Sunday 4th October
Women’s FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying
Back on the FA Cup trail this Sunday with a game from 1st Round Qualifying. Cambridgeshire Premiership side Netherton United Ladies reaching this stage of the competition for the first time hoping to cause an upset hosting ERWFL side Leigh Ramblers Ladies.
The Women’s FA Cup now sponsored by Vitality, and whilst Everton Women will face Manchester City Women in the final of last season’s competition at Wembley on the 1st November. This season’s competition is now into it’s 3rd round of games, 84 sides reaching 1st Round Qualifying. 42 ties to be played with Storm Alex blowing in bringing with it alot of rain, promising a wet afternoon everywhere, several games falling by the wayside.
Netherton United Ladies play on 3G however so there would need to be a heck of a lot of water to see it called off. Has been quite a while since I last visited The Grange to see Netherton play, alot of changes since then. Lee Martin now in charge of the women’s side. A long established side competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership and aiming to challenge for the top positions. Made history in the Preliminary Round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup winning convincingly away to Northamptonshire side Desborough Ladies 10-0. Drawn at home to higher league opposition in 1st Round Qualifying know it will be a tough challenge, recieving video messages of support from Jimmy Bullard and Paul Merson to give the squad added motivation before the game.
A long journey in the rain from Essex for Leigh Ramblers Ladies. Have made some good memories in the Women’s FA Cup themselves in recent season’s as a county league side knocking out higher league opposition. Successive promotions those results no doubt going a long way in seeing them promoted to the ERWFL themselves. A solid debut season at that level before Covid brought thing’s to an end. Began this season with a 2-1 away win against Chelmsford City Ladies in the Preliminary Round, Rhiana Castle and Chloe Gilligan with the goals.
Peterborough a hot bed for women’s footballing talent boasting a number of sides competing at various levels. The venue today The Grange, situated behind a new build estate the facility boasts a number of grass pitches alongside the main 3G pitch, a small stand offering some cover for spectators. A food truck on hand serving hot food and drinks. Various measures in place to make the facility Covid secure. The weather crap, dull and overcast rain forecast and to fall heavily during the match. Multi-tasking skills to the fore today, a notepad and camera to juggle aswell as an umbrella, thankfully little wind about so the umbrella can be stuffed down the jacket
Netherton United Ladies starting XI – Ali Beel, Lucy Johnson, Dita Upesjure, Carmen Giles (C), Klinta Kulite, Megan Strickland, Lauren Laws, Jenna Nairn, Yasmin Green, Emily Johnson & Katie Barber. Subs – Amy Stanyon, Chloe Earth, Sasha Haw, Ellie Gaston, Amber Parkinson, Natalie Gibbs, Tayla Harris & Clare Noades.
Leigh Ramblers Ladies starting XI – Emily Mackler, Rhiana Castle, Jess McGarva, Paige White, Jordan Castle, Rebecca Dalgarno, Georgia Holdaway (C), Rhianne Cunningham, Ria Toovey, Amber Denton & Elisha Turner-Powell. Subs – Chloe Gilligan, Connie Mashford, Molly Giles & Lucy Dalgarno.
The rain has been steady but the worst is on it’s way. Leigh to have the kick-off in the first half wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. Netherton lined up opposite wearing red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and red socks. Played back to Rebecca Dalgarno she passes it into captain Georgia Holdaway who spreads play out to the left wing with Ria Toovey after the ball, Lucy Johnson back on her in defence the full back conceding an early corner. Put in towards the top of the area Netherton clear and look to break with Emily Johnson racing on with the ball left channel the ball knocked on as she tries to get in behind, Leigh can see it out for a goal kick.
Netherton captain Carmen Giles gets across from centre back to tackle Toovey as she attempts to get in behind the full back on the right. Leigh making a bright start winning another corner on the right. A good delivery in from Dalgarno inswinging towards the far post, goalkeeper Ali Beel stretching getting a glove on the ball to punch it away to the left side the visitors winning a 3rd corner in as many minutes. Netherton not settled.
