Sunday 24th February
ERWFL Premier Division
West along the A47 this Sunday afternoon for a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, 4th versus 5th with Wymondham Town Ladies travelling to play Peterborough Northern Star Ladies.
Both side new to the league this season, Peterborough Northern Star moving across from the East Midlands Regional Premier Division. Wymondham Town Ladies promoted as ERWFL Division One North Champions.
Peterborough Northern Star Ladies now a fully integrated part of Peterborough Northern Star FC. One of the leading sides in Peterborough which has a very strong and growing women’s football scene. A new Reserves side into their 2nd season. A new challenge moving across the play in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL). Amongst the sides likely to challenge for the title itself before the season started have plated as high as the FAWNL. Currently in 5th have games in hand on the sides above. Have lost just one league game to date that on the opening day to current leaders and unbeaten Cambridge City Ladies.
Wymondham Town Ladies are doing very well following promotion to the ERWFL Premier Division. Up to 4th in the table and in a strong position to finish in the top half of the table in what is a strong league. Like their opponents have a Reserves side, and are one of the sides leading the way in women’s football in Norfolk. Scoring plenty of goals, 18-year-old Laura Nicholls has 34 already this season.
Both sides involved in the semi-finals of their various County Cup competitions last Sunday. Peterborough Northern Star narrowly losing to local rivals Peterborough United 2-1. Wymondham going all the way to penalties against fellow Premier Division side Acle United Women winning the shootout 5-4 to reach their 3rd successive final and will be hoping to retain the trophy they lifted for the 1st time in their history last season.
Peterborough Northern Star Ladies home ground is the Branch Bros Stadium. Situated in the north of Peterborough not far off the A47 itself. Set in a residential area has a community feel about it. A clubhouse leading out to the main pitch, two large sports fields either side. A snack bar serving hot and cold food and drinks. as for the weather SUMMER’S HERE! (Well in might be a bit premature) a lovely bright sunny and warm day in the final weekend of February. The coat can stay in the car, left my sunglasses at home needed them. The sun high over one end of the ground.
Peterborough Northern Star Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson, Frances Peeling, Larissa Frederick, Leah Barnes, Bronwyn Mulheron, Faith Horner, Emma Pollard, Chanade Henderson, Vicky Gallagher (C), Georgia Coulson & Cassie Steward.
Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Ashleigh O’Callaghan, Leah Newcombe, Bethany Fretwell, Chardonnay Johnston, Summer Ward, Kayleigh Holloway, Rachel Cossey (C), Alice Ladbrooke, Mollie O’Callaghan, Laura Nicholls & Hannah Waters. Subs – Jorja Patterson & Rebecca Russell.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
The bare 11 available for Peterborough missing a few players including top goalscorer Katie Steward who has 15 so far this season. New signing Summer Ward and Chardonnay Johnston starting for Wymondham. Peterborough in their home strip, black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. Wymondham in their away colours, purple shirts and socks with red shorts. Peterborough to kick-off the 1st half, Wymondham with the sun at their backs.
Straight away a competitive tussle in midfield the ball closed down, Alice Ladbrooke winning it for Wymondham the ball lost comes back to Emma Pollard for Peterborough central plays the diagonal pass long for captain Vicky Gallagher to attack on the right wing, Chardonnay Johnston can see it out of play for Wymondham. Wymondham make progress up the right Kayleigh Holloway winning a throw put inside pushed on to Ladbrooke she flicks the ball on into the area, Bronwyn Mulheron heading clear for Peterborough.
Mulheron defending well again for Peterborough as Hannah Waters tries to get through into the area from a central pass the defender seeing the ball back to goalkeeper Sarah Hudson. Wymondham counter Ladbrooke winning the ball plays it on for Laura Nicholls central she lays it out to Holloway right, Larissa Frederick closing her down the fullback tackling the ball out for a throw. Peterborough attack with pace through the middle, Bethany Fretwell with a vital interception as Cassie Steward looks to run in behind.
