In a weekend when all matches at home were called off due to the freezing temperatures the Under 18 girls travelled to Cheltenham to play their round 3 tie in the EH Cup tier 2 competition.

Considering the weather, the pitch at Dean Close School was fit for purpose and with the push back delayed by an hour we were good to go.

The girls, playing a slightly different formation got off to a slow start! After defending for the first couple of minutes we eventually got hold of the ball and from then on dominated possession and created many chances. Sophie Hamilton capitalised from playing higher up the pitch and bagged two very good goals from acute angles to get us under way and settle the nerves. This was followed up by a very well executed short corner finished by Olivia Hamilton. At times our control of play was sublime. Cheltenham did not see much of the ball and when they did have it, they found it hard to get out of our press which proved to very effective and well organised considering the change of formation. With the ball we dominated in mid-field, where at times we were running rings around the opposition. With some excellent passing – giving and going, we scored the fourth goal with Millie Walters finishing off what was a great piece of interplay leading up to the goal. At 4-0 at half time we found ourselves in a strong position to dominate the game further.

The second half saw some tremendous play and some exceptional defending when called upon. It was great to shut them out and keep a clean sheet. The keeper and the back four must take a lot of credit for this. Two more goals materialised in the second half from many chances. A very good interchange of passes between Ursula Olsen-Groome, Johanna Bastian and Sophie Hamilton lead to Sophie’s hat-trick goal. Millie Walters scored her second from a great pass from mid-field leading her to nailing a hit past the keeper putting the final nail in Cheltenham’s coffin.

It was great all-round performance and we look forward to moving into the next round with confidence. Just a quick thank you from me to all the parents, for defrosting the cars and driving them on Sunday morning in what was quite ropey conditions. It was well worth it.

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