League Plate: CTLFC 2-1 Exeter City Women

7th February 2022

Report by Jamie Cameron

Another brace from Lacy-Jai Liggett continued Cheltenham Town Ladies’ record-breaking run in the National League Plate, as they progressed to the semi-finals.

Liggett (pictured) had scored twice in the Robins’ latest league win against Maidenhead last weekend, and helped overturn a 1-0 deficit against Exeter City to win 2-1 and reach the last four.

The visitors had taken an early lead through Steph Beck, but Liggett weaved through three defenders and finished to level on 40 minutes.

Another surging run from Liggett and a low strike under Abbi Bond meant Cheltenham made it seven games unbeaten in all competitions.

Manager Tom Davies made three changes to his side as Sammy Hallsworth, Charlotte Criddle and Georgie-Marie Barbour-Gresham came in.

It was a slightly depleted squad; only three substitutes were named with Emily Owen and Holly Reed both cup tied.

The first action of the game saw a goal for the visitors as the ball bounced around the edge of the Cheltenham area, and Beck calmly slotted in after it fell to her.

Liggett hit the bar from a header as the Robins looked for an immediate response, but Exeter threatened themselves through Sarah Stacey, who shot over the bar when through on goal.

As the half went on, Liggett started causing more problems for the visitors, putting in dangerous crosses from the right and forcing a save from Bond.

Despite Exeter hitting the woodwork on 36 minutes, Cheltenham went in level after Liggett did brilliantly to find space when surrounded by defenders and finished ruthlessly into the roof of the net.

After a fairly quiet start to the second half, Liggett got her fifth goal in three games with a powerful run into the area and a low shot from a tight angle that Bond couldn’t keep out.

The Robins had a series of chances around the 70-minute mark as they looked to put the game to bed, with Billie Haynes having a couple of efforts and the Exeter defence having to be alert to deal with a succession of corners.

Cheltenham couldn’t find the third goal so opted to sit back and see the game out, which they did so as efficiently as ever.

The three sides standing between Town and silverware are Nottingham Forest, AFC Wimbledon and Sporting Khalsa.

After the game, Davies said: “There was some quality play from both sides but both sides knew it was going to be a tough game coming into it and we were fortunate to come out on the positive side of the result.

“We weren’t managing games as well as we can at the start of the season, so today was really pleasing. We’ve managed the game really well and taken the sting out of the game.

“Lacy’s been in really good form and she’s striking the ball really well. As a forward, whenever you’re confident, the chances will always come. The run she’s on is fully deserved and she’s a big part of what we’re doing this season.

“It’s a historic moment for us to reach the semi-finals so we’ll just go and enjoy that game when it comes and hopefully get a positive result.”

Cheltenham return to league action against Southampton Women next Sunday, and ahead of that one, Davies said: “We’re expecting a really tough game. We’ve played them twice this season and we want to put the league defeat against them right.

“They’re a fantastic side and they’re strong both physically and technically, so it’s going to be really tough.”

Cheltenham: Watson, Colley, Butler, Barbour-Gresham, Hallsworth, Jones, Criddle, Liggett, Haynes, Rogers (Hayward 75), Wathan.
Subs not used: Legall, Walecki.

Robins’ Player of the Match: Lacy-Jai Liggett.

Image supplied by MikeJHalfordPhotos

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

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