Sunday 22nd January
Norfolk Women’s County Cup sponsored by Harrod Sport
A later than arranged kick-off time for today’s featured match on Women’s Football East with today’s Norfolk Women’s County Cup 3rd Round tie between Long Stratton Women and Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women moved to Easton College’s 3G pitch due to the pitches at Manor Road being frozen.
Another weekend seeing numerous games called off across the East and beyond due to the cold weather, the fixtures beginning to pile up for some teams. Both of today’s opponents keen to get today’s match on (already postponed from last weekend) with the pair also scheduled to meet in the quarter finals of the League Cup next weekend.
A place in the last eight of the Norfolk Women’s County Cup up for grabs with the seeded teams, Norwich City Women, Wroxham Women and King’s Lynn Town Ladies entering the competition. The draw having already taken place seeing Long Stratton or Dussindale & Hellesdon avoiding one of the seeded teams a huge opportunity present itself to reach the last 4 of the competition.
Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women the form team in Norfolk Women’s Division One leading the table by 8 points losing just one of their 9 games played to date. A strong looking squad scoring plenty of goals, Shanice Sutton leading the way in the goal scoring charts for Dussindale & Hellesdon netting 19 goals to date from 8 matches played. A bye in the first round of the County Cup won away from home 5-0 to Division Town newcomers Aylsham FC Women to book their spot in the 3rd Round. Have played Long Stratton twice in the league already this season, with Long Stratton imposing their only league defeat 4-2 at home back at the start of October. Dussindale & Hellesdon winning the reverse fixture 6-2 at the end of the same month.
Set to face Dussindale & Hellesdon at home in consecutive ties in both the County and League Cup, Long Stratton know they have a tough task if they wish to progress, but in recent season’s under their new management team have built a squad that has become competitive in Norfolk Division One and looking to mix it up with the sides competing at the top end of the table. Currently 5th whilst only 3 points behind 2nd placed Thetford Town Ladies, Long Stratton received a huge injury blow losing captain and prolific goal scorer, Samantha Walker to a nasty elbow injury that has kept her on the side-lines for some time. Strike partner Luci Middleton joining Long Stratton after coming out of retirement last season doing well to fill the void up top scoring 20 goals to date from 8 played this term. New additions to the squad in recent weeks, with Summer Copland joining from Wroxham along with Grace Murphy and Lucy Eagle both dual signed with Woodbridge. Long Stratton receiving a bye in both the previous rounds of the competition this their 1st competitive action since the 4th December.
The venue for the re arranged kick-off Easton College’s 3G pitch, has been a while since I’ve seen a woman’s football match here again in the county cup was blowing a typhoon that day as Norwich racked up a 20 plus score over an earlier incantation of Mulbarton Belles (different animal these days). Weather’s still rubbish, thankfully dry but bitterly cold minus barely above freezing. The pitch fenced but open to the elements quite short a viewing area on one side for spectators.
Long Stratton Women starting XI – Jody Todd, Emily Ransome-Farmer, Summer Whiting, Megan Vincent, Alice Flatt, Milly Cawcutt, Kate Ransome-Farmer (C), Megan Bird, Emma Allsopp, Mary-Anne Hoy & Luci Middleton. Subs – Summer Copland, Megan O’Connor, Mia Wilkinson, Lucy Eagle & Sam Walker.
Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women starting XI – Tyla Cole, Rachel Bussey, Sieska Humphries, Bethan Taylor, Calista Tink (C), Hannah Coombe, Georgina Belton, Abby Hutchin, Karolina Kowalczyk, Victoria Leyer & Shanice Sutton. Subs – Chelsea Brister, Kirstie Rusted & Betty Booker.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
The players gathering on the centre circle before kick-off as the clubs that were able to this weekend across the county share in a ‘clap for Amber’ in remembrance of Horsford FC U9s player Amber Sheehy who sadly lost her battle with cancer last week.
