ERWFL Finals Day – Acle United Ladies v AFC Dunstable Ladies

ERWFL Cup Final

Sunday 13th May

 Onto the 2nd of today’s ERWFL Final’s the League Cup. This season being contested by Acle United Ladies and AFC Dunstable Ladies. 

 Acle United Ladies in contention for the Premier Division title all season losing out in their penultimate game to leave them in 3rd position 3 points short of Champions Billericay Town FC. A busy spell at the end of the season games to be squeezed in a County Cup Final appearance too ending again in a close loss to Wymondham Town Ladies who will be joining them in the ERWFL Premier Division next season. Takes the shine of what has been another strong campaign one more shot at silverware though for the Norfolk side the ERWFL League Cup.

  Looking to stop them are Bedfordshire side AFC Dunstable Ladies finishing 6th in the ERWFL Premier Division this season haven’t matched the form of last season that saw them pushing the title challengers all the way. Have picked up some good results and one their day can beat anybody in the league. Ending their season with an opportunity to win silverware.

 Both sides short of a full squad coming into this afternoon’s final. Acle United losing the spine of their side with 3 players shown red in their final league game played against Cambridge City, adopting a new formation for the ERWFL Cup Final dubbed ‘The Christmas Tree’ formation.

Road to the Final

  The ERWFL Premier Division sides entering the League Cup at the 3rd Round stage. Easy progress for both sides Dunstable receiving a bye into the quarter finals. Acle awarded the away win against King’s Lynn Town Ladies. 

  Onto the quarter finals a trip to Hertfordshire for Acle to take on Royston Town Ladies a 3-1 victory sending them through the the last 4 of the competition. Dunstable held home advantage in their quarter final against AFC Sudbury Ladies neither side able to find a goal in regular or extra-time it went all the way to penalties Dunstable emerging the winners 6-5 in the shootout.

  The last 4 and both semi-finals were hard to call. Close matches too, Acle at home to eventually League Champion’s Billericay Town Ladies. Knocked them out of the League Cup with a 3-2 result. 3-2 was also the winning margin for Dunstable as they travelled to Essex to take on Brentwood Town Ladies in the semi-finals. 

 The ERWFL Premier Division proving all season any side can beat another on it’s day. 

 The venue of course still the same the sun out properly for the League Cup Final this afternoon.

Acle United Ladies starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Anna Larkins, Chloe Shields, Naomi Cooper, Grace Birchall, Broghan Scully, Laura Holden, Lauren Bullard, Megan Todd (C), Kirstie Kindred & Rhianne Brister. Subs – Lauren Bailey & Rebecca Burton.

AFC Dunstable Ladies starting XI – Hannah Payne, Rebecca Langthorpe, Lauren Chimes (C), Elly Wade, Steph Fisher, Rachel Moffat, Shianne Swarres, Danielle Carty, Samaira Khan, Charlotte South & Charlene Moreton. Subs – Jodie Patterson & Rianne Townsend-Brown. 

(roll on roll off substitutes) 

  It’s Acle wearing black and white vertical striped shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks to get the League Cup Final underway. Dunstable opposite wearing an all blue kit. Dunstable get hold of the ball as Acle look to play it forwards Charlene Moreton playing the ball long, Samaira Khan played in behind on the right side a run down the channel into the area Cyan Fullbrook in goal for Acle comes to close her down, Khan evading her challenge takes the ball beyond her before sending a cross in along the face of goal, no one there for Dunstable, Acle get the ball clear. 

 GOAL! A chance for Dunstable at one end it’s a goal for Acle up the other. A brilliant individual goal from Acle captain, Megan Todd the ball sent up towards her on halfway from Fullbrook’s goal kick. On the left wing Todd brings it on over halfway carrying it forwards down the wing a powerful run all the way into the box not challenged closing in on goal scoops a shot up rising past the goalkeeper in past the near post 1-0.

Acle United Ladies captain Megan Todd setting off on her run to score the opening goal

   Shianne Swarres getting hold of the ball central for Dunstable across to Rebecca Langthorpe moving forwards from right back she passes the ball on for Khan on the wing, getting in behind she fires another cross along the face of the Acle goal. Dunstable finding a few gaps in the Acle back line early on. Langthorpe with the ball on the tries to send Charlotte South away through the middle, Chloe Shields getting across to intercept for Acle.

AFC Dunstable Ladies, Charlotte South

 Khan with a drive towards the Acle defence in the central is clipped as the ball spins away to the left, no advantage play brought back for the free-kick in a dangerous position in front of goal just outside the D. Danielle Carty on the ball goes for goal her effort up over the crossbar. Acle giving away free-kicks, Moreton on one inside the Acle half launched up towards the top of the area, Shields under it for Acle heading clear. Dunstable pressing forwards having more of the ball.

