Actonians 1-2 CTLFC

8th November 2021

Report by Jamie Cameron

A brace from Jade Grove saw Cheltenham Town Ladies through to the second round of the Women’s National League Plate with a 2-1 win at Actonians.

The Robins had dropped into the competition after losing in the League Cup Determining Round, and were tested by the Division One South East side, but two clinical finishes from Grove (pictured) booked their place in the last 16.

The hosts had taken the lead through Maria Ledezma-Viso, before Grove’s double turned things around.

It means Cheltenham have still only been beaten twice this season ahead of the FA Cup First Round tie with Liskeard Athletic on Sunday, 14 November.

Manager Tom Davies named Mai Butler and Charlotte Criddle in the starting line-up after their spells on the sidelines, with Tamzin Hayward also earning a start following an impressive run of form for Hartpury University.

That meant Georgie-Marie Barbour-Gresham and Lacy-Jai Liggett dropped to the bench.

It was an action-packed first five minutes in west London, as Beatriz Pinto-Correia squandered a presentable chance for Actonians and Butler had a goal disallowed for offside.

The Robins struggled to impose themselves on the game in the early stages, with some of the technically gifted attacking players in Actonians’ team dictating the play.

That showed on 21 minutes when Ashleigh Harte crossed for Ledezma-Viso to tap in and open the scoring.

Grove and Holly Rogers both had efforts saved for Cheltenham as they gradually got a foothold in the game, and those two combined for the equaliser.

Rogers won the ball in the final third, and played through Grove, who slotted home coolly into the corner.

The Robins continued to gradually improve after the break, and took the lead when Billie Haynes got into a crossing position and put the ball on a plate for Grove to finish once again.

From there, it was something of a masterclass in how to see a game out from the Robins as the defensive line cleared everything that came near them.

The closest Actonians came to forcing extra time was a corner in the final moments, which was poked just over the bar and was immediately followed by the final whistle.

After the game, Davies said: “I’m delighted with the result. Our objective is to win games of football, today’s aim was to put ourselves in the next round, and we’ve done that even though we haven’t played fantastically well.

“We’ve been working on being more clinical and taking our opportunities, so it’s nice that we did that today. It was two fantastic finishes by Jade and it’s nice to see her enjoying her football again.

“The defence is working really well whether we play with a three or a four and they’re putting some good performances in. It’d be nice to get a few more clean sheets and that’s our next objective.

On next week’s FA Cup tie, Davies said: “It’s a really big competition. We’re in the first round and we want to make sure we’re in the second round. We’re focusing on putting on a good performance back in front of a home crowd.”

Cheltenham: Watson, Hallsworth, Butler, Jones, Colley (Barbour-Gresham 59), Haynes, Criddle, Hayward (Bowden 59), Rogers (Liggett 74), Grove, Wathan.
Subs not used: Walecki, Davies.

Robins’ Player of the Match: Jade Grove.

D2 Interactive