Leyton Orient FA Cup Report

18th November 2019

Leyton Orient 1

Orient: Stenning 62′

After a week of rain and the potential of another postponement, Cheltenham Town Ladies pulled out all the stops to make sure the pitch, while soft, was playable.
The surface not being an issue during the game, which kept fans on the edge of their seats for the full 90 minutes!

It was Cheltenham who would start brighter, forcing a corner with in the first minute, which the goalkeeper could only palm clear. At the second attempt, Cheltenham had a bit of an opening but the visiting defence hammered it clear, forcing the Robins to rebuild from their defence.

The early stages ebbed and flowed for either side, as both teams looked to play good passing football and make the opposition chase. But it was Cheltenham again who would have a real opportunity, as fantastic footwork from Annie Martin allowed a perfect through ball to Ella Hitchcox, but the shot was dragged across goal.

The teams would trade chances with neither really able to dominate. Kerry Bartlett (pictured) would play a fantastic floated ball for Hitchcox, who was only stopped by the on-rushing goalkeeper, while at the other end Orient would fashion a chance but rifled the shot over the bar and out of the ground.

The tide would turn and Orient would have a spell on top, with lots of creative play down the right. Louise Fensome and Amy Leask on hand to make sure nothing got through.

The hosts would be their own worst enemy at times, as a long ball forward by Orient was expected to go out for a goalkick but held up on the damp pitch. Panniers had to leave the comfort of the penalty area to lash clear but couldn’t find a red and white shirt as Orient hurried forward, in the end forcing a corner, which was claimed by Panniers after the initial clearance.

Bartlett would again be a threat as Cheltenham stopped an attacking move by the visitors to create something of their own. The striker able to sidestep her way past a tackle but unable to hit the target.

Moments later she would be gifted a chance as the goalkeeper played quickly from the goalkick. After receiving a pass back from the defender, she sprayed a pass out to the fullback but found only Bartlett, who whipped a fantastic shot, requiring the keeper to be on top form. The goalkeeper making up for her mistake by claiming the corner at the near post amongst the bodies.

At the other end, Orient would gamble on the counter and produced a good cross from the right, with the overhead kick not coming off for them on that occasion.

The Robins attempted to go quickly looking to score just at the break but were unable to move the ball quick enough before the end of the half.

Half Time: CTLFC 0-0 Leyton Orient Women

Cheltenham would make their first chance during the break, with Lauren Ellis coming on to replace Amy Leask.

It was the Robins again who would start the better side, with Martin finding Bartlett on the edge of the box, but her first touch deserted her.

Cheltenham would again force an early corner after a well worked free-kick allowed Sammy Hallsworth to shape and cross, forcing the block and giving the home side another go from wide. Dolloway meeting the corner kick with a good header, forcing a smart stop.

Going forward again, Cheltenham’s Georgia Brown fired over from distance as Orient’s chances were limited to counter attacks, the first of which saw the cross go out for a goalkick.

The visitors would break the deadlock with a suspicion of offside. An original attack saw the striker head for a dangerous position with the ball unable to reach her. As the ball was played back in, the player retreated, and turned the ball goalwards with the assistant’s flag staying down. Orient would celebrate as Cheltenham protested the missed decision.

Following this, throw-ins, corners and free-kicks would take three times longer than they should have, with the visitors in no hurry to up the pace. In opposite fashion, Cheltenham would push the pace, looking to exploit Hitchcox and Martin on the wings.

Alex Cheal would introduce Sarah King as a replacement for Cerys Dolloway, to add an extra bit of pace on the flanks, as Hallsworth moved to centre half.

The game would develop into a midfield battle, with both teams offering possession back to the opposition through wayword passing. Hitchcox would burst into the box and send a fantastic ball across the face of goal but Bartlett was unable to get a clean touch.

Orient would win a free-kick on the left as they tried to build patiently, but Panniers was equal to it, another confident claim.
Charlotte Criddle would come on to replace Abby Bevan, as Cheltenham looked to exploit her dangerous diagonal balls.

Orient would grow in confidence as the clock ticked on and would put the pressure on, looking for a second to put the game beyond reach. They would exploit the flanks, looking to protect the ball and make the Cheltenham defence work.

Cheltenham would roll the dice one final time and looked to threaten the Orient goal but the referee had seen enough and that was the game.

Cheltenham: B. Panniers, S. Hallsworth, C. Dolloway (King 72), M. Butler, A. Leask (Ellis 45), L. Fensome, G. Brown, A. Bevan (Criddle 80), E. Hitchcox, A. Martin, K. Bartlett
Subs not used: B. Wilkins, S. Butterfield, C. Rogers,

Attendance: 82


Manager Alex Cheal was disappointed that his team hadn’t created enough near the end when they needed to:

“Yeah, the second half was spirited. We created chances in the first half that, had we taken them, we’d have been out of sight and it might have been a different story. But their ‘keeper was fantastic and kept them in it and the second half we didn’t really create enough. Yes we started the half well, but we didn’t challenge them enough. So again, it ends at this stage. That said, we’ll look to go again next week.

“We did a bit of research on them, we knew everything beforehand, and that’s why we changed our shape. But we haven’t reached our maximum in terms of our output and the way we played so we could be better. They took their goal and shut up shop from there to be honest. We had to chase it a bit at the end and we just didn’t create enough.

[Next week’s county cup] “Nothing will change to be honest, we will go full strength and set things right. We need to get back to winning ways and consistent matches. Orient had a midweek game and we showed today we were flagging a little. So we’ll keep the strongest squad.

We’ve not got a game now on December 1st, but league games change all the time now so we might have something put in there for us. If not we’ll look to arrange a fixture, we need to get games. I don’t know if Oxford have something, or one of the other teams, but we’ll look to arrange something.”

Cheltenham Town Ladies continue cup football next weekend, defending their title County Cup title at All Saints Academy against Bristol Ladies Union FC Development in the Gloucestershire FA County Trophy Second Round (2pm).

D2 Interactive