Category Archives: Match Reports

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Sunday 11th November

FA Women’s Cup

 The 1st Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup this Sunday afternoon and it’s a local derby for Women’s Football East returning to the Trinity Playing Fields to watch Cambridge City Ladies take on rivals Cambridge United WFC.

   A contest between the leading women’s football sides in Cambridgeshire, Cambridge United WFC playing in FAWNL South East Division One whilst Cambridge City Ladies compete just one league below the ERWFL Premier Division.

  They were once one at youth level, Cambridge Women forming and going on to rise through the woman’s football pyramid reaching the FAWNL, a merger with Cambridge United seeing them become Cambridge United WFC. Several players have since returned to Cambridge City who themselves are rising through the women’s football pyramid. Local rivals their most recent meeting seeing Cambridge City win the Invitation (County) Cup Final last season to end a spell of dominance from United.

  A runners-up finish for Cambridge City Ladies in their debut season playing in the ERWFL Premier Division, are looking to go one better this time around win the title and with it join the FAWNL themselves. Have made a perfect start a 100% in all competitions to date including making history in reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup for the 1st time. 

  Began their FA Women’s Cup campaign back in the Preliminary Round with a away match against Newmarket Town Ladies a 2-0 seeing them draw at home to Cambridgeshire Premiership side Riverside Ladies in 1st Round Qualifying a crushing 14-0 victory setting up another home tie in 2nd Round Qualifying against higher league opponents, Leyton Orient WFC, Women’s Football East was there to watch the match a thriller 9 goals scored Cambridge City 2-0 down late in the 1st half came back to win an exciting 2nd half 5-4! A much different game in 3rd Round Qualifying an away trip to fellow ERWFL Premier Division side, Acle United Women. Laura Mills scoring the opening minutes, Cambridge City defending resolutely as Acle pushed hard for an equalising goal, held out and booked thier place in the 1st Round Proper.

   Cambridge United WFC are well established in the FAWNL South East Division One, those clubs entering the FA Women’s Cup in 2nd Round Qualifying. A home draw against ERWFL Premier Division side, Harlow Town Ladies, a comfortable 6-0 win over the Essex side setting up a 3rd Round Qualifying tie at home to fellow South East Division One side Stevenage Ladies. 2-0 up Stevenage came back late on to level the scores send the tie into extra-time, for there penalties Cambridge holding their nerve to win the shootout and reach the 1st Round Proper. 

 Despite alot of overnight rainfall, knew from previous experience the Trinity Playing Fields will hold out well, the pitch looking in good condition, a local derby alot of interest generated a good number arriving. Hot drinks available plus Cambridge City were laying on hot food for the afternoon. A good atmosphere building, sunny but cloudy a shower possible but unlikely.

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Robyn Phillips, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sarah Mosley, Charlotte Gillies, Laura Mills, Erin Davies & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Bella Simmons, Anna Kanz, Emily Reed & Ceri Flye.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Vicky Neal, Fran Gough, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Amber Cantwell, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Faith Hewitt & Kelley Blanchflower (C). Subs – Charlotte Crisp, Zoe Lander, Steph Gale, Mollie Coupar & Liz Pamplin.

  A moment of remembrance before the match a poignant day, 100 years since Armistice Day that brought an end to World War I. The team captains laying a wreath on the centre circle before a period of silence… Lest We Forget.

Captains, Kelley Blanchflower & Becca Fay laying a wreath of poppies in Remembrance of Armistice Day

   There’s a buzz in the air a crowd eagerly gathered to watch surrounding the pitch, no point using  Cambridge from here on in, City v United. It’s City to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. United lined up opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball played out to the right side, Gabrielle Whitehurst winning the tackle for United the ball out for a throw.

   City attack the ball played out to Charlotte Gillies on the right cuts inside before lifting the ball over the United defence with Laura Mills making the run in behind, Savannah Smith in goal for United able to safely gather inside the box. Derby matches can see some robust and usually clumsy tackles early on and this one is not exception, United right back, Emma Jenkins getting clipped across the ankles, Mill sliding in bring down Jade Bell. The latter resulting on a free-kick wide right the ball into the area knocked on towards goal City goalkeeper claiming the ball as it runs into her six yard box. 

Charlotte Gillies on the ball for Cambridge City Ladies

  City attack on the left Shannon Shaw on for Mills, Jenkins getting in to tackle and put the ball out for a throw. Defending inside their area the ball moved quickly through the middle a United break, captain, Kelley Blanchflower with a powerful run on the ball, central, rides Hannah Bodily’s challenge before running in Robyn Phillips the City centreback regaining possession of the ball inside her box. A good tempo both sides pushing players forwards, United break left, Blanchflower running into the channel as Becky Shephard plays the ball forwards, Mhunduru out to the edge of her area quickly sliding in to claim the ball at the strikers feet. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Emma Jenkins

  United’s Amber Cantwell take the ball on through the middle laying it off to Faith Hewitt tries her luck from 30 yards out the ball swinging away from goal. Gillies fouled on the right, a low ball played into the area, Vicky Neal putting in a block before clearing, Jenkins committing the foul 25 yards out City with a chance to shoot. Erin Davies over the ball goes for goal the ball wide past the post takes a clips off a United defender on the way through, the corner given. Mills from the left the delivery long towards the far post, the header sending the ball behind for the goal kick. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell with Cambridge City’s, Erin Davies

  Bodily looks to find space on the left as she comes forwards, Jenkins getting support from Bell dealing with the threat. A throw in, you know from the last report that Lauren Tomlinson has a long one in he armoury United winning the ball in the box, Neal clearing. End to end Shaw with Mills in attack for City, United break the counter attack bringing a free-kick 25 yards out left of the D. Jenkins to have a shot on goal, Mhunduru with a fantastic save diving to her right pushes the ball behind for the corner kick.

   Bell available on the right for United as they bring the ball forwards, Gillies looking lively on City’s right flank. The niggly free-kicks continue, United showing a little frustration. Good work from Cantwell in the middle winning the ball runs on the pass on for Bell she sends it on for Blanchflower coming over to the right her cross swung into the box cut out by City captain, Becca Fay. Hewitt’s turn to get the ball forwards for United, out to Bell on the right side, a strong tackle from Tomlinson to stop the attack.

Kelley Blanchflower ready to tackle Cambridge City’s Sarah Mosley

   A free-kick on halfway for City the ball played long up into the area, Neal backpedalling for United with the header on the six yard line the ball drops straight to the advancing Davies top of the area meets the shot on the volley her effort spins wide of the target. Shaw takes the ball forwards almost succeeds in playing Mills in behind instead the ball is cleared for a throw on the left. Tomlinson goes long the ball inside the area knocked on towards the near post, Smith catches it not put off by Davies attempting to get her head on it.

   Mills pulls away to the left wing on the ball down the line swings a cross into the area, Shaw lined up with the far post 12 yards out up to get her head on the ball knocked down, Smith with a slight stumble before getting down to push the ball away for the corner. In towards the near post headed behind for a 2nd corner from 3 yards out. The 2nd corner in from the right, met again near side deeper this time, Phillips sending the header wide.

   Shaw with a good run with the ball for City through the middle lays it out to Gillies getting forwards on the left, cuts inside the full back into the area shaping to shoot, Neal racing across gets the challenge in the rob her of the ball. Smith racing out of her area misses the ball as it is played long up to Shaw, the United defence back on the cover clearing the ball long before it can reach the goal. Amy Reed getting forwards from right back for City to the byline with the ball her cross in claimed at the near post by Smith.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Vicky Neal

   Fay receives the first yellow card of the game as she slides in to take out Bell right side. The ball from the resulting set-piece fired in towards the far post area, Mhunduru claiming well not put off by the runners coming in. Davies steals in to win the ball off the United defence right side spots Mills making a run in from the left tries to find her, Smith though can intercept the pass. Bell with a jinking run right side looks to get into the box, the City defence converging running her off the ball. Tomlinson breaking away on the left wing for City, Jenkins doing well up against her preventing the cross before defending and winning the goal kick.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-0 Cambridge United WFC 

  An intriguing 1st 45 minutes, certainly has a derby feel about it two committed sides that have provided the crowd with an enjoyable game so far. Very good numbers in attendance and heard lots of positive comments too. Goalless neither side has gotten on top of the other, spells of pressure short lived, some lively challenges but not malice more niggly, it’s tense out there. An interesting 2nd half to come and extra-time… and penalties should they be required.

Sarah Mosley getting the ball up field for Cambridge City Ladies

   It’s United to kick-off the 2nd half the sun low in the sky in Smith’s eyes. City winning the ball in the middle come forwards Davies out to Mills on the left her early cross into the box met central by Shaw knocked down into the ground, Smith right behind it collecting safely. Whitehurst brought down in the middle United awarded the free-kick, Cantwell to put the ball up into the area, Phillips winning the header for City. Phillips defending again as United’s Blanchflower and Shephard look to combine on the right. 

Kelley Blanchflower looking to shake of Cambridge City Ladies, Robyn Phillips

   Shepherd’s run in behind halted through the middle the flag up against her following good work form Cantwell in the middle of the park. Carrie Bennett defending at left back stopping Gillies as she tries to cut inside her from the wing. City attack left side the ball played on for Shaw to chase, Gough on her shoulder running towards the box, Smith coming to kick the ball clear, smashes it unluckily against Gough, Shaw alert onto the rebound the keeper out of position she shots from the angle, Bennett racing back to clear if needed the ball striking the outside of the post and out of play.

Erin Davies attacking for Cambridge City Ladies

   Shephard gets into space on the left given the ball takes it on in behind her cross squared into the box along the top of the six yard box an awkward height for Bell nevertheless does well the get her leg back enough to get a kick in towards goal, lacking pace however Mhunduru diving it able to smother the shot. Gillies doing well on the right wing for City, support from Reed and Davies playing her in, inside the area, the United defence closing her down Gough winning the tackle. City make the first change of the game, off comes Mosley on comes Bella Simmons.

Amy Reed dealing with the ball for Cambridge City Ladies

  Gillies with a storming run down the right side plays the cross into the box United defending as Mills tries to turn it in at the near post. City have a corner on the right the ball into the six yard box comes at Simmons quickly can’t direct it in on target. City applying a little pressure now another cross in from the right flashing across the face of goal. 

   Smith with a fantastic save to deny City the opening goal, pressure around the 18 yards box the cross in central Simmons 10 yards out central shifts the ball well the goal looks there for the taking as she unleashes a shot, Smith throwing herself up to her right full stretch getting behind it gloving the ball away for the corner brilliant. The corner from the right long carries to Mills a the top of the area her strike goalwards charged down the rebound out to the left the cross put back in Smith with the catch.

   Bell coming out to the left has support from Hewitt down the line edge of the box, Phillips in with a good tackle to stop Bell turning inside. The ball staying that side United keep it Bell getting another opportunity to send a cross in, very nearly results in an own goal, Tomlinson running a with Blanchflower getting the first touch the ball turned goalwards inside her six yard box, manages to get to it to hook it up over the bar. 

Robyn Phillips tackling Cambridge United’s Jade Bell

  Hewitt with a strike on goal from outside the area as the ball comes out to her from the corner, takes a deflection sending it wide for another corner. Swung in under the bar Mhunduru up under challenge does enough to get the ball away from danger. Bell wins a throw on the right the ball played on into the area won by Phillips, City counter attack the ball up to Mills, Gough closing her down does well up against her. 

 GOAL! Closing in on the final 15 minutes and United break the dead lock, good running from Blanchflower coming out to the left side down the line, checks back inside before looking up and lifting a cross into the area the ball over Shepherd leaping in a central position falls to, Bell at the far post meeting it perfectly to volley back in towards goal and score, her 1st goal for United in only her 3rd appearance 0-1.

  United make a change straight after the goal, Charlotte Crisp coming on to replace Hewitt in the middle. City press the ball lifted up through the middle headed out to Gillies coming inside from the right onto the ball fires in a shot races wide across the face of goal. Blanchflower with a driving run bursting towards the area tackled by Reed as the game moves into the final 10 minutes. United make a 2nd change, Mollie Coupar on for Shepherd. Decisions continue to frustrate United, players letting their emotions show.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Gabrielle Whitehurst

  Gillies still full of running on the right, down the wing sends in and inviting cross low into the six yards box, Smith down low pushes the ball away from danger. City win a free-kick in the corner on the left, the ball high into the six yard box Smith up for it falls awkwardly under challenge, play stopped needs treatment. Jenkins booked for expressing her anger. Shaw gets onto the end of a cross put in from the left plants the ball wide of the near post.

 GOAL! Into stoppage time a throw in deep on the left the ball is put into a congested near post area pings around feet before popping loose back to a City shirt, a shot the ball lashed into the back of the net, City equalise, now you try to look for the scorer but she’s currently under the rest of her teammates as they bundle into celebrate 1-1. The goal scored by Bella Simmons.

Cambridge City Ladies celebrate their late equaliser goalscorer Bella Simmons under there somewhere

  Smith is struggling in goal for United, Pamplin being readied, carrying injuries herself including a broken finger but that won’t stop her. City pressure late on pushing for a winner, a free-kick on the right Reed to put the ball into the box cleared as the final whistle blows and the game heads into extra-time. 

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-1 Cambridge United WFC

  Extra-time

  Momentum firmly with City right now as the teams gather their composure for the extra period of play the sun low in the sky now. A blow for United, Smith cannot continue, Pamplin comes on in goal. United frustrated with the officials too. City to kick-off the 1st 15 minutes of extra play. Gillies winning the ball right side running on her cross high landing behind the goal. City come again right side this time win a throw inside the United half, Bell actually playing the ball off Tomlinson, the fans all knowing the decision is wrong so too the United bench, manager Kevin Hoover getting a talking to from the referee as he voices his complaints.

GOAL! From the throw-in City go on to score a well worked move Tomlinson’s throw down the line good the cross put in early towards the top of the area Mills making a good move getting herself into space inside the D, unmarked hits the ball well rifling it into the back of the net and moments from going out of the FA Women’s Cup, City are in front 2-1.

Laura Mills strikes in extra-time to put Cambridge City Ladies into the lead

  City looking confident have their tails up now the goal restoring energy levels, space opening up Gillies right her cross early long Mills far side turns it goalwards, Pamplin down low easily able to gather. Shaw turning inside with the ball from a throw in foul Cantwell as she tries to get into the area. Coupar winning the ball deep on for Blanchflower left takes on the shot early and attempted lob, doesn’t have enough height on it to worry Mhunduru.

  United pressing forwards room in behind as City counter the ball fed into Shaw, both Simmons and Davies into the area, the latter left side slices her shot wide. Gough defends well as Tomlinson forces her way forwards looking to get in behind her, Neal around on the cover to make sure the ball is cleared. Gillies on the right inside for Shaw she is tackled by Gough outside the box the ball coming back for Gillies she strikes it goalwards from 25 yards out lands in the side netting. 

  A brave save from Mhunduru as Coupar running with the ball left side into the middle sends Bell through into the area left of goal the City keeper rushing in to slide down at her feet the ball deflected away for a corner. The corner is fired in across the face of goal low, Jenkins gets onto it at the far post, a goal line clearance keeping the ball out.

Half-time extra-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-1 Cambridge United WFC

  The sun low in the sky now as United kick-off the 2nd period of extra-time 15 minutes to find a reply. The visitors press forwards Blanchflower with Coupar central moving left, Reed defending for City, Crisp gathers the ball on the wing the cross fired in central, Whitehurst stretching for the ball can’t quite reach it. 

  City break attacking on the right Gillies played on by Mills, Bennett doing well as she stands up against her. Zoe Lander on at right back for United replacing Jenkins. Blanchflower getting hold of the ball takes on 3 City plays manages to get n behind into the area left of goal looks to place the ball high past Mhunduru the City keeper doing well getting a glove to the ball taking it behind for a corner.

City make a change, Davies coming off on comes Emily Reed. Mills is booked for a late challenge on Cantwell on halfway. Neal looks to get in behind from the set-piece the flag up for a foul against her. Mhunduru comes for a free-kick into her six yards box on the right pushing the ball down and away gets hurt as she falls the decision going her way, needs treatment looks in pain but thankfully in up shakily and able to continue. Gillies booked late of for a clip on Neal’s heels. The free-kick defended, City counter the ball with Mills on the right wins a throw. No time left for a United counter, as City win 2-1 to reach the 2nd Round.

Full time extra-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-1 Cambridge United WFC

  A thrilling game, intriguing a great watch and a god crowd in attendance to see two committed and passionate sides go head to head in the FA Women’s Cup. It’s a relatively new rivalry but these two sides are destined to meet again plenty of times in the future. The momentum with City now and well deserved conceding late they demonstrated once again their ability to keep going keep pressing and got back on level terms late on. Taking the lead early in the 2nd half to win in extra time and keep their 100% record going. Will be eagerly awaiting the 2nd Round draw when the FAWNL Premier Division sides enter the competitions.

  Frustrating in the end for United, taking the lead but couldn’t hold out aggrieved at decisions before falling behind only adding to the case. Played their part in a passionate derby however and the game had the feel of a proper cup tie too and who can predict those?

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   On to this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several contenders in what was a really enjoyable game. Savannah Smith with an outstanding save for United, Kelley Blanchflower making some excellent runs using the channels well too. For City, Charlotte Gillies was lively in the right wing some great runs with the ball, bringing others into play, Shannon Shaw with some good hold up play in attack and Robyn Phillips terrific at centre back. Just ahead of those though is Laura Mills excellent in attack finding space on both flanks and through the middle, driving with the ball and a quality strike to win the game wins today’s award.

   A great game attracting plenty of interest a good crowd to witness an intriguing encounter between two of the best woman’s football sides in Cambridgeshire. Perhaps one of those rare games where I actually know who the players are, but it always pays to get those team sheets and my thanks as always to both clubs for helping me out. Wishing Cambridge City Ladies all the best for the 2nd Round draw.

Match Report – Acle United Women v Bedford Ladies

Sunday 4th November

ERWFL Premier Division

Back to it after a weekend off, the football action resumes on Women’s Football East with a trip east across Norfolk to watch a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, Acle United Women v Bedford Ladies.

  Is a tightly contested league with just 6 points separating the top six sides. Promotion to the FAWNL the aim for all. Today’s clash sees 4th v 6th in the league. The current top two win 100% winning starts Cambridge City Ladies and Royston Town Ladies whilst 3rd placed Brentwood Town Ladies had a run of 5 straight wins that saw them leading the table early on too. Peterborough Northern Star Ladies also looking strong in the top half with just the one loss so far this season.

   A new name for Acle United this season as they make the switch from Ladies to Women. The Norfolk side will be targeting the title having narrowly missed out on top spot in the previous two seasons their title charge going all the way to the final games of the season. Both seeing a fixture pile up towards the end with a frustrating lack of games in the first half of the campaign. Regional league sides more often than not involved in the early stages of the Women’s FA Cup and County Cup competitions often seeing league games put back and then of course theirs the weather.

  Acle play on an all weather pitch at the FDC Flegg  in Martham only played twice at home so far this season both in August have been frustrated by 2 postponements from the opposition so far in October both games likely to be awarded to Acle which will see further changes to the table. 

 Bedford Ladies were undefeated in their opening 4 games which included a 2-2 with Acle United Women in the reverse fixture back in September. A pair of successive losses followed by 2 successive league wins keeps Bedford the last a 5-3 win over Brentwood Town Ladies keeps them well and truly involved in the battle for top positions. Have shown they can beat anyone on their day the trip to Acle the longest one of the season a few difficulties for some of the squad getting to the ground.

  A pleasant start to November the weather dry, a little chilly wind gets up. The FDC Flegg, Acle United Women’s home venue for the league. An artificial playing surface, is one of the smallest pitches around. Hot drinks available via a vending machine, the viewing area down one side of the pitch. 

Acle United Women starting XI – Amy Bell, Anna Larkins, Naomi Cooper, Grace Parker, Chloe Shields, Broghan Scully, Ciera Flatt, Lauren Bullard, Olivia Mungham-Gray, Megan Todd (C) & Grace Birchall. Subs – Rhianne Brister, Kate Pasque, Amber Rowland, Kirstie Kindred & Rosie Filby.

