Category Archives: Match Reports

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v AFC Wimbledon Ladies

Sunday 13th January

FAWNL South East Division One

The football action this Sunday on Women’s Football East from the FA Women’s National League, Cambridge United WFC v AFC Wimbledon Ladies in South East Division One.

The two promoted sides Crawley Wasps Ladies and Billericay Town Ladies getting off to a blistering start, to lead the way Billericay with 5 straight wins to start life at the higher level, Crawley Wasps have yet to drop a point 9 wins from 9 whilst continuing on in the cup competitions. A 5 point lead at the top for Crawley over 2nd placed Billericay, a further 4 point gap to the chasing pack where it is very tight just 3 points separating 3rd to 7th.

Cambridge United WFC would dearly love to be amongst that mid-table cluster but instead find themselves looking nervously over their shoulders 3rd from bottom, they are in need of the league points. Have played less matches than everyone else in the league, largely due to involvement in various cup competitions that have actually seen them play just 3 league matches since the end of September, that coupled with postponements and the sides around them getting games in and picking up points pushing them down the table now into 2019 league points are the priority. Win those games and they are back amongst the mid-table battle.

AFC Wimbledon are the side leading the chasing pack in South East Division One currently in 3rd spot. Finished runners-up in the league last season, leading for the majority before Milton Keynes Dons Ladies winning their games in hand eventually overhauled them to win the title. A slower start this time around, it has been the nature of the league this season that any team getting a run together can propel themselves up the table. Wimbledon doing just that at to climb up to 3rd.

Are enjoying success in both the FAWNL Cup and FA Women’s Cup. Beating higher league sides to progress in the FA Women’s Cup, Southern Premier Division side, Portsmouth FC Women in the 2nd Round and just last Sunday a 3-0 away win against Hull City Ladies of the Northern Premier to reach the 4th Round of the competition for the 1st time in their history where they have been drawn at home to FAWSL side Bristol City Women.

Wimbledon are also into the quarter finals of the FAWNL Cup beating today’s opponents Cambridge United WFC at home 2-1 to advance. The two sides sharing a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season.

Mildenhall Town FC, Cambridge United WFC’s home ground. A sloping pitch from one goalmouth to the other as I’ve mentioned before. A wide pitch plenty of space to exploit. Another gloomy day cloudy, a light drizzle in the air prior to kick-off. The bar open, hot drinks and food available.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abigail Davies, Holly Northfield, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Jemma Moore, Amy Howlett, Vicky Neal, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Kelley Blanchflower (C) & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett & Charlotte Crisp.

AFC Wimbledon Ladies starting XI – Edie Kelly, Rosie Russell, Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins, Sarah Wentworth, Hannah Billingham, Kelly Highman, Becky Mclaren-Johnson, Rebecca Sargent, Georgia Heasman, Katie Stanley & Caroline Bisson (C) Subs – Linsey Clarke, Sian Wylie, Megan Kowalski, Jenny Nagle & Hannah Baptiste.

It’s Cambridge to get the 1st half underway attacking up the slope wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks Wimbledon lined up opposite all in blue. The visitors quick to press the ball from the start won in midfield played back to Sarah Wentworth the central defender sending it long, striker and captain Caroline Bisson spinning in behind, goalkeeper Savannah Smith out to the ball early kicking it clear for Cambridge.

Wimbledon busy in the opening minutes of the game pressing looking to move the ball quickly and spread play, Rebecca Sargent putting herself about in midfield, sets up the first opportunity winning the ball in the middle spreading play out to the left wing Katie Stanley coming inside bringing the ball down shapes to shoot 30 yards out the attempt looping up into the air drops wide of the Cambridge goal.

Cambridge struggling to get anything going in the final 3rd in the early stages win a throw high on the right, captain Kelley Blanchflower with a driving run with the ball into the box, Hannah Billingham clearing the ball for the visitors. Wimbledon have Cambridge penned in their own half Sargent with some powerful runs supported by Becky Mclaren-Johnson and Kelly Highman, the ball fed into the left channel, Kayleigh-Anne Burt coming across to defend put the ball out for a throw.

Wimbledon come again building from the ball the defence on the halfway line the pass into Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins left side she attempts a through ball to unleash Bisson, well intercepted by Jemma Moore in the centre of the Cambridge defence. Wimbledon win a corner on the right side the delivery in towards the near post headed on across the area by Billingham looping down at the far post Wentworth stretching for it can’t direct her effort on target behind for a goalkick.

Is developing into a scrappy battle in midfield both sides press the ball pinging back and forth it suddenly squeezes through in behind Bisson latching onto it slides into a shot before Burt can close her down 20 yards out the ball is knocked up and whistles past the top right corner. All Wimbledon have Cambridge pushed back a free-kick won wide right Billingham over the ball a great effort fired in bounces through the six yard box no one able to provide a telling touch.

Billingham is hurt moment later looking to seeing the ball out for a throw Mollie Coupar pressing her for Cambridge sliding in the resulting tangle of legs seeing the Wimbledon defender clatter into the metal railings surrounding the pitch, a blow to the head that sees play stopped for a lengthy period as Billingham receives treatment that ultimately leaves her sporting a unfashionable blue head bandage, thankfully able to return to the action. Cambridge pressure the throw in the ball coming into the area, Edie Kelly taking it cleanly as Coupar closes her down.

Blanchflower has her hands full with Sargent restricting her attacking runs, picking up possession in a favourable position drives forwards sends the ball put to Jade Bell up on the left wing her cross long to Coupar at the far post getting up looks to header it down for Blanchflower the Wimbledon defence crowding her out.

Sargent strong in the challenge wins the ball nips in to get hold of the ball 25 yards out turning well central spaces opens up in front of her she goes for the shot catching the ball well fired over the crossbar. Frustration creeping in from both sides, Amy Howlett fouling Sargent. The free-kick 40 yards out ambitious from Billingham but she sends the ball in towards goal drops kindly for Smith to claim in her mid-riff.

Cambridge are conceding free-kicks the next alot closer to goal, Billingham on it once again 25 out right of the area, the shot narrowly over the crossbar. Another free-kick soon after central Bisson over this one Billingham the target far post the ball flighted in Cambridge manage to deal with the threat. Stanley with a good bit of control as the ball is played into her moving down the left her touch taking it in field 30 yard out turns well and shoots the ball wide of the right post.

GOAL! The visitors have dominated possession but against that it’s the hosts that take the lead. It is a well worked goal nevertheless, Blanchflower getting forwards a throw won high on the left the ball played up into the box dropping into Coupar, shielded by Billingham holds it up well pushed out to the top of the area turns well sending the pass into Blanchflower peeling clear into space inside the box wide right her squared ball across the face of goal, Bell rushing in Kelly blocking her initial effort, the ball skips up wide of the grounded keeper, Bell alert sending it on into the goal 1-0.

Wimbledon have had all the possession are straight back on the attack, Howlett isn’t making any friends with another foul on Sargent. The free-kick wide left, Bisson to delivery a great ball up to the far post Billingham forwards not put off heading the ball whatsoever a stooping header back across the top of the six yard box Sargent there central leaning back catches the ball agonisingly up over the crossbar.

Wimbledon press forwards right side Sargent with a good ball Bisson ready to spring in behind, closing in on the area, Moore sliding in makes a great tackle to take the ball away. Howlett is booked for persistent fouling. Wimbledon remain the sharper to the ball have Cambridge with their backs to the wall at time but despite that the young defence are standing firm. Coupar working hard up front pressing the ball presenting an opportunity on the right for Bell to put a cross in from the byline cut out at the near post.

Abigail Davies wins the ball for Cambridge right side on for Shephard a slight hestitation before putting the cross on allows Billingham the chance to put a foot in win the ball. Sargent plays the pass on for Heasman sending the ball on she releases Bisson in behind, closing in on the box, Moore shows great pace to get back on her make the challenge.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 AFC Wimbledon Ladies

Wimbledon have dominated the play in the first half, seeing the majority of the ball pushing Cambridge back, creating opportunities, could be leading themselves however at half-time they find themselves trailing 1-0. Cambridge have worked hard had their backs to the wall, their defence under pressure has coped well, getting up the other end a well worked move seeing them take the lead. An interesting 2nd half looms.

Cambridge’s Kelley Blanchflower with Wimbledon’s Rebecca Sargent

No changes for either side at the break the light starting to fade the floodlights are on Cambridge attacking down the slope 2nd half as Wimbledon get the game back underway. Cambridge with more intent inside the Wimbledon half right from the off, Neal adjudged to have fouled Highman on halfway. The home side launch an attack the ball flicked on by Neal to Blanchflower breaking forwards her ball down the right channel for Coupar to chase, Billingham across to stretch and cut it out for Wimbledon.

GOAL!  Cambridge’s bright start to the 2nd half sees them extend their lead have the ball on the left side building down the wing the ball played into Coupar head down she carries it on into the area before firing in a cross along the six yard box, Blanchflower timing her run perfectly ahead of the Wimbledon defence to smash the ball into the back of the net 2-0.

Sargent continues her work ethic in the middle for Wimbledon getting hold of the ball fires a pass up the right channel for Heasman getting forwards she cuts her low cross back towards the D, Stanley closing in on it can’t keep her shot down as she sends her 1st time effort over. Is a bruising encounter between two sides that give as good as they get, largely in good spirit…sort of…

Wimbledon’s Katie Stanley

A busy afternoon for the officials too Wimbledon with a free’kick wide right Bisson over it lifted into the area Billingham escapes her runner near side from close range wide of goal can only find the side netting. Cambridge frustrating their opponents now enjoying more of the ball, Coupar scrapping away up front bundled to the ground.

Mclaren-Johnson pressurising for Wimbledon central with the ball at her feet has support going forwards from Heasman, her cross squared to Stanley cutting inside from the left shoots 20 yards out, Smith diving to her left pushing the ball away from goal. 20 minutes gone in the 2nd period and Wimbledon make a change, Hannah Baptiste coming on for Highman. Cambridge with a throw left inside the Wimbledon half into Coupar 25 yards out a touch taking it inside before curling a shot over the bar.

