Tues 30th August
FAWNL South East Division One
A trip along the A47 this Tuesday evening for the 1st of 2 local derbies this week from FAWNL South East Division One and for the 1st time in the 4th tier of the women’s football pyramid we have a Norfolk derby with newly promoted Wymondham Town Women hosting Norwich City Women.
History being made this evening with this game the 1st Norfolk derby match taking place in the tier of the women’s football pyramid. Norwich City Women long established at this level joined in FAWNL South East Division One by Wymondham Town Women promoted to the league winning the ERWFL Premier Division title last season.
Under manager Alex Guy’s leadership, Wymondham have grown into one of the leading women’s sides in Norfolk. Rising from the county set-up into the regional leagues cumulating last season with the club winning the treble. Dominated the ERWFL Premier Division from start to finish to clinch the title and promotion, aswell as winning the League Cup and winning the Norfolk Harrod Sport County Cup for the 2nd time at Carrow Road. Doing so with one of the smallest squads in the league too! Alex Guy setting down from his role during the summer as the club begin a new chapter in the FAWNL.
Rob Dyer taking on the role as 1st team manager coming in relatively late with the new season just around the corner. Several changes at the club in terms of players as Wymondham look to compete at a higher level. Key departures to midfield with Rebecca Russell and Katie Knights both leaving the club to join this evenings opponents, Norwich. 8 new faces brought in to join the squad. A player who made a huge impact in her previous spell with Wymondham returning with Amber Cantwell joining having plenty of experience playing in FAWNL South East Division One with Cambridge United WFC. So too has Brooke Osborne the defender coming in from Norwich. Goalkeeper Yaz Walford too joins after a season with Norwich having been at Royston Town Women previously. Brook Cheal also returning after having been at Larkhall Athletic Ladies an Norwich previously. Defender Maddison Goodenough looked impressive playing for Dussindale & Hellesdon last season also has experience with MK Dons. Young player, Nyah White joins from Waveney another young player joining is Chloe Shipman who impressed on her debut at the weekend with Sian Douglas the latest signing previously with Norwich.
The FDC, Bowthorpe’s Harrod Sport Arena, Wymondham’s new home for the 2022/23 season. Part of Norfolk FA’s impressive grassroots facilities. Started life in South East Division One with a narrow 2-1 loss to London Seaward FC who like Wymondham don’t have the backing of a men’s club like several others do at this level and above. Players missing at the start of the season through unavailability or injury was a small squad that travelled down to Essex to play title favourites Hashtag United Women on Sunday, a tough one to take their host leading 4-0 at the break going on to win 10-0 at the final whistle and with a quick turn around for this evenings match Wymondham once again have a shortage of numbers with injured players on the bench.
Norwich City Women themselves have tasted a 10-0 defeat in recent seasons but we won’t dwell on that! A new buzz and sense of optimism about the club as they start the 2022/23 off the back of a great escape the previous campaign with 4 wins from their final 5 games ensuring the club retained it’s 4th tier status when they looked to be pasting Wymondham in the opposite direction. The day to day running of the club now in house with Norwich City FC, the Championship club appointing ex-WSL player Flo Allen as general manager to oversea the women’s side.
Bringing in several new faces to bolster an already decent sized squad. Midfield duo Russell and Knights as previously mentioned from Wymondham, Defender Ceri Flye from Cambridge City Ladies. Young striker, Liv Cook from Waveney and defenders Naomi Cooper from Wroxham aswell a Alice Parker re-joining after a season with Wroxham. Started their campaign with a trip to the Abbey Stadium to play Cambridge United WFC on the opening day and despite going a goal down came back to level and strong 2nd half saw them winning the game 4-1 with Natasha Snelling scoring a hat-trick. That momentum taken into their 1st home game at The Nest on Sunday, where 400 spectators were in attendance to see Norwich beat Actonians Ladies 1-0 thanks to a strike from Rebecca Russell to keep them top of the table.
