Sunday 3rd April
ERWFL League Plate
A trip down into Suffolk this Sunday to watch another match from the quarter finals of the ERWFL League Plate, with AFC Sudbury Women taking on Barking FC Women for a place in the last 4.
The Plate competition featuring the sides from ERWFL Division’s One North and South. Involvement in other cup competitions seeing this quarter final delayed the winners of today’s game be at home to fellow Division One South side Leigh Ramblers. With Whittlesey Athletic Ladies of Division One North against Hutton Ladies from Division One South.
ERWFL Division One South has been highly competitive at the top all season with 5 sides all in contention for the title for months and with 4 of the top 5 now with 2 games left looks certain to go all the way. Cheshunt FC Women in pole position behind Herts Vipers, with Barking FC Women and Leigh Ramblers Ladies 3rd and 4th respectfully both mathematically still in it but more likely to be one of the top 2 or today’s hosts.
AFC Sudbury Women currently 5th in the ERWFL Division One South table, have been playing catch up for most of the season with games in hand on their competitors an now with the top 4 all with 3 left Sudbury have 5 left with 3 games in hand the simple equation is win them all and they are champions the gap 8 points to leaders Cheshunt it could well be Sudbury’s away trip to Cheshunt in two weeks time will go along way to deciding the title. The women’s setup very much a part of AFC Sudbury as a whole with 40 players in the academy playing for both the 1st and Reserve team. The senior woman side also reaching this season’s Suffolk County Cup final where they will play Needham Market Women for the trophy at Colchester United FC on Friday 6th May. Plenty still to play for in what is sur to be an exciting end to the season.
Success already this season for Barking FC Women as they were victorious in the final of the Essex Women’s Trophy last weekend, defeating Stanway Pegasus Ladies 2-0.
Amongst the influx of new faces joining the ERWFL this season. A relatively new name although Barking has featured a side in the ERWFL previously. This one having previously been Collier Row Tigers who dominated the Essex Women’s Premier Division in the season before and during the pandemic. Those who remember when I still wrote the Round-Ups will know that Laura Bunton featured heavily in the goals scored for Collier Row and the same continues under the Barking badge, runaway top scorer in the league so far netting 31 goals in just 17 appearances helping Barking to a solid debut at regional level.
AFC Sudbury’s MEL Group Stadium the venue for today’ cup encounter. The artificial playing surface overlooked by the new clubhouse and seated stand with kitchen hatch. Another stand opposite with a mix of terracing and seating at the front. Covered viewing areas behind both goals. The weather again very good, mild, if a little cool in the shade. Some cloud around by no chance of rain, perfect playing conditions. Pot Kiln Primary girls todays mascots led out onto the pitch by the Sudbury players, as part of their matchday experience. Sudbury very much looking to grow the support and participation of girls into the game in Suffolk and beyond.
AFC Sudbury Women starting XI – Millie Carter, Faith Candice, Eboni-mae Shephard (C), Ronni Harrison, Teigan McHale, Kate Edwards, Bella Crawford, Luiza Ferdinand Da Silva, Alex Penny, Kaylee Dodd & Jess Allen. Subs – Evie Creaton, Ash Newley, Phoebe Guiver, Georgia Sleep & Amanda Short.
Barking FC Women starting XI – Amy Lewington (C), Juliet Thomas, Lauren Taylor, Rachel Daltrey, Rebecca Killington, Rebecca Gajewska, Kiera Colthart, Grace Holt, Emma Harrison, Sarah Finch & Laura Bunton. Subs – Mia Zorbas.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A few players missing for Barking today, including regular captain, Daisy Cook with just the one substitute on the bench. Sudbury with a full bench to pick from. Sudbury to get the cup tie underway kicking-off 1st half in a all yellow kit with Barking lined up opposite wearing an all blue kit. The ball put back into Bella Crawford in midfield Barking immediately press the ball contested comes back to centre back Teigan McHale to send long upfield to the right with Alex Penny running down the Sudbury right the ball though safely in the gloves of Barking goalkeeper and captain, Amy Lewington.
