Swindon Town Women 0-1 CTLFC

21st January 2022

Report by Jamie Cameron

A fantastic finish from Jade Grove earned Cheltenham Town Ladies all three points in a testing local derby away to Swindon Town.

In the Robins’ first game for a month, Grove (pictured) found the top corner from 25 yards early on, and that proved to be the only goal.

The win takes Cheltenham’s advantage at the top of the Women’s National League Division One South West back to five points ahead of the trip to Larkhall Athletic on Sunday.

It was also a third successive clean sheet, as goalkeeper Aimee Watson was forced to make a couple of strong saves on a night where Cheltenham created the majority of the chances.

Tom Davies handed a maiden start to Emily Owen, with her fellow new signing Holly Reed starting on the bench.

The visitors got off to an excellent start as Holly Rogers and Lacy-Jai Liggett both tested Emily McGrogan in the early stages, before Grove opened the scoring on six minutes.

She picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, turned and placed a beautiful effort into the top-right corner for her eighth of the season.

Cheltenham continued to create opportunities as debutant Owen thought she’d scored from a set piece, only for McGrogan to tip her header onto the post.

A mixture of good goalkeeping and last-ditch defending prevented Davies’ side from extending their lead, before Swindon almost scored with one of their first attacks.

Just before the break, a defensive mix-up gave the hosts a chance, but Watson and then Courtney Jones blocked their attempts.

Swindon almost equalised once again on 52 minutes, as Watson did well to keep out a one-on-one.

The second half didn’t see quite as many chances for Cheltenham as the pitch started to become even harder in freezing conditions.

However, there were still moments where the lead could’ve been doubled, with Grove coming close to doubling her tally on a couple of occasions and Billie Haynes shooting over when a cross was parried into her path.

In injury time, the hosts threw McGrogan forward in an attempt to steal a point, but Davies’ team held on for a third straight league win.

After the final whistle, Davies said: “We played well in the first half and moved the ball really well. The second half was more difficult and we had to adapt but I’m really proud of the way we overcame that.

“We’ve got that resilience that we potentially didn’t have last year, where we’re holding onto leads, keeping clean sheets and becoming hard to beat.

“I thought it was potentially disappointing not to get more than one today. We created some really good chances and there were some fantastic saves and some fantastic blocks on the line.

On the two new signings, he said: “Em [Owen] came in with the quality that I knew she had. She kept the ball at the right times and kept it fantastically. Holly [Reed]’s come on and adapted really well and pressed the ball really well.”

Ahead of Sunday’s fixture, Davies added: “Our focus is to recover, make sure we’re right, get the right team for Sunday and hopefully go and produce a good performance and get three points.”

Cheltenham: Watson, Owens, Butler, Jones, Hallsworth, Liggett (Barbour-Gresham 94), Bevan, Wathan (Reed 65), Haynes, Grove (Hayward 92), Rogers.

Robins’ Player of the Match: Emily Owen.

D2 Interactive