Thursday 18th April
BBC Essex Women’s County Cup Final
Billericay Town Ladies v C&K Basildon Ladies
A trip down to Essex this Thursday night for this season’s BBC Essex Women’s County Cup, C&K Basildon Ladies reaching a fifth successive final taking in Billericay Town Ladies looking to win the trophy for the 1st time.
A successful season so far for Billericay Town Ladies promoted to the FAWNL for the first time are a growing force within the women’s game in the county, well supported by Billericay Town FC, are 2nd in South East Division One, like Crawley Wasps Ladies have recruited well to strengthen their squad to compete at the higher level. A good number of those recruits from Basildon. Neck and neck with their fellow promoted side at the start of the season, fell away as Crawley continued to win going on to claim the title itself, losing just the one game that defeat at the hands of Billericay. Success for their U14s and U16s sides in their respective county cup finals the future looks promising.
A fifth County Cup win puts C&K Basildon Ladies joint all time winners of the competition along side Chelmsford City Ladies. This Thursday their 6th county cup final winning it for the 1st time in the 2012/13 season, missing out on the final the following year have since gone on to dominate winning 4 successive finals two of those victories against Billericay. Under the fantastic support of Peter King and manager Steve Tilson have become on of the leading sides in Essex on the cusp of winning the FAWNL Southern Premier Division.
This season heralding a new era for the club, with Peter King retiring, Steve Tilson leaving as manager and with most of the first team squad moving on the club was left with some tough decisions to make regarding the future. Firstly with essentially thier development side whether to continue playing in the Southern Premier Division or drop down a league. Chose to stay and contest has been a tough season finishing bottom without a win a huge learning curve the squad has grown and found more togetherness, will be stronger for the experience. A season of transition from the club as it begins a new chapter in it’s history under a new name as from the 1st June it will be known as AFC Basildon Ladies/Girls a new beginning playing in South East Division One along side Billericay. The underdogs this evening will be inspired by their U18s side who won their county cup final.
Road to the Final
The top sides in the county given a bye in the competition until the quarter final stage, as two of the leading sides in Essex both Billericay Town Ladies and C&K Basildon Ladies entered at this stage. Billericay handed a home drawn again Essex Women’s Division One side Rayleigh Town Ladies, the away side scoring plenty of goals themselves the gulf between them showed as Billericay riding high in the FAWNL 5 league above were rampart as they won the game by a staggering 31-0. Home advantage too for Basildon as they began the defence of the County Cup against ERWFL Premier Division side Harlow Town Ladies. A 3-0 win seeing them safely through to the last 4.
Billericay at home in the semi-finals were up against last season’s finalists Brentwood Town Ladies. Again Billericay racked up a big score too strong for their ERWFL Premier Division One opponents winning their place in the final with an 8-0 win. Basildon were away in the semi-finals taking on last season’s Essex Women’s Trophy winners, Hutton Ladies. A 5-1 win seeing Basildon reach their 5th successive final.
The Len Salmon Stadium hosting this evenings final, home of Bowers & Pitsea FC whose own women’s side well supported by the club lifted the Essex Women’s Trophy earlier this season. A brand new 3G pitch the ground being redeveloped with lots planned starting with the playing surface, dugouts and two new small stands. The mainstand the next project incorporating a new clubhouse. The current one a good size offering plenty to the community. Hot food and drinks available. A good crowd building, a warm day extending into the evening in what promises to be a glorious bank holiday weekend.
Billericay Town Ladies starting XI – Alex Baker, Laken Duchar-Clark, Courtney Lumley, Danica Dougal, Esme Lancaster, Lucy Jones, Lindsey Morgan (C), Jay Blackie, Kerry Stimson, Zoe Rushen & Sam Pittuck. Subs – Gemma Crowe, Nicole Farmer, Sophie Vale, Karen Stephanou & Karissa Rodney.
C&K Basildon Ladies starting XI – Sarah Walker, Grace Gillard, Tilly Deacon, Mollie de Bell, Jessica Horn, Sophie Rhodes, Alex Bailess (C), Gemma Abela, Molly Bowness, Katie Whitehead & Holly Turner. Subs – Sophie Spencer-Webb, Jodie Osbourne, Danielle Sillitoe, Courtney Clarke & Maddie Thomas.
