Sunday 13th September
ERWFL Premier Division
A new season begins in the ERWFL and it promises to be the most competitive yet. Begin this season with the match I had pencilled in next in the previous season before it was brought to an end by the ongoing COVID outbreak, St Ives Town Ladies at home to Haringey Borough Women.
With the 2019/20 season being declared null & void, it is the same 12 sides competing in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL) Premier Division this time around. A bitter pill to swallow for leaders Harlow Town Ladies unbeaten at the top of the league. Luton emerging as their closest rivals 3 points behind with a game in hand. That said it was a hard fought campaign with as many as 9 sides all pushing for a top 4 finish at one point. A new season begins and some big signings have been made by a number of clubs as they look to win the title and achieve promotion to the FAWNL above with it. Will be highly competitive once again.
St Ives Town Ladies entering their second season at this level having achieved promotion at the first attempt after joining the ERWFL. On a highly successful run since forming earning back to back promotions the young squad used to winning games the ERWFL Premier Division would pose big jump in terms of player performance and was a test right from the off for St Ives, missing a few key players with injury that season to such as goalkeeper Kira Markwell and attacker Tierney Coulson for a good spell. The squad had to adapt every game a battle at the wrong end of the table although well clear of the bottom two signs of progress were being made before the season was brought to an abrupt end. All the better for the experience adding the likes of Abbi Griffin and Ruth Fox to the squad during the season, 2 more Georgina Parrett and Hannah Johnson from Netherton have joined in the close season to add competition for places.
Haringey Borough Women are a long established side in the ERWFL, the North London club which cherishes and celebrates the diversity of its teams, had an inspiring season in 2016/17 under the guidance of manager Steve Browne who very sadly passed away from cancer before its conclusion, Haringey nevertheless pushing on together to win the ERWFL Premier Division and achieve promotion to the FAWNL in the process. Proved to be a difficult season at that level with several of that title winning squad departing, coming straight back down Haringey regrouped, finding themselves battling at the bottom of the table for the past two seasons adding a few new faces to the squad will be aiming to make there mark this campaign.
The venue today St Ives Town FC’s Westwood Road stadium, the pitch itself looking superb, lush and green, does have a distinct slope in one corner, but that could be used to your advantage if you can play a good ball down the flank. COVID measures in place as they are in all sporting venues now. Hot and cold drinks available. A bright sunny day, quite muggy although no chance of rain.
St Ives Town Ladies starting XI – Kira Markwell, Caitlin McGeown, Anna Hicks, Mollie Flack (C), Abbi Griffin, Ruth Fox, Ella Burnley, Hannah Seymour-Shove, Georgia Stancombe & Katie Stancombe. Subs – Tierney Coulson, Tia Everdell, Elisabeth Manuel & Sophie Majoram.
Haringey Borough Women starting XI – Kassandra Rukat, Shanice Nourrice, Charlee Vaz, Shernelle Francois, Valeria Hurtado Duran, Jaidene Browne (C), Lauren Duggan, Aaliyah Boyea, Angie Hernandez, Julia Carruthers & Beatriz Kretteis. Subs – Brooke Hills, Victoria Campbell & Nadine Franklin.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Haringey to kick-off the season opener, wearing yellow shirts with blue sleeves, blue shirts and yellow socks, St Ives in their home colours, black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. The visitors straight on the attack direct through the middle carve St Ives open Aaliyah Boyea seeing the ball into her feet top of the box looks to turn and shoot, St Ives captain Mollie Flack stabbing out a foot to take the ball away from her deflect the ball behind for a corner on the left.
Haringey captain Jaidene Browne taking the corner whipped in towards the near post St Ives smuggling it behind for a 2nd corner. Browne with another inswinging ball this time landing in the side netting. Haringey with a strong start push players on through the middle, striker Beatrix Kretteis almost powering her way through into the box. Julia Carruthers moving right as the ball in returned to her is fouled by St Ives Sasha Smith as she attempted to skip past her. The free-kick defended it’s Smith’s turn to be fouled on halfway her shirt tugged as she looks to mount an attack.
