The elements may have beaten the likes of Cheltenham Saracens and Forest Green Rovers Ladies this weekend, but Abbeymead Rovers Ladies refused to be deterred by the extreme weather conditions.
After several postponements in Gloucestershire over the weekend, with Cheltenham Saracens, Brimscombe and Thrupp, Forest Green Rovers Ladies and Cheltenham Town Ladies all having their fixtures called off due to the heavy rain, there was a lack of local grassroots football being played this past weekend in the county.
One match that did go ahead however, was Abbeymead Rovers Ladies vs Longlevens Ladies in the Gloucestershire County Women’s Football League Division One, albeit at a different venue to the original plan.
The clash between two local rivals, was intended to take place at Longford Lane – home of Longlevens Ladies, but after long periods of torrential rain over night the pitch was unplayable, leading to a move to the eventual venue of Abbeydale Sports and Community centre, just 3.7 miles down the road.
After plenty of desperation trying to get the game on beforehand, Abbeymead manage Joe Powell was delighted with his side’s performance with the hosts running out 5-1 winners in a comprehensive and comfortable home victory.
“We weren’t supposed to be playing, as the rain should’ve called it off – but it was definitely worth all the rigmarole trying to get the game on, we managed to get it sorted with the club,” said Powell.
“It was a perfect opportunity to score more goals and get more points on the board and I was very happy with everyone’s performance today.”
Powell’s ladies started and ended the first half strongly, with Longlevens limited to a handful of chances in the middle of the first half. Both sides battled hard in midfield for possession, with the ball regularly turning over between the two teams.
It was the hosts who went in to half-time with an advantage though, after two fantastic free-kicks at the tail-end of the first half. Mel Catchpole left the Longlevens ‘keeper planted to the spot with her dipping set-piece goal, before Rachel Lutman’s accurate in swinging free-kick ten minutes later on the stroke of half-time.
“When it comes to free-kicks, we know we’ve got some players who have that aspect to their game. That helped us get in front, and then after that it was a bit more of a grind – we kept working, putting pressure on the box and then the other goals followed.”
Following their excellent first half performance, Abbeymead took the game beyond all doubt when substitute Emma Robinson lobbed the on-rushing Longlevens ‘keeper to make it 3-0 to the hosts.
After a long period out with a nasty ankle injury, Powell was delighted to see Robinson back on the pitch plying her trade and helping the team.
“I was debating whether to play her (Robinson), as she’s still not 100 per cent but today her quality showed and she went out and scored. I’m very happy she got her minutes, and I think she’s happy too!”
Further goals followed for Kim Sadler and Kirsten Talbot, before a late consolation goal for the visitors Longlevens. After a 3-1 defeat last week against Cotswold Rangers, victory against Longlevens , Powell believes his Abbeymead side have the potential to climb up the table.
“Today does give me confidence but I’ve been confident right from the beginning.
“When everybody’s fit and available we’ve got one of the strongest sides in the division.
“There’s still teams in there that can cause us plenty of problems but I’d like to think we’d be able to stand up and get something out of most of the games we play.”
The 5-1 thrashing of Longlevens Ladies sees Abbeymead Rovers move up to 6th in the League, with a visit to Bishops Cleeve Ladies up next for Powell and his side on November 7, 2021.