Match Report – AFC Sudbury Women v Newmarket Town Women

Sunday 1st November

ERWFL League Cup

Cup action this Sunday in the featured match on Women’s Football East with a trip down into Suffolk to watch a game from the 2nd Round of the ERWFL League Cup, AFC Sudbury Women v Newmarket Town Women.

  The two ERWFL Division One sides meeting at the Kings Marsh Stadium a little under a month since a dramatic game in the FA Women’s Cup that saw Newmarket edge Sudbury out 4-2 on penalties after the 90 minutes finished all square at 3-3. Victory today for either seeing them reach the last 16 of the ERWFL League Cup one o 4 sides from Division One to join the 12 Premier Division sides in the next round.

Has been quite a while since I last saw AFC Sudbury Women in action were still Sudbury Ladies in fact. Has been something of a rebuilding of the side since it was relegated from the ERWFL Premier Division. Playing in ERWFL Division One South this season having been in the North previously. AFC Sudbury football club featuring an academy for both boys and girls have been one of the leading forces for women’s football in Suffolk in recent seasons and Suffolk as a whole has seen a healthy grow for women’s football of late. A strong start to the season for AFC Sudbury Women despite a narrow 3-2 defeat on the opening day are 3rd in ERWFL Division One South are unbeaten since 5 league and cup matches if you don’t count the penalty shootout loss to Newmarket. Two league wins out of three lay 3rd in the table a point behind title contenders Millwall Lionesses and Hutton Ladies. Beat Suffolk rivals East Bergholt United Ladies 5-0 in the 1st Round of the League Cup. A new Reserves sides entering the Suffolk Women’s Premier Division this season.

That penalty shootout win part of a fantastic run for Newmarket Town Women in this season’s FA Women’s Cup beginning with a memorable win in the extra preliminary round over higher league opponents Wymondham Town Ladies form the Premier Division, again drawing after 90 minutes winning the resulting shootout. Advancing through two more rounds with wins against Bungay Town Ladies and Sudbury before the run was ended by FAWNL South East Division One side Norwich City Women. One of just six sides now competing in Division One North is a league where all six sides are capable of challenging for the title, have won one and lost twice in the 3 games played so far. A strong youth section within the club, with a Development sides several players have stepped up to the first team in recent seasons. Won 4-1 away to Division One South side Stevenage FC Women Development in the 1st Round of the League Cup.

The game being played at AFC Sudbury’s, King’s Marsh Stadium. The large 3G pitch surrounded on all sides a large newly built clubhouse and kitchen to one side with a covered seated stand, a terraced stand opposite with the viewing area’s behind both goals covered. Covid restrictions well in place. A youth game taking place as I arrived an hour before kick-off a nasty injury in the game seeing it running late delaying the kick-off for today’s cup clash. Alot of rain recently but I didn’t think the ground would be affected. Dull and overcast with a little rain in the air a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch would affect the flight of the ball.

AFC Sudbury Women starting XI – Ciara Roberts, Faith Candice, Jodie Donely, Amanda Short (C), Brogan McHale, Maisie Goodwin, Megan Partridge, Georgia Thorpe, Amber Provan, Amy Thompson & Tye Smith. Subs – Teigan McHale, Hannah Stephenson, Rebecca Stephenson, Evie Creaton & Isabella Crawford.

Newmarket Town Women starting XI – Dominika Szary, Holly Dryland, Layla Weston, Beth Woodfield (C), Rebecca Towler, Jess Linger, Chloe Slater, Katie Webb, Katie Hayes, Gemma Moore & Annabel Cuthbert. Subs – Tash Patten, Kaitlin Elsey, Liv Caffarelli, Hannah Doyle & Megan Spurrell.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  The game eventually able to get underway a little after 2pm, it’s Newmarket to get the first half in their change strip as both sides wear yellow, the visitors in an all red kit today with Sudbury in their all yellow kit featuring an array of squad numbers from 3 to 57. Annabel Cuthbert playing the ball back to midfielder Chloe Slater she plays it long out to the left looking for the run of Katie Hayes, Sudbury full back Faith Candice in quickly to close her down prevent her skipping in behind her challenge taking the ball out for a Newmarket throw. A positive start from the visitors Newmarket pressing high closing the Sudbury defence down forcing a throw deep on the right.

 Newmarket’s Katie Webb fresh from riding her first winner at Leicester Races earlier in the week combines with Gemma Moore up the line on the right exchanging passes before Moore attempts to pick out Cuthbert making a near post run, the Sudbury defence blocking can’t get it clear Newmarket push numbers into the final third, Cuthbert central 20 yards out unable to get a Jess Linger ball down under control and hit on the turn as Brogan McHale closes her down for Sudbury, Slater pressing keeping the attack alive the ball played out to Layla Weston getting forwards on the right the full back sending in a cross from 25 yards out Cuthbert getting hold of it this time inside the area takes it to her right intending to shoot, Sudbury captain Amanda Short at centre back getting on her shoulder tackling to send the ball behind for a corner kick. 

Sudbury defender, Brogan McHale

   GOAL! Newmarket hammer home there fast start opening the scoring inside 4 minutes. The corner put in by Linger from the right defended by McHale at the far post, the hosts can’t break however as Newmarket are quick to close the ball down turn play around the ball played out to the left side nudged on for Cuthbert finding space inside the box top left corner, opens up her body to send a curling effort high across the diving keeper into the far corner of the net 0-1.

Annabel Cuthbert with the early strike to give Newmarket the lead

  Sudbury yet to have any meaningful possession inside their opponents half fire a warning shot across their bow straight from the restart the ball out to Amy Thompson running clear on the left has support from Tye Smith the ball put across the top of the Newmarket box, Georgia Thorpe running with it before putting her foot throw the ball from the top of the D, her shot straight at Dominika Szary, the Newmarket keeper catching it cleanly. Newmarket left back Holly Dryland finding herself in space strikes the ball across field as Webb makes the run on the opposite flank, picks her out superbly (if catching her on the side of the head and sending her sprawling was the intention) nevertheless having been poleaxed Webb is okay to continue. 

Newmarket’s Holly Dryland playing the ball forwards

  Newmarket regain possession in the middle Slater taking it on with Moore ahead of her peeling right attempts the diagonal ball into the box for Cuthbert, Candice intercepting setting up a Sudbury attack forwards for Maisie Goodwin taking it on plays it forwards towards Smith, Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield defending at the back, plays it long for Hayes away to the left her touch knocking it on gets in behind before checking back inside to take on the strike from the angle 20 yards out lifts her strike over the crossbar. A good battle shaping up in the centre of the park Linger winning it for Newmarket passes to Hayes out on the left, crosses early too close to the goalkeeper, Ciara Roberts with a confident claim high at her near post.

Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield clearing the ball ahead of Sudbury attacker Tye Smith

   Goodwin’s turn to get the better of the midfield battle coming away with the ball at her feet into the Newmarket half lays it on for Thompson left side, a clever touch seeing her take the ball in behind the Newmarket defence into the area but can’t win the race to the ball before Szary can come off her goal line lay claim to the ball. Newmarket continue to press the Sudbury defence on the ball McHale with limited options as she is closed down by Cuthbert outside the box turning back into the box the striker nipping in to take the ball off the centre back 8 yards out gets a shot away but is a tame effort along the ground Roberts down to smother it inside her six yard box. 

Gemma Moore looking to get away with the ball for Newmarket in attack

 Goodwin tracking back tackles Webb inside her box bringing the ball away plays a fantastic long range pass up to Smith in attack the striker getting hold of the ball looking to take on the Newmarket centre backs Rebecca Towler slowing her progress as Woodfield comes in to make the tackle. Candice stepping up wins the ball intended for Hayes from Dryland at the back space to run into has good vision to pick out the run made by Smith peeling off Towler’s shoulder to get into the box right of the D, pulls the trigger early her strike racing wide behind at the left post. 

Sudbury’s Amy Thompson

 Thompson with a powerful run with the ball on the left in attack does well to win Sudbury a corner kick. A cluster of players gathered at the top of the box Newmarket keeping 3 up to occupy the Sudbury defence. The delivery from the left in central Thorpe jumping nodding it down towards goal, Weston defending the post scrambling the ball away to safety. 20 minutes played the game starting to level out Sudbury finding more time on the ball have to stay alert, Jodie Donley doing just that at left back as Cuthbert coming deep to receive the ball into her feet turns brilliantly to send it forwards for Webb attempting to run clear on the right side, Donley cutting it out. 

Newmarket’s, Katie Webb

 Newmarket having make a fantastic start, unsettling Sudbury the hosts starting to get hold of the ball centrally, Goodwin tenacious supported well by Megan Partridge locking horns with Linger and Slater. Goodwin’s pass long for Thompson left plays it inside for the advancing Smith who in turn plays a diagonal ball into the area looking for Thorpe far side, running in with Dryland on her shoulder the Newmarket left back defending well. Thompson and Smith combining as they come forwards for Sudbury left side Thompson inside to Smith bombs on up the wing Smith picking her out gets into the area near post to receive the cross flashes a ball across the face of goal Thorpe running in far post can’ t quite get there. 

Newmarket’s Jess Linger and Chloe Slater combine to win the ball

 Partridge getting forwards to the edge of the area as Sudbury win a throw high on the right sees the ball rolled into her feet lets fly from 20 yards out right of the D fires her shot over the bar. Amber Provan nips in to regain possession for Sudbury 30 yards out, attempts to play in Thorpe to her right, goes on into the area, Dryland lunging in with and outstretched leg taking the ball away from her.

  GOAL! Newmarket double there lead on the half hour getting forwards win a corner on the left. Push players forwards into the box the delivery put in across goal into the six yard box Cuthbert, Webb and Slater all gathered at the far post the ball knocked down to the floor is loose for a second, Woodfield closest the quickest to react stabbing the ball in over the line at close range 0-2.

Beth Woodfield (5) quickest to the loose ball to put Newmarket 2 nil up

 Sudbury ring the changes using all five substitutes as Evie Creaton, Hannah Stephenson, Teigan McHale, Isabella Crawford and Rebecca Stephenson enter the game coming on for Smith, Provan, Brogan McHale, Candice and Thompson. Other players moving position too the intent to cause an impact Sudbury are on the attack Creaton central onto the ball rolled out to Crawford on the right side firing in an early cross into the box, Woodfield tracking back clearing inside her own six yard box. Newmarket clear their back line left side long with Cuthbert moving into the channel does well getting the bouncing ball under control holding it up as team mates races forwards in support slipping inside lifts a cross into the area, Slater arriving on the penalty spot stooping to head the ball wants to loop it over the keeper, not easy and succeeds in dropping it into Roberts gloves instead.

   GOAL! The substitutes having the desired effect as Sudbury pull a goal back injecting pace into side clear there defence the ball played on into the middle Crawford racing onto it taking it on plays a superb ball through to Partridge leading the attack now having peeled into the right channel sees the ball into her run sets herself and lets fly from inside the box keeping it low races pass Szary into the back of the net 1-2.

Megan Partridge moving into attack pulls it back to 2-1 for Sudbury

 Sudbury have sharpened up are pressing Newmarket at the back as much as the visitors were to them at the start of the game forcing errors. Goodwin in the middle tackling to get another attack going comes left on for Creaton, looks to go on Weston getting back on her doing well to force her run away from goal Creaton still managing to square a cross into the six yard box, Szary at full stretch diving to get her gloves on the ball with both Partridge and Crawford coming in. 

  Newmarket bringing players forwards for a corner Sudbury defending look to break Thorpe outside the area getting hold of the ball taking it forwards covering alot of ground before sending it out to Partridge away to her right, 25 yards out comes back inside closing in on the area, strikes the ball her shot angling wide across the face of goal. Into the last 5 minutes of the first half. Teigan McHale blocking a cross fired into the box from the left fired in by Dryland as she goes beyond Hayes. The game intense both sides closing each other down looking for openings both defences being kept on their toes. Rebecca Stephenson bringing the ball under control centrally 25 yards attempts to thread it through for Partridge, Towler throwing a leg out intercepting outside the box.

Half-time AFC Sudbury Women 1-2 Newmarket Town Women

  Newmarket with a fast start putting Sudbury under pressure at the back closing the ball down capitalising with an early goal. Unsettling the hosts took Sudbury a while to find their rhythm, before the game settled into a more even contest Newmarket continuing to create chances doubling their lead on the half hour. Sudbury responding with 5 changes, making an immediate impact pulling a goal back setting up an intriguing 2nd half.

Maisie Goodwin bringing the ball away in midfield for Sudbury

   Newmarket’s turn to ring the changes at the start of the 2nd half making 4 substitutions, on come Kaitlin Elsey, Tash Patten, Hannah Doyle and Megan Spurrell, replacing Webb, Moore, Hayes and Linger. Sudbury to get the 2nd period underway. Look to get the ball left, find no joy as Weston gets control of the ball plays it inside for Woodfield to launch upfield. Elsey peeling into space on the left for Newmarket in attack checks back inside to attack the box her cross cut out the loose ball gathered by Doyle 20 yards out central hits it hard, Short with the block. 

 The visitors pressing at the start of the 2nd half keep the pressure on in the final 3rd Doyle into the box left side shooting on the angle Roberts on her line down to make the save. Short does well inside her box defending against Elsey as the Newmarket attack looks to take her on entering the box left of the D.

  GOAL! Defending one end Sudbury get straight on the attack the ball out from the back wide to Crawford in space attacking right side plays a great diagonal pass into the box for Partridge making the run in behind advancing on the keeper, slots the ball along the ground wide of her to equalise early in the 2nd half 2-2.

Megan Partridge equalises for Sudbury early in the 2nd half

  Tash Patten is brought down in a dangerous position for Newmarket 25 yards out from the Sudbury goal the referee awarding a free-kick. With Linger off, it’s Slater on the set piece takes on the shot over the wall dips too soon making it a straight forward catch for Roberts. Minutes after equalising Sudbury are celebrating once again thinking they’ve taken the lead, almost a carbon copy of that goal today Crawford racing clear on the right sending the ball through to Partridge inside the box in behind the defence, the flag is up straight away however even before the ball nestles in the back of the net, the celebrations cut short.

  Crawford and Creaton lively on the right side for Sudbury, the former pushing on into the area from the wing, Towler coming across to slide in take the ball away for a corner. Defended Newmarket attempt to break, Sudbury close the ball down well centrally press the attack to win a corner on the right. Rebecca Stephenson with an inswinging delivery trying to use the wind to her advance goes long through the crowded six yard box to strike the far post, rebounded out towards the top of the area a shot fired back in is blocked spins away for a corner on the left. Another good delivery inswinging towards the near post, Szary with a good leap punching it away to safety.

  Patten with a risky but nevertheless good sliding tackle just inside the box against Partridge denies the attacking a shot on goal as the ball is send into her feet from the left. Sudbury with the brighter start 2n half keep the ball inside the Newmarket half Goodwin onto Rebecca Stephenson. A free kick awarded 30 yards out to the right of goal, Rebecca Stephenson on it blasts over. The host pressing well in the final 3rd win a corner on the left, the delivery long over everyone retrieve by Goodwin beyond the far post flashes a cross through the six yard box Partridge far post can’t get a telling touch runs through to the corner taker, Rebecca Stephenson shifting it onto her right foot inside the box shoots on the angle the ball bulging the side netting.

Sudbury’s Rebecca Stephenson coming forwards with the ball

 An hour played a lively contest between two battling sides no let up from either, Patten on the wrong end of a strong challenge in the middle, Slater to play the free-kick into the box taking a deflection on it’s way past goal winning Newmarket a corner. Elsey up attacking the far post can’t get her header on target. Sudbury ring the changes once again, Brogan McHale, Provan, Candice, Thompson an Smith back on for Goodwin, Partridge, Short, Thorpe and Donely. Newmarket making a change too Woodfield off at the back on comes Liv Cafferelli. The flood lights coming on as the light starts to fade. 

Newmarket’s Chloe Slater

  Newmarket get on the attack Slater on for Cuthbert getting clear in the middle running clear on goal opening up for her has Elsey running with her to the right opts to cross set her up the weight of the ball a little to heavy evading her. Patten having picked up a couple of knocks for Newmarket is replaced by Linger. The visitors get an attack going the ball out to Spurrell on the right peeling off the shoulder of the last defender into the box shoots low Roberts well placed to drop onto the ball make the save. A triple change for the visitors Newmarket bringing off Weston, Cuthbert an Slater, Webb, Hayes and Moore retuning to the action. 

  Creaton getting hold of the ball well for Sudbury causing Newmarket problems on the right sees the ball into her feet off a throw in turns inside to play in a cross to Smith centrally outside the area, Cafferelli getting in front of her well to win the ball back. Creaton skipping on past her marker right side sends a diagonal ball into the area long for Thompson far side, closing in on goal from the left, Szary closing down the angle down smartly to save low, her defence scrambling the loose ball away. 

GOAL! Into the final 20 minutes Sudbury have upped their game 2nd half pushing on in attack win another corner on the left, players gathering at the top of the area to make runs as Rebecca Stephenson places the ball, flights it in towards the near post six yards out, Creaton has snuck in unchecked leaping to nod the ball down into the ground and bounce up over the line into the roof of the net 3-2.

Evie Creaton scores to put Sudbury into a 3-2 lead

  It’s competitive there are some strong challenges out there a little niggle too creeping into the game. Elsey is hurt in one such challenge and needs to come off, Cuthbert retuning to the action as the game enters the final 10 minutes. Provan gets back well to tackle Hayes as she looks to gather the ball into her feet in attack on the left drive at the defence for Newmarket. The host win a free-kick in a dangerous position left of the D a yard outside the box, Rebecca Stephenson placing the ball, strikes it well racing in on target, a superb attempt, an equally superb save by Szary getting across her goal diving to her right throwing out a glove to palm the ball behind conceding the corner. 

  The corner defended Newmarket can’t get the ball forwards Sudbury are closing everything down working hard to regain possession. Hayes threatening to run in behind catching Sudbury with a high line, goalkeeper Roberts comes running out of her box to win the race and clear the danger. Szary at the other end has to come racing out to the top of her box to as a looping ball is played forwards, to risky to attempt handling it ha to get her head on the bouncing ball cleared but not far Crawford 30 yards out attempts to take advantage catch the keeper off her line the shot however off target dropping wide of the post. Dryland across to dive in halts a Sudbury attack as they press numbers on through the middle.

 Moments later Dryland pulls up looks like cramp but very painfully the Sudbury bench helping her off the pitch, Slater is sent back on with 5 minutes left to play. Rebecca Stephenson a threat in any dead ball situation Sudbury are drawing their fair share of free-kicks aswell as giving them away. This though is adding up to time lost as Newmarket frustratingly cant get the ball into their attackers late on. Creaton on the ball good close control as she dribbles towards the Newmarket area taking players on is clipped right on the edge of the area. Rebecca Stephenson placing it right of the D, strikes it early, Szary not set but the attempt is wasted racing wide past the left post. Stoppage time being played Rebecca Stephenson left rolls it on for Smith in attack, puts Cafferelli under pressure as she attempts to shield it back to Szary, the clearance put straight to Stephenson she strikes it wide across goal. Creaton holding it up in the corner as the final whistle blows.

Full time AFC Sudbury Women 3-2 Newmarket Town Women

  Sudbury come back from 2-0 down to win the game 3-2 in the 2nd half to reach the last 16 of this season’s ERWFL Cup. A highly entertaining contest between two evenly matched sides. Newmarket quick out of the blocks taking an early lead going 2 up on the half hour. Sudbury ringing the changes pulling a goal straight back to trail 2-1 at half-time scored early in the 2nd half and maintained there strong start to the 2nd period to go on and find the winning goal whilst doing well to limit Newmarket’s opportunities up the other end.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Again another tough one to decide, rarely are they easy, but that’s the nature of the game. A few contenders for Newmarket, Beth Woodfield was strong at the back making several important tackles as was Chloe Slater in the middle, getting forwards well too. For Sudbury Megan Partridge came into her own taking over in attack getting into some great positions, scoring twice to level the scores. Evie Creaton too with a great performance getting hold of the ball setting up numerous attacks and keeping the momentum with Sudbury scoring the winning goal. The award though goes to Maisie Goodwin had an excellent game in midfield, battling hard winning the ball and when she did having the vision and range of passing to find her attackers.

  If it is to be my last game for a while an excellent match to leave it one highly entertaining from the first minute to the last plenty of talent on display a great advert for the ERWFL. My thanks to both sides for the all important teams details as always much appreciated. 

Match Report – Fakenham Town Ladies v Sprowston Athletic Ladies

25th October

Norfolk Women Division One

The action this Sunday on Women’s Football East comes from Norfolk, a game from Division One, Fakenham Town Ladies hosting Sprowston Athletic Ladies.

Another game close to home for myself with Fakenham just 25 minutes up the road. Norfolk Women’s Division One looking strong again this season with 10 sides competing in the top tier of the county league this season. A match today between two sides who will be aiming to push for a top 5 finish at least.

  Fakenham Town Ladies begin the new season under new management with Ben Binder moving on to take charge of Norwich City Women’s Reserves side. Thomas Bulley and Ed Savage taking on the running of the women’s side at the club. A good set up with in the club Fakenham returning to Division One last season bouncing back from Division Two at the first attempt last season of course cut short by COVID. Olivia Baker and Shelley Woods amongst the new faces joining the squad have experience at a higher level and in Woods in particular a player with an eye for goal. Lost their opening two league fixtures before registering their first win last time out a good result away to rivals Tavern Ladies winning 6-1. 