An open game now a complete contrast to the first half Cambridge coming on more now competitve remains a scrappy affair Holly Northfield preventing a crossing opportunity on the right for Wimbledon. Russell up the other end across as Bell tries to put Coupar away. Wimbledon attack Billingham with a great forwards ball into the area controlled well by Bisson, Cambridge win in the ball sent long…

GOAL! With the game more open and Wimbledon committing more players forwards Cambridge capitalise to score a 3rd goal Coupar getting on the scoresheet after being involved in the hosts opening 2 goals. The ball played long up to her peeling away into the right channel ahead of Billingham, Wentworth comes across pushes Coupar wide right of goal as she enters the box the young striker strong on the ball gets a shot away from the angle firing the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner 3-0.

Neal with a firm tackle to deny Wimbledon building an attack through the middle. Moore with good defensive work at the back as the visitors attack through the right. Coupar tries to burst on with the ball Sargent back to defend against her for Wimbledon. Wimbledon make a 2nd change Jenny Nagle on for Heasman on the right side. A free-kick wide right for the visitors Bisson with the ball up into the area eventually cleared by Burt. Nagle attacking right Northfield sliding in to prevent the cross the ball out for a throw.

Mollie Coupar holding the ball up for Cambridge United WFC

Both sides make a change, Emma Jenkins coming on for Blanchflower for Cambridge. Sian Wylie replacing Hoesli-Atkins for Wimbledon with a little over 15 minutes left on the clock. Wimbledon continue to attack looking to pull a goal back that pressure bringing a corner, Stanley to take it from the right a long delivery to the far post Cambridge winning the header a determination set in to keep a clean sheet.

Smith with a point blank save going to ground in front of Bisson as the striker gets onto the end of a diagonal ball inside the six yard box fired in from the right. Wimbledon pressure late on in the game pushing players on into the last 8 minutes. Cambridge make a 2nd change Carrie Bennett coming on replacing Coupar late on.

Bell doing some vital work in defence late on for the hosts doubling up with Northfield as Wimbledon look to double up on the full backs. Winning the ball tries to release Shephard up front, Wentworth regaining possession for Wimbledon. Moore tackles Stanley a throw deep in the right, the ball kept up top a swerving cross in under the crossbar taken high by Smith.

Little time left now, Wimbledon’s frustrations mount a decision going against them protests voiced results in Stanley and Mclaren-Johnson yellow carded for dissent. A late late corner for Wimbledon right side an inswinging delivery pushed down and away by the jumping Smith falling to Wylie the defended stretching for it sends it across to the far post, cleared Wimbledon appeal for a penalty, nothing doing the final whistle blown soon after.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 3-0 AFC Wimbledon Ladies

A terrific result for Cambridge and 3 valuable points won. Most definitely a game of two halves. Wimbledon dominating the 1st half playing the ball quickly, spreading play and pushing their opponents back, chances created but not scoring paid the price as Cambridge took the lead against the run of play. A different story 2nd half Cambridge battling to defend 1st half buoyed by their goal came out on the front foot 2nd half scoring early. Took their chances well, a competitive tussle, expected nothing less, just adds to the excitement in what is undoubtedly a competitve league, with alot of talented players. Any side can beat the other on their day. That’s why I love it so much.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few performances worthy of note. Firstly for Wimbledon, Rebecca Sargent was a driving force in the midfield, putting herself about getting forwards too with some timely runs and good passing especially first half. For Cambridge, Jemma Moore the newest face to line-up in defence played well making some great and well timed tackles the back-line on the whole learning alot from today’s game. Jade Bell too using her experience to great advantage opening the scoring for Cambridge and vital in defence late on. Overall though today’s award goes to attacker Mollie Coupar put in a great shift up top for the hosts prepared to get stuck in a willing learner, good hold-up play involved in both the opening goals and great individual skill and strength to score the 3rd.

Another good advert for women’s football in the FAWNL, scrappy yes but played by two committed sides, a good watch. My thanks to everyone for their help today always appreciated.

Match Report – Aylsham Ladies v Sprowston Ladies

Sunday 6th January

Norfolk Ladies League Cup

Happy New Year! The first game of 2019 for Women’s Football East, another great year of football action to look forwards too. A quiet end to 2018 with just the one game watched have missed it and keen to get this year off to a flyer, the action beginning in Norfolk from the 2nd Round of the Ladies League Cup with Aylsham Ladies at home to Sprowston Ladies.

A place in the quarter finals of the competition up for grabs the one remaining tie the other 7 places decided and with half the Division One sides set to be gone from the competition after today’s game a great opportunity awaits the winner of today’s tie.

Aylsham Ladies reformed this season after a brief withdrawal from the league. Managed now by Robert Highe formerly in charge of the Stalham Town Ladies side, he has brought with him a good number from that side with players formerly with North Walsham Angels Ladies also joining the squad has plenty of experience competing in Division One. 8 sides in the league this season Aylsham were one of the early pacesetters neck and neck with Thorpe United Ladies, a dip in results seeing Thorpe who have remained consistent throughout stretch their lead.

Aylsham are second and well clear of the chasing pack, the dynamic of the league changing over the first few months of the season, several teams struggling for numbers early on most have added to their squads and alot closer to one another now, anyone can feel capable of beating anyone on their day as the new year begins.

Sprowston Ladies are 4th in Division One their squad light early on has gotten stronger, this side making their debut in Division One last season were very strong pushing eventual winners Bungay Town Ladies all the way to the title, collected silverware too winning the League Plate. Both sides will be keen to get going in 2019 having both played their last competitive fixture back in November! The two sides drawing 2-2 at Sprowston when they met in October.

Youngs Park the venue for today’s fixture and the first time I’ve been back there since the redeveloped site was opened in 2016. A new housing development close by easier to get to than I remember, a large carpark a large clubhouse with bar and refreshments, beside the main pitch, lots of space for additional practice pitches, a great sporting facility. The weather a pretty dull picture, gloomy and overcast, not too cold mind

Aylsham Ladies starting XI – Katie Clarke, Charlotte Darvill, Hannah Sturman, Megan Champion, Sophie-Jayne O’Connor, Amber Mayhew, Kerry Wright, Summer Moore, Mary Anne Hoy, Vicky Lubbock & Leanne Symonds. Subs – Jade Knights, Emma Gillespie & Abbie Charlton.

Sprowston Ladies starting XI – Megan Lightfoot, Paige Barnard, Ria Drake, Calista Tink, Georgina Belton, Abbi Nobbs, Melissa Anderson, Amee Kennett, Abby Hutchin, Chelsea Brister & Vicky Leyer. Subs – Rebecca Basten, Jade Mundford & Evie Tolson.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

8 teams in the league, 3 of them play in orange. Aylsham as the home side wearing there first choice colours, orange shirts and socks with blue shorts. Sprowston wearing black shirts today with orange shorts and black socks. It’s Aylsham with the kick-off 1st half. The visitors press the ball straight away Abbi Nobbs getting hold of the ball for Sprowston, played forwards cut out by Aylsham’s Sophie-Jayne O’Connor.

Vicky Leyer with the ball at her feet for Sprowston inside the Aylsham half central played on down the left for Amee Kennett to chase, Hannah Sturman across her for Aylsham sees the ball out for a goal kick. Sturman with some good defensive work soon after as Kennett given the ball left side looks to turn inside get into the area the Aylsham defender getting in a good challenge.

Sprowston Ladies, Abbi Nobbs

Abby Hutchin getting forwards with the 1st goalwards attempt for Sprowston her low ball gathered easily by Aylsham goalkeeper Katie Clarke. A good start to the game from the visitors Sprowston attacking have the ball inside the Aylsham half making in difficult for the hosts to counter.

GOAL! Sprowston capitalise on their good start by taking an early lead in the match attacking right side Chelsea Brister on the ball down the line plays it back of Hutchin behind her she sends a cross along the top of the six yard box Leyer central send the ball on for Kennett closing in at the far post she sends a shot back across the goal and scores 0-1.

Amee Kennett opens the scoring for Sprowston Ladies

Aylsham look for an immediate response the ball forwards into Vicki Lubbock right channel her ball forwards cut out by Ria Drake, the visitors counter the ball forwards finding Leyer top of the centre circle is clear running in towards goal, the flag is up however and when eventually spotted her run ended.

Clarke does well coming early to kick the ball clear as Hutchin making a great run through the left channel is almost played in on goal. The passes not coming off for Aylsham frustration in the early part of the game as Sprowston continue with their energetic game. Amber Mayhew bringing the ball forwards fro Aylsham looks to set up Lubbock as she moves with her to the right the Sprowston defence regaining possession.

Aylsham Ladies, Amber Mayhew

Mary Anne Hoy flicking the ball on down the left wing gives chase tries to tie up Leanne Symonds in the middle, the best the attacker can do is win a throw as Georgina Belton slides in with her in win the ball. Sturman with more good defensive work inside the box the deny Kennett a shot as she turns inside. Charlotte Darvill defends for Aylsham as Sprowston try to double up on her at left back Hutchin with the run into space on her right with Leyer holding up the ball.

Paige Barnard has a long throw in her arsenal and uses it to good effect for Sprowston on the right the ball into the box causing problems, Megan Champion clearing for Aylsham. Barnard likes to charge forwards with the ball at her feet too a good run from half way is ended as her heels are clipped 25 yards out Sprowston winning the free-kick. The ball flighted into the box headed down out of the area the defensive clearance dropping straight to Hutchin outside the box, shoots her looping effort straight at Clarke well placed in the Aylsham goal.

Paige Barnard on the attack for Sprowston Ladies

Aylsham haven’t registered a shot on target yet are struggling to get anything going in the final third, Summer Moore gathering the ball into her feet inside her opponents half looks to plough her way towards the box, eventually after three challenges Sprowston manage to stop her.

GOAL! From the resulting counter attack Sprowston get the ball up the other end and score to double their lead the ball played direct up through the middle Hutchin picking it up carrying it on into the area, Sturman managing to get in the challenge on her takes the ball away from her Kennett free behind Hutchin coming in from the left onto the loose ball sends her shot from outside the box up over the keeper to score her 2nd of the match 0-2. 