Bedford Ladies starting XI – Lauren Webb, Paige Abraham, Sophie Mulvihill, Priya Bhatti, Gemma Franklin, Amy Magnus, Michelle Byrne, Jodie Molloy, Lily Eaton & Carissa Kaczorowski. Subs – Ashley-Louise Emerton & Mollie Robinson.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A minutes silence held before the match, remembrance for lost in conflicts, the ending of World War I a 100 years ago. Thoughts to for the lives lost in the Leicester City helicopter crash. 

  Acle to get the game underway kicking off the 1st half wearing black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. Bedford wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, with black shorts and socks. The ball put out to Anna Larkins at right back played long diagonally through the middle captain Megan Todd the target the pass too heavy enabling the Bedford defence to clear. The visitors winning a free kick inside the Acle half left of the centre circle put long up into the area the Acle defence comfortable defending.

   Amy Bell tested early on in the Acle goal producing a very good save as Bedford build on the left the ball rolled on, Lily Eaton getting hold of it outside the area cuts back inside getting a yard on the defence into the box drives a shot in low near post, Bell diving to her right gets down well to push the ball away for a corner. The corner from the left a good delivery over Acle’s Grace Parker as she jumps for it, comes unexpectedly to the Bedford attacker beyond the header instinctive the ball high over the bar.

   Acle make ground up the right wing a throw deep, Grace Birchall picking it up turns and fires a ball in from an acute angle, Lauren Webb gloving the ball down safely at her near post. Appeals for a penalty for Acle as Birchall is floored inside the box, the protests waved away. Webb with a great save denies Todd as she receives the ball from a throw in on the left 25 yards out comes inside before shaping to shoot a vicious effort driven in on target Webb throwing herself into the save getting a gloves on the ball to touch it onto the bar the ball out for a corner on the right.

Olivia Mungham-Gray carrying the ball forwards

  Acle starting well pressing bodies forwards on both flanks. Ceira Flatt in the middle for Acle a good pass put the the right finding Lauren Bullard, her cross into the box defended by Bedford’s Priya Bhatti heading the ball clear. A double change for Bedford, Mollie Robinson and Ashley-Louise Emerton coming on. 10 minutes played. 

  GOAL! A good start from Acle is undone as they are caught on the counter attack Bedford switch play quickly coming forwards Carissa Kaczorowski making a good run into the left channel receiving the ball is in behind heading for the box, Bell comes racing out to close her down sliding in, the Bedford attacker does well to lift her shot over the keeper and send the ball on into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead 0-1.

Carissa Kaczorowski opens the scoring for Bedford Ladies

   Paige Abraham back on for Bedford a brief interlude. Bhatti defending for the visitors challenging Birchall at the top of the area as Todd looks to play her in. A free-kick for Bedford right side, the captain, Jodie Molloy on the ball plays in diagonal to the left side Kaczorowski up attempts to flick the ball on with Abraham making a timely run in behind can’t quite pick her out. Abraham on the ball left side looks to be away running with the ball, Broghan Scully getting across slides in to tackle and win the ball back for Acle.

   GOAL! 8 minutes after conceding the opening goal Acle get back on level terms, win a free-kick on the left 35 yards out players lining up to attack a far post delivery, is a perfect ball fired into the area runners attacking it met by Todd and turned into the back of the net 1-1.

Megan Todd equalises for Acle United Women

   Acle press well play drawn over to the right side leaving those on the left to drift in unattended the cross coming in, Olivia Mungham-Gray in the area meeting it in front of goal her touch taking it up over the bar. Birchall sees a shot from outside the box deflected for a corner has picked up a slight knock comes off, Rhianne Brister coming on. Bedford struggle to get the ball away from the corner Acle laying the 18 yard box under siege, balls in blocked before a sliced clearance takes the ball away for another corner. Swung in towards the far post attacked but the referees whistles brings the move to an end. 

  Eaton returns to the pitch for Bedford replacing Abraham. Is getting a little feisty, Bedford getting frustrated the ball not sticking can’t get anything substantial going in attack. Acle are getting the ball into the area from crosses but so far Webb is untroubled claiming everything. Amy Magnus drives forwards with the ball for Bedford played on for Kaczorowski closely marked by Grace Parker the central defender regaining possession.

  Molloy surges forwards with the ball has Eaton moving into space left given the ball Kaczorowski available coming over to support turns into the box closing in on goal her ball on charged down deflected behind for a corner. Bedford finding a bit of thrust in midfield able to able to counter attack more effectively, Acle turn play round quickly a cross field pass intercepted by Robinson headed back to Webb in the Bedford goal. 

Bedford Ladies, Paige Abraham

  Scully in the centre 30 yards out has the ball played into her from the left meeting it sweetly fires a fierce shot in towards goal late swerve on the shot Webb does well diving low to her left to make the save parrying the ball up and claiming it. The nature of the small pitch the game is played at a fast tempo players able to get forwards quickly, Acle’s finding the space better than Bedford. A double change for Acle as the game closes in on the final 5 minutes of the 1st half, Scully and Flatt coming off on come Amber Rowland and Kate Pasque coming on. 

GOAL! Acle take the lead building on the left the pass inside for Todd 25 yards out she carries the ball on across goal no-one closing her down as she runs across the D, lets fly with a quality strike that flies in towards goal left of Webb the keepers dive is too late the ball past strikes the back of the net 2-1.

   Acle are looking very strong towards the end of the 1st half, Rowland involved on their next build up winning the ball sprays play out to the left, Todd with Bullard, Rowland getting forwards receiving the ball 30 yards out looks to set up Bullard top of the D a curling effort that runs wide of the far post. A double substitution for Bedford with Gemma Franklin and Maya Sidhu returning to the game. 

GOAL! No sooner have they taken the lead then Acle go 2 goals up, attacking up the right side players getting up into the area a high ball comes in Pasque jumping to meet it with her head, not necessarily the part she intended but still effective as the ball in deflected down back across goal into the bottom corner 3-1 Pasque down in the box has a bloody nose.

In of the nose a goal for Acle United, Kate Pasque

   Pasque comes of so she can get cleaned up Birchall back on. Birchall with a tremendous strike from all of 30 yards out right side the lay off from Todd, the ball fired in across goal striking the bar. A hand ball from Parker spotted by the referee a late chance for Bedford to get the ball into the area, Molloy floats it in, claimed well by Bell as Bedford attackers converge.

GOAL! Right on the stroke of half-time Acle break up the other end and score a 4th goal, Bedford out of shape the hosts press forwards right side the cross put in to the six yard box Todd has closed in unmarked to head the ball down and across the keeper to claim her hat-trick 4-1.

Half-time Acle United Women 4-1 Bedford Ladies

   A strong 1st half from Acle who lead 4-1 despite conceding the opening goal. Came back well 3 goals in the final stages of the first half putting them in a strong position, both goalkeeper making excellent saves. Alot of work for Bedford to do 2nd half they are to turn the result around, frustrated so far chances have been few and far between, Acle able to come forward at will.

Goalkeeper, Lauren Webb claiming the ball for Bedford Ladies

   Bedford to get the 2nd halfway. Possession lost the ball put on down the right the cross into the area taken low by Webb at her near post. Naomi Cooper getting forwards on the left side for Acle takes on the strike from distance her 25 yard effort taken cleaner by the keeper. More appeals for a penalty by Acle as a free-kick is put into the area fro the left but again the protests go no where. Birchall lively on the right side at the start of the 1st half  for Acle gets in behind cutting a cross in from the by-line flashing across the six yard box no one there to meet it, Sophie Mulvihill clearing for Bedford. 

Larkins supporting Birchall as both get forwards down the right receiving the inside pass 20 yards out her shot driven in blocked by Bhatti, the rebound coming to Pasque 22 yards out, leans back to shoot the ball rising over the bar. Acle starting the 2nd half well, Bedford cannot get out of their half, Larkins and Birchall again on the left combine this time Larkins inside putting the return ball into Birchall as she breaks down to the by-line her cross landing in the side netting. 

GOAL! The early pressure bringing a 5th goal a set-piece won outside the box top corner left side the ball floated in near post Todd making the run in around the Bedford defence getting to it first to turn the ball on to score her 4th of the game 5-1.

  Cooper with another powerful run forwards picks the ball up from Rowland left side smashes the ball from 25 yards out the attempt whistling over the crossbar. Mungham-Gray getting into an advanced position on the left sees her cross land on the roof of the net. Bedford are under siege everyone back to defend, Molloy doing well to tackle Pasque as she looks to turn and get a shot away. Mungham- Gray comes off for Acle, Rosie Filby coming on goes to left back Cooper moving over to the right. 

Bedford captain, Jodie Molloy with Acle United’s, Amber Rowland

  Birchall steals on to get hold of a loose ball at the back from Bedford, Mulvihill recovering well to get back to close the attacker down and win the ball. A rare chance for Bedford making ground on the right a throw played into Kaczorowski 30 yards out right turns well before letting loose a shot the ball over as it flies across goal. Kaczorowski with support from Sidhu this time the ball right side the cross/shot racing across the face of goal. 

Acle United’s, Chloe Shields

  Acle get away on the right Todd racing into space with the ball swings the cross in along the top of the six-yard box, Brister central, Birchall behind her with the acrobatic effort that rises up over the bar. Filby is clipped as she comes forwards with the ball left side a free-kick 25 yards out played into the box Birchall up near side the ball runs on to Todd close in at the far post, Webb at close range with an excellent stop to deny her another goal. Abraham comes back on for Bedford replacing Eaton. 

GOAL! Out of nothing Bedford pull a goal back as they win a corner up on the right side the ball attacked near side the header taking the ball wide across the area is picked up in the right, Bhatti after it has support from Sidhu the ball from distance fired back in towards goal finding it’s way across the six yard box and in 5-2.

  Acle undeterred come forwards in numbers as Pasque claims possession in the middle drives on options left and right goes right the cross into the area Cooper with the low effort lacks the power to trouble the keeper. Brister comes off for Acle on comes Kirstie Kindred as the game enters the final 15 minutes.

   Abraham’s steals in behind the Acle defence as the diagonal ball comes in, Abraham’s into the box chasing the ball hasn’t seen the offside flag up against her, Bell sliding in gets hold of the ball as the attacker goes for it the pair coming together play stopped but their is a problem for Bell she is down needs treatment. A lengthy delay, Brister volunteers to don the gloves if needed, she is Bell can’t continue has take a nasty one on the knee is helped off, the goalkeeper letting her frustration out on the dugout. Flatt also returning to the action. 

Bedford Ladies, Michelle Byrne

  Both sides are getting wound up niggly and not so niggly free-kicks given away the banter to getting stronger. Injury sees Filby needing to come of Mungham-Gray comes back on. 

GOAL! A free-kick on the left a result of the latest knock the ball put in Flatt making the run around the defence to attack it near post is blatantly shoved over by Robinson leaving the referee with the easiest decision he needs to make all game a penalty. Flatt to take goes for power a rising effort Webb tries to get to by is too strong 6-2.

Ciera Flatt scorer of Acle’s 6th goal from the penalty spot

   Plenty of play left with the stoppages 8 all in, another free-kick for Acle on the left the ball floated in near side Byrne rising well to head clear for Bedford clearing it for a throw. Mulvihill winning the header for Bedford this time. Acle continue to press Todd putting a free-kick over the bar. Bhatti cutting out a cross from Todd. A corner for Acle goes long attacked by Flatt at the far post the ball dropping wide of the upright. 

GOAL! Into the closing minutes of stoppage time the ball inside the Acle half Bedford win a free-kick wide on the left a far distance out, Byrne on the ball plays a high delivery into the area landing in the six yard box the ball bouncing high loops up over the keeper and in 6-3.

Full time Acle United Women 6-3 Bedford Ladies

  The last action of the game Acle running out 6-3 winners. A good result but one that would tell a very different story on it’s own. Acle were by far the better side today deserving of the win. Dominating for large portions of the game scored 6 goals should have had more. Not Bedford’s day by a long way and no doubt are far better, one to chalk off on the back foot for the most part will still look back and say they scored 3 goals and if you’re going to do that on a bad day… Both goalkeepers with some excellent saves.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Time for this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match.  A good afternoon for Acle some good performances out there, Grace Birchall with some good attacking runs should have had a goal too, Chloe Shields at the back hardly gets a mention in the report never put a foot wrong in defence. She’s won this before for Acle and I have to put her forwards this time too not only scoring 4 well worked and different goals but also the leadership shown in the middle the Player of the Match goes to Megan Todd.

Acle United Women’s captain, Megan Todd

  A good return to action after my mini-break, preparing for winter now so a bit of nicer weather to start November was welcome. My thanks as always to both sides for their help with the team details. It’s going to be interesting watching how the ERWFL Premier Division title race pans out.

Match Report – Needham Market Women v East Bergholt United Ladies

Sunday 21st October

Suffolk Women’s Division

  Another top of the table clash from the Suffolk Women’s Division this Sunday on Women’s Football East, the top 2 meeting both starting the season with a 100% win rate, new comers Needham Market Women leading the table hosting East Bergholt United Ladies the defending Champions.

The Suffolk Women’s Division expending this season with an influx of new sides, 13 in total for the 2018/19 campaign with 7 of those new names along with Alresford Colne Rangers who move to the league having previously competed in Essex.

  Needham Market Women starting by far the better of all the newcomers. 5 wins from 5 to start the season their 100% winning start seeing them 3 points clear at the top from East Bergholt United Ladies and Brantham Athletic Ladies who have both started with 4 successive victories. A part of Needham Market FC’s Academy set up. Have bolstered their squad bringing in some ex-Bacton United Ladies players that already have experience playing in the Women’s Division. Today’s match representing the toughest challenge Needham Market have experienced so far.

   If Needham Market are to get the win this afternoon than they will have to do something no one else has so far this season and that is breach the East Bergholt United Ladies defence. Did the double last season winning the league and cup. An unbeaten season too. A great start to the season as they look to defend their title. Are the team to beat know and that brings a different aspect to the squads development, a large squad backed up by an U18s side. Not conceding a goal in their opening 4 matches East Bergholt United have scored 41 goals up the other end including a 19-0 over new side University of Suffolk (albeit their opponents short on numbers on the day). Always likely to score from midfield have added Stacey Teager to their attack, regularly amongst the goals for former club AFC Sudbury Ladies.

  Bloomfield’s the venue for this afternoon’s match home of Needham Market FC. The main pitch looking pristine, a clubhouse with bar and hot food leading to it. A new 3G pitch beside the main pitch, a good size, building work ongoing to improve facilities for the Academy. Room for spectators down one side aswell and behind one goal. A glorious sunny afternoon late in October in stark contrast the miserable wet Sunday just gone. Bright sun low in the sky would pose a few issues during the game. Another game on the 3G before the women’s teams could get onto it and warm-up little time for East Bergholt to get used to the new surface before kick-off.

Needham Market Women’s starting XI – Natalie Green, Charley Mussellwhite, Jemma Mortimer, Maria Smith, Megan Stock (C), Isobel Chaplin, Milly Carter, Francesca Rainbird, Eboni-Mae Shepherd, Abbie Wilkinson & Lois Balfour. Subs – Jemma Wessels, Megan Davies, Josie Harward & Freya Louis.

East Bergholt United Ladies starting XI – Kimberley Lynch, Harriet Meers, Jess Quinsee, Katy Lambert, Georgia Lockerbie (C), Millie Wilding, Jess Clark, Charlotte McGrath, Katie Bruce, India Griffin-Jenkins & Stacey Teager. Subs – Deben Faiers, Elena Nitsche & Isla Romer-Lee.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

It’s the home side to kick-off the 1st half, Needham Market wearing red shirts with yellow trim, red shorts and socks. East Bergholt United with the sun at their backs 1st half wearing green shirts with white trim, black shorts and socks. Jess Quinsee defending at left back for East Bergholt as Needham Market look to play in Eboni-Mae Shepherd on the right. Look to get the ball on down the left themselves, Charley Mussellwhite defending putting the ball out of play for Needham Market. 

  Building through the middle the ball up to Abbie Wilkinson, the Needham Market number 10 holding the ball up as midfielder Milly Carter gets up in support to her right the pass into her feet Carter puts the low diagonal ball through to Lois Balfour making a run into the box left of the D the pass weighted perfectly she strikes the ball goalwards past East Bergholt goalkeeper, Kimberly Lynch as she throws herself into the dive the ball strikes the base of the post the rebound back out into the middle of the six yard box, Lynch twisting pouncing on the ball.

    Millie Wilding makes a run on the right wing the long diagonal pass reaching her taking it down the line no way past Jemma Mortimer as the left back closes her down the deflected ball cut back into the path of Charlotte McGrath as she bursts forwards into the area the sliding challenge coming in as she goes to shoot the ball deflected up and behind for the corner. A good delivery in from the right cutting through the box no one can get a telling touch on the ball to turn it towards goal. 

Needham Market Women’s, Lois Balfour

   A free-kick awarded to East Bergholt 30 yards out, Jess Clarke over the ball, takes on the shot, the sun at her back, going to be tricky for the goalkeeper, dips late, Natalie Green back on her line as the ball hits her crossbar before going out of play. Good combination play between McGrath and Wilding releasing Stacey Teager down the right channel, attempting to get inside the area is adjudged to have fouled the defender tracking back with her. Francesca Rainbird picks up the ball for Needham Market on halfway a powerful run forwards coming in field from the left looks to try and lift the ball in behind the East Bergholt defence with Wilkinson ready to go, Georgia Lockerbie wearing the captains armband for East Bergholt lifting her leg to make a vital interception. 

Needham Market Women’s, Eboni-Mae Shepherd

  A lively start to the game, Needham Market settling the quicker. Carter getting herself about in midfield winning the ball willing runners ahead of her. Isobel Chaplin sliding in takes the ball as Katie Bruce moves forwards. The ball forwards Wilkinson giving chase, Lockerbie across to tackle for East Bergholt. A change for Needham Market, Chaplin coming off on comes Josie Harward. Lynch’s goalkick is long finding Teager the striker heading the ball on with Bruce making a run in behind her, Needham Market captain, Megan Stock coming over to challenge the ball puts it out for a throw on the left. 

Megan Stock winning the header for Needham Market.

   Is a big 3G pitch plenty of space to exploit if players are drawn across, Shepherd puts the ball forwards into the middle, both Balfour and Wilkinson making runs, Katy Lambert intercepting this time for East Bergholt.

  GOAL! 18 minutes gone and the East Bergholt defence is breached for the 1st time this season as Needham Market take the lead. Pressing the ball in midfield Carter with a pass forwards into Balfour positioned  outside the area left of the D, controls the ball shaping to hit the shot on the volley, miscues her attempt, turns into a fantastic assist as the ball rolls on further to the left into the path of Rainbird closing in on goal she shoots, Lynch coming to close the angle gets something on the ball but not enough to prevent Rainbird scoring as she peels away in celebration 1-0.

Francesca Rainbird scorer of the opening goal for Needham Market Women

   East Bergholt look to get players forwards from the restart, Needham Market break Rainbird on the ball running on left 25 out shapes to shot the ball striking her own player in it’s way through the deflection turning it up and over the bar for the goal kick. East Bergholt build well through the middle Clark with support from Bruce and Indian Griffin-Jenkins before the final pass is slide on through for Teager bursting into the area, a shooting chance denied by the offside flag. 

  The visitors overload the right side players drawn across as Wilding picks up possession squares along the top of the area Teager central can’t bring down Mussellwhite doing well to get the ball clear with Clark free coming in around the back. Changes for both sides, Jemma Wessels entering the action for Needham Market replacing Shepherd. A double change for East Bergholt, Isla Romer-Lee and Elena Nitsche on for Wilding and Griffin-Jenkins. Nitsche straight into action as she is played in on the right taking the ball on cuts the cross back into the box Teager hitting it first time central her effort blocked spins on for Romer-Lee behind her her shot running wide of the far post.

