10:00AM, Friday 16 October 2020
Maidenhead United Women clinched their first three point haul of the season with victory at Cheltenham Town Ladies.
Manager Nev Saroya reshuffled the side which had suffered late heartache last time out by reintroducing Gemma Bloor to the starting XI. Sarah Thompson reverted to right back with Nicole Barrett deployed in a role on the right hand side of midfield.
And the tinkering worked as the Magpies demonstrated great defensive shape throughout. The Gloucestershire side struggled to get in behind the Maidenhead defence despite enjoying plenty of the ball and the longer the game went on the more the visitors came into the match in an attacking sense.
Magpies Goalkeeper Nina Merritt was forced to clear under pressure from Lauren Kayll and then had to deal well with an effort from the range from Sarah King as the home side made a bright start. Jade Chhokar tested Robins 'keeper Robyn Levett in a rare Maidenhead raid led by the hard-working Natalie Barnes.
Jade Grove had an effort turned behind by Merritt before the impressive King fired just wide for Cheltenham. Barrett's cross-shot caused a backpedalling Levett a moment of concern as the sides went into the break goalless.
Maidenhead started the second period brightly and had a big shout for a penalty in the opening minute of the half following a challenge on Simone O'Brien. The Robins threatened from a string of corners with heroic Maidenhead blocks going in and Megan Halfacree had to clear from her own goalline before the Magpies edged ahead from a set piece of their own inside the final twenty minutes.
Halfacree's whipped corner was met by Thompson who glanced home and things got better inside the final five minutes when Barrett was fouled inside the box and picked herself up to score. The Robins still had time to get on the scoresheet through Grove's dipping effort, but hard-working Maidenhead saw the game out.
Maidenhead United: Merritt, Thompson, Halfacree, Saunders, Malhotra, Bloor, Barrett, Carvill, Barnes (Sub Nelson '87), Chhokar (Sub Carty-Duhaney '89), O'Brien (Sub Mace '87). Subs not used: East, Reid.
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