Sunday 22nd May
Essex Women’s League Cup Final
A trip down into Essex for my penultimate game of the season, with Lawford Ladies taking on Chelmsford City Women in the final of the League Cup.
The two sides will be very familiar with each other by the end of next weekend as they have yet to meet this season and face a double header on the final day to determine who will become Premier Division Champions. Meeting first in the final of the League Cup have attempted to see both sides play on a couple of ocassions this season already by a combination of Covid and the weather has thwarted those attempts. A frustrating season for both in many regards in that the ECWFL Premier Division is ending with 7 sides, 12 games for each side played yet it will go down to the final weekend of the domestic season. A number of factors playing their part, 2 teams have withdrawn from the league, weather and Covid too along with cup competitions.
Lawford Ladies have been out in front leading the Premier Division table from the start 5 straight wins are undefeated from 10 played with 8 wins and 2 draws with just the double header with title rivals Chelmsford to come. Games less frequent in the 2nd half of the season have bolstered their squad with the addition of former Billericay Town Women captain, Lindsey Morgan who brings a wealth of experience to the side. There own captain, Daisy Canny the driving force for Lawford in recent seasons with another strong campaign in front of goal netting 18 from her 9 appearances this season before getting injured. Lisa Ward 2nd in the goal scoring charts with 13 from 12 appearances. The season coming down to the final two Sunday’s with a potential double on the cards.
That is also the case for Lawford’s opponents, Chelmsford City Women, although they could go one better and make it a treble having already won a trophy this season beating Division Two Champions, Stanway Pegasus Ladies 4-0 in the final of the Tiptree Charity Cup 2 weeks ago. Chelmsford have always been a strong side in Essex’s top division in and around the title contenders. Has been a strange season in which they have always been playing catch up with the rest of the league didn’t even start their league campaign until November with just a handful of games in the first half of the season.
Drop-outs, Covid, weather and cup games all playing there part. When they have played however have been strong emerging as Lawford’s main rival for the title winning 8 of their 9 games played so far like Lawford unbeaten a point behind with a game in hand an crucial week to come with a cup final and 3 league matches to squeeze in a midweek trip to play Frontiers before meeting Lawford in what will be a league deciding double header next weekend. In attack, Rebecca Hollocks and Abigail Woollvin have scored 31 goals between them with Hollocks one ahead of Woollvin with 16 for the season so far.
Road to the Final
The league cup competition kicking off in February, Lawford were drawn at home to Division One side Blackmore Ladies, goals from Laura Allen, Alison Hindley, Daisy Canny and Georgia Box saw Lawford leading 4-2 at half-time with another goal each for Hindley and Canny securing a 6-2 win. Chelmsford City Women with a tough opening game in the league cup at home to fellow Premier Division side Frontiers Ladies in the 1st Round. Goals from Hellen Alder, Rebecca Hollocks, Shannon Kelly and Abi Woollvin seeing them through to the 2nd round with a 4-1 victory.
Lawford away to Division Two newcomers Southminster United Ladies in the 2nd Round of the League Cup progressed to the last 8 with a 2-0 win courtesy of a goal in each half for Canny and Liza Ward. Chelmsford advancing without kicking a ball awarded the away win against Aveley Ladies. Lawford at home to Division One side Tigers Ladies in the quarter finals Lindsey Morgan scoring to see the sides level at the break, 3 goals inside the opening 15 minutes of the 2n half seeing Lawford go on to win 4-1, Canny, Ward and Morgan with her 2nd on the scoresheet. Chelmsford taking on Division One leaders Corringham Cosmos, Alder, Hollocks and Mia Brisley amongst the goals as they went on to win the game 4-1 to advance to the semi-finals.
A difficult tie for Lawford in the last 4 at home to Division One title challengers Hutton Ladies Reserves, a free scoring side, it was a high scoring game with Hutton finding the back of the net on three ocassions. Lawford though after fighting out a 2-2 draw in the first half went on to score a further 3 to win through to the final. Allen and Morgan scoring 1st half, Hindley plus a brace for Ward in the 2nd. In contrast Chelmsford were to advance without kicking a ball after opponents Southend United Ladies forfeited the game.
