Birmingham & West Midlands Lades Match Report

21st July 2019

Birmingham & West Midlands 1

Cheltenham Town Ladies continued their good form in pre-season with a competitive game against Birmingham And West Midlands Ladies, of the FA Women’s National League Division 1 Midlands.

Cheltenham started well, controlling the early possession and limiting the visitors to breakaway chances, but nothing threatening for new goalkeeper Lucy Clarke.
Early attacking moves involving Becky Wilkins, Sarah King and Ella Hitchcox caused problems for the Birmingham defence before King beat her marker and got into a good position to cross from the left. Her cross found Sally Butterfield, who set it back for Ella Hitchcox to find the net on the 6th minute.

Birmingham responded strongly and demanded quality play from the Cheltenham defence, with Dolloway and Hateley snuffing out a number of attacks before calming the Robins’ down and playing possession football amongst the back four.

A slight injury to Amy Leask saw her come off on the 14th minute to be replaced by Alice Kempski before Cheltenham got another good chance through King again. The young winger did fantastically to control the ball at the first chance but couldn’t provide the finish, off balance and with her weaker foot.

The visitors had their first real chance when the home side switched off after conceding a free-kick but it was a simple stop for Clarke.

At the other end, the visitors were struggling to handle Hitchcox’s pace, with the striker conceding a corner off of a defender’s face.
Birmingham tried to play out from deep after the corner was saved but King and Bevan forced them into mistakes.

With Cheltenham looking to extend their lead and Birmingham looking to reply, the game developed into an end-to-end affair before Cheltenham settled down into their rhythm, with Ellis and King on the left but the final pass or cross seemed to be lacking.

The visitors drew level just before the half time whistle as former Robins’ striker Holly Rogers pulled a strong save out of Lucy Clarke before the rebound was stuck away from outside the box.

Half time: 1-1

Cheltenham rang the changes at half time and brought experienced midfielder Louise Fensome and young striker Maddy Brown into the fold.
It didn’t take long before either player was in action, with Fensome getting stuck in, winning the ball in midfield and looking to supply Cheltenham’s creative wingers.

Eventually it paid dividends, as Hitchcox was released down the right, leaving her marker chasing shadows. She found Maddy Brown (pictured ) on the edge of the box who, while under pressure from a number of defenders, managed to turn and find the net with a very impressive finish.

Immediately after this, Hitchcox was upsetting her marker again with a move almost identical to the one that provided the second goal. This time the Birmingham defence weren’t as generous, closing down Brown and stopping her shot.

On the 62nd minute Lauren Kayll replaced Sarah King and Hitchcox switched from right to left wing and found herself immediately involved, winning a corner.

Birmingham saw a little spell in the Cheltenham half with a series of throw-ins but Kempski and Dolloway gave no quarter.
On the 76th minute, King returned to the game and replaced Kempski for a shift at right-back.

Cheltenham kept pressuring through Brown and Kayll but weren’t able to find the third.
As the game ended the final ten minutes both sides started seeing passes miss their intended targets, but the attacking grouping of Hitchcox, Fensome, King and Brown made sure Birmingham’s defence were constantly working. Eventually the pressure paid off as Brown forced a corner but Cheltenham weren’t able to capitalise.

Nearing the full time whistle, Wilkins clipped a fantastic ball in which had too much for Maddy Brown but just enough for Kayll but she couldn’t keep her header down.

The Robins would see out the clock through the nonstop work of Wilkins, Fensome and Bevan in the midfield to pick up their second pre-season win on the bounce.

Attendance: 94

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