CTLFC 3-1 Larkhall Athletic (Vitality Women’s FA Cup)

25th October 2021

Report by Jamie Cameron

Cheltenham Town Ladies progressed to the First Round Proper of the Women’s FA Cup courtesy of a win over Larkhall Athletic at the Corinium Stadium.

The Robins had already beaten The Larks at home this season, but with key players unavailable, they couldn’t take anything for granted.

Georgie-Marie Barbour-Gresham allayed any fears of a cup exit with the opener, before an excellent brace from Holly Rogers (pictured) either side of half-time gave Cheltenham a comfortable lead.

Larkhall did get one back, but it was a relatively straight-forward victory for the hosts that sees them into the hat for the next round.

Manager Tom Davies played a defensive three of Barbour-Gresham, Lois Colley and Courtney Jones in the absence of captain Mai Butler, with wing-back Sammy Hallsworth taking the armband.

Charlotte Criddle was also unavailable, meaning Kate Bowden started in midfield, while Annabel Davies completed her recovery from injury to earn a place on the bench.

The Robins started the game on the front foot, as Lacy-Jai Liggett had an effort on target and Barbour-Gresham headed over.

Centre-back Barbour-Gresham got her goal, when another Billie Haynes corner found her inside the area, and she headed in despite the best efforts of a Larkhall player on the line.

Cheltenham kept the ball well and denied the visitors any real chances, with Amy Wathan going close after getting on the end of another Haynes delivery.

Around the half-hour mark, the hosts ramped up the pressure once again, as Hallsworth and Barbour-Gresham both threatened a second goal.

That strike did come on 37 minutes, when Rogers closed down a defender to win the ball back high up the pitch, and caught the ‘keeper out by shooting early at the far post.

Liggett almost rounded off the first half in style with a 20-yard free-kick, and the forward also came close with a header, but it was 2-0 at the break.

After Jade Grove hit the bar at the start of the second period, Rogers got her second on 53 minutes.

It was a great team move as Rogers brought the ball forward, exchanged passes with both Hallsworth and Grove, and finished precisely into the corner.

After notching five assists in the opening weeks of the season, it was a deserved brace for Rogers and was the difference in the end.

Larkhall did start to come forward in the final 20 minutes, and after a couple of good saves from Aimee Watson, they got their goal from a one-on-one.

Cheltenham saw the game out without incident to begin their FA Cup journey with a win and give themselves a boost ahead of the return to league action against Chesham United on Sunday, 31 October.

Cheltenham: Watson, Barbour-Gresham (Walecki 74), Jones, Colley, Hallsworth, Haynes (Davies 83), Bowden, Liggett (Hayward 67), Rogers, Wathan, Grove.
Subs not used: Bevan.

Robins’ Player of the Match: Holly Rogers.

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