Cheltenham Town Ladies suffered a 4-2 defeat to Brislington Ladies in the FA Women’s Premier League Plate first round at Petersfield Park, watched by the fifth highest crowd in the WPL.
The away side took their chances well in first half in sharp contrast to Cheltenham who spurned chances and couldn’t convert scrambles in the box despite having good possession.
Ella Hitchcox was robbed of an opener for the Robins by the cruelest of bobbles in the box.
Brislington were in front early on through a close range strike and added two more before the break to make it 3-0.
It was a tighter second half as the Robins grabbed two good goals through Ellie Briscoe and captain Jen Brown-Wealls following a second strike from Brislington.
It was a difficult one to take for the Robins as they couldn’t build on a strong 3-0 victory over St Nicholas Ladies in the league last week.
The first half started with Cheltenham Ladies very much on the back foot as Brislington showed their class and were ahead inside 10 minutes.
Brislington latched onto the loose ball inside the box following a defensive mix up and struck it home from close range to make it 1-0 to the visitors. The home team felt that Kayleigh Hateley had been fouled in the build up to the goal.
The Robins did have the chance to immediately reply though through a Jen Brown-Wealls free-kick but the captain’s effort went straight into the hands of the opposition keeper.
The away side continued to enjoy a lot of the ball with a string of corners but it was the home side’s Ella Hitchcox who couldn’t convert two great opportunities to put them level from close range as both went over the bar.
The ladies struggled with the long ball in the first half and were then made to rue those missed chances as a long range Brislington free-kick found an unmarked opponent in the box, who poked the ball beyond Rebecca Panniers in the Cheltenham goal.
With the score now 2-0, the first-half misery continued for the Robins as midfielder Louise Fensome pulled an away player's shirt inside the area to give away a penalty. The spot kick was comfortably converted to give Brislington a 3-0 lead at half time.
Following the break, Cheltenham enjoyed more of the early chances as a long range effort skimmed the top of the bar.
Cheltenham heads did not drop though as they tried to push through Sally Butterfield. The forward had two strong efforts inside the penalty area, forcing a save with the first and drifting the other one just wide of the post.
However, for all their dominance early in the second-half, the Robins conceded a fourth but they did bag two goals as substitute forward Ellie Briscoe struck the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area to first make it 4-1 and then captain Brown-Wealls whose long distance free-kick evaded everyone to sneak into the bottom comer as the match ended 4-2.
Acting Manager Andy Liddle was left frustrated by a first half involving both good possession and good chances, but a blank score sheet whilst Brislington created three good goal scoring opportunities, and bagged them all to lead 3-0 at the break.
“Storm Brian did us no favours in the first half as Brislington made the better of poor conditions to race into an insurmountable lead with some clinical finishing,” he said. “We regrouped and won the second half 2-1, dealing much better with Brislington. This is only our second game applying a new formation and we missed three critical players."
Cheltenham Ladies: Panniers, Walters, Hitchcox, Brown-Wealls (c), Bull, Hateley, Morris, Fensome, Butterfield, Kay, Davies. Subs: Rogers, Briscoe.