Category Archives: Match Reports

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Leyton Orient WFC

Sunday 23rd September

FA Women’s Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa Fulgence looking to hold up the ball for Leyton Orient

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte Gillies attacking for Cambridge City Ladies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leyton Orient WFC captain, Danielle Griffiths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tara O’Halloran heading the ball in from the corner

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

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

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

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

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

Leyton Orient WFC’s, Sophie Le Marchand

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

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

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

Carla Penny bringing the ball under control for Cambridge City.

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

Lauren Tomlinson winning the ball for Cambridge City

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

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

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

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

  Full time Cambridge City Ladies 5-4 Leyton Orient WFC

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

Match Report – Harlow Town Ladies v Colney Heath Ladies

Sunday 16th September

ERWFL Premier Division

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(roll on roll off substitutes) 

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

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

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

Colney Heath Ladies, Rebecca Fhalora

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

Charlene Moreton with Harlow Town Ladies, Nicole Learner

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

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

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

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

Sheree Oliver on the ball for Colney Heath Ladies

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

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

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

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

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

Chloe Bassett with the ball for Harlow Town Ladies

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

Colney Heath Ladies, Charlene Moreton

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

Annie Hickey sliding in to tackle for Colney Heath

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harlow Town Ladies, Tayla Handscombe

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

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

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

Poppy Binding with Sophie Joseph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full time Harlow Town Ladies 4-1 Colney Heath Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

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

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage Ladies

Wednesday 12th September

FAWNL South East Division One

Midweek action under the floodlights this Wednesday with a trip to The Abbey Stadium to watch Cambridge United WFC take on Stevenage Ladies in FAWNL South East Division One.

  Cambridge United WFC missing out on the opportunity to play at The Abbey Stadium late last season get an early chance this time round to showcase their talents under the floodlights at the League Two ground. Women’s sides getting more opportunities to play at their respective men’s clubs than ever before.

  4 games into the season and Cambridge United WFC have 4 points from 3 league games played, started the season well with a draw and a win away from home a good result in the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup followed before they suffered their 1st loss of the season at the weekend going down to a stoppage time winner. The two promoted sides, Billericay Town Ladies and Crawley Wasps Ladies getting off to a flyer winning all of their games, Cambridge are amongst a cluster of sides below on 4 points looking to catch them.

   Stevenage Ladies come in to tonight’s game at The Abbey Stadium on the back of 3 straight defeats in all competitions having won their opening match of the season. Like Cambridge are bedding in a few new signings with Mark Dicker taking up the reins as 1st team manager. As great an opportunity this is for Cambridge, their opponents should relish the chance too.

  As you’d expect from a League club ground at the start of the season the pitch is immaculate, no excuses about bobbles tonight. Is a wide pitch so their will be plenty of space to exploit. The mainstand open, hot food and drink available with the Dion Dublin Bar also open. A pleasant evening dry and calm perfect weather for football.

Cambridge United starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Fran Gough, Amy Howlett, Kelly Bingham, Amber Cantwell, Becky Shephard, Vicky Neal & Kelley Blanchflower (C). Subs – Liz Pamplin, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Faith Hewitt, Mollie Coupar & Kirsten Burt.

 Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Hannah Vandersluis, Erin Pope, Paige Logie (C), Dominique Godbeer, Charlotte Ryan, Kristi Burling, Ellie Searle, Shona Chitate, Ashleigh Deacon, Amy Makewell & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Amy Josland, Jodie Whitford-Stark & Poppy Bennett.

The teams lining up before the match

It’s the hosts Cambridge to get the match underway kicking off 1st half, wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Stevenage lining up opposite wearing white shirt with red vertical striping along with red shirts and socks. A couple of strong challenges put in early on from Stevenage as Cambridge look to work the ball forwards, its as the visitors get hold of the ball that Cambridge win it back in the middle of the park Amy Howlett bringing it on central aims to release Becky Shephard making an attacking run on the left cutting inside towards the edge of the area Stevenage goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis alert out to the edge of her area gathers the through ball before the Cambridge winger can latch onto it.

   Play is turned around quickly by Stevenage defending on the left side the ball cleared up to Ashleigh Deacon in a central position she spots striker Nicole Emmings making a run into space on the right sending the ball on for her Emmings takes it on into the box shooting from the angle sends the ball racing low past the the diving keeper Savannah Smith but also wide of the far post. Deacon cutting inside from the right 25 yards out lines up a strike the ball charged down by Fran Gough in the Cambridge defence.

  A good tempo to the match both sides relishing the opportunity Kelly Bingham winning the ball in midfield for the hosts lays it back to left back Carrie Bennett, she goes long with Shephard eager to race in behind for the left the bouncing ball too close to the keeper however Vandersluis positioned high catches the ball. No one spending any time on the ball often leads to defence turned into counter attack, Cambridge captain Kelley Blanchflower has a chance a central run into the box the ball driven into her path taking it left of goal looks to put the shot back across the keeper with the outside of her boot, Vandersluis drifting towards her near post can claim the ball.

  Up the other end Smith comes out to block Emmings as she is played in behind by Deacon taking up a good central position as Stevenage attack. A set-piece for Stevenage wide on the left the ball delivered high towards those gathering at the top of the Cambridge area, it’s Kayleigh-Anne Burt defending for the hosts that headers the ball clear. Cambridge are looking to peel off the full-backs get in behind Vicky Neal up with Blanchflower the latter almost succeeds central only Vandersluis’ quick reactions coming to the edge of her box to slide in to stop the ball prevents a shot, colliding with Blanchflower the contact accidental.

   A good spell from Cambridge, attacking Shephard left sends a pacy ball into the area that evades everyone, the ball retrieved on the right side players are drawn towards it as the driven ball on the diagonal is sent in towards goal running wide Shephard tries to throw herself at the ball with Vandersulis diving for it gets the ball past the keeper lands in the side netting wide. Smith back on her goal line is well placed to catch the ball as Shona Chitate digs a snap shot out of her feet from 20 yards out. Room for Deacon on the right bringing the ball on for Stevenage players breaking into the box her cross sent in low near post is defended by Cambridge out for a corner with Amy Makewell attacking it.

   Cambridge break forwards Howlett central carrying it into the Stevenage half has Shepherd ahead of her cutting in behind from the left, Charlotte Ryan defending centrally for Stevenage gets in front of the Cambridge winger inside the area shielding the ball well allowing Vandersluis to gather safely. Neal’s turn to get in behind on the left holding up the ball sends the cross in long across the face of goal Blanchflower coming in far post the target, Stevenage captain Paige Logie does well to intercept and putting behind for a corner so close to her goal. 

   Neal once again moving to the right  to receive the ball wide has Abi Davies breaking forwards inside her lays the ball into the speeding full backs path Davies shot from range charged down the ball rebounding away for a corner on the right. A good deliver in central under the bar Vandersluis doing well to glove the ball up and on towards the far post, Cambridge’s Gough leaping heads the ball back in towards goal blocked Stevenage defend the ball eventually behind for the goalkick.

  Is a good contest both sides looking to attack quickly sees the attackers from both sides looking to exploit pockets of space. Dominique Godbeer sliding in to challenge Howlett outside the box left of goal as she looks to burst inside receive the return ball from Shephard on the left. Neal charges down Vandersluis as she attempts to kick the ball long from the top of the area, no control over where the rebound goes it’s deflected behind wide of goal. Bennett with a vital interception as Stevenage play the diagonal ball long from the left with Deacon away on the right.

   Breaking Stevenage’s Kristi Burling on for Chitate the pass forwards into Emmings, tries the back heel to try and put strike partner Makewell in behind the Cambridge defence, Gough isn’t fooled turns and cuts the ball out. Shephard and Neal combine in attack Shephard coming forwards passing the ball inside to Neal 25 yards out continues her run past her Neal shifting the ball on into her path edge of the area central Shephard looks to place her shot past the advancing keeper places the ball wide of the goal beyond.

   Howlett brought down as she tries to get forwards left side combine with Neal. A good position 25 yards out left of the D, Cantwell on the ball sends a rising ball in towards goal, off target however as Vandersulis coming across to the near post can watch in drop harmlessly wide. Emmings coming near post sees the ball into her low from Ellie Searle on the left, attempting to control and turn goalwards Gough gets the tackle in. 

A throw in for Cambridge left as they come forwards the ball finding it’s way into Blanchflower controlling inside the box turns her marker making room for a shot plays the ball straight at the keeper. Burling and Searle working together left side a cross squared inside to Makewell 20 yards out her shot charged down by Burt. Stevenage pressing late on in the first half win a corner right side a good delivery in close to goal Smith gloving the ball away dropping far post little time to react volleys the ball up over the crossbar. 

  Attacks in the closing moments of the 1st 45 a free-kick played in from wide left for Stevenage Chitate stooping to header the ball right on the edge of the area sees her effort take a deflection wide. Howlett leaning back to strike the ball coming into her from 20 yards out as Cambridge attack across the face of the Stevenage area sees her effort swerve wide of target. A late break Blanchflower picking up the ball looks for options Shephard with a central run Blanchflower tries to play her in Logie doing well for Stevenage sliding in to intercept the ball. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage Ladies

  A good contest ends in stalemate at the break neither side finding a clinical edge both attacking with purpose with no one taking time on the ball a high tempo has seen passes rushed and quality through the middle at a premium defences doing well. The attackers all wanting to drift into space haven’t been able to combine where it matters inside the box. Will that change in the 2nd half?

2nd half huddles

Stevenage to get thing’s underway in the 2nd period. Cambridge get hold of the ball and coming forwards win themselves a corner on the left. A long delivery Stevenage can’t get the ball away as Howlett plays it back in towards Blanchflower comes in, Ryan defending for the visitors to prevent a shot on goal. A shirt pull spotted by the referee earns Abi Davies a card for Cambridge joining the Makewell in the book who was cautioned first half. The set-piece wide right driven in low towards the near post Emmings there can’t get a clean connection the chance gone.

   Searle picks up the ball driving forwards attempts the diagonal pass out for Deacon on the right, Burt making the interception for Cambridge. Neal is a presence for Cambridge up front working hard to pull the Stevenage defence towards her, her persistence on the left bringing a corner kick. Cantwell to play the ball into the area, Burt coming towards the ball plays it back to the corner taker Cantwell dropping her shoulder cutting past a challenge sends a low cross in towards the near post Gough is there can’t quite get the ball out from under her feet before Stevenage’s Ryan closes her down.

    The ball given to her as she breaks clear on the left Stevenage’s Searle looks to strike the ball in towards goal from the top of the area, Smith with the save diving to her right to push the ball away. The tempo reduced 2nd half both sides still attacking and counter attacking the ball is rarely still. Gough fouls Makewell in a dangerous position central 20 yards out. It’s the Stevenage striker to take it striking the ball in low towards goal finds it’s way through unimpeded straight at Smith however back on her line the keeper coming forwards to gather the ball.

   Both sides make a change within minutes of each other Deacon coming off for Stevenage is replaced by Amy Josland. Faith Hewitt on for Cambridge replaced Shephard. Blanchflower looks to get in behind on the left Pope and Ryan closing her down. 

  Penalty! Cambridge are awarded a spot kick as Neal s checked inside the box as she goes to strike the ball played into her from Hewitt on the left. A chance for taker Howlett to put the hosts into the lead, looking to place the ball high to the right misses the score remains 0-0. 

   Stevenage are fired up now feel aggrieved with the penalty award, Howlett gets back on the ball a strong run into the area right of goal fires a squared ball across the Stevenage six yard box, Ryan clearing for Stevenage. Closing in on the final 15 minutes Cambridge probing put a few long range balls into the Stevenage area, Godbeer and Ryan both winning it for the visitors. A second substitution for Stevenage, Pope coming off with Poppy Bennett. Attacking right side the diagonal ball finding Searle coming in field from the left strikes the ball from the top of the area her effort narrowly over the bar, a corner awarded nicking off a Cambridge body on it’s way through. Gough winning the ball for Cambridge from the set-piece.

  Blanchflower breaking away into the clear on the right as the diagonal pass put long picks her out taking the ball on into the box strikes across the ball on the angle Vandersluis throwing her gloves out to make the save deflects it central, Neal in on the follow up, so to is Ryan the defender doing superbly to get the ball clear in front of goal. 

  A goal now would surely be the winner both sides thinking it is there for the taking Howlett with Cantwell in the middle played on for Blanchflower to the right brings the ball inside across the top of the area determined to get a shot away fired in towards the Stevenage goal Bennett blocks for the visitors. Jodie Whitford-Stark comes on as Stevenage make their final substitution Burling coming off. The substitute with a chance to strike the ball early on laid back to her from inside the box off a throw on the right the ball won’t sit for her as Whitford-Stark sends it over. 

  A free-kick awarded on half way for Cambridge, Cantwell with a good delivery into the area for a moment it looks like Burt might have stolen in behind to attack the far post, Vandersluis managing to get the ball away. Cambridge come close to breaking the stalemate once more Neal with the chance stooping into a header as she positions herself near post the cross played in from the right, Vandersluis diving for it the ball evading her skips out of play off the base of the post. 

  Cambridge press late on Stevenage hit them on the break the ball fired long up field Emmings getting the better of the defence to strike the ball from just inside the box sees her attempt whistle over the crossbar. Ryan defending up the other end as Howlett looks to break forwards onto the ball played in from the right the Stevenage centre back putting in the tackle as Howlett lines up a shot. 

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage Ladies

  The final whistle blows and it’s a point a piece as the sides play out a goalless draw. Another point on the board for Cambridge, Stevenage ending their run of losses. Neither side with be happy with the result as both should feel they could have won the game. Cambridge coming the closet. More clinical finishing was needed however defences on top with little time was devoted to the ball in the middle of the park. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a difficult one, defenders on top ultimately especially through the middle. All did a good job, one edging it for me and that is Stevenage Ladies, Charlotte Ryan who made some well timed and important challenges throughout the match.

Nice to see a game under the lights, a great venue and hopefully Cambridge United WFC will get another opportunity to play there soon. My thanks to everyone for their help this evening.

 

Match Report – Fakenham Town Ladies v Tavern Ladies

Sunday 9th September

Norfolk Women’s Division Two

 On the same day as the new fully professional FA Women’s Super League begins so to does the county league season get into full swing across the country. Beginning the season in Norfolk a game from Division Two with Fakenham Town Ladies hosting Tavern Ladies.

  Two divisions in Norfolk once again this season, that decided late on however with a host of new sides wishing to join the league, teams thus didn’t know where they would be placed, as it was a few never got going and a possible North/South split to a Division One never happened, 8 sides will contest the top division with 12 sides making up the 2018/19 roster in Division Two including 5 new sides. 3 stepping up from youth football. 

   Fakenham Town Ladies drop down to Division Two, not necessarily a bad thing after struggling for results for the previous two seasons, an opportunity to rebuild, strengthen and regain morale. Starting the season with a smaller squad than they would have liked but one that is very much an integral part of the larger Fakenham Town football club. Very much a community club have teams playing at youth level from U6 to U17, an U18 means sides, Reserves, Ladies, Veterans and of course the 1st team playing in the Thurlow Nunn League. 

