Sunday 5th May
Norfolk Ladies League Cup Final
Sprowston Ladies v Tavern Ladies
A brief rest before moving on to my 2nd game from today’s Norfolk Finals Day, the League Cup itself this season being contested by Sprowston Ladies from Division One taking on Division Two side Tavern Ladies.
Before that however the Ladies 7’s final was also taking place this afternoon on the pitch behind the main stadium. A repeat of last season’s final with Costessey Sports taking on Hellesdon Belles. Costessey Sports winning the final 6-2 last season to make it back to back wins were looking for a 3rd successive triumph, the pair drawing 1-1 at half-time, Costessey Sports went on to score twice more in the 2nd half to win the final 3-1 a continue thier dominance in the competition.
Easy to forget Sprowston Ladies are such a young side having done so well since joining the women’s leagues, alot of the squad together since early youth level have grown together as a team. Pushing Bungay Town Ladies all the way in the title race in Division One last season eventually clinching runners-up spot aswell as winning last season’s League Plate Final. A slower start to the season this time around some rebuilding to be done at the start of the season with a few players moving on to test themselves at a higher level.
Bringing in youth as is their tradition the squad slowly gained momentum little to be done to stop runaway leaders Thorpe United Ladies, Sprowston nevertheless climbing the table to reach 2nd as they completed their league fixtures. Have since dropped to 3rd with Gorleston Ladies overhauling them to finish runners-up. At finals day yet again saving some of their best form for the League Cup. Victoria Leyer once again top scorer with 28 goals so far this season.
Dereham based, Tavern Ladies are firmly amongst the sides challenging for promotion in Division Two, in 2nd position tied on points with Fakenham Town Ladies who have a game in hand, both looking to finish 2nd in the league the pendulum swinging back and fourth with a handful of games left. Have been in great form after making a losing start, scoring plenty of goals along the way. 74 goals between attackers Atlanta Griffith and Katie Hart-Copsey. Griffith with 23 of those whilst Hart-Copsey has scored an incredible 51 goals to date. The only side to defeat league champions Taverham Women United on their way to the Division Two title. A great run to reach the League Cup Final including knocking out the Division One champions, Thorpe United Ladies.
Road to the Final
A bye for Sprowston in the first round of the competition. Tavern Ladies were at their Scarning Playing Fields home taking on fellow Division Two side Bulldogs Ladies a comfortable 7-1 win seeing them progress.
Sprowston beginning their league Cup campaign in the 2nd Round in the New Year away to fellow Division One side Aylsham Ladies who had shown great form in the first half of the season. There to watch as Sprowston put in a dominant performance to win the game 7-1 with both Amee Kennett and Leyer scoring a brace. Tavern were at home again taking on a fellow Division Two side, Bure Valley Wildcats Ladies, leading 2-0 at half-time Tavern added a further two goals 2nd half to reach the quarter finals.
Sprowston at home to Division Two title chasers Fakenham Town Ladies, another dominant performance saw them leading 4-0 at half-time, Leyer scoring 5 goals in the match helping them on to a 10-0 victory. Tavern were at home for a 3rd time taking on Hockering Ladies the Division Two side reinstated to the competition after holders Bungay Town Ladies were removed from the competition having infringed the rules. Hockering struggling for numbers all season suffering a big loss with both Griffith and Hart-Copsey scoring 4 goals each on their way to a 12-0 win.
Into the semi-finals Tavern looking the underdogs in a strong line-up. Sprowston young guns away to the even younger Taverham Women United. 3-1 to the good against the Division Two leaders at half-time, a hat-trick for Abby Hutchin along with another 4 goals for Leyer seeing Sprowston into a 2nd successive final winning the game 8-1. Tavern were at home again taking on Division One leaders Thorpe United Ladies a battling performance seeing the sides all square at 1-1 at half-time Tavern scoring late on in the 2nd half to win the game 2-1 and reach their first ever final.
