Olveston’s FA Cup came to an end at the hands of a ruthless Bristol Rovers. On paper many would have felt this seemed like a David vs Goliath tie with Manager James Eveleigh describing the fixture as a free hit as his side looked to create an upset and club history by progressing to 3rd Round Qualifying.
The early exchanges saw Olveston happy to sit back and soak up the Rovers pressure as they sought to play on the counter attack and catch their higher league opponents out. The hosts threated a few times with a couple of half chances but none troubled the Olveston goal until the 25th minute when a neat through ball managed to break through the compact O’s defence and the alert Helena Costa latched onto the pass rounding the outstretched arm of Natasha Hibbert and slotting into the empty net.
Rovers, inspired by the goal started to go through the gears with Laura Cornock heading just wide as Olveston sought to regroup. After soaking up another Rovers attack the ball was dispatched forward to striker Rosanna Blacker, who dropped deep to receive the ball before turning her marker brilliantly and spreading the ball out wide on the left where Weronicka Jozefowska bolted forward, collecting the ball before holding off the challenge and dispatching a sharp finish into the roof of the net!
Olveston would have been delighted to get in level at the break but in the 5th minute of added on time in the first half Anna Hicks appeared to be fouled by the Rovers attacker only for the referee to inexplicably award the kick to the home side. What followed was even more strange as the Olveston keeper organised her wall the ref blew his whistle with Libby Bell dispatching the freekick into the open net despite the best efforts of Shannon Francis to keep it out. 2-1 at the break.
The start of the second half saw Olveston pressing a little higher up the pitch and when Scarlett Mills added a 3rd goal for the hosts, suddenly the O’s had a mountain to climb. Instantly the O’s reacted sacrificing their defensive shape for a more attacking formation with the introduction of Wolfe and Dobbins but this change in shape, coupled by the higher line left Olveston vulnerable to Rovers pacy attack with Layah Douglas particularly impressing with numerous driving runs at the Olveston defence and when a cross into the box was headed home by Cornock you felt it was game over.
Despite being 4-1 down Olveston keep pushing and prodding but with almost with every transition Rovers were creating and when Bell added her second and Rovers 5th from another freekick in the 82nd minute the wind was well and truly knocked out the O’s sails. Substitudes Todd and Hughes would go on to add the 6th and 7th to seal a flattering scoreline and book Rovers place in the next round.
Olveston can be proud of the performance, showing for large parts of the game that they can compete with higher league opposition and will look to take the many positives back to their league campaign which sees them enjoying an unbeaten start ahead of a trip to Downend Flyers this Sunday.