Category Archives: Match Reports

Match Report – Park Ladies v Pinchbeck United Ladies

Sunday 15th March

Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship

A top of the table clash from Cambridgeshire this Sunday on Women’s Football East, in the Women’s Championship 3rd versus 2nd both sides showing fantastic form, Park Ladies hosting Pinchbeck United Ladies.

  Uncertain times a turbulent weekend in football with the ever growing threat from the COVID-19 virus reaching the UK, all top flight football men’s and women’s suspended on Friday till early April as cases or symptoms were reported present amongst squads. That uncertainty and worry filtering down the pyramid and although not advised by the government at this time various leagues have made the call to also suspend fixtures, rightly or not at this time, everyone’s health and well being at the forefront of everyone’s mind and this is a crisis that is still in it’s infancy and has a long way to go. 

Some leagues were still on and theses affected as teams called of games, no one on either side off the argument for calling games off not taking thing’s seriously and I myself debated whether to attend a game or not, was meant to be attending this Sunday’s Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final that game one of many postponed… possibly indefinitely. 

 One game off though presents another opportunity and deciding to go watch a game didn’t take long to choose another fixture, an opportunity to see two new sides for the first time, have wanted to see both for a while, especially Park who have asked me to attend before but I hadn’t been able to. The Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship expanded this season with an influx of new sides to complement a 13 strong Premiership, 14 sides playing in the Championship below, Park and Pinchbeck two of the more established sides.

 Cambridge Rangers Women leading the way with a long winning streak lasting 12 games, before being brought to an end by Park Ladies. That at the beginning of a wining streak that reached 10 matches in the league last weekend that run sending Park up to 3rd in the Championship table. A return to form after a couple of difficult seasons. Had burst onto the scene with a strong debut season, one season winning the Championship South title as it was then back in the 2015/16. Losing players the squad regrouping has taken time to get back to winning ways regularly the new look single Championship carrying alot of unknowns at the start of the season Park making an indifferent start gaining momentum surging up the table. Vice captain Francesca Plitsch top scorer so far this season with 18 goals.

Pinchbeck United Ladies also in fantastic form this season in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship with a 100% winning record from 13 played, games called off early in the season seeing them always behind in their fixtures, matching Cambridge Rangers results, Park doing them a massive favour ending the leaders winning record. Are closing the gap fast keeping thier winning record going up to 2nd in the table the gap closed to 4 points with 4 games in hand. Joining the Championship North a couple of seasons ago struggled in their debut season, signs of improvement appearing towards the end of last season have added new faces an with it goals to the side this season, Freya Peters top scorer so far with 17 goals, Libby Friel coming up fast on the rails too with 16 goals from just 8 appearances. 

Heading into the Fens this afternoon Park Ladies based in Wimblington, near March, play at Parkfields Sports Centre. A large carpark leading to a new clubhouse building housing a bar serving hot and cold drinks with large glass windows offering a good view of the two grass pitches beyond, a nice set-up. The weather though not playing ball rain due to arrive around lunchtime was meant to blow over but stuck around for the whole match making for muddy playing conditions and trying to do a report whilst juggling a notepad, camera and umbrella.

Park Ladies starting XI – Liv Goode, Tinneisha Mott, Darcy Howe, Nikki Hassock, Lou Davies, Eilish Brown, Danni Green (C), Francesca Plitsch, Sophie Fenner, Georgia Payne & Georgia Stimson. Subs – Liv Pedler, Gemma Hutton & Sian Holdcroft.

Pinchbeck United Ladies starting XI – Lita Abelite, Helen Barker, Alexandra Ferreira Gomes, Rebecca Navarette, Brittany Weaver, Laura Sidajeva, Chloe Gray (C), Victoria Bradford, Holly Coupland, Freya Peters & Libby Friel. Subs – Cayley Ainsworth, Rebecca Rigby, Ana Rodrigues Costa, Annie Vayro & China Smith.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   Rain falling steadily the pitch wet going to be a muddy one. Park to get the match underway kicking off 1st half wearing navy and red vertical striped shirts with white trim, navy shorts and socks. Pinchbeck in their away colours gold shirts with navy shorts and sock. The ball pressed straight away by Pinchbeck closing do Park in the final third won on the left a diagonal ball put in towards the top of the area Park goalkeeper Liv Goode out well to sliding in and save the ball before it can be attacked.

The tempo fast from the off Park bring the ball on from the back played out to the left long for Sophie Fenner, getting on down the flank is tackled by Pinchbeck’s Alexandra Ferreira Gomes the ball out for a corner kick. The delivery in towards the near post headed clear get straight on the counter the ball gathered into her feet by Holly Coupland drives on before sending a low ball racing into the cut out by Park’s Nikki Hassock conceding a corner. Played in near side attacked but send wide for a goalkick. Pinchbeck coming on well at the start of the game won in the middle Laura Sidajeva passes the ball out to Coupland pushing on down the right flank and early diagonal ball with Freya Peters breaking in behind through the middle, Goode out to close her down quickly get her gloves around the ball.

  Fenner attacking down the left winning a throw high for Park, the hosts bring bodies forwards keeping possession Francesca Plitsch swinging a good delivery into the area, headed clear by Pinchbeck’s Rebecca Navarette. Park come straight back at them Fenner left rolled forwards into Georgia Stimson central she unleashes a strike from 25 yards out the shot wide at the near post. The resulting goalkick played straight to Stimson 25 yards out gets a shot away before she can be closed down 20 yards out left of the D the ball hitting the side netting. 

Pinchbeck United Ladies captain Chloe Gray bringing the ball forwards.

  Park winning a corner on the left the ball played in by Plitsch near side, Georgia Payne getting a touch knocking the ball to the floor, can’t get a shot away before she is closed down the ball launched clear. Hassock getting a foot on the ball as she lunges in to take it away from Libby Friel looking to get on the end of Coupland’s ball fed into the box from the right, a corner awarded. Park defending the attack ending with a goal kick. Pinchbeck’s turn to latch onto a stray kick, as their captain Chloe Gray latches onto the ball 30 yards out, looks to put it straight back in but knocked high over the bar.

GOAL! 11 minutes played and the visitors take the lead Pinchbeck winning the ball in the middle attacking quickly players racing forwards the ball with Coupland on the right getting down the wing lifting a cross in towards the near side, Friel getting clear meeting it her 1st touch chipping it over and wide of the keeper into the back of the net 0-1.

GOAL! Park get straight up the other end an equalise, the ball played into Stimson right side is allowed to come on shifts the ball attacking the area evading a challenge and the top of the area with goalkeeper Lita Abelite coming to close her down gets her shot away across goal on target but has it got the pace? Players racing in, Payne with Ferreira Gomes on her shoulder neither can get a telling touch the ball rolling in to cross the line inside the far post 1-1. Stimson scoring her 14th goal of the season.

Georgia Stimson equalising straight away for Park Ladies

 Despite the rain falling the game played at a furious pace players closing the ball down in the middle, alot of mud collected already the top slick and sticky will take it’s toll on the legs no doubt. Park get hold the ball right side Plitsch sending it on down the line the cross sent in early to the near post Payne escaping her marker get’s a shot away, Abelite down quickly legs split to make a good save send the ball behind for a corner. 

 The ball finding Payne at the near post getting it down can find no way through the ball cleared for a throw out wide Park keeping hold of it in the final 3rd passed in field into Eilish Brown turns into the shot near side the shot straight at Abelite safely held. Park with a good response after falling behind coming straight back to level have Pinchbeck on the back foot. Brittany Weaver winning a tackle at the ball for Pinchbeck plays if forwards up to Peters and Friel in attack the pair look to combine through the middle Hassocks getting her foot in to intercept the ball. Peters after the ball played into her run on the left side, Goode coming out well to the top of her area sliding in to get her gloves around the ball. Gray has a go from 30 yards out her effort wide across the goal.

GOAL! Pinchbeck win a corner ball on the left side, a good delivery put in towards the near post close to goal Coupland free meeting it on the volley to turn the ball in past the keeper to score putting the visitors back into the lead 1-2. 

Holly Coupland restoring Pinchbeck’s lead

  Pinchbeck making a change straight after the goal bringing China Smith on for Sidajeva. A race for the substitute straight away as Plitsch threads a ball in behind for Payne to attack, Smith going with her, Abelite rushing out of her box just about getting there first to clear. Park come straight back the ball fed to Stimson right side top of the area getting a shot away the ball wide across the six yard box. Park with a good response again after falling behind Payne a threat in attack strong on the ball gets it into her feet 20 out running at the box lines up a shot the attempt narrowly over. 

Tinneisha Mott on the ball for Park Ladies

  Pinchbeck playing the ball long have Coupland attacking right a throw won, a high ball into the box headed clear by Park the break on Plitsch linking up with Fenner on the left Abelite coming to clear for Pinchbeck. Helen Barker getting forwards from the back for Pinchbeck on the left rolls it on to Peters, a good shift of the ball taking her in behind to attack the box, Hassock across well lunging in to tackle put the ball out for a corner kick. In again low at the near post Park get it away in the resulting scramble a break on the ball put up into the attackers quickly Pinchbeck’s Smith with the defending putting the ball out for a throw. Players up the ball into Payne sending a shot from the top right hand corner of the box wide across goal.

 Gray attempts one over the top for Pinchbeck with both Peters and Friel breaking in behind, Goode though out well towards the top of her area to claim. A double change fro Pinchbeck with Sidajeva coming back on along with Annie Vayro. Brown receiving the ball in the middle off Plitsch rolls it forwards into Payne’s feet she switches it out to the right quickly for Stimson who squares a cross in back along the top of the area the ball cut out by Weaver and cleared up field. Coupland away on the right wing taking the ball on cuts it back towards the top of the area, finds Peters inside the D her first time strike narrowly wide at the far post. 

  Park make a change, their 2nd actually missed the first as Green who had come off for Sian Holcroft now comes back on Mott. Payne getting hold of the ball outside the box on the right, tackled by Barker slowing her down Payne gets it back to swing in a cross Navarette heading clear for Pinchbeck. Park getting forwards well winning the ball in the middle Brown involved up to Payne 25 out turns looking to plough her way through, Weaver in to challenge. Involved in the action myself as is the risk you take the ball knocked out of play head down in the notepad the calls come but too late, creeping under the umbrella the notepad taking the brunt of the blow gathering some fen land mud as a souvenir in the process. But I’ve had it square in the face from close range before so carry on, the action certainly is.

Pinchbeck United Ladies, Brittany Weaver

  Can see why both sides are doing well this season, the pitch conditions not helping either play their natural game Pinchbeck going long at times, Hassock and Holcroft dealing with it for the most part, Friel always looking to get in behind however. Green threading the ball through for Payne, Weaver on her the final defender as they bear down on the box has to get her tackle right and lunging in takes the ball away from her behind for a corner. Won on the right the ball played on as Plitsch drifts over to the right sends a good delivery into the box, Fenner flying in far side trying to get her leg to the ball can’t quite connect. 

  Rebecca Rigby comes on for Pinchbeck in place of Weaver at the back. Abelite makes the save for Pinchbeck as park play in a free-kick from halfway into the top of the area headed down dropping left side Payne getting hold of it to fire in a low shot, the goalkeeper down at her near post to save. Gemma Hutton entering the action for Park with Howe coming off. Pinchbeck get Coupland on the ball right side fires in a shot on the angle, Goode diving to her left saving well pushing the ball down comes straight to Peters, Goode up quickly as the attacker brings in down, fires her shot over the bar. A good battle going on on Park’s left between Fenner and Pinchbeck’s Ferreira Gomes the ball into the winner following good work from Green, Payne and Stimson in the middle Gomes close in on Fenner getting in a good tackle to break up the attack. 

Pinchbeck United Ladies, Helen Barker

  Green furthest forwards for Park and she runs on through the middle the ball put over the defence into her path Abelite coming to close the angle, Green looking to chip her from 20 yards out, Abelite tall though gets an outstretched arm to the ball gloving it away  from her goal beyond. Ana Rodrigues Costa on late in the first half for Pinchbeck replacing Sidajeva. 

GOAL! Park have been strong since falling 2-1 behind Payne a threat in attack taking players on the ball out right side slipped through to her moving into the box clear pace taking her on wide of the near post shoots the ball racing in low is past Abelite before she can get down to it inside the post to level the scores right at the end of the 1st half 2-2.

Half-time Park Ladies 2-2 Pinchbeck United Ladies

  A highly entertaining match so far despite the rain, the pitch muddy cutting up making playing conditions difficult a good start and tempo to the game through out from both sides, Pinchbeck opening the scoring conceding straight away, Park with a good response, Pinchbeck getting themselves back into the lead. Park coming on well again on top for much of the half after the goal, Pinchbeck playing the ball long limiting their opportunities in attack, a threat on the counter nonetheless, Park coming back to level it up for a 2nd time late on, all square the only thing guaranteed in the 2nd half is more rain. 

Muddy out there, not the weekend to be the one assigned to wash the kits.

 Roll on roll off substitutes used frequently by both sides the pitch sapping legs highly muddy now, glad I’m not the one washing those kits. Pinchbeck to get the 2nd half underway. Attack down the right, Liv Hedley closing down Coupland slowing her down Hassock coming across to clear. Park send the pass out wide to Plitsch out on the right looks to take players on as she seeks to get into the box, play brought back for a free-kick on her with no advantage. The delivery in towards the near post safely gathered into her midriff by Abelite. 

GOAL!  Park take the lead early in the 2nd half the move starting at the back as Goode gathers it inside the box with Pinchbeck on the attack, kicking out of her hands the ball long finding Payne clear right side takes it down well knocking in on driving forwards shooting on the angle across the keeper, Abelite gets her finger tips to it but not enough to divert it past the far post 3-2. 

Georgia Payne putting Park Ladies into the lead early in the 2nd half

 Coupland working hard on the right for Pinchbeck back to win the ball turning play around on for Peters right ahead of her, Park defending as she tries to come in field. Park pressing the ball well keeping a good shape at the back, Plitsch covering alot of ground as well as gathering alot of mud in the middle. Brown in to win the ball left side and Pinchbeck look to gain ground. On for Payne the ball put into the box, Abelite punching it clear, Park keep alive in the final 3rd Green getting hold of the ball winning a throw high up the pitch.

Park’s Francesca Plitsch enjoying the sliding tackles this afternoon

GOAL! Park doubling their advantage early in the 2nd half the hosts coming on through the middle the ball fed into Payne 30 yards out central has Stimson making a run left of her into a central position top of the area the pass perfect getting her in behind Abelite racing out to close her down Stimson shooting a clinical finish past the keeper to find the goal beyond 4-2.

  Pinchbeck bring on Cayley Ainsworth for Navarette at the back. Coupland pressing on the right side playing in Peters, looks to burst into the box, Holcroft getting onto her shoulder making the tackle inside the box for Park. Payne and Stimson with some good link up play in attack for Park finding gaps in the Pinchbeck defence, Payne left side slipping Stimson in Abelite racing out of her box, just about getting there to clear. 

Pinchbeck United Ladies, Freya Peters

GOAL! Pinchbeck get hold of the ball in the middle Peters to Coupland a superb ball forwards into Friel 25 yards out a good touch seeing her skip in behind the defence to take the ball on into the area one on one with the keeper takes the shot early putting it wide of her to score 4-3.

  Pinchbeck with a good response to having fallen 2 goals behind pulling one back getting more of the play in the middle, Coupland doing well on the right. Ainsworth tackling Payne as the Park attacker aims to break into the box central a throw won high on the right. Playing conditions really difficult now the steady rain making the pitch tough to play on both sides for their part though keeping energy levels high the action not slowing down at all. Friel leading the line for Pinchbeck giving Hassock and Holcroft plenty to think about. Holcroft this time going with Friel as she gives chase to a forwards pass getting it back to Goode to kick up field. 

  Barker winning the ball back on the left for Pinchbeck sending a good ball up to Friel in attack left side cheating it down to turn into the box, Holcroft recovering quickly to slide in put the ball. Ainsworth cutting the ball out twice in quick succession in the box as Plitsch tries to fed the ball into Payne from the right.

GOAL! Friel completing her hat-trick to bring Pinchbeck back on level terms finds room out on the left as the ball is won in the middle send in low into her path escaping the Park defence closing in on the box Goode coming to close her down, Friel takes on the early shot sending the ball racing past the keeper to find the bottom corner 4-4.

19 goals for the season for Pinchbeck’s Libby Friel

   An action packed encounter the momentum back in Pinchbeck’s favour fighting back to level the scores Friel now has 19 goals from 9 played. Mott back on for Park getting up on the right a cross in near side held by Abelite. Goode saving low at her left hand post as Friel out wide fires in a shot from the angle. Smith coming back on for Barker. Brown to Fenner on the left in behind, Abelite out of her box to get her foot on the ball, the clearance straight to Stimson holding it up as players race forwards sends in from the right Abelite back across her goal holding at the near post. Coupland has ran herself into the ground picking up a knock comes off for Pinchbeck, Bradford coming back on. 

Francesca Plitsch sliding in to tackle Pinchbeck’s Annie Vayro

   Hassock just about gets her toe on the ball an outstretched leg to take the ball away from Friel inside the box as she lines up a shot, goes after it collecting on the byline to fire a ball across the face of goal, Hedley defending at the far post for Park. Green back on for Park as Payne has to come off to have a bleeding knee seen too. Ferreira Gomes fouling Fenner this time out on the left as she looks to get past her. Holcroft with the set play 30 yards out angles a shot in towards goal falls safely into Abelite’s gloves. 

 Into the final 10 minutes both sides tiring gaps opening up both intent on finding a winning goal whilst weary of making a mistake at the back. Peters gets in behind the Park defence right side of the D closing in on the box Goode coming to close the angle Peters shoots looking to put it through the keepers legs, skips up however allowing Goode to close her thighs make the save. The loose ball coming to Friel central Park defenders racing back her attempt on goal block the rebound looping back up to Gray 25 yards out left side blasts her shot wide. 

Park Ladies goalkeeper, Liv Goode

 Payne back on the field replacing Hutton. Plitsch spreading play to the right with Green finding space to get on down the line whips in a cross Abelite claiming at her near post with Fenner making a fantastic run in behind. 5 minutes left players struggling to keep up the pace now as both press on Pinchbeck get on down the right a throw high up the pitch turned on in towards the top of the area Holcroft and Hassock defending against Friel. The game stretched now end to end, Hassock tackling Friel as the ball fired into her from halfway. The result could yet go either way. 

Freya Peters clearing for Pinchbeck late on

 Park with a late corner on the right Green getting forwards the ball put in high, headed clear, Park keeping possession back to Green on the right fires in the cross, Abelite collecting it for Pinchbeck. It ends all square the points shared.

Full time Park Ladies 4-4 Pinchbeck United Ladies

 A highly entertaining match to watch fantastic for the neutral played at a good tempo both sides giving it their all in difficult playing conditions. Park the first side to take points off Pinchbeck this season. The visitors with the opening goal, Park coming back straight away a good response Pinchbeck though getting back into the lead. Park coming back late in the first half going on to get themselves into a 4-2 lead early in the 2nd period Pinchbeck’s turn to fight back quickly getting it back to 4-3 conditions sapping energy gaps appearing at the back Friel exploiting them well to get her hat-trick level it up at 4-4. Both sides searching for a late winner Goode with a couple of good saves to deny Pinchbeck. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few to give mention too from both sides hard to pick one, Holly Coupland with great work and energy on the right for Pinchbeck, Libby Friel in attack finding the space as the Park defence tired to score a well taken hat-trick. For Park, Georgia Payne in attack caused the Pinchbeck defence problems all game scoring twice. Francesca Plitsch superb in the middle covering alot of ground getting across the park to win the ball. The award though goes to Park’s Nikki Hassock had a great game at the back making several crucial and well times tackles throughout.

An enjoyable first trip to Parkfields despite the weather, good to see both sides for the first time, my thanks to both for helping me with the team details always appreciated. 

 Uncertain and worrying times ahead as the country fights the COVID-19 outbreak. Will continue to follow the advice given and not panic. Concerned of course, take care of yourselves and look out for each other.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage FC Women

Sunday 8th March

FAWNL South East Division One

No storm sweeping in across the country this weekend so for the first time in a month it was nice to make plans early get a game sorted, keen to get some action in from the FAWNL, headed to St Neots Town FC this Sunday to watch Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage FC Women. 

  Battles shaping up well at both ends of the table competitive in the top half for the title race and in the bottom half although no one wants to be there a crucial period coming up for the sides wanting to avoid relegation. The two promoted sides Kent Football United and Cambridge City Ladies positioned in the bottom two are just a couple of positive results (if they can find them) from getting clear of trouble, the sides immediately above scrapping for points themselves to keep clear of danger amongst those today’s opponents Cambridge and Stevenage. Norwich in the mix too and all the sides in the bottom five have crunch games against each other coming up.

Cambridge United WFC into the 2nd of a 4 game run against the sides in and around them. An Emma Jenkin’s goal enough to secure all 3 points away to bottom side Kent Football United last weekend lifts them up to 8th in the South East Division One table 5 points clear of the bottom two with a trio of home matches to come starting with Stevenage this afternoon, then local rivals Cambridge City and Norwich City Women at The Abbey Stadium on Weds 18th March. The women’s sides making the switch to a new ground this season now at St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium along with their Development side.

New beginnings bringing mixed fortunes, a new era of sorts an great opportunity to grow a new fan base great facilities but a change in coaching set up saw several player departures before the season started the squad smaller struggling for results early on, out of the cups early. A long period without a game more changes in management Ben Yeomans stetting up from assistant to first team coach. New faces coming in the club has never been sort of positively. The move to St Neots seeing Cambridge United unable to defend the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup this season but now within the catchment area of the Huntingtonshire FA have reached the final of the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Cup, facing St Ives Town Ladies on Thursday 23rd April at Eynesbury Rovers FC.

Stevenage FC Women themselves playing in the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup final next Sunday taking on Watford Ladies U23s for the second successive final. Will be Stevenage’s sixth consecutive County Cup final appearance and will be looking to regain the trophy from their opponents. Joining forces with the Stevenage FC Foundation this season were looking to push on become an established side in the FAWNL having recently gained promotion. Injuries a few long term and being unable to secure a main shirt sponsor hampering their season somewhat falling to 10th spot four points clear of the bottom two have been unlucky with some results scoring goals okay just conceding too many. A narrow 3-2 defeat away to Leyton Orient WFC last time out. Beat Cambridge United comfortably 4-0 in the reverse fixture back in September and have home games against the bottom two to come.

