Category Archives: Match Reports

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

Sunday 26th May

ERWFL Division One

One more game to end the season a long campaign finally drawing to a close 99% of teams already finished for the season today’s game the only competitive fixture left in the East of England as King’s Lynn Town Ladies and Histon Ladies meet for their final game of the season in ERWFL Division One.

  Far from a meaningless game for both as they can both gain a position with a positive result, Histon Ladies up into 7th spot and King’s Lynn Town Ladies can achieve a 3 placed finish with a win.

  ERWFL Division One highly competitive this season, newcomers St Ives Town Ladies winning the title in their debut season nearly a faultless campaign too, King’s Lynn Town Ladies the side ending their long standing unbeaten league record standing since 2017 with a 4-3 win last weekend to set up a shot at clinching 3rd in the league. A strong 2nd half to the season with 6 straight league wins before today seeing the Norfolk side climb up from 8th in the Division One.

  Histon Ladies likewise with a strong 2nd half to the season just 2 losses in their last 11 games, several battling draws in that run too level on points with 7th place Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies travelling to King’s Lynn in their final fixture of the season. Postponements and a cup run for both sides seeing their season’s go the distance.

  Both sides reaching a cup final in that period too. King’s Lynn Town Ladies reaching the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final played at Carrow Road for the first time. Despite losing to Wymondham Town Ladies a day to remember for the club. Histon Ladies reaching the ERWFL Plate Final where they were narrowly beaten by Newmarket Town Ladies.

  Riverlane Playing Fields the venue for today’s match, boasting several pitches the grass cover still good for the time of year a lack of rain… well before this afternoon making the ground hard underfoot. Clouds overheard the wind picking up rain forecast for Sunday afternoon it had arrived early raining when I arrived at the ground the wind picking up too would cause issues during the game, not the weather you want to see on the final day of the season.

 King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Ellie Prentice, Lisa Wilson, Chloe Burch, Albany Hodgson, Georgia Freeman, Becky Russell (C), Annie Rooks, Oksana Imanalijeva, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Tiffany Forshaw & Olivia Baker. Subs – Chloe Witt, Natalie Wright & Emma Corbyn.

Histon Ladies starting XI – Jennifer Jamieson, Lucy Julian, Kaya Haq, Georgina Huse, Tessa Shaw, Alison Wright, Georgia Day, Katie Seagrave, Annalisa Player, Rebekah Finch & Sophie Lanham (C). Subs – Amanda Binge & Bethany Fisher.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A bank holiday weekend and the start of half-term both sides missing a few players, Histon in particular travelling with a small squad a few reserves amongst them. King’s Lynn to get the 1st half underway kicking-off wearing blue shirts with yellow shorts and socks. Histon opposite wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks. The visitors press the ball for the off forcing King’s Lynn to play it all the way back to goalkeeper Ellie Prentice to clear up field. That presents an opportunity for Oksana Imanalijeva to break down the left side for King’s Lynn squares a across in along the top of the Histon box, defender Tessa Shaw getting her head on it sending it on, Rebekah Finch too ball put into the path of Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse coming on from the right for King’s Lynn she shoots from 20 yards out her strike over the bar.

Lucy Julian at right back for Histon does well defensively as King’s Lynn striker Tiffany Forshaw receiving the ball into her feet 25 yards out looks to turn get in behind. King’s Lynn press the attack a corner won on the left the delivery inswinging central punched on by Histon goalkeeper Jennifer Jamieson her defence clearing at the far post. The rain falling at kick-off beginning to fade a swirling wind taking it’s place dark clouds all around. Finch getting on the ball inside the King’s Lynn half looks to drive forwards through the middle eventually stopped by Georgia Freeman.

King’s Lynn’s Annie Rooks looking to get the ball, challenged by Histon’s Rebekah Finch and Alison Wright

Alison Wright strong as she gets hold of the ball on the right holding off King’s Lynn’s Annie Rooks wins a throw high up the pitch, Julian up puts in a cross towards the near post a runner for Histon looking to get there, Freeman wins the race for King’s Lynn. Histon enjoying a spell of possession inside the King’s Lynn half attack right Julian up with play getting a cross in along the top of the area, met by Finch central first time her attempt racing wide of the near post.

Imanalijeva with plenty of pace bursts forwards left bringing the ball over halfway for King’s Lynn an early diagonal ball into the top of the area looking for Olivia Baker central, Jamieson out well off her line to close Baker down doing enough to put her off getting the ball away to the left. Kaya Haq at left back for Histon doing well as Hopkins-Duckhouse sends the ball on for Chloe Burch heading past her on the overlap.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Oksana Imanalijeva

Hopkins-Duckhouse attacking right the ball crossed inside to Forshaw outside the box she looks to tee up captain Becky Russell whose shot from 25 yards out is over the crossbar. Histon doing well in the early part of the game to close the ball down high up the pitch and disrupt King’s Lynn as they look to play it out through the middle. Julian with a vital interception a Forshaw attempts to play Imanalijeva in behind on the left. Katie Seagrave taking the ball on down the right wing fouled on the corner of the box a free kick awarded. Haq forwards to take it. Goes for goal her attempt skimming the top of the King’s Lynn crossbar on it’s way over.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies defender, Albany Hodgson

Histon launch a rapid counter attack the ball won back as King’s Lynn attack left numbers committed forwards the ball fired up central into the run of captain Sophie Lanham strikes it on the run early outside the area before she can be challenged the ball racing wide of the right post a touch off a King’s Lynn player spotted somewhere a corner given. Haq to take it a great ball in inswinging evades everyone at the near post, Hodgson beyond not expecting it low clearing the ball off her goal line for another corner, this one long Wright getting her head to it a good distance out the ball dropping wide of goal.

Katie Seagrave attacking for Histon Ladies

Lisa Wilson bringing the ball on for King’s Lynn plays it forwards for Imanalijeva her pace taking her in behind to cross the ball cut out by Seagrave, back with Imanalijeva she wins a throw deep in the corner. Histon regain possession the ball at the back a mis-kick form Julian presents the ball to Imanalijeva to steal in behind on the left and fire a cross into the six yard box, Haq in to close Baker down as she looks to attack it the ball running onto Hopkins-Duckhouse free beyond she shoots wide a nick off a Histon body spotted a corner awarded. Georgia Day central for Histon sliding in to win the ball as Russell attempts to play Baker in through the middle.

GOAL! The game moving past the opening half hour and the dead lock is broken, King’s Lynn attacking Forshaw making a run to the left receiving the ball taking it into the box closing in on goal fires a shot in near post, Jamieson instinctively putting a leg out to block can’t keep it out 1-0.

King’s Lynn push forwards Hopkins-Duckhouse on for Baker central lays the ball off for Forshaw left as she turns in behind, Forshaw putting the cross back in along the top of the area cleared by Shaw. The rain falling heavily once more the umbrella up the notes in even more disarray than usual. King’s Lynn on the left Russell forwards to support Imanalijeva the cross in from deep over Hopkins-Duckhouse central falls to Baker beyond she shoots wide back across goal.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Olivia Baker

Wright with a good ball on up the right for Seagrave to take on, Wilson sliding in to tackle the ball out for the throw. Wright tries her luck from a long way out just in front of the centre circle the Histon midfielders shot bouncing wide of goal.

GOAL! Late in the first half and a blow for Histon as they concede a 2nd goal. Comes from a free-kick, King’s Lynn’s Rooks fouled in front of the centre circle players forwards to line up along the top of the area as Russell stands over the ball, flighted in the ball attacked the header sending it on past the keeper into the back of the net, Chloe Burch the player running away in celebration scoring, her first of the season 2-0.

Chloe Burch with the goal to put King’s Lynn into a 2-0 lead

King’s Lynn with a strong end to the first half Russell getting ahead of Forshaw who heads the ball on throw the middle, the shot sent over from 20 yards out. Forshaw then peeling away to the left into space as Imanalijeva plays the ball into her feet strikes on the angle the shot running wide across the face of goal. Prentice has to get there rushing out of her area to get to the ball as Seagraves takes off after it played forwards on the right a throw bringing a corner. Freeman up to head it away to the left, fired back in central Hodgson this time heading the ball over her crossbar for another corner.

Half-time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies

  King’s Lynn head into the changing room at half-time leading the game 2-0 the goals coming late in the half, have created the better opportunities without being clinical. Histon though staying out will feel unlucky to be 2 goals down after a battling performance first half working hard to close King’s Lynn down, disrupting their build up play early and strong in the middle the defence making some important tackles. 

Histon’s Rebekah Finch with King’s Lynn’s Annie Rooks

  The rain has stopped for a while dark clouds remain, as the players gather for the 2nd half the wind still strong. A double change for King’s Lynn with both full backs off at the start of the 2nd half Wilson and Burch off, Chloe Witt on at right back, Natalie Wright on too taking up a midfield role in front of the defence with Rooks moving to left back. Histon to get the 2nd half underway. King’s Lynn press the ball won central on for Hopkins-Duckhouse she sends a diagonal ball long out to the left for Imanalijeva bringing it down well goes for the cross/shot the ball put over.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse

  King’s Lynn begin the 2nd half strong pushing forwards a corner won on the right Russell to play the ball in defended by Lanham. Histon look to get on through the middle Wright breaking up the attack on to Russell taking the ball on, Georgina Huse in to tackle for Histon. Wright winning the ball once more on for Hopkins-Duckhouse is brought down central caught in the back is in alot of pain needing treatment. Not at all comfortable as she comes off a change thought about before she is allowed back on to see if it can be run off. 

  GOAL! King’s Lynn’s positive start to the 2nd half brings them an early 3rd goal. Wright making in impact having come on getting hold of the ball in the middle playing it forwards to Baker she slides it on through to Forshaw peeling away in behind into the area left of goal she pulls her foot back to strike firing the ball across goal into the bottom corner 3-0. 

Tiffany Forshaw puts King’s Lynn into a 3 goal lead

   A change made Burch is back on for Hopkins-Duckhouse who can’t continue the substitution seeing Witt move further forwards on the right. Russell getting forwards more for King’s Lynn shoots from 20 yards out, caught by Jamieson as it dips in front of her. 

 GOAL! Forshaw like Russell getting forwards more at the start of the 2nd half finding space in behind having scored her 2nd of the game goes on to complete her hat-trick to put King’s Lynn into a 4 goal lead. The ball played on to her left side from a throw in up the line, she takes the ball in close to the area firing in a shot the ball across the face of goal striking the far post and deflected back in over the line 4-0. 33 goals for the season now for Forshaw. 

  A further blow to Histon who have been sluggish at the start of the 2nd half. The ball gathered by Seagrave she drives on coming inside, looking to play in Lanham, Hodgson in to make the challenge. The wind strong blowing the clouds over the ball standing up in the air. Forshaw almost has a 4th goal as she shes a shot central 20 yards out cannon back off the post as she is played in by Russell on the right.

Becky Russell looking to get past Histon defender Kaya Haq

  GOAL! Histon get forwards a promising attack bringing them a goal attacking with pace on the right Seagrave putting the ball in towards the top of the area Wright bursting forwards to receive, Russell back with her lunging in to tackle the ball loose carries on central Lanham there to meet it strikes the ball past the keeper into the back of the net 4-1. 

Sophie Lanham pulling a goal back for Histon Ladies

  King’s Lynn make a change bringing off Baker in attack on in her place Emma Corbyn. Finch central fouled by Hodgson a free-kick for Histon Julian to play the ball into the area sent out to the left post area a good delivery no one on the end of it however as it runs out for a goal-kick. Witt playing the ball into the area right for Corbyn looking to control with her head bring it down to shoot Huse coming to close her down doing well in defence for Histon. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Chloe Witt

  Amanda Binge comes on for Histon replacing Player on the left wing. Prentice saving well pushing the ball wide for a corner as Wright stealing in on the ball left side fires a shot in. The corner cleared, Histon regain possession in the middle looking better now Day combining with Finch, Wright played into the area right of goal sending a shot wide across goal. Forshaw looks to dink a ball over the top of the Histon defence for Corbyn, Jamieson can lay claim to it first. Jamieson saving with her legs moments later as Forshaw fires a shot in as Burch crosses from the right. 

Histon Ladies, Alison Wright

  Imanalijeva out wide left bringing the ball on for King’s Lynn fires a cross in central, Corbyn and Witt making the same run evades both, Huse in to launch clear. Jamieson out to the edge of her area claiming the ball well as she slides in at the feet of Witt as she gives chase to an over the top ball. Binge needs to come off for Histon having picked up a knocking going in for a 50/50 ball with Burch earlier, Bethany Fisher joining the game. 

Jennifer Jamieson out to claim the ball for Histon

  The game has an open feel to it Histon better now pressing on trying to find a further goal risking more space to run into at the back, Forshaw and Russell both looking to exploit it for King’s Lynn Russell with a fierce shot from 25 yards out held by Jamieson at the 2nd attempt as it stings her gloves. The Histon keeper then holding onto a long range pop form Corbyn. 

  Histon with a free-kick won 30 yards out central Lanham over the ball, strikes it well going for goal on target, Prentice moving across her goal face saving well pushing the ball wide for the corner. The corner defended the header putting it back wide to the taker crossed back into the six yard box gathered by Prentice. Black clouds ominous now a heavy shower arrives as the game enters the closing moments into stoppage time.  Play turned around quickly by Histon Lanham up to win the header on for Wright on behind central to run at goal, Prentice out at the top of her area puts her in a good starting position to close the angle as Wright opts to shoot early send the ball past her the keeper flashing put a glove making the save deflecting the ball wide of her goal. 

 Full time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 4-1 Histon Ladies

  A heavy shower at the end of the game the final whistle blows and King’s Lynn have the win that sees them secure a 3rd placed finish in the league as they make it 7 straight wins to end the season. Winning 4-1 score twice in the 1st half having finally breached a stubborn Histon defence late on, capitalised on that with a strong start to the 2nd half to race into a 4 goal lead. Histon doing well 1st half unlucky to find themselves 2 goals down paid for a sluggish start to the 2nd half before getting a goal back and getting back into the match. The season over now for both plenty of positives to take into the new season.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

For the final time this season to choose the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Although Oksana Imanalijeva and Becky Russell performed well along with Natalie Wright making an instant impact introduced 2nd half their was really only on contender today that being Tiffany Forshaw the King’s Lynn striker showing great running and movement through out setting up chances for other is more often than not clinical in front of goal when she is the one receiving the ball, scoring a hat-trick.

  That’s it then another season almost to a close the last game watched the last report written. Has been another enjoyable campaign albeit without a doubt the most challenging I’ve had to date. Not covered as many games as I would have liked, family issues, illnesses and my own health all playing a part. The football keeps me going however love it, a pleasure to do what I do. My thanks as ever to the clubs for the help with the teams today. We all need a rest. Enjoy.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 19th May

Essex Women’s League Cup Final

Leigh Ramblers Ladies v Harlow Town Ladies Development

 One more final before the season draws to a close a trip down to Essex this Sunday to watch Leigh Ramblers Ladies play Harlow Town Ladies Development for the League Cup.

   Finishing one two in the Essex Women’s Premier Division the pair going head to head in their final game of the season. A strong campaign for both, Leigh Ramblers Ladies winning the Premier Division title in just their 2nd season playing women’s football following promotion from Division One as runners-up the previous year. A very young squad too, with just 3 players over 18, thier Reserves side joining Division One this season.

 Starting life in the higher division with a defeat Leigh Ramblers Ladies never looked back after that going on a run of 10 straight league wins before suffering just their 2nd defeat, top of the table for most of the way along with Frontiers Ladies emerged as clear leaders winning their last 5 league games to clinch the Premier Division title. Have applied for promotion to the ERWFL no doubt encouraged by beating higher league Bowers & Pitsea Ladies in the opening round of the FA Women’s Cup. Kate Newton leading their goal scoring charts with 31 goals to her name this season. A hard run to the League Cup Final too taking top half Premier Division sides all the way.

  The last time I was able to attend the Essex Women’s League Cup Final was when Harlow Town Ladies 1st team were a fast emerging force within the women’s game, beating Runwell Sports (Hospital) Ladies as they were then at the end of the 2015/16 Harlow have risen through the pyramid rapidly, a solid top half finish in their debut season in ERWFL Premier Division the first season they have not tasted promotion. Are now well backed up by a fast improving Development side although they are as often referred to as the Reserves, I’ll stick with Development.

  Like Leigh Ramblers Ladies, another very young side, a solid start to the season in the Premier Division the side to beat Leigh Ramblers on the opening day were long unbeaten themselves amongst the top three. Table adjustments along the way saw them lose ground a strong run however towards the tail end of the season sees them coming into this Sunday’s final in strong form winning 6 in a row and scoring 42 goals along the way. Hannah Smith top scorer with 44 goals to her name, Ellie Nicholls wading in with 24 goals herself, most of the squad contributing with goals over the season with 21 of the 30 used on the scoresheet. 

Road to the Final

  A tough draw for both sides in the 1st Round of the League Cup. Leigh Ramblers were drawn at home to play fellow Premier Division side Chelmsford City Ladies a 2nd half goal from Chloe Gilligan enough to see Leigh Ramblers into the 2nd Round. Harlow away to Billericay Town Ladies Reserves who were amongst the title challengers and eventual winners of Division One. A 2-0 lead for Harlow at half-time went on to win 4-2.

   Leigh Ramblers taking on their title rivals Frontiers Ladies at home in the 2nd Round of the competition. Goals from Aimee Skinner, Kate Newton and Amy Jacobs securing a 3-0 victory. Harlow at home to fellow Premier Division side, Silver End United Ladies, Hannah Smith amongst the goals netting a brace in a 4-0 win.

   A trip to play Collier Row Tigers for Leigh Ramblers in the quarter finals. The 2016/17 League Cup finalists capable of beating anyone on their day and it was a high scoring encounter between the sides drawing 3-3 after 90 minutes the game heading into extra-time Collier Row Tigers scoring a 4th goal but so to Leigh Ramblers and another to reach the last 4 with a 5-4 extra-time win. Harlow away to Leigh Ramblers Reserves in their quarter final, Hannah Smith and Ellie Nicholls both scoring 4 each the the game with Jazi Davidson also scoring in a 9-1 win to put Harlow into the semi-finals.

   Leigh Ramblers having home advantage in the semi-finals taking on another top half Premier Division side, Southend United Ladies, a first half brace for Kate Newton seeing them reach their first League Cup Final. Harlow away to Division One side Runwell Sports Ladies in the last 4.Hannah Smith again top scoring in the game netting 4 goals once again as Harlow’s young guns won 8-1 to reach their first ever League Cup Final too, that win at the beginning of their winning run.

The Runwell Sports & Social Club once again hosting the Essex Women’s League Cup final. A new road layout leading up to it easy to find. The large clubhouse serving hot and cold drinks along with food leading onto the playing pitches themselves a large playing field beyond sporting a number of full sized pitches amongst other sporting activities. Goo grass cover on the pitch, like most pitches currently very dry uneven could all do with some moisture the ground hard. The weather muggy, warm, clouds around overcast still the odd spot of rain but nothing more.

 Leigh Ramblers Ladies starting XI – Emily Mackler (C), Megan Thomas, Jordan Castle, Rebecca Dalgarno, Megan Downes, |Cassie Mashford, Sasha Vail, Maddie Archer, Paige White, Amber Denton & Amy Jacobs. Subs – Emily Diwell, Molly Giles, Lucy Dalgarno, Abbi Brown & Aimee Skinner.

Harlow Town Ladies Development starting XI – Josie Burke, Jazi Davidson, Kaydee King, Evie Anderson, Nicole Storey, Savannah Japal, Maisy Wyer (C), Ronni Harrison, Poppy Binding, Ellie Nicholls & Hannah Smith. Subs – Harriet Douglas, Tamsin Turner, Maisie Ryan, Amelia Hall & Ciara Purdue.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Leigh Ramblers without their top scorer for the game Kate Newton unavailable, a couple of others carrying knocks. Harlow the opposite getting back to full strength players returning from injury sustained earlier in the season. A minutes silence held before kick-off as a mark of respect for Daniel Webster one of the league referees who passed away suddenly on 2nd April. Harlow to kick-off the 1st half wearing red shirts with white sleeves and vertical pencil stripes, red and white shorts with red socks. Leigh Ramblers lined up opposite wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. The ball pressed early Leigh Ramblers closing Harlow down in midfield.

Rebecca Dalgarno and Savannah Japal going in for the tackle

  Harlow’s Poppy Binding moves out to the right combines with Savannah Japal on the wing getting forwards the pass inside Binding attempting to get into the box, Leigh Ramblers in to defend the clearance long up top, Amy Jacobs after it, Evie Anderson doing the defending for Harlow. Sasha Vail getting hold of the ball for Leigh Ramblers on the right wing drives on space in front of her, Kaydee King coming across from the centre of defence to make the challenge win the ball. Jacobs chasing another long ball put forwards from the back the Leigh Ramblers attack moving right to the byline flashing a cross back across goal just evading the runners from midfield.

