Sunday 21st April
ERWFL League Plate
Semi-final action this Easter Sunday on Women’s Football East from the ERWFL League Plate, Newmarket Town Ladies v Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies vying for a place in the final itself on Sunday 12th May.
Histon Ladies already through to the ERWFL League Plate final with an extra-time win away to Stevenage Ladies Reserves last weekend. Newmarket and Hoddesdon meeting in the cup just 7 days after playing each other in the league itself. Away to Hoddesdon in Division One the Hertfordshire side 2-1 with Newmarket reduced to 10 with 25 minutes to play having goalkeeper Dominika Szary sent off nevertheless mounted a comeback late on to level the scores and win in with just 20 seconds left on the clock, 3-2 with 16-year-old Annabel Cuthbert on target for all 3 goals! 2-2 when they met at Newmarket earlier in the season, a tough semi-final to call this afternoon.
Newmarket are one of 5 newcomers to the regional league this season making the step up from the county league football, encouraged by an FA Cup run the season before that saw them beat two ERWFL Division One sides and take a 3rd to extra-time. Player departures over the close season left a bit of trepidation as they began at a higher level, had a large squad however and good recruitment has seen them flourish 3rd in the table in what has proved to be a competitve tussle in the top half in a great position to secure a top 4 finish, along with a cup semi-final.
Hoddesdon are currently fifth in the ERWFL Division One and established side playing at this level, reaching the semi-finals of the Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup are looking to go one better in the League Plate competition. A competitive tussle in the middle of the table a late run of 4 straight league wins has seen them climb the table, Newmarket’s late winner last weekend in Hoddesdon’s penultimate league match bringing the run to an end a trip to Histon to come who both sides will be hoping to face in the final.
The Bloorie Stadium the venue for today’s semi-final game home of Newmarket Town FC, a state of the art cork based artificial playing surface. The clubhouse beside the pitch housing a bar an kitchen serving hot food and drink, a covered seated stand beside. A beautifully hot Easter Sunday, needed to find myself some suncream out at home and that’s not an easy thing to locate on a bank holiday weekend. Still with the stuff liberally applied I was all set ready to go, watching two sides I’ve yet to catch up with this season.
Newmarket Town Ladies starting XI – Ellie-Rai Quinn Nicholls, Yasmin Woodfield, Holly Dryland, Olivia Cafferelli, Beth Woodfield (C), Jess Linger, Antonia Smith, Jodie Woodfield, Brooke Wickens, Laura Bailey & Annabel Cuthbert. Subs – Olivia Orme, Chloe Slater, Hannah Rogers, Sarah O’Rourke & Eleanor McLeish.
Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies starting XI – Hannah Gilmore, Leah Dunnage (C), Charley Handley, Megan Davies, Jemma Collinson, Grace Leslie, Kristina O’Connell, Chloe Makepeace, Natasha Crick, Rosy Wodhams & Rebecca Scola. Subs – Katie Kendle, Keeleigh Berry, Bridget Kirwan, Robyn Jones & Courtney Smart.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Dominika Szary suspended, Newmarket sort special permission from the league to play Ellie-Rai Quinn-Nicholls in goal. Newmarket to get the game underway kicking off the first half wearing yellow shirts, with blue shorts and yellow and blue hooped socks, Hoddesdon lined up opposite wearing red and navy vertical striped shirts, navy shorts and socks. The visitors press as Newmarket play the ball out to the right won the diagonal ball is played in up towards the top of the area, for Rebecca Scola to attack, Olivia Cafferelli their first to clear for Newmarket.
Newmarket are quick to turn play around the ball fed through the middle with Annabel Cuthbert running in behind, Grace Leslie sliding in with a lunging tackle to take it away from her top of the area the ball deflecting off Cuthbert running behind for a goal kick. Hoddesdon awarded a free-kick inside the centre circle Leslie over it a good delivery long into the box, Newmarket heading it away from a throw in the left, Hoddesdon sending a cross into the six yard box the ball claimed by Quinn-Nicholls. Both sides looking for runs out wide in the early stages Jess Linger with a good diagonal ball long for Laura Bailey on the left, Hoddesdon captain Leah Dunnage defending the ball out for a throw.
Newmarket win a free-kick wide left inside the Hoddesdon half Linger a threat from any set-piece sends the ball into the area plenty of pace on it bouncing through bodies Brooke Wickens throws a leg at it inside the six yard box, Hoddesdon goalkeeper keeping her eye on the ball gathers it cleanly. Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield gets across her area right to put the tackle in to deny Natasha Crick as shot as she is played through on the right wing. Fairly even in the early stages.
Jodie Woodfield back playing for Newmarket this season after 3 years out of the game after suffering a serious injury has the ball at her feet in midfield played it to her left on for fellow midfielder Antonia Smith 30 yards out, full back Holly Dryland bursting forwards, Smith sends the ball into her path, Dunnage sliding in puts the ball away from the throw. Kristina O’Connell after a long ball sent forwards into the left corner does well to keep it in play on the flank up the line to square a cross in along the top of the area, bites at it from Scola and Rosy Wodhams outside the box, both closed down by the Newmarket defence unable to get a shot away pops out to Chloe Makepeace on the right drives a shot in low from 25 yards out the ball racing wide across goal.
