Bristol Rovers Women’s increased their lead at the top of the South West Regional League to six points with a 5-1 win against Oldland Abbotonians, in one of only two games played in the division due to poor weather.
The Gas Girls struggled early on in difficult conditions, without their top scorer in the league in Georgia Vandries, replaced by Annys Turner in the starting XI, with the inform Bristol side unable to take control of the game in the early stages.
Rovers manager Nathan Hallett-Young felt his side weren’t at their best for large portions of the game, and felt Oldland were a match for his side for much of the game.
“It was probably a six out of ten for what we are doing right now, credit to Oldland, they’ve come off the blocks well and closed us down. The first half they deserved to have a goal but we ended up in a favourable position at half time,” said Hallett-Young.
The opening goal came from Bristol’s Zoe Fielden-Stewart, whose 42nd minute effort into the top corner ensured The Gas Girls went into the break the happier team, but that happiness didn’t last long.
Abbotonians, bottom of the league on -2 points, impressed in the early stages of the second half, and were rewarded when Jade Scammell converted from close range. Hallett-Young believed that conceding helped his team move up a gear in their performance.
“In the first five minutes we adapted our system more to factor in the elements and weather, but they deserved their goal, I think that woke us up, the best thing for us was that we got through the game with three points, but it wasn’t a vintage performance.”
Rovers themselves responded quickly however, with Fielden-Stewart scoring her second goal of the evening at the back post, and they continued to pile on the pressure on Abbotonians.
Poppy Warren scored her first goal of the season from the penalty spot, with the defender’s effort ensuring the floodgates had well and truly opened at the stormy Lockleaze Sports Centre.
Turner then opened her tally for the game soon after, with a superb assist from Libby Bell leaving a simple finish inside the box, although that wouldn’t be her last goal of the game.
Rovers continued to press the opposition in the last few moments of the game, and scored their fifth and final goal of the game through Turner again, leaving Hallett-Young optimistic of their chances at success this season.
“In house our aim was to be competitive, our season is what we make of it. The instant thinking was to get the first few games out of the way, and hopefully be close to the top end of the table” Hallett Young continued.
“Obviously, we’ve stepped up in the first few games. I don’t think we have been 10/10 yet and hopefully we will move up to second gear, but we can’t be more chuffed than with the start we’ve had.”
The result means Rovers are seven wins from seven in the league, and will be optimistic of securing their second consecutive promotion, although Hallett-Young is optimistic of his sides chances of continued success in this season.
“We are in a very favourable position, we are in a points position that we had the girls aiming for by Christmas. Long term we are looking at a position at the top of the table by the end of the season and hopefully aiming for promotion. I think that we can compete already and we are now looking to win.”
The Gas Girls will look to continue their winning streak at the weekend as they travel to seventh placed Weston Mendip Ladies, who are still looking for their first win of the season.