Sunday 17th September
Back to The Ridgeon’s Stadium in Newmarket for more action from the FA Women’s Cup, 2nd Round Qualifying this Sunday. Watching 2 sides in this round for the 1st time history will continue to be made for one or the other as Newmarket Town Ladies host King’s Lynn Town Ladies.
Here a fortnight ago for 1st Round Qualifying Newmarket Town Ladies facing a tough test drawn at home to Histon Ladies from ERWFL Division One South a league above. Played well to win 4-2 and progress to the next round of the FA Women’s Cup for the 1st time. Face a team from the same league above them once again another tough test.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies also made history in the FA Women’s Cup entering for the 1st time were drawn away to Leicestershire side Oadby & Wigston Dymano Ladies in 1st Round Qualifying won the game 3-1 to advance to the next round. Are testing themselves at a higher level this season promoted to the ERWFL in Division One North have started well in the league too winning both their opening games. A blend of experience and youth, younger players ready to stake their claim for a place in the side.
For both sides history has already been made in the FA Women’s Cup this season for one the journey will go on. The tie having to be settled on the day extra-time and penalties if required. Both sides have recruited players from Brandon Town Ladies who sadly folded before the season started situated between the two sides a few former teammates against one another today. Both are with out a few players today Newmarket without goalkeeper Eloise Hope, Dominika Szary normally an outfield player taking on the role between the sticks. King’s Lynn without a few big hitters, captain Shelley Woods and striker Josie Turner unavailable, Becky Russell often influential in midfield or attack sidelined through injury.
The Ridgeon’s Stadium the venue for today’s FA Women’s Cup tie, a state of the art artificial playing surface one of the best around. The bar open a seated stand covered beside. Normally I prefer to stand on the opposite side of the pitch to watch the game but so far today it had been bright then overcast with the odd torrential downpour and with dark clouds looming 5 minutes before kick-off I made a hasty retreat to the stands… just in time too!
Newmarket Town Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Yasmin Woodfield, Jess Linger, Ellie Marshall, Beth Woodfield (C), Laura Bailey, Cindy Ponder, Chloe Slater, Abbie Marshall, Abbi Griffin & Jordanne Sillitoe. Subs – Amanda Stacy, Sarah O’Rourke, Brooke Wickens, Lauren Deller & Jess Anderson.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Russell-Smith, Vikttorija Burkauskaite, Lisa Wilson, Shanice Burch, Albany Hodgson, Charlotte Griffith, Bethan Jones (C), Jade Kelly, Oksana Imanalijeva, Elle Bocking & Tiffany Forshaw. Subs – Louise Coggles, Michelle Stewart-Sheen, Georgia Reardon & Olivia Baker.
The teams emerge from the changing rooms just as the heavens open a torrential downpour at kick-off. It’s King’s Lynn in their away colours of red shirts with white collar, sleeves and vertical piping, red shorts and socks to get the match underway 1st half. Newmarket in their home colours yellow shirts with blue shoulders, blue shorts and yellow socks. With the rain lashing down play is restricted to the middle 3rd the ball hotly contested in midfield, Newmarket winning the ball send it long to the left Abbey Marshall with the run fires the ball into the box a clean gather for King’s Lynn goalkeeper Bryony Russell-Smith at her near post. Space for Abbi Griffin to run into on the right as Chloe Slater picks her out taking the ball into the area right side flashes a cross along the six yard box Jordanne Sillitoe arriving far post can’t get anything on the ball.
Jess Linger playing at right back today comes on with the ball support from Slater ahead of her the ball on for Griffin breaking in behind right side once again going on Shanice Burch comes across to put in the tackle deny the cross. As quick as the rain came it abruptly ends. A positive start from Newmarket taking the game to King’s Lynn both sides are looking to use the width King’s Lynn break as Vikttorija Burkauskaite brings it on from right back up the line for Jade Kelly a well timed ball beating the offside trap Kelly burst down the line flashes a cross square along the top of the six yard box Tiffany Forshaw newly joined from after spending most of last season with Lowestoft Town Ladies along with being dual signed with Brandon tries to get their central throws herself forwards in a attempt gets something on the ball but not enough to deflect it into the back of the net wide.
