Match report: Ladies v St Nicks

23rd October 2018

Cheltenham Town Ladies played host to St Nicks on Sunday in their return to the Gloucestershire County Cup competition. Fresh from last season’s disappointment of losing in the final to their Yate-based rivals, Cheltenham were looking to continue their good form.
The visitors have had a huge change over the summer following their withdrawal from the Women’s National League, and subsequently folding their first team.  They came into the game as a Gloucestershire County Division 1 outfit, looking to rebuild the club and early signs in the league had shown their development.
Cheltenham, however, have themselves evolved and their authority was asserted from the off with a goal by their leading goalscorer, Annie Martin, after thirty seconds following a driving run by Hitchcox down the right.
The early goal settled the hosts and they camped themselves in their opposition’s half with Martin, Hitchcox and Durham all guilty of missing chances. Goal number two did not take too long to come with Lucy Durham opening her account for Town with a neat header following a flick by Hateley.
Goals were quick to follow with Cheltenham continuing to assert their authority over their opposition, who struggled to get out of their half. The defensive line of Walters, Hateley and Purvis looked to play at all times, allowing Hitchcox and Durham to progress higher up the pitch. A cross shot from Durham slid home to make it three nil to Town.
Goals four and five would follow in quick succession with the best finishes of the match. Firstly, forward Rose Knuckey would open her seasonal account with a superb flowing move from left to right by Cheltenham, resulting in Knuckey volleying home from the edge of the area. The impressive Brown (pictured) would add goal number five with the sixteen year old blasting home on the half volley into the top corner to give the home side a comfortable lead.
At this point Cheltenham were looking to keep standards high and they did not let up with Durham adding a superb strike past the keeper following a Wilkins through ball. With half an hour gone Cheltenham were comfortable, however it was the visitors that scored the next goal when a lapse in concentration by Town’s defence allowed St Nicks captain Charlie Davis the chance to stroke home.
With ten minutes before half time, the impressive Georgia Brown would complete her hat-trick with two superb long range finishes.
HT: Cheltenham 8 v 1 St  Nicks
The second half would see the introduction of Lauren Ellis, Sam Morris and forward Rhian Robbins to allow much needed game time across the squad. Robbins was quick to introduce herself with two strikes on goal that were saved well by St Nicks keeper Lauren White.
As the hour mark approached Cheltenham added their first of the half with Brown adding her fourth of the game with another long range strike. Cheltenham’s ability to keep hold of the football was a highlight with Fensome, Wilkins and Brown looking to shift the ball from left to right.
Winger Hitchcox was next to get in on the act after good work by Robbins to round two players, allowing her winger to nip in and tap home to continue her scoring run. Cheltenham however were not done here and it took sixty seconds to add goal eleven when Hateley would get in on the act with a piercing strike into the corner of the net.
Cheltenhams pressure was easing as the game ground to a halt, but there was still enough time for Martin and Brown to add to their tallies and complete Cheltenham’s victory.
FT: Cheltenham 13 v 1 St Nicks
‘Today was a good exercise for us. The result looks like it was an easy performance but we have got a lot out of today. Last season we struggled to overcome sides from two or three leagues below because we lacked a level of professionalism to get the job done. Today highlights the change in mentality from us as a club because we remained ruthless throughout and the girls kept the ball very well.
‘We look forward to the next round but we now have to switch our attention to Sunday and Poole away. It will be a tough game because it looks like they are starting to turn the corner, so we have to be professional again and earn the right to win the game.’

D2 Interactive