  Tavern Ladies, are a Dereham based side have been together for the past 2 season’s having previously been Dereham Ladies. Sponsored by The Railway Tavern in Dereham a pub I myself have frequented a few times in my younger days being a Dereham boy myself. Results improving with the name Tavern finished runners-up two seasons back and 3rd last season, will be amongst the sides threatening at the top once again in what is a much larger Division Two.

   Clipbush Park the venue for today’s game plenty of activity at the ground already with several youth sides having been in action over on the pitch behind the ground itself. The Ladies game advertised on the entrance to the ground situated in a busy roundabout leading into Fakenham itself. Playing on the main pitch fitness will be a key factor as it is one of the largest and widest in the league. Looking good at the start of the season a small seated stand along the far side of the pitch people more likely to converge on the clubhouse beside the pitch on the near side leading into the ground offering hot drinks and a bar. Cloudy overheard with a cool and brisk breeze blowing across the ground from one goalmouth to the other. Nothing over concerning but it would play a factor in the game especially first half.

 Fakenham Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Easter, Ellie Websdale, Jemma Riches, Maddie Smith, Laura Merin, Sian Sands (C), Tara Betts, Fanny Dankskanen, Kayleigh Robb, Jemma Riches, Jennifer Codman & Sam King. Subs – Anna Palomino & Sophie Anderson. 

 Tavern Ladies starting XI – Zoe Gibbons, Roxanne Bailey, Rachel Casey, Charlotte Allum, Sophie Fuller (C), Emily Bell, Jordie Head, Lanta Griffiths, Lucy Lincoln, Lucy Kean & Katie Hart-Copsey. Subs – Dani Lee, Meganne Carmicheal & Lesha Bagura.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s Fakenham wearing yellow shirts with black across the left shoulder, black shorts and socks to get the game underway with Tavern lined up opposite in an all blue kit. Tavern press the ball early keep Fakenham pinned back inside their own half winning a series of throw-ins on the left wing without finding the final ball into the box, Fakenham regain possession the ball put long up the right wing Sam King peeling away into space takes the ball on to the corner before whipping in a cross into the area the ball headed clear by Tavern’s Charlotte Allum. 

   King pressing with the ball on the right again closing in on the box looks to drop her shoulder push the ball inside cut out by Lucy Lincoln the corner conceded. The ball angled in towards the near post from the right by Sian Sands, Fakenham’s captain, is headed behind for a 2nd corner kick, this one put in longer Zoe Gibbons playing in goal for Tavern comes well through bodies to punch the ball away. Tavern look to break, Tara Betts nips in to win the ball back for Fakenham on the left side before being upended the foul given by referee Andy Waite. Betts to take it herself 25 yards from goal hit along the ground races wide and out of play at the near post. 

Tavern Ladies, Rachel Casey

  Fakenham are testing the Tavern defence, King with good movement up front making herself available for the ball. Jordie Head intercepting a forward pass turns and puts the ball out to the right for Lanta Griffiths to chase, the Fakenham defence converging on the attacker outnumbered the ball is lost the home side bring it forwards, Sands, King and Ellie Websdale building an attack in front of the Tavern area, Sands set up for a shot left of the D is closed down by Roxanne Bailey. 

Tavern Ladies Lanta Griffiths

  Tavern look a threat on the break Griffiths with good pace right bringing the ball inside has Katie Hart-Copsey free on the left gives her the ball, taking it on early Hart-Copsey sends the diagonal ball looping up towards the far post the ball running wide of goal. Tavern regain the ball in the middle of the park Emily Bell on for Griffiths, has Lucy Kean with her making a run central the ball into her rolled wide left for Hart-Copsey closer in this time she hooks the ball in towards goal on the angle, on target is safely caught by Fakenham goalkeeper Chloe Easter back on her line. 

Tavern Ladies, Charlotte Allum tackling Fakenham’s Sam King

   The early stages of the game fairly even, Tavern getting more players into advanced roles when they are attacking. Laura Merin making a couple of vital interceptions at centre back for the hosts, with Hart-Copsey wanting the ball played into her. Up the other end King is the threat for Fakenham looking for space, hustling the Tavern defence shows good strength to win a bouncing ball laid forwards, getting a shot away from 25 yards out, hitting it as it skips up off the surface the strike sails over the bar.

   Tavern captain, Sophie Fuller getting control of the ball in the middle combines well with Hart-Copsey to the left as they bring the ball into the Fakenham half Hart-Copsey with a good ball inside to Griffiths making a run right side her 1st time strike is blocked by Merin. The wind is blowing fairly briskly across the ground is holding the ball up a little favouring Fakenham, Sands coming forwards with Jennifer Codman in close support through the middle the pass forwards dropping into the path of King breaking towards the edge of the area Gibbons comes out quickly sliding in to smother the ball at the attackers feet.

Fakenham Town Ladies, Jemma Riches

  Tavern counter attack with urgency the ball carried out of defence the pass put long into the path of Griffiths cutting inside from the right, controls the ball well before digging a shot out of feet before she is charged down, her 30 yard effort a foot over the Fakenham crossbar. Tavern are awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area after Merin handles the ball trying to bring in clear for Fakenham. 20 yards out left of the D, Fuller takes position over the ball puts a good ball in towards the far post area the ball standing up in the breeze is headed goalwards by Griffiths blocked at close range the ball drops to the floor inside the six yard box Rachel Casey with a snap shot again blocked.

  Tavern are enjoying a good spell of possession inside the Fakenham half Hart-Copsey winning a corner, delivered into the near post the ball is headed up onto the roof of the net a 2nd corner kick given, a longer effort this time, Maddie Smith getting it away for Fakenham. Tavern are ready to spring an attack whenever they regain the ball in the middle, Fuller has a good range of passing ability, plays the ball on for Kean central she tries to release Hart-Copsey early on the left side, Merin covering the ground well to get across and put in the tackle.

   Websdale committing a foul wide left another chance for Tavern to play the ball into their area from a set-piece Fuller sending the ball high into the box, Merin gets her head on it to clear for Fakenham. Fakenham make a switch midway through the 1st half Smith coming off, replaced by Anna Palomino. Merin is busy in defence for Fakenham closing down to regain possession.

The goalkeepers for both sides have had relatively little to do so far in the match, Easter called into action pulls off a superb double save to deny Tavern the opening goal of the game. Tavern build well players coming forwards through the middle with Hart-Copsey on the ball down the left squares the ball inside towards Kean 25 yards out from goal she helps it on to Fuller coming in central she sets herself for the shot making good contact the ball racing in towards goal, Easter is right behind it but needs to get down sharply to block, stopping Fuller’s strike the ball is loose and Kean racing in on the follow-up is first to it tries to open her body up to place the ball wide of the keeper, but can’t Easter with the double block.

  Smith returns to the field for Fakenham with Betts coming off. Fakenham push forwards Riches with Sands right side the ball into the area headed away for a throw on the right. Bailey defends well for Tavern up against King as she looks to power her way into the area. Tavern get Fuller onto the ball she spins putting the ball out to Hart-Copsey, her early cross laid in towards the top of the Fakenham area cut out by Merin. 

  GOAL! 35 minutes played and the deadlock is broken Fakenham taking the lead the goal coming from a set-piece given away as Kayleigh Robb is brought down as she carries the ball forwards on the left. Smith to take, 30 yards out to the left of the Tavern goal she strikes it well sending the ball high into the area a little wind assist no doubt helping as the ball drops over the keeper to land inside the side netting 1-0.

 

The ball drops into the back of the net from Maddie Smith’s free-kick to give Fakenham the lead

Maddie Smith scorer of the first goal of the season for Fakenham Town Ladies

  Fakenham regain possession from the restart the ball played up the line right side by Websdale on for King who carries the ball on to the byline before cutting a cross back into the Tavern area running long for Robb coming in from the left she doesn’t get the ball under control to strike it 1st time allows the Tavern defence to get away for a throw on the left Fakenham press late on the ball put into towards the near post with King lurking, a touch taking it wide of goal the corner given again swung in near post Gibbons takes command of the situation coming to claim the ball.

   Easter with another important save right at the end of the first half comes out bravely to the edge of her box to slide in and claim the ball at Kean’s feet as she looks to get onto Hart-Copsey’s cross put in from the left.

Half-time Fakenham Town Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies

  An intriguing first half which sees Fakenham take a narrow lead into the dressing room. Could very easily have been the other way around. Clear cut chances at a premium, defences working hard. King causing all sorts of problems for the Tavern back line not playing off any single defender. Tavern attacking with purpose and pace whenever they can. Easter denying them the lead themselves all poised for the 2nd period.

   Tavern to get the ball rolling for the 2nd half.  The sun has broken up the clouds warmer now and with it the breeze that was prevalent first half has disappeared. It’s Gibbons called into action with a spectacular save in the opening minutes as her side lose the ball is fed into King breaking clear left of the box she aims to shot across the Tavern keeper, Gibbons throwing herself down to the left to push the ball away from goal.

   Hart-Copsey operating on the right wing for Tavern now likes to get the ball at her feet and take on players a strong run on the wing she vents her frustration as her final ball from the corner of the area is sliced behind the goal. A busy start to the 2nd half Easter has to come and claim the ball low as it is pinged forwards for Kean to chase, never really gets control of the bouncing ball which enables the keeper to save.

Tavern’s Katie Hart-Copsey keeping an eye on the ball with Fakenham’s Anna Palomino

   Tavern build through the middle Bell onto Griffiths her past long finds Hart-Copsey wide right a terrific cross fired in across the face of the Fakenham goal, excellent defending from Merin at the far post to get the ball away from danger. 

  GOAL! End to end action at the start of the 2nd half Tavern are hit on the counter attack as Fakenham double their lead the ball deflected forwards in the middle sees Codman running free in behind the visitors defence, seeing it down over her shoulder, 25 yards from goal the advancing goalkeeper in her sights she sends the lob over her and runs away in celebration as the ball bounces into the back of the net 2-0. 53 minutes played.

Jennifer Codman

  Fakenham have their tails up bringing the ball forwards King is played in left of the D she moves across looking for an opening to shoot, taking to long Allum steps in to make the tackle out to Lincoln who sends the ball on for Fuller, Danskanen in to win the ball back for Fakenham. Lesha Bagura enters the game for Tavern moving into a forward position Head coming off. Gibbons catching the ball as Websdale shoots from all of 30 yards out the ball played into her by Riches. 

  GOAL! Fakenham capitalise to get themselves a bigger lead another goal coming about from a counter attack, Tavern having won a corner Fakenham win the ball come forwards with Dankskanen she times her through ball from the right side perfectly for King in the centre running clear Gibbons comes racing out to the edge of her area sliding in as King pulls the trigger the ball past her as striker and goalkeeper collide, racing back the Tavern defence can’t reach the rolling ball in time as it crosses the line 3-0.

  A delay in play as Gibbons is hurt are the coming together accidental but painful the goalkeeper sadly can’t continue has a nasty black eye for her efforts, walking off the pitch however, Head is the player volunteering to done the goalkeepers gloves for the remainder of the game. Sands comes across to make the tackle on Griffiths as Hart-Copsey attempts to slide a pass into her from the right as she makes a central run. 

  Tavern get the ball forwards on the right Hart-Copsey linking up with Bagura wins a corner on the right played long into the area Lincoln up from the back the target, Smith getting close and heading the ball away for Fakenham. Sophie Anderson is on for Websdale for Fakenham the ball with her on the right moving deep she wins a throw-in. Play stretched now Tavern losing their shape a little Fakenham full of confidence press forwards. Dankskanen winning the ball right slid forwards for King her snapshot from 25 yards out charged down by Lincoln.  King nips in ahead of the Tavern defence stabbing a shot over the bar as she is alert to Robb’s ball in from the right as she brings it forwards down the left.  

  GOAL! Fakenham go further in front as King nips in to score her 2nd of the game, the build up on the right, Dankskanen isn’t closed down as she picks her past slipping the ball in behind the Tavern back line as King supplies the run coming towards her spins into the path of the ball and right of the target sends her shot across goal into the far corner 2-0. 

Fakenham Town Ladies, Sam King

   Tavern frustrated nevertheless press on Hart-Copsey with a good run on the right wins her side a corner in towards the near post, Fakenham have it covered concede a 2nd corner this one goes longer, Smith clearing back to the corner taker, Hart-Copsey lines up a ball into the box, it’s Merin who clears with the header for the home side this time. 

  King with a chance for an opening day hat-trick almost a carbon copy of the previous goal Dankskanen playing her in on the right inside the box she takes on the shot drags this one wide across the face of goal. Tavern win themselves a corner on the right the ball played back out to Hart-Copsey sends a driven cross back into the congested area cleared falls straight to Bell 20 yards out right of the D doesn’t get a clean connect sends her attempt wide of the target.

   A snap shot struck on the half-volley by Kean from the edge of the Fakenham box as the visitors push forwards on the left the diagonal ball is fired in low towards the area Palomino first to it sends her clearance straight at the on rushing Tavern attacker a good improvised effort loops over the crossbar. The game open now Fakenham break Robb putting a pass out to King drifting free on the right, swings a cross into the area, Anderson near post, Sands central the ball falls between them Allum able to get her head on it to clear for Tavern. 

  Codman picks up a knock for Fakenham comes off the field with Websdale heading back on. Fuller with a quality strike from the top left corner off the area comes within a lick of paint of pulling a goal back for Tavern the ball cut back across the area towards her from the byline her strike racing across the diving Easter comes back off the base of the far post. Fakenham with a free-kick wide left players go forwards into the area Sands over the ball the delivery long towards the far post a header comes in the ball though driven behind off target. 

Tavern Ladies, Sophie Fuller

Robb with a powerful run on the ball down the left, can’t shake off Bailey as she tries to get inside her the defender lunging in to win the ball. Betts comes back on to replace Robb the game entering the final minutes. Fuller with a terrific ball forwards for Hart-Copsey on the right wing clear she sweeps in a cross looking for Kean closing in far post, Merin up against her with another top draw defensive tackle to prevent a shot coming in. 

Even as I’m writing that attacking move down Fakenham are on the counter attack the ball out right fired in across the face of the Tavern goal Anderson closing in on the far post 2 yards out is tackled Bailey I think the ball behind for a corner. Tavern defend the set-piece. All Fakenham in the closing moments Bailey with a last ditch tackle inside the box denies Anderson a shot on goal as she makes a run to the right. The corner conceded playing in from the right isn’t cleared inside the area Fakenham can’t get a shot away Tavern scramble the ball away.

Full time Fakenham Town Ladies 4-0 Tavern Ladies

 The final whistle blows and Fakenham Town Ladies celebrate with an opening day victory. 4-0 the final score finishing the game stronger capitalising with an early goal 2nd half to double their lead quickly became 3-0 and from their looked to have the 3 points in the bag. Tavern had their chances however and the first half might well have been the side leading themselves. Fakenham were the stronger side in the 2nd period took their goals well. Tavern had chances and on another day they would have capitalised themselves, a disappointing defeat nonetheless to begin their season need to and can bounce back, certainly have the ability. After a couple of difficult season’s this is a very welcome result for Fakenham and one that will do wonders for team spirit.  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Time to pick this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Sometimes they are difficult sometimes they are easy, today’s is the latter. The notes will usually reveal a contender or two but sometimes a stand out performer will present themselves long before that and right from her first interception Fakenham Town Ladies centreback Laura Merin put herself forwards. On numerous occasions she was the defender making that interception, winning the header or last ditch tackle.