Sam Walker named on the bench for Long Stratton ready to make her return with new signings, Lucy Eagle and Summer Copland also named amongst the subs. The sun low in the sky as captain’s Kate Ransome-Farmer for Long Stratton and Dussindale & Hellesdon’s Calista Tink shake hands before the match. Long Stratton wearing red shirts with black shorts and red socks to kick-off the game Dussindale & Hellesdon in an all sky blue kit.
The ball played back to the defence, Dussindale & Hellesdon rush in to close down the ball press Long Stratton outside their box, won back fed into Shanice Sutton pulling off into the right channel, Summer Whiting defending for Long Stratton the ball out for a throw in. Dussindale & Hellesdon making a fast start as Sieska Humphries bringing the ball on from left back sends it down the wing for Karolina Kowalczyk, Emily Ransome-Farmer getting back at her to challenge for the ball for Long Stratton the ball cleared into midfield coming straight back dropping to Sutton who slices a 25 yards first time effort wide of the top corner.
Abby Hutchin pulling away right for Dussindale & Hellesdon as they mount a rapid attack on for Sutton her quick diagonal ball in the box sees Long Stratton goalkeeper Jody Todd rush out and get down quickly to get hold of the ball before Victoria can get onto the end of it. Dussindale & Hellesdon pressing the ball inside the Long Stratton half forcing rushed passes intercepting misplaced balls a strike from distance picking Todd out back on her goal line
The ball hotly contested in the middle both sides snapping at each other Hannah Coombe for Dussindale & Hellesdon getting it into Georgina Belton to play forwards, Sutton involve as it runs on through to Kowalczyk top of the D, going with the outside of her right boot, her attempted shot dropping wide of the near post. With ten players back behind the ball, Luci Middleton up top is the outlet for Long Stratton captain Kate Ransome-Farmer playing a good pass forwards sees the attack with a chance to break clear of the defence 30 yards out to the left of the area, Dussindale & Hellesdon goalkeeper Tyla Cole committing herself early to come racing out to the top of her area to close the angle, Middleton opting for the early strike sending the ball past the keeper, missing the target beyond.
A throw won high on the left for Dussindale & Hellesdon worked well inside played across the top of the Long Stratton area comes to Sutton drags her shot wide from 20 yards out. Long Stratton are pegged back inside their half cautious about giving Dussindale & Hellesdon any space in behind, means Middleton up top is often isolated, getting the ball into her a challenge not to mention getting support up with her. A fierce battle for the ball going on in the middle. Belton bringing the ball on throw the centre for Dussindale & Hellesdon feeding a great ball through to Kowalcyzk out on the left, drags it on looking to get on down the line, Emily Ransom-Farmer quick to regain the ground get back on the winger to make the tackle.
GOAL! Just past the 10 minute mark and the dead lock is broken, Dussindale & Hellesdon capitalising on their good start to take the lead, the attack beginning with Humphries sending Kowalcyzk away on the left, the ball played inside in Leyer worked across the top of the area, Long Stratton don’t clear as the ball comes to Belton right of the D some 25 yards out, puts her foot through the ball a powerful hit sent across the keeper to dip into the bottom corner 0-1.
Long Stratton look to get on the attack from the restart with Kate Ransome-Farmer busy in the middle of the park winning the ball driving into her opponents half and playing a diagonal ball out to the right for Mary-Ann Hoy to give chase, Humphries going with her defending for Dussindale & Hellesdon to play the ball out for a throw in. The goal conceded seeing long Stratton becoming more pro active going after the ball Megan Bird linking up with Emma Allsopp as they attempt to get the ball into Middleton up top closely marked by Dussindale & Hellesdon’s Bethan Taylor.
Kate Ransome-Farmer winning the ball for Long Stratton on for Middleton in attack, looks to drive forwards, tackled 25 yards out, Ransome-Farmer continuing her run picking up the loose ball surging for the box left of the D, is evenly stopped by Dussindale & Hellesdon’s Rachel Bussey. With the game becoming more open it opens up the counter attack for Dussindale & Hellesdon as Sutton getting hold of the ball on halfway comes forwards threading her pass into the box for Leyer breaking inside right to the six yard box pulls the trigger, Todd with a superb save at her near post down to deflect the ball wide across her goal for a corner kick.
