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Ladies: Cheal hails character as Ladies progress in FA Women's Cup

4 November 2019

Cheltenham Town Ladies enjoyed even more cup success on Sunday after beating Exeter City 4-3 to reach the first round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup.

Abby Bevan’s opener and a hat-trick from captain Annie Martin was enough to see the Robins through the final qualifying stages of the competition.

While manager Alex Cheal wasn’t wholly impressed with his side’s performance, he was relieved they were still able to progress.

He said: “I’m not under any illusion that we’ve got away with one again today.

“I think Exeter played the better football but we’re in the next round. We’ll take that as the ultimate goal from today’s game.

“At 2-2 we could’ve seen the game slip away from us, but we showed great character to drag it back to 4-2.”

After Sunday’s win, the Ladies will now face Leyton Orient in the opening round at the DN Fire Stadium next weekend.

“I’ve been asked about cup draws and who we want to get, and I’d take that (Leyton Orient) – I’d take a different team that we don’t know,” said Cheal.

“We know about Exeter; we know we were lucky against them last season. We now know we’re lucky against them today.

“We know nothing about Leyton Orient. We will do our research on them and have done a little bit already, but it’s just another 90 minutes where the players can look to enjoy themselves.”

Bevan didn’t open the scoring until mid-way through the first half when she pounced on a loose ball to curve a first-time strike over the stranded visiting goalkeeper.

Martin then doubled their lead heading into the break as she latched onto Lauren Ellis’ through ball before cutting inside and beating the keeper at her near post.

Exeter found a route back into the game early in the second half as they managed to scramble the ball beyond Bec Pannier’s reach from a corner.

They were level soon after as another delivery into the box was headed past the Robins’ goalkeeper.

Martin settled her team’s nerves and put them in front once again, breaking free of the defence and lobbing the keeper from just inside the box.

She then made space for herself and found the bottom left corner from outside the area to restore their two-goal cushion.

A late consolation from the visitors ensured there was a nervy ending, but the hosts were able to see the game out.

They will face Leyton Orient on Sunday at 1pm.


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