  A good contest to begin the county league season, another example of why I’ve fallen in love with the grassroots game, just makes choosing which one to go to next all the harder. My thanks as always to both sides for their help with the team details. 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v C&K Basildon Ladies

Sunday 2nd September

FAWNL Cup Determining Round

 The sun has made a welcome return for the start of September as the FAWNL Cup begins with it’s traditional Determining Round all the FAWNL sides contesting the winners going on to compete for the Cup the losing sides going on to play for the Plate. A trip to Mildenhall Town FC this Sunday, the home of South East Division One side, Cambridge United WFC as they take on Southern Premier Division side, C&K Basildon Ladies.

  The FAWNL the new name for the league known as the National League now as a pose the previously being called the FAWPL (Premier League) the format of the leagues still the same two ‘Premier’ Divisions, Northern and Southern and four regional Division One’s, South East, South West, Midlands and Northern. 72 sides in all. Alot of changes in regards to the teams within following the restructure and new licences issued to clubs joining the FAWSL. Player movement on the whole has been at it’s highest levels too this close season. 

Cambridge United WFC amongst those that have brought in several new faces which include Vicky Neal who has played for Watford FC Ladies whilst they were in FAWSL 2. Attacker Becky Shephard who has scored plenty of goals at every club she’s been at rising through the women’s football pyramid was at ERWFL Premier Division side, Royston Town Ladies last season. Kelly Bingham joins having played for the likes of Watford and MK Dons previously. Steph Gale has 8 years playing experience in the USA, was at Luton Town Ladies for a spell last season. Abi Davies enjoyed a good season with Histon Ladies last campaign. Emily Smith from Peterborough United Ladies and Albany Hodgson with King’s Lynn Town Ladies will also be looking to progress.

Cambridge’s reserves squad will be playing in the FAWNL Southern/South East Reserves league this coming season. The First team has started the season well unbeaten in their opening two league games a draw and a win against AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Leyton Orient WFC who were both in the hunt for the title last season.

A whole new era for C&K Basildon Ladies, the Essex side making a rapid rise through the leagues, achieved their highest ever finish last season, runners-up to Charlton Athletic Women in the FAWPL Southern Premier Division. For all that time the club has been well supported financially by Peter King, whose passion for the side saw it become one of the leading forces for women’s football in Essex. Peter King has now retired and this signals a new beginning for C&K Basildon Ladies, not that Peter won’t be around.

  Gone is manager Steve Tilson and almost all of the 1st team squad from last season. A new side, players brought in the emphasis very much on youth. A good base for this is last season’s Development squad that won the FAWPL Southern/South East Reserves league last season. Les Thompson managing that side is joined Luke Pierre in managing the new look team. Alex Bailess handed the captain’s armband. Courtney Clarke is the latest addition to the squad the former Writtle forward adding a goal threat up front. Two big losses to begin the new league campaign against Portsmouth and Cardiff a team that has to hit the ground running alot to ask, but confidence is high within the squad that is getting to grips with what the management team is asking of them.

 The FAWNL Cup Determining Round a distraction from the league clubs have approached it in various ways in the past, with no one knocked at this stage, and ending up playing for the Plate is no less important, silverware is silverware just as Lewes FC Women and West Ham United Women.

  Mildenhall Town FC the venue for today’s match, been here several times before but for anyone who hasn’t it is distinctive for its sloped pitch from one goal mouth to the other. An immaculate playing surface too offering plenty of width. New dugouts a clubhouse beside the pitch. A contrast from last Sunday, raining everywhere, today the sun is high in a clear blue sky. 

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Fran Gough, Kelly Bingham, Amy Howlett, Amber Cantwell, Becky Shephard, Kelley Blanchflower (C) & Steph Gale. Subs – Emma Jenkins, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Holly Northfield, Faith Hewitt & Mollie Coupar.

C&K Basildon Ladies starting XI – Chelsea Hinz, Grace Gillard, Danielle Sillitoe, Nicola Moore, Alex Bailess (C), Madelyn Thomas, Sophie Rhodes, Gemma Abela, Katie Whitehead, Courtney Clarke & Ella Tooley. Subs – Jodie Osborne & Madelene Wright.

  It’s Cambridge to get the game underway attacking up the slope in the 1st half, Vicky Neal out and Emma Jenkins on the bench, Fran Gough and Abi Davies make up the right side of the defence for today’s game. Wearing their home colours amber shirts with black shorts and socks. Basildon have a few players unavailable for the match themselves, are kitted out in an all blue kit. The ball played up the left by Becky Shephard her through ball gives Basildon goalkeeper Chelsea Hinz an early claim inside her box.

  At the other end Cambridge goalkeeper, Savannah Smith is quick to race out of her box clear the threat as Basildon build with pace on the right Courtney Clarke looking to play the ball on for Ella Tooley trying to break in behind. The game has started at a quick pace Cambridge attack Gale coming to the halfway line to receive the ball tries to get Kelley Blanchflower away into the right channel, Hinz reaching the ball first. The ball fired into the Cambridge area from the left a deep cross, Kayleigh-Anne Burt clears for a throw on the left. Katie Whitehead and Gemma Abela combine from the throw-in Whitehead sending a cross into the area claimed by Smith.

C&K Basildon Ladies, Sophie Rhodes

  Despite the heat both sides are attacking the ball, pressing time to settle at a premium, Nicola Moore breaking up a Cambridge forward move the ball played out to Whitehead on the left, her pass forwards cutting open the Cambridge defence no one there to attack the ball as Fran Gough sweeps the ball away. A hopeful effort from Alex Bailess a long way out on the left side falls wide of Smith’s far post.

C&K Basildon Ladies captain, Alex Bailess

  Davies with a great ball forwards causes problems for the Basildon defence as Steph Gale strong outwits her marker and getting free for a shot on the edge of the box can’t open up her body enough to curl the ball in on target as it spins out of play for a goalkick. Cambridge are beginning to build some momentum Davies able to get ahead of the attackers to put a cross in sees her initial effort blocked by Grace Gillard the ball coming back out to Amy Howlett wide on the wing a dangerous ball flighted high into the box, Hinz is able to claim it high without challenge on her goal line.

Basildon have tried it a couple of times already and this time it almost comes off as they build on the right Clarke deeper playing the ball through for Tooley running clear can reach it just before the onrushing Smith can close her down outside the area, lobbing the keeper is always a heart-stopping moment when the ball goes over the keeper, turning though Smith sees Tooley’s effort sail over her crossbar.

Kelly Bingham is reading the game well in the middle of the park, Basildon are looking to attack quickly the midfielder breaking up play setting Cambridge up for an attack of their own. The ball played forwards is retrieved by Gale on the touchline left side of the area, time to place her cross Blanchflower is making a good near post run, the ball coming into her, closely marked by Gillard the Basildon defender does brilliantly to deny the chance.

  Blanchflower and Gale are looking a threat up top for Cambridge linking up well both searching for pockets of space to run into, combine on the right as they bring the ball forwards a one two on the corner of the area Gale’s cross in sliced lands in the side netting. Clarke hasn’t had much opportunity to get into the box for Basildon early on does so as the visitors have a throw in the left the cross fired into her left side a good first touch to evade her marker half a yard for a shot on target but straight down Smith’s throat.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell

  Now my handwriting is abysmal at the best of times but today it’s suffering badly no sooner has one attack finished the ball is down the other end, high tempo Cambridge get a corner, Amber Cantwell over the ball a great delivery long dropping at the far post Gale I think gets something on the ball to divert it goalwards from inside the six yard box Basildon though have numbers back somehow they keep the ball out. Basildon break on the left, Whitehead with Tooley inside her have Davies outnumbered the right back reading the situation perfectly to cut it Whitehead’s intended through ball. A free-kick almost in the corner right side for Basildon the ball stood up across goal Smith goes to glove it away misses as does Clarke jumping unmarked behind her.

   GOAL! 20 minutes played and Cambridge take the lead it’s Cantwell on the ball in the middle of the park with a fantastic diagonal pass to send Blanchflower clear on the right shooting from the top of the area sends the ball up over Hinz to drop into the back of the net 1-0.

Cambridge United WFC captain and goalscorer, Kelley Blanchflower pictured with C&K Basildon’s Grace Gillard

   Basildon press the ball Madelyn Thomas getting clear in the middle to play the ball on for Tooley in attack 25 yards from goal Abela is close by given the ball she takes on the shot a curling effort that falls wide of the goalpost. Cambridge are looking the stronger of the two sides Shephard, Cantwell and Howlett through the middle all looking to support Blanchflower and Gale in attack. Cantwell drifting into space on the right sees her cross deflect of Gillard favourably for Hinz to claim in the box. 

  Howlett with a diagonal ball out to Shephard on the left on with the ball swings in a cross Blanchflower attacking it far post her header downwards taking the ball wide of the upright. Bailess comes left to intercept as Blanchflower looks to run clear on the right. Cambridge press the attack Shephard’s cross almost headed in off a Basildon head as the clearance is made but an offside flag would have saved the day. 

  Bingham bringing the ball on looks to combine with Blanchflower and Gale, Basildon getting numbers back, as Moore clears the ball. Gillard defends well nipping in between Blanchflower and Gale on the right as they look to get into the area. A few tackles coming in but nothing malicious such is the high tempo of the contest. Howlett sliding in on Bailess one such example but little complaint from either side. 

Tackles, Cambridge’s Amy Howlett slides in to win the ball from Alex Bailess

  Cantwell with an ambitious effort all of 40 yards out perhaps intended for Gale left of the D the striker dummies letting the ball run on towards goal, Hinz though has time to set herself to gather cleanly inside her six yard box. Cantwell is upended inside the Basildon half top of the circle picks herself up to take a god delivery into the box Cambridge have runners one connects with the ball Blanchflower I think but the effort is over so she might say it was somebody else.

  One last attack in the first half for Basildon Gillard getting down the left to support Whitehead, getting her return ball the full back sends a cross in deep towards Clarke, outside the area right of the D good control the attacker spins into the shot, her low effort seeing Smith produce an excellent save diving to her left to push the ball away from goal then scramble to smother the ball.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 C&K Basildon Ladies

  A narrow lead for the lower league side at the break, Cambridge go into the dressing room 1-0 to the good following Blanchflower’s 20th minute strike. Have been the better side pressing the ball all over the pitch ad finding space to exploit. Bingham breaking up attacks regularly in the middle. Basildon have worked hard themselves high tempo looking to get the ball into their attacking players whenever they can just haven’t found the room on the the wings Cambridge have. Still with such a narrow lead Basildon are far from out of it and you feel Cambridge need another goal to press home their advantage.

 

 Needed to retreat to the shade 2nd half or risk becoming a lobster so to the stands on the opposite side, sheltering from the rain last Sunday I suppose I shouldn’t complain. No changes for either side during the interval, Basildon to get thing’s underway attacking up the slope. The visitors making ground on the left Whitehead getting a throw in. Whitehead does well to get a cross into the area high at the far post Burt gets her head on it and knocking the ball up does well defensively as Clarke puts pressure on her getting the ball out to Shephard to launch clear.

 Strength shown by Blanchflower in attack as play s stretched Basildon players caught up-field as the ball is driven forwards at pace along the ground 25 yards out robs the Basildon defence and heads for goal left side Hinz comes to close the angle sliding saves with her legs as Blanchflower unleashes a shot saved the rebound comes to Gale central, little time to adjust sends her effort over.

C&K Basildon Ladies goalkeeper, Chelsea Hinz

A free-kick for the home side as Bennett is fouled coming forwards, wide on the left Shephard rises to head the ball down top of the area, on for Gale, she can’t shake off Bailess as she aims to take a shot from the top of the area, the Basildon captain having none of it. Is a big pitch and with so much put into the contest first half more space is opening up. Clarke strong on the right side for Basildon tries to power her way forwards Bingham getting across to support Bennett and Burt.

C&K Basildon Ladies, Madelyn Thomas, looks to get away from Cambridge’s Abi Davies

Whitehead attacking left side has a throw moves into the area herself as the cross is played into her tries to drag the ball under her feet turn into a shot Cambridge defend close quarters the ball coming to Thomas at the top of the D, takes on the shot slices her effort wide across the Cambridge goal. Smith is called into action racing out to close Tooley down on the right side of her box as the attacker looks to burst in on Clarke’s forward pass, the goalkeeper sliding in to make the vital touch. Gale finds herself free on the right space to run into fires in a dangerous ball full of pace across the Basildon goal, Blanchflower attacking it but excellent defending from Moore the ball out for a corner.

Cambridge United WFC goalkeeper, Savannah Smith

GOAL! Cambridge get the goal they needed taking a 2-0 lead in the match 10 minutes into the 2nd the ball to be played in from the left into a crowded six yard box. Gale central gets her head on the ball turns it goalwards the ball is scrambled off the line but far from safety as players from both sides go for it the ball popping up kindly for Burt at the near post, Cambridge United’s club captain heading home from close range for her 2nd goal of the season.

The scorer of Cambridge United WFC’s 2nd goal. Kayleigh-Anne Burt

Cambridge are looking strong in attack Shephard bringing the ball on down the left plays the ball inside to Blanchflower, twice she takes on the shot, both times the Basildon defence block. A corner won taken short up the line the ball swung into the area Hinz claims it well under pressure as Burt closes her down at the near post. Davies sends the ball out to Gale moving right coming inside the attack the area Moore stands up well against her to win the ball. Cambridge are enjoying a dominant spell Basildon have let their heads drop a little.

Gough defends inside her area as Clarke coming left with the ball looks to play Whitehead on on goal. Getting forwards down the left Shephard is tackled b Rhodes before she can line up the cross. Howlett comes forwards with the ball for Cambridge into space before setting up Blanchflower for a shot inside the box coming in from the right, Hinz saving well at her near post conceding the corner, a long delivery from the right goes all the way out to the left before being played back in towards the near post Hinz running in to catch the ball low.

Basildon keep attacking when they can get the ball forwards, Clarke looking the most likely to make something happen as she and Tooley drift across to the left side of the Cambridge area as Whitehead surges forwards with the ball at her feet on the left her pass inside finding Clarke positioned just outside the area, she aims to set up Tooley for a shot, Cantwell back in the box defending intercepts launching the ball out of the ground for what must be the dozenth time. (was Cantwell every time mind you).

 Cambridge make the first change of the game, Gale the player coming off, Mollie Coupar the player coming on Shephard switching to the right. Clarke coming deeper for the ball powers on through the middle moving left the pass played on for Whitehead playing off the shoulder of Davies at right back strong cuts inside and despite being challenged gets a shot away from the top of the area her low drive held by Smith. Bailess takes on a very ambitious lob from distance with Smith well off her line and backpedalling Smith isn’t sure where its going to land until it lands behind her goal.

