Sunday 9th December
Norfolk Women’s Division One
The football action this weekend on Women’s Football East comes from Norfolk Women’s Division One. A first look at the leaders this season, Thorpe United Ladies at home to 3rd placed Gorleston Ladies.
A healthy lead at the top of the table for Thorpe United Ladies, six points clear of the rest going into this afternoon’s game have started the season well with 7 wins a just the one defeat from their 8 league games played to date, into the quarter finals of both the League and County Cup too. Usually at the top end of the table challenging for honours 2 times winners of the Norfolk Women’s County Cup a transitional season last time around struggling for numbers early on injuries not helping remained in contention for the title despite that. have an much larger squad now with their U16s making the step up into women’s football bolstering the experience within the side. A good youth set up established to keep the club moving forwards.
Gorleston Ladies are into their fourth season together two successive promotions followed before reaching Division One last season. Had a solid debut season finishing in 4th position in the table. An experienced side with several proven goalscorers in their ranks can beat anyone on their day. An inconsistent start to the season so far 3 wins and 3 loses from the 6 league games played to date. Have met Thorpe twice this season already a narrow 2-1 defeat in reverse league fixture at the beginning of the season and again the the County Cup, 2-2 after extra-time Gorleston losing in the resulting penalty shootout 5-4.
The Recreation Ground in Thorpe the venue for today’s match. Home to Thorpe St Andrews Football Club and Thorpe United’s Girls and Ladies sides. A large playing field boasting several full size pitches. Well used a refurbished clubhouse housing the changing rooms hot drinks available and much needed. A cold day as you’d expect in December a chilly cutting wind blowing across the open pitches, the setting sun also a factor for both sides to consider. Thorpe’s pitch a good size nice and wide plenty of space to exploit.
Thorpe United Ladies starting XI – Joanne Hooper, Molly Howes, Natasha Leversley, Bethan Sommerfield, Victoria McNorton, Laura Hedtke, Holly Peak, Chloe Young, Eloise Peek, Molly Young & Rebekah Lake (C) Subs – Aneliese Smith, Shannon Miles & Jess Newton.
Gorleston Ladies starting XI – Maria Jardim, Hayley Muir (C), Siesha Humphries, Abbie King, Mary Croft, Nicole Sheldrake, Hannah Croft, Sophie Gillett, Megan Taylor, Samantha Hunn & Bethany Turner. Subs – Kelly Allen, Jordan Bull & Kimberley Sherllock.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Got to stand on the far side of the pitch away from the clubhouse to get the sun behind me, the wind is icy cutting across the recreation field need to keep a firm grip on the notepad too. It’s Thorpe to get the game underway kicking off the 1st half wearing pink coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Gorleston opposite lined up in an all green kit. The ball played long out to the right wing early on Thorpe captain Rebekah Lake running into the channel causing trouble early on, Gorleston’s Siesha Humphries sliding in to make a good challenge the ball out for a throw.
Humphries busy in defence early on for Gorleston as Thorpe overload the right wing, progress stifled by the left back. Thorpe starting well attacking again right side win the first corner of the game take short the cross into the area too strong runs out of play. Molly Young with a strong run as she is played on down the right side cuts a low cross back into the area as she closes on the byline, Mary Croft getting into position near post to intercept for Gorleston her clearance running straight to Thorpe midfielder Laura Hedtke breaking forwards through the centre strikes the shot back in towards goal from 20 yards out, Maria Jardim in goal for Gorleston right behind down low to collect.
Chloe Young on the left side for Thorpe gets to the byline the ball squared into the area, Mary Croft collecting it central for Gorleston, the visitors launch a quick counter attack the ball played on for Bethany Turner up in attack, Bethan Sommerfield reading the ball getting to it before Turner can take it on in behind. Gorleston build on the right Samantha Hunn holding the ball up before playing Turner in as she breaks into the box right of goal shoots the ball saved as Joanne Hooper in goal for Thorpe covers the near post.
