Sunday 4th November
ERWFL Premier Division
Back to it after a weekend off, the football action resumes on Women’s Football East with a trip east across Norfolk to watch a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, Acle United Women v Bedford Ladies.
Is a tightly contested league with just 6 points separating the top six sides. Promotion to the FAWNL the aim for all. Today’s clash sees 4th v 6th in the league. The current top two win 100% winning starts Cambridge City Ladies and Royston Town Ladies whilst 3rd placed Brentwood Town Ladies had a run of 5 straight wins that saw them leading the table early on too. Peterborough Northern Star Ladies also looking strong in the top half with just the one loss so far this season.
A new name for Acle United this season as they make the switch from Ladies to Women. The Norfolk side will be targeting the title having narrowly missed out on top spot in the previous two seasons their title charge going all the way to the final games of the season. Both seeing a fixture pile up towards the end with a frustrating lack of games in the first half of the campaign. Regional league sides more often than not involved in the early stages of the Women’s FA Cup and County Cup competitions often seeing league games put back and then of course theirs the weather.
Acle play on an all weather pitch at the FDC Flegg in Martham only played twice at home so far this season both in August have been frustrated by 2 postponements from the opposition so far in October both games likely to be awarded to Acle which will see further changes to the table.
Bedford Ladies were undefeated in their opening 4 games which included a 2-2 with Acle United Women in the reverse fixture back in September. A pair of successive losses followed by 2 successive league wins keeps Bedford the last a 5-3 win over Brentwood Town Ladies keeps them well and truly involved in the battle for top positions. Have shown they can beat anyone on their day the trip to Acle the longest one of the season a few difficulties for some of the squad getting to the ground.
A pleasant start to November the weather dry, a little chilly wind gets up. The FDC Flegg, Acle United Women’s home venue for the league. An artificial playing surface, is one of the smallest pitches around. Hot drinks available via a vending machine, the viewing area down one side of the pitch.
Acle United Women starting XI – Amy Bell, Anna Larkins, Naomi Cooper, Grace Parker, Chloe Shields, Broghan Scully, Ciera Flatt, Lauren Bullard, Olivia Mungham-Gray, Megan Todd (C) & Grace Birchall. Subs – Rhianne Brister, Kate Pasque, Amber Rowland, Kirstie Kindred & Rosie Filby.
Bedford Ladies starting XI – Lauren Webb, Paige Abraham, Sophie Mulvihill, Priya Bhatti, Gemma Franklin, Amy Magnus, Michelle Byrne, Jodie Molloy, Lily Eaton & Carissa Kaczorowski. Subs – Ashley-Louise Emerton & Mollie Robinson.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A minutes silence held before the match, remembrance for lost in conflicts, the ending of World War I a 100 years ago. Thoughts to for the lives lost in the Leicester City helicopter crash.
Acle to get the game underway kicking off the 1st half wearing black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. Bedford wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, with black shorts and socks. The ball put out to Anna Larkins at right back played long diagonally through the middle captain Megan Todd the target the pass too heavy enabling the Bedford defence to clear. The visitors winning a free kick inside the Acle half left of the centre circle put long up into the area the Acle defence comfortable defending.
Amy Bell tested early on in the Acle goal producing a very good save as Bedford build on the left the ball rolled on, Lily Eaton getting hold of it outside the area cuts back inside getting a yard on the defence into the box drives a shot in low near post, Bell diving to her right gets down well to push the ball away for a corner. The corner from the left a good delivery over Acle’s Grace Parker as she jumps for it, comes unexpectedly to the Bedford attacker beyond the header instinctive the ball high over the bar.
Acle make ground up the right wing a throw deep, Grace Birchall picking it up turns and fires a ball in from an acute angle, Lauren Webb gloving the ball down safely at her near post. Appeals for a penalty for Acle as Birchall is floored inside the box, the protests waved away. Webb with a great save denies Todd as she receives the ball from a throw in on the left 25 yards out comes inside before shaping to shoot a vicious effort driven in on target Webb throwing herself into the save getting a gloves on the ball to touch it onto the bar the ball out for a corner on the right.
Acle starting well pressing bodies forwards on both flanks. Ceira Flatt in the middle for Acle a good pass put the the right finding Lauren Bullard, her cross into the box defended by Bedford’s Priya Bhatti heading the ball clear. A double change for Bedford, Mollie Robinson and Ashley-Louise Emerton coming on. 10 minutes played.
GOAL! A good start from Acle is undone as they are caught on the counter attack Bedford switch play quickly coming forwards Carissa Kaczorowski making a good run into the left channel receiving the ball is in behind heading for the box, Bell comes racing out to close her down sliding in, the Bedford attacker does well to lift her shot over the keeper and send the ball on into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead 0-1.