Cambridge’s Abi Davies with C&K Basildon’s Katie Whitehead

  Gillard gets her head on the ball as Howlett runs into the space vacated by Shephard on the right as she takes the ball inside before laying it off for Blanchflower who has seen Howlett’s run. A vital header by the defender. Cambridge are getting a little sloppy giving the ball away Basildon are pushing on are leaving space in behind now but can sense they might get a goal back. The visitors with a free-kick wide on the right players forwards into the box, Tooley near post the target Burt defending well for Cambridge. 

  Basildon hit the woodwork a fantastic strike from distance on the right side as Thomas allowed time on the ball lays the pass across the Sillitoe on the right hits it well racing in across the Cambridge goal throwing herself at it Smith is beaten, the ball cannoning off the woodwork. Basildon press the ball high up the pitch a free-kick won on the left 30 yards from goal a chance for Abela to play it in the delivery long to the far post is unchallenged runs out of play. 

 With Basildon attacking in force as the game nears the end Cambridge have the opportunity to hit them on the counter the ball won on the left played on for Coupar making a run into the area gets her shot up over the keeper as she comes sliding in to close her down, the attempt fired over the bar. A 2nd change for Cambridge Howlett the player coming off, on comes Gabrielle Whitehurst into the midfield. 

C&K Basildon Ladies, Courtney Clarke

  Clarke on the ball right side takes on the shot from all of 30 yards her effort bouncing harmlessly wide of the Cambridge goal. Clarke with energy to take on the Cambridge defence late on in the match fires a cross in from the top of the area a favourable deflection off a Cambridge defender almost sends it into the path of Whitehead clear at the far post but she cannot get a touch on the ball. One last effort to pull a goal back Basildon pushing Cambridge back Bennett is adjudged to have handled the ball (just) outside the area central inside the D the ball is placed Clarke on it goes for goal on target Smith is right behind it.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 2-0 C&K Basildon Ladies

  2-0 win for Cambridge they advance to enter the FAWNL Cup proper C&K Basildon will now contest for the Plate. A fast paced game especially first half, everyone pressing the ball little time given in possession affected the quality somewhat but nevertheless highly entertaining. I watch the game once and can pick the tempo right up again with my notes it felt like I was writing this at a higher tempo too. Cambridge were the better side deserved the win but certainly needed the 2nd goal. Basildon never lost faith kept attacking rather than settle deep and defend at all costs credit to them, will grow as a team. Need to get a win under their belts to bolster the confidence. Cambridge  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Picking today’s  Women’s Football East – Player of the Match is a relatively straight forwards affair looked good in attack players getting forwards to support Gale and Blanchflower. It was central midfield however where they had their linchpin new signing Kelly Bingham breaking up a tremendous amount of Basildon attacks which ultimately prevented the visitors getting forwards with the numbers they would have liked.

  Am enjoying the start to the season another enjoyable match report to write-up. My thanks to both sides for the team details and Les Thompson and Luke Pierre of C&K Basildon Ladies for taking the time to chat before the match.

Match Report – Beccles Town Ladies v Chelmsford City Ladies

Sunday 26th August

FA Women’s Cup Preliminary Round

  An early start to the FA Women’s Cup this season. The Road to Wembley beginning in August with a record number of entrants to the competition that saw 53 ties drawn for the Preliminary Round more than ever before. Women’s Football East travels to Beccles this Sunday to watch one of those new entrants, Beccles Town Ladies take on Essex side, Chelmsford City Ladies.

An early start to the season for several clubs which has led to difficulties in player availability some clubs forced to withdraw. Is a magical competition that throws up many memorable and intriguing ties over the season. Regionalised in the early rounds clubs can still make journey’s longer than they are accustomed to and test themselves against higher league opponents.

  This time last year Beccles Town Ladies hadn’t even played a competitive fixture. The Suffolk side joined the Norfolk Women & Girls Football League (NWGFL) last season. A memorable debut season in Division Two saw the club clinch promotion as runners-up losing just the one league game along the way. Beginning the new campaign in Division One their season begin’s with their 1st ever game in the FA Women’s Cup. New signings made over the summer the side is still getting to know one another on the field.

 The visitors today Chelmsford City Ladies, travelling up to Suffolk from Essex the club plays in the Essex Women’s Premier Division, where more often than not they have been amongst the sides challenging for the title. Injuries to a number of players last season made for a difficult season, a mid-table finish nonetheless have built over the summer and are confident to once again be amongst the top sides challenging for the league title. A home tie against ERWFL Premier Division side, AFC Sudbury Ladies awaits today’s winner in First Round Qualifying next Sunday.

 Heading east for today’s game I was just in front of the wet weather that was sweeping in from the west to cover pretty much the entire region come the afternoon. Beccles Town Ladies play their home games at Beccles Town FC the football ground part of a larger sports facility on the outskirts of Beccles, housing a cricket, bowls and rugby. The football ground has seen some recent upgrades. Is a large pitch with a lush cover of grass, wide space to exploit. A small covered stand with some seating (very much needed today) a tea hut beside. The rain light before the game the heavens pretty much opened the minute the two sides took their positions either side of the referee for the handshakes.

Beccles Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Pearce, Millie Fisher, Marie Carter, Megan Vincent (C), Poppy Wilson, Victoria Ottey, Francesca Heaney, Lucy Robbens, Bethan Owen, Chelsea Caplin & Taylor Whiting. Subs – Darcie Keiley & Caitlin Harvey.

Chelmsford City Ladies starting XI – Kin Ripton, Holly Gurnett, Broghan Lambert, Aimee Gannon, Gaby Freedman (C), Rosie Coe, Shannon Kelly, Adele Munday, Niki Medici, Georgia James & Lisa Overall. Subs – Laura Kendle, Charlotte Palmer & Monique Black.

Going to be a wet one out there this afternoon

Both sides used to roll on roll of substitutes the FA Women’s Cup is different only 3 substitutes each in the 90 minutes. Raining heavily it’s Beccles to kick-off the 1st half, wearing white shirts with black shorts and socks. Chelmsford lined up opposite in their claret strip. The hosts look to make progress into the Chelmsford half straight away the ball fed through the middle knocked on into the box an early claim of the ball for Chelmsford goalkeeper Kim Ripton.

  Play condensed in the middle of the park, defences from both sides cutting out any forward balls. Victoria Ottey and Francesca Heaney in midfield for Beccles look to combine through the middle bringing the ball forwards the pass out to the left for Chelsea Caplin to chase is instead won by Chelmsford right back Holly Gurnett. Ottey onto the ball again forwards into Heaney on for Taylor Whiting in attack the Beccles forward placing her shot from outside the box wide of goal.

Beccles Town Ladies captain, Megan Vincent

 Chelmsford come forwards the ball played out to Georgia James peeling out into the channel, Beccles captain Megan Vincent at centre back comes across to make the tackle prevent James getting into the box with the ball. Niki Medici takes the ball on down the left wing for Chelmsford her low cross squared into the box intercepted and cleared by Beccles, Poppy Wilson. 

Chelmsford City Ladies, Georgia James

  Whiting is forced off the ball as she makes a run for the top of the box having be played in by Lucy Robbens in midfield for Beccles, Gaby Freedman the Chelmsford captain with the challenge. The first real chance of the game falls to the hosts, Heaney charging a ball down on the right sprints beyond the full back and sends a dangerous low cross along the six yard box, evading Ripton comes straight to Whiting at the far post looks to send the ball back across goal into the bottom corner, instead it flashes wide across the face of goal out for a goalkick.

Chelmsford Niki Medici with Beccles, Bethan Owen

  The weather a far cry from the heatwave enjoyed earlier in the summer, conditions miserable the rain falling heavily, both sides are struggling to get in full flow, Shannon Kelly backed up with Coe in midfield for Chelmsford tries twice to get James and Lisa Overall in attack in on goal as the attackers attempt to get in behind, Wilson and Vincent winning the ball on both occasions. Millie Fisher challenging Adele Munday and winning the ball as the Chelmsford midfielder attempts to get in behind.

  James wins Chelmsford the first corner of the match on the right side the ball into the box cleared at the near post. Chelmsford attack the ball forward into Kelly right inside the Beccles half sends the pass on with James making a run, Wilson stays with her putting in the tackle inside the D, the deflected ball falling to Medici coming on from the left strikes the ball in across the goal face drops wide of goal. 

Chelmsford City Ladies, Niki Medici puts in a ball towards the area.

  James is starting to peel of the Beccles centre backs out into the channels to find room, the Chelmsford striker pushing the ball out to Medici on the left takes the ball on before sweeping a cross into the area, Wilson the first to it to clear for Beccles. Both sides with a spell of sustained pressure Chelmsford mounting an attack the Beccles centre backs cutting out the final pass. Beccles counter attack numbers forwards Heaney with Whiting ahead of her on the right, Aimee Gannon intercepting her cross at the top of the box, Robbens races in to steal it back looks to release Caplin on her left, Ripton able to gather the ball.

Bethan Owen on the attack for Beccles Town Ladies

  Bethan Owen finds a Chelmsford goal kick coming straight to her 25 yards out controls and sends the ball into Whiting ready to turn in behind central to goal takes a shot her low effort saved by Ripton on her penalty spot as she goes to ground. Heaney has a shot from the edge of the area as she gets forwards to support the attack for Beccles from midfield left side, Ripton claiming the ball safely at her near post.

  It’s Overall’s turn to make a run into the channel giving chase to a ball popping free after pinging around in the midfield, Wilson has the pace to catch up with the Chelmsford attacker putting in the tackle concedes a corner kick. Medici to play the ball in from the left cut out near post the deflected ball dropping to Kelly outside the box, taking the shot on the half volley, her curling effort is straight into the arms of Beccles goalkeeper Chloe Pearce.

Chelmsford City Ladies, Aimee Gannon

  Chelmsford are awarded a free kick wide on the right inside the Beccles half, players go forwards into the box as the ball is played in James allows the ball to run past her near post as she pulls her marker with her the ball rolling on is met by Coe who strikes it 1st time her powerful strike driven wide. Beccles bring the ball on Heaney carrying in on through midfield her past setting up Whiting for a shot outside the area right of the D pulls the effort wide of the right post.

Beccles Town Ladies. Francesca Heaney

 Ripton with a good take to claim the ball low inside her box and Owen dinks a ball in over the top for Beccles. James manages to shake off the attentions of her marker in the centre spinning clear to the left has space to run into but opts for the early strike 20 yards out on the angle doesn’t get enough on the ball to threaten Pearce’s goal the keeper gathering the ball. Medici with the ball left side squares a cross along the face of the area, Overall meeting the ball her strike is charged down by Vincent. 

  Late into the 1st half Chelmsford have a corner on the right the ball played in low near side is turned in towards goal by Freedman, Vincent blacking and clearing the ball for Beccles. Overall is flagged offside and Chelmsford attack in the closing moments of the half going slightly too early as Coe threads a pass through the middle.

Half-time Beccles Town Ladies 0-0 Chelmsford City Ladies

  A goalless 1st half, wet and horrible conditions have contributed to the stalemate neither side getting control of the ball for very long, quality lacking at times is still very early in the season for both sides Beccles creating slightly more in the final third but defences on top so far.

  A change for Beccles at the break with Darcie Kelly joining the action, the rain still persistent as Chelmsford get the ball rolling for the 2nd half. The visitors on the attack straight away Munday with a strong run on the ball down the left fires a cross in hard into the six yard box evades everyone near post Carter getting in front of Medici defends as she comes on far post the ball deflected straight into the path of Overall she opens up her body in an attempt to get the ball around the keeper, can’t as Pearce claims the ball into her midriff.

Beccles Town Ladies, Poppy Wilson

  Chelmsford have started the 2nd half strongly getting forwards the ball is played to Overall drifting right her early cross in cut out by Wilson, the ball back into the middle regained by Chelmsford Kelly out to Overall who has stayed right her early cross into the near post James under challenge gets a shot away blasts the ball straight at Pearce.

 GOAL! The bright start to the 2nd half from Chelmsford sees them take the lead in the cup tie James and Overall have been trying all sorts up top to find room in behind the Beccles centre backs both peeling into the channels combine for the opening goal well worked as the ball is put into James out wide left she whips a cross in towards the near post Overall has made a run near post in evading her marker to get her head on the end of the ball sends a looping header up over Pearce from the top of the six yard box to drop into the back of the net 0-1.

Chelmsford City Ladies, Lisa Overall scorer of the opening goal

  Overall almost has a 2nd goal moments later as she charges down the ball on the right outside the box and from the corner of the area attempts to lob the keeper, Pearce back on her line however is well positioned to bring the ball under control. Beccles relieve the pressure sending a long ball forwards allowing it to bounce Chelmsford don’t have it, almost sets Whiting away in the left as she goes after it Gannon sliding in has to concede the throw, taken quickly Whiting plays the ball in from the byline her cross in cut out by Ripton as the keeper goes to ground at her near post.

  Another change for Beccles one substitute for the other as Harvey withdraws, Caitlin Harvey coming on to join Whiting in attack. Coe in to win the ball in the centre of midfield plays it forwards into Overall outside the box she looks to divert the ball towards goal with the outside of her boot off target running wide she and Pearce have a coming together as the keeper slides in on the ball. Treatment needed but Pearce is okay to continue. Medici with a deft ball on the left into the area James attacking it, Vincent in across the attacker wins the ball.

Chelmsford City Ladies, Adele Munday

  Caplin is played in by Ottey left side charges forwards but lacking options is marshalled off the ball by Gurnett. Munday brings the ball on for Chelmsford right side lifts the ball on for Overall positioned top of the Beccles area gets a shot away over the defence looking to lob the keeper back on her line once again awkward for Pearce she does well to get a fist on the ball punch it away to the right. 

  Robbens has been getting into more advanced positions for Beccles as the 2nd half has worn on and spinning clear of the centre backs 20 yards from goal as the ball is played across her from the right she swivels into a shot cutting the ball back towards goal swerving through the area is narrowly wide of the top corner nestling into the side netting. Lambert slides in to deny Harvey getting forwards for Beccles as she attacks down the right.

Beccles Town Ladies, Lucy Robbens getting clear of the Chelmsford defence

   James with a jinking run on the ball attacks for Chelmsford outside the box across the D, Overall tries to get inside the box for the cut back, Carter coming inside from the left slides in to claim it for Beccles. Gannon gets across Whiting as the Beccles forwards attempts to power her way through the middle after being played in by Robbens. A free-kick for Beccles on half way Vincent over it the ball played in towards the top of the area somehow manages to squeeze on through into the box Robbens is on it spinning onto the shot maybe gets a little too much power behind it as she fires it wide across the face of the Chelmsford goal.

   Chelmsford make a change, Medici the player coming off, Monique Black a direct swap for her on the left wing. Robbens onto the ball in the centre tries to release Caplin on her left, the winger run off the ball by Gurnett. Pushing forwards into the Chelmsford half Beccles come close once again Carter setting up Heaney as she surges forwards pulls the trigger from outside the area the ball racing low across the face of the Chelmsford goal Ripton can see it wide of her far post.