Quinsee getting forwards from the back for East Bergholt is tackled by Wessels. The favour returned a few moments later as Wessels tries to get in behind down the wing. McGrath doing well in the middle for East Bergholt breaking up play disrupting Needham Market’s quick build-up play. Clark finding room too for the visitors. McGrath n to put in the tackle winning the ball in the middle puts it long for Romer-Lee down the left a fierce cross fired into the area both Teager and Nitsche attacking it far post both jumping neither can get a touch. 

Jess Clark with the header for East Bergholt.

 East Bergholt finishing the 1st half strong pushing players on, Mussellwhite with good defensive work up against Romer-Lee as she tries to get inside her on the left. Harriet Meers coming inside to support Lambert in defence cuts out Rainbird’s forward pass. Clark in space in the middle spots Romer-Lee breaking into the left channel the ball put on into her run she shoots from outside the area the ball running wide of the post. 

Half-time Needham Market Women 1-0 East Bergholt United Ladies

   A competitive 1st half Needham Market starting well an early shot against the post, took the lead on 18 minutes, Francesca Rainbird the first player to score against East Bergholt this season. Pressing the ball took a little while for East Bergholt to settle but signs were building towards the end of the half they were likely to find a reply. Beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

Katie Bruce holding the ball up for East Bergholt

  East Bergholt to kick-off the 2nd half no changes for either side at the break. East Bergholt starting the 2nd half well pressing forwards, Romer-lee left with Bruce ahead of her picking her out she plays the ball inside to McGrath who releases Nitsche on the right side cutting inside her cross is charged down. East Bergholt keep possession in the final 3rd, McGrath laying the ball back for Clark who takes on the strike from distance the ball landing inside the area claimed by Green.

   Play stretched even this early in the 2nd half with East Bergholt prepared to commit players forwards Needham Market came counter if the can get the ball into their attackers. Rainbird with the ball left cuts inside a good run plays it forwards for Balfour right side outside the box her cross back in towards the far post as she tries to pick out Carter breaking from the middle, Meers needs to and wins it for East Bergholt. 

  Teager holding the ball up for East Bergholt as players get up to support her McGrath receiving the ball puts on on for Nitsche bursting into the area from the right, Smith doing really well up against her in her own six yard box right of goal as she slides in to deny the shot and put the ball out for a corner kick. A fantastic ball in from the right side the penalty box congested the ball met at the far post Teager I think getting her head on the ball driven in towards goal blocked on the line by Mortimer before being scrambled away for a 2nd corner. Put in towards the top of the area this time is met well by Lockerbie striking it goalwards in through bodies it’s Mortimer to the rescue again her foot stopping the ball from crossing the line. 

   Needham Market pressed at the back get the ball forwards away down the right played into Rainbird making a central run free for a moment aims to drag the ball across her before shooting, Lockerbie recovering well to get back to close Rainbird down the ball spinning away off the defender for a corner. It’s East Bergholt’s time to clear the ball off the line, as the ball in is attacked near post.

  East Bergholt’s time to break forwards Nitsche right into Romer-Lee central 20 yards out lines up a shot the ball driven in towards goal strikes the bar, Green may well have gotten a touch on it too. Carter getting into an advanced position for Needham Market pulls the trigger from the top of the area right side her effort running low past the far post. Good running from McGrath coming right on for Nitsche down the line a good cross into the six yard box claimed well by Green before Romer-Lee can attack it running in from the left. Teager coming deeper for the ball turns putting it on for Nitsche right side cuts into the box, Stock getting back with a good tackle stops her. 

  Clark over a free-kick for East Bergholt as the referee brings play back with no advantage, 30 yards out central, Clark takes on the shot her attempt over the crossbar. Nitsche a threat on the right for East Bergholt making good runs has the ball at her feet lays the cross back into the middle for the advancing McGrath striking the ball from 20 yards out it bounces out wide past the far post. Needham Market are under pressure pushed back getting the ball forwards into their attackers isn’t easy. Lambert intercepting an attempted through ball. A change for East Bergholt, Bruce coming off Wilding coming back on. 

 GOAL! The equalising goal has been coming East Bergholt have been turning the screw comes from a strike from distance, Clark onto the ball, sends an effort in towards goal, Green trying to get to it can’t keep in out 1-1.

Jess Clark with the equalising goal for East Bergholt

   East Bergholt press straight from the restart winning the ball, drive on, Teager onto the ball a powerful run towards the box, Stock doing very well up against her. Clark with another opportunity to have a shot at goal from a set-piece a free-kick awarded 25 yards out right of centre, curls a shot in looping towards goal, Green getting across to it pushes it behind conceding the corner. 

  GOAL! No sooner have they equalised then East Bergholt go on to take the lead in the match the goal coming from the corner on the right an inswinging ball is defended on the line by Needham Market pushed out into the box the ball comes to Lockerbie positioned at the top of the area just inside she meets it well driving the ball back in and this time no-one cane stop it as it nestles in the back of the net 1-2.

   East Bergholt on top pressing the ball in the final third Needham Market with their backs to the wall defending deep a corner given away on the left. In towards the near post Lockerbie gets on the end of it headers over. Teager strong on the ball is fouled inside the D, Needham Market slow to close her down. Teager to take it as Clark is otherwise indisposed the striker putting the ball over. The visitors looking strong now as Needham Market struggle to regroup after falling behind. McGrath on for Wilding central attempts to loft the ball in towards the far post area with Romer-Lee making a run the ball going away from her out of play. 

 GOAL! East Bergholt press their advantage enjoying a purple patch add a 3rd goal attacking on the left the ball lifted forwards into the box with Nitsche racing in behind through the middle six yards out the ball landing in front of her holds off a defender opening her body to side foot the ball wide of the keeper and score 1-3.

  Needham Market make a change, Chaplin back on coming into the defence with Smith pushed on into the midfield. Need to get forwards Carter on the ball, Rainbird and Wessels offering support on the left the ball helped on Wilkinson flagged offside. Into the final 15 minutes. Wilding shooting from distance central the ball safely held by Green. East Bergholt make a change Nitsche coming off, Griffin-Jenkins back on. Needham Market attack getting forwards well right side the cross fired in near post Rainbird there to attack in Mussellwhite doing well closing her down.

  Balfour twisting and turning with the ball through the middle finds half a yard to shoot from 25 yards out her attempt dropping wide of goal. Harward comes off for Needham Market, Shepherd back on. A throw on the right for Needham Market inside the East Bergholt half put into Wilkinson she turns and shoots from outside the area Lynch down low to gather at her near post. 

  The game has taken alot out of both side, East Bergholt are tiring late on have been intense in the 2nd half, Needham Market pushed back come forwards now play stretched Rainbird getting forwards to support Balfour on the left, Meers across to defend for East Bergholt.

  GOAL! The ball kept by Needham Market on the left brings the home side a 2nd goal, Rainbird putting it back up the line as Mortimer gets forwards to support the fullback playing it inside Rainbird in the meantime breaking into the box is seen the pass cutting open the East Bergholt defence, Rainbird throws herself at the ball her lunge putting the ball wide across the keeper an in to the back of the net 2-3.

  Not much time left but Needham Market have found an extra reserve of energy with the goal the game is open now having been pushed back for much of the 2nd half the home side press forwards risk getting hit on the counter sense they might be able to yet to get something from the game. Rainbird their main threat her ball in from the left cut out by Lockerbie. Quinsee bringing the ball out from the back for the visitors however he forward pass for Romer-Lee sees the flag raised. 

  Is some tired defending at the end East Bergholt have put alot into the 2nd half, Wilkinson driving on, Lambert closing her down. the visitors counter Romer-Lee left side her cross into the area deflecting off Mussellwhite falls for Teager back to goal lays it off for the onrushing Wilding connects with the ball 20 yards out the effort whistling over the bar. The last action of the game East Bergholt making it 5 out of 5 go top of the table.

Full time Needham Market Women 2-3 East Bergholt United Ladies

  Is a 3 ways tie at the top now East Bergholt with the superior goal difference, Needham Market taste defeat for the first time this season whilst Brantham Athletic Ladies receive a home win to keep up their 100%. 13 teams in the league however a long way to go. An entertaining contest played with some enjoyable late October sunshine. Needham Market starting well taking the lead 1-0. East Bergholt building momentum late in the 1st half kept going 2nd half pressing the ball in the final third shooting from distance got level then very quickly took the lead, Needham market slow to respond the visitors going further in front, Needham Market getting a goal back late on but East Bergholt went on to claim the 3 points.

  The defending champions looking good after 5 games, know there is still a long way to go. Needham Market showing plenty of potential will only get better.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time for this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Sometimes a contender will emerge early on in a match and it’s a case of seeing if they maintain that level of performance. There were two this afternoon that caught the eye both for East Bergholt and it was a tough decision picking one out over the other, getting forwards into space and a threat from set-pieces Jess Clark stood out getting a goal too. Just edging it though for me was central midfield partner Charlotte McGrath. Played well throughout winning the ball getting across the park, setting up others and offering support with some well timed runs through the middle today’s award goes to the East Bergholt number 10.

  An enjoyable trip out to Bloomfield’s this afternoon, the bright sunshine no doubt helping a good crowd in attendance too. Is a great facility and by the looks of the development will only get better. My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams always appreciated.

Match Report – Watford FC Ladies v Coventry United Ladies

Sunday 14th October

FAWNL Cup – 2nd Round

 A game from the FAWNL Cup this Sunday on Women’s Football East. The top two in the Southern Premier Division drawn together in the 2nd Round of the competition, Watford FC Ladies v Coventry United Ladies.

   The first to 2 successive meetings between the clubs with both scheduled to face each other in the league with Watford travelling to Daventry next weekend. This Sunday though it’s all about the Cup. A Determining Round played at the beginning of the season to decide which competition the sides from the 6 FAWNL leagues the teams will contest the victors going on to compete for the Cup the losing sides entering the Plate.

   Watford FC Ladies dropping down a league to join the FAWNL Southern Premier Division this season. One of the founding members of FAWSL 2, the restructure of the top tiers in the women’s game seeing it become the Championship, teams offered the chance to bid for a new licence. Watford FC Ladies chose early on not to bid for a place for various reasons cost being one factor. Are one of 5 sides to have dropped down from the top two tiers. Has been a turbulent few seasons for Watford often at the wrong end of the FAWSL 2 table, and the decision not to apply for a new license saw more turbulence with player and staff departures.

  Making that decision early though has seen the club rebuild and restructure setting itself up going forwards to be in a strong position as it enters the FAWNL. A great start to the league campaign, have lost just the once this season to newly promoted Loughborough Foxes Women who came out of the blocks making a fantastic start themselves. Since that defeat back at the end of August, Watford have gone on to win 6 in a row in league and cup to see them 2nd in the table a point behind today’s opponents.

   Coventry United Ladies top the Southern Premier Division table are the only undefeated side in the league with the only points being dropped in a opening day 0-0 draw away to Gillingham FC Ladies. Have one of the best defensive records in the league too conceding just 4 goals to date. Are more often then not one of the sides challenging at the top of the table over recent seasons. A couple of big matches coming up away to their nearest rivals in the league and cup. 3rd and 4th placed Plymouth Argyle Ladies and Chichester City Ladies have both started the season well 3 points back will be keen observers whilst 5th placed Cardiff City Ladies even at this early stage have games in hand on all the sides above them.

  Byes for both sides in the 1st Round of the FAWNL Cup, Watford FC Ladies winning their Determining Round tie away to South West Division One side Poole Town Ladies 2-1. Coventry United Ladies with a comfortable 7-0 win at home against South East Division One side, Norwich City Ladies.

  A wet drive down to this afternoon’s match from Norfolk, the rain heavy at times and with games already called off close to the ground I checked in with Watford before heading out, the pitch good so far so I set off arriving at King’s Langley FC with the rain falling heavily fingers crossed umbrella up. As it was the rain would stop leading up to kick-off, the pitch looking good had held out well a good size, a bar and hot food trailer available cover if needed. 

Watford FC Ladies starting XI – Weronika Baranowska, Katherine Huggins, Emily Hill, Sammy Hallsworth, Georgie O’Halloran, Alysha Stojko-Down, Danielle Scanlon, Laura Baker, Linda Afuakwah, Katie )’Leary & Helen Ward (C). Subs – Amy Martin, Anaisa Harvey, Afiya Johnson, Katie Akerman & Andrea Carid. 

Coventry United Ladies starting XI – Susan Wood (C), Laura McGlone, Chemise Austin, Natasha Merritt, Nikki Miles, Jade Brook, Marie Gauntlett, Amber Hughes, Rosie McDonnell, Lois Jefferies & Amy Wathan. Subs – Jenna Roberts, Erin Riden, Ellie White & Shannon O’Brien.

 Coventry with the kick-off in the 1st half the visitors kitted out in red shirts with green shorts and socks. Watford wearing yellow and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks. Play the ball forwards into the right channel, Katherine Huggins winning the ball for Watford sends it forwards picked up by captain Helen Ward, the experienced Welsh International pulling out to the left drives on with the ball her shot from outside the area blocked by Chenise Austin at right back for Coventry the rebound back to Ward she takes it beyond the full back shoots from the angle, Susan Wood, Coventry’s goalkeeper and captain claiming the ball low at her near post.

   Coventry attack with purpose down the left side winning a throw deep in the Watford half the ball dropped into Marie Gauntlett she holds up well before shifting the ball and turning sends a cross long across the Watford six yard box, Hughes running in far post not quite able to get onto the ball to deflect it goalwards as it runs out of play. A good start to the game from the visitors getting players forwards Gauntlett covering alot of ground across the Watford area early on sees the ball into her feet left side turning well fires the ball across the top of the area Jade Brook meeting it 20 yards out right of the D strikes in a low shot that races just wide of the left post. 

Coventry United Ladies, Jade Brook

   Central Gauntlett feeds in Rosie McDonnell on the right side shoots from a tight angle a fierce strike rising, Watford goalkeeper, Weronika Baronowska making a great save throwing herself up to tip the ball over the bar. The corner kick from the right a good ball in by Amber Hughes players at the top of the area Watford blocking a couple of goal attempts struggle to clear their box a clearance hitting Brook, the rebound back in towards the top of the area falls to Nikki Miles the Coventry defender volleying the shot wide. 

Watford FC Ladies goalkeeper, Weronika Baronowska

  Space for Linda Afuakwah to run into on the right as the ball is won in midfield the Watford attacker taking the ball on towards the area, Laura McGlone coming back to get close in on Afuakwah and slide in to make the tackle the ball going behind for Watford’s first corner of the match. Taken short put back into the taker on the right the cross long to the far post area pulled down and the shot sent over the bar. 

  Coventry working the ball well pressing Watford back in their own half, Ward sometimes isolated in attack when home side do get the ball forwards. Good movement from Ward nonetheless to make herself available peeling away to the left, Miles comes across the defend for Coventry. Hughes and McDonnell switching wings repeatedly, the latter on the left this attack combines with with Lois Jefferies looking to get inside is dispossessed by Watford’s Emily Hill. A free-kick won on the left for Coventry inside the Watford half down the line for McDonnell crossing into the area, Sammy Hallsworth getting up highest heads the ball out for the corner.

  The corner left side an inviting ball across the six yard box Brook meeting it far post with the stooping header from close in the ball knocked into the ground cleared by the Watford defence covering the post. Another set-piece for Coventry on the right this time a good way out Brook playing a good delivery into the area headed down central towards the near post attacked, between defender and goalkeeper Watford make the block/save. Baranowska with an important save minutes later as Coventry’s Brook plays a fantastic 30 yard ball up into the area Jefferies up central heading the ball down Amy Wathan to her right hitting the shot goalwards Baranowska coming towards her sliding into block. 

Amy Wathan looking to receive the ball from throw-in

   Afuakwah winning Watford a throw on right played into Ward her strike blocked  the ball running out to Danielle Scanlon, sees Katie O’Leary looking to run in behind on the left a great ball into her, O’Leary frustrated by the offside flag up against her. 

  GOAL! 20 minutes played and Coventry get the opening goal, have looked the most likely. Brook with the ball right side getting down the wing holds up well before firing a cross into the area the clearance coming straight for Gauntlett outside the box inside the D, setting herself gets her left foot up over the ball to hit it on the half-volley, the strike hit well racing past Baranowska into the back of the net 0-1.

Marie Gauntlett scorer of the opening goal for Coventry United Ladies

   Watford respond well very nearly getting back on level terms straight from the restart, O’Leary winning the ball playing a great ball forwards with Afuakwah coming into a central position her touch taking he into the area Wood coming to close the angle goes to shoot across the keeper as she dives to her left, makes an excellent save with her leg to stop the shot going past her. Coventry go forwards right side Hughes winning the corner. In central Wathan jumping to meet it the ball heading in towards goal taken high by Baranowska on her line. 

  A yellow card shown to Natasha Merritt for a crude foul on Afuakwah. O’Leary winning the ball inside her own half plays in on through the Laura Baker a superb touch taking the ball on for Ward to run onto central clear but a fraction offside as the flag goes up. Watford beginning to exert pressure on the ball higher up the pitch Alysha Stojko-Down with the ball out to Afuakwah on the right, McGlone with support from Miles winning the ball back for Coventry. 

  Watford launch a counter attack the ball brought out from the ball played on with Georgie O’Halloran bursting forwards right side the ball played on spinning as it lands in front of her favouring McGlone as she tracks back with the defender 20 yards out looks to send the ball back to her keeper to clear not realising Ward has anticipated the move latching onto the ball inside the area, closing on on the near post strikes the shot Wood saving blocking the ball as she drops to cover her goal. 

  Watford push on right side Afuakwah keeping the ball in play has support from Baker receiving the pass she sends the cross high into the Coventry area, O’Leary rising gets her head on the ball central her touch taking the ball wide of the far post. The home side stretching Coventry at the back Afuakwah inside the area gets hold of the ball Ward central she looks to pick her out Wood getting in between the pair dives onto the ball. Hughes with the ball 40 yards out drives forwards riding 3 challenges before being stopped no advantage play brought back for the first foul. Merritt over the ball with a good effort at goal from distance narrowly over the bar. 

  Jefferies with the ball on the left receiving from a throw-in played long across the top of the Watford area picked up by Hughes far side takes the ball inside before shooting Baranowska dropping to save near post. The rain has started to fall heavily once more. Baker plays the ball on for O’Leary, in behind for a moment Miles is quick to get across and close her down. O’Leary takes the opportunity to strike a shot from 25 yards out left side as the ball falls to her a deflection sending the ball wide across goal for a corner kick on the right. An inswinging ball central claimed well by Wood with Afuakwah in close attendance.

    Half-time Watford FC Ladies 0-1 Coventry United Ladies

  A narrow lead for Coventry at half-time, have been the better side first half and but for some excellent saves by Baranowska may have been 2 or 3 goals to the good. Not that they have had it all there own way Watford having a couple of great opportunities to score up the other end and Wood has made some vital stops aswell. All to play for 2nd half and Watford have scored 80% of their goals this season in the 2nd half – I can’t take any credit for that stat but it popped up on my twitter feed at just the right moment – and as you know I do love a good stat.

Watford’s Laura Baker, looking to close down Coventry’s Natasha Merritt as she brings the ball forwards

  A change for Watford at the break, Huggins coming off, Andrea Carid coming on the move seeing Baker move into the left back position. Watford to kick-off the second half the rain still falling steadily. Baker called into action straight away as McDonnell is played in on the right wing the new left back sliding in to take the ball.

  GOAL! The early goal comes 2nd half but not the way the home side wanted as Watford concede a 2nd goal. The ball out to the left Hughes taking it into the box under challenge lifts the ball high into the air dropping in front of goal goal Jefferies arriving the head the ball in from close range to make it 0-2.