GOAL! Leigh score from the corner, take it short up the line, the cross then played in along the top of the area runs through to Rhianne Cunningham right of the D 20 yards out striking the ball 1st time lifting her shot up and over the keeper to find the back of the net 0-1.
An early blow for Netherton get on the offensive as Emily Johnson on the left has support through the middle with Megan Strickland. Johnson controlling the ball well passing it inside for Strickland to head on into the gap opening on the left Emily Johnson racing into it gathering the ball puts a diagonal ball into the box looking for Yasmin Green coming in far side the ball though ahead of her goalkeeper Emily Mackler not troubled.
Amber Denton getting hold of the ball travelling down the right for Leigh putting it inside for Toovey 25 yards out goes to strike the ball, Klinta Kulite close into her blocking the ball. Leigh on top in the early exchanges moving the ball through the middle well finding Denton out on the right Toovey along side fellow attack Elisha Turner-Powell making some threatening runs through the middle. Dalgarno attempts to thread a pass through the middle both attackers on the move a vital interception from Kulite. Giles is down in need of treatment after a coming together on the left. Walks off gingerly, the referee allowing her back on as play resumes.
Denton with a strong run gets clear on the right into the corner pivots to put a cross in along the face of goal misses Toovey attacking near post, Turner-Powell right behind her connecting lifts her attempt over the bar. Holdaway allowed time on the ball left side sets her sights and takes on the strike from all of 30 yards out, dipping late drops over. Emily Johnson looking to carry the threat in attack of Netherton in the early exchanges wins her side a corner. The ball played in from the right comes through to Emily Johnson far side bringing it back up to the top of the area plays it across, Rhiana Castle getting there to clear before Lauren Laws can arrive from midfield.
Giles can’t shake off her knock has to come off handing the armband to Strickland on comes Amber Parkinson at the back. Holdaway scoops a ball over the top for Turner-Powell to chase, a god starting position from goalkeeper Beel allows her to get out to it first and launch clear. Jenna Nairn playing the ball up to Green in attack on the right wins the hosts a corner kick. A good inswinging delivery from the right under the bar, Mackler though is able to claim it high in her gloves without challenge. Leigh a quickly in the attack up the other end as Holdaway releases Turner-Powell into the left channel, challenged by Lucy Johnson the ball spinning behind for a corner.
The game is opening up both sides looking to get it on through the middle, Nairn puts Katie Barber in at goal, Jess McGarva on her shoulder, Barber gets the ball out diagonally to the let with Emily Johnson bombing forwards plays it early into the box, Mackler advancing scooping the ball up into her gloves.
GOAL! Denton is finding room out on the right the ball played into her takes it further into the corner stretching play drawing players with her as Toovey and Turner-Powell break centrally into the area. Denton’s cross on the money dipping as it arrives into the six yard box straight to Turner-Powell seeing it into her feet turns to guide the ball over the line from close range. 0-2.
Leigh doubling there lead with a little over 15 minutes played. The visitors making a strong start. Jordan Castle breaking up a Netherton attack at the back gets Leigh going forwards the ball into Dalgarno central she has Cunningham to her left sends it through for Turner-Powell breaking in behind left side, Beel out quickly to the top of her area claiming the ball. Emily Johnson pace on the wing left side gets in behind taking the ball on to the by-line looking to get into the box evades a tackle reaching the top of the six yard box angling to shoot across the keeper, Mackler down sharply to make the save pushing the ball wide, Cunningham and Green coming together far side as the midfielder attempts to clear the ball. Put out as Cunningham recieves treatment back on her feet the corner has been awarded. Sportsmanship from Netherton however as they acknowledge the ball was played out given back to the visiting goalkeeper.