Once I’ve successfully negotiated the roadworks on the A14 at Cambridge the venue for today’s game The Premier Plus Stadium home of St Neots Town FC as well Cambridge United WFC. The entrance to the pitch through the clubhouse hot drinks available onto the stadium itself the grass pitch in great condition offering good width. Dark cloud around and quite breezy didn’t talk of much rain around but short sharp showers would be a feature of the afternoon, one before kick-off as the teams warmed up seeing an early retreat to the changing rooms. Headed to the mainstand myself but the wind blowing straight into it offered little protection. Like to be on the opposite of the pitch however and as the rain died decided to risk it.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Charlotte Crisp, Carrie Bennett, Albany Hodgson, Jemma Moore, Faith Hewitt, Gisela Otten (C), Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Amber Cantwell & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Abi Davies, Kayleigh-Anne Burt & Katie White.

Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Grace Brooks, Leah Dunnage, Gemma Biggadike, Lucy Webster, Dominique Godbeer, Cara Breckenridge, Amy Josland, Ashleigh Deacon, Tamsyn Sibanda, Amy Makewell (C) & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Charlotte McLucas, Erin Pope & Katie Knell.

Amy Butler making her debut in goal for Cambridge, new arrived from ERWFL Premier Division side Colney Heath Ladies. Allowing Albany Hodgson to rejoin the defence having donned the goalkeeping gloves herself in the last couple of matches, injuries at the back also seeing Charlotte Crisp usually operating in midfield at right back. Stevenage to kick off the first half wearing white shirts with red vertical pinstripes, red shorts and socks. Cambridge opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black sleeves black shorts and socks. Playing the ball back towards their defence Cambridge press high the ball released sent long out to the left knocked on into the box, Butler with an early touch of the ball off her line to kick clear.

 Cambridge work the ball through the middle Amber Cantwell putting it out to the right for Amy Howlett running on up the line cuts inside, Stevenage’s Leah Dunnage closing in to put in the tackle prevent a cross. Pace from both sides going forwards Stevenage come on the diagonal pass into Ashleigh Deacon on the right side, bursts on with the ball travelling into the box players rushing on through the middle to join her the ball squared along the top of the six yard box, Hodgson cutting it out for Cambridge. Deacon a threat on the right side early on getting hold of the ball taking it on fires another ball into the six yard box Nicole Emmings seeing it into her feet laying it back to captain Amy Makewell top of the area strikes it back on on target low but well seen by Butler back on her line down to save. 

Cambridge’s Amy Howlett with Stevenage captain Amy Makewell

 A lively start from both sides Faith Hewitt getting hold of the ball on halfway for Cambridge sending it up field to Emma Jenkins on the right Gemma Biggadike staying with her Jenkins forces a corner. The delivery long through the six yard box before being cleared. A crunching 50/50 ball in the middle between Stevenage’s Amy Josland and Cambridge captain Gisela Otten the rebound favouring Stevenage Emmings getting hold of it on the left jinking her way into the area Butler coming to close the angle takes it around wide on the angle shoots the ball landing in the side netting.

Cambridge United WFC captain, Gisela Otten

  Lucy Webster coming across the back line to tackle Jenkins as she gets free on the left for Cambridge. Emmings causing problems in attack for Stevenage moving out to the left head down on the ball looks to get in behind a good tackle from Crisp to regain possession. A good contest in the middle of the park, the ball closed down Cara Breckenridge this time playing the ball to Deacon on the right has Makewell giving her a run ahead of her into the box laying it into her path, Jemma Moore gets across well to lunge in front of her to take the ball away before the attacker can pull the trigger. 

Ashleigh Deacon taking the ball on for Stevenage

  Cantwell getting forwards with the ball at her feet, is brought down, the advantage played as the ball runs straight to Kelley Blanchflower she plays it across the top of the area to Jenkins left side, upended by Webster, Cambridge get the free-kick this time. Jenkins herself to take floating the ball into the area, Stevenage’s Dominique Godbeer winning the header dropping down outside the box, Cantwell after it puts her foot through the ball her strike charged down. Neither side on top getting forwards quickly Cambridge have it on the right a throw won taken quickly Cantwell laying it on up the right for Blanchflower, strong on the ball takes it in towards goal a defender on her shoulder gets a shot away the ball wide across the face of goal. 

Stevenage’s Lucy Webster

 Blanchflower seeing the ball into her feet right channel 25 yards out takes it on into the area Godbeer sliding in as she shoots the deflection seeing the ball come out to Hewitt 20 yards out top of the D strikes it first time screws it high and wide of the left post. Hewitt with a fantastic tackle to win the ball inside the Stevenage half attempts to thread it through for Blanchflower a little too much on it allows Stevenage goalkeeper, Grace Brooks to claim. Both sides looking to get their wide players on the ball Jenkins is fouled as she tries to get into the box coming in from the left. Jenkins has a go for goal a high ball presenting a danger to Brooks back on her line as it drops goalwards… but lands safely on the rook of the net. 

The ball’s there if you look for it a tricky on for Stevenage goalkeeper Grace Brooks to keep an eye on.

 

  GOAL! 19 minute played and the deadlock is broken, Stevenage getting forwards well pressure in the final third, Deacon with the ball right side takes in on towards the corner, players race on through the middle to support Deacon sends a dangerous ball into the six yard box, Hodgson falling cutting it out central sends it out towards the top of the area, straight to Amy Josland she strikes it first time getting curve on the ball sending it swerving away from the keeper into the bottom corner to give the visitors the lead 0-1. 

Amy Josland firing Stevenage into the lead.

 Stevenage lively getting forwards well Makewell giving an option drifting into the right channel the ball fed to her takes it on Moore closing her down the pair tussling for the ball Makewell fouling the free-kick going Cambridge’s way much to her annoyance. Stevenage on through the middle Sibanda inside for Josland, Hodgson intercepting and sending up field to Howlett on the right goes on finding Blanchflower ahead of her powerful with the ball at her feet holding off her marker the angle tight sends her shot into the side netting. 

  Jenkins with the ball left side Hewitt up with her inside 25 yards out gives her the ball, opens her body to clip it forwards for Blanchflower stealing in behind, Brooks down well to save at the strikers feet. Hewitt involved again winning it central her pass finding Cantwell 30 yards out right of goal takes on the shot the ball held by Brooks. Otten with a couple of challenges to slow Stevenage down before a somewhat out of control tackle by Cantwell sliding in gives the visitors a free-kick 25 yards out right of goal. Sibanda over it goes for goal her effort wide of the near post. 

Stevenage striker, Nicole Emmings

  Stevenage coming on well in the last 5 minutes getting bodies forwards pushing Cambridge back Deacon right side a corner won. A good delivery into the six yard box Otten does well to clear for Cambridge play brought back for a head injury to Hodgson. Josland in quick to win the ball, up to Emmings the striker can’t find the room to get a shot away top of the box before being crowded off the ball. A high ball played forwards into the Cambridge area awkward for Hodgson to deal with Makewell in close attention the ball bouncing, Makewell getting to it first hitting it on the angle towards the near post Butler can’t take any chances down to palm it behind for the corner. From the left inswinging into the six yard box Cantwell doing well getting there ahead of Godbeer to put it behind for a 2nd corner on the right. Another good delivery across six yard box Godbeer free this time at the back stick rising to head the ball her effort coming back off the crossbar. 

 Cantwell and Jenkins combine well through the middle for Cambridge, exchanging passes before Jenkins plays it out to Howlett on the right, takes it on Dunnage in to win the ball back for Stevenage. A good take by Brooks low in her box as Cambridge come on Cantwell into Jenkins coming in from the left her shot taking a deflection, Brooks across down to save. Biggadike gets on right side for Stevenage ahead of Deacon fires in a cross/shot towards the near post Butler keeping her eyes on it well gathered even as Emmings lunges at it in front of her. 

Charlotte Crisp getting on with the ball for Cambridge United WFC

 Cambridge picking it up in the closing minutes of the 1st half getting forwards better Hewitt winning it on for Blanchflower right of the D a good diagonal ball picks out Jenkins coming in from the left pushes it in cross the top of the six yard box looking to get a shot way just runs too far allows Godbeer to get across her and clear the ball out for a throw right side. Dropping into Blanchflower the Cambridge attacker turns and strikes the ball her effort a foot over the crossbar. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Stevenage FC Women

  Stevenage slightly edging the 1st half with a 1-0 going into the break. A competitive game a good battle going on in the middle between Cambridge’s Otten and Hewitt up agianst Stevenage’s Breckenridge and Josland. Both sides looking to get forwards quickly use the width Deacon in particular on the right, Emmings in attack showing good movement, Cantwell with good options left and right with Blanchflower up top. One goal in it the 2nd half will be no less eventful. The rain making a return at half-time the reserve umbrella up just another light shower however as the sides return to the pitch.

No changes made, Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway. A early clearance presented to Blanchflower drifting left has support from Jenkins ahead of her rolls her in her cross into the area cut out by Godbeer for Stevenage. Cambridge making a fast start to the 2nd half the ball won back high play turned around Blanchflower left sends it on towards the box, intercepted by Webster deflects off her legs straight to Cantwell inside the D has Howlett free inside the box to her right plays the pass by even as Howlett’s shot nestles in the bottom corner the whistle blows for a raised flag, offside. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Amy Howlett

Under pressure early on the ball cleared up to the left, Makewell does well to bring it down keep in play putting it back to Sibanda a good strike of the ball to send it up the wing for Emmings running in behind takes it on, Moore getting across to challenge the ball behind for a corner kick. Players come forwards a vicious ball fired in low through the six yard box Emmings lunging at it far post isn’t too far away from making a telling contact. 

Gemma Biggadike challenging Gisela Otten for the ball

 Cambridge sharper to the ball now getting their tackles in high Hewitt out for Howlett right goes on with it, Sibanda getting back to tackle her. Crisp fouled as she gets forwards on the right. The free-kick put high into the area headed clear by Godbeer, Stevenage get on he counter attack Deacon out to Emmings moving right, Moore closing down to send the ball out for a throw. The sun making an appearance a rainbow over the ground. The tempo high Cambridge coming on Cantwell clipped top of the D as she looks to get a shot away a free-kick for Cambridge, Jenkins on it hits it low strikes the wall deflected out to the left more Cambridge pressing brings a corner. The ball cleared Stevenage can’t make any head way in attack as Cambridge come straight back, Cantwell left 20 out looks to thread it into Blanchflower inside the box near post, Brooks just about gets there but a deflection sees the ball behind for a corner.

 GOAL! 56 minutes played and Cambridge equalise scoring from the corner, Cantwell to play it in a good inswinging delivery close over the goalkeeper, players attacking it beyond one of those Hewitt getting her head on the ball nodding it down into the back of the net 1-1. 

Faith Hewitt with the header to put Cambridge United WFC level

  Stevenage with a quick response coming close to retaking the lead within seconds of the restart, the ball into Deacon right side hits it on the run her strike clipping the crossbar. Stevenage come again another effort at goal stabbed wide by Josland from 25 yards out. Blanchflower making some great runs in attack for Cambridge now clear to the right takes the ball on into the corner options limited nevertheless spots Hewitt positioned inside the D sends the ball racing into her Hewitt not quite able to connect. Otten with a strong challenge breaking up a Stevenage attack the visitors frustrated now not getting the ball into their attackers as easily as they did first half. 

Amy Josland in to tackle Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins

  Sibanda with some good tackling left side for Stevenage looking to get on up the field attempts to thread a pass through for Emmings in behind but Butler with a good starting position can get there first to claim. Blanchflower fouled on the left a free-kick awarded. Cantwell to deliver put in close to the keeper, Jenkins up with her Brooks gloving the ball up onto the bar before it goes over. A lively contest both sides going for it Stevenage’s Emmings shows good control on the ball to work it out to Deacon to her left, Moore coming in to close down with a good challenge. 

Cambridge’s Amber Cantwell

 Sibanda getting up to support the attack on the left on to Emmings comes inside striking the ball from 20 yards out, Crisp sticking out a leg getting in the block for Cambridge. Sibanda staying up high left winning a throw keeps the attack alive turning inside to get another shot away again Crisp is there to block near post. Stevenage with a good spell of pressure Emmings has it left on the by-line strong to turn inside sends a cross into the six yard box Makewell there gets a touch the ball send wide at the far post. Stevenage make the first change of the match bringing on Katie Knell for Breckenridge as the rain starts to fall again 20 minutes left to play.

Charlotte Crisp getting a leg out to block Emmings shot

  GOAL! Cambridge regain possession in the middle Hewitt on for Blanchflower left channel sends it on for Jenkins racing away down the wing she fires in a fierce ball into the far post Brooks down to save gloves it away loose out to the top of the box, Blanchflower racing in first to it strikes it hard arrowing into the goal beyond 2-1.

Cambridge striker Kelley Blanchflower holding off Stevenage’s Tamsyn Sibanda

 Stevenage make a 2nd change straight away Erin Pope comes on for Biggadike. Cambridge on the attack good work from Otten winning it central puts it to Blanchflower moving left down the line her ball into the box finds its way through to Howlett, doesn’t get a clean strike of the ball, sliced wide. Cambridge make their first change with Katie White coming on for Jenkins. Pope with a snapshot 20 yards out as the ball is deflected into her path sends it wide of goal. Stevenage pushing players on risk leaving gaps at the back Blanchflower ready to exploit the ball over the top seeing her clear through the middle, Brooks comes out of her area attempting to win the race not quick enough Blanchflower attempts to put it past her fortune favours the keeper as it strikes her legs.

  Crisp taking a quick free-kick up to Blanchflower inside the box Godbeer on her shoulder let of goal manages to get a shot away deflected across the face of goal Howlett retrieving right side puts back in Webster intercepting for Stevenage. Cantwell winning a corner for Cambridge on the right puts in another good delivery Hewitt further out winning the header on target down, cleared on the line by Sibanda. Stevenage with a free-kick on halfway the ball finding Pope top of the D gets a snapshot away blasts it wide of the right post. A third change for Stevenage as Godbeer comes off on comes Charlotte McLucas to make her first team debut. 

Stevenage’s Erin Pope in to tackle Cambridge’s Amy Howlett late on

 Hodgson closing down Emmings to concede a throw as the Stevenage attacker looks to get on right side into the box. A few strong challenges coming in late on both sides giving as good as they get Stevenage keen to get on with the clock running down, Cambridge battling to hold onto their lead. The game heading into stoppage time play frantic, Sibanda tackling Howlett puts it inside to Makewell can’t shake off Otten.

  Cambridge trying to get it down into the corners, easier said than done, Hewitt into Blanchflower, Sibanda closing her down to regain possession doesn’t stick up top, Cantwell cleans out Sibanda as she looks to carry it out on the left, earning her the first yellow card of the game. Into the final minute Crisp bringing the ball on rolled into Blanchflower held up in the Stevenage final 3rd no time to mount one last attack as the final whistle blows and Cambridge win another valuable 3 points.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 2-1 Stevenage FC Women 

 Cambridge with back to back wins 6 points seeing them pull further clear of the battle at the bottom, Stevenage now very much in it losing today and seeing Cambridge City Ladies win at home to Norwich the 2nd bottom side closing the gap to just a point. Several crucial games to come. A good first half from Stevenage starting well and stayed on the front foot through out the first 45 minutes taking the lead and creating several good opportunities. Cambridge not out of it by any means with chances of their own. The 2nd half very much Cambridge’s started well he pressure paying off equalising from a corner then going onto take the lead with 20 minutes left. Stevenage make then work hard for the 3 points an intriguing contest, Stevenage had chances to level.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few performances of note and a tough one to decide who gets the award. For Stevenage, Ashleigh Deacon was a threat going forwards on the right and Nicole Emmings showed great movement and presence in attack. Tamsyn Sibanda with some fantastic challenges especially 2nd half. For Cambridge Jemma Moore with some timely tackles at the back. Amber Cantwell with good movement and passing spot on from her corners. Kelley Blanchflower in attack always available making good runs creating goal scoring opportunities. Now it gets tough really the final two are neck and neck for me but have to pick one, Faith Hewitt was fantastic in the middle for Cambridge great tackling and good runs forwards supporting the attack, the award though goes to Charlotte Crisp not usually at right back but had an excellent game made several important tackles and blocks.

An enjoyable trip to the Premier Plus Stadium this Sunday, my thanks to both sides for the team details. Will be seeing Stevenage again next Sunday in the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

Wednesday 4th March

Cambridge City Ladies v Histon Ladies

  The first of this season’s Cup Finals this Wednesday night in the East, the Cambridgeshire Women’s S-Tech Insurance Invitation Cup this season being contested between Cambridge City Ladies & Histon Ladies.

  The Invitation Cup Final being hosted for the 2nd season at The Abbey Stadium home of Cambridge United FC the counties leading club. Women’s football growing in Cambridgeshire the two county divisions the Premiership and Championship seeing a rapid growth this season. Women’s and girls football in Cambridgeshire supported by S-Tech Insurance along association now into it’s 13th year sponsoring tonight’s final.

  The holders of the cup however not taking part this season, Cambridge United WFC dominating the competition on recent season’s moving to a new ground this season St Neots Town FC which falls under the Huntingdonshire FA umbrella they themselves launching an inaugural Women’s Cup this season, that final to be contested by Cambridge United WFC and St Ives Town Ladies. Unable to defend the trophy the opportunity to win silverware going to a new face?

  Well not so new in Cambridge City Ladies case as they won the trophy two season’s back beating rivals Cambridge United WFC, the pair dominating the final recently as Cambridge City Ladies rose rapidly through the women’s football pyramid, reaching the FAWNL. Have an equally ambitious Development side new to regional football this season topping the table in ERWFL Division One North and new for this season too a third side Cambridge City Ladies A competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership. Reaching the final of the Invitation Cup yet again it is a distraction from their league woes Cambridge City struggling for points 2nd bottom of FAWNL South East Division One with some crucial games coming up, the chance of winning silverware tonight an excellent opportunity with the added incentive of possibly inspiring the team for tough games to come.

  Histon Ladies reaching the Invitation Cup for the first time, although themselves were familiar opponents for Cambridge United… then Cambridge Women before Cambridge City came along. Back then were know as Great Shelford Ladies. That name consigned to history now as the club joined forces with Histon FC and getting good support playing at the club’s Glassworld Stadium are looking to grow become a strong force for women’s football in Cambridgeshire adding a youth section, the 1st team competing in ERWFL Division One North, a Reserves side coming in too to bolster the 1st team playing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership have made it a cup final double by reaching the Junior Invitation Cup Final, where it could yet be a copy of this evenings final with Cambridge City Ladies A meeting Newmarket Town Women Development in the other semi-final. As well as reaching the Invitation Cup Final, Histon are also into the last four of the ERWFL Plate competition.

Road the the Final

  Both Cambridge City Ladies and Histon Ladies receiving a bye in the 1st Round of this season’s Invitation Cup progressing to the 2nd Round/Quarter Finals. Cambridge City Ladies were drawn away to Premiership side March Town United Ladies a gap of 4 leagues between the pair. Karly Tolentino joining Cambridge City this season netting a hat-trick as the FAWNL won through to the semi-finals 8-0. Histon Ladies were at home taking on Cambridge Women’s Premiership side and amongst the early table toppers Leverington Sports Ladies a potentially tricky tie, goals from Sydney Graham, Poppy Kelly, Siobhan White and Alison Wright saw Histon safely through winning 4-1.

  Onto the semi-finals Cambridge City Ladies were drawn at home to ERWFL Division One North side, Newmarket Town Women. The tie hit by the recent storms eventually switched to Newmarket’s 3G playing surface to complete. Giving up home advantage not affecting Cambridge City, Tolentino on target for another goal along with one each for Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing and Beatrice Fitzsimons returning from injury seeing them through 4-1 to this Wednesday’s final. Histon Ladies were away to Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds in the semi-finals of the competition. The Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side taking the lead from the penalty spot on 17 minutes. Histon coming back to level the scores through Poppy Kelly in the 44th minute went 2-1 up on the stroke of half-time as Kelly fired home her 2nd of the game. Fulbourn coming back to level it at 2-2 on the hour. Histon retaking the lead from a corner in the 69th minute Lauren Martin heading in at the near post. The cup final spot secured in the final minute Kelly clipped inside the box, Alison Wright putting the ball into the back of the net.

  A special occasion for both sides this evening getting to play at The Abbey Stadium the main stand open. hot food and drink available. A good crowd building. The pitch in good shape offering plenty of width the surface slickened up as rain began to fall and hour of so before kick-off falling lightly under the floodlights as the two sides were lead out onto the pitch by referee Stacey Fullicks. 

Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Laura Mills & Karly Tolentino. Subs – Becky Langthorpe, Beatrice Fitzsimons & Shannon Shaw.

Histon Ladies

 Histon Ladies starting XI – Eleanor Morgan Abby Laughlin, Georgia Huse, Amie Flack, Tessa Shaw, Sophie Lanham (C), Alison Wright, Lauren Martin, Abi Davies, Kirsty Geal & Poppy Kelly. Subs- Kaya Haq, Rebekah Fisk, Sophie Lanham, Tara Fitzjohn & Siobhan White.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Cambridge City to get this season’s Invitation Cup Final underway kicking of 1st half, wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Histon opposite lined up wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts. The ball played back to the defence captain Becca Fay sending it out to the right Charlotte Gillies on the flank bursting forwards, Georgie Huse in to defend for Histon the ball out for a throw. Cambridge quickly into their stride the ball out to the wings Gillies right and Freya Standing left looking to get on.

 Cambridge come right a throw won high up the pitch working down the line the cross into the box cleared straight to Laura Mills positioned inside the D, free opts to thread the ball low into the six yard box rather than take a strike herself, Amie Flack cutting it out clearing for Histon. Cambridge win the ball back central out to Gillies right down the line pace a cross whipped in near post Mills with the run, Histon goalkeeper, Eleanor Morgan in ahead of her to gather. 

Barely 3 minutes on the clock Histon on the back foot played the ball to their right, Lauren Tomlinson at left back winning it for Cambridge sending the ball on for Standing who has Karly Tolentino making a great run into the channel ahead of her, taking the ball on into the box Tolentino strikes it well from close range rising evades Morgan smashed into the top of the post beyond. Relentless from Cambridge as they win a corner left side the ball coming in low near post Morgan forwards taking it cleanly in her gloves despite a Cambridge attack lunging in in front of her.

Cambridge City Ladies, Freya Standing with Histon’s Abby Laughlin

  Histon need to get hold of the ball in the middle, Alison Wright does just that the ball played high into the box, Cambridge goalkeeper Dominika Szary catching it high under pressure from her left. Cambridge with the ball in the net on 6 minutes as Mills comes away with it on the right side fires in a low cross for Tolentino breaking on to the near post sides foots in across the keeper, but won’t count the flag up against her for offside.