GOAL! Players go up as Smith places the ball down to deliver for St Ives her diagonal ball long picking out Ella Burnley who has made a good run to get in behind the Haringey defence, the angle against her the on rushing goalkeeper makes up her mind as she lobs the ball up over her and into the back of the empty net 1-0. 3 minutes played.
Haringey continue to look strong in the middle good link up play between Browne and Lauren Duggan playing a one two before Browne spotting Boyea peeling away to the right attempts to play her in, Smith able to get across her to play the ball back. St Ives build from the back the ball into midfield out to the right Georgia Stancombe to Burnley the ball cross in central towards the top of the box, midfielder Ruth Fox arriving hits it first time the back blocked at close range deflected away Haringey breaking getting away left side, Caitlin McGeown in to tackle break up the move.
Duggan getting away on the left breaking towards the area gets upended the visiting side awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position 20 yards out. Browne over it goes for goal, not a bad attempt, close but Markwell can watch it safely over her crossbar. McGeown charges on with the ball right side pushes it on into the path of Burnley, Shernelle Francois comes across well putting in the challenge to send the ball out for a throw in.
Haringey are looking dangerous on the break especially through the middle, direct at times but effective, Kretteis getting into some good positions. Anna Hicks coming out to close her down this time for St Ives. Markwell called into action in the St Ives goal, as Haringey get the ball on through the centre with pace players forwards Duggan to the right of the D, her knock on blocked the ball deflected straight back to her strikes it hard, low racing on towards goal, Markwell down smartly to her left to push the ball to safety.
Coming through the middle Haringey, Browne sends the ball up to Kretteis who has Boyea close to her looking to get in behind, flicks the ball on looking to pick her out, Flack quickly closing Boyea down the chance gone. Kretteis is causing problems for the St Ives defence pace and power taking the ball on into the box Flack backing off sticking out a boot to take the ball away from her, Duggan racing on to support Kretteis tries to play it back to Kretteis only for Flack to intercept and clear the danger.
It’s a good contest St Ives being tested at the back whilst making good use of the wide areas when bringing the ball out themselves. Kretteis is hard to shake off the ball running on takes it into the box held up turns to lay it back for the arriving Boyea she strikes it first time from 20 yards the shot swerving wide of the left post. Backing of from Kretteis 35 yards out she sees an opportunity to let loose a shot the diagonal ball running harmlessly wide across Markwell’s goal.
Georgia Stancombe moves away clear on the right for St Ives the ball fed up the line she takes it on well before squaring a cross into the box, Duggan tracking back into the box for Haringey get’s something on it deflecting it high into the air dropping before goal, Fox closing in challenging goalkeeper Kassandra Rukat for the ball, is loose the keeper down Fox can’t get control of it the ball put over for a goal kick. It’s hot out there and with 23 minutes played it’s time for a drinks break.
St Ives get straight on the attack from the restart Griffin playing a good ball out to Burnley on the right wing has another go from the angle this shot narrowly over the crossbar. St Ives beginning to exert some pressure in the final third winning a corner on the left inswinging near post Haringey get it behind for a 2nd corner. The ball into the six yard box this time controlled well by the defence and carried to safety by Boyea. Georgia Stancombe taking the ball on into the right channel gets a shot away the ball blocked deflected away for a corner. Fox isn’t being tracked by the Haringey midfield has made several good runs into the area ready to attack any ball floated in.
Boyea recieves the first yellow card of the game after a strong challenge on Hannah Seymour-Shove. The 1st half moving into the final 5 minutes St Ives make a change, Katie Stancombe coming off in attack for Elisabeth Manuel. Smith plays the ball up into the left channel as Fox breaks from the middle, Shanice Nourrice getting tight into her ensuring no way past. Boyea seeing the ball well into her body breaks it down turning to play the pass down the line as Kretteis breaks in behind chasing it to the byline crosses the ball landing in the side netting.