Nairn brings the ball on from the middle for Netherton left side has Emily Johnson ahead of her as Strickland hugs the line, Johnson spotting her sends the ball out to her as she races forwards to get into the box, Strickland attempts to return the ball read by Jordan Castle who slides in on Johnson to regain possession for Leigh. The rain has eased enough to abandon the umbrella (for now). A free-kick for the hosts on halfway played up for Green right side she crosses early. Mackler holding it cleanly into her midriff at the near post with Emily Johnson running in. Nairn with an ambitious attempt from all of 35 yards out central, clipping the ball up lands on the roof of the net.
Denton continues to make good runs into the right has Cunningham making a run across her to get into the right corner picking her out her cross into the area is held well by Beel at her near post. Netherton gaining some momentum as they look to get a foot hold back in the game Emily Johnson recieving the ball inside the area from the advancing Nairn, back to goal lays it back to the midfielder struck on the run from 20 yards her effort straight at the keeper.
GOAL! Leigh deliver a sucker punch as Netherton go forwards they are hit on the counter the visitors moving the ball quickly lifted over the top as Toovey breaks in behind towards the box, Beel starting to come Toovey connects early striking the bouncing ball to lob her and score. 0-3.
Chloe Earth is on for Netherton as Nairn puts it on through the middle for Barber strength tries to bulldoze her way through into the area before being stopped by Jordan Castle tackling her inside the D.
GOAL! Just as Leigh race into a 3 goal lead Netherton hit back with an immediate reply as Emily Johnson is played in on the right side as the hosts spread play across the middle, Johnson taking the ball in into the area head down angling in towards goal has one intent as she smashes it hard over the keeper to pull a goal back 1-3.
Half an hour played and the game has been all action, Leigh with a strong start capitalising scoring 3 goals Netherton pulling one back.
GOAL! One becomes two Johnson causing havoc in the Leigh defence the ball played through the middle splitting the two centre backs, the keeper coming Johnson closing her down, takes the ball away from her wide of goal to the right the defence can’t get back as she strokes the ball into an empty net 2-3.
Leigh push forwards winning a corner on the right the delivery dangerous swung in towards the far post Turner-Powell can’t get a telling touch as the defence scramble clear. Nairn getting hold of the ball in the middle for Netherton now setting up an attack coming on through the middle out to Green to her right she switches it to the left for Strickland coming on attempts to play her return ball across the box for Green to run onto, puts it too far ahead of her allowing White to clear. Netherton make another change with Sasha Haw coming on for Barber up top.
Leigh find Denton moving clear on the right whips a dangerous ball into the box, players rushing back as Turner-Powell sees it into her feet on the penalty spot, turns into the strike sending it towards the far post, Beel hasn’t much time to react does superbly diving to her right to get her glove to the ball saving well sending the ball away to the left. A race between Turner-Powell and Parkinson through the middle the defender tackling to win the ball outside the box. Good link up play between Emily Johnson and Strickland on the left side attempting the one two outside the area Jordan Castle though has read it for Leigh and gets in between both in intercept the pass.
GOAL! 3 minutes of normal time left in the first half and Netherton turn things around, fighting back from 3 goals down to level the scores. Emily Johnson playing a big part in all the goals scoring twice turns provider this time setting up Green inside the box to score as the hosts race up the left wing carving open the Leigh defence Johnson’s early cross dissecting the centrebacks as Green central steals into the box to gather the ball into her feet and shoot low wide of the advancing keeper, Mackler terribly unlucky getting a glove on the ball not enough as it escapes to run on behind over the line 3-3.
One last attack in the half for Leigh the Essex side building with purpose through the middle Cunningham inside to Dalgarno on for Turner-Powell up top spinning lays it in behind for Toovey, Beel quickly out off her line to gather the ball.
