Sunday 16th September
ERWFL Premier Division
A trip down to Essex this Sunday afternoon to watch a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, newly promoted Harlow Town Ladies hosting Colney Heath Ladies.
A clash between the sides currently 4th and 5th in the table both with 4 points each, still very early days in the league however with several of the ERWFL Premier Division sides involved in the early qualifying rounds of the FA Women’s Cup.
A 4th successive promotion for Harlow Town Ladies having risen through the Essex County leagues before clinching runners-up spot in ERWFL Division One South last season. A win, draw and loss from their opening 3 league matches in the Premier Division. Grant Palmer in charge of the 1st team for Harlow’s earlier successes has moved on to manage Norwich City Ladies in the FAWNL. A place in the FAWNL up for grabs for whoever wins ERWFL Premier Division title themselves. Dean Perrett in charge of the 1st team at Harlow now as the club look to continue to progress. A 1st team and Reserves side this season with ambition to create a girls section to establish Harlow as a force in the women’s game.
Colney Heath Ladies begin their 2nd season in the ERWFL Premier Division having finished runners-up in Division One to earn promotion. Was a difficult first campaign playing at that level, teams dropping out of the league which finished with 9 didn’t help their cause, ended bottom without a recorded win. The squad stretched last season too have bolstered numbers for this season and added experience too, a much better start undefeated in their 4 matches played including a win and a draw in the Premier Division.
The Harlow Arena the venue for today’s game a superb facility that has hosted FAWSL 2 football in the past. An artificial playing surface a good sized pitch, overlooked by a large main stand along one side offering plenty of seating housing the changing rooms and clubhouse, bar and refreshments available. A smaller terraced stand opposite room to expand too. A pleasant sunny afternoon a stiff breeze blowing across the open ends of the ground.
Harlow Town Ladies starting XI – Charlie Orwell, Courtney Miller, Megan Sende, Kirsty Woodacre, Nicole Learner, Chloe Bassett, Kaydee King (C), Abbey Dell, Poppy Binding & Lily Bruno. Subs – Tayla Handscombe, Rubie Smith, Liv Steele, Tegan Burling & Maisie Ryan.
Colney Heath Ladies starting XI – Amy Mullett (C), Kelly Hancock, Rebecca Fhalora, Annie Hickey, Lucy Hancock, Sophie Gardiner, Christina Freestone, Sheree Oliver, Sophie Joseph, Charlene Moreton & Rianne Townsend-Brown. Subs – Kelly Glynn, Adrienne Milton & Sarah Brennan.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s Harlow to get the 1st half underway wearing red and white horizontal striped shirts with red shorts and socks with opponents Colney Heath lining up in blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The ball toing and froing in the middle of the park in the early stages Harlow attempting the 1st attack as captain Kaydee King wins possession inside the Colney Heath half and looks to sent the ball through for Abbey Dell on the left, a race for the ball across comes Kelly Hancock to slide in tackling Dell to put the ball out for a throw.
The hosts with a chance to take the lead as the ball is pressed high up the pitch Dell has it on the left in towards Lily Bruno positioned at the top of the Colney Heath box left of the D plays it back to Poppy Binding central and turns into the area Binding returning the ball to Dell who has come infield plays the ball through to Bruno the striker is free having gotten herself across to the far post the Colney Heath defence static don’t react as Bruno shoots firing a shot back across goal wide of goalkeeper Amy Mullett but so too the post.
Colney Heath get the ball forwards rolled into Sheree Oliver central she puts the pass on for Christina Freestone ahead of her play switched to Rebecca Fhalora getting forwards on the left strikes the ball from outside the box her low effort running wide across the Harlow goal. The visitors make ground through the middle the ball played out to Rianne Townsend-Brown drifting right her cross blocked at close range by Chloe Bassett closing her down, a goal-kick the result.