Mulheron winning the ball at the back for Peterborough the ball long up the left wing for Georgia Coulson drives forwards wins a throw the ball inside to Pollard 25 yards out plays it across the face of the Wymondham area with Chanade Henderson picking it up moving across the D shapes to shoot, Johnston charging the ball down. The final ball a little too heavy from both sides early on, Wymondham get up the pitch a throw won players forwards the ball 25 yards out helped onto Mollie O’Callaghan the young midfielder drags her shot wide across goal.
O’Callaghan sets up a Wymondham attack her past forwards Nicholls spreads play wide to the right she drives up the line gets inside the fullback to fire a cross into the six yard box Nicholls arriving far post connects but can’t keep the ball down. Peterborough break with pace the ball with Pollard 20 yards out inside to Henderson she attempts to slide Coulson through into the area Ashleigh O’Callaghan in the Wymondham goal out smartly to make the save with her legs.
Both sides looking to spread the play not afraid to go from one side of the park to the other in their build up play. Wymondham have the ball left Ladbrooke on for Mollie O’Callaghan the pass swept out to Summer Ward breaking on the left the wing back getting into the box puts her shot straight into Hudson covering her near post. Holloway on the ball right breaks it in puts the ball inside to Waters she turns sends it on for Nicholls 20 yards out her first time effort looping up towards goal, doesn’t have the carry to trouble Hudson as she takes the catch.
Steward influential on the ball inside the Wymondham half looking for runners to get in ahead of her attempts a ball out to the right for Gallagher too much on it the keeper can claim. Steward gathering the ball into her feet on the left cuts inside driving towards the area takes on the shot her attempt blocked. Henderson with a good forwards ball into Coulson coming in from the left Fretwell defends for the visitors.
A free-kick on halfway for Wymondham as Ladbrooke is upended. Fretwell to play the ball in towards the top of the area over Waters central, Rachel Cossey making a good run gets her head onto the ball, the Wymondham captains looping header in on target safely caught by Hudson. Steward drives on down the right wing cutting inside into the box fires a rocket in low towards the near post o’Callaghan making a fantastic save with her legs, Steward tries to get onto the end of the follow up the ball behind for a goal kick.
Nicholls gets the ball out to Holloway on the right coming inside into the area Hudson coming to close the angle saves with her feet the ball loose, Holloway after it between Hudson and Frederick the ball is cleared for Peterborough. A throw on the right Wymondham pressing get hit on the counter the ball wide out to Steward left by the touchline does enough to get the ball beyond Fretwell, Pollard taking it on drives inside, Ladbrooke tracking back does well to regain possession for Wymondham.
Waters comes close to opening the scores for Wymondham, the visiting side attacking right Holloway on for Nicholls moving into the channel. her pass finding Waters closing in on the area in behind central, Hudson out to the top of her area Water looks to take it around her the keeper diving at full stretch managing to get her gloves to the ball, momentarily, Waters is still with it an open goal to aim at shots the ball running narrowly wide across the goal.
Wymondham looking strong as the first half draws to a close Peterborough a little frustrated passes not coming off as intended. A few niggly challenges out there. O’Callaghan is brought down very close to being a penalty right on the line left of the Peterborough goal. O’Callaghan picks herself up to take a dinked effort in on goal the ball landing on the top of the crossbar.
Holloway on the right delivers a high swerving ball into the area Ward far side attempts to cushion a header down back across the six yard box for Waters, Hudson nipping in before her gets her gloves firmly around the ball. Frederick gets forwards for Peterborough plays the past on into Steward she turns well to get in behind Fretwell into the area shoots, O’Callaghan saving well with her legs once again to deny her.