    O’Leary with the ball right side a good run, strong on the ball shoots, Wood claiming it at her near post. Hallsworth defending well inside her area as Brook drives on for Coventry with the ball central running on puts the ball into Wathan back to ball tries to send the return ball on for Brook, Hallsworth getting hold of the ball. Brook with so impressive runs on the ball for Coventry covering plenty of ground sends it on for McDonnell breaking right, Baker closing her down regain possession for Watford. 

Alysha Stojko-Down on the ball for Watford FC Ladies

  Stojko-Down wins the ball for Watford plays in Scanlon, her forward ball trying to find Ward just too long. Watford pressing the ball well, is just not sticking as they look to hold onto possession, Coventry not settling for a 2 goal lead. Gauntlett spinning on the ball has Hughes running on her right plays the pass Hughes picking the ball up 20 yards out looks to cut inside get into the area, Hallsworth closing her down putting in a good challenge to win the ball as Hughes looks to pull the trigger.

Coventry bring the ball on Gauntlett out to the right with Brook making a good run her cross long to the far post Jefferies can’t get a touch, McDonnell picking it up left side plays the ball back into the box Wathan latching onto the shot, Baranowska saving low at her near post. Gauntlett with a shot from 25 yards out, rising Baranowska positioned centrally taking the ball high into her gloves. 

  GOAL! Watford pull a goal back with 20 minutes of the 2nd half played, O’Leary with the ball has Ward on the right making a god run sends the ball into her path taking it in the striker surges on closing in on the area and hits the shot low and fast past the diving Wood to score 1-2.

3-1 to Coventry a brilliant strike from Jade Brook

  Coventry respond by making a change McGlone giving way for Erin Riden. The home side winning a free-kick on the right 10 yards inside the Coventry half the delivery lofted forwards into the box met by the jumping O’Leary near post places her effort wide of goal. Carid on the ball pushes it on for Ward right side, coming inside Miles does well coming to close her down winning a goalkick. 

  GOAL! Coventry restore their 2 goal cushion and it comes courtesy of a thunderbolt from Brook. I’m standing right behind this goal and it’s a real treat, Brook bringing the ball on forwards into Jefferies plays it back to Brook into space right side 30 or so yards out decides she’s going for it connects well the ball destined for the top corner the ball trapped by the net bracket inside the goal 1-3. A quality strike I will be looking out for the highlights, you’ll want to too.

Watford FC Ladies, Katie O’Leary

   20 minutes left to play Watford have a corner kick on the right the ball into the area headed wide across goal, another corner signalled. Left side the ball swung in O’Leary attacking it far post put wide. 

 GOAL! For the 2nd time in the match Watford reduce the deficit to a single goal. Attacking down the left Afuakwah is clipped by Hughes was she recklessly slides in to tackle the advantage played O’Leary after the ball the cross swung into the area, finds its way out to the right side crossed back in dropping far post O’Leary rushing in gets something on the ball drops down rolling along the goal line unsure if it is over via a Coventry defender or the post but if I was O’Leary I’d be claiming it 2-3 game on.

  Extra-time and penalties loom if a winner can’t be decided in the 90. The referee consulting his linesman coming back to book Hughes. Watford tails up now sense they can find a 3rd goal make a change Stojko-Down coming off, Anaisa Harvey coming on. 10 minutes left to play. Miles winning the ball at the back for Coventry as the home side press on the right. Hallsworth defending for Watford at her near post as Hughes attacking down the left fires the ball in Hallsworth doing well with Jefferies on her shoulder. Baker shown a yellow for a foul on Brook.

   A 3rd and final change for Watford, Afiya Johnson into the action replacing  Afuakwah. Into the final 5 minutes. Hughes nipping in to win the ball inside the Watford area left, Baranowska saving the shot. With Watford pressing the attack looking for a 3rd goal Coventry counter the ball played on for Jefferies 20 yards out her touch sending the ball wide of the onrushing keeper, Jefferies goes on shapes to shoot the Watford defence racing back a good block from Hallsworth to deny the striker a 2nd goal.

  O’Leary is taken out by Austin as she attacks down the right the free-kick awarded players forwards. O’Leary picking herself up into the area for the set-piece the target as the ball is delivered in near post the no 14 getting her head on the ball sends it wide across the face of goal. Watford attacking with purpose late on Hill with the pass long out t Ward moving left takes the ball wider challenged as she comes back inside, the rebound to Baker lofted into the area, Miles clearing for Coventry. Miles with two further important wins inside her area as Watford push on late into the game into stoppage time the ball played long left picked up by Gauntlett she takes it sensibly into the corner time up Coventry win the game to progress in the League Cup.   

 Full time Watford FC Ladies 2-3 Coventry United Ladies

  An enjoyable encounter between the top two in the Southern Premier Division meeting in the League Cup. A run of 9 unbeaten now for Coventry look strong know themselves though there’s a long way to go. Started the game well took the lead may well have been further ahead, perhaps the 2nd goal after the restart proving the most crucial Watford coming back into it to set up a nervy finish to the game. Meet again in the league with Coventry the home side this time around know alot more about each other now just a point between them will be another interesting encounter. Coventry go on in the League Cup will be a side others will be hoping to avoid.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as usual few contenders although one did stand out during the 90. Sammy Hallsworth with some good defensive work for Watford, Weronika Baranowska with some vital saves too. Marie Gauntlett working tirelessly in midfield scoring the opening goal for Coventry, Nikki Miles strong at the back. Today’s award though goes to Jade Brook a great game in the middle of the park for Coventry on and off the ball moving into space making herself available and setting up others capping it off with a quality strike.

  Wet, I supposed I’ll have to get used to a few more like that. An enjoyable game high time I took in some Southern Premier Division action albeit in the League Cup. My thanks to everyone at Watford FC Ladies who offered assistance today it was greatly appreciated. 

Match Report – Wymondham Town Ladies v Billericay Town Ladies

Sunday 7th October

FA Women’s Cup

 The 3rd and final Round of Qualifying for this season’s FA Women’s Cup taking place this Sunday afternoon, 60 teams vying for a place in the 1st Round Proper of the competition, King’s Head Meadow the venue for today’s game, Wymondham Town Ladies v Billericay Town Ladies.

Both sides celebrating a league title and promotion last season and have hit the ground running at a higher level at the start of this season.

Wymondham Town Ladies promoted to the ERWFL Premier Division after clinching the Division One North title last season a year after joining the regional set-up. Are a side that enjoys the FA Women’s Cup have had a few memorable runs in recent seasons beating higher league placed sides along the way. Mid-table in the Premier Division after 4 matches played.

 Progress in the FA Women’s Cup has been good albeit frustrating as they have only played one competitive match having been awarded the win in both the Preliminary and 1st Round Qualifying after their opponents withdrew. Were at home in 2nd Round Qualifying taking on Essex Women’s Premier Division side Corringham Cosmos. There season already up and running Wymondham put the side playing 2 leagues below to the sword winning the game 17-1 to advance. A tougher test lies ahead today taking on a higher league placed side themselves.

  Billericay Town Ladies winning the ERWFL Premier Division last season to earn promotion to the FAWNL South East Division One. Coach Kim Coster able to bring in new players some with higher league experience to bolster the squad. As a result a fantastic start to the season, winning their opening 5 league matches keeping pace with fellow promoted side Crawley Wasps Ladies who also recruited well in the summer. A high scoring draw and final defeat on the road to Ipswich Town Women in midweek seeing that record end. Joining the FAWNL, Billericay entered the FA Women’s Cup in 2nd Round Qualifying, drawn at home to ERWFL Premier Division side Colney Heath Ladies at home progressed comfortably with a 9-1 win.

King’s Head Meadow, Wymondham Town Ladies home ground the clubhouse and bar overlooking the pitch. Hot and cold drinks available. The pitch in good condition recovering well following the heatwave earlier in the year. A bright sunny afternoon some cloud cover, music blaring from the home changing room getting the players fired up for this afternoon’s fixture.

Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Ashleigh O’Callaghan, Chelsea Clarke, Leah Newcombe, Bethany Fretwell, Carolyn Sarafian, Jorja Patterson, Rebecca Russell, Rachel Cossey (C), Kayleigh Holloway, Laura Nicholls & Hannah Waters. Subs – Lauren Kett, Mollie O’Callaghan, Olivia Gunn & Alice Ladbrooke.

Billericay Town Ladies starting XI – Alex Baker, Esme Lancaster, Lucy Jones, Nicole Farmer, Courtney Lumley, Lindsey Morgan (C), Zoe Rushen, Nancy Butler, Sophie Vale, Jay Blackie & Georgia Box. Subs – Anna Maria Raine, Kelsey Smith & Broghan Kelly.

Pre-match handshakes

It’s Billericay all in blue to take the kick-off 1st half with Wymondham lined up in red shirts with black shorts and socks. The Essex side looking to place the ball left for Nancy Butler to chase the pass too long out of play. Regaining possession in the centre of midfield Billericay, captain Lindsey Morgan bursting forwards, Wymondham’s captain Rachel Cossey with her back into the area defending as the ball is played forwards, the tackle won, Leah Newcombe seeing the ball safely back to goalkeeper Ashleigh O’Callaghan.

   Wymondham come away with the ball on the left played inside for Laura Nicholls, Courtney Lumley getting across her and playing the ball back to goalkeeper, Alex Baker to clear. Wymondham pressing Billericay at the start of the match, results in a break the ball played out to the right Nicholls with space to take advantage off takes the ball on puts the cross in early the diagonal ball just evading striker Hannah Waters central runs on for Rebecca Russell left of the D a chance to shoot scuffs the turf the ball low towards goal not troubling Baker as she drops to her right to lay claim to the ball.

  Bethany Fretwell coming out of the back line driving through the middle with the ball crossing halfway the centrebacks attempted forward pass through the middle just evading Waters as she tries to get in behind the Billericay defence. Billericay attack quickly  bringing the ball on through the middle Jay Blackie on for Zoe Rushen the pass out wide right into the path of Sophie Vale shoots from the angle 20 yards out, the ball racing wide of the near post. Wymondham get an attack going through the midfield, Cossey into Russell on into Waters play spread out to the right as Newcombe sees nothing but grass ahead of her taking the ball down the wing swings a cross into the area claimed by Baker at her near post.

Bethany Fretwell driving forwards for Wymondham Town Ladies

    A good tempo to the game the first 10 minutes flying by, Blackie picking the ball up deep for Billericay inside for Rushen out to Esme Lancaster getting on down the right side, tackled by Kayleigh Holloway, Wymondham try to counter, Morgan breaking up play. A great save from O’Callaghan to keep it at 0-0 as Billericay press forwards, Blackie strong on the ball passing it to Vale has Rushen further out playing her in she shoots angling in blocked by Fretwell in front of goal the rebound back to Rushen her 2nd attempt heading for the top corner, O’Callaghan getting a glove up to the ball turning it wide and out for a corner across her six yard box.

Billericay Town Ladies, Sophie Vale

  A good delivery from Rushen on the corner left side a high tempting ball in central, Blackie rising highest gets a connection her header taking the ball wide of goal. Vale on the ball left taking it inside on to Georgia Box top of the area, turns into Fretwell, quickly joined by Carolyn Sarafian no way through the attack breaks down the ball cleared out to Newcombe left side her pass up to Waters central has Nicholls on close support the pair try to combine Waters lifting it into Nicholls looks to get beyond her into area Nicholls with a deft header trying to knock the ball down into her feet, Baker can get hold of it first for Billericay.

Jay Blackie tackling for Billericay Town Ladies

   Lucy Jones comes forwards for Billericay on the right a good challenge from Newcombe as the full back tries to get inside her. Newcombe fouled on halfway a chance for Wymondham to send players forwards for a set-piece Fretwell on the ball sends it long towards the far post, the home side getting a corner out of it. A good ball into the box an in-swinger coming in central Baker getting her gloves on the ball palms it down into the six yard box, Jorja Patterson reacting quickest for Wymondham her shot straight into Baker’s gloves.

  Frustration evident from Billericay as decisions appear to be going against them more than their opponents, they are pushing on well in attack threatening to get into good scoring positions, Blackie in particular finding space to run into, Bulter and Vale providing great options left and right. Win a corner left side Box controlling the ball spinning it out to Vale closing in on the left her ball into the area deflected behind. Blackie coming for the ball put in near side this time gets away to head the ball goalwards her effort over the bar.

 GOAL! Billericay open the scoring in the 20th minute, win a free-kick in a dangerous position outside the area. The build-up involving Blackie and Rushen the ball into Vale outside the box is brought to the floor. Rushen’s reputation proceeds her, wrote her name down before I even looked to see who was taking it, is a dead ball specialist and this is well within her range a yard outside the area right of the D. She runs up strikes the ball sweetly heading top corner, O’Callaghan can’t get to it 0-1.

Zoe Rushen’s free-kick opens the scoring for Billericay

  Nicholls finds herself back in the box for Wymondham making two superb tackles on Jones as she gets inside the area looking to support Butler as she receives the ball on the left. Wymondham get forwards down the right side win a corner, players up attacking the ball an inviting delivery fired in across the penalty spot no-one can find a telling touch. 

   A great move from Billericay starting with Lancaster at the back on into Morgan central, Blackie bursting down the left channel into the area Morgan sliding the ball into her she squares the ball across the six yard box Rushen central closely marked can’t get a touch runs on for Box at the far post opening up her body to strike the ball, fires the shot straight at O’Callaghan the goalkeeper saving as she shifts across her goal. 

  Play switched from Wymondham left to right Newcombe getting a corner. The ball played short into her free on the right from the set-piece sets a high ball in towards the far post, Russell jumping between two Billericay defenders the ball striking her shoulder drops down in front of goal grabbed by Baker before anyone can pounce. Waters nips in to win the ball off Jones as she brings in out from the back cutting inside bearing down on the area Lumley with a good burst of pace getting back on the cover to win the ball back for the visitors. 

   Billericay come very close to doubling their lead quick to hit Wymondham on the counter attack players looking for channels of space Box this time pulling away to the left as the ball is lifted up to her, O’Callaghan rushing out to the edge of her box the Billericay striker taking the ball past her an open goal beyond she opens up her body setting herself sends the ball on players rushing back across goal Chelsea Clarke getting back in the nick of time clearing the ball before it can cross the line, the corner conceded.

Billericay Town Ladies, Georgia Box

   GOAL! A brief reprieve for Wymondham however as from the resulting corner they do concede a 2nd goal. The delivery from Rushen on the money Blackie with two efforts from corners already making no mistake this time making the near post run her bullet header driving the ball into the back of the net 0-2. 

Billericay Town Ladies, Jay Blackie

  Wymondham attack looking for the immediate response. Waters picking up possession tries to drive on trough the middle, the Billericay defence needing 3 bites at her get the ball away to safety. Nicholls moving out to the left taking the ball into her feet plays the diagonal ball early on for Waters breaking off the last defender in behind into the box Baker coming stays big making the blocking save. Newcombe getting brought down to the ground more than most Wymondham have another free-kick on halfway, Fretwell to delivery forwards runners far post area the ball sent in towards goal Baker saving confidently. Holloway with a mazy run out on the left for Wymondham cutting inside 20 yards out crosses into the area Waters central Lumley with the interception. 

Wymondham Town Ladies, Leah Newcombe

  GOAL! Into the final 5 minutes of the 1st half and Wymondham are awarded a penalty Nicholls played on through the middle taking the ball on towards the box, Baker coming to close her down stays big Nicholls going down as she tries to put the ball pass her, the referee pointing to the spot. Worse to come for Billericay as Baker is shown a red card, sent off for the 1st time in her career. The rules changing this only a yellow card by the offender if it was deemed to be an genuine attempt to play the ball. Nicole Farmer quick to take up the gloves stand in goal for the penalty, Nicholls to take sets herself to open up her body and play the ball high to the right scores to make it 1-2. 

Laura Nicholls on the ball for Wymondham Town Ladies.

  Billericay down to 10 attack right from the restart Bulter free on the left surging on into the area rides a sliding tackle herself as she looks for options cutting it back for Rushen outside the box central her venomous strike blocked by Sarafain. Into the closing moments of the first half Wymondham press on Russell out to Holloway, Lancaster blocking her run. 

  GOAL! Wymondham capitalising on their advantage at the end of the 2nd half to pull the score all square, have a throw out on halfway left side the ball dropped into Sarafian she turns and lines up a shot from distance a high ball in lobbing the newly arrived keeper dropping over her into the goal beyond 2-2. 

Wymondham Town Ladies, Carolyn Sarafian

Half-time Wymondham Town Ladies 2-2 Billericay Town Ladies

  The game turned completely on its head in the final 5 minutes, Billericay looking good for their 2-0 lead pushing on likely to get more, Wymondham getting it back to 2-1 from the spot in what some may feel was a controversial decision to red card the keeper. The home side taking advantage however scoring and Sarafain testing the new keeper from long range seeing Wymondham level it up at 2-2 moments before the half-time whistle. Cup football for you… create an entirely different outlook for the 2nd half. Billericay needing half-time to regroup gather themselves. Wymondham back in it needing to keep their feet on the ground a player advantage yes 2nd half but will need to remain composed.

   A change for Billericay at half-time having seen the 1st half out Farmer returning to the centre of defence, Vale giving way as new signing Brogan Kelly, usually a striker taking on the role of goalkeeper for the 2nd period. Wymondham to get the 2nd half underway. The ball won by Billericay played out to Butler left side a strong run, Russell getting back to put in the tackle win possession for Wymondham. Despite being down to 10 Billericay have started the 2nd half well, Rushen with a long range strike from 30 yards out flashing wide across the Wymondham six yard box. 

  Russell moving left on for Waters to chase down the wing, Lumley across to clear for Billericay. Farmer winning the ball as she challenges Waters attacking through the middle cleared into the middle Billericay picking out Morgan getting forwards crossed into Butler inside the box the ball getting stuck under her feet digging a shot out O’Callaghan throwing herself into the dive the ball past her but also the post. Jones cutting inside from the left on for Morgan placed central 25 yards out aims to loft the ball over the Wymondham defence with Box breaking in behind the touch too strong the striker can’t reach it. 

Billericay Town Ladies, Nancy Butler

   Billericay come close to retaking the lead a rapid counter right side Box carrying the ball on sends a cross racing in along the front of goal Butler far post close in, is it a save by O’Callaghan a strike against the woodwork or both I can’t tell but it’s not in the heavy sighs of relief from the home crowd behind me say it was close. The game sees no let up in tempo Billericay might be a player down but they are trying to get forwards at any opportunity, Wymondham launch a counter right side the ball into the channel Waters after it shoots on the angle 20 yards out the effort sailing over the bar.

   It’s an intriguing encounter both sides giving it there all both feeling the next goal is theirs. Fretwell striking over from a free-kick after Newcombe is brought down once again. Blackie going into the referees book. Rushen getting forwards on to Box pulling away right wins a throw deep down the line. Rushen the target standing just inside the area into her feet keeps possession taking it higher before turning and sending in a shot the ball running wide across the face of goal. 

Zoe Rushen on the move for Billericay Town Ladies

  Butler left inside to Rushen 30 yards out wide for Blackie right her cross swung into the area claimed well by O’Callaghan. Billericay not enamoured by the referee today are aggrieved at further decisions going against them only adding to their resolve at this point however. Farmer with great defensive work through the middle as she deals with a difficult ball put forwards with Waters lurking behind her. Jones getting in behind on the left sends a high cross into the area taken by O’Callaghan with Box racing in central.

  GOAL! Wymondham take the lead with 20 minutes left on the clock, comes from a defensive error from Billericay forced by Waters the ball played on by Nicholls for her to attack left channel the defensive trying to see the ball back as Kelly comes for it top of the area Waters closing in on the pair as they all converge the ball popping free Waters pouncing leaning back to send the ball over both into the empty goal beyond 3-2.

Build up to the leading goal for Wymondham Town Ladies

   Nicholls and Waters combining again left side for Wymondham in attack, Farmer getting the challenge in to win the ball for Billericay Wymondham make their 1st change, Mollie O’Callaghan coming on for Holloway. Blackie with a powerful drive forwards on the right for Billericay cuts the cross square along the top of the area looking for Butler, her first touch too heavy, Sarafain in to close her down. Billericay make another change Butlers last action of the game as they send on Kelsey Smith.