  Cambridge moving the ball quickly Hannah Bodily to Sofia Castiglione in the middle of the park out to Standing on the left, jinks inside but is tackled by Histon’s Abby Laughlin. Played into the middle captain Sophie Lanham on for Wright looks to thread it between the Cambridge centre backs with Poppy Kelly breaking in behind, however Szary is quickly out of her area to sen the ball up field. A free-kick for Cambridge on the left Tomlinson to delivery sent in towards the top of the area, cleared by Histon looking to break sent out to the left wing Kirsty Geal looking to get hold of it take on the full back, Cambridge’s Amy Reed though with a good tackle to halt the advance. 

 Cambridge getting joy in the wings Gillies getting forwards on the right a corner kick won, players up from the back the ball sent in high near post Morgan getting a touch behind for a 2nd corner, this one short up the line to Bodily floats the ball into the six yard box, Morgan rising well to claim the ball. Lauren Martin onto the ball central for Histon releases Kelly in attack right channel in turn out to Abi Davies high on the wing, Histon getting a throw near the corner flag, Wright up towards the edge of the box to receive the ball down into her feet holding off her marker well turns to put in a cross near post Kelly in close meeting it sends her shot up over the bar.

  Reed bringing the ball on right side for Cambridge, played on into Gillies takes on the first time strike on the angle, Morgan down throwing herself into the dive to push the ball behind for a corner kick. The corner taken short again the ball lifted in towards the far post Davies up well to defend for Histon. Play end to end suddenly Histon coming on the pass finding Davies racing on right side her diagonal ball aimed into Kelly’s path, Szary racing out to the edge of her area to launch up field turns into a fantastic ball with Gillies running in behind surges on with the ball into the box, Huse with a great last ditch challenge sliding in to take the ball away. 

  Tolentino making some fantastic runs up top in attack for Cambridge, not staying on any single Histon defender hard to track gets on the move left to right towards the near side as Gillies gets hold of the ball right wing sends her in on goal gets her shot off early beating Morgan coming to close the angle the shot though narrowly wide across goal. Tomlinson making a strong tackle for Cambridge getting hold of the ball put down the left a throw won high, Tomlinson forwards to take has a long throw in her armoury put onto Tolentino’s chest inside the area brought down well.

  GOAL! 22 minutes played and Cambridge take the lead, Tolentino with a powerful run into the box left of goal half a yard clear, Tessa Shaw sliding in to make the challenge gets some of the ball but more of Tolentino as she attempts to close in on goal, the referee pointing to the spot. Shaw yellow carded. Tolentino picking herself up to take it struck well low and hard into the bottom left corner 1-0.

Karly Tolentino opening the scoring from the penalty spot for Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge piling forwards Tolentino lively up top all over the place Morgan exposed as she runs out to the ball right side, can’t pick up edge of the box, Gillies closing in taking the ball past her, Huse getting back to make the challenge clear the threat for Histon. Tolentino moves away to the left Tomlinson on the ball forwards for Standing into Tolentino she goes on towards the area twisting and turning on the ball before getting a high cross away into the six yard box, Huse with a strong header the clear not perturbed by Gillies in close attention. 

 Cambridge very close to being awarded a 2nd penalty the foul mere inches from being inside the box, Tolentino clipped the set-piece left of the D, Castiglione on it a curling shot clearing the wall an excellent save from Morgan back on her goal line tipping it over the bar. Morgan saving well from the resulting corner.

Histon goalkeeper Eleanor Morgan tipping Sofia Castiglione’s free-kick over the bar

 GOAL! Cambridge double their lead with the half hour fast approaching Histon trying to get on up the left the ball lost put down the line into Mills breaking in behind to fizz in a dangerous cross into the six yard box, Histon cut out but don’t clear, Tolentino latching onto the ball shifts it inside to give herself room and blasts it in from close range for her 2nd of the game 2-0.

Karly Tolentino with 2 goals in this evening’s Invitation Cup Final

  Martin does well in midfield for Histon closing in well to take the ball on Davies available to her left squares it in field to Wright 25 yards out central closed down quickly by Castiglione who ends up being awarded the free-kick. Laughlin doing well at the back getting across Standing inside the box left to shield he ball back to Morgan. Playing the ball out from the back Shaw onto Lanham, Histon’s captain aims her pass for Kelly in attack moving left to right, Fay intercepting for Cambridge setting up a quick counter attack. Wright pushing on a bit now from midfield to support the attack for Histon plays it left to Geal is tackled well by Reed. 

 Cambridge quick to turn play around all through the first half get the ball on deep over the top for Tolentino clear left side her cross field ball into the box aimed towards Mills coming in far post, Huse defending for Histon. Davies on the ball right side for Histon travels up the wing cutting infield past Tomlinson towards the box runs onto Ceri Flye the Cambridge centre back winning the ball. Histon able to come on better in the latter stages of the first half Cambridge dealing well at the back won inside the D the ball sent forwards quickly Tolentino available for the pass moving left brings it under control races forwards comes inside travelling across the top of the Histon area, not challenged into the D strikes the shot the ball whipping up over the crossbar.

Histon’s Abi Davies with Cambridge’s Lauren Tomlinson

  Histon chances rare can’t get the ball to stick up top Kelly making some good runs but Geal and Davies are being checked well by Tomlinson and Reed at the back for Cambridge. Wright coming from the middle looking the most likely to make something happen. Risk being hit on the counter Cambridge playing the ball on into Mills central out wide left to Standing gets to the by-line whipping in a cross rising near post Tolentino there attempts to flick it of her boot wide of the keeper but puts it straight into Morgan’s gloves. 

  Late into the 1st half and Szary is called into action to make a save for Cambridge Histon getting hold of the ball in the final 3rd from a goalkick, Wright getting a shot away from around 25 yards left of the D hit low with pace Szary down well to her left to get herself behind the ball. Cambridge bring the ball forwards creating another opportunity late in the half put on down the right into Mills sends it diagonally into the box for Standing forwards left side bearing forwards is closed down by Laughlin and Flack to block the shot. 

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies

  The half-time whistle blows and Cambridge head into the changing room’s under the mainstand leading the Invitation Cup Final 2-0. On top right from the start their pace a movement causing Histon problem’s especially down the wings Standing and Gillies getting forwards at will along with Tolentino through the middle has drifted left and right finding space to exploit. Numerous chances before opening the scoring could be out of sight but for Morgan making a couple of vital saves for Histon, their chances few and far between but at 2 nil are far from out of it need an improved performance 2nd half but the risk is as they search for a reply further gaps open at the back mustn’t concede early you feel.

Sophie Lanham heading the ball clear for Histon Ladies

A triple change for Cambridge at the start of the 2nd half, Becky Langthorpe on to replace Reed at the back, Beatrice Fitzsimons on for Castiglione along with Shannon Shaw going up to replacing Standing with Tolentino moving to the left. Histon to get the 2nd period underway go long straight from the off, the ball off target inside the box Szary out to get hold of the ball. A much quieter start to the 2nd half Histon looking to make progress right side the ball inside dealt with by Fay for Cambridge.

Cambridge City Ladies captain, Becca Fay

Cambridge break away on the left the ball rolled on for Mills to take into her stride carries it inside before firing a crossfield ball into the box picking out Gillies bursting forwards on the right hits her strike early the ball fizzing wide at the near post. 

GOAL! A blow for Histon 5 minutes into the 2nd half as they are caught on the break by Cambridge. Initially winning a free-kick players forwards as Flack delivers the ball in towards the top of the area Cambridge defend and get straight on the offensive Gillies in the clear on the right the ball fired into her takes it on into the Histon box near post closing in on the keeper shoots low pass Morgan in at the near post 3-0.

Charlotte Gillies bearing down on the Histon goal.

Histon respond making a triple change of their own and a formation change too switching to 3 at the back off come Laughlin, Huse and Shaw on to the field enter Kaya Haq, Sophie Hopkin and Siobhan White. Wright into the defence along side Davies and Flack. A good response from Histon to going 3 down get forwards right side a throw won high up the pitch the ball crossed into the box, Kelly wriggling free inside the box gets a shot away puts it straight at Szary the keeper claiming. Kelly with another attempt moments later from 25 yards out as Histon quickly regain position in the middle the shot though finds Szary back on her line. 

Histon’s Tessa Shaw tackling Cambridge’s Beatrice Fitzsimons

 Davies keeping close tabs on Tolentino out wide she manages to squeeze the ball into Mills central, Shaw providing the run through the middle in behind, the pass put forwards too much on it Morgan able to advance off her line and collect. Martin lays it forwards for Hopkin has White to her right feeds the ball into her, Tomlinson in well to regain possession for Cambridge. Winning a corner on the left taken short up the line once more the cross sent in from deep, Morgan rising well at her near post to catch. 

  Histon getting forwards better now though the middle quickly players forwards to support Kelly in attack the striker put through into the box left of goal her shot charged down by Flye the deflection coming straight to Hopkin positioned top of the D lines up a shot fired in a deflection sending it wide of the post. Lanham in to win the ball in the centre circle pushes it into Hopkin 25 yards out goes to shoot Flye closing her down putting in the block. Histon looking sharper now but as they come forward risk being hit on the counter more. 

Ceri Flye tackling to win the ball back for Cambridge City

 Geal coming forwards left side finds some space as White plays the crossfield pass into her goes on down the line, Langthorpe recovering well to get back on her lung in to make the tackle. Haq defending against Gillies right side as she gathers the ball and charges on. 

GOAL! The final 20 minutes fast approaching and Cambridge get on the scoresheet wit a 4th goal Mills onto the ball out right side playing it in across goal, Shaw closing in central can’t quite get it on the volley as she ends up off the pitch past the right post, wanders back on as Tolentino gathers left side does well to beat a couple of players wriggle free to fizz it back across goal Shaw there unmarked to put into the empty net as it evades Morgan covering the angle 4-0.

 Histon come forwards Geal clear left side the pass into her feet plays it inside for Kelly 20 yards out takes aim her shot dropping wide of goal. Histon make another change Rebekah Fisk on for Lanham. Good work between Hopkin, Martin and Geal left side for Histon coming forwards the pass into Kelly, Cambridge defending top of the area. Geal coming off as Histon send on Tara Fitzjohn with 10 minutes to play.

GOAL! Cambridge win the ball in the middle rolled on for Gillies right holds it up her touch bringing her inside, Mills racing into the space vacated on the wing Gillies playing her in she puts in an early cross, Flack in to clear the ball taking an unfortunate deflection off Wright sending Shaw running clear into the area to place the ball wide of the keeper 5-0.

GOAL! A sixth goal coming soon after, Tolentino and Tomlinson combining out on the left Cambridge closing down the ball well, pushed up Flye onto it playing a fantastic through ball low along the ground for Mills central top of the area t break through onto goal and put her shot to the keeper right into the corner of the net 6-0.

  Mills with plenty of pace late on plays the ball to Standing back on on the right for Gillies, Haq closing her down putting the ball out for a corner. Tolentino coming off Gillies back on. The corner headed up at the near post across the six yard box cleared far side straight to Castiglione top of the D strikes it back in finds it’s way through on target skipping up off the surface but Szary right behind it. Another corner for Cambridge left side taken short up the line before the cross is flung into the box, knocked down straight to a Cambridge player the shot fired wide. 

 Into added time Cambridge finishing strong Mills coming onto the ball left side 25 out turns inside her marker to get a shot away the ball racing wide out at the far post. The final whistle blows and Cambridge City Ladies win this season’s Invitation Cup Final.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 6-0 Histon Ladies

   Cambridge with a god start to the match on the front foot from the off chances created Standing and Gillies getting free on the flanks Tolentino through the middle leading the attack well. Histon not getting much joy in attack themselves finding themselves 2-0 down at the break. Cambridge getting into a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd half Histon made changes to personnel and formation bringing them more joy in the final third, Cambridge though a constant danger on the counter attack defending well. A 4th goal sealing the victory with 20 minutes left 2 late goals making the result comfortable. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few to mention Cambridge featuring Charlotte Gillies getting on well right side always available. Laura Mills with some fantastic runs too. Lauren Tomlinson superb at the back with a fantastic performance, edging it for myself however is attacker Karly Tolentino played brilliantly especially in the first half her runs well timed a real threat Histon struggled to cope with winning and scoring the penalty and putting Cambridge into a 2 goal lead going a long way to securing the cup.

Cambridge City Ladies 2019/20 Invitation Cup Winners

Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.

An enjoyable trip to The Abbey Stadium, a good atmosphere, an entertaining final, my thanks to Cambridgeshire FA for the hospitality in particular Chris Abbott and to both teams for getting those all important team details and to Gary Reed for to photo’s does a fantastic job helping to promote the game. One final down plenty more to come. 

 

Match Report – King’s Lynn Town Ladies v Gorleston Ladies

Sunday 1st March

ERWFL Division One North

Left it late again this Sunday before deciding where to go to watch a match another storm front breaking yet more rain in affecting the fixture lists once again, spoilt for choice of course so when one game falls by the way side there are plenty more to choose from so kept it local in the finish a sort journey west along the A47 into King’s Lynn to watch King’s Lynn Town Ladies play fellow Norfolk side Gorleston Ladies in ERWFL Division One North. 

In anticipation of their fixture being under threat and with no games for 3 weeks King’s Lynn Town Ladies made the switch onto 3G at Lynn Sport just behind their usually Riverlane venue. King’s Lynn Town Ladies are enjoying a strong season in the league an established side in the ERWFL now are looking to push on challenge for the title and with it promotion into the Premier Division itself. Got off to a slow start however losing their opening 2 league fixtures. Recovered well going onto win 6 in a row to propel themselves up into 2nd spot in the table. That run brought to an end by a narrow 3-2 loss to current leaders Cambridge City Ladies Development. The newcomers 4 points clear at the top a question mark over whether they would take promotion themselves or not, might well depend of where their 1st team finishes their season should they win the title even if King’s Lynn don’t overhaul them in the run in 2nd position could be crucial.

Captain Becky Russell at the heart of their midfield top scoring for King’s Lynn with 11 goals so far this season with strikers Tiffany Forshaw and Emma Corbyn both on 8 goals. The club bringing in several young players to join the squad recently adding energy and additional talent to an experienced side. Have lost a couple at the back to long term injury but otherwise can name a full squad for today’s match with 5 available from the bench. A narrow 2-1 win away for King’s Lynn when the two sides met in the reverse fixture at the start of 2020.

  Gorleston Ladies are newcomers to the ERWFL themselves this season like King’s Lynn applying for promotion off the back of a 3rd placed finish in Norfolk Women’s Division One. One of four new sides in Division One North this season along with leaders Cambridge City Ladies and Suffolk sides East Bergholt United Ladies and Needham Market Women. A rapid rise through the county set-up winning 3 successive promotions. The ERWFL the next step up. Have found it tough at the higher level adrift at the bottom of the table losing all 8 league games played so far. A mixed bag of results several narrow defeats and some big losses, looking to improve, Jason Croft standing down as manager, Sophie Gillett has taken on the role as player/manager. The women’s side well supported by Gorleston FC remain in good spirits despite the lack of points so far. Won’t be easy this afternoon however as Gorleston travel across the county with just the bare 11 available no one on the bench a few carrying knocks and some out of position.

   The game today played a Lynn Sports 3G pitch a popular sporting facility to the north of the town, my first visit to the place a hive of activity. Despite all the rain Sunday bright the sky blue a few clouds around. Very chilly mind a keen wind that was quite strong blowing from one end of the pitch to the other. The pitch a good size a viewing area to one side.

 King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Robinson, Lily Porter, Shanice Burch, Georgia Freeman, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Tegan Wheeler, Becky Russell (C), Deva Rawlings, Rachel Skinner, Nikita Morris & Tiffany Forshaw. Subs – Oksana Imanalijeva, Millie Hopkisson, Rhian Ellis, Zara O’Neill & Emma Corbyn.

 Gorleston Ladies starting XI – Brianne Dyer, Hayley Muir (C), Abbie King, Chantelle King, Leanne Muffett, Kelly Allen, Sophie Gillett, Nicola Sheldrake, Tia Roberts, Hannah Chamberlain & Laura Atkinson.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 King’s Lynn to get the match underway kicking off 1st half wearing blue shirts and shorts with yellow trim with yellow and blue socks. Gorleston playing in an all green kit. The ball put back to captain Becky Russell she plays the pass forwards looking for lily Porter making a run on the left cleared by Gorleston captain Hayley Muir at right back the ball intercepted 30 yards out by King’s Lynn’s Nikita Morris right of the D plays it on into the path for Tiffany Forshaw running into the area, Abbie King closing on her shoulder in to challenge prevent the shot coming in.

  Russell getting hold of the ball in the middle has options ahead of her runners right and left aims her pass out to Forshaw coming inside from the left, the ball cut out by King at the back. King’s Lynn lively early on getting bodies forwards, Tegan Wheeler in the middle on for Deva Rawlings the ball put out wide right Rachel Skinner taking it on turning to get inside her marker flashing a ball in across the face of goal. 

 Sophie Gillett picking up the ball in the middle strong a she carries on on holding off Russell before sending it on for Hannah Chamberlain making herself available on the right channel, Georgia Freeman standing her ground not letting the attacker get inside her. Brianne Dyer called into action to make the save in the Gorleston goal as King’s Lynn get on down the left Morris on the ball cutting inside to shoot. 

Hannah Chamberlain looking to hook the ball forwards for Gorleston

 A corner given as Russell’s shot from the top of the area takes a nick on it’s way wide following good work from Skinner on the right. The corner in high near side headed up by Morris, drops back down for her to hit first time her effort blocked inside the six yard box deflected out to Porter left side she fires it back in another block before Gorleston scramble it away. King’s Lynn on the front foot, Gorleston pressing well in the middle of the park but the ball coming back too often

 GOAL! The early pressure telling as King’s Lynn open the scoring, Wheeler getting on down the right Leanne Muffett closing in to tackle the ball running on into the corner Skinner after it into the corner getting control and firing the ball in across the face of goal to find it’s way inside at the far post 1-0.

Rachel Skinner with the opening goal for King’s Lynn

  An error at the back bringing Gorleston a bit of respite at the back as they win a corner can’t capitalise from the set piece, Gillett though doing well to prevent King’s Lynn mounting a rapid counter attack. Wheeler laying the pass forwards for Forshaw running left channel under pressure a defender on her shoulder pokes her shot wide. Gillett looking to make things happen through the middle for Gorleston the ball put on for Chamberlain right her touch heavy allowing King’s Lynn defender Shanice Burch the opportunity to clear the ball out for a throw. 

 GOAL! King’s Lynn double their lead inside the opening 20 minutes Skinner carrying the ball forwards on the right down to the by-line players coming forwards through the middle the winger does well jinking inside to play it back towards the top of the box for Russell to strike her low drive blocked at the near post may have even struck Morris forwards inside the six yard box, either way Morris is sharpest to react latching onto the ball and tuning into the shot to smash it high into the roof of the net 2-0.

Nikita Morris on target for King’s Lynn’s 2nd goal

  King’s Lynn winning the ball looking to get forwards as quickly as possible players making good runs Porter left side taking the ball in looking to thread it through in behind for Forshaw, Muir getting her foot on the pass deflecting it towards King to launch up field. Bryony Robinson dealing with a cross fire in from the left as Gillett goes on from a Tia Roberts pass, the hosts break quickly the ball forwards into Forshaw left channel bringing the ball down bursts into the box and angle closing quickly at the near post looks to lift the ball over the keeper, Dyer gloves up pushing the ball up and catching safely. 

King’s Lynn defender Georgia Freeman

  Skinner blasts a shot wide as a defensive clearance falls to her. Russell lining up a strike from distance the ball smashing against the crossbar. Forshaw inside the box left holding off defenders puts her shot wide. King’s Lynn on top Gorleston on the back foot defending unable to get the ball up to Chamberlain and Laura Atkinson in attack. A double switch for King’s Lynn Porter and Wheeler off on come Oksana Imanalijeva and Millie Hopkisson. Forshaw and Russell combine in front of the box for King’s Lynn going forwards Chantelle King with a superb tackle on Russell to win the ball back for Gorleston. 

  Muir blocks inside the box as Imanalijeva brings a diagonal ball down from the right. Gillett with another powerful run through the middle, tackled by Rawlings, Russell takes the ball on aiming to release Forshaw early in behind, Dyer out of her box early winning the race for the ball. Forshaw a threat on the left in attack touching the ball on into the area shoots across the keeper the ball striking the base of the far post out towards the right Morris racing onto it opens her body up to place her shot low, Dyer on her line saving with her legs before the ball is cleared. Forshaw frustrated so far as she sees another effort at goal fly over the ball from inside the D.

King’s Lynn’s Deva Rawlings

 Forshaw off for a rest on come Emma Corbyn in attack. The substitute with a chance straight away forcing a save from Dyer down low to her left to push the ball away. Relentless from King’s Lynn, Gorleston losing possession in the final 3rd have to get back quickly King’s Lynn rushing on Imanalijeva sending a shot wide across the face of goal as she gets free on the left.

GOAL! Five minutes left to play in the 1st half and King’s Lynn further extend their lead, Russell with a burst of pace travelling withe the ball getting on down the right squaring it near post into the path of Corbyn to strike home from 8 yards out 3-0.

  Gorleston with a rare attack Roberts up with Gillett on the left first winning a throw high and then a corner kick. The delivery in near side cushioned down latched onto by Chantelle King getting her foot over the ball striking it wide of goal.

 GOAL! Out of no where Gorleston have a goal back and a superb shot it is too. The visitors winning the ball back high, Gillett central onto it 25 yards out catching it on the half volley a spectacular strike angling away from the keeper Robinson with no chance to stop it 3-1. 

Sophie Gillett with a fantastic strike for Gorleston

 GOAL! Almost immediately after they’ve scored however Gorleston concede a 4th goal. Desperately unlucky for Dyer but great persistence from King’s Lynn as they press forwards, Hopkisson with a shot from inside the box right Dyer with a superb double stop gloving her effort away they a follow up strike from the right the ball down in the six yard box Hopkisson racing in on the follow-up quickest to it smashing it past keeper at close range 4-1.

 The woodwork struck again as Hopkisson and Skinner combine on the right for King’s Lynn. Hopkisson again on the ball with a first time hit inside the D as the ball comes in front the left struck over the bar. Russell coming forwards working the ball on with support from Imanalijeva on to Corbyn inside the box her first touch giving Dyer the opportunity to step forwards and claim the ball. Russell away left side sending a deep cross in towards the far side Morris onto it hits the shot blocked by Muffett full in the face a painful one a bloody nose has to come off for treatment Gorleston down to 10.