Milly Cawcutt taking a blow in the back down in need of treatment for Long Stratton both sides taking the opportunity to head to their bench for further instruction. Cawcutt up holding her back is replaced as Long Stratton make a change bringing on Lucy Eagle for her debut. Into the action straight away on the right looking to get up with Middleton the ball fed into her feet, Middleton central turned into traffic tackled by Taylor, Kate Ransome-Farmer up with play however snatching hold of the loose ball rushing forwards is tackled by Dussindale & Hellesdon captain Calista Tink.
Coombs into Hutchin on for Leyer looks to send Kowalcyzk in behind on the left, Emily Ransome-Farmer stretching into the tackle to deny her getting into the box. Eagle looking to get up and support Middleton in attack for Long Stratton put the defence under a little bit of pressure. The pair combining as Middleton plays the pass on for Eagle attacking right her high ball clipped into box claimed cleanly by Cole. Up the other end Sutton with a sharp turn and hit 20 yards out right of the D off a Hutchin pass has Todd scrambling across her goal but runs narrowly wide.
Kate Ransome-Farmer winning the tackles for Long Stratton the ball played up to Middleton a heavy touch sees the ball given away and Dussindale & Hellesdon get straight on the counter the ball brought on by Hutchin on for Leyer, Alice Flatt winning it at the back for Long Stratton. Hutchin and Ransome Farmer enjoying a good contest in the middle of the park battling for the ball looking to get forwards with it.
Eagle coming right on for Middleton to take on pushing for the right corner of the area, Humphries sliding in to try and stop the cross, Middleton gets the ball in across the six yard box cleared out of the ground by Taylor. A throw high on the right for Long Stratton worked well by Eagle and Kate Ransome-Farmer the cross into the area headed away by Tink for Dussindale & Hellesdon. Belton coming right with the ball for Dussindale & Hellesdon her cross into the top of the Long Stratton area intercepted by Flatt.
Eagle coming forwards through the middle linking with Middleton getting the return pass to carry the ball on right channel, under pressure from Humphries shoots early the ball swerving away from goal. The introduction of Eagle has added more bite to Long Stratton in the attacking third leading to a more open game, the defence staying deep to prevent getting turned Summer Copland joining the action for Long Stratton replacing Allsopp. Humphries up on the left to support Kowalcyzk out wide the ball worked between them moving inside, Bird coming back to regain possession for Long Stratton.
Middleton seeing the ball into her feet well, laying it off for Eagle to take it n right channel her cross fizzed across the top of the area cleared by Tink. Eagle a good outlet for Long Stratton high on the right her cross dropped long through the six yard box, Hoy missing her volley at the far post. Flatt defends well at the back for Long Stratton as Kowalcyzk attempts to get onto the end of a superbly cushioned down touch from Sutton. Sutton looking to run onto a Leyer ball put on for her into the box, Megan Vincent composed to get across the attacker to shield the ball back to her keeper.
Todd with another top draw save at the near post to deny Sutton on the angle from close range as she strikes it on the volley, albeit the flag raised Todd had to react and reacted excellently to throw herself up to tip the ball away.
The 1st half drawing to a close is bitterly cold out there not ideal conditions for having the ball blasted into at close range as Emily Ransome-Farmer will testify.
Half-time Long Stratton Women 0-1 Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women
Georgina Belton’s 11th minute strike the difference between the sides going into the half-time interval. Dussindale & Hellesdon with the better start getting after the ball, Long Stratton sitting deep not willing to concede any space in behind were under pressure early on with just Luci Middleton up top the only passing option easily marshalled by the Dussindale & Hellesdon defence the goal changing the pattern of the game Long Stratton opening up looking to take the game to Dussindale & Hellesdon with the introduction of Lucy Eagle adding another thrust to their attack the game becoming more open. Dussindale & Hellesdon still creating the better chances forcing a couple for good saves from goalkeeper Jody Todd. The temperature rapidly dropping it remains all to play for going into the 2nd half.