  Billericay come forwards Blackie wide moving right put long to Morgan running left wins a corner as Newcombe tackles her. The delivery into the area drops down inside the six yard box a bout of ping ball occurs the ball scrambled clear out to the left retrieved by Rushen she shapes to send a shot back in her strike wide across the goal. Wymondham are on the back foot Billericay deciding attack is the only option a 3rd and final change from the visitors Lancaster coming of the defender replaced by Anna Maria Raine who takes up an attacking position on the right.

    GOAL! Billericay get back on level terms pressing bodies forwards in and around the Wymondham box a high ball is lifted into the box from the right side Morgan jumping the highest meets it well heading the ball back across goal over the keeper and in to equalise 3-3.

Billericay Town Ladies captain, Lindsey Morgan with Wymondham’s Kayleigh Holloway

   The game open now Wymondham push on lose possession Rushen playing it up early for Box running in behind, Fretwell doing well to close her down and get hold of the ball. Jones running onto a shot from distance the full backs effort charged down. Waters after a ball played into the Billericay area left side Lumley doing really well up against her in defence. Box on the attack right O’Callaghan coming the ball past her Box further out this time defenders racing back however they can see it wide across goal this time.

   The clock rapidly running down into the final five minutes of the game extra-time and if needed penalties looming. Blackie with a clever ball up top on for Box to attack top of the area Sarafian in to clear for Wymondham.

 GOAL! Billericay retake the lead the goal coming about with more controversy, the Essex side building momentum down the left the ball played into the area O’Callaghan going to stop it a collision the keeper grounded the ball running across the six yard box Rushen following it and wrapping her foot around it to turn it into the goal, everyone’s eyes on the referee, a goal is signalled everyone including Kelly in goal races over to Rushen to celebrate. 

Rushen with Wymondham Town Ladies captain, Rachel Cossey

   A delay after as O’Callaghan requires treatment is okay to continue Wymondham behind now with little time left to find a reply. Olivia Gunn joining the action for the home side late on. A free-kick wide right as Nicholls is clipped going forwards the ball send in far post Fretwell can’t get it back across goal end up off the pitch injured. Into stoppage time Billericay have the ball Box on for Morgan on the left experienced she takes it into the corner. Cool heads needed now Billericay seeing the game out get there winning 4-3 to make it into Monday’s 1st Round Proper draw.

Full time Wymondham Town Ladies 3-4 Billericay Town Ladies

   Treated to a 7 goal thriller in the finish, a good start from Billericay the higher league side going 2-0 up, felt they would go on to win comfortably at that point then came the sending off Wymondham drawing level from the penalty spot equalising on the stroke of half-time a real belief they could go on to win it from that point taking the lead with 20 minutes left Billericay had to work hard got back to 3-3 before winning the game themselves late on. That is simply the magic of the cup. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  A usual a few contenders for this afternoons Women’s Football East -Player of the Match award. Leah Newcombe doing well for Wymondham at left back. For Billericay, Nicole Farmer with some good defensive work especially 2nd half, Nancy Butler on the left, Jay Blackie too getting into some great positions to receive the ball deep and set up others a threat from corners. Just edging it though is Zoe Rushen powerful on the ball her set-pieces a constant threat.

  5-4 the last time out in the FA Women’s Cup a 7 goal thriller this time around have been treated to some exciting fare so far this season, makes me hungry for more. My thanks as always for the help with today’s teams I know several but it always pays to have a team-sheet.

Match Report – Norwich City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Wednesday 3rd October

FAWNL South East Division One

A midweek trip East along the A47 this evening to watch some league action from FAWNL South East Division One, Norwich City Ladies hosting Cambridge United WFC.

  A late reversal of the fixture with Norwich City Ladies scheduled to travel to play Cambridge United WFC. The pitch at Mildenhall Town FC unavailable the league asking Norwich if they could host they agreed. A good distance between Norwich and Cambridge for a game under the lights. Both sides looking to get their league campaigns going both with just the single win to date. All very tight in FAWNL South East Division One early in the season the two promoted sides, Crawley Wasps Ladies and Billericay Town Ladies getting off to a flying start below there are just 4 points separating the sides placed 4th to 12th. Actonians Ladies in 3rd spot proving that if you can get a run going you can quickly climb the table.

   Norwich City Ladies started the season with a 5-1 defeat to Enfield Town Ladies, before collecting a point in a 2-2 draw with Denham United Ladies. Changes behind the scenes 1st team coach Grant Palmer adding to the coaching team the club fielding a new Development side this season. Heavy defeats in the cup and league followed, their only league win of the season a memorable one away to East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town Ladies. Although they have progressed in the FA Women’s Cup with a big win, League points haven’t come losing 2-1 at home to Stevenage Ladies last Sunday. After a couple of lethargic seasons fighting at the wrong end of the table Norwich are rebuilding aiming for better results. 

  A promising start to the season for Cambridge United WFC, bringing in several new faces to the squad to away trips down to the capital yielding 4 points. A goalless draw in their previous midweek fixture at The Abbey Stadium against Stevenage Ladies earning them a 5th league point of the season. Does tell the whole story however as they have enjoyed success in both the league cup and FA Women’s Cup the latter just this past Sunday a 6-0 win at home to Harlow Town Ladies. Travel to Norfolk tonight missing a few players unable to get to the rearranged game on time due to work commitments.

  The league interesting this season has the feel that any team on their day can beat the other.  The venue for this evenings fixture, Norwich United FC’s, Plantation Park. It’s a big pitch very wide, under the lights looks even bigger. A bar overlooking one end of the pitch a small seated stand down one side. A mild evening at the start of October, cloud cover but no rain forecast.

Norwich City Ladies starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Alice Parker, Laura Thacker, Sasha Diston (C), Kate Parsons, Ellie Smith, Millie Daviss, Reeanna Cook, Aimee Durrant, Natasha Snelling & Chelsea Garrett. Subs – Tigi Robson, Jodie Drake, Kyla Love, Emily Moerkerk & Rosie George.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Liz Pamplin, Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Fran Gough, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Vicky Neal, Faith Hewitt, Becky Shephard, Kelley Blanchflower (C) & Steph Gale. Subs – Holly Northfield & Charlotte Crisp.

Norwich to have the kick-off in the 1st half wearing yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow and green socks. Cambridge wearing their white away shirts with black shorts and socks. Cambridge press Norwich for the ball straight away get i forwards into Steph Gale in attack, play halted as she commits a foul trying to turn in behind her marker. Both sides snapping at the ball a little disjointed at the start neither side making progress into the final 3rd. Norwich spreading play out to the left wing players drawn across a cross flung in towards the near post Emma Jenkins getting her head on the ball to clear for Cambridge.

Norwich starting to build momentum come forwards Chelsea Garrett receiving the ball just over halfway Aimee Durrant on the right wing looking to get in behind bursts forwards, Cambridge centre back Kayleigh-Anne Burt reading Garrett’s intention backing up giving herself a better angle to intercept the intended pass. A free-kick awarded to Norwich inside the Cambridge half, midfielder Miller Daviss over the ball her delivery lifted into the area attacked the header taking it behind for the 1st corner of the match. A good delivery into the box a high ball dropping into the six yard box, goalkeeper Liz Pamplin getting her gloves on the ball knocking it down the defence able to launch clear.

   Energetic from Norwich at the start of the game pressing forwards have their opponents on the back foot. Jenkins lunging in to tackle Natasha Snelling as the attacker gives chase to a ball played up into the right channel, the left back conceding a corner. Cambridge look to release Becky Shephard on the left wing trues to link up with Gale leading the line, captain Sasha Diston defending for Norwich. Daviss with a great forwards pass has Garrett interested central 20 yards out manages to get in behind her marker through into the area but is halted by the offside flag. 

    Norwich win a corner over on the left another good delivery angling in under the crossbar, Pamplin with another vital save getting her gloves to the ball, knocked down into the congested box, a shot is blocked at close range from Laura Thacker. Appeals for handball from Norwich but the officials not interested. Snelling takes on a shot from distance 30 yards out lets loose a shot, the ball on target is catch low by Pamplin.

 GOAL! Norwich capitalise on their good start to the match taking the lead in the 17th minute the goal coming from another corner on the left the high delivery falling towards the penalty spot is attacked by Norwich’s Kate Parsons getting up well timing her headed connects well the ball looping up and dropping over the keeper into the back of the net 1-0.

   Cambridge get on the attack straight from the restart play broken up in the middle the ball played up to Shephard coming in field a chase for the ball goalkeeper Hope Armstrong coming to close the attacker down the ball struck against her trickles in behind Shephard keeping up the chase the Norwich defence recovering and getting to the goal bound ball to hook clear before she can apply another touch. 

  A free-kick wide left for Norwich as they build on the wing, Durrant and Snelling over the ball 30 yards out is driven in low towards goal Pamplin adjusting her body getting behind it pushes the ball out towards the top of the area, picking it up Garrett right of the D, looks to shoot send the ball in towards the far post across the keeper her strike off cue racing wide is met by a Norwich player the ball turned goalwards lacking power safely in Pamplin’s hands. 

  Parsons defending as Cambridge enjoy a little it of possession on the right wing Amy Howlett playing full back getting forwards to support captain Kelley Blanchflower. Norwich moving the ball well some intricate short triangles in midfield getting players forwards. Fran Gough getting in front of Garrett to defend for Cambridge as Ellie Smith brings the ball forwards. Cambridge struggling to get anything going in attack the passes just not sticking. Vicky Neal winning the ball from Daviss up to Gale closed down quickly. The visitors getting a little frustrated. A free-kick wide right the ball in towards the top of the area held up but not allowed to turn Norwich marking well. Howlett doing well defending against Snelling on the wing as she and Garrett looking to play a one two get Snelling in behind.

    GOAL! Norwich double their lead with the game passing the half hour. Attacking on the left players breaking forwards from midfield overloading the box the cross fired in across the top of the area into Ellie Smith controls the ball before striking a low shot past the keeper into the goal at the near post 2-0. Smith’s first goal for Norwich.

   Cambridge come close to finding a reply a free-kick wide on the left cleared back out to Shephard pressing down the wig sends an inviting cross racing through the Norwich six yard box, no-one gambling central picked up on the far side brought in close to goal the shot goalwards defended in front of goal. Alice Parker coming on to support Durrant the pair combining Garrett looks to spin in behind, Burt close to her making the tackle prevents her making progress into the box.

  Norwich finishing the 1st half strongly Durrant with the ball at her feet 20 yards out driving with it across the Cambridge box on for Snelling far side her shot sliced behind by Burt for the corner. The set-piece defended. Diston misjudging the bounce of the ball as it is played out from the back nevertheless sets up a great attack as it strikes her face, looping on for Durrant on quickly to Garrett, in behind Pamplin coming to close her down, Garrett knocking it past her looking to follow it on into the goal beyond, Gough getting back does enough to get on her shoulder she the striker’s touch take the ball wide for the goalkick.

   Pamplin saving at her near post coming out to claim the ball low and Garrett slides in for it getting in behind the defence. Faith Hewitt getting forwards as Gabrielle Whitehurst robs Reeanna Cook in midfield tries to get Blanchflower away on the left Thacker, with Parsons supporting preventing the final ball being delivered. Gough stepping out of the back line for Cambridge intercepting the ball up for Shephard central play spread to Blanchflower on the right, Thacker closing her down wins the challenge.

  Cambridge win a throw-in wide right in a deep position play getting drawn across to that side a cross is worked into the area running across the top of the six yard box Shephard free far post, Parker dealing with the threat clearing the ball for a corner. The delivery long to the far post headed wide for the goalkick. A crunching 50/50 in the middle of the park no prisoners taken between Parsons and Neal. The ball just won’t stick for Cambridge, Whitehurst bringing Durrant down as she attacks right side 20 yards out. Taking the set-piece Durrant sends it long to the far post met by a runner turned towards the near post Pamplin well positioned to make the save. 

Half-time Norwich City Ladies 2-0 Cambridge United WFC

   A good 1st half from Norwich, by far the better side attacking well in numbers at times taking an early lead, adding to the lead looking comfortable for their 2-0 lead. A frustrating 1st 45 from Cambridge players out of position haven’t been able to make the ball stick up front get bodies forwards themselves find a way in behind Norwich who have been solid at the back. 2-0 always an interesting lead Norwich look comfortable for it and a much better 2nd period from the visitors will be needed if they wish to get back into the game.

  Positional changes for Cambridge at the start of the 2nd half a switch of flanks for Blanchflower and Shephard no operating on the right wing as they take the kick-off. Paying the ball forwards a hand ball is spotted as Norwich look to win the ball, unfairly, Cambridge have the free-kick 30 or so yards out left of the box Jenkins floating the delivery in towards the far post area Armstrong coming for it makes the catch. Cambridge showing more energy at the start of the 2nd half determined to press Norwich on the all higher up the pitch. Gale fouled on halfway trying to hold the ball up.

   Good work from Gale back to goal holds the ball up Hewitt coming on looks to play her in, Smith getting back to close her down regain possession for Norwich. Neal getting hold of the ball in the middle long for Gale peeling away into space on the left taking the ball up the pitch sends the cross back in across the front of the area Whitehurst brought down in a dangerous position. 22 yards out Jenkins on it is encouraged to have a go gets the ball past the wall but not Armstrong the keeper well positioned beyond.

   Are a few physical challenges both benches showing frustration at some decisions being made, one questioned by the Cambridge management as Howlett is sent sprawling on the right the free-kick played in towards the near post is over Diston, Gale beyond caught a little unaware expecting the defender to get there can’t get off the ground quick enough to meet it. Cook drives forwards with the ball played on for Garrett a dink over the top, Gough doing well getting her head on the ball defending for Cambridge.

  A good start to the 2nd half for Cambridge give away a free-kick wide on the right as Durrant attacks. The delivery defended back with Durrant played inside to Garrett top of the area right side strikes the ball well low in across the keeper, Pamplin down low to her right diving to push the ball away. Norwich make the 1st change of the match, Snelling the player taken off, on comes Rosie George. 

Hewitt coming on with the ball for Cambridge sets up an attack playing the ball out wide right to Shephard, taking the ball to the byline, attacked at the near post, both Neal and Blanchflower closing in Armstrong dong well in between the to claim the ball ends up on the deck, the decision going against Neal, clearly frustrated at being shown a yellow card.

Garrett coming for the ball has Smith running beyond her plays the ball on making a run to the left getting the return pass striking from outside the box the ball racing wide across the Cambridge goal. Armstrong rushing out of her box clears as Gale tries to get to a ball put on by Hewitt for Cambridge. Hewitt finding Gale on the left deep play switched to the right Shephard supported well by Howlett the cross in defended well by Parsons cleared central Cambridge have it back the pass out to Blanchflower on the left her 20 yards strike too high goes out for the goalkick.

The referee getting alot of stick from both sides frustrated at a lack of consistency, challenges coming the decisions being questioned. Cambridge much improved 2nd half, Norwich sitting more have the 2 goal cushion, the visitors needing to find a reply. Hewitt is brought down in a clumsy challenge left side. The ball flighted up into the area a defender missing it drops for Neal stooping low into the header can only drop the ball wide of the far post. Parker getting across in intercept inside the six yard box as Shephard plays the ball in from the right.

Burt is cautioned making a rash tackle on Garrett outside the area a free-kick in a dangerous position for Norwich, Parsons over it has a go for goal on target lacking the pace to trouble Pamplin. Parker is brought off by Norwich, Tigi Robson introduced to the action. The benches continuing to be be unhappy with the officials. Burt getting across to deal with Durrant as Garrett looks to find her on the right.

  Jenkins winning the ball brings it forwards on the left on for Blanchflower, her diagonal ball long to the right picking out Shephard shoots Parsons blocking once then again as Shephard collects the rebound. George gets played in behind by Garrett left of the D shoots, Pamplin holding onto the ball. Norwich make their final change Jodie Drake on for Cook. A double change for Cambridge, Blanchflower having picked up a knock along with Gale coming off. On come Holly Northfield and Charlotte Crisp. Neal and Shephard up into the area the ball played in the knock down back to Whitehurst her shot charged down by Parsons.

  Cambridge having a frustrating night, aggrieved at decisions being made adding to their woes the final ball not coming off, Norwich working hard to defend their lead. Parsons and Diston solid at the back, Garrett always available finding pockets of space ready for any counter attack. Daviss picking up possession on early for Garrett, one on one with the keeper coming to meet her edge of the area the ball past her Gough getting back to put the striker off as they race for goal.  

  Into the final minutes Cambridge cannot find that telling goal put pressure on Norwich risk getting caught on the counter have to commit player forwards. Whitehurst finding Shephard left side her cross driven in cleared by Parsons back to Shephard the 2nd cross deeper Drake heading clear at the far post for Norwich. 

 GOAL! The home side break getting the ball up the park quickly on the left the cross put across the face of the area finding Durrant unmarked shifts and shoots wrong footing Pamplin the ball going past her at the near post 3-0 the 3 points assured with so little time left on the clock. 

  Neal has a strike at goal from distance the attempt over the crossbar. Armstrong dropping a high cross delivered from the right but can pounce on the ball before it is attacked. Hewitt driving on with the ball central on for Whitehurst spreads play right for Howlett her cross in claimed at the near post confidently by Armstrong with Neal closing her down. Crisp getting the ball up into Neal she turns in an attempt to get into the box Parsons getting in the tackle. 

Full time Norwich City Ladies 3-0 Cambridge United WFC

  Norwich get the win their 2nd of the season both coming under the lights, climb all the way up to 7th position as a result. By far the better side 1st half capitalising with 2 goals. Happy to defend more 2nd half were solid coping with the pressure Cambridge applied getting the 3rd goal at the death. A bad night at the office for Cambridge one to chalk off on the back foot from the start the 1st half not good at all improved 2nd half and had they found a reply may well have gone on to get something from the game. Both are at home in 3rd Round Qualifying of the FA Women’s Cup on Sunday, Norwich take on Enfield, Cambridge up against Stevenage Ladies.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Ultimately I’d narrowed this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match down to two contenders by the time the game had finished but not having to choose right away it’s always good to take a look back at the notes still a hard choice Chelsea Garrett doing very well leading the line for Norwich up front creating chances and drawing players out of position, bringing others into good shooting positions. At the back however Kate Parsons was a rock very experienced has been out for Norwich for quite awhile with injury now back she is looking sharp played well putting in the blocks keeping Cambridge’s chances inside the area to a minimum. The Player of the Match goes to the central defender.

   Always enjoy a game under the lights not necessarily getting up early to write the report afterwards though. My thanks to both teams for helping me out with the teams always appreciated. 

Match Report – Brantham Athletic Ladies v Walsham Le Willows Ladies

Sunday 30th September

Suffolk Women’s Division

A game from the Suffolk Women’s Division this Sunday afternoon, a trip to Brantham to watch Brantham Athletic Ladies versus Walsham Le Willows Ladies.

A clash between two sides I haven’t seen play in a while. Both with ambitions to contest for the title. Won by Brantham Athletic Ladies close neighbours, East Bergholt United Ladies last season also doing the double will be strong favourites once again. 

  A much larger Suffolk Women’s Division this season increasing in number to 13. Seven new sides, Brettvale Ladies, Brightlingsea Regent Ladies, Chantry Grasshoppers Ladies, Needham Market Ladies, Haverhill Ladies Reserves and University of Suffolk all new whilst Alresford Colne Rangers switch having previously competed in Essex. More teams meaning more games which was something the league sorely needed.

  Early days in the league, East Bergholt United have started well 3 games in winning them all so to a 100% record for new side Needham Market Ladies. Leiston St Margarets Ladies getting stronger each season also have 2 wins from two as does Brantham Athletic Ladies, a 4-1 home win over Alresford Colne Rangers on the opening day were in action at home in midweek winning 8-1 over league newcomers Brettvale Ladies. Striker Kirsten Hutchings scoring 5 in midweek already has 8 goals on the board this season.