Nicole Sheldrake bringing the ball on for Gorleston

 King’s Lynn constantly first the any 2nd ball never a moments let off for Gorleston battling hard but their opponents keep coming Morris running into the box from the right, Chantelle King lunging in to tackle, Morris with a 2nd bite at the cherry fires into the side netting. Nicola Sheldrake able to bring the ball on for Gorleston right side on for Gillett her pass on to Chamberlain holding it up outside the box can’t pick out Atkinson as Burch closes her down.

Half-time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 4-1 Gorleston Ladies

  The first half ends with King’s Lynn leading 4-1 have dominated play from start to finish creating a host of chances getting into a early lead moving the ball well players providing great runs all over the park getting forwards well always an option for the player on the ball. Gorleston working hard but on the back foot haven’t had any meaningful possession and the ball is coming back all too quickly getting a goal back with just their 2nd attempt on goal giving them some hope but short lived King’s Lynn able to rotate their players keeping energy levels high.

  Gorleston the get the 2nd half underway the wind at King’s Lynn’s back now have made a three changes Forshaw back on for Morris, Rhian Ellis on for Skinner on the right and Zara O’Neill on to make her debut replacing Hopkins-Duckhouse. Straight away the hosts have Gorleston under pressure Russell on for Corbyn, Muffett defending. Muffett one more as on Forshaw inside the box doing enough to see the striker put her shot wide as Ellis puts the cross in from the wing.

GOAL! An early goal for King’s Lynn at the start of the 2nd half a heavy blow for Gorleston. Forshaw with the run and shot from the left the shot stinging the keepers gloves falls down to Hopkisson racing in near post to blast in from 6 yards out 5-1.

Millie Hopkisson getting King’s Lynn off to a fast start in the 2nd half with her 2nd of the game

GOAL! Not one but 2 quick fore goals at the start of the 2nd half as Forshaw causes mayhem on the left once again driving on to fire in a low cross to the near post Corbyn to it first inside the six yards box clipping it up back across the keeper Dyer unlucky getting a touch on it but so close had no chance to set herself 6-1.

 All King’s Lynn at the start of the 2nd half pushing on through the middle, Russell firing a 25 yard drive wide of the right post, Forshaw with an effort put over from the left. Ellis skipping free on the right playing a cross in towards Hopkisson top of the area striking across the ball, Dyer with a fine save. 

Becky Russell holding off the tackle by Gorleston’s Kelly Allen

  King’s Lynn have the ball in the back of the net again this one though ruled out for offside. The hosts bringing the ball on O’Neill getting forwards to support Forshaw inside the box left of goal players going forwards, Forshaw striking the ball Dyer saving gloving the ball forwards Corbyn racing onto it burying it into the back of the net but it won’t count the flag up against her.

 Robinson has had little to do up the other end comes racing out of her box as Gillett manages to feed the ball through for Chamberlain. Forshaw coming on left side sends a shot into the side netting.

GOAL! King’s Lynn soon have a 7th goal and it’s a goal on her debut for O’Neill making a superb run from midfield into the box getting in behind onto the ball left of goal to send the ball across the keeper from close range 7-1.

Zara O’Neill with a goal on her debut for King’s Lynn

  Hopkisson brings the ball on through the centre for King’s Lynn unopposed she goes on has Corbyn ahead of her 25 yards out back to goal gives her the ball held up she sends it back across to Hopkisson top of the area, doesn’t get a clean strike on the ball her attempt angling wide of the post. 

GOAL! Forshaw on the scoresheet at last, must have been wondering if it was going to be one of those days but you can’t keep giving her opportunities through the middle this time a well made run the ball fed into her feet takes in on in behind into the area the keeper comes but can’t get there Forshaw rounding her to place the ball into the bottom corner beyond 8-1.

 The wind is alot keener now very chilly, Gillett the most likely to make thing’s happen for Gorleston strong on the ball pressing forwards goes it alone bearing down on the box is simply outnumbers in the end run of the ball Rawlings bringing the ball forwards passing to Russell to set off another King’s Lynn attack. 

GOAL! A goal for the captain as King’s Lynn win a corner on the right, a great inswinging delivery put under the bar Dyer doing well to keep it up a glove up high knocked down onto the penalty spot straight to Russell strikes the ball Dyer with a reactive save with her legs the ball deflected away Russell onto it again not closed down able to smash it high into the back of the net 9-1.

  Dyer by far the busier of the two keepers making another save with her legs as O’Neill races through into the box latching onto a crossfield ball as Forshaw looks to find Russell. Dyer low to her left to push a strike fired in from 20 yards out for a corner on the right. The delivery deep to the far post Forshaw adjudged to have committed the foul as she climbs for the ball. Gorleston are tiring alot of effort put in and run ragged by King’s Lynn as they come wave after wave in the 2nd half.

GOAL! Forshaw with her 2nd of the game bring’s up a double figure scoreline Gorleston slow to react at the back the ball finding it’s way through to Forshaw clear in the box left of goal hits it hard across the keeper to find the far corner 10-1.

 Abbie King cutting out the ball as Hopkisson attempts to thread it through for O’Neill making a great run. Played forwards won back by the King’s Lynn defence won’t stick no respite the hosts press forwards. Bursting forwards the ball put quickly into Forshaw inside the D, shapes to shot the tackle deflecting the ball wide for a corner kick. A high ball in near side Allen up to head the ball to safety for Gorleston. Imanalijeva comes off as King’s Lynn bring Porter back on.

Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse on the ball for King’s Lynn

 Muir getting in the block to send the ball away for a corner as O’Neill tries her luck from 20 yards out. Corbyn coming near side to receive the corner tuns into the shot her first time strike sent over the bar. Skinner comes back on for Freeman

GOAL! O’Neill with her 2nd of the game scores as she makes a fantastic run forwards as Russell collects the ball on the right the diagonal pass put into her run O’Neill takes it on into the area and cool as you like strokes the ball wide of the advancing keeper 11-1.

 15 minutes left to play relentless from King’s Lynn, Gorleston can get no where near the ball, Russell hard to track at the best of times never stays still away to the left this time into the channel hits a shot in from 25 yards out, Dyer making the diving save pushing the ball out to the right not out of play gather in the corner by Corbyn squared back in O’Neill attacking it near post close in Dyer behind it able to get her gloves on the ball.

 King’s Lynn with another double change Hopkins-Duckhouse and Wheeler back on for Rawlings and Corbyn. Porter with a strike over the bar from inside the box as she receives ball following great work from O’Neill coming forwards right side. All King’s Lynn 2nd half no respite for Gorleston still playing with smiles on their faces even though they are on the wrong end of a heavy defeat. 

GOAL! The goals keep coming too Forshaw scoring her hat-trick as she is put through on goal by O’Neill 25 yards out, Forshaw closing in on the keeper slotting her shot past her into the bottom corner 12-1.

 Muffett sliding in to tackle Ellis on the right as she looks to cut inside with the ball. 

GOAL! A hat-trick for O’Neill on her debut set up by Forshaw out on the left wide on the ball comes on before sending in a dangerous ball to the near post O’Neill allowed to steal in unopposed one more meeting the ball close it to flick past the keeper 13-1.

GOAL! King’s Lynn full of energy in the closing stages of the match, Gorleston dead on their feet the goals keep coming, O’Neill getting hold of the ball on halfway looks up for options Forshaw with the call is making the run left side wants the ball, a fantastic delivery from O’Neill dropping it into her path into the box Forshaw with the clinical finish has 4, 14-1.

Tiffany Forshaw on the scoresheet with 4 goals for King’s Lynn in the 2nd half

  GOAL! 4 minutes left to play Wheeler and O’Neill combine getting the ball on quickly into the box Gorleston don’t get it away King’s Lynn close down the pass sneaking across the box to O’Neill free on the left of the six yard box struck low and scores a 4th on debut 15-1.

Full time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 15-1 Gorleston Ladies

 King’s Lynn run rampant in the 2nd half to take full advantage and rack up the goals, netting 15 in the end a totally dominant display, on the front foot straight away scoring early Gorleston working hard knew it would be tough but their opponents movement on and off the ball was too much along with having no substitutes to bring on rest players King’s Lynn using their bench well, kept going clinical finishes the goals flowing. Close the gap to leaders Cambridge City to 1 point the goals helping their too the difference -7 at the start of the day now plus 7. All to play for yet. A valiant effort from Gorleston in good spirits throughout despite the huge loss will hurt no doubt and this report won’t help at all but credit to them gave it a go can only move on to the next one.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few players to mention, have nothing but praise for Gorleston goalkeeper Brianne Dyer was under the cosh from the first minute and despite the goals produced some fine saves. Sophie Gillett too several strong runs on the ball tried to make thing’s happen but lacked support as King’s Lynn kept the defence penned in scored without a doubt the best goal of the game. For King’s Lynn, Becky Russell will always gives everything. What a debut for Zara O’Neill scoring 4 goals showed a great first touch and timed her running excellently. This weekends award though goes to Tiffany Forshaw frustrated early on kept going in attack a threat constantly left side or in the box creating numerous opportunities ending up with 4 goals herself. 

 Always a hard one to cover when a game is so one sided but it is what it is, Gorleston will know they were beaten by a far better side today, King’s Lynn with a professional performance took their chances well creating plenty kept playing no arrogance shown at all, although the management team have a selection headache in front of them now. My thanks to both sides for the team details as always much appreciated.

Match Report – Bedford Ladies v Millwall Lionesses

Sunday 23rd February

ERWFL Cup

 Left it to the last minute before committing to a game this weekend with another band of rain falling overnight, the two previous weekend it by Storm’s Ciara and Dennis respectfully as it was I headed to the game I planned on seeing a fortnight ago, the ERWFL quarter final match between Bedford Ladies and Millwall Lionesses.

 Mind you if I’d have known how bad the roadworks would be between Norfolk and Bedfordshire I might have headed in the opposite direction as it was it was a trip well worth making as you shall read on later on.

 The ERWFL Cup into the quarter final stage put on hold this past fortnight with the bad weather virtually no football played teams keen to get back at it this weekend. A strong line-up in the last eight of the competition the ERWFL Premier Division in particular highly competitive, Millwall Lionesses the only Division One side left from outside the division.

  Bedford Ladies coming into the game in a good run of form winning 6 straight games in league and cup a run that has seen them climb up to 4th in the ERWFL Premier Division. An long established side at this level briefly playing higher well amongst the sides battling for a top 4 finish anyone down to 9th position still in contention. Bedford reached the final of the League Cup last season eventually losing out on penalties to Cambridge City Ladies completing a league and cup double last season. A 2-1 away win against Division One North side Newmarket Town Women saw then advance into the last 8 of this season’s competition.

  Millwall Lionesses a new face in the ERWFL. Virtually a new side rebuilding after the women’s section broke away from Millwall in go independent as London City Lionesses keeping their FA Championship status as a result. Millwall Lionesses left to start over a fresh. Know a little of what that’s like myself having been a Lincoln Ladies fan in the FAWSL before they ‘rebranded’ still every cloud has a silver lining and without that Women’s Football East would never have been born. This is about Millwall Lionesses however a new side, has great support from Millwall FC, a strong and passionate fan base and excellent media coverage as they look to start again in the 6th tier of the women’s football pyramid.

Playing in ERWFL Division one South are top of the table with 8 games played unbeaten and aiming for the title, Essex side Hutton Ladies with a 100% and games in hand their main rivals can’t afford to take their foot off the gas. The ERWFL Cup featuring a group stage for the Division One sides this season 4 groups of 4 with the winners going on to the knockout stages joined by the 12 Premier Division sides. Millwall Lionesses neck and neck with Division One North leaders in Group B a play off match needed to decide the winner Millwall Lionesses progressing to play AFC Dunstable Women in the 1st knockout round a single goal enough to win the game netted by top scorer Shannan Drewe setting up an away trip to Bedford in the quarter finals the clubs sternest test yet.

 The Eyrie the venue for today’s match home of Bedford Town FC, just off the A421 into Bedford, my first trip to the stadium featured a large clubhouse leading into the ground with a bar serving hot food and drink. A large wall mounted TV screen great for showing sports events. Leading out onto a stadium itself a seated stand on one side a terraced stand the other cover at both goal ends. A nice layout a good sized pitch in good condition despite the recent bad weather. Cloudy but the rain had passed the sun setting behind one side of the stadium would cause a few issues during the game… but I can’t really complain about the sun can I.

 Bedford Ladies starting XI – Lauren Webb, Mollie Robinson, Nina Regolo, Gemma Franklin, Ashley Emerton, Jasmine Ajayi, Priya Bhatti (C), Shianne Swarres, Matilda Fidler, Maya Sidhu & Natasha Fensome. Subs – Alicia Cobb, Chelcie Alleyne, Lauren Murray & Setor Acolatse.

 Millwall Lionesses starting XI – Kelly Webster, Millie Connell, Alyssa Miranda, Elena Stonebrook, Sian Fitzpatrick, Libby Stubbs (C), Katie Klosinski, Kaitlyn Lewis, Olivia Gregory, Shannan Drewe & Molly Hawkins. Subs – Jansu Mentesh, Samantha Middleton, Daniella Correa.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Bedford to get the cup tie underway kicking off the 1st half wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks. Millwall lined up opposite in their away colours white shirts and shorts with navy blue socks with white hoops. The ball played back in their defence Millwall rush on to close the ball down quickly preventing Bedford getting out the ball pinging around in the middle, Millwall captain Libby Stubbs sets Olivia Gregory away free on the right wing to chase the ball down, Gemma Franklin coming across to get back on her slide in to make the tackle and send the ball out for an early corner.

  Bedford defending the corner look to counter attack bringing the ball on Millwall close the ball down keeping the pressure in their attacking third a diagonal ball played out to the right of the area a shot clipped in taking a deflection putting it wide for a 2nd corner. This time on the left attacked at the near post behind for a third corner. Bedford goalkeeper Lauren Webb coming out from her near post to catch the ball. Millwall lively early on aren’t letting Bedford out of their half Stubbs playing Gregory in to space on the right takes the ball on into the area flashing a dangerous ball across the top of the six yard box, Ashley Emerton defending against Molly Hawkins at the far post brings a 5th Millwall corner. 

Millwall Lionesses captain Libby Stubbs looking to get the better of her Bedford Ladies counterpart Priya Bhatti

  5 minutes played and Bedford finally get the ball over the halfway line Jasmine Ajayi bringing the ball on through the middle tackled by Millwall’s Katie Klosinski the ball sent out to the left Shannan Drewe taking it on wins another corner, again not beating the keeper at the near post. The action frantic at times Millwall winning the ball back on halfway Stubbs in possession plays it on down the left Drewe racing on fires a cross into the near post skipping up in front of Hawkins at the near post can’t get a shot away lays it back to the top of the box dinked back in a stooping header prodding the ball goalwards Webb flying to her right pushing it away wide of goal smashed back in by Drewe, blocked on the goal line by Bedford. 

Bedford Ladies, Jasmine Ajayi

  Bedford getting some joy through the middle now captain Priya Bhatti playing the ball up top to Natasha Fensome back to goal 20 yards out rolls her mark before unleashing a shot the attempt off target flying wide past the Millwall far post. Ajayi battling for possession in the middle of the park for Bedford takes it on before passing forwards to Maya Sidhu away on the left. Millie Connell getting back on her to slide in and put the ball out before a cross can be played. Bedford turn play around in the middle Millwall caught on the back foot Bhatti attempting to find Matilda Fidler making a move clear to the right, a timely interception made by Millwall centre back Sian Fitzpatrick. 

  Shaping into a good contest Bedford getting forwards well in attack the midfield looking to get the ball out to Sidhu and Fidler running the channels, Sidhu put in by Bhatti in the middle sends an early cross in from the wing towards the top of the a the clearance sliced by Millwall defender Alyssa Miranda falls behind her into the area Fensome sharp skipping in behind onto it the keeper to beat sends her shot narrowly wide of the near post. Millwall work the ball on through the middle direct play almost pays off the ball in behind seeing Hawkins get a yard on the Bedford back-line takes aim from the top of the area the shot lacking power runs safely through to Webb in goal. 

Molly Hawkins bringing the ball on in attack for Millwall Lionesses.

 The action end to end now both sides getting forwards quickly Bedford feed the ball on for Fidler moving forwards on the right into the area, Miranda stays with her the full back doing well under pressure to scramble the ball away. Gregory receiving the ball in her own half on the right brings it forwards riding a tackle skipping infield runs in prodding the ball into the path of Hawkins coming from centre to right in the box turns to shot gets no power behind it Webb saving easily. An even contest Millwall edging it in the first 20 minutes if anything Connell and Elena Stonebrook link up at the back right side up to Gregory on down the line a dangerous cross into the six yard box dealt with by Bedford’s Nina Regolo. 

 GOAL! Millwall score the opening goal midway through the first half, scoring from a corner. Haven’t made the most of their opportunities so far several not beating the keeper at the near post this delivery much better higher clearing Webb as she goes for in inswinging dropping at the far post close in Gregory on hand to bundle it over the line to put the visitors into the lead 0-1.

The build up to Millwall’s opening goal missed by the keeper, Olivia Gregory poised at the far post to score

Bedford go straight up the other end from the restart and score… the goal however ruled out for offside. Getting forwards the ball played diagonally into Ajayi top of the area she screws her shot wide away from goal, turns into a good ball nonetheless as Fidler right side races onto it driving on into the area and angle tight gets a shot away under challenge past the keeper striking the base of the near post spins across the face of goal put in at the far post by Fensome but the flag is raised won’t count.

Bedford on the front foot, Bhatti away with the ball in the middle forwards for Fensome leading the attack, pushes on into the box, Fitzpatrick making a fine tackle for Millwall to regain the ball. Attacking Bedford come forwards in numbers Fensome drifting out to the right laying the ball central for Sidhu bursting forwards holds it up 20 yards out, Fensome not standing still has rushed forwards to make herself available inside the box, Fitzpatrick closing her down the loose back latched onto by Bhatti right of the D, her first time strike inches wide.

Gemma Franklin bringing the ball out of defence for Bedford Ladies

  Hawkins up the other end put clear into the area left of goal closing down the keeper momentum sees the pair come together Hawkins effort wide across the face of goal, Webb stays down is badly hurt follows a long pause in play as she receives on field treatment lot of concern and unfortunately can’t continue the goal keepers jersey handed over to Regolo the defender going in goal as Webb is carried off the pitch by her teammates with what looks to be an ankle injury Bedford bring on Alicia Cobb to join the defence.

Play resumes after a long delay, Bedford get on the offensive Fidler getting away right side, Miranda recovering inside the area pressuring her shot the ball gathered by Millwall goalkeeper Kelly Webster. Franklin brings the ball out from the back for Bedford allowed to travel with it lays it on for Fensome, Fitzpatrick intercepts. Ajayi combining well with Sidhu out on the left side, Connell with the defensive work for Millwall, Bedford press the ball inside the Millwall half keep it in the final third Sidhu receiving the ball top of the box left turns beating her marking, the left foot strike on doesn’t fancy it looks to lift the ball goalwards with the outside of her right boot, Webster close by then catching the ball.

Bedford’s Alicia Cobb with Millwall’s Olivia Gregory

 Millwall yet to test the replacement keeper, Bedford’s back-line preventing anything getting through. Gregory with an ambitious half volleyed attempt sends a shot over from outside the box. Fensome with a great crossfield ball to find Sidhu up in attack left of the D controls the ball well turning into the box closed down quickly, stabs a shot wide of the post. 

Half-time Bedford Ladies 0-1 Millwall Lionesses

 The first half ends with Millwall Lionesses holding the narrow advantage leading 1-0. An entertaining first half Millwall more than matching their higher league opponents starting well giving them confidence scoring the opening goal. Bedford responding well both side creating great chances in front of goal and on another day could be a 3-2 scoreline to either side. As it is the game still very much in the balance all to play for in the 2nd half.

No changes for either side, Millwall get the 2nd half underway, Drewe taking the ball gets in behind the Bedford defence, Franklin back sliding in to take the ball away from her inside the box the loose ball coming back to Hawkins 20 yards out right of the D puts her first time strike wide. Bhatti getting forwards for Bedford inside the D as the ball comes in to her from the right wing catches it on the half volley the shot scooped up over the bar. Bedford winning a free-kick wide on the left  good delivery fired long towards the right side Fidler with the headed ball put back across the top of the six yard box, Fensome quick to react, the ball closer to Webster she can get her gloves firmly around it.

Bedford captain Priya Bhatti clearing the ball

Sidhu a threat wide left in attack for Bedford taking the ball on is brought down, another free-kick for Bedford out wide, Ajayi to put the ball into the area Franklin forwards attacks it just over her, Fitzpatrick winning the header clearing for the visitors. Strength on the ball from Drewe as she takes the ball on down the left whilst holding off the pursuing defender wins Millwall a corner. Takes it herself played in central the ball headed over the bar a goal kick awarded. Drewe again drifting inside 20 yards out central as the ball is fired in to her from the right brings it down well turning to knock it on into the area, Emerton getting back on her able to run it out of play.

  Bhatti on the ball for Bedford right has support ahead of her from Fensome, a give and go out to Fidler wide as she bursts into the area in behind Fidler picking her out closes in on goal opts to cross instead of pull the trigger squaring the ball across the six yard box leaving Webster stranded Sidhu racing in, Connell with the diving tackle lunging in to clear the ball. The game stretched at times both sides wanting to get forwards quickly Bedford turning play around getting on the offensive Shianne Swarres taking the ball on through the middle passing forwards into Sidhu she in turn sends it on for Fensome making a run central can’t quite take it in her strike, Stonebrook getting hold of it for Millwall 20 yards out.

Bedford Ladies, Shianne Swarres

Bedford win another free-kick wide left, make a change before it is taken Setor Acolatse on for Ajayi. The ball flighted in towards the top of the area half cleared back to the left, scooped back in again dropping at the far post 8 yards out Acolatse taking a swing, doesn’t connect, Miranda scrambles clear for Millwall. 

GOAL! Bedford equalise with 20 minutes gone in the 2nd period, Fensome making several great runs in attack throughout the game get’s half a yard on the Millwall defence as the ball is put long from midfield bouncing inside the box right of goal Fensome chasing it down closing in on the keeper, chips the ball over her looping beyond to drop in at the far post 1-1.

Natasha Fensome chipping the keeper to equalise for Bedford

Millwall make their first change Daniella Correa entering the field for Klosinski. Stubbs getting hold of the ball lays it forwards for Drewe to race away on the left crosses into the box early looking for Hawkins, Regolo doing well donning the gloves off her line sharply to claim the ball. Bedford getting players forwards to support Fensome in attack left side the ball crossed in low into Acolatse not closed down scoops her attempt up over the bar. Franklin with a couple of great defensive tackles at the back to deny Hawkins an opportunity on goal. 

