Sunday 14th April
Norfolk Women’s Division Two
A return to league action this afternoon on Women’s Football East a short trip today to Clipbush Park to watch a crucial top of the table clash from Norfolk Women’s Division Two leaders Taverham Women United one win away from clinching the title in their debut season away to Fakenham Town Ladies in 3rd whose own title hopes rest on winning the 3 points themselves.
Due to be played back in December had it on the radar but the weather put pay to that outing, the rearranged fixture falling just right, both sides starting the season well under contrasting circumstances. Fakenham Town Ladies relegated from Division One looking to regroup and rebuild confidence within their squad. Taverham Women one of a cluster of youth sides making the big step up to women’s football this season.
The two clubs neck and neck at the top of the table in the early stages of the season, both unbeaten Fakenham winning their opening 8 matches before the two sides met at Taverham in December, Taverham ending Fakenham’s 100% winning start in a close match winning 1-0. Since then Fakenham have fallen behind with fixtures hit by postponements and call offs have 6 games left to play. Injury and unavailable players affecting them too in the run in, 4 games in hand on Taverham down to 3rd now after a 2nd defeat of the season against Long Stratton Women in 2nd know they can’t afford to lose today if they want to finish top of the pile.
Taverham making the step up into women’s football this season has seen several sides struggle to adapt recently, not in their case however their young squad all under 18 bar one Rebecca Sutton who is 18 hitting the ground running a 0-0 draw on the opening day went on to win their next 13 league matches before suffering their first and only defeat of the season to an in form Tavern Ladies side last month. An important 3-0 away win in midweek against Long Stratton Women sees them 12 points clear at the top knowing a win against Fakenham will see them clinch the league title.
Taverham have a small close knit squad 16 players, manager Kevin Robinson with the squad since they were playing at U10 level, with 5 of that team still with the current group. Well supported by joint manager Bill Artis along with all the parents that make it a real family unit. Have scored an incredible 123 goals so far this season with Rebecca Sutton and Abbie Walker sharing 66 goals between them. Learning every game and with some strong sides in the league a credit to be where they are with two games left to play.
Clipbush Park the venue this afternoon the ladies side sharing the main pitch with the mens side. A bar also serving tea and coffee along with hot food upon entry leading out onto the pitch a large surface plenty of width fitness levels need to be sharp. A seat stand along the opposite side of the pitch, a few dark clouds around a few spots of rain in the are sunny but chilly, took advantage of the cover just in case.
Fakenham Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Easter, Ellie Websdale, Karina Townsend, Jemma Riches, Sian Sands (C), Jennifer Codman, Holly Davies, Megan Spurrell, Tash Patten, Tara Betts & Sam King
Taverham Women United starting XI – Laura Beevor, Lucy Staff, Caitlyn Arnup, Jasmin Snelling, Hannah Artis (C), Summer Rogers, Rebecca Sutton, Maya Lawlor, Abbie Walker, Charlotte Hurren & Teigan Robinson. Subs – Laura Jones
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Just the bare 11 available for Fakenham with players out injured or unavailable, Taverham naming just the one substitute. Fakenham to kick-off the 1st half wearing amber shirts with black upon the sleeves, black shorts and socks. Taverham kitted out in white shirts with blue trim, blue shirts and white socks. The ball pressed straight away in the middle pops wide for Megan Spurrell to bring on down the right support inside from Holly Davies her diagonal pass driven into Jennifer Codman getting forwards to the top of the area she knocks the ball on into the box, the Taverham defence able to let it run out for a goal kick.
Taverham attack down their right the ball put on for Charlotte Hurren her cross swept into the area headed clear by Jemma Riches for Fakenham. Taverham pressing the ball high up the pitch a ball knocked forwards into the area, goalkeeper Chloe Easter trying to let it run out for a goalkick Teigan Robinson giving chase managing to win her side a corner, a good delivery in from the left towards the far post Karina Townsend getting it away for Fakenham. A positive start from Taverham very much on the front foot getting players forwards rapidly a throw high on the right Robinson crossing inside the box deflected out to the top of the area a shot drilled back in runs low wide of goal.
Fakenham look to make ground on the left wing Tara Betts playing the ball on for Sam King, Jasmin Snelling putting the foot in to win the ball back for Taverham. Taverham full of energy pressing the ball ready to attack at will Fakenham pushed back into their box defending a two v two situation opening up as Taverham counter attack Sutton with the ball at her feet carrying it forwards left Robinson central tries to lift the ball into the box for her but too much on the ball Easter can let it go for a goal kick. Fakenham captain Sian Sands in the heart of the defence getting across to win the ball put it out for a throw in as Abbie Walker attempts to hook the ball on for Sutton down the flank.