Runwell Sports and Social Club hosting this Sunday’s final was here two season ago before the Covid hiatus to watch Harlow Town Ladies Reserves beat Leigh Ramblers Ladies. Entering the ground the large clubhouse overlooking the main pitch with numerous other grass pitches beyond. An archery range in the distance. Hot and cold drinks being served plus hot food. A bright and sunny day, hot with little cloud cover certainly no chance of rain during the game.
The teams lead out onto the pitch a presented to special guest Lana Gillard before kick-off.
Lawford Ladies starting XI – Erin Hornby, Alisha Blake, Saffron Heffer, Zoe Smith (C), Sheena Foley, Anna Ryan, Lisa Ward, Alison Hindley, Laura Allen, Lindsey Morgan & Nancy Butler. Subs – Toni Mott, Stacey Desborough & Daisy Canny.
Chelmsford City Women starting XI – Hannah Streetley Amy Vernon, Mia Brisley, Jess Loble, Gaby Freedman (C), Emma Rushen, Rosie Coe, Ashleigh Holland, Helen Alder, Kaci Crook & Abi Woollvin. Subs- Holly Richards, Melissa Burton, Amelia Murphy & Charlotte Palmer.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Lawford to get the Essex Women’s League Cup final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing light blue and white vertical stripped shirts with light blue shorts and socks, Chelmsford opposite lined up in an all claret kit. The ball sent from the middle up the left channel for Lindsey Morgan to attack for Lawford, Mia Brisley dealing with it at the back for Chelmsford clearing it up the line the ball lost out for a throw in.
A competitive start out on the far side of the pitch the ball closed down out for a series of throw ins neither side making any head way. Cleared at the back into midfield Chelmsford look to get forwards Rosie Coe with the ball on for Emma Rushen through the middle lifts it on for Abi Woollvin up top, Sheena Foley winning the ball back for Lawford. Lawford losing the ball high on the right from a throw in Chelmsford are quick to counter the ball into Rushen central plays it early through the defence for Woollvin to run onto taking the ball on into the area right side s=her low shot is straight at Lawford goalkeeper, Erin Hornby making a comfortable save.
A strong start to the game from Chelmsford closing down the ball, winning challenges looking to get forwards quickly, find Woollvin through the middle or Kaci Crook attacking right side. A free-kick for Chelmsford inside the Lawford half as Alisha Blake is adjudged to have handled the ball going to clear it for Lawford. Defender Jess Loble over the set-piece played in towards the top of the Lawford area, Anna Ryan wins it to clear for Lawford.
GOAL! 5 minutes played and an early break through for Chelmsford, battling for the ball in midfield, the pass is lifted on for Crook in attack right channel beating the offside trap races on into the Lawford box, striking the ball low in the angle, Hornby reacting down sharply to stop it doesn’t get hold of it the ball rolling loose to her right, Woollvin running in with a simple tap in to give Chelmsford the lead 0-1.
Laura Allen out on the right in attack for Lawford sees the ball into her feet shifting inside 25 yards out attempts to thread it on for Nancy Bulter central, the pass cut out by Chelmsford captain, Gaby Freedman. Chelmsford are up for the game vocal encouraging each other on closing down the ball despite the heat. Rushen tackling to break up an attack. Attempting to find Crook again on the right, Foley across to clear the ball for a throw.
Rushen with a great diagonal ball looking for Helen Alder breaking forwards on the right looking to travel on into the box with the ball is forced wide by Lawford’s Blake the defender than tackling to win the ball back and clear. A few free-kicks being given away in the middle, Alison Hindley fouling to see Chelmsford with a set-piece inside their opponents half, sent long up into the box over everyone lands before Hornby the keeper seeing it bounce up over her goal.
Butler looking to take the ball on through the middle for Lawford after recieving it from a throw on the right, turns goalwards, Freedman strong on her shoulder getting her foot on the ball to hook clear. Lisa Ward pulling away to the left for Lawford angles a cross into the Chelmsford area the ball turned behind for a corner. Played long through the six yard box Morgan can’t get it down at the back post the ball cleared into the middle, Lawford press well regaining possession looking to turn play around into Allen right side lifted on the move ending with a throw.
