Sunday 27th November
ERWFL Premier Division
This Sunday’s football action comes from the ERWFL Premier Division as Stevenage FC Women currently 2nd in the table take on 3rd placed Haringey Borough Women.
The pair level on 13 points each leading a pack of sides chasing Luton Town Ladies leading the way with a strong 8 point lead having won all 7 of their Premier Division games to date. Luton’s game away to Royston called off today due to a water logged pitch a chance for both sides to close the gap at the top.
Stevenage FC Women looking to bounce back to the FAWNL at he first attempt having suffered relegation last season in a campaign that saw 4 sides go down as the league looked to adjust numbers following the pandemic hit season’s. A tough ask with only one side the ERWFL Premier Division winners themselves gaurenteed promotion. Have retained much off the squad from last season having recruited heavily during that campaign have one of the largest squads in the ERWFL with 27 of those featuring so far this season.
A few new faces coming in most recently full back Anna Re who was with Cambridge United WFC last season with Hannah Bodily joining up with side on the bench for today’s game the midfielder having plenty of experience in the FAWNL with Cambridge City Ladies. Making a winning start to the new season followed by a defeat and draw. Finding their feet in the league have recorded 3 wins on the spin to propel them up the table into 2nd spot. Amy Makewell and Becky Shephard the joint top scorers with 5 goals a piece so far.
Haringey Borough Women have tasted life in the FAWNL themselves having won the ERWFL Premier Division, having assembled a strong squad, went on to struggle as players moved on and and having returned to the ERWFL have been at the wrong end of the table for a few season’s. A new look side improving towards the backend of last season have hit the ground running scoring plenty of goals along the way too. Shakira Roberts top scorer with 11 goals from 8 appearances with captain Victoria Campbell and midfielder Kylie Manktelow both scoring 5 each.
Haringey Borough featuring in some high scoring matches in the Premier Division winning 4 of their 7 matches played with a draw and two defeats. Their 4 wins all coming courtesy of 4 or more goals scored a 4-3 and 5-2 win respectfully to start the season a loss and draw following before they smashed 8 goals into the back of the net away to Wroxham, a 4-3 win at home to Bedford putting them into 3rd level on points with today’s opponents.
The County Ground in Letchworth the venue for today’s match home to Stevenage FC Women the 3G pitch a good size offering lots of width the ground undergoing so improvements in recent seasons, the clubhouse/cafe area behind the main stand serving hot food and drinks. The main seated stand overlooking one side of the pitch with covered standing on the opposite side and behind the goals. A dull over cast day with grey clouds all around a few spots of rain in the air but none forecast for the game.
Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Celine Ray, Lucy Webster (C), Anna Re, Vicky Neal, Nicole Farmer, Erin Price, Jodie Southby, Hannah Nebbitt, Jodie Bellinger, Becky Shephard & Amy Makewell. Subs – Emily Schofield, Kelsey Millen, Susan Uwaifo & Hannah Bodily.
Haringey Borough Women starting XI – Maisie Swann, Chloe Ions, Sarah McDermott, Megan Peters, Louise Askey, Emily Packard, Amber Leighton, Kylie Manktelow, Rimini Lowe, Victoria Campbell (C) & Shakira Roberts. Subs – Alena Hubbard & Naomi Rawdling.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Haringey naming just the two on their substitutes bench with Stevenage having 4 available to bring on including ew signing Hannah Bodily. It’s Stevenage to get the game underway kicking off the first half wearing red and black shirts with red shorts and white socks. Haringey in their change strip off green shirts and socks with black shorts. The hosts looking to play the ball down the right early on for Jodie Bellinger to attack, full back Chloe Ions getting to the ball first to clear out for a throw for Haringey.
Defending the ball into the box from the right Haringey clear the ball upfield up to striker Shakira Roberts looking to head the ball on give chase, goalkeeper Celine Ray gets hold of it for Stevenage. Worked rapidly out to the left captain Lucy Webster put for for Hannah Nebbitt on the left wing too much on the pass Nebbitt can’t keep it in play. Early pressing from Stevenage getting players up around the Haringey area, Bellinger crossing from the right into Makewell, held up by Haringey’s Megan Peters before the visitors clear.
