Tuesday 3rd May
Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final
A trip into Suffolk this evening for the first of 4 cup finals over the next 8 days. Begin with the Final of the Suffolk Women’s League Cup, this season being contested between Holland Ladies and Woodbridge Town Ladies.
The competition back after the 2 previous seasons were affected by the Covid pandemic, bringing a close to the 2021/22 SGWFL season. Featuring 2 divisions for the 2nd successive season as the game grows within the county. The 7 strong Premier Division won by Brettvale Ladies. The 9 strong Championship below seeing AFC Kesgrave Ladies pip Henley Athletic Women to the title on goal difference. This evenings final between two of the emerging sides with the league looking to win their first piece of silverware.
Holland Ladies joining the SWGFL at the start of the 2019/20 season. The north east Essex side hitting the ground running a strong outfit signing a number of experienced players at this level and above odds on for a late charge at the title itself before the Covid pandemic began bringing it all to a close. A 2nd Covid hit season following again stifling the sides development, this is really their first full season. With a 7 strong Premier Division had led for much of the campaign with rivals Brettvale playing catch up, eventually overhauling them to win the title. Pushed down to 3rd in the finish by AFC Sudbury Women Reserves who they had originally been expecting to face this evening but we’ll get to that in a moment. Jasmine Cox an attacker with a wealth of experience and an eye for goal their leading scoring with over 20 this season with captain Lauren Lucas and Lauren Borne both on 7 each.
Woodbridge Town Ladies were formed the season before Holland joined the league. Like this evenings opponents looking strong from the start recording a 4th placed finish in their debut season in 2018/19 and in the 2 seasons that followed were pushing for the top of the table on both ocassions with Covid stopping them in their tracks again ruining their development and potential. Amongst the goals too. This season has been a different story ultimately ending up bottom of the table in the finish, have suffered from a lack of numbers at times this season. Tough but have the unexpected bonus of a cup final to look forwards too and know that on their day can match anyone in the league. Sadie Jamieson their top scorer with 8 goals this term.
Road to the Final
16 sides entering the competition, the first round saw Holland Ladies drawn away to fellow Premier Division side Brantham Ladies. Showing great form in the league Holland running out comfortable winners in the finish 7-1 to progress to the quarter final. Woodbridge were drawn away to would be Championship winners, AFC Kesgrave Ladies. A tricky tie finishing 1-1 went into a penalty shootout Woodbridge eventually emerging winners 8-7 to get into the quarter finals.
Holland at home to Championship side, Chantry Grasshoppers a brace from Jasmine Cox and a goal from Mary-Jane Walsh sending them into the semi-finals. Woodbridge at home to against another Championship side, league newcomers Waveney Ladies, goals from Tayler Cooke, Sadie Jamieson, Charlene Roach-Smith and Stacey Hadley seeing them through to the last 4. Holland ran riot in their semi-final away to fellow Premier Division side, Stowupland Falcons Women, Lauren Bourne with 4 goals and Cox with a hat-trick amongst the goals in a 10-2 victory to reach their first final. There they were thinking they were going to face AFC Sudbury Women Reserves after they beat Woodbridge 3-0 in the other semi-final but competition rules were broken and they were removed seeing Woodbridge into this evenings final.
Brantham Leisure Centre the venue for this evenings final, home of Brantham Athletic FC including their women’s team. The large clubhouse with bar and kitchen serving hot food and drink overlooking the grass pitches. The main pitch surrounded by fencing on all sides now. A covered seated stand behind one goal and another between the dugouts. Another warm day with sod all rain around the pitch dry dust coming up off it as the ball is kicked. Cloud cover around turning chilly.
Holland Ladies starting XI – Charlotte Warren, Becky McDougall, Elise Purser, Hannah Campbell, Keeley Brickwood, Lauren Lucas (C), Lauren Bourne, Jade Meaney, Charlotte Robertson, Mary-Jane Walsh & Jasmine Cox. Subs – Yssie Tye, Lucy Brown, Phoebe Rose & Sasha Moy.
Woodbridge Town Ladies starting XI – Georgie Bryant, Alice Ager (C), Natasha Williams, Chloe Stopher, Caitlin Howe, Lauren Jacobs, Grace Murphy, Stacey Hadley, Tayler Cooke, Emma Drake & Sadie Jamieson. Subs – Charlene Roach-Smith, Kerry Scott, Natalie Claridge & Emalene Haynes.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s Woodbridge to get the League Cup Final underway kicking off the first half wearing back and white vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks with Holland wearing orange coloured shirts and socks with black shorts.
