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Ladies beaten in nine goal thriller

3 October 2017

Cheltenham Town Ladies suffered a heart-breaking defeat in a highly eventful FA Womens Premier League match against Larkhall Athletic Ladies at Plain Ham in Bath last Sunday.

At half-time the Ladies looked well on course to make it two wins from their last three matches, leading 3-1. But after conceding four second half goals, Larkhall claimed the three points in added time.

Larkhall had started well and took the lead after just 13 seconds, with their first attack.

Cheltenham responded and Ria Salleh, pushed up front alongside Ella Hitchcox, sent a shot over the bar from 20 yards and also forced a save at the near post while Sarah Walters saw her deflected shot cleared off the line.

Cheltenham levelled in the 27th minute when Jen Brown-Wealls’ free-kick on the right was headed in by Sam Morris.

Salleh set up Jade Wiltshire for the second after half an hour, with Wiltshire showing real persistence to force the ball over the line after her initial effort was saved by the goalkeeper.

Hitchcox made it 3-1 in the 42nd minute with a calm finish and, after such an early setback, Cheltenham were on top for most of the half.

But Larkhall stepped things up in the second half.  Their second goal was again scored by Barrett after 55 minutes. This came after Jade Wiltshire had had a good effort to make it 4-1 saved at the other end.

Minutes later Larkhall equalised and they were launching wave after wave of attack at the overworked Robins defensive line.

Manager Graham Fletcher sent on Annabel Davies in place of central midfielder Kayleigh Hateley and both Morris and Walters had their name taken by the referee for fouls as the pressure continued to build.

Larkhall took the lead in the 82nd minute, but Cheltenham showed character to respond and make it 4-4 in the 89th minute, with Hitchcox touching in her second of the afternoon.

It looked like an entertaining contest was going to finish all-square, but Larkhall won it in the third minute of stoppage time with a long range effort that deceived Bec Panniers.

Cheltenham Town Ladies: B Panniers; S Walters, J Brown-Wealls, S Morris, N Purvis; J Wiltshire, L Fensome, K Hateley (A Davies 72), H Kay (L Bull 17); E Hitchcox, R Salleh (E Briscoe 83).

* Cheltenham Town Ladies' next match is at home to Southampton Saints in the FA Women's Cup on Sunday (October 8) with a 2pm kick-off at Petersfield Park.


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