Francesca Heaney gets the better of Chelmsford’s Lisa Overall

   Robbens with a shot from 20 yards out as the ball is diverted into her, the ball straight at Ripton. Wilson brings the ball on from centre back for Beccles releases Caplin on the left cutting back inside a shot from 20 yards out skipping along the floor, Ripton gets down sharply to get her body behind the ball, a quick turn around by Chelmsford the ball played through the middle James evading the challenge top of the area into the box left of goal her shot held by Pearce as she dives to her right. 

Into the final 10 minutes and Beccles have their first corner of the game from the right in near post both Vincent and Ottey get something on the ball as it is diverted across the opposition six yard box, Gannon the one running onto it to launch it to safety for Chelmsford. 

 PENALTY! Late in the game from a corner kick up the other end Chelmsford are awarded a penalty, the ball played in near post is touched on and cut out in the middle by a Beccles arm the referee pointing to the spot even as Caplin attempts to clear the ball. A pause before taking it as Caplin has hurt herself and after treatment on the pitch she can’t continue carried off Beccles are down to 10 no more substitutes available. Time to take the penalty Coe with the ball places it on the spot for Chelmsford, runs in strikes the ball, sending it to the keeper right, Pearce has guessed right and diving gets her fists to the ball to make the save send the ball out to her right as her team mates rush in to congratulate her.

Beccles Town Ladies goalkeeper, Chloe Pearce dives to her right to save the penalty

  The ball isn’t out of play however regained on the left swung back in Pearce marshals her defence quickly giving herself room to defend her near post punches the ball down out to Kelly who curls a shot back in the ball bouncing wide of goal. James with another shot across the face of goal as Beccles throw caution to the wind in the closing moments of the match but the visitors hold out comfortably in the finish to claim a narrow victory that sees them progress into next weekend First Round Qualifying tie at home to AFC Sudbury Ladies.

Full time Beccles Town Ladies 0-1 Chelmsford City Ladies

  A close match in the finish Chelmsford City Ladies finding a moment of magic early in the 2nd half to take the lead in the tie and claim the win. Beccles Town Ladies with a good showing in their debit in the FA Women’s Cup defended well on the whole, Pearce with vital saves, gave a good account of themselves and but for better finishing might well have been victorious themselves. Credit to Chelmsford City however James and Overall worked hard all game to find openings trying many thing’s not deterred combining for the winning goal. Know they will get better too. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award, as ever a difficult one but one did stand out for me. Both sides contributing to an intriguing cup tie, Wilson and Vincent pairing up well at centre back for Beccles, Heaney with some excellent running in midfield too, Munday strong on the ball for Chelmsford, their attackers both did well and to that end have chosen Georgia James as she grew into the game and found room in the channels and ultimately set up the winning goal.

 I do love an FA Cup game, they can often throw up a surprise or two. Enjoyed my trip to Beccles despite the weather and my thanks to both the cricket club and football club for their help and hospitality today. I stayed dry that was a bonus. Best of luck to both clubs for the season ahead and thanks for the team details as ever.

Match Report – St Ives Town Ladies v Lawford Ladies

Sunday 19th August

  The new season is here at last and the 2018/19 campaign promises to be an exciting and intriguing one. Can’t wait to get started after having a long and much needed rest over the close season. The action begins with a game from the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL) Division One a clash between two newly promoted sides taking the step up from their respective county leagues, St Ives Town Ladies v Lawford Ladies.

  A new look to ERWFL Division One this season as it reverts back to a single division, 13 teams contesting for a place in the Premier Division, including 4 new sides. Throws up alot of interesting games over the season, and is an opportunity for players to test themselves at a higher level.

  St Ives Town Ladies join the ERWFL fresh from winning the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership title last season and are joined by runners-up Newmarket Town Ladies. A young side St Ives Town Ladies benefit from a strong pool of footballing talent in the area and along with the first team a development side was formed last season competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South.  

  After losing their opening game last season St Ives Town never looked back, going on to win all but one of their remaining games (that game drawn) to clinch the Premiership title just their 3rd season. Georgia Stancombe top scoring last season with 26 goals from 25 appearances. Manager Darren Marjoram has retained last season’s squad making a handful of new additions, striker Lauren Gibson local to the area played for Cambridge United WFC’s first team in the FAWNL (formerly the FAWPL) last season whilst Caitlin Jarman comes in from Histon’s U17s side. Both start on the bench today. Defender Emily Stephenson previously with Wisbech Town Ladies and Fran Worrall returning to the game after 5 years will also provide competition for places.

Lawford Ladies join the ERWFL from the Essex Women’s Premier Division along with last season’s champion’s Hatfield Peverel Ladies. Finishing 3rd last campaign had a potent attack with Daisy Canny and Jasmine Cox scoring 50 goals between them. Tyler Christou joining midway through last season added a further goal threat. Have retained the services of most of their squad too as they make the step up to regional football, Jessica Collinson is making her come back season after taking a few years break whilst Marta Filip is new to the game. 

An earlier start to the season than both teams have previously been used to, the county leagues usually beginning in the 2nd weekend of September. Westwood Road the new home for the St Ives Town Ladies this season sharing the ground with the mens team. A wide pitch has recovered well from the rigours of last season and the heatwave that we enjoyed earlier in the summer. Hot drinks available aswell as a bar. Still benefiting from the hot weather although overcast this afternoon, becoming muggy later on before the sun finally broke through.

St Ives Town Ladies starting XI – Kira Markwell, Stephanie Ransome, Sasha Smith, Ellie Brown, Mollie Flack, Hannah Seymour-Shove, Anna Hicks, Tierney Coulson, Katie Stancombe, Amy Seymour-Shove (C) & Georgia Stancombe. Subs- Caitlin Jarman, Megan Stow & Lauren Gibson.

Lawford Ladies starting XI – Jamie Newsome, Hayley Chapman, Sheena Foley, Tyler Christou, Ella Boyden, Keeley Brickwood, Jessica Collinson, Jade Heath, Daisy Canny (C), Jasmine Cox & Erin Hornby. Subs – Gemma Issacs, Claire Gauntlett & Marta Filip.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  The season begins! Lawford to take the kick-off wearing green coloured shirts with white sleeves, green shorts and socks. St Ives lined up opposite in their home colours black and white vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks. The visitors play the ball out to the left St Ives right back Stephanie Ransome winning the ball.

 GOAL! Inside the opening minute the 1st goal is scored St Ives break, captain Amy Seymour-Shove running clear into acres of space on the left the diagonal ball finding her the winger takes the ball on into the area as players from both sides rush back into the area, Seymour-Shove plays the ball a deflection of a defender sees it deflected out of the area straight to Tierney Coulson 20 yards out connects with the ball her dipping strike flashing past goalkeeper Jamie Newstead into the back of the net 1-0.

An early setback for Lawford get on from the restart the ball out to Jasmine Cox on the left head down she takes on the St Ives defence before whipping a cross into the area, Mollie Flack clearing the ball for St Ives. Lawford come on again down the right side this time Daisy Canny sending a ball in towards the top of the area, Ellie Brown winning the ball for St Ives. Canny showing good pace and close ball control drives on down the right tackled by Sasha Smith the ball out for a throw before she can cross.

Lawford Ladies captain, Daisy Canny

  St Ives are moving the ball quickly Georgia Stancombe leading the line always poised to break in behind, Amy Seymour-Shove finding space on the left as midfielder Anna Hicks brings the ball on with purpose. Keeley Brickwood getting back to tackle Amy Seymour-Shove as she attempts to turn inside into the area for a shot. On the counter attack the ball is played high up to Erin Hornby in attack for Lawford the ball coming to Cox making a far post run her low cross into the six yard box intercepted by Flack.

Lawford’s, Jade Heath and St Ives Town, Anna Hicks challenge for the ball

  Hannah Seymour-Shove picking the ball up deep for St Ives finds her sister Amy on the left her short pass in turn through the middle has Georgia Stancombe clear on goal momentarily, Brickwood showing great recovery skills once again gets back to tackle the forward on the edge of the box. 

 GOAL! 15 minutes in and St Ives go on to double their lead, Lawford losing their shape a little as Anna Hicks comes on through the middle with the ball has Amy Seymour-Shove free ahead of her on the left rolls the ball on for her the winger taking on to the top corner of the area time to set her sights sends a curling effort in towards goal across the face in drop inside the top corner and make it 2-0. 

St Ives Town Ladies, Amy Seymour-Shove

Hicks tries her luck from outside the area as the ball is played into her from a throw in the right, opening up her body for the strike her low effort is straight at Newstead the keeper gathering. St Ives build an attack on the right Katie Stancombe, with Ransome the ball on for Georgia Stancombe drifting across to support drills a shot in from the angle the ball behind at the near post. St Ives are dominating as Lawford struggle to get an attack going Canny running into traffic on the right. 

  GOAL! Isn’t long before St Ives go 3 up, Georgia Stancombe this time finding room in behind on the left cuts inside into the box evading a challenge getting central strikes the ball from 8 yards out, Newstead do low sharply initially makes a great stop the ball however rebounds straight back to Stancombe and composed the striker lifts the ball over the stranded keeper to score 3-0.

St Ives Town Ladies, Georgia Stancombe

St Ives are on top in the game pressing forwards at will Katie Stancombe on the right with the run forwards her cross squared across the top of the area finds Amy Seymour-Shove position left of the D, sends her shot narrowly wide of the far post. Canny is looking the most likely to get anything going for Lawford up front the ball rolled into her by Jessica Collinson she twists and turns heading towards the St Ives box right of goal finds room for a shot but drags her effort wide off target. 

  Coulson with a menacing run forwards past two players before trying to set up Amy Seymour-Shove on the left the ball runs out of play. Jade Heath stepping in to challenge Georgia Stancombe breaks up an attack outside the box. St Ives come on down the right Katie Stancombe bursting forwards cuts the pass back for Georgia  arriving inside the D her low shot is straight at the keeper. 

Sheena Foley with the ball into Heath rolled forwards into Hornby getting an early cross into the box, Cox is making a far post run, Brown cuts the ball out before it can find her. Foley comes back to tackle Hicks as she makes an attacking run through midfield for St Ives. A triple change for the home side, Amy and Hannah Seymour-Shove along with Coulson coming off to be replaced by, Caitlin Jarman, Megan Stow and Lauren Gibson.

 GOAL! An inspired change by manager Darren Marjoram (maybe?) well the substitutions make an immediate impact, Hicks on the ball carries it over halfway her pass picking out Jarman breaking away on the right side she fires a cross in towards the near post where Gibson has timed her run perfectly to meet the ball and fire it over the keeper at close range 4-0.

Lauren Gibson on target moments after making her competitive debut for St Ives Town Ladies

Lawford have struggled to get to grips with the St Ives attackers and the home side are on the attack once again Georgia Stancombe receiving the ball into her body has Hicks making an overlapping run to her left 30 yards out, Tyler Christou, stays with the midfielder making a good challenge inside the box as Brickwood gets back to help her out and clear the ball. 

  Late into the 1st half and Canny is adjudged to have been brought down as she attacks on the right the free kick 25 yards out Hornby to play the ball into the area aiming far post St Ives put the clearance straight into Collinson positioned at the top of the D, coming at her quickly her reactive strike is placed wide of goal. 

Half-time St Ives Town Ladies 4-0 Lawford Ladies

  A dominant first half display from St Ives as they begin life in the ERWFL, taking a 1st minute lead have been in full control of the half throughout creating numerous chances and scoring a further 3 goals. Space has been easy to come by Lawford struggling to get to grips have lost their shape on several occasions, need to sharpen up for the 2nd half or risk being over-ridden, a far from ideal start to their season, still 45 minutes to try and put it right.

Lawford make a change at the start of the 2nd half Claire Gauntlett on for Hayley Chapman, goes into central midfield along with Hornby who drops into a deeper role 4 at the back. It’s St Ives to get the 2nd half underway. Canny and Cox operating closer together up top Gauntlett adding strength to the midfield for Lawford attempts to roll Canny in turning inside the Lawford captain is tackled by Brown. The visitors getting at St Ives in midfield early in the 2nd half breaking up play Cox coming back to challenge Hicks for the ball. 

Jasmine Cox and Anna Hicks contest in midfield

Canny wriggling free as she attacks down the left sends a cross into the six yard box, goalkeeper Kira Markwell with little to in the 1st half takes the ball comfortably. Hicks coming on with the ball for St Ives has Jarman in space on her right sends an early cross into the area, Newstead doing well to gather the ball at her near post under challenge from Gibson. Moments later Gibson almost finds the back of the net as she is fed the ball inside the box left of goal squeezing it past the advancing keeper, her defence is back though able to reach the ball and bring it safely away. 

GOAL! Lawford pull a goal back early in the 2nd half, breaking from a St Ives set-piece outside their area the ball is played long up to Cox up top, bouncing a tricky one for the St Ives central defence, Markwell comes rushing out to pressure Cox knows she can’t handle the ball her challenge sees the ball deflect away to her right inside the D, Cox is after it and twisting and turning holding the St Ives defenders at bay swings her foot through the ball to send it over the back peddling Markwell into the net beyond 4-1.

Jasmine Cox, pulls a goal back for Lawford Ladies

Katie Stancombe steals in to win the ball on the left as Lawford attempt to play it out from the back, Christou with a burst of pace getting back at her to make the challenge concedes a corner. Lawford defend have improved 2nd half look more solid. Foley sends the ball on for Heath breaking forwards however Markwell can get to the ball first. A double switch for St Ives Coulson and Hannah Seymour-Shove return to the action in place of Ransome and Georgia Stancombe, this sees Hicks drop into the back line. 

Stow wins the ball in the middle brings it forwards looking to get Jarman away, Boyden closes her down to win the ball back for Lawford at left back. Boyden needed again as she makes a vita interception showing good control on the ball as it. Both sides make a change, Marta Filip enters the pitch for Lawford replacing Hornby, Amy Seymour-Shove is back on in place of Gibson. The game a little stretched end to end as Lawford look to see if they can pull another back, possession swinging back and forth Katie Stancombe having come over to the left slices a first time shot wide from the edge of the box.

St Ives Town Ladies, Megan Stow looks to get past Lawford’s, Ella Boyden

Cox is fouled as she attacks centrally 25 yards out, takes the free-kick herself lines up a shot a curling effort on target but at a comfortable height never troubling Markwell who sees it early. At the other end Newstead produces a fine save to deny Hannah Seymour-Shove a goal as she sends in a low shot from a Katie Stancombe cross squared in across the top of the box, Newstead diving low to her right to push the ball behind.

  GOAL! Both sides are wanting to attack and with the ball lost on halfway Lawford are on the back foot at St Ives break forwards in number, Katie Stancombe with the driving run on the right down the line cuts her cross back towards the top of the area, Hicks his there goes for it, but so to is Hannah Seymour-Shove closing each other down, Seymour-Shove right of the D snatches at her strike sending the ball angling wide across the face of the Lawford goal, is retrieved by Amy Seymour-Shove before it can go out and as Newstead goes to close her down at the far post the St Ives captain lays the ball inside for Coulson running in for the pass to drive the ball into the back of the net for her 2nd of the match 5-1.

  GOAL! 5 quickly becomes 6 and it’s Coulson again as she completes her hat-trick, play stretched as Katie Stancombe breaks away clear on the right side sends a vicious cross in low across the six yard box, where Coulson his bursting through centrally to slide in and meet the ball turn it into the goal 6-1.