Paige Abraham back on for Bedford a brief interlude. Bhatti defending for the visitors challenging Birchall at the top of the area as Todd looks to play her in. A free-kick for Bedford right side, the captain, Jodie Molloy on the ball plays in diagonal to the left side Kaczorowski up attempts to flick the ball on with Abraham making a timely run in behind can’t quite pick her out. Abraham on the ball left side looks to be away running with the ball, Broghan Scully getting across slides in to tackle and win the ball back for Acle.
GOAL! 8 minutes after conceding the opening goal Acle get back on level terms, win a free-kick on the left 35 yards out players lining up to attack a far post delivery, is a perfect ball fired into the area runners attacking it met by Todd and turned into the back of the net 1-1.
Acle press well play drawn over to the right side leaving those on the left to drift in unattended the cross coming in, Olivia Mungham-Gray in the area meeting it in front of goal her touch taking it up over the bar. Birchall sees a shot from outside the box deflected for a corner has picked up a slight knock comes off, Rhianne Brister coming on. Bedford struggle to get the ball away from the corner Acle laying the 18 yard box under siege, balls in blocked before a sliced clearance takes the ball away for another corner. Swung in towards the far post attacked but the referees whistles brings the move to an end.
Eaton returns to the pitch for Bedford replacing Abraham. Is getting a little feisty, Bedford getting frustrated the ball not sticking can’t get anything substantial going in attack. Acle are getting the ball into the area from crosses but so far Webb is untroubled claiming everything. Amy Magnus drives forwards with the ball for Bedford played on for Kaczorowski closely marked by Grace Parker the central defender regaining possession.
Molloy surges forwards with the ball has Eaton moving into space left given the ball Kaczorowski available coming over to support turns into the box closing in on goal her ball on charged down deflected behind for a corner. Bedford finding a bit of thrust in midfield able to able to counter attack more effectively, Acle turn play round quickly a cross field pass intercepted by Robinson headed back to Webb in the Bedford goal.
Scully in the centre 30 yards out has the ball played into her from the left meeting it sweetly fires a fierce shot in towards goal late swerve on the shot Webb does well diving low to her left to make the save parrying the ball up and claiming it. The nature of the small pitch the game is played at a fast tempo players able to get forwards quickly, Acle’s finding the space better than Bedford. A double change for Acle as the game closes in on the final 5 minutes of the 1st half, Scully and Flatt coming off on come Amber Rowland and Kate Pasque coming on.
GOAL! Acle take the lead building on the left the pass inside for Todd 25 yards out she carries the ball on across goal no-one closing her down as she runs across the D, lets fly with a quality strike that flies in towards goal left of Webb the keepers dive is too late the ball past strikes the back of the net 2-1.
Acle are looking very strong towards the end of the 1st half, Rowland involved on their next build up winning the ball sprays play out to the left, Todd with Bullard, Rowland getting forwards receiving the ball 30 yards out looks to set up Bullard top of the D a curling effort that runs wide of the far post. A double substitution for Bedford with Gemma Franklin and Maya Sidhu returning to the game.
GOAL! No sooner have they taken the lead then Acle go 2 goals up, attacking up the right side players getting up into the area a high ball comes in Pasque jumping to meet it with her head, not necessarily the part she intended but still effective as the ball in deflected down back across goal into the bottom corner 3-1 Pasque down in the box has a bloody nose.
Pasque comes of so she can get cleaned up Birchall back on. Birchall with a tremendous strike from all of 30 yards out right side the lay off from Todd, the ball fired in across goal striking the bar. A hand ball from Parker spotted by the referee a late chance for Bedford to get the ball into the area, Molloy floats it in, claimed well by Bell as Bedford attackers converge.
GOAL! Right on the stroke of half-time Acle break up the other end and score a 4th goal, Bedford out of shape the hosts press forwards right side the cross put in to the six yard box Todd has closed in unmarked to head the ball down and across the keeper to claim her hat-trick 4-1.
Half-time Acle United Women 4-1 Bedford Ladies
A strong 1st half from Acle who lead 4-1 despite conceding the opening goal. Came back well 3 goals in the final stages of the first half putting them in a strong position, both goalkeeper making excellent saves. Alot of work for Bedford to do 2nd half they are to turn the result around, frustrated so far chances have been few and far between, Acle able to come forward at will.
Bedford to get the 2nd halfway. Possession lost the ball put on down the right the cross into the area taken low by Webb at her near post. Naomi Cooper getting forwards on the left side for Acle takes on the strike from distance her 25 yard effort taken cleaner by the keeper. More appeals for a penalty by Acle as a free-kick is put into the area fro the left but again the protests go no where. Birchall lively on the right side at the start of the 1st half for Acle gets in behind cutting a cross in from the by-line flashing across the six yard box no one there to meet it, Sophie Mulvihill clearing for Bedford.