Fox getting the ball from Griffin turns sees Georgia Stancombe going on the right sends the ball up to her first touch a little heavy giving Vaz the chance to lunge in take it away from her. Georgia Stancombe in the closing seconds with a turn and hit from all of 30 yards out Rukat can watch it over her crossbar.
Half-time St Ives Town Ladies 1-0 Haringey Borough Women
Ella Burnley’s 3rd minute lob for St Ives the difference between the sides, the hosts leading 1-0. Has been a very competitive and enjoyable first half. Not too many clear cut chances but some good build up play to different styles. Haringey certainly more direct, but that doesn’t mean long balls have got it into feet well, Kretteis in particular a threat looking to take on defenders. St Ives using the width of the pitch better, especially the right, the final ball not finding its mark just yet.
St Ives enjoying the shade behind one goal during the half-time interval to kick off the 2nd half get straight on the attack Georgia Stancombe inside to Fox 20 yards out to hit on the turn her strike charged down and cleared. Stancombe plays the ball on down the right wing for Mandel to chase, holds it up in the corner as Stancombe gets up with her to offer support, manage to fire a low cross into the box, Duggan intercepting top of the six yard box her clearance almost presents it to the on rushing Fox but deflected back to Duggan she gets it away to safety.
Burnley brings the ball down well on the right wing before sending it on for Stancombe up the line she crosses early flashes in Vaz tracking back with Mandel central making a superb trap with her legs falling to nullify the attack. A bright start to the 2nd half from St Ives, Fox on the ball playing it left to Seymour-Shove her knock on cut out by Nourrice. Haringey manage to squeeze the ball through to Kretteis 25 out she turns well right of the area strikes it cleanly races wide across the six yard box. Burnley getting down the right wins her side a corner kick a good delivery swept into the area attacked by Fox her header sending it away from goal wide.
GOAL! 55 minutes played and St Ives capitalise on their good start to the 2nd half to take the lead. The ball pressured well in the middle of the park Seymour-Shove and Fox link up well to carry the ball on Seymour-Shove playing it on into Fox’s path closing in on the box left of the D strokes the ball low and fast wide of the static keeper to score 2-0.
Fox regaining possession passes it to Manuel on her left as St Ives come forwards, she spots Stancombe racing into the box from the right the cross lofted in towards her, Hurtado Duran with a great last ditch tackle taking the ball away from her conceding a corner kick. Smith with the delivery from the right, again into the run of Fox jumps well but can’t direct it on target. St Ives make a 2nd change Burnley coming off on comes Tia Everdell.
Haringey have been on the back foot for a large spell early in the 2nd half St Ives getting control of the middle of the park the visitors still pose a threat however and a snap shot from distance from Kretteis reminds the St Ives defence to stay alert. Carruthers 25 yards out through the middle has support from Boyea look in for a moment as Markwell comes racing out to the top of the area Boyea stabbing the ball past her but can’t direct it on target. Another drinks break called is hot out there, mustn’t complain however.
As play resumes Mandel finds herself played through in attack has Fox getting up the park to support the pass towards her cut out, Fox is quickly back to catch and tackle Boyea as she threatens to break for Haringey. Haringey keep possession in the St Ives half winning a corner, is a good delivery in from the left flashing over heads invitingly in the six yard box…
GOAL! From that corner St Ives break the corner long to their left gathered and played on quickly the home side race on Seymour-Shove on the ball down the wing has support inside from Fox and Mandel to her left. Seymour-Shove and Fox combine exchanging passes before breaking into the area left side the ball blocked skips loose for Manuel to latch onto take a touch and fire cross the keeper low into the bottom corner to score her first goal for the club 3-0.
