Southampton Women 1-1 CTLFC

27th March 2022

Report by Jamie Cameron

The Robins picked up a credible point away to Southampton Women’s on Sunday, although they may have left Hampshire disappointed not to pick up all three.

Cheltenham led for virtually all of the second half at the Winklebury Football Complex in Basingstoke after Lacy-Jai Liggett (pictured) ’s 47th-minute opener, but a late header from Lucy Mear earned the hosts a share of the spoils.

The result, coupled with AFC Bournemouth’s win over Portishead Town, means that although the league title is still in the Robins’ hands, they now need to win both of their last two games to win the league if Bournemouth don’t drop any points.

Those two fixtures see Cheltenham welcome Exeter City and Chesham United to the Corinium Stadium in Cirencester, on April 3 and 17 respectively.

Manager Tom Davies made five changes to the side that won away at Portishead last weekend, with Jade Grove and Rhian Robbins among the players coming into the starting 11.

Midfield duo Amy Wathan and Abby Bevan also returned to the side, as the likes of Holly Rogers, Courtney Jones and Holly Reed dropped to the bench.

After a cagey start, it was the hosts who had the first efforts on goal. Emily Wernham shot wide from 20 yards, before Aliss Wheeler was given time and space, but couldn’t make the most of that luxury and picked out Aimee Watson in goal.

There was almost a bizarre opener for the Robins as Liggett, perhaps unintentionally, poked goalwards, and Southampton ‘keeper Ellie Parker misjudged the ball and it came off the post.

Robbins and Bevan also had half-chances for Cheltenham, before Watson made arguably the save of the game to deny an instinctive volley from Britt Jeal.

The final 15 minutes of the first half went by without incident, but the Robins took the lead less than two minutes into the second period.

A perfectly-weighted free-kick from Charlotte Criddle found Liggett, who volleyed into the far corner.

The pattern of the game continued as the second half wore on, both sides struggling to create anything clear-cut, but Southampton did have a couple of shots blocked.

After Davies changed things up from the bench, the hosts found an equaliser just after the 90-minute mark.

A corner from the right was headed back across goal and in by Mear to deny Cheltenham an eighth consecutive league win.

Neither side could find a winner in the lengthy period of injury time, so the Robins were forced to settle for a point that makes it 15 games unbeaten in the league.

Although Southampton have remained unbeaten in the two sides’ three meetings this season, it’s Cheltenham who are still in the driving seat for promotion. 

Cheltenham: Watson, Hallsworth, Butler, Owen, Wathan (Jones 77), Criddle (Barbour-Gresham 82), Bevan, Liggett, Haynes, Grove (Rogers 88), Robbins (Hayward 71).

Robins’ Player of the Match: Emily Owen.

Image supplied by MikeJHalfordPhotos

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