Sunday 8th December
ERWFL Premier Division
Back on the road this Sunday, a trip down to Essex to watch a game from the ever competitive ERWFL Premier Division, Bowers & Pitsea Ladies v Luton Town Ladies.
Highly competitive in the ERWFL Premier Division this season, Harlow Town Ladies leading the way opening up a gap at the top with 9 straight wins unbeaten so far this season. Incredibly close behind with just 5 points between the sides 2nd to 9th in the table. The standard improving year on year.
Bowers & Pitsea Ladies playing at the highest level the club has been at winning promotion to the ERWFL Premier Division last season following a 2nd placed finish in Division One collecting their first piece of silverware too the Essex Women’s Trophy. Going from strength to strength since becoming Bowers & Pitsea having previously been Little Thurrock Dynamo’s. The main club itself housing excellent facilities that ground undergoing redevelopment. The core of the squad made up of players who have been with the club since it started this season bringing in a few new faces to bolster the ranks, Donna Fletcher from Hatfield Peveral, also joining from Hatfield Peveral attacker Yasmin Cowley who scored plenty of goals for her previous club as Hatfield rose through the league injured for much of last season undertaking a scholarship in America come the end of the season. Danni Jennings and Megan Harley from Rayleigh Town Ladies also coming in along with Sade Walters and goalkeeper Violet Hickman.
Made a promising start in the Premier Division winning three of their opening 4 matches a run of poor results followed but the club have improved getting back to winning ways back to back wins putting them back amongst the chasing pack well clear of the bottom. Announcing this week an addition to their management team, Terry Harrison coming to the club from Harlow to work along side Darren Fraser and Daniel Foord. Brings with him coaches Scott Chickelday and Ray Wells as the club looks to kick on.
Luton Town Ladies suffering relegation from the FAWNL last season. Following a period of relevant success in South East Division One challenging for a top 4 finish on several ocassions. Lost a few experienced players blooding alot of young players. Continue to do so have a strong youth set-up with several doing well for the first team. Have brought in defenders Elly Wade and Tanya Blacksley to give experience at the back. Set the early pace in the Premier Division as they look to bounce back straight away. A run in the FA Women’s Cup seeing them fall away from the top, amongst the chasing pack have lost just the once this season. Jess McKay top scorer on 11 goals not available today. Missing a few other presenting opportunities for younger players manager Nikki Baker giving 16-year-old Ellie Sargeant her first start. The sides meeting already this season in the FA Women’s Cup, Luton winning 3-0.
The Len Salmon Stadium the venue for today’s match the ground undergoing redevelopment a state of the art 3G playing surface and surrounding barrier already installed plus seated stands either side of the dugouts. The new addition the main stand a new one being build. Covered seating above the new changing rooms with plans ongoing for more improvements. The old clubhouse with bar and large function room. The weather overcast but dry little threat of rain the sun low in the sky quite a strong wind blowing from one goal mouth to the other.
Bowers & Pitsea Ladies starting XI – Violet Hickman, Keira Adcock, Holly Moore, Donna Fletcher, Danni Jennings, Taylor Adcock (C), Yasmin Cowley, Courtney Fraser, Ebony Moore, Georgia Fraser & Megan Harley. Subs – Danielle Styles, Sade Walters, Sophie Dowman & Atlanta Fuwa.
Luton Town Ladies starting XI – Kezia Hassall, Rebecca Ferris, Tanya Blacksley, Anne Folan, Elly Wade, Zara Carroll (C), Ellie Sargeant, Erica Byron, Olivia Abraham, Funmi Babalola & Rebecca Kane. Subs – Jade Horsley, Kelsey Gibson & Leah Tomlin.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
An accident on the M25 causing heavy delays affecting Luton’s journey kick-off put back 10 minutes. Luton switching ends at the coin toss to have the wind at their backs first half, Bowers & Pitsea to get the game underway wearing red and white vertical striped shirts, red shorts and socks. Luton in their all navy away kit. The ball pressed in the middle Luton gain possession play the ball out to the left wing, Olivia Abraham looking to take the ball on Keira Adcock across to defend gets fouled in the process winning a free-kick.
