Sunday 19th March
Norfolk Women’s County Cup sponsored by Harrod Sport
A trip to Mulberry park this Sunday to watch one of this season’s Norfolk Women’s County Cup semi-finals as Mulbarton Belles Ladies vying to reach their 3rd successful final taking on ERWFL Premier Division side Wroxham Women.
The Women’s County Cup sponsored by Harrod Sport will see the final held at Norwich City FC’s, Carrow Road stadium for the 3rd time on Friday 19th May, and with Norwich City Women themselves soon to get a long over due game at the stadium with a huge 4,000 tickets already sold, Norfolk FA will be hoping for a record crowd of their own in the final as the game continues to grow.
Norwich City Women and Division One leaders Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women contesting the other semi-final. Mulbarton Belles Ladies relatively new in just their 3rd season with Mulbarton FC taking them under their umbrella following the turmoil that lead to much of the first team leaving Thorpe United with manger Martin Francis. Reaching the county cup final in the past two season’s losing out to Norwich and Wymondham in those respective finals making a dream come true appearance at Carrow Road along the day will fancy their chances on home turf again despite taking on higher league opposition.
Going from strength to strength with the playing squad growing have added a Development and 7’s side which are both going strong in their respective Division’s. The 1st team defending champions in Division One closing in on leaders Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women still with a 100% and 2 games in hand. Have yet to play the current leaders home or away and those games could likely determine who will be champions this time around. Ironically due to play Dussindale & Hellesdon today, postponed with both reaching the last 4 of the county cup. Rebekah Lake one of the best strikers in the county prolific in front of goal, currently with 14 this season has an equally potent strike partner up top with her now with Francesca Catchpole joining following the ad collapse of Wymondham Town Ladies. Hitting the ground running with her new club with 15 goals from 8 appearances.
Wroxham Women too bringing in another top quality striker following the withdrawal of Wymondham Town Ladies with Hannah Waters moving to Trafford Park. Vastly experienced, similar to Lake in her movement pulling into the channels, difficult to mark and floating across the back line ready to attack Has 12 goals so far from 13 appearances. Wroxham vying to reach their 1st county cup final entering the competition at the quarter final stage the ERWFL side putting opponents Fakenham Town Ladies to the sword with a dominant 11-0 win both Waters and young attacker Holly Connell scoring hat-tricks.
Joe Simpson coming in to manage at the start of the season, Wroxham have brought in several new faces to the squad with several young players with experience with Norwich at youth level, a handful from Simpson’s ex-club King’s Lynn Town Ladies and from Wymondham, Water’s along with defender Lauren Kett and midfielder Jennifer Codman. Defender Albany Hodgson the latest to sign on with FAWNL experience with Cambridge United WFC. Results have varied in the league as the squad evolves but with a great blend of experience and youth definitely has lots of potential. Both sides will fancy their chances today and certainly won’t be taking anything for granted.
Mulberry Park the venue for this Sunday’s semi-final contest, beside the Common in Mulbarton he village hall and social club along side the ground with a large clubhouse housing the changing rooms. A small covered seated stand beside the grass pitch with the Tea Hut open serving hot drinks and snacks. The grass pitch holding up well despite seeing alot of action and rain overnight. No rain forecast for this afternoon although it remains cloudy and dull above but relatively mild with no wind.
Mulbarton Belles Ladies starting XI – Cara Anderson, Melissa Belsey, Olivia Smith, Megan Belsey, Lucy Lincoln, Laura Hedtke, Ellie Hunter, Sophie Jermy, Molly Ryan, Francesca Catchpole & Rebekah Lake (C). Subs – Annie Smith, Emma Farmer, Alice Ladbrooke, Charlotte Groves & Lucy Kean.