An opening day hat-trick for St Ives Town Lades, Tierney Coulson

A blot of Coulson’s day follows soon after as she somewhat clumsily brings down Canny on halfway earning her the first yellow card of the match. Katie Stancombe comes off for St Ives late on Jarman heading back on. Boyden getting a good challenge in to stop Jarman getting in behind as Stow plays her in. 

Lawford Ladies, Ella Boyden

  Georgia Stancombe looking to break in behind the Lawford defence is played through by Stow in the middle heading for the box she is brought down by Brickwood the free-kick awarded and a decision to be made by the referee. Far from a goal scoring opportunity with the keeper back on her line a yellow card is shown to the defender. Stancombe over the free-kick driven low into the box blocked the deflection comes straight to Coulson her snap shot fired in low on target is saved superbly by Newstead throwing herself to the right.

 Newstead with another top draw save to deny Stancombe again a few minutes later as Coulson slips the ball through to her inside the area, clear of the Lawford defence Newstead gets down to stop her shot finding the back of the net once again.  

Full time St Ives Town Ladies 6-1 Lawford Ladies

  A fantastic start to the season by St Ives Town Ladies as the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership champions start life in the ERWFL with a convincing 6-1 victory. Scoring in the opening minute went on to dominate the first half leading 4-0 at the break, Lawford improved 2nd half got a goal back but St Ives had energy to burn and Coulson went on to score her hat-trick at make it 6-1. A confidence boosting start to carry into their FA Cup match against Corby Town Ladies next Sunday. A tough opening defeat for Lawford who can’t have too many complaints were pulled apart 1st half much better 2nd half and know they will have to sharpen up if they want to avoid similar results, certainly have the squad to do so.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  So for the first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the season. The rules are still the same, there can only be one, which makes it very hard to decide sometimes but then I don’t have to make my choice until the match report is complete (although I do sometimes) a few contenders for St Ives today but overall I have picked Katie Stancombe excellent playing out wide be it left or right involved in setting up chances and of course goals.

St Ives Town Ladies, Katie Stancombe

  It feels good to be back the season finally started I really do enjoy writing these match reports and that’s mostly down to the sport I have the privilege of witnessing. I did want to try and write less words but I’ve failed miserably in that regards haven’t I. My thanks to both teams for there help with the team details always appreciated and to St Ives for their generous hospitality, best of luck to both sides for the rest of the season.

Match Report – Peterborough United Ladies v Ipswich Town Ladies U21s

Saturday 26th May

End of season friendly

  One more game to bring the season to a close a trip to The ABAX Stadium home of The Posh… Peterborough United FC, their Ladies side taking on Ipswich Town Ladies U21s in an end of season friendly.

A celebration for Peterborough United Ladies, fast becoming one of the leading forces for women’s football in Peterborough, newly crowned Champions of EMWRFL (East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League) Division One South will be joining Peterborough Northern Star Ladies in the Premier Division next season one step away from the FAWPL. Dropping just 5 points on their way to the title this season winning 16 of their 18 games. An opportunity to play at The ABAX Stadium again at the end of their successful season.

  Their opponents Ipswich Town Ladies U21s replacing Aston Villa Lades who were originally scheduled to bring a team up to The ABAX Stadium. Ipswich Town Ladies the leading force for women’s football in Suffolk, the first team finishing 3rd in FAWPL South East Division One, are backed up by a Development team competing at Regional level and an academy squad which make up the bulk of today’s squad very young with many 16 & 17 year olds featuring.

  The venue for this evenings friendly The ABAX Stadium home of The Posh, Peterborough United competing in EFL League One. Have been here before when Peterborough United Ladies entertained West Ham United Ladies in an end of season friendly just a spectator then decided to cover the game for Women’s Football East this time around as I haven’t gotten around to seeing then earlier in the season. An impressive stadium 3 large seated stands with terracing behind one of the goals a great surface to play on. Warm weather at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend.

Peterborough United Ladies starting XI – Sophie Powell, Imogen James, Kathryn Lusk, Bronwyn Mulheron, Jeorgia Carr, Laura Patrick, Amy Challis, Emma Stevenson, Tash Applegate, Jess Driscoll & Keir Perkins (C). Subs – Amy Gore, D’Lacy Phillips, Emily Smith, Georgia Bainbridge, Rhea Patel & Leah Crawford.

 Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Ellie Bird, Chloe Dunn, Eva Hubbard (C), Olivia Bilson, Lucy Egan, Blue Wilson, Sarah Woodbyrne, Amy Leigh Abrehart, Georgie Morton, Eloise King & Miagh Downey. Subs – Emma Wallis, Naomi Bedeau, Holly Northfield, Abbie Lafeyette & Mia Cinque.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

The teams line up

 Ipswich in an all orange kit to get the friendly kicked off. Peterborough lined up opposite wearing blue shirt with navy across the shoulders, blue shorts and red socks. The setting sun an issue for the Ipswich defence to deal with as it falls low behind the ground. Ipswich attack the ball played long out to Georgie Moreton on the right a run with the ball before sweeping a good ball into the six yard box Kathryn Lusk clearing the ball for Peterborough.

Imogen James looking to tackle Ipswich’s Blue Wilson

 A strong start to the game from Ipswich moving forwards with purpose have Peterborough on the back foot defending deep. Trying to get out in attack Peterborough’s Amy Challis attempts to play the ball in through the middle for striker and captain Keir Perkins to chase down, Lucy Egan with a vital defensive challenge for Ipswich. Tash Applegate back helping her defence charges down a cross on the right as Chloe Dunn gets forwards from right back for Ipswich. 

  GOAL! Ipswich go on to take an early lead in the match awarded a free-kick out wide left around 25 yards from goal, winger Amy Leigh Abrehart. A very good delivery fired in low towards the near post a crowd there the ball finding it’s way into the back of the net the crowd slow to react as the referee awards the goal Abrehart awarded it 0-1.

  Ipswich press their early advantage moving the ball well across the pitch. Captain Eva Hubbard brings the ball on from left-back for Ipswich fires a diagonal ball in low towards the top of the box, Eloise King the target, Laura Patrick defending for Peterborough. Dunn coming on to support Morton on the right Applegate again with good defensive work with her sides pushed back unable to get anything going in attack. Both Peterborough centre backs Lusk and Bronwyn Mulheron clearing inside the six yard box as Ipswich get crosses in. 

Tash Applegate with the ball for Peterborough United

  Jess Driscoll brings the ball on through the middle tries to pick out Perkins ahead of her as she breaks in behind the Ipswich defence positioned on the halfway line, Egan intercepting the pass. Sarah Woodbyrne gets hold of the ball in midfield for Ipswich sends a pass out to Abrehart on the left 25 yards out unleashes a shot Peterborough goalkeeper Sophie Powell with an excellent save throwing herself at the ball getting a touch upon it taking it wide of goal a corner awarded. The delivery good helped on across the six yard box an instinctive touch at the far post the ball placed wide for the goal kick.

   Mulheron back to clear the ball off the line for Peterborough as a cross from Abrehart on the left is over Powell coming towards her near post. Ipswich have been really impressive in the opening exchanges working the ball well energetic making runs off the ball someone always available for a pass. Peterborough pushed back have limited chances up front Perkins isolated always ready to break off the last defender tries to get after an over the top pass but Ipswich goalkeeper Ellie Bird out of her area early can get to the ball first. 

 Challis on the ball for Peterborough wins a throw right side a chance for Peterborough to occupy Ipswich territory the ball worked back to Mulheron lifted up into the area for Perkins good control to bring the ball down turns out to the left her shot charged down by Olivia Bilson in close attendance, Bird can gather up the loose ball. Ipswich are quick to get the ball up the other end Wilson on for Morton right side her cross into the area claimed by Powell.   

GOAL! Ipswich double their lead are awarded a free kick for handball in a dangerous position on the right Morton to put the ball in as players come up from the back. Is a great delivery fired in head height into the six yard box headed on Bilson turns the ball into the back of the net from close range 0-2. 

Ipswich’s Olivia Bilson

Peterborough were readying a change before the goal Georgia Bainbridge entering the action now for Jeorgia Carr. A top draw save from Powell as the ball is knocked down for King to strike from the top of the area for Ipswich hit first time dipping Powell throws herself to her right getting a glove on the ball to take it wide for the corner. Players up from the back once again for Ipswich Bilson goes for it again inside the six yard box but can’t get a clean connection on the ball as Peterborough get the ball away to safety. make a second change Applegate coming off for Amy Gore. 

  A free-kick to Peterborough on halfway left side the ball up into the box spilt by Bird as she goes to claim, Perkins after it but Ipswich scramble away for the throw. Left side the ball put into Challis she turns inside having a shot from 25 yards out her effort over the crossbar. Imogen James comes off for Peterborough with D’Lacy Phillips coming on. Wilson with a give and go with Woodbyrne in the middle for Ipswich after the return pass inside the box Lusk with a good tackle on her for Peterborough to win the ball back. 

Amy Challis attempting to get in on goal for Peterborough United

  Hubbard with the pass on for Abrehart left side her cross claimed by Powell with Miagh Downey closing her down. Morton finding space on the right for Ipswich gets in behind a cross flashed in across the face of goal. Bainbridge with a good run and pass on for Perkins peeling away top of the area Ipswich defending the ball away for the corner defended near post. Ipswich counter attacking quickly Abrehart on the left the ball on into the area brilliant recovery from Emma Stevenson making the tackle to deny Ipswich a shot at goal the ball away for a corner on the right.

GOAL! Ipswich extend their lead from the corner a great ball played in from the right headed on along the six yard line to King positioned far post sending her header back in and across the line to make it 0-3.

GOAL! Peterborough with an instant response get up the other end from the restart get up the other end and pull a goal back. The ball played up top towards Perkins 20 yards out Challis providing the run going beyond her into the area getting onto the end of the ball and lashing a shot up over the keeper to smash against the crossbar and bounce down over the line 1-3.

  Into stoppage time Ipswich with one last attack Morton on the right with a good cross into the six yard box Patrick with good defensive work to play the ball back to her keeper as she tracks King’s run. 

Half-time Peterborough United Ladies 1-3 Ipswich Town Ladies U21s

  A strong 1st half display from Ipswich Town Ladies young side have dominated pushing Peterborough back moving well with and without the ball, energetic have used the whole pitch well and defending a high line have restricted Peterborough attacks keeping them for large periods penned back in the final 3rd. Scoring 3 goals they have all come for set-pieces. Peterborough have struggled to get anything going in attack working hard to defend however pulling it back to 3-1 keeps them in the game as we go into the 2nd half.

  4 changes for Ipswich at the start of the second half, Emma Wallis, Naomi Bedeau, Holly Northfield and Abbie Lafeyette the players coming on. It’s Peterborough to get things underway in the 2nd period. On the attack early the ball with Challis on the right a high ball played into the box Ipswich head clear. The visitors attack the ball through the middle squeezed through to Morton making a run into the area right side shoots her low effort saved by Powell out for a corner. Peterborough bring the ball on Driscoll into Bainbridge 20 yards out central slices her shot wide of the Ipswich goal. 

 GOAL! Just what Peterborough didn’t want at the start of the 2nd half Ipswich going further into the lead and from another set-piece. Downey with good work on the right to win a corner. The ball played short up to Morton positioned upon the corner of the area a superb ball played in towards goal Lafayette with the run central to volley the ball home from close range 1-4.

  Ipswich attacking the ball played into King drifting left knocks the pass inside to Woodbyrne arriving top of the area her strike sent wide across the face of the Peterborough goal. Lafayette scuffs a chance inside the D allowing Peterborough to clear as the cross is fired into her from Morton on the right. Lusk charging down a shot as Ipswich keep the ball from a corner kick. A mistake from Bird presents Driscoll with a shooting opportunity as her goal kick goes straight to the Peterborough midfielder 30 yards from goal tries to lob a shot back in the keeper off her line the ball dropping wide of the post.

Emma Stevenson on the ball for Peterborough United

  Morton drills a shot in from the right Powell with a cracking save to tip the ball over her crossbar at her near post. The ball played into Wilson at the top of the area, her shot defended by Lusk. Play spread the ball put out to Morton in space on the right her cross defended by Mulheron over for the corner. The ball played long across the area falls to King lashes a shot in takes a deflection putting a wide a corner signalled, Peterborough defend and try to counter attack Ipswich stop them on halfway.

GOAL! Downey gets on the scoresheet for Ipswich a run into the box as Morton picks it up on the right charging forwards lays the pass on into the area Downey throwing herself at it taking it past the advancing Powell and on into the back of the net 1-5.

  Lusk comes off for Peterborough, James returning to the action. Emily Smith also on for Stevenson. The changes thick and fast now Ipswich with a double switch Mia Cinque and Abrehart returning on for Woodbyrne and Downey. Ipswich with a free-kick in a dangerous position inside the D, Cinque on the ball clips the wall allowing Powell to come and gather beyond. Gore with a dipping shot in on goal from distance for Peterborough, Bird back on her line is right behind it for Ipswich.

  Abrehart with a pacy run on the left fires a low strike in towards the near post Powell diving can’t stop it is saved by the woodwork the ball gathered by the keeper. Rhea Patel and Leah Crawford come on for Peterborough replacing Challis and Phillips. Frustration for Peterborough their is room in behind the Ipswich defence they just cannot find that all important final ball as the game enters the final 15 minutes. Smith picks up a knock her knee already bandaged comes off for Peterborough Carr back on.

  Bainbridge with a good ball out to Driscoll making a run to her right her cross flighted into the area won by Ipswich’s Bilson. Cinque with great control centrally as the ball is played up to her sends it out to Abrehart wide left takes it inside tackled the ball is sent in towards goal from distance lands on the roof of Powell’s net. Woodbyrne and Dunn come back on for Ipswich King and Morton giving way. Driscoll bringing the ball on left side knocks it on for Perkins ahead of her into the box Bird rushing out sliding in to make the save at the attackers feet. 

  Perkins last action of the game as she is replaced by Applegate late on in attack. Ipswich get the ball on Dunn linking up with Abrehart and Cinque sees a 20 yard shot put over. Abrehart with a 25 yard effort on goal out on the left wide of target. Alot of changes equals alot of stoppage time. Ipswich finishing strongly Cinque with a mazy dribble central sends a shot over the bar from the top of the area. 

  A throw won by Peterborough inside the Ipswich half worked inside to Carr at the top of the area moves into a central position before angling a shot in on goal her low drive scooped up by Bird. Woodbyrne with the run central the ball at her feet pushed into Cinque goes on past her getting the return pass sends her shot in wide across the face of goal. 

Full time Peterborough United Ladies 1-5 Ipswich Town Ladies U21s

  Ipswich win the game 5-1 were impressive from start to finish getting an early goal in both halves to keep them on the front foot. Energetic moved the ball quickly and spread play out to both wingers. Ironically 4 of their 5 goals came from set-pieces all taken well however. Not the end to the season Peterborough would have liked worked hard defensively Powell with some outstanding saves, just couldn’t get anything going in attack should take nothing away from an excellent season nevertheless. Several Ipswich 1st teamers have mentioned on social media how bright the future looks and with this squad coming through it’s easy to see why.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 One more time this season the award for the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several contenders from the Ipswich squad but after reading the notes on name featured more than the rest and made choosing alot easier. With her pace and movement on the right finding space and excellent deliveries into the area Georgie Morton is today’s Player of the Match.