Half-time Peterborough Northern Star Ladies 0-0 Wymondham Town Ladies
Goalless at the break, both sides with chances to open the scoring, Waters for Wymondham. Ashleigh O’Callaghan twice denying Steward. The final ball rushed at times a committed tussle in the middle, Wymondham using their wing backs well. More clinical finishing needed 2nd half if either side is going to get their noses in front.
Wymondham with a change at half-time Mollie O’Callaghan the player off on comes Rebecca Russell. Peterborough to get the 2nd half underway the ball played out to Pollard on the right she gets forwards as space opens up before her O’Callaghan out to the corner of her box gets down to claim the ball. Steward in a good position back to goal 20 out left of the D sees the ball int her feet does fantastically well to send the ball on into the box for Coulson bursting in behind from the left she shoots early the ball held by O’Callaghan at her near post. Cossey with the ball in the middle of the park for Wymondham out to Ward on the left she pushes on delivering a cross into the area Mulheron up to head clear for Peterborough.
GOAL! 5 minutes played in the 2nd half and the deadlock is broken. Wymondham win a corner on the left the ball cleared inside the box comes out to Steward left she takes the ball on over halfway Pollard is bursting on through the middle to get ahead of her the two combine Steward into Pollard she plays it out to Steward on the left wing in an advanced position she shoots from the angle plenty of power behind the ball in races past O’Callaghan to nestle in the back of the net 1-0.
Wymondham look to get forwards Russell on for Waters outside the area she turns into traffic Leah Barnes and Faith Horner closing her down to win the ball back. Frances Peeling closes Ward down as Ladbrooke wins the ball in the middle looks to spread the play.
GOAL! Peterborough build on their lead quickly making it 2-0 the goal starting with Henderson pressing high in the middle winning the ball her pass finding Pollard in space on the right 25 yards out plays it back infield into Steward central she does well 20 yards out back to goal to shift the ball beat her marker and turn and strike a shot back across the goalkeeper into the back of the net to make it 2-0 with a clinical finish.
Wymondham make a change Jorja Patterson coming on in the place of Ward. The move sees Holloway come over to the left. Coulson attacking down the left swings a cross into the area Fretwell clears for Wymondham. The Norfolk side break the ball played on over the top with Nicholls breaking in behind right of goal takes the shot on early her attempt fired wide of the right post. Holloway on the left gets in behind drives to the byline cuts the ball back for Nicholls she tries to pick out Waters central Barnes charges her shot down.
You’ll see it all the time in a game a winger trying to get in behind their marker the two shoulder to shoulder, Coulson on the left ends up on the ground play continues but is soon halted the Peterborough player clearly in a lot of pain. A serious injury suffered has landed on a snapped her wrist. A lengthy and necessary pause in play follows as she receives on the field treatment can’t be moved too quickly. Not nice to witness, the football doesn’t matter in these moments. Needs to go to A&E and of course with no subs Peterborough will continue with 10. Coulson up to her feet in carefully guided off the pitch.
Almost half an hour delay before play resumes difficult now for both sides Peterborough needing regroup, Wymondham were on the back foot need to gather themselves too. Play a little disjointed at the resumption. Steward tries to release Pollard on the right, Johnston gets back on her to defend for Wymondham. Mulheron defends as Waters central tries to spin off her into the box. Ladbrooke is winning alot of tackles in the middle for Wymondham breaking up Peterborough’s momentum.
Nicholls is fouled 35 yards out in a central position, Fretwell to take a floated ball into the area, Hudson calls and lays claim to it. Hudson is then out to the top of her area to smother the ball as Waters attempts to run in behind through the middle. Johnston cuts out a pass a Henderson tries to play Gallagher in through the middle the rebound comes out to Steward 30 yards out left meets it on the volley her attempt wide of the mark.
Fretwell does well under pressure from Steward through the middle to nod the ball back into her keepers gloves as Horner plays the ball forwards. Johnston on for Holloway ahead of her left side she drives forwards cuts inside shooting from 25 yards out Hudson making the save at her near post. Pollard wins the ball with a good challenge on the right plays it across the face of the area to Gallagher she puts it through the back line for Steward, she shots a hard driven ball but the flag is up it won’t count. Wymondham make a change Cossey the player off back on O’Callaghan.