Allen looking to attack with the ball on the right, the move breaking down has another opportunity as she squares it central for Ryan 25 yards out, Freedman quick to close her down the ball cleared away for a throw. A more even game now Lawford looking to close the ball down higher up the pitch. A strong tackle in the middle from Lawford’s captain, Zoe Smith on Chelmsford midfielder, Ashleigh Holland the ball cleared out to the right the referee stopping play with Holland staying down. Up okay play to resume with a drop ball.
GOAL! The ball with Chelmsford’s Amy Vernon at left back, Lawford switch off as the ball is played forwards Vernon clipping it long over the top with Woollvin breaking in behind through the middle, hesitates for a moment with no one after her no flag though she carries the ball on into the box right of goal and smashes her shot across the keeper into the bottom corner to score her 2nd of the game 0-2.
Lawford not happy with the goal, it stands however with play resuming with 20 minutes gone in the 1st half. Coming down the right Morgan with support from Ward the ball is crossed into the Chelmsford area, goalkeeper Hannah Streetley diving forwards to get hold of the ball with Ryan closing in. Chelmsford are quick to mount a counter attack the ball fed on through the middle on for Crook to chase into the box on the right, bouncing up between her and Hornby the goalkeeper, getting a strong fist on the ball to punch it away to her right.
Butler pulling away into the left taking the ball on lays it back to Saffron Heffer coming on from full back for Lawford her cross looped on into the box, Allen can’t quite connect as she goes to strike it on the volley. Their opponents straight up the other end the ball played out to Woollvin moving into space wide left bombs on down the line turning into the area before opening up her body looking to place the ball wide across the keeper, only succeeds in picking her out, Hornby safely behind the ball.
Hornby busy as she comes rushing out of her area to clear with Woollvin put on through the middle. Rushen then picking up the ball in midfield looking to drive forwards for Chelmsford is eventually closed down. A hot day a drinks break called by the referee midway through the 1st half. Play resumes with Lawford looking to battle for the ball, a series of headers resulting in a throw right side, played in central Butler sending the ball over the defence into the box looking for Morgan, Streetley getting her gloves around it first.
Butler strong in possession outside the Chelmsford area on the right battling inside squares the pass into Morgan left of the D she in turn puts it back into the area right side with Hindley stealing in at the far post attempts to lift a shot in past the keeper, Streetley though is right behind it to make the blocking save. Lawford squeezing the ball in the final 3rd Hindley putting herself about sending the pass out to Heffer pushing up from full back shrikes the shot on the a angle from distance rises over the crossbar.
Lawford winning a set-piece level with the top of the Chelmsford area on the right. Ward to play it into the box, Streetley is one of the tallest goalkeepers around makes a firm call and plucks the ball down unhindered. Another handball spotted on the left side giving Chelmsford a free-kick some 35 yards plus out Loble nevertheless takes on the shot getting the ball on target but drops kindly for Hornby who can see it into her midriff back on her line. Is a little niggle between the sides Lawford clearly frustrated. Adler keeping the ball in play well on the left side looks to get on held up keeps possession played back up to Vernon to cross into the Lawford area, Hornby with the call this time coming to catch the ball.
Lawford finding a little joy out on the flanks, Morgan on the left pushing on her cross all the way across to Allen wide right turned back into the area, Vernon turns it behind for a corner. Fired into Morgan from the right, 20 yards out left of the knocks it up into the area attacked by Ward knocking it across to the far post Streetley can let it go for a goalkick. Hindley taking the ball on down the eft in attack for Lawford strong holding it up well before angling a shot in towards goal, Streetley comfortably behind it.
GOAL! A couple of minutes left in the 1st half, Lawford looking to attack late on get themselves back into the game are hit on the break the ball cleared long to the left side seeing Woollvin escape in behind race on to the box coming central Hornby out to close the angle Woollvin shifts the ball away from her to the left to open up the goal beyond and strokes her shot into the back of the net to get her hat-trick 0-3.
A change late in the half for Chelmsford with Amelia Murphy on for Crook in attack. Little time left to play the half-time whistle blows. Both sides retreating to the shade provided by the trees over behind the dugouts for their half-time team talks.