Cindy Ponder with a well timed run from midfield receives the ball outside the box top left for Newmarket her shot charged down by Burch. The rain ha started to fall again the pitch a little slick, Abbey Marshall with a diagonal ball from the left into the box finds Sillitoe she attempts to drive in towards goal, Burch is on her shoulder, the striker loosing her footing as she shapes to strike the ball.
Kelly charging forwards with the ball cuts a cross into the box deflected back out towards Burkauskaite arriving top of the area her 1st time strike is deflected wide for a corner on the right. A high ball into the six yard box Dominika Szary jumping through the crowd gets a glove on the ball knocking it wide to the opposite side in the area picked up by King’s Lynn’s Lithuanian International, Oksana Imanalijeva fires the ball back into the players lined up along the top of the area is knocked back towards goal Szary out to claim as a red shirt bears down on her, play is stopped by the offside flag.
A free-kick for Newmarket wide on the right 30 yards out as Sillitoe is brought down. Linger forwards to take a good delivery into the six yard box dropping far post Albany Hodgson’s clearance goes straight to Griffin positioned central top of the six yard box an instinctive stab of the foot to turn it goalwards plants the ball straight into Russell-Smith’s gloves. Bethan Jones wearing the captain’s armband for King’s Lynn today is doing well in the middle of the park finding pockets of space to receive the ball and looking to pick out her wide players, Kelly and Imanalijeva.
Russell-Smith comes rushing out of her area to challenge Sillitoe for the ball as the striker races clear in the left side, the deflected ball off her from the keeper runs straight to Griffin central doesn’t try to go for goal with Russell-Smith out of position instead lays it on to Laura Bailey up with her, by then King’s Lynn have the numbers back to nullify the threat. Launch a counter attack the ball through the middle on for Forshaw 20 yards out an early shot puts the ball wide of goal. Forshaw with a shot from further out moments later the ball through the middle she has half a yard on her marker 35 yards out takes on the strike her effort rising over the bar. A fast paced game fairly even so far without either keeper being tested as we close in on the half hour mark.
The deadlock is very nearly broke by Newmarket, Griffin combining with Bailey in the middle the latter passing the ball forwards to the left picking out Abbey Marshall on the move the ball at her feet pushing into the box doesn’t rush her shot fires the ball across goal past Russell-Smith who turns the see the ball strike the base of her far post still in play King’s Lynn send the ball long. On for Kelly right side head down charges on coming inside looks to strike a shot in towards the near post coming at Szary fast she claims well at head height. King’s Lynn starting to build some momentum going forwards. Elle Bocking receiving the ball from Charlotte Griffith central turns to force her way into the area is stopped by Ellie Marshall.
Newmarket make a substitution Abbey Marshall coming off to be replaced by Brooke Wickens. Hodgson plays a great ball forwards from the back for King’s Lynn picking out Kelly getting free on the right pushing forwards cuts the ball inside towards the near post Szary well positioned to claim with Forshaw coming in right behind her. The same is repeated in the next attack as Jones picks out Kelly this time. A ball through the middle has Wickens bearing down on goal for Newmarket has Sillitoe right on her shoulder not sure if the two exchange touches of the ball but it’s Wickens who has the final strike from outside the box the ball just inches over the crossbar.
Into the final 5 minutes of the 1st half and Newmarket are reduced to 10 as their goalkeeper is shown a straight red card. A cutting ball through the middle by King’s Lynn the Newmarket back line high up the pitch at times as they press forward as a unit. Forshaw running clear is after it does have it as Linger gets across to try and shield the ball, Szary coming out of her area goes down low to gather the ball into her gloves, a huge error on her part play stopped for the free-kick she his shown a straight red card. Griffin doesn’t hesitate she takes the goalkeepers jersey from Szary as she leaves the pitch heads for the goal as King’s Lynn set up for the free kick, Newmarket send players back to cover both posts. Kelly top of the D lays the ball to her right for Forshaw to strike sends it past Griffin, Ponder covering the far post is there to clear the ball.
Down to 10 Newmarket break up an King’s Lynn attack, Beth Woodfield playing it on through the middle Bailey to Ponder lines up a powerful drive from 30 yards out, skipping off the surface Russell-Smith going down to her right saves well pushing the ball away, Wickens racing in from the right the keeper scrambles across to smother the ball into her body at her feet.