Sophie Gillett has the ball wide left for Gorleston bursts forwards making ground before flashing an inviting ball across the face of the Thorpe goal, out at the far post for a goal kick.
GOAL! The visitors open the scoring with just over 10 minutes gone beginning to gain a little momentum after Thorpe’s strong start to the match are attacking left side getting the ball up the field win a throw in. Turner coming near side to receive the ball, does very well as good ball towards her she pressurises the Thorpe defence drawing players with her not sure if she actually gets a touch on the ball or not but either way it continues on rolling across the face of goal, Hunn coming in far post first to meet it fires the ball into the back of the net from close range 1-0.
Thorpe get forwards straight away from the restart a throw in won inside the Gorleston half on the left, Victoria McNorton to take a long throw into the area put behind for a corner, again taken short, Natasha Leversley playing the cross into the area, Abbie King winning the ball for Gorleston. Mary Croft does well defending for Gorleston as Holly Peak taking the ball forwards looks to play in Lake ahead of her. Lake is full of pace and a willing runner up front for Thorpe always prepared to move into the channels for the ball draws tackles wins a corner right side.
The ball curled in towards the near post Gorleston captain Hayley Muir cutting it out is deflected back into the middle of the area, Chloe Young has little time to react gets something on the ball but can’t direct it towards goal.
GOAL! Thorpe have responded well to falling behind have continued to attack Lake moving more often than not into the left channel a driving run forwards with the ball, the Gorleston defence drawn towards her she gets a powerful shot away on the angle skipping off the turf towards the near post Jardim getting down gets her gloves to the ball pushing it away across the top of her six yard box, Chloe Young running in on the follow up first to the ball puts it into the empty goal 1-1. 17 minutes played.
Gorleston get hold of the ball in the middle Hannah Croft out to Hunn on the right wing takes on the Thorpe defence down the line before sending a driven ball in towards the near post Turner racing in to met it the angle against her from close range sends her shot high and wide of the target. Gorleston are awarded a free-kick just inside their own half, Mary Croft to set the ball down have the wind getting stronger behind them encouraged to play it long turns into a very dangerous ball bouncing inside the box before Hooper looping up threatens to fly over her into the back of the net does well to adjust get a glove to the ball and turn it away for a corner.
A good delivery from the corner toward the top of the area Mary Croft running in to met, her shot taking a deflection off her marker to sent the ball wide and behind for another corner. A good contest developing both sides closing the ball down quickly no one given much time in the middle. Turner a good foil for Gorleston in attack holds the ball up well and uses her strength against the defence, lays it off to Gillett left side she plays a great ball in over the top with Hunn making a break in behind central into the area, Hooper is out of her six yard box lay claim to the ball before the Gorleston attacker can get a touch.
GOAL! Thorpe take the lead the goal coming from the right side Lake moving across to pick up the ball carries it forwards with pace, the angle closing fast she unleashes a shot before being closed down the pace on the ball sending it racing over the keeper and into the goal beyond 2-1.
Humphries kept busy at left back produces to superb tackles to break up Thorpe attacks one on lake the second against Molly Young as she almost breaks clear on goal inside the area. Turner with the ball in attack for Gorleston left side strong on the ball lifts a high ball into the six yard box, Leversley needing to get her head on it to lift it over her goal and away for a corner. The ball in cleared by Sommerfield.
A miscue at the back from Leversley sees the ball turned in behind towards her goal 30 yards out Turner reacts racing to meet it Peek doing well the get back on her as she closes in on the ball right of the goal the pressure enough the angle gone as Turner pulls the trigger her shot rising wide of the near post.
Chloe Young has the ball left takes it forwards with pace, squares a cross along the top of the box is collected by twin sister Molly right side she shoots her effort charged down by Humphries. Gillett gets hold of the ball left wing for Gorleston drives on no cross available keeps possession coming back to play the ball central into Mary Croft as the centre back crosses into the Thorpe half, encouraged by her earlier attempt lines up a shot from all of 40 yards out wind assisted it isn’t too far off the mark as it races wide of Hooper’s far post.