A change for Sprowston, Brister coming off a straight swap on the right with Evie Tolson coming on. 25 minutes played. Sprowston remain strong in attack numbers forward win a throw deep on the right, Barnard to take the long throw, drops to Leyer inside the area right side holds the ball up well before trying to tie up Hutchin top of the area central her shot blocked by Moore the deflected ball racing out to Melissa Anderson positioned left she 1st time shot over the bar.

GOAL! A mix up at the back sees the visitors score a third goal. The ball played up over the top with Tolson the target right side, Darvill to it first as it runs into the box, the keeper calls aiming to clear it as she advances, defender and goalkeeper too close to each other as she does the ball unfortunately striking Darvill rebounds behind both into Tolson who has an empty net in front of her scores her 1st goal for Sprowston in just her 2nd appearance.

Darvill getting forwards for Aylsham tries to link up with Hoy on the left the pair gain ground on the wing before Barnard slides in with the tackle to win the ball. Sprowston counter Hutchin running into the space vacated by Darvill right side to the by line her cross in low towards the near post taken well by Clarke. Aylsham’s turn to counter quick to get the ball forwards into Symonds left of goal across the top of the area into Lubbock, Belton sliding in on her as she shoots the ball looping up over the bar a corner awarded, the ball near side defended.

GOAL! 35 minutes gone and Sprowston add to their lead Nobbs on for Hutchin breaking forwards a good run through the middle sends it on for Leyer bursting clear into the area moving right away from goal gets a shot away wrong footing the keeper moving to close down the angle the ball back across her and into the far bottom corner 0-4.

Vicky Leyer holding the ball up inside the box for Sprowston Ladies

A free-kick for Sprowston awarded on the left side 35 yards players up from the back as the ball is played diagonally across to Hutchin moving in from the right 20 yards out her shot blocked… by Tink.

GOAL! A late life line for Aylsham in the first half as they are awarded a penalty. Mayhew getting the ball forwards into Symonds getting into space on the right her cross squared into Lubbock top of the area she is upended as she goes to receive the ball the referee pointing to the spot. Lubbock gets up to take, a well taken effort placed to her right pulls a goal back for the home side 1-4.

Vicky Lubbock scores from the penalty spot for Aylsham Ladies

A double change for Aylsham in the cards before the penalty and with it a change of formation 3-5-3 now with Darvill and Moore coming off for Abbie Charlton and Emma Gillespie. Little time left in the first half for the changes to take effect, Sprowston press on the ball from Hutchin up to Leyer running right sends a cross along the face of goal into Kennett a chance for a hat-trick the ball bouncing the attempt screwed wide.

Half-time Aylsham Ladies 1-4 Sprowston Ladies

A strong first half from Sprowston, an early goal pressed the ball well inside their opponents half making it difficult for Aylsham to get anything going in attack, frustrated Sprowston capitalised getting into a 4-0 lead. Chances few and far between for Aylsham a goal back late on gives them something but know they have alot of work to do if they are to get themselves back into the game 2nd half.

Sprowston’s Calista Tink with Aylsham’s Leanne Symonds

Another change at half-time for Aylsham, Moore on for Sturman. Sprowston to get the 2nd 45 underway. Aylsham need to start on the front foot, Anderson though wins the ball for Sprowston on for Leyer central drives on, Champion tacking her and winning the ball for Aylsham spins away to the right Wright doing well too in defence before Clarke lays claim to the ball.

Aylsham much more positive at the start of the 2nd half pushing on Symonds winning a throw on the right as Lubbock sends the pass down the line. Champion winning the ball inside her opponents half pushes forwards on for Symonds looks to turn inside tackled by Tink.

Megan Champion with the ball for Aylsham Ladies

A second penalty awarded to Aylsham early in the 2nd half the ball played into Lubbock standing just inside the box a kick out at her calves spotted. 4-2 now and it’s a huge boost for the hosts Lubbock to take again, missed the ball lifted over this time.

Aylsham regroup push on Moore plays the pass out to Lubbock right side as she looks to combine with Symonds the cross into the six yard box Charlton the target far post the ball headed clear of the area collected by Hoy left side 20 yards out her strike wide. Lubbock with a 30 yard attempt on target Megan Lightfoot in the Sprowston goal back on her line claims the ball firmly over her head.

All Aylsham at the start of the 2nd half Sprowston with the 3 goal advantage soaking up the pressure. Lubbock with more support around her influential on the ball spins the pass out to Symonds right her looping cross falling central Mayhew forwards lays the ball off for Lubbock drifting in central top of the area her snap shot pulled wide.

Sprowston always ready to launch a counter Hutchin a good run forwards played in on goal into the box closing in on the keeper Clarke saves well at close range the ball pushed straight back into Hutchin’s path she tries to adjust place her shot wide of the keeper but Champion is back to clear for Aylsham.

Leyer holding the ball up for Sprowston brings Barnard into play as she bursts forwards on the right side, Wright reading the threat in quickly to put in the tackle deny a cross. A chance fro Sprowston Drake the player off, on comes Rebecca Basten. Tink intercepts at the back for Sprowston as Symonds aims to put Lubbock through. The final ball just not happening for Aylsham this afternoon.

Kennett with the ball at her feet on the left wing for Sprowston pushes on lays the pass on for Leyer 25 yards out she checks inside shapes to send a shot towards the top corner the ball flying wide of the upright.

GOAL! Leyer does score soon after Sprowston have ridden out Aylsham’s early pressure 2nd half find space in attack Kennett central with the run and shot 25 yards out the ball blocked manages to squirm it’s way through into the box for Leyer drifting free left of goal 8 yards out shoots her strike back across Clarke diving full stretched does well to get glove on it but the touch not enough to keep it out of the back of the net Leyer with her 2nd of the game 1-5.

Another chance for Sprowston with Jade Mundford coming on. Jade Knights on for Aylsham replacing Mayhew. Lubbock wins Aylsham a corner on the right side the ball into the area defended the half clearance straight to Charlton running onto the ball no time to control a shot too many bodies in front of her the rebound falling to Champion top of the area her shot runs wide.

Sprowston hit on the counter right side Leyer on the ball checks in field again shapes to shoot, this time Wright is in her face before she can unleash a strike tackling wins the ball. Champion back behind her keeper to clear the ball again as Clarke does well saving against Leyer at close range.

GOAL! Closing in on the final 15 minutes and Sprowston extend their lead with Aylsham pushing forwards gaps are opening up at the back as they tire Leyer a willing runner is played in Clarke sets herself making the save as she strikes the ball hard from the top of the area left of the D the ball racing out to the right Hutchin the player getting ahead of the Aylsham defence to meet t blasts a low strike from the top of the area into the back of the goal 1-6.

Abby Hutchin the goalscorer for Sprowston

GOAL! A further hammer blow for Aylsham moments later as Sprowston go on to add a 7th from a corner. Won on the right, Tink with the near post run isn’t picked up six yards out gets a free header turning the ball on towards goal and into the back of the net 1-7.

Aylsham are tiring has been a frustrating afternoon, not happening in front of goal, Sprowston press on late on remain full of energy. Anderson in to win the ball in the middle, out to Barnard running on right side the ball in field to Leyer cut out by Champion.

GOAL! a penalty awarded late in the game going Sprowston’s way this time. Plenty of options for the visitors leading 7-1 up to take it central defender Belton, A well taken effort wide into the side netting to her right scores her 1st goal for the side 1-8. 

Sprowston press on late on the wind gone from Aylsham’s sails, Hutchin with a strike from 25 yards out runs wide of goal. The final whistle blows and Sprowston progress to the quarter finals of the League Cup with a convincing win.

Full time Aylsham Ladies 1-8 Sprowston Ladies

A comprehensive win for Sprowston Ladies in the finish reaching the last 8 of the League Cup, a great win to start 2019. Strong from the start an early goal setting them on their way pressed well inside their opponents half. Raced into a 4-0 lead, Aylsham out of sorts poor in the first half hour got a life line from the penalty spot 4-1 at the break needed an early goal 2nd half and despite starting well it didn’t come. Sprowston always ready to counter having soaked up the pressure added a further 4 goals. A confidence boosting result for the visitors the opposite for Aylsham not the start to the year they were looking for but no doubt out of character, know alot of these players from watching them before are better and will regather and bounce back.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

Onto the first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award for 2019. From the outset I had an early contender. Sprowston dominated the first half, soaked up some pressure 2nd half before ending strong, Vicky Leyer pushing for it towards the end the award today however goes to Abby Hutchin made some great runs from midfield to join the attack get ahead of play early on and maintained that throughout the game a constant threat adding a goal too.

Good to get a game in after a month and thrust me I needed it too after the weekend I’ve had, the best medicine great to see both teams in action. My thanks as always for the help with the teams. The draw for the Norfolk Ladies League Cup quarter finals will be made soon keep an eye on the @NWGFL twitter account for all the details.

Match Report – Thorpe United Ladies v Gorleston Ladies

Sunday 9th December

Norfolk Women’s Division One

 The football action this weekend on Women’s Football East comes from Norfolk Women’s Division One. A first look at the leaders this season, Thorpe United Ladies at home to 3rd placed Gorleston Ladies. 

  A healthy lead at the top of the table for Thorpe United Ladies, six points clear of the rest going into this afternoon’s game have started the season well with 7 wins a just the one defeat from their 8 league games played to date, into the quarter finals of both the League and County Cup too. Usually at the top end of the table challenging for honours 2 times winners of the Norfolk Women’s County Cup a transitional season last time around struggling for numbers early on injuries not helping remained in contention for the title despite that. have an much larger squad now with their U16s making the step up into women’s football bolstering the experience within the side. A good youth set up established to keep the club moving forwards.

  Gorleston Ladies are into their fourth season together two successive promotions followed before reaching Division One last season. Had a solid debut season finishing in 4th position in the table. An experienced side with several proven goalscorers in their ranks can beat anyone on their day. An inconsistent start to the season so far 3 wins and 3 loses from the 6 league games played to date. Have met Thorpe twice this season already a narrow 2-1 defeat in reverse league fixture at the beginning of the season and again the the County Cup, 2-2 after extra-time Gorleston losing in the resulting penalty shootout 5-4.

