CTLFC 3-1 Crawley Wasps FC

16th April 2023

Report by Kieran Neller.

Cheltenham Town Ladies broke their run of poor results in the FA Women’s National League Southern Division against already-relegated Crawley Wasps.

The Robinesses sat at eighth in the league with a five point gap on the teams above and below them, but the game was an opportunity to pick up three points for the first time since February.

The Wasps sat seven points adrift at the bottom of the league and were already relegated.

The home side started strong. Henna Butcher (pictured) drove an attack down the flank, and her cut-back reached Issy Newns at the edge of the box. The forward caught the ball well, but the shot narrowly missed the target.

Billie Haynes joined the attack on the Crawley net shortly after. Her shot through a crowded box was threatening, but the goalkeeper was down well to snuff out the danger.

Cheltenham’s breakthrough came shortly after. A corner came to Courtney Jones, who headed the ball to the far post. The looping header found Butcher who was there to tuck the ball home.

Butcher added a second just three minutes later. The forward was let loose on a counter attack and outran the defence to put herself in a one-on-one with the keeper. The midfielder tucked the chance cooly into the bottom corner to double Cheltenham’s advantage.

Despite the two goal deficit, Crawley were undeterred and against the run of play, the visitors reduced the deficit with a strong effort by Flo Jackson.

Not long after, Butcher was given a chance to score a first half hat-trick, but the Wasps defence reacted quickly to the danger in the box and smothered the ball.

At the other end, Cheltenham shot-stopper Aimee Watson was forced into action with a brilliant double save. Selin Buyukgiray provided the first test, which Watson got down to well. The Wasps striker rushed in and took a snap-shot close to Watson, but the goalkeeper had closed the gap well to stop the Crawley attack and round off the half.

The Robinesses brought out an unchanged side after the break, looking to show the dominance they had in the first half.

Butcher was the first to threaten the Crawley net. Skipper Emily Owen played a pinpoint cross to the attacker. Butcher brought the ball down well before managing to get her shot off under pressure but the Crawley goalkeeper was able to get a strong hand to tip it wide.

Not long after Butcher was once again the centre of attention in the 58th minute when she drove down the left side of the box and put a ball across the face of goal. The Crawley goalkeeper scrambled and eventually the danger was removed, but Cheltenham remained on the front foot.

In the 80th minute, substitute Amy Wathan put the match to bed. Wathan took on the shot from long range and finished brilliantly over Crawley’s keeper to give the home side a two-goal cushion to finish the match.

The result put the Robinesses on 25 points, where due to other results they will likely finish 8th unless Tom Davies’ side can score double figures against promotion candidates Ipswich Town Ladies.

Cheltenham: Watson, Jones, Ackerman, Finch, C. Taylor, Butcher, Cook, Owen, Haynes (Holden 64’), A. Davies (Collis 64’), Newns (Wathan 72’)
Unused subs: Fallon.

Cheltenham Player of the Match: Henna Butcher

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

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