   Walsham Le Willows Ladies are another sides capable of challenging at the top of the league joining 2 seasons ago the core of the ex Bury Town Ladies squad. Haven’t necessarily had a favourable time with their fixtures. last season were always playing catch up having no kicked off their league campaign until the 22nd October. An earlier start this time around although awarded a home win on the opening day are unbeaten with 3 games gone at the start of the season winning away to Woodbridge Town Ladies, drew 3-3 with Alresford Colne Rangers last Sunday, 3rd in the table travel to 5th placed Brantham Athletic this afternoon.

  Brantham Leisure Centre the venue for today’s game, the large clubhouse over looking the pitch from on goal, home to Brantham Athletic FC a small stand along one side of the ground the pitch in good condition a reasonable size. An overcast day, cloudy a light drizzle possible starting to cool as we end September.

Brantham Athletic Ladies starting XI – Zoe Adams, Shanice Leeks, Monique Peters, Emily Boore, Shannon Giles, Lucy Elmes, Lucy Dunnett (C), Jessica Ryan, Jodie Sharp, Kirsten Hutchings & Danielle Harvey. Subs – Sophie Crabtree, Rebecca Prime, Hollie Murray, Merlin Watson & Toni Mott.

Walsham Le Willows starting XI – Charlotte Osborne, Julie Brind, Shelley Cocksedge, Claire Ellis, Jemma Long, Kate Sandlan, Lisa Pratt (C), Mia Banbury, Zoe Klimcke, Chelsea Page & Laura Brame. Subs – Katie Grimwood, Steph Hanratty & Kirsty Pollard.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s the visitors, Walsham Le Willows to get the 1st half underway wearing yellow shirts with a red quarter over the left shoulder, red shorts and yellow socks. Brantham wearing blue shirts with a pair of diagonal lines across the front, blue shorts and socks. Brantham win the ball straight away the push forwards through the centre has Kirsten Hutchings interested, Claire Ellis standing in her path winning the ball back for Walsham Le Willows at centre back. The ball played forwards into striker Laura Brame held up then played out wide right as Julie Brind breaks forwards, Jodie Sharp putting in the tackle to send the ball out for a throw-in.

   Hutchings peeling right taking the ball out wide looks to cut in back in towards the area with Danielle Harvey making the run in behind for Brantham, Charlotte Osborne in goal for Walsham Le Willows reading it can gather before Harvey can reach it. Hutchings with support on the right from Jessica Ryan this time the pair winning a corner. Sharp to play the ball in a good height on it coming in near post, Ellis getting her head on it to send it away to the left, gathered by Brantham a high ball played back in towards goal Osborne can see it drop wide of her goal.

   Brantham with a confident start to the game press forwards captain Lucy Dunnett with a strong run forwards looks to play in Sharp bursting up the left wing, Brind doing well to close her down and defend for Walsham Le Willows. Ryan winning a throw high up the pitch on the right the ball into Hutchings turns and fires the ball in towards goal from the angle, Osborne behind it to catch. 

Walsham Le Willows, Claire Ellis

  Good pressing from Zoe Klimcke catching Brantham in possession in the final 3rd the ball on for Brame to chase, Monique Peters staying with her able to shield as goalkeeper, Zoe Adams comes sliding in to claim the ball. Klimcke on the ball right side on for Brame the Brantham defence momentarily stretched the striker taking the ball to the byline, puts the ball in Chelsea Page the only Walsham Le Willows player there making a run far post in from the left, the ball stopped by Shanice Leeks ahead of her, trapping the ball between her feet digs out the clearance.

Brantham Athletic Ladies, Shanice Leeks

   GOAL! An early lead in the game for Brantham as they hit Walsham Le Willows on the counter attack, the ball played out to Hutchings on the right drives up the wing crossing square from deep, the ball into box central Harvey arriving unmarked is composed in front of goal side footing the ball taking it across the keeper to nestle in at the far post or her 1st goal of the season 1-0.

   Walsham Le Willows respond well to falling a goal behind less than 10 minutes played Mia Banbury playing the ball out to Brind right side she passes inside to Brame top of the box the striker slipping in behind her marker, Emily Boore recovering excellently to get back at her and make a clean tackle inside the area the ball out for a corner. Boore on hand again to save the day from the resulting corner kick a great delivery in firmly headed it towards goal at the near post by Brind at the top of the box, the defender on the post making the goal saving block.

   A throw right side high up the pitch for Walsham Le Willows inside to Brame takes it on across the area Page over on the left looking to play her in on goal Adams alert gets out and smothers the ball at the attackers feet. Hutchings with a driving run right channel lets loose a shot from distance runs wide of the near post. After a sluggish start Walsham Le Willows have livened up getting at Brantham higher up the pitch. Klimcke getting herself about in the middle finds Brind out wide right her early ball inside for Brame, Peters defending well for Brantham top of the area. 

Brantham Athletic Ladies, Monique Peters with Walsham Le Willows, Laura Brame

   Adams with a good save to deny Brame in the box after more good work from Klimcke in the middle closing the ball down the rebound off her flying forwards Brame chasing it into the area left of goal shoots, Brantham’s keeper equal to it. Play is clustered in the middle Brantham pressed having trouble getting it away, Walsham Le Willows captain, Lisa Pratt tackling Shannon Giles. Lucy Elmes getting forwards with the ball for Brantham, Ryan to the right on for Hutchings, Ellis stepping in to put in the challenge.

Walsham Le Willows, Mia Banbury with Brantham Athletic’s Lucy Dunnett

   A change for Walsham Le Willows, Page the player coming off on comes Steph Hanratty. Klimcke nipping in to steal the ball bursts forwards into the box,Boore needing to bites at the tackle does well pushing her wide before conceding the corner. Played in towards the top of the area a high delivery Dunnett jumping with Ellis behind her does enough to put the centre back off the ball sent out towards the far post area beyond goal, Pratt keeping it alive volleys over.

    A brilliant save from Osborne up the other end Brantham are very good on the counter attack get bodies forwards quickly almost a carbon copy of the opening goal Hutchings out wide right playing the cross in Harvey unmarked in the centre of the area further out this time looks to pick her spot angle the shot up over the keeper, Osborne adjusting brilliantly to get a glove up to the ball palm it over the crossbar.

Zoe Klimcke driving forwards for Walsham Le Willows

  Good build up play from Brantham through the middle Dunnett, Giles and Elmes all involved up to Harvey heading the ball out to Sharp on the left, Kate Sandlan closing her down the ball out for a throw. Leeks gets forwards for Brantham as they press the attack players forwards Elmes to her right top of the area, the midfielder putting the return ball into Leeks inside the box stabs a low strike goalwards, Osborne down smartly to save.

  GOAL! Right at the end of the first half Brantham double their lead, Hutchings threatening to do it in the 1st 45 beats the offside trap Walsham Le Willows with a high line in behind right of goal 20 yards out strikes the ball hard on the angle the ball racing across the keeper into the back of the net 2-0. Not long left to play the half-time comes to an end.

Kirsten Hutchings

   Half-time Brantham Athletic Ladies 2-0 Walsham Le Willows Ladies

  A goal at either end of the 1st half giving Brantham a 2-0 advantage at half-time started the game the better capitalising with a goal. Walsham Le Willows coming back into it creating chances had a shot cleared off the line. Brantham too had further chances to go in further in front and 2-0 is always an interesting scoreline at half-time the old cliche the next goal is crucial…maybe.

   Changes for Brantham at half-time, Harvey and Ryan coming off, Sophie Crabtree in attack and Becky Prime wide right coming on. The home side to kick-off the 2nd half. Won back by Walsham Le Willows, Brind making ground up the right squared into Brame holds it up can’t turn sees Klimcke central the ball played back to her shoots from distance the 30 yarder caught by Adams. Sharp coming forwards left side on for Crabtree, Sandlan defending up against her. 

Walsham Le Willows, Zoe Klimcke

  Giles getting forwards more no for Brantham, support from Elmes tries to get forwards Klimcke sliding in to win the ball back for Walsham Le Willows. Pratt with the ball on into Brame backing in holding onto it spots Hanratty breaking into space on her left plays the pass out to her, Peters central sprints out towards her covering the ground to lunge in with a boot to put the ball away for the throw. Walsham Le Willows make a 2nd change Kirsty Pollard coming on for Long, joins Brame up front in attack.

Walsham Le Willows, Steph Hanratty

   Dunnett gets the ball under control bringing it forwards on for Sharp, the winger winning the home side a corner. A high delivery into the box won and cleared by Ellis. Klimcke brings down Giles wide on the right a free-kick in a good crossing position for Dunnett, aims for Leeks making a run near side, can’t quite get her head on the ball, Walsham Le Willows attempt the counter attack, Giles stopping the threat building on the left. Walsham Le Willows with a 3rd substitution Katie Grimwood on for Cocksedge. 

Brantham Athletic Ladies captain. Lucy Dunnett

  Hutchings coming deeper to pick up the ball has Prime running past her on the right on the overlap, the ball played on Grimwood with Prime to her right, Crabtree closing in on her left does well to prevent the two linking up and getting through on goal. Leeks winning the ball at the back as Walsham Le Willows look to play in Pollard, the ball coming back to Brame she shoots from distance the strike lacking power easy for Adams. 

Brantham Athletic Ladies, Becky Prime

  Pratt wins Walsham Le Willows a corner as she volleys a ball into the area from the left. The delivery into the centre of the box cleared out to the left, picked up by Hanratty her ball fired back into the box out wide across the goal. 20 minutes left on the clock. Hutchings springing the offside trap once more the ball forwards bouncing a one on one with the keeper as Osborne comes out to the edge of the box, stays big as Hutchings connects with the ball the goalkeeper making the blocking save with her legs the ball still alive running out wide right Hutchings after it so to the keeper does enough to put Hutchings off as the striker looks to wrap her foot around the shot. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

  GOAL! Moments later and Brantham do get a 3rd goal  Hutchings involved again turns her marker brilliantly high up the pitch in behind running with the ball down the right channel, is a stroke of fortune next as she looks to find Crabtree making the run into the box left side the ball across the D missed by all 3 Walsham Le Willows defenders tracking back, through them all onto Crabtree she shoots low as Osborne gets down low to her right gets something on the ball but not enough to take it wide of the goal as Crabtree celebrates her first goal for Brantham this season.

   Elmes on the ball for Brantham slides it through for Hutchings onside, Osborne with a high starting position to it first to kick clear top of her area. Hutchings looking to get away right side again Klimcke sliding in to make the challenge… stops on the ground clearly in alot of pain in front of the Brantham dugout they are quick to have play halted, Klimcke is in alot of pain looks like a knee injury a lengthy pause and rightly so, both sides aiding, a stretcher is brought out, it’s never nice to see Klimcke can’t continue. Cocksedge returning to the pitch. 

Brantham Athletic Ladies, Lucy Elmes

  Dunnett driving on with the ball out to Sharp now on the right side playing the ball on into the area is intercepted by Ellis. Giles on the overlap past Sharp receiving the pass sends a cross into the area headed behind for the corner. A tripe change for Brantham, Hutchings, Leeks and Peters all off on came Toni Mott, Merlin Watson, Hollie Murray. Into the final 5 minutes Walsham Le Willows win a corner off a set-piece a low ball driven into the area Brantham scramble it away.

Brantham Athletic Ladies, Jodie Sharp

   GOAL! At the death Brantham counter and grab a 4th goal Sharp playing through the middle now runs onto a clearance into the Walsham Le Willows half running with the ball closing in on the area, Osborne coming out to close the angle commits to the dive Sharp playing the ball around her left of goal gets a shot away scoring before Ellis can catch her 4-0. The last action of the game Brantham ending strong making it 3 wins from 3.

Full time Brantham Athletic Ladies 4-0 Walsham Le Willows Ladies

  Brantham go 3rd in the table one of 3 sides still with a 100% record have played a game less than Needham Market and East Bergholt. Started the game well an early lead adding a 2nd late in the 2nd half felt they were the better side 2nd half and got the 3rd goal the 4th coming at the death. Created more chances to score. Walsham Le Willows suffering there 1st loss of the season did well the get back at their opponents after conceding early the 2nd goal making things harder needed to pull it back to 2-1 to get themselves back into the game didn’t Brantham getting that all important 3rd goal. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, there were a few notable performances out on the field this afternoon. For Walsham Le Willows, Zoe Klimcke was excellent covering alot of ground winning some vital tackles. Cruel to see her injured like she was and I am hoping it’s not too serious and wish her a speedy recovery. Shannon Giles and Lucy Dunnett for Brantham along with Jodie Sharp on the wing but for her performance up front scoring the 2nd goal and setting up 2 more today’s Player of the Match award goes to Kirsten Hutchings.

  An enjoyable trip to Suffolk good to catch up with both sides after so long, my thanks to both for helping me out with the squad details. It’s going to be interesting in Suffolk this season and I’m looking forwards to seeing how it all unfolds.

Match Report Special – Kick Cancer Cup 2018

Thursday 27th September

Kick Cancer Cup 2018

A match report of a different variety on Women’s Football East, a special date in the women’s footballing calendar in Cambridgeshire now entering it’s 4th year the Kick Cancer Cup.

A charity match between Sam’s XI and an S-Tech XI League representative side, raising money for two very worthy causes, the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and the Arthur Rank Hospice.

Invited to write a match report for the night only too happy to oblige having been a spectator at previous games. The Kick Cancer Cup set up by the aforementioned Sam, Samantha Isaacson with support from many friends and family. Sam was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in 2015, both charities playing a large role in helping her with her ongoing treatment. In all that time has continued to play for her club Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds outfield or in goal. Sam has helped raise £35,000 so far for charity.

The Kick Cancer Cup contested between Sam’s XI and an Cambridgeshire S-tech XI assembled from the clubs playing with the Premiership and Championship in the county. The S-Tech XI having had the better of Sam’s XI in the previous 3 years of the Kick Cancer Cup last years game going all the way to penalties. Sam assembling a squad this year to try and win the cup for the 1st time. 

  Plenty to be organised, cake stall, raffle, food and bar all available the venue Histon FC’s Glassworld Stadium the pitch a good size nice and wide in very good condition a perfect night for football starting to cool down after a pleasant sunny autumn day. Musical entertainment from Holly Jean Sings before the match and at half-time, a singer/songwriter from Cambridgeshire. A good sized crowd building as the two squads prepare for the game.

 Sam’s XI squad – Samantha Isaacson, Abi Molloy, Sarah Bodger, Nikki Cowan, Krissie Taylor, Olivia Clarke, Emma Clark, Jo Woods, Seema Grewal, Kirsty Geal, Yaz Upson, Marie Stubbings, Katie Luddy (all Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds), Emma D’Costa, Vicky Houchin, Naomi Weir,  (all unassigned), Faye Marsh (retired), Emma Roberts, Nat Wells, Ebony-Jade Rule (all Cambridge United WFC), Dominika Szary, Jess Anderson (both Newmarket Town Ladies), Georgina Astley-Taylor, Charlene Martin (both St Ives Town Ladies Development), Laura Mills, Kayleigh Whitehead (both Cambridge City Ladies), Tash Applegate (Peterborough United Ladies), Jemma Hulme (Hilton Ladies), Michelle McCormack (Leafield Athletic Ladies), Joeli Kirby (Haverhill Rovers Ladies), Charlotte Taylor (Bournemouth Sports Ladies).

Sam’s XI management team – Vicky Neal, Kevin Knock & Rosie Boyns.

S-Tech XI squad – Eloise Hope, Amy Evans, (both Haverhill Rovers Ladies), Beth Goodman, Fran Kavanagh (both Ketton Ladies), Abigail Dowell-McGrillan, Amy Smith (both Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds), Jackie Scafide, Robyn Barlow, (both Cambridge Rangers WFC), Claire Newton, Kayleigh Churchyard (both March Town United Ladies), Donna Woodcock (Isleham United Ladies), Amy Reed, Hannah Locke, (both Cambridge City Ladies), Jade Carpenter, Sophie Marjoram (both St Ives Town Ladies Development), Katy Edwards, Jen Atherton (both Cambridge University Women), Nicola Anderson, Laura Rudd, (both Cardea Ladies), Sophie Wing, Annie Player (both Histon Ladies Reserves). Rachel Turner.

S-Tech XI management team – Kate Critchley, Jo Bull & Liz Pamplin

  It’s a charity game the substitutes managed however they want, everyone making an appearance beginning, middle or end they all played their part. Milton Colts and Histon Hornets U11s this evening’s mascots. Sam’s XI wearing white shirts, the S-tech XI wearing black. It’s the latter to kick-off the game. The goalkeepers captaining the sides at the beginning of the match Sam Isaacson for Sam’s XI, Eloise Hope for the S-Tech XI. A wide pitch the flanks are tested early on Charlene Martin on the chase for the S-Tech XI the ball played forwards Isaacson can gather. On the left for Sam’s XI, Tash Applegate bringing the ball on sends a cross into the S-Tech XI six yard box, Hope collecting the ball into her midriff.

   The first chance falling to Sam’s XI the ball fed through the centre Katie Luddy after it closing in on the left post Hope closing her down Luddy getting the ball past the keeper, runs narrowly wide of the upright. Michelle McCormack strong winning the ball in the middle for Sam’s XI played out to Laura Mills on the right, cutting inside is tackled by S-Tech XI’s Beth Goodman, the counter attack on up the left Sophie Marjoram playing the ball on for Fran Kavanagh running clear on the left, the Ketton attacker is quick, very quick taking the ball on closing in on the box opens up her body angling to put the shot in towards goal across the keeper, Isaacson though is well positioned able to safely glove the effort down under control.

   McCormack covering the ground in the centre of midfield preventing the S-Tech XI breaking. Kavanagh seeing the ball into her feet spins left sending in on for Marjoram sprinting down the wing, looking to take the ball inside is tackled, Abi Molloy winning the ball back for Sam’s XI. Goodman partnered with Claire Newton at centre back are forming a solid wall for Sam’s XI to break the more than one driving run coming to a halt before the box. Mills will take on her own shadow if she gets hold of the ball a drives forwards a jinking run takes her in past her marker sends a cross long into the box a vital header clear from the S-Tech defence with Applegate making a good run at the back post.

    A long range strike from McCormack receiving the ball left of the box 30 yards out bouncing wide across Hope’s goal. Kavanagh is away clear through the middle running to the top of the D shifts the ball inside shaping to shoot a curling effort aiming for the top corner, just over. It’s competitve two sides out there that want to win the trophy, a few nerves amongst the S-Tech XI squad, everyone wants to do well. The game played at a good pace, Kavanagh’s above average breaks with the ball on halfway cuts inside to leave the defence standing pulls the trigger from 25 yards out the strike wide races out for a goalkick.

   A corner for Sam’s XI on the right a good delivery flashing through the area, Nat Wells throwing herself at the ball can’t connect. S-Tech XI counter attack bringing the ball on down the right wing the cross swung in high near post is claimed by Isaacson. Play through the middle a good build-up the final ball sent forwards into Applegate back to goal controlling well spins left of her marker to get in on goal shooting from the top of the area the attempt straight at Hope the goalkeeper parrying the ball down before laying claim to it. 

  Change en masse for Sam’s XI everyone coming off a whole new side taking over with 30 minutes played. a few changes for the S-Tech XI, Jen Atherton, Rachel Turner, Robyn Barlow and Amy Smith joining the action. Atherton with an early strike on goal from 25 yards out testing Emma D’Costa newly arrived in goal for Sam’s XI, straight at her is unfazed. Kavanagh beating the offside trap in behind into the box D’Costa saving well with her legs as the attacker shoots. The S-Tech XI push hard as the newly arrived Sam’s XI take a few minutes to get into the game, Atherton with another distance shot right side held by D’Costa. 