Larkins supporting Birchall as both get forwards down the right receiving the inside pass 20 yards out her shot driven in blocked by Bhatti, the rebound coming to Pasque 22 yards out, leans back to shoot the ball rising over the bar. Acle starting the 2nd half well, Bedford cannot get out of their half, Larkins and Birchall again on the left combine this time Larkins inside putting the return ball into Birchall as she breaks down to the by-line her cross landing in the side netting.
GOAL! The early pressure bringing a 5th goal a set-piece won outside the box top corner left side the ball floated in near post Todd making the run in around the Bedford defence getting to it first to turn the ball on to score her 4th of the game 5-1.
Cooper with another powerful run forwards picks the ball up from Rowland left side smashes the ball from 25 yards out the attempt whistling over the crossbar. Mungham-Gray getting into an advanced position on the left sees her cross land on the roof of the net. Bedford are under siege everyone back to defend, Molloy doing well to tackle Pasque as she looks to turn and get a shot away. Mungham- Gray comes off for Acle, Rosie Filby coming on goes to left back Cooper moving over to the right.
Birchall steals on to get hold of a loose ball at the back from Bedford, Mulvihill recovering well to get back to close the attacker down and win the ball. A rare chance for Bedford making ground on the right a throw played into Kaczorowski 30 yards out right turns well before letting loose a shot the ball over as it flies across goal. Kaczorowski with support from Sidhu this time the ball right side the cross/shot racing across the face of goal.
Acle get away on the right Todd racing into space with the ball swings the cross in along the top of the six-yard box, Brister central, Birchall behind her with the acrobatic effort that rises up over the bar. Filby is clipped as she comes forwards with the ball left side a free-kick 25 yards out played into the box Birchall up near side the ball runs on to Todd close in at the far post, Webb at close range with an excellent stop to deny her another goal. Abraham comes back on for Bedford replacing Eaton.
GOAL! Out of nothing Bedford pull a goal back as they win a corner up on the right side the ball attacked near side the header taking the ball wide across the area is picked up in the right, Bhatti after it has support from Sidhu the ball from distance fired back in towards goal finding it’s way across the six yard box and in 5-2.
Acle undeterred come forwards in numbers as Pasque claims possession in the middle drives on options left and right goes right the cross into the area Cooper with the low effort lacks the power to trouble the keeper. Brister comes off for Acle on comes Kirstie Kindred as the game enters the final 15 minutes.
Abraham’s steals in behind the Acle defence as the diagonal ball comes in, Abraham’s into the box chasing the ball hasn’t seen the offside flag up against her, Bell sliding in gets hold of the ball as the attacker goes for it the pair coming together play stopped but their is a problem for Bell she is down needs treatment. A lengthy delay, Brister volunteers to don the gloves if needed, she is Bell can’t continue has take a nasty one on the knee is helped off, the goalkeeper letting her frustration out on the dugout. Flatt also returning to the action.
Both sides are getting wound up niggly and not so niggly free-kicks given away the banter to getting stronger. Injury sees Filby needing to come of Mungham-Gray comes back on.
GOAL! A free-kick on the left a result of the latest knock the ball put in Flatt making the run around the defence to attack it near post is blatantly shoved over by Robinson leaving the referee with the easiest decision he needs to make all game a penalty. Flatt to take goes for power a rising effort Webb tries to get to by is too strong 6-2.
Plenty of play left with the stoppages 8 all in, another free-kick for Acle on the left the ball floated in near side Byrne rising well to head clear for Bedford clearing it for a throw. Mulvihill winning the header for Bedford this time. Acle continue to press Todd putting a free-kick over the bar. Bhatti cutting out a cross from Todd. A corner for Acle goes long attacked by Flatt at the far post the ball dropping wide of the upright.
GOAL! Into the closing minutes of stoppage time the ball inside the Acle half Bedford win a free-kick wide on the left a far distance out, Byrne on the ball plays a high delivery into the area landing in the six yard box the ball bouncing high loops up over the keeper and in 6-3.
Full time Acle United Women 6-3 Bedford Ladies
The last action of the game Acle running out 6-3 winners. A good result but one that would tell a very different story on it’s own. Acle were by far the better side today deserving of the win. Dominating for large portions of the game scored 6 goals should have had more. Not Bedford’s day by a long way and no doubt are far better, one to chalk off on the back foot for the most part will still look back and say they scored 3 goals and if you’re going to do that on a bad day… Both goalkeepers with some excellent saves.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Time for this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A good afternoon for Acle some good performances out there, Grace Birchall with some good attacking runs should have had a goal too, Chloe Shields at the back hardly gets a mention in the report never put a foot wrong in defence. She’s won this before for Acle and I have to put her forwards this time too not only scoring 4 well worked and different goals but also the leadership shown in the middle the Player of the Match goes to Megan Todd.
A good return to action after my mini-break, preparing for winter now so a bit of nicer weather to start November was welcome. My thanks as always to both sides for their help with the team details. It’s going to be interesting watching how the ERWFL Premier Division title race pans out.