FA WNL Plate Match Report

21st October 2019

Poole Town Ladies 0

Cheltenham: Bartlett 10′, 24′, Martin 28′, 88′, Bevan 38′, Brown 41′, Butterfield 50′,

After back-to-back cancellations and no game for nearly two weeks, Cheltenham Town Ladies took to the field in the FA Women’s National League Plate, looking for a strong performance to shake any potential cobwebs.

It didn’t take long for them to find the driving seat, putting early pressure on the Poole defence, with excellent driving runs from fullback, Lauren Ellis, and winger Sally Butterfield. Some great passing saw the home side fashion a number of chances, with Annie Martin and Kerry Bartlett (pictured) testing Chrippes in the Poole goal.

A dangerous cross/shot from Butterfield had the visiting defence scrambling, but nobody in red and white could get on the end of the inviting ball.
Poole elected to go quickly, hoping to catch The Robins napping, but an alert Hallsworth was able to nudge a pass through to Bevan on the right hand side. A low ball into space between the centre-backs and goalkeeper evaded everyone in the goalmouth, before Bartlett’s low drive at the far post found the net.

Shortly after the restart, the game was brought to a halt after a Poole player was winded trying to control a heavy pass with her body. But after play resumed, Ellis and Bevan, along with Fensome were on the hunt for a second, winning a corner which Poole were able to launch clear.

Barlett would add to her first goal quarter of an hour after her first after Cheltenham’s pressure forced another corner. The well weighted ball was a perfect height for Bartlett to rise highest in a packed six yard box to head home at the far post.

Minutes later, Hallsworth found herself on the attack and round the back of the Dolphins’ defence. Her square ball found Martin, who did extremely well to pick her spot with two defenders charging down on her.

Cheltenham started to take control of play, with the midfield pulling the strings.
Martin would go close with a free-kick which looped just over the crossbar with Chrippes beaten, before two chances from good positions for The Robins would test the Poole shot stopper, who had to be on top form to pull of good stops.

A strong run from Sally Butterfield resulted in Cheltenham striking the bar as Chrippes ran out to make the save among the boots. The ball would fall to Butterfield, who would also find nothing but crossbar, before tireless midfielder Abby Bevan was able to keep her shot low and find the net.

Cheltenham kept the pressure on, forcing mistakes and wayward passes from the Poole midfield, presenting Bartlett with a chance to bag a hattrick, but Chrippes was on hand again to block the shot.
The Cheltenham corner, whipped to the near post, was met by young playmaker, Georgia Brown, who was able to just beat the Poole ‘keeper to the ball and nod home from point blank range.

Cheltenham would push on with the clock ticking down, but neither side were able to convert, with a Poole counter attack being the final play. The whistle sounding as Dolloway lashed the ball back up the field towards the Poole goal.

Half Time: CTLFC 5-0 Poole Town

Cheltenham would restart the game in much the same vein they finished the first half, with their foot firmly on the accelerator.
They had the ball in the net early into the second half, but found themselves denied by the assistant’s flag.

After Poole played long from Chrippes, Ellis was able to collect and send Cheltenham back on their way. A perfectly weighted pass to Butterfield saw the winger go through on goal, clipping a wonderful lob over the on-rushing keeper, who to her credit almost got a hand to it.

Seconds after scoring, Butterfield headed to the bench, replaced by Becky Wilkins.
The Robins were in full throttle at this stage, creating a number of chances to keep Chrippes and her defence busy.

Cheal rang the changes and Amy Leask would be introduced to the game, with Hallsworth coming off with a back twinge. Alice Kempski would also enter the fray to replace Georgia Brown, after the playmaker had produced the goods in The Robins’ midfield.

The substitutions affected the home side’s flow a little, with Poole battling hard to create moves, even on the break.

Cheltenham would exploit the visitors counter, as they threw bodies forward. A searching ball from Dolloway on the right wing would see Bartlett challenge Chrippes in the air, with both players coming off worse for wear thanks to the collision.

Following play’s resumption, Cheltenham would re-take control after a couple of dangerous looking Poole breaks. Their pressure would see them win a number of corners and free-kicks, as Poole began to tire but they couldn’t add a seventh despite some good openings.

Another great ball from deep would see Annie Martin slip past her marker, beating the defender to the bouncing ball and sealing the deal with a quality nutmeg finish.

Cheltenham would have one final role of the dice, with Bartlett coming close from a tight angle, but the damage had already been done: The Robins walking away with a landslide of a scoreline.

Cheltenham: B. Panniers, S. Hallsworth (Leask 59), M. Butler, C. Dolloway, L. Fensome, G. Brown (Kempski 67), A. Bevan, S. Butterfield (Wilkins 51), A. Martin, K. Barlett.
Subs not used: C. Criddle, S. King

Attendance: 73


Manager Alex Cheal was happy with such a thorough result, he was more pleased with the way the squad has gelled together and provided such a professional performance:

“The squad has really settled down and we’ve kind of juggled bodies in and out, and that doesn’t always work. So this week was about ‘we don’t have two games in three days, so lets go back to our team that faced Brislington and hit them hard’ and that’s exactly what they’ve done. I’d have liked more, but I’m always wanting more from the group!

“We played very good football, scored some really good goals, and they’re shared around a bit again. There’s just a nice buzz around the group today, even those that didn’t get on were pleased. We were forced into one change, but Amy has gained minutes from that. And today’s performance was with out Ellie [Hitchcox] or Kirsten [Rendall], and they’re still set to come back so we know with the 16 or 17 we have at the moment, anyone can step in and do a job for us.

“Performance-wise, I don’t think we’d have done this twelve months ago. We got two against them at the start of the season, so it shows the marker of where we’ve come from and where we’re going to. We have to go and perform against teams, because we would have just been happy winning with a 3-0 last season, so it shows the level of professionalism of this group cause they want to go out and put goals on these teams. And by doing that it does send out a message, cause teams will be looking at results and they won’t want to face us when we’re sticking seven goals on teams.

“I’d like a test in the next round. A team, similar level, similar place in the table, maybe not in our league, but someone at our equivalent. And always a home game definitely. But to win it, you have to beat everyone. You’d want to avoid the bigger teams, Oxford or Watford, cause those teams are flying. But if we can draw a team at our level and go and compete and avoid the teams higher up, lets see where it takes us. But I’d like to go far in this one.

[In preparation for Exeter] “We’ll have another week of training, but how we set up today would be how we set up anyway. The three that came on did well, the two that are coming back will have to do well to get back into the team – and we have to make sure we get the game on first of all! But we’ll have a good week of training and we’re looking forward to a tough game. They’re around us in the league so it’ll be a good test for us.”

Cheltenham Town Ladies return to SSE Women’s FA Cup action against Exeter City Women next week (October 27th; 2pm)

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