The first half in large was a settling in period before a quiet 20 minutes finally lightened up as winger Rossona Rocha span in the box only to see her left-footed effort bounce off the foot of the post. Rovers grew into the game after that and Georgia Vandries was the latest to be denied as she saw her effort saved after more neat footwork in the Cheltenham penalty area.
The game hinged on a moment of madness from the home side as they were reduced to 10 following a very high studs-up challenge or midfielder Courtney Adams, who was unable to continue.
Cheltenham’s resistance was finally broken just before the interval when Jamie-Leigh Worlock collected the ball, left a defender for dead before crashing her finish off the underside on the bar and in!
The goal and the break settled away side nerves and they nearly made it two a minute into the second half as Vandries left two defenders behind on the left but could only lift her finish just wide. The Gas girls would get their cushion in the 50th minute with a moment of class from substitute Jasmine Bull, who generated her own space before hitting a dipping volley from 25 yards that left the keeper grasping at air.
Rovers were now firmly in control and had a couple of chances before the hour mark to extend the lead, first Worlock shot just wide after a fine counter attack and then again when Vandries judged the bounce better than two opposition counterparts but placed narrowly wide.
If the second goal was individual brilliance, the third was pure collective quality. Libby Bell found Worlock with a dinked pass and the opening goalscorer unselfishly laid the ball on a plate for Vandries to get the goal her endeavour deserved.
It was a case of how many from then on, the home keeper made a couple of very good saves to keep it at 3, denying long-range efforts from Rocha And Rawlings but was helpless to stem the tide 5 minutes before the end as Bell once again involved, collected a pass from Vandries and returned in kind to second the latter through for a second goal that she gleefully converted.
With the first team leading the way at Cheltenham, our Development team we’re flying at their fixture at home to Cirencester Town at Lockleaze Sports Centre. The Girls stormed to an impressive 14-0 victory with goals coming from Rosie Hall x3, Zoe Jones x3, Ruby Warden x2, Lottie Weeks x2, Jess Lumber, Sarah Harris, April Lucia-Scadding and Shannon Francis.
Both teams currently sit at the top of their respective Leagues and are carrying momentum into the run up to Christmas.
Words – Jack Davies