Manager ‘Delighted’ With Victory Over Welsh Champions

26th July 2018

Cheltenham Town Ladies welcomed Welsh Champions Cardiff Met WFC to the DN Fire Stadium last night as their pre-season continued to take shape.

Cheltenham welcomed Rhian Robbins back into the team following a holiday, along with Ellie Briscoe, Sarah Walters and Naomi Purvis from a group of players missing from the defeat against Sporting Khalsa.

The surface was tough following the weather, however Cheltenham settled into the game quickly and began to apply pressure to Cardiff’s defence. Early running by Butterfield, Briscoe and Robbins set the tone and it took only 15 minutes for Cheltenham to get their reward. A long pass back was tough to deal with by the away team goalkeeper and the advancing Hitchcox was on hand to put enough pressure on to force the error and leave the simplest of tap ins to continue her fine form in pre-season.

Cheltenham looked to play in tough conditions and this was epitomised by the performance of 16 year old Becky Wilkins (pictured). Wilkins range of passing was pushing Cheltenham forward and allowing them to play on the front foot. It was from a Wilkins pass that Cheltenham’s second goal came with the midfielder releasing Briscoe down the right hand side of the pitch. Briscoe’s confidence to pick up her head and deliver a superb cross to find the onrushing Robbins, who duly smashed home a half volley that the goalkeeper had no chance to react to.

The scoreline was telling of the first half and Cheltenham continued to knock on the door of Cardiff with chances for French, Briscoe and Robbins coming and going. At the other end, Bingham in the Cheltenham goal was relatively unchallenged as she dealt with the minor threat Cardiff offered.

HT: Cheltenham 2 v 0 Cardiff Met

The second half saw a change in defence as Morris, Purvis and Brown-Wealls joined Ellis and Berry, while Kay was introduced for Briscoe. Cheltenham started tentatively with Cardiff’s forward play and intensity increasing as they got used to the pitch. Morris and Purvis were both working hard to eliminate the forward runs of Cardiff’s wide players, while Wilkins and Fensome tried to gain a foothold in the game.

A neat passage of play would lead to Cheltenham’s first chance of the half as Fensome won the ball back before passing over to Berry wide left. The nimble footed winger cut inside her marker before offloading the ball to French who in turn struck a ferocious shot that stung the hands of the keeper.

Cardiff were on top second half and their play was rewarded as mercurial link up play from Naomi Clipston unlocked the Cheltenham defence, with the striker bringing out a fantastic save from Bingham. Clipston would however get her goal shortly after this passage as Cheltenham gave away a free kick from the resulting passage of play. A somewhat hopeful delivery was not dealt with by the Cheltenham defence and Clipston was on hand to lob the on rushing Bingham to give the champions a chance in the dying moments.

Cheltenham would however hold on as they continued to rotate players in the final minutes and get the reward they deserved and win their first game in pre-season in front of a fine crowd of 85 spectators.

FT Cheltenham 2 v 1 Cardiff Met

‘We are obviously delighted with the result in very testing conditions but the pleasing aspect for me is the way we are growing. We have used 18 players again tonight and all have contributed a huge amount to get a positive result that we have been threatening for the last few weeks. Momentum is growing and the players understanding of what is required from them on match days is almost where we need it to be and that’s great as we still have 3 games left.’



Next game for Cheltenham is away at Portsmouth on Sunday before the big double header on the 5th August against former WSL team Watford Ladies at the DN Fire Stadium.


Photo courtesy of Will Cheshire.

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