Match Report – Milton Keynes Dons Women v Keynsham Town Ladies

Sunday 1st May

FAWNL Southern Premier Division

 The beginning of May sees some mammoth games taking place on the final day of fixtures across the FAWNL, one in particular in the Southern Premier Division as Milton Keynes Dons Women host Keynsham Town Ladies in a must win game to see them extend their tier 3 status into a 5th season.

  25 matches played and it all comes down to the final game of the season. Plymouth Argyle Women getting the point they needed to survive in midweek against Bridgwater leaving it between Milton Keynes Dons Women and Cardiff City Ladies on the final day. Milton Keynes with the advantage 2 points clear of 10th placed Cardiff. A better goal difference too for Milton Keynes would mean a point would be enough so long as Cardiff don’t win by 4 clear goals a tall order as they travel to league champions Southampton FC Women who have lost just once this season. Victory guarantees safety for Milton Keynes and that is very much the aim.

  Milton Keynes making a terrible start to the 2021/22 campaign in an expanded league of 14 sides following the Covid hit season’s previously. The down side as the FA looks to balance thing’s up again next season 4 are most likely to go down. Losing 8 of their opening 10 league games with just 2 points gained Milton Keynes looked in serious trouble. Back to back wins at the turn of the year giving the side something to take forwards into the new year. Player departures and injuries, notably to captain Laura Bright with a serious ACL injury that will keep her on the side lines for some time. The squad has fought on though and in stark contrast the 2n half of the season has seen Milton Keynes win 5, along with some hard fought draws particularly against title chasing Ipswich Town Women to see them claw there way out of the bottom 4 and get themselves into the position they are now with their fate still in their own hands, one more push needed.

  In complete contrast, today’s opponents Keynsham Town Ladies have had a terrible 2nd half of the season winning just once the losses stacking up some heavy defeats along the way too to see them pulled into the relegation mix and 2nd bottom their 3 year stay in the Southern Premier Division comes to an end. Down the bottom of the table all season a 3 game winning streak a strong response after 2 heavy losses getting them out of the bottom 4. Just one win since doesn’t mean Milton Keynes can take anything for granted Keynsham beating them 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in November.

  Stadium MK the venue for today’s match, Milton Keynes Dons Women playing the bulk of their matches here. A great venue to host any game of football, the mens side narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to the Championship with be hoping the achieve that goal through the play-offs. Will be hosting several matches too during this summers Women’s Euro’s which is on course to be fantastic for the further growth of the women’s game in the country, will be back here for a couple of games myself including the semi-final. A great playing surface offering plenty of space the fans on one side, up in the press area myself on the opposite side. A mild but overcast afternoon. Considering it’s a bank holiday weekend made good time getting down here from Norfolk.

Milton Keynes Dons Women

Milton Keynes Dons Women starting XI – Chloe Sansom (C), Hannah Warren, Kerry Newman, Sofia Stovold, Tally Miles, Gemma Biggadike, Rhianne Rush, Nicole Pepper, Lucy Wood, Chez Albert & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Marianne Taho, Laura Mills , Amy Gooderham, Dominika Netschova & Mathilda Brown.

 Keynsham Town Ladies starting XI – Xanna Kierk, Lily Withers, Amy McCorkell, Nadine Grogan (C), Celyn Garton, Jade Munro, Henna Butcher, Natalia Bak, Justine Lorton, Laura Williams & Kerry Bartlett. Subs – Courtney Adams, Ylenia Carabott & Nia Sparks.

It’s the visitors Keynsham to get the match underway kicking off 1st half wearing green shirts with black sleeves and white trim, black shorts and socks. Milton Keynes lined up opposite wearing and all white strip. The ball sent out to the left side for Laura Williams seeing the ball down into her feet looks to drive forwards towards the area is fouled giving Keynsham an early free-kick. Players up from the back the ball floated into the box, goalkeeper and captain Chloe Sansom coming forwards calling to claim taking a confident catch.

Chloe Sansom with the claim for Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes carrying the ball out for the back the ball fed through to Chez Albert top of the D, 25 yards out looks to spin in behind left side, Celyn Garton putting her foot out tackling for Keynsham to thwart her attack the ball cleared out to the right side lifted back in towards goal, caught by Keynsham’s goalkeeper, Xanna Kierk. Milton Keynes seeing more of the ball in the early stages able to travel to the halfway line unopposed as Keynsham get everyone behind the ball. A few signs of nerves however as the final ball fails to find it’s mark on a few ocassions. 

Milton Keynes Gemma Biggadike

  Seeing the ball into her feet back to goal right side Pepper spins right sending the ball out to Lucy Wood on the wing pushes on into the box as Wood attempts to slide the ball into her, Garton on her to defend for Keynsham clear the ball. The free-kick count growing as niggly challenges are put in. Milton Keynes get forwards on the right side Woods squaring a cross into the box, Amy McCorkell with a strong challenge for Keynsham sending the ball behind for a corner kick. Delivered in from the right across the six yard box comes to Pepper at the far post jumping has to lean back to get any power on her header, sends it wide of the post. 

 GOAL! The ball is with Kerry Newman at left back plays the ball forwards for Albert ahead of her, taking the ball in down the wing, turns inside top of the area strong on the ball fires it into the D for Pepper, her strike is charged down by Keynsham captain, Nadine Grogan the loose ball rebounding out of the D straight to Rhianne Rush 20 yards out, connects with the ball her shot arrowing into the back of the net a great strike to open the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes 1-0.

Rhianne Rush opens the scoring for Milton Keynes

  Noticeable at times that Keynsham have no one inside the Milton Keynes half this is allowing the home defence plenty of time on the ball bringing it on with Wood and Albert looking to provide options left and right. Garton with the interception as Gemma Biggadike looks to link up with Pepper through the middle she in turn looking to fed the diagonal pass out to Albert on the left. Getting hold of the ball in the middle Keynsham look to up the tempo look more of a threat moving the ball quickly, Ex-England international, Justine Lorton still going strong in her forties threading the ball forwards comes close to sending Natalia Bak through on goal but for a timely interception from Milton Keynes centre back, Tally Miles.

  Sansom sending the ball long out to the right from outside her box for Mollie Coupar the Milton Keynes attackers is fouled by Keynsham’s Lily Withers the hosts awarded a free-kick. The set-piece headed clear by McCorkell. The visitors give away another free-kick inside their half top of the the circle, lifted on into the area right side, Wood does well to keep into in play on the by-line, comes back to dink a cross into the middle the ball scrambled clear. The goal settling Milton Keynes down Woods sends the ball on down the right for Hannah Warren on the overlap a pacy run to the by-line her cross fired in near post, Kierk down sharply pushing the ball out into the middle of her area, the follow up turned wide.

  The hosts press forwards Albert free on the left 20 yards out shifts inside pushing the ball on for Pepper, left of the D, 25 yards out her shot angles up over the bar. Lorton picking up the ball 30 yards out makes a surging run forwards, holding off players making it all the way into the box before numbers back crowd her off the ball. Keynsham regain possession in the centre Lorton looking to lift it over the top as Henna Butcher makes the run into the left channel, is narrowly offside. 

Mollie Coupar after the ball for Milton Keynes

  Rush turning on the ball well in the middle out to Albert forwards on the left, her touch seeing the ball into the box, after it, a Keynsham defender comes sliding it, Albert caught doing well to stay on her feet moves central before turning and striking the ball goalwards, straight at the keeper, Kierk holds. A good shout for a penalty. Milton Keynes moving the ball well look settled with more possession. Pepper finding pockets of space in front of the Keynsham defence on the spin 20 yards out drags her low strike wide of the right post. 

Little opportunity to take the game to the defence for Keynsham, coming back to receive the ball Bartlett passes it forwards to Williams breaking on the left, wide, Miles comes to close her down sending the ball out for a throw. Off the throw Keynsham swing a threatening ball into the box, neither Williams or Bak can get a touch in front of the six yard box as Milton Keynes clear to the left Newman up to Albert, drives on, is held up by McCorkell before Grogan comes across to clean out the ball. 

Keynsham Town Ladies, Natalia Bak

  Albert a threat out on the left strong taking the ball to the by-line plays it back to Newman left of the D, she shot goalwards swerving through the air but not troubling Kierk. Half an hour played Milton Keynes continue to create opportunities, Biggadike out to Warren as she burst on down the right wing closing in on the by-line she cross lifted in taking a deflection off a defender as Kierk puts it behind at her near post for a corner kick. The ball attacked at the near post, Coupar up behind for a goal-kick.

Keynsham Town Ladies, Justine Lorton

  Butcher sending the ball out to Bak on the right she looks to drive on, Newman defending against her. Sofia Stovold carrying the ball on all the way up to halfway from the back for Milton Keynes has plenty of options ahead of her, lifted into Coupar right of the D, her touch inside favouring Grogan as she gets a foot out to knock clear. Bak bringing the ball down deep on the right well off a diagonal ball from the middle does well to win her side a corner. Milton Keynes are taking no chances everyone back to defend as the delivery comes to Grogan top of the area, is closed down before she can get a shot away.

  GOAL! Albert always the outlet on the left side controls the ball on the wing shifting it level with the top of the area plays the cross inside for Pepper free outside the D. Seeing the ball across her she strikes it beautifully, a powerful drive that bursts the back of the net 2-0.

Nicole Pepper doubles the lead for Milton Keynes

 5 minutes left to play in the 1st half Milton Keynes with a crucial 2nd goal. An injury at the restart with Munro coming off the worst as she and Albert come together. After treatment is okay to continue. The hosts attack on the right Wood crossing into the area the clearance dropping straight to Biggadike 20 plus yards out right of the , struck first time the shot lifted over. Warren with alot of pace drives on past Wood before getting held up by Withers, squeezes the ball back up the line to Wood who strikes on the angle her shot racing wide across the face of the Keynsham goal. 

  Miles on the ball coming on for Milton Keynes sends it on into the path of Warren running down the right taking it on to the by-line her cross/shot his held by Kierk at her near post. Signs from Keynsham that Milton Keynes must stay alert at the back, Lorton on the ball 30 out controlling before attempting to lift it through for Bartlett trying to steal in between the centre backs, Stovold cutting it out well. Stovold with the opportunity to carry the ball over halfway in the closing stages of the 1st half a burst of pace taking her deep inside the Keynsham half before laying it out to Wood on the right put on for Coupar, Withers close on her tackling to regain possession. 

Milton Keynes defender Sofia Stovold.

Half-time Milton Keynes Dons Women 2-0 Keynsham Town Ladies

  So far so good for Milton Keynes Dons Women a goal inside the opening 10 minutes helping to settle the nerves. Have had the majority of the possession since able t play the ball out from the back with little trouble as Keynsham drop off. Chances created using the wide areas well, a 2nd goal coming on the half hour to see the hosts 2-0 up at the break. Keynsham offering little in attack but the odd sign for Milton Keynes that they need to stay alert the jobs not done yet. The added bonus being Cardiff are trailing at Southampton. 2-0 is often a dangerous score where the next goal more often than not proves crucial.

  The teams back out for the 2nd half Keynsham making a change with Maltese international, Ylenia Carabott coming on for Garton. Out on the left Williams dropping deeper. No changes for Milton Keynes as they get the final 45 minutes of the season underway. Put back to the defence, Miles plays it forwards for Coupar moving to the right, Withers getting in on her to defend for Keynsham. 

  GOAL! The perfect start to the 2nd half for Milton Keynes as they attack on the left Albert drives inside looking to get into the box tackled by Grogan the ball cleared up to Newman up to support on the left flank 25 out crosses the ball inside for Wood right of the D, does well to see the ball drop over her to run onto it touch into the box right of goal and rifle her shot in across the static keeper 3-0.

  Milton Keynes confident at the start of the 2nd half attacking through the middle out into Albert left channel, gets the better of McCorkell to drive on towards the box, Grogan though comes sliding in with a strong challenge to dispossess her. Albert is causing Keynsham plenty of problems out on the left in attack shifting left then right riding a challenge staying on her feet as she enters the area, it’s Grogan once again with the robust tackle to take the ball and is fouled herself as she tries to carry it out of the area.

Mollie Coupar looking to get past Keynsham captain Nadine Grogan

  Butcher looking to get forwards more through the middle for Keynsham support Carabott out on the left, up to head the ball on trying to get on Newman comes to close down tackle and launch the ball forwards, Coupar after it right side can’t reach t before the keeper. Biggadike into Pepper central out to Albert on the left bringing the ball down 25 out move infield before striking a shot over the crossbar. Off a throw high on the right Pepper on the turn 25 yards out sees her strike held by Kierk in the Keynsham goal. Are a few tasty tackles flying in. Munro with a talking too from the referee for a foul on Pepper. The freekick to the left of centre lifted on into the area, Kierk keeps her eye on it taking the catch well as players rapidly close her down. 

  Carabott has had few opportunities on the left for Keynsham since coming on but is willing to take players on when she has the ball, a superb reverse ball on for Butcher has her through to attack the box, is thwarted by the raised flag. Milton Keynes need to stay focused Keynsham look a threat when they start moving the ball quicker, a diagonal pass finding Bak out on the right her angled shot in has Sansom scrambling across her goal line but can see it run safely wide of her far post. Moments later Sansom is called into action to save and feet of Butcher as she looks to get in on goal from a Bak cross from the right.

Chloe Sansom saving at the feet of Keynsham’s Henna Butcher.

  Kierk is called upon too at the other end making a great blocking save on Wood as she is fed in behind as Coupar flicks the ball on through the middle, to the left bursting into the box, the keeper rushing out to meet her stays big as the ball is struck against her. The game has suddenly opened up as Lorton lifts it through for Carabott clear in the left channel breaking into the box Sansom comes rushing out Carabott getting the ball beyond her inside looking to turn and shoot Miles on the cover though back to defend put in the tackle and win the ball.

Keynsham’s Henna Butcher with Milton Keynes Tally Miles

 Keynsham not going down without a fight looking to score a goal of their own, an over zealous tackle out left giving Milton Keynes an opportunity to play the ball into the box, floated in to the far post Coupar up but twisting can’t get near it as the ball runs out of play. Milton Keynes make their first change midway through the 2nd half Laura Mills coming on for Biggadike. The substitute battling for the ball on the right wing does well to come away with the ball powering infield attempts to put a ball in over the defence, Miles has ghosted in unnoticed from the back, as Grogan hooks it away. 

 A 2nd change for Milton Keynes sees Dominika Netschova coming on for Newman. Pepper on the ball central threads a low ball through on the diagonal for Coupar right side, too much on it as Kierk can claim before it can be attacked. Keynsham with a free-kick 30 yards out central the shot struck over by Bak. Grogan picks up the first yellow card of the game with 20 minutes left as she brings down Coupar on halfway. Grogan has to be careful with her tackles now as she closes Coupar down into the right corner, wins the ball.

 GOAL! Milton Keynes get forwards on the left Albert on for Netschova on the overlap  her stabbed cross into the box cut out by Bak cleared to the top of the area, Albert steals in to regain the ball coming inside to curl a shot into the top corner from 20 yards out 4-0.

Chez Albert on the score sheet for Milton Keynes 4th goal

  Baring a complete collapse Milton Keynes status in the Southern Premier Division is assured leading 4 nil with 15 minutes left to play. A triple substitution being readied for Milton Keynes as Keynsham attack the ball on the left fizzed into Carabott takes it on squaring a cross along the top of the area for Butcher, leaning back into the shot sends her low strike straight at Sansom who gets down to claim the ball. Quick to turn play around the ball through the middle finding Albert she turns playing it on into the box for Coupar right of goal, Withers going with her, Coupar hurt after initially fouling the defender a bit of afters as she goes to ground. The physios on Coupar appears in alot of pain. Has had terrible luck with injuries this season and it’s more bad news for the young striker as she can’t continue has to come off.

  Coupar one of the 3 substituted she is replaced by Marianne Taho, also on Amy Gooderham for Albert and Mathilda Brown an MK Dons RTC graduate in her first season in women’s football making her home debut on for Rush. Mills breaking on right side down to the by line her cross whipped in turned behind at the near posy by the keeper. Butcher taking the ball away to the left with a good run on into the area pushed wide the angle rapidly going against her Miles closing down blocking her shot. Williams booked as she fouls Netschova attacking left side.

  GOAL! The free-kick lifted into the box headed clear by Munro. Is quickly regained by Milton Keynes in the final third, into Wood right of the D turns inside to smash a shot goalwards, taking a slight deflection on its way home 5-0.

  5 goals for Milton Keynes with 5 minutes left to play another superb strike from outside the box, Milton Keynes are staying up with style. Soon on the attack after the restart the ball into Taho 30 yards out turned on for Mills away right side inside the box sends her shot angling in wide of the far post. 

