Sunday 17th February
Norfolk Women’s County Cup
Cup football this weekend on Women’s Football East, from the semi-finals of the Norfolk Women’s County Cup, Thorpe United Ladies v King’s Lynn Town Ladies.
A strong line-up in the last 4 of the competition the prize for the winners huge as the Women’s County Cup Final this season is going to be held at Carrow Road the home of Norwich City FC.
A repeat of last season’s final in the other semi-final with ERWFL Premier Division sides Acle United Women and Wymondham Town Ladies going head to head, an extremely tough game to call two strong sides. So to the other semi-final with Thorpe United Ladies twice winners of the County Cup themselves runaway leaders in Norfolk Women’s Division One at home to King’s Lynn Town Ladies playing on the league above ERWFL Division One. A huge incentive for everyone today to get the opportunity to play at Carrow Road, the job might be trying to avoid that distraction and concentrate on the job in hand.
Thorpe United Ladies are 15 points clear at the top of the league with just the one defeat in 11 played. The squad a good blend of experience and young talent. Have enjoyed themselves in the County Cup since it stood alone from Suffolk in the 2013/14 season have reached the final on four consecutive occasions two losses against Norwich City Ladies and then Acle United on penalties before back to back wins against Aylsham Ladies and Wymondham Town Ladies. Last season the exception an early exit to eventual winners Wymondham. A bye in the 1st Round were at home to fellow Division One sides Gorleston Ladies in the 2nd Round 2-2 after extra-time Thorpe won through on penalties. That set up a home tie against another Gorleston side Gorleston Rangers Ladies from Division Two, Thorpe comfortably winning the quarter final game 10-0 to book their place in the last 4 of the competition.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies have never reached the County Cup final. Have risen rapidly through the leagues in their short history. Starting as Lynn Ladies merged with King’s Lynn Town FC, are now into their 2nd season playing in the ERWFL. In mid-table with a bit of a fixture backlog partly due to a their involvement in the County Cup. Began with an away trip to play Norfolk Division One side Sprowston Ladies, a 3-0 win were drawn at home to Dereham side Tavern Ladies in the 2nd Round ran out 6-1 winners to find themselves with another away trip to Sprowston in the quarter finals playing Sprowston Athletic Ladies from Division One that tie twice postponed due to the weather King’s Lynn safely negotiating the tie with a 4-0 win to reach the semi-finals.
The venue for today’s semi-final the Thorpe Recreation Ground, a large playing field home to a number of sporting clubs and activities. A number of pitches, a large open space can be bitterly cold if the wind is blowing but today it was much warmer hugely welcome, bright sunshine in a largely blue sky, just a slight breeze could leave the coat in the car for a change.
Thorpe United Ladies starting XI – Cara Anderson, Molly Howes, Natasha Leversley, Shannon Miles, Holly Peck, Chloe Young, Joanne Hooper, Laura Hedtke, Aneliese Smith, Molly Yong & Rebekah Lake (C). Subs – Sharnie Boast & Kirstie Andrews.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Robinson, Shanice Burch, Annie Rooks, Charlotte Griffith, Georgia Freeman, Natalie Wright, Becky Russell (C), Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Oksana Imanalijeva, Tiffany Forshaw & Rochelle Woods. Subs – Emma Corbyn, Olivia Baker & Chloe Burch.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A depleted starting line-up for Thorpe with a few key players missing, with a couple of injury concerns taking to the field and another having not played for quite a while. King’s Lynn themselves welcome back captain Becky Russell, playing again 9 weeks after giving birth to son Charlie, she played for Thorpe for several seasons too. Norfolk FA supplying 3 officials for the game. Thorpe to get the tie underway kicking off 1st half wearing pink shirts with black shorts and socks. King’s Lynn with blue shirts, yellow shorts and socks.
The hosts send the ball up to the right channel goalkeeper Bryony Robinson out of her area to kick the ball clear. King’s Lynn look to build from the back the ball played across the pitch left to right, Natasha Leversley putting in the tackle for Thorpe to win the ball back from Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse on the right wing for the visitors.
The ball won in the centre of the park Russell sends it on through the middle for attacker Rochelle Woods a cushioned headers carrying the ball on into the area she gives chase right of goal, is closed down by Shannon Miles the defender challenging Woods, a corner the result. Hopkins-Duckhouse to take played low into the box near side Russell coming towards in sweeps the ball out of the area towards Natalie Wright position 25 yards out central doesn’t connect with her 1st time shot cleanly the ball hooked wide of goal.
Hopkins-Duckhouse lively on the right early on for King’s Lynn picks up the ball tries to drive in field is instead forced wider by Leversley still manages to get a high ball looping into the area dropping far post, goalkeeper Cara Anderson taking it on the bounce despite being clattered by the onrushing Woods. Shaping up to be a good contest from the start, Thorpe aiming to get the ball up for captain Rebekah Lake the forward active across the whole front line making it difficult for one defender keep tabs on her.