Hannah Smith looking for a midfield runner for Harlow out wide

   Harlow come forwards in numbers Binding moving right combining with Japal forced back but possession kept the ball with captain Maisy Wyer central options ahead of her plays the diagonal ball looking to spread play, Maddie Archer intercepts for Leigh Ramblers. A bright start from Harlow getting players forwards with attacking intent. Hannah Smith pushing on left side sliding a ball through for Binding in attack, chasing it left side, Leigh Ramblers Jordan Castle going with her defending the ball out for a  throw. From the throw in Smith looks to turn top of the area and shoot, Rebecca Dalgarno putting in the blocking tackle for Leigh Ramblers. 

Amber Denton bringing the ball on for Leigh Ramblers

  Binding moving all over the place in the final 3rd in the early stages for Harlow drags a shot wide from 20 yards out as she turns her marker 20 yards out on the right. Leigh Ramblers pushed back by Harlow are struggling to get the ball into their attackers, Jacobs leading the line chasing after long ball as the defence clears, plenty of pace from Jacobs, Harlow goalkeeper Josie Burke able to get there first. Nicole Storey bringing the ball on from the back for Harlow pushed onto Ellie Nicholls ahead of her sends it on for Binding up top, Dalgarno cutting the pass out at the back for Leigh Ramblers.

Harlow Town Ladies Nicole Storey

  Binding put through to attack the goal inside the six yard box right, goalkeeper and captain Emily Mackler making the blocking save at close range, the ball deflected wide across goal, Binding after it retrieves and turning puts the ball back central. Leigh Ramblers clear. Coming left the ball seen into her feet by Jacobs turns in behind left side driving on into the box, tackled by King. Paige White on the ball for Leigh Ramblers takes it forwards 20 yards out sending it on for Jacobs left inside the area moving across to the right, Storey staying with her putting in the blocking tackle as Jacobs goes to shoot. Play stopped as Jacobs is down injured a knee bandaged before the game comes off for further treatment before being allowed back on.

Leigh Ramblers, Maddie Archer

   Nicholls fouled by Megan Thomas outside the box as Binding looks to play the ball into her run central. Nicholls over the set-piece goes for it for a moment looked like it was in certainly the Harlow fans surrounding me thought so but no the ball over the bar. Leigh Ramblers the busier in defence, Castle and Dalgarno with several blocks as they are pushed back into their box. Wyer lining up a shot from distance lacking the power to trouble Mackler. Harlow pressuring the ball well lively showing plenty of energy a throw won left Binding inside to Smith top of the area, drags her shot wide of the near post.

Ellie Nicholls sees her shot fly narrowly over

   Half an hour played Leigh Ramblers all back inside their half, Jacobs breaks after a ball hooked clear by Connie Mashford. Takes the ball all the way into the area, King doing well to get back on her Jacobs hesitating before shooting giving the defender the chance she needs to put the tackle in regain possession. Binding charging down Castle at the back top of the area steals into the box after the deflected ball left of goal looks to come inside her intent to smash it low round the keeper, Mackler doing well however lunging forwards to snatch the ball from the strikers feet. 

  GOAL! Leigh Ramblers counter and somewhat against the run of play find themselves taking the lead, the ball headed on through the middle up to Jacobs in attack shoulder to shoulder with King as they look to control the bouncing ball, Jacobs winning the header the ball struck as it falls sent low past the keeper into the back of the net 1-0.

Amy Jacobs with the opening goal for Leigh Ramblers

  Jacobs is substituted straight after putting Leigh Ramblers into the lead, Emily Diwell coming on. Vail taking the ball on down the right wing covering ground but no cross in as Harlow close her down. A 2nd change for Leigh Ramblers with Downes coming off Abbi Brown coming on. 

 GOAL! Harlow are soon back on level terms just 2 minutes after falling a goal behind get up the other end and equalise Binding on the scoresheet racing onto the ball inside the box central shoots wide of the advancing keeper low to her left shes her effort strike the base of the post the rebound back across goal favouring the attack she meets it in the air to volley home 1-1.

  Leigh Ramblers press forwards from the restart White out to Vail on the right up the line her cross fired into the area met by Diwell her headed ball straight at Burke. Binding shown a yellow card for throwing the ball away after a decision goes against her team. Harlow com on numbers forwards the play with Smith on the left into the area coming across the top of the box goes to shot, Castle putting in the blocking tackle a painful one goes down immediately play stopped much to Harlow’s chagrin, but a serious injury for Castle cannot continue helped off the pitch Lucy Dalgarno comes on in her place. 

  GOAL! Penalty! Leigh Ramblers are awarded the spot kick after Diwell is upended inside the area looking to get in behind as she comes towards Lucy Dalgarno’s cross from the right. Molly Giles on for Leigh Ramblers to take the spot kick a composed finish sending the ball to the keepers left wide into the back of the net to put them back into the lead 2-1.

Molly Giles restoring Leigh Ramblers lead from the spot

   Leigh Ramblers press the attack lead in the first half a throw won on the right the ball into the area for Diwell no shooting option brings it back for White who screws her shot from 25 yards out away from goal. Moments left a free-kick on halfway for Harlow Nicholls to play the ball forwards into the box, Binding can’t bring it down to shoot as she drifts into a gap, Leigh Ramblers clear as the whistle blows.

Half-time Leigh Ramblers Ladies 2-1 Harlow Town Ladies Development

 A narrow lead for Leigh Ramblers at half-time and they would be the first to agree somewhat against the run of play. A lively start from Harlow pushing their opponents back, creating opportunities Leigh Ramblers battling in defence however keeping them out Jacobs up the other end a threat whenever they did get the ball forwards into her taking the opening goal well. Harlow coming straight back into it to level the scores through Binding only to concede a late penalty to see Leigh Ramblers back in front. Alot of energy expanded first half Leigh Ramblers losing Castle to injury a blow.

    Leigh Ramblers to get the 2nd half underway, Harrison in to win it straight away for Harlow playing the ball on for Binding, Thomas intercepting at the back for Leigh Ramblers. The 2nd half starting at the same pace as the first half. Denton pushing on with the ball at her feet for Leigh Ramblers right side getting a throw in, the ball put inside defended by Davidson. 

Maisy Wyer with Molly Giles

  A RED CARD! Harlow’s goalkeeper Burke shown a straight red card for handling the ball outside the area! Leigh Rambler’s Denton sending the ball on through the middle Burke coming  to the top of her area looking to claim, drifts over the line, is extremely unfortunate however, have a picture that clearly shows her outside the box but also shows her slipping as she goes to back peddle her studs sticking in the turf. The decision incensing Harlow but the decision is clear ball handled outside the box Harlow down to 10.

  A free-kick for Leigh Ramblers outside the box a substitute goalkeeper needing to be sorted for Harlow, initially Storey dons the shirt but a change see her come off with Harriet Douglas coming on to go between the sticks. Rebecca Dalgarno over the free-kick her shot taking a deflection off the wall behind for a corner, in from the left across the six yard box over the keeper to the far post no one there however Harlow clear. 

Leigh Ramblers Ladies, Megan Downes

  Harlow attack Smith on the left driving forwards cutting inside to cross central Binding fouled by Rebecca Dalgarno a free-kick to Harlow just outside the box. King forwards to take it curls a shot low and wide. Harlow fired up by the loss of their goalkeeper, pro-active spurred on by King continue their attacking play. Binding coming back into the middle to regain possession out to Smith left up the line wins a corner against Denton. 

Harlow Town Ladies, Hannah Smith

  Leigh Ramblers Diwell running onto a central pass pushing forwards, King staying with her sliding in to take the ball. Harlow quick t turn play around Smith on the left cutting inside lifting a shot over the bar. Archer doing well in defence tackling Smith on the left as she receives the ball from Wyer. Anderson across to block as Diwell and Denton combine in attack for Leigh Ramblers on the right. Thomas coming off for Leigh Ramblers, Downes rejoining the action. Diwell off too with Jacobs back on. 

  King determined at the back for Harlow winning the header the ball on for Smith left support from Nicholls central closed down by Rebecca Dalgarno. Binding put through into the box left of goal rides the challenge staying on her feet as Mackler slides in to try and save at her feet the ball beyond her Binding unable to get a shot away. Brown getting forwards on the right for Leigh Ramblers attempts to play the pass inside for Jacobs the flag up against her. 

Jazi Davidson bringing the ball on for Harlow Town Ladies

  A corner for Leigh Ramblers on the right changes for Harlow before it with Maisie Ryan and Amelia Hall coming on. The delivery flashing in across the face of goal dropping wide at the far post. Harlow push forwards in attack Nicholls away left side shooting from outside the box, Mackler with the save down to push the ball wide. Japal getting into the area right for Harlow sees a shot blocked the ball spinning behind for a corner. Appeals for handball from the resulting corner but nothing given.

   GOAL! 20 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Harlow come back to level the score. Harlow awarded a free-kick wide on the right after Japal is fouled. Nicholls on the ball sends it on into the area, King making the near side run getting to the ball first to turn it on across goal, Mackler diving gets her fingertips on the ball but not enough to keep it out at her far post 2-2.

  Harlow looking the stronger side now despite being down to 10, Leigh Ramblers tiring, Harlow buoyed by the equaliser and the injustice they feel from the sending off. Giles getting the ball forwards for Leigh Ramblers into the run off Denton right her cross into the box claimed by Douglas. Mackler with another fantastic save diving to her right to deny Nicholls as she shoots from outside the area right set up by Japal. Nicholls showing good movement in the final third playing in Smith left her shot parried up by the keeper collected on the bounce. The game entering the final minutes of normal play. Changes for Leigh, Mashford and Diwell back on. Harlow pressing forwards Binding moving left hits a shot on the turn from the top of the area her effort always rising. 

  GOAL! Harlow launch an attack in the 88th minute Binding bringing the ball on from halfway allowed to travel taking it all the way to the edge of the area left of goal letting fly with a shot a fantastic finish! The ball in over the keeper dropping under the bar to nestle in the bottom corner. Harlow down to 10 have the lead 2-3.

Poppy Binding putting Harlow into the lead late in the game

   Into stoppage time Harlow with the lead Leigh Ramblers with little time to find a reply, Rebecca Dalgarno now in an advanced position. Risk being hit on the counter Harlow with their tails up not interested in defending what they have Binding up on the right cutting a ball back for Nicholls to line up a shot from 25 yards out her strike over. 

  GOAL! The game surely won for Harlow as they score a further goal at the death Nicholls bringing the ball on central forwards for Smith breaking into the box she shoots early putting the ball past the advancing keeper to make it 2-4.

 Leigh Ramblers have a late corner on the left players forwards into the area the delivery in low met by Rebecca Dalgarno at the far post close range she turns to strike, Davidson blocking on the line for Harlow the rebound popping straight to Brown can’t keep it down from close in.

Jazi Davidson with block to deny Dalgarno

  Nicholls bringing the ball on for Harlow in the closing minutes up towards the top of the area strikes the ball the attempt rising over the bar. The final whistle blows and Harlow complete a sensational win having been a goal and player down with 25 minutes left to play, players rushing onto the pitch to celebrate.

Harlow celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Leigh Ramblers Ladies 2-4 Harlow Town Ladies Development

  An entertaining cup final played at a fast temp Harlow on the front foot from the off, Leigh Ramblers not settling early on. Chances created Harlow didn’t capitalise Leigh Ramblers ahead against the run of play soon pegged back a late penalty first half giving them the advantage at the break. The game turned on it’s head early 2nd half with the sending off of Josie Burke that decision galvanising Harlow however as they pushed on getting back on level terms and despite the player disadvantage looked the more likely to find the winning goal as they pressed the attack late on.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

Time to pick this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Was a competitive game with lots of energy expanded. Some notable performances, Kaydee King strong at the back for Harlow so too Rebecca Dalgarno for Leigh Ramblers. Ellie Nicholls impressive in attack bringing the ball on showing good movement throughout. The award though goes to Harlow’s Poppy Binding a threat all game getting forwards making intelligent runs to get into scoring positions and back when needed to regain the ball covered alot of goal and scoring two fantastic goals.

Harlow Town Ladies Development 2018/19 Essex Women’s League Cup winners

 Congratulations to Harlow Town Ladies on winning the Essex Women’s League Cup.

 Not to be for Leigh Ramblers Ladies but a fantastic season nonetheless winning the Premier Division title.

 Two sides that I have covered alot in this season’s Round-Ups always good to see the players and sides you write about in action for the first time. My thanks for the help with the teams and good to meet everyone. Almost done one game to go.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Thursday 16th May

Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup

Cambridge City Ladies Development v Cambridge University Women

 Off to St Neots this Thursday evening for my penultimate cup final of the season, postponed from last week the Cambridgeshire S-Tech Women’s League Cup Final. Cambridge City Ladies Development v Cambridge University Women.

  Cambridge City Ladies Development playing their final game of the season, the League Cup final are looking to go one better than their first team and complete the treble having already secured the Premiership title and won the Junior Invitation Cup Final. A successful season for the club at all levels, some from the squad breaking into the first team such as Ceri Flye and Freya Standing along with top scorer Megan Tonks who has 32 goals to her name this season. 

  Cambridge University Women fielding a side in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership amongst the top sides in recent seasons. Pushing for runners up spot this season with one match left to play. Their 2nd’s playing in the competition otherwise known as The Eagles, whom they shall be referred to henceforth. Starting their fixtures later they are often playing catch up a threat to the sides above without putting them under undue pressure throughout the season capable of beating anyone in the league on their day.

Road to the Final

  The League Cup beginning with a mini-league format for the first half of the season, the sides from the Premiership and Championship North and South drawn into 4 groups each side playing the other once. Cambridge City Ladies Development topping Group C with 5 wins from 5. The Eagles in a much tighter Group D one of three sides all finishing on 9 points with 3 wins and a loss each, Haverhill Rovers Ladies top on goal difference, The Eagles pipping Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds to 2nd spot the top two from each group going on t contest the knock out stages.

  Cambridge City drawn at home to Championship North leaders Ketton Ladies in fantastic form going into the game a single goal scored by Bella Simmons seeing Cambridge City into the semi-finals. The Eagles away to fellow Premiership side march Town United Ladies, goals from Amanda Wainwright, Freya Ekman and Lu Liu securing a 3-1 victory to send them into the semi-finals. 

  Cambridge City at home to Championship North title challengers Wisbech Town Ladies. Freya Standing amongst the goals scoring a hat-trick as the hosts ran out convincing winners 8-0. The Eagles at home too taking on the holders ICA Sports Ladies a hat-trick from Eli Cropp seeing them win the match 3-1 to reach the final.

  St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium the venue for this evenings final has been a while since I last visited the ground, was hard to find then too, set within the new build properties going up on the outskirt of the town. Once you know where it is though you’re set. Will be hosting women’s football regularly from next season as it becomes the home of FAWNL South East Division One side Cambridge United WFC. Boasts an immaculate pitch in great condition. A seated stand on one side with covered terracing behind either goal. A clubhouse and bar serving hot drinks. A warm evening a bit of cloud cover still.

 Cambridge City Ladies Development starting XI- Freya Robson, Rose Jump, Sophie Ingledew, Shona Lester, Carrie Buettner, Matilda Schwefel (C), Eli Cropp, Sara Merican, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge, Amanda Wainwright & Flora Risdill-Smith. Subs – Hannah Sanderson, Charlotte Kenyon, Flora Harpley-Green, Lu Liu & Beatrice Wood.

Cambridge University Women starting XI – Hannah Lock, Becky Langthorpe, Rachel Littlewood, Jade Powell (C), Anna Kanz, Emily Reed, Rachel Pearce, Bella Simmons, Yasmin Crow, Freya Standing & Megan Tonks. Subs – Lucy Hurst, Amy Ozakpinar, Charlotte Gillies & Drew Jenkins. 

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  City to get the League Cup Final underway kicking off first half wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks with The Eagles lined up opposite wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts with black coloured shorts and socks. The ball closed down straight from the off passes rushed in midfield neither side getting time to find their passes, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge for The Eagles the first to make a meaningful run with the ball gathering it 30 yards out and driving on central the City defence rushing out to charge her down as she goes to pull the trigger. 

   Eli Cropp playing a pass out to Donlon-Mansbridge attacking right puts the cross into the box early long to the far post City clear. City counter getting forwards on the right Yasmin Crow winning her side a corner kick. The Eagles defence dealing with the delivery lifted in towards the near post. Progress up the right side for City the cross lifted into the near post missed by goalkeeper Freya Robson as she rises to punch it dropping beyond her the ball threatening to dribble over the line the defence have gotten back the ball scrambled up field. 

Cambridge Universities, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge with Cambridge Cities Freya Standing

  Megan Tonks played in on the right top of the area the ball at her feet turns and shoots, Carrie Buettner blocking at close range for The Eagles the ball with them in the middle captain Matilda Schwefel sending it on for Donlon-Mansbridge through the middle she runs on towards the area, City captain Jade Powell getting back on her in defence to challenge and regain the ball. The Eagles keep up their pressing of the ball disrupting City as they look to send the ball forwards, Donlon-Mansbridge right playing the ball inside to Amanda Wainwright in attack, Anna Kanz tackling for City outside the area.

   Winning possession central the ball rolled into Flora Risdill-Smith in attack she spots Rose Jump getting forwards on the right flank the full back taking the ball on down the line, Rachel Littlewood for City preventing the cross. Jump then back on defensive duty does well as Littlewood coming on looks to support Freya Standing on the wing. City bring the ball on through the middle Rachel Pearce getting forwards passes to Bella Simmons peeling out to the right shoots from the angle 25 yards out pace behind the ball, Robson across to cover her near post palming it down and gathering.

Cambridge University captain Matilda Schwefel

   Schwefel fouled central a free-kick awarded the ball put on towards the top of the area for runners left side escapes everyone running behind for the goalkick. A competitive start to the game The Eagles working hard to close City down high up the pitch. Tonks showing good movement across the front leading the line for City behind her free-kick being given away disrupting play favouring The Eagles, one coming to Donlon-Mansbridge right of the D sends a shot in towards goal, straight at goalkeeper Hannah Lock she collects the high ball. 

Cambridge City goalkeeper, Hannah Lock

 Pearce plays the ball up the left for Standing she drives forwards for City, Jump going with her keeps her from getting inside Standing nevertheless squaring a cross into the six yard box the ball cut out near post the clearance just evading Simmons as she bursts forwards to the edge of the box. Becky Langthorpe getting forwards from full back for City on the right with Crow ahead of her the ball put int the box met by Simmons drifting in near side turns the ball goalwards from 8 yards out, Robson down smartly to save. City starting to gain some momentum going forwards.

Cambridge University goalkeeper, Freya Robson

  GOAL! City coming on left winning a corner the ball fired in close to goal near post dropping behind the first City attack landing at the feet of the 2nd a reactive stab sending the ball over the line from close range, Tonks with the touch to put City into the lead 1-0.

  City have the ball central, Standing released on the left, Buettner running back to get the tackle in. A throw for City high on the left the ball dropped into Tonks she turns lifting it on into the area, Simmons meeting it near side a first time shot looping high to land on the roof of the net. Schwefel making a good run with the ball for The Eagles sending it on for Sara Merican on the left flank, Risdill-Smith with a run into the left channel ahead of her, Powell sticking out a leg intercepting the pass for City at the back.

Sara Merican on the ball for Cambridge University

  Crow attacking right for City, Sophie Ingledew sliding in to dispossess her. City building seeing more of the ball, Tonks laying it on for Simmons racing ahead of her shooting from distance Robson gathering safely. 

 GOAL! Into the final 10 minutes of the 1st half and City double their lead breaking Standing on the ball central halfway plays it early lifted on for Tonks moving clear off her marker running on shooting from outside the box power behind it the low ball skipping off the surface wide of the keeper into the back of the net 2-0.

Megan Tonks taking the ball in behind

   City getting the upper hand a diagonal ball left long to the opposite side Robson up to collect with Tonks closing her down spilt on landing Tonks after it, The Eagles defence quick to close her down Robson grounded between the the ball sent behind for a corner. A good delivery fired into the box central Standing on the penalty spot the Littlewood to her right both seeing a shot blocked. 

  The Eagles make a change with Donlon-Mansbridge coming off on in her place Charlotte Kenyon. City break the ball put on up the right with Simmons racing away the ball cut back towards the top of the six yard box Standing hitting it on the volley seeing the ball smash down off the bar, the attack stopped by a raised flag. Robson with a brave save doing well at the feet of Tonks at the top of her area as Tonks runs through. The ball played through the middle coming to The Eagles Cropp taking it on she shoots from 30 yards out the effort over the crossbar.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies Development 2-0 Cambridge University Women

  A good contest so far played in good spirits, The Eagle starting well closing City down disrupting play whilst trying to find openings themselves. City gaining momentum as the 1st half wore on getting Simmons forwards to support Tonks chances created before the opening goal came from a corner. Tonks making it 2-0. More often than not a critical scoreline the next goal and important one.

  The Eagles to get the 2nd half underway the floodlights on as the light begins to fade. City having made two changes at the start of the 2nd period, Standing and Crow off, Lucy Hurst and Charlotte Gillies taking up their positions left and right in attack. Risdell-Smith brought down inside the City half bringing the ball forward the delivery on into the area aimed for Lester can’t reach it the ball bouncing through to the keeper, Lock sending the ball up field launching a counter attack Tonks lively looking to get away right fouled. The Eagles defending the resulting free-kick.