Half-time Lawford Ladies 0-3 Chelmsford City Women
A strong 1st half from Chelmsford making a positive start taking the game to Lawford pressing the ball in the middle and looking to get it up to Crook and Woollvin in attack. That bright start bringing a goal inside the opening 5 minutes. Woollvin with her 2nd running in behind as Lawford switch off at the back following a drop ball. Frustration for Lawford going 2 goals down have looked to match things up with Chelmsford battling for the ball have gotten some joy a couple of half chances as they look to pull a goal back before the break, hit on the break late on Woollvin stealing in behind on the left to score her cup final hat-trick. Alot of work for Lawford to do if they are to get themselves back into the game, a hot day could be a case of who runs out of energy first Chelmsford can sit back more with a healthy lead to defend.
It’s Chelmsford to get the 2nd half underway, don’t think there have been any changes made from either side. Look to get the ball out to the left, Smith in to win it for Lawford. Hindley and Rushen scrapping for the ball in the middle Hindley getting the free-kick this time. Ryan on the ball inside the Chelmsford half looks to go for goal, Streetley can see it over. Heffer on the left defending well against Murphy as she looks to get the ball down on the right and turn in behind.
Hindley getting about the pitch for Lawford winning the ball comes left turns inside sending it central with Ward running on free 30 yards out is caught in two minds as to strike the ball or clip it over the top with Morgan giving her the run left side. Picking her out Morgan sends a low cross into the box no one there to attack it however. Ward central sending the ball on through the middle, Hindley after it right of the D, Streetley out of her area to kick the ball clear.
Chelmsford with more bodies behind the ball allowing Lawford to come on making a positive start to the 2nd half as yet though to test the keeper. Roe brought down in the middle for Chelmsford following a strong challenge. Ward central with some useful passes forwards long for Morgan running on through the middle Streetley racing out to the top of her area, just about getting there to clear. Loble with the tackle to get the ball as Foley plays it on for Morgan out left side.
Woollvin picking up the ball in midfield sends it out to Brisley advancing on the left, her crossfield ball looking for Alder, intercepted by Blake. Rushen taking the ball on through the middle for Chelmsford picks the pass for Alder on the left channel getting forwards, Blake closes her down the challenge seeing the ball behind for a corner. Fired in from the left attacked at the near post the ball is send wide across the Lawford goal.
Lawford getting forwards on the right numbers up the pitch a throw won high, lifted on high into the area dropping central Morgan under it sees her touch take the ball wide of the left post. Ryan coming on with the ball from deep for Lawford going left comes inside, her attack stopped by Loble for Chelmsford. Morgan getting clear wide left flashes a cross into the six yard box the Chelmsford defence tracking back, Streetley has it covered, Vernon in front of her heading clear nevertheless.
Ward springs the offside trap is clear through the middle for Lawford racing for the box, Brisley racing after her the goalkeeper advancing. Brisley diving in to tackle gets the ball before the player, Play halted however brought back as Ward went too early. Lawford creating opportunities, Chelmsford strong in defence however giving little away winning most things put into their area. Attacks less frequent as a result however Lawford need to stay alert at the back as Woollvin remains a threat, sprinting over to the right crossing over with Murphy the pair looking to combine Woollvin crossing the ball in Hornby down on it with Murphy closing her down.
Morgan sending a clipped ball on through the middle for Hindley running on in behind, Streetley out to clear first Hindley unable to get out of the way colliding with the keeper, leaving her down for a moment winded more than anything else. Another drinks break is called. Chelmsford largely in control with Lawford coming on but unable to find that clinical final ball. Another long range goal attempt from Lawford on halfway from a free-kick Streetley can again see it over her goal.
Hindley carrying the ball on in attack for Lawford turning of Freedman to get into the box right side, Freedman back on her well lunging out with her boot to take the ball away from Hindley swerving behind for a corner. Rushen on through the middle with the ball on for Woollvin left channel put across to Murphy on the right side can’t turn in behind. Butler taking the ball of Ryan central running on looks to thread it on for Ward ahead of her, the ball cut out by the Chelmsford defence, Butler with a 2nd attempt playing it out to Morgan getting into the box left side, attempt to play her shot up over the keeper, Streetley with her angles covered getting hold of the ball.
