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Cheltenham Town 1 Maidenhead Utd 2
Maidenhead United grabbed their first FAWPL South West Division One victory of the season with a 2-1 win over Cheltenham Town.
The match was the first FAWPL match to be staged at the home of Cheltenham Town FC and attracted the best attendance of the 35 FAWPL matches played on the day. The home side held a deserved half time lead but Maidenhead rallied strongly before taking the honours late in the day, during a frantic last 20 minutes.
Cheltenham started well but were grateful to keeper Bec Panniers for a seventh minute save to deny Tina Brett. The hosts were soon into their stride however and kept the Maidenhead defence fully occupied with clever movement from their speedy attack and dangerous crosses. particularly from the right side. From a Jenny Brown-Wealls free kick, Ria Salleh lifted a first time effort over the bar but on 24 minutes Cheltenham took the lead. Clever play from Ella Hitchcox created space for a powerful shot turned on to the bar by keeper Ellie Parker. The rebound fell to Salleh who finished low into the opposite corner from ten yards.
Maidenhead were dangerous from the set piece delivery of Hannah Summers and when Amy Saunders got clear on the left and set up a shooting chance on 32 minutes but Parker was the busier keeper, dealing confidently with crosses and through balls as Cheltenham pressed for a second right up to the break.
Summers drove another dangerous ball across the area on the restart but no one could provide the finishing touch, Playing with the strengthening breeze, the visitors started to dominate territorially without fashioning a clear cut chance until the 70th minute. Parker claimed a powerful shot from Town's Holly Rogers and the clearance sent Brett free on the right. The ball was cut back and sub Clare Rogers powered an excellent shot past Panniers from the edge of the area for the equaliser.
With the match in the balance, both keepers made fine saves in one on one encounters late in the game. It was Summers who found the opening to set up the winner for Maidenhead on 85 minutes, drilling a long free kick from her own half beyond the retreating defence for Alex Dover to slip the ball wide of the advancing Panniers.
Cheltenham poured forward in search of an equaliser, encouraged by the majority of a supportive crowd of 211. Chances were created, but the Maidenhead defence stood firm. Deep into added time. Brown-Wealls struck a free kick right into the top corner, but Parker turned the ball over the bar and Maidenhead United were able to claim the three points after a stirring contest, worthy of the setting.
Bec Panniers, Sarah Walters, Jenny Brown-Wealls, Sam Morris, Naomi Purvis, Ria Salleh, Annabel Davies, Louise Fensome, Sally Butterfield, Holly Kay, Ella Hitchcox. Subs: Louise Bull, Holly Rogers, Alana Taylor, Tzara Marriott, Ellie Briscoe.
Ellie Parker, Natalie Barnes, Hannah Summers, Melissa Callaway, Gemma Bloor, Amber Langston-Lloyd, Amy Saunders, Tina Brett, Sarah Reid, Alex Dover, Hannah Hester. Subs: Sinead Thompson, Clare Rogers, Shylla Carty-Duhaney, Lucy Casey, Simone O'Brien.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Amy Saunders is up against Annabel Davies and Sam Morris
(middle) Alana Taylor takes on Amber Langston-Lloyd
(bottom) Naomi Purvis clears away from Hannah Hester
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