The game has an end to end feel to it as we reach the latter stages of the first half Gorleston pushing the Thorpe defence back Molly Howes tackling Megan Taylor as she looks to break into the box left side. Hooper needing to come out of her area to kick the ball clear as Gorleston lift it over the top for Turner, moment later the home side counter attacking Jardim closing in on the edge of her area as Lake threatens to break through does well to use her head to clear the ball and not her gloves as she’s right on the line of her area.
A deflected ball from the right as Thorpe attack comes to Chloe Young central inside the area, takes a touch then shoots a slight deflection sending the ball over for the corner. Gorleston deal with the corner build an attack the ball up to Turner clever hold up play central turn slides the ball through into the area with Sheldrake bursting in behind, Hooper reading it early is out quickly t lay claim to the ball. Both sides winning the ball in defence late on McNorton with the interception for Thorpe. Humphries called into action again at left back for Gorleston. A late chance in the first half for Gorleston Sheldrake playing Hunn in on the ball as she makes the run into the area the angle against her as she is closed down goes for power slashes her attempt wide.
Half-time Thorpe United Ladies 2-1 Gorleston Ladies
An intriguing first 45 minutes, bitterly cold but the action on the pitch has been exciting both side enjoying good spells, Thorpe’s home pitch have used the space out wide well chances created. Gorleston despite Thorpe having the brighter start taking the lead the home side coming back to level then take the lead themselves both having further chances.
Gorleston to kick-off the 2nd half have made two changes Jordan Bull and Kelly Allen the players on. The 2nd half starting where the 1st left off both keepers with an early touch of the ball. Hooper comes out of her area again to go to kick the ball clear goes down in pain as she goes to kick the ball, play stopped immediately is in clear discomfort, a lengthy delay follows as she receives treatment, finally is up but limping cannot continue a blow Hooper who can play basically anywhere (and has) Thorpe’s reserve keeper, is in between the sticks in place of 1st choice keeper Kirsty Andrews who herself is injured no back up goalkeeper, a volunteer is needed, Leversley answers the call, Hooper substituted on comes Shannon Miles to bolster the defence.
Lake out on the left puts pressure on the ball high up the pitch wins a throw in deep inside the Gorleston half the ball played back to the throw taker the high cross lifted into the area dealt with by King. The wind is getting colder by the minute the sun low in the sky now. Lake with the ball moving into space left side runs on with it cutting inside to get herself into the area a low shot is saved by Jardim low at her near post.
Mary Croft stands up well to win the ball tackling Chloe Young as she gathers the ball into her feet central and drives at the Gorleston defence. Thorpe pushing higher up the pitch working hard to protect Leversley in goal Gorleston yet to test the new keeper. Gillett cutting inside from the left with the ball at her feet shoots 20 yards out her effort charged down. Turner gathering the ball central lays it out to Gillett on the left a clever touch taking the ball past the full back, McNorton is round on the cover to get in and win the challenge for Thorpe.
A double change for Thorpe, Leversley comes off in goal having not been called into action, on comes Jess Newton in her place. Also off Peak replaced by Aneliese Smith. Molly Young and Lake combine on the right in attack a one two Mary Croft winning the ball back inside her area. Gorleston make a change Sheldrake off on comes Kimberley Sherllock. Lake pressing the ball wins a corner on the left a good ball into the area a confident take by Jardim inside her six yard box.
Gorleston with a golden chance to get back on level terms the ball with Gillett on the left takes in field sending in on for Allen breaking through the middle the keeper coming out defenders converging she see a shot past all the ball heading on for the goal beyond Miles around on the cover clearing the ball a yard from the line the clearance scooped up straight at the onrushing Allen moving left of goal can’t adjust her effort scooped wide.