The referee spotting a shirt pull on Oliver, Colney Heath with a free-kick on the right 25 yards out from goal. The ball played up into the box, King with a firm header on the ball clears for Harlow. Nicole Learner bringing the ball on done the right for Harlow, Fhalora stepping in to make the tackle, the visitors build another attack moving the ball well, Moreton coming for the ball has options left and right aswell as Townsend-Brown ready to break in behind. Courtney Miller coming inside to cut out Moreton’s through ball.
Harlow bring the ball forwards with pace King linking up with Learner out to Farrell on the right wing a cross fired in low towards the near post Bruno arriving attempts to flick the ball on towards goal, instead it lands in the side netting. Binding lines up a strike from distance is charged down by Kelly Hancock, the rebound gathered by Binding she isn’t deterred has another go, Annie Hickey throwing out a leg to put in the block this time for Colney Heath. The game is a little physical but this is mainly down to which the pace the ball is being moved around Dell enjoying a good contest with her opposite number as she attacks on the left.
GOAL! 12 minutes played and the visitors get themselves into the lead, Sophie Joseph on the ball central has Moreton in close attendance the ball into her put up towards the edge of the area, Townsend-Brown hustling the Harlow defence who don’t deal with the danger the Colney Heath striker strong gets hold of the ball bursting into the box and smashes a low shot across goal into the bottom corner 0-1.
Harlow with a real chance to equalise straight away attacking up the other end the ball on the left fired inside into Learner outside the box she takes in on across the D is taken down as she goes to strike the ball, looked like it was inside the box but I’m on halfway the decision a free-kick a foot outside, a dangerous position, King over the ball lines up a strike, hitting the ball well it is always rising as it flies a half yard over the crossbar.
An open game both sides on the attack as soon as they have possession, Colney Heath have Oliver on the ball wide right squares the ball inside to Townsend-Brown, Kirsty Woodacre close in tackles to win the ball back for Harlow, counter attacking, Dell is given the ball on the left, tries to put the diagonal ball through towards Learner breaking forwards through the middle, can’t quite get there. The ball won in defence Colney Heath come forwards Oliver on the ball right plays it to Townsend-Brown central with Moreton ahead of her making a run into the area right of goal she receives the ball shoots, Charlie Orwell covering her near post is able to gather the ball for Harlow.
Dell wins Harlow a corner on the left, a good delivery into the centre of the box the ball headed goalwards, a second Harlow header from close in the touch taking the ball over the bar. Amy Mullett is called into action making a fantastic save diving low to her left to deny Bruno as she is played through on goal as Harlow attack down the right Bassett on the ball, Bruno right off goal aiming for the bottom corner sees her shot saved. From the resulting corner, the ball played into the box, Dell can’t dig the ball out of her feet before Coley Heath close her down.
Decisions going against Harlow frustration visible, a free-kick awarded left side 25 yards out, Moreton on the ball her strike wide of the far post. Hickey in to win the ball for Colney Heath the defender with a great ball realises Oliver who has been finding space on the right coming inside with the ball evades a couple of tackles on the top of the area before taking the ball inside, closing in on the near post she pulls the trigger but so close in Orwell has closed the door makes the blocking save.
Pressing the ball high up the pitch Harlow catch the Colney heath defence lingering on the ball Dell taking the ball wide out on the left fires a cross low and hard into the area, Bruno behind the ball near post top of the six yard box controls it enough to play back to Binding running in to the box central shifts the ball as it comes into her and lets fly with a driven shot angling in towards goal, Mullett gets down quickly to her left to once more push the ball away behind to safety.
GOAL! Harlow equalise midway through the 1st half the goal coming from a free-kick deep in the right players in the box as the ball is played up long into the area, dropping amongst bodies Colney Heath don’t deal with it Dell closest pouncing to smash the ball into the back of the net 1-1.
Moments later Harlow come close to taking the lead, winning the ball back in the middle King with Bassett, the pass forwards finds Bruno left of the D, time to line up a shot, drags the attempt narrowly wide of the near post. Woodacre steps in to put the ball behind for a corner as Townsend-Brown tries to run onto a ball put into her from the left. Harlow try to break from the corner, Sophie Gardiner winning the ball back for Colney Heath. On another day Bruno would have a hat-trick in the bag by now as she shoots from 20 yards out the ball caught by Mullett before the striker sends another shot wide across goal from a similar position.