Nebbitt getting on down the left delivering a cross into the six yard box comfortably claimed by goalkeeper Maisie Swann. Both sides going in to close the ball down setting a good tempo to the match, Louise Askey in on Bellinger to win the ball left side cleared up the wing for Roberts to attack, pace to burn drives on her cross cut out by Stevenage’s Nicole Farmer. Anna Re coming on with the ball from right back plays a great diagonal pass forwards into the box with Makewell pulling off the defence near post the ball dropping can’t quite take it in her stride to turn goalwards runs out of play.
Haringey get hold of the ball in the middle Emily Piccard clipping it out to captain Victoria Campbell right side all of 30 yards out nevertheless tries an ambitious attempt hoping to catch the goalkeeper off guard in the opening minutes her lobbed effort dropping over. Certainly a committed contest Haringey going in to close the ball down looking to unsettle Stevenage, the visitors winning a free-kick on the left wide floated into the top of the area headed clear out to the left for a throw. Roberts with the ball out wide left squaring the cross into Campbell inside the area right of the D, Neal stabbing a foot in to initially take the ball off the attacker, Campbell getting it back evading the challenge of another defender to get forwards stabbing a shot wide of the left post.
GOAL! Haringey’s pressing sees a mistake from Stevenage in the middle the ball passed on for Roberts on the left, her pace seeing her out run the defence before striking the ball low and hard on the angle across the keeper and into the bottom corner 0-1. Haringey ahead in the 11th minute.
Lucy Webster has a good long throw on her and Stevenage are looking to exploit it to get players turned in behind the defence cause Haringey some issues, one such move seeing Makewell after a miscued header to attack the box left corner, Peters going with her close in getting across the attacker before producing a well executed tackle to see the ball clear.
GOAL! Attempting to get something going at one end Stevenage quickly find themselves two goals down as Haringey compete for the ball in the final 3rd Kylie Manktelow forwards with Roberts left of the D 25 yards out the midfielder seeing her strike blocked the ball spinning away to the left flank, Roberts after it getting hold of the ball before turning a cross in towards the top of the area Campbell getting on the end of it to chip a shot over the keeper to make it 0-2.
Ray hurt the Stevenage goalkeeper recieving some treatment on the pitch is okay to continue. The host 2 nil down inside the opening 15 minutes. Roberts pace proving a handful keeping the Stevenage defence busy, Neal tackling giving away a free-kick. Re looking to inject some urgency into the Stevenage attack as she brings the ball out from the back coming inside looking for Makewell, closely marked by Peters. Erin Price sending a diagonal ball on for Bellinger right side, Askey in to defend for Haringey.
Stevenage win a corner out on the right a chance to send players up into the box apply some pressure to the Haringey defence, the delivery comes in turned out to the left for a throw to Stevenage. Webster attempting the long one into the area the clearance from Peters headed back to her hits the cross on the half volley turned behind for a goalkick. Bellinger getting on with the ball right cuts inside 25 yards out cuts it back into Jodie Southby top of the area right of the D, sent on for Makewell ahead of her on the angle pulls the trigger, her strike flashed wide across goal out past the far post.
The Haringey defence putting in some great tackles to deny Stevenage the opportunities to get the ball into the area, McDermott at right back enjoying a good contest with Nebbitt. On the opposite flank Bellinger and Re combine playing a one two before Bellinger wraps her foot around the ball to cross into the six yard box claimed by Swann, Makewell obstructing the goalkeeper as she looks to kick the ball picks up the first yellow card of the game. Bellinger seeing a good share of the ball on the right for Stevenage a high cross put in towards goal, has Swann back peddling the goalkeeper doing well to pluck the ball down from over her head as it threatens to drop under the crossbar is quick to set up a counter attack the ball up to Roberts her pace seeing her win a throw in high up the pitch.
Nebbitt on the move down the left flank with the ball knocked inside for Makewell who sends the return ball on for Nebbitt to attack down to the by-line, McDermott recovering well for Haringey to get back at her tackle and see the ball rebound off the attacker for a goalkick. Midway through the 1st half shaping up to be a lively contest. Haringey battling for the ball, energy in the middle first to the ball. Roberts pulling right with a strike from distance running wide of Ray’s far post.
Amber Leighton with Pickard winning the ball in the middle for Haringey put forwards into Campbell right channel attempts to pick out Roberts pulling away left, Re stretching to incept taking the ball out of Roberts path the striker racing after it into the box, Farmer though reading the threat for Stevenage as the centre back gets across to lunge in with the challenge take the ball from Roberts.