Changes for both sides at the break with Long Stratton bringing Megan O’Connor for Hoy. Dussindale & Hellesdon bringing on Chelsea Brister replacing Kowalcyzk on the left. Dussindale & Hellesdon to get the 2nd half underway defending a 1 goal lead. Looking to get on the front foot Sutton with an early speculative effort dropping wide from long range.
Todd holing onto another vicious strike sent in from range, then Sutton drags a shot wide from 25 yards out to the right of goal as the pass is rolled into her Hutchin after a bursting run from the middle. Dussindale & Hellesdon pushing Long Stratton back early on in the 2nd period preventing them from getting out of their half.
GOAL! Again that fast start brings Dussindale & Hellesdon a goal as Hutchin picks the ball up in the 50th minute and pushes forwards into the right channel before whipping a dangerous ball in across the face of goal, Todd diving forwards attempting to push it away doesn’t get it clear as Leyer running in on the follow up at the far post, puts her foot through the ball to send it home 0-2.
Long Stratton responding with another change bringing off Whiting with Mia Wilkinson slotting in at left back. Copland coming forwards with the ball for Long Stratton moving left sending the pass on for O’Connor holds it up in the corner rolling it back into Copland to turn inside move a towards the D laying it off for Eagle before turning into the area, Eagle’s cushioned lay off looking to pick her out inside the six yard box, Tink getting her foot through the ball first to clear for Dussindale & Hellesdon.
A throw in the corner on the left for Long Stratton Wilkinson and O’Connor between them working a cross into the Dussindale & Hellesdon area half cleared a shot smashed back in from around the D fired wide. Sutton coming into the middle for the ball turns well to lay it on for Leyer who in turn looks to open her body to thread the ball through to put Brister in behind the Long Stratton defence holding their line well to catch her offside.
O’Connor adding some pace to Long Stratton’s attack on the left pushes on into the box, Bussey holding her up as Cole gets down to lay claim to the ball. Belton with a good run with the ball on into Leyer attempts to play it into the path of Hutchin as she breaks forwards, a timely interception from Flatt for Long Stratton. Tink coming out to meet O’Connor and clear the ball as Eagle attempts to play her on down the left channel.
Cole dives down to her left to save as Copland unleashes a 20 yard strike from the top of the D after Eagle rushes in to win the ball high up the pitch. Straight up the other end another yet another top draw save from Todd in the Long Stratton goal as Hutchin powers forwards with the ball into the box left side pulling the trigger from close range Todd down to save with her legs to deflect the ball away, Belton onto the cleared ball to strike over from distance. Long Stratton making another change which sees captain Sam Walker return to the pitch after a 4 month injury layoff with just over an hour played replacing Bird.
Middleton moving into the right channel threatening with the ball but Cole moving out to the edge of her area quickly gets down to make the save. Walker out on the right strong on the ball pushing down the line Humphries on her shoulder keeping her from turning inside her cross going behind for a goal kick. Sutton winning the ball for Dussindale & Hellesdon out on the right, struck infield Leyer getting it down to strike from distance puts it straight at Todd the keeper with a comfortable take.
A collision between Todd and Sutton as the keeper goes to clear the ball from where I was which was a good way away looked as if Todd caught Sutton on her follow through unavoidable but Sutton isn’t happy needs to be calmed down and even then not before a yellow card is issued. Dussindale & Hellesdon are getting players forwards well around the Long Stratton penalty box a strike from distance I didn’t see who flashing in to strike the top of the crossbar and go out for a goal kick.
Betty Booker coming on for Dussindale & Hellesdon with 15 minutes of regular time left replacing Coombes. Although it has been a competitive game free-kicks have been few and far between, Dussindale & Hellesdon getting one in a dangerous position some 25 yards out left of the D as Belton is brought down after a strong run on the ball. Stays down struggling with cramp a lot of effort gone into the midfield battle. Brister on the set-piece going for goal goes for it sent over the bar. Long Stratton are beginning to tire dropping off the ball Dussindale & Hellesdon getting players forwards winning more of the ball.
