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Report: Cheltenham Town Ladies 1-2 Maidenhead United

12 October 2020

Cheltenham manager Tom Davies was left disappointed with his side not taking their ‘chances’ in the 2-1 home defeat to Maidenhead United in the FA Women’s National League (South West) on Sunday.

A second half corner kick routine and penalty proved enough for the away side to take the points from the Big Local Stadium.

This being despite striker Jade Grove scoring what turned out to be a consolation goal in second half stoppage time.

After the match, Davies admitted that it was a disappointing result considering the start his Robinesses side made to the first half.

He said: “We just debriefed in the dressing room about it. It’s disappointing when we started so well.

“I think the first 10-15 minutes, we were phenomenal and we just didn’t take our chances.

“We’ve also not created potentially enough and we just have not had that dominance to go out and assert ourselves a little bit more and push ourselves that little bit further.

“It’s something that we are going to work on. Like I said we have a young group and it’s important that we keep on developing.

“But it is important that when we get into those areas, that we are dominating and we pushing them back. We’ve got to go and overcrowd to create a few more chances and take those and get what we deserved.

“We haven’t done and ultimately that has cost us.”

These chances started as early as the second minute in the match after good work from Sarah King down the right led to a cross being fired into the box. Unfortunately, the defender was just able to get there before Lauren Kayll could pounce.

King was the bright spark for the Robinesses in the first half, causing havoc down the right for the Maidenhead back-line.

The wide player managed to create a number of chances for herself in the first half. None of which she took.

Grove also made some half chances for herself but going into half-time at 0-0, the Robinesses were in full control with the visitors hardly testing goalkeeper Robyn Levett and the whole Cheltenham back-line.

Despite a good start to the second half which nearly saw Kayll and Mai Butler scoring from corner kick situations, the visitors started to move the ball around in a more confident fashion.

The first sign of danger for the hosts came in the 69th minute when goalkeeper Levett slipped on the ball, nearly allowing the Maidenhead attacker to nip in and put the Magpies in front.

Thankfully Levett made up for the initial mistake by reacting well and preventing the goal to the relief of most of the 61 fans who were in attendance for the match.

However, it wasn’t too long after before the deadlock was broken by the visitors.

A looping corner to the back post delivered by Megan Halfacree was headed in by Sarah Thompson to give the Magpies the lead.

When asked if the first goal was a well worked set piece or poor concentration from his side, manager Davies admitted that it was ‘a little bit of both.’

He went on to add: “You’ve got to give credit to the goal scorers and anyone that creates an assist. So, Maidenhead have worked hard on that and have got their reward for it.

“For us, we’ll debrief and we will make sure that we will look at these things.

“It’s never nice to concede a goal no matter how it comes about.

“And organisation from set piece- we feel like we should do better.”

The setback of going a goal down sparked Cheltenham back into life momentarily. Defender Butler coming close on the 74th minute with a header from a corner kick which went just wide of the goalkeepers near post.

With the Robinesses throwing everything forward in search for an equaliser, they were caught out at the opposite end with substitute Lauren Ellis fouling Maidenhead’s Nicole Barrett in the penalty box.

The latter put away the penalty in the 85th minute to ensure that her side were heading back down the M4 with all three points.

Grove did pull a consolation goal back in injury time - a lovely looping strike from outside the box which found its way into the top corner to make it four goals already this season in her first four league games.

Already matching her goal tally for the whole of last season, demonstrating the improvements she is making under Davies’s regime.

“She’s playing fantastically,” Davies said with a wry smile on his face. “I’m really happy with the way she is taking our messages and themes. She allows us to build in a really strong way.”

“And it’s something that we spoke about when she joined that we wanted to make sure that she improved and it’s that goal scoring record that makes her so good.

“She has scored four already, which was the same as last season and we aren’t done there.

“Jade’s not done there. She will continue to have this sort of form throughout the rest of the season. And we will continue to try and provide her with as many chances as possible.

“She’s started really well and it’s for everybody now to keep contributing and doing the right things.

“But fantastic strike and I’m really pleased for her.”

The result means that it is one win, one draw and two losses for the season so far and when asked about team morale, Davies revealed that the players are a little ‘deflated’ now, but is confident they will respond well when they next train.

He said: “I think more so when you look at where Chesham are at the results they have got since they have played us.

“And they have been really authoritative and they have gone and got some really positive results.

“We know that we deserve that. We didn’t get lucky in that game and since then we just have not been able to find that level of performance.

“They are deflated now, but they will come back into training the exact same as they have done and I know they will.

“We’ve been training fantastically well and have been working hard and as you can see today, there is long periods of that game where we have played some really good football but just haven’t got the result.

“And potentially we have been unlucky with decisions but we will come back into training and be fine.”

The Robinesses have a little bit of a break from the league now, as they prepare to face Brislington Ladies in the second qualifying round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup next Sunday at home with kick off being at 2pm.

Cheltenham’s next game in the FA Women’s National League is away to Poole Town Ladies on Sunday October the 25th at 2pm.

Follow @CTLadies on Twitter to keep updated on what’s going on with the Ladies team and to follow live match coverage of the games.

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