A corner won on the left for Stevenage players up the ball curled into the six yard box headed away by Peters, the visitors attempting to break, Shephard winning the ball well for Stevenage looking to lift it back into the area, too close to the keeper Swann can come get her gloves around the ball. Stevenage winning a free-kick in a dangerous position 30 yards out to the right of the box, players forwards as Nebbitt plays the ball in across the penalty spot, Shephard rising to meet it with the header sees her effort crash up off the bar and out for a goal kick.
Ions coming forwards on the left fouled by Re, Haringey winning the free kick. A change for Stevenage before it is taken Emily Schofield coming on on the left in place of Nebbitt. The free-kick fired in across the face of goal, Ray under pressure seeing it pop out of her gloves but is quick to recover drop on the loose ball.
Stevenage advance though the middle Price on for Southby opens up her body to send a goo ball forwards into Makewell pulling away right channel into the area striking the ball on the angle, Swann down low making a superb save to turn the ball wide across her goal out for a corner kick. Played in across the six yard box over the tall Price drops for Neal sent back out to the taker on the left bundled out for a 2nd corner.
GOAL! The delivery long from the corner into a crowded back post area inside the six yard box, the ball knocked up not clear attacked by Southby at close range to squeeze her header by the keeper inside the post 1-2 a goal back for Stevenage with less than 10 minutes left in the first half.
Haringey get the ball forwards on the right long for Rimini Lowe to attack gets down into the corner forcing a corner kick as her attempted cross is turned behind. The ball in cleared by Neal Stevenage looking to get Schofield on the over left side, tackled by McDermott. Peters stopping Makewell from turning as she sees the ball into her feet top of the D. Good battles all over the pitch. The clock ticking down at the end of the first half, Schofield with the ball driving down the left wing getting deep before being brought down presenting Stevenage with another set-piece in a dangerous area.
GOAL! Shephard placing the ball down to deliver the free-kick wide of the six yard box fires in a very good ball met by Neal towards the far post drives her header down into the ground back across the keeper into the back of the net to level the scores 2-2. Stevenage right back in it scoring from 2 set-piece.
Haringey with Manktelow on the ball on for Roberts pulling away right, Neal getting out to close her down send the ball out for a throw in. Stevenage look to counter attack with Southby on the ball central looks to lift it on for Bellinger playing through the middle, just a little too strong, however the flag would have gone up had Bellinger done so having strayed offside. One last attack in the half for Haringey with the pacy Roberts away on the left crossing into Campbell left of the D moves across it before attempting the shot her strike blocked, Lowe after the rebound some 25 yards out right of goal lift her shot wide of the right post.
Half-time Stevenage FC Women 2-2 Haringey Borough Women
A lively first 45 minutes a committed contest between the side very entertaining some good battles developing out on the field. Haringey with the early strike to take the lead then quickly following it up with a 2nd capitalising a mistake in midfield from the hosts. Somewhat unsettled Stevenage who nevertheless were getting players forwards creating a few chances. Haringey with some good defending pressing the ball well undone in the finish from two set-pieces as Stevenage came back to level the scores late in the half, to set up what promises to be a great 2nd half.
No changes for either side a the start of the 2nd half getting gloomy out there the floodlights coming on. Haringey to get the 2nd half underway put back into midfield out to Ions coming on left side lifts it forwards ray can come gather for Stevenage the goalkeeper sending it long for Bellinger on the right, Peters though can see it safely back to her goalkeeper. Price getting hold of the ball in the middle of the park for Stevenage driving on before sending it out to Bellinger right side, her attack halted by a raised flag.
Roberts left channel seeing the ball into her feet turning 30 yards out and driving for the Stevenage area into the box shifts inside to evade a challenge unleashing a shot angling into the bottom corner, Ray with a spectacular save throwing herself down to her left getting her glove behind the ball to deflect it wide for a corner kick.
The corner in from the left cleared Stevenage looking to hit Haringey on the break forwards for Makewell helped on for Bellinger, right, Peters back at her the centre back challenging the ball pushed wide. A lively start to the 2nd half from Stevenage looking to get after Haringey, risk the long clearance up to Roberts, Ray launching the ball out of the ground over the mainstand. Southby winning Stevenage a throw high on the right that brings a corner kick players come forwards the delivery from Shephard flashed in across the face of goal attacked central no contact before dropping to Makewell free at the back stick volleys her effort over from close range.