Billericay to get this season’s county cup final underway five of their starting line-up, Laken Duchar-Clark, Danica Dougal, Kerry Stimson, Jay Blackie and Zoe Rushen starting for Basildon in last season’s final with a sixth Karissa Rodney on the bench. Both side play in blue it’s Billericay in the change kit wearing all red with Basildon all in blue. The ball played out to the left wing Lucy Jones looking to take it on, Grace Gillard tackling for Basildon the ball out for a throw in.
Billericay captain Lindsey Morgan getting hold of the ball central pulls the trigger from 20 yards out her shot taking a deflection off an outstretched leg taking the sting off it goalkeeper Sarah Walker collecting the ball as it runs wide of her goal. Holly Turner with Basildon’s first attack bringing the ball on central closed down as she enters the box the clearance collected by Basildon captain Alex Bailess she lifts it up to Turner back to goal outside the area she attempts to tee up Gemma Abela making a run to her right the ball won by Billericay’s Dougal at the back.
Blackie with a fantastic pass forwards through to Sam Pittuck in attack she is brought down as she looks to drive into the area a free-kick awarded in a dangerous area 25 yards out left of the D, Rushen to take goes for goal lifting the ball in high the ball dropping caught easily by Walker right behind it. Basildon get on the offensive Turner with the ball out wide left brings it on into the box shooting the shot saved pushed away by goalkeeper Alex Baker at her near post. The ball put out to the right good closing down from Jessica Horn sees her win the ball high on the right a diagonal ball into the box met by Turner her first time sent over the crossbar.
Billericay launch a rapid counter attack Pittuck with good movement up to get into space right takes it forwards before laying it out to Esme Lancaster wide right her cross in behind. A good start to the game from both sides. Blackie in midfield playing some excellent passes forwards trying to release Pittuck the stadium packed for the occasion 578 here to watch. Billericay with a free-kick wide on the right inside the Basildon half the ball played into the top of the area defended, Duchar-Clark onto the loose ball run on taking the ball towards the box the door closing in front of her.
GOAL! An early chance for Billericay to take the lead awarded a penalty inside the opening 10 minutes the ball played into the top of the area form the right, Rushen up against a defender is floored the referee pointing to the spot. Dougal up from the back to take it a clinical finish high to the keepers right to put Billericay into the lead 1-0.
The ball won in midfield Morgan up to Pittuck in attack looks to combine with Rushen the players exchanging passes making for the box, Molly Downes winning it back for Basildon. Good work from Abela on the right cutting inside 25 yards out playing the ball into Turner’s feet top of the D she tries to lift it over the Billericay defence with Katie Whitehead making the run in behind, Baker getting to the ball first. Pittuck with the ball as Billericay attack on the counter shooting from distance the narrowly strike over.
Horn is tackled by Stimson as she attacks on the right, Stimson bringing the ball out for Billericay prods the ball inside looking to find Pittuck, Bailess intercepts. Basildon mount an attack, Sophie Rhodes making the run into the area right side the ball crossed in over to her meeting it on the volley wide of goal six yards out stretching can’t turn it back in across goal, wide. Basildon defending well high up the pitch, Whitehead and Horn in particular closing down as Billericay look to get the ball wide. Abela is pushed in the back a free-kick given out right the delivery into the area towards the far post Turner goes for it does’t get much contact the ball tamely rolling into Baker’s gloves.
Lancaster getting forwards out on the right fro Billericay the cross into the top of the area Jones coming in from the left looking to attack it, Gillard back with her sliding in with a great tackle, the ball loose however collected by Pittuck right of the D 20 out a snap shot the effort swerving away wide of goal. Basildon play the ball up to Whitehead left 20 yards out her touch laying it off central to Abela she shoots from 25 yards out the attempt over the bar.
Basildon are awarded a penalty midway through the first half a ball forwards central Turner running into the box is tripped. Turner setting it down goes for height too but too much the ball right wide of the goal.