  Sprowston Athletic Ladies have themselves had their best start to a season yet in Norfolk Women’s Division One winning 3 of their opening 4 matches to lay 2nd in the early table. Have recently merged with Sprowston FC who have a strong tradition in youth football both boys and girls and are now part of one of the biggest clubs in terms of sides present in the county. Have scored 13 goals so far in 4 matches with Bryony Brierley top scoring with 5 from 4. Katie Fray to often amongst the goals for Sprowston has 3 in 3 so far. A match today between two sides who are high in confidence.

  Clipbush Park the venue for today’s match (The Daly Group Stadium as it’s also known) usually the match is played on the main pitch, however for the first time I’ve known it the game today to be played on one of the grass pitches behind the stadium the raised pitch where the reserves play, Is smaller than the main pitch offering less width, not so energy sapping as the larger pitch with is always a good test of fitness. The pitch railed off all round with brick dugouts. Despite the heavy rainfall overnight the pitch is in great shape, the weather set to be dry a few clouds around but breezy and mild. The clocks going back the sun already on it’s way down could cause issues later on in the game.

Fakenham Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Easter, Amie Hutchison, Gina Pooley, Sian Sands (C), Maddie Smith, Holly Davies, Vicky Lubbock, Jemma Riches, Sophie Lubbock, Shelley Woods & Chantelle Ketteringham. Subs – Olivia Baker, Chelsea Thomson & Karina Townsend.

Sprowston Athletic Ladies starting XI – Jade Knight, Georgia Bryant, Zuleika Laffitte, Maria Braithwaite, Keri Boorman (C), Katie Fray, Kate Morris, Olivia Leggett, Rebecca Kirby, Courtney Leggett & Bryony Brierley. Subs – Laura Jenkins, Tabby Mileham & Hannah Taylor.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   Sprowston to take the kick-off 1st half wearing blue shirts with navy blue sleeves, blue shorts and socks. Fakenham opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and socks. Fakenham in to close Sprowston down right from the off chasing down the defence as the ball is played back passes rushed possession quickly regained Vicky Lubbock for Fakenham onto the ball central moving right pushed out to Jemma Riches on the wing attempts to thread it in behind, the pass cut out by Sprowston’s Courtney Leggett. 

  Fakenham making a bright start pushing 3 in attack, Sophie Lubbock and Chantelle Ketteringham either sides of Shelley Woods central rushing at the Sprowston back line defended by captain Keri Boorman the ball put straight to Riches closing on from the right her touch knocking the ball high into the air dropping 20 yards out central Vicky Lubbock closing in to strike it on the bounce through on target bouncing in the six yard box Jade Knight drifting across her goal catching it cleanly. 

  Sprowston come on through the middle Olivia Leggett carrying the ball forwards into the Fakenham half a good pass out to the right finding Kate Morris her cross looping up high into the box close to goal is collected high by goalkeeper Chloe Easter at her near post. Fakenham get straight on the counter attack the ball into Amie Hutchison on for Holly Davies left side players from both sides drawn over to that side of the pitch as Sophie Lubbock takes it on Woods in close support a vicious cross fired in low towards the near post Zuleika Laffitte does well coming across to win it and take it away from danger.

Sprowston Athletic Ladies, Zuleika Laffitte

   Intent from Fakenham early on press forwards looking to get players in left and right, Ketteringham in behind on the right this time spin back on the by-line to send a cross racing along the face of the Sprowston goal. Is scrappy with players rushing in to close each other down throws being given away by both sides unable to make headway up the flanks. Georgia Bryant stepping in to tackle Sophie Lubbock as Woods turns the ball on into her path. Bryony Brierley has pace in attack for Sprowston ready to go get in behind the Fakenham defence, the flag going up against her as a ball in threaded into her through the middle. 

  Rebecca Kirby on the ball for Sprowston coming left plays in on for Brierley left of the D, holding it up the striker looks to turn inside, Fakenham captain Sian Sands closing in on her  lunging to make the tackle the ball going away for a throw in. Morris getting in some advanced positions with the ball for the visitors moves right her cross spinning behind for a goal kick. Vicky Lubbock jumping in to win the ball centrally nods it out to Riches on the right she takes a touch laying it on for Ketteringham ahead of her, a little too much on the ball, however Woods racing into the box beyond her almost reaches it Knight unfazed by her run gathering the ball safely.

Vicky Lubbock heads the ball on for Fakenham Town Ladies

 Laffitte with a good stop at the back to cut out a through ball intended to put Ketteringham in behind to her right from Davies. Fakenham setting the tempo Sprowston not settled yet the visitors push on through the middle Maddie Smith stepping out of the Fakenham back line to clear the ball long upfield, turns into a great ball for Woods to exploit taking it on towards the opposition area right side under challenge from Laffitte manages to get a shot away on the angle a tame effort however lacking the power to trouble Knight. Sophie Lubbock left side plays it inside 20 yards out looking to play it into Woods path, Boorman sticking out a leg nicking the ball away from her.

Fakenham captain, Sian Sands with Sprowston Athletic striker Bryony Brierley

   A good battle forming between the Sprowston full backs Bryant and Laffitte as Fakenham push Sophie Lubbock and Ketteringham on left and right. Sophie Lubbock on the angle smashes in a shot from all of 25 yards out the ball wide at the near post. Olivia Leggett comes away with the ball at her feet left side for Sprowston travelling up the wing looking for crossing options as Brierley comes to make herself available, Riches though tracks back for Fakenham to regain possession for the hosts.

Fakenham’s twin sisters, Vicky and Sophie Lubbock both causing problems for Sprowston, Vicky making some strong runs through the middle getting the ball down chasing into space on the right swings in a high cross into the six yard box, Knight leaping excellently getting up to glove the ball up and reacts well as she comes down getting across her goal to smother the ball at the far post before any Fakenham attacker can latch onto it. Knight busy in goal for Sprowston with another double save as Fakenham overload the left a diagonal ball angled in towards goal kept out spins away to the right Riches rushing onto it hits it hard from close range, Knight back on her line doesn’t know much about it as she saves with her legs deflecting the ball away behind for a corner.

Courtney Leggett carrying the ball forwards for Sprowston Ladies

   The delivery from the corner on the right angled in towards the top of the area a shot comes in taking a deflection sending it away for another corner. This delivery attacked far post ends with a goal kick awarded. Bryant is busy in defence on the right for Sprowston, Vicky Lubbock getting support from Woods and Davies as se comes forwards the full back standing up against her putting in the blocking tackle to stop the hosts advance. Smith brings Brierley down 35 yards out from goal right of centre Sprowston awarded the free-kick. Boorman plays it on for Kirby right side outside the area looks to come inside getting a shot away through bodies on target low lacks pace Easter seeing it into her gloves. 

  Fakenham are straight on the attack the ball on for Riches right side her cross in half cleared loose 25 yards out a shot coming in from distance Knight safely behind it. Vicky Lubbock coming down the left cuts inside getting past Boorman flashes a ball into the six yard box, cleared by Laffite comes to Davies 25 yards out takes on the strike dipping in front of goal is caught by Knight. Strong tackling between Fray and Morris in the middle for Sprowston sees the visitors getting on up the right as Kirby takes the ball on coming infield runs into trouble as Smith comes to close her down win the ball outside the box. 

Vicky Lubbock on the ball for Fakenham Town Ladies

   Sprowston starting to gain some momentum in the final third as Morris gets further forwards with the ball looking to link up with Brierley in attack winning a throw high on the left lifted into Brierley the attack spins in behind her marker making a move for goal inside the box, Smith comes across with a strong but well timed challenge to take the ball away. Fakenham continue to attack with pace and purpose, Vicky Lubbock on for Woods left channel has Sophie Lubbock ahead of her feeds the ball on into the area, Knight out saving bravely at Lubbock’s feet as her momentum takes her on.

  A good triangle between Olivia Leggett, Morris and Fray in the centre for Sprowston as they gain momentum inside the Fakenham half, the final ball into Brierley outside the D see’s her closely marked by Sands, Fakenham’s captain winning the ball back. Morris bringing the ball on 30 yards out on to Brierley moving to the right inside the area latching onto the ball swings in a cross from the by line a dangerous ball flashing across the face of goal scrambled away for a corner at the far post by Hutchison. The set piece going long Fakenham get hold of it press forwards, Sprowston giving away a free-kick central Fakenham push players up to the top of the area a Hutchison places the ball. Vicky Lubbock getting a head on the delivery under challenge the ball put back to Hutchison all of 40 yards out takes a wild swing at it her attempt off target.

Sprowston Athletic Ladies, Olivia Leggett

  Fakenham press down the left after Davies wins possession back central Vicky Lubbock pushing on down the line fires in a low cross on the angle, Knight down onto it at her near post with Ketteringham racing in. Morris strong on the ball comes left into space 25 yards out squares her pass inside for Olivia Leggett, Davies closing in wins the 50/50 the loose ball running behind Leggett to Fray she looks to loft it up into the area spotting Brierley peeling off her marker, Smith though intercepts the pass for Fakenham. 

  Boorman cuts out a cross inside the area as Pooley gets away down the left for Fakenham the Sprowston centre back conceding a corner. The set-piece delivered towards the congested near post is half cleared to the top of the area, Smith latching onto it for Fakenham sends her shot up over the crossbar. Into the final 5 minutes of the first half. Sprowston’s defence have been the busier Braithwaite deflecting a cross flashed in from the left out towards the top right hand corner of the box, Ketteringham rushing onto it sends her strike over the bar. 

 Brierley continues to look a threat in attack for Sprowston has had to go it alone more often than not does well to shake of Sands get after a threaded ball laid into the area right of goal, Smith though produces a risky but well timed tackle to deny her a shot. Throw in’s have been a constant feature in the first half no one afforded any tie to settle on the ball. Riches trying to race away after the ball right side, Knight rushing out of her area clearing the danger for Sprowston. 

Half-time Fakenham Town Ladies 0-0 Sprowston Athletic Ladies

  The first 45 minutes end goalless the game played at a furious pace Fakenham attacking throughout creating the better opportunities forcing a couple of excellent saves from Jade Knight in the Sprowston goal. Pushing on against the visitors full backs looking to take on the defence have had the better of the half but frustratingly haven’t broken the deadlock. Sprowston dealing with alot of pressure at the back have stood firm put in some vital tackles when needed didn’t settle early on and haven’t been afforded much time on the ball keeping a clean sheet began to create opportunities of there own and if they can get closer support to Brierley in the 2nd period will create more chances of their own.

A change for Fakenham at the start of the 2nd half with Olivia Baker on in midfield for Vicky Lubbock. The hosts to get the 2nd half underway Chloe Easter donning a cap with the sun now low in the sky facing her goal. A scrappy start to the 2nd half a few niggly challenges too free-kicks given away in the middle. Sprowston getting hold of the ball centrally Fray sending it up towards the box Smith back peddling chesting it down to her keeper, just enough pace on the ball for Easter to claim with Brierley rushing in to close her down.

Fakenham scramble the ball clear off a Sprowston corner

  Fakenham play the ball up the line left side Pooley racing forwards doing well to not only keep it in play but put it in diagonally into Sophie Lubbock inside the area, attempts to turn Boorman close in on her preventing her going anywhere with a good challenge putting the ball away for a corner. An inswinging delivery from the left into the six yards box Smith getting her head on the ball placing it over, however a goal kick is signalled. 

GOAL! 6 minutes into the 2nd half and Fakenham find the break through pressing forwards through the middle the ball lifted on Boorman looks to head it back to her keeper inside the box doesn’t get enough weight on the ball with both Woods and Sophie Lubbock racing in to close down the advancing keeper, Woods doing well getting a touch before Knight can reach it knocking it past her presenting Sophie Lubbock with an open goal to tap the ball home 1-0.

Sophie Lubbock opens the scoring for Fakenham Town Ladies

  Braithwaite comes across from the centre to support Laffitte as Baker plays Ketteringham in behind on the right hand side sending the ball away for a corner. Fakenham placing a cluster of players at the top of the area as the corner is played into the box, Smith and Hutchison are on top of one another as they attack the ball not sure which one got the final touch driven in towards goal however is straight at and a comfortable height for Knight to hold onto. 

Fakenham defenders Maddie Smith and Amie Hutchison

 Sprowston play the ball out from the back into Courtney Leggett getting on down the left side advancing down the wing squared it inside to Morris her reverse ball sending it on into the area as Brierley peels off Sands in behind, Easter off her line quickly out to claim it before the striker can shoot. Laffite sliding in does well to deny Ketteringham an opportunity to skip in behind on Fakenham’s right. Chances for both sides with Fakenham making a double substitution bringing on Chelsea Thomson and Karina Townsend for Davies and Pooley. Sprowston making their first change bring on Tabby Mileham for Courtney Leggett.

Tabby Mileham playing the ball forwards for Sprowston Athletic Ladies

  Laffite conceding a corner as Ketteringham pushes on right side off a Baker ball from the centre. The delivery in from the right towards the top of the box is meet by Baker left of the D hit hard and low races narrowly wide of the far post.

GOAL! A little over an hour gone and Sprowston draw level pushing on well through the middle Morris up with Brierley as the ball comes into the striker left outside the area turns well the ball taken on by Morris, riding the challenge from Smith gets into the box left of the D and smashes the ball hard and high across the keeper 1-1.

Kate Morris levels the scores for Sprowston Athletic Ladies

  Fakenham get straight on the attack from the restart playing the ball out to the right winning a corner of Laffite. The ball played into the box cleared by Braithwaite the visitors looking to get forwards quickly Olivia Leggett is taken out by Smith on half way a strong tackle in from behind leaves Leggett floored in some pain. Smith recieves a yellow card. Leggett up gingerly on her ankle hobbling a little is keen to get back on the pitch and is allowed too. Sands produces a good tackle to stop Morris turning inside the D as Mileham gets a cross in from the left. 

 Sophie Lubbock often the most advanced in attack for Fakenham in the 2nd half drifts inside to receive the ball centrally dribbling on takes on the defence gaining ground before Fray back tracking puts a foot in to stop her outside the D. Up the other end Smith slides in well to deny Brierley an opportunity 20 yards out as Morris plays the ball on the ball going away for a corner kick. An inswinging ball in towards the near post sent behind for another corner. Fakenham defend well and attempt to break the ball up to Ketteringham spinning away right side is brought down by Laffite conceding a free kick.

Sophie Lubbock getting past the Sprowston defence

  Woods over the ball some 40 yards out as players head up into the box from the back. lofts a ball in dropping six yards out right of goal Sophie Lubbock with the cushioned header back across goal Sands with a bullet header to drive the ball home into the back of the net… however the celebrations are cut short by a raised offside flag in won’t count. Sprowston make a double change with Laura Jenkins and Hannah Taylor coming on for Olivia Leggett and Boorman. The hosts keep up their pressing on either flank Riches sending in a cross from the right forcing a corner. In towards the top of the area gathered into her feet by Baker turning into a strike has too any bodies to go through Sprowston blocking with a little over 15 minutes left on the clock.

   Sands is fouled bringing the ball out from the back for Fakenham the advantage played though as Woods spins away into space with it left into the box, doesn’t make the most of it dragging her shot wide. Vicky Lubbock returns to the game for Fakenham replacing Riches. Straight into the action centrally playing the ball out to Thomson racing on up the left wing goes on checking back to spin in behind Bryant before lifting a cross into the area the ball headed clear by Fray.

  Smith sends the ball up field finding Sophie Lubbock on the left gets in behind riding a sliding challenge on into the area the angle going against her left of goal  drags her shot wide across the six yard box Woods running in far side almost capitalising. Courtney Leggett back on for Sprowston with 10 minutes left to play for Kirby. The hosts push on through the middle Baker onto Vicky Lubbock her diagonal ball picking out Thomson high on the left into the box shoots Knight reacting smartly gloving the ball down and away from danger. Townsend getting on with Ketteringham on the right the ball fired in along the face of goal Thomson close in at the far post can’t get a telling touch. 

GOAL! The game stretched both sides looking to find opportunities late on Fakenham winning it in midfield lofting the ball up to Woods making a run into the right channel into the box the keeper coming to close her down narrow the angle Woods does well to lob the ball over her to bounce on into the empty net 2-1. 

GOAL! Fakenham regaining the lead with 7 minutes left to play Sprowston however hit back straight away from the restart playing the ball out to the left side sent down the line with Jenkins peeling away in behind checks back inside skipping past a challenge to get into the area the angle tight hits it well low and fast across the keeper to find the bottom corner and equalise 2-2.

Substitute Laura Jenkins scores straight away to level the scores for Sprowston Athletic Ladies

  Late drama the hosts regaining the lead but pegged straight back, Olivia Leggett retuning to the action the game stretched now Sprowston finding renewed energy to push forwards. Has been a physical game through out the referee needing to have a word calm thing’s down, Sands playing the ball on for Sophie Lubbock left inside the area, Olivia Leggett back on her to tackle and concede the corner kick.

 No advantage as Brierley is pulled down on half way play brought back for the free-kick, Olivia Leggett to play the ball in towards the top of the area headed clear by Vicky Lubbock comes bac to Leggett who takes a wild swing it it falls well wide of the mark. Jenkins offering a threat on the left in attack for Sprowston now taking on the Fakenham defence getting a cross into the area Smith heading it clear for a throw. Sprowston press forwards numbers around the edge of the box win a free-kick in a very dangerous position outside the area. 

GOAL! Right on the edge of the box left corner of the area Mileham placing the ball, hits it beautifully rising with power and pace behind it finds it’s way through to strike the back of the net 2-3. Sprowston coming back for a goal down twice to lead the match with just stoppage time left.

Tabby Mileham hits the winner for Sprowston Athletic Ladies

 Fakenham suddenly on the back foot for the first time in the match get forwards on the left Thomson fouled by Courtney Leggett giving away a free-kick 25 yards out, a threatening position on the angle as Woods advances to take it. Angles it in high across goal to be attacked far post, a little too much height on the ball sees it run out of play.

 Sprowston get hold of the ball, Courtney Leggett in the middle comes inside form the right is encouraged to run it into the corner runs into traffic instead 30 yards out Fakenham defend the ball loose latched onto by Morris, goes for the shot blasts it wide of the right post. 

Full time Fakenham Town Ladies 2-3 Sprowston Athletic Ladies

 Sprowston win all 3 points to make it 4 wins out of five and remain 2nd in the Division One table level on points with Bungay Town Ladies at the top. Grinding out a win at the death having fallen behind twice in the 2nd half. Weren’t at their best and they will be the first to admit it would no doubt have been happy with a point but to win when you haven’t played so well is often the sign of a good team a battling performance to keep Fakenham at bay 1st half showed good character to get back level twice before going on to find the winner at the death. Fakenham in contrast will feel gravely unfortunate not to take anything at all from the game created by far more opportunities in front of goal had the Sprowston defence on the back foot for large spells of the game. Perhaps should have held a lead at half-time and will rue misses chances getting the lead twice and not holding on disappointing a late goal conceded tough to take.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match and once again several contenders tough to single out one but you know I have to. For Fakenham the Lubbock sisters were both superb, Vicky in particular 1st half the driving force in midfield, Sophie in attack on the left a threat throughout. Maddie Smith making several tackles at the back strong in defence. For Sprowston Kate Morris made some good runs in midfield getting forwards and bringing others into play. At the back the full bacs had a busy afternoon stuck to their tasks well making several important challenges never made it easy for Fakenham, Georgia Bryant at right back is narrowly edged out and it is narrowly (two tackles according to my notes) by Zuleika Laffitte.

  An entertaining game, expected nothing less, Division One certainly looks strong this season of these two sides are anything to go by. Crazy times we live in but it has to be said the football provides a much needed and welcome piece of normality for all playing and spectating. My thanks to both sides for the team details as always much appreciated. 

Match Report – King’s Lynn Town Ladies v Histon Ladies

Sunday 18th October

ERWFL Division One North

Back on the football trail this Sunday afternoon with a relatively short trip for me up the A47 to King’s Lynn to watch a game from ERWFL Division One North, King’s Lynn Town Ladies hosting Cambridgeshire side Histon Ladies.

  A game between two sides that have barely got their season’s started, in fact for Histon this is their first league game of the season, whilst King’s Lynn themselves have played just the one. ERWFL Division One North now with just 6 sides in it after the withdrawal of newcomer Thorpe St Andrew Women and with their Division One South counterparts also losing a side in Hoddesdon taking them down to just 7 it is frustrating for all sides as most express a preference for a larger single division. Of course ideally and the aim is to have the two divisions up to their full compliment of 12 each. The county leagues are growing that should become a reality in the near future.

 Along side King’s Lynn Town Ladies and Histon Ladies. Cambridge City Ladies Development, Newmarket Town Women, Needham Market Women and newly joined Haverhill Rovers Ladies are six sides competing in Division One North. As thing’s look that is a strong line-up with all of those sides capable of mounting a title push to get themselves into the Premier Division. COVID-19 curtailing last season ending early declared null & void King’s Lynn Town Ladies had gotten themselves into a strong position to challenge Cambridge City Ladies Development at the top, whilst Histon were we placed with games in hand to mount a late push.