  GOAL! Time for one more goal and a small consolation for Keynsham as they get on down the right the ball fed on through for Butcher bursting into the box, getting there just before the keeper this time to stab the ball under Sansom and score. 5-1.

  Taho moving right with the ball for Milton Keynes sees her cross into the box cut out by Williams. Cleared to the top of the area Pepper looks to retrieve but his closed down. A free-kick for the hosts right into the top of the six yard box cleared by Grogan. Butcher through the middle sends the ball into Carabott left side drives into the box is forced wide by Miles running out of ground attempts to lift the ball goalwards with the outside of her boot is cut out. and cleared. 

Milton Keynes, Marianne Taho

  Moving into stoppage time Milton Keynes attacking Wood central 25 out on for Mills on the right flashes a cross into the six yard box, Kierk scooping it up as Taho closes in. The game is open in the closing stages Keynsham tiring Milton Keynes full of energy Wood dragging a shot wide in the middle 25 yards out. The hosts with the ball Taho with Mills on the right her cross cut out by Withers, Pepper on the loose ball send out to the left Netschova linking with Gooderham her cross in seeing the flag go up. The final action of the season and Milton Keynes can celebrate as they turn their season around to secure league status on the final day!

Full time Milton Keynes Dons Women 5-1 Keynsham Town Ladies

  5 superb strikes from outside the box to see Milton Keynes secure a 5-1 victory in their must win fixture. As it was Cardiff lost 4-1 away to Southampton to confirm their relegation. The win though moves Milton Keynes up a place to 9th in the table over Plymouth. A fantastic result a goal inside 10 minutes settling any nerves, 2 up at half-time a 3rd goal coming so quickly in the 2nd half were in control of the game throughout. An incredible turn around when they only had 2 points on the board from their opening 10 matches. Keynsham’s time in the 3rd tier comes to an end a tough 2nd half to the season costing them in the finish.

The Milton Keynes players going over to thank the fans at the end of the game

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, is a tough one have three contenders hard to single one out. A few performances of note to mention first. For Keynsham, captain Nadine Grogan gave her all in defence with a number of strong tackles, winning the ball. For Milton Keynes, Tally Miles was strong at the back with some great positional play read the game well. In the middle Nicole Pepper was strong going forwards bringing others into play and scoring a great goal. So too on the scoring front Lucy Wood a great game out on the right, always an option for the defence and midfield getting on with the ball, scoring twice. Narrowly edging them both out though today’s award goes to Chez Albert strong on the left side always available caused the Keynsham defence problems though out whether getting to the by-line or coming inside also on the scoresheet with a fantastic strike.

  A long but enjoyable trip down to the Stadium MK this afternoon, look forwards to returning for the Euro’s it’s going to be a great occasion. My thanks to Milton Keynes for their hospitality and to Charlie Bill for supplying me with the team details. A day off then it’s 5 cup finals in 8 days!

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Thetford Town Ladies v Bungay Town Ladies

Thursday 28th April

Norfolk Women’s Division One

A spot of midweek football action on Women’s Football East this Thursday evening with a short trip to Thetford to watch a game from Norfolk Women’s Division One with Thetford Town Ladies hosting Bungay Town Ladies.

Both sides amongst a cluster of sides in the middle to the Division One table vying for a 4 finish in the league, with the season drawing to a close, plenty of points still to play for both Thetford Town Ladies and Bungay Town Ladies with 4 games left to play going into this evenings match.

  Thetford Town Ladies currently in 5th spot in Division One, looking to establish themselves in the league and push on to compete at the top on a regular basis. Have had a strong campaign to date maintaining a top half position throughout. Mulbarton Belles Ladies running away with the Division one title while Fakenham Town Ladies and Dussindale & Hellesdon Women look to be on course for 2nd and 3rd, 4th place remains very much in the balance and with games in hand on the sides around them Thetford are well placed to make one final push. Have been hampered with injuries and absences particularly to their defence. Have added to their squad with the dual signing of Becky Russell from Wroxham and Hannah Claughton from Norwich. Rebecca White is their top scorer with 15 goals so far with Melissa Boulton on 9.

  Changes at Bungay Town Ladies over the close season, a new manager coming in, Mark Forgarty players joining the squad with some departures. A strong start to the season with 6 wins in their opening 8 league games with just one defeat that against Mulbarton. In stark contrast the last 8 matches have seen just the one victory and 6 defeats that has seen them fall away from the tussle at the top of the table dropping to 7th in the table. During that time Mark Forgarty has stepped aside as first team manager with Jode Wells taking on the role. A solid platform to build on with a strong squad to take the club on a late flourish could yet see Bungay push back up the table. Have been scoring plenty of goals with Lucy Eagle coming in from Woodbridge Town Ladies netting 23 goals so far from 15 games with Gemma Foster closing in on 20 goals too for the season and Selina Rowland netting 14. 

  The sides have met twice this season already with Bungay defeating Thetford 2-1 in the league cup. Saw their 1st league meeting abandoned late on due to an injury to Thetford’s Courtney Musgrove. Hence the 2 sides have to play each other twice in their run ins. Starting this evening at Thetford Town FC. The large grass pitch sloping slightly, a game under the floodlights. The clubhouse open to serve hot and cold drinks beside the main seated stand. A rather chilly evening compared to recent April days cloud cover keeping the sun from warming the air during the day, nevertheless another dry day.

Thetford Town Ladies

Thetford Town Ladies starting XI – Lydia Ward, Courtney Musgrove, Ellie-Mae Davies, Rachel Lynch, Zoe Klimcke, Dayna Howard, Becky Russell, Hannah Claughton, Melissa Boulton (C), Rebecca White & Hannah Rogers. Subs – Abbie Corbyn, Emily Escreet, Sophie Burr-Walpole, Erin Lloyd, & Jessica Knight

Bungay Town Ladies

 Bungay Town Ladies starting XI – Sofia Serghiou, Erin Galer, Molly Webb, Porsha Renwick, Lyndsey Adams, Charnelle Riggall (C), Ceira Flatt, Lyla Studd, Gemma Foster & Lucy Eagle.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Bungay at a disadvantage before the start of the game travelling to Thetford with just 10 players available due to a combination of injury, illness and work commitments, with Thetford able to name 5 on their bench. It’s the visitors to kick-off the game wearing light blue shirts, black sorts and black shorts. Thetford opposite wearing claret shirts with navy shorts and socks. The ball is quickly closed down in the middle of the park, before Thetford clip a long ball out to the left, Hannah Claughton getting forwards on the left flank, full back Erin Galer in to defend the ball going for a throw in the corner. The ball worked back into the middle Becky Russell lifting it out to the opposite flank with captain, Melissa Boulton  on the move one touch taking the ball forwards her angled ball into the box caught at her near post by goalkeeper Sofia Serghiou.

Thetford pressing the ball well on half way, Dayna Howard with Russell the ball put on through the middle for attacker, Hannah Rogers racing on towards the top of the area unleashes a shot from inside the D, her low effort running safely through to the keeper. Bungay looking to keep compact feed the ball out to the wide areas when won back, captain, Charnelle Riggall out to striker, Lucy Eagle drifting right, surges forwards with the ball at her feet, pushing on into the box right of goal, Rachel Lynch getting across her path to put in the block as she goes to shoot. The ball coming on t Ceira Flatt left of the D 20 yards out her 1st time shot lifted over the bar.

A physical battle as Bungay look to disrupt Thetford’s momentum going forwards, the ball fed on for Boulton running forwards on the right, again goes early with the ball crossed into the box, too close to the keeper caught by Serghiou. Played into the middle, Thetford close down to quickly regain possession threaded on for Rebecca White running forwards in the right channel, her shot charged down by Lyndsey Adams. Gemma Foster taking the ball on well down the left wing for Bungay a powerful run getting to the by-line comes inside before lifting a cross in towards goal, keeper Lydia Ward claiming with Eagle looking to attack the ball.

The ball pinging around in the middle as both sides close down, a favourable rebound seeing in run forwards for Rogers to attack moving right, Adams slowing her down, the ball put out to Boulton on the right, her cross claimed high by Serghiou. Eagle looking strong on the ball, ready to take on the Thetford defence whenever her teammates can pick her out. Russel with a great pass out to the right for Boulton going forwards, checks inside to get into the area, her strike cut out by Adams, before the cleared ball in sent over from distance.

Howard with a shot from distance for Thetford some 35 yards out as Thetford reclaim possession from a Bungay goal kick. Howard then on the left steals in on the ball to run in behind down the flank, Galer getting back on her to tackle see the ball out for a throw. A dangerous ball sent into the area off the throw, Serghiou up to punch the ball away from her goal as White closes in top of the six yard box.

Bungay with a counter attack on the left side Foster with the run taking the ball on pace moving inside as she closes in on the top of the area, plays it into Flatt left of goal her 1st time effort rebounding across to Eagle right side, shoots, Ward down to her right with a sharp save to turn the ball behind for a corner. Bungay are working hard at the back to contain Thetford as they press forwards, two banks of four dropping back, counter attacking proving tough as they look to get the ball into Eagle moving right and Foster on the left, Lyla Studd seeing a diagonal ball intended for Foster, cut out by Musgrove. 

 Boulton is a constant threat out wide on the right for Thetford played in by Russell a strong run seeing her turn into the box, jinking left then right before firing a shot wide across the face of goal. Eagle when she gets the ball into her in looking to drive forwards moving down the pitch right side fires a vicious ball in across the face of the Thetford goal, controlled by Studd beyond the far post is sent back in central, the ball cleared by Zoe Klimcke. 

GOAL! Midway through the 1st half and the dead lock is broken, Thetford getting bodies forwards the ball into Rogers out to the left, has Claughton making an overlapping run the short pass into her path Claughton taking it on down the wing delivering a pacy ball into the area, Serghiou with a instinctive save with her foot to turn it away out of her area, comes straight to Russell central top of the D, shapes to move right before checking back on her left foot to send the ball arrowing low into the back of the net 1-0.

Becky Russell opens the scoring for Thetford Town Ladies

   Eagle the outlet for Bungay from the restart taking the ball on right side, looking to get in behind, Davies stays with her well putting a foot in to take the ball away from the attacker. Thetford make their 1st change of the evening, bringing on Abbie Corbyn for Rogers in attack. Bungay win a corner out on the left, fires in near side Boulton defending heading behind for a 2nd corner. This delivery attacked at the near post, Flatt hurt going down as the ball is cleared to safety. After treatment okay to continue. 

  Russell getting forwards central looking to link up with White in attack, Renwick challenging for Bungay to halt their advance. Lynch looks to have picked up a knock for Thetford and needs to come off, Emily Escreet coming onto the field. White is looing to bring a great diagonal ball from Russell under control outside the area, can’t before Renwick closes in to tackle. Boulton coming on right with the ball for Thetford turning inside, her cross cut out by Galer. Foster running on with the ball left side for Bungay feeding the pass inside to Eagle left of the D 20 yards out, Thetford closing her down en masse, Claughton regaining possession for the hosts. 

Bungay Town Ladies captain, Charnelle Riggall (photo credit Richard Brown)

  Breaking, Thetford have White away with the ball to the left her cross whipped into the box looking for Corbyn inside D, cut out by Adams. Thetford’s forward players looking to get wide an every opportunity stretch Bungay, Corbyn into the left corner shakes off her marker to get inside the box, Renwick recovering to get back at her win the ball with a well timed tackle. The ball with Riggall in the middle for Bungay she spreads play out to Foster on the move down the left wing a powerful run, Musgrove going with her sliding into to tackle as they close in on the by-line, the ball out of play Bungay appeal for handball the decision going their way as they are awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the area. lifted into the mix inside the six yard box drops down turned goalwards, Ward on the line with a reactive save with her leg before the ball is cleared to safety.

  Both sides continue to find joy out wide, Foster with another strong run carrying the ball on left side for Bungay, drives inside from the by-line firing a stinging shot in at an acute angle, the ball rising, Ward with a superb save to turn the ball up over her crossbar. The resulting corner delivered from the left into Ward quickly knocking it up high into the air as able to claim it on the bounce unopposed. Moving into stoppage time at the end of the 1st half on come Thetford Howard into Boulton on the right taking the ball on her cross lifted into the box, White attacking it her header over the bar. Boulton again on the right flank cuts inside into the box sees her driven shot blocked by Galer.

Half-time Thetford Town Ladies 1-0 Bungay Town Ladies

  A strike from Becky Russell midway through the 1st half the difference between the sides going into the half-time interval. Thetford with the player advantage seeing more of the ball creating several opportunities going forwards. Pressing Bungay back, the visitors working hard to keep thing’s compact with two banks of four have nevertheless created some chances of their own forcing a couple of saves from Ward. Foster  out left and Eagle looking to drive forwards on the right, question now is can they keep it up for another 45 minutes or will Thetford’s superior numbers and with it fresh legs begin to tell.

  Lynch back on at the start of the 2nd half for Thetford lining up with Russell now at centre back. The hosts to get the 2nd half underway. Competitive in the middle the ball closed down not going anywhere fast, Bungay getting a free-kick a chance to put the ball up into the Thetford area, won by Lynch the hosts looking to counter quickly the ball on for Boulton racing on right side, can’t keep it in play. Lynch at the back for Thetford winning the ball then playing a fantastic pass over the top for White to run onto behind the defence, shooting from outside the D, her strike narrowly wide of the right post. 

  GOAL! An early goal for Thetford at the start of the 2nd half doubling their lead. Coming on through the middle, Corbyn thread the ball on along the ground for White in attack, moving towards the area halts her run to shake of her marker, 20 yard out strikes a looping shot goalwards, Serghiou getting a faint touch with her fingertips but not enough to keep it out 2-0.

Thetford Town Ladies, Rebecca White (photo credit Richard Brown)

  Adams in well to tackle Boulton as she and Escreet combine out on the right. White is taken off by Thetford shortly after scoring with Rogers returning to the attack. Corbyn pressing the Bungay defence top of their area nipping in to steal the ball, leaning back as she shoots her strike running wide of the left post. Thetford looking strong now piling players on forcing Bungay back little opportunity to get the ball out of their half, Boulton on the right using the width well getting a shot in on the angle, drops wide of the near post. Thetford’s captain continues to run at Bungay on the right getting to the by-line her cross fired in along the face of goal is turned over beyond the far post.

  GOAL! The hosts strong start to the 2nd half sees them extend their lead, with around an hour played, pressing as a team Musgrove right sends the ball on for Boulton out wide she bursts on moving inside shifts right to the by-line before sending the ball in across the face of goal for Rogers unmarked to score with a simple tap in 3-0.

Thetford Town Ladies Hannah Rogers (photo credit Richard Brown)

 Finding their attackers is proving difficult now for Bungay their defence under pressure the midfield pinned back, Eagle is isolated but continuing to carry a threat and willing to drive at the defence when given the opportunity. Coming through the middle, looks to get around Russell but her challenge sees the ball won back, Escreet sending it through to Boulton right side, Foster back to help Webb defending for Bungay. Boulton picking up the ball 20 yards out right of the D, plays it inside for Corbyn in the box, looking to bring it down on her chest get a shot away, Riggall lunging in with a tackle deflects the ball back to her keeper to clear.

(photo credit Richard Brown)

  Eagle is down for Bungay in attack after a coming together with Lynch appears to be her back, comes to the side of the pitch after a spell of treatment doesn’t look comfortable, waved back on as Bungay win a free-kick on the left. Put into the box won comfortably by Lynch. Eagle has gone down again is struggling, needs to come off for a spell of extended treatment, Bungay down to 9.

GOAL! The advantage with Thetford getting players on at will the hosts go onto extend their lead. Boulton again involved in the build up winning the ball in the middle running on towards the top of the area a strong run, Serghiou comes racing out to charge down/save her shot as she puts her foot through the ball, her momentum leaving her out of position as the rebound comes straight to Claughton up with Boulton inside the box to her left, controls the ball well before smashing she shot home 4-0.

  20 minutes left on the clock, Thetford in full control of the game leading by 4 goals against the 9 of Bungay, the visitors putting their all into the game but tiring rapidly continue to fight. Thetford with another change bring Sophie Burr-Walpole on for Klimcke. Russell moving back into the middle. Press forwards Russell to Escreet her through by for Boulton cut out by Adams. More changes for the hosts with a double change with Musgrove and Escreet coming off for Erin Lloyd and Jessica Knight.

Bungay Town Ladies Lyla Studd (photo credit Richard Brown)

  Russell playing the ball forwards into White inside the D back to goal holds it up well with Boulton on close support sends the ball into her, Boulton shoot’s the ball straight at Serghiou. Corbyn coming right feeding the ball on for Boulton, takes it on into the box, Webb back to defend getting the tackle in the ball loose to the top right of the box, Corbyn latching onto it turns, gets her shot all wrong as the ball screws well wide of the far post. 