Simmons central sends the pass up to Gillies on the right int the corner has Tonks with her the pair looking to combine the flag going up against Tonks. A bright start from City coming on in attack left side a ball squared along the top of the area Simmons central with Reed coming on tees her up The Eagles defence charging her shot down. Buettner doing well in defence for The Eagles defending from a corner put in from the right. Wainwright bringing the ball forwards right for The Eagles support for Kenyon getting on down the wing, Littlewood does well to break up the attack for City. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Emily Reed

  Simmons finding pockets of space in advanced positions sets Gillies away on the right wing, Ingledew doing well in defence for The Eagles. Hurst nicking the ball just outside the area for City is brought down, the free-kick in a dangerous position left of the D, Powell forwards to take it. Hit well Powell sees her strike smash down off the crossbar falling out to the right a shot blasted back in flies over. The Eagles on the back foot seeing little of the attack look to create through the middle Schwefel sending it on Wainwright very nearly sneaking in behind, Powell sticking out leg to make a vital interception at the back. Gillies on the attack right for City sending Simmons away ahead of her, Robson comes racing out of her box to try and close her down Simmons getting her shot away first the ball past the keeper but also wide of the right post.

  GOAL! The City pressure in attack bringing a goal with 57 minutes played Simmons getting on down the right firing a shot in on the angle pace on it Robson gloving the ball away straight to Hurst central under challenge getting as shot away to divert the ball back towards goal low wide of the keeper from outside the six yard box 3-0.

Lucy Hurst up for the headed challenge putting City 3-0 up

City with the upper hand first to the ball 2nd half aren’t letting The Eagles have any time on the ball difficult to find their attacking players. Tonks with a shot from 30 yards out a deflection taking it wide for a corner kick. Schwefel positive looking to bring the ball forwards, Reed backed up by Pearce keeping it tight through the middle winning it back for City.

  GOAL! City go further ahead the ball brought on through the middle fired into Simmons 25 yards out central turns well to send the ball into the path of Tonks inside the ball moving left of goal, Robson out to close down the City striker taking it past her in behind composed not rushing her shot plays it in along the ground the ball squeezing in inside the post before the defender sliding in to stop it can reach it Tonks scoring a cup final hat-trick 4-0.

  GOAL! No sooner have City scored a 4th goal they get up the other end to make it 5. A corner on the right taken short catching The Eagles off guard crossed in from high a fantastic delivery central into the six yard box, Tonks their free rising to nod the ball down over the line to score her 4th of the game 5-0.

  A double change for City now with Langthorpe and Reed the players off on come Drew Jenkins and Amy Ozakpinar with 20 minutes left to play. Tonks flagged offside a Robson comes rushing out of her box just about getting to the ball first. Standing returning to the action as Simmons is brought off. Standing fouled off a throw in high on the left outside the box, Hurst over it sent log to the far post Powell meeting it put straight at Robson at close range the keeper saving. 

The Eagles cannot get going in attack few opportunities to get the ball forwards City bristling with confidence. Lock catching comfortably as Kenyon floats a ball on from the right. Wainwright strikes from 25 yards out the City defence blocking. The Eagles keep possession the ball long into the box attacked near post bodies forwards lifted over a corner awarded.

 Tonks is applauded off for City as she is substituted Crow returning to the action. Buettner cutting the ball out at the back for The Eagles as Gillies plays it on from the right. Cropp catching a shot well from 25 yards out for The Eagles sees her attempt race wide of goal. Pearce coming off for City with Simmons returning. Jump comes off for The Eagles with Hannah Sanderson coming on. A throw on the right City want to make a change Littlewood called to the bench on the opposite side of the pitch, a false alarm as she is sent back getting a cheer for her efforts.

Eli Cropp coming forwards for Cambridge University

   Gillies bringing the ball on down the right a shot driven in from 20 yards out Robson saving at her near post. A late change for The Eagles Lu Liu on for Kenyon. City continue to press the ball high keeping their opponents back inside their own half a comfortable lead now the final whistle blows on the game and their season and City have done it completed the treble adding the League Cup to the already to the already bulging trophy cabinet.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies Development 5-0 Cambridge University Women

  City with a strong 2nd half capitalising on their good finish to the 1st half, creating chances to go further in front Tonks scoring 2 more to take her tally to 36 for the season. Pressing the ball high themselves lively in attack kept The Eagle from getting any foothold in the 2nd period. A bright start from The Eagles playing their part in an entertaining and good-natured final but once City got the lead they were in control. One more game for The Eagles runners-up spot still there for the taking as they play March Town United Ladies on Sunday.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  On to this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, two names above the others and that quickly became one as the 2nd half wore on. Bella Simmons with some great movement in attack creating opportunities for herself and others was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet herself. Megan Tonks did however for 4 goals took her chances well and showed great movement and vision throughout to get herself into space and be available whenever City attacked. 

A double for the first team, the Development side go one better to claim a treble and that along with a host of silverware for their youth sides a very successful season as both sides prepare now for life at a higher level.

Cambridge City Ladies Development, 2018/19 Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup winners

 Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies Development on this evenings league Cup win and doing the treble. 

One more final to come a trip to Essex this Sunday for their league Cup final. The season almost done. Have enjoyed all of this season’s Cambridgeshire finals and my thanks go to Chris Abbott and the rest of the committee for the great work they do throughout the season. Thanks to too both clubs for their help with the team details.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 12th May

ERWFL League Cup Final

Bedford Ladies v Cambridge City Ladies

 On to the 2nd final of the day the sun high in the sky to greet Bedford Ladies and Cambridge City Ladies as they step out onto the pitch at The County Ground in preparation for this afternoon’s ERWFL League Cup Final.

ERWFL League Cup

Another close looking final on the cards between the two Premier Division sides. Bedford a long established side at regional level a brief spell in the FAWNL coming to an end 3 seasons ago. Currently in mid-table on their day a side capable of beating anyone else have won as many as they have lost often by the odd goal. A strong run in the League Cup aswell as the Bedfordshire Women’s County Cup where they successfully defended the trophy against rivals Luton Town back in March. A tough test today as close as it might appear Cambridge City remain unbeaten in the ERWFL this season.

  Cambridge City’s stay in the ERWFL soon to come to an end after 3 season’s a rapid rise in that time losing just 4 league matches along the way. Winning the ERWFL Division One title in their debut season at this level along with a League Cup final appearance. A runners-up finish in the Premier Division following last season. Pushed on again this campaign winning the title with games to spare unbeaten dropping just 2 league points, now looking to follow that up with the double a success acheived two season’s ago by Haringey Borough Women. Promotion to the FAWNL to come the club with a strong youth set up to back up the first and development teams, Goals throughout the side.

Road to the Final

  The ERWFL Premier Division sides entering the League Cup competition at the 3rd Round stage. The last 16 Bedford Ladies handed a tough draw at home to Premier Division newcomers Wymondham Town Ladies, a single goal enough to see them beat the Norfolk side. Cambridge City Ladies alos at home in the last 16 hosting Division One side Hutton Ladies with new striker Vicky Kinsman in their ranks firing in plenty of goals. Cambridge City restricting her to just the one however as they found the back of the net up the other end for 8 goals themselves.

Into the quarter finals another tough looking draw for Bedford as they were away to St Ives Town Ladies the Division One newcomers hitting the ground running making an unbeaten start, not conceding many either the tie going all the way to extra-time Bedford finding the crucial winning goal to book a spot in the last 4. Cambridge City at home to Colney Heath Ladies a 2-0 win against their fellow Premier Division side seeing them into the semi-finals.

  Into the last 4 and a strong all Premier Division line-up, Bedford on the road again to take on Peterborough Northern Star Ladies the first of 3 encounters they would have over the next four weeks, all close Bedford edging their opponents out 2-1 to reach the League Cup Final. Cambridge City at home once more this time taking on Essex side Harlow Town Ladies like Wymondham promoted to the Premier Division this season, having secured a top half finish proved a tough opponent Cambridge coming through however to reach the League Cup Final courtesy of a 3-1 victory.

  Still at The County Ground, Letchworth home of the Hertfordshire FA, the 3G pitch new along with the barriers surrounding it and a redeveloped bar/cafeteria serving hot and col drinks. The sunny still beating down good job I brought my suncream still had the umbrella in the bag too mind the odd black cloud around but these wouldn’t yield anything.

 Bedford Ladies starting XI – Lauren Webb, Gemma Franklin, Priya Bhatti, Jodie Molloy (C), Sophie Mulvihill, Michelle Byrne, Jasmine Ajayi, Eden Kibron, Carissa Kaczorowski, Catalina Costas & Mya Sidhu. Subs – Amy Magnus, Lauren Murray, Sector Acolatse, Jessica Bunnage & Sian Beames.

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Robyn Phillips, Sarah Mosley, Amy Reed, Anna Goggin, Hannah Bodily, Erin Davies & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Freya Standing, Laura Mills, Carla Penny & Megan Tonks.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   Cambridge to get this season’s League Cup Final underway wearing white shirts, black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Bedford lined up opposite wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts and blue socks. The ball played long to the left Bedford goalkeeper Lauren Web out to kick the ball clear. Eden Kibron picking up the ball right side for Bedford driving forwards attempts to play Catalina Costas in as she makes a near post run into the box, Cambridge captain Becca Fay intercepting at the back. 

 Bedford with a fast start to the game getting the ball into the Cambridge half a throw won on the left headed on by Costas top of the area the ball finding its way through to Cambridge goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru. Bedford win it back in midfield play it wide down the right winning a corner.

  GOAL! Bedford take an early lead in the game scoring inside the opening 3 minutes the delivery from the corner flicked on into the middle by Sophie Mulvihill into the six yard box, captain Michelle Byrne free sticking up a leg to bring the ball down well and smashes it into te back of the net 1-0.

  Cambridge looking for a quick reply the ball at the feet of Erin Davies attacking left side her cross into the box cut out by Bedford captain, Jodie Molloy. 

 GOAL! No sooner have Bedford taken the lead then they counter to double thier advantage 2 goals t the good right at the start of the game 5 minutes played the ball put on through the middle into Mya Sidhu 30 yards out to the left flicking the ball over her shoulder inside to drop into the path of Kibron breaking into the box from the right, no need to check her stride meeting the ball she strikes it low and hard from inside the area to send it across the diving keeper into the bottom corner 2-0. 

Eden Kibron with Bedford’s 2nd goal

  A fantastic opening to the game from Bedford, Cambridge shell shocked 2 goals down inside the opening 5 minutes of the match. Bedford lively early on have come out of the blocks running quick to close the ball down, Kibron making several powerful runs forwards. On for Costas in attack moving wide her cross swung into the box claimed by Mhunduru. Cambridge with a free-kick wide on the right as Gemma Franklin fouls Amy Reed. The delivery in towards the top of the box met by a Cambridge head the ball headed on in towards goal lacking pace gathered by Webb. 

   Bedford’s turn to have a free-kick inside the Cambridge half, played forwards to drop into the box, Mhunduru coming forwards to claim it not put off by the onrushing Kibron. End the end as a shaken Cambridge look to get back into the game, Bedford winning it through Byrne in the middle as Anna Goggin looks to play the ball forwards. Bedford making ground on the left win getting a corner the delivery in close to goal, Mhunduru up for it is fouled. Kibron right the ball put inside to Costas making the near post run can’t quite get the ball under control as Mhunduru comes to collect.

Cambridge’s Ceri Flye with Bedford’s Mya Sidhu

   Sarah Mosley with the ball 30 odd yards out allowed time to line up a shot her strike in looks to be heading over, dipping on Webb late back on her line the keeper producing a fantastic save to tip the ball up over her bar. Th corner played to towards the top of the area headed on wide across the goal. Bedford counter with pace and purpose Kibron forwards inside to Carissa Kaczorowski on for Costas, Robyn Phillips regaining possession for Cambridge. Sidhu with another flicked ball over the top of the Cambridge defence 25 out left to right, Costas the target this time can’t connect with the shot.

  Goggin with a good run on the ball central for Cambridge getting forwards is tackled by Bedford’s Franklin. Bedford winning a corner right players come forwards the delivery into the six yard box the attempted clearance by Cambridge struck straight t Kibron 8 yards out closed down as she attempts to get a shot in the ball hustled out to the top of the area met by Bedford Jasmine Ajayi her shot in low has no power safely in Mhunduru’s gloves. Kaczorowski out wide right on the ball in the final third shoots Mhunduru diving in front of her goal to her left to push the ball away. 

Bedford’s Jasmine Ajayi

  Davies central looks to combine with Shannon Shaw in attack the attempted one two not coming off as Bedford’s Mulvihill charges the ball down. Bedford appealing for a penalty as Kibron bursts into the box left of goal put in by Sidhu, goes down under challenge but the appeals waved away. Mhunduru with another vital save to keep the scoreline down as Bedford press well getting forwards Costas into the box appeals for a push still managing to get something on the ball Cambridge’s keeper having gone to ground in front of her getting a arm up to pluck the ball down as it threatens to go over her inside the six yard box. 

 Ceri Flye bringing the ball on for Cambridge right side allowed to travel with it pace to get into the area Franklin sliding in to tackle win the ball for Bedford. Bedford make a change, Kaczorowski the player heading off on comes Sector Acolatse. Mosley peeling away to the left as Cambridge come forwards puts an early ball into the area Davies making the run near side, Webb coming to get to the ball and claim before she can reach it. Cambridge make a double switch bringing Mosley and Shaw off, Carla Penny and Megan Tonks on. Bedford bring on Amy Magnus in attack for Sidhu.

   The game played at a furious pace, Bedford putting alot of effort in to keep the ball moving keep Cambridge from getting any momentum going forwards. The sun beating down is hot out there. Lauren Tomlinson defending for Cambridge at left back as Costas tries to get in behind n the right wing. Davies making some great runs forwards for Cambridge through the middle getting into the box as a cross is put in from the left sees it across her body getting a shot away before she can be challenged the ball swerving in the air it favours Webb in goal falling straight to her.

  Davies combining with Penny in attack for Cambridge no final ball as Bedford defend the ball cleared straight to Hannah Bodily she strikes it from 25 yards out the shot wide. Cambridge gaining a little bit of the attack the ball forwards win a corner out on the right, the delivery in defended  headed away Reed fouled as she looks to retrieve outside the box to the right of goal. 

  GOAL! Cambridge getting a goal back late in the first half scoring from the free-kick, Reed on the ball looks to play the ball in towards the near post little to aim at finds the target, Webb closed down by players from both sides going to claim the ball squeezing out of her gloves on behind her in front of goal, Tonks on the follow up for Cambridge getting her boot on the ball to send it on into the back of the net 2-1. 

  Bedford attack coming left the ball inside to Byrne in an advanced position a great touch to lift the ball over the top for Kibron bursting into the area, closing in on the byline the angle against her twists to get the ball in towards goal, landing awkwardly as she does so, too close to Mhunduru the goalkeeper claiming. Kibron up slowly didn’t look good but after treatment as allowed to come back on. Ajayi with a superb ball on for Acolatse through the middle, Mhunduru out to close he down the ball scrambled clear. 

 Into stoppage time the 1st half racing by Bedford bringing the ball on Acolatse lining up a shot outside the area right of the D, Flye getting a foot in to block. 

Half-time Bedford Ladies 2-1 Cambridge City Ladies

  A fast paced lively 1st half comes to a close, Bedford making a blistering start to the game getting themselves into a 2 goal lead within the opening 5 minutes, on the front foot for much of the half since, getting forwards well with intent as well as working hard to close the ball down. Cambridge stunned early on far from the start they wanted has taken them a while to get going as an attacking force slowly building momentum in the final 3rd, pulling a goal back late in the half to trail by just the one, Mhunduru in goal keeping the score down.

   Bedford out early for the start of the 2nd half Kaczorowski back on the pitch in place of Acolatse Sidhu back on too. Bedford to get the game restarted an early clash of heads between Costas and Flye in the area, both players okay. Byrne winning the ball central for Bedford playing it forwards, Fay stopping it at the back for Cambridge. 

   Bedford have a throw on the right inside the Cambridge half the ball put inside to Costas helped in field to Sidhu 25 yards out, spots Kaczorowski making the run to her left into the box slides the pass on for her, Mhunduru out quickly to close the single and save at the attackers feet. Davies attempting to carry the ball forwards in attack for Cambridge supported by Bodily in the centre. Davies coming left the ball on for Tonks in attack, Mulvihill with the tackle the ball pushed out wide picked up by Penny her shot back in towards the near post tame gathered by Webb.

Erin Davies always looking to get into an attacking position for Cambridge City

   Bedford come left the ball hit on the diagonal into the area Kibron lunging forwards getting a touch to send the ball goalwards under diving Mhunduru, to strike the base of the post, the flag up against her however. Davies and Bodily winning more of the ball in central areas now. Penny strong in possession on the left for Cambridge the pass forwards for Tonks holds it up trying to turn get in behind closed down by Molloy who tackles to regain the ball. Cambridge push on the right winning a free-kick put long to Penny top of the box left of goal brings the ball down well to turn into the shot lifting the ball over the crossbar. Freya Standing on for Cambridge in place of Flye.

Bedford’s Carissa Kaczorowski tackling Cambridge’s Carla Penny

  Mulvihill tackling Davies as she brings the ball on a throw out left, Tomlinson with a long delivery to take sends it into the area cleared back to her, moves out towards the top of the area before striking from distance Webb back on her line making the save. Cambridge with a bit more of the ball, Bedford still looking a threat closing down and getting forwards. Priya Bhatti close on Penny to prevent the winger getting forwards. A corner on the right fro Cambridge in high central Webb punching the ball high in the air Franklin seeing it don sends clear. Goggin moving with the ball left pushes it into Penny looking for the return pass top of the area, Byrne charging the shot down.

  GOAL! 20 minutes played in the 2nd half and Cambridge come back to level the scores at 2 a piece scoring from a throw wide on the right top of the area put into Davies closing in on the area puts the pass up towards Bodily positioned to corner catching it well lifts a shot in towards goal looping high over the keeper to fall into the bottom corner 2-2. 

Hannah Bodily with Bedford’s Jasmine Ajayi

  Cambridge make a change with Mosley back on for Goggin. Davies in to win the ball 20 yards out looks to play in Tonks but can’t get a pass into the box instead plays it out to Penny on the left she switches play putting a cross long to the far post for Standing running in can’t reach it out for the goalkick. Acolatse back on for Bedford attacking left is brought down by Phillips complaints from the Bedford bench about her being the last defender, but 30 yards out players were in a position to get back central. The free-kick a long way out the shot nevertheless taken on put over.

  Tomlinson with the ball for Cambridge has space to run into runs unopposed 3 quarters of the pitch getting into the box left of goal sending a shot up over the bar. The game entering the final 15 minutes, tension out there from both sides Cambridge attacking, Bedford defending well especially on their flanks Franklin and Bhatti. Tonks comes off for Cambridge, Shaw rejoining the attack. Bedford with the ball left the cross in low cut out Fay near side her clearance straight to Byrne outside the box she puts it back in for Kibron lunging for it the ball held by Mhunduru. 

Carla Penny coming forwards for Cambridge City

  The play getting scrappy as both sides rush passes late on Penny fouled on the left the ball played down the line Mosley with the run looks to play the return ball to Penny, Mulvihill tackling for Bedford. Tomlinson off for Cambridge Flye back on. Shaw driving on through the middle for Cambridge, Mulvihill out o the area to slide in to win the challenge. Sidhu off for Bedford, Kaczorowski back on. The game looks to be heading to extra-time neither side getting a clinical chance late on Shaw winning Cambridge a late corner the ball in headed on towards goal Webb behind it.

Full time Bedford Ladies 2-2 Cambridge City Ladies

  Nothing to separate the sides Cambridge coming back to level the scores 2nd half and send the final into extra-time, both sides putting alot into it especially Bedford some tired legs out there. An extra 30 minutes to play 2 15 minute halves for either side to find a winning goal the temperature remains high. 

Extra-time

 Cambridge to get extra-time underway, Bedford winning an early free-kick Molloy on it left side played on to Kibron she looks to put Sidhu away on the right side. Mhunduru out to her saves well, Sidhu after the loose ball falling awkwardly and she attempts to put it back in on the angle. After treatment is okay play resuming with a corner the ball in high claimed by Mhunduru.

  Franklin does well in defence to get back on Standing as Davies moves over to the right with the ball. Sidhu left plays a low ball into the six yard box, Mhunduru out to claim before Kaczorowski can get there. Lauren Murray coming on for Bedford in place of Sidhu. Standing on the right gets the ball into the box for Davies near post looking to control then shoot is closed down by Franklin and Molloy both sliding in to block a corner conceded the ball in central Shaw goes for it can’t connect half cleared falls straight to Bodily 25 yards out a nick on her shot but Webb can make the save. 

  Kaczorowski striking a shot on the half volley right of the box the ball held by the keeper. Both sides working hard to stop the other cancelling each other out a 2nd ball thrown onto the pitch as Bedford look to get forwards, play stopped the referee having words with the Bedford bench. The fist half of extra-time comes to an end the sides still level.

