Sunday 7th October
FA Women’s Cup
The 3rd and final Round of Qualifying for this season’s FA Women’s Cup taking place this Sunday afternoon, 60 teams vying for a place in the 1st Round Proper of the competition, King’s Head Meadow the venue for today’s game, Wymondham Town Ladies v Billericay Town Ladies.
Both sides celebrating a league title and promotion last season and have hit the ground running at a higher level at the start of this season.
Wymondham Town Ladies promoted to the ERWFL Premier Division after clinching the Division One North title last season a year after joining the regional set-up. Are a side that enjoys the FA Women’s Cup have had a few memorable runs in recent seasons beating higher league placed sides along the way. Mid-table in the Premier Division after 4 matches played.
Progress in the FA Women’s Cup has been good albeit frustrating as they have only played one competitive match having been awarded the win in both the Preliminary and 1st Round Qualifying after their opponents withdrew. Were at home in 2nd Round Qualifying taking on Essex Women’s Premier Division side Corringham Cosmos. There season already up and running Wymondham put the side playing 2 leagues below to the sword winning the game 17-1 to advance. A tougher test lies ahead today taking on a higher league placed side themselves.
Billericay Town Ladies winning the ERWFL Premier Division last season to earn promotion to the FAWNL South East Division One. Coach Kim Coster able to bring in new players some with higher league experience to bolster the squad. As a result a fantastic start to the season, winning their opening 5 league matches keeping pace with fellow promoted side Crawley Wasps Ladies who also recruited well in the summer. A high scoring draw and final defeat on the road to Ipswich Town Women in midweek seeing that record end. Joining the FAWNL, Billericay entered the FA Women’s Cup in 2nd Round Qualifying, drawn at home to ERWFL Premier Division side Colney Heath Ladies at home progressed comfortably with a 9-1 win.
King’s Head Meadow, Wymondham Town Ladies home ground the clubhouse and bar overlooking the pitch. Hot and cold drinks available. The pitch in good condition recovering well following the heatwave earlier in the year. A bright sunny afternoon some cloud cover, music blaring from the home changing room getting the players fired up for this afternoon’s fixture.
Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Ashleigh O’Callaghan, Chelsea Clarke, Leah Newcombe, Bethany Fretwell, Carolyn Sarafian, Jorja Patterson, Rebecca Russell, Rachel Cossey (C), Kayleigh Holloway, Laura Nicholls & Hannah Waters. Subs – Lauren Kett, Mollie O’Callaghan, Olivia Gunn & Alice Ladbrooke.
Billericay Town Ladies starting XI – Alex Baker, Esme Lancaster, Lucy Jones, Nicole Farmer, Courtney Lumley, Lindsey Morgan (C), Zoe Rushen, Nancy Butler, Sophie Vale, Jay Blackie & Georgia Box. Subs – Anna Maria Raine, Kelsey Smith & Broghan Kelly.
It’s Billericay all in blue to take the kick-off 1st half with Wymondham lined up in red shirts with black shorts and socks. The Essex side looking to place the ball left for Nancy Butler to chase the pass too long out of play. Regaining possession in the centre of midfield Billericay, captain Lindsey Morgan bursting forwards, Wymondham’s captain Rachel Cossey with her back into the area defending as the ball is played forwards, the tackle won, Leah Newcombe seeing the ball safely back to goalkeeper Ashleigh O’Callaghan.
Wymondham come away with the ball on the left played inside for Laura Nicholls, Courtney Lumley getting across her and playing the ball back to goalkeeper, Alex Baker to clear. Wymondham pressing Billericay at the start of the match, results in a break the ball played out to the right Nicholls with space to take advantage off takes the ball on puts the cross in early the diagonal ball just evading striker Hannah Waters central runs on for Rebecca Russell left of the D a chance to shoot scuffs the turf the ball low towards goal not troubling Baker as she drops to her right to lay claim to the ball.
Bethany Fretwell coming out of the back line driving through the middle with the ball crossing halfway the centrebacks attempted forward pass through the middle just evading Waters as she tries to get in behind the Billericay defence. Billericay attack quickly bringing the ball on through the middle Jay Blackie on for Zoe Rushen the pass out wide right into the path of Sophie Vale shoots from the angle 20 yards out, the ball racing wide of the near post. Wymondham get an attack going through the midfield, Cossey into Russell on into Waters play spread out to the right as Newcombe sees nothing but grass ahead of her taking the ball down the wing swings a cross into the area claimed by Baker at her near post.