Play compact in the middle with both sides squeezing the ball, Keira Colthart looking to thread a ball through for Laura Bunton up top, runs out for a goal kick. Kate Edwards picking up the ball in the middle for Sudbury drives forwards with it tight to her feet, is fouled top of the D, no advantage as the ball spins away to the left, brought back for the set-piece. Luiza Ferdinand Da Silva over the ball, takes on the shot sending her effort up over the crossbar. Sudbury get players up the pitch pressing the Barking defence in possession, Ferdinand Da Silva on the left with a great diagonal ball clipped into the box over the defence for striker Jess Allen brings it down before sending in a low strike on the angle, well held by Lewington.
Penny running away with the ball down the line on the right fires a cross in knee height towards the near post, Allen with the touch looking to turn into the shot her effort blocked by Barking’s Rachel Daltrey. Sarah Finch taking the ball on from Juliet Thomas on the right for Barking sends it on for Bunton peeling into the right channel, strong on the ball moving into the box, Sudbury’s Ronni Harrison going with her lunging in to make the blocking tackle deflecting the ball behind for a corner. The corner driven in near side, Barking’s Rebecca Killington coming on to meet it turning the ball behind at the near post.
Thomas stealing in on the ball right side getting on up the pitch with Finch the pair exchanging passes before Finch pulling wide lifts a cross into the box, easily gathered by Sudbury keeper, Millie Carter. Edwards in the middle with Ferdinand Da Silva who sends a cross field ball out to the right for Penny to take in her stride moving down the line whips a cross into the six yard box, Kaydee Dodd arriving centre of goal not able to get a telling touch as the ball bounces wide. Ferdinand Da Silva top of the box right driving a shot wide as the ball is clipped high into her from the right.
GOAL! Opportunities coming for Sudbury it is the hosts who concede the opening goal on 11 minutes, Barking’s midfield 3, Rebecca Gajewska, Colthart and Grace Holt working the ball well between them sending it long up to Bunton shifting into space on the left takes the ball on before shooting on the angle her strike fired in across the keeper nestling in the bottom corner 0-1.
Thomas doing well on the right winning the ball for Barking gets up the pitch in support of Holt, going into a 50/50 challenge with Sudbury captain Bonni Shephard the right back comes off the worse going down in some discomfort. A pause in play so she can receive treatment. Is up tentatively as allowed back on as play resumes. Shephard defending on Finch as Colthart central winning the ball stabs on from the left into her, forced wide, Shephard keeps on her tackling to put the ball out for a throw in.
Following a Sudbury corner, Thomas is down again struggling with her injury Barking forced into an early change bring on Mia Zorbas in a straight swap at right back. Allen peeling off the back of the Barking defence into the area right of goal latching onto the ball and striking it over the bar on the angle. A competitive opening 20 minutes, a little frantic at times Sudbury seeing more of the ball in the final 3rd. Zorbas in a contest with Dodd on the left has to stab the ball out for a throw as Dodd battles to get in behind.
Edwards linking up with Shephard on the left moves inside going on towards the area before being tackled by Barking’s Killington. Sudbury pressing the ball well forcing errors from Barking keeping the ball inside their opponents half. Shephard left lifts it on for Dodd to run down into the corner, keeping the ball moves back to fire in a low cross near side, cut out by Gajewska then put out for a corner kick. Put in to the near post cut out by Zorbas comes back to the taker to lift back into the box knocked back central at the far post Ferdinand Da Silva coming on can’t get a touch before Barking scramble it away.
GOAL! Edwards out on the left flanks keeping the ball in play getting on down the line crosses into the box, Finch looking to cut it out not getting it away the ball cleared beyond her charged down by Ferdinand Da Silva left of the D, lifts the ball into Allen right side her touch knocking the ball down into her feet inside the six yard box to prod pass the keeper and level the scores 1-1.
Edwards making some strong runs on the ball through the middle for Sudbury taking the game to Barking, passes to Dodd on her left her cross lifted into the six yard box claimed by Lewington. Sudbury coming on in numbers Allen’s cross cleared straight to Ferdinand Da Silva out to Penny right side her cross scooped up landing on the roof of the net. Another pause for treatment, Sudbury making their first change Ash Newley on for Ferdinand Da Silva who has taken a knock.