GOAL! No doubt the fastest goal I’ve seen score in a cup final, as Woodbridge play the ball back to their captain Alice Agar at right back is played long up the right side, won by Holland full back, Becky McDougall the cleared ball sent forwards back where it came the defender unaware her goalkeeper is coming as the ball drops towards the corner of her area, the pair collide with Jasmine Cox looking to attack moving left capitalising as she gets hold of the loose ball inside the box and opening up her body slots the ball on the angle into the empty net 1-0.
The perfect start for Holland a goal up inside the opening 30 seconds a huge blow for Woodbridge. The game restarting they need to regroup recover quickly the ball is hotly contested in the middle with players from both sides in to close down and block. Stacey Hadley bringing it on for Woodbridge out to Tayler Cooke on the move left side, is forced wide by Holland’s Elise Purser, managing to send low driven ball in on the angle to the near post, Holland goalkeeper, Charlotte Warren closed down by Woodbridge’s Sadie Jamieson the ball not collected knocked behind for a goalkick.
Holland captain, Lauren Lucas heading the ball on through the middle for Lauren Bourne to take on shifts it out to Cox on the left of attack, Ager in to close her down forced infield Woodbridge regain possession, Grace Murphy with a forceful run on lifting it forwards, dealt with at the back by Holland’s Hannah Campbell. The midfield busy the ball no still for a moment Murphy forwards out to the right, Holland defend come forwards on the right side with Bourne looks to take on Ager, the full back putting in the tackle the ball going for a throw. Pressing bodies up around the Woodbridge box the ball headed on across the top of the area before a shot from the left is struck wide.
Murphy threading the ball on for Jamieson central has Emma Drake giving her a run across her going left to right, attempting to pick her out, Campbell with the foot in to intercept the pass.
GOAL! Playing the ball up to Cox right channel, 25 yards out in attack she sends it out to the wing for Charlotte Robertson. Moving forwards plays the cross inside to Mary-Jane Walsh getting clear top of the D, striking the ball with the inside of her right boot looking to send it wide of the keeper into the bottom corner, the crowd and I have to say I did too, thought it was going wide, but no perfectly placed inside the post to double the lead 2-0.
A strong start to the game for Holland 2 goals up inside the opening 8 minutes. Woodbridge frustrated, a few niggly free-kicks given away. Lucas fouled on half way the ball floated up towards the top of the area dealt with by Hadley for Woodbridge. Coming on down the left wing a throw high for Woodbridge level with the top of the 18 yard line McDougall getting it into Bourne inside the box left corner, controls and strikes the ball on the half volley, caught by Woodbridge goalkeeper, Georgie Bryant.
Jamieson looking to put herself about up top for Woodbridge moving right winning a throw, put into Hadley 25 yards out left of the D, strikes a lobbed effort goalwards swerving away off target, Warren claiming the ball. Holland break through the middle Walsh on the ball, is brought down the advantage played though as Cox ahead of her takes on the ball running towards the box shooting from distance on the angle her shot held by Bryant. From a throw on the right, the ball into the Woodbridge box a shot his sliced out to the far post, Cox rising trying to get on the end of it directs it wide.
Cox looking to pick up the ball driven on at the Woodbridge defence Chloe Stopher forcing her wide, as Cooke comes back to defend the ball gone for a throw in. McDougal up on the left winning the ball high looking to drive on towards the Woodbridge area, Murphy across to help Williams as she faces off ends up on the floor and in disbelief as she free-kick is awarded against her. A set-piece in a dangerous area outside the box left side McDougal over the ball strikes the ball with her right foot curling in towards goal, the keeper beaten the ball smashes down off the crossbar rebounding out to the right where a hurrying shot is lifted over.
Holland looking a threat coming forwards Walsh in the middle on for Cox out to the right players drawn across as the cross is flighted into the box, won by Ager and cleared. Competitive in the middle, Woodbridge aren’t getting much joy trying to feed in their attackers with Campbell and fellow centre back Keeley Brickwood winning most things in the air. Bourne central with a great threaded pass to send Cox through in behind right side running at goal blasts the ball goalwards, Bryant behind it down sharply to save.