Wickens charging forwards with the ball on the right wing held up by Hoddesdon’s Jemma Collison, a throw won high up the pitch played into Wickens top of the area she turns well letting loose a shot the strike running wide across Gilmore’s six yard box. Newmarket forced into an early change Cafferelli coming off at the back on comes Chloe Slater taking up her position at centre back.
Hesitation between goalkeeper and defence inside the box for Newmarket sees Crick nip in to steal the ball takes it on into the six yard box left of goal, Beth Woodfield with a fantastic sliding tackle to take the ball away from Crick before she can get a shot away. Newmarket defending the corner on the left, Slater clearing a great ball up the pitch sees Cuthbert haring after it does well to win a corner up the other end. The delivery long to the far post missed by everyone.
Wickens turning inside from the right looking to attack the area is brought down a free-kick in a dangerous position for Newmarket, Linger over it goes for goal putting a high ball in towards goal, Gilmore thankful to see the ball drop narrowly over the bar. A hot day but good energy levels shown fro Newmarket quick to close the ball down Bailey and Wickens looking t make runs left and right. Bailey on the left the ball rolled into feet 35 yards out turns well knocking the ball on her next touch too strong however as she enters the box allowing Gilmore to claim.
Midway through the first half a drinks break called by the referee, hot out there in the middle. Play resumes Wickens attacking wide playing the ball inside to Cuthbert the young attacker brought down, players go forwards as Linger sets the ball down, a high delivery into the box, Charley Handley heading it out for Hoddesdon, comes straight back on high in the air, Gilmore coming jumps to claim. Dunnage with as good challenge to stop Bailey the ball up the line for Crick. Jodie Woodfield in to win the ball linking up with Smith looks to go left for Wickens, Collison intercepting for Hoddesdon.
Moving into a central position Wickens pushes the ball into Cuthbert back to goal top of the D, she spots right back Yasmin Woodfield breaking forwards into space on the right plays the pass out to her, Wickens getting in towards the top of the area demanding the cross has the ball at her feet strikes for goal the attempt racing low wide across goal. O’Connell with a clever back heel almost gets Scola away in behind through the middle, Quinn-Nicholls with a good starting position out to the edge of her area sharply to pick up the ball. O’Connell furthest forwards the ball bouncing Beth Woodfield on her shoulder it won’t drop kindly for the attacker to get a shot away on target outside the box.
GOAL! The deadlock broken late in the first half, from a set-piece Newmarket awarded a free-kick inside the Hoddesdon half central about 35 yards out, Linger on it looks a little too far out to have a go for goal but that is exactly what Linger does strikes it perfectly arrowing straight towards goal pace on it, Gilmore back on her line gets the faintest of touches on it not enough as the ball smashes down off the crossbar over the line 1-0.
Newmarket come close to adding a 2nd goal straight away, Jodie Woodfield winning the ball back from a Hoddesdon throw on the right inside their half sends it inside for Cuthbert who spots Bailey breaking on into the area in behind on the left, Bailey shooting sends her strike wide across the face of goal. Crick coming back well to help out her defence winning the ball back as Newmarket attack on the left Jodie Woodfield combining well with Smith again.
O’Connell played in left is pushed into the corner by Yasmin Woodfield, holds the ball up well getting back up the line to sweep a cross into the six yard box, Slater getting in front of Scola sees the ball back to her keeper. Leslie is hurt in a challenge in the middle of the park, hurt hasn’t recovered properly as she goes to take it herself an immediately pulls up. The trainer on she can’t continue, comes off with Bridget Kirwan sent on. Kirwan called into action straight away defending in the middle as Wickens swings a ball in from the right.
Half-time Newmarket Town Ladies 1-0 Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies
A fair tempo to the game considering the temperatures, started off fairly evenly, however as the half has grown Newmarket started to get the upper hand, closing down well disrupting Hoddesdon all over the pitch, created the better openings although clear cut chances have been low. Linger with a superbly struck free-kick the difference between the sides. A narrow lead for Newmarket to take into the 2nd half, Hoddesdon will need to find a clinical edge in the final third to get themselves back into the game.
Hoddesdon to get the second half underway. Won back straight away by Newmarket, Dryland on the left putting the ball on down the line for Cuthbert charging after it taking it into the area, Gilmore coming out to close her down Cuthbert taking the ball past the keeper, carries out to the by-line wide of goal cutting a cross back in towards the top of the area, a good idea but no one there to attack it, Hoddesdon launch it up field.
Handley with a strong tackle on Cuthbert well timed top of the box, is hurt, but okay to continue after treatment. Linger breaking up an attack through the middle for Newmarket pushes the ball out to Wickens on the right she sends it on for Cuthbert peeling away to make a run into the area, Handley back again to get a foot in to take the ball away from Cuthbert not out of play Newmarket close well to force a corner kick on the right. O’Connell up well inside her box to head the ball away.