Play brought back for a free-kick for Barking after Colthart is fouled in the middle. The ball floated up into the area Bunton up well to head the ball down to her left for Finch to take on moving towards goal the blocking tackle again comes in defecting the ball out for a corner. Goes long through everybody at an inviting height. Sudbury come right on for Allen driving on cuts the ball back to the top of the area, Edwards picking it up powers into the box forced out right to the by-line nevertheless screws a cross back in along the face of goal, cleared. Sudbury creating plenty of opportunities going forwards winning the ball back in the middle.
GOAL! Sudbury pressing the ball on the right winning a corner with 10 minutes left to play in the 1st half. The ball fizzed in with pace near side, Crawford there to met it turning the ball goalwards, neither Zorbas back on the line for Lewington can keep it out as it squeezes in between them 2-1.
Barking players voicing their frustration with a few decisions going against them, the referee having words. Edwards over a free-kick 25 yards out to the left of goal. Goes for the shot on target bouncing once Lewington set right behind it can see safely into her gloves.
GOAL! 3 minutes after taking the lead Sudbury add a 3rd goal. Allen out on the right side winning the ball high driving forwards with it into the box striking it low and hard towards goal, Lewington with an instinctive save with her legs the ball spinning away to the right, straight to Allen who makes no mistake the 2nd time 3-1.
Sudbury finishing the half strong confident coming back from a goal down to lead 3-1 have a throw in high on the left Edwards into Allen left of the D some 20 yards out, her shot swerving as it rises towards Lewington the goalkeeper knocking it down and falling onto the ball. Bunton hasn’t seen much of the ball operating up top Holt finding her on the right sends a cross in on the angle looking for Finch running in from the left, Teigan McHale cutting the ball out for Sudbury.
Finch on the left now striking a shot on the angle from 20 yards out rising, taken high by Carter in the Sudbury goal. Edwards with Dodd on the left looking to play a one two get into the area Zorbas cutting it out putting the ball behind for a corner kick. The set-piece delivery dropping inside the six yard box a stooping head turning it goalwards is blocked on the line cleared out wide left to corner taker Penny lifts a high ball in towards goal, dangerous threatening to drop under her cross bar Lewington back on her line taking the ball down.
Penny into the corner with the ball on the left putting a cross into the area helped on across goal, comes back in off the far post before being scrambled away. Edwards with a fantastic cross field pass out to Penny on the right taking it in her stride sends her first time strike over the bar. Barking with few opportunities to get into the Sudbury box Emma Harrison on the right taking the ball on has Bunton ahead of her turning inside from the line to power into the area attempts to find Colthart making a central run, McHale with another timely interception.
GOAL! Into first half stoppage time, Barking’s defence dwell on the ball outside their area, Allen charging it down after it in behind as it deflects into the box right of goal, blasts it past the keeper into the back of the net to score her hat-trick 4-1.
Half-time AFC Sudbury Women 4-1 Barking FC Women
A late blow for Barking at the end of the 1st half, going into the changing rooms trailing 4-1 despite scoring the opening goal on 11 minutes. A cagey start from both sides Sudbury taking a little while to settle, were getting players on well pressing the ball and forcing errors from Barking who have been a little slow to move the ball. Hit with an early injury blow, Thomas needing to come off had looked a threat supporting Finch on the right. Bunton with a clinical finish to open the scores. Sudbury coming back to level midway through the 2nd half going onto score 2 quick goals to take the lead Allen with a 1st half hat-trick making it 4-1 in stoppage time. A mountain for Barking to climb if they are to get back into this tie and you feel the next goal scored has to be theirs.
Thomas still showing signs of discomfort is unlikely to make a return meaning Barking will have to press on with the 11 they have on the pitch, having seen Sudbury before they like to rotate players regularly in the 2nd half and being a young side have plenty of energy in reserve. Barking to get the 2nd period underway. Back into the middle played out to Finch on the left, Faith Candice winning the ball back for Sudbury.
Allen on the right pressing the ball forcing a corner kick to be conceded. The ball sent long through the area reclaimed far side lifted in to the far post Dodd meeting it knocking it down towards goal striking the base of the post, play stopped however with an offside flag. Barking sloppy at the back at the start of the 2nd half as Sudbury press hard Dodd on the left nicking the ball firing a cross into the area cut out by Taylor.