Summer Rogers nipping in to rob the ball from the Fakenham defence 25 yards out pushes it into Sutton inside the area, can’t get it out from her feet and turn to shoot before being closed down. Taverham continue to press the attack a through ball threaded in behind sees Sutton clear on Chloe Easter coming to close her down making a great blocking save at her feet to push the ball away for a throw. The Fakenham defence putting themselves under pressure trying to play it out from the back with the Taverham attackers lively.
Taverham captain Hannah Artis receiving the ball from a throw on the right plays a cross long into the area Sands getting her head on it to put it behind for a corner. The ball in from the left defended near post another corner this delivery dropping into the six yard box Maya Lawlor getting her head to it stooping a deflection knocking it wide.The attack Taverham’s early on Fakenham working hard to defend not creating anything up the other end. Walker and Hurren switch flanks. Lucy Staff stopping Spurrell as she tries to get in to cross wide right.
A handball spotted in midfield a free-kick top of the circle for Taverham, Snelling to take a great ball played in towards the top of the area, Rogers meeting it twisting her neck to head the ball goalwards her attempt bouncing wide of the right post. Fakenham busy in defence, Townsend sliding in gets the ball from Walker as she races forwards on the right. Ellie Websdale holding Hurren up on the left as Spurrell gets back to help her out. Robinson clipped as she drives forwards centrally a free-kick awarded 20 yards out Sutton over it gets a shot in past the walk, Easter gloving it down her defence back following it in getting it away Taverham collecting it a shot from 25 yards out racing wide across goal.
Taverham win a throw high on the left played quickly into Sutton she turns taking the ball on into the area level with the six yard box gets her foot over the ball to hit a shot in the ball bouncing wide across the face of goal. Taverham make a change Hurren the player coming off on comes Laura Jones. Fakenham with a rare attack Spurrell with the ball n the right played inside to King coming across to make herself available, Caitlyn Arnup on her shoulder the pair battling inside the area the defender winning the tackle, play brought back however for a foul on the edge of the area. Patten over it tries to lift a shot in near post the attempt off target.
Rogers latching onto the ball 20 yards out after Fakenham fail to clear sends her strike over the crossbar. Fakenham with a free-kick out wide on the right Patten to play it in towards the top of the box King up knocks it down into her feet is quickly closed down by the Taverham defence can’t get a shot away. Fakenham seeing a little more of the ball in the latter stages of the 1st half having soaked up alot of pressure. Robinson looking a constant threat in attack for Taverham attacks right cutting into the area Riches with a great tackle to deny her.
GOAL! The pressure from Taverham in attack finally bringing them a goal late in the 1st half, up the pitch on the right a throw won the ball put inside to Robinson she turns carrying the ball into the box the angle tight six yards out blasts a shot in Sands defending getting a leg out to block the rebound however falls straight to Robinson her 2nd attempt played past the defender across goal into the bottom corner 0-1.
A chance to double the lead straight away the ball won by Rogers put on for Walker in behind right side one on one with the keeper attempts to lift the ball over her succeeds but her effort drops wide of the mark. Artis winning most of the aerial balls Fakenham try to put on through the middle. King with the ball at her feet willing to take players on, the Taverham defence proving very difficult to shake off.
Half-time Fakenham Town Ladies 0-1 Taverham United Women
Half-time, Taverham leading 1-0 a narrow advantage for all their attacking player have shown plenty of energy and positively getting numbers forwards in attack have had their opponents on the back foot for the entire 1st half. Just the one goal to show for it however the game far from settled a 2nd goal most definitely needed, Fakenham have battled hard in defence to keep Taverham at bay whilst creating very little in attack themselves.
Taverham to get the 2nd half underway a change made Hurren back on Robinson off. Get forwards right from the off Lawlor played through into the box on the right blasts a shot in towards the near post Easter with a fantastic save to push the ball behind for a corner kick. The ball delivered into the box Fakenham just about deal with it knocked outside the area a shot back in well wide. Taverham starting the 2nd half off where they left the 1st have Fakenham penned inside their own 18 yard box.
The pressure relieved as Fakenham are awarded a free-kick 40 yards out from goal, Sands to play it in towards the top of the area, Artis sticking out a leg to stop it. Sutton carrying the ball on down the right Sands across tackling well to deny her the opportunity to cross. Websdale winning the ball at right back for Fakenham on for Codman in the middle, Davies making a run ahead of her, Rogers sliding in to intercept the pass. King attacking on the ball left comes inside Arnup on her shoulder pushes her across the top of the area checking back King lifts a cross into the box headed clear falls straight to Codman a good 35 yards out takes on the shot the strike safely claimed by Beevor in the Taverham goal.