A change for Harlow, Learner the player coming off, on in her place is Rubie Smith. The home side counter Bassett playing a one two with Bruno as she carries the ball forwards on the right going on to the byline sends a cross in towards the near post Hickey cutting the ball out concedes the corner. Moreton is brought down by Dell, a free-kick wide right for Colney Heath, Megan Sende defending for Harlow as Gardiner plays the ball into the box.
Another free-kick in a similar position, Dell with another decision against her the Harlow bench not happy to, make a change Dell withdrawn, with Tayla Handscombe coming on. Gardiner to play the ball long into the area again for Conley Heath to attack going long falls to Townsend-Brown wide of the far post smashes a shot in across the face of goal strikes the far post back into play straight a Freestone little time to adjust her body takes on the 1st time strike screws the attempt away from goal.
Colney Heath attack late in the first half, Sende intercepting the ball, Katie Farrell too doing well at the back as Moreton and Oliver try their luck on the right. Gardiner with a long pass forwards finds the ever willing Oliver running clear on the right down the line her squared cross into the middle on the area behind Townsend-Brown, Moreton coming in behind her connects sees her shot pulled wide. Kelly Hancock defending well for Colney Heath as Harlow mount a late attack, Binding looking to put the ball on for Bruno.
Half-time Harlow Town Ladies 1-1 Colney Heath Ladies
All square at the break, 1-1 between the two sides. Chances to go further ahead for both Mullett with two vital saves for Colney Heath, whilst their attackers movements has caused the Harlow defence issues at the other end. Harlow have attacked well occasionally let down by decision making in the final 3rd. An open and lively game physical without being malicious an entertaining watch.
A blow for Colney Heath at the start of the 2nd half, forced into a change Hickey having taken a knock to the head feeling unwell rightly comes off, Kelly Glynn entering the game. Colney Heath to get the 2nd half underway. The home side winning an early free-kick inside their opponents half the ball played forwards won by Freestone. A quiet start to the 2nd half Harlow pushing players onto the Colney Heath defence to apply more pressure to the ball, Mullett dealing well with an awkward situation inside her six yard box as the ball is put into her, Binding and Bruno both closing the keeper down put behind a goalkick given.
King gets hold of the ball in the middle for Harlow bringing it forwards with purpose aims to lay it out to Handscombe attacking left, she can’t quite take the ball on into her stride.
GOAL! Moments later though Handscombe does get hold of the ball inside the Colney heath box to put the hosts into an early lead in the 2nd half. The ball played forwards into Handscombe left she comes inside just outside the box Bruno in close support the pass into the striker as Handscombe runs on past her the ball given back to her closing in on goal she gets her head over the ball and strikes an arrowing shot home before Mullett can move 2-1.
A strong start to the 2nd half from Harlow, Binding sweeping the ball out to Bassett on the right she is tackled by Fhalora. Harlow come on again Smith with ball 30 yards out playing it into Bruno top of the area one touch and turns to shoot, Mullett making the save low to her right to push the ball away for a corner. Right side, Harlow bring on Liv Steele before it is taken.
GOAL! Harlow double their lead from the corner kick the ball played into the area Colney heath struggle to get it away as it drops into the danger area deflected back out to Woodacre outside the area the central defender brings the ball away the the right the space opens up in front of her a sight on goal she takes the opportunity from 20 yards out hits the ball well it flies in across the goal to nestle in the bottom corner 3-1.
11 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Harlow have gotten themselves into a strong position, Colney Heath make a 2nd change Gardiner coming off, Adrienne Milton coming on going into an attacking role. Smith on a free-kick on halfway for Harlow the ball up towards the edge of the area cleared by Lucy Hancock. Binding nipping in to win the ball carries on her run into the box strikes the ball the swerving shot angling back safely into the gloves of Mullett.