GOAL! 47 minutes played and Sudbury add to their tally the ball with Crawford in the middle presented to Edwards ahead of her takes the ball on stealing in through the defence bearing down on goal one on one with the keeper has time to pick her spot and calmly slots it to her left into the bottom corner to score 5-1.
A huge blow to Barking at the start of the 2nd half their task becoming all the more harder. Finch on the left looking to move the ball is tackled by Candice sliding in, comes off the worst down for a moment needing treatment but is okay. Newley central for Sudbury races on with the ball lifting it on for Dodd who with a great touch brings it down attempts to thread it in behind for Allen peeling away right, just a little too much for her to win the race with Lewington coming out to claim.
Holt on the move through the middle with the ball for Barking laying it on for Bunton into the area, Ronni Harrison getting across the attacker to shield the ball out for a goal kick. Dodd on the right playing a one two with Newley who continues her run down into the corner with the ball checking back on the by-line to fire in a cross towards Allen at the near post she sends it in across goal, Lewington down low with a smart save.
Barking continue to battle for possession in the middle are frustrated, Colthart riding a challenge on for Bunton 20 yards out unleashes a shot, lacking power runs through safely to Carter in goal. Bunton is a busy player in attack getting about the back line opportunities limited so far pulling away to the right blasts a shot behind on the angle from 25 yards. Taylor from the back for Barking on to Finch left whips a cross into the box, Ronni Harrison there to clear for Sudbury unopposed. The break is on a diagonal ball finding Allen top of the D shoots early but can’t place it wide of the keeper.
A heavy collision on the touch line between Dodd and Killington. The Sudbury winger coming off the worst down with a bloody mouth. A sore one needs to come off let it get seen to, Evie Creaton coming on in her place. Allen moving left cutting the ball wide into Penny she takes it on into the area unchallenged, firing in a shot sees her effort come back off the base of the post. Sudbury keep coming forwards Zorbas defending for Barking in the corner before Penny finds Newley right of the D her shot sent wide.
Barking attack Colthart with Bunton on the right on for Finch back to Bunton her shot deflected wide at the near post for a corner kick. A change before it’s take for Sudbury Georgia Sleep on for Candice, going up front Allen somewhat miffed at being moved to the right side. The corner in from the right comes to Gajewska can’t get it down into her feet in time before her shot is charged down the ball cleared.
GOAL! Allen right playing the ball on for Sleep gets the better of Killington to break into the area right of goal her shot rising on the angle smashing against the crossbar coming down to the left side with Penny arriving unmarked to push the ball into an empty net to make it 6-1.
Time for another change from Sudbury as they bring on Phoebe Guiver for Crawford. Zorbas fouled Penny out on the left a free-kick for Sudbury 25 yards out. Allen over the ball takes on the shot angled in Lewington punches it down and scrambled to smother the falling ball. Sudbury coming on at will Barking struggling to clear there lines keep possession in the middle. A diagonal ball lifted into the area from the left finds Allen running in far post sends her first time effort wide as it clips the upright.
GOAL! Sudbury are able to come on at will Edwards with Newley in the middle on for Allen right of the D inside to Sleep who lays it out to Penny wide she in turn lifts it up towards the right post with both Sleep and Allen providing the run falls to Allen to slot home for her 4th of the match 7-1.
GOAL! Soon after much to Barking’s dismay Sudbury go on to add another. The ball with Barking in the middle pressed hits the referee unable to avoid it. A drop ball the result Sudbury putting on to Penny left channel she plays a diagonal pass in behind for Allen running in on goal right side smashes her strike in over the keeper to score 8-1.
20 minutes left to play Sudbury on a high Barking reeling conceding 8 goals still look to be positive Finch with Bunton on the left side of the D tries to pick out Harrison running through the middle, can’t quite pick her out the ball cleared. Edwards stealing in on the ball top of the area taking it to the by-line right cutting it back to Sleep on the penalty spot her shot in low held by the keeper.
