MATCH REPORT: Ladies Reclaim Third Spot

25th March 2019

The Ladies reclaimed third spot in the FA Women’s National South West Division with a hard fought and slightly fortunate victory at Southampton Women.

Alex opted for the same 4-2-3-1 formation that saw his team become the first to beat Southampton back in November but at times the Ladies struggled to match their opponents on the expansive pitch at Backfield & Langley.

The first real chance of the game fell to Southampton but an excellent block by Lauren Ellis (below) kept the scores level. Annie Martin, Abby Bevan and Ella Hitchcox worked hard to prevent the home side playing out from their keeper while the Town back four of Naomi Purvis, Sam Morris, Cerys Dolloway and Lauren Ellis held firm.

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Apart from that one effort Cheltenham keeper Bec Panniers had little to do other than collect some long range efforts and the sides went in scoreless after the first half.

It took an early scare in the second half for the Ladies to regain their composure and on the 59th minute the game was turned on its head when a Southampton back pass bobbled over their keeper’s foot and bounced into the net.

Cheltenham seized the initiative as their opponents seem to fail apart. Annie Martin and Ella Hitchcox were unlucky not to double the lead and the game drifted into a midfield stalemate with Southampton opting for the direct long ball approach late on.

Kayleigh Hateley, Ellie Briscoe and Amy Leask all came on during the second half to ensure the three points came home to Gloucestershire.

Alex Cheal was proud of his side: “We came here knowing that only a win would keep us in the hunt for second place and although we rode our luck I think our efforts after the goal merited the win.

“Our keeper had no real save of effort to make with our defence standing firm,
our midfield worked hard to stifle the opposite numbers and our strike force were always a handful. Some might say we were lucky with the goal but you make your luck in this game.”

Team: Panniers, Purvis, Dolloway, Morris, Ellis, Hitchcox, Brown, Fensome (Hateley), Bevan (Leask) , Butterfield (Briscoe)

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