THERE were goals on both sides as the Pennies pushed high-flying Cheltenham Town Ladies close at Pen-Y-Pound on Sunday in a pre-season match ahead of the 2022/23 season, taking the next step in readiness for Adran Premier, writes ANDREW KENNEDY.

Meeting teams that will prove to be everyday opponents can ‘show the hand too early’ and reveal how the campaign will be fought, hence an English team visiting for the opening fixture, who ran out narrow 3-2 winners.

The priority is time on the pitch and a watching brief to see how established players and new faces can create the knit that will lead to success.

Team boss Craig Morgan-Hill (CMG) said: “I’m very happy with today’s friendly against Tier 3 opposition. We competed well and took a lot of positives from the game.

“With the majority of the players on the field U21, it shows the depth we have built over the summer with signings and the U19s players who have been promoted to the Senior squad.

“We’re looking forward to getting back on the training ground on Tuesday.”

With no less than six subs keen to get their chance to shine, it was a day where stepping up was the name of the game, with two players from last season’s U16 squad making their senior squad debut, Mia Sherrard and Bella Wilce.

In addition to the new signings revealed last week, Katie Williams was among those making her Pennies’ debut on Sunday.

She joins the club from the South Wales Regional squad where she is a current U16s Welsh International, and is also part of the upcoming FAW Performance Squad.

She said: “The step from U16s to women’s football was a huge step for me but I couldn’t feel more comfortable and eager to begin it with Abergavenny.

“I’m looking forward to develop my football in this team to push me at national level.”

The manager said: “I’m delighted to have Katie on board. She is a young talented player who has a very bright future in the game.”

The Pennies will have teams in three leagues this season – U16s Division 1 (South Wales Women’s & Girls’ League), U19s Division 1 (Football Association of Wales), Senior Tier 1 Welsh Premier (FAW), but there is cup competition too.

The Adran Premier fixtures will be announced today (Wednesday, August 3), plus more new signings.

The Pennies travel to USW Nantgarw to play Pontypridd United this Sunday (August 7), kick-off 3pm, in another friendly, before hosting Cardiff City Ladies at Pen-Y-Pound on Wednesday, August 10, kick-off 7.45pm.

On Sunday, August 21 they travel to Cascade followed by Swansea University on Sunday, August 28, before the Adran Premier matches get underway on the first Sunday in September.