Gillingham WFC 2-1 CTLFC

5th March 2023

Report by Kieran Neller.

Cheltenham Ladies fall to defeat on the road, despite Emily Owen’s second half penalty.

Manager Tom Davies’ side travelled to Gillingham’s ground on Sunday, with latest signing Jessie Taylor in the squad.

Cheltenham have faced a difficult period, taking one point from their last four games. The point came from an intense midweek fixture against MK Dons which included goals from Annabel Davies and Izzy Cook.

Gillingham went ahead in the 2nd minute. Ellie Jeffkins fired a high shot from inside of the box into the top right corner.

Robinesses keeper Aimee Watson was forced into action five minutes later. She was down quickly for a strong shot to her left.

The away side had the momentum as the first half progressed. Izzy Cook drove into the box and fired a shot over the crossbar with her weaker foot.

Twenty minutes into the game, Cook has the ball in the goal. After a long discussion between the officials, the goal was ruled out for handball and the attacker received a booking.

Annabel Davies was next to have an attempt on the Gillingham net. The midfielder pushed into the box and shot her effort over the bar.

After breaks in play for injuries on both sides, Billie Haynes had a shot in added time. Haynes was left unmarked at the far post, but her looping header didn’t dip before the goal and went out for a goal kick.

An unchanged side entered the second half. The visitors pushed for an equaliser straight from the whistle.

Emma Congrave had a chance five minutes into the half. The shot deflected and looped kindly for Gillingham shot-stopper Cara Davies.

Defender Holly Finch made an impressive interception on the other side of the pitch to prevent a Gillingham break.

In another push from Cheltenham, the ball was loose in the box before falling to Henna Butcher on the edge of the box. The forward released a shot that flew narrowly wide of the target.

Gillingham got their second goal as the hour mark approached. The shot hit the crossbar, bounced on the floor and spun out of the goalmouth. The referee deemed the ball to have gone in fully and Cheltenham found themselves in a two goal deficit.

Amy Wathan came on for Annabel Davies in the 64th minute as Davies’s outfit pushed for a way back into the game.

In the 70th minute, Cheltenham earned a penalty through Laura Holden. Skipper Emily Owen (pictured) stepped up and converted coolly to put the Robinesses back in the tie.

Watson pulled off a stunning save to keep the visitors within a goal of Gillingham. The Cheltenham number one got a hand to an awkward shot flying across the face of the goal and into the far post. The touch pushed the ball to safety.

With 10 minutes of normal time remaining, Jessie Taylor made her debut for the side. The Wales U19 International along with substitute Maisy Collis added intensity as the side pushed for an equaliser.

Despite the late push, the home side slowed the game down effectively and held on until the final whistle.

The game ended 2-1 to Gillingham. Cheltenham Ladies now have a break until their next set of fixtures, where they have two games in 48 hours with Bridgwater United on Thursday 16th March and London Bees at The Completely-Suzuki Stadium on Saturday 18th March.

Speaking after the game, Tom Davies emphasised that the team are playing the right way.

“We’re making a lot of chances. We put the ball in the right areas just from the way that we play.”

“We’ve got individuals that create chances on their own, but we shouldn’t have to be waiting for free-kicks and penalties, we should be putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Cheltenham Town Ladies are next back in action against Bridgwater United on 16th March at 19:45. The fixture will be played at Fairfax Park.

Cheltenham: Watson, Finch, Fallon, Owen, Butcher (J. Taylor 79’), C. Taylor, A. Davies (Wathan 64’), Holden, Haynes, Cook, Congrave (Collis 79’).
Unused subs: Hannam.

Cheltenham Player of the Match: Izzy Cook.

D2 Interactive