  A new season and changes in management for both. Joe Simpson a former assistant coach returning after a spell at Wroxham Women to take the helm of the women’s team amongst his other roles at King’s Lynn Town. Taking over from Michelle Stewart whose hard work for the club over the previous 6 years has build a strong foundation for women’s football in King’s Lynn While at Histon, Matt Phillips moves up to take charge of the 1st team with Matt Payne who has put a great deal of work over the years into ensuring Histon has a great set-up to improve the women’s game. 

  A winning start to the season for King’s Lynn Town Ladies when they eventually got their league campaign underway two weeks ago. A good result 3-0 at home to Suffolk side Needham Market Women. That followed up last weekend with a 2-0 win at home to Wodson Park Ladies in the League Cup 1st Round. Have made a few signings over the summer to strengthen the squad, with Jade Kelly, Emma Bunton and Bryony Russell-Smith all returning to the club this season have also recruit 3 players who were with Peterborough Northern Star Ladies last season, Catherine Ray, Kim Fairweather and Fran Peeling. Also worth noting the club had a number of young players ready to push for a regular place prior to the previous season ending.

 A frustrating start to the season for Histon… or rather no start at all as is the nature of the times with COVID there first game of the season at home against King’s Lynn amongst those called off. There only competitive match to date on the 20th September playing ST Ives Town Ladies in the FA Women’s Cup losing to the ERWFL Premier Division side 4-2. Another frustrating period with the squad needing to isolate. Finally getting their league campaign started today.  During the summer there was some upheaval within the club with several on the Reserves side going with thier manager to form the new Histon Hornets WFC. However the club retained a healthy number of players and adding several new faces have enough to establish what is a new Histon Ladies Development side for the new season. amongst the new signings 4 feature in todays squad, Daisy Barns, Becky Charter, Ester Mctrusty and Abi Molloy.

  King’s Lynn Town Ladies now playing their home fixtures at Lynnsport on their 3G pitch behind their old River Lane grass pitches. The leisure facility host to a number of clubs and sporting activities. The club keen to play here, will no doubt have a few more games at The Walks were times return to normal. The pitch caged can be viewed all round with a small area inside for standing spectators. A cloudy overcast day, shouldn’t be any rain, reasonably mild.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Robinson, Chloe Burch, Fran Peeling, Georgia Freeman, Shanice Burch, Kirstie Smith, Deva Rawlings, Rachael Skinner, Jodie Hopkins, Tiffany Forshaw (C) & Emma Corbyn. Subs – Amy Cropley, Kim Fairweather, Jade Kelly, Zara O’Neill & Oksana Imanalijeva.

Histon Ladies – Alison Wright, Amie Flack, Abby Laughlin, Brie Baker (C), Tessa Shaw, Lauren Martin, Sophie Lanham, Becky Charter, Daisy Barns, Kirsty Geal & Molly Blair. Subs – Abi Molloy & Ester Mctrusty.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Histon with the kick-off to get the 1st half underway wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks. King’s Lynn opposite wearing blue shirts and shorts with yellow trim with blue and yellow socks. The hosts pressing their opponents from the start closing down their defence preventing the ball going forwards deflected centrally spins to Jodie Hopkins on the left her touch taking it in behind however racing for the ball can’t quite keep it in play to get a cross into the six yard box. 

King’s Lynn fast to close on the Histon defence right from the off forcing passes to be rushed miss their mark the attack coming back, Tessa Shaw central clearing as a deflected ball central threatens to escape in behind with Emma Corbyn looking to go in attack for the hosts. Abby Laughlin defending at right back for Histon preventing King’s Lynn captain Tiffany Forshaw spinning in behind her she recieves a Kirstie Smith pass from midfield having drifted to the right. 

Tessa Shaw clearing the ball for Histon Ladies

 Histon get hold of the ball left a fantastic cross field pass picking out Kirsty Geal outside the right corner of the King’s Lynn penalty box she fires a ball into the box blocked King’s Lynn defence back to Geal has support out wide with Sophie Lanham head of her again the ball fired into the area is blocked then clear King’s Lynn look to break Hopkins on the ball down the left with ground to run into crosses the ball in but races wide across goal. Becky Charter gaining ground with the ball on the left her low ball into the air cut out by Shanice Burch the ball played up to Corbyn on halfway holds it up well as Rachael Skinner comes racing down the right wing attempt put it on for her Histon captain Brie Baker able to get to it first.

  The hosts looking lively early on are quick to get numbers forwards when they regain at the back not let the Histon back line settle on the ball. Forshaw in the right channel 25 out puts it with for the advancing Skinner, plays the return ball to Forshaw top of the area, Hopkins making a superb run in from the left isn’t tracked as she runs into the D, Forshaw looking to roll the ball into the path the Histon defence just get there first to clear. Forshaw lines a shot up from all of 25 yards out her effort not troubling Alison Wright in the Histon goal.

  Charter nips in to win the ball high on the left for Histon getting away from her marker into the ox strikes it low towards the near post Bryony Robinson in the King’s Lynn goal has her angles covered down to get behind it and save. Daisy Barns rolling it into the feet of Molly Blair in attack for Histon, has Geal on her right, Chloe Burch getting in on her to cut out the pass King’s Lynn getting straight on the attack the ball put into the middle with Skinner making a run does well to leap and get her head onto the bouncing ball knocking it on for Corbyn finding a gap in the left channel in behind into the area, Baker getting across her close her down defending well the see Corbyn concede a goal kick. 

King’s Lynn’s Rachael Skinner up to head the ball on

 Chloe Burch coming to close down on the flank gets the ball put straight into her funny bone as she goes to block (it’s not funny when you get struck with a ball at close range), a painful one an as the new handball rules go a free kick to the opposition. Burch okay to continue. Blair getting hold of the ball taking it into the area under challenge, off balance doing well to put a dangerous cross in for Histon the hosts clearing. King’s Lynn advance down the right draw another free kick a chance to float a ball into the area Peeling playing it in a good delivery landing centrally Skinner up to strike first time on the volley doesn’t get a clean connect bounces harmlessly in towards goal for Wright to catch. 

Histon Ladies goalkeeper, Alison Wright

  King’s Lynn keep up their pressing game Smith getting forwards this time form a central position up with Forshaw inside the D, Smith tackling getting hold of the ball nudges it to Forshaw going on looking for the return pass Forshaw quick to react opting the back heal, Shaw between the pair reading it getting her leg out to intercept the ball for Histon. The visitors getting the ball up the other end winning a corner on the left can’t make it count. Is being played at a fast pace King’s Lynn as working hard to close the ball proving hard to get through at the back. Forshaw recieving a pass from the right 30 yards out plays it ahead for Skinner on the move her low strike from the top of the D is straight at Wright.

  Lauren Martin up the other end striking the ball first time from outside the box left of the D as Histon get bodies up on the left the ball spinning into her path directs it on target however Robinson is right behind it down low to save. The hosts making the first change of the game Corbyn coming off in attack with Oksana Imanalijeva. Histon though have a free-kick deep on the right more or less a corner a good delivery in across the face of goal players up to attack in far post, Robinson up well to glove it away from danger. Imanalijeva on the left has pace as she runs to get onto the end of a long pass , puts it cross the top of the area with Hopkins now on that flank closing it, Baker on top of her getting the better of the challenge bringing the ball out. 

Histon Ladies, Lauren Martin

  Deva Rawlings busy in the middle for King’s Lynn challenging for the ball and getting fouled too, the free-kick this time going against her 30 plus yards out left of the area. Sophie Lanham over it has got a good strike on her takes on the shot, not enough loop on it to trouble Robinson drifting cross to her right post to catch high. King’s Lynn winning a free-kick right side of the circle inside Histon’s half, Peeling playing it across to Imanalijeva on the left outside the area a good touch putting her away in behind turning towards the box to close the angle hits it hard more likely meant to be a shot than a cross nevertheless very nearly comes of as Forshaw lunges for it far post can’t deflect it inside the post wide. 

Deva Rawlings bringing the ball on for King’s Lynn

  Histon finding it a little frustrating are getting players in the flanks to cross the final ball not coming off. Charter with excellent work on the left riding a challenge takes the ball on up the line her diagonal cross into the area goes long. King’s Lynn looking the more likely to score Chloe Burch getting the ball at the back the left back on for Imanalijeva top of the area has Skinner in close support the two combining to get Imanalijeva away in behind to deliver a cross in dropping near side Wright stooping to claim, as Forshaw with Baker on her shoulder close her down the keeper does get there in grounded as Forshaw keeps the ball in on the by line the angle against her tries to chip Wright the ball looping up dropping beyond the far post.

Histon Ladies, Amie Flack

 Histon coming close up the other end as Amie Flack wins it on the left sends a diagonal ball up towards the area, Lanham up pressuring the defence getting a shot away from inside the D across goal, Robinson diving at full stretch pushing it wide of a corner. All action King’s Lynn rushing forwards Imanalijeva left side crossing early bouncing in towards Forshaw right of the D, can’t get there before Shaw her slicing clearance pole axing her centre back partner Brie inside the box, Laughlin though round on the cover to put behind for a corner before the hosts can capitalise. From the resulting corner the ball worked short comes to Skinner 25 yards out left side her shot drilled back on runs wide of the near post. Hopkins with a shot over the crossbar from distance right side as Histon are not allowed any time to settle on the ball.

  GOAL! Into the last 5 minutes of the first half and the deadlock is broken. Rawlings up to support on the right side has the ball at her feet strong to hold off her marker as she comes infield nudges it on before reversing the ball into the area laying it on a plate for Forshaw peeling clear into the area to slide the ball wide of Wright who doesn’t move 1-0.

Captain Tiffany Forshaw opens the scoring for King’s Lynn

   The hosts with a strong spell at the end of the first half, Rawlings winning her tackles on for Skinner right is finding space well crosses the ball in Forshaw attacking the near post sends the ball across the face of goal. Rawlings central picks out Imanalijeva’s run on he left in behind has the pace, Wright though stepping up can get her gloves around it safely first. Imanalijeva injecting pace on the left crossing early late in the 1st half her ball dipping as it arrives at Hopkins strikes on the volley just inside the box, too many bodies to get through Histon block.

Half-time King’s Lynn Ladies 1-0 Histon Ladies

      A good first half from King’s Lynn playing with a high tempo from the start closing the ball down creating chances eventually making it count scoring late in the half to lead the match. Have gotten forwards well perhaps not really making it count probably should have another 1 or 2. Haven’t let Histon settle on the ball and pressing high has made it difficult for the visitors to get their own attacks going have found some joy on the flanks with Lanham getting into some good positions central forcing a good save from Robinson so the visitors will know they are by no means out of the game and with just a single goal lead more than capable of turning it around in the 2nd period. 

   Two changes for Histon at half-time with Laughlin and Geal the players off, Abi Molloy coming on at right back whilst Ester Mctrusty takes up position on the left wing. King’s Lynn getting the 2nd half underway. Get straight on the offensive Rawlings up to Imanalijeva left side knocking it on races in behind to cross a high ball in close to goal claimed high by Wright.

King’s Lynn defender Georgia Freeman winning the ball

  The ball rolled on into the feet of substitute Mctrusty left for Histon her first touch taking it beyond Burch looks to get on into the box Freeman coming across obstructing her the free-kick given. A dangerous position 25 yards out left side Flack over the ball her delivery towards the far post long, between them Charter and Lanham keeping the attack active, Charter firing a ball in on the angle, blocked comes back to Lanham she whips a vicious cross through the six yard box, Mctrusty throwing herself at it far post can’t get a touch.

Histon Ladies captain, Brie Baker

   Up the other end Hopkins getting into the box with the ball left side checks back inside to shot leaning back sends it wide of the far post. Mctrusty giving Histon an option on the left taking the ball on jinks left then right, Shanice Burch standing her ground lunging in to nick the ball before the cross can be executed. Skinner off a throw high on the right turns inside on the angle lobs the ball onto the roof of the net. Baker prevents Hopkins getting in behind on the right giving away the free-kick. Forshaw on the delivery high into the air Wright with a confident take. The hosts with a strong start to the 2nd half half prevented Histon gaining any momentum with Hopkins, Skinner and Imanalijeva pressing the defence Forshaw coming back to regain possession.

Jodie Hopkins looking to get past Histon captain Brie Baker

  Skinner from all of 30 yards with a strike fired wide of the target. Forshaw with a similar effort moments later. Hopkins leading the line now. A good contest shaping up between her and Baker, Histon’s captain has been busy in defence but winning her fair share of the ball prevents the King’s Lynn attacker spinning off her inside the D getting in behind with a lunging tackle. King’s Lynn quickly back on the ball winning a throw dropped into Imanalijeva inside the area right corner by the by line holds it up, knocking it back wide to Peeling to fire in the cross chest height near post Wright behind it but under pressure from Forshaw  spills it, Flack clearing the danger.

Fran Peeling with Histon’s Sophie Lanham

   Hopkins shrugging off her marker turning to get into the box right of goal prepares to line up a strike, Baker back on her superbly has to get her tackle right and does to see the ball deflected away. Skinner racing away with the ball at her feet right down the line swings a cross back in towards the top of the area Hopkins bringing it down with her left foot striking the shot, the effort once again finding Wright the Histon keeper saving. Histon making a change bringing Geal back on for Barns with 25 minutes gone in the 2nd half. King’s Lynn also making a change Chloe Burch having picked up an injury a few minutes earlier unable to continue on comes Amy Cropley going it at right back with Peeling switching to the left.

  Forshaw spinning into a shot close range at the near post left sides sends it over the top as she makes the run for Imanalijeva coming down the left. A 2nd change for King’s Lynn sees Hopkins coming off in attack to be replaced by Zara O’Neill. The substitute almost with a immediate impact controlling the ball in space outside the box 20 yards out turning and striking the ball screws wide of the left post. King’s Lynn continuing their pressing in the final 3rd sees Skinner going for the lob 25 yards out, back peddling Wright knows she is beaten if it drops but to her relieve drops over the bar. 

King’s Lynn’s Rachael Skinner

 Forshaw attacking right into the area goes down under challenge with Baker wants a penalty the appeal waved away. Mctrusty taking on the King’s Lynn defence getting a deflected cross into the six yard box Robinson onto it before Charter can make up the ground. Forshaw comes deeper Rawlings picking her out lays it forwards for O’Neill to attack drifting right, Baker cutting the pass out. 

  GOAL! Looking the more likely to score King’s Lynn get a 2nd goal in the 75th minute a surging run on the ball from Imanalijeva wide on the left closing into the corner whipping a dangerous ball in across the face of over the keeper falling far post Forshaw racing in with the lunge to turn it over the line from close range 2-0.

Tiffany Forshaw doubles King’s Lynn’s lead

  Histon respond with a change Blair coming off in attack, Laughlin coming on into an attacking role as the visitors look to find a way back into the match. Forshaw stealing in to win the ball back 25 yards out drives into the box left side Baker covering across to challenge sending the ball out for a corner. A dangerous inswinging delivery into the six yard box dealt with well by Shaw heading it away wide to the right. 

  O’Neill and Skinner combining for King’s Lynn in attack, the striker with the ball at her feet top of the D shifting left then right Skinner the option to her right on the flank sends the ball out wide Skinner looks to go alone her initial effort blocked  rebounds to her sending  a cross in along the top of the six yard box O’Neill arriving looks to turn it wide of Wright not enough to beat the keeper at close range. Kim Fairweather comes on for King’s Lynn.

  Histon haven’t had much to feed on in attack 2nd half, winning a corner on the left through Mctrusty have a chance to put pressure on the hosts inside the box. The corner though goes long beyond the far post his kept alive well headed down to drop inside the six yard box, Laughlin is there lunging to get her foot on it deflected goalwards hasn’t the power behind it to carry it past the defence before the block comes in and it is cleared. 

Histon’s Abby Laughlin with a late chance to score

  King’s Lynn come on Smith forwards for Skinner on for Forshaw in the area left side cuts it back inside for Skinner running in to attack the near post Wright down smartly pulling the ball into her body. Lanham playing a long pass on for Mctrusty to attack through the middle, Burch closing her down to clear the ball. Forshaw blasting a shot behind on the angle from 25 yards out in the closing minutes . Jade Kelly coming on late in the game for King’s Lynn sending a shot wide from the right of the D outside the box as Forshaw coming on with the ball left side rolls a diagonal pass into her. Kim Fairweather and Corbyn back on to see out the final minutes ensure King’s Lynn keep a clean sheet replace Rawlings and Smith. 

Full time King’s Lynn Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies

  King’s Lynn keep a clean sheet and secure the 3 points with a 2-0 victory. Playing a pressing game right from the off, kept Histon on the back foot for much of the game. Rarely letting the ball settle a good test of fitness. A deserved lead at half-time albeit only by a single goal would need another started the 2nd half strongly giving Histon no chance to gain momentum eventually scoring a 2nd. Had more chances so you could argue should have won by a higher score line. Histon can’t argue with the result found it hard to get a foothold in the match the ball coming back all too often keeping their defence busy still at 1 nil at half-time they were never really out of it the 2nd goal coming with 15 minutes to play had they found that all important goal the game might have been turned on it’s head.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few contenders as always to mention. Brie Baker was kept busy in the Histon defence but did her best to rally her side and covered the ground to make some vital tackles. For King’s Lynn it was a solid team performance from back to front pressing high making life easier for the defence. Diva Rawlings putting herself about in midfield with some good runs and tackling. Oksana Imanalijeva made an immediate impact injecting pace on the left. Rachael Skinner was superb pushing the eventually winner all the way until she scored the 2nd goal, therefore today’s award goes to Tiffany Forshaw. Hard for any single player to mark as she moves well across the final third always ready to make a run into the box setting up several attacks too.

 An enjoyable trip to King’s Lynn this afternoon getting back into it after a much needed week off. Still feel this is a league where anyone can take points off anyone else on their day… will that be the case will be interesting to see. My thanks as usual for the clubs for the team details much appreciated.

Match Report – Netherton United Ladies v Leigh Ramblers Ladies

Sunday 4th October

Women’s FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying

Back on the FA Cup trail this Sunday with a game from 1st Round Qualifying. Cambridgeshire Premiership side Netherton United Ladies reaching this stage of the competition for the first time hoping to cause an upset hosting ERWFL side Leigh Ramblers Ladies.

  The Women’s FA Cup now sponsored by Vitality, and whilst Everton Women will face Manchester City Women in the final of last season’s competition at Wembley on the 1st November. This season’s competition is now into it’s 3rd round of games, 84 sides reaching 1st Round Qualifying. 42 ties to be played with Storm Alex blowing in bringing with it alot of rain, promising a wet afternoon everywhere, several games falling by the wayside.

  Netherton United Ladies play on 3G however so there would need to be a heck of a lot of water to see it called off. Has been quite a while since I last visited The Grange to see Netherton play, alot of changes since then. Lee Martin now in charge of the women’s side. A long established side competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership and aiming to challenge for the top positions. Made history in the Preliminary Round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup winning convincingly away to Northamptonshire side Desborough Ladies 10-0. Drawn at home to higher league opposition in 1st Round Qualifying know it will be a tough challenge, recieving video messages of support from Jimmy Bullard and Paul Merson to give the squad added motivation before the game.

  A long journey in the rain from Essex for Leigh Ramblers Ladies. Have made some good memories in the Women’s FA Cup themselves in recent season’s as a county league side knocking out higher league opposition. Successive promotions those results no doubt going a long way in seeing them promoted to the ERWFL themselves. A solid debut season at that level before Covid brought thing’s to an end. Began this season with a 2-1 away win against Chelmsford City Ladies in the Preliminary Round, Rhiana Castle and Chloe Gilligan with the goals. 

  Peterborough a hot bed for women’s footballing talent boasting a number of sides competing at various levels. The venue today The Grange, situated behind a new build estate the facility boasts a number of grass pitches alongside the main 3G pitch, a small stand offering some cover for spectators. A food truck on hand serving hot food and drinks. Various measures in place to make the facility Covid secure. The weather crap, dull and overcast rain forecast and to fall heavily during the match. Multi-tasking skills to the fore today, a notepad and camera to juggle aswell as an umbrella, thankfully little wind about so the umbrella can be stuffed down the jacket

Netherton United Ladies starting XI – Ali Beel, Lucy Johnson, Dita Upesjure, Carmen Giles (C), Klinta Kulite, Megan Strickland, Lauren Laws, Jenna Nairn, Yasmin Green, Emily Johnson & Katie Barber. Subs – Amy Stanyon, Chloe Earth, Sasha Haw, Ellie Gaston, Amber Parkinson, Natalie Gibbs, Tayla Harris & Clare Noades.

Leigh Ramblers Ladies starting XI – Emily Mackler, Rhiana Castle, Jess McGarva, Paige White, Jordan Castle, Rebecca Dalgarno, Georgia Holdaway (C), Rhianne Cunningham, Ria Toovey, Amber Denton & Elisha Turner-Powell. Subs – Chloe Gilligan, Connie Mashford, Molly Giles & Lucy Dalgarno.

  The rain has been steady but the worst is on it’s way. Leigh to have the kick-off in the first half wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. Netherton lined up opposite wearing red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and red socks. Played back to Rebecca Dalgarno she passes it into captain Georgia Holdaway who spreads play out to the left wing with Ria Toovey after the ball, Lucy Johnson back on her in defence the full back conceding an early corner. Put in towards the top of the area Netherton clear and look to break with Emily Johnson racing on with the ball left channel the ball knocked on as she tries to get in behind, Leigh can see it out for a goal kick. 