Bowers & Pitsea bringing the ball on through the middle Yasmin Cowley on for Courtney Fraser she spreads play to the right, Ebony Moore looking to get in behind is tackled by Luton’s Tanya Blacksley. Bowers & Pitsea getting players up to press Luton in their final third, captain Taylor Adcock in to win the ball Ebony Moore almost through to the right can’t quite take the ball in her stride. Cowley fouled inside the Luton half a free-kick to Bowers & Pitsea players up as Donna Fletcher sends it in towards the top of the area the ball running through to Georgia Fraser right of the D, aims to turn into the shot Rebecca Ferris throwing out a leg defending for Luton, Bowers & Pitsea press the ball not cleared out to the right Taylor Adcock winning a corner taken short a shot blocked on the edge of the area, Bowers & Pitsea keep the pressure on the ball put across to Georgia Fraser left of goal curls a ball in towards goal, Kezia Hassell with a low catch claiming the ball in goal for Luton.
A good start from the hosts closing the ball down well spreading play. Luton come forwards Ferris on the right putting the pass on for Rebecca Kane running into the channel, Danni Jennings going with her for Bowers & Pitsea putting in a great tackle to win the ball back. Jennings called into action at the back moments later for Bowers & Pitsea again against Kane as a fortunate deflection sees the attacker run in behind taking the ball into the area forced left by Jennings recovering well the defender preventing the cross. Luton beginning to find some momentum of their own Ferris forwards as the visitors attack making a run into the box as the ball is helped on Bowers & Pitsea goalkeeper Violet Hickman down bravely to save at her feet.
Courtney Fraser with a long range shot struck 30 yards out off target as a defensive clearance is put straight to her. The wind behind then Luton have pace in attack with Kane and Funmi Babalola looking to make runs central and into the channels. Erica Byron getting forwards from a central position as the ball is fed through to her left side outside the box good close ball control jinks inside getting a shot away as she is closed down the ball put wide across the face of goal.
GOAL! 15 minutes gone and Luton open the scoring with a goal that is as route one as you’ll ever get. The ball in the hands on Hassell at the back launches it forwards wind assisted the Bowers & Pitsea centre backs both go for it and both miss bouncing on in behind Kane is clear to take it on into the box and set herself to send it wide of the keeper 0-1.
The tail wind strong and Luton are looking to use it to their advantage, a high clearance from Ferris on the right puts Kane away on the flank and she races after it, the angle against her as she strikes the ball on the volley her cross/shot put across the face of goal. Byron left side strikes a shot from 25 yards out the ball racing wide past the far post. Bowers & Pitsea build through the middle Taylor Adcock out to Ebony Moore right side down the line cuts it back for Georgia Fraser to fire in a diagonal ball low towards the near post Cowley with the run, Elly Wade defending for Luton.
Kane a constant threat in attack for Luton getting in behind after the ball put long on the left wraps her foot around the ball crossing the ball in towards the near post, Hickman able to get her gloves around the ball first not put off by Babalola running in. Folan defending for Luton, firstly stepping out from the back to break up a Bowers & Pitsea move through the middle, the 2nd time heading behind for a corner as the ball is crossed in from the right. The delivery from the corner over Fletcher jumping near post falls to Georgia Fraser no shot on lays it back to the top of the area for Courtney Fraser her ball fizzed back in collected by Cowley can’t dig it out of her feet to get a shot away before being closed down.
Abraham is brought down on the left attacking for Luton a free-kick awarded. Luton captain Zara Carroll a dead ball specialist to take out wide players forwards into the box she takes on the shot struck well the ball smashing against the crossbar dropping down into the area presented to Byron outside the six yard box her instinctive shot sent over on the volley.
The game quite open Bowers & Pitsea enjoying the better possession getting the ball forwards well the final ball lacking at times Luton keeping a good shape at the back. Kane in attack for Luton getting hold of the ball 25 yards out drives on twisting and turning to get into the area, Jennings getting back on her lunging in to make the tackle prevent her shooting the ball loose comes to Abraham to strike outside the area fires it wide across goal
Half an hour gone and Bowers & Pitsea make the first change Fletcher coming off at the back to be replaced by Danielle Styles. Hassell kicking the ball long again bouncing on through Kane looking to get it under control, Jennings having given herself space to adjust getting to her to make the challenge and win the ball back. Megan Harley taking the ball on down the left makes ground winning a throw in in the corner, the ball headed on from the side of the area looping up, Hassell can claim above her head no one coming in, her resulting kick up field running on getting Luton a corner.