A good game to end the season thanks to everyone at The ABAX Stadium for their help this evening.

Match Report – Norwich City Ladies v Luton Town Ladies

Sunday 20th May

 It’s the final day of the FAWPL season, ending it with a trip to Plantation Park to watch Norwich City Ladies up against Luton Town Ladies in South East Division One.

  The last season in fact for the FAWPL with the women’s football pyramid being restructured from next season it will become known as the Women’s National League and there will be some restructuring amongst the teams that compete in those league too.

  Neither of today’s sides can improve on their final placing Norwich City Ladies will finish 2nd bottom in the FAWPL South East Division One table. Have unfortunately been struggling at the wrong end of the table for a few season’s now. Change potentially around the corner. Chairman and General Manager Mel Swift bringing in Grant Palmer to join the club as first team manager assisted by Carla Dickinson, following a successful spell developing and winning titles with Harlow Town Ladies. Since arriving in January results have started to pick up without necessarily picking up the points. Relegation a possibility will come down to the restructuring of the league and at present not known. 

  Luton Town Ladies are currently 5th in the FAWPL South East Division One can’t finish any higher although they can be caught by 6th placed Stevenage Ladies who are just a point behind ending their campaign away to Denham United Ladies. Have been a regular in the top half of the table over recent season’s finishing 4th, 4th, and then 5th last season in the league. Have brought a number of youth players up through the club to make the 1st team squad this season. Were in action in midweek at home to Cambridge United WFC coming back from a goal down twice to secure a point in a 3-3 draw.

 Plantation Park the venue home of Norwich United FC and Norwich City Ladies. A warm sunny May afternoon to end the season the pitch looking in reasonably good shape after seeing alot of football played upon it. Dry however and fairly hard underfoot. Offers plenty of width to. Campers behind the goals getting a ring side seat of the action.

 Norwich City Ladies starting XI – Eilish Brogan, Luka Goodfield, Vivian Moyo, Sasha Diston, Emily Moerkerk (C), Jodie Drake, Millie Daviss, Aimee Durrant, Summer Ward, Brooke Osborne & Chelsea Garrett. Subs – Hayley Turner, Natasha Snelling, Eliza McDonald, Paige Shorten & Laura Thacker.

 Luton Town Ladies starting XI – Grace Brooks, Rachel Kosky, Lucy Webster, Rachel Carter, Lucy Tape, Lisa Dixon, Zara Carroll (C), Dionne Manning, Jess McKay, Funmi Babalola & Nicola Henman. Subs – Natasha Fensome & Erica Bryon.

It’s Luton to kick off the match wearing orange shirts and socks with navy coloured shorts. Norwich lined up opposite in their yellow and green kit. A quiet opening to the game Luton putting the ball out to the right Norwich winning the throw in concede a free-kick on halfway, to the right the ball flighted in towards the off of the area the Norwich defence deals with it and sending the ball out to the right wing set up a counter attack Brooke Osborne travelling with the ball up the wing sending a cross in across the six yard box the ball dipping as it arrives at the far post so to is Norwich’s Aimee Durrant her touch flicking the ball up over the bar.

Millie Daviss bringing the ball on for Norwich City Ladies

   Luton play the ball up to Nicola Henman in attack holding it up plays the ball back to Lisa Dixon rolled into Zara Carroll the Luton captain attempts to play the ball over the top for Henman to run onto, too much weight on the pass runs out for a goal kick. Norwich captain, Emily Moerkerk plays the ball into Summer Ward moving away to the right, Lucy Webster in to tackle the ball out for a throw, high up the pitch Norwich get players forwards the ball into the area cut out by Lucy Tape for Luton, launch a rapid counter through the middle the ball fed through to Funmi Babalola into the left channel gets a shot away from outside the box her low effort running narrowly wide of the near post.

   Millie Daviss brings the ball on over halfway for Norwich central on to Chelsea Garrett her back to goal spins the ball away to her right Ward taking it on down the left as Durrant makes a central run into the box the cross squared into her run she shot is placed wide across the face of goal. Norwich build another attack the ball played out to Garrett peeling out to the right wing up the line cuts her cross back towards the top of the area, Carroll getting her foot around it to clear for Luton the clearance runs straight to Norwich’s Jodie Drake 30 yards out takes on the shot the ball skimming in towards goal, Luton goalkeeper Grace Brooks diving to her right claims it. 

Norwich City Ladies, Jodie Drake

  Risky from Norwich goalkeeper Eilish Brogan as she comes racing out of her box to close down Henman as she is put through on goal, does well however controlling the bouncing ball with her chest to take it away from the attacker before kicking it up field. A good tempo to the game certainly doesn’t have that end of a long season feel to it.

  Henman is causing the Norwich defence problems early on timing her runs well playing off the shoulder of the last defender, gets away on the left channel in front of goal, Sasha Diston doing well for Norwich recovering the ground lunging in to take the ball away from Henman out for the corner kick. A good delivery into the area from the left the inswinging ball take well by Brogan as she jumps for the ball with Henman coming in on her. 

Eilish Brogan claims the ball for Norwich City Ladies

 Drake with a good pass out to the right to pick out Osborne the Norwich winger taking it on evades a tackle getting in behind to send a cross in along the edge of the box Garrett meeting it far side sends her shot wide of goal. 

GOAL! Luton open the scoring and it’s Henman who gets the goal, a handful for the Norwich defence to deal with the ball played up towards her 25/30 yards from goal to the right sends a chipped effort up high into the air looping over Brogan the keeper caught off her line can’t get back as it falls into the back of the net 0-1.

Nicola Henman opens the scoring for Luton Town Ladies

GOAL! Straight away from the restart however Norwich get the ball up the other end and level the scores the ball lifted up towards the box bouncing as Brooks comes out towards the edge of her area, Garrett in behind challenging the keeper for the ball knocks it past her and taking it away to the right of goal gets her foot up over it to turn it back across the line to score, almost tumbles head over heels over the barrier behind the goal in the process 1-1.

The moment Chelsea Garrett gets past Luton goalkeeper Grace Brooks to equalise for Norwich City Ladies

  Brooks required treatment after the goal is okay to continue. Carroll playing the diagonal pass out to Jess McKay on the left she looks to cut inside is tackled by Norwich’s Luka Goodfield, Diston clearing the loose ball.

Norwich City Ladies, Luka Goodfield

GOAL! The goals keep coming a 3rd scored in as many minutes and it’s Luton who once again take the lead. Norwich are caught in possession high up the pitch as Luton press the ball, Henman stealing the ball on the right 25 yards out shifting it inside, players drawn across she sends the low cross in across the area McKay free at the far post 10 yards out opens up her body to divert the ball past Brogan to score 1-2. 18 minutes played.

Jess McKay score for Luton Town Ladies to restore their lead

A change for Norwich, Goodfield coming off on comes Laura Thacker. Henman strong on the ball threatens to get in behind once more, Diston doing well to get across her and play the ball back to Brogan to clear inside the box. McKay and Henman combine in attack on the left a give and go between the pair McKay coming infield lines up a shot from distance the ball screwing away from goal. Luton coming forwards with purpose looking to spread the play across the pitch inside the Norwich half. 

McKay into the box a similar position to which she scored the ball in from the right dropping the attacker striking it first time the shot spun wide of goal. Dixon winning the ball in the middle for Luton inside to Carroll her pass out to McKay away on he left crosses into the area Henman goes for it Diston challenging the Luton attacker getting a glancing header on the ball places it wide at the far post. Luton on top pushing forwards.

Norwich City Ladies, Sasha Diston

  Henman continues to hassle the Norwich defence supported by McKay on the right. Thacker with good defensive work for Norwich to get the ball back to her keeper. Babalola with support from Dionne Manning on the right the ball crossed in towards the top of the area headed on by the Norwich out to the left retrieved by McKay who sends a high ball into the box, Brogan taking it well as she falls forwards. Babalola steals in on the ball taking it off the Norwich defence playing it through for Henman she is flagged offside. 

GOAL! McKay is fouled in a central position 30 yards from goal, Luton send players forwards as Carroll places the ball. She goes for goal strikes the ball well, arrowing in towards the top corner Brogan flings herself at it in vain as it smashes down against the crossbar and down, scrambled away the officials though signal a goal scored and Luton extend their lead 1-3.

Zara Carroll’s free-kick smashing down off the crossbar

Luton Town Ladies captain, Zara Carroll

Luton with a throw in on the left inside the Norwich half Dixon making the run in behind takes the ball to the byline before sending in a cross bouncing across the face of goal cleared at the far post. Luton pressing the ball well, McKay always ready to break in behind whenever the ball is played up to Henman. Henman herself charges down a clearance from Brogan top of the area, aims to get the loose ball turned in on goal, Brogan recovering well back pedalling is right behind the strike. 

  Late into the 1st half the ball with Norwich on the left a foul committed inside the Luton half a chance to send players forwards towards the top of the box, a good delivery into the area bouncing near post, Daviss getting in front of Tape, almost gets on the end of it, Brooks palming it away to her right.

Half-time Norwich City Ladies 1-3 Luton Town Ladies

  A strong first half performance from Luton after an initially flurry of goals taking the lead then conceding straight away, only to score again taking the lead again and dominating from that point on. Henman and McKay causing all sorts of problems for the Norwich defence as they pressed the ball high. Good movement on and off the ball supported by the midfield. Norwich with a couple of great chances themselves in the opening minutes of the match. After conceding the 2nd goal struggled to get the ball out caught in possession created a few of their own problems. Luton on course to secure 5th spot in the table.

Nicola Henman on the attack for Luton Town Ladies.

 Norwich to get the 2nd half underway. Drake has the ball in the middle wide to Ward out left taking the ball on sends a cross into the box Durrant with the run gets her head on the ball put straight at Brooks the keeper holding onto the ball. McKay getting forwards with the ball sends a cross into Henman positioned outside the box, Diston closing her down preventing her from attempting the lob. Thacker with a vital interception at the back as Dixon looks to play the ball on through the middle. 

Jodie Drake clearing the ball

  Norwich starting the 2nd half better getting forwards Osborne seeing a cross go behind for a goal kick on the right. Carroll carrying the ball on over the halfway line for Luton picks out Manning on the right with the pass as she makes a break forwards cutting inside towards the top of the box sends a low shot in towards goal, Brogan getting down gathers the ball into her body. 

Luton Town Ladies, Funmi Babalola

  Diston slides in on the hard ground to try and take the ball away from Babalola as she makes a run on the right 20 yards out, the defender is hurt making the challenge Babalola retrieves the ball on the byline sends a high ball in across the face of Brogan’s goal the keeper doing well under challenge to get up and claim the ball. Norwich temporarily down to 10 whilst Diston receives treatment Luton press on in attack the ball played into the top of the area cleared back to Webster having gotten forwards the full back slices a 25 attempt well off target.

  Diston comes back on but she is unable to continue, the substitution made on comes midfielder Paige Shorten. The tempo remains high Norwich gaining confidence, Shorten not afraid to strike the ball from distance central has a pop at goal from 30 yards out the ball dropping wide of the right post. Ward cutting inside with the ball on the left on to Shorten she dinks the ball over the top of the Luton defence for Durrant to chase, Brooks can reach it first. 

Luton come close to extending their lead Manning getting hold of the ball on the right turning in behind to sends a low cross in towards the near post Babalola arriving meets it first time drills the ball narrowly wide. A third change for Norwich, Drake comes off as Natasha Snelling in brought on to support Garrett in attack. A corner for Norwich on the right taken short the ball crossed into the six yard box, Brooks can catch unchallenged. 

Luton Town Ladies, Dionne Manning

  A powerful run by Henman driving on with the ball up towards the top of the box evades a tackle knocking the ball on into the area fires a cross diagonally across goal from the right. Babalola racing in far post can’t get to the ball as it runs out of play. A throw for Norwich on the left the ball inside to Snelling pushed on for Garrett to attack arriving top corner of the Luton area lets fly with a shot the ball angling in near post Brooks saves well beating the ball away to her right. 

Norwich City Ladies, Natasha Snelling

Norwich pressing for a goal risk getting caught on the counter attack Luton timing their attacks the ball played up to McKay clear on the left drives for the box inside Brogan does well to save sliding in at her feet to deny the attacker a shot. End to end Norwich attack coming right side the ball played into the area loops up and on towards Garrett peeling in behind at the far post shapes to shoot deceiving Brooks who dives to her right the ball instead prodded square to her left the keeper reacts brilliantly throwing out her trailing leg to stop the ball getting past her out for the corner. 

  Norwich are pressing on looking for a goal Ward on the left inside for Shorten good hold up play by the midfielder outside the area left corner turns inside well lifting the ball over the defence into the box Snelling stretching for it sends her shot over the bar, had it been on target wouldn’t have counted as she was offside. Norwich looking strong Luton soaking up the pressure.

GOAL! That pressure increases however as Norwich get the goal they have been pressing for, Snelling with the ball on for Daviss moving left on for Garrett out on the wing she takes the ball on down the line cutting inside to the byline getting in behind and from the angle drills in a shot towards the near post Brooks diving for it can’t get there the ball finds the back of the net 2-3 will a little under 10 minutes left to play.

Chelsea Garrett score a 2nd goal for the game for Norwich City Ladies

 Manning looks to get forwards for Luton as Carter wins the ball at the back for Luton on to Carroll out to the right Manning pushing on Moyo getting back with her tackles her to regain possession for Norwich. Tape getting her head on the ball to clear for Luton as Ward plays a ball in from the left. Shorten is brought down by Carroll in the middle top of the circle, Durrant over the ball a great delivery in Brooks takes it well high on her goal line. 

Not long left in the match Norwich have a corner everyone goes up including the keeper, the ball from the right goes long headed back across goal in towards the right post, Carter on her line to defend for Luton heading the ball away from danger. Luton have players back defending late on Carroll winning the ball gets it up to Babalola, possession lost Norwich push late on but can’t final a clinical final ball as Luton defend their lead and claim the 3 points on the final day and with it secure 5th place in the FAWPL South East Division One table.

Full time  Norwich City Ladies 2-3 Luton Town Ladies

  A competitive game to end the season for both sides gave it there all, Luton by far the better the 1st half taking a 3-1 lead. Sat back more in the 2nd half ready to launch a counter attack when on e presented itself Norwich improving 2nd half getting hold of the ball higher up the pitch and gaining confidence as a result creating chances pulling a goal back late in the 2nd half proved too little too late but a positive 2nd half to end their campaign. 5th place for Luton 4 seasons in a row now. Norwich 2nd bottom play the waiting game now to see whether they stay in the Division or drop down. An improved 2nd half of the season lots of positives to build on for next season.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   This afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award goes to Luton Town Ladies, Nicola Henman proved a real handful for the Norwich defence especially in the first half playing off the last defender moving left and right to receive the ball supported well by McKay scoring the opening goal and setting up the 2nd.

