Buckland Athletic Report

4th February 2020

Buckland Athletic 0

Cheltenham: Bevan 33’

Cheltenham Town Ladies returned to league action following last week’s postponement, expecting a close encounter against a Buckland side that had picked up four wins in their previous five fixtures, but a lofty finish from relentless midfielder Abby Bevan (pictured) saw The Robinesses pick up all three points.

The match started in a typical FA WNL Division One quick pace. The visiting side would create the first opening but were pulled back by the assistant referee’s offside flag.

After handball appeals from Cheltenham were waved away after an attacking pass appeared to strike an arm, Buckland were on the attack down the left, but couldn’t capitalise. The offside flag again halting their progress.

Some silky passing with Lauren Ellis, Ella Hitchcox and Abby Bevan all combining allowed Sarah King to find space on the right, but her cross had too much for Hitchcox at the far post.

The two teams would exchange attempts in the final third, with Buckland threatening with crosses from the right, while Cheltenham made dangerous darting runs down the wings, but neither side was able to find a finish.

Cheltenham would win a corner on the left which was cleared, allowing Buckland to break away at pace. Elle-Mae Simpson, making her first team debut, was called into action to stop a square ball across the face of goal.
Buckland’s corner was cleared and this set a platform for Cheltenham to create a counter of their own.

Kempski and Bevan combined to clear the danger and find Hitchcox on the diagonal ball. Hitchcox and Martin would combine to find Bevan charging forward in acres of space. The midfielder unleashing a shot from distance, gliding it past the reach of the Buckland goalkeeper and into the open net.

The visitors were rallied by this and set about looking for an equaliser, with a number of strong attacks. Cheltenham’s centre-half duo of Simspon and Hallsworth being called into action repeatedly to nod searching crosses away from goal.

Cheltenham would endure the waves of attacks and look to chalk up a second with King getting a chance to feed Bevan, who was only stopped from doubling her tally by the brave goalkeeping from the visitors. The Buckland shot stopper leaping at the midfielder’s feet to stop her getting a shot away.

Buckland would get a deadball opportunity seconds before the break, playing into a wide position to shape for a whipped delivery. The ball into the box was inviting for the away side but another strong header from Simpson lashed the threat away and the sides went in at the half with just a single goal separating them.

Half time: CTLFC 1-0 Buckland Athletic Women

Buckland’s team talk at half time lit a fire within the side and they started the much better side after the break.
An initial Cheltenham attack was thwarted, with Buckland playing some good passing football through the midfield in response, pushing players forward and building on the front foot.

The teams would trade possession on the uneven surface, with bumps and notches playing their part in the passing game, but it was the visiting side that came out on top, seeing more forward play, testing the Cheltenham fullbacks with diagonal passes.

After exchanging set piece situations, Cheltenham would build from the midfield efforts of Kempski and Bevan, only to be stopped by an offside flag. The visitors would waste their free-kick from deep, allowing Cheltenham to power through on the right but couldn’t create any further. The play resulting in nothing more than a goalkick.

After handling a wave of Buckland attacks, Cheltenham were able to turn defence into attack with a great ball into space for Hitchcox to chase. The pacy winger was able to win a corner, which saw Cheltenham gifted a player advantage as a Buckland winger was directed off the field to receive treatment for a bloody nose. The player in question would later receive a booking for not leaving the pitch as instructed, while Cheltenham were unable to direct their corner towards goal.

Buckland, back to full strength, would return to their flow and cause Cheltenham some issues, finding space on the wings. They were able to get in behind the home side’s defence but were forced to accept a corner kick after Lambe and Hallsworth tracked back to stop the cross.

Holly Fenton would come into the game for Sarah King and provide an energetic attack on the flanks against Buckland’s tired legs. Buckland would push forward, leaving Cheltenham to break with the pace of Fenton and Hitchcox demanding perfection from the visitor’s fullbacks.

With the clock ticking down, Hannah Galpin would enter the fray, replacing Jasmine Bull in the centre of midfield, and she didn’t look out of place, getting stuck in with necessary tackles to keep the visiting side’s chances down.

Ella Hitchcox would be the final Cheltenham player to leave the field, with young winger Caitlin Marron entering the game. The home side looking towards her pace for counter attacks as they sat deeper and deeper, absorbing the Buckland threats, the game getting more and more intense with every minute.

Buckland would gamble it all and send players forward, looking to outnumber the home side in their own half. They were able to fashion a chance but Levett was able to scamper across the face of goal and watch the cross go wide at the far post.

Buckland would have the final attempt on goal after a confident looking second half, but the shot from the edge of the box was snatched at and would dribble wide, not posing a threat to Cheltenham’s clean sheet.


Manager Alex Cheal sang his team’s praises after the match, with the young players stepping up from the Reserves getting a good deal of the focus:
“Win is a win. Difficult conditions, difficult circumstances before the game with a lot of player turnover, will it go ahead, will it not, and on top of that Buckland are always a tough opposition and you know what you get with them. So we’re delighted to be honest, we’ve had to bring in a few young ones and it’s a tough test, there aren’t many tougher tests than a Buckland game so we’re really proud of how we performed and three points is big, given how we haven’t played much league football recently.

“A late call up for Elle-Mae, we made the call last night that she would come in and be involved. She’s been involved with the team before, she came to Poole with us in January but didn’t get on. She’s a fantastic player, she trains really well so she’s always been around the team so we didn’t hesitate to throw her in there. We’ve got a bit of a crisis at centre-back at the moment so for her to come in and do well and perform, it’s fantastic.
And then with Harriet at fullback, she was always a signing we wanted to make and she’s shown her quality today so we’re happy with today.

“We’ve taken stock of where we are at the moment, and the experienced players we had that are now either ruling themselves out or moving elsewhere, we’ve now decided that this is the route we want to go down, so the younger players will get more chances this season. Granted we’re missing four or five from today that are aware for whatever reason, and they’ll come back into contention next week against Larkhall. But today, the young ones have done well, and given us a reason to think about things. So it’s a selection headache but that’s what we want them to be doing so there’s no complaints.”

Cheltenham Town Ladies continue their league action next week as they welcome Larkhall Athletic to The Big Local Stadium (GL51 9DX). Kick-off is at 2pm.

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