Cheltenham Town LFC Go Down fighting Against League Leaders

24th April 2017

Report: Cheltenham Town LFC 0 – 4 Chichester City LFC
By Elliott Cuff

League leaders Chichester City Ladies put Cheltenham Town Ladies to the sword as they continue their unbeaten league run, writes Elliott Cuff.

Coming off the back of an impressive Gloucester County Cup victory, Cheltenham welcomed a side who boast an exceptional record of 17 wins from 18 in the league this season, without a loss to their name.

The away side wasted no time in taking the game to the Robins, with early chances from Kally Ambler the best of the opportunities in the first half. Ambler collected the ball outside the box with just ‘keeper Bec Panniers to beat, but couldn’t keep her shot down.

Ambler followed this up with an even better opportunity not long afterwards. Chloe Dowdell fired a tantalising cross into the box for Ambler to connect with, seeing her follow up shot sail over the bar after her initial strike crashed against the post.

The sides went into the half time interval with Cheltenham the much happier of the sides; yet to really carve out an opening but as of then, succeeding at stifling and frustrating the Chichester attackers.

Chichester started the second period as they finished the first, throwing wave after wave at the sturdy home defence, going close with a low shot past the post and a header that grazed the bar.

Eventually, their constant pressure paid off, breaking the deadlock at the 70-minute mark.

Cherelle Khassal got Chichester off the mark, lifting the ball into the roof of the net from close range after a quick one-two with striker Jess Lewry.

Chichester scored again almost immediately, with Lewry providing another assist, breaking down the right on the counter and pulling across for Charley Wilson-Blakeley to slot home.

Lewry then turned scorer, collecting a loose ball that fell from a Panniers’ long kick and lashed it into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Lewry then added her second and her team’s fourth moments later, heading in from a Lauren Cheshire floated cross, bringing Chichester their fourth goal in ten minutes. Hitchox who had been struggling for most of the second half due a hamstring injury went off late on leaving Cheltenham down to 10 players.

Cheltenham were unfortunate after having braved the storm for so long, but Chichester’s class shone through in the end to clinch them another well-deserved win.

Boss Graham Fletcher said: “For 70 minutes we were excellent.

“They did exactly what I wanted them to do, which was to not dive in, stand up and make them make mistakes and that’s what they did. They’re [Chichester] running away with the league at the moment and for 70 minutes we really, really played well.

“We knew that they were going to get chances and unfortunately they got some good clear chances, maybe we switched off, but 4-0 doesn’t reflect the game. It was always going to be a hard afternoon for us, but I think we showed what we can do.

“In the years gone by, we might have rolled over quickly but today we battled hard and I was really proud of them. There are a lot of positives to take from the game, more than negatives that’s for sure.

“We had six players missing as well. I had three 16-year olds on the bench which is fantastic, two of them came on and did really well as if they’d done it all before and they’re learning all the time. Some players were playing out of positions and some came from the development squad, like Tzara [Marriott] at left-back, but they were terrific, I’m really pleased.

“We’ve got three games left and we can pick up a couple of wins, we’re good enough if we battle like that, we can create a few chances. We’ve just got to look forward, not look backwards at these sort of things and we have to take the positives. I was pleased with the way we played so we’ve just got to do it again.”

Team: Panniers, Marriott, Brown-Wealls, Purvis, Bingham (Barker), Berry, Amarquaye (Francis), Salleh(Rogers), Munday, Hitchcox, Butterfield.

Subs: Rogers, Francis, Markovic, Barker, Harris.





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