   Tomlinson returning to the field for Cambridge as Bedford get the 2nd period of extra-time started. Phillips defending for Cambridge as Kibron plays the ball on. Sian Beames on for Bedford played on by Kibron on the right crossing the ball early cut out Phillips. Murray bringing the ball on for Bedford support from Beames played out to Ajayi moving clear on the left her cross in met be Kibron central her touch too strong allowing the Cambridge defence to clear. 

  Play scrappy players giving away free-kicks tension showing passes going astray. Flye cautioned for a foul on Kaczorowski. Standing coming off Tonks back on. Beames conceding a corner on the right the delivery in central under the bar Webb punching the all landing amongst a crowded far post the ball lifted over the bar. Tomlinson sees a ball fired into her inside the box as Cambridge attack right she prods her shot wide of the near post. 

 Cambridge make one last push winning a corner the ball defended near post another corner won, this one flicked on by Phillips a shot blocked from close range at the far post. Reed comes on for Cambridge, Bedford defend. A late goal ruled out for offside. Cambridge come right a cross into the box put on to Tomlinson far post her shot striking the upright before being scrambled clear. The final whistle blows this season’s ERWFL Cup Final to be settled on penalties.

Penalties

  No fan of a penalty shootout but a game has to be decided somehow. Five for each side if still not decided it then goes to sudden death.

 Cambridge up to take the first penalty, Mosley placed the ball on the spot, scores sending a pacy ball wide to the right evading the diving keeper 1-0.

  Magnus to take Bedford’s opening penalty Mhunduru saving superbly as she dives to her left to keep the low strike out 1-0.

Tee Mhunduru saving Bedford’s opening penalty

  Shaw up next for Cambridge, a composed finish straight through the middle the keeper rooted to the spot 2-0.

  Mulvihill up next for Bedford opts for power her rising shot cannoning down and in off the crossbar 2-1.

  Tomlinson forwards to take Cambridge’s third penalty kick goes for placement sending the ball low racing into the bottom left corner to make it 3-1. 

  Jessica Bunnage on late on to take Bedford’s third penalty shoots to the right Mhunduru getting her fingertips to it but not enough to keep it out 3-2.

   Tonks placing the ball on the spot for Cambridge’s fourth a cool finish finding the bottom corner to score 4-1.

  Bedford have to score to keep themselves in the shootout, captain Byrne up to take the penalty, agony as she sends it wide of the post to see Cambridge roar in celebration and rush from the halfway line to Mhunduru winning the shootout 4-2 to win the ERWFL League Cup and do the double.

Joy for Cambridge heartbreak for Bedford a cruel finish to an entertaining final, both sides playing their part. Bedford racing out of the blocks taking a 2 goal lead early in the match putting Cambridge on the back foot, slowly they came back into the game pulling it back to 2-1 before half-time scoring the leveller in the 2nd half the game getting tense late on scrappy neither side on top chances for both. Extra-time unable to separate them.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the 2nd Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the day. Another competitive final with a few contenders from both sides. Eden Kibron setting the tone early on for Bedford helping them get off to a fantastic start. At the back Gemma Franklin was strong nothing much getting past her. For Cambridge City, Erin Davies making some positive forward runs looking to get on in attack. Carla Penny making a huge impact coming on, Hannah Bodily supporting Davies playing well too. The award though goes to Cambridge City goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru pulling off some vital saves as Bedford started strong commanding her area and the all important save in the penalty shootout.

Cambridge City Ladies 2018/19 ERWFL League Cup winners

Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies on winning this season’s ERWFL League Plate Final and on the double.

Another highly entertaining match, great to see to competitive finals today a fantastic advert for the ERWFL. An enjoyable but tiring day, thanks to everyone for their help today. Alot of kind comments too much appreciated, will be tired once the dust has settled on another busy Sunday not many to go now however the season soon coming to an end.

 

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 12th May

ERWFL League Plate Final

Histon Ladies v Newmarket Town Ladies

 Another cup final double bill this Sunday a trip to Hertfordshire for the ERWFL Finals Day. First up kicking off at 11am the League Plate Final this season being contested by Histon Ladies and Newmarket Town Ladies.

The ERWFL League Plate

   Hutton Ladies winning the ERWFL League Plate previously, celebrating back to back wins having successfully defended the trophy last season beating Stevenage Ladies Reserves. A new name on the trophy this season. 

  Histon Ladies are an established side within the ERWFL, this their 3rd season playing as Histon having previously been known as Great Shelford Ladies. The link up with Histon seeing a pathway created between Histon’s youth sides through to adult football. Backed up by a Reserves side play at The Glassworld Stadium. Two league games left after today’s final are comfortable in mid-table in what has been a very competitive league this season, currently 8th can still gain a position or two. 

Newmarket reaching a cup final in their debut season in the ERWFL. Joining this season suffering an opening day loss then found thier feet to go on a run of 6 games unbeaten to climb the table and put them in amongst the top 4 sides, amongst the title challengers for a while have tailed off currently 4th will secure that position at least with a win in their final league game of the season next Sunday a top half finish guaranteed. Winning through to a cup final capping off a successful start to life playing at regional level. Plans in place for a new development side next season. Winning through to the final the club knew they would be without a number of key players for the game today away for various reasons.

Road to the Final

 The Division One sides knocked out of the League Cup itself in the 1st and 2nd round going on to contest for the League Plate. Straight to a quarter final. Histon were drawn away to league newcomers Hatfield Peverel Ladies the Essex side 2nd bottom in the table, goals form Sophie Lanham and Georgina Huse securing a 2-0 win for the visitors. Newmarket were also on the road taking on Hertford Town Ladies. Goals form Beth and Jodie Woodfield along with a brace from Abbi Griffin seeing Newmarket through to the last 4 courtesy of a 4-1 win.

  Two tough looking games in the semi-finals with 4 sides all fancying their chances of reaching the final. Histon away to 3rd placed Stevenage Ladies Reserves, drawing 1-1 after 90 minutes of play the game heading into extra-time. Histon coming up with the winning goal to reach today’s final. Newmarket Town Ladies at home to Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies, who they had beaten in the league at Hoddesdon just the week before coming back win the game 3-2 with a last gasp winner form young striker Annabel Cuthbert. Newmarket having the better of their opponents in the semi-final with goals from Jess Linger and Cuthbert sending them through to the final winning the game 2-0.

 The ERWFL Finals Day once again being played at The County Ground, Letchworth. The stadium seeing some redevelopment, prominently a new playing surface the pitch now 3G. The bar area also upgraded a new cafeteria serving hot and cold drinks. The main seated stand along one side of the pitch. The weather fantastic still, clear blue skies and warm. The 3G pitch new holding alot of rubber.

Histon Ladies starting XI – Keeley Robinson, Lucy Julian, Kaya Haq, Briannah Baker, Tessa Shaw, Alison Wright, Georgia Day, Kayleigh-Jo Castell, Katie Seagrave, Rebekah Finch & Sophie Lanham (C). Subs – Rebecca Lenton, Kirstie Smith, Kirsty Geal & Danielle Briggs.

Newmarket Town Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Holly Dryland, Olivia Orme, Beth Woodfield (C), Olivia Cafferelli, Jess Linger, Antonia Smith, Sarah O’Rourke, Laura Bailey & Annabel Cuthbert. Subs – Lauren Deller, Molly Agnew Hannah Rogers & Eleanor Mcleish.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Dominika Szary back on goal for Newmarket having missed the semi-final with Hoddesdon through suspension. Newmarket with the kick-off 1st half getting the final underway wearing yellow coloured shirts with blue shorts and blue and yellow hooped socks. Histon opposite wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball charged down straight away by Histon, Georgia Day on Newmarket’s Jess Linger the deflecting all the way back to goalkeeper, Keeley Robinson for an early feel of the ball. 

Histon’s Alison Wright winning the ball

 Both sides closing down the ball forwards by Histon defended by Newmarket played on through the middle for Annabel Cuthbert getting hold of it looks to take players on driving towards the box the Histon defence converging to close her down full back Lucy Julian in to clear the ball up field. Sarah O’Rourke seeing the ball into her feet inside the Histon half plays a great diagonal ball on into the area for Cuthbert making a run, latches onto the shot Robinson down to make the parrying save the ball back to Cuthbert sends it back in towards goal the Histon keeper saving as the ball comes off the post. 

Attacking intent from both sides Histon captain, Sophie Lanham in attack moving out to the right winning her side a corner kick. The delivery defended near post back to the taker the cross long kept in past the far post by Kayleigh-Jo Castell put back up the line the ball put into the top of the area defended. Kaya Haq coming on from left back for Histon with a fantastic diagonal pass long to Katie Seagrave bursting in behind on the right wing takes on the shot early 25 yards out the ball whistling over the crossbar. Histon gaining momentum in the final 3rd winning the ball high put forwards into Lanham right off goal 25 yards out has a shot the low strike gathered by Szary back on her line. 

  GOAL! 10 minutes played and Newmarket get themselves an early goal. Awarded a free-kick central as the ball in picked up by Laura Bailey and she his barrelled over carrying it towards goal. Newmarket’s dead ball specialist, Jess Linger to take. Strikes the ball well on target Robinson getting something on it by not enough to keep the ball slipping past her and into the back of the net 1-0.

Jess Linger scorers of the opening goal

   Straight from the restart Histon look to get on the offence, good footwork from Alison Wright central to evade a challenge and bring the ball on attempts to lift it over the top the flag up against Day inside the area. Holly Dryland goes on the overlap past O’Rourke on the right for Newmarket. Haq closing the full back down quickly tackling to prevent the return pass. 

  GOAL! Newmarket’s lead short lived as Histon come back to level the scores awarded a free-kick out on the right Seagrave fouled past the 18 yard line, Haq coming across to take it. Struck well in towards goal Szary can’t reach it as it dips under the cross bar and in at the far post 1-1. 

Kaya Haq with the levelling goal for Histon

  Rebekah Finch seeing a poor kick out from goal fall to her the ball deflected on into the box gives chase, Olivia Orme back well pressure charging the shot down taking the pace off for Szary to collect. Histon pushing on up the right wing a throw won top of the area drops to Wright 20 yards out central shoots with her left foot dragging the ball wide of the near post. Seagrave showing great pace on the ball down the right for Histon a cross flashed into the near post cut out by Newmarket defender Olivia Cafferelli. A great response from Histon to going behind Wright strong in the centre.

  A free-kick for Newmarket wide right Linger to play the ball into the six yard box, lifts it high, Robinson rising well to make the claim through a crowd is clattered upon landing as her defence scramble the ball away, but okay to continue after treatment. Szary up the other end out of her area rapidly to deal with a forwards pass that sees Lanham in to attack. O’Rourke with a great receive and turn inside the Histon half to put the ball on for Cuthbert racing in behind the Histon back line left of the D opens up her body to shoot across the keeper, to straight at Robinson at her quickly the keeper palming it away. 

Newmarket’s Sarah O’Rourke

  Cuthbert on the move again after a ball on the right wing, Briannah Baker sliding in to tackle catching Cuthbert the advantage played by referee Stacey Fullicks as she maintains her footing to run on past and cut a cross back into the area, Tessa Shaw sliding in to win it for Histon the ball coming out to Newmarket’s Chloe Slater top of the area she sends a shot over the bar. Baker booked for the earlier foul. Cuthbert spinning in behind as the ball is played into her feet left into the box, Robinson quickly out to close the angle slides in well to make the save at the attackers feet.

  GOAL! Half and hour played and Histon go on to take the lead, have a free-kick inside the Newmarket half on the right played in from deep the ball into the six yard area not dealt with by the Newmarket defence popping out to Finch at the near post getting hold of it to turn unopposed and fire the ball home from close range 2-1.

  Newmarket come forwards right side O’Rourke fouled a free-kick Linger on it the ball put on into the area, Robinson able to collect on the bounce. Histon push on through the middle the ball lost Slater with it out to Dryland making a run on the right wing the diagonal ball played into the top of the area early, Julian there to clear for Histon. Wright down in the middle having taken a knock on the ankle players from both sides taking on fluid whilst she receives treatment. Is a competitive game played at a good tempo.

Histon’s Sophie Lanham looking to get in to attack

  O’Rourke putting the ball on for Dryland off on a run down the right wing her cross cut back along the top of the Histon area helped on into the centre for Antonia Smith making a run from midfield catching the ball strikes it well rising sees her effort smash down off the crossbar. Seagrave out right for Histon bursting forwards played on by Lanham her cross met and cleared by Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield. 

Newmarket’s Antonia Smith

  Wright strong in the tackle central for Histon winning it 40 yards out as Slater looks to play it forwards for O’Rourke right side the past through for Lanham beating the offside trap, Szary with a good starting position out sharply to the edge of her area to claim the ball. Scrappy towards the end of the first have both sides rushing their passes, Bailey on the left attacking for Newmarket stopped by Shaw. Baker tackling Cuthbert outside the box as Linger threads a ball on. A late flag halting Smith as she breaks beyond the attack for Newmarket Bailey attempting the flick on.  

Half-time Histon Ladies 2-1 Newmarket Town Ladies

  Histon with the narrow advantage at half-time coming back from a goal down to lead 2-1 at half-time. A competitive match so far both slides putting alot on energy into it confident closing down a positive going forwards, chances for both sides to score more goals set-pieces unlocking both defences. Is warm out there midday fast approaching little cloud in the sky. The pitch carrying alot of rubber still slow the ball not racing on. Fairly evenly matched all to play for 2nd half.

Histon with a couple pf changes Danielle Briggs and Kirsty Geal on replacing Julian and Castell as they get the 2nd 45 underway. Molly Agnew on for Newmarket wide right in place of O’Rourke. Histon with the ball central played out to Seagrave attacking right into the area after it, Orme getting back on her to push her wide of goal, Seagrave managing to get a shot away nevertheless the ball safe on Szary’s gloves at her near post. Newmarket gain ground on the left Bailey turning back inside plays it central to Smith in an advanced position 20 yards out her shot lacking any power at it runs along the ground wide of target Robinson gathers.

Laura Bailey bringing the ball on for Newmarket

  Agnew getting on with the ball on the right wing for Newmarket to the byline sends a cross back up towards the top of the area, Wright tracking back superbly to win and clear for Histon. Cuthbert shoots wide across goal for Newmarket after getting into the area following good hold up play to spin in behind. Cuthbert charging on looking to get away through the middle in attack, Baker back on her with a somewhat clumsy challenge outside the area effective however as the ball runs behind for a corner. Robinson dealing with the corner for Histon. Geal bringing the ball on left side for Histon is closed down by Dryland and Woodfield.

  GOAL! as with the first half Newmarket score again 10 minutes into the 2nd half building on a bright start getting the ball up into Cuthbert quickly a delivery in sent on from the right side Newmarket’s young striker getting free at the far post to stab a shot under the keeper and into the bottom corner to level the scores 2-2.

Annabel Cuthbert getting the equalising goal for Newmarket Town Ladies

  Dryland comes off having picked up an injury, Hannah Rogers sent on for Newmarket goes to left back, Orme over to the right. Geal storming on for Histon left wing fires a cross low into the area Cafferelli with the interception central for Newmarket. Smith fouling Lanham as she gets hold of the ball central top of the circle the ball forwards Newmarket defend. Bailey getting forwards with the ball Cuthbert providing the run ahead of her moving left, Baker stays with her. Smith central for Newmarket threads a pass on for Bailey getting to the top of the box left side gets a shot away a low strike racing wide past the far post.

Histon Ladies, Danielle Briggs

 

  Rogers getting on up the pitch left side for Newmarket a terrific ball played long into the area met at the far post by Agnew turned goalwards, Robinson across her goal seeing the ball fired straight into her. Woodfield coming to close down Wright as she attempts to turn and get a shot away from 25 yards out, Day playing in forwards into her. Histon bring off Finch with Kristie Smith coming on to join the attack. Slater gets on with the ball right with support for Bailey and Rogers the ball inside to Cuthbert a corner conceded on the right. Newmarket to play the ball in put in long to the far post for a moment looked like it had crept in under the bar but instead narrowly over and dropping behind the net. Newmarket press the attack the ball on seeing Cuthbert threatening to break in clear, Shaw back to defend tackling to concede the corner. 

  GOAL! The game entering the final 15 minutes and Newmarket get their noses back in front scoring direct from a corner the ball on the right played in by Rogers an inswinging ball under the bar Robinson goes for it but can’t get a telling touch as the ball flies over her into the far corner. 3-2.

  Rogers on the left forwards for Bailey, Shaw getting across to slide in and put the ball out for a throw. Bailey getting forwards at will for Newmarket now as Histon frustrated cannot get the ball to stick in attack late on, Agnew forwards right of the D Bailey fires the pass into her Agnew dragging her shot wide away from goal. Newmarket make a change with Lauren Deller coming on in place of Smith. Bailey fouled by Shaw as she brings the ball on a free-kick for Newmarket wide left, Linger on it the delivery into the six yard box claimed well by Robinson. 

Beth Woodfield defending as Kristie Smith brings the ball on for Histon

  Lanham takes a blow to the head as she and Cafferelli contest a ball lifted forwards into the box from midfield. Is brought off with Rebecca Lenton coming on. Bailey keeping the ball well up field for Newmarket running down the clock as Histon are desperate to get hold of it build an attack. Wright out to Seagrave over on the left gets forwards a cross driven in central early, Lenton the target, Cafferelli in front of her to regain possession for Newmarket. 

  The game entering stoppage time, Newmarket doing well to keep the ball up the other end working hard to force Histon into rushing their passes, their opponents can’t get anything meaningful in the final third. Briggs breaking with the ball on the right for Histon is fouled by Cafferelli. A change before the free-kick is taken, Finch back on the field. Briggs to take doesn’t make it count put behind near side. Newmarket send on another youngster 16-year-old Eleanor McLeish in the closing minutes for Agnew, a throw won on the right Newmarket play it down the line Bailey taking it into the corner. One last chance for Histon as Wright wins them a corner on the left, taken short however Newmarket clear their line quickly to see Histon’s attackers flagged offside. 

Full time Histon Ladies 2-3 Newmarket Town Ladies

  The full time whistle blows and Newmarket are the side celebrating winning the ERWFL League Plate Final 3-2 and winning an unexpected piece of silverware to cap a strong debut season in the regional leagues. An entertaining final played between two evenly matched sides, chances created the momentum shifting one way then the other, good spirits, hotly contested especially in midfield. Histon responding well to losing an early goal, Newmarket getting it back to 2 all before getting their noses in front with 15 minutes left and from then on in preventing Histon from getting any foothold up the other end. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the day. A few names to mention, Alison Wright superb for Histon strong in midfield winning the ball and getting passes on to the attack. Katie Seagrave a threat on the right especially first half. For Newmarket Annabel Cuthbert just 16 shows great movement and pace in attack, Jess Linger has a fantastic range of passes and a threat from any dead ball situation. The award however goes once again to the player who got it in the semi-finals Laura Bailey terrific on the left getting forwards, timely runs her link up play excellent and towards the end kept the ball well frustrating Histon.

Newmarket Town Ladies, 2018/19 ERWFL Plate winners

Congratulations to Newmarket Town Ladies on winning the ERWFL League Plate Final.

 An enjoyable first final of the day, between Histon and Newmarket, evenly matched a good contest, time for something to eat and a much needed cup of tea the 2nd game of the day not too far away.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Tuesday 7th May

Suffolk Women’s County Cup Final

Ipswich Town Women v Needham Market Women 

A Tuesday night trip to Portman Road home of Ipswich Town FC for the final of this season’s HomeStore Suffolk Women’s County Cup, Ipswich Town Women looking to retain the trophy for the 5th successive season, Needham Market Women their opponents reaching the final of the County Cup in their debut season.

Ipswich Town Women have dominated in the Suffolk Women’s County Cup for over a decade now appearing in 10 of the last finals winning the competition winning the trophy on 8 occasions, whilst it was a shared competition with Norfolk that as a stand alone competition in Suffolk. 4 successive wins coming into tonight’s final looking strong to make it five in a row as they come up against an emerging side playing 3 leagues below. Ipswich the leading woman’s club in Suffolk playing in the FAWNL South East Division One where they secured a 7th placed finish with a last gasp winner on Sunday. A change of management after an indifferent start to the season Jo Sheehan looking after their U21s side stepping up to the role, has brought some of Ipswich’s talented youngsters through to play for the senior team to bolster an established and experienced squad.

 A fantastic first season for Needham Market Women coming together in the summer, the squad building, several names familiar having been part of Bacton United Ladies and Coplestonians Ladies. Hit the ground running winning their opening 5 league games matching East Bergholt’s 100% winning start, their 1st league defeat of the season at home to East Bergholt losing narrowly 3-2 Needham Market nevertheless bounced back well returning the compliment with a 3-0 win against East Bergholt at the start of March that though East Bergholt’s only defeat, Needham Market losing 3 in total clinching runner-ups spot, more success too in the cup competitions reaching both the finals of the League and County Cup.