Wroxham Women starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Breanna Rudd, Tigi Robson, Lauren Kett, Albany Hodgson, Jennifer Codman, Becky Russell (C), Lara Densley, Hayley Kindred, Holly Connell & Hannah Waters. Subs – Jess Horn, Lauren Bullard, Zara O’Neill, Holly Walker & Lucy Bradford.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A decent sized crowd in attendance the Tea Hut busy, it’s the hosts Mulbarton to get the first half underway wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts with blue coloured shorts and socks. Wroxham normally in blue themselves in their away strip today, spearmint green shirts with black across the shoulders and sleeves with black shorts and socks. Lake playing the back back into midfielder Laura Hedtke the ball send long out to the right for Molly Ryan to attack, Tigi Robson clearing back into the middle for Wroxham. Both sides moving in to close the ball down Albany Hodgson winning it right side send forwards for Hayley Kindred, Olivia Smith in to tackle for Mulbarton the ball going out for a throw.
Wroxham pressing Mulbarton inside their own half winning a throw wide left, played into Holly Connell central looks to put the ball out right for Kindred burst forwards, Smith closing her down to charge the ball down going away for a throw in. Wroxham lively on the flanks at the start Kindred getting some joy on the right, breaks into the area, Lucy Lincoln tracking back to defend putting the foot in to block the ball take it out of play.
Mulbarton get the ball into Hedtke the midfielder lifting it forwards for Ryan getting up into the box on the right, Robson back to defend for Wroxham clearing, Wroxham quick to get it on through the middle out to Kindred attacking on the right winning the throw. The visitors working the ball down the line before swinging a cross into the six yard box, Cara Anderson with the confident claim in the Mulbarton goal.
Jennifer Codman battling for possession in the middle for Wroxham, Lara Densley in support the ball finding it’s way to Kindred on the right has Waters making a run across the defence into the right channel ahead of her calling for the ball, Kindred threading the pass into the striker taking it on into the box, Lincoln going with her stretching to challenge deny her a shot on goal. From the resulting throw on the right the low cross driven into the area is again taken comfortably by Anderson.
A lively opening 5 minutes to the match, Mulbarton send lake away on the right wing bombing forwards, Lauren Kett blocks her cross. Kindred a god outlet for Wroxham on the right wide picked out with the pass sends it inside for the one two with Waters, bursting forwards getting onto the end of the return pass lifts her diagonal ball from the corner of the box high in towards goal, Anderson keeping her eye on it catching well s Connell closes in fast. Wroxham’s captain Becky Russell with a good run into the channel right side whipping a cross into the box, no one there to attack it.
Anderson the busier of the two goalkeepers, needing to come racing out to the top of her area to clear as Connell puts through a great ball for Waters to nick half a yard on the Mulbarton defence. Anderson with another catch from a Kindred cross on the right as Codman picks her out with the pass. Sophie Jermy getting hold of the ball in the final 3rd for Mulbarton right of goal 20 yards out pulls the trigger, Hodgson getting behind it to block for Wroxham inside the box.
Kett with the interception at the back central for Wroxham as Smith sends the diagonal ball on from left back. Mulbarton getting some joy with direct play through the middle the pass fed on sees Catchpole pulling of the defence to attack the box, Wroxham goalkeeper, Cyan Fullbrook rushing out to close her down with a brave save at the strikers feet to prevent her getting through on goal.
GOAL! Moments later Mulbarton hit Wroxham on the counter breaking forwards on the right players getting forwards Jermy playing the ball on for Lake bursting into the box from the right, pulls the trigger the shot lashed in towards goal, Fullbrook with the spectacular save diving to her left to keep out the ball, knocked back out of the areas players rushing back to protect the goal Fullbrook scrambling back to her feet, Molly Ryan latches onto the ball outside the box getting her foot over it to rifle it into the back of the net 1-0.
Mulbarton ahead in the 17th minute, a blow for Wroxham after a positive start to the game. frustrated as a free-kick is awarded on the right high up the pitch, Mulbarton taking it quickly fed up the line for Lake, the ball seen out for play by Robson, Wroxham further incensed when a corner is awarded. The ball flung in near side Lincoln up with the header sending it back out wide to the corner taker the 2nd attempt at a cross finding Lake top of the D, can’t get a shot away instead rolls it into Catchpole inside the box wide left, shifts the ball onto her right foot before attempting to curl a shot into the to corner the ball sailing wide of the post.