We’re still at Plantation Park so nothing has changed from the first game, the rain hasn’t come which is fantastic remaining chilly in the shade the pitch hard dust coming off the surface as the ball is struck. Tavern in particular bringing good support, their the more vocal at least.
Sprowston Ladies starting XI – Megan Lightfoot, Evie Tolson, Georgina Belton, Calista Tink (C), Hannah Roe, Ria Drake, Abbi Nobbs, Abby Hutchin, Millie rake, Amee Kennett & Victoria Leyer. Subs – Jade Mundford, Rebecca Basten & Chelsea Brister.
Tavern Ladies starting XI – Zoe Gibbons, Emily Fusco, Danni Lee, Roxy Bailey, Lydia Hooper, Millie Bell (C), Nicole Costin, Meganne Smith, Lucy Kean, Atlanta Griffith & Katie Hart-Copsey. Subs – Natalie Merry, Jordie Head & Gemma Higgot.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Sprowston to get the League Cup final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing orange coloured shirts with black across the top and shoulders, black shorts and orange socks. Tavern lined up opposite with an all blue kit with white trim. Sprowston look to play the ball out to the right, Nicole Costin straight in to win the ball for Tavern cutting the ball out playing it on to Hart-Copsey in attack, Sprowston captain Calista Tink marking her winning the ball.
Atlanta Griffith bringing the ball on through the middle for Tavern looks to send it on for Hart-Copsey pulling away to the left, Georgina Belton across to intercept for Sprowston. Costin with a strike from distance the ball bouncing up off the hard surface, grabbed by Sprowston goalkeeper, Megan Lightfoot. A higher tempo to the game straight away from this mornings match, Tavern taking the game to Sprowston, Griffith with some forceful runs early on has support from Lucy Kean to her right playing the ball to her the cross into the box is long.
Abby Hutchin with a strong run with the ball bringing it on covering alot of ground the ball put on into the area for Leyer stopped form shooting by Tavern’s Roxy Bailey pushing her wide Leyer managing to squeeze a cross into the six yard box the ball headed clear. Sprowston win a corner on the right Tink up from the back meeting it near post turned goalwards Tavern with bodies in front of goal scrambling it clear. Hart-Copsey moving left to get onto the ball plays it in field to Griffith 25 yards out she has a shot the ball in comfortable for Lightfoot.
Tink lunging into the tackle blocks Griffith as she gets in to shoot right outside the box. Both sides closing down and press the attack one the ball is won. Nobbs tackling playing the ball up to Leyer in attack, Lydia Hooper putting a foot in to take the ball away from her. Leyer prepared to take players on gets the ball from Amee Kennett on the left bringing it in field lets fly from 20 yards out her effort racing wide across the Tavern goal.
Leyer holding the ball up 25 yards out sends it on up the line left for Kennett, Emily Fusco preventing the cross for Tavern. Griffith on the ball attacking right for Tavern 20 yards out squares the cross inside to Hart-Copsey struck first time the shot lacking pace gathered by Lightfoot. The Tavern strikers combining again, Griffith on the right bringing the ball on inside to Hart-Copsey once more shoots from the angle, Lightfoot down at her near post to save.
Leyer racing into space on the right channel in behind into the box goalkeeper Zoe Gibbons out to close her down, the Sprowston attacker getting her shot away Gibbons with minimal contact on the ball slowing it down enough as it runs on towards goal to allow Hooper running back to clear the ball off the line. Tavern under pressure Sprowston get bodies forwards on the right winning a corner the ball put in near post headed on by Tink met by Kennett at the back post she smashes a shot in high Gibbons saving tipping the ball over.
GOAL! From the resulting corner the lead is gained, Tink the target once again the ball sent in towards the near post the defender glancing it on into the middle dropping into a crowded six yard box the ball is driven in towards goal hitting the hoardings behind the net bounces back out, Sprowston after a brief moment of hestitation celebrating the goal, Georgina Belton with the telling touch. 1-0. 20 minutes played.