 The Recreation Ground in Thorpe the venue for today’s match. Home to Thorpe St Andrews Football Club and Thorpe United’s Girls and Ladies sides. A large playing field boasting several full size pitches. Well used a refurbished clubhouse housing the changing rooms hot drinks available and much needed. A cold day as you’d expect in December a chilly cutting wind blowing across the open pitches, the setting sun also a factor for both sides to consider. Thorpe’s pitch a good size nice and wide plenty of space to exploit.

Thorpe United Ladies starting XI – Joanne Hooper, Molly Howes, Natasha Leversley, Bethan Sommerfield, Victoria McNorton, Laura Hedtke, Holly Peak, Chloe Young, Eloise Peek, Molly Young & Rebekah Lake (C) Subs – Aneliese Smith, Shannon Miles & Jess Newton.

Gorleston Ladies starting XI – Maria Jardim, Hayley Muir (C), Siesha Humphries, Abbie King, Mary Croft, Nicole Sheldrake, Hannah Croft, Sophie Gillett, Megan Taylor, Samantha Hunn & Bethany Turner. Subs – Kelly Allen, Jordan Bull & Kimberley Sherllock.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Got to stand on the far side of the pitch away from the clubhouse to get the sun behind me, the wind is icy cutting across the recreation field need to keep a firm grip on the notepad too. It’s Thorpe to get the game underway kicking off the 1st half wearing pink coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Gorleston opposite lined up in an all green kit. The ball played long out to the right wing early on Thorpe captain Rebekah Lake running into the channel causing trouble early on, Gorleston’s Siesha Humphries sliding in to make a good challenge the ball out for a throw.

  Humphries busy in defence early on for Gorleston as Thorpe overload the right wing, progress stifled by the left back. Thorpe starting well attacking again right side win the first corner of the game take short the cross into the area too strong runs out of play. Molly Young with a strong run as she is played on down the right side cuts a low cross back into the area as she closes on the byline, Mary Croft getting into position near post to intercept for Gorleston her clearance running straight to Thorpe midfielder Laura Hedtke breaking forwards through the centre strikes the shot back in towards goal from 20 yards out, Maria Jardim in goal for Gorleston right behind down low to collect.

   Chloe Young on the left side for Thorpe gets to the byline the ball squared into the area, Mary Croft collecting it central for Gorleston, the visitors launch a quick counter attack the ball played on for Bethany Turner up in attack, Bethan Sommerfield reading the ball getting to it before Turner can take it on in behind. Gorleston build on the right Samantha Hunn holding the ball up before playing Turner in as she breaks into the box right of goal shoots the ball saved as Joanne Hooper in goal for Thorpe covers the near post.

  Sophie Gillett has the ball wide left for Gorleston bursts forwards making ground before flashing an inviting ball across the face of the Thorpe goal, out at the far post for a goal kick. 

  GOAL! The visitors open the scoring with just over 10 minutes gone beginning to gain a little momentum after Thorpe’s strong start to the match are attacking left side getting the ball up the field win a throw in. Turner coming near side to receive the ball, does very well as good ball towards her she pressurises the Thorpe defence drawing players with her not sure if she actually gets a touch on the ball or not but either way it continues on rolling across the face of goal, Hunn coming in far post first to meet it fires the ball into the back of the net from close range 1-0.

Samantha Hunn opens the scoring for Gorleston Ladies

 Thorpe get forwards straight away from the restart a throw in won inside the Gorleston half on the left, Victoria McNorton to take a long throw into the area put behind for a corner, again taken short, Natasha Leversley playing the cross into the area, Abbie King winning the ball for Gorleston. Mary Croft does well defending for Gorleston as Holly Peak taking the ball forwards looks to play in Lake ahead of her. Lake is full of pace and a willing runner up front for Thorpe always prepared to move into the channels for the ball draws tackles wins a corner right side.

   The ball curled in towards the near post Gorleston captain Hayley Muir cutting it out is deflected back into the middle of the area, Chloe Young has little time to react gets something on the ball but can’t direct it towards goal. 

 GOAL! Thorpe have responded well to falling behind have continued to attack Lake moving more often than not into the left channel a driving run forwards with the ball, the Gorleston defence drawn towards her she gets a powerful shot away on the angle skipping off the turf towards the near post Jardim getting down gets her gloves to the ball pushing it away across the top of her six yard box, Chloe Young running in on the follow up first to the ball puts it into the empty goal 1-1. 17 minutes played.

   Gorleston get hold of the ball in the middle Hannah Croft out to Hunn on the right wing takes on the Thorpe defence down the line before sending a driven ball in towards the near post Turner racing in to met it the angle against her from close range sends her shot high and wide of the target. Gorleston are awarded a free-kick just inside their own half, Mary Croft to set the ball down have the wind getting stronger behind them encouraged to play it long turns into a very dangerous ball bouncing inside the box before Hooper looping up threatens to fly over her into the back of the net does well to adjust get a glove to the ball and turn it away for a corner. 

Gorleston Ladies, Mary Croft

  A good delivery from the corner toward the top of the area Mary Croft running in to met, her shot taking a deflection off her marker to sent the ball wide and behind for another corner. A good contest developing both sides closing the ball down quickly no one given much time in the middle. Turner a good foil for Gorleston in attack holds the ball up well and uses her strength against the defence, lays it off to Gillett left side she plays a great ball in over the top with Hunn making a break in behind central into the area, Hooper is out of her six yard box lay claim to the ball before the Gorleston attacker can get a touch.

    GOAL! Thorpe take the lead the goal coming from the right side Lake moving across to pick up the ball carries it forwards with pace, the angle closing fast she unleashes a shot before being closed down the pace on the ball sending it racing over the keeper and into the goal beyond 2-1.

  Humphries kept busy at left back produces to superb tackles to break up Thorpe attacks one on lake the second against Molly Young as she almost breaks clear on goal inside the area. Turner with the ball in attack for Gorleston left side strong on the ball lifts a high ball into the six yard box, Leversley needing to get her head on it to lift it over her goal and away for a corner. The ball in cleared by Sommerfield.

 A miscue at the back from Leversley sees the ball turned in behind towards her goal 30 yards out Turner reacts racing to meet it Peek doing well the get back on her as she closes in on the ball right of the goal the pressure enough the angle gone as Turner pulls the trigger her shot rising wide of the near post. 

  Chloe Young has the ball left takes it forwards with pace, squares a cross along the top of the box is collected by twin sister Molly right side she shoots her effort charged down by Humphries. Gillett gets hold of the ball left wing for Gorleston drives on no cross available keeps possession coming back to play the ball central into Mary Croft as the centre back crosses into the Thorpe half, encouraged by her earlier attempt lines up a shot from all of 40 yards out wind assisted it isn’t too far off the mark as it races wide of Hooper’s far post.

   The game has an end to end feel to it as we reach the latter stages of the first half Gorleston pushing the Thorpe defence back Molly Howes tackling Megan Taylor as she looks to break into the box left side. Hooper needing to come out of her area to kick the ball clear as Gorleston lift it over the top for Turner, moment later the home side counter attacking Jardim closing in on the edge of her area as Lake threatens to break through does well to use her head to clear the ball and not her gloves as she’s right on the line of her area. 

 A deflected ball from the right as Thorpe attack comes to Chloe Young central inside the area, takes a touch then shoots a slight deflection sending the ball over for the corner. Gorleston deal with the corner build an attack the ball up to Turner clever hold up play central turn slides the ball through into the area with Sheldrake bursting in behind, Hooper reading it early is out quickly t lay claim to the ball. Both sides winning the ball in defence late on McNorton with the interception for Thorpe. Humphries called into action again at left back for Gorleston. A late chance in the first half for Gorleston Sheldrake playing Hunn in on the ball as she makes the run into the area the angle against her as she is closed down goes for power slashes her attempt wide.

Half-time Thorpe United Ladies 2-1 Gorleston Ladies

  An intriguing first 45 minutes, bitterly cold but the action on the pitch has been exciting both side enjoying good spells, Thorpe’s home pitch have used the space out wide well chances created. Gorleston despite Thorpe having the brighter start taking the lead the home side coming back to level then take the lead themselves both having further chances.

Laura Hedtke winning the ball for Thorpe United Ladies

  Gorleston to kick-off the 2nd half have made two changes Jordan Bull and Kelly Allen the players on. The 2nd half starting where the 1st left off both keepers with an early touch of the ball. Hooper comes out of her area again to go to kick the ball clear goes down in pain as she goes to kick the ball, play stopped immediately is in clear discomfort, a lengthy delay follows as she receives treatment, finally is up but limping cannot continue a blow Hooper who can play basically anywhere (and has) Thorpe’s reserve keeper, is in between the sticks in place of 1st choice keeper Kirsty Andrews who herself is injured no back up goalkeeper, a volunteer is needed, Leversley answers the call, Hooper substituted on comes Shannon Miles to bolster the defence. 

   Lake out on the left puts pressure on the ball high up the pitch wins a throw in deep inside the Gorleston half the ball played back to the throw taker the high cross lifted into the area dealt with by King. The wind is getting colder by the minute the sun low in the sky now. Lake with the ball moving into space left side runs on with it cutting inside to get herself into the area a low shot is saved by Jardim low at her near post. 

  Mary Croft stands up well to win the ball tackling Chloe Young as she gathers the ball into her feet central and drives at the Gorleston defence. Thorpe pushing higher up the pitch working hard to protect Leversley in goal Gorleston yet to test the new keeper. Gillett cutting inside from the left with the ball at her feet shoots 20 yards out her effort charged down. Turner gathering the ball central lays it out to Gillett on the left a clever touch taking the ball past the full back, McNorton is round on the cover to get in and win the challenge for Thorpe.  

  A double change for Thorpe, Leversley comes off in goal having not been called into action, on comes Jess Newton in her place. Also off Peak replaced by Aneliese Smith. Molly Young and Lake combine on the right in attack a one two Mary Croft winning the ball back inside her area. Gorleston make a change Sheldrake off on comes Kimberley Sherllock. Lake pressing the ball wins a corner on the left a good ball into the area a confident take by Jardim inside her six yard box. 