St Ives are full of confidence now as McGeown races forwards right side to fire a low cross into the box, Hurtado Duran cutting it out well. Seymour-Shove comes off for St Ives with Katie Stancombe returning to the pitch. The hosts winning a corner on the right an inswinging ball threatening the Haringey goal keeper Rukat gets up well to punch it away behind for a 2nd corner this on taken long is cleared at the far post. For all their attacking, St Ives must stay on the guard at the back as Kretteis let’s a shot fly from distance left of the box shooting for the top corner Markwell must see it late but produces a superb diving save to her left to glove the ball away from a throw.
Fox with the ball at her feet central plays a fantastic ball out to the advancing McGeown on the right side, Hurtado Duran coming out quickly to meet her with a good tackle to win the ball back for Haringey. Haringey get up high on the left side a, Carruthers into Duggan to strike central outside the box the shot blocked by Hicks for St Ives. Markwell sees a ball safely into her midriff moments later as Kretteis has a strike from distance. Burnley returning to the action for St Ives as Georgia Stancombe comes off. Moments after her introduction Burnley wins a penalty as she is brought down clumsily inside the box by Duggan after the Haringey midfielder is caught in possession by the winger at the top of her box.
GOAL! Burnley setting the ball down on the spot hits it low to the keepers right, Rukat goes the right way down sharply makes the save getting her glove on the ball pushed back out into the box St Ives are quickest to react another shot blasted in put across goal Rukat is up quickly making a superb blocking save with her feet but is desperately unlucky then as the ball is put straight into the path of the penalty taker Burnley who makes no mistake this time blasting it high into the roof of the net to score her 2nd of the game less than 10 minutes to play 4-0.
Haringey look to get on St Ives backing off Hurtado Duran carries the ball into opposition territory, not closed down takes aim from 35 yards out on target the ball not troubling Markwell. The St Ives keeper sharply down at her near post to deny Kretteis from close range soon after as Nourrice wins it on the right for the visitors. The ball sent behind for a corner. Markwell getting a fist on the delivery before her defence send it clear.
Flack defending well against Kretteis as the Haringey forward holds the ball up well aiming to turn inside the box looking for power in her strike, Flack getting her leg in to block. Fox coming off in the closing stages replaced by Seymour-Shove. Boyea striking from a long way out for Haringey top of the centre circle Markwell watching it wide of her left post. One last attack for St Ives as Everdell bringing the ball down central puts it into the path of Mandel who strikes it hard Rukat down smartly to push it wide of her goal.
Full time St Ives Town Ladies 4-0 Haringey Borough Women
The final whistle blows and it’s St Ives who start their league campaign with a win 4-0 against Haringey. That result coupled with the only clean sheet kept on the opening day puts them top of the ERWFL Premier Division table. A strong 2nd half performance getting hold of the midfield and making good attacking runs seeing the hosts score a further 3 goals. A result that will give them plenty of confidence going forwards. Didn’t have it all their own way Haringey matching them 1st half mounting so good attacks of their own, the 2nd goal early on in the 2nd period seeing St Ives gain more confidence and push on for further goals the clean sheet up the other end just as important.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this weekends Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, these thing’s are rarely easy you know and today is no exception but I do have the benefit of a raft of notes collected to help me out. A few contenders to mention, firstly for Haringey, Beatriz Kretteis fantastic leading the line causing a threat pace and power, good ball control was perhaps unlucky not to have a goal to her name. For St Ives had it down to three, although it was a good all round team performance. Ella Burnley with two goals making some great attacking runs down the right. Georgia Stancombe really shone in the 2nd period edging them out though the award goes to Ruth Fox scored a great goal making a good run through the middle, did so throughout the game and gave her teammates a passing option whenever the hosts were in possession.
Good to finally see both sides at last has been a while for both enforced or otherwise, an enjoyable game the ERWFL Premier Division is going to be a great watch this season no doubt. My thanks to both sides for the team details much appreciated as always.