 Missing out on collecting silverware in the League Cup played last week losing 2-1 to East Bergholt who won a 2nd successive double. Plenty of goals within the squad over 120 scored a wonderful occasion to mark the end of their first season together getting the opportunity to play at under the lights at Portman Road. Know it will be a tough test playing against a side playing their football 3 leagues higher in the FAWNL. Suffolk itself ready for new sides to establish themselves up the women’s football pyramid and Needham Market as in a good position to build.

Road to the Final

 Ipswich Town Women away to ERWFL Division One side Ipswich Wanderers Ladies in the 1st round of the Suffolk County Cup a close result Town going through with a 2-1 win. Needham Market receiving a bye.

Both sides with a walk over in the 2nd Round with their opponents pulling out. A home draw for both in the quarter finals with Ipswich at home to Suffolk Women’s Division One side, Brantham Athletic Ladies a big score ranked up with Ipswich finding form in front of goal winning the game 14-0. Needham Market at home playing title rivals and Suffolk Women’s Division Champions, East Bergholt United Ladies. A fantastic result seeing Needham Market edge East Bergholt out winning the game 2-1.

The semi-finals to be held at neutral venues, Ipswich were meant to be taking on last season’s finalists AFC Sudbury Ladies, however the ERWFL Premier Division side struggling for numbers throughout the campaign made the decision to pull out sending Ipswich unopposed through to another final. Needham Market taking on Haverhill Rovers Ladies at Long Melford FC, a 4-1 victory sending them through to their 2nd final of the season.

The final returning to Portman Road the home of Ipswich Town FC having hosted the final back in the 2015/16 Ipswich winning 8-0 against Norfolk Division Two side Kirkley & Pakefield Ladies. Another leading stadium within a county in the East and beyond hosting their Women’s County Cup Final, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire too showcasing the women’s game a tell to how much the game is growing. A fantastic opportunity for both sets of players the pitch immaculate. The lights on the upper tier filling with supporters. Overcast the threat of rain in the air. 

Needham Market Women starting XI – Amber Leeks, Niamh Thomas, Megan Stock (C), Maria Smith, Nicola Henderson, Elysia Young, Emily Steward, Amber Sparkes, Laura Tuley, Francesca Rainbird & Lois Balfour. Subs – Amy Dunn, Milly Carter, Isobel Chaplin, Ashleigh Goddard & Abbie Wilkinson.

 Ipswich Town Women starting XI – Sian Fagg, Nicole Pannifer, Eva Hubbard, Aimee Stretch, Lindsey Cooper, Paige Wakefield, Amanda Crump (C), Amy Nash, Zoe Cossey, Natasha Thomas & Charlotte Kellett. Subs – Danni Clarke, Jac Ball, Flo Cage, Sophie Welton & Toni-Anne Wayne.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Ipswich to get this season’s Suffolk Women’s County Cup Final underway kicking-off the 1st half wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts, Needham Market kitted out all in red, captain Megan Stock taking her place in the back-line having recovered form what looked like a nasty knee injury in the League Cup Final a week ago. Needham Market pressing the ball from the start keep Ipswich inside their own half. A free-kick awarded top of the centre circle as Laura Tuley getting hold of the ball for Needham Market in attack is upended, the ball played high into the box defended by Amy Nash the clearance sent back into the area claimed by goalkeeper Sian Fagg.

  Ipswich attack Zoe Cossey left sending Eva Hubbard on from left back bombing forwards her diagonal ball into the box met by Natasha Thomas her touch deflecting the ball goalwards, safely held by Needham Market goalkeeper Amber Leeks back on her line. Charlotte Kellett one of those impressing for the U21s side for Ipswich moves out to the right with the ball cutting it back into the area for Thomas near side on her quickly can’t adjust to get a shot away before the Needham Market defence close and clear. 

  The flag up against both sides in quick succession Cossey going too early in the left for Ipswich, Lois Balfour through the middle for Needham Market following a great ball forwards from Elysia Young. Niamh Thomas does well at right back to tackle  Natasha Thomas inside the box as the Ipswich attacker bombs forwards with the ball left, Maria Smith clearing the ball. Kellett latching on to the ball from a Needham market goalkick moves left to get into a crossing position flights a great ball into the box Thomas rising to head the ball knocking it down towards goal grabbed by Leeks.

   Having had vocal support at the League Cup Final the Needham Market fans within the crowd were in good voice, that stirring the Ipswich supporters into action a good atmosphere in the stands adding to the occasion. Thomas playing the ball forwards for Ipswich into the left channel, Kellett their supporting Cossey getting the ball in the box tackled the ball behind for the corner. An inswinging ball by Nash claimed high on her line by Leeks. Thomas busy in defence at right back for Needham market as Cossey looks to attack Kellett sending the pass into her run the defender doing well to stick her foot in take the ball. 

Ipswich Town Women’s Zoe Cossey

  Needham Market trying to get there strikers into the game whenever they can a ball long into the right chased down by Balfour her cross into the box cleared by Lindsey Cooper. The ball out from the back has Cossey attacking left checking back top of the area curls a cross in towards the six yard box, Ipswich captain, Amanda Crump meeting it n the volley the ball straight at and held by Leeks. Needham Market doing okay in the early stages mostly defensive Stock vocal leading well, Young in midfield looking to find a forwards ball. Hubbard latching onto a loose ball in the middle bursting on into the area stopped by Thomas, Nicola Henderson clearing.

Needham Market’s Nicola Henderson

  Amber Sparkes playing the ball through for Balfour in attack, Aimee Stretch getting in front of her in defence for Ipswich to guide the ball back to her keeper. First Thomas, then Kellett fouled to the right attacking for Ipswich 30 yards out Paige Wakefield sending both free-kicks high. Ipswich press forwards numbers in attack looking for the opening goal Cossey left he cross long Nash jumping far post can’t reach it. Emily Steward with a rare opportunity to attack for Needham Market looking to combine with Tuley in attack the return pass cut out at the back.

  Kellett in behind off a Needham Market throw misjudged on the left to the byline cuts her cross back central the ball met by Crump driven goalwards Leeks diving to her right making a fantastic save pushing the ball behind for a corner. Put in from the left Cooper up from the back heading the back wide of the near post. 

 GOAL! 27 minutes played and Ipswich’s pressure brings the opening goal attacking down the right the ball crossed in to the near side top of the six yard box Leeks coming to claim doesn’t get it fall straight into the path of Kellett beyond and she sends it into the back of the net. 1-0.

Charlotte Kellett with the opening goal at Portman Road

  Young back to help in defence for Needham Market top of the area tackling Crump as she looks for a one two with Kellett. Thomas looking lively for Ipswich and hungry to score coming on right side holding the ball up finds room to get a shot away the effort over the bar. Cossey lets out a roar of frustration as she sees her 25 yard strike held by Leeks as she is given the ball by Crump. Henderson putting in the tackle to deny Thomas as she threatens to run in behind. Pace in the Needham Market side penned back they can’t exploit it their attacking players seeing little of the ball. 

  Henderson carrying the ball out from the back for Needham Market forwards to Balfour looks to send the ball on for Tuley who is upended. The free-kick played up towards the top of the area Ipswich heading it away. Ipswich creating and getting numbers on haven’t found the clinical edge yet. Needham Market battling, Francesca Rainbird wanting to get forwards more often than not supporting Stock in defence on the left. The game entering the final 5 minutes of the 1st half. 

Post! Cossey getting hold of the ball on the left dribbling inside 25 yards out drawing the attention of the Needham Market defence, Thomas slipping into a gap near post as Cossey sends her the pass she sends the ball on towards goal cannons off the base of the upright. Wakefield with the ball on for Cossey left cuts back and sends a shot long past the far post. Cossey continues to be a menace on the left getting away to cross the ball falls to Crump at the back stick strikes a shot in towards goal, Leeks with another fine stop diving to push the ball wide. 

Into injury time Ipswich push forwards looking for another goal. Needham Market although on the back foot for long spells haven’t been overwhelmed and to keep it at 1-0 going into the changing rooms a great achievement. Cossey getting down to the byline sending the ball back towards the near post Thomas with the well timed run meeting her puts the ball straight into Leeks. 

  GOAL! Right on the stroke of half-time Ipswich get the 2nd goal they wanted, Crump bringing the ball on lays it on for Thomas breaking away into the area right of goal, hits it well putting the ball across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner. 2-0.

Half-time Ipswich Town Women 2-0 Needham Market Women

  A crucial goal right on the stroke of half-time for Ipswich Town Women to see them finish a strong 1st half leading the Suffolk Women’s County Cup final 2-0. Have been the dominant side by far and created plenty of chances not as clinical as they would like so far but you can only soak up so much pressure. Needham Market doing okay creating nothing in attack as of yet Ipswich getting the ball forwards with intent regularly Young doing well in the middle trying to break up attacks Ipswich though with options all over the pitch. The 2nd goal so late a blow a 1-0 deficit going along way to encourage Needham Market heading into the 2nd half.

Needham Market to get the 2nd half underway their supporters shouting encouragement. Ipswich get hold of the ball straight away however Thomas getting on through the middle her run stopped by Smith. 

GOAL! The worst possible start to the 2nd half for Needham Market as their opponents go further in front the ball played into Thomas left of goal as she enters the box catching it with the outside of her boot lifts the ball on past the keeper into the top corner to score her 2nd of the game and see Ipswich lead 3-0.

Ipswich Town Women attacker, Natasha Thomas (picture credit Gary Reed)

  Needham Market look to be positive the ball played long for Rainbird looking to get away down the left wing the flag halting her progress.

  GOAL! 3 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Ipswich take full control of the final getting a 4th goal. Cossey with the ball left on for Crump bursting forwards the Ipswich captain moving left down the line with the ball at her feet getting into the box close to the byline the angle against her nevertheless strikes it goalwards the ball squeezing under Leeks and inside the post as she goes down for it 4-0.

Ipswich captain, Amanda Crump (picture credit Gary Reed)

  Thomas moving left has support from Hubbard getting on the ball played inside to Cossey she takes it on shooting from 25 yards out Leeks claiming it. Niamh Thomas out to charge down the ball as Hubbard gets on down the left attacking for Ipswich. Stock in to clear for Needham Market her side a little shell shocked at the start to the 2nd half. Young with a fantastic ball long to the left Rainbird and Tuley after it, Cooper in between intercepting taking the ball to the left Tuley in to nick it turns back into the area, getting a shot away as Cooper slides in the ball blocked by the defender and Fagg in goal. 

  Cossey up the other end getting a shot away from distance, forcing Leeks to tip the ball over. Thomas surging into the box getting in behind shooting from the angle the goalkeeper parrying it behind for a corner right side put in central headed down, Rainbird on the post blocking for Needham Market. Ipswich strong in attack coming forwards with more intent Thomas moving across the back line to make herself available, Crump with several good runs from the middle to support. 

  Changes for both sides, with Milly Carter on for Steward, a double switch for Ipswich Stretch and Pannifer off at the back, Flo Cage and Jac Ball on. The support hasn’t been dampened in good voice another well supported final with 769 in attendance. 

   GOAL! close to an hour on the clock and Ipswich extend their lead further a fine individual goal for Nash as she attacks right, breaking on into the area stays on her feet as Henderson tackles, the evading Stock sliding in the ball sent across the keeper and inside the side netting to see Ipswich go 5-0 up.

Ipswich’s Amy Nash with Needham Market’s Francesca Rainbird (picture credit Gary Reed)

   Nash coming off then replaced by Sophie Welton, Natasha Thomas off too with Toni-Anne Wayne. The substitutes looking to link on the right in attack straight away Smith doing the defending for Needham Market. A double switch for Needham Market then with Smith and Balfour coming off for Amy Dunn and Ashleigh Goddard. Cossey keeps trying her luck from distance another shot sailing over the bar. Needham Market aren’t deterred prepared to attack and try and get forwards whenever they can, Ipswich’s movement and counter attacking dangerous.

  GOAL! 67 minutes on the clock and Ipswich score another with Wayne running in behind onto a long ball taking it into the box staying composed as she is closed down clever with her movement away left any tackle likely to result in a penalty she closes in on the keeper and slots it past Leeks to score. 6-0.

 Dunn does well making a recovering tackle to concede the corner as Kellett gets forwards into the box. 

  GOAL! 3 minutes after taking a 6 goal lead Ipswich moving the ball well in attack score a well worked 7th, Crump with it at her feet on the left level with the top of the area passing it inside to Kellett central she sends it on to Welton ahead of her right of goal six yards out she shoots across the keeper to find the bottom corner 7-0.

  GOAL! A purple patch from Ipswich as they add an 8th in quick succession Kellett bringing the ball on through the middle on for Wayne in behind inside the box sets up Crump forwards with her on the her left for a simple tap in to make it 8-0.

  Ipswich running away with it now Needham Market making a change with Abbie Wilkinson on for Tuley. Ipswich substitute their goalkeeper Fagg off, Danni Clarke going on between the sticks. Ipswich who are restricted to three substitutes in the FAWNL rolling the changes at Portman Road in the County Cup make multiple changes towards the end of the game. Stock having battled for Needham Market coming off Smith returning to the action. 

  Needham Market despite the heavy scoreline continue with their positive intent getting forwards cheered on whenever they get the ball Sparkes through the middle stopped by Cage. Rainbird bursting forwards showing what she can do in attack getting in behind into the box one on one with the keeper, Clarke does well saving at her feet. Henderson prepared to bring the ball out of defence onto Young her pass for Wilkinson intercepted. Rainbird with Sparkes left Jac Ball cutting out finding Cossey central she puts it on for Crump top of the area she shoots over. 

  Thomas passing to Wakefield running on into the area left side her strike goalwards saved by Leeks the loose ball gathered by Welton 20 yards out her shot put over. Henderson defending as Wayne attacks conceding a corner on the right the ball met by Wayne near post her header dropping over. Thomas getting in behind 25 yards out tees up Wayne to send a shot in goalwards the ball smashing down off the crossbar. Wakefield taking the ball on plays a one two with Crump central before seeing her shot drop wide of goal. 

  Into added time Rainbird bursting clear right into the box taking the ball in close the the keeper placing it wide of her inside the near post, the crowd cheer seeing a Needham Market goal scored at Portman Road or so they thought Rainbird’s joy short-lived a chorus of boo’s ringing out at the sight of the flag raised for offside. Young winning the ball back high up the pitch on for Sparkes 25 yards out her low shot gathered by Clarke late on.

Full time Ipswich Town Women 8-0 Needham Market Women

  Full time and Ipswich Town Women celebrate winning the County Cup once again matching the scoreline the last time they graced Portman Road winning 8-0. Found the clinical edge not with them 2nd half taking full advantage o Needham Market’s inexperience and as they tired create goal scoring opportunities taking their chances well. Showing good movement going forwards and using the space to full advantage, an early 3rd goal 2nd half putting them in full control after scoring at the death in the first half.

These defeats hurt, will take the gloss of what Needham Market Women have acheived the score raw in the memory, but over time those achievements will return, a goal would have been nice at Portman Road but it wasn’t to be. A great occasion nonetheless. In the end runners-up in all three competitions but to be in contention for a possible treble just months after forming is amazing and for Needham Market Women this is just the beginning.

Needham Market Women thanking their supporters

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time for tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few players to mention, for Needham Market, Elysia Young in midfield and Nicola Henderson at the back standing out. For Ipswich, Zoe Cossey was a threat all game running with the ball an unlucky not to be on the scoresheet. Natasha Thomas did score two goals crucial to either side of half-time great movement and desire shown in attack runs tonight’s winner close with Ipswich captain Amanda Crump getting the award make some fantastic runs forwards and scoring two herself whilst setting up chances for others.

Ipswich Town Women, 2018/19 Suffolk Women’s County Cup winners

  Congratulations to Ipswich Town Women on winning a 5th successive Suffolk Women’s County Cup.

 Not the pre-match to a game I wanted but got there in the end and enjoyed the game Portman Road a great venue, a fantastic crowd in support. My thanks to those that helped me out and thanks to Gary Reed for the additional pictures used.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 5th May

Norfolk Ladies League Cup Final

Sprowston Ladies v Tavern Ladies

 A brief rest before moving on to my 2nd game from today’s Norfolk Finals Day, the League Cup itself this season being contested by Sprowston Ladies from Division One taking on Division Two side Tavern Ladies. 

  Before that however the Ladies 7’s final was also taking place this afternoon on the pitch behind the main stadium. A repeat of last season’s final with Costessey Sports taking on Hellesdon Belles. Costessey Sports winning the final 6-2 last season to make it back to back wins were looking for a 3rd successive triumph, the pair drawing 1-1 at half-time, Costessey Sports went on to score twice more in the 2nd half to win the final 3-1 a continue thier dominance in the competition.

   Easy to forget Sprowston Ladies are such a young side having done so well since joining the women’s leagues, alot of the squad together since early youth level have grown together as a team. Pushing Bungay Town Ladies all the way in the title race in Division One last season eventually clinching runners-up spot aswell as winning last season’s League Plate Final. A slower start to the season this time around some rebuilding to be done at the start of the season with a few players moving on to test themselves at a higher level.

  Bringing in youth as is their tradition the squad slowly gained momentum little to be done to stop runaway leaders Thorpe United Ladies, Sprowston nevertheless climbing the table to reach 2nd as they completed their league fixtures. Have since dropped to 3rd with Gorleston Ladies overhauling them to finish runners-up. At finals day yet again saving some of their best form for the League Cup. Victoria Leyer once again top scorer with 28 goals so far this season.

Dereham based, Tavern Ladies are firmly amongst the sides challenging for promotion in Division Two, in 2nd position tied on points with Fakenham Town Ladies who have a game in hand, both looking to finish 2nd in the league the pendulum swinging back and fourth with a handful of games left. Have been in great form after making a losing start, scoring plenty of goals along the way. 74 goals between attackers Atlanta Griffith and Katie Hart-Copsey. Griffith with 23 of those whilst Hart-Copsey has scored an incredible 51 goals to date. The only side to defeat league champions Taverham Women United on their way to the Division Two title. A great run to reach the League Cup Final including knocking out the Division One champions, Thorpe United Ladies.

Road to the Final

  A bye for Sprowston in the first round of the competition. Tavern Ladies were at their Scarning Playing Fields home taking on fellow Division Two side Bulldogs Ladies a comfortable 7-1 win seeing them progress.

  Sprowston beginning their league Cup campaign in the 2nd Round in the New Year away to fellow Division One side Aylsham Ladies who had shown great form in the first half of the season. There to watch as Sprowston put in a dominant performance to win the game 7-1 with both Amee Kennett and Leyer scoring a brace. Tavern were at home again taking on a fellow Division Two side, Bure Valley Wildcats Ladies, leading 2-0 at half-time Tavern added a further two goals 2nd half to reach the quarter finals.

  Sprowston at home to Division Two title chasers Fakenham Town Ladies, another dominant performance saw them leading 4-0 at half-time, Leyer scoring 5 goals in the match helping them on to a 10-0 victory. Tavern were at home for a 3rd time taking on Hockering Ladies the Division Two side reinstated to the competition after holders Bungay Town Ladies were removed from the competition having infringed the rules. Hockering struggling for numbers all season suffering a big loss with both Griffith and Hart-Copsey scoring 4 goals each on their way to a 12-0 win.

  Into the semi-finals Tavern looking the underdogs in a strong line-up. Sprowston young guns away to the even younger Taverham Women United. 3-1 to the good against the Division Two leaders at half-time, a hat-trick for Abby Hutchin along with another 4 goals for Leyer seeing Sprowston into a 2nd successive final winning the game 8-1. Tavern were at home again taking on Division One leaders Thorpe United Ladies a battling performance seeing the sides all square at 1-1 at half-time Tavern scoring late on in the 2nd half to win the game 2-1 and reach their first ever final.

 We’re still at Plantation Park so nothing has changed from the first game, the rain hasn’t come which is fantastic remaining chilly in the shade the pitch hard dust coming off the surface as the ball is struck. Tavern in particular bringing good support, their the more vocal at least.

Sprowston Ladies starting XI – Megan Lightfoot, Evie Tolson, Georgina Belton, Calista Tink (C), Hannah Roe, Ria Drake, Abbi Nobbs, Abby Hutchin, Millie rake, Amee Kennett & Victoria Leyer. Subs – Jade Mundford, Rebecca Basten & Chelsea Brister.

Tavern Ladies starting XI – Zoe Gibbons, Emily Fusco, Danni Lee, Roxy Bailey, Lydia Hooper, Millie Bell (C), Nicole Costin, Meganne Smith, Lucy Kean, Atlanta Griffith & Katie Hart-Copsey. Subs – Natalie Merry, Jordie Head & Gemma Higgot.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Sprowston to get the League Cup final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing orange coloured shirts with black across the top and shoulders, black shorts and orange socks. Tavern lined up opposite with an all blue kit with white trim. Sprowston look to play the ball out to the right, Nicole Costin straight in to win the ball for Tavern cutting the ball out playing it on to Hart-Copsey in attack, Sprowston captain Calista Tink marking her winning the ball.

Victoria Leyer on the attack for Sprowston Ladies

   Atlanta Griffith bringing the ball on through the middle for Tavern looks to send it on for Hart-Copsey pulling away to the left, Georgina Belton across to intercept for Sprowston. Costin with a strike from distance the ball bouncing up off the hard surface, grabbed by Sprowston goalkeeper, Megan Lightfoot. A higher tempo to the game straight away from this mornings match, Tavern taking the game to Sprowston, Griffith with some forceful runs early on has support from Lucy Kean to her right playing the ball to her the cross into the box is long. 