Todd is keeping the score line down for Long Stratton as she pulls off another quality save with Leyer on the drive with the ball shooting across the keeper from 25 yards out, Todd throwing herself down to send the ball behind for a corner on he right. An opportunity to take it short with Bussey moving into space, are almost caught out as O’Connor latches onto the ball and threatens to break Hutchin getting across to tackle. Dussindale & Hellesdon pushing up winning a corner on the left.
An inswinging delivery is cleared behind for a 2nd corner at the near post. Again whipped in low to the near post is blocked on the post by the defender covering out deflected out into the crowded penalty box Long Stratton’s defence make two more vital blocks before a third strike is turned over the bar. Another free-kick won in a dangerous position outside the D for Dussindale & Hellesdon again it’s Brister on it. Struck well low with pace avoiding the wall Todd scrambling across her goal can’t reach it the ball cannoning off the base of the post deflected wide across the face of goal.
Walker on the right winning Long Stratton a corner put in near side not taken cleanly back to the taker for a 2nd crossing attempt turned behind at the near post for a goal kick. Dussindale & Hellesdon making a change late on bringing on Kirstie Rusted for Sutton. Copland bringing the ball on for Long Stratton left on for O’Connor wide held up Wilkinson getting up in support looks to travel infield, tackled by Bussey. Kowalcyzk also back into the action smashing a strike over from 25 yards out following a lay off from Leyer up top.
Walker and O’Connor looking to get on the offensive late on for Long Stratton with the former sending in a cross along the top of the area for O’Connor stretching the Dussindale & Hellesdon defence, Tink doing well timing her sliding tackle to win the ball back. Allsopp back on the pitch late on for Middleton. Hutchin still with energy to burn as she carries the ball on from the middle before blasting a shot over the cross bar from 25 yards.
GOAL! The game moving into the final minute Dussindale & Hellesdon picking holes in the tiring Long Stratton defence as Rusted puts the ball on into the box for Brister attacking the six yard box Todd closing her down Brister striking the ball under her from six yards to add a 3rd goal 0-3.
That virtually the last action of the game as the final whistle blowing soon after the restart.
Full time Long Stratton Women 0-3 Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women
In the end a convincing win for Dussindale & Hellesdon winning by 3 goals to nil. The goal at the death perhaps a little harsh on Long Stratton, but nevertheless a deserved result Dussindale & Hellesdon starting the game well on the attack to open the scoring in the 11th minute, repeating the feat early in the 2nd half to take a 2 goal lead to control the tie. Long Stratton working hard keeping a solid back line for much of the game competing without threatening to tear open their opponents defence, six weeks without a game taking it’s toll in the finish their new signings looking good and a much welcome sight to see Sam Walker back out on the pitch. Dussindale & Hellesdon good for their win a strong all round performance will face either Division One strugglers Stalham Town Ladies or Division Two leaders KLSC Women away from home in the quarter finals with at least 2 NWGFL sides gaurenteed to reach the county cup semi-finals.
Women’s Football East -Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match was a competitive tie with several players putting themselves forwards for consideration. For Long Stratton Jody Todd pulled off a number of top draw saves to keep the score line down and keep her side it the game for as long as possible. Lucy Eagle really added a new dimension to the side and looks to be a great addition to the squad. Kate Ransome-Farmer was excellent in the middle of the park battling for the ball and looking to get forwards. An strong all round team performance from Dussindale & Hellesdon although one player has edged herself ahead of the rest. Bethan Taylor and Calista Tink were solid in the centre of the defence, nothing got through. In midfield Georgina Belton made a number of tackles and played some excellent passes. The award though goes to Abby Hutchin was a competitive tussle in the middle and more often than not came away with the ball at her feet to take the game to Long Stratton and link with the attack.
Fair play to both sides for getting the game on with a change of venue when all bar one other game fell by the wayside in the county again. A chilly game at Easton College’s 3G but great to see a competitive tie, my thanks to both sides for their help with the line ups good to see both in action. Thanks too to Scott Grearhardy for the extra pictures. They meet again to do it all again in the League Cup next weekend.
by Darren Gilham