  A rare chance for Bungay to get a player forwards sees Foster racing forwards on the right, shooting on the angle from distance her effort bouncing wide across the Thetford six yard box. The hosts with a throw high on the right put into Corbyn, bringing the ball under control right of goal, shifts then shoots the ball rising for the top corner, Serghiou with a brilliant save diving to her left to push the ball wide for the corner.

Bungay Town Ladies goalkeeper, Sofia Serghiou (phot credit Richard Brown)

 Corbyn breaking away with the ball for Thetford moving into the left channel, shoots across the advancing goalkeeper, the ball looks like it’s heading for the back of the net, but agonisingly bounces wide of the far post. Russell coming off for Thetford with Howard returning to the action. Eagle too returning for Bungay for the final 10 minutes. Straight away Eagle has a shot as soon as the ball is put into her right side some 40 plus yards out Ward safely claiming. 

  Breaking en masse through the middle the ball is lifted on through the middle, the flag going up as Corbyn left runs onto the ball, play halted, White through the middle reacting angrily as she is adjudged to have been offside complaining she wasn’t going for the ball. Those complaints becoming to vocal for the referee’s liking as she is yellow carded for descent and sent to the sin bin. 10 versus 10 now as Bungay get the ball on up top for Eagle who shoots over from 25 yards out, Flatt’s turn to say something out of turn to the referee and having already sent one to the sin bin for descent Flatt quickly follows as Bungay are again reduced to 9. 

  Bungay are willing to have a go late on the game stretched a little a shot from the angle on the right wide across the Thetford goal. 

GOAL! Late in the game in the 88th minute Thetford counter and Boulton gets the goal she deserves, the ball lifted up to her on the right by Lynch she drives on down the right channel bursting for the box, Serghiou coming out to close the angle, Boulton opens up her body to slot the ball wide of the keeper to send the ball into the goal beyond 5-0. 

Thetford Town Ladies captain, Melissa Boulton (photo credit Richard Brown)

  Little action to see out the game Thetford with possession in the closing moments with no further attacks, can celebrate their final home game of the season as the game ends with 3 more points courtesy of a 5 nil win that lifts them up into 4th in the Division One table.

Full time Thetford Town Ladies 5-0 Bungay Town Ladies

  A strong performance form Thetford against 10 player Bungay keeping the pressure on throughout a 1 goal lead at the break they came out strong in the 2nd half using the width well. Adding an early 2nd goal before going on to score 3 more. Pressing well their numerical advantage eventually telling as opportunities were created a regular intervals. A great effort from Bungay nevertheless, travelling to Thetford with just 10 available on a Thursday night, was always going to be a tough ask, battled hard throughout creating some great chances themselves too in the first half. The pair meeting again at Bungay on the 8th May, both still aim the mix for a top 4 finish.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A clear winner but several performances to mention first. Hard to single out a Bungay players as all 10 put in a huge effort in their efforts to keep Thetford out. Lucy Eagle up top a constant threat when the ball was played up to her. For Thetford, Becky Russell was composed in the middle, with some great passes out to the flanks. Hannah Rogers with some great attacking runs. The award though goes to their captain, Melissa Boulton had a great game, out on the right using the width well stretching the game always an outlet moving forwards with the ball, setting up chances for others to score, topped the performance off with a goal herself.

  An enjoyable trip to Thetford, one of the shortest I have, always enjoy a game under the lights. A good crowd in attendance. My thanks to Darrell Allen for his assistance this evening, is working hard to  not only promote Thetford Town Ladies but the woman’s game as a whole. The Jode Wells for the Bungay team details and Richard Brown for the use of his pictures in the report much appreciated. Now for the madness that is May, going to be a busy month, but I’m excited by the games ahead.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Cambridge City Ladies

Sunday 24th April

FAWNL South East Division One

 Derby day this Sunday on Women’s Football East with a trip to St Neots FC to watch Cambridge United WFC and Cambridge City Ladies lock horns in FAWNL South East Division One.

 A game of huge importance now played at the end of the season the penultimate for both, delayed from earlier in the season, Cambridge United WFC in 7th spot are safe, their local rivals however are not with Cambridge City Ladies in real danger of getting relegated as other results last weekend confirmed it is now between them and 11th placed Enfield Town Ladies for the final relegation spot.

Bottom of the FAWNL South East Division One table

Heavy rain seeing the original midweek date for the derby match called off late on, the game rearranged for this weekend, Cambridge United WFC in 7th spot in the FAWNL South East Division One table were looking over their shoulders themselves in recent matches as an inconsistent run of results saw the club lose ground in what had been a strong position for a top 4 finish. Just one point collected in their last 5 matches taking the gloss off a promising season. No goals scored in the last 4 either, that drought finally ending in the 91st minute of the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final were a goal from Laura Mitchell saw the club lift the trophy in its inaugural season. 2 games left to play today and away to AFC Wimbledon Ladies next Sunday could yet see the club secure a top 6 finish.

Cambridge City Ladies haven’t been in the bottom 4 all season yet they are in danger of dropping into it right at the death. With Norwich City Women securing safety with a run of 4 straight wins including home and away against Cambridge City, the final spot is now between the and Enfield Town Ladies, with Kent Football United, Harlow Town Ladies and Stevenage FC Women already down. Is very unfortunate that the league will see 4 sides relegated this season as the FA look to get the leagues all back to 12 for next season following the aftermath of the Covid hit seasons. Cambridge City Ladies results deserting them just like United at the sharp end of the season with 4 straight defeats to push them down to 9th, 2 points in their final 3 games will be enough with 23 points, Enfield Town Ladies in 11th have 21 and 1 game left away to Kent Football United next weekend. A win for Cambridge City today and it’s all over they will be safe and send Enfield down. Like United have lifted silverware this season retaining the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.

St Neots FC, Premier Plus Stadium the venue for today’s game, the grass pitch looking immaculate. The clubhouse beside the main seated stand open serving hot and cold drinks. The weather perfect for a game of football, warm and sunny with a little cloud cover.

Cambridge United WFC

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Lauren Webb, Anna Re, Abbi Griffin, Grace Waygood, Rachel Kosky, Laura Baker (C), Gisela Otten, Alysha Stojko-Down, Laura Mitchell, Ella Marden & Ruth Fox. Subs – Lauren Rouse, Faith Hewitt, Emma Jenkins, Nicole Emmings & Libby Fraser.

Cambridge City Ladies

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Bronwyn Mulheron, Ceri Flye, Frances Steele, Ellie Cullum, Bella Simmons, Karly Tolentino, Erin Davies & Grace Stanley. Subs – Hannah Bodily, Charlotte Gillies, Bella Ely, Jess Evans & Shannon Shaw.

Rumours of a bust up in the City camp prior to today’s crucial game, ex-United player, Bella Simmons along with Frances Steele in the starting line-up having hardly featured for the 1st team so far this season. United have been having to juggle their squad alot of late due to illness and injury welcome back captain, Laura Baker after missing recent games. City to kick-off the first half wearing  white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts and black and white hooped socks. United lined up opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball played back into the defence, United captain, Laura Baker is quick to close the ball down as City look to go left the ball out for a throw in.

  GOAL! The perfect start to any derby game with a goal inside the opening couple of minutes, goes the way of the visitors Amy Reed on the ball at right back lifting it on up the wing for Karly Tolentino running in behind the defence, wrapping her foot around the ball sends a looping cross in towards the back post, Erin Davies under it knocking the ball up into the middle, dropping isn’t dealt with by the United centre backs as top scorer Grace Stanley in between sends the ball into the back of the net 0-1.

Grace Stanley congratulated after opening the scoring for Cambridge City

  The perfect start to a must win game for City going a long way to settle any pre-match nerves. The visitors with a bright start are quick to win the ball back from the restart move left winning a corner kick. The ball angled in cleared at the near post back with the corner taken crossed in claimed by Unite goalkeeper, Lauren Webb. City captain, goalkeeper, Sarah Hudson with a good long kick out from the back seeing Stanley stealing in behind into the right channel, Webb out to the top of her area to gather. 

  City hustling the ball moving in quick to close it down all over the pitch Bronwyn Mulheron winning it at the back. Frances Steele in the middle forwards for Stanley right of goal moving into the box shifting inside onto her left foot, strikes a curling shot in across goal, Webb diving to her right making a good save pushing the ball away from goal. City close down preventing United getting out a shot fired in from distance on the left brushing the side netting. A strong start from City, Bella Simmons pressing well against Ella Marden on the left her right on for Stanley, Abbi Griffin getting the tackle in to take the ball away from her. 

Cambridge United’s Ella Marden

 United not settled at all slow to get out when they have the ball, Baker looking to spread play right with Laura Mitchell on the move her cross into the box only finding the head of Mulheron to clear. City’s closing down forces an error as defender Grace Waygood is caught in possession onside her own box by Tolentino who moves inside to strike her shot up over the crossbar. City taking the game to United Steele cutting out  Ella Marden’s pass as she looks for Ruth Fox in attack. Griffin with a great crossfield ball for Anna Re advancing on the right is stopped by City’s Lauren Tomlinson. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Lauren Tomlinson

   Ellie Cullum links up with Erin Davies in the centre of midfield moving forwards the shot from 20 yards out struck wide of the post. Fox to the right of goal seeing the ball into her feet well putting in inside for Alysha Stojko-Down 20 yards out top of the D, takes on the shot the ball angling away from the left post. United coming away with the ball in the middle up to Fox left channel peels off her marker well taking the ball up the line, Ceri Flye getting back at her well to defend send the ball out for a throw in. 

 City break well the ball on for Tolentino right angles a diagonal ball into the box far post area, between them Rachel Kosky and Re deal with the threat for United. Certainly City look up for it, United sluggish have yet to find any rhythm. Simmons picking the ball up from deep allowed to travel letting fly from all of 35 yards out, the shot no trouble for Webb. Stojko-Down on the ball left side has Fox in support ahead of her, takes the ball on towards the City box has Mitchell to the right of the D plays the ball into her continuing her run into the area left side, Mitchell laying the ball through to her, Fox from close range blasts the ball goalwards, Hudson down in front of her with a strong save sending the ball away for a corner kick. 

Sarah Hudson with the save to stop Cambridge United equalising

  A better spell from United as they look to get the ball into the feet of their attacking players. Fox lifting another effort over from inside the box left of goal. City with a free-kick wide left much to Re’s frustration. The ball lifted into the box near side sent on across goal, out behind for a corner a nick of a United player spotted corner given. Put into the top of the area, Re gets hold of it for United the break is on as she moves it on for Fox left, tries the diagonal pass inside with Mitchell looking to bomb on far side, the ball though to close to Hudson allowing the keeper to come and clear. 

Anna Re looking to break for Cambridge United

  City playing with a high tempo pressing well, often doubling up on players as United are slow in their build up play, lost on the left Simmons on for Stanley wide the cross sent into the area, over Tolentino jumping in the centre, Griffin clearing it beyond. 

 GOAL! City double their lead midway through the first half with a straight forward pass through the middle from the goal kick not dealt with, Stanley running in clear behind moving right checks inside outside the area to angle a shot in low across the keeper, Webb gets down to her right, gets her fingertips to it but not enough to turn it wide of her far post and the ball nestles in the bottom corner 0-2.

Grace Staley makes it 2-0 to Cambridge City

  Mitchell bringing the ball on for United central on for Stojko-Down who looks to thread it on for Fox making a left channel run, Flye in to win the ball for City send it out for a throw. Baker coming back to help Griffin as she demands some urgency from her side, the loose ball nudged into Stanley, Kosky closing down to clear for United.

 GOAL! City extend their lead as Simmons carrying the ball on in midfield left side is allowed to go on unchallenged, lining up a strike 25 yards out races into the box low, Webb diving can’t get there as the ball finds the inside of the post 0-3.

Bella Simmons quickly adds a 3rd for Cambridge City

  City with their tails up a free-kick wide on the left players up from the back, angled into the top of the area, Gisela Otten heading it down for United, drops straight to Davies 20 yards out her snap shot angling away wide past the left post. Kosky out to charge down Simmons shot this time as she lines up another strike from 25 yards out. Stanley in attack in the right corner holding the ball up, Reed getting forwards to support a corner won. Swung into the centre of the United box, Stanley getting her head on the ball can only direct her effort into Webb’s midriff. 

 Marden bringing the ball down on the left well shifts inside has Fox ahead of her looks to pick her out, Steele lunging in to intercept for City. Re on the right winning a good challenge for United up to Fox has Stojko-Down inside, Cullum back to help her defence regaining possession for the visitors. United press right Mitchell with Fox the ball crossed into the box cut out put behind for a corner on the right. Played in near side, Kosky moving towards it rising and twisting in the air as she heads the ball in across goal, Reed defending the far post heading it clear back out to Stojko-Down on the right to put another cross in along the six yard box, Otten rising far post turning her header wide. 

Cambridge United’s Gisela Otten

  Into stoppage time at the end of the first half, Simmons attacking has Stanley up with her left of goal, Re doing well in defence for United. A late counter attack has Mitchell running with the ball on the right on for Fox, Hudson out to the edge of her area to slide in and claim.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-3 Cambridge City Ladies

  No doubt the first half belongs to City a 3 goal lead going a long way to securing their status in FAWNL South East Division One. Stared the game well taking the lead inside the opening couple of minutes and continued to play at a good tempo, closing the ball down and preventing United getting any rhythm going. United out of sorts at the start of the game showing the odd glimpse going forwards, Ruth Fox with a great opportunity to level the scores before City found a 2nd and 3rd goal with relative ease. As it stands the 3 points are City’s and not only will it keep them in the league they will also move above United on goal difference, Work for United to do if they are to get back into the game.

Cambridge United’s Alysha Stojko-Down with Cambridge City’s Ellie Cullum

  Changes for United at the start of the 2nd half a double substitution with Lauren Rouse replacing Waygood at the back, Nicole Emmings on for Marden joining Fox in attack. No changes for City as United get the 2nd half underway, out to the right Stojko-Down on for Re, but adjudged to have fouled Tomlinson as she looks to get in behind City with the free-kick. City attack winning a corner on the left the ball into the area charged down the follow up blazed over. 

  Simmons with the ball at her feet left side charges forwards, playing a one two with Davies on her inside as she goes on into the area, Rouse diving in with the tackle taking the ball behind for the corner kick. City starting the 2nd half as they left the 1st. The ball in low from the left cleared up to Emmings, looks to counter, Reed in well to stop her advance. Rouse across to nullify the threat posed by Simmons as she spins in behind on the right sliding in with a strong challenge the ball out for a throw, Simmons needing a moment to recover. 

Cambridge City’s Amy Reed

  Unite remain slow to get on with the ball, encouraging City to press is inviting pressure. Simmons strong on the left for City taking the ball on well cuts inside into the box flashes a cross along the six yard box, Davies lunging forwards can’t quite reach it. Otten looking to get forwards support the attack for United left side has Emmings with her, battling for the ball, Flye getting the tackle in to win the ball back for City. Simmons bursting into the box from the left the angle against her wide of goal her cross/shot snatched into her body by Webb as she gets down to it smartly. 

  GOAL! City capitalise on their positive start to the 2nd half by going on to score a 4th goal on the hour. A strong run on the ball right side from Tolentino on for Stanley wide the United defence stretched, Stanley fires the cross into Simmons free beyond the far post to turn the ball wide of Webb into the back of the net 0-4. 

Bella Simmons giving Cambridge City a 4 goal lead

 Referee, Michael Butcher calling for a drinks break, both sides come over to the benches for instruction. From the restart, City regain possession come right Reed looking to get on help Tolentino, Griffin tackling well for United to halt the attack. A 3rd change for United with Emma Jenkins on for Stojko-Down. City making their first change, Bella Ely on on the left for Simmons. United look to build through the middle Baker on for Otten forwards for Mitchell in attack left channel goes on is forced with by Mulheron who tackles to win the ball. 

Cambridge city’s Frances Steele

  GOAL! United finding some urgency in the final 3rd getting players up to support the attack come left the ball crossed into Jenkins right side in the area, aims to put it bac central with Mitchell on the move, releasing the ball is tripped brought down the referee pointing to the spot. Penalty! Baker placing the ball down on the spot smashes it low and hard to the left, Hudson going the right way can’t get to to as United pull a goal back 1-4.

