First team coach Morgan Hallett was ‘delighted’ with his side after Cheltenham overcame Portishead Town by 3-1 to progress to the first round of the FA Cup.
Two goals from midfielder Charlotte Criddle and another from in form striker Jade Grove was enough for the club to earn a valuable £600 in prize money.
“I’m delighted,” Hallett said when asked to sum up his emotions immediately after the game.
“It’s always good when you get a result like that. We are now into the first round of the FA Cup properly.
“The prize money that comes with it and especially with everything that is going on means that this result is a massive lift for the girls.”
The Robinesses started off brightly but went behind after a communication error at the back allowed Emily Lindsay to slot home past Robyn Levett in goal.
Hallett refused to place blame on one particular player, claiming that mistakes are a ‘collective’.
He said: “I don’t think we can place blame at the moment. We do things collectively and that’s been our biggest theme.
“One of those values we have as a squad is accountability, so I wouldn’t like to place blame on anyone.”
A bitter blow early on for the home side, who thankfully used this setback as motivation to get back into the game.
Defender Mai Butler came close to equalising with her looping header in the 10th minute from Criddle’s corner kick. Butler’s headed effort whistled over the bar.
An end-to-end tempo to the early proceedings of the game eventually helped the Gloucestershire based side to equalise in the 29th minute.
Jade’s incisive through ball finding Charlotte Criddle in the left side of the box with the latter firing her effort across the goalkeeper and into the back of the net via the post to level this tie up at 1-1.
Both sides pushed on to grab a lead going into half-time but neither team was successful.
Criddle’s long range free-kick in the 40th minute the closest either side came to taking a lead into the break.
1-1 at the break was a fair reflection of proceedings, but whatever was said at half-time by coach Hallett led to a dominant second half performance from the Robinesses.
A lovely free flowing move involving Lauren Ellis, Jade Grove and Ruby Scahill resulted in Scahill firing her powerful effort on target in the 52nd minute. Unfortunately on this occasion, opposition goalkeeper Fensome was equal to the effort.
However she wasn’t equal to Grove’s long range effort in 62nd minute which squirmed underneath the goalkeeper and into the back of the net as the Robinesses restored their lead.
That goal means that Grove now has an impressive seven goals so far this season in all competitions.
After a while of graft from the home team to try and grab the insurance goal to kill the tie off, the deadlock in that sense was broken in the 83rd minute when Billie Haynes’ cross was collected by Criddle, who twisted and turned before curling her effort into the bottom right corner of the net.
Amazingly, Criddle’s brace today were her first two goals from open play this season. The midfielder’s four goals prior to today all came from free-kick situations.
Hallett was full of praise for Portishead today and the challenge they posed his side.
The first team coach said: “It was always going to be a tough one today. They’ve had some good wins so far.
“We said from the beginning that we wanted to be in control and be a team that they had to match, and after that first goal went in, we were a bit shaky.
“After that we had to take control and we did that for the majority.”
Tom Davies’ side now wait to see who they face in the first round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
Post-match, when looking ahead to who would be the desirable opponent in the next round, Hallett would like to face a big team but would be happy with anyone in reality.
“I always want to say a bigger team so we can go and get a scalp but we’d be delighted with anyone,” Hallett admits. “At the moment we’re just happy that we’re in the hat for the first-round proper.”
“And again, we want teams to have to come here and match us, so we are not too fussed who we get.”
No one at the moment is sure when the Ladies will be back in action though with the FA Women’s National League yet to get advice from the government on whether the league can continue or not during this next imminent lockdown.
We will keep you updated with whatever is decided on our Twitter @CTLadies.