Half-time Netherton United Ladies 3-3 Leigh Ramblers Ladies
An exciting first half of cup football. Leigh starting well on top getting into a 3 goal lead looking strong, Netherton on the back foot and for a little while you’d be concerned they might be overwhelmed but showed good character to get back into the game quickly pegging it back to 2-3 finished the 1st half strong to level the scores. Terrible conditions to play in both sides have coped well showing attacking intent the game open, you feel there are more goals in it yet. Both sides stay out on the pitch during the half-time interval
Netherton making a 4th change at the start of the 2nd half a change of goalkeepers with Beel off replaced by Amy Stanyon. Netherton to get the 2nd half underway if the scores are level at 90 minutes the tie goes straight to penalties. Leigh comfortable in defence as Netherton put it forwards mount an attack up the right Denton winning a corner. Molly Giles on for McGarva for Leigh.
GOAL! The perfect start to the 2nd half as Leigh restore their lead. Scoring straight from the corner. Dalgarno’s deliveries have looked menacing all through the first half her inswinging ball whipped in with pace going straight in as the rain starts to fall more heavily 3-4.
Has been a good contest in the middle of the park between Dalgarno and Holdaway and Laws and Nairn, the ball exchanging heads outside the Leigh area Nairn directs one down for Emily Johnson to skip onto inside the D, her snap shot looping in low parried away by the diving Mackler. Turner-Powell taking the ball on 25 yards out evading a sliding challenge from Noades shoots the ball put straight at Stanyon.
Green clear out on the right side as the crossfield pass finds her can see it run across her body before hitting it angling in, Mackler moving across her goal looks to be threatening the top corner however she can see it safely over… just.
GOAL! Again Netherton come back to level the scores, Lucy Johnson with the ball on the right allowed to bring it on before knocking it forwards for Green stealing in behind right of goal the angle closing hits it hard smashing the ball past the keeper to make it 4-4.
Getting a little niggly out there Leigh certainly frustrated having held a 3 goal lead and getting pegged back. The rain falling heavily now making playing conditions all the harder. Nairn nipping in to regain possession central rolling her pass out to Green right side hits it early sending her attempt wide across the six yard box. The game could go either way Leigh make another change bringing Lucy Dalgarno on for White. Emily Johnson and Greens movement stretching the Leigh defence. Turner-Powell always ready to make the run at the other end. Giles stepping in to tackle Haw as she turns inside the D with the ball rolled into her feet.
Turner-Powell central holding the ball up well 30 yards out spins putting in on for Toovey into the right channel Parkinson sliding in forcing her wide top of the area her angled shot back in held by Stanyon at her near post. It’s a good contest despite the weather both sides up for it. Kulite in to block Rebecca Dalgarno as she meets a cross from Rhiana Castle on the left 25 yards out. A double change for the visitors with both Connie Mashford and Chloe Gilligan coming on Toovey and Cunningham coming off.
Defending one end a hopeful ball forwards see Haw in the clear for Netherton 25 yards out blasts her shot over the crossbar. Holdaway makes a move up the left is picked out by Gilligan holds it up as Gilligan gets up to support her rolled into her feet she crosses into the corridor an inviting ball Turner-Powell is caught static doesn’t move.
GOAL! midway through the 2nd half and the hosts take the lead for the first time in the tie, pile players forwards in the pouring rain, into the box as the ball out on the by-line right side is flashed into the six yard box players attacking it in front of the goalkeeper, Mackler grounded a shot put in cleared on the line by Lucy Dalgarno pops loose straight back to Haw to smash over the line 5-4!
Netherton are full of energy now Nairn laying the ball out to the right Green away down the wing whipping a cross in near post Haw nipping in in front of the keeper lifts her touch over the bar. Mashford lays the ball forwards for a moment Turner-Powell in clear a yard in behind Kulite with the legs to get back on her to tackle and take it away from her before she can get into the area. Lucy Johnson intercepting as Turner-Powell comes into the left channel looking to get onto a Holdaway pass.
Holdaway herself bursting through the middle into the box as a cross comes in from the right lobs the keeper only to see her attempt land on the roof of the net, however the flag is up against her. Netherton are looking the better side now, pulling Leigh out of shape as the visitors clearly frustrated look to find a response of their own. Are more than capable the rain falling heavily impacting both sides horrible out there. Denton moving clear right side up the line lifts a dipping cross in near post, Turner-Powell lunging for it can’t direct it across the face of goal out for a goal kick.