Thorpe United Ladies captain, Rebekah Lake looking to get in behind the defence
Wright and Russell combine in the middle slick passing before Russell opens up her body to slide a pass in behind for Hopkins-Duckhouse running in behind, the pass a little heavy allows Anderson to gather inside her area, Thorpe quick to turn the play around Molly Young on the left with the early ball over the top, for Lake the striker after it, Robinson out of her area sharply once again to kick the ball away. Kin’g Lynn with a free-kick on halfway the ball up towards the top of the area into Woods she looks to turn and shoot the effort sliced is intercepted and cleared by Holly Peck.
Thorpe United Ladies, Holly Peck
King’s Lynn push on the right a throw won top of the area played into Russell she turns sends the ball in central to Tiffany Forshaw takes on the first time shot the ball spinning away off target. Laura Hedtke pushing on for Thorpe with the ball inside the King’s Lynn half aims to release Lake ahead of her, Georgia Freeman cuts it out for King’s Lynn. Pressure from King’s Lynn in the final third a pass for Hopkins-Duckhouse on the right intercepted by Leversley the ball not away a bit of pinball sees it pop loose central Forshaw 25 yards out running onto it can’t keep her strike down.
King’s Lynn have Thorpe pushed back defending their box the ball popping around with not one given anytime on the ball falls to Russell 25 yards out left of the D catches the shot well on the half volley the ball swerving through the air on target favours Anderson as it the goalkeeper ends up right behind it to make the catch. Lake drives forwards on the ball, into the right channel wants to come inside instead is pushed wide by Charlotte Griffith, still manages to get a ball in towards goal the angle against her Robinson getting her gloves on it concedes the corner.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies captain, Becky Russell
Russell is tackled by Joanne Hooper the ball out to Chloe Young right on for Lake her touch giving Annie Rooks the opportunity to slide in take the ball away for a throw. Oksana Imanalijeva on the left for King’s Lynn plays the ball inside for Woods the strike looks to play it on for Hopkins-Duckhouse bursting into the box on the right, Peck and Leversley close her down regain possession for Thorpe. Hedtke is doing well to pick out Lake ahead of her she in turn looking to turn the King’s Lynn defence, Shanice Burch sliding in to win the ball for the visitors.
GOAL! Just past the half hour the dead lock is broken, King’s Lynn taking the lead the ball over on the left the in field ball coming to Forshaw 25 yards out seeing it across her body strikes it sweetly the sun at her back the ball flies in towards the top corner over Anderson and into the back of the net 0-1.
Tiffany Forshaw with Thorpe’s Chloe Young
Thorpe get down the other end a free-kick won outside the area on the left Hedtke over it the deliver long towards the far post area just evades the onrushing attackers. Thorpe make a change with Hooper the player coming off on comes Sharnie Boast. Peck with another piece of smart defending inside the area for Thorpe does well against Hopkins-Duckhouse as Russell plays a great ball to her from halfway. Hedtke in to block wins the ball in the centre circle lifts it on for Lake to attack in behind Robinson is off her line quickly claiming it at the top of the area.
Rooks with the ball on for Imanalijeva on the left the Lithuanian international coming inside is tackled by Thorpe’s Molly Howes the defender sliding in to take the ball. Aneliese Smith helps the ball onto to Hedtke in the middle Molly Young to her left the ball knocked into the channel, Freeman intercepts for King’s Lynn. Griffiths then goes in high catching Lake as she threatens to get into the box from the right, a free-kick awarded in a dangerous position, Hedtke on it a bouncing ball in the six yard box skips up for Molly Young far post gets her head to the ball but can only place the ball into Robinson’s gloves.
Hopkins-Duckhouse’s first touch sees her push the ball inside evading her marker travels further infield before unleashing a shot 20 yards out swerving through the air Anderson throws herself to her right, the ball just wide of the post. King’s Lynn finishing the 1st half strongly the ball won from a goalkick by Russell played into Woods in the area controls well a touch to shift it to her left and turn into a shot the attempt up over the crossbar.
Half-time Thorpe United Ladies 0-1 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
A narrow lead for King’s Lynn at half-time Tiffany Forshaw’s strike the difference between the sides. The visitors creating more in the final third have played well as a unit. Thorpe defending well have been under pressure Lake their outlet up front has lacked support, but is always likely to make something happen. King’s Lynn out onto the pitch early will need another goal you would think, Thorpe with only one defeat this season and that just 1-0 aren’t out of it by any stretch. The sun beginning to set a further problem for the teams to deal with 2nd half.