   Netherton captain Carmen Giles gets across from centre back to tackle Toovey as she attempts to get in behind the full back on the right. Leigh making a bright start winning another corner on the right. A good delivery in from Dalgarno inswinging towards the far post, goalkeeper Ali Beel stretching getting a glove on the ball to punch it away to the left side the visitors winning a 3rd corner in as many minutes. Netherton not settled.

 GOAL! Leigh score from the corner, take it short up the line, the cross then played in along the top of the area runs through to Rhianne Cunningham right of the D 20 yards out striking the ball 1st time lifting her shot up and over the keeper to find the back of the net 0-1.

Rhianne Cunningham opens the scoring for Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  An early blow for Netherton get on the offensive as Emily Johnson on the left has support through the middle with Megan Strickland. Johnson controlling the ball well passing it inside for Strickland to head on into the gap opening on the left Emily Johnson racing into it gathering the ball puts a diagonal ball into the box looking for Yasmin Green coming in far side the ball though ahead of her goalkeeper Emily Mackler not troubled.

  Amber Denton getting hold of the ball travelling down the right for Leigh putting it inside for Toovey 25 yards out goes to strike the ball, Klinta Kulite close into her blocking the ball. Leigh on top in the early exchanges moving the ball through the middle well finding Denton out on the right Toovey along side fellow attack Elisha Turner-Powell making some threatening runs through the middle. Dalgarno attempts to thread a pass through the middle both attackers on the move a vital interception from Kulite. Giles is down in need of treatment after a coming together on the left. Walks off gingerly, the referee allowing her back on as play resumes.

Leigh Ramblers, Jess McGarva defending against Netherton’s Emily Johnson

  Denton with a strong run gets clear on the right into the corner pivots to put a cross in along the face of goal misses Toovey attacking near post, Turner-Powell right behind her connecting lifts her attempt over the bar. Holdaway allowed time on the ball left side sets her sights and takes on the strike from all of 30 yards out, dipping late drops over. Emily Johnson looking to carry the threat in attack of Netherton in the early exchanges wins her side a corner. The ball played in from the right comes through to Emily Johnson far side bringing it back up to the top of the area plays it across, Rhiana Castle getting there to clear before Lauren Laws can arrive from midfield.

Rhiana Castle clearing for Leigh Ramblers

   Giles can’t shake off her knock has to come off handing the armband to Strickland on comes Amber Parkinson at the back. Holdaway scoops a ball over the top for Turner-Powell to chase, a god starting position from goalkeeper Beel allows her to get out to it first and launch clear. Jenna Nairn playing the ball up to Green in attack on the right wins the hosts a corner kick. A good inswinging delivery from the right under the bar, Mackler though is able to claim it high in her gloves without challenge. Leigh a quickly in the attack up the other end as Holdaway releases Turner-Powell into the left channel, challenged by Lucy Johnson the ball spinning behind for a corner. 

  The game is opening up both sides looking to get it on through the middle, Nairn puts Katie Barber in at goal, Jess McGarva on her shoulder, Barber gets the ball out diagonally to the let with Emily Johnson bombing forwards plays it early into the box, Mackler advancing scooping the ball up into her gloves. 

 GOAL! Denton is finding room out on the right the ball played into her takes it further into the corner stretching play drawing players with her as Toovey and Turner-Powell break centrally into the area. Denton’s cross on the money dipping as it arrives into the six yard box straight to Turner-Powell seeing it into her feet turns to guide the ball over the line from close range. 0-2.

  Leigh doubling there lead with a little over 15 minutes played. The visitors making a strong start. Jordan Castle breaking up a Netherton attack at the back gets Leigh going forwards the ball into Dalgarno central she has Cunningham to her left sends it through for Turner-Powell breaking in behind left side, Beel out quickly to the top of her area claiming the ball. Emily Johnson pace on the wing left side gets in behind taking the ball on to the by-line looking to get into the box evades a tackle reaching the top of the six yard box angling to shoot across the keeper, Mackler down sharply to make the save pushing the ball wide, Cunningham and Green coming together far side as the midfielder attempts to clear the ball. Put out as Cunningham recieves treatment back on her feet the corner has been awarded. Sportsmanship from Netherton however as they acknowledge the ball was played out given back to the visiting goalkeeper.

   Nairn brings the ball on from the middle for Netherton left side has Emily Johnson ahead of her as Strickland hugs the line, Johnson spotting her sends the ball out to her as she races forwards to get into the box, Strickland attempts to return the ball read by Jordan Castle who slides in on Johnson to regain possession for Leigh. The rain has eased enough to abandon the umbrella (for now). A free-kick for the hosts on halfway played up for Green right side she crosses early. Mackler holding it cleanly into her midriff at the near post with Emily Johnson running in. Nairn with an ambitious attempt from all of 35 yards out central, clipping the ball up lands on the roof of the net. 

  Denton continues to make good runs into the right has Cunningham making a run across her to get into the right corner picking her out her cross into the area is held well by Beel at her near post. Netherton gaining some momentum as they look to get a foot hold back in the game Emily Johnson recieving the ball inside the area from the advancing Nairn, back to goal lays it back to the midfielder struck on the run from 20 yards her effort straight at the keeper.

 GOAL! Leigh deliver a sucker punch as Netherton go forwards they are hit on the counter the visitors moving the ball quickly lifted over the top as Toovey breaks in behind towards the box, Beel starting to come Toovey connects early striking the bouncing ball to lob her and score. 0-3.

  Chloe Earth is on for Netherton as Nairn puts it on through the middle for Barber strength tries to bulldoze her way through into the area before being stopped by Jordan Castle tackling her inside the D.

 GOAL! Just as Leigh race into a 3 goal lead Netherton hit back with an immediate reply as Emily Johnson is played in on the right side as the hosts spread play across the middle, Johnson taking the ball in into the area head down angling in towards goal has one intent as she smashes it hard over the keeper to pull a goal back 1-3.

  Half an hour played and the game has been all action, Leigh with a strong start capitalising scoring 3 goals Netherton pulling one back.

 GOAL! One becomes two Johnson causing havoc in the Leigh defence the ball played through the middle splitting the two centre backs, the keeper coming Johnson closing her down, takes the ball away from her wide of goal to the right the defence can’t get back as she strokes the ball into an empty net 2-3.

Emily Johnson pulls it back to 2-3 for Netherton

Leigh push forwards winning a corner on the right the delivery dangerous swung in towards the far post Turner-Powell can’t get a telling touch as the defence scramble clear. Nairn getting hold of the ball in the middle for Netherton now setting up an attack coming on through the middle out to Green to her right she switches it to the left for Strickland coming on attempts to play her return ball across the box for Green to run onto, puts it too far ahead of her allowing White to clear. Netherton make another change with Sasha Haw coming on for Barber up top. 

  Leigh find Denton moving clear on the right whips a dangerous ball into the box, players rushing back as Turner-Powell sees it into her feet on the penalty spot, turns into the strike sending it towards the far post, Beel hasn’t much time to react does superbly diving to her right to get her glove to the ball saving well sending the ball away to the left. A race between Turner-Powell and Parkinson through the middle the defender tackling to win the ball outside the box. Good link up play between Emily Johnson and Strickland on the left side attempting the one two outside the area Jordan Castle though has read it for Leigh and gets in between both in intercept the pass.

  GOAL! 3 minutes of normal time left in the first half and Netherton turn things around, fighting back from 3 goals down to level the scores. Emily Johnson playing a big part in all the goals scoring twice turns provider this time setting up Green inside the box to score as the hosts race up the left wing carving open the Leigh defence Johnson’s early cross dissecting the centrebacks as Green central steals into the box to gather the ball into her feet and shoot low wide of the advancing keeper, Mackler terribly unlucky getting a glove on the ball not enough as it escapes to run on behind over the line 3-3.

  One last attack in the half for Leigh the Essex side building with purpose through the middle Cunningham inside to Dalgarno on for Turner-Powell up top spinning lays it in behind for Toovey, Beel quickly out off her line to gather the ball.

Half-time Netherton United Ladies 3-3 Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  An exciting first half of cup football. Leigh starting well on top getting into a 3 goal lead looking strong, Netherton on the back foot and for a little while you’d be concerned they might be overwhelmed but showed good character to get back into the game quickly pegging it back to 2-3 finished the 1st half strong to level the scores. Terrible conditions to play in both sides have coped well showing attacking intent the game open, you feel there are more goals in it yet. Both sides stay out on the pitch during the half-time interval

 Netherton making a 4th change at the start of the 2nd half a change of goalkeepers with Beel off replaced by Amy Stanyon. Netherton to get the 2nd half underway if the scores are level at 90 minutes the tie goes straight to penalties. Leigh comfortable in defence as Netherton put it forwards mount an attack up the right Denton winning a corner. Molly Giles on for McGarva for Leigh. 

GOAL! The perfect start to the 2nd half as Leigh restore their lead. Scoring straight from the corner. Dalgarno’s deliveries have looked menacing all through the first half her inswinging ball whipped in with pace going straight in as the rain starts to fall more heavily 3-4.

Rebecca Dalgarno scores straight from a corner to restore Leigh Ramblers lead

  Has been a good contest in the middle of the park between Dalgarno and Holdaway and Laws and Nairn, the ball exchanging heads outside the Leigh area Nairn directs one down for Emily Johnson to skip onto inside the D, her snap shot looping in low parried away by the diving Mackler. Turner-Powell taking the ball on 25 yards out evading a sliding challenge from Noades shoots the ball put straight at Stanyon. 

Netherton United Ladies, Amy Stanyon

  Green clear out on the right side as the crossfield pass finds her can see it run across her body before hitting it angling in, Mackler moving across her goal looks to be threatening the top corner however she can see it safely over… just. 

GOAL! Again Netherton come back to level the scores, Lucy Johnson with the ball on the right allowed to bring it on before knocking it forwards for Green stealing in behind right of goal the angle closing hits it hard smashing the ball past the keeper to make it 4-4.

Yasmin Green with her 2nd of the game for Netherton makes it 4-4.

 Getting a little niggly out there Leigh certainly frustrated having held a 3 goal lead and getting pegged back. The rain falling heavily now making playing conditions all the harder. Nairn nipping in to regain possession central rolling her pass out to Green right side hits it early sending her attempt wide across the six yard box. The game could go either way Leigh make another change bringing Lucy Dalgarno on for White. Emily Johnson and Greens movement stretching the Leigh defence. Turner-Powell always ready to make the run at the other end. Giles stepping in to tackle Haw as she turns inside the D with the ball rolled into her feet.

Netherton United Ladies, Jenna Nairn

   Turner-Powell central holding the ball up well 30 yards out spins putting in on for Toovey into the right channel Parkinson sliding in forcing her wide top of the area her angled shot back in held by Stanyon at her near post. It’s a good contest despite the weather both sides up for it. Kulite in to block Rebecca Dalgarno as she meets a cross from Rhiana Castle on the left 25 yards out. A double change for the visitors with both Connie Mashford and Chloe Gilligan coming on Toovey and Cunningham coming off.

  Defending one end a hopeful ball forwards see Haw in the clear for Netherton 25 yards out blasts her shot over the crossbar. Holdaway makes a move up the left is picked out by Gilligan holds it up as Gilligan gets up to support her rolled into her feet she crosses into the corridor an inviting ball Turner-Powell is caught static doesn’t move. 

GOAL! midway through the 2nd half and the hosts take the lead for the first time in the tie, pile players forwards in the pouring rain, into the box as the ball out on the by-line right side is flashed into the six yard box players attacking it in front of the goalkeeper, Mackler grounded a shot put in cleared on the line by Lucy Dalgarno pops loose straight back to Haw to smash over the line 5-4!

Sasha Haw fires Netherton into the lead for the first time in the game

  Netherton are full of energy now Nairn laying the ball out to the right Green away down the wing whipping a cross in near post Haw nipping in in front of the keeper lifts her touch over the bar. Mashford lays the ball forwards for a moment Turner-Powell in clear a yard in behind Kulite with the legs to get back on her to tackle and take it away from her before she can get into the area. Lucy Johnson intercepting as Turner-Powell comes into the left channel looking to get onto a Holdaway pass.

Netherton’s Lucy Johnson with Leigh Ramblers Rhiana Castle

  Holdaway herself bursting through the middle into the box as a cross comes in from the right lobs the keeper only to see her attempt land on the roof of the net, however the flag is up against her. Netherton are looking the better side now, pulling Leigh out of shape as the visitors clearly frustrated look to find a response of their own. Are more than capable the rain falling heavily impacting both sides horrible out there. Denton moving clear right side up the line lifts a dipping cross in near post, Turner-Powell lunging for it can’t direct it across the face of goal out for a goal kick.

Leigh Ramblers, Lucy Dalgarno

 Rhiana Castle looking to get forwards more on the left with Lucy Dalgarno behind her. Has the ball at her feet charging into the box, Lucy Johnson sliding into the tackle Castle rides it, had she gone down the referee would have had to make a decision as it is Castle wins a corner. The delivery put in central headed over for another corner, Netherton clearing their lines this time. I’m sure the pictures tell you how tough it is playing out there, hardly what both sides need, Leigh pushing hard risking it at the back, Rhiana Castle and Holdaway looking to join the attack. 

  Mashford central plays it to Lucy Dalgarno advancing up the left her ball played infield finding Rebecca Dalgarno top of the D striking the ball her shot races wide of the post. Haw races onto a pass from Emily Johnson centrally 25 yards out, Lucy Dalgarno getting up with her sticking a leg out to knock the ball on for her keeper to clear. Rebecca Dalgarno coming forwards into the right channel swings a ball into the area, a yard ahead of Turner-Powell. Leigh regain possession quickly Mashford out to Rebecca Dalgarno has space to move into left her diagonal through ball picking out the run of Turner-Powell free to shoot lacks power straight at the keeper from inside the box.

Leigh Ramblers captain, Georgia Holdaway

  The game moving into the closing minutes Netherton bring on Ellie Gaston for Earth as they look to see out the game. Are inviting Leigh on somewhat, the final ball just not happening for the visitors as they try to square things up. The ball missed by the Netherton defence centrally Turner-Powell after it, Kulite gets back in just the nick of time to lung in take it away from the strikers feet. Frustrations boil over as Rhiana Castle and Lucy Johnson get involved in a shoving match after going for a 50/50 ball Johnson ushered away quickly by her teammates both she and Castle receive the first cards of the game.

  Into stoppage time a Leigh attack breaking down Netherton come on with the ball but are reluctant to commit to an attack slow things down the clock ticking down. Leigh get the ball back out with Rhiana Castle right inside for Holdaway through for Turner-Powell, Stanyon out to the top of her area to launch clear as the final whistle blows and the Netherton team rush towards the centre circle to celebrate a memorable victory.

Netherton United Ladies celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Netherton United Ladies 5-4 Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  What a game a nine goal thriller, Netherton United Ladies coming back from 3 goals down to win the tie 5-4 to advance to 2nd Round Qualifying of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. An exciting tie to watch (there are advantages to being neutral). Entertaining despite the awful weather, what an advert for the cup there is something magical about it. Leigh Ramblers will leave the ground highly frustrated at 3-0 up they were cruising and looked in control threatening to pull Netherton apart. The hosts showing great character getting 2 goals back quickly before turning it around to level at 3-3 at half-time. Leigh responding brilliantly to score straight away 2nd half but again Netherton came back to level and from that point with their tails up looked strong threatening the Leigh defence and going on to take the lead for the first time in the match, 5-4 the winning score in the finish as the heavens opened playing conditions hard Leigh pushed them all the way just wasn’t to be.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as per usual several contenders from both sides, starting with Leigh Ramblers, Elisha Turner-Powell never stopped running in attack carving out several opportunities for herself and her teammates. Rebecca Dalgarno too in midfield with some good running and a threat with her delivery on corners. For Netherton Jenna Nairn was influential in midfield getting hold of the ball to set up attacks playing the ball forwards. Yasmin Green a threat on the right scoring two goals. The award though goes to Emily Johnson. No doubt her goals to bring it back to 2-3 were the turning point in the tie a threat taking on the Leigh defence on the left was strong on the ball throughout.

  Despite the awful weather I thoroughly enjoyed the game a highly entertaining contest between two attacking sides. Good to visit The Grange again and will have to do so again when the sun is shining I did fancy something from that food truck bar a cup of tea. My thanks as always to both sides for those all important teams details good to catch up with both sides. Netherton will be eagerly awaiting the draw for the next round.

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Tuesday 29th September

FAWNL South East Division One

 First spot of midweek action on Women’s Football East this Tuesday evening and a derby match to boot, the first Cambridge derby of the season as Cambridge City Ladies host rivals Cambridge United WFC in FAWNL South East Division One.

  The games coming thick and fast with both sides in action on Sunday playing again 48 hours later. Have enjoyed a keen and some times contentious rivalry, the past seeing what is Cambridge United WFC now break away from Cambridge City to become an established force the 4th tier of the women’s football pyramid. City getting their women’s side un and running enjoying a rapid rise through the pyramid to achieve promotion to the FAWNL themselves the season before last that one of course curtailed by the COVID outbreak, retain their place for the 20/21 campaign.

   A tough start to the new season for Cambridge City Ladies, beaten 4-0 at home on the opening day by Essex side Billericay Town Ladies. Were looking to make amends away to Norwich City Women this weekend had their chances coming back from 1-0 at half-time to level the scores before the hosts went on to win the game 3-1. Nothing in the board from their opening two games a derby match under the lights a good opportunity to get their season going.  With goalkeeper Dominika Szary leaving the club have recruited Sarah Hudson from Peterborough Northern Star Ladies. Another new signing also from Peterborough North Star is midfielder, Bronwyn Mulheron.

Cambridge United WFC got the new season off to a fantastic start with a 4-1 win at home to Norwich City Women. A trip down to Essex this Sunday to face Hashtag United Women (previously AFC Basildon Women) Like City they had their chances trailing 2-1 at half-time eventually losing 3-1. Have brought in a few new faces to add depth to the squad, attacker Samaira Khan scoring in both opening games, winger Laura Mitchell and centre back Grace Waygood amongst them. A good test of fitness for both sides with a game coming so soon after the weekend.

Ely City FC the venue for tonight derby match, now situated behind a large cinema, restaurant and bar complex on the outskirts of Ely off the A10. Now home for Cambridge City Ladies was once the home for Cambridge United WFC too. A wide grass pitch, an elevated seated stand above the changing rooms the clubhouse and kitchen along side. Hot drinks available. COVID regulations well observed. A pretty miserable day with rain in the morning, softening up the playing surface, a dry overcast evening with a touch of fog around. 

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Bronwyn Mulheron, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Sarah Mosley & Karly Tolentino.  Subs – Shannon Shaw, Amie Fullwood, Grace Stanley, Libby O’Callaghan & Ellie Cullum.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Charlotte Crisp, Carrie Bennett, Grace Waygood, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Gisela Otten, Albany Hodgson, Emma Jenkins, Amy Howlett, Laura Mitchell & Samaira Khan. Subs – Lauren Webb, Tori Lawless, Jemma Moore, Abi Davies & Ella Mercer.

  As with these derbies they’ll be City and United from now on. A late change for United seeing Tori Lawless picking up an injury in the warm up. Albany Hodgson starting alongside Gisela Otten in midfield. It’s City to get the 1st half underway, wearing their home colours, white shirts and black shorts with black and white hooped socks. United opposite wearing amber coloured shirt, black shorts and socks.  The ball put back towards the defence is lifted out long to the right with Charlotte Gillies making a run on the wing, Otten quickly across to tackle and send the ball out for a throw. 

 United’s first attack sees Laura Mitchell fouled wide right an early opportunity for the visitors to get players up into the box the delivery sent in headed away by City defender, Ceri Flye. Up on the left wing Freya Standing looks to get the ball and take on the United defence, captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt across to support Charlotte Crisp the ball regained, United push forwards the ball up on their right win a corner kick.

  GOAL! From the corner United catch City napping with a short delivery up the line the ball put back to the corner taker fired into the box on the angle at the near post is turned home by Otten at close range to open the scoring 0-1.

Cambridge United WFC’s Gisela Otten with the opening goal

  Very much a derby match the pace furious the no time dwelling on the ball both sides looking to get it forwards rapidly, Emma Jenkins with a run on the left side for United, drops her shoulder to come inside, Amy Reed getting her toe on the ball to take it away from her. Sent long up the right wing for Gillies City win a corner deep inside United territory this bringing their 1st corner of the match. The delivery in the area knocked down is pushed out back to the taker, played back in towards the top of the area Karly Tolentino latching onto it, jinks into the area right of the D putting her effort wide at the near post. 

   Jenkins succeeds in getting inside this time advancing up the left 20 yards out lines up a strike the ball put straight at Sarah Hudson back on her line. Amy Howlett is clipped as she comes to the right to receive the ball for United winning a free-kick 25 yards out. Crisp placing the ball down floated her delivery into the box near side attacked a glancing header deflecting it wide of goal a goal kick signalled. Good battles taking shape all over the park, Gillies and Standing on the flanks for City looking lively getting forwards rapidly when their defence regains possession. Jenkins and Mitchell likewise left and right for United, the full backs for both sides are going to have to stay alert. 

