FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Report

7th October 2019

Brislington Ladies 0

Cheltenham: Criddle 39′, Brown 57′, Butler 59′, Martin 81′, Bartlett 85′

Five-star Cheltenham booked their place in the Third Qualifying Round but were made to work for it by a resilient Brislington, who never stopped battling from beginning to end.

Cheltenham’s midfield took control in the game’s early stages, with Criddle and Butterfield involved a number of times on the right hand side, but the final ball into the box was unable to test the goalkeeper.

The home side would ask questions early with a testing corner. Centre-half Mai Butler’s header at the far post was nodded off the line before Cerys Dolloway would have a similar chance from a second corner scrambled off the whitewash despite the appeals from Cheltenham that the goal be given.

It took the visitors a while to get started but when they did they demanded Cheltenham’s defensive organisation be on top form, breaking at pace down the wings. After Hallsworth and Dolloway combined to snuff out a break, Cheltenham were able to construct a counter of their own but Hallsworth’s cross was a simple one for the goalkeeper.

It wasn’t long before the visitors were in again with a dangerous ball from the left that had just too much on it for the on-rushing striker, allowing Levett to collect.

Despite Brislington picking up an injury, the visitors were able to work their way up the left with a number of throw-ins, pinning the Robins back and asking questions of the home side’s concentration with the frequent short stoppages.

After a Brislington move saw them fire over, Cheltenham tried to play quickly. A lapse in concentration from the short restart saw the visitors handed a chance but were unable to exploit the opportunity.

Minutes later, Cheltenham’s Rendall would be fouled in the Brislington half, allowing Criddle to step up and dispatch the set piece, hitting the back of the net from 35 yards.
The visitors responded with real pace and put pressure on the Robins’ defence, limiting the home side’s chances to breakaways, but neither side could chalk another score up before the end of the half.

Half Time: CTLFC 1-0 Brislington Ladies

Brislington would start the second half looking for an equaliser and they carved an early chance but the striker was unable to keep her shot low enough to trouble Levett in Cheltenham’s goal.

Cheltenham snapped back into action and were able to challenge the Brislington defence but Fensome wasn’t able to find the net with a far-post header.
Cheltenham would cause their own problems with some sloppy passing at the back. Brislington’s constant pressure on the defence paying dividends and forcing some wayward passes which allowed them a sniff at goal but they couldn’t capitalise, despite a threatening ball across the face of the Cheltenham goal.

Just over ten minutes into the half, young midfielder Georgia Brown stepped up after Kerry Bartlett was allowed to step inside and pull it back. Brown, after taking a touch, fired a shot from outside of the box and found the corner with a perfect placement.

Minutes later Cheltenham would take the attack back to Brislington and secure a corner. A fantastic ball into the box was headed away by the visiting defence, before a similar ball was sent back into the danger zone with Butler rising above the visiting defence inside a packed penalty box and made it three with a strong header.

Brislington refused to roll over however, and managed to find space as Cheltenham sent players forward. Hallsworth was forced into action and managed to track back and buy a throw-in off the winger she had just dispossessed.

Brislington would again turn the Cheltenham defence after going direct, looking to exploit any space behind the pressing defence. A killer ball forward forced Dolloway and Butler to track back and almost handed a good chance to the visitors but Levett was on hand to come and put a stop to it just inside the area.
After this, Cheltenham would step it up with their midfield taking control of the flow of the game. A Kirsten Rendall cross into the box was a real challenge for the Brislington ‘keeper as she came to claim under pressure from Bartlett.

Annie Martin would get herself on the scoresheet, becoming Cheltenham’s top scorer in the process after Cheltenham stopped the visitors from playing quickly. With Fensome winning the ball back in the attacking third, Georgia Brown would then weave her way around the edge of the Brislington defence on the right wing. After evading a couple of tackles and giving herself time to pick a pass, she squared it across the face of goal and Martin was able to hammer home albeit under pressure from her strike partner Kerry Bartlett.

After missing out to Annie Martin just five minutes before, Bartlett would get her name in among the scorers, after Wilkins’ cross from the left was flicked away. The header fell to the division’s top scorer last season and she was able to send the ball back across the face of the box and find the bottom corner.

Cheltenham would have one final chance at the death, again from a corner. Brown, not satisfied with just a goal and an assist, managed to get above her marker but her header struck the bar and bounced over.

Cheltenham: R. Levett, S. Hallsworth, C. Dolloway, M. Butler, K. Rendall, C. Criddle (Wilkins 66), G. Brown, L. Fensome, S. Butterfield (Bevan 55), E. Hitchcox (Bartlett 55), A. Martin.
Subs not used: A. Leask, L. Ellis.


Cheltenham Town Ladies manager Alex Cheal beamed following his side’s convincing win, delighted with the response from the previous week:

“Reaction is such an important word, we wanted a reaction from them and they’ve given it today. Ultimately the performance has followed that and the scoreline shows it a little bit more than last week- we created the same amount of chances last week but we just didn’t score them! Which is why we were so frustrated at the end of it, whereas today, we’ve created opportunities, and we’ve missed a hat-full, but we’ve scored five and they’ve been shared about, they’re good goals, so we’re happy with that and our overall dominance, the fact that they’ve had a limited number of chances. So we’re happy with the reaction, happy with the result but it sets us up for a tough week next week.

There’s not a lot of recovery time next week [between Sunday 13th and Tuesday 15th], so there’ll be a bit of rotation again. I know we have a few not available, but we’ll make necessary rotations, more so on the Sunday than the Tuesday and certainly not wholesale like before where it disrupted things, but the likes of Lauren Ellis and Amy Leask who didn’t feature today, will come in. So we’ll juggle the bodies and get them through the 90 minutes

It was great to see Kerry on the scoresheet, cause she’s been kicking herself in training. It was good to see Annie too, and they’re both natural goal scorers, as you can see with Annie’s goal, they’re basically in the exact same position but this is only their second game together, so once they get used to playing together and they learn how to play and develop a system it’ll be fantastic and they’re both on the scoresheet today which is what we all want.

We need to take momentum from today. We have to forget how Poole were on the opening day, cause they will have improved and got better so we need to get better to match it. It’s still a potential banana skin and this is a cup we think we could potentially go quite far in and compete in so we have to beat them professionally and win the right to win the game. They’ve also got one of the best goalkeepers in the league so we need to break down that wall and test her as much as the other 10 in front of her. If we play like today then it’s a comfortable one but at the minute we’re a little inconsistent with that, so we need another big reaction from today.”

Cheltenham Town Ladies are at home again next week, October 13th, in the FA Women’s National League Plate First Round. DN Fire Stadium, 2pm kick-off.

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