  Faye Marsh with two pieces of good defensive work in quick succession in the heart of the Sam’s XI back line as the S-Tech XI press right side. Joeli Kirby and Marie Stubbings look to combine in attack for Sam’s XI right side a one two, Goodman is having none of it. Marsh across to get across Atherton as she goes after the ball down the right channel. Amy Reed gets forwards for the S-Tech XI a pacy run coming inside plays the ball into Kavanagh who wins a corner. A solid first half at the back for the S-Tech XI, Goodman is up for the set-piece a good ball in towards the top of the area the defender up well a glancing header on the ball can only direct it with of the far post.

Half-time Sam’s XI 0-0 S-Tech XI

   Changes at half-time for the S-Tech XI, 8 players coming on, Marjoram taking up the goalkeepers gloves all the play for 2nd half. Sam’s XI to get us underway, a beautiful orange full moon starting to rise over the ground. 

GOAL! The stalemate is broken early on the the 2nd half with Sam’s XI taking the lead. Pushing players forwards as they attack down the right players drawn to the ball is a great ball crossed into the box from Naomi Weir dropping near post, Ebony-Jade Rule has made a great run forwards getting in front of the defence shields the ball well sees Marie Stubbings the ball played out to her and smashed low into the back of the net 1-0.

  A good start to the 2nd half from Sam’s XI, Jenna Hulme left down the wing for Rule takes the ball on squares it inside looking for Joeli Kirby, Goodman stepping out of the S-Tech defence to intercept. Laura Rudd getting hold of the ball in the middle for the S-Tech XI carries it on before being brought down by Liv Clark. Goodman on the free-kick a good range out goes for goal nevertheless her strike over. Before the free-kick was taken a switch for the S-Tech XI Amy Evans on for Turner. Clark off for Sam’s XI, Kayleigh Whitehead joining the fun. 

  Rudd good with the ball at her feet comes forwards is stopped by Sarah Bodger for Sam’s XI. Kirby takes advantage as the S-Tech XI get caught out with a high defensive line in behind she looks to be free to take on the keeper closing on the box, Goodman recovering well a great burst of pace to close the attacker down slide in and regain possession. Weir good running on the right the ball squared in 20 yards out to Kirby helps on for Rule behind goes for the top corner the curling ball caught comfortably by Marjoram.

GOAL! Moments later though Rule has her goal doubling Sam’s XI lead, play over on the right Weir, Kirby, Stubbings all involved comes into Rule positioned top corner of the box drills it in towards goal low and hard the ball racing past the keeper into the bottom corner 2-0.

Cue a flurry of subs for Sam’s XI, Dominika Szary coming on to replace D’Costa in goal, Kirsty Geal, Stacey Kemp and Yaz Upson also on. Rudd drives forwards through the middle with the ball attempts to play Jade Carpenter through on goal a sliding tackle denying the chance. Rudd and Carpenter try again, Rudd’s run close to the attacker this time pushed into her helped on as Rudd gets in on goal shoots outside the area, Szary parrying the shot down. Atherton returning to the field for the S-Tech XI. 

  Geal with a pacy run with the ball on the left her cross in defended well by Jackie Scafide. Vicky Houchin comes on for Sam’s XI. Mills also returning for Weir. Mills with the ball on the right flashes a cross in across the top of the six yard box, Upson can’t connect with the ball. Geal carrying the ball on the left swung in cleared by Goodman. Hannah Lock comes on for the S-Tech XI replacing Carpenter. Isaacson to in an outfield position this time for Emma Clark. Amy Smith given the ball out right into space crosses into the box the ball held by Szary. 

  S-Tech XI pushing players on now looking to pull a goal back, good work across the top of the area Evans coming central plays the ball on into Rudd left of the D shoots, Szary behind the ball saving comfortably. Sam’s XI break the ball left Geal running forwards pushed on for Upson shooting from the angle Marjoram positioned near post making the save. Mills attacking right in the clear closing in on the box Marjoram coming out to meet her the ball bouncing past the keeper across the face of goal Upson waiting far post, Goodman getting back to hook the ball clear. Amy Reed coming back on for the S-Tech XI.   

GOAL! Sam’s XI get a 3rd goal. Hit their opponents on the counter attack Mills right bringing the ball on plays the past infield to Isaacson central 25 yards out a great flick on as Mills continues her run to the byline her cross inch perfect across the face of goal, Yaz Upson there scores from 3 inches out! 3-0. Not long left now.

GOAL! Cue the fightback the S-Tech XI aren’t down yet pulls a goal back straight away. Pushing players on from the restart Reed on it central jinks left right, thinks about shooting opts instead to fire the ball out wide right to Evans, Reed running on into the box as Evans swings in the cross near side Reed tries to bring under control Atherton right there with her taking the ball and sending it flying in past the keeper 3-1.

 Emma Roberts entering the game in the closing minutes as Sam’s XI are pushed right back the S-Tech side attacking at the end shape lost there isn’t much time left on the clock. Reed with the ball on the right no way past Molloy. McCormack back on eases Atherton off the ball as she tries to carry the ball into the box.

GOAL! S-Tech XI grab another late goal is a well worked individual strike by Amy Reed picking the ball up 25 out drifts infield across the D right to left wrapping her left foot around the ball sends a looping strike up and over the keeper, dropping under the bar into the back of the net 3-2. 

  No nervy finish however as the referee blows the final whistle and Sam’s XI squad runs onto the pitch in celebration everyone bundling in on Isaacson as her side win the Kick Cancer Cup for the very first time.  

Full time Sam’s XI 3-2 S-Tech XI

  A memorable win for Sam’s XI squad in an entertaining game the 3 goal lead needed in the finish watched in front of 438. An enjoyable night everyone had a great time enjoyed it myself even won a prize on the raffle. The real winners of course the two charities this event was all in aid over. No Player of the Match award tonight instead a thank you to everyone who gave up their time be it to play, officiate, volunteer and support. 

 My thanks to everyone who assisted with the squad details tonight. All photographs used in this report are credited to and copyrighted by Lightside Photography and I really appreciate being able to showcase a few in the report.

 

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Leyton Orient WFC

Sunday 23rd September

FA Women’s Cup

  It’s FA Cup weekend 2nd Round Qualifying 60 ties taking place with the FAWNL Division One sides entering the competition, has thrown up several interesting looking ties, Women’s Football East is spoilt for choice, heading to Cambridge this Sunday to watch Cambridge City Ladies v Leyton Orient WFC. 

 So much for summer the first weekend in autumn beginning with a blanket of heavy rain moving across the country overnight and lasting long into the day, the sun should be out by kick-off by it’s a question of whether the pitches will hold up or not? 

Cambridge City Ladies go into this Sunday’s 2nd Round Qualifying tie in fantastic form, leading the ERWFL Premier Division just below the FAWNL with a 100% win rate from 5 matches played 3 league games along with two victories in the earlier rounds of the FA Women’s Cup, a 2-0 success away to Newmarket Town Ladies in the Preliminary Round then a 14-0 win against Cambridgeshire Premiership side Riverside Ladies in 1st Round Qualifying, a few hundred pounds collected in prize money already the winning side receiving £450 today.

   Looking to build on their debut season in the ERWFL Premier Division where they clinched runners-up spot last season, Cambridge City have bolstered their squad bringing in striker Shannon Shaw who was prolific in front of goal for Cambridgeshire Premiership side, March Town United Ladies last season. Hannah Bodily returns after a previously playing for Bedford Ladies as does Sofia Castiglione who was with Ipswich Town Women’s academy side last season.

   Leyton Orient WFC have faced Cambridge City once before in the FA Women’s Cup, a 3-1 success in the 2016/17 season as they went on to achieve promotion to the FAWNL (FAWPL as it was then). Leyton Orient WFC progressing well enjoyed a strong debut season amongst the South East Division One front-runners for much of the campaign. After 5 matches this season are currently fifth in the table early stages the two promoted sides Crawley Wasps Ladies and Billericay Town Ladies setting the pace, those behind such as Leyton Orient more than capable of chasing them down. Entering the FA Women’s Cup in 2nd Round Qualifying along with the rest of the FAWNL Division One clubs. 

  Both sides stronger than they were two seasons ago. The venue for today’s FA Women’s Cup tie, Trinity College Sports Ground. One of several college/university sports grounds dotted about the city. Very much in the heart of the university quarter I’ve seen Cambridge City several times recently but never at home. Must confess to not enjoying driving in Cambridge but I know that part of the city well. Heavy rain falling all morning it was questionable as the whether the game would be on but more or less as I arrived the rain stopped and the sun came out as predicted. A pavilion overlooking the pitch serving hot drinks, the playing surface itself in excellent shape and had absorbed the rain well. The umbrella wasn’t needed afterall.

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tafadzwa Mhundury, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Becca Fay (C), Robyn Phillips, Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione Charlotte Gillies, Laura Mills, Sarah Mosley & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Carla Penny, Anna Kanz, Anna Goggin, Bella Simmons.

Leyton Orient WFC Starting XI – Naomi Ogunde, Francesca Cagetti, Kathryn Canavan, Hannah Porter, Chloe McNee, Danielle Griffiths (C), Lisa Holmback, Tara O’Halloran, Rebecca Hirst, Sophie Le Marchand & Lisa Fulgence. Subs – Connie Monteil-McCann, Belen Ripoll-Douton, Egle Trezzi, Jade Henry & Lydia Cooper.

   Two ex-Cambridge graduates lining up for Leyton Orient this afternoon, club captain Danielle Griffiths and Rebecca Hirst having studied in the city. It’s the visitors to kick-off the first half Leyton Orient wearing an all red kit with Cambridge City lined up in their home colours white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. A cautious start Leyton Orient probing both flanks, Cambridge’s full backs Amy Reed and Lauren Tomlinson dealing with the threat. Lisa Holmback busy in the centre of midfield early on for Leyton Orient winning the ball brings it on before looking to send Sophie Le Marchand through on goal as she makes a run inside from the left the pass a little too heavy allowing Cambridge goalkeeper Tafadzwa Mhundury to collect.

Cambridge City’s, Shannon Shaw contesting the header with Leyton Orient’s, Francesca Cagetti

   Le Marchand looking for the ball on the left wing collects from a throw turning inside shifts the ball, a drop of the shoulder and she moves to the byline, Cambridge captain Becca Fay staying with her prevents the cross coming in. Leyton Orient press the ball Cambridge not getting any momentum going forwards, Tara O’Halloran on for Holmback she lofts the ball forwards into Lisa Fulgence central back to goal holds it up before laying it out to the right for Rebecca Hirst closing in a strike goalwards from outside the area the ball running wide across the six yard box.

Lisa Fulgence looking to hold up the ball for Leyton Orient

  A good start from Leyton Orient, Le Marchand finding space drifting inside especially when the ball is played up to Fulgence. The ball falling to her 25 yards out Le Marchand fires a shot in towards the Cambridge goal dipping Mhundury is right behind it takes it low. Cambridge find a little joy out on the left as Shannon Shaw comes across to pressurise the Leyton Orient defence, does well as Laura Mills coming in nips in to steal the ball running in behind lifts a cross into the box the ball intercepted and cleared by Chloe McNee for Leyton Orient.

   GOAL! Leyton Orient capitalise on their good start to the game by taking an early lead in the 7th minute, attacking push bodies forwards from midfield overwhelming the Cambridge defence Le Marchand inside to Holmback strikes the ball form 20 yards her vicious effort blocked rebounds back out to O’Halloran to her right she fires in another shot, Mhundury having reacted to Holmback’s effort is unable to adjust getting a glove to the ball can’t keep it out at the near post 0-1.

  Holmback very influential in the early stages for Leyton Orient winning the ball in the middle Cambridge are struggling to get anything going, direct in their approach it is effective from the visitors Hirst and Le Marchand getting forwards quickly. A following attack from Leyton Orient as Le Marchand comes on with the ball left twists and turns coming in field laying the ball into Fulgence central held up the striker plays the ball back to Holmback who in turn has O’Halloran in support to her right giving her the ball O’Halloran has seen Le Marchand’s run into the box look to play the ball over the top of the Cambridge defence, just a little too much on it for Le Marchand to turn home as she can’t gather the ball before it runs out of play, a good attacking move.

Leyton Orient WFC’s, Lisa Holmback with Cambridge City’s, Sarah Mosley

   Trying to build going forwards Cambridge are frustrated nothing coming off, Kathryn Canavan and Francesca Cagetti both tackling to prevent crosses. Mills puts a ball in early from the left Charlotte Gillies out wide right gathers looks to send a cross in along the goal face Canavan blocking the ball behind for a corner. Leyton Orient deal with the Cambridge set-piece. Mills holds up the ball on the left wing as Tomlinson comes racing past her gathering the ball heads for the byline, Cagetti staying with her slides in to make the tackle.

Charlotte Gillies attacking for Cambridge City Ladies

    Le Marchand always ready to go on the left claims the ball turns and runs into the corner whips a great ball in across the face of the Cambridge goal no one there to turn it home. Fulgence comes deep to the halfway line to receive the ball, tries to flick it on for Le Marchand catch Cambridge with a high defensive line, Robyn Phillips does well making the challenge to prevent Le Marchand getting away with the ball. Shaw moving into the left channel gathers the ball tries to send it back inside towards Sofia Castiglione making a central run, McNee stepping out of the Leyton Orient back-line to deny her a strike.

  A good tempo the the match Leyton Orient controlling it is limiting Cambridge’s effectiveness going forwards play mostly to their left. Chances few and far between Shaw collecting from a throw on the left spins and shoots from the angle her shot half blocked deflected wide across Ogunde’s goal. A free-kick wide left for Cambridge in the corner played back up the line to Tomlinson she hits it hard, the only reason I know that is because Leyton Orient’s O’Halloran rushing towards her blocks it and needs treatment as a result. But she is okay to continue.

  GOAL! Closing in on the half hour and Leyton Orient double their lead. Le Marchand the scorer Leyton Orient counter attacking get the ball up front quickly central a difficult bouncing ball to deal with at the top of the area Le Marchand in close making thing’s difficult muscles her way past the defence the ball at her feet drives it low past Mhundury into the back of the net 0-2.

   Nothing Cambridge try will come off, Shaw looks to link up with Gillies on the right as Castiglione plays the ball forwards, Canavan getting hold of the ball setting Leyton Orient on the counter through the middle up to Le Marchand sweeps the pass out to Fulgence right side top of the area her strike goalwards claimed by Mhundury at her near post. Again Leyton Orient break from a Cambridge corner Le Marchand left firing a diagonal ball into Fulgence, Fay nipping in to push the ball away O’Halloran picks it up drives forwards top of the area looking for options over taking a shot tries to slip the ball in behind for Fulgence right can’t find her, the ball cleared only to Hirst wide right her cross in lands on the roof of the net.

Cambridge City Ladies, Amy Reed up against Leyton Orient’s, Sophie Le Marchand

    Reed defends up against Le Marchand as she tries to get inside her on the left in attack. Getting numbers forwards Leyton Orient press high. Sarah Mosley back to defend for Cambridge clears the long on the right Gillies giving chase, Hannah Porter getting across her does well to see the ball back to her keeper. Holmback fouled on halfway, Griffiths to play the ball long up towards the top of the Cambridge box, Fay with a commanding header clears the threat. Le Marchand with a strong run inside from the left into Fulgence back to goal attempts to flick it on into the box with Holmback making a good run doesn’t quite come off.

Leyton Orient WFC captain, Danielle Griffiths

  GOAL! 2 minutes of normal time left in the first half and Cambridge pull a goal back with their first shot on target. A superb run and goal from Laura Mills on the left picking the ball up wide left drives forwards coming infield towards the area rides two challenges powering her way into the box before striking the ball past the static Ogunde into the back of the goal 1-2. More or less the last goal mouth action before the end of the half.   

Laura Mills pulling it back to 21 late in the 1st half for Cambridge City.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Leyton Orient WFC

  A vital goal for Cambridge City coming right at the end of the first half to pull it back to 2-1. Leyton Orient by far the better starting well and taking an early lead pressed the ball well, direct at times but effective, attacking quickly in numbers, Le Marchand in particular finding room using the ball well. Set the tempo and Cambridge struggled to get anything going their late goal altering thing’s dramatically going into the half-time break. All to play for 2nd half.

  No changes for either side Cambridge getting the 2nd half underway. Castiglione putting a ball long for Hannah Bodily to give chase to through the middle, dissecting the Leyton Orient defence, but not fooling Ogunde who is positioned well to gather. A blow to the head for McNee she needs treatment but can return to the pitch. O’Halloran with a shot well of the mark as Fulgence wins the header forwards knocking the ball into her 30 yards out. Shaw plays the ball out to Gillies deep on the right wing she is tackled by Canavan the throw-in conceded.

   GOAL! Cambridge equalise bringing the scores back level 5 minutes into the 2nd half the goal coming from the throw-in the ball crossed in along the top of the area Mills getting in front of her marker left side knocks the ball down sees Mosley in a great position 20 yards out lays the ball into her Mosley strikes the ball sweetly it flies in towards goal past Ogunde before she can get anything on it. 2-2.

   Tomlinson with an important interception getting her foot up to cut out a lofted ball forwards from midfield from Leyton Orient with Hirst all set to run clear in behind. The visitors with a golden chance to restore their lead Le Marchand running in on the ball played into her as she breaks in behind left, Mhundury coming out to close her down Le Marchand clever knocks the ball past her towards goal. Hirst is central inside the six yard box, can’t dig the ball out of her feet to get the shot away before Phillips closes her down makes the challenge.

    GOAL! Leyton Orient do succeed in retaking the lead the goal coming from a corner won by Le Marchand on the left as Griffiths sends the long diagonal pass out to her. Players forwards inside the box as the delivery is put in a great ball across the face of goal, O’Halloran clear at the far post nodding the ball in from close range to make it 2-3.

Tara O’Halloran heading the ball in from the corner

  Leyton Orient look to press their advantage coming forwards win a free-kick wide right inside the Cambridge half Griffiths to put the ball into the box good flight on the ball Mhundury is able to catch the ball unchallenged. Le Marchand with the ball, draws the foul wide left this time another good ball into the area a crowd around the penalty spot a Leyton Orient head connects with the ball the attempt dropping wide of the far post. Leyton Orient make the first change of the match bringing on Lydia Cooper for Hirst on the right. Cooper involved straight away as Holmback plays the ball out to her on the wing she gives chase but a good starting position from Mhundury sees her able to gather the ball first. 

Leyton Orient WFC substitute, Lydia Cooper trying to get in behind

  GOAL! Cambridge come back to equalise again 6 minutes after conceding they build on the right side Gillies having more of the ball 2nd half gets on down the line getting her foot around the ball sends a dipping cross into the six yard box, Shaw timing her run perfectly getting in to met the ball low and turn it into the back of the net from close range 3-3.

   Leyton Orient have a free-kick wide left. Cambridge make a change before it is taken Mosley coming off on comes Carla Penny taking up a role wide left. The free-kick played down the line the cross put in near post Fulgence can’t bring down for a shot instead lays it back towards the top of the box with McNee running in her strike wide across the goal.

  GOAL! For the 3rd time in the match Leyton Orient take the lead O’Halloran sending a long ball out to the left for Le Marchand to race onto in behind Mhundury comes racing out to close her down once again, the attacker taking on the shot early gets it in on target may have taken a slight deflection off the keeper as it runs slowly towards the open goal but despite the best efforts of the Cambridge defence none can catch up to it before it crosses the line 3-4.

Leyton Orient WFC’s, Sophie Le Marchand

Gillies with a long range pop sends a low strike from 30 yards out on the right wide across the Leyton Orient box. Mhundury gets down sharply inside her box to claim the ball as Leyton Orient create on the left the ball helped in by Fulgence, Holmback behind knocking the ball into the box as she looks to beat her marker. Griffiths across well on the cover to defend as Mills sends a ball long up the right for Shaw to chase the defender playing the ball safely back to her keeper.

  GOAL! For the 3rd time in the tie Cambridge come back for score the equaliser. Comes from a free-kick wide on the right the ball played up towards the top of the area several forwards for Cambridge. Blocked by Canavan the rebound runs back to Mills 25 yards out strikes the ball well on the angle driving it low across the keeper and into the far corner 4-4.