GOAL! The stale-mate is broken with the very last attack of the half. Imanalijeva with a powerful run on the ball down the left wing getting into the box looks to fire a cross into the middle, Marshall gets a boot onto the ball trying to cut it out deflected out of the area it’s a race between the no 8’s as Newmarket’s Bailey and King’s Lynn’s Jones race forwards after the lose ball favours Jones slightly shots from 20 yards plenty of venom on shot it flies past Griffin into the back of the net 0-1.
Half-time Newmarket Town Ladies 0-1 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
Inclement weather throughout the 1st half has been a tense affair evenly matched for a while Newmarket hitting the post before being reduced to 10 late in the half, King’s Lynn getting their noses in front on the stroke of the half with the rain returning. Have the edge in the 2nd half now they have a goal and a player advantage. Headed for the bar wanted a cheeseburger but the kitchen wasn’t open so had to settle for a bag of crisps. A quick turn around at half-time the sides back out, Little did I know what the 2nd half had in store so much so there wasn’t time to eat a bag of crisps! Here we go!
King’s Lynn with the kick-off 2nd half, Newmarket react positively with a strong start to the half winning possession of the ball. Having to abandon my crisps and get the notepad out in a hurry, Wickens with the ball left into the box Burkauskaite with her Russell-Smith rushing out towards the pair an infringement is spotted by referee Chris Abbott an indirect free as the ball is knocked back to Russell-Smith she handles the ball. Left of the box top corner Linger comes forwards the ball knocked into her she shoots plants the ball wide of the near post.
A free-kick on halfway for Newmarket as Jones handles the ball. Linger sends the ball up into the top of the area defended the ball comes out to Bailey shifts it between her feet then lets fly from 25 yards out the ball straight at Russell-Smith. King’s Lynn make their 1st change, Bocking coming off up top for 16 year old Olivia Baker. Newmarket push on the ball knocked across field into Bailey 30 yards out control and turn to fire a diagonal pass back to the left for Wickens racing forwards into the area closing in on goal no way past Hodgson the defender winning the challenge.
GOAL! King’s Lynn double their lead 12 minutes into the 2nd half breaking forwards the ball fire forwards from the left to the right takes a nick of defender Yasmin Woodfield that sends it on for Kelly to burst in behind on the right space to run into carries the ball on time to assess her options sends the cross along the top of the six yard box picking out Forshaw timing her run to perfection to turn the ball into the goal 0-2.
A blow for Newmarket but their heads aren’t dropping quickly attack straight from the restart winning a throw on the left the ball played into Slater outside the area a good way out shapes to shot has the keeper beaten the ball smashes against the crossbar stays in play Burch beating Sillitoe to the ball clears. The rain has stopped for now but the pitch has trapped a fair bit of moisture, players like sliding about however if they get the chance.
Griffin makes a great stop with her foot as King’s Lynn press forwards Forshaw out left with the ball takes it on putting the ball into the six yard box for Kelly strikes the shot goalwards Griffin with the reactive save the ball knocked out to her right goes the more orthodox goalkeeping route throwing herself at the ball to claim before Baker can get a follow up shot in. Ponder and Sillitoe exchange passes through the middle the ball long out to the left for Wickens her shot blacked deflected back into the D straight at Sillitoe her strike charged down. Newmarket make a change Ponder looks to have taken a knock comes off a tactical switch Amanda Stacy named as substitute goalkeeper on the bench coming on she takes the shirt back from Griffin who returns to her more familiar midfield position.
A great ball forwards from Jones into Kelly on the right wing knocks it on before delivering a cross into the middle of the box Forshaw good control on her chest looks to drag the ball behind her and turn into the shot clever but both King’s Lynn centrebacks have read it and are on top of the striker even as her foot is raised back to strike the ball.
GOAL! King’s Lynn go on to extend their lead making it 3-0 putting them in control of the tie the ball worked with pace through the middle finds the feet of Baker outside the box in a bit of space, Stacy comes rushing out to the top of her area to close the angle Baker shows good footwork shifting the ball between her feet three times before slotting her shot past the keeper and on into the goal beyond 0-3.