Laura Baker converts the penalty for Cambridge United

  20 minutes plus stoppages to play. Rouse at the back long for Mitchell drifting left wins a corner kick. A change for United before it’s taken sees a change in formation too as Griffin comes off at the back, Faith Hewitt on into a midfield role. The corner dropping into the mix near post inside the six yard box is eventually scrambled away loose top of the D, Baker in midfield is free to race onto the loose ball her effort charged down before an attempt from distance drifts over. 

Cambridge United captain, Laura Baker

  Three at the back for United as they commit more going forwards, City with a 3 goal cushion looking to keep it tight at the back. Reed on for Tolentino bursts forwards her cross into the box cut out by Kosky. City making another change with attacker, Shannon Shaw replacing Stanley. United come left Re into Hewitt who plays the pass on for Emmings left side fires it into Mitchell inside the box near side back for Baker left of the D sends it across to Jenkins inside the area right of goal her shot blocked at close range by Tomlinson the loose ball sent back in low saved by Hudson back on her goal line. 

  United pressing for a 2nd goal with more of the ball now as City look to defend their lead. Jenkins having made an impact since coming on driving on with the ball right her cross flashed into the box Fox on the penalty spot turning it goalwards, frustrated as she sees her effort come back of the near post straight to Mitchell but difficult to control lifts her effort over the bar.

Ruth Fox on the attack for Cambridge United

  The game moving into the final 12 minutes City making a double change bringing off Cullum and Tomlinson for Hannah Bodily and Jess Evans. Kosky winning the ball at the back for United up to Emmings left side jinks inside with the ball Fox making a run for her, Reed managing to get a foot in to take the ball away from her. Re steals in to take the ball away from Ely on the right moving inside plays a one two with Fox central before picking out Jenkins right of goal top of the area, her shot screwed wide of the near post. 

 A further change for City with Tolentino coming off replaced by Charlotte Gillies. United come left as Hewitt lifts the ball on for Jenkins, tackled by Evans the ball out for a throw high up the pitch. The ball worked down the line the cross angled in near post Mitchell seeing it down onto her feet turns to shot putting her effort wide across goal, retrieved by Emmings far side closing on on the angle her driven shot saved superbly by Hudson. 

  Another change for United with Libby Fraser replacing Fox up front. City counter on the right, Gillies with fresh legs bursting on flashing a strike wide across the face of the United goal. The clock ticking down City despite their lead looking a little nervous the pressure relieved in attack Bodily up to Davies left of the D her shot taking a deflection behind for a corner kick. Into added time 5 minutes to be played. City break right the ball into Gillies her angled shot taken by Webb at her near post. 

Cambridge City’s Erin Davies holding off United’s Laura Mitchell

  Jenkins off a diagonal ball forwards from Kosky getting United a corner kick as Evans turns her cross behind. Fired into the box high, Hewitt jumping central can’t get it, City counter on the right the ball up to Gillies on for Davies takes on the shot early, Webb down sharply at her near post the ball behind for a corner kick. The clock ticking own City look to keep it in the corner, Rouse wins it launched forwards United look to break, Mulheron pulling the attacker back earning the first yellow card of the game. Put into the area Mulheron is at hand to head the ball away to the right for a throw in. The ball into Jenkins feet right side in the box on the turn curls her shot in wide of the far post.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-4 Cambridge City Ladies

  The final whistle blows and City celebrate winning the local derby and securing their league status in the process. 4-1 the final score. The result confirming Enfield Town Ladies long time members of the 4th tier going down. The Cambridge derby alive for another season. After all the pre-match build-up at the top of this report City made it look easy with a strong performance up for the derby when it really mattered an early goal going a long way to securing victory. Were strong throughout a good tempo pressing the ball and doubling up well at times a deserved lead at half-time a 4th goal in the 2nd half putting them in total control. A lacklustre performance from United especially 1st half had a good chance to level the scores before City were allowed to add a further 2 goals. Pulling a goal back from the penalty spot, Fox with another chance coming back off the post wasn’t to be. A county cup win and derby day victory for both, honours even I suspect City will be the happier tonight, as they prepare to move to their new home in Sawston.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. An easy decision in the end which is rarely the case. A few performances of note to mention first. For United, Ruth Fox with some great first touches looking to get in behind, with 2 great chances to score. Emma Jenkins making an impact from the bench taking the game to City winning the penalty. For City a solid defensive display, Sarah Hudson with some crucial saves. Frances Steele strong in the middle winning the ball. Karly Tolentino’s pace and movement in behind a threat out on the right. Grace Stanley up top a constant threat getting into some great positions always on for the pass scoring twice. The award though goes to the scorer of the other 2 City goals, Bella Simmons. Was up for this one getting hold on the ball in the middle, taking it forwards with purpose and bringing others into play,

  A great result for City to secure their league status, coming in a derby game all the better. Looking forwards to more encounters next season. My thanks to United for the team details as always greatly appreciated although this s one of those rare occasions where I did know who everyone was.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Beccles Town Ladies v Sprowston FC Women

Sunday 17th April

Norfolk Women’s Division One

 Keeping it local this Easter Sunday having clocked up the miles during the week with a cup final double. Back to league action today with a game from Division One and an opportunity to catch up with a couple of sides as Beccles Town Ladies host Sprowston FC Women in their final home game of the season.

  Has been quite a while since I’ve seen Beccles Town Ladies in action, so much so I drove straight past their ground and ended up on the common beyond. Got there in the end however, Beccles put back into Norfolk Women’s Division One after the league original plan for 3 divisions fell by the way side and two larger divisions, One and Two were created. Beccles Town Ladies suffering more than most from resembling a decent squad then seeing players move on just a quickly, injuries too affecting development. One of their new players, Mae Hughes badly injured in a serious car accident on her way to a Beccles game earlier in the season, spending a number of weeks in hospital. Home now and recovering, at the game to day to watch her teammates in action.

  Despite the set backs manager Alan Runnacles is optimistic for the following season, bringing players in, with experience too to bolster a young squad. Benefitting from players unsettled at local rivals Bungay Town Ladies. Made a terrible start to the season with 5 straight defeats and some eye watering score lines too.  As the season has progressed however have picked up some decent results and a positive end to the season results wise could yet see then push up the table a place or two. Lola Barber-King, Beccles captain and top scorer with 24 goals.

  Sprowston FC Women have established themselves in Norfolk’s top flight, a club that benefits from a very strong youth setup, bringing players through. Currently in mid-table in Division One having struggled to pick up points consistently in the first half  of the season a very strong March which saw them win 4 straight league games has pulled them clear of the bottom sides and with 3 to play a top half finish is possible. Kate Morris and Bryony Brierley, Sprowston’s top scorers with 13 and 12 goals respectfully.

  Beccles Town FC nestled amongst a multi-sports facility. The football ground featuring a large grass pitch, wide with a little bit of a slope. A covered stand along one side of the ground with a tea hut beside. The weather beautiful considering it’s a bank holiday weekend. Bright and warm in the sunshine on Easter Sunday a breeze strong at times blowing from one end of the pitch to the other.

Beccles Town Ladies

Beccles Town Ladies starting XI – Megan Gowing, Georgia Tiffen, Leanne Muffett, Charlotte Power, Poppy Wilson, Abigail Bell, Lucy Robbens, Elisha Bower, Lauren Purling, Lily Bulloch & Lola Barber-King (C). Subs – Kelly Collins, Vicky Bloomfield & Bethan Owen.

Sprowston FC Women

 Sprowston FC Women starting XI – Jess Luff, Rosie Graham, Courtney Leggett, Maria Braithwaite, Bailey Curtis, Lois Irving (C), Holly Whayman, Oshea Winter, Kiera Braithwaite, Kate Morris & Katie Fray. Subs – Chloe Shipman.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Sprowston without goalkeeper, Jade Knights after being sent off in their cup tie with Dussindale & Hellesdon Women, Jess Luff in goal for today’s match. Just one substitute named on the bench. Beccles with 3 to call upon from the bench to get the game underway kicking off the first half wearing white shirts with black shorts and socks. Sprowston opposite wearing  blue coloured shirts with navy sleeves, navy shorts and blue socks. The ball put out to the right, Sprowston winning the throw in.

The ball brought down and fed into attacker Katie Fray, Charlotte Power getting back at her in defence for Beccles to win the ball back. The visitors pressing the ball out for a goal kick, Fray winning it for Sprowston breaking forwards, Power in ahead of her again to nod the ball back into goalkeeper, Megan Gowing’s gloves. Beccles come through the middle Lucy Robbens on for Lily Bulloch 35 yards out central, has captain Lola Barber-King to her right plays the ball into her path Barber-King taking it on the by-line before firing a cross along the face of the Sprowston goal, no one running in to turn it home.

Beccles captain, Lola Barber-King

Barber-King looking to move to the right as Beccles attack, Bailey Curtis defending for Sprowston. The ball passed up to Barber-King 25 yards out back to goal, control well spinning away to her left turning for the Sprowston box a burst of pace to get her inside right of goal, lifts her shot up over the crossbar. Kate Morris pulling to the left in attack taking the ball inside sending a diagonal ball up into the Beccles area looking for Fray, Power winning the header for the hosts. Despite it being a large pitch you can almost drop a hat on the players at times as players get drawn towards the ball.

Barber-King is looking to turn and take on the defence whenever she can, getting half a yard on the back line as Abigail Bell wins the ball in midfield breaks into the left channel, Curtis is quick herself getting back on her to tackle get the ball back to goalkeeper, Jess Luff. Sprowston mount an attack, Keira Braithwaite central into Fray left of goal 25 yards out controls comes inside looking to make room for a strike, puts her foot through the ball, dipping as it heads for the inside of the left post, Gowing with a fantastic save diving down to her right to push the ball behind for a corner kick.

GOAL! The corner form the left is played into the near post, chested down by the Sprowston attack she moved after the ball, the defender going with her gives her a push, the referee pointing to the spot. Penalty! Keira Braithwaite placing the ball on the spot strikes it hard rising to the left of goal, Gowing going the right way can’t get near it as Braithwaite peels away to celebrate the ball striking the back of the net. 0-1 The visitors taking the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Keira Braithwaite opens the scoring for Sprowston from the penalty spot.

  Sprowston straight on the attack form the restart go down the right winning a throw in, the ball lifted into the area, Power defending sends it behind for a corner kick.

GOAL! A minute after opening the scoring from the penalty spot, Sprowston double their advantage from another set-piece. The ball put into the box from the right, Gowing comes for it gets caught under the ball at the near post, Holly Whayman running in behind for Sprowston stooping to nod the ball over the line 0-2.

Holly Whayman heads in Sprowston’s 2nd.

  Beccles hit with two quickfire goals, Elisha Bower with a strong run on the left carrying the ball on squares a cross into the six yard box, Luff catching it into her midriff with Barber-King closing in. Another opportunity for Beccles moments later played into the top of the box for Barber-King, a low strike fired in towards goal, Luff with a sharp save with her feet, her defence getting the ball back to her. 

The ball lifted on through the middle as Sprowston get forwards bouncing, Fray on Power’s shoulder as they pair battle for possession, fray getting an attempt on goal away her effort lifted wide 20 yards out. Sprowston hustling the ball 25 yards out gain possession Fray on the right with and angled drive in Gowing claiming at her near post. Sprowston with a throw high on the left played inside for Morris lines up a shot inside the D, her strike charged down by Poppy Wilson. Barber-King picking the ball up on halfway driving forwards, looking to get away from the defence, Curtis’ pace to the rescue as she gets the sliding tackle in to put the ball back to her keeper to claim.

GOAL! 20 minutes played and Sprowston hammer home there advantage by racing to a 3 goal lead attacking on the right Oshea Winter playing the ball on players drawn across to deal with the growing threat the cross coming into the box, Wilson has to clear as she comes near post. Morris left unmarked at the far post as the ball put back out to the right isn’t cleared and comes back in finding Morris who can simply pick her spot. 0-3.

Kate Morris with Sprowston’s 3rd goal

GOAL! As with the opening goals, Sprowston again find a quickfire double to race into a 4 goal lead. Whayman on the ball in midfield, bringing it on no one closing her down, sets her sights from all of 30 yards out right side, gets plenty of pace and dip behind her shot, fired across the keeper, Gowing dives down gets her fingertips to it but not enough to keep it out 0-4.

Holly Whayman firing Sprowston into a 4 goal lead

  Beccles well and truly on the back foot as the referee calls for a drinks break, a much needed chance to regroup midway through the 1st half. Sprowston make a change Chloe Shipman on for Courtney Leggett. The hosts attack from the restart Robbens up to Bulloch, Barber-King in close support as she heads the ball down to the right Barber-King taking it on into the box right of goal to the by-line a shot/cross stopped by Luff at her near post the ball cleared falls to Bowers top of the D, she strikes the ball, runs wide of the far post. 

Lauren Purling battling for the ball with Holly Whayman

  Sprowston with a corner on the right the ball in defended by Robbens put back out to the corner taker, played into Fray top of the area 20 yards out her shot fired back in with venom striking one of her own teammates. The long ball forwards through the middle causing Beccles a few issues as they don’t deal with the bouncing ball, Fray stealing in ahead of Power lobs the ball over from 20 yards out. Beccles making a change Muffett coming off at right back replaced by Vicky Bloomfield. 

  A free-kick for Sprowston on halfway, captain Lois Irving over the ball, puts it up into the area, Gowing with a good claim taking it at her near post. Bloomfield with a crucial intercept as Keira Braithwaite central looks to thread a pass on for Morris pulling left. Morris and Fray’s movement up top pulling the Beccles defence out of shape causing problems.

Vicky Bloomfield clearing the ball for Beccles

GOAL! Purling gets hold of the ball for Beccles on the right travelling forwards moves infield laying it on for Robbens as she continues her run towards the area, Robbens threading a good pass into the box, left of goal both Purling and Bulloch after it, Purling giving way for Bulloch to stab past the keeper and pull a goal back 1-4.

Beccles, Lily Bulloch

Beccles break well from a Sprowston corner, Bell on for Barber-King races forwards travelling with the ball, once again Curtis has the burst of speed to catch her and sliding in to tackle does enough to send the ball behind for a corner. The corner put in near side headed clear back out to the left for a throw by Curtis.

GOAL! Attacking from the throw in top of the area, Purling on the ball takes it across the passing to Bell right of the D, her first touch seeing her shift the ball inside to evade her marker then shoots sending a rising effort in under the bar, Luff leaping to try and stop it 2-4.

Abigail Bell on the scoresheet for Beccles

  Beccles getting a further goal back to half the deficit, much needed after conceding 4 in the opening 20 minutes. Luff down from the save having fallen on her back has cracked her head on the ground. Needs treatment before continuing. 5 minutes left to play in the first half. Kelly Collins on for Beccles replacing Tiffen in defence. Called into action as Fray battles to get in behind seeing a shot blocked the rebound from distance fired over. 

Sprowston captain, Lois Irving

Barber-King looks to take the ball right, lacks support as she holds the ball up, Rosie Graham closing in to tackle win the ball back for Sprowston. Maria Braithwaite winning the header in the centre of defence as Bell plays it up for Barber-King. The clock ticking down in the first half Morris looks to get away on the left, Bloomfield with a well timed tackle seeing the ball out for a throw.

Half-time Beccles Town Ladies 2-4 Sprowston FC Women

 Both sides staying out of the field at half-time. Sprowston with a great start racing into a 4-0 lead. Beccles with a few errors giving themselves a mountain to climb, nevertheless have created chances themselves and pulling 2 goals back towards the end of the 1st half has chanced the complexion of the match totally and given them a way back into a game that might otherwise have been out of sight. Still will need to improve at the back if Sprowston aren’t to find more goals.

  The breeze looks to have become stronger at the start of the 2nd half, favouring Beccles now. Sprowston with a change Leggett back on in defence as Shipman moves out to the right of attack. Keira Braithwaite the player off. Bethan Owen on for Beccles in place of Bulloch. The visitors to get the 2nd half underway. Shipman with the ball moving forwards tackled by Collins. Beccles winning a free-kick inside the Sprowston half played up into the box, headed clear by Maria Braithwaite. 

Lola Barber-King on the attack for Beccles

   A scrappy start to the 2nd half as play is compacted over on one side of the pitch . Owen on the ball central attacking out to the right crossed back into her inside the box brings down on her chest the ball won cleared by the defence back to the right, fired straight back in across the six yard box dropping to Barber-King she controls opens up her body and lifts a shot wide across the face of goal. Luff is down inside her goal clearly struggling with her head injury needs to come off. With no replacement an outfield player needed to don the gloves, Shipman is the volunteer putting on a bid and going in between the sticks with Keira Braithwaite back on in the middle. 

