Buckland Athletic Women Match Report

2nd September 2019

Buckland Athletic Ladies 0

Cheltenham: King 47′

Cheltenham shrugged off last week’s cup disappointment with an impressive performance against a team that are looking to build on their strong showing last season.

The home side looked threatening in the early stages, playing most of the football in the Cheltenham half. The centre-half duo of Mai Butler and captain, Cerys Dolloway keeping them out.

With the tie developing into a typical end-to-end game, both sides looked to establish dominance, with Georgia Brown, Abby Bevan and Louise Fensome giving the visitors a slightly firmer hold of the game.

With Cheltenham switching gears, the home side were limited to break away chances or shots from distance for a short spell, with Buckland’s Sarah Stacey constantly on the lookout for a possibility but not receiving the service.

As the game progressed, both sides were able to create. Cheltenham building well with some fancy passing moves, King (pictured) and Butterfield in the thick of it. Buckland on the other hand, limited to counter attacks but were still able to take advantage of them. Stand-in goalkeeper, Alyta Norman being called into a number of saves, collecting whipped crosses into the danger zone.

Going forward for Cheltenham, Fenton was a thorn in Buckland’s defence’s side, but neither side could produce the goods in their final third, with the half ending in a stalemate.

Half time: Buckland Athletic Women 0 – 0 CTLFC

The second half started much like the first half had, with Buckland starting quickly and Cheltenham being forced into defending ruggedly. After weathering a small storm, which saw Buckland play around the penalty area and win a couple of corners, Cheltenham were able to clear long and attack with pace.

Bevan and Fenton broke away as Buckland had thrown bodies forward, and Bevan’s cross found its way to winger Sarah King. The former Swindon youngster picking her shot perfectly, slotting the shot back across the goal and in off the post, leaving goalkeeper Bond no chance.

Conceding the goal lit a fire under Buckland, with the home side winning another corner. The ball was put in dangerously towards the far post but the header missed the target.

Cheltenham took this as a wake up call and King was involved in the play again, crossing from the left to find Butterfield at the far post but the finish didn’t have the accuracy.

The game developed into a bit of a battle in the midfield third, with both sides trading possession and the passing turning wayward.
Cheltenham would come out on top with most of the play now featuring on the wings, with Hallsworth, Butterfield and Fenton all involved.

With 15 minutes left, Buckland turned up the heat, with numerous crosses calling Norman into action in the Cheltenham goal. The ‘keeper laying claim to everything going into the box as the home side started throwing their all at Cheltenham as the clock ticked down.

With the clock entering the red, Buckland secured themselves a free kick, on the left, halfway in the Cheltenham midfield. The dangerous ball into the box was flicked on towards Sarah Stacey who blazed what could be the best chance of the entire game, over the bar from just a couple of yards out.

Cheltenham would take one last attack to Buckland, with Buckland closing it down and creating an attack of their own before the referee brought the game to its conclusion.

Cheltenham: A. Norman, S. Hallsworth, C. Dolloway (c), M. Butler, L. Ellis, A. Bevan, L. Fensome, G. Brown, S. Butterfield (A. Leask, 88), S. King (A. Kempski, 83), H. Fenton (C. Criddle, 71)


After the game, Alex Cheal was delighted at the performance, but was quick to keep his focus on the cluster of games coming up during the next week:

“I think we’ve always said we’ll take a game as it comes but that was a really, really pleasing performance, especially after last week.
But we’re still in a bit of transition, where Tom [Davies, Assistant Manager] is implementing new things and the coaches are working really hard and the players are just reacting to it, and today was a highlight of what we’ve worked on this week. It’s just coming together, maybe not at the right time but each component will come at the right time and we’ll be a real force I think. In terms of a statement of intent, we’ve never done this before, we’ve never come here and beaten them.

It’s even better, given the circumstances, we’ve come here without our first choice goalkeeper, and arguably the best three strikers in the league [Annie Martin, Kerry Bartlett and Paige Stewart], to come here and do that really shows how strong we are this season.

[The final ten minutes] Maybe this time last season we would have conceded under the pressure. But Mai is bringing out the best in Cerys, and Cerys is bringing out the best in Mai, the two fullbacks were fantastic today as well and I can’t speak highly enough of Sammy Hallsworth and how good she was today after coming back from a longterm injury, she was just a breath of fresh air today. We looked so solid as a back four today that I didn’t feel we were under any immense pressure at all. Yeah we rode our luck at the end, but that’s natural at 1-0 to gift opportunities. For 87 minutes I didn’t feel like we’d concede but we just got deeper and deeper and invited pressure on but we handled it and it shows the characters in the squad.

[Looking to Brislington midweek] We’ve said that we’ve got a squad and we’ll rotate it as and when needed. And that was the message to the girls today. The fourteen that are here, the three that were sat on the bench will get rotated at some point over the next two games.
It’s tough to go and get three wins in the space of a week. We believe in our squad and the players we have and we have to factor in the injuries too, Pan [Bec Panniers] and Ella [Hitchcox], Annie [Martin] and Kerry [Bartlett] possibly coming back might all be returning very soon. People always question why we have such a big squad, but this shows it. We’ve proven that we need it.

Nobody was disappointed at only getting a few minutes today. It doesn’t matter if it was 15 or four, cause they’re part of the collective goal today. They’ve gone out there, played their roles, and got the result ultimately.
So we train Tuesday, game Thursday and that’s our next one. The aim is three points there. A bit of a local derby, under the lights, and they don’t travel too well but it’s a bit of a local one and they’ll be up for it. They took points off us last year and we can’t afford to take them lightly, regardless of recent results. So we have to pull out another similar performance to today.”

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