Morgan with a firm tackle in the middle preventing Basildon breaking. Stimson has got plenty of pace making some mazy runs on the ball Billericay is fouled by Horn as she crosses the halfway line. Jones on the ball put long into the area headed clear by the defence. Courtney Lumley defending for Billericay clearing the ball for a throw as Basildon look to get on down the wing. An good contest lively both sides looking to get forwards, Stimson getting forwards spotted by Rushen plays the ball on too much weight on the pass.
Morgan with the ball played into her feet from the right turns outside the Basildon area an shoots the strike blocked, Basildon counter, Dougal defending. Less than 15 minutes of the first half left Billericay win the first corner of the game the ball out on the right a good delivery into the middle of the six yard box Blackie rising well to head the ball smashes it against the crossbar. Basildon regain it and look to break Turner on it through the middle brought down by Stimson who receives a talking too. The ball played long up towards the area defended by Morgan.
The ball played out from the back to Jones on the left, Horn closing down well wins the ball but in doing so her momentum poleaxes Jones, a free-kick awarded. A delay however the referee talking to de Bell and captain Bailess, a straight red is shown Basildon reduced to 10 players de Bell sent off for something that was said foul or abusive language. The ball played on up the left for Stimson as she bombs on, Gillard defending. Jones taking the ball forwards left side tries the diagonal ball on for Pittuck through the middle Bailess tracking back well to intercept.
Blackie’s passing continues to be spot on as they press forwards with an extra player now. Stimson with good movement getting forwards to support Rushen and Pittuck in attack. Stimson looking to link up with Pittuck in attack a one two the return ball meant for Pittuck as she enters the area cut out by Deacon.
GOAL! Into the final minute of the first half Billericay double their lead the ball put into Blackie inside the centre circle a superb pass forwards to release Pittuck in behind moving right takes the ball into the area, Walker coming to close the angle, the strikers touch taking the ball around the keeper and running in behind sends the ball into the empty net 2-0.
Half-time Billericay Town Ladies 2-0 C&K Basildon Ladies
Billericay double their advantage right on the stroke of half-time a 2 goal advantage plus an extra player for the 2nd half to come. An entertaining contest in the first half both sides sowing attacking intent, Billericay edging the chances but Basildon have had opportunities of their own, the sending off a huge blow some reorganising to do for the 2nd period Billericay have plenty of attack minded players who will be looking for the extra space that may become available.
A double change for Basildon at the start of the 2nd half with Madelyn Thomas on to support Turner in attack, Danielle Sillitoe on at the back. Basildon to get the 2nd half underway. An early attack getting forwards on the right the ball fired into the area met and cleared by Billericay’s Duchar-Clark. Basildon getting it back try again this time the cross to close to the keeper Baker collecting. Gillard defending as Blackie spots Rushen breaking into space on the right.
Stimson pressing the ball high on the right plays it on for Lancaster her cross long to the far post the ball knocked down, the shot seen wide. Deacon defending concedes a corner, Jones to play the ball in from the right, Walker up well amongst bodies inside her six yard box to punch the ball, Basildon look to counter play pulled back Stimson down having taken a knock to the head. Duchar-Clark bringing the ball forwards pushed into Pittuck right back to goal sends the ball on in behind with Rushen getting into the box, her strike goalwards landing in the side netting.
Rushen available for the pass right as Duchar-Clark brings it forwards the pass into her she helps it on for Lancaster ahead of both, looks to get in field, Sillitoe reading the move well getting herself into a good tackling position outside the box. Blackie’s shooting not as accurate as her passing as she puts an effort wide from all of 45 yards out. A different game 2nd half Basildon working hard at the back to stop Billericay having virtually none of the attack.
Pittuck leading the line well always looking to break in behind given the ball is into space on the right closing in on the byline fires a vicious ball across the face of goal Stimson throwing herself at it far post can’t quite make contact. Billericay make their first change of the game with an hour gone. Duchar-Clark coming off at the back Nicole Farmer. Gillard cutting out a through ball looking to send Rushen in through the middle. Bailess defending back at the near post for Basildon as the ball is crossed in from the left. Morgan getting forwards into the area seeing the ball over her shoulder strikes it on the volley, Basildon charging it down.