  Abby Hutchin with a strong run with the ball bringing it on covering alot of ground the ball put on into the area for Leyer stopped form shooting by Tavern’s Roxy Bailey pushing her wide Leyer managing to squeeze a cross into the six yard box the ball headed clear. Sprowston win a corner on the right Tink up from the back meeting it near post turned goalwards Tavern with bodies in front of goal scrambling it clear. Hart-Copsey moving left to get onto the ball plays it in field to Griffith 25 yards out she has a shot the ball in comfortable for Lightfoot. 

Atlanta Griffith carrying the ball forwards for Tavern Ladies

 Tink lunging into the tackle blocks Griffith as she gets in to shoot right outside the box. Both sides closing down and press the attack one the ball is won. Nobbs tackling playing the ball up to Leyer in attack, Lydia Hooper putting a foot in to take the ball away from her. Leyer prepared to take players on gets the ball from Amee Kennett on the left bringing it in field lets fly from 20 yards out her effort racing wide across the Tavern goal.

Sprowston Ladies captain, Calista Tink

  Leyer holding the ball up 25 yards out sends it on up the line left for Kennett, Emily Fusco preventing the cross for Tavern. Griffith on the ball attacking right for Tavern 20 yards out squares the cross inside to Hart-Copsey struck first time the shot lacking pace gathered by Lightfoot. The Tavern strikers combining again, Griffith on the right bringing the ball on inside to Hart-Copsey once more shoots from the angle, Lightfoot down at her near post to save. 

Tavern Ladies captain, Millie Bell

  Leyer racing into space on the right channel in behind into the box goalkeeper Zoe Gibbons out to close her down, the Sprowston attacker getting her shot away Gibbons with minimal contact on the ball slowing it down enough as it runs on towards goal to allow Hooper running back to clear the ball off the line. Tavern under pressure Sprowston get bodies forwards on the right winning a corner the ball put in near post headed on by Tink met by Kennett at the back post she smashes a shot in high Gibbons saving tipping the ball over.

  GOAL! From the resulting corner the lead is gained, Tink the target once again the ball sent in towards the near post the defender glancing it on into the middle dropping into a crowded six yard box the ball is driven in towards goal hitting the hoardings behind the net bounces back out, Sprowston after a brief moment of hestitation celebrating the goal, Georgina Belton with the telling touch. 1-0. 20 minutes played.

Sprowston Ladies, Georgina Belton

A change for Sprowston Millie Drake coming off on comes Chelsea Brister. Griffith continues to make threatening runs through the middle played on by captain Millie Bell strikes from 25 yards out a swerving shot caught well by Lightfoot. Belton pushing on up the right for Sprowston the ball crossed into the area Leyer making a near post run, Hooper winning it for Tavern. A nasty looking fall for Kean in the middle as she goes down under challenge landing heavily on her back jars her neck play immediately stopped the trainer rushing on. A pause whilst she is assessed up gingerly looked painful sensibly is brought off for further assessment, Jordie Head the player coming on.

 Hooper and Bailey combine to dispossess Leyer as she tries to force her way through the middle into the box the ball cleared to the right Sprowston keep it alive Kennett to cross in Leyer hooking a shot over from 8 yards out. Rebecca Basten on for Sprowston for Ria Drake. Leyer given time and space 20 yards out to tee up a strike central the ball racing in low pushed away by Gibbons diving to her right. Nobbs onto Hutchin the ball put over the top for Leyer to burst in behind Bailey recovering well to get back across her so shield the ball into her keeper. Tavern doing well competitive, Griffith forwards shooting from distance safely held by Lightfoot, Tavern having nothing inside Sprowston’s box yet with Tink marking Hart-Copsey well.

Tavern Ladies, Lydia Hooper

 Belton brought down by Bell getting on cutting inside from the right a free-kick 25 yards out, Hannah Roe forwards to take, an ambitious effort trying to get the ball to loop in over the keeper near post the ball instead dropping wide. Brister winning a corner right for Sprowston met again by Tink coming near post the attempt turned wide. Costin tracks Hutchin as she tries to get away on the right tackling to regain the ball.

Nicole Costin

 Hutchin upended by Smith central late in the first half a change before it’s taken Smith coming off Kean back on. Mayhem in the box from the free kick put up towards the top of the box Tink heading it down into the middle Leyer latching onto it inside the six yard box left of goal, Gibbons down at her feet the ball almost squeezing through Gibbons plucking it off the line, cleared straight to Brister positioned at the opposite post shoots Gibbons still grounded with a fantastic save throwing herself towards the ball getting a arm up to parry it away, the defence scrambling the ball clear. 

Sprowston’s Chelsea Brister with Tavern’s Danni Lee

 Danni Lee cutting out a ball played inside for the right to prevent Leyer getting into the box. Nobbs winning the ball in the middle on for Leyer 30 yards out has a go the shot held by Gibbons.

Half-time Sprowston Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies

  A narrow lead for Sprowston at half-time 1-0 up, could and probably should have had more but for heroic goalkeeping from Gibbons looking solid through the middle Tink, Nobbs, Hutchin and Leyer in attack all doing well. Tavern playing their part however competitive battling for the ball getting forwards whenever they have the ball Griffith with some great runs shots from outside the box not troubling Lightfoot so far. Tavern to get the 2nd half underway the ball put to the right, Tolson closing Fusco down the ball pressed early the ball ending up behind for a goalkick Tavern break as the ball is played long up top for Hart-Copsey to chase, Roe in to tackle the ball wide for a throw in.

Abby Hutchin with Tavern’s Lucy Kean

  Griffith up on the right does well to win Tavern a corner the ball delivered from the right by Hart-Copsey won by Tink for Sprowston inside the box. Getting forwards Hutchin on the ball right plays it inside to Leyer top of the area hooks her first time strike wide of the near post. Kennett bringing the ball forwards left with the diagonal ball central for Leyer 25 yards out, pushed wide by Bailey nevertheless gets a cross away into the box with Tolson after it Gibbons rushing forwards their first to kick clear. 

Leyer lively in attack keeping the Tavern defence on their toes Nobbs putting the ball on into her run, Hooper defending concedes the corner. Players up for the corner ball angled towards the top of the area a shot driven in blocked by Costin comes back out meet by a Sprowston attack the ball sent over the bar. Leyer pressing the defence the ball outside the box running int Tolson central pokes a shot wide of the left post. 

Tavern’s Nicole Costin with Sprowston’s Abby Hutchin

  A free-kick to Tavern on the left into Griffith central has support from Kean getting forwards on her left sending her the pass Kean checks back inside getting a shot away from outside the box. Lightfoot behind it saving comfortably. Sprowston with a corner left taken short the cross put in from the top of the area Tink with the near post run, Hooper going with her blocking her shot. Bell brought down central a free-kick to Tavern, Costin to send it up into the area, Tink winning the header. Sprowston pushing for a 2nd goal Leyer in particular as she drives into the area from the left, checks her run to try and find a half yard to unleash a shot, Bailey putting her body on the line to block. 

  The referee playing the advantage as Kean coming on is fouled by Tink, the ball rebounding in behind Hart-Copsey after it left shooting from the edge of the box a deflection seeing the ball put wide for a corner kick. Sprowston winning the header at the near post the ball sent over the bar. Tavern working hard in defence to keep the scoreline down whilst Costin and Kean try to get on to support Griffith and Hart-Copsey in attack. Belton is down having taken a knock to the ankle cannot continue helped off the field on comes Jade Mundford. 

Tavern’s Katie Hart-Copsey with Sprowston’s Rebecca Basten

  Head on the right for Tavern getting forwards with support from Fusco wins a throw high up the pitch, Griffith then getting Tavern a corner kick. Hart-Copsey making a near post run meeting the ball to hook it towards goal, Lightfoot back on her line claiming the high ball. Hutchin picking up the ball deep allowed to drive on through the middle almost squeezes through in on goal, Bailey in to tackle sends the ball behind. Natalie Merry coming on for Tavern replacing Bell. The game entering the final 15 minutes still just the one goal in it. 

  Costin winning the ball on the right plays it central on for Griffith, Basten closing her down winning the tackle for Sprowston. Millie Drake back on for Sprowston replacing Roe. Costin bringing the ball on right Fusco past her on the overlap receiving the ball crosses into the box, Basten beating Hart-Copsey to the ball. Kean pushing forwards with the ball getting into the box, closed down plays the ball back to Griffith top of the box she strikes a shot up over the bar. 

Sprowston Ladies, Abbi Nobbs

  Leyer carrying the ball on right coming inside, Merry sliding in to tackle and win the ball for Tavern look to get the ball up field, Nobbs cutting it out. Fusco’s momentum coming forwards sees her collide with Kennett on halfway a free-kick for Sprowston left Nobbs putting the ball on Tolson breaking clear into the box left Gibbons coming out to close her down, the shot past her defenders racing back Hooper with the clearance. A corner on the left Tavern defend the ball played forwards a late change for Tavern with Gemma Higgott on for Lee little time to make an impact as Sprowston prevent Tavern getting out of their half to see the final whistle blow and celebrate winning this season’s League Cup. 

Full time Sprowston Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies

  An entertaining final played at a good tempo both sides committed, Tavern contesting the ball trying to find a reply in the 2nd period having gone a goal down in the first half. Sprowston limiting their opportunities, not able to find a 2nd goal themselves 2nd half half and make the result more comfortable. Sprowston having the better of the chances, Leyer in particular a threat in attack. Tavern with a creditable performance edged out by a single goal.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   A second Women’s Football East – Player of the Match to give this afternoon, several notable performances from both sides. Atlanta Griffith with some great runs with the ball a threat for Tavern, Nicole Costin with some fine tackles in midfield too. For Sprowston Calista Tink strong in defence keeping a close watch on Hart-Copsey especially first half a threat up the other end in the box too. Victoria Leyer pushing forwards in attack always willing to take players on. Abby Hutchin with several storming runs on the ball. The award however goes to Abbi Nobbs the unsung heroine of the side solid in the middle winning the ball and happy for others to take it on in attack, ready whenever possession breaks down.

Congratulations to Sprowston Ladies on winning this season’s Norfolk Ladies League Cup

Sprowston Ladies, 2018/19 Norfolk Ladies League Cup winners

 Another enjoyable day watching the Norfolk Ladies League Plate and Cup Finals, my thanks to everyone for there help this afternoon, the clubs and committee members much appreciated.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 5th May

Norfolk Ladies League Plate Final

Sprowston Athletic Ladies v Beccles Town Ladies

 An early start to day this Sunday with a trip east along the A47 to Plantation Park for this season’s Norfolk Women’s & Girls Football League Finals Day. Three games in total, the action kicking off at 10am with the League Plate Final this season being contested by Sprowston Athletic Ladies and Beccles Town Ladies.

 The Ladies League Plate competition introduced in the 2015/16 season sees the sides knocked out of the early rounds in the League Cup go on to contest the Plate, both of today’s opponents running foul of Taverham Women United knocked out of the Cup, Taverham’s young guns making a blistering start to playing in women’s football for the first time winning the Division Two title losing just one game along the way.

  A third successive finals day appearance for Sprowston this Sunday in their various guises over recent season’s. Reaching the in Plate final the 2016/17 losing to King’s Lynn Town Ladies. As FC Sprowston Ladies last season reached the final of the League Cup itself whilst winning the Division Two title, were taking on Bungay Town Ladies both sides entering the game looking for a league and cup double, a single goal scored in the 2nd half seeing Bungay win the trophy. Entering Division One, the club joining forces with Sprowston Athletic FC. Didn’t get off to a good start playing in the higher league losing their opening 3 games but since then have picked up some notable results and rising up the table an encouraging finish as they secured a top half position in the league.

  Promoted with FC Sprowston Ladies last season were Beccles Town Ladies making their debut in women’s football, pushing their opponents all the way in the title race. Life in Division One has been tough however finishing bottom have struggled with an awful injury list and long spells without a game, despite all that, the club continues to have a positive outlook. Is well supported by Beccles Town FC. Reaching their first ever final the club making the trip down to Wembley Stadium yesterday to watch the FA Women’s Cup, where they saw local girl, Lauren Hemp score for Manchester City Women as they beat West Ham United Women 3-0. 

 Road to the Final

    A bye for Beccles in the 1st Round of the Plate competition. Sprowston were away to Division Two side Gorleston Rangers Ladies a 6-1 victory seeing them comfortably through to the quarter finals.

  Another away trip for Sprowston in the last 8 of the Plate competition once more taking on Division Two opposition, Bure Valley Wildcats Ladies leading 2-0 at half-time Sprowston went on to win the game 5-1 with Melissa Belsey scoring a hat-trick. Beccles Town Ladies were at home taking on Bulldogs Ladies bottom of Division Two with Beccles leading heavily the game was abandoned due to a serious injury to Bulldogs captain Emma Johnson the game to be played again, Beccles comfortable winning 9-0 to book their spot in the last 4.

   An all Division One line-up in the semi-finals, Sprowston at home taking on Wymondham Town Ladies Reserves, a brace form Katie Fray plus a goal for Olivia Leggett seeing them through the the final with a 3-1 win. Beccles were away playing Aylsham Ladies in the semi-finals a goal in each half from captain Megan Vincent seeing Beccles into their first final.

Plantation Park the home of Norwich United FC once again the venue for the NWGFL Finals Day, home to Norwich City Ladies too and they were down to play their final game of the season at home against Billericay Town Ladies, that game switched to Fakenham Town FC’s Clipbush Park. The pitch at Plantation Park offers plenty of with a surprisingly good condition at the end of the season, not had the weather on it however a mild and very dry winter good grass coverage if anything perhaps a little hard and in need of some moisture. Dark clouds overhead heavy downpours a possibility hopefully not anything like Norfolk had the day before. Chilly the sun trying to make an appearance. The bar open with hot food and drinks on sale.

Sprowston Athletic Ladies starting XI – Tyla Cole, Hannah Taylor (C), Sophie Rose, Keri Boorman, Olivia Leggett, Katie Fray, Nicole Read, Rebecca Kirby, Rachel Bussey, Kate Morris & Laura Jenkins. Subs – Megan Belsey, Melissa Belsey & Monica Cass.

 Beccles Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Pearce, Emily Coe, Elisha Maher, Megan Vincent (C), Poppy Wilson, Vicky Ottey, Fran Heaney, Lucy Robbens, Bethan Owen, Darcie Keiley & Eva Evans. Subs – Chelsea Caplin, Marie Carter & Poppy Fenn.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   It’s Beccles to get the Plate final underway kicking off 1st half wearing white shirts with black shorts and socks. Sprowston wearing orange coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Beccles play the ball on right for Bethan Owen to chase support from Elisha Maher coming on from fullback, Rachel Bussey tackling for Sprowston the ball out for a throw in. A bright start from Beccles have Sprowston penned back in their half the ball worked across the top of the area Fran Heaney out to Darcie Keiley left she gets a throw taken quickly Heaney turning to put a cross into the box from 25 yards out safely gathered by Sprowston goalkeeper Tyla Cole. 

Rebecca Kirby winning the tackle for Sprowston.

  Sprowston get up the left a throw high up the pitch, on into the area Laura Jenkins near side heading it on to the far post Kate Morris closing in, Beccles captain Megan Vincent in to win the ball put it behind for the 1st corner of the game. The ball played in by Rebecca Kirby long across the six yard box a touch far post deflecting in goalwards Beccles goalkeeper Chloe Pearce down making a reactive save the ball pushed out of the area a shot driven back in a nick deflecting it wide a corner signalled. Pearce coming for it near post misses it over her is blocked and cleared by the defender on the post. 

Sprowston Athletic Ladies, Laura Jenkins

  Katie Fray getting on the ball in the middle bringing it on for Sprowston sees Morris making a run away into the right channel picks her out Morris travelling on into the area, Vincent getting back at her to make the challenge the ball away for a throw. Eva Evans in attack for Beccles running onto the ball right comes inside looking to get into the area is pulled down a free-kick awarded Lucy Robbens to play the ball into the area the delivery cleared headed back out to the right Robbens taking a touch lining up a shot the ball charged down. 

Katie Fray attacking for Sprowston Athletic Ladies

  Fray breaking up a Beccles counter attack as captain Hannah Taylor gets forwards on the right her cross intercepted. Owen dribbling with the ball right wing cuts inside and shoots for Beccles the effort tame easily gathered by Cole. Players up for Sprowston as they win a throw high up on the right the ball put on for Morris getting her foot wrapped around it on the byline sends a cross back into the box, Keri Boorman attacking it from 8 yards out under challenge lifts a shot in across goal the rising ball hitting the crossbar. 

  Vincent with another timely interception sticking a leg out to prevent Morris running clear from Fray’s through ball. Sprowston starting to see more of the ball getting players forwards Taylor high on the right winning a corner. The ball from Kirby in towards the near post defended the clearance straight to Sprowston’s Nicole Read positioned inside the D controls before playing it to Fray to her right the midfielder brought down right on the edge of the box a free-kick awarded. Sophie Rose on it gets her shot past the wall but not Pearce beyond the ball straight into her midriff. 

 Vicky Ottey through the middle driving on with the ball has Evans ahead of her the striker playing it out to Keiley left, Taylor sliding in conceding the throw taken quickly Robbens away down the left her cross into the area long. Heaney getting back to help the defence an throw for Sprowston right pt inside for Morris a poke goalwards from the top of the area runs wide of the post. Poppy Wilson defending well inside the box as Jenkins left looks to get onto the end of a diagonal ball from the left by Fray. 

Beccles Town Ladies, Lucy Robbens

 Midway through the 1st half Sprowston beginning to get on top have Beccles penned back, Fray with support from Read in the middle breaking up Beccles attacks before they can begin. Kirby looks to play the ball on for Morris right get forwards to receive the cross in top of the area, close on Vincent looks to shift the ball take it in past her the defender reading it putting in the well timed tackle. Heaney getting forwards for Beccles her diagonal pass right looking for Owens stopped by Rose, Sprowston break forwards Morris with Kirby right side, Emily Coe managing to get enough on the ball to regain possession for Beccles. 

  Beccles make the first change of the game Chelsea Caplin on in attack replacing Evans. Rose doing well up against Heaney. The ball on left for Keiley a throw won played into the area Kirby inside the box up for the header the ball back to the keeper safe. A double change for Sprowston, Megan and Melissa Belsey coming on in place of Read and Morris. Olivia Leggett wining the ball at the back into Fray 40 yards out goes for goal catching the ball well doesn’t have the height to trouble Pearce. 

  Vincent although busy at the back is winning everything inside the box. Bussey cutting in field from the left drives a ball in towards the near post cut out by Wilson deflected behind for corner. Beccles making a change before it’s taken Ottey coming off, Evans back on. The corner defended Beccles struggle to get out the ball won back Kirby pushing on central checks and lays it back to Fray 25 yards out she hits it first time the shot straight at Pearce a comfortable save. 

  The ball played up the right for Melissa Belsey to chase with Coe the ball squared central to Leggett in a higher position with Megan Belsey at the back she looks to play it back to Fray to strike goalwards, Heaney sliding in denies the opportunity for Beccles. An injury late in the first half to Rose after on the pitch treatment need to come off Monica Cass coming on. Little goalmouth action Sprowston ending the half well pressing high Kirby getting on up the right, Coe tackling.

Half-time Sprowston Athletic Ladies 0-0 Beccles Town Ladies

  Goalless at the break neither keeper overly tested, Sprowston growing into the game on top for large spells have had Beccles penned back however their defence although the busier has coped well Boorman’s strike onto the bar their best chance so far. Are creating opportunities in attack and look the more likely to find the opening gal as it stands. Beccles not getting the ball into their opponents box too often have yet to trouble Cole in goal. 0-0 though you get the feeling at this stage there might just be one goal in it.

  Sprowston to get the 2nd half underway the ball out to the left Beccles defend Morris back on for Kirby. Jenkins up the wing into the right corner holding the ball up gets a throw the ball dropped into Bussey her cross fired in long across the face of goal, Melissa Belsey in at the far post can’t quite reach it. Pressing right the ball bouncing along the top of the area met by Fray on the volley her shot goalwards once more picking out Pearce. Coe getting outnumbered as Sprowston overload the right wing closes in to make a fine tackle to get the ball up field. Leggett picking up an injury has to go off for some treatment.

Beccles Town Ladies, Emily Coe

  Play resuming with a free-kick the stalemate continuing neither side looking like they are going to change the game with a goal. Vincent with a strong tackle at the ball the ball cleared through the middle on for Caplin she has a half a yard on the defence racing after the ball, Cole out of her area getting there first to clear. Sprowston having looked the more likely to score, Beccles having kept them out for so long are beginning to find a bit more going forwards Heaney influential on the ball central. Morris away right on for Melissa Belsey she cuts infield 20 yards out preparing to shoot Coe back to win the ball for Beccles.