Bryony Robinson with the save for King’s Lynn
Thorpe to get the 2nd half underway. Right from the off both sides a closing the ball down quickly. Forshaw and Imanalijeva look to link play on the left, Howes defends well for Thorpe. Up the other end Thorpe win a corner on the left off a free-kick the ball cleared back to the taker comes back into the box Robinson taking the dropping ball well under pressure inside her six yard box. The visitors break Imanalijeva on the left wing bursting forwards swings an early cross into the box Woods six yards out central is put under pressure by Miles, the ball dropping to Forshaw at the far post she stabs the ball forwards puts it wide.
Thorpe United Ladies, Shannon Miles
Good build-up play from King’s Lynn on the right the ball inside to Russell 20 yards out she shoots the strike straight at Anderson the keeper holding onto the ball. A corner to Thorpe on the left the ball played in central met by Leversley she turns it goalwards her effort cleared off the line, King’s Lynn attempt to break a crunching 50/50 on halfway between Miles and Griffith, Thorpe get the free-kick, Hedtke to play the ball forwards Russell winning the header inside the box.
Less chances being created 2nd half, Hedtke in a deeper role for Thorpe, King’s Lynn are dealing with Lake better. Russell with the pass forwards for Woods outside the area right of the D turns well shoots the attempt wide across goal. Imanalijeva with a couple of surging runs 2nd half pushes on well down the left in behind sends a cross in along the top of the area is behind Forshaw runs on for Hopkins-Duckhouse taking it into her stride lets fly with a shot the ball wide at the near post.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Oksana Imanalijeva
The chances are adding up for King’s Lynn pushing on down the right the ball on for Woods takes it to the byline cuts it back to the top of the area with Imanalijeva running onto the shot can’t keep it down. Forshaw with the ball forwards Imanalijeva the target with a run into the box left of goal six yards out her 1st touch lifting the ball inside over Miles the defender preventing Imanalijeva from shooting. Another change for Thorpe Smith coming off on comes Kirstie Andrews. Imanalijeva seeing alot of the ball now pushes down the left wing cuts it across the top of the area for Woods with her back to goal lays it back to Hopkins-Duckhouse who hits the shot from 20 yards out sees the ball race over the bar.
Thorpe’s Molly Young with King’s Lynn’s Rochelle Woods
The pressure building from King’s Lynn chances coming and going Thorpe have had little for the attack themselves 2nd half. Working hard concede a corner on the right a good delivery from Hopkins-Duckhouse into the six yard box straight to Forshaw, gets too much power into the shot her hands go to her face as she sends the ball over the bar.
Lake has the ball on the left wing drives on gets inside Boast making a run top of the area that side Lake sends the ball across Boast carrying it into the box King’s Lynn defenders slide in Boast it up ended as the challenge comes in the ball just about taken as both defender and Boast need treatment. Play resumes Lake with the ball wide right needs support in the box isn’t there as she gets a cross in.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Natalie Wright holding of Thorpe,s Sharnie Boast
Wright winning the ball left on for Imanalijeva takes it on down the line plays in a cross near post Woods closely marked by Miles manages to get her head on the ball but it drops wide of the mark. Imanalijeva comes off for King’s Lynn on comes Emma Corbyn. Forshaw with Woods pushing on central out to Hopkins-Duckhouse right side she drills a shot in on the angle Anderson pushing it behind at the near post for a corner the game entering the last 10 minutes.
Rochelle Woods with the header for King’s Lynn Town Ladies
King’s Lynn giving away free-kicks, Hedtke on the ball left side plays it in high to the near post Robinson gloves it down claiming it at the 2nd attempt. Burch with a great lunging tackle to take the ball away from Lake as she enters the box almost played through by Hedtke.
GOAL! Hedtke wins Thorpe a fee-kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out left of the area. The ball played in towards the goal Robinson clawing it down the ball half cleared out to the left fired back in blocked by the rising Forshaw rebounds back out to the left and is smashed home by Boast to level the scores 1-1.
Frustration for King’s Lynn, joy for Thorpe the visitors had their chances weren’t taken and Thorpe level the scores game on with a little over 5 minutes of normal time left to play. King’s Lynn attack from the restart Forshaw on for Corbyn left side her high cross into the area cleared by Peck. A cross from the right side is cleared straight to King’s Lynn’s Wright 25 yards out right of the D meets it well the strike narrowly wide across goal.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Charlotte Griffith
Griffith with a vital interception for King’s Lynn as the game become stretched in the closing moments, a late change for the visitors Imanalijeva returning for Corbyn on the left. Thorpe with a series of corners late on the 3rd one bringing the 90 minutes to an as we enter extra-time.
Full time Thorpe United Ladies 1-1 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
An entertaining game King’s Lynn had the chances to be out of sight 2nd half but didn’t take them, Thorpe in contrast with a backs to the wall performance finding a levelling goal late in the game. An extra 30 minutes to try and decide the winner or it’ll be settled by penalties.
