Wolves Match Report

14th July 2019

Wolves Women 0

Cheltenham Town Ladies FC secured their first win of pre-season, against a competitive Wolves Women side, despite seven or eight regular first team players absent from the matchday squad.

It was Wolves who saw the better of the chances in the early stages, with three corners inside the first five minutes. Cheltenham were down to 10 women for this phase of play, eventually losing Sam Hollsworth to injury.
It took the Robins a little while to get into the swing of things but they eventually started creating chances when restored back to 11 players as Amy Leask came off the bench.

After a few Cheltenham attacking moves had just a little too much pace on the final pass it was the visitors who provided young forward Holly Fenton with a chance. After an underweighted backpass to the keeper ended up in just the right position, Fenton almost effortlessly lifted the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper and found the back of the net on the 14th minute.

Wolves replied almost immediately with a fast cross-field maneuver but the resulting shot never looked like troubling Panniers.
The teams traded chances throughout the first half and there could – and possibly should – have been more goals. Wolves saw cross after cross flash across the home side’s penalty area but couldn’t convert, while Cheltenham look dangerous with Sarah King and Abby Bevan demanding nothing but the best from the visitors’ defence. Despite the back and forth game, Cheltenham remained determined in defence and took the one goal advantage into the changing rooms at half time.

The second half saw Wolves come flying out of the blocks after making a few changes during the break.
Their first real chance came on a breakaway, as Panniers came to claim a long ball and made life tough for the onrushing striker. Panniers retreated back to the edge of her box instead of going into the challenge, pulling off a wonderful save low to her life to stop Wolves from closing the gap.

At the other end, Cheryl Baber was asking questions of the Wolves fullback. Wolves seemed to have dealt with the threat comfortably but some panicky defending almost handed Fenton her second, as she rattled the cross-bar after the goalkeeper and defender got into a mix.

From this, Wolves went long, searching for an equaliser. A long ball up the pitch was ushered back to Panniers, who managed to scoop it up before colliding with the striker and picking up a head injury.
She was replaced by player/coach, Alyta Norman, who herself ended up on the receiving end of an almost identical collision with the same striker only a handful of minutes later.

After both sides traded possession and Wolves pushed further and further forward, Norman was called in to pull off two outstanding saves to keep Cheltenham’s lead alive.
Wolves tried to hammer down the door in the dying stages, winning a couple of corners and throwing bodies forward but the resolute defending of the Robins shone through until the final whistle.

Attendance: 85


After the game, Manager Alex Cheal was happy with the performance, but maintained that it wasn’t necessarily about the result.
“We chucked a group of young players in there today, and this is their first experience of this level of football, and they’ve adapted and coped very well.

“The result doesn’t mean anything. For us it is about the process and as the week goes on, at training, pushing that into the match performance on a Sunday. The players have done that for the last two weeks and it just feels better cause they’ve won, but there’s been a lot of changes over the summer and the players are doing what’s required and what is asked of them. Myself, personally I’m happy and so is Tom [Davies, Assistant Manager] as well, so it’s a good foundation.

“With so many absences, it might create a bit of a selection headache but it creates healthy competition for the club and that can only be a positive thing.”

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