Mulbarton with their tails up after taking the lead the game remains lively, Densley playing the pass out to Kindred on the right touch line powerful run with the ball under pressure from Smith sends her cross behind. Wroxham looking to use the pitch moving the ball forwards at pace Robson with a superb diagonal pass to Kindred right side heading for the box is fouled by Lincoln as she slides in to challenge the free-kick awarded. Floated in towards the far post area attacked but knocked behind for the goal kick.
Robson attacking on the left for Wroxham with Connell, Densley taking it on bursting into the box, Megan Belsey defending for Mulbarton conceding the corner. Attacked at the near post headed on central an infringement spotted play stopped the free-kick going Mulbarton’s way. An ambitious Wroxham pass finding Connell out on the right having swapped flanks with Kindred, stretching for the ball a heavy first touch giving Lincoln a chance to get to the ball first and clear for Mulbarton.
Kindred out on the left is fouled halfway inside the Mulbarton half. Over the set-piece herself sends a low shot angling in towards the near post, Anderson getting across to grab it safely into her gloves. Wroxham seeing more of the ball Codman linking up with Russell in the middle the pass finding Connell central plays it into the path of Waters breaking into the right channel, Lincoln going with her Smith backing her up no way through Waters turns to keep possession laying the ball back inside to Connell her shot charged down, Russell latching onto the loose ball trying her luck from range Mulbarton again charging the ball down, appeals for handball this time, no joy.
Codman getting onto the ball for Wroxham forwards for Connell central has Russell making the run across her plays the pass on, Hedtke tracking back to make the blocking tackle for Mulbarton. Melissa Belsey on the right of the Mulbarton defence putting in a great tackle on Russell as the Wroxham captain gets forwards to receive a Densley pass following a clearance from Kett at the back. Catchpole intercepting a poor kick out from the box by Fullbrook on the left going to strike the ball early from 25 yards pulls her attempt wide of the left post.
Wroxham getting frustrated seeing more of the ball haven’t yet been able to carve open a clear opportunity in front of goal. Mulbarton sitting back adsorbing alot of pressure ready to spring on the counter. That frustration shown as Lake is chopped down in the middle, the Mulbarton captain staying down in need of treatment. Half-time fast approaching Lake is taken off to be assessed with Emma Farmer coming on. Lincoln to launch the resulting free kick. Headed clear by Kett top of the area the ball launched out to Connell looking to break on the right, Smith getting across to tackle for Mulbarton. Hodgson stretching into the tackle as she looks to beat Catchpole to the ball is late catching the player picking up the first yellow card of the game.
Half-time Mulbarton Belles Ladies 1-0 Wroxham Women
Molly Ryan’s strike in the 17th minute the difference between the two sides going into the break with Wroxham heading back to the changing rooms, Mulbarton staying out on the pitch. A frustrating 1st half from Wroxham’s point of view seeing more of the ball moving it about the park well enough just haven’t been able to get that final ball into the box get numbers in on the hosts defence. Mulbarton sitting back making sure they leave no room in behind letting Wroxham come on picking their moments to get forwards not over committing players to the attack. Taking their chance when it came their way. A long way to go with a single goal in it both sides with good options to bring on from the bench if called upon.
The sides back out, Lake back on for Mulbarton with Farmer off. No changes for Wroxham as the visitors get the 2nd half underway. The ball put back into Codman in the middle lifts the ball on to the right channel, Hedtke adjudged to have handled the ball as she goes to clear, Wroxham presented with an early opportunity to put pressure on the Mulbarton goal. Kett on it spotting Connell free making a run up the right wing her cross swung into a crowded penalty box cut out at the near post going behind for a corner.
Lifted into the six yard box over everyone attacking the near post drops towards the far post with Densley free from Wroxham having to turn to get onto the ball runs away from her as she goes to strike it spinning wide of the post. Wroxham strong at the start of the 2nd half attacking on the right winning another corner. Put in towards the top of the area the ball dropping loose the shot struck, Ryan charging it down for Mulbarton attempting to get away with out to the right.
Wroxham quick to win the ball back get back on the offensive the crossfield ball out to the right Kindred getting a throw high up the pitch. The defence stretched Wroxham pressing forwards play drawn to the right the ball clipped back into the box sees Connell free central to rush in on the keeper, the bounce of the ball deceiving her spinning away to the left, the Mulbarton defence getting back to challenge the ball turned behind for a corner. Put in towards the near post defended by Hedtke back out to the left flung back into the box, the header driven in towards the left post Hedtke their covering the post defending nodding it behind for another corner.