 Ajayi returns to the field for Bedford replacing Fidler. Fensome drifting away to the right channel as Bedford bring the ball on through the middle play into her feet she sends a superb crossfield ball out to Sidhu left side takes it on into the box momentum seeing the angle closed down close range hits it low and hard, Webster saving well with her legs the ball deflected out to the left wide fired back in the keeper beaten this time the ball smashing down off the bar into the six yard box, Fensome pounces stabs it over the top. 

Jasmine Ajayi battling for possession with Millwall’s Kaitlyn Lewis

 The game entering the final 10 minutes have the feeling it could go either way as Millwall bring on Samantha Middleton to join the attack replacing Gregory. Bhatti combining well with Acolatse and Ajayi as they trio work the ball on down the right Lewis tackling for Millwall. On the left side for Millwall Drewe is prepared to take the defence on at every opportunity racing on fires a cross into the six yard box, Regolo in bravely to catch the ball near side. Not long left of the 90 now Gregory returning to the field for Hawkins as Millwall as they win a corner the ball in headed clear by Franklin, Bedford break forwards Fensome getting hold of the ball, both Stonebrook and Fitzpatrick close her down to regain possession top pf the area. 

GOAL! Into the final minute and Bedford score again taking the lead late in the game, Fensome in again with her 2nd of the game bursting in behind the Millwall defence off a long range pass her touch taking it to the left of goal strikes it back across the keeper and low into the bottom corner 2-1.

A 2nd goal of the match for Bedford’s Natasha Fensome putting the hosts into the lead in the 90th minute

 The hosts coming back from a goal down to lead 2-1 with 5 minutes stoppage time to play. Drewe twisting and turning on the ball outside the Bedford area drops her shoulder getting into the box screws her shot wide at the near post. Bedford bring Fidler back on for Sidhu. 

 PENALTY! Millwall press the attack Correa getting hold of the ball 25 yards out threading it into the box with Middleton racing on right side of goal, Regolo racing out to meet her has the ball in her gloves stooping in front of the attacker, Robinson racing back on Middleton shoves the attacker in the back causing her to fall awkwardly colliding with the keeper, the referee pointing to the spot. Robinson booked, Middleton has stayed down clearly in alot of pain, on field treatment seeing a long delay can’t continue helped off unable to put any weight on her leg, Hawkins coming back on.

GOAL! A long delay between the penalty being given and taken, Connell placing it on the spot isn’t affected as she strikes it sweetly lifting it right wide of the diving Regolo to nestle in the back of the net 2-2. Virtually the last kick of the game no time for either side to mount another attack the game heads into extra-time. 

Millie Connell wheels away in celebration having scored a last gasp penalty for Millwall.

Full time Bedford Ladies 2-2 Millwall Lionesses

extra-time 

  30 additional minutes to be played for either side to try and find a winning goal 2 15 minute halves or the tie will be decided on penalties. Has been a fantastic contest so far. Bedford thinking they’d won it at the death, Millwall scoring a last gasp penalty to force extra-time. Bedford to get the first half of extra play underway. Fidler bringing the ball forwards plays in to to Acolatse left side she clips it infield to Fensome inside the D back to goal controls well before threading it inside the box to Acolatse continuing her run, the angle against her fires her shot wide at the near post.

Libby Stubbs with Bedford’s Setor Acolatse

Bedford starting extra-time well on the front foot the ball fed on by Bhatti into Fensome central holding off her marker looks to see the ball run on past her into Acolatse’s path just not enough pace on the ball to carry. Connell in an advanced position for Millwall on the right joining the attack takes aim from 30 yards out hit well skipping through across the goal Regolo diving to her right the strike however past the far post. Sidhu returns to the field for Fidler. Regolo snatching up the ball inside her box just before Hawkins can latch onto it racing forwards having been put in by Gregory central. 

  Drewe sees a shot pushed behind by the keeper for a corner on the left, Millwall make a change before it is taken Jansu Mentesh on for Correa. Dropped in near post an easy claim for Regolo. Stubbs playing the ball long up to Hawkins in attack the Millwall attacker’s header cushioning the ball down outside the D, shoulder to shoulder wit Emerton looks to drive on the pair leaving the ball behind, latched onto by Mentesh passed across to Gregory right, can’t get a shot away before Franklin closes her down. Bedford counter attack plenty of energy shown still by both sides, Bhatti picking out Ajayi in space on the left she puts it back inside for Bhatti coming on 25 yards out takes on the shot drops wide of goal. 

Franklin lunging in to block a shot from Hawkins at the far post as she drags the ball inside from a free-kick flighted in from the right. Fitzpatrick defending for Millwall against Sidhu as Fensome plays it long from halfway. 

Half-time extra-time Bedford Ladies 2-2 Millwall Lionesses

 All action an intriguing contest could yet go either way Millwall to get the 2nd period of extra-time underway. Miranda coming on from defence in to win the ball high on the left sends Drewe away with it on the left travelling with the ball her cross come shot bouncing wide beyond the far post. 

GOAL! Bedford retake the lead early in the 2nd period possession on the right the ball put on into Fensome plays it in across the top of the area not cleared, Sidhu racing in getting hold of it left of the D strike the shot on the turn hit well wide of the diving keeper into the bottom corner 3-2. 

Maya Sidhu fires Bedford back into the lead in extra-time.

Millwall straight on the attack from the restart commit bodies forwards the ball struck from range by Mentesh rattling the crossbar down and cleared. The visitors press winning a corner, cleared by Cobb Bedford look to get forwards on the counter. Millwall get the ball back played long picking out Hawkins in the box right lines up a shot on the angle straight at Regolo.

GOAL! 5 minutes left to play and a knock out blow for Millwall as Bedford score another goal, the hosts awarded a free-kick wide left top of the area players forwards a Swarres places the ball a fantastic strike fired in across the face of goal high evades everyone creeping inside at the far corner 4-2.

 Millwall keep going getting forwards, Franklin in to deny Hawkins top of the area, a change made Emerton off late on with Chelcie Alleyne coming on. Stubbs getting the ball on for Hawkins peeling right her low cross in cut out at the near post. 

GOAL! With the visitors committing players in search of a goal Bedford hit them on the counter attack to score a 3rd goal in extra-time the ball sent in early from the left Acolatse forwards making a run far post bringing the ball under control sending it back across the face of goal for Fensome to turn in from close range to score her hat-trick 5-2. The last action of the match Bedford finishing strong to win in extra-time book their spot in the last 4 of the ERWFL Cup.

Full time extra-time Bedford Ladies 5-2 Millwall Lionesses

  Bedford with face Royston Town Women in the semi-finals after the Hertfordshire beat Wroxham Women 2-0 at home this afternoon. A really entertaining match Millwall the underdog giving a good account of themselves making a bright start to the game gaining confidence scoring the opening goal, both sides could have had more goals in the first half. The 2nd carrying on in the same vain, Bedford coming back to level then take the lead in the 90th minute. Gave away a penalty to see Millwall score a last gasp equaliser to send the game into extra-time. The first period coming to a close it could still have gone either way. Millwall losing out in the finish Bedford getting their noses in front going on to score another getting a 2 goal cushion, a 5th goal coming at the death with Millwall pushing on. An entertaining match as I said at the start of the report well worth the trip.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few performances to mention, for Millwall Sian Fitzpatrick was superb at the back making several vital tackles. Shannan Drewe too on the left of attack never stopped running a threat on the ball taking players on creating opportunities. For Bedford, Priya Bhatti with a strong game in the middle of the park. Gemma Franklin was excellent in defence made several crucial challenges and blocking the ball. The award though goes to Natasha Fensome in attack leading the line well, showing fantastic movement on and off the ball sees options all over the pitch took her goals well.

Enjoyed my first trip to The Eyrie a really entertaining match to watch always competitive in the ERWFL, my thanks to both sides for the team details and Bedford captain Priya Bhatti with a couple of other enquiries. Nasty injuries picked up by Bedford’s Lauren Webb and Millwall’s Samantha Middleton wish both well for a speedy and full recovery.

Match Report – Norwich City Women v Ipswich Town Women

Wednesday 19th February

FAWNL South East Division One

Straight back up the A47 this Wednesday evening to watch Norwich City Women for the 2nd time in 3 days as they host the East Anglian derby agianst Ipswich Town Women.

  Norwich coming into the match fresh from securing their place in this season’s Norfolk Women’s County Cup final beating Wroxham Women with two devastating spells in each half to win 8-1. Back at Plantation Park this evening returning to league action up to 8th in the FAWNL South East Division One table pulling away from the scrap at the bottom of the table looking to end the season on a positive note push on to secure a mid-table finish. Tough going in the league in recent seasons towards the wrong end of the table have a good crop of talented youngsters to complement the senior players within the squad. Chelsea Garrett top scoring in fine form in front of goal this season with 20 goals. Jordan Arnoup resigned by the club last week makes her first start tonight good to see her back playing after a break from the game.

 Ipswich Town Women in action too at the weekend playing the biggest game in the clubs history away to FAWSL leaders Manchester City Women in the Women’s FA Cup reaching the last 16 of the competition the Suffolk side’s magical run brought to an end with a bump by the current FA Cup holders a clinical display seeing Manchester City win 10-0. That result in no way reflecting Ipswich’s season so far rising high at the top of FAWNL South East Division One with just one loss so far this season. The Women’s FA Cup dominating 2020 to date the league title the ultimate goal and with it promotion to the 3rd tier of the women’s football pyramid.

  A strong youth section playing in the FAWSL academy bearing fruit Ipswich’s senior side benefiting with a host of young players stepping up and performing well week in week out. Natasha Thomas leading goalscorer with 23 goals so far this season with captain Amanda Crump with over 200 appearances for the club now on 17 for the season. Haven gotten the better of Norwich twice this season already the East Anglian derby the perfect game for them to get over the weekends loss. A rapidly growing fan base with plenty making the trip this evening.

  Plantation Park the venue for this evenings game under the lights. The ground filing up nicely the main stand along one side of the pitch full. The weather terrible once again rain falling for several hours before kick-off the large pitch showing standing water would make for difficult playing conditions once again heavy going muddy the pitch having seen alot of action. The biggest crowd of the season without a doubt the carpark full a good atmosphere umbrella’s needed for those out of the cover of the stand.

 Norwich City Women starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Brooke Osbourne, Lauren Cullum, Jordan Arnoup, Laura Thacker, Jodie Drake, Millie Daviss (C), Rosie George, Aimee Durrant, Natasha Snelling & Chelsea Garrett. Subs – Tigi Robson, Sian Douglas, Reeanna Cook, Josie Jarvis & Abbigail Tate.

 Ipswich Town Women starting XI – Lucy Williamson, Eva Hubbard, Ellie Rossiter, Lucy Egan, Paige Peake, Blue Wilson, Amanda Crump (C), Anna Grey, Zoe Cossey, Natasha Thomas & Eloise King. Subs – Nicole Pannifer, Maddie Biggs, Paige Wakefield & Sophie Peskett.

   Norwich wearing yellow shirts and socks with green shorts to get the game underway kicking-off first half. Ipswich lined up opposite wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts. A late change to the starting XI for the visitors with defender Lindsey Cooper pulling up in the warm-up, Lucy Egan starting instead in the heart of the defence. Alot of surface water feet squelching in the mud as players make runs the early exchanges cagey ball forwards on the flanks a sliding tackle mis-timed seeing Ipswich awarded a free-kick out wide in the Norwich half on the left, Paige Peake to play the ball in a dangerous delivery almost catching out Norwich goalkeeper Hope Armstrong. 

  Norwich captain Millie Daviss coming across to slide into the tackle to stop Ipswich’s Zoe Cossey breaking away down the right. Ipswich lively from the off turning play round quickly looking to exploit the width. The hosts pushing up on the left Rosie George pressing the ball high, Ellie Rossiter denying the cross from Ipswich, full back Lauren Cullum up preventing Ipswich from counter attacking puts the ball on for Chelsea Garrett up top 20 yards out turns looking to feed the diagonal pass to Aimee Durrant making a run on the right, Lucy Egan heading clear for Ipswich. Players from both sides moving in quickly to close the ball down playing conditions awful with the rain still falling.

  Anna Grey with a pacey run away on the left side sends the ball into the box, Norwich clear. Up the other end Durrant showing a good turn of pace to as Jodie Drake wins the ball in the middle the ball put on finding Durrant racing on down the wing taking on the full back the angle against her as she delivers the cross into the side netting. Cossey keeping hold of the ball on the right skipping in field lays it into the middle for Blue Wilson who in turn switches play out to the left wing for Grey bursting on cuts inside before blasting a shoot outside the box over the bar. 

  Cullum races on with the ball left linking with George for Norwich the full back continues her run beyond George as she sends the ball on, runs into Rossiter top of the area the Ipswich full back winning the ball back. Laura Thacker stepping out of defence to challenge Natasha Thomas as the Ipswich attacker brings the ball forwards. A rash sliding challenge in the middle sees Wilson upended in the middle and the offender shown a yellow card. Peake on the set-piece her delivery into the box cleared for a throw. Ipswich getting a corner kick the ball cleared inside the area latched onto by Eloise King at the top of the area smashes the loose ball over.

  Thomas gathering the ball into her feet 25 yards out drives towards the Norwich area Thacker in to tackle the ball send wide out for the throw. Cossey dances away on the right wing turning in field sends a low ball towards the top of the area cut out by Thacker. The Norwich defence on the back foot as Ipswich build momentum winning the ball back inside their opponents half and looking sharp with good movement off the ball. Thomas drives forwards with the ball Brooke Osbourne across her to play the ball back for Armstrong to clear. Egan at the back for Ipswich bringing the ball on to halfway her pass finding grey surging on down the left a vicious cross put across the face of goal, Ipswich captain Amanda Crump furthest forwards can’t turn it in. 

 GOAL! 20 minutes gone and Ipswich’s pressure tells as they score the opening goal of the match. The ball fed through to Grey left channel breaks forwards with pace jinking inside pulling the trigger 20 yards out left of the D a powerful low strike Armstrong down can’t keep it out the ball nestling in the bottom corner 0-1.

GOAL! 2 goals in as many minutes for Ipswich as the ball is won back in the middle Wilson out to Grey on the left races away down the line firing in a cross towards the near post met by King her touch sending the rising ball inside the post to make it 0-2.

 The rain at last starting to ease can abandon the umbrella which makes note taking alot easier, just aswell a fast paced game despite the undoubtedly heavy pitch. Ipswich lively showing good energy Norwich on the back foot can’t get hold of the ball not allowed any time in possession. The visitors winning a corner on the right the ball swung into the area cleared by Arnoup. Grey continues to cause havoc on the left her heels clipped a free-kick given along with a yellow card. George looking to get forwards on the left for Norwich Rossiter in to tackle brings the ball on aiming to pitch out Thomas making a run through the middle Norwich intercept. 

GOAL! Half an hour gone and Ipswich’s dominance brings them a third goal Cossey with a mazy run with the ball on the left pushing on towards goal lays it on for King top of the D, meets it perfectly blasting a high shot into the back of the net 0-3.

 All Ipswich, Norwich not yet registering a shot on target Lucy Williamson in the Ipswich goal with very little to do. Norwich get hold of the ball inside the Ipswich half Daviss out to the right a high ball put early into the area headed down by Peake falls straight to the on rushing Garrett 20 yards out blasts over as she strikes the ball on the half volley. 

GOAL! Ipswich break forwards the ball put into the path of King left of the area a strong run forwards carrying the ball on puts the diagonal ball low across the box for Thomas out to the right strikes it back across goal from close range to put Ipswich into a 4 goal lead 0-4.

 Cossey running with the ball at her feet cutting inside shooting from the top of the area Armstrong down well diving at full stretch to push the ball wide behind for a corner. Ipswich with some dangerous deliveries from their corners in swinging towards the near post the ball headed down across goal cleared by Norwich at the back post. 

GOAL! Ipswich cut Norwich open to extend their lead further, players breaking on as Wilson gets hold of the ball into the ball delivers it towards the near post Cossey arriving lifting the ball over the keeper to score 0-5.

  Norwich struggling to get any foothold in the game, with five minutes left in the first half Osbourne makes ground on the right combining with Durrant the ball up the line wins her side a corner players up from the back but the delivery disappointing put behind. Durrant latching onto a loose ball 30 yards out does catch it cleanly frustrated as the ball races wide of goal. Crump and Wilson on top of the game in midfield for Ipswich the ball fed out to Grey bursting on down the left flank her cross flashed along the face of the Norwich goal. 

  Natasha Snelling able to get on in support of Garrett up top in attack for Norwich late in the first half combine well through the middle finding George up on the left her diagonal ball back into the box the flag up before anyone can look to chase it down. Snelling with the pass again giving Garrett a ball to chase up the left, Williamson coming out of her box to win the race clears the ball high into the trees shielding that side of the ground. Off the throw in Cullum drops the ball into Garrett’s feet inside the box she holds off her marker to turn inside and shot the ball dragged wide of the near post.

Half-time Norwich City Women 0-5 Ipswich Town Women

 A dominant first half display from Ipswich sees them with a comfortable 5-0 lead at the break. Have looked the sharper on and off the ball, plenty of energy keeping Norwich off the ball good runs down the flanks from Grey and Cossey keeping the Norwich defence pinned back, Wilson and Crump not letting much through the middle, Garrett leading the attack for Norwich isolated the hosts not settling on the ball at all alot of work still to do if they want to get anything from the game Ipswich will be looking to add to the scoreline.

  A change at the break for Ipswich Grey coming off on the left wing, Sophie Peskett coming on. Ipswich to get the 2nd half underway the rain hopefully stopped for the rest of the evening. The last thing Norwich would want was to concede an early goal 2nd half, very nearly do as a penalty is given away by Arnoup just inside the box as Peskett presses on looking to twist inside. Peake up to take it sets the ball on the spot opts for power he rising shot smashing the underside of the crossbar bouncing down inside the six yard box and scrambled clear by Norwich. 

  Cossey breaking on in attack wide right delivers a cross under challenge from the byline held by Armstrong down low at her near post. Not long after Cossey goes down off the ball play stopped, on field treatment but can’t continue an ankle injury is helped off the pitch on races Maddie Biggs. Norwich making a change too Osbourne coming off replaced by Tigi Robson at the back. The Ipswich substitute straight in to win the ball races on into the box  left side squared into the six yard box intercepted by Thacker behind for a corner.

 GOAL! Peake with another top drawer delivery from a corner inswinging under the bar a glancing header from Egan sending the ball over the line to put Ipswich 6-0 up scoring her first senior goal for the club in the process.

Peskett and Biggs both adding renewed pace and energy to Ipswich who remain charged at the start of the 2nd half not letting their opponents settle on the ball at all. Eva Hubbard closing down Durrant as she receives the slid pass from Drake in the centre. The Ipswich substitutes combine on the left as the visitors turn play around the ball brought on Peskett rolling it on for Biggs taking the ball inside top of the area Arnoup stepping out to prevent the shot Biggs forced to play it back to her midfield. 

Robson rising to intercept as Egan fires the ball forwards aiming to pick out Peskett moving on down the left wing. Durrant offering an option on the right her cross into the box easily cleared by the Ipswich defence. Thomas coming on right side winning Ipswich a corner. The delivery spot on once again in close to the near post congested as players go for the ball an infringement spotted played halted Norwich with the free-kick.

 King comes inside from the left pushing the ball into Peskett top of the area a curling shot looped over as she strikes it first time. Snelling getting on pressuring the Ipswich defence winning a corner kick. The visitors clear and look to break quickly Biggs no at all amused as she is flagged offside. Ipswich as a whole frustrated then as they are on the wrong end of what they feel are some questionable offside decisions with 25 minutes of the 2nd half played.  

 Armstrong racing out of her box to try and clear as Ipswich get away on the right King knocking the ball on past her into the area races after it, Arnoup recovering to get back on her the ball deflected behind for a corner kick. Ipswich making a final change before the corner is taken Paige Wakefield on for Wilson in midfield. A high ball put in towards the near post Armstrong coming through bodies gets a fist on the ball. Norwich with a rare counter attack get on down the right side Durrant’s cross into the box defended at the near post. George seeing the ball into her feet 20 yards out back to goal turns and lays it across the D to Garrett leaning into the shot screws her attempt wide.

GOAL! Ipswich winning a corner on the right side Peake to take her deliveries causing problems all night. The ball looped higher this time evading Armstrong as she jumps to save at the near post falls centrally inside the six yard box smashed home at close range by Egan a 2nd senior goal following hot on the heels of her first 7-0.

Reeanna Cook comes on for Norwich with 20 minutes left to play. 

GOAL! The ball given away in midfield by Norwich Biggs racing onto it speeding on towards the top of the box, King to her right prods the ball into her path and King strikes it low past the keeper to complete her hat-trick 0-8.

The Ipswich fans ecstatic calling for 10, Ipswich showing no let up, Grey and Cossey in the first half, Biggs and Peskett causing as many problems 2nd half. Durrant getting a little joy down the right for Norwich a deep cross landing in the roof of the net the hosts though very much on the back foot.

GOAL! A 9th goal soon added as Peskett brings the ball on from inside her half on the left allowed to go on cuts inside towards the top of the box the Norwich defence standing off her she strikes a fierce ball low across the diving keeper to score 0-9.

 Rossiter has picked up a knock needs to come off for treatment, Ipswich down to 10 temporarily. Norwich with a change bringing off Arnoup for Sian Douglas who scored her first goal for Norwich at the weekend. Durrant gathering the through ball from Snelling 25 yards out pushed on towards the box crowded off the ball by 3 Ipswich defenders. Rossiter back on for the visitors the game moving into the final 10 minutes. 

 A ball over the top for Peskett to go after on the left takes it on into the area looks for options rather than pulling the trigger herself her cross cut out for a corner by Thacker. The initial delivery headed out for a 2nd corner Peake’s 2nd delivery whipping in close again headed off the line by Norwich before being cleared. Peskett skips away on the left taking the ball on flashing a cross in along the six yards box the ball cleared falls to Wakefield who strikes it from 30 yards out a powerful strike smashes against the crossbar. 

  A fantastic cross field pass from left to right setting Durrant away to attack the box the angle against her strikes it early as she is closed down the ball landing in the side netting. Thacker defends for Norwich standing up to Biggs as she carries the ball on the loose ball fired in low Armstrong seeing it late down well to save pushing the ball wide of her goal Robson back to clear. 

