Maidenhead Match Report

12th October 2020

Maidenhead 2

Cheltenham: Grove 90+’
Maidenhead: Thompson 73′, Barrett 86′

Report by Bruna Reis

Cheltenham Town Ladies fell to a 2-1 defeat at the Big Local Stadium to Maidenhead United on Sunday afternoon for the FA Women’s National League South West.

The Robinesses started off the better side with an early chance falling to the feet of Sarah King in the second minute who dribbled past the Maidenhead players down the right, before her cross met Lauren Kayll in the box but the visitors swiftly scrambled it away.

Not long after, King found more space down the right wing and carried the ball towards the edge of the box where she took aim at Nina Merritt’s goal.

Despite a scrappy first-half the Robinesses were eager to make the most of their promising start as they pushed on for an opening goal.

At a first glance at the substitutes bench, Tom Davies had little room to make alterations with only Lauren Ellis, Jess Hood and Alice Kempski occupying the limited spaces in comparison to Maidenhead’s full bench.

King once again came close to opening the scoring before Maidenhead created their first chance of the half through a long range effort which was comfortably caught by Robyn Levett.

Cheltenham’s response to this was almost immediate with a Jade Grove [pictured] attempt on goal ending in a corner that eventually was saved by Merritt.

Before the break, the visitors had another chance but no threat was imposed as the ball looped over the bar.

Half Time: CTLFC 0-0 Maidenhead

The possession continued for Davies’ side into the first few minutes of the second-half and the opener was close to being found, a corner kick fell to Kayll who headed just wide.

However, a slip by Levett could have cost the home side a goal as she received a back pass from a Cheltenham defender. While looking to recycle Cheltenham’s possession playing out from deep, the shot-stopper slipped at the edge of the box, offering the Magpies an opportunity to bury it, but the ‘keeper recovered in time to gather the loose ball.

Moments later, the hosts would pay for their momentary lack of focus as Nevin Saroya’s Magpies’ spell of pressure paid off with a header in the far post by Sarah Thompson following a corner from Megan Halfacree.

Davies’ team persisted in the search for an equaliser, bringing on his three substitutes, Lauren Ellis replaced Harriet Lambe on the 62, before Jess Hood and Alice Kempski replaced Lauren Kayll and Ruby Scahill 15 minutes later.

Pushing forward, Grove approached the opponent’s box many a times but was unfortunate on the end product.

The new arrival from the bench, Ellis was unfortunate to give away a late penalty in an attempt to put an end to Maidenhead’s counter-attack, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Although Levett guessed the right way, she was unable to prevent the Berkshire side from doubling their advantage.

Late work by Hood on the left wing as Cheltenham rolled the dice, saw her double back and spray a low ball to Grove who took her chance from the edge of the box, playing the ball over the goalkeeper to halve the deficit and score her fourth of the season in as many games.

Unfortunately this was only a consolation goal for The Robinesses as they fell to their second defeat of the season.

Cheltenham: R. Levett, S. Hallsworth, M. Butler, R. Halford, H. Lambe (Ellis 62), C. Criddle, R. Scahill (Kempski 77), A. Bevan, S. King, L. Kayll (Hood 77), J. Grove
Subs not used: Morris.

Attendance: 61


After the dust had settled, manager Tom Davies rued his side’s inability to convert in front of goal:

“We’ve debriefed in the dressing room about it, it’s disappointing when we’ve started so well, I think first 15 minutes we were phenomenal and we’ve just not taken chances and we’ve not created potentially enough. Just not that dominancy to go and push ourselves a little bit further and it’s something we’re gonna work on. Like I said we’ve got a young group and it’s important that we keep developing, it’s important that when we get into those areas that we are dominating and we are pushing them back, we’ve got to go and over create and take those and get what we deserve from those moments, we haven’t done, and like today, it has cost us.

“We started really well in the first half and expect the same half and that potentially didn’t happen, whether that’s because we felt we’d been dominant but Maidenhead had the opportunity to go back in and regroup and reset their teams and values and they’ve back out and started strong and we haven’t responded to that as well as we should have done and taken that back from them and reasserted ourselves so when you don’t do that you let a side gain that little bit of authority whether that’s by pressure or territory then these things happen.

“It’s disappointing from our perspective that we’ve started things so well in the first half and on the restart of the second half we should have reasserted ourselves, we’re a young group and we’ve got to learn from these things, it’s those game related incident, game related themes that we’re gonna learn from and make sure we do better.

“They’re deflated now, I think more so, since Chesham we haven’t been out to get that level of performance, they’re deflated now like I said – they’ll come back into training the exact same as they have done, I know they will. We’ve been training fantastically well, working really well and as you can see there was a really long period of time where we’ve played really good football and potentially not got the end result. We’ll come back into training, we’ll be fine there’s no issues with that so I look forward to next week.”

[On Jade Grove scoring] “She’s playing fantastically, I’m really happy the way she’s taken our messages – she allows us to build in a really strong way and it’s something we’ve spoke about when she joined that we wanted to make sure she improved and the goalscoring record, she scored four already the same as last season and we’re not done there, Jade’s not done there, she’ll continue to have this sort of form throughout the season and we’re gonna try and provide her with as many chances as possible – she started really well and it’s for everybody now to contribute doing the right things but fantastic strike, she started really well and I’m pleased for her.”

Cheltenham Town Ladies now turn their focus to Vitality Women’s FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round, welcoming Brislington on Sunday October 18.

For the digital match programme for this game, click here.

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