A change for Sprowston Millie Drake coming off on comes Chelsea Brister. Griffith continues to make threatening runs through the middle played on by captain Millie Bell strikes from 25 yards out a swerving shot caught well by Lightfoot. Belton pushing on up the right for Sprowston the ball crossed into the area Leyer making a near post run, Hooper winning it for Tavern. A nasty looking fall for Kean in the middle as she goes down under challenge landing heavily on her back jars her neck play immediately stopped the trainer rushing on. A pause whilst she is assessed up gingerly looked painful sensibly is brought off for further assessment, Jordie Head the player coming on.
Hooper and Bailey combine to dispossess Leyer as she tries to force her way through the middle into the box the ball cleared to the right Sprowston keep it alive Kennett to cross in Leyer hooking a shot over from 8 yards out. Rebecca Basten on for Sprowston for Ria Drake. Leyer given time and space 20 yards out to tee up a strike central the ball racing in low pushed away by Gibbons diving to her right. Nobbs onto Hutchin the ball put over the top for Leyer to burst in behind Bailey recovering well to get back across her so shield the ball into her keeper. Tavern doing well competitive, Griffith forwards shooting from distance safely held by Lightfoot, Tavern having nothing inside Sprowston’s box yet with Tink marking Hart-Copsey well.
Belton brought down by Bell getting on cutting inside from the right a free-kick 25 yards out, Hannah Roe forwards to take, an ambitious effort trying to get the ball to loop in over the keeper near post the ball instead dropping wide. Brister winning a corner right for Sprowston met again by Tink coming near post the attempt turned wide. Costin tracks Hutchin as she tries to get away on the right tackling to regain the ball.
Hutchin upended by Smith central late in the first half a change before it’s taken Smith coming off Kean back on. Mayhem in the box from the free kick put up towards the top of the box Tink heading it down into the middle Leyer latching onto it inside the six yard box left of goal, Gibbons down at her feet the ball almost squeezing through Gibbons plucking it off the line, cleared straight to Brister positioned at the opposite post shoots Gibbons still grounded with a fantastic save throwing herself towards the ball getting a arm up to parry it away, the defence scrambling the ball clear.
Danni Lee cutting out a ball played inside for the right to prevent Leyer getting into the box. Nobbs winning the ball in the middle on for Leyer 30 yards out has a go the shot held by Gibbons.
Half-time Sprowston Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies
A narrow lead for Sprowston at half-time 1-0 up, could and probably should have had more but for heroic goalkeeping from Gibbons looking solid through the middle Tink, Nobbs, Hutchin and Leyer in attack all doing well. Tavern playing their part however competitive battling for the ball getting forwards whenever they have the ball Griffith with some great runs shots from outside the box not troubling Lightfoot so far. Tavern to get the 2nd half underway the ball put to the right, Tolson closing Fusco down the ball pressed early the ball ending up behind for a goalkick Tavern break as the ball is played long up top for Hart-Copsey to chase, Roe in to tackle the ball wide for a throw in.
Griffith up on the right does well to win Tavern a corner the ball delivered from the right by Hart-Copsey won by Tink for Sprowston inside the box. Getting forwards Hutchin on the ball right plays it inside to Leyer top of the area hooks her first time strike wide of the near post. Kennett bringing the ball forwards left with the diagonal ball central for Leyer 25 yards out, pushed wide by Bailey nevertheless gets a cross away into the box with Tolson after it Gibbons rushing forwards their first to kick clear.
Leyer lively in attack keeping the Tavern defence on their toes Nobbs putting the ball on into her run, Hooper defending concedes the corner. Players up for the corner ball angled towards the top of the area a shot driven in blocked by Costin comes back out meet by a Sprowston attack the ball sent over the bar. Leyer pressing the defence the ball outside the box running int Tolson central pokes a shot wide of the left post.