GOAL! Stevenage knocking on the door when out of nothing Haringey retake the lead. Manktelow with the ball at her feet some 40 yards out right of the centre circle scoring one hell of a goal, striking the ball from distance is rifled into the back of the net past the diving Ray 2-3.
The goal giving Haringey a much needed boost with almost 15 minutes of the 2nd half played coming on with the ball Pickard to Roberts left side the attacker bursts forwards cutting inside towards the D, the Stevenage defence back peddling, Campbell and Manktelow both making great runs into the area, leaves Roberts caught in two minds whether to shot or lay the ball on, ends up doing neither her forward ball way wards out past the right post for a goalkick.
Haringey make their first change bring off Piccard for Naomi Rawdling. Ray with another superb save for Stevenage as she drops low to her right to deny Campbell as the Haringey captain steals in behind the defence inside the box off a right sided cross from Lowe. The resulting corner played in from the right dropping central both Campbell and Peters going for it neither getting a shot away the ball cleared back out to the right Lowe’s cross in claimed by Ray.
Stevenage getting a little frustrated mounting an attack on the right Re getting forwards to combine with Bellinger cutting inside Bellinger’s cross is deflected behind by the outstretched leg of Askey. The ball fired into the middle, is headed into the back of an empty net however it won’t count as referee Chris Geelan had already blown his whistle. Haringey launch the ball forwards Campbell with the flick on to put Roberts away left channel, Neal tracking her run into the top of the area, Roberts looking to skip inside, Neal not having any of it reading the move getting her heel up to deflect it away for a corner.
Haringey tiring a little slower to the ball in the middle as Stevenage look to push forwards Price out to Re on for Bellinger, Ion across to tackle for the visitors. Haringey attack right Lowe coming on with the ball delivering a dangerous ball into the six yard box, Ray stretching as she goes up for the ball getting her gloves to it proves to be a touch as it takes the ball off the head of Roberts stealing in unmarked behind her, Manktelow volleying over from close range beyond her.
GOAL! Disaster! One moment keeping the opposition from scoring Ray is caught on the ball inside her box confusion between her and Neal sees Roberts racing in to steal the ball nip past them and slot the ball into the empty net to score her 2nd of the game and extend Haringey’s lead 2-4.
Haringey with a 2nd change Alena Hubbard coming on for McDermott joining the attack, Roberts going into the right back position. Ions comes on left side for Haringey plays it forwards for Hubbard on the move down the wing her cross in cut out by Neal inside the box. Stevenage make another change bringing off Southby, on in her place Kelsey Millen. Campbell with an ambitious attempt on the half volley over 30 yards out sent over. Stevenage frustrated having conceded twice Haringey putting them under pressure Ions brought down outside the box awarded the free-kick the ball crossed into the area. Neal up to defend a controlled header down for her keeper to gather.
Campbell closing the ball down unleashing an effort on goal form 30 yards drilled wide of the mark. Stevenage with another change an attacker for a defender with 15 minutes to go Susan Uwaifo on for Re. A clearance form Farmer launched up into the box puts Swann under pressure to claim as she is closed down by Uwaifo, not taken cleanly is able to get a 2nd bite on the ground to snatch the ball into her body. Hubbard adding fresh legs to the Haringey attack on the left cutting inside is tackled by Neal.
Uwaifo adding some strength to the Stevenage attack as she gathers the ball into her body off Bellinger right side and looks to drive into the box, Askey going with her sliding in with a good tackle to win her side a goal kick. Webster cuts out a ball from Manktelow as she cuts inside from the left. Stevenage making a fourth change as they take off Bellinger bring on new signing Hannah Bodily. Campbell pulling right side beating the offside trap 25 yards out sees the keeper off her line attempts to lob her but sends her effort wide, pulling up in the box with cramp.
Neal involved in a good contest with Hubbard with the hosts sacrificing a defender as they search for a goal to get themselves back into the game with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Stevenage attack left Uwaifo cuts the ball into the centre for Makewell who in turn helps it out to Millen in space out on the right drives forwards her cross driven into the box cut out by Askey turned behind for a corner kick.
GOAL! Set-pieces have been key to Stevenage and they make one count again as Shephard fires in a great ball across the face of goal from the right not picked up by the Haringey defence, comes to Neal unopposed at the back post as she rises to drive her header into the back of the net, quick to retrieve it again get the game restarted 3-4.