A little under 75 minutes of the game played King’s Lynn make a double switch taking off both Kelly and Wilson. Manager Michelle Stewart-Sheen brings herself on going into left back, also coming on new signing Georgia Reardon another 16 year old like Baker formerly with Brandon Town Ladies. Newmarket make their last substitution too 3-0 down take off a defender Marshall bring on a striker Lauren Deller. Has been a competitive tussle between Sillitoe and Burch all game as Newmarket attack, King’s Lynn sitting off the ball the cross from the right by Griffin comes inside to Sillitoe right of the D flicks the ball over her shoulder and turns towards goal, Burch stays on her shoulder lunges forwards with a tackle to push the ball away from the striker.
GOAL! It’s a goal out of nothing for Newmarket but nevertheless and brilliant piece of skill from Griffin a throw on the right into her well over 40 yards out has King’s Lynn players around her but no challenge she sees the keeper off her line goes for goal good pace on her effort it is over Russell-Smith and into the far corner 1-3.
GOAL! Straight away from pulling one goal back Newmarket score another! Get the ball played forwards centrally into Sillitoe outside the box pulls the trigger a the ball scooped up and over the keeper to land in the back off the net the crowd in the stand leap to their feet as Sillitoe pumps her fists in the air 2-3 it’s game on! 10 minutes left to play.
Newmarket with renewed vigour press forwards Wickens a threat coming in from the right takes a shot on left of the D 20 yards out wraps her foot around the ball a low drive in towards goal Russell-Smith saves well getting down to the ball pushing it behind for a corner. A great delivery flies across the six yard box no one can get on the end of it however. For a comfortable 3-0 position King’s Lynn are defending a 3-2 lead the game has become stretched ed to end. Forshaw on the counter with a run left channel pulls the trigger from outside the box pulls the ball wide across goal.
Into the last 5 minutes a great save from Russell-Smith to deny Bailey as the Newmarket midfielder has a strike from inside the box right side as the ball is deflected into her path from a block after Deller has a blast from outside the box left side the ball fired into her the shot, heading for goal Russell-Smith tips the ball over onto the roof of the net. A corner on the right Newmarket load the six yard box a good delivery Russell-Smith climbing through them to punch the ball away towards the top of the area Griffin is there her low drive back in has too many bodies to go through deflected back to her leans back into another shot sends it over the bar.
GOAL! Newmarket come back from 3-0 down to level the scores in 2nd half stoppage time, attacking down the right players breaking forwards through the middle Sillitoe with Slater and Wickens beyond her. The diagonal ball inside coming straight for Sillitoe outside the area a brilliant piece of skill to flick the ball on runs through to Wickens taking it into her stride into the box left of goal opens up her body to send her shot back across goal wide of the keeper to nestle into the back of the net at the far post 3-3. The crowd goes wild in celebration.
Moment’s left King’s Lynn mount on last attack Imanalijeva getting forwards with the ball on the left fires a cross into the box Forshaw diving throws herself at the ball can’t direct it on target. The 90 minutes are up the game goes into extra-time.
Full time Newmarket Town Ladies 3-3 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
Just about enough time to get a few crisps into me before the extra period kicks off 15 minutes each way for either side to find a winning goal or the game goes to penalties. All the substitutions have been made two sides used to roll on roll off subs the FA Women’s Cup altogether different. Newmarket get the 1st half off extra-time underway. Bright sunshine now. The home side play the ball long looking for Wickens making a central run the ball claimed by Russell-Smith.
Both sides go for it Newmarket finding extra energy after their come back. King’s Lynn looking to regain their momentum the ball is fired into Forshaw outside the area 25 yards a good turn to move the ball to her left and turn into a strike curls the ball wide of the top right corner of the goal. A little frustration on the pitch now Newmarket are chasing the ball down all over the pitch, Beth Woodfield winning the header inside the box from a King’s Lynn attack on the right. A few mis-timed challenges on the field now.
Imanalijeva with a powerful run left side closing on the box Beth Woodfield on her shoulder, Stacy rushing out of goal all three come together the ball deflected behind for a corner kick. Into the near post a head on the ball sends the ball across the face of goal everyone gambling near post the ball is cleared. A free-kick for Newmarket on half-way Linger playing it up into the box is knocked outside falling to Deller turns and strikes the ball runs wide a touch on the way through a corner kick, Russell-Smith again coming through bodies to punch the ball to safety.