Taverham full of running first to most balls, Spurrell on the right for Fakenham up ended a free-kick played in central, Arnup in ahead of King, Taverham counter Sutton wide playing the ball inside right looking for Sutton, Riches with a timely interception. Taverham come again on the right Walker on the ball taking players on getting into the box lays it inside for Lawlor to take on towards goal shoots looking to play the ball across the keeper from where I’m standing it looks in all the way right behind it, but for Easter a great piece of glove work getting down to palm it wide.
Taverham bring Robinson back on for Jones. Spurrell plays the ball on for Davies right in behind the full back too much on the pass allows Artis to get across and clear. Townsend with a great tackle to deny Robinson as she turns inside towards the top right corner of the area before she can line up a shot. Remains 1-0 for all their possession and attacking play Taverham haven’t put the game to bed Fakenham continue to battle hard have very little of the attack but one chance taken changes everything. Hurren with a dangerous run in from the left flashes a cross along the top of the area a shot taken the Fakenham defence throwing bodies in to block.
Walker coming inside from the right up against Townsend and Riches squeezes a ball between the pair on for Robinson in behind spins into the shot 8 yards out her strike running wide across the six yard box. Close again from Taverham the base of the post denying them a 2nd goal a cross put in low from the left met at the near post by Walker inside the six yard box. Taverham have a a small but passionate group of supporters vocal encouraging them on. Walker a threat on the wing cuts into the area right six yards out the ball pushed on for Lawlor she shoots, Easter getting across to cover her near post saving brilliantly again the ball behind for corner.
The corner played in long to the far post Robinson under it lifts a shot up over the bar. Taverham regain possession high up the pitch Fakenham struggling to get out of their own half a corner won on the right the delivery in central headed up onto the roof of the net, that 2nd goal won’t come. Codman is down for Fakenham struggling with an injury having taken a knock has to come off for treatment with no substitute to bring on are down to 10. Townsend too taking a blow down but can continue. Hurren an excellent dribbler of the ball at speed bombs forwards into the box on the left closing in on the byline checks back attempts to lift the ball in across the face of goal, no one to meet it runs wide. Codman is back on Fakenham back up to their full compliment.
Davies is upended as she tries to bring the ball on up the right for Fakenham, the ball played on down the line quickly King after it, gets a cross into the area no one gambling however, Taverham bring it out from the back lost however deflected into Spurrell’s feet she lifts a shot back in from distance, Beevor safely gathering. A rapid attack launched the ball helped on through to Sutton wins a corner on the left as Websdale comes to close her down. The delivery in central headed away by Sands for a 2nd corner. This time the ball lands at Walkers feet six yards out a snap shot cleared on the line put out to the left players attracted to the ball the cross in over them all, Townsend doing a good job in front of goal to get the ball away before it can be attacked.
Taverham continue to attack another corner won on the right, have played in some great deliveries again to the far post Robinson meeting it her attempt blocked on the post. Into stoppage time Fakenham get on down the right Spurrell with King combining wining a throw put on down the line for King she does well to win a corner. The ball played in central a shot driven in towards the back post blocked on the line, hand ball! The referee pointing to the spot late drama PENALTY!
GOAL! Fakenham captain Sian Sands placing the ball on the spot. The whistle blows a confident hit lifting the ball to the right pace on the ball Beevor gets a touch throwing herself in that direction but not enough to keep it out Fakenham level at the death 1-1.
That’s it not time for Taverham to find a response robbed of the 3 points needed to win the title in the closing seconds of the game, Fakenham ecstatic having battled so hard all game to take a point from the match.
Full time Fakenham Town Ladies 1-1 Taverham United Women
That was most definitely a game off attack versus defence Taverham on the front foot right from the off getting forwards in numbers pressing the ball high and keeping a high level of energy throughout, taking the lead late in the first half had numerous chances in the 2nd half to put the game to bed but none were taken. Fakenham battling hard with the bare 11 players out of position defending battling and working hard to keep Taverham at bay, Easter pulling off some fantastic saves. At 1-0 they were never out of the game and in the end that cost Taverham all 3 points with a late penalty conceded and dispatched.
Fakenham keep there title hopes alive for now but a win for Taverham in their final game of the season will be enough to see them win the league away to Hockering. This point meant alot however to Fakenham and they can use it to spur them on for their remaining 4 games, promotion still not guaranteed some important games still to come.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, certainly a tough one to narrow it down to one but I’ll do my best. Abbie Walker a real threat on either wing for Taverham getting forwards and creating opportunities for herself and others in front of goal, Summer Rogers in the middle put in some good tackles was the player more often than not keeping Fakenham penned back in their own half. For Fakenham it was a battling display back to the walls with the bare 11 but credit to them especially the back for and Chloe Easter in goal making some great saves. Have chosen Sian Sands a captains performance at the heart of defence and of course the scorer of the all important penalty.
Good to see both sides in action especially Taverham my first look at them having done enough positive reports in The Round-Up all season, appreciate the help form both teams this afternoon.