The hosts determined coming on with the ball Millen on the right inside to Uwaifo in the box, tackled well by Peters. The game getting a little physical free-kicks being given away players tiring. A shot sliced over from distance as Schofield on the attack right squares the ball inside to Makewell. Haringey making a switch, Piccard coming back on for Hubbard seeing Roberts restored to the attack.
Swann with a brilliant save with her legs down at her near post to stop the effort from Makewell driven in low on the angle from inside the box on the right. Stevenage pressing hard late in the game.
GOAL! Stevenage with a free-kick on the right over the half way line Farmer to play it forwards up toward the top of the area Peters sticking a leg out attempting to cut it out for Haringey comes off the defender running on in behind out wide left of goal inside the box Shephard racing clear at the far post to strike it on the angle past the keeper into the bottom corner to equalise in the 89th minute! 4-4!
For the 2nd time in the game Stevenage come back from a 2 goal deficit, is there enough time left in stoppages to find a winner from either side. Askey is booked as she bundled Uwaifo down. The free kick wide right played into the box by Farmer dropping far post is claimed by Swann. Haringey in turn win a free kick over half way on the right wide the ball played in towards the area headed clear by Farmer for Stevenage.
Manktelow attempts another long range strike this time safely gloved down and caught by Ray. Roberts with the ball on the attack right side for Haringey tackled by Farmer, then adjudged to have fouled Farmer as she attempts to regain possession. One las push from Stevenage Millen out on the right crossing inside to Uwaifo to of the area takes the ball into the D looking for room to unleash a shot gets it away, Campbell back there to lung in block turn it behind for a corner. Stevenage get the ball into the mix central everyone back to defend for Haringey scramble the ball away the final whistle blows the points shared.
Full time Stevenage FC Women 4-4 Haringey Borough Women
Another cracking game from the ERWFL Premier Division, the points shared between Stevenage and Haringey. The visitors getting into a 2 goal lead in both halves only to be pegged back by Stevenage. Haringey battling well in a committed contest pressing the ball forcing errors capitalising to open the scoring first half quickly getting into a 2 goal lead. Set-piece’s proving key for Stevenage as they came back late on with headers from Jodie Southby and Vicky Neal to level it at the break. Stevenage looking to get on the front foot early in the 2nd half had Celine Ray to thank for an excellent save to keep it level before a long range rocket from Kylie Manktelow restored Haringey’s lead. A mistake at the back seeing the visitors go 4-2 up. Stevenage kept pressing their changes playing their part fresh legs winning more set-pieces Neal with a bullet header from a corner with less than 20 to play putting the hosts back in the game, another free-kick in the 89th minute seeing Becky Shephard steal through to make it 4-4. A point a-piece sees both drop a place as the other 3G hosts AFC Sudbury Women and Needham Market Women both won at home to move above them into 2nd and 3rd, remains tight in the top half Luton still the side to be caught.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match and boy is this a tough on probably the hardest I’ve had to choose mainly because I name one clear winner and the contenders field is a very strong one from both sides. A great contest with several performances of note. Jodie Bellinger was a constant threat out on the right for Stevenage backed up well by Anna Re getting into some great positions with some dangerous balls into the box. Shakira Roberts pace and direct running gave Stevenage real problems took her goals well. Both goal keepers pulled off some fantastic saves, Maisie Swann for Haringey and Celine Ray for Stevenage without her intervention Stevenage could have been dead and buried. Odd as it sounds however in a 4-4 the award today goes to a defender, just a case of picked one above the others some fantastic tackling and blocks from Haringey’s Megan Peters and Stevenage’s Nicole Farmer. Louise Askey was excellent at the back for Haringey made a number of critical challenges inside the box, it’s the goal that matter in the end and 2 for Vicky Neal sees her named Player of the Match. Was a great performance at the back winning the ball her two pinpoint headers setting up Stevenage’s fightback in both halves. Ultimately both sides will fell disappointment with the result Haringey for not holding out for the win and conceding from 4 set-pieces. Stevenage with the goals they conceded to put them on the back foot, still dug deep to fight back both halves.
Another great encounter from the ERWFL never fails to disappoint is an underrated league with some very talented players on display. Great to return to the County Ground my thanks to both sides for the team details today.
by Darren Gilham