My thanks to both clubs for their help today always appreciated.

 

Cup Final Report – Isleham United Ladies v ICA Sports Ladies

Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitation Cup Final

Wednesday 16th May

One more women’s final left to be played in Cambridgeshire a trip to Newmarket Town FC’s, Bloorie.com Stadium this evening for the Junior Invitation Cup Final between Isleham United Ladies and ICA Sports Ladies.

Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side, ICA Sports Ladies aiming for a Cup Double after winning the League Cup two weeks ago. Up against fellow Premiership side Newmarket Town Ladies, ICA Sports Ladies were the underdogs, putting in a strong performance as their opponents never got into their stride. This time around taking on lower league opposition in the Junior Invitation Cup, ICA Sports Ladies are themselves the favourites but will be only to aware that doesn’t count for anything if you don’t perform in the game. A Cup Double though the perfect way to end their season.

A Cup Final appearance and a shot at winning silverware too for Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South side Isleham United Ladies. Know themselves they face a tough test in this evenings final but have earned the right to be there. League form hasn’t been good this season have saved the best for their cup run to this evenings final. Close to Newmarket the club has brought plenty of support along to the final.

Road to the Final

  Peterborough based ICA Sports Ladies receiving a bye in the 1st Round of the Junior Invitation Cup. Isleham United Ladies were drawn at home to fellow Championship South side, Burwell Tigers. Amy Ellis and Lily Turner both scoring twice with Annabelle Marsh and Livi Caffarelli getting a goal a piece in a 6-1 win. 

  Onto the quarter finals Isleham United Ladies were once again at home taking on another Championship South opponent Cambridge Rangers. Louisa Harwood, Nicole Bailey an a brace for Vicky Beeton putting Isleham through to the last 4 of the competition. ICA Sports at home in the quarter finals up against Histon Ladies Reserves who they had knocked out of the League Cup via a penalty shootout. That wasn’t needed this time around a brace for Carmen Herridge putting them through the last 4.

   The semi-finals saw to close games played. Isleham United Ladies again on home soil up against Newmarket Town Ladies Reserves also from the Championship South, A brace for Lily Turner along with a goal for Rachael Turner seeing Isleham edge the result 3-2 to reach the final. ICA Sports Ladies were drawn away to fellow Premiership side Cambridge City Ladies Development. Just the one goal scored in the match ICA Sports clinching a place in a 2nd final, Jessica Farchica with the all important goal. 

The game originally scheduled for last month postponed due to heavy rain. The weather better this time but the heat has vanished a chilly breeze making it feel very cold, cloud cover above. The venue for this evenings final Newmarket Town FC. Playing on their new state of the art cork based 3G pitch. The bar and kitchen open a goo sized crowd gathered to watch the game.

 Isleham United Ladies starting XI – Claire Knibbs, Holly Partner, Sophie Antonucci, Becky Shields (C), Sarah Rouse, Zoe Luddy, Jessica Farchica, Megan Purnell, Donna Nicholls, Rhian Leonard & Lorna Hart. Subs – Carmen Herridge, Lindsey Short & Cara Clarke.

 ICA Sports Ladies starting XI – Kathleen Tilbrook, Kate Theobald, Olivia Menton, Livi Caffarelli, Donna Woodcock (C), Vicky Beeton, Annabelle Marsh, Lily Turner, Louise Harwood, Amy Ellis & Laura Todd. Subs – Jade Flack, Anita Butters, Rachael Turner, Shona Kelly & Nicole Bailey.

 (roll on roll off substitutes)

The teams lining up before the final

ICA Sports to get the Cambridgeshire Junior Invitation Cup Final underway kicking off 1st half wearing royal blue shirts with a white and navy band across the upper chest. Royal blue shorts with blue and white hooped socks. Isleham lined up opposite wearing green shirts, black shorts and socks. ICA Sports putting the ball long to the left early on Isleham able to see it out for a goalkick as Donna Nicholls gives chase

 ICA Sports put pressure on the ball prevent Isleham getting out of their half win a throw high on the left the ball worked in towards the top of the area, Livi Caffarelli defending for Isleham. Breaking up an ICA Sports attack Isleham bring the ball away on the left, Lily Turner carrying it forwards plays the pass inside to Vicky Beeton as she crosses over halfway, the midfielder sending the pass on out to the left with Amy Ellis providing the run taking the ball down to the byline sends a cross flashing in along the face of the ICA Sports goal, Laura Todd closing in on the far post isn’t too far away from connecting with the ball.

  Isleham bringing the ball on again right side this time the ball sent in towards Todd making a run into the area near side, Becky Shields, ICA Sports captain going with her heading the ball putting it away to the right Isleham retrieving the cross swept in goalkeeper Claire Knibbs claiming the ball. ICA Sports break through the centre the ball pushed on through to attacker Lorna Hart in behind strikes the ball from 25 yards out pulls her effort wide of the post. 

Becky Shields winning the header for ICA Sports Ladies

 

 Following a corner on the left ICA Sports have bodies forwards as they squeeze possession back from Isleham Jessica Farchica closing in on the top of the area seeing her shot charged down goes after the rebound out to the right getting hold of the ball holding off a challenge turned well to get inside attack the goal near post, goalkeeper Kathleen Tilbrook making a great save at her near post, the ball scrambled behind for a corner kick. Caffarelli with another good defensive challenge to deny Zoe Luddy for ICA Sports as she breaks beyond the midfield played in by Hart central.    

GOAL! ICA Sports score the opening goal of the game taking an early lead as they did in the League Cup Final. The ball played on down the left Nicholls with Megan Purnell getting on her pass slide on into the box Hart timing her run perfectly getting onto the ball and picking her spot left of goal sends the ball past the keeper into the back of the net 0-1.

Lorna Hart opens the scoring for ICA Sports Ladies

ICA Sports look to build on their lead Hart going towards the ball played out to the right holding it up well outside the Isleham area before shifting it inside to fire a cross along the six yard box, two ICA Sports players at the far post Purnell one of then, controls and spins into a shot, the ball charged down. Isleham get the ball clear, ICA Sports regain central and turn play around, Farchica moving with the ball towards the top of the area is stopped by Caffarelli.

  Isleham make a double change Olivia Menton and Kate Theobald off on come Anita Butters and Rachael Turner. Caffarelli with a fantastic tackle on Hart to stop the attacker as she looks to force her way past her into the box. Todd comes off for Isleham, Nicole Bailey coming on. Annabelle Marsh breaks forwards for Isleham as they build through the middle the ball out to her on the left side, Holly Partner getting back on her to tackle for ICA Sports. Lily Turner getting up to support Marsh latching onto the ball delivering a cross into the area the ball claimed by Knibbs.

Isleham United Ladies, Livi Caffarelli

Caffarelli winning the ball at the back for Isleham is fouled as she tries to carry it out from the back. Hart moves away into the right channel as Luddy plays the pass from the middle out to her the attacker turning her marker as she enters the box and making a driving run towards the near post tries to lift a shot over the keeper with the outside of her boot, Tilbrook holding onto the ball for Isleham. Rhian Leonard moving over to the left for ICA Sports looks to have gotten clear in behind as a clearance rebounds off her from Caffarelli, the defender showing great pace however recovers well getting back on her inside the box sliding in to take the ball away for a corner. 

Her knees taking a bit of a battering upon the artificial surface Caffarelli comes off after treatment on the pitch, Menton coming back on going to left back as Ellis drops back into the defence. Ellis called into action straight away defending well up against Hart as the ball is fired low into her from the left. Carmen Herridge has come on to join the attack for ICA Sports Ladies replacing Purnell. Herridge attacking the ball top of the area left channel, Ellis closing the ball down for Isleham.

Isleham United Ladies, Amy Ellis

   Purnell isn’t of for long as she replaces Leonard for ICA Sports. Isleham captain Donna Woodcock defending up against Hart inside the box as Herridge moving to the right sends the cross back into the area. The corner conceded the ball put into the mix from the right is clear by Isleham falling to Purnell positioned inside the D her 1st time strike is well wide of the mark. Sarah Rouse defending for ICA Sports as Isleham’s Bailey looks to get in behind through the middle. 

Carmen Herridge with the ball for ICA Sports Ladies

Caffarelli back on for Isleham straight away wins the ball back form Hart as she looks to find a crossing position on the left. Isleham launching a counter attack Lily Turner showing a good turn of pace bringing the ball on up the left wing covering alot of ground the ball squared across the face of the ICA Sports area, Ellis pressing the defender on the ball steals possession and turning into the box fires a shot in towards goal, Knibbs getting down makes a great save. Woodcock with a fine recovering tackle as Purnell latches onto a poor kick out from the back looking to get herself into the box.

GOAL! The half -time whistle approaching ICA Sports extend their lead attacking down the left the ball cut inside brought into the area and stabbed in near post Herridge on the end of the cross spinning into the shot and sending the ball past the keeper and over the line 0-2.

Half-time Isleham United Ladies 0-2 ICA Sports Ladies

  2-0 the half-time lead for ICA Sports Ladies have dominated play without really getting into their stride. Largely down to the fact Isleham have pressed the ball really well, winning several vital challenges at the back preventing ICA Sports getting one on one with the keeper. Have attacked themselves with limited success but after conceding an early goal haven’t let the game get away from them, ICA Sports managing to double their lead on the stroke of half-time.

Onto the 2nd half both sides making a goalkeeper change at the beginning of both playing an outfield player in the position. Knibbs is replaced by Hart, Tilbrook replaced by Bailey. The floodlights on for the 2nd half it’s Isleham to get thing’s underway. ICA Sports put pressure on the ball straight away getting it on win a corner on the right. 

  Isleham get the ball forwards Shona Kelly and Todd also on for Isleham the ball out to the left for Lily Turner runs with the ball before sending a cross into the area, Hart taking the ball into her body at the near post. Lily Turner fed the ball on the left takes it on once again sweeping a cross into the area Rouse defends for ICA Sports with Rachael Turner closing in from the right flank. An encouraging start to the 2nd half for Isleham Beeton taking a shot at the ICA Sports goal from distance the strike wide. Pressing the ball well all over the pitch. Antonucci defending for ICA Sports at left back as she gets in between Rachael Turner and Beeton as they look to link up attacking down the right.

Beeton getting forwards into the area as Isleham get bodies forwards ends up fouling Rouse as she gets control of the ball. Rouse with a good piece of defending at the top of her area as Lily Turner attacking down the left sends the ball in across the area, Todd looking to try and bring it down, Rachael Turner closing in the ICA Sports central defender winning the ball. Up the other end Isleham need to be wary of getting hit on the break Farchica on for Herridge, she tries to muscle he way through into the box Caffarelli defending for Isleham.

Isleham United Ladies, Laura Todd

  Lily Turner with the ball attacking for Isleham left side cuts inside 30 yards out Kelly in support takes on the shot the ball gathered by the keeper. Claire Knibbs joining the action up top for ICA Sports. Knibbs with a run into the right channel fed the ball from the wing, shifts the ball well between her feet inside the D before sending a shot skipping off the surface in towards goal Bailey making a good reactive save with her feet. Farchica winning the ball in the middle slides it on for Knibbs looking to attack the Isleham box, Ellis with a good tackle conceding the corner. 

ICA Sports Ladies, Donna Nicholls

  ICA Sports having started the 2nd half slowly are starting to build momentum winning a corner on the right the ball swung in near post attacked by Shields knocked on into the middle claimed by Bailey. Nicholls on the left for ICA Sports Antonucci getting up with her to support, Knibbs taking the ball on to the byline cutting a cross back in along the face of goal, Bailey able to gather for Isleham. Knibbs caught in an offside position a couple of occasions.

  Kelly cutting the ball out in the middle for Isleham sets up an attack Rachael Turner away on the right taking the ball to the edge of the box looking for Todd making a run near post gets her foot around the ball sends it wide into the side netting. Rachael Turner getting help from Beeton on the right wins her side a corner kick, a great delivery in towards the top of the six yard box near post Kelly there unmarked gets her head on the ball sends it up over the crossbar.

  Rouse intercepting at the back for ICA Sports brings the ball on before playing it out to Nicholls on the left, support from Knibbs, Woodcock defending for Isleham. Nicholls with the ball left side comes on a one two with Knibbs the final ball played into the area too heavy for Nicholls to run onto. Shields getting back well to push the ball into her keeper as Todd makes a strong central run for Isleham as the ball is rolled into her path. Changes for Isleham Butters back on Jade Flack also on for Todd up front. 

 Nicholls dropping her shoulder looks to take the ball inside from the left, Caffarelli closing her down for Isleham regaining possession. Bailey makes the save as Farchica gets herself forwards and into space for ICA Sports in attack top of the area looks to open her body curl the shot around the keeper, Bailey getting her gloves onto the ball. 15 minute left ICA Sports having to work to keep their 2 goal lead are starting to find spaces appearing at the back, Knibbs with some clever runs to draw players out.

  A free-kick right on the edge of the area for ICA Sports, Purnell rushing up to take it, gets her strike up and over the wall but Bailey is there in the right place to catch the ball. Rouse with the defensive header as Isleham send the ball long through the middle. Rachael Turner in behind on the right a low cross in along six yard box Hart scooping the ball up for ICA Sports. 

 GOAL! Isleham have down well 2nd half finally though their defence is breached for a 3rd time as ICA Sports make the scoreline more comfortable in the final 5 minutes of the game, Rouse getting forwards playing the ball on for Knibbs right side taking in towards the corner of the area fires a low shot across the keeper and into the bottom corner 0-3.

Isleham press the ball through the middle Harwood getting it on for Flack trying to force her way into the area, challenging the defender, the ball is squeezed through Harwood latching onto it sending her shot over the bar. Antonucci backed up by Rouse regains the ball inside the area as Beeton attacks it down the right. A late free-kick for ICA Sports halfway inside the Isleham half Purnell to flight the ball on into the area, attacked near post Bailey does well a corner conceded the ball landing on the roof of he net. The final whistle goes and ICA Sports win the final 3-0 and end their season with double cup success.

Full time Isleham United Ladies 0-3 ICA Sports Ladies

   An entertaining 2nd half to the game. Isleham United Ladies giving a good account of themselves attacked well 2nd half and for a spell looking the more likely to score. ICA Sports having to work for the win in the end. Took their chances well in the 1st half going 2-0 ahead a 3rd goal coming late on to make thing’s comfortable. An enjoyable final if very chilly. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Picking this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match it’s a close run thing between 2 players one for either side and both wearing the number 6 shirt. Have to pick one however those are the rules. Livi Caffarelli with some great defensive work at the back for Isleham United Ladies, contested every ball and make more than one tackle inside her box to prevent a shot being taken. Sarah Rouse takes the award up the other end for ICA Sports. Making some vital challenges winning headers. Composed as Isleham gained some confidence in attack in the 2nd period.

Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitation Cup Winners 2017/18 ICA Sports Ladies

Congratulations to ICA Sports on winning this evening’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitation Cup Final and completing a Cup Double.

  My thanks to both sides for there help with the teams and describing the 3rd goal to as I completely missed it. Happens sometimes. Think that’s my finals over for the season but temptation might get the better of me.