Cheltenham Town Ladies manager Tom Davies insisted that Sunday's 3-0 win against Brislington Ladies in the Vitality Women's FA Cup will be a 'platform' for progression going forward for the rest of the season.
Goals from Billie Haynes, Alice Kempski and Charlotte Criddle secured the Robinesses a safe route through to the last qualifying round.
After the game, manager Davies spoke about all the positives that his side can take forward from the victory today.
He said: “It’s a nice feeling for everyone and it’s something that I think we deserved today.
“It’s a feeling that I felt like we could have potentially had last week and it’s unfortunate for us.
“We’ve been working in training hard like I reiterate every week and it’s nice that this result is now a platform for next Sunday.
“We are still building. There are times today where we don’t look phenomenal, but there’s other times where we look really good, so for us it’s going into Poole Town with a stepping stone and making sure we use that to keep progressing.”
Ninth versus tenth in the League but instead this time in the Vitality Women's FA Cup second round of qualifying. It was a contest which was largely dominated by the Robinesses throughout.
Cheltenham came into this game with a point to prove after an indifferent start to the FA Women’s National League (South West) season, and they came out of the traps fast in this game with the in form striker Jade Grove hitting the bar after only four minutes.
That itself was a big enough warning for Brislington and for what was to unfold in the first half.
The Bristol based side did pose a slight threat on the counter attack with their forward and best player of the half Chelsea Heal curling her effort wide of Cheltenham’s far post to the relief of the home crowd.
But a great counter attack shortly after resulted in the opening goal which was scored by wide player Haynes.
The number 16 received the ball in left side of the box and her delicate chipped effort flew over the opposition goalkeeper and into the far corner to make it 1-0 to Cheltenham.
Davies’ side remained on the front foot for the majority of the half and were unlucky not to go two up in the 37th minute when both Grove and full back Lauren Ellis had goal bound efforts blocked by Brislington defenders.
Two efforts which led to vocal penalty appeals from the home dugout and most of the 64 fans who attended, which in the end weren’t even entertained by the referee.
A deserved second goal did come before the break with Sarah Kings deflected cross into the box finding the alert Kempski who drilled her effort into the back of the net. Abby Bevan with some great build up play for that goal.
2-0 at half-time meant that the pressure was eased on Davies’ side for the second half and that was evident as it didn’t take too long for the home side to get going again.
Charlotte Criddle scoring another free-kick to make it 3-0 in the 47th minute. That’s now three free kick goals so far this season for the midfielder.
After the match, manager Davies was full of praise for the midfielders hard work that she has personally put into improving her free-kick technique.
He said: “Cridds has been fantastic. Something that she has worked on consistently as well as others. And it’s nice that she is getting her rewards for that early on.”
With the game seemingly out of reach for Brislington, it meant that Cheltenham could play with less intensity to help conserve some energy as an important League game against Poole Town awaited next weekend.
This resulted in Davies giving the majority of substitutes time to get valuable minutes in their legs, also meaning that the likes of Grove could rest up ahead of the crucial encounter in the FAWNL.
An encounter against Poole Town which Davies described as ‘big game.’
“It’s a different game”, Davies admitted. “It’s a big pitch being that it’s on a 3G pitch, so will be a big game.
“And from when we played them the first game to when we played them mid-season last year, they had a massive upturn and they were playing a lot better and were a lot comfortable.
“So, I expect them to be a good footballing side. I expect them to work hard.”
The likes of Jess Hood, Lauren Kayll, Sam Morris and Courtney Jones all contributed well to the second half for the Robinesses meaning that the manager may have a little selection headache ahead of next week.
"Yes, you could say that," Davies admitted with a wry smile on his face when asked about having a selection headache for the Poole game next weekend.
He went on to add: “With five subs in the FA Cup, it’s nice to be able to use those.
“We have a big squad, so we haven’t hidden that. So it’s nice to get players on today and utilise that.
“We’ve had a little change in shape today which has given us different options and different ways we can go about it.
“But everyone is fighting for that shirt, so it’s important that everyone is putting performances in.
“We are about developing, so it’s important that we keep going and keep stepping on.
“Some will rotate in and rotate out, but it’s for the benefit of the team. And that is at the forefront of everybody’s communication and input.”
CTLFC now will face Portishead Town Ladies in the last qualifying round of the FA Cup.