Pulsating Win Puts Manager In Seventh Heaven

20th August 2018

Cheltenham Town Ladies took the short trip to Bristol to face local rivals Brislington Ladies on the opening day of the FA Women’s National League South West Division 1.

It was a superb opening for the neutral as three goals in five minutes kickstarted the season. It was Cheltenham who struck first with the first attack of the game. The tireless work of Annie Martin (pictured)  was rewarded as her closing down of the Brislington goalkeeper resulted in a clearance falling into the net.

It was the perfect start for the away team but it didn’t take long for the home side to level as a long ball over to the right was collected by Baber and delivered expertly for Sawyer to tuck home.

One quickly became two for the home side on five minutes when another direct ball to Baber was delivered to Sawyer, this time looping a shot over Bingham in Cheltenham’s goal.

Brislington were having joy down Cheltenham’s left, however Cheltenham were also looking dangerous going forward. Chances for Martin, Robbins and Hitchcox all wasted.

HT: Brislington 2 v 1 Cheltenham

The second half started like the first with Cheltenham scoring inside thirty seconds of the restart when a long ball by Fensome was capitalised on by Hitchcox, who in turn looped a strike over the keeper.

Cheltenham’s confidence was growing and their play showed this with Wilkins and Fensome getting hold of the midfield. The lead was quick to follow when a through ball by Lauren Ellis was finished by Martin to give Cheltenham back the lead.

The end to end game was creating a real spectacle and although Cheltenham were now on top, it was again the home team showing their resolve to score the equaliser. A hopeful looking ball by Brislington turned the Cheltenham defence and Sawyer was able to capitalise on indecision to knock the ball and deliver a cross for a tap in on the far post.

The goal seemed to rock Cheltenham but they were still the side posing questions and a goal on 72 minutes was their reward when Martin completed her hat trick with another one on one. At 4-3 Cheltenham were still pushing forward and the following attack would reward them again as three minutes later Martin’s set back for Sophie Wyatt was perfect as the midfielder lifted the ball over the keeper.

Cheltenham were again on top and they finally had a spell where they looked settled and tried to move the ball. Wyatt’s introduction gave a balance to Cheltenham in midfield and her and Briscoe were to combine to release Martin to score number four for her personally and Cheltenham’s sixth.

At this point the game should have been over but Brislington were able to score again. Once again poor defending by Cheltenham allowed the home side to score when a defensive mix up resulted in an own goal.

The game was closer than it should have been and Cheltenham just needed to manage the game. At points, Martin and Walters looked to hold the ball up in the corners and Brislington looked resigned to the loss. Goal seven for Cheltenham came with the final passage of the game following a Brislington attack. A superb counter when a ball by Fensome released Briscoe who in turn beat two players and fired in.

FT: Brislington 4 v 7 Cheltenham Town

‘What a game for the neutral! Ultimately I am happy to have got a win on the opening day of the season. This is a tough place to come to at any point in the season so to have come here already and got three points is important.

‘Today has highlighted that we have a lot to work on but when you put into context that it’s the first time we have played that back four. We know we can score goals this year so we need to tighten up defensively now but as we get a consistently settled side we will improve.’

Bingham, Dance (Purvis), Dolloway, Rogers, Walters, Hitchcox, Wilkins, Fensome, Ellis(Wyatt), Robbins(Briscoe), Martin. Sub unused: Panniers.

D2 Interactive