  Standing getting away on the left sees United exposed at the back space to run into fires a cross into the area Tolentino heading in down, Carrie Bennett around on the cover half clearing before the visitors are forced to concede a corner. The initial delivery cleared from the corner, City regain possession 30 yards out a powerful strike driven back in Amy Butler covering her near post with a comfortable save taking it high. Sofia Castiglione latching onto a loose pass from United inside their half right side rolls it forwards for Tolentino peeling off the shoulder of her defender in behind squaring the ball across the top of the area Standing arriving left side clipping her first time strike up over the bar. 

 Samaira Khan leading the line for United, is being closely marked by the City centre backs, coming out to the left managing to win a throw the ball touched on is crossed into the box, Howlett inside right of the D letting it come across her to strike a rising shot, not enough to evade Hudson who has come across the Howlett to put herself behind strike and claim comfortably. Standing and Gillies continue to cause problems for United, the latter coming inside as the ball is played up to Tolentino the pair playing a one too to put Gillies into space on the right flashes in a cross the ball swerving through the air seen safely wide at the far post. Can’t take your eyes off the action for a second and there aren’t too many seconds where there isn’t any action. 

  Khan winning a throw deep on  the left, drops it down to Jenkins who squares her pass inside for Otten getting forwards all of 30 yards out isn’t closed down takes on an ambitious effort her shot high, dipping significantly late on Hudson watching it though can see it drop over her crossbar. Very competitive with a few niggly fouls being conceded, very much a derby match the crowd playing there part too. Castiglione is getting hold of the ball winning it for City giving the hosts impetuous in their attacking play out for Gillies racing in to the corner on the right sending a cross in from the by line Tolentino getting across the defence spinning into a shot sends her attempt over the top. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Karly Tolentino

  Sarah Mosley blasting a shot wide from the best part of 25 yards out left side as the ball rebounds back to her with City marauding down the flank. Mitchell gets on down the right winning a corner for United, swung in near post City defending the ball comes straight to Jenkins outside the box, doesn’t need an invite to shot does and powers the ball wide of the mark. Burt up the other end clearing the ball from inside the area as Mosley threading a ball on for Gillies right sees a corner conceded. A proper derby 50/50 between Mosley and Otten on halfway, Otten getting it forwards for Khan, closely marked by Flye can’t get in behind.

   Leading the attack for City Tolentino is prepared to drop deep to receive with Gillies and Standing ready to race on behind to get onto the ball, Tolentino heads the ball on for Gillies right side her cross taken early racing across the top of the area looking to pick out Standing far side, Crisp getting in front of her to cut it out for United. Lauren Tomlinson winning the ball at left back as United come forwards brings it on flashing a cross inside for Standing 20 yards out left of the D, striking it goalwards Butler down low to collect it .Howlett nipping in to win the ball centrally for United looks to make ground, Bronwyn Mulheron going with her catching her to lung in take the ball away from her, Howlett still interested after the loose ball until Tomlinson racing inside from left back launches it upfield. 

 Castiglione lines up a well hit strike from 30 yards out, would have run wide of her left post Butler though diving has it safely in her gloves wastes no time in releasing it as United look to try and reassert themselves on the game. Albany Hodgson wins the ball centrally for United lays it on for Khan in attack, hasn’t had too much support around her with City keeping their opponents full backs occupied looks to go it alone driving at the City defence shifting to her right to open up space for a shot on target Hudson though right behind it. 

  GOAL! City mount a rapid attack down their left Tomlinson getting it back from Standing racing on with the ball down the line cutting inside smashes in a pacy ball to the near post Butler down smartly to glove the ball away, running out to the top of the area Standing after it is shoved to the ground the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Castiglione placing the ball on the spot, a coolly taken penalty sending the keeper the wrong way lifted to into the back of the net 1-1. City equalising with 10 minutes left in the first half.

Sofia Castiglione equalises from the penalty spot for Cambridge City Ladies

   City tails up now having pulled the scores level, Castiglione almost putting Gillie in behind on the right, Bennett reading the pass however sliding in to make a vital interception. Simmering a little bit, fouls given away arms raised in frustration passes going astray. United want to get the ball into Khan so she can turn and take on the City defence, Castiglione and Mulheron first to the ball. 

  GOAL! Just as City look to have the momentum United get forwards with a well played attack to restore their lead. Won by Hodgson central her pass lifted up to Khan to knock down to Jenkins running on to the left plays a good weighted cross into the area, Mitchell getting in from the right flank composed under challenge to strike her rising shot wide of the keeper to score 1-2.

Laura Mitchell, with Lauren Tomlinson restores United’s lead

  Otten coming across to the right sides stops Reed in her tracks as the full back wriggles free with the ball looks to advance down the wing. Castiglione putting her head on a ball put forwards by United knocks it down and carries it right into space before whipping a cross into the area, Burt clearing for United the final action of the first half.   

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Cambridge United WFC

  An action packed first half, certainly has a derby feel to it, played at a fast tempo, plenty of energy expended by both sides, may well begin to show 2nd half with both sides having been in action on Sunday too. The perfect start for United taking the lead inside the opening 3 minutes from a corner. Took City a little while to get into their stride but have looked a constant threat attacking down the flanks forcing the pace, first to the ball. Equalising from the penalty spot. United showing great character in response restoring the lead minutes later to go in with a 2-1 lead at the break. Suspect City with come out of the blocks with all guns blazing at the start of the 2n half, United if they can can will be looking to nullify that threat with an early goal of their own.

  No changes at the break with United getting the 2nd half underway. Play the ball right as Mitchell runs on her first touch giving Tomlinson the advantage putting her foot in to clear the ball. Castiglione up for Tolentino in attack Gillies up with her, Burt in between the pair getting hold of the ball for United. Gillies full of running on the right for City, Waygood out to meet her this time clearing for a throw in. From the throw City launch a cross into the box, Burt heading it away for United. The visitors look to break the ball up to Khan is fouled 30 yards out from goal right side. Mitchell clipping the ball in towards the far post the ball attacked City scramble it away as Jenkins almost gets there. City hit United on the break, but the visitor get bodies back to slow the ball down

 Remains end to end, United struggling to get it to stick up top, not getting players in and around Khan, Fay on her tackling as she attempts to turn in behind her. Hodgson coming back to get the ball back as Standing aims to get onto a crossfield pass. Butler called into action saving low at her near post as Gillies drives in a shot on the angle from the right. City with the first change of the match Mosley the player off on comes Ellie Cullum. Otten picking the ball up from her defence plays it long towards the top of the area Mulheron lunging to intercept deflecting it to Tomlinson to get City moving on the left. Getting tense between the sides United certainly finding it frustrating the ball not running there way at the moment. Standing getting in behind left side for City puts the ball square in towards the near post Gillies racing into the area not picked up sending it wide.

  GOAL! City have looked the most likely to score there 2nd on 58 minutes attacking the ball right side clipped up to Gillies brings it down into her path driving towards the box drops her shoulder shaping to come inside, drags it away to her right into the area to create the space before smashing a venomous shot past the keeper into the back of the goal 2-2. 

City celebrate as Charlotte Gillies (no 7) equalises to make it 2-2

  City are doing well haven’t dropped the tempo at all the goal giving them renewed energy, Standing coming inside central as Tolentino knocks the ball into her run, her snap shot 20 yards out dipping safely held by Butler. The hosts first to the ball, United getting ragged with their passing, Howlett picking it up in the middle turns well evading a sliding challenge has Khan ahead of her looking to peel of Fay, the pass doesn’t pick her out as Fay intercepts. 

Gillies providing the outlet constantly on the right a looping diagonal ball from Mulheron picking her out takes it on before sending in a 20 yards strike on the angle, Butler down saving at her near post. Mitchell out wide right on for Khan looking to peel in behind Fay again the ball evading her this time Flye is across quickly in support to clear before Khan can strike the ball. 

 United make their first change Hodgson coming off with Abi Davies coming on. Mitchell getting on well right side closer to Khan now putting the ball up into the area the attacker backing up inside the box to break the ball down, slips as she attempts to turn inside with it. Khan fouls Tomlinson as she looks o send the ball upfield. The free-kick from distance evading everyone gathered inside the D, bouncing in as held by Butler beyond. Burt running across the top of her area puts on the blocking tackle on Gillies as she looks to hit it first time as the ball is rolled into her rom Cullum. A few tempers fraying getting a little heated between the sides United looking to be tiring as City retain their furious pace getting first to the ball, Castiglione winning a good share in the middle of the park now with some good passes. Khan going into the book after fouling Flye, joining Mulheron who was booked first half for City. 

  Gillies running onto the long range free-kick taking it on before blasting it into the keeper at the near post from 25 yards. Gillies seems to be everywhere coming central onto the ball top of the circle opens up her body to strike the ball on target through bodies Butler must see it late does fantastically diving to her left pushing it wide behind for a corner. The set-piece defended well United digging deep rallying the ball cleared by Waygood the ball just won’t fall favourably as Howlett races on with Mitchell. Castiglione and Otten grappling for the ball in the middle of the park, Castiglione squeezing it on for Tolentino, 20 yards out shifts to her right sending in a shot Butler right behind it.

  Is a great watch tense City are pushing for a 3rd goal, United backs to the wall at times are rallying Mitchell pushed up to support Khan, Howlett and Jenkins are coming on too. Gillies across to the left Davies stays on her, Burt across to help tackling well the ball fizzed into Otten sprayed out to Jenkins making a run left side sends it on for Khan peeling off the defence the offside flag bringing the move to an end. The game stretched both sides now feeling it’s there for the taking, Cullum central attempting to pick out Gillies on the left, Davies staying with her cutting the pass out. 

 Khan is brought don attempting to get into the box from the right as Davies sends the ball on to her. Mitchell on the set-piece played along the top of the six yard box, cleared by the City defence. The break on City race on the ball central on for Gillies right channel has Reed in support on the overlap, strikes the ball sail over the bar. Otten is fouled inside the City half the free-kick taken quickly out to Jenkins away on the left her shot on the angle wide across the area taking a deflection for a corner kick.

  GOAL! The game entering the final 10 minutes has been an enthralling contest. United have ridden some strong pressure from City now with a corner on the right a chance to bring players forwards. The delivery whipped in chest height along the six yard box, congested deflected back to the top of the area Jenkins on it lays it back to the taker is frantic inside the box the ball coming out to Howlett 25 yards out right of the D, strikes the ball sending it looping high into the air, Hudson back peddling can’t get anything on it as it drops over her into the net beyond for United to take the lead for the 3rd time in the match 2-3.

Amy Howlett with Sarah Mosley makes it 3-2 to United

  Controversy as the goal is celebrated however as City have a player Tomlinson down inside the six yard box from the initial ball in City are furious claiming it was a head injury and play should have been stopped it wasn’t however and the goal stands. Tomlinson hurting her ankle in the finish receiving treatment. Frustration for City who had looked more likely to find a 3rd goal serves to display the emotion a derby can bring out in a side. City respond with a 2nd change bringing Grace Stanley on for Tomlinson. 

  GOAL! City pile players forwards as they get straight back in search for a reply with the clock running down, Fay travelling forwards into the United half is a long way out left side when she strikes the ball, if it was intentional it was well disguised a one in a million strike launched up high into the air dropping out of the night sky Butler back on her line can’t keep it out as it drops under the bar inside the top corner to make it 3-3!

  Game on! Both sides going for it United break Jenkins left inside for Otten attempts to thread it through for Khan, Flye clearing for City. United come on right side a cross lifted into the box over Khan central, Mitchell behind her can’t bring the ball down. Into stoppage time. The fouls racking up as first Crisp then Otten are brought down the latter getting a free-kick left side the delivery floated into the box Khan heading down looking for a runner far post City attempt to break the ball sent on into the area safe with Butler as the final whistle blows and the points are shared.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 3-3 Cambridge United WFC

  Another fantastic derby game between United and City played at a furious pace, would have taken alot out of both sides, United’s fitness certainly tested by their opponents were on the back foot in the 2nd half as City came back to level the scores for a 2nd time. Looking good to take the lead themselves but United showed character to hold them and retake the lead for the 3rd time themselves. City coming straight back to level. The points shared, United will be frustrated having lost the lead 3 times, City themselves thinking maybe they should have nicked the win, certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game. Highly entertaining.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time to pick another Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few contenders once again. For United Amy Howlett was finding space without getting the rewards. For City, Ceri Flye made several important tackles at the back, Freya Standing a threat on the left coming on, and Sofia Castiglione in the middle got onto top in the midfield came very close but is just edged out by Charlotte Gillies pace and energy on the wing linking up with Tolentino up top and made some terrific runs amongst the goals too.

All of the pictures used in this report produced by Gary Reed, does tremendous work helping to picture and promote the women’s game and I thank him for allowing me to use his photo’s

 An enjoyable 1st derby of the season, certainly a great advert for women’s football in Cambridgeshire. Appreciate the help with the team details as always from both clubs (although I do know most of these players pretty well by now) I have seen them several times now and know it’ll always be intriguing.

Match Report – Thetford Town Ladies v Stalham Town Ladies

Sunday 27th September

Norfolk Women’s Division Two

The first taste of county league action this weekend on Women’s Football East and a relatively short journey this one to take in a game from Norfolk Women’s Division Two, Thetford Town Ladies v Stalham Town Ladies.

 19 sides competing across two divisions in Norfolk this season, 10 of those sides playing in Division Two. Today’s opponents will both fancy their chances of challenging for title this season. The COVID outbreak bringing the previous season to an abrupt end declared null & void there has nevertheless been some adjustment to the leagues.

  Thetford Town Ladies drop back down to Division Two this season after being bumped up to Division One last season due to a large increase in new sides entering the women’s league in 2019/20. Had finished 6th in the league in the previous season making their debut in women’s football and moving up to Division One represented a huge jump. Struggled to get points early on, but signs of improvement were being made points were being won prior to the season being ended. A steep learning curve the squad would have gained valuable experience. Dropping back down to Division Two, got off to a flying start  last Sunday in their opening game of the season winning 7-0 away to Red Rose Ladies with Emily Escreet scoring a brace, a goal a piece for Dayna Howard and Rebecca White with Laura Martins scoring an opening day hat-trick. Taking my first look at Thetford Town Ladies today one the closest sides to me less than half an hour away.

 Has been a good while too since I last saw Stalham Town Ladies in action, one of the sides joining the league in the 2019/20 season having spent a couple of seasons away several of their players going to play for Aylsham Ladies in that time. Maintained a presence playing in the popular 7-a-side league that also plays on a Sunday afternoon in Norfolk. Re-established last season returning to Division Two made a very strong start, out in front early on and a long unbeaten record. Amber Mayhew spearheading the attack scoring plenty of goals. That season ending early Stalham Town Ladies will be amongst the favourites this time around and will be looking for another strong start to the season today’s away game against Thetford their first competitive match of the season.

The venue for today’s match Thetford Town FC on the Mundford Road leading into Thetford. Has been a while too since I’ve been here, Brandon Town Ladies having used it for the odd midweek game under the lights. A small stadium fenced off from the larger recreation ground beyond. With a clubhouse beside the main stand offering some cover for spectators. The grass pitch sloping somewhat from one side to the other. COVID regulations in place as at all grounds now. A cup of tea much welcomed the weather a distinct contrast from last Sunday, heavy rain falling for much of Friday and Saturday it remained dull and overcast a chilly breeze blowing across the pitch.

Thetford Town Ladies starting XI – Lydia Ward, Katherine Davies, Emily Bullett, Katie Hardie, Sausha Levy-Twoney (C) Emily Escreet, Mel Boulton, Shannon Richardson, Laura Martins, Erica Camacho-Besa & Becky White. Subs – Coral Ring, Dayna Howard & Kerri Griffiths

Stalham Town Ladies starting XI – Danielle Barnes, Lalaine Davey, Charlotte Darvill, Emma McMillan, Charlotte Crane, Andrea McCombe, Chloe Yarham, Emma Gillespie, Amber Mayhew (C), Sian Clarke & Sophie-Jayne O’Connor. Subs – Becky Houghton, Jade Copeman & Holly Ferguson.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   It’s Stalham to get the first half underway taking kick-off wearing red shirts with white trim, red shorts and red socks with white stripes. Thetford opposite wearing claret coloured kit with sky blue trim, blue numbers fading into claret on their backs too which were going to give the eyeballs a workout. The visitors playing the ball back to their defence right full back Chloe Yarham looks to play it long up the right with Andrea McCombe providing a run, coming to mark her Thetford’s Emily Bullett can see the ball safely out of play.

 Bringing the ball away to their right possession with Laura Martins into the Stalham half puts it on for Shannon Richardson to her right out on the wing goes forwards, Emma Gillespie getting across to close her down blocks as she attempts to fire a diagonal ball into the box. Attacking Thetford have come forwards as a team the defence on half way as Stalham attempt to play it through the middle, captain Sausha Levy-Twoney at the back with a vital interception to prevent Stalham’s captain Amber Mayhew getting clear in behind to run at goal. 

  Lalaine Davey finds space out on the left going forwards as Stalham get forwards quickly the past crossfield picking her out she gets control of the ball before twisting back inside to push towards the area, Martins coming in to close her down making the tackle sending the ball out for a throw in. The game has started at a fast pace, expected little else, Stalham attempting to put the ball on through the middle a couple of times the wind causing it to run on reach the keeper before anyone can capitalise. Thetford bringing the ball down the left Mel Boulton out to Becky White, plays it central looking for Erica Camacho-Besa, Charlotte Darvill steps in to tackle for Stalham top of the area.

Thetford’s Erica Camacho-Besa looking to fight her way into the Stalham box

  Bullett stays on Sian Clarke as the Stalham attacker aims to get in behind with the ball out on the right wing the full back lunging in to make the tackle prevent the cross. Lydia Ward has to come racing out of her area to clear the danger for Thetford as a ball over the top sees both Mayhew and Clarke race clear after it, the goalkeeper launching it upfield, Camacho-Besa up top has close support from Boulton the Thetford pair combining trying to plough there way through into the area, the ball cleared out to the right for a throw. A turn and shot coming in from the right corner of the area the ball racing wide across the six yard box. Stalham attacking the flanks are getting numbers forwards in support up the right across squared into the six yard box, Levy-Twoney defending sends it out for a corner kick.

  GOAL! 10 minutes into the match and Stalham open the scoring netting from the resulting corner. The ball played short up the line to Emma McMillan brings it in closer to the edge of the box before clipping in a ball with the outside of her boot, sends it over the keeper into the far corner of the net 0-1.

  Stalham have looked very dangerous on the break, Clarke getting in behind on the right flashes a cross in towards the near post, Ward down low with a very good take to claim it with a Stalham attacker racing it to meet it. Ward is again called into action to cover her near post saving low as Clarke running with the ball on the right drives an angled shot in. A change for Thetford Camacho-Besa coming off with Dayna Howard entering the game. Thetford gain momentum on the left as Boulton takes the ball out wide loops a ball in towards the D, a difficult one for Richardson to attempt to bring down and control with Darvill close in on her the defence clearing it back out to the left this time the cross in claimed by goalkeeper Danielle Barnes at the top of her six yard box.

Thetford’s Emily Escreet with Stalham’s Charlotte Darvill

  Richardson right side peels in behind her marker making a run as Katherine Davies has possession at right back for Thetford, sending the ball on isn’t enough with on the pass giving Barnes time to come off her line and lay claim to it. Martins is brought down Thetford awarded a free-kick by referee Paul Gibson 30 yards out in a central position. Before it’s taken Stalham make a change bringing on Holly Ferguson for Clarke. Emily Escreet smashes the free-kick straight into the Stalham wall the ball going out to the right for a throw in, collected by Martins turns 25 yards out corner of the area and takes on the strike a looping shot in collected high by the keeper.

Lauren Martins on the attack for Thetford Town Ladies

 Is an entertaining contest, no one dwelling on the ball played at a fast pace, Thetford getting players forwards better now, Stalham continue to look threatening whenever they regain possession. Martins is down feeling the effects of being tackled minutes before needs to come off, Kerri Griffiths comes on going up top in attack. Stalham’s Gillespie making a determined run through the right channel with the ball gets clear before unleashing a 20 yard strike that flies over the crossbar. The visitors build in attack a good diagonal ball from McCombe out to Davey in space wide left, getting it under control turns to attack the area, Thetford getting bodies back on her struggle to clear their six yard box, Katie Hardie eventually stabbing it away falls straight to Sophie-Jayne O’Connor left of the D stabs it back in and over the bar.

Emma Gillespie looking to get hold of the ball for Stalham Town Ladies

  A corner for Stalham on the right put in low by Mayhew into the crowded six yard box Ward down smartly saving at point blank range and again with her legs as the loose ball is hit hard against her, deflected out to the top of the area Stalham are first to it once again the shot hit back in towards goal, Ward quickly back t her feet right behind it catching it low into her body. Thetford get straight on the attack pushing players on well, Escreet with it right side up towards the area whips an inviting cross in, the flag goes up for offside straight away even as Boulton collects it in her stride through the defence and strokes it pass the keeper into the back of the net. It won’t count.

Thetford Town Ladies, Katherine Davies

 Chances for both sides a lively contest still, McCombe on for Gillespie racing into space in the right channel spins with the ball at her feet top of the area shooting on the angle her shot swinging wide out at the far post. Davies gets back to defend well against Mayhew and a viciously bouncing ball evades everyone on the wing. Gillespie left channel puts the ball square to O’Connor in attack through the middle for Stalham controls it well, Levy-Twoney getting a foot in to take the ball away from her before she can shoot, O’Connor retrieves it 20 yards out right corner of the box volleying over the crossbar.