Getting forwards in attack receiving the ball from Davies, O’Connell attacking left is brought down by Yasmin Woodfield the defender shown a yellow card a free-kick left outside the box for Hoddesdon, Scola over it blasts a shot in low through to the near post, Quinn-Nicholls saving well the ball pushed behind for a corner. Newmarket defending break the ball forwards however too much for Cuthbert to chase down. Crick is caught offside a half a yard ahead of the Newmarket defence as O’Connell puts the diagonal ball over the top.
Davies putting in the block as Wickens shoots from the top of the area the ball sent into her from Bailey on the left. Wickens after the loose ball turning to play the ball back across the top of the area Bailey pushed inside the D, Newmarket awarded another free-kick. Linger over it keeps the ball low this time on target but Gilmore down on her line is right behind it. Dryland on the left brings the ball on the pass inside for Smith she helps it on down the line for Bailey, Dunnage getting in on her to put in the tackle regain possession for Hoddesdon. Linger on the ball central lifts it out to Wickens right top of the area takes the shot on the half volley struck over.
Hoddesdon make a change, Scola coming off on comes Katie Kendle. Bailey left slides a ball in across the top of the area Cuthbert seeing it into her feet well turning taking it into the box, Handley marking back on her quickly to lunge in to take the ball away from her. Slater defending at the back for Newmarket as Dunnage sliding in to get the ball almost succeeds in playing Collinson in behind on the right. Gilmore dealing well inside her six yard box as Linger out wide sends a high looping ball into the area the keeper punching it down and claiming it on the bounce.
Another fee-kick given away by Hoddesdon central Linger to take another awkward ball for Gilmore bouncing before her skipping up off the surface inside the six yard box she pushes it wide for a corner on the left, the ball in long to the far post headed down, Hoddesdon scramble clear a shot fired back in from outside the box racing wide of the post. The game paused for drinks again both sides getting instructions from the bench. Leslie comes back on for Hoddesdon.
Newmarket get forwards a corner won on the right the delivery in low hear post met the header driven towards goal blocked on the line, Hoddesdon penned back as Newmarket win another corner on the left this one long to the far post play stopped however with a Hoddesdon player down as the ball is cleared. Dunnage bringing the ball on plays a crossfield pass to Crick left looking up she spots Collison breaking into the box on the right lifts the ball on, too close to Quinn-Nicholls giving the keeper the chance to claim the ball.
Hoddesdon have a set-piece wide left players up from the back as they continue their search for an equalising goal. A good ball put into the box Handley rising on the penalty spot to meet it with her header drives her effort wide of the right post. Hoddesdon pushing on more now Dunnage forwards on the right wins a free-kick outside the area, O’Connell to play it in Quinn-Nicholls punching t out of her six yard box. Injuries and free-kicks disrupting play, a little bit of frustration creeping into Hoddesdon’s play. Bailey away on the left holds the ball up Smith providing support up the line getting the ball sends a cross into the box Handley heading it away for Hoddesdon.
Kirwan winning the ball central is knocked on through the middle in behind puts O’Connell away to run in behind clear of the defence into the box right of goal pulls the trigger gets her shot across the keeper but agonisingly wide of the far post.
GOAL! The game moving into the final 5 minutes Newmarket break to double their lead the ball fired into Woodfield 30 yards out right channel she sends the ball on through for Cuthbert to run in clear after it into the box closing in on the keeper a composed finish putting it to her left to score at the near post and runs away into the corner to celebrate her teammates close behind 2-0.
Smith comes off for Newmarket as they send on another 16-year-old Eleanor McLeish. Hoddesdon push everyone forwards as they win a late corner, Newmarket defend the ball ending up on the roof of the net. A long range strike fired into the Newmarket box blocked the ball pinging back and forth put behind for another corner kick. Goes long but cleared straight to O’Connell top of the area her strike sent over.
Full time Newmarket Town Ladies 2-0 Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies
Newmarket win the game 2-0 to reach the League Plate final in their debut season at this level their opponents Histon Ladies. Ice lollies to celebrate as they walk off the pitch much needed with the sun still blazing down. Got the 2nd goal they needed in the end to make thing’s a little more comfortable. Later than they would have liked but with Hoddesdon pushing on trying to find an equaliser gaps would open. Hoddesdon frustrated not at their best had chances to score get back into the tie so long as it stayed a 1-0, Newmarket on the whole looking comfortable for the result and two very well taken goals see them through to the final.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Kristina O’Connell tried her best to get thing’s going for Hoddesdon. The Newmarket defence was superb in limiting attacks and putting in some vital tackles. Jess Linger’s set-pieces a constant threat, Brooke Wickens on the right with some great runs, over on the opposite side of the attack to Laura Bailey with some great runs and movement always an outlet on the wing coming close to scoring herself, she wins today’s award.
Good to see both sides in action at last this season, congratulations to Newmarket on reaching the final. A hot day both put in alot of effort, my thanks for the help with the teams this afternoon.