  Gorleston with a golden chance to get back on level terms the ball with Gillett on the left takes in field sending in on for Allen breaking through the middle the keeper coming out defenders converging she see a shot past all the ball heading on for the goal beyond Miles around on the cover clearing the ball a yard from the line the clearance scooped up straight at the onrushing Allen moving left of goal can’t adjust her effort scooped wide. 

  A free kick wide left for Gorleston make a switch before it is taken, Turner coming off in attack Taylor back on. A good delivery from Gillett lifted towards the far post no one can meet it to deflect in goalwards as it runs on for a goal kick. The game becoming a little stretched, Lake with a good touch to bring the ball down central is away in behind after the ball, Jardim off her line quickly can lay claim to it first. 

  Thorpe pressing in the final third two consecutive shots from the left are blocked inside the Gorleston area. McNorton with an opportunity to strike a shot goalwards from all of 25 yards out sees her effort race wide of goal. Chloe Young with an over the top pass for Lake to attack into the area is pushed wide right off goal by Mary Croft, Lake rides her sliding challenge stays on her feet the ball still alive on the byline as cries for penalty go up, Lake sends the ball racing across the face of the Gorleston goal intercepted far side by Muir. 

  GOAL! Moments later Thorpe do go on to double their lead winning the ball back come left the ball held up as plays break from midfield the ball played inside coming to a surprising source as McNorton in a advanced position outside the box open up her body to turn her shot wide across the keeper at in low into the bottom corner of the net 3-1.

Central defender Victoria McNorton on the ball for Thorpe United Ladies

  Thorpe a pushing their opponents back keeping the ball inside their half now, Hedtke tackling Hannah Croft to regain possession in the middle, Lake winning a corner left side the ball into the near post defended. 15 minutes left to play the sun almost behind the tree line the light fading fast. Chloe Young left of the D in attack for Thorpe controls the ball has Smith making a run on her left the pass into Smith’s 1st attempt doesn’t come off the ball back to her off a defender a more clinical touch with her 2nd effort the shot lashes into the side netting.

  Lake still full of running out wide left down the line her ball into the area across the Gorleston goal line, Chloe Young in the mix for Thorpe, Gorleston with some last gasp defending keeping the ball from crossing the line. Humphries picks up the ball deep for Gorleston left she takes it forwards has space to run into a great run all the way into the opponents area looks for a cross ends up winning a corner. 

  Two blank pages in my notepad! Causes a moment of panic, I do get caught up in the game writing these reports you have no idea, I am dealing with a gale out there, normal service resumed into the last 5 minutes. Gorleston pushing on late on overloading the right, into the area a Thorpe player ending up on the ground the referee whistle signalling a free-kick for the hosts. 

  GOAL! Into the closing moments of the match Gorleston are having a go pressing on looking for a reply, are hit on the counter attack the ball won in defence lifted up through the middle on for Lake running in behind sets her sights outside the box lifting the shot over the keeper and into the goal beyond to ensure the 3 points for Thorpe. 4-1.

Two goals for Thorpe United Ladies captain, Rebekah Lake
Two goals for Thorpe United Ladies captain, Rebekah Lake

  The sky very dark now not long left Thorpe regain possession Hedtke into Molly Young her slide rule pass forwards into the box, Lake on a hat-trick running clear left side hits her shot wide across the face of goal. 

Full time Thorpe United Ladies 4-1 Gorleston Ladies

  A 4-1 win for Thorpe sees them take a 9 point lead at the top of Norfolk Women’s Division One. A good encounter, both sides playing their part in what is another great advert for the game in the county. Thorpe coming out on top in the finish, expected a tough game against Gorleston and got one the visitors not creating the opportunities 2nd half as they did in the 1st. The weather conditions playing their part no doubt. Thorpe adapting their game well to losing Hooper early in the 2nd half protected their keeper well an evolving side are in a good position to push on in the New Year. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

On to this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few contenders but overall one stood out. Siesha Humphries was busy in defence for Gorleston all afternoon did well with several good tackles throughout, ahead on her on the left Gillett was influential too. For Thorpe Laura Hedtke broke up several Gorleston attacks. The award however goes to Thorpe’s captain, Rebekah Lake, a constant threat running into the channels is pacey likes to take players on that will draw defenders to her make space for others, 2 well taken goals too.

  Believe it or not this is my first taste of Division One football this season in Norfolk, has left me hungry for more, a good game to watch. Bitterly cold however still not warmed up. A warm welcome by both sides, my thanks for helping with the team details especially the players for the after match ID parade. Using a new editing tool technology and me don’t always mix it’s taking a little getting used to.. progress though. Good to catch up with both sides again.

Match Report – Bowers & Pitsea Ladies v Stevenage Ladies Reserves

Sunday 25th November

ERWFL Division One

A return to league action on Women’s Football East with a game from the top of ERWFL Division One, travelling down to Essex to watch 2nd placed Bowers & Pitsea Ladies take on league leaders Stevenage Ladies Reserves.

  Bowers & Pitsea Ladies a new name in the league this season but an established side having joined forces with a new club make the name change after previously been known as Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies

  A 5 point league for Stevenage Ladies Reserves who won the ERWFL Division One South title last season. Ineligible to take promotion to the Premier Division as a reserves side ERWFL Division One the highest level they can reach, have started this season strongly too in what is a single Division One league this season starting with 13 sides but now sadly down to 12 following the withdrawal of Ipswich Wanderers Ladies. 4 straight league wins to start the season for Stevenage before suffering a 5-0 away defeat to newly promoted Newmarket Town Ladies. That their only loss in the league to date however a 100% record since sees them in a strong position at the top of the table. Daniela Martucci leading the goal scoring charts with 11 goals.

 Is an ever changing picture below Stevenage in the race to catch them at the top of the table a cluster of sides separated by just 4 points with from Bowers & Pitsea in 2nd down to Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies in 7th and 8th & 9th placed King’s Lynn Town Ladies & Histon Ladies both have games in hand get a run going and both could yet threaten. 3 of the newly promoted sides starting well all amongst those tussling in the top half, St Ives Town Ladies, Newmarket Town Ladies and Essex side Lawford Ladies. Hutton Ladies with Vicky Kinsman leading the attack have started well too.

 Bowers & Pitsea Ladies unbeaten in their last 3 league games collecting 7 points get out in front of that pack this their 3rd game in a week having played last Sunday and then again on Thursday night taking on Charlton Athletic in the quarter finals of the Bostik Cup going down to a 7-1 defeat. Back to the league this time Sunday meeting Stevenage for the 2nd time this season a narrow 3-2 loss in the reverse fixture. Proving to be a league were anyone can beat anyone on their day.

 The Len Salmon Stadium the venue for today’s game a few changes since the last time I visited a brand new pitch, a state of the art 4G playing surface, Bowers & Pitsea always having a wide pitch the new pitch installed in September a good size railing all around two small seated and covered stands, a new dugouts, the first part of a planned redevelopment of the stadium that will see a new clubhouse, function room and changing facilities built. Very much a community club the ladies side now a part of that community. Final weekend in November a chilly and overcast afternoon, don’t need the hat on yet but it won’t be long. 

Stevenage warming up on the new playing surface at The Len Salmon Stadium

Bowers & Pitsea starting XI – Charlotte Stephens (C), Courtney Fraser, Natalie Strange, Jennifer Lyttle, Taylor Parrish, Taylor Adcock, Sabrina Campbell, Georgia Fraser, Danielle Styles, Emma Mackie & Sophie Dowman. Subs – Alesi Harris, Rebecca Cochoran, Eloise Ives, Ebony Moore & Louise Daly.

Stevenage Ladies Reserves starting XI – Keri Green, Hayley Wood-Thompson, Amelia Keown, Amy Notschild (C), Shona Chitate, Steffany Cowell, Sherrie Evans, Rebecca Brooker, Gemma Biggadike, Hannah Marshall & Emily Schofield. Subs – Naomi Sleator, Sydney Webb, Louise Sollis & Daniela Martucci.

   (roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s Bowers & Pitsea to get the first half under way wearing red shirts with white and red vertical stripes down the front, red shorts and red and white hooped socks. Stevenage in an all blue kit with white trim. The home side moving the ball out to the right looking for Danielle Styles, Amelia Keown stepping in the make the challenge for Stevenage at left back. Stevenage counter attack Steffany Cowell getting hold of the ball in central midfield driving forwards out to Hannah Marshall on her right she lifts the ball over the top with Emily Schofield running through toward the box shoots early her effort lacking any pace as it runs safely through to Bowers & Pitsea goalkeeper and captain, Charlotte Stephens.

Bowers & Pitsea’s, Sabrina Campbell challenging Stevenage’s Rebecca Brooker

   Georgia Fraser attacking left side for Bowers & Pitsea looks to make ground is stopped by right back Hayley Wood-Thompson, Fraser getting back to the ball wins her side the first corner of the game, swung in near side lands on the roof of the net. Bowers & Pitsea are pushing players forwards defending a high line the diagonal ball left to right almost has Styles in behind on the right, Keown getting a vital header to clear the ball. 

  GOAL! A positive start from Bowers & Pitsea it’s the visitors who hit them on the counter and open the scoring inside the first 5 minutes attacking down the right side the cross squared in low central is picked up by Schofield taking the ball on across the top of the area Stephens comes to close her down keeps herself big Schofield sending the shot through her legs to give Stevenage the lead 0-1.

   Bowers & Pitsea push forwards from the restart Sabrina Campbell taking the ball on into the left channel on for Sophie Dowman ahead of her she slides the pass out to Georgia Fraser on the left wing she sends the cross in towards the near post, Amy Notschild captaining Stevenage getting back in defence to get her head on the ball clears. A few early refereeing decisions upsetting the Stevenage players. Schofield fed the ball through the middle has Rebecca Brooker looking to get away on the right, wins a throw in, the ball played up the line before a high cross is fired into the area, Jennifer Lyttle winning the header for Bowers & Pitsea. 

Bowers & Pitsea’s, Jennifer Lyttle

  GOAL! Bowers & Pitsea get themselves back on level terms attacking Campbell spots Styles run wide right sends the pass out to her, Keown gets back on her to put the ball out for a throw, deep, Bowers & Pitsea work the ball well from the throw-in the ball put back central comes straight back to Styles breaking into the box takes the ball on close to goal and from the angle six yards out smashes the shot into the back of the net 1-1.

