Chesham United Women Report

28th September 2020

Chesham United 0

Cheltenham: Grove 34′

Cheltenham Town Ladies picked up all three points on an intense opening day against Chesham United Ladies.

The teams exchanged attacking movements in the opening minutes, with neither able to string the perfect final pass.

Play stopped with less than four minutes on the clock as new captain, Mai Butler, received a shot to the face, but the strong centre-half ploughed on to lead the defensive line.

Cheltenham would settle quickly and put their flowing passing game to the task, with Bevan, Criddle, Grove (pictured) and Haynes all involved early. The Robinesses would ask questions of the visitors’ midfield and defence, who battled for everything and keep the home side out.

The away side would grow into the game, and fashion a chance in the 21st minute. Cheltenham would hold their shape and force Chesham to clip a cross into the danger zone between goalkeeper and defence, but Levett was on hand to collect the loose ball.

Levett would be called into action again as Chesham pushed forward. The goalkeeper having to close down the space as the striker gave chase to a low ball down the line.

From this, Cheltenham would turn defence into attack, as their flowing passing game saw Billy Haynes find Jade Grove in space at the edge of the box, who set herself and unleashed a fantastic low drive to beat Lucia Delves in the Chesham goal.

Shortly after Cheltenham would be in again, Haynes stopped only by a perfectly timed sliding tackle by the visitors’ defence.
Chesham would create something of their own from the sliding tackle, with a through ball for Elouath to chase, which had Rebecca Halford and Harriet Lambe scrambling, with the Irish fullback Lambe stepping in to tidy up.

Chesham continued to attack the Cheltenham back line, but couldn’t find a way through as Butler, Criddle and Halford threw themselves in front of shots from outside the box.

The visitors would have a fantastic chance, with a ball on the left causing problems for the Cheltenham defence. With Halford unable to stop the cross, Levett had to dive at the striker’s feet. The ball found its way past the Cheltenham keeper, only to hit the post and bounce back into play. Levett would pounce on the loose ball as the home fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Half Time: Cheltenham 1-0 Chesham United Ladies

Cheltenham returned to the passing game after the restart, with Bevan, Haynes and Grove combining to work their way through the Chesham defence.
Grove’s fancy feet and turns eventually winning the home side a free-kick, but Criddle fired wide from distance.

The intensity was ramped up after Cheltenham were awarded a free-kick and words were exchanged by both sides. Cheltenham would send the ball into the box but the away side were able to remove the danger.

Minutes later, Cheltenham would have the ball in the net a second time, as Abby Bevan was found in the box and slammed the ball into the roof of the net, but the offside flag ruled the goal out.

The visitors would be motivated by this, and would look to pile the pressure on the home defence. Kempski and Criddle would be forced to step in multiple times to stem the flow of passing from the midfield, while Cheltenham looked to fashion breakaways, but couldn’t quite make things click.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Jade Grove was able to fashion a counter attack as Cheltenham cleared long up the field. The strong striker was able to hold off her marker and fire across goal but wasn’t able to hit the target.
Grove would then take a knee under cramp before heading straight to the dugout. She would shortly be replaced by Sarah King.

The pace of the game would lurch into life as the game hit the late stages. Chesham would build momentum as Cheltenham looked to fashion counter attacks. The home side would sit deep and force the visitors to play, with the red and white defence keeping Chesham at bay.

Cheltenham would roll the dice with Hood and King, but the attacks were snuffed out by the assistant referee’s flag. The visitors would throw everything at the home side but couldn’t find a way past Butler and Halford in the centre of defence.

Cheltenham: R. Levett, S. Hallsworth, M. Butler (c), R. Halford, H. Lambe (Ellis 75), A. Kempski (J. Hood 80), C. Criddle, A. Bevan, L. Kayll, B. Haynes, J. Grove (King 69).
Subs not used: S. Morris, R. Scahill


“I’m just delighted for the girls! We’ve put on a fantastic performance. In possession, we’ve tried and put into action, some of the patterns of play that we’re looking for, but out of possession as well in terms of our transitions and the way that we’ve won the individual battles.

“We’ve been organised which is really pleasing and ultimately a clean sheet on the opening day is a really important thing we wanted to get and it’s something that we’ve got, and it’s a fantastic base to go and build off.

[In reference to Jade Grove’s substitution] “Jade’s just got cramp. I think it’s just one of them, it’s a difficult one cause of Hartpury and the training and things like that. She’s put in a huge shift and at 70 minutes she was going to tire anyway, as did everybody. But she got herself a fantastic goal, and she’s been involved in all of pre-season, she’s worked very hard and deserves that opportunity. And with limited chances for her personally, to take that one was really good, and a good time for us a team really.

[Ahead of Swindon on Thursday and Larkhall on Sunday] “We’ll train Tuesday as normal. We’ll work hard, and we’ll work with the periodisation we’ve got.

“We’ve got a good squad and one of the good things about this squad is that everybody brings their individual qualities but when they come in they know how to be part of that team. So everyone will come in and add certain things and between Thursday and Sunday with limited turnaround, we’ll rotate, but I’m not too worried about the rotation cause the depth we have in this squad is fantastic.”

For the digital match programme for this game, click here.

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