Rhiana Castle looking to get forwards more on the left with Lucy Dalgarno behind her. Has the ball at her feet charging into the box, Lucy Johnson sliding into the tackle Castle rides it, had she gone down the referee would have had to make a decision as it is Castle wins a corner. The delivery put in central headed over for another corner, Netherton clearing their lines this time. I’m sure the pictures tell you how tough it is playing out there, hardly what both sides need, Leigh pushing hard risking it at the back, Rhiana Castle and Holdaway looking to join the attack.
Mashford central plays it to Lucy Dalgarno advancing up the left her ball played infield finding Rebecca Dalgarno top of the D striking the ball her shot races wide of the post. Haw races onto a pass from Emily Johnson centrally 25 yards out, Lucy Dalgarno getting up with her sticking a leg out to knock the ball on for her keeper to clear. Rebecca Dalgarno coming forwards into the right channel swings a ball into the area, a yard ahead of Turner-Powell. Leigh regain possession quickly Mashford out to Rebecca Dalgarno has space to move into left her diagonal through ball picking out the run of Turner-Powell free to shoot lacks power straight at the keeper from inside the box.
The game moving into the closing minutes Netherton bring on Ellie Gaston for Earth as they look to see out the game. Are inviting Leigh on somewhat, the final ball just not happening for the visitors as they try to square things up. The ball missed by the Netherton defence centrally Turner-Powell after it, Kulite gets back in just the nick of time to lung in take it away from the strikers feet. Frustrations boil over as Rhiana Castle and Lucy Johnson get involved in a shoving match after going for a 50/50 ball Johnson ushered away quickly by her teammates both she and Castle receive the first cards of the game.
Into stoppage time a Leigh attack breaking down Netherton come on with the ball but are reluctant to commit to an attack slow things down the clock ticking down. Leigh get the ball back out with Rhiana Castle right inside for Holdaway through for Turner-Powell, Stanyon out to the top of her area to launch clear as the final whistle blows and the Netherton team rush towards the centre circle to celebrate a memorable victory.
Full time Netherton United Ladies 5-4 Leigh Ramblers Ladies
What a game a nine goal thriller, Netherton United Ladies coming back from 3 goals down to win the tie 5-4 to advance to 2nd Round Qualifying of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. An exciting tie to watch (there are advantages to being neutral). Entertaining despite the awful weather, what an advert for the cup there is something magical about it. Leigh Ramblers will leave the ground highly frustrated at 3-0 up they were cruising and looked in control threatening to pull Netherton apart. The hosts showing great character getting 2 goals back quickly before turning it around to level at 3-3 at half-time. Leigh responding brilliantly to score straight away 2nd half but again Netherton came back to level and from that point with their tails up looked strong threatening the Leigh defence and going on to take the lead for the first time in the match, 5-4 the winning score in the finish as the heavens opened playing conditions hard Leigh pushed them all the way just wasn’t to be.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as per usual several contenders from both sides, starting with Leigh Ramblers, Elisha Turner-Powell never stopped running in attack carving out several opportunities for herself and her teammates. Rebecca Dalgarno too in midfield with some good running and a threat with her delivery on corners. For Netherton Jenna Nairn was influential in midfield getting hold of the ball to set up attacks playing the ball forwards. Yasmin Green a threat on the right scoring two goals. The award though goes to Emily Johnson. No doubt her goals to bring it back to 2-3 were the turning point in the tie a threat taking on the Leigh defence on the left was strong on the ball throughout.
Despite the awful weather I thoroughly enjoyed the game a highly entertaining contest between two attacking sides. Good to visit The Grange again and will have to do so again when the sun is shining I did fancy something from that food truck bar a cup of tea. My thanks as always to both sides for those all important teams details good to catch up with both sides. Netherton will be eagerly awaiting the draw for the next round.