Melissa Besley looking to get in behind for Sprowston

   A miscue at the back sees Melissa Belsey in behind left racing towards the box Maher back on her to slide in play the ball away from a throw. Sprowston with players up into the box for a corner kick on the right the ball fired in low towards Fray positioned top of the area she meets it first time lifting a shot wide across goal. Robbens comes off for Beccles on comes Ottey. Morris right squaring a cross into Leggett central 25 yards out her shot blocked by Vincent. Leggett comes off for Sprowston with Read back into the action. 

Beccles Town Ladies, Chelsea Caplin

 Read on the ball left up for Melissa Belsey nicks it off the defence running n behind into the area cutting inside before winning a corner kick. The cross played in put behind by Vincent for a 2nd corner on the left. Put in central a glancing touch sees the ball spin wide of the far post. Pearce sliding in to claim well top right of her box as Melissa Belsey plays the ball on. Heaney with a powerful run on the right taking the ball on lifts a cross into Caplin top of the area looking to control with her head and cushion it down for a shot, is closely marked by Megan Belsey tries to get in back to Heaney closing in from the right, Sprowston getting bodies back to defend. 

Beccles Town Ladies, Fran Heaney

   Fray through the middle on for Morris, Vincent sliding on to tackle the ball out to the right gathered by Melissa Belsey the cross sent in towards the near post Wilson getting a boot on it to send behind for the corner. Fray off for Sprowston, Leggett back on Poppy Fenn on for Keiley for Beccles. Evans off too with Robbens back on. Kirby returning for Sprowston Bussey off. The changes doing nothing to improve the tempo the neither side threatening to score cancelling each other out as Beccles defend Belsey in attack for Sprowston making some good runs played in by Leggett through the middle, Pearce racing out of her area clears. 

Sprowston Athletic Ladies, Rachel Bussey

Morris off for Sprowston, Bussey back on, Beccles on the attack Heaney brought down, Robbens on it right side delivers into the box Cole claiming the ball. Bussey on the ball right attacking for Sprowston gets into the area pulls the trigger her near post effort stopped by Pearce. Jenkins winning a corner on the left the ball put in towards the top of the area Read with the header the ball dropping wide of the right post. Into the closing minutes cannot see either side scoring. Pearce with a brave stop top of her area is hurt as she and Melissa Belsey come together the striker attacking the ball played in from the right. Pearce is okay up on her feet able to continue. A late corner for Sprowston right into the box, Vincent as she has done all game defending for Beccles.

Full time Sprowston Athletic Ladies 0-0 Beccles Town Ladies

  The 90 minutes end goalless the Plate Final heading into extra-time neither side looked like getting what would have most likely been the winning goal, Beccles coming into the attack a bit more 2nd half another 30 minutes to see if the game can be won in open play or we head into the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Extra-time

  Assistant Paul Coe departing to referee the 7’s final a substitute made with the officials. Sprowston t get the 1st half of extra-time underway. Attacking left the ball played into the top of the area long finds Cass advanced on the far side her strike dropping wide back across goal. Leggett sends Melissa Belsey on through the middle shooting from outside the box lifts her attempt over the crossbar. 

Jenkins on the left cuts in field 25 yards out before shooting no power behind the strike safely gathered by Pearce. Robbens with the ball for Beccles on for Owen right inside to Ottey gives Owen the return ball shooting the ball deflected behind for a corner, cut out at the near post for a 2nd corner this one dropping central inside the six yard box Heaney on it back to goal tries to control and turn into a shot, Sprowston in to scramble it away. 

Bethan Owen on the ball for Beccles Town Ladies

  Sprowston come right from a throw the ball crossed into the near post a spot of head tennis sees the ball fall to Melissa Belsey 8 yards out stabs her shot wide. Keiley back on for Beccles. Sprowston getting forwards not finding the one clinical chance they need.

Half-time Sprowston Athletic Ladies 0-0 Beccles Town Ladies

  15 minutes left a goal now would surely win it but it’s hard to see who it will be, Beccles battling hard to keep Sprowston out have had few opportunities themselves. Beccles get things underway. Owen off Evans back on. The flag up against Evans as Robbens plays the ball forwards. Fray on the ball central for Sprowston bouncing into her won’t fall favourably as she looks to shoot 20 yards out Vincent an Wilson closing her down. Heaney getting forwards with support from Caplin goes right wins a corner can do little else well marked inside the box, the corner behind.

  Evans brought down on the right a free-kick for Beccles, Robbens with an inviting ball in for runners to attack, Read winning the race for Sprowston in front of everyone to head behind for the corner. A good delivery into the middle of the six yard box Ottey on it can;t get a shot away pushed back for Vincent to strike a low shot back in the ball cannoning off the base of the right post! 

  Morris tries to get away into the right channel the ball lifted on Vincent with Coe getting back to regain possession for Beccles. Sprowston make further changes late on attacking can’t get a shot in to trouble Pearce, the final whistle blows and after 2 hours of football it remains goalless the game to be decided by a penalty shootout.

Full time Sprowston Athletic Ladies 0-0 Beccles Town Ladies

Penalties

  I hate penalty shootouts (as I may have mentioned before) a game though has to be settled and so each team has five penalties each then if they remain tied it goes to sudden death.

  Beccles to take the first penalty Wilson on the ball goes for placement high but too close to the keeper, Cole saving. Kirby to take Sprowston’s first penalty scores a low strike hit with pace low into the bottom corner past the keeper diving to her left. Sprowston 1-0 Beccles.

  Ottey with Beccles 2nd penalty a composed strike driven low into the bottom corner to score. Bussey matching her strike to score Sprowston’s 2nd penalty. Sprowston 2-1 Beccles.

   Maher up to take Beccles 3rd penalty puts it into the air a comfortable save for Cole shifting left. Rose next for Sprowston her penalty flying over the bar. Sprowston 2-1 Beccles.

  Robbens up next for Beccles sends her penalty in past the keep low to the right to score. Jenkins up next for Sprowston her penalty converted. Sprowston 3-2 Beccles.

  Vincent up to take Beccles 5th penalty has to score and does to put the sides level at 3 each. Read with the opportunity to win it for Sprowston puts her head int her hands as she sees her high effort saved by Pearce the shootout heading to sudden death! Sprowston 3-3 Beccles.

  It’s goalkeeper Pearce to take Beccles next penalty her strike too close to her counterpart Cole with the save. Morris forwards from half way to take smashes her low strike into the bottom corner and turns away in celebration as her teammates race forwards having won the League Plate. Sprowston winning 4-3 on penalties.

 A cruel way to settle a match but the winning goal didn’t look likely to come from normal play Beccles battling hard at the back defending Sprowston coming on but not finding a clinical edge. The longer it went on at 0-0 the more likely it looked to stay that way, either side nicking it at the end would have been harsh, Beccles doing well to take Sprowston all the way to penalties. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Katie Fray performing well in central midfield for Sprowston setting up attacks and breaking up play. Melissa Belsey a threat in attack always looking to get in behind. Fran Heaney doing her best to get things going in attack for Beccles with some good runs getting hold of the ball. The award though goes to Beccles captain Megan Vincent a towering performance in defence putting in some vital and well timed challenges thwarting Sprowston on several occasions.

So at the 3rd attempt of asking on a finals day in Norfolk, Sprowston get their hands on the trophy, the League Plate took all the way by their opponents end the season with silverware.

Sprowston Athletic Ladies 2018/19 Norfolk Ladies League Plate winners

  Congratulations to Sprowston Athletic Ladies on winning the Norfolk Ladies League Plate. 

 A fine effort from Beccles Town Ladies whose season isn’t quite over as they enter the BT Sports Pub Cup, wishing them the best of luck and will keep a look out for thier progress.

  My thanks to both clubs for their help with the team line-ups a brief rest and some food before we go again with the League Cup Final.

 

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Tuesday 30th April

Suffolk Women’s League Cup

Needham Market Women v East Bergholt United Ladies

A 2nd final in 3 days with a trip down to Suffolk for their League Cup Final to be contested by league newcomers Needham Market Women and league champions and current holders of the cup East Bergholt United Ladies.

 The Suffolk Women’s Division seeing growth this season with a host of new sides joining the league 12 in total. Needham Market Women pushing East Bergholt all the way in the title race.

A great debut season for Needham Market Women coming together in the summer, the squad building several names familiar having been part of Bacton United Ladies and Coplestonians Ladies. Hit the ground running winning their opening 5 league games matching East Bergholt’s 100% winning start, their 1st league defeat of the season at home to East Bergholt losing narrowly 3-2 Needham market nevertheless bounced back well returning the compliment with a 3-0 win against East Bergholt at the start of March that though East Bergholt’s only defeat, Needham Market losing 3 in total clinching runner-up spot, more success too in the cup competitions reaching both the finals of the League and County Cup to be played on Tues 7th May at Portman Road against Ipswich Town Women. Plenty of goals within the squad over 120 scored Francesca Rainbird top scorer with 33 goals.

  East Bergholt United Ladies completing the double last season unbeaten that year on their way to the title. Their squad a blend of experience and youth players learning their game opted for another season season in Suffolk to further player development rather than move up to the regional league above. Just that one loss to Needham Market blotting their league record this season the other 21 games won. Have applied to the ERWFL for promotion along with Needham Market themselves. Annie Northwood, East Bergholt’s top scorer with 40 goals to her name this season. Both sides growing within the county which ultimately is great for the game with one side dominating for so long.

Road to the Final

 Big away wins for both sides in the opening round of the League Cup, Needham Market scoring 8 without reply against Brettvale Ladies. East Bergholt with over twice that total winning 19-0 against University of Suffolk Women.

Needham Market at home in the quarter finals of the competition taking on Leiston St Margarets Ladies a 5-1 win seeing them into the last 4. East Bergholt progressing without kicking a ball awarded the away win over drawn opponents Woodbridge Town Ladies.

 A strong line-up for the semi-finals of the League Cup contested by the top 4 sides in the league itself, Needham Market away to Alresford Colne Rangers, scoring twice Needham Market secured victory and a cup final appearance in their first season together. East Bergholt away to local rivals Brantham Athletic Ladies. Always a competitive game between the two sides East Bergholt came out on top to win the game 3-1 to reach a 2nd successive League Cup final.

  This evening’s final taking place at Hadleigh United FC. Traffic from Swaffham through Thetford and Bury St Edmund slow going arrived later than I like but nevertheless is a picturesque part of the county. The main carpark already full the gates to the overflow carpark open the field behind the stadium filling up rapidly. A good number already there, the bar open, hot food and drinks available, a small stand filling on the other side of the pitch. A warm evening dry and clear.

Needham Market Women starting – Amber Leeks, Niamh Thomas, Megan Stock (C), Amy Dunn, Maria Smith, Elysia Young, Nicola Henderson, Amber Sparkes, Milly Carter, Francesca Rainbird & Lois Balfour. Subs – Jemma Mortimer, Josie Haward, Amy Trenter, Emily Steward & Jemma Wessels

 East Bergholt United Ladies starting XI – Kimberley Lynch, Harriet Meers, Jess Quinsee, Deben Faiers (C), Georgia Lockerbie, Millie Wilding, Charlotte McGrath, Jess Clarke Cara Savage, Stacey Teager & Annie Northwood. Subs – Katie Bruce, Pippa King, Charlotte Warren, Ellie Nitsche & Isla Romer-Lee.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

A good crowd building prior to kick-off the overflow carpark filling up it’s Needham Market to get this season’s League Cup Final underway kicking off 1st half wearing an all red kit with East Bergholt wearing green coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Pressing the ball straight away East Bergholt make ground on the left flank winning a couple of throws the final ball played long into the seen out for a goal kick by Needham Market captain Megan Stock. East Bergholt with the ball inside Needham Market’s half early on the ball played back to centre back Georgia Lockerbie she plays it long into the area safely claimed by Needham Market goalkeeper, Amber Leeks.

   Needham Market come left Francesca Rainbird driving on with the ball has support inside from Milly Carter 25 yards out she in turn plays it on central to striker Lois Balfour gets a shot away the ball racing low wide past the right post. Charlotte McGrath getting on the ball in the middle for East Bergholt passes to Cara Savage ahead of her the ball played into striker Stacey Teager she turns in behind her touch a little heavy, a race for it with the Needham market defence, Leeks coming for it but with Teager on her shoulder Amy Dunn clears it for a throw out left.

  Rainbird and Carter looking to get on up the left support from full back Niamh Thomas, Harriet Meers slowing down progress for East Bergholt. Keeping possession Needham market win a free-kick out wide 25 yards out the ball whipped in towards the near post dipping, goalkeeper Kimberly Lynch meeting it on the volley to launch clear of her area. Handball spotted in the middle a free-kick given to East Bergholt the ball put forwards runners after it the ball claimed by Leeks. Rainbird a threat from the start for Needham market on the left picking the ball up and prepared to take players on getting up the line attempts to play the pass inside to Balfour outside the box, Deben Faiers captaining East Bergholt with the interception at the back. 

  Savage right playing the ball forwards Annie Northwood giving chase in behind, Leeks racing out of her area gets to the ball first. Millie Wilding central for East Bergholt out to Northwood making a run into the left channel into the box checks inside before sending a shot over. East Bergholt have the ball left a throw in leading to a cross, Stock winning it at the back for Needham Market. 

  GOAL! East Bergholt making a promising start are hit on the counter Needham Market breaking to open the scoring in the 12th minute. Faiers having played the ball up to Teager in attack Needham Market deal with the bouncing ball putting it on for Rainbird breaking on the left with Balfour coming inside Rainbird shoots from 25 yards out a low ball heading towards goal, Lynch leaving the ball thinking it’s going wide of the near post, to her dismay it creeps inside the post to see Needham Market take the lead 1-0.

Francesca Rainbird with the opening goal for Needham Market Women

East Bergholt with a free-kick wide left inside the Needham Market half Jess Clarke to play it on into the area, Leeks getting her gloves on the ball a split second before being clattered into, down Needham Market’s defence are back quickly to scramble it away. Nicola Henderson combining with Balfour as the pair enter the East Bergholt half the through ball forwards finding Rainbird running clear the flag up against her having gone too early, close mind. 

  Again East Bergholt have a free-kick wide left similar to the previous Clarke lifting the ball long to the far post defended headed out of the area straight to McGrath a touch to set herself then let’s fly with a shot from 20 yards out, safely held by Leeks. Rainbird is the outlet for Needham Market looking to get the ball out left whenever they have possession, a pacy dribbler of the ball her run taking her into the area forcing East Bergholt to concede the corner. Played in from the left central inside the six yard box Lynch up well to get a glove up to clear the danger. Needham Market giving away several free-kicks the East Bergholt bench complaining. 

  East Bergholt getting a corner on the right the deliver dropping near post met turned goalwards Leeks with a reactive save stopping the ball on the line with her legs deflecting it back out to the left put back in the keeper catching it this time. Needham Market make the first change of the game Carter the player coming off on comes Josie Haward. East Bergholt get bodies forwards left a cross delivered into the box, Stock meeting it to clear, Wilding looking to reclaim it outside the box pushed over a free-kick. 20 yards out left of the D Wilding on it goes for the shot over the bar. 

  The ball played on up the right by Amber Sparkes, Balfour and Faiers in a race for it, Lynch out well to the right corner of her area to slide in claim the ball. A corner won on the right East Bergholt bring players forwards the 1st ball in defended near post back with east Bergholt on the right flank the 2nd ball in attacked by Teager and Lockerbie near post the ball headed over the bar. East Bergholt with their first switch of the game Katie Bruce on fr Savage. Build up play on the left McGrath over to support Clarke, Jess Quinsee bombing forwards from full back, Needham Market preventing a cross.

  Needham Market with a free-kick on the left played into the box, McGrath back defending heading the ball out of the area drops straight to Rainbird positioned top of the D, her shot whistling over the crossbar. Half an hour played a 2nd change for East Bergholt Wilding the player off on comes Charlotte Warren. Faiers and Lockerbie winning the ball as Needham Market look to get Balfour away in behind, Rainbird and Sparkes getting on up the wings. Another free-kick awarded Faiers adjudged to have brought down Balfour 30 yards out looked a tangle of legs. Balfour on the set-piece a great ball in on target, Lynch with a terrific save the merest of touches to tip the ball onto the bar and away behind for the corner. Lynch up at her back post making a confident claim from the corner.

Kimberly Lynch making the save

  Northwood with a shot 25 yards out left sends it wide across the box. Elysia Young putting the ball on for Rainbird to chase into the box keeping it in play Lockerbie gets across to tackle. Young into an advanced position supporting Rainbird attacking left the pass squared to Young looks to play Balfour into the box, Faiers reading it cutting the ball out for East Bergholt. 

 GOAL! Less than five minutes of the 1st half left to play East Bergholt break away to score the equaliser, McGrath getting hold of the ball on halfway with a fantastic ball forwards, the Needham Market defence static as Northwood breaks in behind no flag runs on into the box one on one with the keeper Leeks staying big, Northwood putting the ball wide of her left to find the back of the net 1-1.

  Rainbird full of running making a nuisance of herself pressing the east Bergholt defence 25 yards out the ball popping loose to Young getting forwards she sees a shot drop wide of the mark. Ellie Nitsche entering the game late in the first half for East Bergholt as they press the attack late on. The ball played right sees Leeks beaten as she comes for it the ball cleared away by the back tracking defence, light fading fast the half-time whistle blows. All square at the break.

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

  An entertaining first half a vocal crowd spurring both sides on the best attendance I’ve seen for a Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final, 400 plus. East Bergholt with the early pressure, Needham Market though with the early goal however. Working hard in defence East Bergholt getting more players forwards when they attack, Rainbird a threat on the left wing looking to create something more often than not. East Bergholt drawing level late in the first half. set up perfectly for the 2nd period, the lights on now.

 Needham Market with a change at the start of the 2nd half Emily Steward on for Balfour in attack. East Bergholt to get the 2nd half underway. Straight on the attack the ball pushed on through the middle Nitsche looking to race away in behind the Needham Market centre backs close Maria Smith putting in the challenge the ball scrambled away. East Bergholt pressing high the ball won inside the final 3rd lifted into the area right side six yards out Stock grappling with Teager to win the ball comes straight to Nitsche outside the box a shot struck back in pace and power smashes against the crossbar!

GOAL! East Bergholt capitalising on their fast start to the 2nd half the ball played in through the middle sees Nitsche burst clear of the defence this time carrying it into the area she slot a shot past the keeper to put East Bergholt into the lead. 2-1.

A sluggish start to the 2nd half from Needham market not switched on, Sparkes looking to get an attack going on the right, Quinsee in to make the challenge a corner conceded. Lockerbie defending the ball put in to the near post area. Young with the ball at her feet 20 yards out sees a shot charged down. A corner won for Needham Market on the left the ball defended near post back with the taker up the line top of the area rolled inside to Henderson she has a go driving a shot wide.

Needham Market’s Nicola Henderson

East Bergholt get Teager away left side to attack the box, Leeks out to meet her sliding in the ball not claimed Teager spotting Nitsche free 25 yards out central drags a shot wide. East Bergholt keeping a closer watch on Rainbird the ball not getting to her as much as it did in the first half. Clarke with Bruce and McGrath closing the ball down well further up the pitch. Lynch confident as she rushes out to the right of her box to slide in a claim the ball with Sparkes attacking.

East Bergholt United Ladies, Charlotte McGrath

Nitsche lively in attack causing Needham Market a few problems away on the right sends a ball into Teager top of the area catching it first time deflects it towards goal, straight at Leeks. Changes for both sides Carter back on for Needham Market. Isla Romer-Lee on for East Bergholt.  Dunn defending an East Bergholt free-kick played into the box. A fluid attacking move from East Bergholt as they come very close to adding a 3rd goal. Starting with McGrath central on to Nitsche linking with Teager 25 yards out the ball out to Romer-Lee int space right lays the ball back into the middle for McGrath driving on into the box she shoots putting the ball across the keeper runs narrowly wide of the post.

Romer-Lee cutting inside from the right passing to Nitsche she tries to pick out Teager at the far post, Thomas defending for Needham Market. McGrath with another storming midfield run into the box, Dunn shielding the ball out for the goal kick. An injury blow for Needham Market as Stock going up to win an aerial challenge, lands awkwardly appearing to twist her knee, clearly in alot of pain the trainer on straight away play stopped as she requires lengthy treatment, wearing a knee brace is in alot of pain. Up gingerly cannot continue Jemma Mortimer heading on to take her place in the back line. 

  A double change for East Bergholt, Wilding returning to the field along with Pippa King on for Teager. Carter linking with Rainbird as they get forwards on the left the latter crossing to Steward out towards the far post she looks to cushion it down for Carter central, the defence intercepting and getting it away for East Bergholt. King with the ball attacking left high into the box for Nitsche 8 yards out connects with the ball not enough on it to beat Leeks in goal. East Bergholt with alot more of the attack 2nd half, Needham Market pushed back defending just the one goal in it still. 

  Savage back on for East Bergholt, Jemma Wessels on in place of Carter for Needham Market. The final entering the last 10 minutes. A free-kick won on the left as Rainbird is brought down outside the area, Wessels on it plays the ball long to the far post Lynch up well reaching up to make the claim caught lands heavily but okay. East Bergholt counter attack Romer-Lee clear on the right a Needham Market commit players forwards busting into the area she puts the ball low across the keeper her shot coming back off the base of the post.