All Wroxham in the early stages of the 2nd half the corner put high into the box on the keeper, nodded over as Waters goes down attacking it. Codman picking up the loose ball in the centre picking the pass forwards up for Waters inside the D, dropping Lincoln slicing her clearance as she goes to clear caught by Anderson at her near post. A busy opening 10 minutes to the start of the 2nd half dominated by Wroxham. Good foot work from Kindred on the ball on the right for Wroxham getting away from her marker to square a low cross into the area, intercepted by Lincoln in ahead of Waters.
Densley central finding Connell on the left for Wroxham attempts to fed the low pass into the box for Waters, Anderson sharp out of her six yard box to collect before Waters can reach it. Mulbarton working hard at the back with little opportunity to get forwards spring a counter attack Hedtke with Hunter the ball forwards Lake racing away clear left channel in behind, Fullbrook rushing out comes along way doesn’t get there as Lake lifts the ball over her the defence racing back grateful to see the ball run wide of the far post.
Decisions going against Wroxham adding to their general frustration, Mulbarton spurred on by a buoyant crowd, Hunter on for Jermy lifted into Lake drifting right seeing the ball down into her feet turns to release Ryan on the wing, Robson lunging in to tackle for Wroxham the ball gone for the throw. Connell looking to battle her way through on the right as she and Megan Belsey go shoulder to shoulder at the back the defender holding her off conceding a corner.
The delivery from the corner played in towards the penalty spot Jermy gets her head on it for Mulbarton, knocking it down towards the top of the area then rushes out to charge down the resulting shot, Densley getting hold of the loose ball sending it over to the right a shot on the angle blasted in across goal wide of the left post. Hedtke fouled inside her D, Wroxham far from happy as another decision goes against them. The visitors making a change brining off Densley in the middle sending on Zara O’Neill.
Hunter in the middle for Mulbarton playing the pass out to Lake on the right, Kett across to tackle for Wroxham the the throw conceded. Mulbarton lifting a high cross into the area from it, Fullbrook catching unopposed. Midway through the 2nd half Wroxham for all their possession unable to find the break through increasingly frustrated, manager Simpson carded as he voices his dismay. A game of attrition at times both sides working hard, Wroxham to find goal, Mulbarton to defend their lead. Scrappy with fouls being given away.
Connell up on the left channel supporting Waters through the middle the striker played in through the Mulbarton defence, Anderson comes racing out to the top of her area sliding it to save at the strikers feet the the pair coming together the ball loose for a moment Waters snapping at it as Anderson goes to grab it the referee stopping play with the keeper hurt. Megan Belsey also struggling with an injury after the last Wroxham attack both players needing treatment. Wroxham making a double switch Codman and Rudd off for Holly Walker and Densely returning to the action.
Anderson slowly back to her feet, Belsey too hobbling to the side lines trying to run her injury off waiting to be called back on as play resumes. Play resumes with Wroxham getting forwards on the right Kindred to the by-line wrapping her foot around the ball to cross, the ball looping up onto the roof of the Mulbarton net. Kindred down after the attack holding her leg clearly picking up n injury is quickly assessed can’t play on needs to come off Lauren Bullard comes on for the visitors.
Waters stealing into the box looking to capitalise on a too short a back pass from the Mulbarton defence right of goal in ahead of Anderson diving to her left plants the ball into the side netting. Walker making her presence felt on the left for Wroxham strong to get hold of the ball, played central into Bullard back to Russell who attempts a shot from distance, not on. Waters drifting to the left with Bullard playing through the middle, whips a cross into the six yard box, is behind Connell closing in far post, Bullard deeper rushing onto the ball, her shot blocked by Lincoln.
Anderson has been strong inside her six yard box all game and does well to claim the ball high as it is crossed in from the left with Waters on top of her. The game stretched Mulbarton tiring both Belsey sisters carrying a knock fighting for the ball O’Neill up to Waters her flick on finding Walker free on the left, Anderson rushing to close her down doing enough as Walker snatches her shot wide. Melissa Belsey coming off for Mulbarton with Farmer coming into the defence with little over 8 minutes left to play.