Barnes with the tackle to deny Holloway after Ladbrooke regains possession in the middle for Wymondham. A free-kick wide on the right for Peterborough the ball put into the area by Steward an inviting cross, O’Callaghan with a good catch not put off by Henderson closing her down. Counter attacking play from both sides Peterborough not interested on sitting on their 2-0 lead, Steward forwards, O’Callaghan winning it back for Wymondham pushed in with Nicholls finding space in behind closing in on the area, Hudson out to close her down the shot put past the advancing keeper, but so to the goal beyond.
GOAL! Wymondham pull a goal back have the ball on the right side Waters driving on is tackled outside the area the ball loose O’Callaghan up in support first to it plays it inside to Nicholls top of the box she takes on the shot first time putting the ball into the back of the net across the goalkeeper 2-1.
10 minutes or so left, Henderson and Gallagher look to combine for Peterborough through the middle. Newcombe defends for Wymondham. Gallagher gets up into the corner looks to hold play up Wymondham get the goal kick.
GOAL! The scores are levelled Wymondham win a penalty kick as Waters carrying the ball in behind on the right is pulled down inside the area the referee pointing to the spot. Nicholls with the ball tacked under her arm the taker. The sun low behind the ground now the goal covered in shade she opts for power, Hudson guessing right dives but the ball is beyond her Nicholls with her 2nd of the game scoring the equaliser 2-2.
Peterborough straight on the attack after the restart the ball from Steward on for Henderson getting into an advanced position Fretwell doing well tackling to deny the chance. Gallagher yellow carded for a high foot that catches Newcombe in the face as both go for the ball, looked ugly but Gallagher did try to pull out as she released the ball wasn’t there to be won. Newcombe needs treatment on the pitch another pause in play she needs to come off Cossey returning to the action.
Into the last 5 minutes… a free kick to Wymondham, Fretwell with the long ball into the area Nicholls interested, Hudson though can claim it. Ladbrooke closing down breaks up anther Peterborough attack. Waters chasing the ball to the byline on the right wing cuts the ball back in across the face of goal Holloway at the far post, Peeling in ahead of her cuts out the threat for Peterborough.
Peterborough press forwards Henderson central to Gallagher her shot from 25 yards out is half blocked by Fretwell the sting taken out of it O’Callaghan gets hold of it. Steward halfway on for Henderson, has Peeling breaking up the right wing her cross in cut out by Johnston.
Full time Peterborough Northern Star Ladies 2-2 Wymondham Town Ladies
The full time whistle blows and the points are shared Wymondham coming back from 2 goals down to level the scores. An action packed 2nd half. Peterborough starting well two well taken goals from Steward putting them 2-0 up. Injury to Coulson seeing a long delay and the hosts down to 10 with no subs to bring on. Wymondham coming back into it to get themselves a point. A tough result for Peterborough in a good position at 2-0 with 11 on the pitch may well have added more as Wymondham pressed. The visitors had to work had against 10 for the point nevertheless.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Was a committed tussle especially in the middle a few contenders out there and as are my rules can pick one and one only. Cassie Steward was influential in the final third and scored two great goals. Chanade Henderson also with some driving runs through the middle. Today’s award however goes to Wymondham’s Alice Ladbrooke had a very strong game in the middle of the park, breaking up attacks and protecting the defence, tracking back and timing of her tackles was superb.
Enjoyed my first trip to the Branch Bros Stadium, sure the weather helped. The ERWFL rarely fails to deliver good footballing fare and today was no exception. Tinged with sadness of course to the serious injury to Peterborough winger Georgia Coulson, can only express my best wishes to her for a full and speedy recovery. My thanks to both clubs for their help with the team line-ups always appreciated.