A good tempo to the game the first 10 minutes flying by, Blackie picking the ball up deep for Billericay inside for Rushen out to Esme Lancaster getting on down the right side, tackled by Kayleigh Holloway, Wymondham try to counter, Morgan breaking up play. A great save from O’Callaghan to keep it at 0-0 as Billericay press forwards, Blackie strong on the ball passing it to Vale has Rushen further out playing her in she shoots angling in blocked by Fretwell in front of goal the rebound back to Rushen her 2nd attempt heading for the top corner, O’Callaghan getting a glove up to the ball turning it wide and out for a corner across her six yard box.
A good delivery from Rushen on the corner left side a high tempting ball in central, Blackie rising highest gets a connection her header taking the ball wide of goal. Vale on the ball left taking it inside on to Georgia Box top of the area, turns into Fretwell, quickly joined by Carolyn Sarafian no way through the attack breaks down the ball cleared out to Newcombe left side her pass up to Waters central has Nicholls on close support the pair try to combine Waters lifting it into Nicholls looks to get beyond her into area Nicholls with a deft header trying to knock the ball down into her feet, Baker can get hold of it first for Billericay.
Lucy Jones comes forwards for Billericay on the right a good challenge from Newcombe as the full back tries to get inside her. Newcombe fouled on halfway a chance for Wymondham to send players forwards for a set-piece Fretwell on the ball sends it long towards the far post, the home side getting a corner out of it. A good ball into the box an in-swinger coming in central Baker getting her gloves on the ball palms it down into the six yard box, Jorja Patterson reacting quickest for Wymondham her shot straight into Baker’s gloves.
Frustration evident from Billericay as decisions appear to be going against them more than their opponents, they are pushing on well in attack threatening to get into good scoring positions, Blackie in particular finding space to run into, Bulter and Vale providing great options left and right. Win a corner left side Box controlling the ball spinning it out to Vale closing in on the left her ball into the area deflected behind. Blackie coming for the ball put in near side this time gets away to head the ball goalwards her effort over the bar.
GOAL! Billericay open the scoring in the 20th minute, win a free-kick in a dangerous position outside the area. The build-up involving Blackie and Rushen the ball into Vale outside the box is brought to the floor. Rushen’s reputation proceeds her, wrote her name down before I even looked to see who was taking it, is a dead ball specialist and this is well within her range a yard outside the area right of the D. She runs up strikes the ball sweetly heading top corner, O’Callaghan can’t get to it 0-1.
Nicholls finds herself back in the box for Wymondham making two superb tackles on Jones as she gets inside the area looking to support Butler as she receives the ball on the left. Wymondham get forwards down the right side win a corner, players up attacking the ball an inviting delivery fired in across the penalty spot no-one can find a telling touch.
A great move from Billericay starting with Lancaster at the back on into Morgan central, Blackie bursting down the left channel into the area Morgan sliding the ball into her she squares the ball across the six yard box Rushen central closely marked can’t get a touch runs on for Box at the far post opening up her body to strike the ball, fires the shot straight at O’Callaghan the goalkeeper saving as she shifts across her goal.
Play switched from Wymondham left to right Newcombe getting a corner. The ball played short into her free on the right from the set-piece sets a high ball in towards the far post, Russell jumping between two Billericay defenders the ball striking her shoulder drops down in front of goal grabbed by Baker before anyone can pounce. Waters nips in to win the ball off Jones as she brings in out from the back cutting inside bearing down on the area Lumley with a good burst of pace getting back on the cover to win the ball back for the visitors.
Billericay come very close to doubling their lead quick to hit Wymondham on the counter attack players looking for channels of space Box this time pulling away to the left as the ball is lifted up to her, O’Callaghan rushing out to the edge of her box the Billericay striker taking the ball past her an open goal beyond she opens up her body setting herself sends the ball on players rushing back across goal Chelsea Clarke getting back in the nick of time clearing the ball before it can cross the line, the corner conceded.
GOAL! A brief reprieve for Wymondham however as from the resulting corner they do concede a 2nd goal. The delivery from Rushen on the money Blackie with two efforts from corners already making no mistake this time making the near post run her bullet header driving the ball into the back of the net 0-2.