GOAL! Into stoppage time and Ipswich get that all important 10th goal as the keeper comes and loses the race for the ball outside the area Thomas sharper taking it past her on the right and sending the ball on the angle into the empty net beyond 0-10. The final action of the game Ipswich with a crushing win against their East Anglian rivals.

Full time Norwich City Women 0-10 Ipswich Town Women 

  A totally dominant display form Ipswich’s youngsters getting into their strike early on the pitch wet and slick not deterring them lively on and off the ball making good runs out wide Wilson and Crump controlling the middle of the park 5-0 up at half-time, adding to their tally 2nd half 10 not the target I am sure but once it became apparent it might be on was a symbolic final scoreline after losing by 10 goals themselves just 3 days before against Norwich the icing on the cake. Can be little complaints from Norwich themselves totally out played on the night after collecting a big win themselves at the weekend. Little you can do but move on and try and put thing’s right next game. Ipswich remain top of the league but are certain to be pushed for the title all the way their young side looking good however. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Picking this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match not an easy task, clearly and Ipswich player but as a unit were impressive a strong togetherness working well on and off the ball. Anna Grey outstanding on the left in the first half opening the scoring. Zoe Cossey lively too. Sophie Peskett coming on 2nd half a constant threat going forwards. Paige Peake’s set-piece deliveries on the money all night. Blue Wilson controlling the midfield. The award nicked though by Eloise King, superb in attack 3 well struck balls to claim a hat-trick.

 Ipswich and Norwich poles apart tonight, may thanks as always for providing me with the team details.

 

Match Report – Norwich City Women v Wroxham Women

Sunday 16th February

Norfolk Women’s County Cup

Storm Ciara blew through the country last weekend wiping out the women’s football fixtures lists and hot in it’s Storm Dennis arrived promising another weekend of disruption this time around, a case of leaving it to the last minute to see what games might hold out, Norwich City Women announcing their game was on it was a short trip to The Nest in the north of the city to watch their Norfolk Women’s County Cup semi-final clash against Wroxham Women.

 The Norfolk Women’s County Cup final played at Norwich City FC’s, Carrow Road ground for the first time last season the trophy won for a 2nd successive season by Wymondham Town Ladies, the holders were looking to make it 4 county cup final appearances on the bounce as they took on Sprowston Ladies in the other semi-final match beating the weather this weekend. Carrow Road to host the final once again this season a huge opportunity for both today’s opponents. 

  Norwich City Women dominating the County Cup in Norfolk at the start of the decade withdrew from the competition for a couple of season’s returning to compete a couple of seasons ago falling in the early stages on the previous two ocassions against King’s Lynn Town Ladies and Acle United Women last season now Wroxham Women. Norfolk’s leading league placed sides competing in FAWNL South East Division One are in a period of transition to a degree bringing in alot of youthful players with a strong experienced spine within the squad. Striker Chelsea Garrett amongst the goals this season has 18 to her name so far. Reaching a Carrow Road final would be a dream come true.

  Wroxham Women are a new name for an experienced side making the move from Acle United an established side in the ERWFL Premier Division a league below the FAWNL South East Division One. Have been warmly embraced and supported by Wroxham FC as they look to push on further within the women’s football pyramid. Have a striker too prolific in attack this season Grace Birchall leading the line netting 27 goals already this season from just 12 appearances. Have been frustrated by postponements in recent weeks today’s game thier first competitive action since the 19th January. Injuries to affecting the squad whilst new players coming in are ineligible to play in today’s game.

  The Nest in Horsford to the north of Norwich close the the airport the venue for today’s semi-final. Norwich playing here a few times are keen advocates for seeing the side fully developed building work ongoing in very early stages has the potential to add to good sporting facilities already dotted about the county. Had this game earmarked early on but the weather forecast meant I daren’t commit until late on and with the rainfall heavy over night had my doubts but the game was on still with rain falling all the way still wasn’t convinced, wind blowing too, very unpleasant as I headed out to the pitch, but passing inspection by the officials was in surprisingly good shape holding up well with no standing water. A good walk from the clubhouse hot drinks available. No cover wind strong and rain sweeping across not ideal playing conditions. Women’s football supporters have a tendency to appear out of nowhere 5 minutes before kick-off and a surprising number had braved the elements. Wroxham bringing a small but hardcore following who were in loud voice singing throughout the match.

Norwich City Women starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Brooke Osborne, Lauren Cullum, Tigi Robson, Kate Parsons, Jodie Drake, Millie Daviss (C), Rosie George, Aimee Durrant, Natasha Snelling & Chelsea Garrett. Subs – Keunna Dill, Abbigail Tate & Sian Douglas.

Wroxham Women starting XI – Amy Bell, Anna Larkins (C), Kayleigh Holloway, Chloe Shields, Lauren Bailey, Victoria Pleavin, Ciera Flatt, Lauren Bullard, Naomi Cooper, Kirstie Kindred & Grace Birchall. Subs – Kate Pasque, Mary-Anne Hoy & Leanne Symonds.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Working out how best to wield an umbrella, notepad and camera without a stand to hide in the wind was blowing the rain across the pitch so having at my back worked well abandoned the umbrella altogether with the rain lightening up somewhat the wind still strong would be a factor in the game along with a slick pitch. Norwich licking off the game wearing yellow shirts and socks with green shorts. Wroxham lined up opposite wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts, with blue shorts and socks. The ball played back to the defence launched forwards, Wroxham goalkeeper, Amy Bell getting her gloves on the ball early on. 

   Bell’s kick out of goal high carried by the wind, difficult to bring under control Norwich regain possession the ball put out long on the diagonal to the left Rosie George on the flank, checks back playing it inside the ball lifted towards the box dealt with by the Wroxham defence. The early exchanges scrappy conditions difficult the wind swirling across the pitch. Wroxham make ground on the right getting forwards the cross standing up in the wind Grace Birchall inside the box can’t bring under control, the visitors pressure in the final third drawing the foul a free-kick out wide, players up from the back into the box, the ball delivered towards the near post Lauren Bailey attacking it for Wroxham can’t direct her effort on target wide behind goal. 

  Norwich play the ball out from the back a push in the back on captain Millie Daviss as she looks to head the ball on from halfway, referee Stuart Jessop playing the advantage as the ball is gathering into her stride by Natasha Snelling running on puts it through the Wroxham defence for Chelsea Garrett breaking in behind, Bell quickly out of her area winning the race for the ball launching it up field. 

Naomi Cooper playing the ball on for Wroxham Women

 Wroxham getting joy on the right captain Anna Larkins getting forwards to support the attack with Naomi Cooper a dangerous ball whipped in close to the near post cut out by Norwich’s Lauren Cullum. Wroxham quick to close down Norwich as they look to carry the ball out from the back. The wind playing it’s part ball running on for Wroxham as they attack, Norwich counter Jodie Drake sliding in to win the ball on half way forwards into Garrett’s feet, turns sees Snelling making a run the forwards past carrying too mach weight allowing Bell to come and claim. Garrett with a strike on the volley from 25 yards out racing wide of the left post.

 George on the ball good close control coming inside from the left slides the ball through central for Snelling top of the area, going a fraction too soon the flag up against her. Kayleigh Holloway back in defence for Wroxham being kept busy by Norwich’s Aimee Durrant pushing on from the right. Wroxham hustling the ball inside the Norwich half Ciera Flatt combining with Birchall and Cooper win a corner on the right. the wind getting stronger the corner delivered towards the top of the box attacked by Bailey, Durrant with her challenging bringing the ball away for the hosts can’t make any headway.

Grace Birchall getting the better of Norwich’s Kate Parson’s

  George getting on with the ball left side checking inside 25 yards out puts in a low diagonal ball looking for Snelling in the middle, Chloe Shields misses it for Wroxham allowing the attacker to steal in behind, Bell diving as she shoots stabs her attempt wide of goal. Holloway defends for Wroxham playing the ball on well pushed through for Kirstie Kindred right channel plays it on for Birchall the wind taking it on allows Norwich goalkeeper to come and claim before Birchall can latch onto it. 

  An even match both sides finding openings creating chances looking for space, Garrett this time away into the left corner with the ball flashes a cross into the box Durrant near side can’t adjust her body to get a telling touch gathered by Drake out on the right turns back to cross low fires the ball into the side netting. Birchall with an audacious attempt from just beyond the centre circle turning as she receives the ball looking to catch Armstrong unawares the ball landing wide of goal. Space fro Holloway on the left inside the Wroxham half lines up a shot her curling effort dropping safely into Armstrong’s gloves.

 GOAL! The visitors open the scoring a strong attack on the right wing Larkins away in behind bursting on drives a rising sot in on the angle Armstrong flashes up a glove to keep in out deflects the ball across her goal face dropping at the far post Birchall sliding in puts it in from close range 0-1.

Grace Birchall putting Wroxham Women into the lead

 Norwich come straight on from the restart Daviss out to Durrant on the right takes the ball on looping a high ball into the area caught cleanly by Bell. Wroxham counter coming on down the right Lauren Bullard linking with Cooper a corner kick won. A difficult one for the keeper put in under her bar Armstrong deflects it out into her six yard box comes straight to Birchall, on her quickly an instinctive header sends the ball over the crossbar. 

Grace Birchall with the instinctive header put over the bar for Wroxham

 GOAL! Norwich get straight back on level terms the ball direct put through the middle sees Garrett race away in behind the defence, Bell starts to come but realises she can’t get there, can’t get back into position in time is caught in no mans land as Garrett clinical lobs the ball over her into the back of the net 1-1.

  A good contest between Birchall in attack and Kate Parson’s in defence for Norwich the Wroxham attack always looking to get away when the ball is played forwards. Norwich pushing on gaining some momentum Brooke Osborne travelling out from the back with the ball trying her luck from distance. Drake sending a shot wide. 

GOAL! On the attack Durrant is brought down on the right outside the box the ball played into the centre of the area evades everyone comes out to the left still inside the box a vicious strike fired back in charged down deflected straight to Garrett top of the area left of the D she smashes her shot home to score her 2nd of the game and fire Norwich into the lead 2-1.

Norwich City Women’s striker Chelsea Garrett (taken in sunny times) (photo credit Brian Coombes)

GOAL! No sooner have Norwich taken the lead then they race into a 3-1 lead, cutting Wroxham open on the counter attack Durrant with space to exploit on the right drives a fierce strike low into the six yard box Birchall lurking at the far post the ball is turned into the back of their own net by the Wroxham defence.

Wroxham make the first change of the game Kate Pasque coming on at the back for Bailey. Wroxham attack on the right Kindred on for Birchall turning inside the box is adjudged to foul Cullum as she goes past her. Tigi Robson cutting out a diagonal pass from Bullard as Wroxham build through the middle. 

GOAL! A devastating spell from Norwich sees them further extend their lead the ball played forwards the game somewhat stretched to the right Durrant closing down Shields at the back as Bell comes towards the right hand corner of her area wanting the ball, defender and goalkeeper close Durrant reads it and steals in on Bell to rob the ball and walk it into the back of the net beyond 4-1.

Aimee Durrant steal in to win the ball and put Norwich 4-1 ahead (photo credit Brian Coombes)

  Wroxham well and truly on the back foot tempers flare in the middle a foul leading to pushing and shoving, Flatt and Drake both shown a yellow card. Flatt letting her frustration out with a strike from distance 35 yards out the ball looping into the box caught by Armstrong. Daviss coming on for Norwich as they press the ball on the left side fires a 20 yard shot over the bar. At the back Cullum recovers well showing good pace to catch kindred as she almost gets away from her following a great through ball from Flatt.

  A mis-hit from George top of the area, Durrant able to latch onto it her shot in held by Bell. Wroxham counter attack quickly Bullard with a good ball through for Larkins away on the right her strike from the angle hitting the top of the crossbar.

Half-time Norwich City Women 4-1 Wroxham Women

  Norwich with a devastating 15 minute spell coming back from a goal down to lead at the end of the 1st half 4-1. A even contest up to that point both sides creating opportunities coping well despite the terrible playing conditions the rain light the wind strong throughout. Norwich capitalising on some Wroxham errors with a strong advantage to carry into the 2nd half, Wroxham with alot of work to do to get back into the game will need a goal back quickly in the 2nd half.

Wroxham to get the 2nd half underway no changes for either side that I can see, the skies are brightening a little the rain easing. Wroxham straight on the attack Birchall turning on the ball looks to release Kindred ahead of her, Cullum on her shoulder muscles her off the ball. Durrant with a ball on from the right aiming to get Birchall in on the box this time Armstrong out of her box to clear the danger. Wroxham starting the 2nd half well a high ball forwards headed clear by Parsons. Lots of high ball, no one getting hold of it Drake spreading play to Durrant on the right her cross in intercepted by Pasque for Wroxham.

Kate Parsons winning the ball for Norwich City.

Wroxham win a free-kick out wide on the left Holloway on the ball played short back to Larkins lets fly from 30 yards out looks wide from where I’m standing on halfway but maybe not as Armstrong dives to her right to glove the ball behind for a corner kick. The ball from the left into a crowded near post area put wide of goal a 2nd corner awarded. This ball dealt with by the head of Parsons. 

Wroxham’s Victoria Pleavin

 Victoria Pleavin brings the ball on from the back for Wroxham allowed to drive on comes into the middle before Norwich numbers force her off the ball. The rain has stopped at last just makes the wind feel stronger. Bell with a good claim in the middle of her six yard box as Norwich flung a cross in from the right. Norwich make their first change of the match Keunna Dill coming on for Durrant, George switching to the right side. Wroxham make another change too with Mary-Anne Hoy on for Pasque. Flatt carries the ball forwards for Wroxham a strong run putting it on for Birchall giving her a run into the left channel, Robson showing great pace to get back on her and put in the challenge.

Norwich City Women’s, Keunna Dill

Space opening up as Wroxham commit in attack Norwich playing the ball though the centre for Garrett she turns playing the diagonal ball to Dill in acres of space on the left takes the ball on into the box the angle closing fires in a low strike Bell saving fantastically with her legs the ball deflected behind for a corner on the left. 

 Chances at both ends Flatt up to Birchall left 25 yards out Bullard rushing on through the centre the ball put inside she robs it off the Norwich defence stealing into the box, the final shot tame in the finish easy for Armstrong going to ground to smother the shot. George away on the right for Norwich down the line fires in a low cross at the near post Garrett there turn into the shot puts it straight at Bell. Wroxham need to get back into the game Norwich ready to capitalise going forwards. 

Wroxham Women’s Lauren Bullard

Bullard through the middle again takes the ball round the grounded keeper top of the area, Parsons back on her to put the ball behind for a corner before she can get a shot away. The corner put in near side havoc in the box Armstrong beaten as the shot comes in, Cullum keeping it out on the goal line clearing for Norwich. Larkins defending up the other end for Wroxham as Garrett looks to send the ball on through the middle. Wroxham make a third change with Leanne Symonds coming on for Bullard. 

Kayleigh Holloway looking to get after the ball for Wroxham Women

  End to end Garrett stealing in on the ball in the final third robbing the Wroxham defence into the area the angles going away from her she sends in a fierce strike Bell saving with her legs again putting the ball behind for another corner. Norwich making a change before the corner is taken Abbigail Tate coming on for Osborne, Sian Douglas on for Garrett shortly after. Bell holding onto the corner the ball forwards Birchall fouled by Robson outside the box 20 yards out to the left takes on the shot herself fires over.

Birchall determined in attack getting away from Parsons letting fly from 25 yards out central her shot swerving through the air Armstrong diving full stretch to her right the ball narrowly wide of the post. The game entering the final 10 minutes.

GOAL! Drake winning the ball as she has done all game in the middle bringing it on right side 35 yards out striking the ball sending her shot in over the keeper to seal the win 5-1.

Norwich City midfielder Jodie Drake makes it 5-1

GOAL! A blow for Wroxham late in the game and they are delivered another sucker punch straight away possession lost in the middle the ball put out to Dill clear on the left taking the ball to the byline whipping in a pacey cross into the six yard box Norwich players racing in  Snelling there to turn the ball in from close range 6-1.

Natasha Snelling further extends Norwich’s lead

Norwich with a late burst of energy tails up push forwards Daviss getting on winning a corner kick on the right.

GOAL! The corner taken short up the line on the right fired in on the angle a powerful strike clearing the keeper to smash against the far post and deflect over the line across goal. Sian Douglas with the strike to make it 7-1 scoring her first Norwich goal.

GOAL! Wroxham blown away at the end of the match as Norwich go on to score an 8th goal. Dill a constant threat on the left since being introduced to the game put clear into space to run on central releasing a shot top of the area looping over Bell her shot cannons back of the cross bar, Bell off balance tries to claim, Snelling running in on top of her nicking the ball and running it on into the empty net. 8-1.

Wroxham come on minutes left beaten keep going in attack Birchall has run herself into the ground moves out to the right to receive the ball fires in a cross along the top of the six yard box, Cooper rushing forwards at the far post can’t quite get there. Flatt advancing through the middle putting the ball onto Birchall, Robson getting across her in the box seeing the ball back to her keeper. The final whistle blows up and Norwich City Women with a comfortable final score advance to the Norfolk Women’s County Cup final.

Full time Norwich City Women 8-1 Wroxham Women

  A game played in terrible weather conditions a credit to both sides for making a competitive contest out of it. An even start to the match chances for both sides Wroxham taking the lead, Norwich coming straight back to level the scores and a devastating spell saw them race into a 4-1 lead at half-time. Wroxham had to attack 2nd half and needed an early goal if they wanted to get back into the game Norwich defending well ready to hit on the counter going 5-1 up with 10 minutes to play a 2nd spell of destruction saw them hammer home the result taking them through to a Carrow Road final a truly special occasion for the club especially their senior players who have long deserved the opportunity. A disappointing end result for Wroxham but they matched Norwich for long periods of the game and created chances.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few players to mention, firstly for Wroxham, Lauren Bullard with some superb passing and runs in attack. Grace Birchall too in attack worked tirelessly to create goal scoring opportunities. For Norwich, their defence was excellent as a unit, Lauren Cullum in particular, Rosie George out wide too, today’s award though goes to central midfielder Jodie Drake a strong performance in the centre of the park breaking up play making tackles and getting forwards well to support the attack plus scoring a well taken goal.

  Norwich City Women will player the holders Wymondham Town Ladies in the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final after they beat Sprowston Ladies 4-0 this afternoon. The Final to be played on Sunday 19th April at Carrow Road an 11am kick-off, looking forwards to it already.

  Suppose it was good to get back to it after missing last weekend through Storm Ciara, enjoyed the football but certainly didn’t enjoy the weather, the notepad was well and truly soaked, along with the writer but both dried out now. My thanks to both sides for giving me the team details always appreciated.

Match Report – Haverhill Rovers Ladies v Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves

Sunday 2nd February

Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership

A top of the table clash from the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership this Sunday and a match between two debutants on Women’s Football East as 2nd placed Haverhill Rovers Ladies host league leaders Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves.

  The Cambridgeshire Women’s Football League growing considerably this season and influx of new sides seeing the Premiership expanded to 13 teams, the Championship below starting the season with 15 sides competing. Alot of football to be played. Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves leading the Premiership by a point, Haverhill Rovers Ladies playing catch up a point behind in 2nd with 3 games in hand. Several sides keeping an eye on this top of the table clash too well placed below to mount a challenge on the title themselves.

  My first look at Haverhill Rovers Ladies the club re establishing it’s women’s side last season. Strong recruitment seeing alot of experienced and talented players joining the club a 2nd Development side formed originally competing in the Suffolk Women’s Division now in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship. The first team winning promotion from the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South last in their debut season pipped to the title by St Ives Town Ladies Development. Joining the expended Premiership this season have made a strong start just one defeat from their opening 8 matches. Playing catch up just a third of their fixtures played a busy few months loom in what is likely to be a hard fought run for the title.

 Peterborough Northern Star Ladies playing in the ERWFL Premier Division forming a new Reserves side last season. One season in the Northamptonshire Women’s Football League they make the switch over to Cambridgeshire this season a strong start winning 7 of their opening 11 games getting their matches in where others haven’t seeing them move to the top of the league. In a good position to push on for the remainder of the season.

 The New Croft the venue for today’s match the game played on the 3G pitch beside the main stadium. One the outskirts of Haverhill multiple pitches is very much a community club. The 3G pitch itself a good size offering plenty of width, a wide viewing area for spectators with a small seated stand. Tea and coffee available aswell as hot food. A wet start to the day remained overcast a chilly wind building that would get stronger as the afternoon progressed. The 3G pitch seeing plenty of use games earlier in the day over running delaying kick-off by half an hour to allow the sides to warm-up properly.

Haverhill Rovers Ladies starting XI – Chelsea White, Ella Blowes, Georgina Westrope, Beth Harding, Amy Evans, Julie Brown, Kayleigh Steed, Emma Barnes, Kayleigh Nolan, Joely Kirby (C) & Sian Cottrell. Subs- Clair Andrews, Hannah Doyle, Sophie Wing & Jenna Wright.

Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves starting XI – Karla Durham, Fran Peeling, Demi Fox, Leah Barnes (C), Sarah Beard, Catherine Ray, Eve Lomasney, D’Lacy Phillips, Georgia Clarke, Eleanor Spendlow & Ella Gavaghan. Subs- Shannon Hilton, Kimberley Fairweather & Katie Henry.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Peterborough to get the first half underway wearing black an white vertical striped shirts, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. Haverhill all in red. The ball pressed in the middle early on both sides rushing to get the ball played out with little accuracy in the early exchanges. Eve Lomasney sending it forwards for Eleanor Spendelow to chase up the left side, Ella Blowes back on her to defend win the ball back for Haverhill at the back.

  Spendelow looking to make runs out wide left in attack for Peterborough ready to go whenever the midfield regains possession. Haverhill with 3 at the back, Spendelow crossing the ball into the box long across the penalty spot Ella Gavaghan can’t reach it before Haverhill clear. 

  Haverhill getting numbers back to support the defensive won back Julie Brown carries it forwards left side playing it forwards down the wing Joely Kirby captaining the side giving chase on her shoulder Peterborough captain Leah Barnes a race to the touch line Kirby looking to keep it in Barnes aiming to hold her up run out of room as they come together, Kirby’s momentum seeing her collide with the metal fence surrounding the pitch. Stay’s down hurt play stopped immediately a head injury blood pouring from a wound can’t continue, an early substitution made Jenna Wright on to join Sian Cottrell in attack. Kirby up walking back to the changing room to get her wound attended too.

Haverhill defender Georgina Westrope clearing the ball before Peterborough’s Ella Gavaghan can close her down

   The early exchanges remain tentative neither side properly settled as they test each other out. Peterborough making ground on the right wing Georgia Clarke racing with the ball to the touchline squaring a cross into the area Spendlow closing far post cushion the ball down to Gavaghan top of the area her first touch heavy allows Georgina Westrope the chance to get to the ball and clear. 

