Cheltenham Town Ladies FOOTBALL

Cheltenham Town Ladies move within one win of historic promotion after defeating Exeter City Women

Three goals in the first 15 minutes earned Cheltenham Town Ladies an eighth win in their last nine league games with a 3-1 victory over Exeter City Women at the Corinium Stadium.

The Robins are now unbeaten in 16 in the league, since an opening-day defeat to Southampton Women’s, and go into the final league game of the campaign against Chesham United knowing that a win would guarantee the title.

Cheltenham have never played in the third tier before, so it would be a historic achievement if they were to earn promotion to the Women’s National League Premier Division.

If results go their way, the Robins could seal the title next Sunday, 10 April, but they would need both Southampton and AFC Bournemouth to drop points.

Those first 15 minutes against Exeter really did make the difference; from then on, the Grecians were the dominant side, but the hosts held firm.

Charlotte Criddle’s fantastic strike from more than 25 yards was complemented by Lacy-Jai Liggett’s 19th goal of the season and a well-taken volley from Courtney Jones.

Sarah Stacey got one back just before half-time, but in the second half, Cheltenham showed why they’ve only conceded 11 league goals all season with a resolute defensive performance.

Robins manager Tom Davies said: “In the first 15 or 20 minutes, we gave ourselves a fantastic platform, worked really hard and played out the gameplan to an absolute tee.

“After that, they were always going to come back at us with both barrels. Full credit to every player on our team today, the desire to keep the ball out of the net in the second half was outstanding.”

He isn’t getting carried away with the chances of promotion, adding: “To go up in my first full season at the club would be huge, but we’re not taking anything for granted.

“We’re in the best position at the moment, but it’s all about what position we’re in in in two weeks’ time.”

Cheltenham’s next fixture is in two weeks is against Chesham, where a win will definitely be enough for the title.

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