Another injury blow in defence for Colney Heath, Fhalora down has to come off after lengthy treatment Sarah Brennan coming on for the visitors. Struggling to get anything going in attack Colney Heath have Townsend-Brown running with the ball on the left outpacing her marker cuts the ball back across the top of the area, spinning Milton back to goal tries to help it on through to Oliver on the right just can’t quite find her. Maisie Ryan comes on for Harlow replacing Binding.
Harlow are causing all sorts of problems for Colney Heath now is very nearly an own goal from a long free-kick launched into the area the ball headed narrowly wide of the post. King is coming forwards with the ball more in the 2nd half taking it away to the left cuts back to shoot from 20 yards out putting the strike straight at Mullett. Lucy Hancock sliding in to defend for Colney Heath as Harlow attack on the left. Glynn defends at the near post cutting out a cross from the byline as Handscombe gets away on the right for Harlow.
Glynn in again on the edge of the box to charge down Steele as she lines up a shot from the edge of the area. Colney Heath have there backs to the wall can’t get the ball forwards as Harlow press the ball high up the pitch forwards passes not coming off like they were in the 1st half. Kelly Hancock gets back into the box to slide in a tackle Steele as she tries to work space for a shot left of goal as King sends her through. Tegan Burling comes on for Harlow replacing Bassett.
GOAL! Harlow extend there lead the ball put down the line on the right from a set-piece after a pause in play knocked inside by Handscombe to Steele 20 yards out on for King who takes it further infield across the D looking for a shot hits a low left foot strike in towards goal runs away in celebration as it lands in the back of the net a well worked goal 4-1. King is substituted then with Dell coming back on.
Harlow have their tails up want more goals are dominant coming forwards once again Bassett with the ball right side lines up a shot from distance drags the shot wide across goal. Joseph comes forwards for Colney Heath moving wide right the ball rolled into her by Oliver she runs on down the wing before squaring a low cross into the area Townsend-Brown closing in on the penalty spot, attacking the cross doesn’t get a convincing touch as Orwell closing her down makes things difficult. Counter attacking the ball played on for Steele she has Bruno ahead of her ready to race onto the ball put into the box, Steele obliges, Mullett reads it well racing out to slide in and stop the ball for Bruno can let fly.
Dell is knocked out as she comes together in an accidental collision with Joseph as the Conley Heath midfielder tries to bring the ball out from the back catching Del on the side of her noggin, goes down like a sack of spuds. Play stops everyone knows Dell is out if it flat on the ground, but thankfully she comes round quickly but holding her head she’s taken straight off Binding coming back on.
Chances rare for Colney Heath 2nd half, can’t get Oliver into the game like they did 1st half Townsend-Brown on the left powers forwards is tackled by Miller, the ball deflected to Milton she looks to tee up Freestone but her strike from distance is off the mark. Into injury time Harlow attack wide left Burling furthest forwards, Mullett comes a long way to slide into win the ball does but Burling’s momentum sees the pair collide. The injury brings an end to the game the final whistle blowing Harlow winning 4-1. Burling back on her feet after receiving treatment.
Full time Harlow Town Ladies 4-1 Colney Heath Ladies
A strong 2nd half performance from Harlow Town Ladies to secure the win scoring 3 goals after seeing chances going begging in the 1st half. Pressing the ball higher up the pitch, Colney Heath struggled to get going in the 2nd period after a good 1st half performance, forced into changes after injury during the game. Harlow were dominant in the 2nd half deserving the win.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award, it’s a tough one this Sunday a close call with 3 players in the running all from Harlow in the finish, Poppy Binding and Chloe Bassett doing well in midfield the captain edges them out however with a solid performance strong on the ball willing to get forwards and set up attacks, rounding it all of with a goal, Kaydee King is today’s Player of the Match.
Both sides are in action in the FA Women’s Cup next Sunday tough trips for both against FAWNL South East Division One opposition, Cambridge United WFC await Harlow whilst Colney Heath travel to Billericay Town Ladies in 2nd Round Qualifying.
An enjoyable afternoon at The Harlow Arena it’s good to see both sides again after missing out last season. Thanks as always for helping me out with the team details and Harlow Town for the hospitality.