  GOAL! The hosts open the scoring good work on the right the ball played forwards to Jenna Wright strong on the ball getting it to Cottrell positioned inside the box right of the D, unmarked, sees the ball into her feet tuning into the striking falling back as she does so aiding her strike sending it up over goalkeeper Karla Durham into the back of the net beyond 1-0.

Sian Cottrell opens the scoring for Haverhill Rovers Ladies

  Peterborough get on the offensive straight from the restart Spendelow keeping possession well over halfway left side playing a great crossfield pass spotting Catherine Ray breaking forwards from the middle. Beth Harding standing her ground well top of the area tackling to get the ball away from her.  Wright making making an impact since coming on strong on the ball moving out to the left running on flicking a cross into the box with the outside of her boot Kayleigh Nolan closing in on goal from the right the ball too close to the keeper, safely in Durham’s hands.

Peterborough’s Fran Peeling

  Coming forwards from the back Fran Peeling looks to combine with Clarke and Ray on the right, Harding breaking up the attack the ball one end than the other neither side holding onto it for long.  Lomasney closing down in the middle sending the ball long looking for Spendelow racing on left side into the box, Chelsea White in goal for Haverhill to it first. Kayleigh Steed with a superb pass from midfield Nolan after the ball on the right into the corner, gathers Spendelow tracking back in defence challenging to win the ball. 

Kayleigh Steed playing the ball on fro Haverhill

  Between then Steed, Brown and Amy Evans are getting hold of the ball on the middle breaking up Peterborough attacks, preventing players getting up to support Gavaghan leading the attack. The hosts pushing forwards winning a corner, keep the ball in their opponents half Brown out to Wright top of the area right side sends in a low strike, Durham having the angle covered down to collect the ball safely. Gavaghan coming back to steal the ball right side turns and heads towards goal, Harding closing in to tackle for Haverhill. White up to claim the ball at her near post as the ball is swung in from a cross on the right. 

  Lomasney making several well times tackles to get hold of the ball always looking for a forward option from midfield plays the pass out to Spendelow giving chase on the left, Blowes coming across concedes the throw in. Into Gavaghan’s feet coming towards the ball turns looking to power her way into the box outnumbered the ball with Haverhill the break on the ball launched forwards Wright after it, bouncing an awkward one fro Peterborough full back Demi Fox to deal with keeps her eye on the ball as she jumps in front of the onrushing Wright making the clearance off balance falls bashing her head painfully on the 3G surface. another pause in play. Up after treatment able to continue.

Demi Fox playing the ball for Peterborough

 A cagey game neither side getting the better of the other fairly even, Peterborough making runs out wide not capitalising in the middle, congested at times Haverhill constantly looking to spread the play. Both sides quick to recover in defence, Harding coming across the back line to deal with the threat of Spendelow as she gets in behind into the box from another good ball from Lomasney aiming to pick out Gavaghan central, Harding intercepts her block deflecting the ball safely back to her keeper.

  D’Lacy Phillips bringing the ball on for Peterborough setting up an attack finding Spendelow left side players rush up from midfield to out number the Haverhill defence Spendelow firing the ball inside taken into her stride by Ray has Gavaghan running ahead of her, feeds the ball on into the box, Westrope having gone with Gavaghan lunging in with the challenge to take the ball away from her. Peterborough prevent Haverhill counter attacking the ball fired into Spendlow 25 yards out on the left of the fires in a shot the ball plucked down and caught by White.

Peterborough midfielder, D’lacy Phillips

  Brown bringing the ball on through the middle played forwards for the pacy Nolan to chase, quick by the ball picks up speed on the 3G and is away from her before she can keep it in play. Peterborough make a double change bringing off Phillips and Fox coming off, Katie Henry and Kimberley Fairweather coming on further positional changes seeing Spendelow pushed up to join Gavaghan in the attack Ray going into the defence. The visiting side applying some pressure towards the end of the first half up on the right the cross into the six yard box Spendelow jumping with the keeper the ball loose a shot fired in on goal blocked on the line.

Haverhill defender, Ella Blowes playing the ball up field

 Emma Barnes on the move with the ball left side for Haverhill her cross in cut out by Sarah Beard deflected behind goal for a corner. Fired in low very nearly an own goal the ball sent in towards goal at the near post cleared straight to Barnes a shot lashed back in Peterborough turn to block on the line. Brown getting across to tackle Ray as she comes on with the ball turning infield, possession quickly regained the ball launched out to the right taken on by Clarke her cross from the byline comfortably dealt with by Westrope.

Half-time Haverhill Rovers Ladies 1-0 Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves

  Half-time and Haverhill hold a narrow lead 1-0 up takes to an early goal from Sian Cottrell. Few clear cut chances over all both sides working hard cancelling each other out to a degree, Haverhill strong in the centre of the park making it hard for Peterborough to get numbers forwards Ella Gavaghan often isolated in attack. Peterborough on the whole solid at the back themselves neither keeper tested. Perfectly set up for the 2nd half.

  Getting very chilly now the wind picking up swirling across the ground. Peterborough staying out on the pitch during the interval. Haverhill back out taking kick-off no changes for either side. Peterborough quick out of the blocks the ball closed down Fairweather playing it out to the right a throw won inside the Haverhill half from that Henry sending a cross into the area cleared by Westrope. Haverhill bring it forwards, Peterborough across the close down preventing the break Ray played onto the ball left side charges forwards cutting inside into the box run off the ball by Blowes.

Haverhill’s Julie Brown winning the header against Peterborough’s Eleanor Spendelow

 Great work by Brown strong to win the ball back in front of her defence turn looks up sees Nolan on the move right side sends the diagonal ball in her direction, Durham seeing Nolan’s run to racing out of her area to get her foot through the ball first. Wright is proving a handful in attack for Haverhill strong on the ball shaking off her marker getting on in behind, Beard comes across to challenge put the ball away from a throw. Is becoming an end to end encounter Peterborough launch it forwards through the middle Gavaghan 25 yards out, back to goal with a glancing header to knock it down to Spendlow to her left, the attackers then with a one tow Spendelow into Gavaghan’s feet she lays it back for Spendelow to strike swinging through the air off target White across her line to gather. 

Eleanor Spendelow constantly looking for an attacking opportunity for Peterborough

 Evan’s on the ball for Haverhill coming forwards sends i on for Nolan out wide on the right looks to take on Ray jink inside her the full back sticking a leg across snatching the ball just in time. Peterborough coming forwards better now Gavaghan benefiting from the support able to impose herself on the game more. Haverhill busy in defence but between them, Blowes, Westrope and Harding are standing firm. The hosts make their 2nd change of the game Steed coming off, on in her place club captain Clair Andrews making her return to full fitness after spending the last 5 months out through injury.

 

Eve Lomasney bringing the ball on attacking for Peterborough

 Lomasney operating out on the left now picking the ball up running at the Haverhill box lines up a strike from 20 yards out the ball charged down by Westrope. Has been a frustrating afternoon for Nolan so far a willing runner the ball just won’t run favourably for her, a heavy tough letting her down this time. An intriguing contest time running out, Peterborough looking likely to find a goal, Haverhill you think need a 2nd to give themselves some breathing room. A corner won by Wright on the left fired into the area Peterborough defending headed behind for a corner on the right. Put into the six yard box chested down by Brown swings into the shot struck hard blocked, Fairweather onto the loose ball brings it away for the visitors.

Haverhill’s Beth Harding

 GOAL! 15 minutes left on the clock and Haverhill get that much needed 2nd goal. Peterborough are attacking play broken up Evens getting hold of the ball keeping it well before turn and playing a great ball out to the right wing for Nolan, all previous frustration forgotten as she collects the ball into her run surges on into the area and blasts a shot goalwards on the angle driven in low Durham on her line down well to save gloving the ball out towards the top of her area, Wright forwards getting hold of it smashing a shot back in takes a deflection send it past the stranded keeper to nestle in the back of the net… an own goal? I don’t think so and nor does Wright as she celebrates her first goal for the club 2-0.

  Peterborough make a change bringing on Shannon Hilton for Spendelow. The visitors awarded a free-kick outside the Haverhill box on the right side Clarke on it attempts for goal her shot wide at the far post. Harlow’s turn to make a change Evans the player coming off on comes Hannah Doyle. Wright lively in attack away in behind as Peterborough push up, Durham out of her box to win the ball. Fairweather in with a strong challenge to win the ball outside the Haverhill box pushed onto Gavaghan, Harding diving in to close her down get the ball for the hosts. 

Haverhill’s Amy Evans bringing the ball forwards

  Fairweather in again to get hold of the ball keep Peterborough in the final third out to Lomasney on the left her first touch sending the ball on into the area a race with Westrope the defender winning it concedes the corner kick. Taken short up the line to Peeling, Westrope races out of the box to close her down charging down her attempted cross. Time running out Peterborough with a double change, Phillips and Spendelow back on, Lomasney and Gavaghan taken off.

  Game management needed from Haverhill late on keep hold of the ball inside the Peterborough half don’t invite pressure. A quickly taken free-kick on half way from Peterborough launched up towards the area headed out of the box drops straight to Hilton 25 yards out slices her 1st times shot drops wide of goal. Up the field late on in stoppage time Peterborough fire a cross in from the right brought down comfortably by Brown back in defence carries the ball away from danger as the final whistle blows. Haverhill winning 2-0 to return to the top of the Premiership table.

Full time Haverhill Rovers Ladies 2-0 Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves

  A hard fought victory for Haverhill Rovers Ladies taking an early lead in the game, Peterborough making them work of the 3 points coming on strong in the 2nd half chances for both Haverhill looking solid in defence really needing that 2nd goal late on to dull their opponents attack. A good contest and both will face several more before the season’s over alot of football still to be played. Haverhill top by 2 points with 3 games over Peterborough others not far behind either the expanded league proving intriguing.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Several contenders once again and like last weekend another tough decision to decide this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. For Peterborough, Eve Lomasney was excellent in midfield especially first half looking to get thing’s going further forwards for the visitors. Eleanor Spendelow too lively out wide on the left making good runs and looking to set up others. Haverhill were impressive as a unit especially at the back particularly Georgina Westrope and Beth Harding. Julie Brown in midfield  breaking up several Peterborough attacks not letting much get away from her. Today’s award though goes to attacker Jenna Wright coming off the bench early on made an impact straight away strong on the ball good work leading up to setting up Sian Cottrell for the opening goal. A threat all game scoring the 2nd goal.

Enjoyed my first outing to The New Croft. My thanks to both teams for giving me those all important team details always appreciated will be a keen observer watching the battle for the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership title unfold.

Match Report – Wymondham Town Ladies v Harlow Town Ladies

Sunday 26th Jan

ERWFL Cup

Wasn’t the intention to have a two week break from the football a weekend off and then a game postponed late on seeing no action on Women’s Football East for a fortnight, keen to get back at it this Sunday, the action from the 1st Round of the ERWFL Cup, Wymondham Town Ladies v Harlow Town Ladies.

 The game itself originally due to be played a fortnight ago, cancelled on the day due to Harlow Town Ladies mini-bus being hit by a lorry whilst parked up at the services on route to Norfolk. The game rearranged for this Sunday, a group stage played in the first half of the season between the Division One clubs the 4 group winners going on to the knockout stages of the ERWFL League Cup joined by the 12 Premier Division sides.

The ERWFL Cup is certain to be hotly contested if the league itself is anything to go by, Harlow Town Ladies are well clear at the top but beyond that just 7 points separate 2nd placed Peterborough Northern Star Ladies down to Bowers & Pitsea Ladies in 9th. Wymondham Town Ladies in amongst those currently in 7th spot well placed to push on for a top half finish. Everyone capable to taking points off each other going on a run. 

Wymondham Town Ladies promoted two seasons ago along with Harlow, doing well despite having an awful injury list to contend with, several players out with long term injuries including captain and vice-captain Rachel Cossey and Leah Newcombe both suffering bad knee injuries during last season’s Norfolk Women’s County Cup win at Carrow Road. Both on the road to recovery Newcombe in particular close to a return. Long term injuries to hitting their defence with Bethany Fretwell, Chardonnay Johnston and Summer Ward all out. New players arriving in the summer, Mia Etheridge from AFC Sudbury and Jennifer Codman from Fakenham Town Ladies. Freya Symonds too with a trio of ex-Ipswich players, Cassie Craddock, Jac Ball and goalkeeper Danni Clarke. Plenty of goals within the squad captain and striker Hannah Waters with 19 to her name top scoring.

  Harlow Town Ladies have enjoyed alot of success in their short history regularly winning promotions moving up the women’s football pyramid the Essex side are currently 9 points clear at the top of the ERWFL Premier Division and in a strong position to go on and win the title and with it promotion to the FAWNL for the first time in their history. Undefeated have won all but one of their 12 league matches so far this season. The only points dropped way back on the opening day a 1-1 draw with today’s cup opponents Wymondham Town Ladies. Harlow coming back to win 4-3 in the reverse fixture. Have brought in several players to add experience to their young squad, goals too, Becky Shephard one of those new arrivals netting 22 goals so far this season.

Ketts Park the home to Wymondham Town Ladies a new venue on the outskirts of the town close to the A11. My first visit to the ground a smart facility offering a main 3G playing surface available for hire. Grass pitches beyond. The clubhouse offering hot drinks with plenty of parking outside. The 3G pitch itself a good size with adequate room for spectators to stand beside the pitch. Overcast conditions rain forecast not expected to arrive until after the game a stiff breeze making it feel chilly. A hot cup of tea welcome.

  Both sides with absentees through injury and unavailability on the day. Harlow frustrated having travelled with two new signings but both ineligible to play under league cup rules, alos missing the experience of players such as Nicole Farmer, Georgia Box and Amy Nash, only able to name one substitute. Wymondham likewise having a few missing having just the one on the bench. 

Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Danni Clarke, Becca Russell, Chelsea Clarke, Lauren Kett, Jac Ball, Katie Knights, Jennifer Codman, Mollie O’Callaghan, Freya Symonds, Mia Etheridge & Hannah Waters (C) Subs – Cassie Craddock.

Harlow Town Ladies starting XI – Charlie Orwell, Tayla Handscombe, Fran Gamble, Kaydee King (C), Mel Jones, Chloe Bassett, Abbey Dell, Beth Chambers, Lucy Edmeades, Becky Shephard & Liv Steele. Subs – Evie Love.

(Roll on roll off substitutes)

  Wymondham wearing red shirts and shorts with black shorts to kick-off the first half. Harlow in their away colours yellow shirts with blue shorts and socks. The hosts playing the ball back into their defence Harlow rushing forwards to press the ball Abbey Dell involved straight away, a long punt forwards cleared by Harlow captain Kaydee King gathered by Wymondham goalkeeper Danni Clarke. Harlow build down their left winning a throw deep in the Wymondham half controlled the cross lifted high towards the top of the area, Freya Symonds up to head clear for Wymondham.

   A bright start from Harlow pressing the ball, Wymondham look to break the ball into Mollie O’Callaghan’s feet left side of midfield looks to take it on chopped down inside the Harlow half. A fee-kick given the ball put across the park to Becca Russell forwards on the wing lifts it on for Mia Etheridge the flag goes up against her. O’Callaghan bringing the ball on once again is brought down as she sends it on for Symonds play brought back for the fee-kick, further forwards Chelsea Clarke over it into the box, caught by Harlow goalkeeper, Charlie Orwell. 

 GOAL!  6 minutes played and an early break through, Harlow take the lead Beth Chambers getting hold of the ball left side inside the Wymondham half playing a dangerous looping diagonal ball in towards the top of the area Chelsea Clarke stretching to clear can only push it into the onrushing Becky Shephard’s path takes it on a yard before driving a powerfully struck shot past Danni Clarke into the back of the net 0-1.

Becky Shephard with the opening goal for Harlow Town Ladies after 6 minutes

  Wymondham go on the attack straight from the restart players up and around the 18 yard box, O’Callaghan tries her luck from range 25 yards out off target, Orwell able to come across her goal to collect. Harlow’s Chloe Bassett receiving the ball centrally off a throw in on the left turns and hits a shot goalwards from 25 yards out swearing through the air Danni Clarke back on her line keeps her eyes on it catching safely. Gamble with a great tackle to stop Etheridge from stealing in behind her with the ball on the right side for Harlow. 

GOAL! Harlow caught with a high line as Wymondham play the ball forwards Lauren Kett winning it at the ball bringing it on firing a low pass forwards over half way captain Hannah Waters getting away from King to latch onto the ball a carry it on towards the area Orwell coming to the top of her area to close the angle Waters shaping to shot shifting to her right to get wide of the keeper and send the ball on to score. Wymondham back on level terms just 6 minutes after conceding 1-1.

Wymondham Town Ladies captain Hannah Waters levels the scores

Wymondham with their tails up strong in the middle of the park Etheridge getting hold of the ball taking players on central looks to play a one two with Katie Knights run on in behind as Knights attempts to lift the ball over the defence, Bassett reading it in to take the ball away for Harlow. The visitors looking to make use of the flanks Beth Chambers left side has Dell racing into space on the wing sends the ball in for her to take on down the line a strong run cuts back inside to deliver the cross near post with Shephard making the good run, the attack rising aiming to flick the ball with her boot in across goal doesn’t get enough on it the ball put behind wide.

Beth Chambers striking the ball for Harlow Town Ladies

Lucy Edmeades away into space on the opposite wing sending a dangerous cross into the six yards box too high for Danni Clarke to save, no one coming in at the back post for Harlow. Danni Clarke with an excellent and brave piece of goalkeeping soon after as Harlow thread a long ball through the middle with Liv Steele attacking the area right, Clarke rushing out sliding in to make the blocking save at Steele’s feet, the striker coming off worse for the clash. Harlow win a free-kick wide right a good delivery into the box Steele positioned on the penalty spot cushioning the ball down looking to swing into the shot the Wymondham defence rush in to block at close range. 

 Steele has take a couple for knocks needs to come off from treatment Harlow making the first change of the match, Evie Love coming on to join Shephard up top. O’Callaghan is certainly in the wars for Wymondham getting clattered again the free-kick striking the wall set up by Harlow Symonds though retrieves for the hosts left side sends in a cross, Orwell coming near post to claim. A competitive game played at a fast past both sides giving free-kicks away Harlow turn with a set-piece inside the Wymondham half, Gamble over the ball towards the left a good way out nevertheless goes for goal a high ball in dropping late Danni Clarke can’t get it the ball clatters against the ball drops back into play stabbed back towards go Clarke back on her line down smartly to save on the line.

Katie Knights on the ball for Wymondham Town Ladies

 Katie Knights making several good runs with the ball through the middle for Wymondham sends in through for Waters to chase in attack, Orwell out of her area early trapping the ball with her legs inside the D clearing before Waters can get it. O’Callaghan with a shot from distance bouncing low through towards goal left side Orwell down to save the ball behind for a corner kick. Defending the ball Harlow clear up to half way Evie Love looking to break is fouled by Kett a free-kick awarded. Gamble to play it forwards players up into the box King bringing it down her tough too strong allowing Wymondham to steal in and clear top of the area. 

Harlow Town Ladies, Fran Gamble

 Is getting a little heated out there a bit of pushing and shoving going on quickly dealt with by the referee the game continues to set a furious pace challenges strong at times. Several players talked too already. A quick free-kick by Gamble into Steele central puts it on quickly Shephard away but adjudged offside as she shoots. Mel Jones turning play around quickly in the middle for Harlow forwards for Shephard beating the offside trap this time can’t control her shot top of the area, Jac Ball back to win possession for Wymondham. Pressuring the ball inside the Wymondham half Harlow’s Bassett gets away on the right crossing from the corner Shephard coming near side sends it wide. 

Mollie O’Callaghan weighing up her passing options for Wymondham Town Ladies

  Wymondham making ground on the right win a throw the ball into the feet of Waters right corner of the box plays the pass infield to Knights central has O’Callaghan to her left gives her the ball Harlow back defending their area O’Callaghan comes back in central looking to get a shot away finds a way through but not past Orwell as she drops to save the ball. Etheridge and Chambers clash going for the ball, Chambers down landing awkwardly play stopped so she can receive treatment up gingerly play resumes with a free-kick to Harlow to the bemusement of the home support.

Harlow captain Kaydee King clearing the ball

 Into the closing moments of the first half, Wymondham also frustrated at the number of offside decisions going against them Waters a constant threat enjoying a fantastic battle with King intriguing to watch Waters thinking she’s got half a yard only to be pulled back by the flag. Dell covering alot of ground across the park for Harlow setting the tone for the game for much of the first half wants to be in the thick of the action breaking up a number of Wymondham moves. The offside flag up against Edmeades on the right a decision that infuriates the Harlow bench. Knights sneaking in to take the ball plays Waters through central not catching her strike cleanly the ball straight at Orwell catch after the initial save pops out of her gloves. The last action of the half.

Half-time Wymondham Town Ladies 1-1 Harlow Town Ladies

  A fast paced game so far competitive not alot between the sides, the pace leading to several mistimed challenges plenty of free-kicks given away and knocks being picked up. Harlow with an early goal Wymondham coming straight back to level has remained even Harlow hitting the bar from a free-kick. Changes for both sides at half-time. Cassie Craddock on for Wymondham the players off goalkeeper Danni Clarke suffering a hand injury the tall Freya Symonds donning the gloves for the 2nd period. Chambers off for Harlow with Steele back on. 

Harlow to get the 2nd half underway the temperature dropping considerably very chilly on the sidelines now. The visitors getting an early set-piece on halfway King to play the ball out to Edmeades on the right side in space cuts inside no shot on lays the ball across the top of the area for Bassett laying it back to Gamble she floats a high ball in towards goal safely caught by Symonds. Handscombe brings the ball on through the middle for Harlow pushing on towards the D is closed down by three Wymondham defenders Craddock putting in the final tackle to get the ball away O’Callaghan away on the left forwards for Waters to chase Orwell can come to the edge of her area an collect.

Harlow’s Chloe Bassett looking to get the ball away chased by Wymondham’s Mollie O’Callaghan

Codman playing the ball on for Knights in the middle plays it forwards with O’Callaghan forwards on her left cuts back inside, 25 yards out closed down Gamble and King combining. O’Callaghan and Jones with a crunching 50/50 in the middle both hurts but quick to acknowledge the ball was there to be won. Harlow over half way the ball played long to the left side a cross whipping on at pace Chelsea Clarke central sticking a foot out to intercept almost scores an own goal inside the six yard box the ball flashes up to strike the cross bar bouncing down grabbed by Symonds before anyone can follow up from Harlow to score. 

