Cheltenham Town Ladies manager Tom Davies viewed the Robinesses 5-0 away win to Poole Town Ladies on Sunday as a ‘stepping stone’ in the right direction.
Two goals from striker Jade Grove and goals from Lauren Kayll, Charlotte Criddle and Abby Bevan meant that Davies’ side momentarily move up to fourth place in the FA Women’s National League (South West).
Post-match, the manager was delighted that his team used last week’s win in the Women’s Vitality FA Cup against Brislington as a ‘stepping stone’ for Sunday’s victory on the South Coast.
He said: “We’ve built in the right way. Like I said, it was important that we used last week’s game as a stepping stone so we’ve done that today and we are building in the right areas.
“There’s times where we’ve made decisions that we need to focus on and develop and that’s part of our building process.
“But we are happy that we have taken maximum points and kept another clean sheet. We’ve played in good areas and we’ve had chances to make good changes in the second half which helped.”
The Robinesses got off to a flying start and took the lead after only four minutes when Billie Haynes’ cross from the left was met by forward Lauren Kayll who smashed it into the net to make it 1-0 early on.
That opening goal was Kayll’s first of the season. Her inclusion today into the starting eleven was partially linked to Sarah King’s absence from the match today.
But she repaid the faith manager Davies put in her. Even more so that she nearly added a second in the 14th minute when the forward met Billie Haynes’ corner with a header which the goalkeeper just about held onto.
A second did come for Cheltenham a few minutes later in the 18th minute when in form striker Grove latched onto a long ball over the top of the Poole defence and placed her effort past the on rushing goalkeeper to give the Robinesses a cushion early on in the contest.
Poole only managed one major chance in the first half with one of their attackers hitting the outside of the woodwork from a long way out.
Jess Hood and Abby Bevan both had chances to add a third minutes later but Poole’s goalkeeper Sam Chripes was in inspired form to keep the scoreline down as we approached the 30-minute mark in the first half.
However Chripes couldn’t keep out Jade Grove’s curling effort from outside the box in the 41st minute to give the Robinesses a 3-0 lead going into half-time.
Grove’s second of this game which was a screamer meant that it was her second brace of the season and additionally her sixth goal of the season. Already surpassing her whole goal tally for last season with only five games played of this current season.
Davies revealed that he is delighted that the striker’s hard work is reaping the rewards.
“Jade’s worked really hard- just as everybody else has,” he said. “And she’s taken the rewards and building in the right process and taking the opportunities.”
He went on to add: “But the best thing is that she’s disappointed that she hasn’t taken more of her chances today, so she will back in training working on those things and keeping on going.
“But it’s nice that she’s getting the rewards for those couple of goals and all over the pitch in the defence and midfield, we are building in the right way to give her the opportunities so she can score goals.
“Just like she does for everybody else which is really pleasing to see.”
3-0 pleased manager Davies going into the break but he was adamant to ensure that his side kept up the tempo and focus going into the second half with the Larkhall capitulation in the back of his mind.
And the message was well received by the Robinesses going into the half. Charlotte Criddle yet again scoring another free-kick goal to make sure of the three points.
Her fourth free-kick goal so far this season which really makes the midfielder the free-kick magician in this Cheltenham side.
With 67 minutes on the clock, Davies decided to freshen it up with a double substitution and both of the players who came on- Sophie Griffiths and Ruby Scahill made a massive difference to the attacking play approaching the latter stages of proceedings here in Dorset.
Good link up play between Griffiths, Bevan and Scahill resulted in the latter shooting straight at the goalkeeper from inside the box in the 74th minute.
It was a proud moment for the development team today with Griffiths making her debut for the first team in front of the 33 fans in attendance.
Davies was also proud of the impact the youngster made in second half.
He said: “Yes she definitely did well, and that’s what the purpose of a development team is.
“We want players to get minutes and develop their game and then come into the first team to challenge for places.
“That process is important and we want to make sure that we develop that as much as we can.
“In terms of the rest of selection, we have most players available for next week. We came with a smaller squad here knowing that it was a long trip and that everyone couldn’t get minutes.
“But we will have many players back next week so decisions will have to be made.”
There was time for the Gloucestershire based side to add a fifth goal in the 76th minute, when Grove played in Bevan who finished emphatically to make it 5-0 on the day.
Interestingly, Bevan’s goal today created the stat that she has now scored in her last four games against The Dolphins.
Similarly to the first half, the home side didn’t really test Robyn Levett too much in the Cheltenham goal. The only notable chance came after a defensive mishap at the back from makeshift defender Courtney Jones presented a chance to one of the attackers which they failed to take.
Moving on from the game and onto the implications of the result going forward for the FA Cup game at home to Portishead Town and then the league game at home to Exeter City, manager Davies admitted that he doesn’t want his team to get ‘carried away’ with any results- regardless of if they are positive or negative ones.
Davies explained: “It (the result) has an impact in terms of it’s taking us in the right direction, but it doesn’t mean that we are going to get carried away just like we didn’t get carried away with the Maidenhead and Larkhall game.
“We have negative results and results like today which have happened before. We know that each performance needs to improve. Each performance is a stepping stone and we need to keep moving.
“If we get positive results then we will do that. If we get negative results then we will reflect and move on and concentrate on the next opposition.”
That next opposition coming next Sunday in the last qualifying round of the Women’s Vitality FA Cup at home to Portishead Town.
Kick-off is at 1pm at the Big Local Stadium in Cheltenham.
Keep up to date with everything Cheltenham Town Ladies on their Twitter @CTLadies, and by following their Instagram account @cheltenhamtownlfc.