  Amy Trenter on for Needham Market. East Bergholt strong late on winning the midfield battle McGrath breaking it on. Northwood back on for Nitsche as Needham Market are forced back late on, Smith tackling to regain possession inside her box. Rainbird getting away left into the corner playing a cross into the area Faiers back in her six yard box winning the header. The final whistle blows and East Bergholt celebrate winning the League Cup and completing the double for a 2nd successive season.

Full time Needham Market Women 2-1 East Bergholt United Ladies

   An entertaining final watched by a passionate and supportive crowd a good atmosphere and close result between the sides. All square after the 1st half, East Bergholt had much more of the attack in the 2nd period pressing the ball higher and preventing the ball getting into Needham Markets attacking players scoring early in the 2nd half a 3rd goal would have made thing’s more comfortable but it din’t come, Needham Market though unable to find a clinical goal scoring chance up the other end. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few performances of note, firstly for Needham Market, Francesca Rainbird was a constant threat especially in the first half. Megan Stock captain marshalling her defence well making some important tackles. For East Bergholt Ellie Nitsche was a danger in attack pacy with great movement and positional sense. The award though goes to East Bergholt’s Charlotte McGrath the midfield superb throughout the game winning the ball centrally, setting up attacks some fantastic runs forwards.

East Bergholt United Ladies, 2018/19 Suffolk Women’s League Cup winners (picture East Bergholt United Ladies)

  Congratulations to East Bergholt United Ladies on this evenings success and completing the double double.

  Arriving late at the ground I didn’t feel prepared but the help I got from both sides plus Mandy from the Suffolk Girls & Women’s Football league plus a cheeseburger put me at ease, a busy start to the week 2 finals in 3 days both thoroughly enjoyable however, tired now but next up it’s 4 finals in 4 days! As daunting as that sounds I’m really looking forwards to it. Thanks to all for their help this evening. 

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 28th April

Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final

King’s Lynn Town Ladies v Wymondham Town Ladies

 The football action this Sunday comes from Carrow Road the home of Norwich City FC, the club celebrating a return to the Premier League last evening with a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers FC, today it hosts the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final for the first time a special occasion that will no doubt live long in the memory of the two clubs winning through to this season’s final as King’s Lynn Town Ladies take on Wymondham Town Ladies the current holders.

Two of the leading women’s football sides in the county, 4 of which play above county league level, Norwich City Ladies the highest league placed club in Norfolk playing in the 4th tier, FAWNL South East Division One. Wymondham along with Acle United Women (to become part of Wroxham FC next season) play in the league below tier 5 the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL) Premier Division with King’s Lynn Town Ladies played in ERWFL Division One. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies currently 5th in ERWFL Division One are into their 1st ever Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final playing their 2nd season playing at regional level pushing for the title with Wymondham the eventual champions. This season a larger single Division One a very competitive league up to 5th jostling for a top half finish with a cluster of sides most having 4 left to play the season going the distance scheduled to finish in the final weekend of May. King’s Lynn on a good run as they look to get some momentum coming into today’s final winning their last 3 in the league including a 9-0 demolition of Essex side Hatfield Peverel Ladies the game played at The Walks two weeks ago.

Wymondham Town Ladies currently 3rd in the ERWFL Premier Division their highest ever league position and testament to a strong debut season playing at that level having been promoted as Division One North Champions. Along with Acle have ambitions to reach the FAWNL itself. The ERWFL Premier Division featuring some strong sides from all across the East. Growing rapidly in recent season’s a reserves side playing in Norfolk Women’s Division One, Wymondham have enjoyed some good runs in the FA Women’s Cup aswell as the County Cup, this being their 3rd successive final appearance. Missing out to Thorpe United Ladies in their debut County Cup appearance learnt alot from that game better prepared 2nd time around last season taking on Acle United Ladies winning the game 3-2 to lift the trophy for the 1st time. 

Road to the Final

   Both sides entering the competition in the 1st Round although Wymondham progressed without kicking a ball awarded the away win over Norfolk Division Two side, Bure Valley Wildcats Ladies. King’s Lynn away to Sprowston Ladies from Norfolk Division One a 3-0 win seeing them comfortably into the 2nd Round.

King’s Lynn at home in the 2nd Round were taking on Norfolk Division One side Tavern Ladies, now hitting top form in the league pushing for promotion King’s Lynn meeting them early in the season however ran out 6-1 winners to reach the last 8. Wymondham were away to Bulldogs Ladies bottom of Division Two a huge gulf between the sides 4 leagues Wymondham have plenty of goals in their side and scored 22 without reply to reach the quarter finals. The announcement made after the 2nd Round that the final was going to be played at Carrow Road for the first time.

  Another Sprowston side for King’s Lynn in the quarter finals again from Norfolk Division One, Athletic Ladies, after a couple of postponed weeks King’s Lynn made the trip winning 4-0 to book their spot in the last 4. Wymondham taking on Taverham Women United’s young guns unbeaten at the top of Division Two at the time now the champions, a big defeat in the County Cup however against Wymondham going down 12-1, Wymondham’s cup defence rolling on.

A very strong line-up for the semi-finals of the competition with King’s Lynn drawn away to Thorpe United Ladies the Norfolk Division side reaching 4 successive County Cup Finals with back to back success in 2016 & 2017. Strong all season in the league runaway champions Thorpe were suffering from injuries their squad stretched by the time they welcomed King’s Lynn to the Thorpe Recreation Ground. King’s Lynn taking the lead couldn’t find a 2nd goal, Thorpe coming back late on to level the scores send the game into extra-time. Tiffany Forshaw with King’s Lynn’s goal in normal timing on target for two more to complete her hat-trick in extra-time. Thorpe getting it back to 3-2 setting up a nervy finish but King’s Lynn held on to reach their first ever final.

  No less dramatic in the other semi-final a repeat of last season’s final with Wymondham away to Acle United Women. The pair drawing at 2-2 after 90 minutes the game going into extra-time both added a further goal to see them locked at 3-3. The game heading into a penalty shootout. Wymondham holding their nerve to edge Acle out 5-4 to reach a 3rd successive final.

The Norfolk Women’s County Cup sponsored by MacDonald’s this season as part of their promotion giving out free child’s tickets. The venue Carrow Road, and I can safely say if there was one ground above all others I wanted to cover a women’s football match at it was the home of Norwich City FC, Norfolk born and bred so naturally I’m a canary supporter. Ambition fulfilled, the Geoffrey Watling Stand open for the match, the playing surface looking great the sun out a little chilly in the shade a good atmosphere a decent crowd building. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Robinson, Chloe Burch, Annie Rooks, Shanice Burch, Charlotte Griffith, Beck Russell (C), Natalie Wright, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Oksana Imanalijeva, Deva Rawlings & Tiffany Forshaw. Subs – Chloe Witt, Georgia Freeman, Olivia Baker, Lisa Wilson & Emma Corbyn.

Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Ashleigh O’Callaghan, Leah Newcombe, Chelsea Clarke, Chardonnay Johnston, Jorja Patterson, Rachel Cossey (C) Rebecca Russell, Mollie O’Callaghan, Kayleigh Holloway, Laura Nicholls & Hannah Waters. Subs- Bethany Fretwell, Nadine Basson, Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris, Alice Ladbrooke & Summer Ward.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A change of ends at the start the sun a problem for goalkeepers standing at the Barclay End setting behind the stadium. King’s Lynn to kick-off this season’s County Cup Final wearing blue shirts with yellow shorts and socks, Wymondham in their away colours purple shirts and socks with black shorts. Mollie O’Callaghan straight in to tackle and win the ball for Wymondham in the centre playing it on through the middle looking for striker Hannah Waters, Shanice Burch cutting it out inside the D for King’s Lynn.

   King’s Lynn get forwards Oksana Imanalijeva with the run stopped by Chardonnay Johnston the ball won back high up the pitch by Shanice Burch Wymondham defend once more and this time break Waters making a run into the right channel fed the ball into her run takes it on towards the top of the area pulling the trigger outside the box the strike racing low across the box out past the far post for a goal kick.

   Pressure high on the left from Wymondham brings a throw in the ball played inside finding Rebecca Russell in the area her touch taking her in behind closing in on the six yard box looks to play a shot across the goalkeeper, Bryony Robinson closing the angle the keeper does well getting down to save take the sting out of the shot her defence getting back to clear the ball as in rolls away. Wymondham vice captain Leah Newcombe getting forwards hurt in a challenge needing treatment before she can continue. 

  Robinson called into action again in the early stages of the game as Waters is put in clear on the left, the King’s Lynn goalkeeper haring out of her box needs to win the race lunging into the challenge traps the ball well with her legs on deny Waters. Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse winning the ball high on the right for King’s Lynn pays the ball infield for Natalie Wright she plays the diagonal ball forwards to try and get Imanalijeva away, Chelsea Clarke closing her down regaining possession for Wymondham.

Natalie Wright playing the ball on for King’s Lynn Town Ladies

   Imanalijeva lively for King’s Lynn in the opening exchanges wins the ball 20 yards out central support from Tiffany Forshaw to her left gives her the ball the striker taking it on down the wing sending a low cross into the area, evading Wymondham goalkeeper Ashleigh O’Callaghan at her near post Imanalijeva having made up the ground to get into the six yard box throws herself at it just evades her. Wymondham captain Rachel Cossey has picked up an injury a spell on lengthy treatment needed, King’s Lynn looking a threat going forwards Imanalijeva with a good burst of pace in her legs wins the race for the ball on the right checking inside to get into the area has a crack the ball racing wide across goal. 

King’s Lynn’s attackers looking to get forwards

  Shanice Burch doing well in defence for King’s Lynn stopping Rebecca Russell as she and Laura Nicholls look to combine in attack for Wymondham. A blow for Wymondham as Cossey cannot continue a ready made replacement on the bench a Alice Ladbrooke another combative midfielder comes on. Wymondham break with speed and purpose Nicholls carrying the ball down the right squaring a cross into the near post for Waters to attack, Annie Rooks closing her down with a fantastic challenge to clear the ball. Johnston in defence up the other end for Wymondham slinging in to take the ball away from Imanalijeva central as Hopkins-Duckhouse sends the pass in from the right. Play paused a cap of the baseball variety sent on for Robinson with the sun shining down. 

 GOAL! The opening goal coming inside 15 minutes, Wymondham with it on the counter a swift move seeing Nicholls surging forwards with the ball right of goal driving into the area squaring it across the face of goal inside the six yard box with Waters charging in central meeting it to turn the ball into the back of the net. Waters wheeling away in celebration scoring the opening goal at Carrow Road 0-1.

Hannah Waters with the opening goal at Carrow Road

   King’s Lynn captain Becky Russell back playing again just a few months after giving birth to son Charlie receives the ball from Forshaw 25 yards out, time and space looks ready to shoot, Kayleigh Holloway getting back at her to nick the ball just in time. A bit physical King’s Lynn in particular giving free-kicks away. Wright does well breaking up an attack central as King’s Lynn commit players forwards the ball lifted back into the area won by Jorja Patterson. Johnston aggrieved as she is judged to have fouled Imanalijeva as the tries to get in behind her on the right the free-kick outside the box. Becky Russell to take the ball sent in towards the top of the box Forshaw coming for it getting her head on the ball her attempt dropping wide of the post.

Wymondham Town Ladies, Jorja Patterson

   Clarke getting up the pitch on the left with a deft ball over the top for Waters to attack inside the area, Charlotte Griffith defending for King’s Lynn the ball out for a throw in. Imanalijeva with another burst of speed looks to get on down the right Johnston sliding in to stop her ends up taking out assistant referee Tracey Clayton instead, Imanalijeva racing on into the box shoots early the ball put wide across goal again. Shanice Burch is being kept on her toes by Waters as the striker is continually ready to break whenever Wymondham bring the ball on. 

  A further injury blow for Wymondham, Newcombe is down again and after a lengthy spell of treatment on the pitch is unable to continue walking off gingerly on in her place comes Summer Ward. Nicholls brings the ball on right is pushed out by Chloe Burch into the corner, somehow manages to squeeze a cross in, Griffiths back to intercept. Nicholls beats the offside trap turning the attack around bearing down on goal, Robinson is way off her line does very well however as Nicholls goes to shoot the goalkeeper throwing out a shin making the save. Waters getting a throw for Wymondham on the left put inside for O’Callaghan she shoots over from 20 yards out.

Wymondham Town Ladies, Mollie O’Callaghan

   Wright bringing the ball on through the middle plays in on for Hopkins-Duckhouse, Ward cutting the pass out playing it back into the middle Becky Russell back to Hopkins-Duckhouse right she lifts a cross in high to the near post Forshaw arriving jumping up can’t get her head on the ball. King’s Lynn with some promising attacking moves Imanalijeva with pace to burn beating Johnston to the ball on the right cuts her cross back along the top of the area Deva Rawlings inside the D leaning back into the shot sends the ball over the crossbar.   

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Annie Rooks

   A good spell from King’s Lynn Becky Russell with a diagonal ball from the left into the top of the area Hopkins-Duckhouse there so too Johnston the defender getting the better of the bounce to clear the ball. Rebecca Russell breaks on the right for Wymondham, Nicholls making the run down the line, Chloe Burch with a vital interception for King’s Lynn. Forshaw 25 yards out rolls the ball in Rawlings inside the area is crowded off the ball, Wright winning it back high up the pitch.

 GOAL! Wymondham hit King’s Lynn on the break to double their lead Rebecca Russell getting hold of the ball sent on up top for Nicholls racing away clear through the middle, Robinson comes out of her area in an attempt to get there but this time Nicholls takes the ball around her to send her shot on into the empty net 0-2.

Laura Nicholls makes it 2-0 to Wymondham Town Ladies

  King’s Lynn look for an immediate reply Imanalijeva racing forwards the ball rolled into her path takes it on into the area, Clarke doing well to get across her and marshal the ball into the arms of her keeper. 8 minutes of stoppage time to be played after the earlier injuries. Shanice Burch with a top draw tackle to slide in and stop Waters inside the D as she is put through on goal by Nicholls. 

  King’s Lynn keep coming forwards in search of a goal late in the 1st half Forshaw seeing a shot from the top of the area deflected behind for a corner. Wymondham with numbers back to defend. Johnston with more good defensive work inside the box to deny Imanalijeva as Rawlings lifts the ball on. Clarke hurt as she throws out a leg to block Forshaw’s shot as she brings the ball across the top of the area. Ladbrooke back into her box to tackle Wright as she gets into an advanced position for King’s Lynn. 

Half-time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 0-2 Wymondham Town Ladies

  A busy and fast flowing 1st half comes to an end with Wymondham Town Ladies holding the advantage going into the 2nd period leading the game 2-0. Taking an early lead through Waters the assist from Nicholls, the latter breaking late on to double the lead. Tempered with the injury blows to their captain and vice-captain. King’s Lynn have created opportunities look dangerous going forwards are by no means out of it yet.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies captain Becky Russell on the ball

  Wymondham readying a 3rd substitution for the start of the 2nd half, Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris the player coming on Holloway giving way, Wymondham to get the 2nd half underway. Start well winning a series of throws down King’s Lynn’s right. O’Callaghan on the ball central for Wymondham has Clarke racing on down the left wing playing in the full back she looks to be in the clear, Griffith getting back to steal the ball as she enters the area put it behind for the corner. In from the left Robinson up to punch it away for another corner kick. Taken short the cross in cleared straight to Ladbrooke 35 yards out she hits it back in the ball over the top. 

King’s Lynn’s Tiffany Forshaw with Wymondham’s Summer Ward

 Wymondham looking to press the attack at the start of the 2nd half, Ladbrooke tackling to prevent Forshaw taking the ball on throw the middle. Chloe Burch sliding in recklessly takes Nicholls out outside the area receives a yellow card. Wymondham to make a change before it is taken Holloway returning to the game in place of O’Callaghan. Johnston on the set-piece strikes the ball hard the two players wall doing it’s job albeit painfully.   

Kayleigh Holloway bringing the ball on for Wymondham

  Forshaw left has support inside from Wright, Ladbrooke closing the ball deflected into Rawlings she lifts it out to Hopkins-Duckhouse wide right her cross into the middle of the area claimed by O’Callaghan. A record attendance for a Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final this afternoon 776 enjoying themselves. King’s Lynn make their first change of the game Rawlings coming off, Chloe Witt joining the action. Wymondham doing a better job of restricting Imanalijeva’s influence 2nd half. 

  Witt on the ball outside the area left of the D on to Imanalijeva to her right she plays it further wide to Hopkins-Duckhouse her high ball in looping over O’Callaghan strikes the base of the post out into the six yard box just evading Witt racing in. Becky Russell getting about the pitch winning the ball back for King’s Lynn  trying to get thing’s going in the final 3rd. Hopkins-Duckhouse blasting a shot wide from 25 yards out as the ball is deflected into her path as King’s Lynn attack. Chloe Burch sliding in cleanly this time concedes the corner as Nicholls tries to run in behind on the right.

  GOAL! Wymondham extend their lead midway through the 2nd half from the corner the ball played in headed out of the box lands straight at Ward’s feet 20 yards out she takes a touch to set herself then rifles a shot back in a quality finish to put Wymondham into a 3 goal lead 0-3.

  A chance to make it 4 soon after Wymondham hitting on the counter Nicholls in clear right side Robinson racing out to meet her the attacker getting a shot under her the ball rolling on towards the empty net Griffith getting back to stop it and clear up field. Becky Russel lifting a shot wide from 25 yards out played in by Imanalijeva central. A 2nd change for King’s Lynn Wright coming off on comes Emma Corbyn. Hopkins-Duckhouse nips in to rob the Wymondham midfield of the ball plays it on or Becky Russell left of the D leaning into the shot curls it over the bar. King’s Lynn keep on looking for a goal, Wymondham soaking up the pressure well. 

Becky Russell tacking back to stop Hannah Waters

  Ladbrooke pushing the ball on into Nicholls top of the area won’t sit for her to shoot, Shanice Burch getting close in to win it back. A great ass forwards by Becky Russell into Corbyn up top her first touch excellent taking the ball wide of the defender marking her the shot tame in comparison an easy save for O’Callaghan. Holloway doing some great work in the centre of midfield for Wymondham along side Ladbrooke. Waters central with a turn and shot outside the area drags the ball wide. Waters attacking again Robinson out to close her down blocks the ball loose to her left Waters with it sends a shot in the King’s Lynn defence back to clear off the line.  The game entering the final 10 minutes. 

 GOAL! With King’s Lynn looking to get players forwards in attack late on gaps are opening at the back Waters ready to exploit getting hold of the ball left bringing it on Robinson out to close her down Waters composed her touch taking the ball past her and plays the ball on into the back of the net for her 2nd of the game 0-4.

  King’s Lynn make a 3rd change Griffith coming off, Georgia Freeman the player on. Waters over on the left support inside from Nicholls the ball put into her feet her shot outside the box blacked by Shanice Burch. 

 GOAL! King’s Lynn celebrate a cup final goal of themselves late in the game the ball on the right played into the top of the area by Witt, Corbyn seeing an effort blocked near side drops away to the right as Forshaw gets to it her goalwards blast charged down the ball spinning into Corbyn she has no one in front of her as she gets over the shot to smash it into the back of the net 1-4. 

  A double switch for King’s Lynn, Olivia Baker on for Hopkins-Duckhouse soon followed by Lisa Wilson on for Chloe Burch. Johnston flattens Imanalijeva as the game moves into stoppage time a free-kick wide played into the area cleared Forshaw gathers no shot on plays it inside to Becky Russell, Patterson racing out to charge her down. That’s it the final whistle blows and Wymondham celebrate having successfully retained the County Cup and in doing so the first side to win it at Carrow Road.

Full time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 1-4 Wymondham Town Ladies

  An entertaining final played in front of a great crowd enjoyed the occasion two good sides, Wymondham with the early goal, King’s Lynn creating plenty of opportunities hit on the break to go 2-0 down at the break. King’s Lynn needed the next goal you felt, it didn’t come Wymondham adjusting well with their substitutes performing well got that all important 3rd goal and a 4th late on secured the trophy. King’s Lynn getting a late goal themselves. A fantastic occasion which I’m sure will live long in the memory.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Oksana Imanalijeva and Becky Russell with great performances for King’s Lynn. Chardonnay Johnston and Jorja Patterson strong for Wymondham, Laura Nicholls a threat in attack she is just edged out by her strike partner today Hannah Waters a real handful in attack getting forwards at every opportunity and ready for the ball whenever her teammates looked up opening and finishing the scoring.

  Congratulations to Wymondham Town Ladies upon retaining the Norfolk Women’s County Cup.

Wymondham Town Ladies, 2018/19 McDonalds Norfolk Women’s County Cup winners

  Wanted one thing from today an that was for the winner to be the game itself regardless of the winner a great advert for the women’s game showcasing it at Carrow Road. Think we got that an entertaining game both sides playing their part a memorable occasion fingers crossed we will see more finals played there… and maybe the East Anglian derby afterall the women’s sides are still in the same league. My thanks to Norfolk FA for giving me the opportunity to cover a game at Carrow Road it certainly gave me alot to write about.