   The home side enjoying a good spell break forwards in numbers yet again, Styles played in on the right again, rides a challenge keeping her feet before sending a looping cross in central, Keri Green in goal for Stevenage taking the ball low, catches well on the edge of her six yard box with Fraser charging in. Campbell pressuring the ball on the left side wins a corner, taken short the cross taken from a high angle into the area Taylor Parrish drifting in central headers the ball over the crossbar. Georgia Fraser with a 30 yard attempt power on the shot Green diving low at her near post probably had it covered as it runs wide.

Bowers & Pitsea’s, Taylor Adcock

   Taylor Adcock beating Sherrie Evans to the ball in the middle lays the pass on to Campbell, a power run with the ball out to Georgia Fraser left side her cross into the area claimed well by Green getting in front of Dowman’s run. Styles carrying a threat on the right for Bowers & Pitsea is in behind, Shona Chitate coming across to slide in and clear the ball for a throw. A corner on the left side as the home side attack the ball lifted in towards the top of the area central Dowman with the header, on target but too many bodies to get pass as the Stevenage defence head behind for another corner. Off the 2nd corner Styles putting a dangerous ball in across the face of the Stevenage goal a difficult one for the defence to deal with getting it out for a 3rd corner left side. Parrish up to head this one in the box for Bowers & Pitsea top of the area knocked back down towards the near post no-one can connect to turn it in.

Stevenage’s, Gemma Biggadike holding off Bowers & Pitsea defender, Natalie Strange

   GOAL! Again Stevenage come up with a goal against the run of play to retake the lead getting up the other end a corner won on the right side players come forwards as Schofield prepares to take, Gemma Biggadike up high at the near side headers the ball down into the Bowers & Pitsea defender jumping with her comes back out to Cowell top of the area back out right to the corner taker Schofield from the angle she strikes the ball hard sending it arrowing in past the keeper 1-2.

   Bowers & Pitsea make a change Eloise Ives joining the action, Emma Mackie off, Styles taking up a more central position. 

 GOAL! Stevenage get straight up the other end the ball on for Schofield to chase down in the area bouncing wide right of goal a race between her and Stephens, the goalkeeper appeared to get her gloves to the ball, as the pair come together Schofield up ended, the referee points to the spot a penalty awarded. Schofield herself to take a chance for a first half hat-trick makes no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way 1-3. Almost half an hour played.

A 1st half hat-trick for Stevenage’s Emily Schofield

   Notschild getting back to help Chitate as Dowman plays a dinked pass over the top to get Styles in behind top of the area. A throw deep on the left the ball played on into the area Dowman doing well to get her head on it turns it goalwards but straight into Green. Natalie Strange with a long pas on for Styles moving out to the right channel, Chitate getting back on her making a good challenge to regain possession the ball into midfield helped on with Schofield running on Brooker to her left Courtney Fraser tackling the ball going for a throw. 

   Campbell strong on the ball coming on with it for Bowers & Pitsea 30 yards out hits a tremendous strike in towards goal, Green no chance the ball smashing down off the crossbar into the six yard box, Stevenage clear. Lyttle winning the ball at the back played forwards high for Styles back to goal 20 yards out controls well before flicking it on for Ives going past her on the overlap, Keown doing well getting out to her to make the tackle for Stevenage a corner conceded. The ball into the area over the heads of Strange and Fraser, Wood-Thompson clearing it behind for another corner at the far post

  GOAL! A great ball delivered into the area finds Georgia Fraser sneaking in unmarked central meeting the ball low turning it goalwards the shot racing in through a crowded six yard box to nestle in the back of the net 2-3.

    GOAL! Two quickfire goals see Bowers & Pitsea right back on level terms as they score from another corner ball, on the left side the delivery long towards the far post defender Parrish rising unchecked far side 12 yards out sends a looping header up and in towards goal to drop under the crossbar and in 3-3.

Taylor Parrish heading home Bowers & Pitsea’s equalising goal

   Five minutes left to play in a fast paced and exciting first half the sides all square at 3-3 Styles making a nuisance of herself through the middle the ball on into the area Chitate doing well to defend close on her Styles grounded still managing to get a shot away little power on it as Green picks it up. Campbell central slides the ball on for Dowman in behind shots from the top of the area wide, but wouldn’t have counted anyway the flag up against her.

   GOAL! A complete turn around from Bowers & Pitsea, 3-1 down the take the lead late in the first half. Chitate caught in possession at the back 25 yards out Styles closing in to steal the ball bursts in behind into the area closing in on the goalkeeper, Notschild can’t get to her as Styles fires the shot past Green to claim her 2nd of the match 4-3.

  Chances have dried up for Stevenage late in the first half a rare opportunity to put the ball forwards a free-kick left side 30 yards out, Biggadike over it the delivery flighted in towards the far post Stephens can see it drop wide of her goal. Schofield pushing on with the ball central has Biggadike out to her left. top of the area is forced wide good defensive work from Ives. Biggadike getting a cross into the area, Lyttle dealing with in for Bowers & Pitsea.

Half-time Bowers & Pitsea Ladies 4-3 Stevenage Ladies Reserves

  7 goals scored in the first half an exciting 45 minutes has flown by, Bowers & Pitsea with a positive start falling behind to an early goal. Continued in that same vain getting forwards well levelling the scores but again against the run of play Stevenage did well get score two quick goals to go 3-1 up. Bowers & Pitsea kept creating chances and capitalised from 2 corners to level the scores. Styles firing them into the lead late in the half. 4-3 I’d be surprised if it stayed that way 2nd half.

Hannah Marshall looking to get forwards for Stevenage

   Stevenage to kick-off the 2nd half, have made a change Daniela Martucci carrying a slight injury on in attack, Biggadike off. Ebony Moore on in midfield replacing Adcock for the hosts. Bowers & Pitsea winning the ball central early on lift it forwards for Styles to try and bring down top of the area, Notschild getting in close on her to take the ball. Bowers & Pitsea build from the back Georgia Fraser bringing it on left sees Styles peeling out wide ahead of her sends her the ball the cross driven in towards the near post Dowman heading it down towards the top of the box with Campbell racing in meeting it first time her strike is deflected wide and behind for the corner. 

     GOAL! Bowers & Pitsea extend their lead early in the 2nd half attacking through the middle the ball fed into the run of Dowman bearing down on the box is about to be closed down, has Styles to her right slips her the ball and she sends the shot in across the keeper to score her hat-trick 5-3.

Danielle Styles completes her hat-trick for Bowers & Pitsea

   Stevenage are doing their best to push the Bowers & Pitsea defence back, Evans putting the ball on for Martucci, Parrish intercepting. Bowers & Pitsea counter break Fraser left puts the ball into the area Styles opening up her body sends the shot crashing into the side netting. Schofield operating more to the left of attack 2nd half gets the ball forwards squares it into Martucci top of the area, she looks to turn in behind but is quickly closed down. Wood-Thompson looks to get forwards for Stevenage into the area, Courtney Fraser defending for Bowers & Pitsea. 

Stevenage’s, Daniela Martucci

  Martucci central holding the ball up well outside the box lays it off for Evans to run onto a strike 20 yards out driven in low Stephens well placed in goal gathers safely for Bowers & Pitsea. The home side continue to pressure the ball well inside their opponents half, giving Stevenage little room to create as they try and up the tempo. Green sending the ball long from a kick out of the gloves finds Marshall running into space on the right crosses early the ball dropping central for Martucci, the striker not quite able to get the ball under control. 

Eloise Ives after the ball for Bowers & Pitsea

   Changes for both sides Dowman off for Bowers & Pitsea, Louise Daly on, Brooker off for Stevenage, on in her place Naomi Sleator. Moore bringing the ball down 25 yards out for Bowers & Pitsea a spin and a shot the ball held by Green in goal. 

  GOAL! Bowers & Pitsea open up a 3 goal lead Styles with her 4th of the match creating a goal out of nothing the ball out on the right a throw-in played back to her is a long way out but catches it well the ball clearing the keeper and striking the back of the net 6-3.

   Wood-Thompson coming off for Stevenage, Sydney Webb coming on. Martucci with the ball at her feet outside the area lets loose a shot the ball just a foot over the bar. Georgia Fraser on the ball for Bowers & Pitsea cutting inside from the left closing in on the box lifts a shot up over the bar. Styles comes off for Bowers & Pitsea, Rebecca Cochoran going on up front. Courtney Fraser with a long ball from the left into the area pressure on the keeper, Chitate around on the cover to clear.

   Bowers & Pitsea playing well getting forwards at will Courtney Fraser again on the left the ball in central Cochoran with support from Moore central tries to pick out Daly’s run on the right, Sleator intercepting for Stevenage. Chitate tackling Cochoran central as Georgia Fraser pushes forwards with the ball. Green taking the ball well at the feet of Daly as the cross field pass comes into the area from wide left. Campbell comes off for Bowers & Pitsea, Styles back into the action. A quiet spell the substitutions slowing things down. 

Stevenage’s, Shona Chitate

   Into the last 10 minutes Chitate with a crucial foot in to stop the ball as Ives heading the ball on almost sends Georgia Fraser in on goal. Biggadike back on for Stevenage left side lifts the ball into the area, Stephens gets her gloves firmly upon it with Martucci running in. 

  GOAL! Stevenage have picked up the pace in the last minute and the game has gotten a little stretched Schofield back into a more central role along side Martucci receiving the ball timing her run off the last defender perfectly bursts into the area and sends a low strike under the diving keeper to pull a goal back with 8 minutes left to play 6-4.

  GOAL! Straight away Stevenage score another to set up a nervous finish to the match, and it’s Schofield again with her 5th of the match almost a carbon copy of the last goal, the ball breaking favourably into her path after a committed tussle in midfield the striker in behind with the ball at her feet baring down on the keeper one on one she sends the ball wide of Stephens to bring the deficit back to a single goal 6-5.