Stalham Town Ladies, Lalaine Davey

  Boulton is looking to get hold of the ball for Thetford and drive on with it central, attempts to thread it through to Griffiths looking for a one two, Yarham tackling to prevent the return ball. Levy-Twoney with another vital interception at the back and Davey’s pass through the middle almost sends Mayhew in behind. Ward with a brave save coming out to close down O’Connor top of the area as she is fed the diagonal pass in from the right, the Thetford keeper down well to save a point blank range. Boulton taking control of the ball in the centre for Thetford brings it forwards travelling into space on the right side able to go on before looping a high ball back onto the area players attacking it near side, Charlotte Crane with a composed header safely guiding the ball back to her keeper. 

Thetford Town Ladies, Melissa Boulton

Half-time Thetford Town Ladies 0-1 Stalham Town Ladies

  An entertaining and fast paced first half sees Stalham Town Ladies hold a narrow 1-0 lead over Thetford Town Ladies. An early lead for the visitors who have looked a threat going forwards throughout. Pacey on the counter attack, took Thetford a little bit of time to get some momentum of their own having a goal ruled out for offside. Lydia Ward in goal making some vital saves to keep Stalham from extending their advantage.

  Thetford to get the 2nd period underway, loose possession on the right as Ferguson carries it on for Stalham angling a ball into the box, Ward able to claim it low. Stalham with a strong start to the 2nd half particularly Ferguson who is again able to run with the ball in behind in the right, Levy-Twoney doing well to get back on her take her to the by-line take the sting off her cross allowing Ward to claim it at her near post. Howard moving to her left out to stop Yarham winning the ball as the full back attempts to get forwards.

Stalham Town Ladies, Chloe Yarham

  Stalham come again the ball out to Mayhew wide clips a diagonal ball in towards the top of the area Ferguson with a central run, Hardie stepping up to clear the ball for Thetford up to Escreet attempts to play it long the wind taking it on for the keeper to clear.

  GOAL! The visitors capitalising on their good start to the 2nd half double their lead attacking with intent down the left the cross fired in low to the advancing Gillespie left of the D 20 yards out hits it first time her rising shot flying in Ward driving t her right the ball striking the crossbar rebounds down and unfortunately straight against the falling Ward to deflect into the goal 0-2.

Emma Gillespie’s shot bringing Stalham a 2nd goal early in the 2nd half

  Boulton is down needing treatment in the middle for Thetford but up on her feet able to continue. Moving out to the flanks more in the 2nd period looking to get on with the ball. Stalham win a corner on the right as O’Connor’s first time strike from outside the box takes a deflection. The six yard box congested as the ball comes in Ward calls determined to claim it an does. The hosts build through the middle the pass laid out to Richardson left side sends it on to Griffiths in attack back to goal she returns it to Richardson moving up the line she sends her strike bouncing wide through the six yard box. 

Thetford Town Ladies, Shannon Richardson

  Richardson with another opportunity for Thetford moments later as Boulton brings it on right side putting it into the middle, struck first time by Richardson looping up is claimed high by Barnes back on her line. Stalham waste no time getting up the other end the ball put on by Gillespie to Mayhew wins a corner. Mayhew to swing the delivery in to the six yard box Ward again up to claim it confidently. Martins having recovered from her knock in the first half returns to the field for Thetford in place of Griffiths in attack. Boulton with a chipped ball from the right looks to put her through on goal, Crane gets there first to clear for Stalham. 

Stalham Town Ladies, Charlotte Crane

  Thetford are looking sharper now having conceded a 2nd goal are coming on well Boulton causing issues out on the right lays it inside for Martins in the area, looking to jink right then left taking on the defence Crane stands up to her putting the foot in to take the ball away from her the pressure stays with the hosts as the ball is put out to Richardson left side in the area aiming to get inside onto her right foot strike the ball, MacMillan closing her down to get it away to safety for the visitors. Thetford lively now moving the ball quickly in the final third pressuring the area the ball played across the D to the right side a shot is struck hard blasted wide of the goal, not sure if it was Howard or Boulton. 

Dayna Howard getting the ball away for Thetford Town Ladies

 Jade Copeman comes on for Stalham replacing McCombe. Escreet central plays a diagonal ball out to Boulton in the wing with the ball at her feet gets up the line whips a dangerous cross in near post the keeper diving Barnes may have gotten a hand to it enough to deflect it across the face of goal behind Martins racing in central. As much as Thetford are posing a threat now Stalham remain a danger on the counter Mayhew getting a throw deep on the right side the cross fired in by Ferguson into the top of the box the ball deflected out to the left gathered by Darvill 30 yards out brings it forwards couple of yards before lining up a strike angling in low Ward has her near post covered. Becky Houghton is on for Stalham in place of Davey.

  Thetford’s turn to counter the ball rolled into Horward’s feet in the middle releases Martins through on goal, Barnes having started to come for the ball now back peddles rapidly to cover her goal. Martins though doesn’t make the most of the opportunity her shot tame in the finish struck to close to the keeper allowing her to gather. 

  GOAL! A hammer blow then for the hosts up the other end as Stalham go on to score a 3rd goal. Nothing unusual about the attack Stalham have broken well and with purpose all game, O’Connor the furthest forwards this time played in through the middle closing in on the area sends her low strike wide of the advancing keeper to make it 0-3 in the 63rd minute.

Sophie-Jayne O’Connor congratulated by her teammates after scoring Stalham’s 3rd goal

   Thetford building from the back into Martins central lifts it out to Richardson left side taking it on attempts to get inside Yarham aiming to strike a ball in towards the far post Yarham gets a foot on the ball to deflect it up and be caught by her keeper in the box. Clarke returns to the field for Stalham replacing Ferguson. Ward with another excellent save low to her left post pushing it behind for a corner as Clarke is played through into the area for Stalham strikes it hard. The corner put in from the left punched up into the air by Ward at her near post falls to a Stalham player top of the area hit first time low the shot is blocked by Levy-Twoney. 

Thetford goalkeeper, Lydia Ward saving at the feet of Stalham’s Sian Clarke

  Both sides are keeping up a good tempo, despite conceding a third goal Thetford aren’t deterred in attack Howard spraying the pass out to Boulton on the right her cross in defended by Crane. The visitors . Yarham with a crossfield ball to fins Clarke on the left wing the Stalham attacker playing it back to the advancing Darvill, Boulton tracking back with her regains possession for Thetford. The ball played out to the left Martins up with Richardson the cross fired in across the face of goal no one to meet it defected away falls to Boulton top of the box her shot back on lacks power Barnes saving low. McCombe comes back on for Stalham

  GOAL! Thetford’s pressing brings them a deserved goal, the ball with Escreet central plays it wide to Boulton charging on down the right cuts the ball in towards the top of the box White well position meets it first time with a back heel to deflect the ball ninety degrees and in past the diving keeper at the near post 1-3. 15 minutes left to play.

   Stalham make a change bringing off full back Davies and sending attacker Camacho-Besa back on. Martins blasts over from 25 yards after keeping control of the ball well on the right wing for Thetford. O’Connor comes off for Stalham Davey back on. The visitors get a corner kick on the right Mayhew with another good delivery into the six yard box the ball cleared straight back to her floats another ball in Ward rising to claim it. 

Andrea McCombe playing the ball on for Stalham Town Ladies

 Martins away in the left for Thetford racing towards the area strikes the ball on the angle straight into the keepers gloves. McCombe on the ball centrally for Stalham comes to the right on for the advancing Yarham she whips in a diagonal ball looking for the advancing Gillespie, Hardie stepping out of the back line to win in back for Thetford. Thetford get on the attack Boulton away on the right players arriving in the box as the cross comes in a half yard off the ground Richardson going for it can’t make contact to deflect it past the diving keeper at the near post. 

Into stoppage time both sides looking for another goal Thetford attacking, Stalham pounce with a counter Davey getting hold of the ball well central laying it on for Clarke making a run left channel, Levy-Twoney goes with her forcing her to the by-line managing to stop the cross coming in. The ball cleared the final whistle blows and Stalham start their season with a 3-1 win.

Full time Thetford Town Ladies 1-3 Stalham Town Ladies

  Was a highly entertaining game end to end 2nd half, Thetford getting better as the game wore on. Stalham good for their lead in the 1st half getting a crucial early goal in the 2nd half. Thetford rallied well creating opportunities to pull it back a hammer blow to concede a third goal. Weren’t deterred going on to score themselves. On another day might well have been 3-3 the hosts having the better of the 2nd period… perhaps Stalham will argue they were the ones who scored twice though a good contest both sides can take plenty from it.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. These thing’s are never easy to decide and leaving the ground I wasn’t sure. Nevertheless have lots of notes as you know to fall back on so… a few performances to mention. Some fine saves from Lydia Ward 1st half especially keeping Thetford in it. Mel Boulton a threat more so out on the right and Lauren Martins too showing great movement. For Stalham were particularly dangerous on the counter attack getting forwards as a unit well. Lalaine Davey doing alot of work getting about the pitch with some good tackles. Charlotte Crane composed at the back. The award though goes to Emma Gillespie like Davey covered alot of ground making some fantastic forward runs always available for the ball.

  An entertaining game to start my county league season good to season both sides in action Thetford for the first time and Stalham after so long. Thanks for your help in getting me those all important team sheets. Appreciate all the help given today.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Women

Sunday 20th September

FAWNL South East Division One

 The new season of FAWNL football starts this Sunday and once again Women’s Football East will be keeping a close eye on both the Southern Premier Division and South East Division One. The 24 sides unchanged from last season due to the COVID outbreak raring to get going once again the leagues promising to be more competitive than ever with some very strong new signing made. Begin the action with a trip to St Neots Town FC to watch Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Women in South East Division One.

 The 20/21 season starting a month later than usual due to the virus that brought the previous season to an early end. A new season played with strict COVID regulations on place to maximise the safety of both players an supporters. South East Division One has seen several strong signings as the whole of the women’s football pyramid strengthens at both ends. The FAWSL just beginning it’s journey as a professional league at the top. Growth is happening too at the base in the county leagues with 3 new divisions created in the East alone this campaign. That in turn will only serve to strengthen the sides already there including the FAWNL sides competing in tiers 3 and 4.

  Another competitive season promised, two sides looking to improve this season in South East Division On are Cambridge United WFC and Norwich City Women. Cambridge United WFC moving to a new home at the start of the 2019/20 season moving from Mildenhall Town FC to St Neots Town FC. A move which brought both their 1st and Development sides together training at one facility. Lost a few players during the close season and made a slow start to the season. A change of manager saw Ben Yeomans step up to first team manager results beginning to improve before the season was brought to an abrupt end. Have brought in a few new signings over the close season. Attacker Samaira Khan impressing in the ERWFL with both AFC Dunstable and last season Colney Heath Ladies is dangerous in front of goal testing herself now in the FAWNL. Defender Grace Waygood joins having previously Spurs, so to winger Laura Mitchell who has represented Wales at youth level  and young attacker Ella Mercer.

  Norwich City Women too have found themselves at the wrong end of the FAWNL South East Division One table in recent seasons. Several managerial chances haven’t helped there progress. The Norfolk side bringing in Shaun Howe to lead the 1st team this season has a alot of talented youngsters with a mix of good experience . The league getting stronger with every season can hopefully find the winning formula to get them pushing up the table. Injuries to key players another factor hindering the side at times were dealt a blow in pre-season losing goalkeeper Hope Armstrong to an ACL injury. Have brought in Elli-Rai Quinn-Nicholls is a good replacement performing very well for Newmarket Town Women in the ERWFL last season. Defender Alice Parker returns to the club as does full back Anna Larkins, who captained Wroxham Women previously an accomplished defender has a good set-piece on her too.

 Needless to say both sides will be looking for and fancy there chances of achieving an opening day win.

  St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium is situated on a new built estate on the outskirts of the town, featuring a small stadium housing the clubhouse and changing room with a seated stand overlooking one side of the grass pitch. An excellent 3G pitch set behind it. One good thing I suppose about this long lay off from football is the pitches have enjoyed a good rest too. The grass pitch looking superb. COVID restriction in place and well observed. The weather bright and sunny blue skies, drinks breaks needed but I did get a cup of tea before kick-off.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Abi Davis, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Grace Waygood, Tori Lawless, Gisela Otten, Faith Hewitt, Emma Jenkins, Laura Mitchell & Samaira Khan. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Albany Hodgson, Jemma Moore, Charlotte Crisp & Ella Mercer.

 Norwich City Women starting XI – Elli-Rai Quinn-Nicholls, Alice Parker, Anna Larkins, Jordan Arnoup, Laura Thacker, Jodie Drake, Millie Daviss, Josie Jarvis, Lauren Cullum, Kathryn Stanley & Natasha Snelling. Subs – Izzy Collins, Brooke Osborne, Rosie George, Abi Tate & Leilah Gooding.

  Norwich wearing their away colours, green shirt and shorts with yellow socks to get the first half underway. Lining up opposite Cambridge in their home colours amber coloured shirts with black vertical stripes down the front, black shorts and socks. Technically goalkeeper Amy Butler to is a new signing for the hosts having joined from Colney Heath last season and gotten just one game in before it all came to an end one the bench Liz Pamplin ready to make her 496th appearance for the club if called upon.

  The visitors playing the ball back to their defence, centre back Jordan Arnoup playing a long diagonal pass out to the left wing for Kathryn Stanley to attack, knocks it down the line, right back Abi Davies closing in to tackle and clear for a throw in for Cambridge. The hosts looking to get straight on the counter attack the ball up into midfield sent out to the left Emma Jenkins straying offside. A lively start to the game two sides keen to get going, Cambridge on the right Laura Mitchell pushing in through to Samaira Khan attacking the right channel, centre back Laura Thacker sliding in to push the ball away from her for Quinn-Nicholls to clear out to the wing, Mitchell after in gaining possession and lifting a high cross into the box attacking near post Khan rises we to meet it, the ball looping up to and on the roof of the net. 

Emma Jenkins looking to attack on the left for Cambridge United WFC

  Cambridge press on the right Mitchell driving on winning a corner kick. The delivery into the six yard box cleared back to the taker a second ball put in captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt up from the back getting something on it near side sending in goalwards the ball deflected away. Cambridge with intent early on the ball through the middle finding Jenkins left of the area brings it inside across the top of the area eventually getting a shot away blocked by Thacker comes back to Khan who flashes a shot over from the angle. Norwich mount an attack left side Stanley carrying the ball at her feet a determined run her pass forwards into the box looking for Natasha Snelling closing in on the near post , Grace Waygood close on her to defend the loose ball fired back in flashes wide of goal a corner awarded.

  GOAL! Norwich open the scoring from the resulting corner, the delivery played long to the congested far post the ball ending up knocked down into the six yard box in front of goal on a plate for Natasha Snelling standing a half yard out unmarked to turn over the line for Norwich’s first goal of the season 0-1 with 6 minutes on the clock.

Natasha Snelling opening the scoring for Norwich pictured with Cambridge’s Gisela Otten

  Norwich come on in attack getting numbers forwards Lauren Cullum with a cross field ball out to Snelling left of the area plays it wide to Stanley the pair attempting a one two, Stanley’s ball a little heavy Snelling doing well to retrieve on the by-line cuts it back towards the top of the area, Stanley can’t connect with the shot. The visitors regaining possession in the middle Josie Jarvis to captain Millie Daviss coming on sends a great low ball into the Cambridge area a deflection sending it wide for another corner. Another delivery put in invitingly to the far post however it clears everyone this time around. Cambridge gather far side and get straight on the counter the ball sent up the line for Khan looking to get in behind full back Alice Parker doing well tackling to take it away for a throw.

Norwich’s Kathryn Stanley

   Is a fairly even start the tempo quick play turned around quickly exciting to watch Jenkins taking the ball clear on the left into space put through to Khan wriggling clear right of the D, sets herself to strike Quinn-Nicholls quickly out to close her down making a great blocking save. Won in the middle of the park by Gisela Otten for Cambridge looking forwards sees Jenkins making a run on the left her pass threaded through picking her out takes the ball into the box closing in on the keeper aiming to send a shot across her Quinn-Nicholls diving full length getting a glove to the ball stopping it, loose for a moment Jenkins after it, the Norwich keeper grabbing it to pull safely into her body.

  Daviss covering alot of ground in the middle for Norwich brings it forwards right side into the Cambridge half, passes it to Snelling 20 yards out right side of the area, Carrie Bennett getting in on her to tackle going to ground trapping the ball with her feet before being cleared. Norwich sitting deeper are inviting Cambridge on a bit getting players forwards in attack as Khan gets hold of the ball left side fizzes a ball into the penalty spot, Mitchell attempts to bring it under control shifts it between her feet looking to pull the trigger, Thacker getting a foot in to tackle is deflected out towards the top of the area Otten 20 yards out hitting it first time the ball cannoning off the crossbar.  

 GOAL! 20 minutes played and Cambridge draw the scores level. Khan making some good runs into the channels leading the line picked out on the right by Mitchell the ball at her feet drives into the box closing in on the keeper towards the near post opens up her body well to slot the ball past her into the back of her net to score her first and Cambridge’s of the season 1-1.

Samaira Khan scoring the equaliser on her Cambridge debut

  Is a lively game can’t take your eyes off it for a 2nd, Jenkins getting hold of a misplaced pass at the back for Norwich 25 yards out sends her shot back in straight at the keeper. Khan peeling away into the right is tackled by Parker. Norwich are looking very dangerous on the counter attack the midfield getting the ball out to the wings quickly, with Stanley left and Cullum right. Stanley this time getting half a yard on her marking firing in a shot on the angle 25 yards out flies over the keeper to smash down off the crossbar. The ball still in play to the right cut back into the box Daviss racing in tackled well by Tori Lawless tracking back from midfield.

Norwich captain, Millie Daviss being challenged by Cambridge’s Tori Lawless

   Norwich strike the woodwork again moments later a loose ball 30 yards out struck with venom by midfielder Jodie Drake through everyone inside the Cambridge box Butler sees it late doesn’t move the ball thumping against her left post, One end to the other Cambridge advancing on the right a free-kick awarded a yard outside the box close to the by line players coming up from the back. Burt coming into space asking for it right side given it smashes in a shot low racing wide through the six yard box wide at the far post. Time for a drinks break is pretty warm out there and both sides are putting alot of energy into the game. 

Norwich City Women’s Jodie Drake

  Play resuming Cambridge get forwards winning  corner on the left, the ball played deep knocked up into the air by Burt, Quinn-Nicholls getting a merest of gloves on the ball as it comes down out to the right of goal a shot comes in flashed wide. Up the other end Butler with a great save down low getting good hands out to stop a shot fired in from six yards by Jarvis as Stanley plays her in. Waygood getting to the loose ball first clearing the danger for Cambridge. Fantastic combination play between Lawless and Otten in the middle for Cambridge, as Bennett makes a run left side Otten laying the ball into her she sends a looping pass long into the area for Khan to attack closing in on the keeper, Quinn-Nicholls stays big doing enough to see Khan plant her shot wide of goal.

Cambridge United WFC defender, Grace Waygood

  Snelling catches the Cambridge defence playing a high line is clear to attack the area, only a good starting position from Butler stops her the keeper able to get out and put her foot through the ball before Snelling can send a shot wide of her. Out for a throw on the right taken quickly, Stanley and Daviss link up for the visiting side the ball put in to the top of the area Otten back to win it for Cambridge this time is tripped by Stanley as she tries to bring it away. 

  Cambridge are looking dangerous on corners have a bit of height in their side now one won on the left after a driving run from Khan is put into the mix Norwich half clear, Burt has hung back inside the D the ball straight it her is fired in through bodies towards goals blocked and cleared by Larkins  on the post. Daviss is booked as she brings down Jenkins. The free-kick 35 plus yards out on the left taken by Lawless and flighted ball into the rea knocked down by Khan pushed into Otten top of the area lunging into the shot sends it over the bar. 

Cambridge United WFC captain, Kayleigh-Anne Burt

  Mitchell on the right taking the ball on well for Cambridge into the channel for Khan holding it up as Mitchell comes on in support the ball put across the area into Jenkins, Arnoup in to win it for Norwich put on into the middle the counter attack is on for a moment it’s two v two with Cambridge caught on half-way but Stanley can’t pick out Snelling as Waygood sticks a leg out to intercept. Waygood with a good ball on from the back picks out Jenkins running on left side, Larkins though gets back on her well coming across her to roll the ball safely back to her keeper to clear.

Norwich City Women’s, Anna Larkins

  Burt sliding in to tackle gets the ball back to Butler inside the D as Cullum and Stanley come together from the flanks to try and carves the hosts open through the middle. Khan with her weaker left foot does get enough power behind the shot as she tries to put it across the keeper inside the box following a good ball in from Mitchell on the right Quinn-Nicholls down to claim the ball.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-1 Norwich City Women

  An exciting first half comes to an end with the scores level at 1-1 could well have been 3-2 to Norwich if the woodwork counted both sides with some excellent chances. The game played at a very high tempo both sides attacking with pace and purpose getting players forwards. Norwich inviting Cambridge on somewhat the hosts showing good movement in the final third. Norwich dangerous on the counter attack, both keepers called into action making good saves beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

Norwich’s Lauren Cullum tackling Cambridge Tori Lawless

   A change for Norwich at the start of the 2nd half Abi Tate on to replace Thacker in the heart of the Norwich defence.  Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway. Play a little disjointed early in neither side getting to pace Larkins coming to tackle Jenkins as she is played in right side, Burt winning the ball at the back as Drake attempts to slide it through to Snelling. Jenkins is really putting in a shift for Cambridge on the left running on as Bennett sends her pass up the line, Arnoup comes across to support Larkins to close her off win the goal-kick.

