This week it was on the next game in a series of must win games.  Cheltenham’s fate is in their own hands and it was important for them to maintain their improved form.  This weeks fixture had been up in the air all week, after a cancelled pitch slot, and the need to find another location for the game.  Eventually the game was moved to Brockworth at 4.30pm, but upon arrival the day previous fixtures were already running nearly half an hour late. Needless to say they was a great deal of waiting around and very little time to warm up like there would normally be.  By the time the game could eventually get underway Cheltenham were ready and raring to go.  They quickly attempted to assert their dominace over East Glos, but to no avail.  It seemed that East Glos felt like they had a point to prove and were working equally as hard.  It was though Cheltenham that struck the first blow, showing a small sign of the previous weekends form.  A well worked goal built up with good passing play, and a little wriggling around players in the D was rewarded with the 1 -0 lead. It was not to last though, East Glos fought back  and quickly leveled the game.  Cheltenahm once again too easily losing possession, needless giving the ball away.

Refocusing Cheltenham for the next ten minute played some of their best hockey of the day, pressuring East Glos, retaining the ball, and selecting when to attack. Ending up with a well earned short corner.  Unlike the previous week and the struggle to need several shorts before actually converting one, Cheltenham struck gold with a beauty of a straight strike and regaining the lead 2-1.

This should have been the shift in momentum that Cheltenham needed now to keep pushing for more goals and securing the win, and settling down into a steady rhythm.  But no good story when the little team beats the odds is a smooth journey, and there was to be no fairy tale ending today.

East Glos were once again the quickly of the teams to bounce back, Cheltenham play becoming worse and worse.  they lost all desire to win the ball, all thought of keeping possession and carefully picking passes left them.  Instead they gifted the ball passing directly to the opposition, didn’t get behind the ball as a team, and in all honesty were not the team wanting this win more.  As the half grew to a close and the errors increasing, there was only so much Cheltenham’s keeper could do to try and stop the game deteriorating further.  With the defense failing the clear their lines East Glos to the lead.

It was a dejected team that came in for the half time team talk, with the delayed start having a knock on effect there was very little time to chat through the first half, and try as our coach did to instill the desire back into the team it would appear it fell on deaf ears.

It would be a wonderful thing to say in the second half the team rose from the ashes of their first half performance, but that would be turning fact into fiction, and besides I’m not much of a creative writer. Time and again they gifted the ball to East Glos, any chance to clear their line and attack was rushed, player feeling the need to do everything themselves rather than work together.  In fact working together went completely out of the window, and it was thanks to the great keeping efforts of Cheltenham keeper that the score remained 3-2 to East Glos.

It would be easy to blame umpiring decisions didn’t go Cheltenhams’s way several times, but that is something that happens in every games.  Unlike previous games Cheltenham let this affect their poor play more, slow to reacting when nothing was given, and not fighting to win the ball back.   The list could go on and on with the catalog of errors Cheltenham’s brought into this second half.  By far there worst performance of the season, this was a game the East Glos deserved to win. So it was little surprise that as time ticked away the score stayed as it had been at the end of the first half, come the final whistle.

Todays game was a huge blow to Cheltenham’s  promotion chances, and judging solely on today game this was a team not at all ready to play at a higher level of hockey. right now it feels like its another year, another late season slip up and another few weeks of waiting for results out of our control with the hope that fortune favours us.  It  is a case of de-ja-vu all over again for the Ladies 3s so many previous season have had near identical outcomes and right now no one can be more disappointed than they are, having let themselves and their coaches down.  This was a game where they stopped doing everthing that is the core to who they are as a team, reverting  to trying indivually to win the game is a formula that is never going to work.   Today was not a performance that the ladies should  dwell on, but hopefully it will be an eye opener and a catalyst to becoming team players rather than an individual player.