Beccles, Bethan Owen with Sprowston’s Courtney Leggett

  Fray causing a nuisance in attack 20 yards out heading the ball on breaking into the area left of goal, Power tackling, is hurt and Fray goes down over the top of her the ball running behind for a corner. Played in near side from the left, is cleared back to the taker, lifted back in high near side, is allowed to bounce a moment of panic inside the six yard box before being scrambled behind. Another corner left played into Leggett outside the box left side is quickly closed down by Wilson. 

   Bower with the ball comes through the middle a strong run moves right, Graham closing in lunging in to tackle the ball pushed on for the keeper to clear, Simpson rushing on clearing with her feet as barber-King slides in on her. Owen moving left winning Beccles a throw in high up the pitch the ball crossed into the area Braithwaite central jumping to get her head on it, falls straight to Purling behind at the far post her glancing header turned goalwards safely in the keepers gloves.

Beccles, Lauren Purling

  Beccles coming on better attacking 2nd half, but risk getting hit on the counter. Bell looking to put the ball on for Barber-King, Curtis defending. A free-kick for the visitors on half way sees Fray breaking in behind the Beccles defence left into the box, sends her low strike wide beyond the far post. Beccles defence getting out of shape as Sprowston push on in attack, Collins tackling Morris as she comes inside from the right.

Sprowston’s Kate Morris with Beccles, Kelly Collins

  Graham with a superb diagonal ball up to Fray top of the D, Wilson sliding in to tackle for Beccles. Leggett defending up the other end for Sprowston as Bell sends the ball up to Owen 20 yards out right channel. Owen’s last action as she comes off with Bulloch back on. 20 minutes of the 2nd half played. Morris pushing on with the ball through the middle, Fray ahead of her providing the run, Morris with the forward pass, well read by Collins who is well positioned to cut out and clear. Graham on for Whayman out to Morris on the right her cross into the area cleared by Power.

  An outfield player in goal for Sprowston, Beccles have yet to test Shipman, the game stretched there is more time on the ball than some are allowing themselves. Fray with a scuffed shot 20 yards out running safely through to the keeper. Shipman taking a clean catch at her near post as Beccles lift a high ball in from the right. The ball sent up top bouncing Bulloch looking to get on the end of it for Beccles lobs it wide from 25 yards out. Power in to charge down Fray’s shot as she brings the ball down 20 yards out. Purling driving on for Beccles right side comes inside running into traffic, as both Whayman and Leggett close her down. 

 GOAL! Sprowston press forwards the Beccles defence once again out of shape as Irving lifts the pass up towards the top of the D, is scrambled clear out to the right, Morris latching onto it running on before squaring a cross into the six yard box putting it on a plate for Fray for a simple tap in into the back of the net 2-5.

Katie Fray scoring Sprowston’s fifth goal

 Sprowston restoring their 4 goal cushion with 15 minutes left to play. Get the ball back straight away from the restart fed into Fray right inside the box, Collins with a well timed tackle to deny her a shot. 

GOAL! As in the first half one goal brings two for Sprowston as they cause chaos at the back for Beccles again the host defence falling back but not in a line the diagonal ball finding Morris clear on the right inside the box where she lifts her shot over the keeper to score 2-6.

Kate Morris making it 6-2 for Sprowston

  Sprowston’s defence doing a good job of protecting there keeper not falling too deep, the ball put on by Bell in the middle finding Bower up top she headers it down into Barber-King right of the D, her first time shot sent up over the bar. Bulloch collecting the ball on the wing for Beccles turning inside heading for the box, is tackled by Maria Braithwaite. Shipman is untroubled in goal for Sprowston a rush of blood though as she comes racing out of her box to clear when she had time to see it roll into her gloves as Beccles threaten to break, the kick works though.

Sprowston’s Keira Braithwaite

Purling right driving on with the ball, shifting inside to cross the ball cut out by Leggett. Fray battling through the middle taking the ball on for Sprowston has Morris moving inside the box ahead of her right side, getting the pass into the the angle against her Morris’ shot is held by Gowing. Barber-King taking the ball on down the right flank checking back up the line to the top of the area flashes a ball into Bower 20 out left of the D, her touch bringing her inside for the shot, is leaning back as she sends her effort over the bar. 

  The game moving into stoppage time Sprowston on the attack fed into Fray right channel outside the box angles a shot in across goal low, Gowing down well to push the ball away to her right. 

Full time Beccles Town Ladies 2-6 Sprowston FC Women

  Full time and Sprowston come away with a 6-2 that lifts them into 6th place in the Division One table. A strong start racing into a 4 goal lead seeing them take control of the game, with Fray and Morris up top causing problems for the Beccles defence throughout. The hosts with a mountain to climb errors seeing them concede early on a 4-0 looked in real trouble but had created chances and two well worked goals saw them pull it back to 4-2 at the break. An enforced keeper change for Sprowston but Beccles never really tested her as the visitors continued to look dangerous in the final 3rd going on to add another quickfire double to make it a comfortable result.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few performances to mention first. Starting with Beccles Lola Barber-King created a number of chances up top an on another day may very well have scored a hat-trick. Charlotte Power at the back making a number of critical tackles and blocks. For Sprowston it’s hard to pick a single player out as their were good performances all over the pitch, Holly Whayman composed in midfield moving the ball well scoring twice. “Well done Bailey” was a common cry throughout the match the defender making so great tackles. Up top Kate Morris was strong peeling off the defence to make herself available narrowly edged out by her strike partner, Katie Fray who was a handful for the Beccles defence all game, battling for the ball and creating numerous opportunities.

An enjoyable East Sunday at Beccles, great to catch up with both sides and others in the footballing community. My thanks to both sides for providing me with the team details as always much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Billericay Town Women v Hashtag United Women

Thursday 14th April

Essex Women’s County Cup Final

Hot on the heels on one cup final comes the 2nd with a trip down to Essex for the Women’s County Cup showpiece event between fierce rivals, Billericay Town Women and Hashtag United Women. 

 A rivalry made all the keener by virtue of the fact the two Essex giants are vying for top spot in FAWNL South East Division One and with it promotion to tier 3 of the woman’s football pyramid. A position Hashtag United Women formerly C&K Basildon Ladies have tasted before coming very close to achieving promotion to  what is now the FAWSL Championship. Along with Billericay Town Women the pair have dominated the county cup in recent seasons. Have been the top two in FAWNL South East Division One all season Hashtag United Women leading the way as Billericay play catch up having been involved in the FA Women’s Cup. Their season finished though Hashtag have 62 points winning 20 of their 24 league matches. Billericay with 2 games in left and a 5 point gap to close down know what they have to do, a 4-0 win away to Cambridge City Ladies closing the gap to just 2 points, know victory in their final home game against mid-table London Seaward FC with guarantee the title. 

This evening though it’s all about the County Cup, Billericay the holders the final missing from the previous two seasons because of the Covid pandemic the rivalry continues with Hashtag United Women gunning for their 1st ever county cup success. Billericay  pushing Hashtag all the way in the race for the league title have lost just one league game all season with striker Zoe Rushen having an incredible season in front of goal with 28 scored so far from 31 appearances accounting for over 30% of Billericay’s goals. Saw them on the opening day of the season winning 8-0 away to Norwich and all accounts have been the toughest opponents others have played all season. 

Equally strong at the top of the table are Hashtag United Women. Basildon’s merger with Hashtag United reviving the clubs fortunes after they were relegated to South East Division One. Well looked after with strong media support for the side have been out in front for much of the season. Scoring 83 goals in their 24 league matches 10 clear of 2nd placed Billericay with the best defensive record too shared with 3rd placed AFC Wimbledon with 14 goals conceded. Malika Apindia, Hashtag’s top scorer netting 21 goals from 27 appearances with Kelly Wealthall and Sasha Adamson on 13 and 12 respectfully.

  Road to the Final

Along with fellow FAWNL South East Division One side, Harlow Town Ladies and Bowers & Pitsea Ladies of the ERWFL Premier Division both sides entered the competition the quarter final stage. Billericay drawn away to Hashtag United Women’s Reserve side, goals from Sam Pittuck, Ruby Sealey, Mia Lockett and Zoe Rushen securing a 4-0 win. Hashtag themselves at home to ERWFL Division One South promotion hopeful’s Leigh Ramblers Ladies were also comfortable winners progressing with a 5-0 result.

 Both sides strong too in the last 4 of the competition. Billericay at home to Bowers & Pitsea Ladies, Rebecca May on target with a hat-trick. A brace each for Shannon Drewe and Logan O’Shea with Karissa Doo and Sam Pittuck also on target in a 9-2 win. Hashtag were away to Harlow Town Ladies booking their spot in the final with a 6-2 win.

Aveley FC’s, Parkside Stadium the venue for the final and soon to become the home of Hashtag United Women. A new build, featuring a state of the art building beside the 3G playing surface, housing a large bar area on the ground floor, hospitality above with large windows giving a great view of the action seating in front of the clubhouse with another covered stand opposite, viewing all round a new scoreboard in one corner and a kitchen serving a variety of hot food and drink, much needed after a 2 hour drive from Norfolk to get here. A very warm day staying pleasant for the game again mild and calm. A hugely anticipated game a good crowd in attendance.

Billericay Town Ladies

Billericay Town Women starting XI- Alex baker (C), Kerry Stimson, Lucy Jones, Ellie Jeffkins, Courtney Lumley, Jay Blackie, Georgie Moreton, Logan O’Shea, Shannon Drewe, Zoe Rushen & Ruby Sealey. Subs – Rebecca May, Amber Gaylor, Maddie Reynolds, Sam Pittuck and Casey Iron.

Hashtag United Women

 Hashtag United Women starting XI – Imogen Riches, Maddie Thomas, Katherine Nutman, Grace Gillard (C), Hayley West, Sophie Kelly, Gemma Baker Sasha Adamson, Emma Samways, Kelly Wealthall, Malika Apindia. Subs – Eva Carvahlo, Abbey Davies, Rebecca Sargent, Kelsey Smith & Nikita Whinnett. 

(roll on roll off substitutes)

Despite Aveley soon to be their home ground Hashtag are the ‘away’ side this evening both sides in their away colours too with Billericay wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts. Hashtag wearing white shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and white socks. It’s Billericay to get the final underway kicking off the 1st half the ball immediately charged down inside the centre circle. Contested back ad forth before Hashtag get it out to the right side with attacker Malika Apindia giving chase, Lucy Jones able to see it out for a Billericay goal kick.

A high tempo start both sides in to close the ball down, Zoe Rushen moving right as the ball in sent on from the middle, Katherine Nutman defending for Hashtag seeing the ball go for a throw in. Billericay’s Georgie Moreton tackling in the middle the ball lifted out to Shannon Drewe out on the left taking the ball to the by-line plays in a cross to the near post, Hashtag captain, Grace Gillard arriving to block deflecting the ball behind for a corner kick, Billericay appealing for a handball but nothing doing. The corner curled in to the top of the area Ellie Jeffkins rushing in unopposed can’t quite get her head on the ball as it is deflected back to Hashtag goalkeeper, Imogen Riches beyond her.

Billericay winning a free-kick out wide right put in from deep, Hashtag’s Sophie Kelly back to defend heading it clear of the area. The ball pinging around in the middle no one allowed to settle Billericay lift it forwards up for Rushen right of the D, the defender marking her clearing the ball as Rushen goes down hurt in the challenge, again Billericay appeal but no penalty. Rushen needing treatment a pause in play  but is okay to continue. Play resuming Hashtag moving the ball through the middle on for Apindia breaking away to the right, Jones staying with her to send the ball back to goalkeeper and captain Alex Baker to clear.

Is tense, cagey almost as both sides battle for possession in quickly to close each other down, play broken up as a result. Attacker, Ruby Sealey seeing the ball into her feet 30 yards out releasing Drewe on the left racing on to the corner wrapping her foot around the ball a cross swung into the six yard box headed clear by Gillard. Billericay seeing more of the ball in the final 3rd in the opening 10 minutes. Hashtag attacking on the left get into a crossing position the ball whipped in across the area, Jones defending the ball out for a corner kick. Attacked at the near post turned on across the face of goal goes out beyond the far post for a goal kick.

Emma Samways moving out right for Hashtag with a dummy as the ball is played into her then reverses to send the ball on up the line for Apindia, Jones again able the shield the ball out for a goalkick. The delivery put in centrally, Baker rising to knock it down into the ground, before Billericay scramble it away. Rushen getting the ball into her feet coming inside from the right driving for the area, a strong tackle from Gillard halting her attack. Hashtag looking dangerous n the counter attack as the ball is fired up to Apindia on for Samways, Courtney Lumley defending a corner conceded. Taken short from the left blocked and then cleared.

Billericay striker, Zoe Rushen with Hashtag captain, Grace Gillard (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

The game livening up as both sides get forwards with purpose Rushen with a back heel on the left corner of the box on for Drewe down the line, Nutman defending for Hashtag seen out for a goal kick. Jay Blackie surging on from midfield is brought down inside the d but again Billericay appeals are waved away. Baker with a hasty clearance as the back pass is threatened from a throw on the left as Samways rushes in. Gillard has a long throw in her arsenal up on the pitch right side headed on the attempted hook shot at the far post is missed.

  Moreton breaks on from the middle for Billericay this time the foul is given as she is brought down heavily outside the D to the right of goal. Close to the edge of the box Rushen’s attempt to give herself an extra yard further back upsetting the Hashtag fans the referee seeing it’s taken from the correct position, Rushen smashes her shot into the wall then slices the rebound wide as it comes flying back to her. Neither side allowed any rhythm isn’t pretty, certainly committed Hashtag with a vocal support. Jeffkins intercepting as Gemma Baker looks to put Apindia away through the middle. 

  Jones at left back tackling Samways as she attempts to shift the ball in behind her on the right. Billericay attack Moreton coming to the right Rushen and Drewe ahead of her, the latter wide cutting the ball into Rushen inside the area left corner tries to pick out Sealey who fouls Nutman as she goes to attack the ball, Hashtag with the free-kick. Half an hour played the game opening up as both sides get forwards with attacking intent. Moreton on the ball forwards for Rushen moving left into the area, Nutman intercepting. 

 Sasha Adamson on the right pushing on with Samways, Jones challenging the ball out for a throw. Hashtag with a strong appeal for a penalty as the ball is cleared inside the Billericay box. The ball fizzed into Apindia from the left central top of the D, is falling as she spins attempting to hit it on the turn sends her effort off target. Hashtag putting pressure on Billericay at the back as they linger on the ball outside the area put back to Baker who picks it up appeals again. Passion rising. 

  Drewe winning the ball high on Billerica’s left inside for Rushen top of the area left plays it across looking for Sealey right of the D, Kelly back to win for Hashtag cleared to the right a strike sent back in low in low on the angle, Imogen Riches comfortable down to claim in the Hashtag goal. No sooner has one goalkeeper claimed the ball then Brooks up the other end is called into action as Hayley West on the left fires a strike in low on the angle across goal, Brooks down sharply getting a touch to turn it wide beyond the far post for a corner on the right. 

  Hashtag are getting more of the ball in Billericay’s half now pressing the back line a couple of long range strikes from the left blocked. A corner from the left for Hashtag crossed in Jeffkins winning it for Billericay. Adamson left inside for Apindia sends it out to the right for Samways her attempted cross cut out by Jones behind for a corner. The corner successfully defended Billericay launch a counter attack, Sealey bringing it on from halfway has Rushen going with her gives her the ball she sends it on for Moreton racing on right  to the top of the box, Adamson getting the tackle in the ball deflected away. Moreton down needing treatment but is okay to play on.

Georgie Moreton looking to shoot for Billericay (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

  Remains a tense affair, the pendulum swinging in Hashtag’s favour towards the end of the 1st half. Thomas with a throw on the left for Hashtag is knocked on into the area, West inside charging in seeing her effort blocked then cleared. Apindia is a handful up top strong in possession controls the ball with her head outside the area looks to set up Baker, Lumley defends for Billericay. Moreton advancing on the ball moves left on for Sealey in attack, Nutman though with a solid defensive clearance to stop the threat for Hashtag. Moreton out to Sealey again right side her cross cut out by Baker tracking back.

  Hashtag looking to break on the left Stimson with the foul on halfway, no advantage for Hashtag play brought back for the free-kick as Stimson goes into the book. The free-kick on halfway headed on by Apindia inside the box at the near post across the six yard box, a snap shot at the far post charged down going for a corner. Into the closing seconds of the 1st half the corner up the line the cross in charged down, Thomas back on the ball to put inside near side Apindia controlling with her head cushioning the ball down hitting it on the spin her shot held by Brooks in the Billericay goal. 