Norwich’s Natasha Snelling with Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins

  Davis with a vital interception in the box for Cambridge as the ball in fired in from the wing early for Snelling to attempt to run onto. Jenkins getting hold of the ball left side brings it on Khan giving her the run to the left channel the pass along the ground into her feet Khan taking it on closing in on the advancing keeper, Quinn-Nicholls stays big again Khan knocking it wide of her goes to retrieve it on the by line cutting it back into the box Jenkins arriving to strike the ball blocked well by Tate. 

Norwich centre back, Jordan Arnoup

 A scrappier start to the 2nd half alot of energy expanded in the first half neither side on top yet. Tate gives away a free-kick 30 yards out right side to Cambridge. Lawless over the ball dinks in a shot the ball caught low by Quinn-Nicholls on her line.  Tate sliding in moments later on Mitchell outside her box gives away another foul much to the visiting sides complaints that she’d won the ball. 

 GOAL! this one closer in 20 yards out right of the D, Mitchell and Jenkins over the ball as players comes forwards from the back to load the box. Jenkins with the dummy run, Mitchell striking it in across the area to the far post attacked Lawless emerging from the crowd to turn into the goal to give the hosts the lead on the hour 2-1.

Tori Lawless puts Cambridge into the lead 2nd half has enjoyed a good contest with Norwich’s Millie Daviss

  Cambridge coming on strong attacking tails up, Davis winning it in defence laying it down the line for Khan left side is brought down by Larkins bemused that she doesn’t get anything.

GOAL! Cambridge race into a 2 goal lead overlooking the attack on the right Khan fires a diagonal ball into the D, Hewitt making a great run is well placed to get a shot away hitting it sweetly to send in low swinging wide to the keeper’s right 3-1.

Faith Hewitt extends Cambridge’s lead

  Norwich respond with a double change, Rosie George and Brooke Osborne sent on in place of Cullum and Jarvis. Tate flying on with a sliding challenge once more is shown a yellow card as Cambridge are awarded a free-kick right of centre. Burt to play in in towards the top of the area, Norwich struggling to get the ball clear the hosts can’t capitalise. 

  GOAL! A moment of controversy a hot patch for Cambridge sees them score a 4th much to the visiting sides displeasure. Attacking the ball in to the top of the area Khan I think, Tate goes off her feet sliding in to win in doesn’t make contact with anything, referee Romana Bria has covered alot of women’s football and keeps up with play well close to the tackle the Norwich defence stop concerned I feel that having just been booked Tate might be in trouble, warns her to calm down. Whilst this is going on the ball is put out to the right Mitchell running on free into the area lays it across the face of goal for Jenkins to send it home far side 4-1.

  The Norwich players and bench aren’t happy as the goal stands, the referee though never blew the whistle an as players are told often you play to the whistle. Can see why Norwich stopped but play was never stopped. A hard goal to concede. Cambridge though with 3 goals in nine minutes have gotten themselves into a fantastic position. A crunching 50/50 tackle between Khan and Tate sees the Norwich defender down hurt and play stopped so she can be treated and drinks. 

 Tate is okay to continue Norwich with a chance to regroup. Stanley on the ball 30 yards out right side clips it into George top of the area she connects with the ball flashing her shot wide of the near post. The visitors get forwards winning a free-kick 30 yards out, Daviss an Snelling over the ball, it’s Snelling who takes on the shot up over the wall on target but caught high by Butler drifting across her line. Cambridge make a change Jenkins has ran herself into the ground makes way for Ella Mercer to make her Cambridge debut up front as Khan moves to the left. 

Norwich’s Abi Tate winning the ball from Cambridge’s Ella Mercer

  Lawless feeds a pass through to Khan on the left side she cuts it across the top of the area into the advancing Hewitt to clip her first time strike over the bar. Space beginning to open up as both sides begin to tire, Norwich see an attack break down Mercer making a run into space on the right for Cambridge Hewitt picks her out with the pass takes the ball onto into the box closing in on the keeper sends her shot high beating Quinn-Nicholls but has the angle covered well the rising ball coming back off the post. A second change for Cambridge Charlotte Crisp comes in on place of Lawless. 

  Their lead giving Cambridge renewed energy the hosts push on in attack Otten sending a 20 yard ball into Mitchell closing in n the box she shots her effort rising over the bar. Cambridge winning a free-kick on the right Crisp to play a diagonal ball invitingly into the box Tate rising well to head behind for a corner. The corner on the left in at the near post defended by George out behind for a 2nd corner. This one taken short put up the line before being delivered is deflected behind a goal kick awarded. The game heading into the final minute of normal time. Khan dragging a shot wide as she attacks on the right. 

  Norwich get up the other end George right cutting a ball in towards the top of the area Snelling there right of the D, both Burt and Waygood in to prevent her getting a shot away the ball cleared to the right Norwich keep up the attack another cross comes in Snelling with the shot a combination of keeper post preventing a goal. Cambridge continue to press the attack looking for another goal the ball threaded through into the box Mitchell right squaring it central for Khan her shot blocked at point blank range comes back to Mitchell who flashes a shot wide across the six yard box a corner awarded. The delivery into the six yard box headed over by Khan as the final whistle blows.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 4-1 Norwich City Women

  An opening day win for Cambridge United WFC beating Norwich City Women 4-1. A victory that will give them a great deal of confidence at the start of the season. A strong start to the 2nd half getting getting into the lead and quickly adding 2 more goals to get themselves into a strong position, were fluid in attack creating several chances, there midfield winning the ball more often in the 2nd period. Was a pretty even first half however, both sides attacking with purpose made for an exciting contest Norwich taking the lead, Cambridge coming back well to equalise. 3 goals in 9 minutes in the 2nd half changing the game. The 4th goal controversial no doubt. Cambridge deserved winners in the end. Norwich I suspect will be hit hard by that 4th goal but for an hour I thought the game could go either way looked very dangerous on the counter attack in particular.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, clearly the intent this season is not for it to be an easy decision. Several contenders once again. A few performances to mention, firstly Millie Daviss for Norwich, the amount of ground she covered was superb to try and break up Cambridge attacks. For Cambridge Tori Lawless worked the ball well making some great tackles and runs. Emma Jenkins made herself constantly available on the left side, with Laura Mitchell impressing on her Cambridge debut on the right. The award though goes to another Cambridge debutant Samaira Khan scored her first goal for the club and as the spearhead of the attack made some fantastic runs into the channels to receive a pass.

   A fantastic opening game from FAWNL South East Division One fast paced, between two determined sides, bodes well for the season ahead. As always my thanks and appreciation to both sides for the team info.

Match Report – St Ives Town Ladies v Haringey Borough Women

Sunday 13th September

ERWFL Premier Division

 A new season begins in the ERWFL and it promises to be the most competitive yet. Begin this season with the match I had pencilled in next in the previous season before it was brought to an end by the ongoing COVID outbreak, St Ives Town Ladies at home to Haringey Borough Women. 

  With the 2019/20 season being declared null & void, it is the same 12 sides competing in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL) Premier Division this time around. A bitter pill to swallow for leaders Harlow Town Ladies unbeaten at the top of the league. Luton emerging as their closest rivals 3 points behind with a game in hand. That said it was a hard fought campaign with as many as 9 sides all pushing for a top 4 finish at one point. A new season begins and some big signings have been made by a number of clubs as they look to win the title and achieve promotion to the FAWNL above with it. Will be highly competitive once again.

  St Ives Town Ladies entering their second season at this level having achieved promotion at the first attempt after joining the ERWFL. On a highly successful run since forming earning back to back promotions the young squad used to winning games the ERWFL Premier Division would pose big jump in terms of player performance and was a test right from the off for St Ives, missing a few key players with injury that season to such as goalkeeper Kira Markwell and attacker Tierney Coulson for a good spell. The squad had to adapt every game a battle at the wrong end of the table although well clear of the bottom two signs of progress were being made before the season was brought to an abrupt end. All the better for the experience adding the likes of Abbi Griffin and Ruth Fox to the squad during the season, 2 more Georgina Parrett and Hannah Johnson from Netherton have joined in the close season to add competition for places. 

  Haringey Borough Women are a long established side in the ERWFL, the North London club which cherishes and celebrates the diversity of its teams, had an inspiring season in 2016/17 under the guidance of manager Steve Browne who very sadly passed away from cancer before its conclusion, Haringey nevertheless pushing on together to win the ERWFL Premier Division and achieve promotion to the FAWNL in the process. Proved to be a difficult season at that level with several of that title winning squad departing, coming straight back down Haringey regrouped, finding themselves battling at the bottom of the table for the past two seasons adding a few new faces to the squad will be aiming to make there mark this campaign.

The venue today St Ives Town FC’s Westwood Road stadium, the pitch itself looking superb, lush and green, does have a distinct slope in one corner, but that could be used to your advantage if you can play a good ball down the flank. COVID measures in place as they are in all sporting venues now. Hot and cold drinks available. A bright sunny day, quite muggy although no chance of rain. 

St Ives Town Ladies starting XI – Kira Markwell, Caitlin McGeown, Anna Hicks, Mollie Flack (C), Abbi Griffin, Ruth Fox, Ella Burnley, Hannah Seymour-Shove, Georgia Stancombe & Katie Stancombe. Subs – Tierney Coulson, Tia Everdell, Elisabeth Manuel & Sophie Majoram.

Haringey Borough Women starting XI – Kassandra Rukat, Shanice Nourrice, Charlee Vaz, Shernelle Francois, Valeria Hurtado Duran, Jaidene Browne (C), Lauren Duggan, Aaliyah Boyea, Angie Hernandez, Julia Carruthers & Beatriz Kretteis. Subs – Brooke Hills, Victoria Campbell & Nadine Franklin.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Haringey to kick-off the season opener, wearing yellow shirts with blue sleeves, blue shirts and yellow socks, St Ives in their home colours, black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. The visitors straight on the attack direct through the middle carve St Ives open Aaliyah Boyea seeing the ball into her feet top of the box looks to turn and shoot, St Ives captain Mollie Flack stabbing out a foot to take the ball away from her deflect the ball behind for a corner on the left. 

Haringey captain Jaidene Browne taking the corner whipped in towards the near post St Ives smuggling it behind for a 2nd corner. Browne with another inswinging ball this time landing in the side netting. Haringey with a strong start push players on through the middle, striker Beatrix Kretteis almost powering her way through into the box. Julia Carruthers moving right as the ball in returned to her is fouled by St Ives Sasha Smith as she attempted to skip past her. The free-kick defended it’s Smith’s turn to be fouled on halfway her shirt tugged as she looks to mount an attack.

Haringey forward Julia Carruthers fouled as she looks to get in behind the St Ives defence

GOAL! Players go up as Smith places the ball down to deliver for St Ives her diagonal ball long picking out Ella Burnley who has made a good run to get in behind the Haringey defence, the angle against her the on rushing goalkeeper makes up her mind as she lobs the ball up over her and into the back of the empty net 1-0. 3 minutes played.

St Ives Town Ladies, Ella Burnley with the opening goal.

  Haringey continue to look strong in the middle good link up play between Browne and Lauren Duggan playing a one two before Browne spotting Boyea peeling away to the right attempts to play her in, Smith able to get across her to play the ball back. St Ives build from the back the ball into midfield out to the right Georgia Stancombe to Burnley the ball cross in central towards the top of the box, midfielder Ruth Fox arriving hits it first time the back blocked at close range deflected away Haringey breaking getting away left side, Caitlin McGeown in to tackle break up the move.

Defender Charlee Vaz winning possession back for Haringey Borough Women

Duggan getting away on the left breaking towards the area gets upended the visiting side awarded a free-kick in  a dangerous position 20 yards out. Browne over it goes for goal, not a bad attempt, close but Markwell can watch it safely over her crossbar. McGeown charges on with the ball right side pushes it on into the path of Burnley, Shernelle Francois comes across well putting in the challenge to send the ball out for a throw in. 

St Ives Abbi Griffin with Haringey’s Lauren Duggan

 Haringey are looking dangerous on the break especially through the middle, direct at times but effective, Kretteis getting into some good positions. Anna Hicks coming out to close her down this time for St Ives. Markwell called into action in the St Ives goal, as Haringey get the ball on through the centre with pace players forwards Duggan to the right of the D, her knock on blocked the ball deflected straight back to her strikes it hard, low racing on towards goal, Markwell down smartly to her left to push the ball to safety.

  Coming through the middle Haringey, Browne sends the ball up to Kretteis who has Boyea close to her looking to get in behind, flicks the ball on looking to pick her out, Flack quickly closing Boyea down the chance gone. Kretteis is causing problems for the St Ives defence pace and power taking the ball on into the box Flack backing off sticking out a boot to take the ball away from her, Duggan racing on to support Kretteis tries to play it back to Kretteis only for Flack to intercept and clear the danger.

Beatriz Kretteis on the attack for Haringey Borough Women

 It’s a good contest St Ives being tested at the back whilst making good use of the wide areas when bringing the ball out themselves. Kretteis is hard to shake off the ball running on takes it into the box held up turns to lay it back for the arriving Boyea she strikes it first time from 20 yards the shot swerving wide of the left post. Backing of from Kretteis 35 yards out she sees an opportunity to let loose a shot the diagonal ball running harmlessly wide across Markwell’s goal. 

  Georgia Stancombe moves away clear on the right for St Ives the ball fed up the line she takes it on well before squaring a cross into the box, Duggan tracking back into the box for Haringey get’s something on it deflecting it high into the air dropping before goal, Fox closing in challenging goalkeeper Kassandra Rukat for the ball, is loose the keeper down Fox can’t get control of it the ball put over for a goal kick. It’s hot out there and with 23 minutes played it’s time for a drinks break.

Haringey’s Aaliyah Boyea with St Ives fullback Sasha Smith

  St Ives get straight on the attack from the restart Griffin playing a good ball out to Burnley on the right wing has another go from the angle this shot narrowly over the crossbar. St Ives beginning to exert some pressure in the final third winning a corner on the left inswinging near post Haringey get it behind for a 2nd corner. The ball into the six yard box this time controlled well by the defence and carried to safety by Boyea. Georgia Stancombe taking the ball on into the right channel gets a shot away the ball blocked deflected away for a corner. Fox isn’t being tracked by the Haringey midfield has made several good runs into the area ready to attack any ball floated in. 

Haringey’s Aaliyah Boyea with St Ives Ruth Fox

  Boyea recieves the first yellow card of the game after a strong challenge on Hannah Seymour-Shove. The 1st half moving into the final 5 minutes St Ives make a change, Katie Stancombe coming off in attack for Elisabeth Manuel. Smith plays the ball up into the left channel as Fox breaks from the middle, Shanice Nourrice getting tight into her ensuring no way past. Boyea seeing the ball well into her body breaks it down turning to play the pass down the line as Kretteis breaks in behind chasing it to the byline crosses the ball landing in the side netting. 

Haringey Borough Women’s Shanice Nourrice

  Fox getting the ball from Griffin turns sees Georgia Stancombe going on the right sends the ball up to her first touch a little heavy giving Vaz the chance to lunge in take it away from her. Georgia Stancombe in the closing seconds with a turn and hit from all of 30 yards out Rukat can watch it over her crossbar.

Half-time St Ives Town Ladies 1-0 Haringey Borough Women

  Ella Burnley’s 3rd minute lob for St Ives the difference between the sides, the hosts leading 1-0. Has been a very competitive and enjoyable first half. Not too many clear cut chances but some good build up play to different styles. Haringey certainly more direct, but that doesn’t mean long balls have got it into feet well, Kretteis in particular a threat looking to take on defenders. St Ives using the width of the pitch better, especially the right, the final ball not finding its mark just yet. 

Hannah Seymour-Shove looking to put the ball on for St Ives

  St Ives enjoying the shade behind one goal during the half-time interval to kick off the 2nd half get straight on the attack Georgia Stancombe inside to Fox 20 yards out to hit on the turn her strike charged down and cleared. Stancombe plays the ball on down the right wing for Mandel to chase, holds it up in the corner as Stancombe gets up with her to offer support, manage to fire a low cross into the box, Duggan intercepting top of the six yard box her clearance almost presents it to the on rushing Fox but deflected back to Duggan she gets it away to safety. 

  Burnley brings the ball down well on the right wing before sending it on for Stancombe up the line she crosses early flashes in Vaz tracking back with Mandel central making a superb trap with her legs falling to nullify the attack. A bright start to the 2nd half from St Ives, Fox on the ball playing it left to Seymour-Shove her knock on cut out by Nourrice. Haringey manage to squeeze the ball through to Kretteis 25 out she turns well right of the area strikes it cleanly races wide across the six yard box.  Burnley getting down the right wins her side a corner kick a good delivery swept into the area attacked by Fox her header sending it away from goal wide. 

 GOAL! 55 minutes played and St Ives capitalise on their good start to the 2nd half to take the lead. The ball pressured well in the middle of the park Seymour-Shove and Fox link up well to carry the ball on Seymour-Shove playing it on into Fox’s path closing in on the box left of the D strokes the ball low and fast wide of the static keeper to score 2-0.

Ruth Fox doubling St Ives lead in the 2nd half

  Fox regaining possession passes it to Manuel on her left as St Ives come forwards, she spots Stancombe racing into the box from the right the cross lofted in towards her, Hurtado Duran with a great last ditch tackle taking the ball away from her conceding a corner kick. Smith with the delivery from the right, again into the run of Fox jumps well but can’t direct it on target. St Ives make a 2nd change Burnley coming off on comes Tia Everdell. 

Anna Hicks defending for St Ives Town Ladies

 Haringey have been on the back foot for a large spell early in the 2nd half St Ives getting control of the middle of the park the visitors still pose a threat however and a snap shot from distance from Kretteis reminds the St Ives defence to stay alert. Carruthers 25 yards out through the middle has support from Boyea look in for a moment as Markwell comes racing out to the top of the area Boyea stabbing the ball past her but can’t direct it on target. Another drinks break called is hot out there, mustn’t complain however.

Beatriz Kretteis looking to flick the ball on for Haringey

  As play resumes Mandel finds herself played through in attack has Fox getting up the park to support the pass towards her cut out, Fox is quickly back to catch and tackle Boyea as she threatens to break for Haringey. Haringey keep possession in the St Ives half winning a corner, is a good delivery in from the left flashing over heads invitingly in the six yard box…

 GOAL! From that corner St Ives break the corner long to their left gathered and played on quickly the home side race on Seymour-Shove on the ball down the wing has support inside from Fox and Mandel to her left. Seymour-Shove and Fox combine exchanging passes before breaking into the area left side the ball blocked skips loose for Manuel to latch onto take a touch and fire cross the keeper low into the bottom corner to score her first goal for the club 3-0.

 St Ives are full of confidence now as McGeown races forwards right side to fire a low cross into the box, Hurtado Duran cutting it out well. Seymour-Shove comes off for St Ives with Katie Stancombe returning to the pitch. The hosts winning a corner on the right an inswinging ball threatening the Haringey goal keeper Rukat gets up well to punch it away behind for a 2nd corner this on taken long is cleared at the far post. For all their attacking, St Ives must stay on the guard at the back as Kretteis let’s a shot fly from distance left of the box shooting for the top corner Markwell must see it late but produces a superb diving save to her left to glove the ball away from a throw. 

Haringey defender Valeria Hurtado Duran

 Fox with the ball at her feet central plays a fantastic ball out to the advancing McGeown on the right side, Hurtado Duran coming out quickly to meet her with a good tackle to win the ball back for Haringey. Haringey get up high on the left side a, Carruthers into Duggan to strike central outside the box the shot blocked by Hicks for St Ives. Markwell sees a ball safely into her midriff moments later as Kretteis has a strike from distance. Burnley returning to the action for St Ives as Georgia Stancombe comes off. Moments after her introduction Burnley wins a penalty as she is brought down clumsily inside the box by Duggan after the Haringey midfielder is caught in possession by the winger at the top of her box.

GOAL! Burnley setting the ball down on the spot hits it low to the keepers right, Rukat goes the right way down sharply makes the save getting her glove on the ball pushed back out into the box St Ives are quickest to react another shot blasted in put across goal Rukat is up quickly making a superb blocking save with her feet but is desperately unlucky then as the ball is put straight into the path of the penalty taker Burnley who makes no mistake this time blasting it high into the roof of the net to score her 2nd of the game less than 10 minutes to play 4-0.

  Haringey look to get on St Ives backing off Hurtado Duran carries the ball into opposition territory, not closed down takes aim from 35 yards out on target the ball not troubling Markwell. The St Ives keeper sharply down at her near post to deny Kretteis from close range soon after as Nourrice wins it on the right for the visitors. The ball sent behind for a corner. Markwell getting a fist on the delivery before her defence send it clear. 