A free-kick to Tavern on the left into Griffith central has support from Kean getting forwards on her left sending her the pass Kean checks back inside getting a shot away from outside the box. Lightfoot behind it saving comfortably. Sprowston with a corner left taken short the cross put in from the top of the area Tink with the near post run, Hooper going with her blocking her shot. Bell brought down central a free-kick to Tavern, Costin to send it up into the area, Tink winning the header. Sprowston pushing for a 2nd goal Leyer in particular as she drives into the area from the left, checks her run to try and find a half yard to unleash a shot, Bailey putting her body on the line to block.
The referee playing the advantage as Kean coming on is fouled by Tink, the ball rebounding in behind Hart-Copsey after it left shooting from the edge of the box a deflection seeing the ball put wide for a corner kick. Sprowston winning the header at the near post the ball sent over the bar. Tavern working hard in defence to keep the scoreline down whilst Costin and Kean try to get on to support Griffith and Hart-Copsey in attack. Belton is down having taken a knock to the ankle cannot continue helped off the field on comes Jade Mundford.
Head on the right for Tavern getting forwards with support from Fusco wins a throw high up the pitch, Griffith then getting Tavern a corner kick. Hart-Copsey making a near post run meeting the ball to hook it towards goal, Lightfoot back on her line claiming the high ball. Hutchin picking up the ball deep allowed to drive on through the middle almost squeezes through in on goal, Bailey in to tackle sends the ball behind. Natalie Merry coming on for Tavern replacing Bell. The game entering the final 15 minutes still just the one goal in it.
Costin winning the ball on the right plays it central on for Griffith, Basten closing her down winning the tackle for Sprowston. Millie Drake back on for Sprowston replacing Roe. Costin bringing the ball on right Fusco past her on the overlap receiving the ball crosses into the box, Basten beating Hart-Copsey to the ball. Kean pushing forwards with the ball getting into the box, closed down plays the ball back to Griffith top of the box she strikes a shot up over the bar.
Leyer carrying the ball on right coming inside, Merry sliding in to tackle and win the ball for Tavern look to get the ball up field, Nobbs cutting it out. Fusco’s momentum coming forwards sees her collide with Kennett on halfway a free-kick for Sprowston left Nobbs putting the ball on Tolson breaking clear into the box left Gibbons coming out to close her down, the shot past her defenders racing back Hooper with the clearance. A corner on the left Tavern defend the ball played forwards a late change for Tavern with Gemma Higgott on for Lee little time to make an impact as Sprowston prevent Tavern getting out of their half to see the final whistle blow and celebrate winning this season’s League Cup.
Full time Sprowston Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies
An entertaining final played at a good tempo both sides committed, Tavern contesting the ball trying to find a reply in the 2nd period having gone a goal down in the first half. Sprowston limiting their opportunities, not able to find a 2nd goal themselves 2nd half half and make the result more comfortable. Sprowston having the better of the chances, Leyer in particular a threat in attack. Tavern with a creditable performance edged out by a single goal.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
A second Women’s Football East – Player of the Match to give this afternoon, several notable performances from both sides. Atlanta Griffith with some great runs with the ball a threat for Tavern, Nicole Costin with some fine tackles in midfield too. For Sprowston Calista Tink strong in defence keeping a close watch on Hart-Copsey especially first half a threat up the other end in the box too. Victoria Leyer pushing forwards in attack always willing to take players on. Abby Hutchin with several storming runs on the ball. The award however goes to Abbi Nobbs the unsung heroine of the side solid in the middle winning the ball and happy for others to take it on in attack, ready whenever possession breaks down.
Congratulations to Sprowston Ladies on winning this season’s Norfolk Ladies League Cup
Another enjoyable day watching the Norfolk Ladies League Plate and Cup Finals, my thanks to everyone for there help this afternoon, the clubs and committee members much appreciated.