Holland with a corner on the right players up into the area the inswinging ball helped on across the six yard box, Lucas getting up to head the ball at the back stick, put over a touch off a Woodbridge player spotted another corner awarded from the left. Flung in low cleared at the near post coming back to corner taker, Purser has help from McDougall plays it to her to cross into the area nodded in towards goal, Bryant getting her gloves on it before it can be attacked.
Jamieson seeing the ball into her from the right with a casual looking flick in behind that sees Drake running into the box striking a shot wide of the near post for Woodbridge. Cooke getting on down the left putting a diagonal ball in towards the top of the box, Warren out quickly to lay claim to the ball with Jamieson stealing through. Jacobs on for Jamieson right the ball played across the top of the Holland area coming to Cooke left side trying to get the ball down under control before she is closed down, snatches at it lifting her attempt over.
Both Cooke and Murphy making an attempt to thread the forwards pass into Drake in attack both times intercepted by Campbell for Holland. Murphy tracking back to defend on Cox as Walsh looks to send her on through the middle. Woodbridge are a little stretched at the back as they commit players on risking the counter attack in their attempts to get the ball into Jamieson in attack, driving on with it left channel, Purser does well to force her out to the touch line the ball going for a throw in. Both Caitlin Howe off a Holland free-kick and Stopher heading the ball out for defence for Woodbridge.
GOAL! 5 minutes left on the clock in the 1st half, Cox with her 2nd of the game, canny as the ball is rolled into her through the middle in behind Bryant coming to close her down, checks shifting the ball to her right to present her with an open goal beyond and sends it home to make it 3-0.
Cox’s movement up top often allowing others to get forwards from the middle or full back, is out on the left with Bourne, linking up as McDougall gets on in support the left back clips the cross into the box, Bryant in untroubled able to let the ball run wide of her far post. A corner out of nothing for Holland on the left the ball curled in towards the top of the area a glancing header knocked down by Lucas is turned wide at the far post.
Late in the first half Howe brings the ball out from the back for Woodbridge into the middle back to Ager to send up to the attackers, Brickwood with a timely interception to deny Jamieson the chance to run through on goal. Into stoppage time Cox attacking Howe across to defend a corner given against her on the right players up into the box, into the box McDougall free at the far post getting plenty of power into her header isn’t far wide with her effort.
Half-time Holland Ladies 3-0 Woodbridge Town Ladies
A fantastic start to the cup final for Holland with a goal inside the opening 30 seconds adding a 2nd within 8 minutes. Have had the bulk of the attack since creating a number of chances McDougal striking the crossbar from a free-kick, then heading wide at the end. A 3rd goal coming at the right time with Woodbridge competitive throughout. Recovering well from their poor start haven’t found it easy going forwards, Campbell and Brickwood solid at the back for Holland. Keeping it to 2 goals a half-time would have given them some confidence for the 2nd half conceding a 3rd makes it difficult to get themselves back into the game.
Changes for both at the start of the 2nd half roll on roll off substitutes not always the easiest to keep track of. Charlene Roach-Smith on in attack for Woodbridge. Sasha Moy on for Holland replacing McDougall. Holland to get the 2nd half underway. The ball contested in the middle straight away no time on the ball, Hadley getting away on the right for Woodbridge finding no way through. Roach-Smith winning Woodbridge a corner as she pressure the defence inside the box as Cooke puts the ball on from the left.
Free-kicks keep being given away in the middle, Holland with the ball on up into the box Howe clearing , Woodbridge look to counter through the middle, Brickwood dropping off to give herself room as Jamieson looks to get the ball down making the tackle. Woodbridge looking to put more pressure on Holland at the start of the 2nd half Jamieson holding the ball up left side winning her team a corner. Whipped in across the six yard box Jamieson then gets up in front of goal but can’t get a telling touch. Walsh on the move with the ball at her feet over halfway for Holland on for Cox, Stopher in to close her down with a good challenge.
Getting a little heated between the sides as Woodbridge finding more possession inside the Holland half. Holland with a free-kick on the right inside the Woodbridge half in towards Robertson top of the D, can’t find a way through the ball cleared. Phoebe Rose coming on for Woodbridge. Purser getting the ball back to Warren as Murphy plays Jamieson on through the middle.