The hosts break through the middle up to Allen with Sleep in attack Sleep on into the box one on one with the keeper tries to pick her spot Lewington with a superb save with her feet to deny her. Barking moving the ball well in burst short passes but lacking a cutting edge. Crawford and Dodd ready to return for Sudbury with Edwards and Penny coming off.
GOAL! Pressure high up the pitch from Sudbury all game, brings them a 9th goal. Attacking left the ball cut out in the box by Taylor is closed down pinging back and forth rebounds through to Allen clear on the right side the smash a shot in low across the keeper for her double hat-trick 9-1.
A free-kick to Barking top of the circle Emma Harrison decides to have a crack at goal put through on target Carter takes it on the bounce central even as Bunton rushes in on her. Carter then out to her right side to slide in and claim at the feet of Bunton as Emma Harrison sends the ball on. Guiver with good foot work playing the ball out to Sleep left inside the box Zorbas getting across her well to see the ball back to her keeper. Allen with help from Guiver on the right drives on before flashing a cross into the box just behind Sleep central.
Guiver shifting the ball between her feet again playing a one two with Allen on the wing getting the return ball 20 yards out curls a shot in caught by Lewington. Dodd 25 yards out left of the D allowed time to shoot sees her effort come down off the crossbar. Sudbury dominating play through the middle Newley into Sleep inside the D Daltrey tackling the ball running behind for a corner. Sudbury making another change with 7 minutes left to play McHale coming for for Amanda Short.
Taylor with a vital interception at the back as Sudbury break left the diagonal ball meant for Allen racing clear in behind. Lewington holding onto a shot at her near post driven in by Dodd out wide. Guiver outside the box getting hold of the ball working it well between her feet before skipping inside and driving a low strike wide of the goal.
GOAL! Guiver makes it double figure moments later as a tired Barking don’t clear their back line latching onto it left of the D Guiver controls shifting the ball before curling a shot wide of the keeper 10-1.
Penny comes back on for Sudbury to see out the closing minutes replacing Allen. Finch dropping back to assist the defence late on Taylor on the left as Barking come on the right Emma Harrison with Bunton ahead of her crosses into the box Taylor looking to get hold of the ball tackle by Short. Edwards and McHale back on replacing Ronni Harrison and Shephard. Sudbury regularly bringing on fresh legs Barking with none to bring on. Emma Harrison left for Barking getting the ball down off a throw in sees her shot blocked by McHale.
Finch at the back defending well against Sleep as she looks to turn and shoot after seeing the ball into her body off cross on the left. A inswinging cross claimed well by Carter in the Sudbury goal as Holt feeds Bunton in down the left. Into stoppage time Guiver lively on for Sleep left into the box, Zorbas and Finch defending for Barking.
Full time AFC Sudbury Women 10-1 Barking FC Women
Full time and a big win for Sudbury sees them progress to the last 4 of the ERWFL League Plate to face Leigh Ramblers Ladies at home date to be confirmed. A dominant display 2nd half having led 4-1 at the break and early goal 2nd half killing off and Barking hopes of a come back goals coming at regular intervals afterwards with fresh legs coming on against an 11 who were tiring. Coming on at will took advantage of a dispirited opponent to hammer home the advantage giving them plenty of confidence going into their final games. No doubt this isn’t the Barking side that has acheived so much this season a brutal defeat can only regroup and go again.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A good all-round performance from Sudbury a few performances to mention. Firstly for Barking, Kiera Colthart worked hard in the middle to try and win the ball get it into Bunton up top. Sarah Finch on flanks with some useful runs when she was able to get forwards. For Sudbury Teigan McHale was assured at the back. Kate Edwards in midfield was sensational with some great ball winning tackles and driving runs forwards. The award though goes to double hat-trick scorer Jess Allen. Was a constant threat in attack peeling of the defence and finding goal scoring opportunities a first half hat-trick putting Sudbury in control of the game. Carried on in the same vein 2nd half albeit moving to the right of attack didn’t slow her down as she went on to add 3 more goals some great finishes.
An enjoyable trip to the MEL Group Stadium, a warm welcome from a club who is trying hard to give their female players the opportunities they deserve in the game. My thanks to both for sides for their help with the team details always appreciated, plenty of goals in this one after to extremely rare 0-0’s.
by Darren Gilham