AFC Dunstable Ladies, Danielle Carty

  Todd the outlet for Acle as Anna Larkins wins the ball at the back up field into Laura Holding her pass on for Todd over on the right side another driving run forwards her shot fired in from outside the area with of Hannah Payne’s near post. Moreton hooks the ball forwards from inside the Acle half out to Khan on the right, Naomi Cooper defending for Acle at left back. Dunstable bring the ball on Moreton on for Khan central, Charlotte South supporting, Acle squeeze the ball at the top of their box regain possession. 

Charlene Moreton hooks the ball forwards for AFC Dunstable Ladies

  Rhianne Brister up front for Acle comes out to the right with the ball, support from Grace Birchall coming on past her, Dunstable captain Lauren Chimes challenging for the ball breaks up the attack. Larkins sending the ball up field from the back sets Todd up for a run in behind the Dunstable defence closing in on the box, Payne coming out towards her Todd goes to try and lob the keeper, get’s it past her Payne getting a touch on the ball however as it runs wide of her goal the corner signalled. A high ball in Todd the target far post is over her as she leaps up for it.

Acle United Ladies, Anna Larkins

  A give and go between Todd and Lauren Bullard on the left the ball crossed into the box just behind Kirstie Kindred she recovers laying it back for Todd, her strike charged down. Acle press the ball high win a corner kick the ball defended at the near post. Acle win another corner, Dunstable can’t get it clear the delivery going long out to the left gathered by Todd she tries to get past Langthorpe the corner won. The ball played in knocked back to the taker before being sent in high towards the far post Todd up to head the ball puts it wide. Dunstable make a change Khan the player coming off on comes Rianne Townsend-Brown. 

  Acle having a good spell starting to get hold of the ball and cause Dunstable problems Todd right squared to Kindred she sends the ball into Brister inside the box Payne makes the save as she comes charging out to met her blocking the shot. Payne comfortable as she moves across her goal to palm down Todd’s strike from distance. Holden with the pass inside to Bullard back for Broghan Scully plays it forwards onto Kindred who shoots from the top of the area Payne making a double save stopping Kindred’s strike then as Birchall heads the ball back towards goal gloves it wide for the corner. 

AFC Dunstable Ladies, Elly Wade

  A lively contest the game played at a rapid pace. Scully over a free-kick top of the centre circle for Acle plays the ball up into the area, Payne taking the catch. Moreton coming to get hold of the ball for Dunstable plays it out to Carty on the move on the left shoots early sending the low ball racing wide of the near post. Swarres with good control in the middle playing the ball on for Carty on the left her cross into the box, South the target, Shields gets in front of her to defend for Acle. Larkins with a good tackle to stop Moreton as she comes on with the ball for Dunstable. 

  Steph Fisher putting in the tackle on Brister as Kindred looks to put the ball into her make the run in behind. Dunstable come forwards press the ball at the back Moreton getting the ball out to Carty on the right 25 yards out goes for the shot dipping Fullbrook can’t get to it as it strikes the crossbar. Dunstable ending the 1st half well. Elly Wade across to intercept the ball as Holden plays it on for Brister to chase out on the left. Bullard getting in behind Langthorpe on the right goes on into the box Langthorpe recovering well gets back on her is fouled by the attacker inside the box. 

  Acle with one last attack in the first half Todd on the left seeing the ball into her feet spins in behind running down the line cutting inside into the box fire a low cross along the face of goal, Chimes going to clear it smashes the ball against Kindred rushing in the ball loose Dunstable scramble it away.

Half-time Acle United Ladies 1-0 AFC Dunstable Ladies

  An entertaining first half to this season’s ERWFL League Cup Final. Acle scoring in the opening 2 minutes have held onto their 1-0 advantage both sides creating chances Dunstable striking the bar. The game far from settled yet.

  Changes for both sides, Lauren Bailey on at right back for Acle, Jodie Patterson on for Dunstable as well as Khan as they get the 2nd half underway. Getting a throw high up the pitch on the right. Into Moreton inside the pressuring the ball out to Khan she shoots Fullbrook dropping onto it at her near post. Todd driving forwards with the ball looks to get in on goal Wade coming back on her lunges in to take the ball away for the throw left side. 

Samaira Khan attacking for AFC Dunstable Ladies

  Acle starting the 2nd half well the ball on for Brister she pressure Patterson into conceding the corner. An inswinging delivery Payne is on it at the near post knocking the ball down Dunstable launch clear of their box. Acle make a change Birchall off at the start of the 2nd half coming on for Brister.

 GOAL! Birchall involved straight away as Acle go on to double their lead early in the 2nd half. Play spread from left to right Birchall going after it picks the ball up and surges on down the right evading a challenge cutting a cross back in the ball racing across the face of the Dunstable goal, Todd arriving at the far post smashing the ball home from close range 2-0.

