Changes bring swift reward in the chase for promotion
CHELTENHAM II 5 OLD BRISTOLIANS 0
CHELTENHAM seconds continued their quest for promotion in a one-sided affair against Old Bristolians.
The first five minutes brought a nervous start for both sides with neither gaining a grip in the contest.
Cheltenham were trying to force the issue but in doing so turned the ball over.
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Old Bristolians sat back with ten men behind the ball waiting for an error before hitting the ball forward to their lone striker.
Cheltenham coach Tom Cole changed the personnel at the back with Chris Ridings moving into the middle to partner young Bertie Wyatt and Guy Jones moving to right half to offer enthusiastic leg work down the touchline.
Soon after the changes Cheltenham took the lead, Wyatt feeding the ball into Luke Cole, who had time and space to roll and provide a telling ball out to Jones on the right flank.
Willing running up front from Tim Morris, Rich Owen and Nick Hume caused panic in the Old Bristolians defence and Morris was left to tap home the opener.
Cheltenham's second goal came from a move down the left side and was finished by Russell Brookes from the penalty spot after a foul on Owen.
Cheltenham could have added to their lead but had to settle for 2-0 at half-time.
skipper Matt Dixon urged them to keep a clean sheet.
The team responded perfectly to their requests by putting the game beyond Old Bristolians within five minutes of the restart.
Brookes added his second of the game, this time from open play, as Cheltenham stamped their authority on the match.
Trailing 3-0, Old Bristolians were now resigned to the fact the game was lost and sank deeper and deeper into their half, but Cheltenham added a fourth goal.
Owen picked up the ball just inside the Old Bristolians half from a wonderful through-ball from Wyatt.
His first touch took him around his marker and then he jinked in an out of defenders before rounding the goalkeeper and pushing the ball into an empty net.
The score line was wrapped up with a clinical short corner routine as Wyatt finished off a move including Cole and Ridings.
CLIFTON LADIES II 1 CHELTENHAM LADIES 1
EMILY Mitchem was named player of the match for Cheltenham Ladies after an exciting clash at Clifton.
Early on an imaginative push-back from Cheltenham caught the umpires and Clifton unaware, but they initially were unable to capitalise.
Clifton applied the pressure for the first phase of the game, but Cheltenham defended well, resulting in a break away down the left and Charlie Roberts creating a short corner.
A clean strike from Roberts saw a deflection from Fran Low take Cheltenham into a 1-0 lead inside ten minutes.
Clifton came back strongly and tried to press Cheltenham high, but with control, calm and experience they worked their way well out of defence and continued to pressure Clifton's back four.
Clifton came back harder in the second half, but both teams missed goal-scoring opportunities.
The home side drew level after Frankie Mayes, formerly of Cheltenham, found the gap and caught Cheltenham on the back foot and created space for herself to score.
With seven minutes left of the game, there was no way either team wanted to leave without any points and they went home with honours shared.