Half-time Billericay Town Women 0-0 Hashtag United Women

  Goalless at the break, is certainly tense a game neither wants to lose. Both side closing the other down. Billericay with the narrow advantage early on getting forwards. Hashtag strong in defence letting nothing through gaining momentum towards the end of the half efforts blocked from outside the box, Brooks called into action needing to put the ball wide from a West effort. If there are any clues to which way it might you 2nd half then I’ve missed them. Beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

 A change at the start of the 2nd half for Billericay, Amber Gaylor coming on for Drewe to join the attack. Hashtag to get the 2nd 45 underway. Wealthall immediately winning Hashtag a throw high on the left. Gillard up with her long throw into the area looking for Apindia, cleared by Stimson for Billericay. Gaylor putting the ball on for Rushen up top the ball defended by Gillard. Fouls a feature of the game a little niggle between the sides more born out of passion than anything else and quickly brought under control when tempers flare. 

Blackie into an advanced position winning a corner as Billericay look to press Hashtag back at the start of the 2nd half. Lumley at one end for Billericay and Nutman at the other with last ditch tackles as each side play the ball long. Gaylor plays the ball on for O’Shea as she races forwards her effort blocked. Gaylor exchanging passes with Rushen on the right as Billericay advance, Gaylor going on to strike the ball goalwards from the angle well held by Riches in the Hashtag goal. 

 GOAL! 10 minutes gone in the 2nd half and the deadlock is finally broken, Hashtag put Wealthall in on the left to the top of the area looks to play it inside with Adamson closing in, Stimson diving in to challenge can only help the ball on into Adamson’s pat as she takes it on into the area closing in on goal and sends it across the falling Brooks into the bottom corner 1-0. 

  Hashtag pressing the ball from the restart looking to go after Billericay, the shot from Samways tame however safely claimed by Brooks. The goal putting a spring into Hashtag’s step, Billericay visibly frustrated as passes go astray. West with a good tackle stopping Sealey advancing with the ball as she looks to travel from halfway. A change for Hashtag as they bring on Nikita Whinnett on the hour for Wealthall who has been struggling since the goal. Jeffkins putting the ball forwards picking out Gaylor to the left of the area her shot swung in held by Riches.

  Blackie shown a yellow card from a strong tackle out wide in the corner on the left Hashtag with the set-piece played into the six yard box, it’s Blackie who wins the header to clear the danger. A hand ball spotted by the referee in the middle giving Billericay a free-kick, Jeffkins over it takes on the long distance shot, Riches not troubled as she moves wide of her goal to catch the ball. moving into the final 20 minutes Billericay making a tactical change bringing off a defender, Stimson at full back for attacker, Sam Pittuck.

Billericay’s Amber Gaylor (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

  Pressing the ball Moreton into Rushen left side 20 yards out getting a shot away her attempt caught by Riches. Billericay pressing on as they look to get a goal themselves. Gillard up the field to take another long throw, balls running out as they are cleared out of the ground, Jeffkins with a firm head to put the ball clear of the area for Billericay, counter quickly the move ending as Rushen 20 yards out slices her attempt wide as she is rapidly closed down.

GOAL! 15 minutes to go and Billericay find the leveller and it’s a well struck effort from Moreton too! Attacking on the left Gaylor deep puts it back to the full back to lift a high ball in near post Rushen up with a defender the ball coming off both out to the top of the area, Moreton moving across the D, controlling it on her chest and catching it sweetly to send it past the diving keeper 1-1.

Georgie Moreton congratulated by her teammates after levelling the scores for Billericay (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

 No sooner have Billericay found the equalising goal then Hashtag get on the offensive and come close to retaking the lead Apindia picking up the ball on halfway driving forwards through the middle drifting right letting fly from all of 25 yards out, Brooks is beaten doesn’t move the ball wide of her, turns to see it come off the base of her left post and careen across the face of her goal, Whinnett after it with Lumley the ball out of play. 

 Apindia out right twisting and turning her marker with a clever back heel taking the ball to the by-line her cross laid back into the box cut out and cleared. West tracking back into the box tracking back with Rushen as Moreton attempts to puck her out from the right. 

GOAL! Hashtag retaking the lead with 8 minutes left to play scoring with a well worked goal started and finished by Baker. On the ball bringing it on through the middle sends it on for Apindia who in turn finds Davies advancing on the left flank her cross squared into the area cut out the loose ball skipping up for Baker at the top of the D, bringing it down off her chest and catches it superbly on the volley to rifle her strike in off the crossbar 2-1.

 Moreton down with a knock on the far side of the pitch is replaced by Rebecca May with 5 minutes left to play. Not long for Hashtag to hold out or Billericay to find a 2nd leveller. Pressing the ball Hashtag gaining a throw high on the right, Gillard up to take the ball cleared at the near post by Lumley comes straight to West 25 yards out right of the D she shot fired back in held by the keeper. 

 The clock ticking own Billericay with players forwards as they get a free-kick inside the Hashtag half the ball lofted into the area the keeper doesn’t get hold of it, dropping down outside the box, two efforts are charged down in quick succession as Hashtag defend for their lives. The counter on Apindia on for Whinnett moving left Lumley closing in tackling for Billericay. Not long left am surrounded by Hashtag fans eager for the final whistle to blow. A few cool heads needed another ball cleaned out of the ground. That’s it the whistle blows and Hashtag players and coaching staff rush onto the pitch to celebrate as they win the County Cup.

Full time Billericay Town Women 1-2 Hashtag United Women

  A massive 578 fans in attendance watching this evenings final a great game between to fierce rivals. Certainly tense and cagey with neither wanting to give anything away. Spirited the 2nd half seeing 3 well taken goals scored Gemma Baker with the all important winning strike for Hashtag United Women, their first trophy, would dearly love a 2nd but that one remains Billericay’s to lose with one final league game to play in a fortnights time and despite losing the final will now be focused solely on London Seaward FC. Quality finishers on both sides could have gone either way in the end committed performances from both sides this is a rivalry that is set to continue and for Essex that is only a boon. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. This was a contest between two committed sides who didn’t want to be beaten. Credit to all involved. Lucy Jones at the back with a number of critical challenges for Billericay. Zoe Rushen their main threat in attack battling for possession setting up chances for herself and her teammates. Georgie Moreton outstanding in the middle taking the ball on and getting into some great positions a great strike to level the scores. For Hashtag, their captain Grace Gillard led by example at the back cutting out a number of crosses and winning the ball. Gemma Baker with a superb finish to win the game. The award though goes to attacker Malika Apindia carrying a constant threat up front all game whether running at the defence or getting hold of the ball in an around the box unlucky not to have a goal herself. 

 Congratulations to Hashtag United Women on winning this season’s Essex Women’s County Cup.

Hashtag United Women, winners of the 2021/22 Essex Women’s County Cup (photo credit Essex FA)

 A great game to match down at Aveley I do like that ground, so Hashtag might well see me again next season. I don’t miss the M25 even after 2 and a half seasons still I got home in the end. My thanks to everyone at Aveley for there help this evening. Nicky Hayes from Billericay for letting me use his photo’s so to Essex FA and hopefully will add a few more from Hashtag United Women soon. Two cup finals in two days I’m off for a rest now… until Sunday at least this is the best part of the football season after all.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Cambridge United WFC v St Ives Town Ladies

Wednesday 13th April

Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final

A busy week of cup final action on Women’s Football East, starting this Wednesday evening with a trip to Eynesbury Rovers FC or the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final between Cambridge United WFC and St Ives Town Ladies.

Huntingdonshire FA’s inaugural Women’s Senior Cup at last taking place after Covid put pay to the final being played last season. 7 women’s sides featured within the county with representatives varying from county level right up to FAWNL Division One the 4th tier of the women’s football pyramid.

The two strongest sides within the county reaching the final of the competition with Cambridge United WFC playing their football at St Neots Town FC playing in FAWNL South East Division One taking on St Ives Town Ladies from the ERWFL Premier Division below.

Cambridge United WFC manager, Darren Marjoram taking on familiar opponents having joined the FAWNL side at the start of the season having previously been manager at St Ives Town playing a major role in the clubs development and rapid rise up the football pyramid. Overall a successful 1st season with Cambridge pushing for a top 4 finish at one point tailing away towards the end with consistency proving a challenge will secure a mid-table finish with a good platform to build on next season. Cambridge United WFC enjoying closer ties with Cambridge United FC which will benefit them going forwards have traditionally been a dominant force within the county cup competition in Cambridgeshire itself, now with their base in Huntingdonshire have the opportunity to contest for silverware once again.

St Ives Town Ladies having reached the ERWFL Premier Division 3 seasons ago after a fast and strong rise through the leagues, were looking strong in their debut season, then Covid came along and put an end to proceedings, the following season likewise affected stifling development for a lot of clubs. A change of management this season with Ben Green eventually taking charge. Have found this season in the ERWFL Premier Division a struggle winning just one of their opening 8 league fixtures and with one game left to play are unfortunately at the bottom of the table and facing the prospect of relegation, yet the mood in the camp remains positive and recent results giving the squad some much needed confidence going into this evenings final. 

Road to the Final

  With 7 sides contesting, new side Huntingdon Town Ladies made up largely of the old St Ives Town Ladies Development side were the ones to receive a bye into the last 4. Cambridge United WFC starting their cup campaign away to Cardea FC Ladies,, 2nd in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Division One, 3 divisions between the sides Cambridge running out comfortable winners with both Ruth Fox and Laura Mitchell scoring a hat-trick in an 11-0 win. A equally high scoring victory for St Ives Town Ladies in their quarter final away to Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two side, Brampton Ladies. Charlotte Noble on target with a hat-trick with top scorers Angel Lyden netting a brace in a 10-2 result.

  Into the last 4 and Cambridge were drawn at home to Cambridge Women’s Division Two title chasers, Eaton Socon Ladies. A good test for the visitors young squad, Cambridge once again racking up the goals powering into the final with a 13-0 win. St Ives at home to Huntingdon Town Ladies in  their semi-final. Georgia Stancombe on target with a brace with a goal each for Kati Stancombe and Sasha Smith seeing them through to their first county cup final.

  The venue for the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Senior Final, Eynesbury Rovers FC. Like St Neots, Premier Plus Stadium situated in a residential area, featuring a very large grass pitch which will offer plenty of width in great condition. A seated stand along one side of the ground opposite the dugouts, housing the changing rooms with the bar/clubhouse with kitchen hatch alongside. Another seated stand behind one of the goals a good sized crowd building. A pleasant warm day  carrying into the evening mild with no wind or rain forecast.

 Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Lauren Webb, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Lauren Rouse, Abi Davies, Gisela Otten (C), Abbi Griffin, Faith Hewitt, Laura Mitchell, Nicole Emmings & Ruth Fox. Subs – Kira Markwell, Grace Waygood, Alysha Stojko-Down, Libby Fraser & Niamh Day.

 St Ives Town Ladies starting XI – Sarah Aftelak, Mollie Flack, Sasha Smith, Anna Hicks (C), Georgia Stancombe, Hannah Seymour-Shove, Jessica Conyard, Sarah Mosley, Angel Lyden, Katie Stancombe & Elle Jefferson. Subs – Lauren Bird, Poppy Lyons & Penelope Ford.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Three former St Ives players following Darren Marjoram to Cambridge all featuring in this evenings final with Ruth Fox, top scorer for Cambridge this season with 14 goals leading the attack and Abbi Griffin starting in midfield. Goalkeeper, Kira Markwell on the bench. Cambridge to get the game underway kicking off 1st half wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks with St Ives opposite wearing white shirts with black vertical striping, black shorts and socks. The play played diagonally out to the left wing for Nicole Emmings, Mollie Flack gaining possession for St Ives lifting the ball back into the middle.

St Ives closing in on the ball Jessica Conyard playing it out to Angel Lyden on the right support with Sarah Mosley down the flank the pair playing a good one two on, Carrie Bennett across the ball for Cambridge to see it safely out of play for a goalkick. Cambridge winning a free-kick captain Gisella Otten on for Laura Mitchell on the right takes the ball on squaring it into Ruth Fox top of the area, Georgia Stancombe defending for St Ives the ball back with Kayleigh-Anne Burt on the right spreads play across to Lauren Rouse moving left  on for Bennett up for Emmings taking the ball up up the left whistling a cross into the box, Fox the target central, St Ives captain Anna Hicks getting her foot on the ball to clear.

St Ives, Mollie Flack with Cambridge’s Nicole Emmings (photo credit Ben Phillips)

  St Ives build on the left getting a free-kick the ball played on cleared is picked up by Katie Stancombe out left 30 yards out strikes the ball goalwards, arrowing in, Cambridge goalkeeper, Lauren Webb with a spectacular save, athletically diving to her right gloving the ball away for a corner kick. The corner delivery lofted into a crowded near post, Webb coming in amongst everyone to jump punch the ball down, cleared up to Mitchell looking to break, Sarah Aftelak keeping goal for St Ives out of her box to clear.

  St Ives with a fast start looking to press the ball get it moving forwards quickly, Elle Jefferson in attack nudging the ball on for Lyden, Burt closing in to tackle, halt St Ives progress for Cambridge. Lyden getting on well right side with Jefferson supporting, Faith Hewitt across to put in the tackle. Cambridge rushed on the ball as St Ives work to close down passes not finding their targets. Rouse at the back for Cambridge onto Hewitt with Bennett going on left side her diagonal ball flighted into the area seen out at her near post by Aftelak. A busy opening 10 minutes from St Ives have caught Cambridge a little off guard, Mosley in to tackle Otten put the ball out to Lyden, Emmings tracking back to challenge get the ball back into Cambridge’s possession.

Cambridge captain, Gisela Otten (photo credit Ben Phillips)

Emmings with Bennett up the left checks back inside firing a cross into the area Fox the target too close to the keeper Aftelak snatching it up into her gloves. Griffin down in the middle for Cambridge needing treatment after a challenge, is okay to continue. Play resuming Flack with a timely interception getting her foot on the ball as Emmings looks to thread a pass on in behind. Katie Stancombe with the ball driving on left side pace forced back up the line before turning and seeing her long range strike charged down. The ball up to Fox in attack right channel 25 out played back to Hewitt central out out to Mitchell on the right advances before flashing and angled shot wide across the St Ives goal.

Cambridge’s Faith Hewitt (photo credit Ben Phillips)

There positive start giving St Ives confidence, Jefferson linking up well with Lyden on the right keeping Bennett occupied at the back for Cambridge. Aftelak with a good catch high at her near post as Cambridge attack right Mitchell sending the ball in. Cambridge lose the ball at the back Rouse tackled by Katie Stancombe right sent onto Jefferson racing into the area evading Burt’s challenge, Griffin running back closing in to block before Jefferson can unleash a shot. St Ives quick to counter whenever they have the ball Lyden on the right looking to set up Jefferson ahead of her, Rouse defending well for Cambridge shielding the ball putting it back for Webb to clear.

Fox for Cambridge with a great first touch 25 yards out to take the ball in behind on the left channel, Lyden getting back on her shoulder to shoulder forces her wide before tackling to clear the ball. Cambridge with a free-kick on the left leading to a corner kick, players up from the back the six yard box loaded, the delivery in escaping the defender at the near post running on into the mix, a snap shot taken from close range Aftelak with a fantastic save leaping to her left to snatch the ball down with both hands.

(photo credit Ben Phillips)

Otten central spinning to evade a tackle playing the ball into Fox’s feet as she peels away left channel to run in behind towards the box shooting from outside the area her effort drilled wide of the near post. A tug back leading to a St Ives free-kick central, players up as Georgia Stancombe sends it up into the area Jefferson unable to get it down under control before being closed down the ball cleared. Half and hour played, Griffin wrestling free with the ball in the middle sending it through for Fox left of the D too heavy though the keeper gathering safely.

Lyden strong on the right getting in behind, pace taking her to the by-line flashes a cross along the face of the Cambridge goal Katie Stancombe beyond the far post can’t keep it in. Otten puts the ball on for Emmings into space on the left driving on wraps her foot around the ball angling a cross into the box swerving goalwards Aftelak with a confident take high at her near post. Otten strong in the middle winning a St Ives goalkick the ball out to Emmings again on the left shifts inside this time shooting wide from 30 yards out. St Ives forced back as Cambridge get players forwards Davies up with Mitchell on the right the ball cut out fed across the the left Bennett up field delivering a cross into the top of the area Georgia Stancombe clearing for St Ives.

Cambridge gaining some momentum as the 1st half draws to a close Georgia Stancombe clearing a cross the ball out for a corner on the left. Put into the mix in front of goal Aftelak getting a fist on the ball can’t claim, falling a scramble in front of her put clear, Jefferson breaking with it through the middle, Mitchell racing back for Cambridge to challenge. Fox taking the ball on as she sees it into her feet and turns 25 yards out, Conyard going with her lunging in to take the ball away from her.