  Cambridge make a 2nd change Bella Simmons entering the action replacing Shaw up top. Leyton Orient bring off Canavan, send on Egle Trezzi. Tomlinson has bionic arms (maybe) nevertheless has a good long throw in her armoury when Cambridge can get her into an advanced position she offers an added threat gets the ball into Mills top of the area she turns inside closely marked plays the ball on, Griffiths intercepting hooks the ball clear for Leyton Orient. 

Carla Penny bringing the ball under control for Cambridge City.

Up the other end Tomlinson gets back in support of Fay as her captain is muscled off the ball by Fulgence looking to turn and run in behind the fullback making a good challenge. The game naturally becoming a little stretched late on both sensing they can score another, Leyton Orient feed Le Marchand on the left driving down the wing squares the ball in near post Fulgence with the run is closed down by Mhundury the keeper doing enough as Fulgence puts the ball wide.

Lauren Tomlinson winning the ball for Cambridge City

   Tomlinson with another chance to deliver a long throw Leyton Orient wary of the threat the ball comes in Gillies gets her head on it directs the attempt wide of goal. A free-kick wide left for Leyton Orient, Griffiths to play the ball in sends it long across the six yard box no one gets a head on it as it runs out of play far post. A final change for Leyton Orient in attack, off comes Fulgence replaced by Jade Henry. Le Marchand always ready to break in behind off the shoulder of the last defender on the left the ball long up to her Mhundury comes again, Le Marchand shoots, the keeper making the save with her legs as she jumps in front of the attacker.

   GOAL! Cambridge take the lead for the first time in the tie! The game stretched in the closing minutes Leyton Orient pressing Tomlinson gathering the ball at left back sees space open up in front of her goes on a brilliant run carrying the ball 3 quarters of the pitch up the left crossing from the byline a fizzing effort racing across the face of goal, Simmons sliding in at the far post turns the ball in at close range 5-4.

Scorer of Cambridge City Ladies, 5th goal Bella Simmons holding the ball up

  For the first time in the game Leyton Orient are behind with minutes left on the clock push forwards attacking left side the cross swung in Henry with the knock down near side to Le Marchand top of the area she puts her foot through the ball but can’t keep the effort down as it flies over the crossbar. It’s all about composure now Cambridge are looking to seeing it out the adrenaline pumping not an easy thing to do into stoppage time Leyton Orient come on can find no reply as Cambridge complete a memorable result to win the match.

  Full time Cambridge City Ladies 5-4 Leyton Orient WFC

  What a game! That 2nd half was something else I’m perhaps the only neutral there but how can you not be emotive watching games like that. Cambridge coming back to equalise 3 times in the match before going on to score what proved to be the winning goal themselves to advance in the FA Women’s Cup. Showed good character to keep coming back were lacklustre in the first half not getting anything going but never out of the tie. Leyton Orient will be deflated, can only be so after taking the lead 4 times in the match and failing to go on and win it going behind themselves with so little time left. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several good performances from both sides, Le Marchand excellent for Leyton Orient a threat all game, Holmback in the middle especially 1st half, O’Halloran too. Tomlinson was excellent at left back for Cambridge and a great run and cross for what proved to be the winning goal. It was another goal that changed the course of this tie however and that was Cambridge’s first coming so late in the 1st half was vital pulling it back to 2-1 was so critical gave Cambridge that belief, and for that plus another and an assist today’s Player of the Match award goes to Laura Mills.

   What an exciting game to watch a privilege and it’s why I love the sport so much. My thanks to both managers for their help with the teams and Cambridge City for their hospitality. Thanks to for the weather a bright sunny afternoon after such a dismal start a welcome bonus. 

Match Report – Harlow Town Ladies v Colney Heath Ladies

Sunday 16th September

ERWFL Premier Division

 A trip down to Essex this Sunday afternoon to watch a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, newly promoted Harlow Town Ladies hosting Colney Heath Ladies.

  A clash between the sides currently 4th and 5th in the table both with 4 points each, still very early days in the league however with several of the ERWFL Premier Division sides involved in the early qualifying rounds of the FA Women’s Cup.

   A 4th successive promotion for Harlow Town Ladies having risen through the Essex County leagues before clinching runners-up spot in ERWFL Division One South last season. A win, draw and loss from their opening 3 league matches in the Premier Division. Grant Palmer in charge of the 1st team for Harlow’s earlier successes has moved on to manage Norwich City Ladies in the FAWNL. A place in the FAWNL up for grabs for whoever wins ERWFL Premier Division title themselves. Dean Perrett in charge of the 1st team at Harlow now as the club look to continue to progress. A 1st team and Reserves side this season with ambition to create a girls section to establish Harlow as a force in the women’s game. 

   Colney Heath Ladies begin their 2nd season in the ERWFL Premier Division having finished runners-up in Division One to earn promotion. Was a difficult first campaign playing at that level, teams dropping out of the league which finished with 9 didn’t help their cause, ended bottom without a recorded win. The squad  stretched last season too have bolstered numbers for this season and added experience too, a much better start undefeated in their 4 matches played including a win and a draw in the Premier Division. 

  The Harlow Arena the venue for today’s game a superb facility that has hosted FAWSL 2 football in the past. An artificial playing surface a good sized pitch, overlooked by a large main stand along one side offering plenty of seating housing the changing rooms and clubhouse, bar and refreshments available. A smaller terraced stand opposite room to expand too. A pleasant sunny afternoon a stiff breeze blowing across the open ends of the ground.  

Harlow Town Ladies starting XI – Charlie Orwell, Courtney Miller, Megan Sende, Kirsty Woodacre, Nicole Learner, Chloe Bassett, Kaydee King (C), Abbey Dell, Poppy Binding & Lily Bruno. Subs – Tayla Handscombe, Rubie Smith, Liv Steele, Tegan Burling & Maisie Ryan.

Colney Heath Ladies starting XI – Amy Mullett (C), Kelly Hancock, Rebecca Fhalora, Annie Hickey, Lucy Hancock, Sophie Gardiner, Christina Freestone, Sheree Oliver, Sophie Joseph, Charlene Moreton & Rianne Townsend-Brown. Subs – Kelly Glynn, Adrienne Milton & Sarah Brennan.

(roll on roll off substitutes) 

   It’s Harlow to get the 1st half underway wearing red and white horizontal striped shirts with red shorts and socks with opponents Colney Heath lining up in blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The ball toing and froing in the middle of the park in the early stages Harlow attempting the 1st attack as captain Kaydee King wins possession inside the Colney Heath half and looks to sent the ball through for Abbey Dell on the left, a race for the ball across comes Kelly Hancock to slide in tackling Dell to put the ball out for a throw. 

The hosts with a chance to take the lead as the ball is pressed high up the pitch Dell has it on the left in towards Lily Bruno positioned at the top of the Colney Heath box left of the D plays it back to Poppy Binding central and turns into the area Binding returning the ball to Dell who has come infield plays the ball through to Bruno the striker is free having gotten herself across to the far post the Colney Heath defence static don’t react as Bruno shoots firing a shot back across goal wide of goalkeeper Amy Mullett but so too the post.

Colney Heath get the ball forwards rolled into Sheree Oliver central she puts the pass on for Christina Freestone ahead of her play switched to Rebecca Fhalora getting forwards on the left strikes the ball from outside the box her low effort running wide across the Harlow goal. The visitors make ground through the middle the ball played out to Rianne Townsend-Brown drifting right her cross blocked at close range by Chloe Bassett closing her down, a goal-kick the result.

Colney Heath Ladies, Rebecca Fhalora

   The referee spotting a shirt pull on Oliver, Colney Heath with a free-kick on the right 25 yards out from goal. The ball played up into the box, King with a firm header on the ball clears for Harlow. Nicole Learner bringing the ball on done the right for Harlow, Fhalora stepping in to make the tackle, the visitors build another attack moving the ball well, Moreton coming for the ball has options left and right aswell as Townsend-Brown ready to break in behind. Courtney Miller coming inside to cut out Moreton’s through ball.

Charlene Moreton with Harlow Town Ladies, Nicole Learner

Harlow bring the ball forwards with pace King linking up with Learner out to Farrell on the right wing a cross fired in low towards the near post Bruno arriving attempts to flick the ball on towards goal, instead it lands in the side netting. Binding lines up a strike from distance is charged down by Kelly Hancock, the rebound gathered by Binding she isn’t deterred has another go, Annie Hickey throwing out a leg to put in the block this time for Colney Heath. The game is a little physical but this is mainly down to which the pace the ball is being moved around Dell enjoying a good contest with her opposite number as she attacks on the left. 

GOAL! 12 minutes played and the visitors get themselves into the lead, Sophie Joseph on the ball central has Moreton in close attendance the ball into her put up towards the edge of the area, Townsend-Brown hustling the Harlow defence who don’t deal with the danger the Colney Heath striker strong gets hold of the ball bursting into the box and smashes a low shot across goal into the bottom corner 0-1.

 Harlow with a real chance to equalise straight away attacking up the other end the ball on the left fired inside into Learner outside the box she takes in on across the D is taken down as she goes to strike the ball, looked like it was inside the box but I’m on halfway the decision a free-kick a foot outside, a dangerous position, King over the ball lines up a strike, hitting the ball well it is always rising as it flies a half yard over the crossbar. 

  An open game both sides on the attack as soon as they have possession, Colney Heath have Oliver on the ball wide right squares the ball inside to Townsend-Brown, Kirsty Woodacre close in tackles to win the ball back for Harlow, counter attacking, Dell is given the ball on the left, tries to put the diagonal ball through towards Learner breaking forwards through the middle, can’t quite get there. The ball won in defence Colney Heath come forwards Oliver on the ball right plays it to Townsend-Brown central with Moreton ahead of her making a run into the area right of goal she receives the ball shoots, Charlie Orwell covering her near post is able to gather the ball for Harlow.

Sheree Oliver on the ball for Colney Heath Ladies

  Dell wins Harlow a corner on the left, a good delivery into the centre of the box the ball headed goalwards, a second Harlow header from close in the touch taking the ball over the bar. Amy Mullett is called into action making a fantastic save diving low to her left to deny Bruno as she is played through on goal as Harlow attack down the right Bassett on the ball, Bruno right off goal aiming for the bottom corner sees her shot saved. From the resulting corner, the ball played into the box, Dell can’t dig the ball out of her feet before Coley Heath close her down.

   Decisions going against Harlow frustration visible, a free-kick awarded left side 25 yards out, Moreton on the ball her strike wide of the far post. Hickey in to win the ball for Colney Heath the defender with a great ball realises Oliver who has been finding space on the right coming inside with the ball evades a couple of tackles on the top of the area before taking the ball inside, closing in on the near post she pulls the trigger but so close in Orwell has closed the door makes the blocking save. 

  Pressing the ball high up the pitch Harlow catch the Colney heath defence lingering on the ball Dell taking the ball wide out on the left fires a cross low and hard into the area, Bruno behind the ball near post top of the six yard box controls it enough to play back to Binding running in to the box central  shifts the ball as it comes into her and lets fly with a driven shot angling in towards goal, Mullett gets down quickly to her left to once more push the ball away behind to safety.

  GOAL! Harlow equalise midway through the 1st half the goal coming from a free-kick deep in the right players in the box as the ball is played up long into the area, dropping amongst bodies Colney Heath don’t deal with it Dell closest pouncing to smash the ball into the back of the net 1-1.

  Moments later Harlow come close to taking the lead, winning the ball back in the middle King with Bassett, the pass forwards finds Bruno left of the D, time to line up a shot, drags the attempt narrowly wide of the near post. Woodacre steps in to put the ball behind for a corner as Townsend-Brown tries to run onto a ball put into her from the left. Harlow try to break from the corner, Sophie Gardiner winning the ball back for Colney Heath. On another day Bruno would have a hat-trick in the bag by now as she shoots from 20 yards out the ball caught by Mullett before the striker sends another shot wide across goal from a similar position.

Chloe Bassett with the ball for Harlow Town Ladies

   A change for Harlow, Learner the player coming off, on in her place is Rubie Smith. The home side counter Bassett playing a one two with Bruno as she carries the ball forwards on the right going on to the byline sends a cross in towards the near post Hickey cutting the ball out concedes the corner. Moreton is brought down by Dell, a free-kick wide right for Colney Heath, Megan Sende defending for Harlow as Gardiner plays the ball into the box.

Colney Heath Ladies, Charlene Moreton

  Another free-kick in a similar position, Dell with another decision against her the Harlow bench not happy to, make a change Dell withdrawn, with Tayla Handscombe coming on. Gardiner to play the ball long into the area again for Conley Heath to attack going long falls to Townsend-Brown wide of the far post smashes a shot in across the face of goal strikes the far post back into play straight a Freestone little time to adjust her body takes on the 1st time strike screws the attempt away from goal. 

Annie Hickey sliding in to tackle for Colney Heath

  Colney Heath attack late in the first half, Sende intercepting the ball, Katie Farrell too doing well at the back as Moreton and Oliver try their luck on the right. Gardiner with a long pass forwards finds the ever willing Oliver running clear on the right down the line her squared cross into the middle on the area behind Townsend-Brown, Moreton coming in behind her connects sees her shot pulled wide. Kelly Hancock defending well for Colney Heath as Harlow mount a late attack, Binding looking to put the ball on for Bruno.

Half-time Harlow Town Ladies 1-1 Colney Heath Ladies

  All square at the break, 1-1 between the two sides. Chances to go further ahead for both Mullett with two vital saves for Colney Heath, whilst their attackers movements has caused the Harlow defence issues at the other end. Harlow have attacked well occasionally let down by decision making in the final 3rd. An open and lively game physical without being malicious an entertaining watch.

A blow for Colney Heath at the start of the 2nd half, forced into a change Hickey having taken a knock to the head feeling unwell rightly comes off, Kelly Glynn entering the game. Colney Heath to get the 2nd half underway. The home side winning an early free-kick inside their opponents half the ball played forwards won by Freestone. A quiet start to the 2nd half Harlow pushing players onto the Colney Heath defence to apply more pressure to the ball, Mullett dealing well with an awkward situation inside her six yard box as the ball is put into her, Binding and Bruno both closing the keeper down put behind a goalkick given.

   King gets hold of the ball in the middle for Harlow bringing it forwards with purpose aims to lay it out to Handscombe attacking left, she can’t quite take the ball on into her stride. 

  GOAL! Moments later though Handscombe does get hold of the ball inside the Colney heath box to put the hosts into an early lead in the 2nd half. The ball played forwards into Handscombe left she comes inside just outside the box Bruno in close support the pass into the striker as Handscombe runs on past her the ball given back to her closing in on goal she gets her head over the ball and strikes an arrowing shot home before Mullett can move 2-1. 

Harlow Town Ladies, Tayla Handscombe

  A strong start to the 2nd half from Harlow, Binding sweeping the ball out to Bassett on the right she is tackled by Fhalora. Harlow come on again Smith with ball 30 yards out playing it into Bruno top of the area one touch and turns to shoot, Mullett making the save low to her right to push the ball away for a corner. Right side, Harlow bring on Liv Steele before it is taken.

 GOAL! Harlow double their lead from the corner kick the ball played into the area Colney heath struggle to get it away as it drops into the danger area deflected back out to Woodacre outside the area the central defender brings the ball away the the right the space opens up in front of her a sight on goal she takes the opportunity from 20 yards out hits the ball well it flies in across the goal to nestle in the bottom corner 3-1.

   11 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Harlow have gotten themselves into a strong position, Colney Heath make a 2nd change Gardiner coming off, Adrienne Milton coming on going into an attacking role. Smith on a free-kick on halfway for Harlow the ball up towards the edge of the area cleared by Lucy Hancock. Binding nipping in to win the ball carries on her run into the box strikes the ball the swerving shot angling back safely into the gloves of Mullett. 

Poppy Binding with Sophie Joseph

  Another injury blow in defence for Colney Heath, Fhalora down has to come off after lengthy treatment Sarah Brennan coming on for the visitors. Struggling to get anything going in attack Colney Heath have Townsend-Brown running with the ball on the left outpacing her marker cuts the ball back across the top of the area, spinning Milton back to goal tries to help it on through to Oliver on the right just can’t quite find her. Maisie Ryan comes on for Harlow replacing Binding. 

  Harlow are causing all sorts of problems for Colney Heath now is very nearly an own goal from a long free-kick launched into the area the ball headed narrowly wide of the post. King is coming forwards with the ball more in the 2nd half taking it away to the left cuts back to shoot from 20 yards out putting the strike straight at Mullett. Lucy Hancock sliding in to defend for Colney Heath as Harlow attack on the left. Glynn defends at the near post cutting out a cross from the byline as Handscombe gets away on the right for Harlow. 

Lily Bruno getting her head on the ball for Harlow Town Ladies

  Glynn in again on the edge of the box to charge down Steele as she lines up a shot from the edge of the area. Colney Heath have there backs to the wall can’t get the ball forwards as Harlow press the ball high up the pitch forwards passes not coming off like they were in the 1st half. Kelly Hancock gets back into the box to slide in a tackle Steele as she tries to work space for a shot left of goal as King sends her through. Tegan Burling comes on for Harlow replacing Bassett.

  GOAL! Harlow extend there lead the ball put down the line on the right from a set-piece after a pause in play knocked inside by Handscombe to Steele 20 yards out on for King who takes it further infield across the D looking for a shot hits a low left foot strike in towards goal runs away in celebration as it lands in the back of the net a well worked goal 4-1. King is substituted then with Dell coming back on. 

  Harlow have their tails up want more goals are dominant coming forwards once again Bassett with the ball right side lines up a shot from distance drags the shot wide across goal. Joseph comes forwards for Colney Heath moving wide right the ball rolled into her by Oliver she runs on down the wing before squaring a low cross into the area Townsend-Brown closing in on the penalty spot, attacking the cross doesn’t get a convincing touch as Orwell closing her down makes things difficult. Counter attacking the ball played on for Steele she has Bruno ahead of her ready to race onto the ball put into the box, Steele obliges, Mullett reads it well racing out to slide in and stop the ball for Bruno can let fly. 

  Dell is knocked out as she comes together in an accidental collision with Joseph as the Conley Heath midfielder tries to bring the ball out from the back catching Del on the side of her noggin, goes down like a sack of spuds. Play stops everyone knows Dell is out if it flat on the ground, but thankfully she comes round quickly but holding her head she’s taken straight off Binding coming back on.

  Chances rare for Colney Heath 2nd half, can’t get Oliver into the game like they did 1st half Townsend-Brown on the left powers forwards is tackled by Miller, the ball deflected to Milton she looks to tee up Freestone but her strike from distance is off the mark. Into injury time Harlow attack wide left Burling furthest forwards, Mullett comes a long way to slide into win the ball does but Burling’s momentum sees the pair collide. The injury brings an end to the game the final whistle blowing Harlow winning 4-1.  Burling back on her feet after receiving treatment. 

Full time Harlow Town Ladies 4-1 Colney Heath Ladies

   A strong 2nd half performance from Harlow Town Ladies to secure the win scoring 3 goals after seeing chances going begging in the 1st half. Pressing the ball higher up the pitch, Colney Heath struggled to get going in the 2nd period after a good 1st half performance, forced into changes after injury during the game. Harlow were dominant in the 2nd half deserving the win. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Onto this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award, it’s a tough one this Sunday a close call with 3 players in the running all from Harlow in the finish, Poppy Binding and Chloe Bassett doing well in midfield the captain edges them out however with a solid performance strong on the ball willing to get forwards and set up attacks, rounding it all of with a goal, Kaydee King is today’s Player of the Match.

 Both sides are in action in the FA Women’s Cup next Sunday tough trips for both against FAWNL South East Division One opposition, Cambridge United WFC await Harlow whilst Colney Heath travel to Billericay Town Ladies in 2nd Round Qualifying. 

  An enjoyable afternoon at The Harlow Arena it’s good to see both sides again after missing out last season. Thanks as always for helping me out with the team details and Harlow Town for the hospitality.