  Flack defending well against Kretteis as the Haringey forward holds the ball up well aiming to turn inside the box looking for power in her strike, Flack getting her leg in to block. Fox coming off in the closing stages replaced by Seymour-Shove. Boyea striking from a long way out for Haringey top of the centre circle Markwell watching it wide of her left post. One last attack for St Ives as Everdell bringing the ball down central puts it into the path of Mandel who strikes it hard Rukat down smartly to push it wide of her goal. 

Full time St Ives Town Ladies 4-0 Haringey Borough Women

 The final whistle blows and it’s St Ives who start their league campaign with a win 4-0 against Haringey. That result coupled with the only clean sheet kept on the opening day puts them top of the ERWFL Premier Division table. A strong 2nd half performance getting hold of the midfield and making good attacking runs seeing the hosts score a further 3 goals. A result that will give them plenty of confidence going forwards. Didn’t have it all their own way Haringey matching them 1st half mounting so good attacks of their own, the 2nd goal early on in the 2nd period seeing St Ives gain more confidence and push on for further goals the clean sheet up the other end just as important. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this weekends Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, these thing’s are rarely easy you know and today is no exception but I do have the benefit of a raft of notes collected to help me out. A few contenders to mention, firstly for Haringey, Beatriz Kretteis fantastic leading the line causing a threat pace and power, good ball control was perhaps unlucky not to have a goal to her name. For St Ives had it down to three, although it was a good all round team performance. Ella Burnley with two goals making some great attacking runs down the right. Georgia Stancombe really shone in the 2nd period edging them out though the award goes to Ruth Fox scored a great goal making a good run through the middle, did so throughout the game and gave her teammates a passing option whenever the hosts were in possession.

  Good to finally see both sides at last has been a while for both enforced or otherwise, an enjoyable game the ERWFL Premier Division is going to be a great watch this season no doubt. My thanks to both sides for the team details much appreciated as always.

 

News – The Round-Up Finishes

The Round-Up Finishes

It is with a heavy heart that I announce I will no longer be producing The Round-Up that has become a staple of Women’s Football East over the past three seasons. Always knew that there would become a point where the amount of time I could give to it and the number of teams in the East would become too great. The COVID outbreak bringing it to an abrupt end last season and with a good sized increase in new sides entering the county leagues seeing a total of 3 new divisions created increasing from 15 to 18, now seems like the best time to call it a day. 160 sides to try and cover last season 176 this time around and that will only grow, which is fantastic. The women’s game getting stronger and stronger is brilliant.

  Women’s Football East will continue of course not going anywhere, love attending matches at all levels and that will continue. The match reports and social media coverage, will bring all the news and info I can. Many clubs write their own match reports now and I will endeavour to share as many of them with you as possible, some great writers out there. As for league round-ups if anyone wants a try and cover a league I’d certainly encourage it and maybe help by giving it a platform to be shown to a wider audience. Won’t rule out a return as you never know but it was called ‘The Round-Up’ for a reason because finding the information was a round-up in itself. One of the reasons Women’s Football East was created was to try and bring it altogether. Coverage has improved no end social media is one area where women’s football is often leading the way. Part of me feels like I’m letting people down but I have to accept I can’t give the time needed to cover every single team very single week. 

 Best of luck to all for the coming season will nevertheless be keeping a close eye on the various league battles plenty of exciting action out there and will offer my thoughts throughout the season in other ways and hope to get to see as much football as I can.

 Darren

Match Report – Wroxham Women v Kettering Town Women

Sunday 6th September

Women’s FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

  Dusting down the notepad after 175 days of inactivity the previous season ending abruptly declared null & void as the COVID pandemic spread across the globe. Good to be back and raring to go many sides getting there season underway this Sunday taking part in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Women’s FA Cup, a record number of entrants once again and a whooping 87 ties taking place across the country. Heading to Trafford Park home of Wroxham Women as they welcome Northamptonshire side Kettering Town Women.

 376 sides entering this years FA Cup competition, plenty of sides making their debut in the cup to all taking the first step to Wembley. Today’s clash a meeting between two sides that locked horns in the early stages of last seasons competition, Kettering the hosts that time around getting into the lead before Wroxham came back to win 6-2. Kettering making the trip to Norfolk this time around, both sides playing in the Premier Division of their respective Regional Leagues. 

  Wroxham bringing the already established ERWFL side Acle United Women under their umbrella last season. The club offering plenty of support to the woman’s set-up and have high ambitions for Wroxham Women to go on and achieve promotion into the FAWNL. Manager Rebecca Burton bringing in several new faces to further strengthen the squad amongst them, pacy winger Zoe Cossey who has plenty of experience playing in the FAWNL most recently with Ipswich Town Women. Becky Russell also brings plenty of experience to the side, the ex King’s Lynn Town Ladies captain strong in an attacking midfield role has a decent range for goal from outside the box. Jess Horn another new addition joining from AFC Basildon. Erin Wilson coming to the club from Lincoln with Ellie Prentice adding to the goalkeeping options joining from King’s Lynn too.

   Northamptonshire side Kettering Town Women are established in the East Midlands Women’s Regional Premier Division. Like the ERWFL the regional Premier Division’s are getting stronger year on year offering plenty of competitive action. Kettering have added a few new faces to thier squad prior to today’s match. Centre back Hayley Matthews coming in along with goalkeeper Jade Smallbones. Winger Lauren Adams and Stephanie Gale in attack who has plenty of experience leading the line will pose strong threat for opposing defences.

 Trafford Park the venue for today’s match, my first trip to the ground. On the outskirts of Wroxham coming from Norwich. A large grass pitch sloping from one goal mouth to the other. Plenty of room for spectators a small seated stand one side of the ground the clubhouse and changing rooms situated behind the dugouts on the opposite side. The bar open, tea and coffees also being serves along with food… and although I very nearly did I resisted the temptation to purchase a cheeseburger. Pleasant weather sunny and bright a few clouds around keeping things cooler.

 Wroxham Women starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Laura Dawson, Lauren Bailey, Leanne Symonds, Jess Horn (C), Kate Pasque, Broghan Scully, Becky Russell, Kayleigh Holloway, Lauren Bullard & Grace Birchall. Subs – Ellie Prentice, Victoria Pleavin, Amber Rowland, Charlotte Gardiner, Zoe Cossey, Madeleine Pitt, Rhianne Brister, Laura Beevor & Emma Allsopp.

 Kettering Town Women starting XI – Jade Smallbones, Sami Jones, Kylie Evans, Hayley Matthews, Maddie Bates, Jo Brandon (C), Brodie Betts, Lauren Handley, Caitlin Redfern-Christie, Leah Stacey & Stephanie Gale. Subs – Charlotte Hyams, Michelle Smith & Jess Perrin.

Nine substitutes on he bench for Wroxham, this is new for the FA Cup this season still the same number can be brought on during the game however. Wroxham having the numbers available and knowing I was coming knew they’d all get a mention in the match report. Becky Russell and Jess Horn captaining the side making their competitive debuts with fellow new signings Zoe Cossey and Ellie Prentice on the bench. Jade Smallbones, Hayley Matthews and Stephanie Gale all starting for Kettering. The visitors getting the tie underway kicking off first half wearing red and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and red socks. Wroxham opposite wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts blue shorts and socks.

Lauren Handley looking to get the ball away for Kettering

  The hosts pressing the ball straight away inside the centre circle comes to Kayleigh Holloway right side pushed into midfielder Broghan Scully back playing after missing most of last season through injury prods it on for Russell driving on towards the box before sending it out to Laura Dawson on the wing, Brodie Betts in to make the challenge for Kettering the ball going out for a throw. A bright start from Wroxham numbers forwards the ball crossed in from the throw in headed clear by Hayley Matthews for Kettering. A free kick given outside the box in a dangerous position for Wroxham, Scully over the ball hits a good strike goalwards, Smallbones up well on her line to make a confident claim.

Jade Smallbones with a confident take in goal for Kettering Town Women

The ball is quickly regained by Wroxham pushing on with intent in the opening minute, put in from the right headed clear to the left, Lauren Handley attempting to get it up the pitch for Kettering, Leanne Symonds closing her down inside her own half getting Wroxham back on the offensive. Laura Dawson linking well with Holloway on the right, Russell getting on to support Grace Birchall and Lauren Bullard in attack the hosts keeping Kettering penned inside their own half in the opening 5 minutes. Russell bringing the ball on central with the attempted through ball for Birchall top of the area sends to to Dawson deep on the right who lays it back for Holloway to lift a cross into the area Birchall there nipping in to attack it near post getting her boot up to connect with the ball drills it wide of the post.

Kettering’s Hayley Matthews

  A free kick won inside the Wroxham half gives Kettering an opportunity to try and get a foot hold in opposition territory, the ball put in high towards the top of the area defended well by Jess Horn heading clear, Wroxham look to build an attack on the right, Handley over on that side now putting the a good tackle to regain possession. Wroxham look sharp Dawson providing a good outlet on the right, pacy down to the byline wins her side a corner. The delivery into the box won by Matthews she looks to play it up field to Gale in attack, getting the ball into her feet, using her strength to get forwards hasn’t support is eventually crowded off the ball.

Wroxham’s Leanne Symonds coming in to tackle Kettering’s Stephanie Gale

   Getting numbers into the Wroxham half Kettering are caught on the counter attack, Russell getting hold of the ball driving forwards lining up a curler from distance is blocked by the back tracking defence. Frustration up the other end as Sami Jones looks to have gotten Caitlin Redfern-Christie clear on the right wing only for the flag to go up against her. Wroxham setting a good pace building up quickly on the right the ball sent in low central Russell rushing on to strike it goalwards her shot straight into keeper Jade Smallbones. Handley looking a threat for Kettering whenever she gets hold of the ball inside the opposition half holding off her marker spins looking to send it through the middle for Gale, the Wroxham defence moving well to catch her offside.

Sami Jones on the ball for Kettering Town Women

Birchall scores plenty of goals and never needs an invite to shoot, from a throw in on the right the ball is helped on towards her top of the area right side, strikes it on the volley the shot looping up over the bar. Gale is left frustrated again by another offside decision. Handley on the left does well to get the ball up the line to Leah Stacey the Kettering attacker winning a throw in the ball sent in towards the box left hand corner Gale attacking it but can’t turn to shoot as three Wroxham defenders converge on her. 

 A heavy blow to the face for Kettering captain Jo Brandon as she goes up for the ball with Birchall. A pause in play so she can receive treatment, is up and okay to continue, Scully in the wars for Wroxham moments later in a coming together with Gale. 20 minutes played Wroxham with the better start as play stops for a drinks break. Play resuming were Wroxham left off on the attack Russell skipping past a challenge in the middle threading a pass low through to Dawson right side Birchall running in behind her plays a clever back heel to her, her shot blocked by Kylie Evans inside the box, spins out to Dawson wide right driven back in races wide across the face of goal.

Wroxham Women’s, Laura Dawson

   Again Russell finds Smallbones in the Kettering goal as she attempts to dink the ball in high from the edge of the box having been set-up by Birchall receiving the ball after good build-up play on the right between Dawson and Holloway. Brandon sliding in to regain possession in the middle for Kettering onto Handley, drives up the right, Symonds coming in to close her down can’t release the ball as Wroxham get it back and are immediately racing forwards. Birchall peeling away to the left side spins in behind is clear grass in front of her, Bullard racing on through the centre, Birchall finding her, her strike from outside the area charged down by the Kettering defence.

  GOAL! with a little over 10 minutes to play in the 1st half Wroxham get the goal their dominance has deserved. Players rushing on as the hosts attack down the right Holloway down the line for Dawson her cross back in towards the top of the area over Birchall near side comes to Russell top of the D strikes her foot through the ball stroking it past the keeper for her first Wroxham goal 1-0.

A goal for Becky Russell on her debut for Wroxham

 GOAL! One goal brings two as Wroxham immediately double their lead, attacking right side Holloway with a ball lifted into the box initially headed clear falls straight to Russell all of 25 yards out right of the area hits it hard and low into the bottom corner 2-0.

  Birchall on the ball 25 yards out jinks left the right looking to get a shot away, leaning back as she does she sends her strike over the crossbar. Wroxham looking strong in the latter stages of the 1st half Holloway right side drills in a low cross cut out by Matthews. Holloway fed the ball into her feet by Scully moments later sends it central for Birchall who can’t quite tee up Russell bombing on. 

Kettering Town Women captain, Jo Brandon

Kettering haven’t had much of the ball at all in the 1st half in the closing moments win a corner on the left a chance to bring players forwards into the opposition box. The first corner cleared behind at the near post for 2nd take, this one deeper headed high into the air dropping onto the roof of the net a 3rd corner given this one cleared brings with it the whistle for half-time. 

Half-time Wroxham Women 2-0 Kettering Town Women

 Wroxham going into the half-time interval leading 2-0 with Becky Russell scoring a brace on her debut. A dominant display from the hosts during the first 45 minutes on the front foot right from the off, getting players forwards good runs down the right and through the middle. The hosts defence rarely troubled Kettering struggling to match Wroxham’s pace haven’t been able to fashion much in the final third. Have alot of work to do if they want to get back into it and certainly you feel need to keep it tight early on in the 2nd half not concede a third and then hopefully pull a goal back themselves apply some pressure on Wroxham.

The teams back out for the 2nd half Wroxham making a change Zoe Cossey on to make her debut right side replacing Scully with Holloway coming central and Dawson dropping deeper. The hosts kicking off the 2nd period straight on the the attack winning a throw in the right Cossey straight into the action receiving the ball to her feet twisting inside and bursting towards the box, a boot stabbed out tripping her inside the area a penalty kick awarded.

 GOAL! Bullard has the ball under her arm sets it on the spot, deceives the keeper who is wrong footed as the ball is sent along the ground into the opposite corner 3-0. The perfect start to the 2nd half for Wroxham.

Lauren Bullard makes it 3-0 to Wroxham from the penalty spot

  Cossey full of pace and energy as she gets hold of the ball for Wroxham prepared to take players on Betts getting the challenge in to deny her a chance, the visitors get the ball on quickly mounting an attack on their right the cross swung in across the face of goal, Fullbrook snatching it into her gloves. Up the line for Cossey on the right wing her cross into the box just over Birchall near post cleared central by the Kettering defence the visitors on the back foot.

  GOAL! Birchall with a sweet strike from close to 30 yards out as the ball comes to her left of the D connects well the ball up and over the keeper dipping under the bar into the back of the net 4-0.

Wroxham’s Grace Birchall with Kettering’s Jo Brandon

  GOAL! Wroxham going for the kill at the start of the 2nd half scoring 2 quick goals add a 3rd as Bullard nets her 2nd of the game the ball into her top if the area right of the D into the box closing in on the keeper looks to slot the ball past her, Smallbones making an excellent save close in to turn the ball up onto the crossbar, brutal then that it should rebound back into the six yards box and Bullard alert as any attacker shoulder be runs onto it to send into the empty net 5-0.

  Cossey finding herself on the left has the ball played into her feet takes on the Kettering defence lets loose from all of 25 yards out her rising strike saved fantastically by Smallbones diving to her right to put the ball behind for a corner. 

  GOAL! The corner taken short played back up the line left side a diagonal ball sent into the box dipping at the near post Cossey nipping in in front of the keeper to score her 1st goal for Wroxham 6-0. 

Wroxham’s Zoe Cossey with Kettering’s Brodie Betts

  A devastating spell from Wroxham at the start of the 2nd half scoring 4 goals in just 9 minutes to take the game firmly away from Kettering. A further blow for the visitors too as Handley picks up a knock from a challenge and can’t continue Michelle Smith coming on. Wroxham making their 2nd change with Amber Rowland coming on for Lauren Bailey. Russell playing deeper in the 2nd half with a chance to get forwards a good run up towards the top of the box before being tackled by Brandon, Birchall looks to get hold of the lose ball but is quickly closed down by Jones and Evans. 

Wroxham’s Kayleigh Holloway with Kettering’s Lauren Handley

 Holloway coming on central dribbling the ball gains alot of ground before attempting to thread the pass through for Birchall central, Evans doing well to cut it out. Birchall’s not interested in tap ins today as she has another go from 30 yards out her effort whistling over the bar nevertheless getting a loud cheer from the vocal home support from behind that goal. Jess Perrin and Charlotte Hyams are on for Kettering with Gale and Stacey coming off. 

  GOAL! Cossey scoring her 2nd of the game as she makes a great run between two defenders into the box following a fantastic pass from Rowland in the middle, lifts the ball up into the back of the net to make it 7-0.

  GOAL! Wroxham are running rampant Kettering getting pulled out of shape tiring a cross lifted up and into the box from the right, Birchall lively nipping in to attack in near post gets her head down to nod it in before the keeper can claim 8-0.

  Four Wroxham players all on a brace the race is on to see if anyone can claim their hat-trick, energy levels and confidence are high. Kettering reeling trying their best to regroup. Cossey setting up Birchall outside the box opens her body to shoot across the keeper, Smallbones with a wonderful save to deny her. 

Kettering Town Women’s goalkeeper Jade Smallbones

  Smallbones gets exposed by her defence moments later called into action produces a brilliant double save, Bullard running into the box clear left side this time headers the ball from close range Smallbones instinctive gloving it down to the floor, is up quickly as Bullard takes a swing at the loose ball saves with her legs a save of top quality despite the scoreline. 

  Cossey making a huge impact since coming on 2nd half for Wroxham is after a ball played on up the right wing for her by Holloway, cuts inside beating a defender gets her heels clipped but stays on her feet carrying the ball across the top of the box into the D squeezes a shot away the ball screwed wide of the far post. 

  GOAL! Doesn’t take Cossey long to make amends however gathering the ball into her feet having drifted over to the left head down charges towards the box one intent lets fly with a strike curling it low past the diving keeper into the far corner of the goal to make it a hat-trick on debut 9-0.

  Kettering have yet to trouble Fullbrook in the Wroxham goal, get an opportunity when Rowland brings down Brandon 35 yards out central a long way out but the shot is attempted Fullbrook seeing it wide of her right post. Perrin shifts the ball between her feet looking to gain ground attacking left can’t quite find Redfern-Christie with the pass the ball cleared straight to Betts however she has a go from distance the shot on target caught by Fullbrook. 

Wroxham Women’s, Amber Rowland

  Hyams tackles Cossey to concede a corner on the right as Holloway looks to roll the ball on for Cossey. Swung into the box the ball is cleared.

  GOAL! The hosts make it a double figure score-line with the game closing in on the final 5 minutes Russell having scored a brace in the first half with two well taken strikes saves her best  till last time on the ball from all of 30 yards out hits it cleanly sending it flying in over the keeper to complete her hat-trick 10-0.

  Wroxham are full of confidence the stuffing knocked out of their opponents pace in every attack get it out from the back rapidly into Birchall 25 yards out not closed down lines up her shot, Smallbones has had to keep picking herself up and produces yet another excellent save to send the ball wide. Symonds off in the closing stages on comes Victoria Pleavin at the back. Birchall central 25 out receiving the ball into her feet lays it off for Bullard to strike her shot swerving wide of the right post. Evans charging down a shot from Bullard inside the box as the hosts push on looking for more goals. 

  Holloway making some good runs with the ball through the middle sends the pass on for Birchall top of the area right side turns under challenge her shot sent off target behind goal. Cossey with a punt from 30 yard out late on falling wide across goal. The Wroxham attackers getting clear too easily in the closing minutes Kettering down and out, Birchall away, Smallbones not letting her get a strike away rushing out to meet her as she enters the box sliding in to save with her legs. The final whistle blows.

Full time Wroxham Women 10-0 Kettering Town Women

  A comprehensive 2nd half display from Wroxham with 4 goals in 9 minutes at the start of the 2nd period to take the game away from their opponents. Having had the better of the first half eventually going on to lead 2-0. The next goal is often crucial in these games and Wroxham took the game by the scruff of the neck. The display and goals seeing their energy levels remain high an confidence grow. Their defence rarely troubled worked well as a unit throughout the match Kettering finding it tough to break down. The scoreline sapping their energy didn’t offer a threat in attack and inviting Wroxham on made for a tough game came have little complaints, a very harsh scoreline, all you can do is dust yourselves down and move onto the next one, their league campaign is still 3 weeks away no doubt fitness levels played a part. 

Wroxham Women winning their opening game of this season FA Women’s Cup 10-0

  The draw for the next round already made Wroxham will now play King’s Lynn Town Ladies away from home on Sunday 20th September.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the new season. Rarely is it an easy choice and today is no exception. Several displays of note to mention, firstly for Kettering, Lauren Handley looked like she could cause problems for Wroxham especially first half with some good tackling and runs. Jade Smallbones too I know it sounds odd when a keeper has conceded 10 but she nevertheless pulled off some brilliant saves that kept that score down might well have been 15-0. For Wroxham the team produced a dominant attacking display whilst being disciplined at the back, have laid down a marker for the season already. Kayleigh Holloway was excellent linking up with Laura Dawson who attacked well down the right. Becky Russell with three great strikes on her Wroxham debut making some great runs from midfield, nudging her out though is the other hat-trick debutant Zoe Cossey made an instant impact coming on 2nd half and took the game away from the opposition.

 Great to e back covering games looking forwards to the season ahead, was terribly rusty today my notes more shocking than usual but I wrote far too much as usual. Enjoyed my first trip to Trafford Park and will no doubt be back at some point. My thanks as always to the teams for providing me with the squad details much appreciated.