Bowers & Pitsea’s Natalie Strange

   Their 3 goal lead in danger of being wiped out Bowers & Pitsea are suddenly on the back foot, steel themselves for the closing minutes, Strange with a vital interception at the back. Georgia Fraser breaks in behind for the hosts into the area Green coming out to meet her making a brave save at her feet the ball popping loose Fraser off balance with 2nd bite at it sends the shot over. A late fee-kick for Stevenage left side up into the box Martucci controls before sending a low shot in towards goal Stephens claiming in low at her near post.

 

Full time Bowers & Pitsea Ladies 6-5 Stevenage Ladies Reserves

  It’s rare you’ll read about a 0-0 on here and today was certainly no exception treated to 11 goals this afternoon, a good contest at the top of ERWFL Division One. Bowers & Pitsea winning 6-5 the 3 points closing the gap on Stevenage at the top to just 2 points. A good performance from the host side and overall they were the better side for larger periods of the game, Stevenage not at their best at all know that but still found the back of the net for 5 goals, Emily Schofield now top scorer by my reckoning. The visitors with the early lead, Bowers & Pitsea responding were the better side only to fall 3-1 behind kept going and got the goals back ending u with a first half lead. An early goal 2nd half went 6-3 up. Two late goals from Stevenage setting up a nervy finish, never really got going will be disappointed. A thrill for the neutral but I was probably the only one there.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time to pick this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Got to give Emily Schofield a mention it’ll be unfortunate if you ever score 5 goals in a match and still end up on the losing side. All of them well taken. For Bowers & Pitsea I thought Sabrina Campbell had an excellent game in the middle of the park as did Jennifer Lyttle at the back. Overall all though with her 4 goals and the constant threat in attack and the vocal encouragement she offered her team mates today’s award goes to Danielle Styles.

   Always a warm welcome from Bowers & Pitsea, enjoyed my trip down this afternoon and entertaining game, 11 goals plenty to write but it’s the game that provides the contents I just put it into words. Pleasure seeing both sides again and thanks for the help with the teams always appreciated. 




Match Report – Acle United Women v Norwich City Ladies

Sunday 18th November

Norfolk Women’s County Cup

  County Cup weekend across the country, Women’s Football East returning to The FDC Flegg to watch Acle United Women for the 2nd time in a fortnight as they take on higher league opponents Norwich City Ladies this afternoon. 

  A trophy both sides have held aloft the Norfolk Women’s County Cup enters the 2nd Round stage, with 2 of the favourites drawn together. Acle United Women winning the County Cup 4 seasons ago, were finalists last season losing to Wymondham Town Ladies. Competing amongst the title challengers in the ERWFL Premier Division will be confident going into today’s match against Norwich who play in the league above the FAWNL South East Division One.

  The Norfolk Women’s County Cup becoming a stand alone competition having previous been in union with Suffolk in the 2011/12 season. Norwich City Ladies dominating those early years winning it on 3 successive occasions. A spell of non competition in the County Cup before making a return last season. That return short-lived as they were beaten away from home at The Walks by King’s Lynn Town Ladies. Norwich have grown since changes to the coaching set-up and structure, are in a stronger place this time around, will expect a challenging game at Acle’s home ground.

  The FDC Flegg in Martham, an all weather surface, a small pitch supporters able to stand on one along one side. The dugouts moved to the opposite side of the pitch to allow for a better view. Hot drinks available, will be needed as winter draws ever closer. Both sides supporting Stonewall’s, Rainbow Laces campaign. Close to the coast a chilly breeze making it feel cold the sunny bright low in the sky.

Acle United Women starting XI – Amy Bell, Anna Larkins, Luka Goodfield, Kate Pasque, Chloe Shields, Broghan Scully, Amber Rowland, Lauren Bullard, Megan Todd (C), Grace Birchall & Rhianne Brister. Subs – Naomi Cooper, Ciera Flatt & Grace Parker.

Norwich City Ladies starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Tigi Robson, Alice Parker, Sasha Diston (C), Eliza McDonald, Millie Daviss, Ellie Smith, Aimee Durrant, Kathryn Stanley, Natasha Snelling & Rosie George. Subs – Summer Rogers, Victoria Pleavin & Abigail Tate.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A few players missing for Norwich, Jodie Drake and Kate Parsons suspended, whilst striker Chelsea Garrett was out through injury, Olivia Mungham-Gray unavailable for Acle. Amy Bell keeping goal for Acle celebrating her birthday. It’s Norwich with the kick-off 1st half, wearing yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow and green socks, Acle lined up opposite wearing black and white vertical striped shirts black shorts and black and white hooped socks. 

Aimee Durrant on the ball for Norwich City Ladies

  A probing start from both sides putting the ball up into the opponents half without much penetration. Ellie Smith with the ball at her feet driving on for Norwich moving right works her way into the box her near post ball cut out by Chloe Shields for the corner, defended Acle hit Norwich on the break captain, Megan Todd carrying the ball on through the middle into the Norwich half spots Lauren Bullard running clear on the right wing plays the pass over the top into her path as she continues to make her way forwards receiving the return ball as she arrives in the box, closing in or goalkeeper, Hope Armstrong, squeezes the shot past her as she slides in at her feet, the ball running narrowly wide of the post.

Norwich’s Millie Daviss tackles Acle captain, Megan Todd

   Smith busy early on getting forwards to press the Acle defend stealing possession 20 yards out shifts the ball to the right before having a strike at goal her effort wide. Tigi Robson winning the ball at the back for Norwich on the right plays the pass forwards for Natasha Snelling 25 yards out lays it out to Aimee Durrant hugging the right tough line bursting forwards she sends a cross in long across the six yard box, Kathryn Stanley up at the far post gets her head on the ball can only direct it back across the area, Shields getting it away for Acle.

   Todd picks out Grace Birchall as she gets away in behind on the left wing sends the cross into the area, Norwich defending. A good tempo early on, Norwich pressing the ball, Durrant an outlet on the right keeping wide receiving the ball getting another cross into the area, Kate Pasque winning the header to clear for Acle this time. Broghan Scully coming on with the ball at her feet through the middle for Acle out to Birchall cutting inside from the left 20 yards out her shot low in towards the near post saved by Armstrong getting down to her right to push it behind for the corner. Armstrong claiming the ball for the set-piece.

Kate Pasque winning the ball for Acle United Women

  Norwich with the ball on the left Stanley playing it back to full-back Alice Parker, she plays a long diagonal ball out to the right hoping the send Durrant clear in on goal, a little too much on the ball. Amber Rowland getting hold of the ball in the middle for Acle a driving run forwards, Norwich converge too many bodies to get through. 

  GOAL! Norwich take the lead have the ball out on the left moving into the Acle half a shot it lined up from distance a rasping effort driven in on target, Acle goalkeeper, Amy Bell doing well to glove the ball down, Snelling alert quickest to react on the follow-up getting onto the ball to send it into the back of the net 0-1.

Natasha Snelling putting Norwich into the lead.

   Acle look for a quick response after falling behind push on into the Norwich half Birchall on the ball left side fires a fierce cross across the top of the area, Rowland making a good run just not quite able to take it in her stride, Norwich getting the ball safely back to Armstrong. The visitors hit Acle on the counter attack, Smith travelling at speed keeping the ball close to her feet as she drives on through the middle, slides a perfect ball in behind for Rosie George top of the area she opens up her body to send the ball past Bell as she comes sliding in, the ball running past her striking the post, the Acle defence scrambling it away.

Norwich City Ladies, Ellie Smith

   Acle make a substitution, Rowland coming off on comes Ciera Flatt. A 2nd change soon follows, Rhianne Brister coming off for Naomi Cooper which sees Birchall move into a central attacking position. Norwich captain, Sasha Diston with a good ball forwards aiming to play Durrant in behind on the right, Pasque coming across tackling and winning the ball for Acle. Snelling is clipped, brought down as she pushes on towards the area a free-kick 20 yards out Snelling over it herself goes for goal a clipped effort that isn’t too far over the bar. 

Acle United Women’s captain, Megan Todd

  Todd sends a pass long for Bullard on the right, the cross dealt with by Norwich out to the left side, Cooper pressuring the ball regains possession carries it inside before sending a curling effort in towards the Norwich goal, does too much swerving in towards Armstrong who takes it in her midriff. 

 GOAL! Half an hour gone and the home side level the scores good build up play central the ball played out to Todd out on the right wing breaking forwards squares the cross back in to the top of the area Birchall with the run a great touch as she slides in to send the ball wide across the diving keeper and into the bottom corner of the net 1-1.

   Norwich’s turn to put pressure on from the restart getting bodies forwards, Acle defence a little frantic as they manage to get the ball clear of the area. Abigail Tate has come on for Norwich replacing George in attack. Snelling right channel 20 yards out support from Daviss the two combining in front of the area, Daviss getting the ball past the challenge from Pasque her attempt at goal held by Bell at her near post. 

Norwich City Ladies, Tigi Robson

   Durrant with a strong run on the right wing lays a cross in with pace across the top of the Acle area, Tate bursting forwards can’t quite pick it up in her stride. Norwich with a 2nd change Summer Rogers coming on for Snelling. Scully with a piece of great defending for Acle getting across the the right to stop Durrant crossing in the corner wins her side a goal kick. Birchall with good work in the middle putting pressure on the Norwich back-line winning the ball, the shot taken early 30 yards out bounces harmlessly wide across the area.

   Rogers getting the ball played into her feet from a throw-in on the left tries her luck from distance her strike wide of the far post. Stanley and Durrant swapping wings late in the 1st half the former now on the right has support from Daviss, one cross blocked by Goodfield, Stanley gets another go from the by-line the ball held by Bell at her near post.  

Half-time Acle United Women 1-1 Norwich City Ladies

   An entertaining 1st 45 minutes of football, passing quickly a good start from Norwich albeit Acle with the early chance to take the lead, both have enjoyed spells of pressure without dominating, the game flowing well, competitive but I expected nothing less, Norwich taking the lead, Acle coming back to level, the tie remained beautifully poised and not clues yet as to which way it might go. 

Ciera Flatt on the attack for Acle United Women

  Acle to get the 2nd half underway the low sun in their faces, Norwich with a change Snelling back on the field in place of Durrant. Diston with a great tackle early in to stop Birchall getting away as she is played on by Cooper. Smith making some great runs forwards carrying the ball on moves to the right this time before sending it on into the area, Pasque with Tate looking to pull off her shoulder intercepting the ball for Acle.

