Brislington Match Report

6th September 2019

Brislington Ladies 1

Cheltenham: Ellis 34′, 66′, Brown 76′
Brislington: Sawyer 65′

Two long-range free-kicks from Lauren Ellis (pictured) and a penalty from Georgia Brown saw Cheltenham Town Ladies retain their unbeaten record at the expense of Brislington.

With a record crowd in attendance under the floodlights, the local derby became a feisty affair, with Brislington staying true to form with their physical play.

Cheltenham’s passing quality quickly rose above the scrappy defence and returning winger, Ella Hitchcox was immediately on the hunt going forward, and along with Bevan and Fensome, were able to secure an early corner.

From here, Cheltenham mounted pressure on the Brislington defence, camping in the visitor’s half and playing some slick passing football. The final ball, however, was always just ever so slightly too heavy.

It took a while for Brislington to fully get into the game, but after ten minutes they battled back with two shots in quick succession, fluffing their lines on each attempt.

Cheltenham stepped up a notch and tried to resume their controlling style of play, occasionally broken up by Brislington’s numerous fouls of Louise Fensome, who would spend most of the night being a target of harsh tackles.

The game etched into an end to end battle, Brislington going route one, looking for any chance to go for goal, while the Robins played their commanding passing game. Despite the flow of attacking football, Cheltenham couldn’t make the chances pay, with the final pass asking a bit much of the receiving player each time.

Brislington’s physical style of play would be their undoing. A foul on the Cheltenham left wing allowed Lauren Ellis to send the ball into the danger area. With players lining up a header in the box, the weighted cross evaded everyone and found the net at the far post.

Immediately after, Cheltenham were in again but Butterfield couldn’t apply the finish.
Brislington returned to the counter attack but couldn’t trouble Norman in the Cheltenham goal.

The sides traded chances in the closing minutes, with both teams unable to capitalise on great attacking positions, until the close of the half.

Half time: CTLFC 1 – 0 Brislington

Cheltenham searched down their second goal immediately from the restart, with Bevan trying to put Hitchcox away right from the kick-off.
The visitors responding by closing out the attack and trying to build a move of their own, but stopped their own momentum after a push in the back. Cheltenham resumed their control, with the free-kick, which despite being cleared, allowed Fensome and Brown to recycle and retain possession.

The visitors eventually equalised after Cheltenham sent bodies forward in search of a second. The counter attack that had been their bread and butter in the first half, paid dividends, as a looping shot caught Norman by surprise.

However, with less than 90 seconds on the clock, Cheltenham restored their lead. Another Ellis free-kick into the danger area saw the Brislington defender make a howler of a mistake and send it beyond the keeper. Ellis awarded the goal, to spare the visitor’s embarrassment.

The two sides exchanged possession, but the majority of the game remained in the Brislington half. Occasionally the visitors would try to break, but Dolloway and Ellis were on hand to close the door.

Less than ten minutes after Cheltenham restored their lead, Brislington shot themselves in the foot once more, bringing a Cheltenham player down in the box. Georgia Brown was on hand to tuck the penalty away.

The physical game saw Cheltenham resort to ten players, Amy Leask getting clattered by a reckless challenge. She was unable to play as Cheltenham had made all three substitutions. Three minutes later, another foul for the visitors saw the referee, tired of the constant hacking, produce a red card.

Brislington tried one final roll of the dice, flooding bodies forward but Butler, the rock at the heart of Cheltenham’s defence put an end to their efforts pretty quickly, with the referee bringing an end to proceedings seconds later.

Cheltenham: A. Norman, A. Leask, C. Dolloway (c), M. Butler, L. Ellis, A. Bevan, L. Fensome, G. Brown, E. Hitchcox (A. Martin 69), S. Butterfield (S. King 62) A. Kempski (H. Fenton 62)

Attendance: 142


After the final whistle, manager Alex Cheal was delighted with the return of familiar faces and the dominance in possession, but maintained his team were not getting carried away as they climbed to second place:

“It’s an important win and one that was similar to Sunday. We have again dominated possession and chances but if you don’t take those chances you will always allow your opponents a moment in the game. The goal we conceded was a poor one from a defensive perspective but 12 months ago we wouldn’t have reacted positively to that.

“Ella [Hitchcox] is a quality player and someone we’ve missed. Her experience and ability with the ball is different to Sarah or Sally so it was important to get minutes into her legs ahead of the upcoming games. It says a lot about our squad that we could bring Sarah off the bench who has been our best player the last few weeks, and Holly for the likes of Ella and Sally, let alone adding Annie Martin’s return.

“Despite the two Southampton sides dropping points to each other, we’re not really entertaining any talk of the top spot.
I think there’s a bigger picture to what we are doing but we just have to keep taking each game as it comes. The Southampton teams are fancied to win this league but it doesn’t take away from the likes of Exeter and Larkhall who are also flying.
There are no easy games at this level so we have to be able to compete with the sides in front of us. Our attention now turns to Sunday in which Larkhall will pose a completely different set of abilities”

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