The FDC, Bowthorpe’s Harrod Sport Arena the venue for this evenings game. Everyone hoping for a record crowd for the derby clash especially on the back of the Lionesses recent Euros success. The clubhouse and bar open leading into the facility with the main pitch having under gone some work the large 3G pitch now featuring standing viewing on three sides with a stand with seating on one side. The Snack Box open serving hot drinks. A good crowd building additional parking needed parked at The Brook Hotel a short walk from the ground. A pleasant evening dry with a cool breeze.
Wymondham Town Women starting XI – Yaz Walford, Brooke Osborne, Leah Newcombe (C), Sian Douglas, Brooke Cheal, Jen Codman, Chloe Shipman, Hayley Kindred, Natasha Youngs, Francesca Catchpole & Hannah Waters. Subs – Nyah White, Lyla Studd, Jess Hawkins & Lauren Kett.
Norwich City Women starting XI – Bryony Williams, Alice Parker, Anna Larkins (C), Chardonnay Johnston, Ceri Flye, Katie Knights, Rebecca Russell, Ellie Smith, Liv Cook, Megan Todd & Natasha Snelling. Subs – Summer Ward, Rosie George, Jess Harper, Leilah Gooding & Ella Gambell.
As mentioned Wymondham coming into the game with players unavailable such as Amber Cantwell an defenders Mary Croft and Chelsea Clarke with others out injured. Yaz Walford making her 3rd start in goal with captain Leah Newcombe the only one of the back 5 tonight a part of last season’s defence. Sian Douglas, Brook Cheal and Brooke Osborne all in the back line. Chloe Shipman starting in midfield. Both Knights and Russell starting against their former club for Norwich as does defender Chardonnay Johnston. Freya Symonds another former Wymondham player picking up a knock in the Cambridge game missing with Liv Cook starting in attack for Norwich.
Wymondham to get the game underway the floodlights beginning to take effect wearing red shirts and shorts with black socks with Norwich opposite once again in their away colours xenon pink and blue shirts with xenon blue shorts and socks. Midfielder, Jen Codman playing the ball out diagonally to the right looking for Natasha Youngs bursting forwards, Alice Parker at left back defending for Norwich. Players nipping in to close down the ball early on a frantic start from Wymondham as they look to harry the ball in midfield making progress through the middle the ball up towards the area Ceri Flye winning it for Norwich.
Ellie Smith tackled, Wymondham’s Hayley Kindred to get hold of the ball for Norwich drives on the ball into Katie Knights who gets up ended a free kick to Norwich inside the Wymondham half, Parker to deliver it in players up into the box sent long towards the far post no one attacking it a Walford can see it bounce wide of her goal. Wymondham come right Youngs on the ball a strong run making ground before attempting to slide it on for striker Hannah Waters running into the box, can’t get onto the end of it before the ball runs out of play.
Smith taking the ball on from midfield driving forwards with purpose for Norwich moving right sends it out to the wing for Megan Todd who in turn plays it back to captain, Anna Larkins getting on from full back to sends a cross in to Snelling central at the top of the area, getting her head on the ball looks t turn it goalwards placing it central Walford well placed to take the catch. Wymondham are quick to get on the attack in reply Newcombe getting on right side forwards for Youngs a good run to the corner before whipping a cross in low towards the near post attacker Francesca Catchpole closing in on the goalkeeper, getting her shot away looking to put it across her into the bottom corner pulls her shot wide of the far post.
Smith picking up the ball and driving on is a feature for Norwich and difficult for teams to contend with riding a couple of challenges is eventually brought down 25 yards out in a dangerous position in front of goal. Perfect range for Russell whose set pieces Wymondham are all too familiar with. Gets her shot up over the wall on target dipping in front of Walford the keeper with a great reflex save getting a glove up to turn the ball over wide for a corner kick. Played in to the top of the box from the right, clipped inside left for Liv Cook to attack, Catchpole defending for Wymondham getting fouled in the process.