  A free-kick to Dunstable as Khan is brought down trying to bring the ball inside from the right. The ball central Carty over it goes for the shot floating the ball in towards goal it cannons off the crossbar for a 2nd time. Acle counter attack Birchall in the clear on the right takes on the early shot as she closes in on the top of the area her attempt racing wide across the six yard box out the far side. Dunstable attack on the right Khan inside the area Shields defending as Fullbrook collides with her, Khan retrieving the ball as Dunstable get players forwards in support cut back to Carty to play the shot in towards the near post Fullbrook recovering has gotten back onto position to claim the ball. 

GOAL! Acle extend their lead as play becomes stretched, Todd breaking over halfway on the left a strong run with the ball squares it inside for Holden top of the area left of the D, picks her spot sending her shot in low past the keeper at her near post 3-0. 

  Townsend-Brown is played onto the ball by South coming left, Bailey with the attacker gets the challenge in Dunstable winning the corner. End to end Carty with a diagonal ball into the box from the right Shields heading away for Acle. Moreton plays the ball on into Townsend-Brown top of the area turns in behind her marker and delivers a low strike across the face of the Acle goal as the game moves into the final 20 minutes. 

Acle United Ladies, Laura Holden

GOAL! Acle go further into the lead taking control of the game Kindred with good work on halfway winning the ball, Todd latching onto it drives forwards, Holden ahead of her finding space Todd playing her in on goal Holden shoots from 20 yards out the ball striking the back of the net for her 2nd of the game 4-0. 

GOAL! Acle hammer home their advantage as Dunstable lose their shape Birchall spinning away plays the ball into Holden supporting on the right squared back to her Birchall sends a dipping shot in towards goal Payne making the save pushing the ball away lose inside the six yard box Kindred racing in on the follow up buries the shot 5-0.

  Acle looking strong now make a switch Holden rested, Brister back on. Dunstable go forwards South bringing it forwards put on for Moreton out to Townsend-Brown on the left sweeps a cross in early, Shields getting hold of it for Acle clears for the corner. 

GOAL! It’s a 6th goal for Acle Dunstable caught high up the pitch a great individual goal form Birchall. Getting onto the ball on the right as Larkins clears it up the line bursts forwards she evades Wade’s sliding challenge then shooting from the top of the area the ball races across the Dunstable goal and inside the side netting at the far post 6-0.

   A pause in play a player down a chance for a breather. play resumes.

GOAL! Dunstable pull a goal back Moreton the scorer as she gets into the area played in by Khan attacking on the right, her initial effort stopped Moreton with a 2nd bite at the cherry lifts the ball in over the keeper to score 6-1.

  Townsend-Brown controlling the ball on the left cuts it back into the middle for Carty coming on, can’t quite get the ball under control before Acle recover and close her down. Bailey comes forwards for Acle, Wade tackling the ball away for a corner. Dunstable deal with the threat, try to get out Acle closing the ball down regain possession. Birchall with space on the left plays it inside for Todd 30 yards out time to line up a shot her effort bouncing wide out past the post. 

Rianne Townsend-Brown bringing the ball under control for Dunstable Ladies

  Birchall with the ball at her feet a great run central for Acle evading two challenges before sending a shot over the crossbar. Up the other end Dunstable strike the crossbar for the 3rd time in the game, South and Carty linking on the left the ball into Townsend-Brown positioned top of the Acle area curls a shot in towards goal sees the ball collide with the woodwork. Acle go on the attack the ball on for Brister left inside for Birchall sees Bailey clear coming in on right she strikes the ball sending it across goal past Payne a defender back on the line gets there in time to block the ball skipping up into her keepers gloves. 

Full time Acle United Ladies 6-1 AFC Dunstable Ladies

  The final whistle blows and Acle celebrate as they end their season with silverware winning the ERWFL League Cup with a 6-1 win over Dunstable. Created plenty of chances throughout the game and were clinical in front of goal. Todd getting them the early lead. Dunstable had good spells in the first half coming close the levelling the scores. A narrow advantage at half-time Acle doubled the lead early in the 2nd half and going 3-0 up two quickfire goals to make it 5-0 put them in complete control of the match. Dunstable getting a late consolation goal ended up striking the crossbar 3 times. Acle the stronger side in the 2nd half.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Now for the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. The captain led by example for Acle and scoring a fantastic solo goal early on was a handful for Dunstable to deal with all match as she moved across the front line from left to right. Adding the 2nd goal and setting up numerous chance, the award goes to Megan Todd.

Acle United Ladies lift the ERWFL League Cup

Congratulations to Acle United Ladies on winning the 2017/18 ERWFL League Cup.

Acle United Ladies, 2017/18 ERWFL League Cup Winners

 An enjoyable day spent at Letchworth watching the ERWFL Final’s. Two entertaining matches. My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams and to the ERWFL committee members for all the hard work they put into the league itself. 

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