Cheltenham Town Ladies hosted the FA Women’s Premier League South West Division’s second placed side, Southampton Saints, at Petersfield Park on Sunday, a week after their game at the home of Cheltenham men, Whaddon Road.
Both sides started with a good tempo passing the ball around and trying to play tricky balls through the defences to put their forwards in.
With chances for both sides and some impressive saves by both keepers it looked like we would be heading in to the break all square, but with two minutes to go in the first half, Saints crossed a nice ball in from the left which fell at the feet of Libby O’Dell in the box whose strike at goal was too much for Panniers, 1-0.
Seconds later, O’Dell nearly got her and Saint’s second with a strike from the edge of the box which was heroically saved at full stretch by Panniers.
The second half continued much like the first but as the half went on Southampton started to turn the screw and managed to pen Cheltenham in to their final third for a good 10 minutes as the hosts couldn’t get it clear.
Some more excellent saves by Panniers in the Cheltenham goal kept the Robins in the game, noticeably a save with her feet at point blank range.
Manager Graham Fletcher brought on some fresh legs in substitutes Holly Kay, Jade Wiltshire and Holly Rogers and in the final 10 minutes the home side got going again forcing some good saves from the Saints keeper, but ultimately not finding the back of the net.
After the game, manager Graham Fletcher remained positive: "We worked really hard again, with no reward, which is disappointing for the team. We are creating chances, and we will get this first win of the season.
"We have the game with St Nicholas on Tuesday to make that happen. We have to remain positive, as we have competed against some really good sides in this Division, as we close the gap, it’s just that little bit of luck, or a piece of real quality to make it happen, and we can make progress.
"It's annoying as I feel we have the players to really make an impression in the FAWPL this season, it’s the monkey on the back thing that Gary Johnson spoke about last week, we need a goal!"
Team: Panniers, Marriott, Purvis, Brown-Wealls, Butterfield, Fensome (Kay), Hateley, Davies, Salleh (Wiltshire), Hitchox (Rogers).