Hayley Kindred combining well with Brooke Osborne on the left for Wymondham look to set up Catchpole moving out to the flank, Ceri Flye going with her for Norwich the centre back winning the ball back. Wymondham press the ball high Jen Codman back to Osborne up the line the hosts getting a throw high up the pitch, Osborne with the power in her arms to get it into the box with Youngs jumping go for it can’t capitalise. Wymondham working hard to close Norwich down not letting the visitors find any rhythm Waters and Catchpole up top exchanging passes Catchpole going left turning a cross into the box, defended by Flye.
Flye winning the ball at the back again for Norwich her clearance seeing Snelling peeling of the defence right side looking to break in behind, Sian Douglas recovering well at centre back to get back at her to tackle regain possession for Wymondham. From the throw Smith takes the ball inside picking out Cook on the left wing shoots her effort driven wide of the left post. A pause in play with Todd down needing some attention looks in a little discomfort but after assessment is okay to continue. It is a scrap in midfield with Knights and Smith for Norwich and Codman and 16-year-old Chloe Shipman competitive for Wymondham is effective in disrupting Norwich, Smith looking to drive on whenever she can.
A derby feel referee Laura Van Lier needing to have a cautionary word with Smith as she dives in a little too rashly. The free-kick for Wymondham in midfield is played long to Catchpole on the left side looking to hold the ball up is shoved over another free-kick to Wymondham. Angled in the the far post players attacking it Kindred gets up highest for Wymondham to meet it getting her head on target Bryony Williams with a great save for Norwich. Wymondham holding their own creating a couple of half chances. Smith surging on with the ball into the right channel is stopped by Osborne.
Flye coming out to the wing to defend on Kindred as she attacks left side, the defenders cleared ball fining Todd out on the right flank flashes it inside to Snelling inside the D good control to hold up the ball shifting it to her left to turn into the shot put back across goal runs wide of the far post. Half an hour gone Norwich getting going finding more momentum going forwards getting after Wymondham to get hold of the ball higher up the pitch. A clever triangle between Russell, Smith and Todd as Norwich come right, the ball played crossfield to the left with Parker bombing on from full back releases her forwards pass early a diagonal ball lifted into the box the target Knights as she makes a fantastic break from midfield can’t quite get on the end of the pass a flowing move.
GOAL! Smith making a nuisance of herself on the edge of the box is brought down the referee awarding a Penalty. Birthday girl, Todd to take it placing the ball on the spot a confident strike turned into the left of the goal to open the scoring 0-1.
Catchpole with a talking to from the referee after a late tackle on Larkins.
GOAL! Norwich make it 2 goals inside 2 minutes Norwich winning a throw high on the left Todd bringing it down sending it back to Larkins level with the top of the area wide to cross in, a fantastic delivery to the far post Snelling getting up to meet it twisting her header down into the back of the net to score 0-2.
The foul count in the middle totting up as Codman fouls Smith. The visitors come on through the middle before laying it out to Cook on the left an ambitious strike on the angle races wide across the six yard box. Smith is getting clipped at regular intervals as Wymondham try to slow her down. Smith tough giving as good as she gets. The goals have rocked Wymondham need to settle down have been doing okay up to that point. Todd takes the ball inside from the left across the D turning it inside for Snelling, closely marked by Ferris can’t turn to shoot instead feeds it back to Todd who lifts her attempt over.
Norwich advancing on the left the pass from Larkins inside to Todd 25 yards out, spots Cook breaking into the area from the left her cross turned in across the six yard box Cook can’t quite take it in her stride, cleared. Osborne racing up on the left gets the ball on for Catchpole her return pass inside to Osborne the defender lifting it on for Waters inside the area, well marked can’t get it under control to turn and shoot before it is smuggled away. Wymondham press high getting the corner left, fired into the six yard box is scrambled clear by Norwich falling straight to Codman 25 yards out blasts her shot in wide of the right post.
