a late goal to lose the game. Cheltenham lost the ball in midfield and with a high ball into the box Bingham was unable to reach the cross and Khalsa players queued up at the back post to tap home.

FT Sporting Khalsa 3 v 2 Cheltenham Town Ladies

‘While results are not an issue at this stage in pre-season, the overriding emotion from the players was of frustration. We didn’t look troubled for 75 per cent of the game and similarly to last week I didn’t think we would lose. It is still early in the programme for us and as a result the minutes are the most beneficial thing to come from today, however some of our play was superb as well. We are looking very good on the attack, which is something we could not say this time 6 months ago.

‘This week is tough with 3 games and 2 training sessions, but we look forward to the next game against Cardiff Met, where we will have almost everyone available. This game was pencilled in to show us where we are in our pre-season. Cardiff obviously beat us at their place quite convincingly so we have to overturn those perceptions on Wednesday night.’


Bingham, Brown-Wealls, Dolloway, Morris, Garland, French, Wilkins, Fensome, Hitchcox, Butterfield, Martin, Rowlands, Dance, Levett, Berry, Kay.

D2 Interactive