Hewitt fouled in the middle played out to Mitchell on the right Davies looking to get on with her, Smith timing her tackle well to halt Mitchell’s run. Davies up with Mitchell on the right moments later the shot angled in low, held well by Aftelak down smartly at her near post. Hannah Seymour-Shove tackling in the middle out to Katie Stancombe on the left driving on, Davies challenging as Burt comes to clear. Won back up to Mosley, Jefferson moving into the D ahead of her, Rouse getting her foot in to steal the ball. Burt sending the pass on for Davies bursting forwards on the right, strikes the ball on the angle from distance, Aftelak untroubled as she sees it wide of her far post.

(photo credit Ben Phillips)

St Ives playing the ball on with pace through the centre Jefferson and Lyden looking to get into the box, Rouse across to put in the tackle before the ball is cleared for a throw on the left. St Ives winning a free-kick on their right, Bennett aggrieved as she goes in for a 50/50 challenge. Smith flighting an inviting ball into the box, Otten inside to defend with a firm header as push spotted however Cambridge getting the free-kick. Into the closing stages of the 1st half Cambridge attack on the right Fox up with Mitchell a throw won high up the pitch. The cross coming in off the throw sees Fox’s attempt near side charged down Mitchell getting hold of the rebound seeing her shot deflected wide for a corner on the right. Put in across the six yard box scrambled behind for another corner on the left this delivery cleared at the near post.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 St Ives Town Ladies

  Goalless at the break. A competitive game with St Ives starting brightly working hard to close the ball down, get it on take the game to Cambridge who were a little cold at the start caught off guard. Webb called into action with an early save. The work rate continuing from St Ives have counted well, whilst defending their box. Cambridge gaining momentum as the half wore on will be interesting to see if St Ives can match this tempo 2nd half, remains all to play for.

Carrie Bennett with St Ives Elle Jefferson (photo credit Ben Phillips)

  A triple change for Cambridge at the start of the 2nd half with Kira Markwell replacing Webb in goal. Also on defender Grace Waygood and midfielder Alysha Stojko-Down for Burt and Hewitt. Tactical changes too as Griffin goes to right back, Davies up to joined Fox and Emmings in attack on the right side. St Ives with the same 11 get the 2nd period underway the scores level after 90 minutes the game goes straight to penalties. The ball played forwards cleared by Waygood. Both sides closing down in the middle the start of the 2nd half disjointed with neither side getting hold of the ball.

   Cambridge build on the left Bennett on for Emmings attacking down the wing crossed into the area for Mitchell played back out to Stojko-Down 20 yards out, her strike charged down by Hicks. Cambridge showing more attacking intent at the start of the 2nd half looking to get on the front foot Stojko-Down and Otten tackling in the middle, the former fouled by Seymour-Shove a free-kick lifted into the area defended away for a corner kick on the left. Played in to the near side Emmings coming towards the ball twists as she leaps looking to turn the ball goalwards plants it wide.

Angel Lyden with Alysha Stojko-Down (photo credit Ben Phillips)

 Smith’s clearance at the back has Lyden running in clear behind on the right, Markwell responding quickly advancing to the top of her area to grab the ball into her gloves. The ball clipped into Fox from midfield 25 yards out brings it down well turning to attack the area, runs into Georgia Stancombe who stabs out a foot to take the ball away. Davies and Emmings pushing on with Fox through the middle now in attack St Ives forced back, Otten and Stojko-Down in midfield winning the cleared ball back. Smith gets in a great tackle ,needed as Davies looks to charge on down the right side. 

  A flare-up on the right as St Ives win a free-kick, quickly extinguished by the referee, the set-piece send long into the area, Markwell unchallenged with an assured claim. Cambridge using the pitch better now as Otten coming right to win possession links up with Griffin the ball played into Stojko-Down central helped out to Bennett on the left forwards for Emmings her cross dinked into the area finds Fox getting a yard clear of the defence just inside she sends her shot in, narrowly over the crossbar. 

Cambridge striker, Ruth Fox (photo credit Ben Phillips)

  St Ives with their backs to the wall as Cambridge mount an attack on the left Emmings getting help from Mitchell the ball flashed in across the six yard box Davies in far side with a 1st time effort back across goal can only find Aftelak who is down swiftly on her line to save. Stojko-Down on for Emmings left a high ball into the box Davies managing to keep it in but Smith tackles for St Ives, Davies fouled as she goes to retrieve the ball. 56 minutes played and the first change of the game for St Ives as Poppy Lyons comes on in attack in place of Jefferson. 

  Cambridge up on the left with a throw in put into Mitchell shifts infield to the top corner of the area shooting low the ball rolling into Aftelak getting down to claim at her near post. Lyden up on the right with Katie Stancombe, Bennett forcing her back before Stojko-Down regains possession for Cambridge. Davies with pace on the right adding an attacking threat turning St Ives around whips a dangerous ball in across the six yard box, Flack cool under pressure with a cushioned header back to her keeper. 

Cambridge’s Abi Davies (photo credit Ben Phillips)

   Otten moving right with great foot work to back heel the ball on into the area, Mosley needing to track back to intercept, Katie Stancombe clearing options up the pitch limited Cambridge quickly regain possession. Smith in the wars for St Ives has taken another knock and this time needs to come off. Jefferson retuning to the pitch up alongside Lyons as Mosley drops back into left back. A ball played over the top for Davies attacking right of the D, Georgia Stancombe running with her to the ball first her attempted clearance hitting Davies rebounding goalwards, Aftelak reacting sharply to save. 

 Katie Stancombe’s pace an outlet for St Ives if they can get the ball out to her, on the left turns infield allowed to travel with the ball, it’s Rouse who gets back on her sliding in to tackle 20 yards out. Up the other end Georgia Stancombe lunging into tackle Davies 20 yards out as she shapes to shoot. Jefferson fouled top of the circle a free-kick for St Ives played long up into the area, Markwell not put off with Jefferson chasing in on the ball catching cleanly. 

  Seymour-Shove with a rash challenge catching Fox on the back of her achilles, presenting Cambridge with a free-kick to the right some 25 yards out. Griffin over the ball. Put into the box claimed by Aftelak. Closing in on the final 15 minutes, Cambridge strong in the 2nd half but yet to break down a resilient St Ives defence. Mitchell on the left side moving inside to cross whipping the ball in Fox her target, Georgia Stancombe going with her to intercept and clear for St Ives. Fox then sending a header over the bar as Emmings plays a cross in from the left side. 

  Mosley pushing Davies wide as she bursts on down the right gets to the by-line her cross drifting behind into the side netting. Otten with a strong header off a St Ives goal kick the ball with Davies on the right wins her side a corner. Long across the face of goal cleared falls to Stojko-Down 25 yards out left smashes a shot goalwards, takes a deflection on its way over. A pause in play with a St Ives player needing treatment. The corner from the right Emming’s leaping central can’t quite get there the ball cleared at the far post. Stojko-Down linking wit h Otten and Griffin central the ball fed forwards cut out by Hicks. 

  Into the final 10 minutes, Cambridge making a change bringing on Libby Fraser for Emmings on the left. Otten winning the ball in midfield out to the right Mitchell with Davies the shot on the angle put behind. Fox seeing the ball into her feet back to goal 20 out has support with Otten advancing she spreads play to the left Fraser with Mitchell, Flack tackling the ball out for a throw. Davies attacking right to the by-line winning a corner off Mosley. Mosley then clears at the near post as the corner is swung in.

Cambridge’s Laura Mitchell (photo credit Ben Phillips)

  The clock is ticking down, St Ives are absorbing alot of pressure can’t get the ball out off there half as Cambridge press hard, can they hold on, take it to the lottery of a penalty shootout? Mosley outnumbered on the left as Fox moves out to help Davies with Griffin getting up the pitch does well to get a challenge in halt progress with a throw. Defended a rare opportunity to break with Katie Stancombe in the clear on the left, Rouse though covers the ground well to slide in with the tackle. Niamh Day coming on in the closing minutes for Cambridge replacing Davies the game entering stoppage time 4 minutes to be played.

  GOAL! Stojko-Down playing the ball on down the left for Mitchell deep her touch seeing her shift inside run into the area wide of goal no one from St Ives can get near her as she strikes the ball with her right foot a fantastic hit rifled home across the keeper into the corner of the goal! 1-0. One of those instances where you see the attack building and know the attacker is going to score.

Laura Mitchell congratulated after her scoring in the 91st minute (photo credit Ben Phillips)

  The St Ives defence breached at last in stoppage time a valiant effort, Cambridge have been on top throughout the 2nd half finally have the goal. Little time left and St Ives have given it there all Katie Stancombe in space on the left can’t get a cross into the area. Cambridge with time to mount one last attack Fox put in behind on the right taking the ball to the by-line whipping in a cross that his cut out at the near post.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 St Ives Town Ladies

  The final whistle blows and Cambridge celebrate as they win the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup. Laura Mitchell with the unstoppable strike in the 91st minute. Late heartbreak for St Ives who gave everything coming within minutes of taking their higher league opponents to a penalty shootout. Can rightly be proud of their performance was a valiant effort ran out of steam in the 2nd half absorbing alot of Cambridge pressure as their opponents adjusted things at half-time dominating the 2nd half despite not finding the all important winning goal until the end. 

Women’s Football East – -Player of the Match

  Onto the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match several great performances all over the pitch from players on both sides. Credit to the whole of the St Ives defence along with Sarah Mosley who did a fine job slotting into left back after Smith’s injury. Georgia Stancombe with a number of committed tackles throughout. For Cambridge, captain Gisela Otten was strong in the middle especially 2nd half winning the ball back on numerous ocassions St Ives unable to get out because of it. Laura Mitchell with the all important winning goal with a number of great attacking runs throughout aswell as Abi Davies on the right. The award ere though as it did on the night goes to St Ives goalkeeper Sarah Aftelak with some great saves and good positioning made sure her team were in the game right till the end.

A valiant effort from St Ives Town Ladies (photo credit Tom Alfuth)

  Congratulations to Cambridge United WFC on winning the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup 

Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup winners, Cambridge United WFC (photo credit Ben Phillips)

  The first of two mid-week finals completed a trip down to Essex on the heels of this one. 214 in attendance in what was a nail biting final no where near as one sided as some had predicted. Credit to St Ives for that smiles on their faces at the end despite the lose knowing they had given it their all. My thanks to everyone at Hunts FA for their help aswell as both clubs for their assistance with the team details and Ben Phillips for allowing me to use some of his pictures in the report. 

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Netherton United Ladies v Peterborough United Foundation Women

Sunday 10th April

Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup

Plenty of exciting fixtures  being played as the football season reaches it’s climax with league titles being decided and cup final spots being secured. A semi-final game from the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup the featured game on Women’s Football East as Division One leaders Netherton United Ladies host Division Three leaders, Peterborough United Foundation Women.

  Both sides with 100% records in their respective leagues and closing in on the title. In Netherton United Ladies case a successful defence of the league title they won for the 1st time last season, back then the Premiership now Division One. Have a stronger squad this season adding a Development side. Have won all 12 of their league matches so far this season scoring 97 goals along the way. Top scorer, Yasmin Green has an impressive 50 goals for the season from just 20 appearances, whilst strike partner Emily Johnson has 38 goals so far from 21 games.

  Peterborough United Foundation Women are a new side joining the Cambridgeshire Women’s league this season with the senior women’s side moving up to the FAWNL. The Posh Foundation helping to grow football in the community in Peterborough which as I’ve eluded to before his a hotbed for football talent within the region taking on the running of the new women’s side.  Joining Division Three in Cambridgeshire  a young side have been strong right from the start topping the table winning all 15 league games played so far and like Netherton in Division One closing in on 100 goals scored with 5 players into double figures for the season, Callie Tancred leading the way with 28 goals from 13 whilst Keira Swanson has 14 goals. Andreira Olivia has 12 with Kacey Sharman and Olivia Mae Jacobs on 11 and 10 respectfully.

Dominating their leagues both Netherton and Peterborough United Foundation were drawn together in the group stages of the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup. 6 groups featuring 4 or 5 sides across all 3 division’s playing each side once, the top 8 sides progressing to the quarter final knock out stage. Playing in Group E, along side Riverside Ladies of Division Two and Deeping United Ladies of Division Three. It was the be the game between the pair with Peterborough having home advantage that was going to decide who topped the group. Was a close game with Circe Rodgers and Keira Swanson scoring for Peterborough, however it was Netherton who edged it winning 3-2 with a brace from Megan Stickland plus one from Yasmin Green.

Netherton away to Cambridge University in the quarter finals, winning the game 2-0 courtesy  of an Emily Johnson brace. Peterborough drawn away to Cardea FC Ladies 2nd in Division One. The visitors too strong on the game recording a comfortable 7-2 win to progress and set up a semi-final clash with their group E rivals Netherton. 

The Grange the venue for today’s League Cup semi-final. A 3G pitch alongside several grass pitches serving the local community. The kitchen open serving hot food and drink, took full advantage with a bacon cheeseburger, undoubtedly one of the best around if you’re ever out that way. A great day for football too weather wise warm and pleasant with a little cloud cover but otherwise bright and sunny. The Cambridgeshire FA having a referee exchange program this time of year a successful trip in 2019, welcome back officials from Norway with 3 officiating today’s game, referee Marie Dahle assisted by Magnus Aaslaund and Magnus Halse.

Netherton United Ladies

 Netherton United Ladies starting XI – Amy Stanyon, Naomi Dauncey, Dita Upesjure, Jess Didio, Jordan Sampson, Ellie Hannon, Jess Perrin, Katie Barber, Megan Stickland, Yasmin Green & Emily Johnson. Subs – Jenna Nairn, Zoe Shepherd, Mollie Marshall, Reanne Mullin & Leah Palmer.

Peterborough United Foundation Women

 Peterborough United Foundation Women starting XI – Shelley Broadway, Millie Pellow, Shephania Chaudhuri, Circe Rodgers, Jess Broadway, Emily Ingle (C), Andreira Oliveira, Zoe Devonport, Callie Tancred, Piper O’Neill & Keira Swanson. Subs – Polly Pellow.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Just the one substitute available for Peterborough this afternoon and without a regular goalkeeper, it’s midfielder, Shelley Broadway donning the gloves.  It’s the visitors Peterborough to kick the game off 1st half wearing blue coloured shirts with white sleeves, white shorts and blue socks with Netherton lined up opposite wearing red coloured shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and socks. The ball put back to the defence Peterborough immediately press Keira Swanson up top the ball deflected out to full back Dita Upesjure to lift into midfield the ball fed out to Emily Johnson racing into space on the right channel pace into the area, Jess Broadway going with her defending for Peterborough conceding an early corner. 

The ball sent in low from the right attacked at the near post, Peterborough clear with Andreira Oliveira carrying the ball out of the area before lifting it up to Swanson in attack, Upesjure defending at the back for Netherton. The hosts showing attacking intent driving on through the middle Emily Johnson picking up the ball sending it on to Yasmin Green to her right closing in on the box, Shelley Broadway comes racing out of her box to get her foot on the ball first a rushed clearance chopped out to the right wing gathered by Netherton’s Katie Barber she looks to take advantage of the keeper being off her line sends a high ball in towards goal from the angle the ball dropping wide of the far post.

Netherton’s Ellie Hannon

  Ellie Hannon taking the ball on through the middle for Netherton lifting it forwards for Johnson peeling into the right channel, a little too much on it Broadway can see it run safely out of play. A strong start from the hosts Johnson and Green picking up the ball driving at the defence with Barber and captain Megan Stickland providing width right and left. Hannon out to Barber on the move right side up the line flashes a cross in behind goal from an acute angle. Hannon breaking down a Peterborough goalkick well on for Johnson inside the D plays a one two with Jess Perrin getting forwards to support before turning 25 yards out and shooting her effort tame through to the keeper.

Peterborough’s Andreira Oliveira with Netherton’s Jess Perrin

   Peterborough’s front three looking to press the Netherton defence whenever play is turned around Callie Tancred left into Piper O’Neill her ball out to Swanson right catching her offside. Perrin central on for Barber on the move right side her cross fired in near side Green with the shot Jess Broadway close in blocking the ball deflected wide lifted back in claimed by Shelley Broadway. Green put on the clear as she peels away left comes on towards to top of the box one on one with the keeper her initial effort blocked then the ball pressured as she places it wide of the target. 

 GOAL! Somewhat agianst the run of play Peterborough break with a well worked attack to open the scoring captain Emily Ingle playing the ball out to Tancred on the left, players drawn across as she gets help from O’Neill who sends the ball out to Swanson clear on the right channel 20 yards out angles her shot back in over the keeper to find the back of the net 0-1. A well taken goal inside the opening 10 minutes.