Johnston is fouled by Waters as the Wymondham attacker looks to muscle her way in behind on halfway. Clipped in long to the far post Walford attempting to claim low is fouled. Kindred up on the left with Catchpole crossed in Johnston intercepting for Norwich chesting the ball down volleying clear. A late flurry form Wymondham at the end of the 1st half Youngs getting a corner on the right dipped in low near post, Williams getting hold of it play stopped with a Norwich player down.
Half-time Wymondham Town Women 0-2 Norwich City Women
Norwich leading 2-0 at the break. The break through coming from the penalty spot. Todd converting to make it 1-0 a 2nd goal quickly following as Snelling headed home. Prior to that Wymondham were doing well working hard to disrupt Norwich’s play. Certainly had a derby feeling with the robust tackles being put in in the middle of the park. Creating a couple of good scoring chances of their own. The quickfire double unsettling them as Norwich gained confidence and momentum going forwards looking lively around the box. 2-0 often a tricky score and all too often the next goal will be crucial.
Norwich to get the 2nd half underway a fantastic crow of 435 in attendance and that lends to the atmosphere. Parker advancing on the right for Norwich her low diagonal ball intercepted by Douglas, sliced behind but favourably to be cleared. Smith with a surging run from midfield lays the pass on for Snelling inside the box sends the ball past the advancing keeper but it won’t count the flag already up against her. A bright start from Norwich Snelling seeing the ball into her feet turns to sent a shot over from 25 yards.
A corner for Norwich on the right defended at the near post Norwich getting it back to the taker to send a long cross in to the far post picking out Snelling close in snatches her volleyed effort over. Smith getting on through the middle into Snelling top of the D, attempts to pick out Cook breaking in left side a timely interception from Newcombe tracking back.
GOAL! A strong start to the 2nd half from Norwich out of the blocks early and with 5 minutes gone in the 2nd period the visitors extend their lead. Russell with a brilliant through ball to put Snelling in on goal right of the D beating the offside trap, to set up a one on one with the advancing keeper, the striker slotting the ball low past Walford to score her 5th goal of the season in just 3 matches and make it 0-3.
A blistering start to the 2nd half Norwich have Wymondham well and truly on the back foot, Newcombe winning the interception inside her area as Norwich look to pick out Cook bursting inside from the left. Cook tracking back to regain the ball turning left getting on with pace to send a cross/shot wide across the six yard box. Norwich attack right Snelling up with Todd, Osborne getting the challenge in hurt in the process but is okay after treatment.
GOAL! closing in on an hour played all Norwich so far the visitors on the ball Smith with another drive from the middle coming left playing the ball on for Cook, taking it on a brilliant burst of pace to get her into the box bearing down on goal, closing in on the keeper appears to have run out of room but somehow manages to squeeze a shot past the keeper to score her first competitive goal for Norwich 0-4.
Norwich make a change, Smith having taken a few knocks coming off in midfield, Leilah Gooding coming on. Wymondham unsettled out of sorts Codman getting a talking too from the referee. Catchpole in strongly on the right to win the ball her long ball on too strong for Waters.
GOAL! Norwich add a 5th goal with Cook getting into a high position on the left to receive the ball into her feet turns inside smartly showing a great turn of pace to burst towards the box slipping the pass through to Snelling pulling of the last defender to bear down on goal to sent her shot under the keeper to score her 2nd hat-trick of the season… just 3 game old 0-5.
Midway through the 2nd half Wymondham shell shocked going 5 goals down struggling to find a response as Norwich press the ball everywhere. Todd coming off for Norwich, Ella Gambell the player coming on. The game a little subdued. Snelling giving way for Rosie George up top. A double switch from Wymondham with Catchpole and Kindred coming off to be replaced by Lyla Studd and Nyah White. Norwich making their final 2 changes bringing on Summer Ward and Jess Harper for Parker and Johnston.
Good work from George on the left by-line cutting the ball back into the box, cut out by Ferris.