GOAL! The game moving past the hour and Billericay extend their lead a great run from Stimson carrying the ball into the box left players getting forwards with her, the strike fired in across the goal Walker getting her gloves to it as she is closed down Rushen and Morgan, the ball, Rushen reacting quickest after the loose ball inside the six yard box, a 50/50 with Gillard the ball spinning out to the right met by Lancaster who thunders a shot into the back of the net 3-0.
GOAL! Straight from the restart Billericay go on to score a 4th goal, Rushen coming to close down the ball in defence nicking it to run on central and get a shot away from 25 yards Walker not back on her line the ball curled wide of her into the goal beyond 4-0.
That goal signals changes for both sides, Basildon bringing off Whitehead, on in her place Courtney Clarke. A double change for Billericay, Blackie and Stimson coming off on come ex-Basildon players Karissa Rodney and Karen Stephanou. Opportunities for Basildon rare in the 2nd period Turner carrying the ball on is brought down a free-kick awarded left outside the area Clarke doesn’t get the contact she wanted the ball sliced wide.
Pittuck away on the right a touch to get the ball out of her feet sends a cross into the box, the flag raised with Rodney offside. Billericay push on, Farmer with a brilliant ball put over the top for Morgan getting forwards into the area right of goal, Walker saving well at her near post as the shot comes in. Rodney left plays the ball in central to Pittuck she dummies with Rushen behind she lays the ball off to Lancaster right top of the area makes a run central Lancaster trying to pick her out with the return ball across the top of the area, Sillitoe sticking a foot out to steal it.
A dummy from Rushen right sees Lancaster run in behind on the right another cross flashed across the face of goal. Billericay very much on top Basildon defending hardly able to get the ball into their opponents half. Clarke wide on the left plays a good ball up to Thomas in attack, bringing it down well into the path of Abela looks to spin in behind, Abela can’t find her with the over the top ball as Dougal defends for Billericay.
Turner carries the ball on trying to force her way through the middle Dougal and Lumley converging to close her down outside the box. Farmer plays Lancaster in right side wins a corner kick, the delivery long met by Dougal on the volley squeezing under the diving Walker strikes the post, back out into the middle the defence scramble the ball away the game entering the final 5 minutes.
Backs to the wall for Basildon late on Billericay press, a corner left appeals for handball waved away the ball put back out to the left a high ball back in Walker back on her line getting an arm up to push the ball away as it threats to creep under the bar. Clarke defending as Rodney crosses in from the left side, the ball back out left with Stephanou, Morgan ahead of her receiving the pass a cross long to the far post, attacked by Lancaster and Clarke out behind a corner awarded. Rodney gets up well her header knocking the ball down in front of goal, a scramble ensues Basildon keep the ball from crossing the line getting it up field. The final action of the game as Billericay celebrate winning the County Cup for the first time.
Full time Billericay Town Ladies 4-0 C&K Basildon Ladies
An entertaining start to the game the first 35 minutes lively 1 goal in it both sides competing well, the sending off changing everything, Billericay adding a 2nd goal late in the 2nd half in full control of the game from then on pressing the advantage getting a 3rd goal quickly followed by a 4th to secure the win with almost half an hour to play. Some great passes on display and flowing attacking moves. The crowd adding to a great atmosphere the stadium packed.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, another tough one a few contenders all wearing red. Morgan in the middle breaking up Basildon attacks, Pittuck up top some fantastic runs to get into goal scoring opportunities scoring late in the first half. Kerry Stimson with some god runs on the ball. Her passing was superb throughout the game however and turned quickly turned a Basildon attack into a Billericay counter, the award goes to Jay Blackie.
Congratulations to Billericay Town Ladies on winning the BBC Essex Women’s County Cup
A enjoyable cup final this evening down in Essex between two sides that will be league rivals next season, two exciting derby games to look forwards to. My thanks to both clubs for their help with the teams this evening and to Nicky Hayes for the use of his pictures for this report.