GOAL! An hour played and Holland stretch their lead off a corner won on the left, swung into the six yard box dropping down a real goal line scramble ensues as both sides go after the ball pinging back and forth it squirms free to Lucas positioned to the right of the melee and she in turn flicks the ball off her boot into the back of the goal 4-0.
A 4th goal coming for Holland denting Woodbridge’s spirited start to the 2nd half. Holland coming right forced wide, back for Brickwood to hit an angled ball into the box wide at the near post. Another sub for Woodbridge, Kerry Scott on at the back. Drake over on the right for Woodbridge running in behind can’t get there before Warren racing out of her area can kick clear. Bourne with some powerful runs through the middle for Holland putting it on for Robertson, Ager tackling for Woodbridge. Holland press on the flanks winning throws high up the pitch from the left the ball sent into the box near side, Bourne running in, Bryant getting her gloves around the ball first.
Cooke stealing onto the ball out with with a burst of pace put on for Jamieson attacking the box in behind, Warren out to the top of her area getting hold of the ball before she can get a touch. From front to back as Warren’s kick out in headed on by Lucas in the middle on for Robertson who finds Cox drifting to the right forced wider still her cross/shot lands in the side netting. A free-kick for Holland 30 yards out right of the Woodbridge goal, Moy over it directs her strike over at the near post. The game open with both sides looking to score Woodbridge getting Drake away on right sends it in for Roach-Smith running into the box, just overruns the ball allowing the keeper to claim.
Robertson just offside as Cox looks to turn the ball in behind on the left. Yssie Tye onto the pitch for Holland along with Emalene Haynes for Woodbridge with around 15 minutes left on the clock. Purser with a great long ball on for Cox pulling right takes it to the by-line before sending a cross into the six yard box, Bryant down to smother it. Players starting to pull up with cramp. Purser feeling something go as she stretches for the ball on the touch line needs to come of McDougall back on.
Brickwood with a great challenge to deny Roach-Smith as the ball is lifted in through the middle. McDougal has a decent throw on her sending it on down the right Tye with Cox working a cross into the box, Bryant snatching it down well. Lucas with a driven ball into the area from the left for Holland, Bryant knocking it up into the air appears to get fouled as she goes to catch the ball, her defence though scramble the ball clear. Get up the other end quickly Jamieson moving towards the D checking right before her shot in is saved by Warren, end to end as Holland counter the ball fed on for Cox moving left, Ager with a robust tackle clearing the ball for a corner on the right.
Cox drifting right moves wide with Lucas playing her on sees her shot from distance angled in held by the keeper. Walsh sending a shot over from distance as Holland look to keep the ball with the game moving into stoppage time alot of tired legs out there. The ball inside the Woodbridge half late on as Holland come on crossing from the right along the six yard box Cox beyond the far post twisting to head the ball places it wide. Walsh brought down in the middle in front of the Woodbridge D, Ager with the clearance, Cox charging down the ball runs wide behind goal.
Full time Holland Ladies 4-0 Woodbridge Town Ladies
A spirited 2nd half from Woodbridge, just couldn’t find the goal they needed to apply any pressure to Holland. a 4th goal coming on the hour making it comfortable at the back for Holland. Woodbridge limiting there chances 2nd half pressed the ball higher. The game opening up as players tired and changes were made. Holland celebrating winning their first piece of silverware.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few performances of note to mention first. For Woodbridge, their captain Alice Ager was strong at the back throughout with a number of vital challenges. Taylor Cooke winning the ball well out wide getting on with the ball when she could. For Holland both Lauren Lucas and Lauren Bourne were strong in midfield winning the ball, Lucas with several great passes getting into some great positions from set pieces. Bourne with a number of purposeful runs forwards to join the attack. Becky McDougal strong at the back for Holland and a threat getting forwards unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. The award though goes to Jasmine Cox. Was a menace up front all match with her running on and off the ball moving left and right scoring twice.
Congratulations to Holland Ladies in winning this seasons Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final
An enjoyable trip back down to Brantham, an entertaining contest, full credit to Woodbridge after the start they had to keep fighting and not let the result get away from them limiting it to 1-0 in the 2nd half. Holland capitalising on that start however never looked back to win the cup. My thanks for everyone’s help this evening and for the team details as always appreciated. Next up the County Cup Final see you all again Friday.
by Darren Gilham