Wymondham attack looking for the immediate response. Waters picking up possession tries to drive on trough the middle, the Billericay defence needing 3 bites at her get the ball away to safety. Nicholls moving out to the left taking the ball into her feet plays the diagonal ball early on for Waters breaking off the last defender in behind into the box Baker coming stays big making the blocking save. Newcombe getting brought down to the ground more than most Wymondham have another free-kick on halfway, Fretwell to delivery forwards runners far post area the ball sent in towards goal Baker saving confidently. Holloway with a mazy run out on the left for Wymondham cutting inside 20 yards out crosses into the area Waters central Lumley with the interception.
GOAL! Into the final 5 minutes of the 1st half and Wymondham are awarded a penalty Nicholls played on through the middle taking the ball on towards the box, Baker coming to close her down stays big Nicholls going down as she tries to put the ball pass her, the referee pointing to the spot. Worse to come for Billericay as Baker is shown a red card, sent off for the 1st time in her career. The rules changing this only a yellow card by the offender if it was deemed to be an genuine attempt to play the ball. Nicole Farmer quick to take up the gloves stand in goal for the penalty, Nicholls to take sets herself to open up her body and play the ball high to the right scores to make it 1-2.
Billericay down to 10 attack right from the restart Bulter free on the left surging on into the area rides a sliding tackle herself as she looks for options cutting it back for Rushen outside the box central her venomous strike blocked by Sarafain. Into the closing moments of the first half Wymondham press on Russell out to Holloway, Lancaster blocking her run.
GOAL! Wymondham capitalising on their advantage at the end of the 2nd half to pull the score all square, have a throw out on halfway left side the ball dropped into Sarafian she turns and lines up a shot from distance a high ball in lobbing the newly arrived keeper dropping over her into the goal beyond 2-2.
Half-time Wymondham Town Ladies 2-2 Billericay Town Ladies
The game turned completely on its head in the final 5 minutes, Billericay looking good for their 2-0 lead pushing on likely to get more, Wymondham getting it back to 2-1 from the spot in what some may feel was a controversial decision to red card the keeper. The home side taking advantage however scoring and Sarafain testing the new keeper from long range seeing Wymondham level it up at 2-2 moments before the half-time whistle. Cup football for you… create an entirely different outlook for the 2nd half. Billericay needing half-time to regroup gather themselves. Wymondham back in it needing to keep their feet on the ground a player advantage yes 2nd half but will need to remain composed.
A change for Billericay at half-time having seen the 1st half out Farmer returning to the centre of defence, Vale giving way as new signing Brogan Kelly, usually a striker taking on the role of goalkeeper for the 2nd period. Wymondham to get the 2nd half underway. The ball won by Billericay played out to Butler left side a strong run, Russell getting back to put in the tackle win possession for Wymondham. Despite being down to 10 Billericay have started the 2nd half well, Rushen with a long range strike from 30 yards out flashing wide across the Wymondham six yard box.
Russell moving left on for Waters to chase down the wing, Lumley across to clear for Billericay. Farmer winning the ball as she challenges Waters attacking through the middle cleared into the middle Billericay picking out Morgan getting forwards crossed into Butler inside the box the ball getting stuck under her feet digging a shot out O’Callaghan throwing herself into the dive the ball past her but also the post. Jones cutting inside from the left on for Morgan placed central 25 yards out aims to loft the ball over the Wymondham defence with Box breaking in behind the touch too strong the striker can’t reach it.
Billericay come close to retaking the lead a rapid counter right side Box carrying the ball on sends a cross racing in along the front of goal Butler far post close in, is it a save by O’Callaghan a strike against the woodwork or both I can’t tell but it’s not in the heavy sighs of relief from the home crowd behind me say it was close. The game sees no let up in tempo Billericay might be a player down but they are trying to get forwards at any opportunity, Wymondham launch a counter right side the ball into the channel Waters after it shoots on the angle 20 yards out the effort sailing over the bar.
It’s an intriguing encounter both sides giving it there all both feeling the next goal is theirs. Fretwell striking over from a free-kick after Newcombe is brought down once again. Blackie going into the referees book. Rushen getting forwards on to Box pulling away right wins a throw deep down the line. Rushen the target standing just inside the area into her feet keeps possession taking it higher before turning and sending in a shot the ball running wide across the face of goal.