A free kick wide left for Gorleston make a switch before it is taken, Turner coming off in attack Taylor back on. A good delivery from Gillett lifted towards the far post no one can meet it to deflect in goalwards as it runs on for a goal kick. The game becoming a little stretched, Lake with a good touch to bring the ball down central is away in behind after the ball, Jardim off her line quickly can lay claim to it first.
Thorpe pressing in the final third two consecutive shots from the left are blocked inside the Gorleston area. McNorton with an opportunity to strike a shot goalwards from all of 25 yards out sees her effort race wide of goal. Chloe Young with an over the top pass for Lake to attack into the area is pushed wide right off goal by Mary Croft, Lake rides her sliding challenge stays on her feet the ball still alive on the byline as cries for penalty go up, Lake sends the ball racing across the face of the Gorleston goal intercepted far side by Muir.
GOAL! Moments later Thorpe do go on to double their lead winning the ball back come left the ball held up as plays break from midfield the ball played inside coming to a surprising source as McNorton in a advanced position outside the box open up her body to turn her shot wide across the keeper at in low into the bottom corner of the net 3-1.
Thorpe a pushing their opponents back keeping the ball inside their half now, Hedtke tackling Hannah Croft to regain possession in the middle, Lake winning a corner left side the ball into the near post defended. 15 minutes left to play the sun almost behind the tree line the light fading fast. Chloe Young left of the D in attack for Thorpe controls the ball has Smith making a run on her left the pass into Smith’s 1st attempt doesn’t come off the ball back to her off a defender a more clinical touch with her 2nd effort the shot lashes into the side netting.
Lake still full of running out wide left down the line her ball into the area across the Gorleston goal line, Chloe Young in the mix for Thorpe, Gorleston with some last gasp defending keeping the ball from crossing the line. Humphries picks up the ball deep for Gorleston left she takes it forwards has space to run into a great run all the way into the opponents area looks for a cross ends up winning a corner.
Two blank pages in my notepad! Causes a moment of panic, I do get caught up in the game writing these reports you have no idea, I am dealing with a gale out there, normal service resumed into the last 5 minutes. Gorleston pushing on late on overloading the right, into the area a Thorpe player ending up on the ground the referee whistle signalling a free-kick for the hosts.
GOAL! Into the closing moments of the match Gorleston are having a go pressing on looking for a reply, are hit on the counter attack the ball won in defence lifted up through the middle on for Lake running in behind sets her sights outside the box lifting the shot over the keeper and into the goal beyond to ensure the 3 points for Thorpe. 4-1.
The sky very dark now not long left Thorpe regain possession Hedtke into Molly Young her slide rule pass forwards into the box, Lake on a hat-trick running clear left side hits her shot wide across the face of goal.
Full time Thorpe United Ladies 4-1 Gorleston Ladies
A 4-1 win for Thorpe sees them take a 9 point lead at the top of Norfolk Women’s Division One. A good encounter, both sides playing their part in what is another great advert for the game in the county. Thorpe coming out on top in the finish, expected a tough game against Gorleston and got one the visitors not creating the opportunities 2nd half as they did in the 1st. The weather conditions playing their part no doubt. Thorpe adapting their game well to losing Hooper early in the 2nd half protected their keeper well an evolving side are in a good position to push on in the New Year.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
On to this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few contenders but overall one stood out. Siesha Humphries was busy in defence for Gorleston all afternoon did well with several good tackles throughout, ahead on her on the left Gillett was influential too. For Thorpe Laura Hedtke broke up several Gorleston attacks. The award however goes to Thorpe’s captain, Rebekah Lake, a constant threat running into the channels is pacey likes to take players on that will draw defenders to her make space for others, 2 well taken goals too.
Believe it or not this is my first taste of Division One football this season in Norfolk, has left me hungry for more, a good game to watch. Bitterly cold however still not warmed up. A warm welcome by both sides, my thanks for helping with the team details especially the players for the after match ID parade. Using a new editing tool technology and me don’t always mix it’s taking a little getting used to.. progress though. Good to catch up with both sides again.