A vital interception by Linger at the back sticking a boot out to take the ball away from Forshaw 20 yards out the long ball almost certainly putting her through on goal. Linger sending the ball on towards the King’s Lynn area the clearance is sliced the ball running wide right for Deller her sights on goal she slips at the vital moment the chance gone. Forshaw is almost through again only to be denied by a last ditch tackle from Linger. Again Forshaw receives the ball 25 yards out Stacy seeing the threat comes racing out to the edge of her area Forshaw lobs her the ball bounces wide of goal. The 1st half of extra-time is over.
King’s Lynn get the 2nd period of extra-time underway lose possession the ball fed up top to Sillitoe moving left side into the box sends her strike wide across the face of goal. Newmarket are going for it down to 10 you wouldn’t know finding space left and right. Wickens on particular on the left getting down the line puts her cross into the side netting. Bailey into Sillitoe left side drives for the area inside pushed wide by Burch manages to squeeze the pass back in towards Slater inside the D her snap shot put wide of goal.
GOAL! The come back is complete Newmarket having looked strong since getting it back to 3-2 and then 3-3 score to take the lead in the 2nd period of extra-time. Wickens with the goal as she picks up the ball in the middle turning 25 yards out takes on Hodgson head down gaining half a yard lets fly plenty of pace on the ball, Russell-Smith getting down to her right as the ball goes across her gets her gloves to the ball but can’t stop it going into the back of the net beyond 4-3.
The tensions are rising Newmarket running on adrenaline, King’s Lynn frustrated. King’s Lynn press forwards have 10 minutes to pull a goal back Imanalijeva sees her cross claimed by Stacy at the near post. Newmarket are reduced to 9 a moment of stupidity from Sillitoe a couple of 50/50 challenges with Burch earlier the pair dive in for the same ball on the halfway line both hurt, play goes on Sillitoe to her feet first Burch says something causing the attacker to turn and spit at her, the linesman is no more than 10 feet away and flags for the offence in front of the mainstand too. Stopping play the referee consults with his linesman and a red card is shown.
Down to 9 Newmarket have there backs up against the wall as King’s Lynn press the attack numbers forwards the ball cut into the box for Forshaw left of goal six yards out stabs the shot wide at the near post before anyone sees she has been flagged offside. Beth Woodfield strong in her box gets her head to the ball as Reardon fires a cross in from the right. Late on Imanalijeva takes the ball on into the box from the right, Wickens with the challenge, Imanalijeva grounded protests the appeals waved away. A drawn out 2nd period of extra-time plenty of stoppages however King’s Lynn can’t find a goal to force penalties and Newmarket celebrate the win at the final whistle.
4-3 to Newmarket Town Ladies after extra-time a magnificent result to come back from 3-0 with just 10 players in the final 15 minutes of the game. To force extra-time and then score the winning goal. Reduced to 9 in the finish it could have cost them dearly, didn’t they are through to the next round when the clubs form FAWPL Division One enter the competition. Showed great character kept going scoring twice in quick succession to make it 3-2 was the turning point the energy they gained took away their player disadvantage. King’s Lynn comfortable at 3-0 couldn’t see out the game, never regained their dominance in midfield a tough defeat in the end lessons to be learned but no doubt they will and be better for it.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
It’s a really tough one today picking the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Got to pick one however those are the rules I’ve set myself. Bethan Jones was fantastic in the middle especially 1st half. Newmarket battled hard as a team down to 10 then 9 late on everyone doing their part but I have chosen Brooke Wickens was a real threat after coming on on the left and drifting inside to pick up the ball, tracking back to defend to scoring the goal to bring it into extra-time then getting the winning goal.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about the FA Women’s Cup over the years since I’ve been covering it is whatever the result is it puts a little more fire into a player and their team going forwards everyone loves the competition and there is something special about this one. Took me an hour and 15 minutes to eat a bag of crisps the football had me on the edge of my seat a thrilling match. My thanks to both clubs and Chris Abbott for their help with the teams today the draw for 3rd Round Qualifying will be made on Monday I can hardly wait.