Butler left inside to Rushen 30 yards out wide for Blackie right her cross swung into the area claimed well by O’Callaghan. Billericay not enamoured by the referee today are aggrieved at further decisions going against them only adding to their resolve at this point however. Farmer with great defensive work through the middle as she deals with a difficult ball put forwards with Waters lurking behind her. Jones getting in behind on the left sends a high cross into the area taken by O’Callaghan with Box racing in central.
GOAL! Wymondham take the lead with 20 minutes left on the clock, comes from a defensive error from Billericay forced by Waters the ball played on by Nicholls for her to attack left channel the defensive trying to see the ball back as Kelly comes for it top of the area Waters closing in on the pair as they all converge the ball popping free Waters pouncing leaning back to send the ball over both into the empty goal beyond 3-2.
Nicholls and Waters combining again left side for Wymondham in attack, Farmer getting the challenge in to win the ball for Billericay Wymondham make their 1st change, Mollie O’Callaghan coming on for Holloway. Blackie with a powerful drive forwards on the right for Billericay cuts the cross square along the top of the area looking for Butler, her first touch too heavy, Sarafain in to close her down. Billericay make another change Butlers last action of the game as they send on Kelsey Smith.
Billericay come forwards Blackie wide moving right put long to Morgan running left wins a corner as Newcombe tackles her. The delivery into the area drops down inside the six yard box a bout of ping ball occurs the ball scrambled clear out to the left retrieved by Rushen she shapes to send a shot back in her strike wide across the goal. Wymondham are on the back foot Billericay deciding attack is the only option a 3rd and final change from the visitors Lancaster coming of the defender replaced by Anna Maria Raine who takes up an attacking position on the right.
GOAL! Billericay get back on level terms pressing bodies forwards in and around the Wymondham box a high ball is lifted into the box from the right side Morgan jumping the highest meets it well heading the ball back across goal over the keeper and in to equalise 3-3.
The game open now Wymondham push on lose possession Rushen playing it up early for Box running in behind, Fretwell doing well to close her down and get hold of the ball. Jones running onto a shot from distance the full backs effort charged down. Waters after a ball played into the Billericay area left side Lumley doing really well up against her in defence. Box on the attack right O’Callaghan coming the ball past her Box further out this time defenders racing back however they can see it wide across goal this time.
The clock rapidly running down into the final five minutes of the game extra-time and if needed penalties looming. Blackie with a clever ball up top on for Box to attack top of the area Sarafian in to clear for Wymondham.
GOAL! Billericay retake the lead the goal coming about with more controversy, the Essex side building momentum down the left the ball played into the area O’Callaghan going to stop it a collision the keeper grounded the ball running across the six yard box Rushen following it and wrapping her foot around it to turn it into the goal, everyone’s eyes on the referee, a goal is signalled everyone including Kelly in goal races over to Rushen to celebrate.
A delay after as O’Callaghan requires treatment is okay to continue Wymondham behind now with little time left to find a reply. Olivia Gunn joining the action for the home side late on. A free-kick wide right as Nicholls is clipped going forwards the ball send in far post Fretwell can’t get it back across goal end up off the pitch injured. Into stoppage time Billericay have the ball Box on for Morgan on the left experienced she takes it into the corner. Cool heads needed now Billericay seeing the game out get there winning 4-3 to make it into Monday’s 1st Round Proper draw.
Full time Wymondham Town Ladies 3-4 Billericay Town Ladies
Treated to a 7 goal thriller in the finish, a good start from Billericay the higher league side going 2-0 up, felt they would go on to win comfortably at that point then came the sending off Wymondham drawing level from the penalty spot equalising on the stroke of half-time a real belief they could go on to win it from that point taking the lead with 20 minutes left Billericay had to work hard got back to 3-3 before winning the game themselves late on. That is simply the magic of the cup.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
A usual a few contenders for this afternoons Women’s Football East -Player of the Match award. Leah Newcombe doing well for Wymondham at left back. For Billericay, Nicole Farmer with some good defensive work especially 2nd half, Nancy Butler on the left, Jay Blackie too getting into some great positions to receive the ball deep and set up others a threat from corners. Just edging it though is Zoe Rushen powerful on the ball her set-pieces a constant threat.
5-4 the last time out in the FA Women’s Cup a 7 goal thriller this time around have been treated to some exciting fare so far this season, makes me hungry for more. My thanks as always for the help with today’s teams I know several but it always pays to have a team-sheet.