Wroxham pushing for the equaliser, Mulbarton working hard in defence to keep them at bay. Walker with fresh legs out on Wroxham’s leg showing great footwork to get the ball onto her favoured foot and shoot from distance the ball swerving nevertheless taken well low by Anderson. Lake doing what she can up top to run the ball down into the corner hold it up relieve the pressure.
Ryan attempting to bring the ball away on the right for Mulbarton is brought down by Walker. On halfway put in towards the top of the Wroxham area Hedtke heads it down for Lake right racing on to the by-line winning a late corner. Mulbarton keeping the ball in the corner eating up seconds the hoe crowd willing them on. Wroxham get possession back look to get on the attack through the middle Waters heading the ball on for Bullard, Megan Belsey getting a foot out to intercept for Mulbarton.
The clock ticking down Wroxham throwing everything forwards a throw high on the right put inside for Waters to take inside top of the area on the move tries to wrong foot everyone by striking the ball goalwards with the outside of her boot, in low hasn’t the pace to trouble Anderson as she drops to her left to smother the ball. Wroxham winning a free-kick top of the circle every one up into the area bar the goalkeeper the ball won by Catchpole headed clear.
Mulbarton attempting to break Lake picked out running away right side, Connell rushing back to defend, tackling for Wroxham. Into stoppage time Wroxham threading the ball on for Waters central to run clear of the Mulbarton defence after the ball, Anderson comes right to the edge of her area gloves out ready to catch poised to claim just as Waters gets her toe to the ball knocks it on as striker and keeper collide a heavy blow for Anderson, Lincoln back around to clear the ball away to the right as Waters attempts to clear the keeper, everyone goes up appeals for everything, no penalty Wroxham are incensed, play stopped Anderson down hurt from the collision. A hard one to call who’d be a referee everyone sees it from a different angle only one opinion counts.
Anderson needs time to get back to her feet will be sporting a few bruises in the morning. Megan Belsey needs to come off however with Charlotte Groves on. Wroxham are not happy as Mulbarton have the free kick. The ball played forwards Hedtke going up to win it fouled a controversial end to the game as the final whistle blows and Mulbarton celebrate as they reach a 3rd successive County Cup final.
Full time Mulbarton Belles Ladies 1-0 Wroxham Women
Mulbarton will face Norwich City Women in the Carrow Road final after they beat Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women 5-0 at The Nest. A battling performance from Mulbarton who had to dig deep in the 2nd half as Wroxham piled on the pressure. Working hard at the back to defend their 1-0 lead with Molly Ryan firing them ahead in the 1st half. Wroxham came on strong 2nd half seeing plenty of the ball but rarely carving Mulbarton open with Anderson proving to be a hard last defence to unlock in goal. Had the equaliser come early in the 2nd half then that would have opened up the game but that all important break through wouldn’t come. Feeling decisions weren’t going their way Wroxham will feel hard done by at the death but it was a hard call to make, in my opinion the referee got it right, I know several of you will disagree but without seeing the incident again who knows.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Was a hard working battling performance from both sides who gave it their all. Alot put into the game. For Wroxham, Hayley Kindred was outstanding on the right getting on, making good runs and ready availability to receive the ball. Jennifer Codman put herself about in the middle to win possession of the ball and get attacks going. Tigi Robson with some great defensive work on the left. For Mulbarton the defence was strong putting their all into keeping their lead secure. Laura Hedtke through the middle and getting back to defend on set-pieces. Today’s award though goes to goalkeeper Cara Anderson was strong inside her box with good calling for the ball and confident claims early on. Putting her body on the line rushing out to defend getting a far few knocks for her efforts.
A enjoyable afternoon at Mulberry Park, a good atmosphere. A welcoming club my thanks to both sides for their help with the team details, knew everyone but I always like to check, because you soon pull me up if I get somebodies name wrong! Additional thanks to Daniel Kett for use of his pictures in todays report. Norwich City Women v Mulbarton Belles Ladies in the County Cup Final on Friday 19th May promises to be a great occasion hopefully I will see you there.
by Darren Gilham