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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.