Chichester City Report

17th December 2019

Chichester 4

Chichester: Fox x2, Simmonds, Phelps,

Following the previous week’s postponement, Cheltenham Town Ladies welcomed Chichester to Gloucestershire, at a new venue for the Robinesses; Tewesbury School’s 3G surface.

The speedy surface allowed for some great passing play, exhibited by Cheltenham from the very start, with Ella Hitchcox latching onto a diagonal ball and forcing the first corner.
The attacking threat was there as Cheltenham played short, hoping to catch the visitors napping, but the Chichester goalkeeper claimed the cross in a packed box.

The opening stages would see the visitors remain composed, with Cheltenham stopping any attempt at build up play and threatening to catch them on the counter.
Eventually the visitors were able to construct an attack and force themselves a corner. End-to-end football, all in the first five minutes.

With neither side able to convert chances, the game developed into a midfield exchange, with both teams looking to make a meaningful attack but cancelling each other out with good interceptions.

The visitors broke the deadlock ten minutes before the end of the half. A floated corner was semi-cleared before a sweetly struck shot outfoxed Bec Panniers in the Robinesses’ goal, as it sailed over the bodies in the box.

A minute later they chalked up their second goal. A zipped, low finish placed just out of the reach of Panniers, doubling their advantage.
Cheltenham captain Cerys Dolloway, who stayed down after the goal had been scored, being forced off through injury.

Cheltenham were presented an opportunity in the dying minutes, as Hitchcox and Ellis forced a corner down the left hand side but the beauty of a ball from Ellis had just too much pace on it for Becky Wilkins in the box.

Then almost right at the whistle, Chichester capitalised again as Cheltenham offered up too much respect to the visitors. This time an impressive low drive from the edge of the box beating Panniers to her right.

Half Time: CTLFC 0-3 Chichester

Cheltenham responded strongly in the second half, forming an immediate attack with Sammy Hallsworth (pictured) and Sarah King flying down the right wing. The final pass to put King through having just a bit too much momentum on the slick surface for the young winger to keep it in play

The visitors would ease back into the match, despite being under early pressure but Cheltenham would hold firm, Fensome, Bevan and Wilkins providing some great play in the centre of midfield, looking to claw one back for the Robinesses.

Chichester created a couple of chances as Cheltenham looked to get bodies forward, but stand-in centre half, Georgia Brown was on hand to thwart any attempts, limiting their chances and allowing Panniers to make some good stops.

Cheltenham kept the levels of control up, limiting Chichester’s chances to counter attacks. Hallsworth, King and Fensome involved again in some skillful passing, but were unable their way through on the right.

Just before the hour mark, Cheltenham made their two final changes, Alice Kempski replacing Becky Wilkins and Kirsten Rendall replacing Amy Leask.
Following the change, some more good passing allowed Hallsworth to float one into the danger zone for Hitchcox, but the pacey winger was unable to connect.

Minutes later Cheltenham were in again, Hitchcox on the left, stepping inside and selflessly seeking out Fensome on the edge of the box instead of shooting. Chichester were able to clear and form a threatening counter attack, with Brown and Rendall on hand to give away only a corner.

The visitors would go on to make it four, as a well placed delivery was met with a free header in the box. The player was found in acres of space in the penalty area, but still had work to do to pinpoint the header towards the target.

Minutes later, the visitors would strike the bar, with Panniers unable to make the stop. Fortunately for the hosts, the ball stayed out of net and Cheltenham were able to regroup.

Chichester would then become their own worst enemy with some sloppy passing inside their own box. King able to pounce on the mistake and whip a cross for Bartlett, but a combination of goalkeeper and defender were on hand to stop the shot.

Hitchcox again would exploit some wayward play in the Chichester half, beating the ‘keeper to a bouncing ball forward before squaring it for Bartlett, who struck first time. Her rifle of a shot striking the defending and sailing over for a corner. Once again, unable to convert.

In the final moments Cheltenham would win yet another corner, which was flicked away. Hallsworth recycled the ball into the box for Hitchcox again but the defender was able to lash it clear.

Hitchcox would have Cheltenham’s final attempt, a couple of minutes before the end, in a one-on-one situation against the goalkeeper, but she was unable to steer her shot goalwards.

Cheltenham: B. Panniers, S. Hallsworth, C. Dolloway (King 41), A. Leask (Rendall 59), L. Ellis, G. Brown, L. Fensome, B. Wilkins (Kempski 59), A. Bevan, E. Hitchcox, K. Bartlett


Manager, Alex Cheal, was disappointed with the result, but more so as it wasn’t a reflection of his side’s performance:

“We are naturally disappointed with the result but I have mixed emotions after such a dominant performance with the ball. The lead up to the game has not been great with no competitive fixture in over a month and some of our play was representative of that. We got punished at times for our own mistakes.

“As odd as this may sound, it showed we are on the right path. The scoreline does not reflect the game and until we look back at it and analyse where we came unstuck, we will continue to wonder how we have lost this game by such a margin. I don’t believe they are a better side than us, but it shows we have work to do to.

“Cery’s [Dolloway] will be out for two weeks with an ankle sprain. Christmas has come at a good time for us with injuries mounting up.

“We know we will get a reaction [ahead of next week]. There is no bigger motivation than a local derby. We will also have the likes of Annie Martin, Mai Butler, Charlotte Criddle back and hoping to have a new signing on board by then as well.”

The Robinesses return to FA Women’s National League Division 1 South-West action at home to Swindon Town Women in the first of this season’s Robins Derbies, on December 22nd (2pm). All supporters wearing a Christmas jumper for this fixture will receive free entry to this game.

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