Abigail Tate looking to control the ball for Norwich City Ladies

   Norwich starting  the 2nd half well, Rogers playing a ball up into the area, caught by Bell. Acle break Birchall left side her cross wild over the goal. Birchall keeps on going pushing on towards the area right of the D is brought to the floor, a free-kick awarded. A foot outside the area Birchall on the set-piece goes for power he shot put in over the goal. 

Acle’s Naomi Cooper sliding in to tackle Norwich’s Millie Daviss

 Now a first for Women’s Football East and I was beginning to wonder if I would actually see this as we are now well into the season, a sin bin offence. The sin-bin to be used for acts of descent. Smith with another surging run on the ball is brought down by Scully just over halfway, a sliding challenge but the ball taken clean both players down Smith with a reactive lash out, spotted by referee Ashley Tyne, Smith receives a yellow card. Foolishly Smith then gives the referee a clap the result 10 minutes in the sin-bin (the bench in this case) Norwich down to 10 temporally. 

  That of course gives Acle a boost knowing they have a player advantage push forwards Birchall on the left wing inside for Todd top of the area meeting it sends the effort over. Norwich regroup Daviss running on through the middle as they work the ball forwards well central threatens to run clear into the area, Anna Larkins doing fantastically to get across in front of her and play the ball at close range into Bell to kick clear. 

  Acle’s Pasque wins the ball high up the pitch on halfway a great clearance finding Bullard wide right running on behind sends a squared cross right along the top of the box 20 yards out Flatt making a run from midfield meeting it looking to beat the keeper sends the low driven shot under her dive past her but wide of the post. Birchall gets brought down in the middle again, Scully over the ball played high into the area, Armstrong calling for it catching unchallenged. 

  GOAL! Despite being down to 10 Norwich retake the lead getting forwards on the left side have a throw-in the ball dropped into Stanley she does well turning inside and closing in on the area lets fly with a shot looping up into the air, no doubt it’s lost in the low sun by Bell as it drops over her under the bar into the goal beyond, Stanley putting Norwich back into the lead 1-2.

Kathryn Stanley, puts Norwich back into the lead

   Acle make a change with Scully coming off, ex-Norwich centre back Grace Parker coming on. Sin-bin time over it’s Durrant who returns to the field on place of Smith. Norwich press the advantage a ball in from the right into the box no-one dealing with it for Acle, Stanley putting it back in towards the near post a combination of goalkeeper and defender blocking the ball as it runs away for a corner. A high ball on long past the far post Snelling with a glancing header can only place it wide. 

Norwich City Ladies captain, Sasha Diston

  Parker gets the ball cleared at the back for Acle, turns into a great ball forwards for Birchall she turns finding Bullard breaking in behind on the right down the line her cross in across the six yard box dealt with by Robson at the far post for Norwich. Smith is back on now in place of Tate. Immediately involved Daviss playing her forwards drives on with the ball top of the box has Snelling running to her right slips the ball into her path Snelling blasting the shot wide. Smith coming forwards again riding a tackle, keeps her balance sending the ball wide right to Durrant she shoots from the angle Bell down low holding onto the ball a her near post.

  GOAL! From the counter attack Acle come back to level the scores for the 2nd time in the match, Bell launching the ball forwards helped on to Birchall left of the area a mix-up between defence and keeper allowing the attacker in to round the keeper and send the ball into the back of the net. 2-2.

  Bullard getting away on the right lifting a cross into the Norwich area headed away by McDonald at the near post. Acle quick to close in on the Norwich defence on the ball. End to end now Durrant on the right for Norwich to the by-line cuts the cross back in towards the area clearing everyone at the near post, Snelling in running in unmarked behind central her first time shot takes the ball over the bar. 

  Breaking through the middle Acle go direct Todd with the break in behind into the area, Armstrong sliding in to make the blocking save as she goes to shoot, Todd alert for the rebound the ball popping up and in behind the angle closing as she moves to the left almost gone as she shoot the ball hitting the post and spinning behind for the goalkick. A double change for Norwich late on, Robson and Rogers off, George back on along with Victoria Pleavin. Brister back on for Acle replacing Goodfield.

  Time running out both sides sensing they can win this no signs anyone is preparing for extra-time, George winning Norwich a corner on the right, Acle defending try to counter, Diston breaking the attack up. Smith with a surging run forwards for Norwich, running into traffic Acle counter…

GOAL! the ball fired up field, helped on Birchall sensing a gap peeling away to the right now no one there coming back 25 yards out central has the Norwich defence beaten as she sets her sides on goal 20 yards out, Armstrong to beat, the keeper coming to close her down tries to narrow the angle, Birchall reading what she is going to do cutting the ball back across her dive and sending the ball racing low into the back of the net to fire Acle into the lead and with in complete a hat-trick 3-2. 

Grace Birchall completes her hat-trick and wins the game at the death for Acle United Women

   Little time left in the match Norwich with a free-kick inside the Acle half the ball has to be played up into the area, Durrant does get a free header but her attempt is over, the final whistle blows and Acle win at the death!

Full time Acle United Women 3-2 Norwich City Ladies

  A dramatic end to a thrilling encounter, truth be told I could just have easily been talking about a Norwich win at the death such was the nature of the game, but I’m not Acle emerge triumphant. A deserved win in the context of the tie both sides giving it their all not much between them. Both with spells of pressure the goals as much as not coming against the run of play, both attacking at times Acle were better suited to hit on the counter attack, Norwich neutralising their width 2nd half especially. Good chances created at the end of the day this result could have gone either way and as disappointed as the losing side will this was a great cup tie to watch. A credit to both sides

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match for this Sunday afternoon’s match, was an entertaining game, good performances all over the pitch. For Norwich, I thought Millie Daviss had an excellent game in the middle of the park as did Ellie Smith with some powerful runs with the ball Aimee Durrant and Kathryn Stanley out on the flanks too. For Acle, Broghan Scully put herself about in midfield well, Megan Todd looked to create without getting much reward. Standing out though is Grace Birchall some impressive runs whilst operating wide, then moving into the middle creating chances and scoring what was a fantastic and important hat-trick she is today’s Player of the Match.

  An entertaining County Cup tie this afternoon between two of the leading sides in Norfolk almost a pity it wasn’t the final itself a great advert for women’s football in the county. Hung around for a bit after the game just to check if anyone was measuring the pitch but I’m sure they weren’t :-). My thanks to both sides for their help with the team line-ups. I look forwards to the quarter final draw.




Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Sunday 11th November

FA Women’s Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte Gillies on the ball for Cambridge City Ladies

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

Cambridge United WFC’s, Emma Jenkins

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

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

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

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

Kelley Blanchflower ready to tackle Cambridge City’s Sarah Mosley

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

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

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

Cambridge United WFC’s, Vicky Neal

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

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

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

Sarah Mosley getting the ball up field for Cambridge City Ladies

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

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

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

Erin Davies attacking for Cambridge City Ladies

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

Amy Reed dealing with the ball for Cambridge City Ladies

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

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

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

Robyn Phillips tackling Cambridge United’s Jade Bell

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

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

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

Cambridge United WFC’s, Gabrielle Whitehurst

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

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

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

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

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-1 Cambridge United WFC

  Extra-time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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




Match Report – Acle United Women v Bedford Ladies

Sunday 4th November

ERWFL Premier Division

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(roll on roll off substitutes)

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

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

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

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

Olivia Mungham-Gray carrying the ball forwards

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

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

Carissa Kaczorowski opens the scoring for Bedford Ladies

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

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

Megan Todd equalises for Acle United Women

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

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

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

Bedford Ladies, Paige Abraham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half-time Acle United Women 4-1 Bedford Ladies

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

Goalkeeper, Lauren Webb claiming the ball for Bedford Ladies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acle United’s, Chloe Shields

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

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

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

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

Bedford Ladies, Michelle Byrne

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

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

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

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

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

Full time Acle United Women 6-3 Bedford Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

Acle United Women’s captain, Megan Todd

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




Match Report – Needham Market Women v East Bergholt United Ladies

Sunday 21st October

Suffolk Women’s Division

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(roll on roll off substitutes)

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

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

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

Needham Market Women’s, Lois Balfour

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

Needham Market Women’s, Eboni-Mae Shepherd

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

Megan Stock winning the header for Needham Market.

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

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

Francesca Rainbird scorer of the opening goal for Needham Market Women

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

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

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

Jess Clark with the header for East Bergholt.

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

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

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

Katie Bruce holding the ball up for East Bergholt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jess Clark with the equalising goal for East Bergholt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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




Match Report – Watford FC Ladies v Coventry United Ladies

Sunday 14th October

FAWNL Cup – 2nd Round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coventry United Ladies, Jade Brook

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

Watford FC Ladies goalkeeper, Weronika Baronowska

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

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

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

Amy Wathan looking to receive the ball from throw-in

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

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

Marie Gauntlett scorer of the opening goal for Coventry United Ladies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alysha Stojko-Down on the ball for Watford FC Ladies

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

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

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

3-1 to Coventry a brilliant strike from Jade Brook

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

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

Watford FC Ladies, Katie O’Leary

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

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

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

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

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

 Full time Watford FC Ladies 2-3 Coventry United Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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




Match Report – Wymondham Town Ladies v Billericay Town Ladies

Sunday 7th October

FA Women’s Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-match handshakes

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

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

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

Bethany Fretwell driving forwards for Wymondham Town Ladies

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

Billericay Town Ladies, Sophie Vale

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

Jay Blackie tackling for Billericay Town Ladies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billericay Town Ladies, Georgia Box

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

Billericay Town Ladies, Jay Blackie

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

Wymondham Town Ladies, Leah Newcombe

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

Laura Nicholls on the ball for Wymondham Town Ladies.

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

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

Wymondham Town Ladies, Carolyn Sarafian

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

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

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

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

Billericay Town Ladies, Nancy Butler

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

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

Zoe Rushen on the move for Billericay Town Ladies

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

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

Build up to the leading goal for Wymondham Town Ladies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rushen with Wymondham Town Ladies captain, Rachel Cossey

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

Full time Wymondham Town Ladies 3-4 Billericay Town Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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