The ‘Gas Girls’ continued their 100% winning record in the Northern Division of the South West Women’s Football League, with an emphatic 7-1 victory away to Cheltenham Town Ladies Development.
On an uncharacteristically warm and humid October afternoon at Petersfield Park, Rovers were forced to work with a slightly depleted squad with Natalie Coles, Betty Platt, Alva Lang, Katie Davies, Lily Greenslade and Georgia Vandries all unavailable for various reasons. Layah Douglas from our Development Squad was once again utilised to cover at right-back, Katie Rawlings was pushed back into central defence while the front three were selected to rotate during the match.
The ‘Gas Girls’ started brightly, pressing high, creating chances but unable to convert during the early stages. Against the run of play, it was the hosts who took the lead on the 10-minute mark due to a mistake which led to the Cheltenham forward to score a simple tap-in. It wasn’t long until Cheltenham initially doubled their lead, only for their goal to be ruled out for offside. Despite this phase of the match, Rovers looked eager to establish more possession and continue their promising start.
Soon after, it was a 25-yard screamer from Libby Bell that deservedly levelled the scoring. The ‘Gas Girls’ were now starting to hit their stride. Douglas then fed a superb through ball for Annys Turner to slot Rovers into the lead for the first time in the match and there was no turning back.
Rovers were rarely troubled for the remainder of the match and were seeking to take a strangle hold. Rossana Rocha found herself in a few yards of space on the edge of the box and fired home her superb shot into the top corner. Jamie-Leigh Worlock was forced out the match just before half time after a tough tackle but the hard working midfielder doesn’t look set to miss out on any potential game time at first assessment. Before the break, a corner from Rocha fumbled it’s way into the path of Zoe Fielden-Stewart who netted Rovers’ fourth goal of the half.
The performance levels set in the opening forty-five minutes continued into the second. After a great spell of possession, Libby Bell found herself in some space and elegantly chipped the Goalkeeper to net a brace and add number five to the ‘Gas Girls’ tally.
On the 73rd minute, Substitute Jacqueline Maddock made a darting run and was brought down just outside the box by the Cheltenham Town defender. Despite the close-proximity to the goal and a high wall, it was Rocha who hammered her shot low and hard into the bottom corner, to add goal number six onto the scoresheet.
With only a few minutes left on the clock, a high looping cross by Zoe Fielden-Stewart was met by the head of Maddock, who accurately placed the ball into the bottom corner to seal the three points for Rovers, finishing 7-1.
A fantastic team performance by the ‘Gas Girls’ with some players required to play out of their usual positions.
Bristol Rovers Women’s now sit joint top in the table with a run of important fixtures coming up over the next few weeks. The ‘Gas Girls’ will now be recovering and preparing for their second home fixture of the season against Downend Flyers FC.
Our Development Team made it another 'Gas Girls' double with a crucial top the table win at home to Tuffley Rovers. Gift Ihejieto and Zoe Jones were on target to ensure that the Development Team sat at the top of the Gloucestershire County Women's League Division Two. Excellent result, girls!