GOAL! Cook on the ball left side moves inside a pacey run is clipped right on the corner of the area just outside a freekick for Norwich. Russell placing the ball close in but a good angle scoops her hot over the wall dropping for the bottom corner Walford dropping across to cover will be disappointed as the ball manages to squirm in between her and the post to extend the lead to 0-6.
All Norwich all Wymondham can do to try and contain them as they get numbers up and around their box, out to Cook on the left her cross into the six yard box turned back across beyond the far post, Douglas getting her head into deflect it up for Walford to claim. Gambell on the right for Norwich goes forwards with the ball stopped by Osborne. Ferris attempting to bring the ball out from the back has limited option ahead of her tackled by Knights. George getting hold of the ball right outside the box put inside for Gambell who does well to keep in on the by-line the challenge sending the ball for a throw in the corner.
Out on the right Norwich come on Gambell with Harper in support a shot driven in on the angle held by Walford. A rare opportunity for Wymondham in attack as Shipman in midfield plays a brilliant pass into Waters inside the box right of goal , sends the shot in low to the near post Williams alert diving to her left to push the ball wide for a corner.
Knight out left inside for George with Norwich getting into the final 3rd right of the D George plays it back to Gooding to have a crack at goal from distance, on target but can only pick out Walford. A lengthy pause follows with Youngs down for Wymondham after a clash of knees. Sad news as the stretcher come out and Youngs is taken off. The game lost the injured players not risked Wymondham play on with 10. Despite that Wymondham exploit the left Osborne put on by Douglas, her early cross in aimed for White breaking into the area but Williams can safely gather. Russell having a go from distance a long way out looping down to creep under the bar, Walford though back on her line not troubled bringing it down safely.
Douglas back well on Cook to tackle as she looks to get away on the left. Knights forwards latching onto the rebound after Ferris blocks Russell’s 25 yard strike, Knights effort cut out. George has picked up an injury and needs to come off for treatment for Norwich both sides finishing with 10 as the game moves into stoppage time.
GOAL! Time almost up Norwich continue to attack getting players up Knights into the box right of goal close to the by-line holding the ball up after chasing the blocked rebound from Ferris. Looking to hook a cross in across the face of goal is brought down, Penalty! Knights picking herself up t take the penalty puts her foot through it to smash the ball home for her 1st Norwich goal 0-7.
No sooner has the penalty been scored then the final whistle blows seventh heaven for Norwich as they make it 3 wins from 3 to start their season on a high.
Full time Wymondham Town Women 0-7 Norwich City Women
Norwich dominant in the 2nd half taking the game to Wymondham right from kick-off creating numerous chances before scoring their 3rd goal a 4th and 5th quickly following with Wymondham on the back foot having no reply Snelling going on to complete her 2nd half trick of the season. Norwich remain top of South East Division One. A tough opening to the season for Wymondham with a much changed side and shortage of numbers for the last 2 games heavy losses but they were competitive in the 1st half with a couple of chances of their own before Norwich turned it up a gear.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evening’s Women’s Football east – Player of the Match. As usual a few contenders was s strong performance from Norwich. A couple of note from Wymondham too, Chloe Shipman didn’t look out of place despite her youth while Brooke Osborne made some vital tackles at the back getting forwards to support Kindred and Catchpole. For Norwich another hattrick for Natasha Snelling a sensational start to the season up front. Ceri Flye winning alot at the back. In midfield it was a competitive tussle for a while Katie Knights battling for the ball winning her fair share of tackles getting forwards well 2nd half. Edged out just by Ellie Smith her driving runs on the ball a real threat hard to contain and brings so much into play going forwards.
An entertaining evening at The FDC, fantastic to see so many their, huge encouragement for the players and the game at large. Pleasure to meet Flo Allen from Norwich and my thanks to Wymondham for the team details and Scott Grearhardy for letting me use some of his pictures in the report.
by Darren Gilham