Ellie Sargeant solid in the middle along side Carroll for Luton gets forwards running into space right as players are attracted to the left firing in a low cross Hickman down well at the top of her six yard box to pluck the ball into her body.
GOAL! 35 minutes played and Luton double their lead, Byron making some useful runs from midfield forwards in the left as Luton build 25 yards out strikes the ball well, a looping shot that flies over the keepers head and into the back of the net 0-2.
Harley with a great ball forwards cuts inside Luton defend, Cowley regains possession central presses on closed down top of the area plays it wide to Ebony Moore who wins Bowers & Pitsea a corner. Whipped in central taken confidently by Hassall. Attacking right side a throw in high up the pitch Keira Adcock plays in Ebony Moore tuning inside the box to get a shot away drilled wide at the near post. Bowers & Pitsea enjoying a strong spell towards the end of the first half another corner won left side Georgia Fraser putting in across the face of goal met on the volley at the far post by Jennings send over.
Entering the closing 5 minutes of the first half Bowers & Pitsea on the attack Harley on the ball left side playing the pass on for Courtney Fraser making the run into the channel cuts inside well to deliver a cross central into Georgia Fraser her first touch wrong footing the defender giving her space to shot set to pull the trigger Carroll dives in get a foot in to block the ball. Bowers & Pitsea keep the pressure on a throw won deep on the left Georgia Fraser crossing in Cowley can’t get it under control cleared out to the top of the box Keira Adcock latching onto it her shot held by the keeper.
Luton always ready to break hit Bowers & Pitsea on the counter Kane peeling off the defence onto a through ball to turn and strike left of the D, Hickman making a good save with her legs keeping the ball out. Carroll fouled bringing the ball forwards 35 yards out picks herself up to take it put in on target Hickman behind it palming the ball up clattering into the post as she pushes it away from the advancing attacker chasing in on the follow up. Okay after treatment. Bowers & Pitsea with one last attack in the first half Courtney Fraser winning the ball her pass forwards unable to fin Georgia Fraser running clear on the right, cleared straight to Cowley right outside the area can’t get a clean strike of the ball her scuffed shot gathered by the keeper.
Half-time Bowers & Pitsea Ladies 0-2 Luton Town Ladies
Luton leading 2-0 at the break have created the better opportunities in front of goal using the wind to their advantage. Solid at the back Bowers & Pitsea unable to get in behind have enjoyed the majority of the possession looking to move the ball around get players forwards the final ball lacking at times and the clinical finish lacking. Trailing by 2 goals pressure late on to try and find a goal to narrow the advantage Luton always ready to hit on the counter attack.
A change for Bowers & Pitsea at half-time Sade Walters on for Courtney Fraser. The light starting to fade and with it the wind as Luton get the 2nd half underway. Taylor Adcock putting her foot in to win the ball in the middle for Bowers & Pitsea passes the ball forwards for Fraser she looks to release Ebony Moore on the right in behind the ball running into the box, Hassell quickly out able to claim first for Luton. Bowers & Pitsea pushing forwards at the start of the 2nd half Harley’s shot from outside the box taking a deflection as it runs wide across the six yard out out for a corner. The delivery into a congested six yard box, Luton scramble it away to safety.
Bryon takes hold of the ball in attack for Luton right side has support from Babalola out wide plays her in she takes on the shot on the angle Hickman down in front of goal central pushing the ball wide past the far post for a corner kick. Folan putting the ball in over.
Jennings busy at the back for Bowers & Pitsea winning the race with Babalola to take the ball as Kane flicks it on. Kane beating the offside trap runs in behind central into the box, Jennings with a great recovery to get back on her putting in a challenge six yards out to prevent the shot getting the ball back to her keeper. Cowley up the other end 30 yards out with time and space not closed down encouraged to shoot puts the ball wide. Up the other end Kane is played through central into the box gets a shot away Hickman sliding in to block saving well the rebound out favouring her defence to clear.