Chelmsford make a change bringing off hat-trick heroine in attack with Crook returning to the game. At the back Freedman across to deal with the threat posed by Ryan as she takes the ball on right for Lawford. Into the final 15 minutes. Lawford with a set-piece put high into the area Ryan up to knock the ball down across goal, no one can reach it before Chelmsford launch clear. Morgan driving on left side whips a low cross into the area, Vernon sliding in to clear for the corner. Send in deep from the left Freedman close on Morgan the ball put out the right Lawford winning the free-kick. Played in near side knocked up high into the air turned on towards goal, Streetley back on her line able to claim it high.
Murphy comes off for Chelmsford as they strengthen the back line bringing on Holly Richards. Lawford making a change too, Stacey Desborough on for Blake to join the attack. Coming on right side Allen into Ward 25 yards out looks to strike the shot first time, frustrated as she sees her effort pulled wide out at the far post. Holland on for Rushen takes the ball on for Chelmsford putting it on for Crook up top, Smith in close attendance tackling to regain the ball for Lawford.
Allen comes off for Lawford on in her place Toni Mott she moves central in attack with Desborough going to the right. Time running out to find a goal try an pressure Chelmsford late on. Ward running on from the middle seeing a shot blocked the ball coming to Mott pulling in behind right of goal, Vernon on her to defend getting the ball back for her keeper to clear. Rushen and Alder look to combine through the middle in attack for Chelmsford, Smith getting hold of the ball for Lawford. The pairs last action of the game as they come off with Charlotte Palmer and Melissa Burton coming on.
Crook up top laying to ball off to Burton up on the right, her attempted pass in behind for Crook gathered by Hornby inside the Lawford area. Mott with the ball travelling right side into Morgan bursting for the area, Brisley on her shoulder doing enough to hold her up allowing the ball to run onto Streetley. Streetley thwarting Lawford right till the end as Morgan top of the area spins in behind on the right to shoot across the keeper, Streetley down well getting a glove to the ball to turn it away from goal.
Full time Lawford Ladies 0-3 Chelmsford City Women
That’s it the final whistle blows and it’s Chelmsford who celebrate as they make it a cup double winning the League Cup final 3-0 thanks to a first half hat-trick from Abi Woollvin. A strong 2nd half from Lawford with Chelmsford looking to defend their lead. Chances created, Streetley for the majority standing firm in the Chelmsford goal. A positive start to the game energy from Chelmsford bringing them an early goal. Going on to double the advantage Lawford frustrated looking for a reply conceding a 3rd at the end of the half making it a tall order in the 2nd half, needed an early goal to put some pressure on Chelmsford defence looking comfortable.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few performances of note to mention first though. For Lawford it was a strong game in the middle for Liza Ward getting into some great positions, looking to get others into scoring opportunities. Alison Hindley too covering a huge amount of ground looking to get hold of the ball play it forward. For Chelmsford it was a solid performance in midfield from Emma Rushen. Her desire to win the ball right from the start setting the tone for Chelmsford. The defence strong throughout. The award contested by players at opposite ends of the pitch, Hannah Streetley was immense in the Chelmsford goal, Great positioning and vital saves. The Player of the Match award though goes to Abi Woollvin not too many players get to score a cup final hat-trick and her running and movement caused the Lawford defence issues especially 1st half as she ran at them on hand to score the opening goal and her 3rd late in the half taken well going along way to winning the trophy.
Before the trophy could be presented however their was a delay a medical emergency that required an ambulance being called. One of the Chelmsford substitutes struggling with asthma struggling to breathe. No chances being taken the emergency service called an ambulance arriving in good time. Full credit to the NHS stabilising the player and ensuring she was okay. Takes priority over anything else. Albeit delayed the presentations going ahead.
Congratulations to Chelmsford City Women on winning the 2021/22 Essex Women’s League Cup.
An enjoyable trip down to Essex, good to have the final back after a 2 year hiatus. An enjoyable contest. A cup double for Chelmsford little time to rest on their laurels however with 3 games still left to play away to Frontiers in midweek with the opportunity to move above Lawford in the league before they meet again at Lawford for a double header to end the season which one will be crowned champions it’ll be a tense final day. My thanks to both clubs for the team details and to the ECWFL committee for thier assistance this afternoon. One game left to end the season for me a midweek trip to Carrow Road for the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final.
by Darren Gilham