Abbey Dell bringing the ball on for Harlow Town Ladies

Wymondham have Etheridge on the ball attacking right a strong run her cross in cleared play brought back for an earlier foul on the winger. Players forwards taken short into the top of the area with O’Callaghan coming for the ball the shot in hesitates shifting it before pulling the trigger a deflection sending it wide for the corner kick. King up well at the near post to defend for Harlow. A flowing attack from Wymondham Knights doing well once again bringing the ball on support from Craddock out to Etheridge on the right plays it back to Russell she swings in the cross long, King up at the far post to win the header for Harlow clearing the threat.

Harlow’s Evie Love ends up riding Wymondham defender Lauren Kett as she slides in to tackle

   Kett stepping out of defence sliding in strongly to win a number of tackles for Wymondham is down with an injury, a pause in play Harlow make the change bring Chambers back on for Love on the left. Play resumes Waters doing well to win a corner on the right the ball in cleared firmly by the head of King at the near post. King with the interception and touch back fr her keeper to clear as Knights almost sends the running Waters and Etheridge in on goal for Wymondham. Harlow bring Jones off sending Love back on. 

Harlow Town Ladies, Tayla Handscombe

Wymondham pressure O’Callaghan closing in on the area closed down, Waters almost in Harlow look to play out from the ball O’Callaghan giving chase goes down in agony play stopped straight away the Wymondham midfield in clear distress has hurt her knee, a long pause in play on the field treatment hobbles off can’t continue Wymondham to end the game with 10 with no more substitutes over 15 minutes left to play. Gamble carries the ball on for Harlow up to Steele in attack, Clarke closing her down to tackle for Wymondham the hosts break quickly the ball put through the middle King intercepting.

  Wymondham actually upping their intensity despite being a player down, renewed energy to close down the ball Waters keeping King busy the clash of the captains King lunging in to win the ball this time. Chambers finding space on the right incensed at being flagged offside with Harlow playing the ball crossfield from the left. Edmeades forwards on the left sends a cross in attacked near post by Steele up to head the ball plays it over the bar. Love and Shephard combined on the right the former with the back heels Shephard’s cross in bringing a corner kick. Swung into the box central blasted goalwards saved on the line by a combination of defender and goalkeeper. 

Wymondham Town Ladies, Mia Etheridge

Etheridge storming on down the right side for Wymondham in attack the angle going against her as she unleashes a powerful shot the ball rising smashing against the crossbar falling into the box players in on the follow so too King putting her body in the way to block. The tie on a knife edge could go either way Harlow bring Edmeades off late on sending Jones back into the fray. King with a last ditch tackle to deny Waters inside the box the clock running down Harlow get forwards the ball fed along the ground into Shephard’s feet outside the box left turns and shoots the ball flying over the crossbar. Russell defending late on as Love tries to lift a ball into the box for Steele to run onto. The final whistle blows the cup tie heading into extra-time.

Full time Wymondham Town Ladies 1-1 Harlow Town Ladies

  A really enjoyable game lots of action not much between the sides neither on top, defending well committed and lively in the middle on the cusp of boiling over but both sides want to get on with it. Neither keeper overly tested in the 2nd half clear cut chances at a premium Wymondham doing well at the finish despite their player disadvantage could have snatched a late win. Now another 30 minutes awaits.

Extra-time

 Into extra-time Wymondham back up to the full 11 on the field, Danni Clarke able to take up an outfield role comes on to the left wearing Symonds no 18 shirt. Wymondham to get the extra period of play underway 2 15 minute halves for either side to try and find a winning goal or the tie heads to penalties. Good to see O’Callaghan up on her feet her knee iced up. Gamble on the ball for Harlow coming forwards long up to Chambers making a run right side the ball collected by Symonds. Chambers lively at the start of the half picking the ball up has pace drives on Wymondham closing her down.

A long diagonal ball left to right finds Etheridge stealing through into the box on the right she shot sliced though swerves wide of goal. Steele spinning on the ball as it is played into her feet very nearly has Shephard in on goal but for a raised flag. Wymondham get on down the right win  corner kick players forwards the ball long beyond the far post knocked down into the path of Danni Clarke, the goalkeeper turned outfield player with a snap shot the ball running wide of the post. Harlow with a corner up the other in inswinging cleared off the line. 

  Harlow attacking the ball fed into the box a race between Steele and Kett shoulder to shoulder Steele getting a shot away flashes over the bar. All action both sides going for it Etheridge winning Wymondham a corner.

  GOAL! Wymondham get their noses in front late in the first period of extra-time the corner taken long over the player rising well at the far post gathered as players rush out towards the ball a cross in flicked on and met by Waters jumping to get her foot on the ball in the centre of goal a yard out couldn’t miss 2-1.

Russell defending as Harlow fling a cross into the area from the right. Bassett gathering the ball deep for Harlow bringing it on well Chambers on the move right side Bassett looks to pick her out but to Chambers dismay she’s flagged offside once again.

Half-time extra-time Wymondham Town Ladies 2-1 Harlow Town Ladies

  Advantage Wymondham with 15 minutes to play leading 2-1 as Harlow get the 2nd period of extra-time underway. A few spots of rain in the air the visitors on the attack Dell put through right into the box the angle tight drives in a shot the ball held well by Symonds in goal. Harlow pressing at the start of the half looking to put Wymondham on the back foot. Kett stepping out well from the back to win the ball. 

  Waters sensing space may open up behind moving across the back line getting free momentarily on the left side after the ball, King doing well to get back on her make the challenge. Chelsea Clarke stopping Chambers as she drives towards the box. A Harlow free-kick won 22 yards from goal on the left played into the box cleared Harlow have it back driven into the box deflected wide for a corner. Symonds coping well to get something on the ball to get it away inside a congested six yard box. 

  Less than 5 minutes left Wymondham attempting to keep possession run the ball into the corners frustrate Harlow. Bassett brings the ball out from the back on for Love, but too much on the ball. Waters across to charge down King as she attempts to launch the ball up field. Time almost up Kett winning another tackle Harlow can’t get a clear chance on goal late on no way through. The final whistle blows and Wymondham are through to the quarter finals of the ERWFL League Cup beating Harlow 2-1 in extra-time.

Full time extra-time Wymondham Town Ladies 2-1 Harlow Town Ladies

  Another close contest between the two sides both short on numbers on the day a committed and entertaining cup tie. Early goals the game played at a fast pace several strong challenges and tempers frayed at times but never boiling over. A few bruises to show for the cause the following day I think. Wymondham holding on well with 10 getting back up to 11 for extra-time getting their noses in front. Harlow frustrated a lack of options from the bench not helping out of cup competitions in successive weeks, the focus now on the league and in a strong position to push for the title.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several contenders it has to be said and narrowing it down to one wasn’t easy. Starting wit the stand out performers for Harlow, an excellent game at the back for Kaydee King strong and had her hands full with Hannah Waters. In the middle of the park great energy shown by Abbey Dell covered alot of ground and her energy set the tone for the game. For Wymondham was impressed by Katie Knights in the middle several great runs and setting up attacks, Waters leading the line well. The defence doing well as a unit Freya Symonds didn’t look out of place in goal 2nd half. The award though goes to Lauren Kett won numerous challenges in the centre of defence and set up the opening goal.

An enjoyable first trip to Ketts Park, an entertaining game just what was needed after two weeks without a game. Played at a fast pace two committed teams could have gone either way Wymondham finding the winner in extra-time. My thanks to both teams for today’s starting line-ups.

Match Report – Ipswich Town Women v Portsmouth FC Women

Sunday 5th January 2020

Women’s FA Cup

 First game of the New Year, a new decade in fact a trip down into Suffolk to watch a game from the 3rd Round of the Women’s FA Cup, Ipswich Town Women leading FAWNL South East Division One taking on higher league opponents Portsmouth FC Women.

 The winners of today’s tie going on to potentially face FAWSL opposition as the clubs from the top tier and Championship below enter the competition. Ipswich looking to reach the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their history.

  Having a fine season to date leading the way in FAWNL South East Division One 4 points clear at the top of the table unbeaten winning 8 of their 9 matches played so far. A host of sides in the hunt to chase them down can’t afford to let their foot off the gas. Starting 2020 with a cup tie against higher league opposition will fancy their chances. Ipswich are currently the dominant force in women’s football in Suffolk and that looks unlikely to be contested for some time with manager Jo Sheehan having previously looked after their U21s side bringing in a host of new talent to boost the 1st team and their is plenty of talent coming through as not just I but anyone who has seen them in action will testify. 

 A well organised and committed media team established to promote the women’s side the Tractor Girls are building a solid fan base with numbers in attendance up. Their local derby with Norwich City Women seeing over 700 in attendance earlier in the season. A good crowd building before today’s match have played 3 games in the Women’s FA Cup to date entering in 2nd Round Qualifying, beating ERWFL Premier Division side Royston Town Women 7-0. A 6-1 home win against Norwich followed, with another home win 5-0 agianst fellow league side AFC Basildon Women following in the 1st Round Proper. A trip to the South Coast to face Southern Premier Division basement side Chichester City Ladies in the 2nd Round came home with a 6-0 to set up today’s home clash with Portsmouth.

  Portsmouth FC Women a long established side in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division. A side capable of beating anyone on their day. Their form up and down this season with just 7 league games played so far have games in hand on everyone in the league 4 wins and 3 losses so far. Have saved their best form for the cup reaching the quarter finals of the FAWNL Cup including a couple of extra-time wins. The Southern Premier Division sides entering the competition in the 2nd Round, Portsmouth were at home to FAWNL South East Division One opposition a tricky tie on paper with Leyton Orient WFC on the pitch Portsmouth were comfortable running out 6-1 winners. 

 Felixstowe & Walton FC’s Goldstar Ground the home of Ipswich Town Women a newly build clubhouse and changing room facility leading out to the pitch beyond. A bar and kitchen serving hot food and drinks available. The pitch a good side well used fairly bobbly in places. Offers good width. An overcast day with some light rain in the air prior to kick-off none forecast. 

 Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Nikita Runnacles, Paige Peake, Lindsey Cooper, Lucy Egan, Anna Grey, Sophie Peskett, Blue Wilson, Amanda Crump (C), Abbie Lafayette, Eloise King & Natasha Thomas. Subs – Lucy Williamson, Nicole Pannifer, Eva Hubbard, Maddie Biggs, Zoe Cossey, Ellie Rossiter & Molly Sutherland.

  Portsmouth FC Women starting XI – Hannah Haughton, Rebekah Tonks, Laura Ingram, Jazz Younger, Danielle Rowe, Jade Bradley (C), Mia Adaway, Katie James, Hayley Bridge & Charmaine True. Subs – Mel Burns, Amelia Southgate, Tamsin De Bunsen & Molly Clark.

 Mia Adaway making her full debut for Portsmouth this afternoon wearing their all purple away kit as they switch ends at the coin toss, Ipswich to kick-off the first half wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts. Referee Stacey Fullicks leading an all female officiating team this afternoon. Portsmouth pressing in midfield the ball put on down the right progress made before Lucy Egan puts her foot in to win the ball back for Ipswich the hosts playing the ball up to Natasha Thomas leading the attack for Ipswich on halfway her header under challenge seeing the ball knocked on for captain Amanda Crump to chase, Laura Ingram defending that side for Portsmouth putting the ball out for a throw.

 A lively start from both sides neither settling on the ball passes rushed, Charmaine True in attack for Portsmouth playing the ball out to Eilidh Currie breaking into space on the left to the byline whips a high ball into the box comfortably taken above her head by Ipswich goalkeeper, Nikita Runnacles. Currie getting some joy out wide left for Portsmouth finding space again puts a squared ball across the top of the Ipswich area the ball cleared by Lindsey Cooper. 

 The visitors pushing forwards joy on the flanks, Ipswich winning it back unable to get an attack going Jazz Younger stopping their advance on halfway keeping Portsmouth inside their opponents half. True coming out to the right flicks the ball inside for her captain Jade Bradley, a superb crossfield ball to send Ingram away with the ball on the left taking it on, Crump with the sliding tackle to halt her advance for Ipswich the ball out for a throw. 

Laura Ingram carrying the ball forwards for Portsmouth FC Women

Ingram with the ball at her feet on the attack for Portsmouth down the left sends it on for True back to goal 25 yards out looks to spin in behind her marker, Paige Peake in close challenges to prevent the attacker getting into the box beyond. Ipswich taking longer to settle have seen little of the attack in the opening quarter hour standing firm at the back as Portsmouth come on. Crump is brought down on the right giving Ipswich a chance to put players forwards as they are awarded the free-kick. Peake over the ball plays it in towards the crowd at the top of the box far post running in, headed goalwards but high onto the roof of the net. 

Natasha Thomas and Jazz Younger challenge for the ball

Portsmouth giving free-kicks away their bench unhappy as decisions go against them. Peake over another set-piece out wide the ball played long into the box, controlled well and cleared by Younger for Portsmouth. Ipswich finding a bit of momentum going forwards Abbie Lafayette going out to the left taking the ball on pace before sending in a dangerous ball across the face of goal Sophie Peskett running in far post pressure on the defender who slices the ball behind for a corner kick. An inviting delivery from the corner players up no one can get a telling touch. 

Blue Wilson bringing the ball down for Ipswich

Portsmouth launch a rapid counter attack True deep on the right into the box with the back heel out Currie making a central run 20 out has support coming from Bradley on the overlap to her left rolls the ball into her path, Peskett running back sliding into the tackle for Ipswich before Bradley can unleash a shot. All action, challenges coming in from both sides pace can’ take your eyes off it for a second. Causing both sides to rush their passes a little no one taking their time on the ball. Currie coming back to defend for Portsmouth as Crump with support from Peskett and Thomas looks to make ground on the right. Crump brought down again another free-kick awarded Peake to play the ball in towards the top of the area the ball knocked down runs wide for a goal-kick.

Portsmouth captain Jade Bradley shielding the ball

  Adaway races forwards for Portsmouth on the left into space as Currie finds her with the pass taking it into the corner cuts back to cross the ball finding the side netting. Hayley Bridge on the ball right for Portsmouth over halfway puts the pass infield for Bradley 30 yards out pulls the trigger her shot falling wide of the far post. Peskett picks up the ball for Ipswich right taking players on skips past one into space turning inside is closed down before she can get a cross away. 

Sophie Peskett on the attack for Ipswich Town Women

An even contest both side cancelling each other out somewhat, Portsmouth taking the ball on down the right wing, James with support from Bridge getting a corner kick. The ball put into the box played back to the taker her 2nd cross in cleared by Crump central. Portsmouth keep coming another corner the ball cleared straight to Bridge passed into Rowe inside the D she sends in a curling shot the ball confidently caught by Runnacles. Half and hour played. Thomas for the majority of the match so far has been close guarded by the Portsmouth defence, moving out to the left as Ipswich build in attack the ball rolled into her turns well to get inside attack the box shooting the ball flying wide across goal. The fouls mounting up Anna Grey the first player to go into the referees book with 36 minutes played.

GOAL! Ipswich send players forwards as they win a free-kick wide on the left inside the Portsmouth half. Peake coming over to take plays in a fantastic delivery racing through the six yards box players running to try and meet it, Thomas closest, the ball finding it’s way through everyone into the bottom corner. No doubt about the scorer as the Ipswich players race over to congratulate Peake the defender with her 7th goal of the season.

Paige Peake opens the scoring for Ipswich Town Women

Portsmouth frustrated pressing the attack Ipswich battling well to close the ball down Adaway seeing an effort charged down, Currie’s left wing cross long at the far post with James racing in. Currie again on the ball a driving run into the final third Ipswich coming back on her to crowd her off the ball. Would talk about someone else but Currie dominates the notes right now a determined run with the ball central is finally brought to a halt by Ipswich’s Blue Wilson 25 yards from goal. Currie with a crack from distance moments later 30 yards out the shot held by Runnacles.

Eilidh Currie on the ball for Portsmouth FC Women

Portsmouth coming on at the end of the first period Currie pulling up in frustration as she is caught offside, just, as Rowe plays a great through ball in behind the Ipswich defence. The visitors seeing the woodwork struck in injury time True having latched onto a misplaced goalkick sending in a looping strike from 20 yards out the ball cannoned off the bar.

Half-time Ipswich Town Women 1-0 Portsmouth FC Women

  A fast paced first half comes to an end with Ipswich holding a narrow advantage, Paige Peake’s 37th minute goal the difference between the sides. Both sides slow to settle Portsmouth finding momentum in attack getting forwards, space out wide Currie in particular finding joy in the left, Nikita Runnacles hardly tested however. Likewise Hannah Haughton up the other end for Portsmouth. Ipswich taking longer to settle hardly had any attack early on defended well, closing down free-kicks given away eventually taking advantage of one to score. Competitive, Portsmouth frustrated just a single goal in it however all to play for 2nd half. Extra-time and penalties if required.

  No changes for either side at the break the Portsmouth getting the game restarted on the attack, Adaway getting forwards on the left to support Currie, Peskett back to help Peake the pair preventing a cross coming in. Currie comes again on the left sending in a low cross the ball deflected behind for a corner kick. Put in high the ball cleared Eloise King aiming to send Lafayette away Portsmouth recovering to prevent the break. 

Ipswich’s Abbie Lafayette looking to close down Portsmouth’s Jade Bradley

  Ipswich build through the middle Wilson the Crump out to Lafayette she releases Grey bursting away into space on the left, Younger coming across puts in the challenge for Portsmouth the ball sent out for a throw. Ipswich from the throw the ball to King’s feet plays it central for Crump a brilliant chip over the top sees Thomas in behind left into the box fires in a vicious ball across the six yard box attacked far post, a corner the result despite Portsmouth protests for a foul on their defender. The corner swung into the box headed clear. 

Ipswich Town Women’s Natasha Thomas

 Ipswich lively at the start of the 2nd half have Portsmouth on the back foot pressing the attack looking for a 2nd goal, Grey, Lafayette and Crump all making good runs. Run the risk of being caught out the other end, Rowe working hard on the ball in the middle for Portsmouth sending it forwards for True making the run, Cooper reading it at the back giving herself room to intercept and clear for Ipswich. Peskett’s turn to get on the attack for Ipswich a surging run with the ball on the left runs into traffic. 

Anna Grey looking to turn in behind for Ipswich

 King links up with Thomas in attack for Ipswich rolling the ball on for Thomas to take on into the box makes a run towards the far post Thomas left putting a pacey cross through the six yard box defended at the far post Ipswich quick to retrieve Crump putting it inside with King free, her shot charged down. Ipswich winning a corner on the right the ball pinging around inside the box Portsmouth struggling to get it clear Ipswich unable to latch onto a shot. The hour fast approaching and Ipswich make the first change of the match King the player coming off in attack to be replaced by Maddie Biggs.

Eloise King racing after the ball for as Ipswich break

 Haughton with a fantastic save for Portsmouth, as Peskett right robs the ball from Currie and charges in behind to shoot on the angle her low driven shot deflected wide across goal as Haughton gets down to it at her near post a corner awarded. Ipswich on top Portsmouth respond with their first change of the match, Molly Clark on for Adaway. Lafayette plays the ball up to Biggs and Thomas in attack for Ipswich 20 yards out the pair combine Thomas with the lay off, Biggs with the turn left of the D screws her shot wide. 

Danielle Rowe in the thick of the action for Portsmouth FC Women

Peake winning the header at the back for Ipswich as Bradley getting room in the middle plays it up to for Currie left side. Thomas on the ball central for Ipswich turns playing it on for Biggs to run in on goal one on one with the keeper, commits Haughton to the dive takes the ball around her to the right as players race back to cover the goal, the angle tight Biggs sets herself to strike, Tonks on the line making a superb block for Portsmouth, Thomas closing in on the loose ball, is scrambled away.

Rebekah Tonks saving on the line for Portsmouth

Into the final 20 minutes play getting a little stretched, both sides needing a goal Ipswich to give themselves breathing room albeit a little and Portsmouth to get back on level terms, despite being frustrated throughout the match confident they will come back. Amelia Southgate entering the game for Portsmouth in place of Bridge. A minute later Tasmin De Bunsen comes on for the visitors replacing James. Wilson goes into the book for Ipswich. Clark with a shot from all of 40 yards out drops wide of the Ipswich goal.

 

Currie a constant threat out left for Portsmouth gets away on the ball taking it on towards the box preparing to pull the trigger Peake gets back on her to make a brilliant last ditch tackle to put the ball out for a throw. The game into the final 8 minutes. Ingram pushing on for Portsmouth in the latter stages Lafayette back to help in defence for Ipswich the pace of the match showing no let up. Ipswich determined as Portsmouth commit more players forwards Bradley on for De Bunsen has support with Ingram right her cross into the box just over the jumping Clark in the middle. 

 True left side gathering the ball turns to run at goal shooting on the angle an comfortable save at her near post for Runnacles. The visitors on the attack in the closing minutes, Ipswich making a change in the 89th minute Zoe Cossey on for Thomas. Ipswich with a free-kick in stoppage time Peake with the ball in Lafayette central inside the box almost clear to nod home, Haughton with the ball firmly in her grasp. Younger sent up top in attack at the death Ipswich though keeping the ball up the other end the final whistle blows and the hosts celebrate wildly as they make history reaching the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Ipswich celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Ipswich Town Women 1-0 Portsmouth FC Women 

 A fantastic result for Ipswich Town Women beating Portsmouth 1-0 to reach the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time. Paige Peake’s 37th minute goal proving the difference over a tough 90 minutes. Portsmouth for their part never at any moment out of the game just couldn’t find that telling goal that could have sent the tie into extra-time. despite soaking up alot of Ipswich pressure early in the 2nd half as the hosts looked to build on their narrow lead. Well contested fast paced, little time to settle on the ball, lots of free-kicks given away but no malice shown through out. A great advert for the game. A fantastic crowd of 368 there to watch the game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few contenders as always and a difficult decision. For Portsmouth, Danielle Rowe was outstanding in the middle covering plenty of ground to win and keep hold of the ball set up attacks, out of the left Eilidh Currie a constant threat, Jazz Younger and Rebekah Tonks in defence. A great all round team performance from Ipswich battled at times got forwards well, Amanda Crump in the middle with some good challenges and runs. Anna Grey too getting forwards in attack. The award though goes to Paige Peake scoring the winning goal of course but some fantastic ball in from her set-pieces aswell as several fantastic challenges in defence.

  Congratulation to Ipswich Town Women on their historic win all ears now on the draw for the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup live on Talksport radio tomorrow at 5pm. A great game to start the decade many more to come thanks to everyone for their help today.