Sargeant on the ball for Luton spots Abraham moving on the left the pass into her feet the flag goes up as she strays offside. Play stopped for an injury as Sargeant and Holly Moore collide the latter coming off worse is okay after receiving treatment. A higher line from Bowers & Pitsea now as they look to get a goal back Kane finding room in behind as she moves across the field away to the right strikes a shot on the half volley on target fizzed in Hickman palms the ball up into the air taking the catch even as Byron closes her down on the line. Hickman catching well from another Kane ball in from the right as she moves across the back line to get in behind beating the flag.
Sargeant putting the ball on for Abraham breaking left her diagonal ball into Kane top of the area, Styles in to make the tackle win it for Bowers & Pitsea. Luton make a change with just over 20 minutes left to play, Abraham coming off on the left, coming on Jade Horsley to make her Luton debut. Sophie Dowman on for Bowers & Pitsea replacing Ebony Moore. Jennings with more superb work in defence for Bowers & Pitsea first defending against Kane as she looks to get away then standing up to block Babalola as she looks to drive on with the ball. The floodlights needed are switched on.
Horsley on the left picking out Kane as she makes the run ahead of her into the channel Holly Moore defending for Bowers & Pitsea. The hosts get forwards to win a corner the ball played in near post defended by Luton’s Blacksley. The game open both sides looking for the next goal Bowers & Pitsea to pressure Luton late on, the visitors to make the 3 points safe Luton’s Horsley adding pace to the attack runs into space on the ball whips a great cross in across goal Babalola racing in heads over from six yards out.
Carroll back to cut out a cross put in from the left, Harley getting a 2nd opportunity to put the all in lands on the roof of the net. Byron brought down in the middle a free-kick for Luton another opportunity for Carroll to put the ball forwards knocked down well by Kane central top of the area into the path of Babalola her shot from 20 yards out straight into the gloves of the keeper. Ebony Moore back on for Bowers & Pitsea with a good piece control central lays the ball back for Holly Moore to curl in a shot from 25 yards out doesn’t trouble the keeper the game entering the final 5 minutes.
The wind returning getting decidedly chilly too. Harley firing in a shot from range drops short controlled by Fraser turns to lay it back to Dowman top of the box leaning back her attempt put over the bar.
GOAL! Into the final minute and Luton hit Bowers & Pitsea with a late sucker punch to kill off the game. Byron lifting a great pass forwards Kane having beaten the offside trap on several ocassions is offside this time but no flag raised continues her run carrying the ball to the top of the area right of the D puts her foot through the shot sending a fiercely struck low drive past the keeper 0-3.
From the restart Fraser takes on the long range effort in an attempt to catch the keeper off guard, falls short however Hassell gathering. Kane and Babalola combining in attack on the right winning Luton a corner kick, defended by Fraser, Bowers and Pitsea race forwards on the counter attack Holly Moore carrying the ball forwards on to Ebony Moore inside to Dowman 25 out lays it back to Holly Moore to hit first time the ball racing narrowly wide of the post.
Full time Bowers & Pitsea Ladies 0-3 Luton Town Ladies
Luton winning 3-0 to claim the 3 points lift them up the Premier Division table. A solid performance keeping it tight at the back waiting for their opportunities to attack, 3 clinical finishes to win the game. Tight at the back hard to break down. Bowers & Pitsea enjoying good spell of possession moving the ball well, just lacking in the final third, good opportunities created just not exploited.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, several contenders as usual. For Bowers & Pitsea no doubting has to be Danni Jennings put in a real shift at the back on hand on several ocassions to put in the vital tackle. Overall hard to single out an individual for Luton the defence solid keeping a good shape. Carroll in the middle and Kane up front with some good runs the award though goes to Erica Byron several timely runs through the middle setting up Kane for her 2nd goal and a superb hit for her goal.
Always competitive in the ERWFL the Premier Division a strong league this year. Good to get a trip down to Essex in been a while. Safe to say I haven’t missed the M25 though. My thanks to both clubs for the team details as ever much appreciated.