Billericay Match Report

26th August 2019

Billericay 3

Billericay: Rodney 3′, Dougal 54′, Blackie 67′
Cheltenham: Butterfield 26′

For the second week in a row, Cheltenham Town Ladies were forced into a last minute switch, as goalkeeper Bec Panniers’ picked up a back injury in the early stages of the warm up. Heroically, goalkeeping coach Alyta Norman stepped up as a last minute replacement.

In heat that can only be described as “playing football on the surface of the sun”, Cheltenham kicked off and started well with young prospect, Holly Fenton, forcing a corner in under a minute. However, it wasn’t used well and Billericay were able to clear

After a Cheltenham follow-up attack, Billericay were able to turn over possession and work a move down their right wing, which saw the ball whipped into the danger zone and converted from point blank range. The home side taking the lead with only two minutes on the stopwatch.

From the restart, both teams tried to play their brands of passing football, despite the horrendous heat. With Billericay able to create just slightly clearer chances than the visitors, the efforts of Cerys Dolloway and Lauren Ellis kept the home side from extending their lead.

The game developed into an end-to-end affair, with both sides forcing corners but neither team able to fully exploit them.
On the 20th minute mark the referee brought the game to a stop to allow the teams to take on water and Cheltenham were able to use this to their advantage.

As Norman restarted the game, her long ball downfield found young debutante, Sarah King, who picked out a fantastic cross for Sally Butterfield (pictured) to head home and restore the score to an equal footing.

Billericay responded in kind and went on a flurry of attacks, missing each of them from close range.
At the opposite end, King was again causing problems, as she set up Bevan for a shot but the visitors had to settle for another corner.

Nearing the end of the first half, the heat and pace of the game started to show as both team’s passing turned wayward.
A looping shot from Billericay forced Norman into a save, the stand-in ‘keeper doing well to tip the ball over the bar. The corner, and resulting shot, not enough to trouble the Cheltenham goal.

Billericay would throw one more attempt at the visitor’s defence but were unable to create before the referee brought the action to the end.

Half time: Billericay 1 – 1 CTLFC

Billericay made a couple of changes at half time and the fresh energy brought a real potency to their attacking play.
The home side restarted the game and went on the attack straight from the whistle. Cheltenham were able to handle the threats, but were unable to use the ball in possession and struggled to fully clear their lines.

On the 53rd minute, fullback Amy Leask was adjudged to have fouled her opposite winger despite winning the ball. The penalty was converted, and Cheltenham looked to get back into the game.

Charlotte Criddle came on for midfielder Alice Kempski, who had worked hard during her shift, but it couldn’t settle Cheltenham down and the home side continued to run the show.
It was nearly the 60th minute before Cheltenham fashioned a real move, with Fenton and Leask asking questions down the right but a poor cross wasn’t any danger for the Billericay goalkeeer.

Fenton produced Cheltenham’s best chance of the second half, as some sloppy Billericay defending allowed the striker a sniff at goal but she wasn’t able to find the target.

Cheltenham made another substitution, with captain Dolloway making way for Kayleigh Hateley in a direct swap.
Less than a minute later, Cheltenham found themselves 3-1 down as they tried to play out from the back. As Butler shaped to pass, directed towards Hateley, the striker was able to read the pass, take the space and charge down Butler’s pass, before producing a good finish from outside the box despite pressure from Hateley.

Young winger, Caitlin Marron, joined the fray, replacing Lauren Ellis and added a much needed bit of energy to the visitor’s midfield game.
Cheltenham tried to make chances but were just not able to find a way through, while the home side squandered opportunity after opportunity.

In the last ten minutes, the home side piled the pressure on, with a number of corners. Cheltenham’s defence dealt with the risks but were unable to make anything click going forward.

In added on time, Marron tried to pressure the Billericay defence into a mistake but it wasn’t to be, with the added-on time expiring for the visitors.

Cheltenham: A. Norman, A. Leask, C. Dolloway (K. Hateley 66 ), M. Butler, L. Ellis (C. Marron 73 ), G. Brown, A. Bevan, A. Kempski (C. Criddle 55 ), S. Butterfield, S. King, H. Fenton


After the final whistle, manager Alex Cheal downplayed the loss:

“Positive in terms of first half performance, yes. But you always want to win games in football in order to creative positive attitudes. So we areā€¦ I guess disappointed in the moment but you can’t really win or lose in the Determining Round, so it didn’t really matter if we won the game or not. But we just required a positive performance, and their quality took over towards the end. But we’ll learn from it and go onto the next one.

“I think any competition you go into win it. We took the tough route last year in terms winning the determining round and going into the tougher competition, but I’ve just seen Oxford have lost, so there are still going to be some high quality teams going into the plate and I’d love a little derby against Oxford, that would be quite nice. It’s one of those where you take each round as we’re taking each game and we don’t put pressure on ourselves, we’re a small team competing above where it should be, so we’ll see what the round brings us and we’ll address it when it comes around.

“The heat is an easy way out for the players, if we were smarter in the first half with our ball retention and our decision making then the second half becomes easy. If we take chances as well, and ulatimately we tailed off when we conceded the second goal. Then you test character and test the group of players that we have and we didn’t get a reaction. They’ve said there are a numbe of factors, but ultimately its a learning process. You learn who your leaders are when you’re 2-1 down, then 3-1 and we just lacked that a little bit today so we’ll learn from it, we’ll get better and then next week is the big one.

We don’t know what’s wrong with Pan [Bec Panniers], so we can’t put a time frame on how long she’s going to be out for, it’s obviously not ideal preperations for next week but if she can’t make it then Molly steps up, that’s why we have the Reserves, so we’ll see what the week brings.

“Buckland are always going to be strong, it’s a tough place to go to. It’s another two training sessions before that game so we’ve got bits to put right and it’s a learning process for us so we’ve got to just put the minor tweaks right and then that sets us up and we’ll see what Buckland brings next week.
but they had a tough game against Keynsham, but they will have had a positive outing as well, so we’ve both been in the same position and ultimately next week is a different week and we’ve got different players available and we have a settled group again so we’ll get Tuesday and Thursday out of the way with and then roll on Sunday”

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