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Ladies defeat Downend in County Cup

20 February 2018

Cheltenham Town Ladies took the short trip to Bristol to take on Downend Flyers of the South West Women's Premier League in the County Cup and emerged 2-0 winners.

After a number of absences last time out, manager Alex Cheal was able to field a much stronger side as he looked to defend the trophy, with this fixture being played at Hanham Athletic’s ground.

Playing down the slope, Cheltenham started the game brightly by keeping possession of the football well, allowing fullbacks Rose Knuckey and Sarah Walters the freedom to get higher up the pitch. 

Early chances were to come and go as Charlie Rowlands and Suze Berry both shot wide. The pattern of the game continued for the remainder of the half but the home side stood firm with Annabelle Davies being foiled three times by the Downend goalkeeper.

Cheltenham came out for the second half full of confidence despite playing up the slope. Downend showed their intent to make things uncomfortable for the away side with an early attack which resulted in a shot over the bar.

This shot set alarm bells ringing and Cheltenham quickly took the lead following tireless work from player of the match, Sally Butterfield.

Butterfield’s hard work would result in the ball dropping kindly for debutant Charlie Rowlands to open her account with a strike that rocketed into the back of the net. 

The goal eased any nerves and freed up Cheltenham as they started to impose themselves on the game further with Louise Fensome and Kayleigh Hateley running midfield.

It was the latter that showed her quality for goal number two as Hateley unleashed a rocket from 40 yards that flew in to the top corner, to give Cheltenham breathing space and one foot in the semi-final. 

The introduction of latest recruit Jess Wadey and Ellie Briscoe added fresh legs for Cheltenham as they pressed for a third. Two chances for Butterfield to top her impressive performance came and went, while Morris struck a volley that went just wide as Cheltenham ran out 2-0 winners.

Despite not being able to score again, Cheltenham manager Alex Cheal was pleased with the performance.

He said: "We did a great job today in tough conditions. We played some excellent football for large periods of the match but we couldn’t add to the score line. I thought defensively we looked solid and in attack we looked dangerous with Sal running her socks off.

"Focus has to switch now to the league as we play Poole next weekend. That game will be tough but for me will be a marker of where we are as a side."

CTLFC: Panniers, Walters (Wadey), Morris, Brown Wealls (Captn), Knuckey, Berry, Fensome, Hateley, Davies, Butterfield, Rowlands (Briscoe). 

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