King’s Lynn with the setting sun low in the sky at their backs have kick-off in the 1st period of extra-time. Imanalijeva with the ball left tries to push on but can’t get the better of Boast. Imanalijeva played on by Rooks goes with the early diagonal ball for Hopkins-Duckhouse in the opposite flank, the ball just evading her as she breaks into the box.
GOAL! Come from a Thorpe goalkick the ball intercepted by Woods she heads it down right side and drives into the box towards the byline cuts the cross back across the face of goal and finds Forshaw unmarked to rise and header the ball down past Anderson from six yards out 1-2.
A positive start to extra-time from King’s Lynn press the attack Hopkins-Duckhouse upended a free-kick to King’s Lynn left side Russell with the diagonal ball into the area, Forshaw gets her head to it with Anderson coming in, the flag up for offside however play halted. Woods gets in behind on the right her cross too long for Imanalijeva coming in far post retrieves and looks to set up Forshaw inside the area her touch lifting the shot over.
GOAL! A free-kick defended Griffith carries the ball forwards for King’s Lynn into the Thorpe half sends it on for Hopkins-Duckhouse wide right is pushed wide, holds it up well in the corner gets support from Russell the ball played back to the central midfielder on the wing she swings in a cross that evades Anderson’s glove at her near post Forshaw running in behind with a simple close range tap in to complete her hat-trick and put King’s Lynn further in front 1-3.
A hat-trick for King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Tiffany Forshaw
Griffith goes into the book for a tackle on Molly Young as she tries to take the ball on into the area. A free-kick 25 yards out on the angle left of the box Boast on it goes for goal on target but Robinson behind it gloves the ball down and holds. Wright with the ball on for Hopkins-Duckhouse up the line a low cross driven into the near post area Anderson cuts it out. Woods comes off for King’s Lynn on up front in her place Olivia Baker. Thorpe too with a late switch Hooper comes back on for Andrews.
Half-time extra-time Thorpe United Ladies 1-3 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
King’s Lynn getting the goals in the 1st half of extra-time with Forshaw completing her hat-trick to lead 3-1. Some much needed daylight alot for Thorpe to do as they get the 2nd period underway. The ball lost in the middle played on for Baker moving right is pushed wide by Leversley the cross comes in lacks power an easy gather for Anderson.
GOAL! Thorpe is brought down outside the area as she goes to retrieve the ball fired in from the left. 25 yards out Hedtke over it a good shooting position she takes it on a good strike the ball looping up threatening to drop under the bar, Robinson gets something on it but not enough to keep it out as it falls over the line. Game on once again 2-3.
The sun low now light starting to fade King’s Lynn with the lead try to run the clock down taking the ball into the corner Hopkins-Duckhouse holding it up well. Another change for King’s Lynn Forshaw comes off, on in her place Chloe Burch. A free-kick on the right for King’s Lynn taken early by Wright on for Imanalijeva central top of the box Miles stopping her initial effort the ball loose to the right Imanalijeva after it drives a shot against the post it cannons back out into the area before being hooked clear.
Hooper tries her luck form all of 35 yards out on the left plenty of power behind her shot, but straight at Robinson covering her near post. Thorpe with a free-kick wide left the delivery into the near post area helped on into the middle Rooks with the no nonsense clearance for King’s Lynn. The visitors press late on Imanalijeva left inside for Baker 20 yards out tries to tee up Russell, she is tackled. Russell regaining possession takes it into the corner the final whistle blows and King’s Lynn are through to their first ever County Cup Final.
Full time extra-time Thorpe United Ladies 2-3 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
An entertaining contest going all the way to extra-time, King’s Lynn with a narrow lead at half-time spurned chances in the 2nd half to put the tie to bed, Thorpe with a depleted squad putting in a great effort levelling the scores late in the game to force extra-time. King’s Lynn in the end needed Tiffany Forshaw’s hat-trick her two goals in the 1st period of extra-time crucial. King’s Lynn through to thier first County Cup Final and the first to be held at Carrow Road.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies through to their first ever County Cup Final
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, and boy this is a tough on was a great all round team performance from King’s Lynn hard to pick one player but one must be chosen those are my rules. Tiffany Forshaw got the all important goals her hat-trick securing King’s Lynn a place in the final. Becky Russell was influential in midfield. Oksana Imanalijeva a threat on the left especially 2nd half. On the right Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse was a threat all through the game driving on with the ball created opportunities and showed good hold up play to bring others into the game, she is my choice for the award.
Was spoilt for choice when selecting a County Cup match this Sunday and it seemed few disappointed. This one no exception. King’s Lynn will face holders Wymondham Town Ladies their game with Acle United Women ending 3-3 and going to penalties Wymondham winning 5-4 in the shootout. An enjoyable afternoon, congratulations to King’s Lynn and my thanks to both teams for their help with the teams always appreciated.