Keira Swanson opening the scoring for Peterborough

  Johnson gathering the ball into her feet on halfway looks to send Barber away on the right wing, the pass intercepted well by Peterborough full back Millie Pellow. Barber lively out on the right for Netherton getting forwards at every opportunity her cross bouncing into the box, caught by Broadway. Peterborough battling for possession on the left winning a free-kick inside the Netherton half players up from the back, the delivery into the box knocked out to the right Swanson interested, Upesjure lunging in to defend for Netherton giving away a corner kick. Taken short before being driven into the area, headed clear.

  Stickland is pulls clear on the left crossing Shephania Chaudhuri  getting back to lunge forwards to block her cross for Peterborough. Netherton bring the ball through the middle with Perrin onto Johnson inside the D, back to goal shifts it out to her left into Green right of goal 10 yards out smashes a shot goalwards, Broadway with a great save getting her fingertips to the rising ball turning it wide for a corner kick. 

Shelley Broadway with a great save for Peterborough

  The ball from the left fed in near side defend by Inge on the post who goes down with a head injury play stopped so she can receive treatment. Netherton continue to look strong in attack, the ball with Johnson on the right travels with it a strong run to the by-line turning into the box, her shirt tugged she stays on her feet before eventually being tripped nevertheless getting a shot away an scoring from inside the six yard box, however the whistle had already blown for the penalty before the shot and a penalty is given.   

Emily Johnson on the attack for Netherton

 GOAL! Netherton equalise from the spot with 20 minutes played. Green placing the ball on the spot with a composed finish placing her strike low to the keepers right into the bottom corner 1-1.

Yasmin Green equalises from the penalty spot for Netherton

  Peterborough attack from the restart growing in confidence their front 3 pressing Netherton’s backline as Oliveira wins the ball well in the middle. A high line at times Swanson is finding space on the right to steal into as O’Neill and Tancred link up well on the left side. Perrin in midfield lifting a long diagonal pass out to the left for Stickland to chase down in the corner checks back inside to square a cross into Green inside the box left of goal slides it on to Johnson right side six out her scuffed shot saved by Broadway’s legs before the keeper gathers the loose ball.

  Netherton caught dwelling on the ball at the back left side Tancred on for O’Neill her shot on the angle 25 yards out lacking power gathered easily by Netherton goalkeeper, Amy Stanyon. Johnson with a powerful run on the ball right side drills a cross into Green central, can’t get it under control before Broadway gets her gloves on it. Swanson frustrated on the right as she’s caught by the offside flag as O’Neill picks her out. Hannon down having collected a ball in the face. Play paused.

  Netherton press the ball into Stickland through to Barber on the right pushing for the box, tackled by Jess Broadway. Peterborough come right Zoe Devonport on for Tancred over on the right forwards for O’Neill right corner of the area getting a shot away, low hasn’t the pace to trouble Stanyon back on her line. Both sides making a change, Mollie Marshall coming on for Netherton replacing Barber on the right. Polly Pellow coming on for Peterborough replacing Jess Broadway.

 GOAL! No sooner have the changes been made then Peterborough go on to retake the lead, and another great finish from Swanson as she breaks on halfway in behind with the ball driving for the area left of the D, catching the ball with the outside of her boot from 20 yards out to send it up over the advancing keeper to nestle in the net beyond 1-2.

Keira Swanson putting Peterborough back into the lead

 Peterborough close the ball down well in the centre Devonport into Ingle who looks to lift it over the top for Tancred getting in behind on the left, Stanyon out well to catch the ball. Netherton a little careless at the ball dwelling on the ball as Peterborough’s attackers are quick to close it down. Perrin getting forwards on the left side forcing a throw in. Recieving it into her feet top  of the area turns and strikes an angled shot into the box, her effort blocked before Circe Rodgers clears upfield. 

 GOAL! Peterborough break from the back with a pacey attack to extend their lead with 36 minutes played, Oliveira carrying it out of the area sending it forwards for Tancred right is quick to offload it into Swanson central who on turn feeds sends it into O’Neill’s path as she gets clear left of the D, a case of staying composed then picking her spot and places it low to the keepers left to score 1-3.

Piper O’Neill extending Peterborough’s lead

  Netherton make a 2nd change Jenna Nairn coming on in the middle for Hannon. Attacking on the right appeal for a foul as Johnson is brought down running with the ball, nothing doing as Rodgers clears. The visitors move the ball right winning a throw put back into the middle lifted up to O’Neill who deftly helps it on to Swanson to her right shooting from outside the area in over the keeper, is denied a1st half hat-trick by the offside flag. 

 Nairn gathering the ball in the middle moves right passing to Marshall, she shifts the ball well between her feet holding it up as Nairn comes to support angling a cross into the area Stickland central in front of goal stooping to head the ball close to the keeper can’t get it round Broadway as she blocks and then claims it. Swanson a nuisance in attack for Peterborough charging down the keeper as she comes to kick clear top of the area the ball deflected to the right of the D Swanson looks to chase turn and shoot find the empty net cutting across the ball it curls wide of the far post.

  The clock ticking down in the 1st half Perrin to Nairn on for Marshall right looks to thread it in behind for Johnson racing forwards, intercepted by Rodgers who clears upfield. 

Half-time Netherton United Ladies 1-3 Peterborough United Foundation Women

  Peterborough with the lead at the break staying out on the field as Netherton head into the changing rooms. A strong start from the hosts Netherton looking to take the game to their opponents, however it was Peterborough pressing the ball high who found themselves taking the lead inside the opening 10 minutes. Netherton kept coming on with the ball, guilty at times of trying to walk the ball into the back of the net it was a powerful run from striker Johnson that led to them winning a penalty and Green equalising from the spot. Peterborough continuing to battle for the ball pressuring the Netherton backline forcing errors getting themselves back in front and going on to hold a 3-1 advantage at the break. An intriguing game on another day Netherton themselves could have been leading by that same score-line have work to do if they want to get back into the tie.

Jess Broadway back on at the start of the 2nd half for Peterborough as the visitors get the 2nd 45 underway the tie going straight to penalties if the scores are level at full time. Played back to Ingle in the middle clips it forwards for Swanson and O’Neill in attack pressure as they play a one two Swanson into the box left of goal shots across the keeper Stanyon getting something on it comes back off the right post and scrambled behind for a corner as O’Neill goes for it. The delivery lifted into the penalty spot from the right headed clear by Perrin. 

Netherton captain, Megan Stickland

 GOAL! A chance for Peterborough to extend their lead at one end early in the 2nd half Netherton break left Johnson forcing a corner kick. Players come up into the box the ball curled in over everyone near side falls to Johnson free at back stick to turn the ball over the line to pull it back to 2-3.

Emily Johnson at he far post scores for Netherton

  A goal for Netherton 2 minutes after the restart, looking to take the game on with Nairn through the middle off a throw in putting a high ball into the area, Rodgers defending for Peterborough falls to Stickland on the left side fires a goal bound effort back in low held by Shelley Broadway back on her line. Marshall down with a knock for Netherton as Peterborough look to break through Swanson in attack, Didio tackling at the back for Netherton. Play stopped so Marshall can receive treatment. Naomi Dauncey on the ball right for Netherton has Perrin providing a passing option ahead of her pulling wide screws a cross in towards goal, claimed high by Broadway. 

  Nairn getting hold of the ball taking it forwards for Netherton finding Dauncey out on the right in behind her cross clipped in near post claimed by Broadway again. Oliveira taking the ball on through the centre for Peterborough lifted out to O’Neill left side crossing early looking for Swanson making a far post run, it’s Didio who instead wins the ball heading clear for Netherton. The game is open Netherton going for it pushing on in attack risking getting hit on the counter with O’Neill and Swanson ready to break in behind whenever the ball is lost. Jess Broadway charging out for the box with the ball at her feet with a good run before sending it on for Swanson, the flag halting her run.

  O’Neill with a left footed shot pulled wide of the post as she collects top of the area left of the D as Ingle plays the ball forwards. Netherton with a change Marshall who ha taken a knock earlier off with Barber back on. Perrin and Nairn strong in the middle for Netherton winning the ball keeping it in the final 3rd looking to set up Johnson and Green who will drive at the defence given any opportunity. Rodgers then Chaudhuri both making last ditch tackles to deny a shooting opportunity. Polly Pellow back on for Zoe Devonport for Peterborough.

   Tancred over on the right for Peterborough spinning off her marker to get a cross into the area cut out by Sampson. Almost a mix up at the back from Peterborough inside the box as Broadway comes to catch a high ball put into the box from a Netherton free-kick only to have a defender come in front of her to clear it away to the right. The Peterborough defence soaking up alot of pressure 2nd half as Netherton press well. Green winning a free-kick 30 yards out right of the box. Nairn over it her effort dropping wide of the far post.

Netherton defender, Naomi Dauncey

  Swanson a willing runner up top for Peterborough as Oliveira plays it on through to the box defenders chasing checks back left of the D looking for options is closed down Sampson and Dauncey seeing the ball out left before being cleared. For all Netherton’s pressure you still have the feel this tie could go either way, it’s a case of Peterborough taking their chance if they get it. Nairn has made a huge difference since coming on getting hold of the ball into the box Johnson after it as Broadway comes to claim, all happening bundled over appeals for hand ball with the ball in the ground nothing doing. Johnson carrying the ball inside from the left fizzes it across the top of the area can’t quite pick out Barber on the right side as she runs forwards.

 GOAL! Netherton’s pressure in the final 3rd tells as they get themselves back on level terms midway through the 2nd half. Attacking on the left the ball fed into Green 25 yards out top of the D holding it up well back to goal lays it off to Nairn coming on to put her foot through the ball and send a swerving shot in past the keeper to score 3-3.

Jenna Nairn putting Netherton back on level terms

  Almost as soon as they get themselves back on level terms Netherton are guilty of a sloppy pass at the back that is latched upon by O’Neill some 20 yards out right of the D, strikes her shot over the crossbar. Netherton with Stickland on the left with Johnson the ball into Barber positioned top of the D, her shot off target going wide is collected by Broadway. Peterborough’s keeper beating a shot down angled in from distance on the left from Netherton. Johnson tripped in the middle presenting Netherton with a free-kick in a dangerous position. Nairn with a vicious shot on her which Ingle feels to her cost as the ball strikes her in the Peterborough wall. 

  Swanson with an effort on goal from all of 30 yards out on the right as she pressures the Netherton defence, in low Stanton saving with her feet deflecting it wide for a corner. Fired into the far post defended headed wide for a throw. Green taking the ball on through the middle fed out to Barber on the wing right side to the by- line her cross in low just about taken by Broadway.  The game stretched at times Netherton continue to press the ball defended Jess Broadway up to Swanson battling for possession gets it on to O’Neill beating the offside trap right channel 25 yards out shoots angled in low Stanyon saves down behind the ball. 

Netherton goalkeeper Amy Stanyon

  Rodgers with a strong challenge on deny Green inside the box as she carries the ball on well through the middle off Nairn a corner conceded on the right. An inviting delivery in just evading everyone attacking it inside the six yard box. Both sides looking to score Peterborough under pressure looking a little nervous at the back. Barber wide to the right the cross fired in from the by-line Johnson attacking it as the keeper looks to gather sends the ball wide. Ingle needing to come off for treatment for Peterborough, Devonport back on. 

Stickland with a shot in low from the left held by the keeper. Peterborough with a counter attack Devonport in the middle pulling up as she plays it on for Oliveira breaking forwards too much on it the keeper gathering. A quick switch for Peterborough with Ingle back on for Devonport. The clock ticking down as both sides look for the winning goal. Perrin with Nairn linking through the middle driving on, Rodgers tackling. Upesjure getting forwards on the left winning the ball high striking a shot in from distance fired wide across the box. At times you think Netherton are being a little to intrigant in their attacking play looking to carry the ball on into the box allowing the tackle to come in. Keeping the pressure on well.

  Johnson drives a cross along the top of the area, won by Jess Broadway who brings it out of defence powering forwards looking for O’Neill ahead of her on the right is slowed down Dauncey sliding in to win the ball. Netherton with the ball back Barber to Johnson right to the b-by-line back for Barber who finds Green to cross in saved by Broadway in goal. Peterborough get up the pitch on the right Swanson with O’Neill off a throw in put back to Pellow to strike from distance the ball deflected over.

Naomi Dauncey sliding in on Peterborough’s Jess Broadway

  Pellow in to defend well at the other end moments later as Johnson breaks forwards into the box Pellow lunging in with the challenge to take the ball away for a corner. Curled in the corner goes long beyond the far post. The game moving into stoppage time, penalties looming Netherton finishing strong Perrin out to the right, Millie Pellow defending the ball cleared up to O’Neill on the left checks inside to cross looking for Swanson at the far post, her shot charged down.

 GOAL! Into the 4th minute of stoppage time Netherton with one last push the ball played out to the right into Nairn, from the tightest on angles sending the ball in towards the near post close on goal, thought it was an own goal at first as a Peterborough defender closing in tries and head clear only succeeds it turning the ball into her own net but the ball was over the line  as Netherton converge on Nairn to celebrate what surely is the winning goal at the death! 4-3.

Netherton celebrate scoring a 94th minute winner

Full time Netherton United Ladies 4-3 Peterborough United Foundation Women

  No time left for Peterborough to get another opportunity to attack, heartbreak for the visitors at the finish as they concede in stoppage time to lose 4-3. A brilliant fightback from Netherton to get themselves back on level terms and clinch a last gasp winner. Turning around a 3-1 deficit at the break. A strong 2nd half performance taking the game to Peterborough giving their defence little rest, winning the midfield battle. That said you always felt Peterborough if they got an opportunity could take it and the game was open throughout the tie Netherton getting a deserved equaliser chances came for both penalties moments away Nairn’s cross dangerous bringing the deciding goal in stoppage time. Netherton into the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup final where they will face either Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds or Leverington Sports Ladies on Sunday 8th May. A valiant effort from Peterborough a fantastic achievement to reach a league cup semi-final in your debut season on top of what surely will be a maiden league title. The league and cup double a real possibility for Netherton.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match.  A few performances of note to mention. Firstly for Peterborough, Andreira Oliveira won a lot of the ball in midfield especially first half. Keira Swanson up top lively a constant threat with her movement and scored two well taken goals. For Netherton both Emily Johnson and Yasmin Green took the game to Peterborough throughout with strong running on the ball creating numerous chances both scoring. Jess Perrin strong for Netherton in midfield through the 90 minutes covering alot of ground battling for possession and getting forwards to support the attack. The award though goes to Jenna Nairn  made a real difference coming on, strong in the middle for Netherton getting hold of the ball driving and driving on keeping the opposition defence under pressure scoring the levelling goal before finding the winner in stoppage time.

May well not have been my first choice of game for the weekend but it was an excellent plan B. A great watch as a neutral travelling from Norfolk. Peterborough unlucky in the finish battling throughout were in the tie right to the end a blow to concede so late. Netherton fighting back with a strong 2nd half performance to clinch their place in the final. An entertaining tie, my thanks to both teams for the help with the team details good to chat to both before kick-off.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – AFC Sudbury Women v Barking FC Women

Sunday 3rd April

ERWFL League Plate

A trip down into Suffolk this Sunday to watch another match from the quarter finals of the ERWFL League Plate, with AFC Sudbury Women taking on Barking FC Women for a place in the last 4.

The Plate competition featuring the sides from ERWFL Division’s One North and South. Involvement in other cup competitions seeing this quarter final delayed the winners of today’s game be at home to fellow Division One South side Leigh Ramblers. With Whittlesey Athletic Ladies of Division One North against Hutton Ladies from Division One South.

ERWFL Division One South has been highly competitive at the top all season with 5 sides all in contention for the title for months and with 4 of the top 5 now with 2 games left looks certain to go all the way. Cheshunt FC Women in pole position behind Herts Vipers, with Barking FC Women and Leigh Ramblers Ladies 3rd and 4th respectfully both mathematically still in it but more likely to be one of the top 2 or today’s hosts.

AFC Sudbury Women currently 5th in the ERWFL Division One South table, have been playing catch up for most of the season with games in hand on their competitors an now with the top 4 all with 3 left Sudbury have 5 left with 3 games in hand the simple equation is win them all and they are champions the gap 8 points to leaders Cheshunt it could well be Sudbury’s away trip to Cheshunt in two weeks time will go along way to deciding the title. The women’s setup very much a part of AFC Sudbury as a whole with 40 players  in the academy playing for both the 1st and Reserve team. The senior woman side also reaching this season’s Suffolk County Cup final where they will play Needham Market Women for the trophy at Colchester United FC on Friday 6th May. Plenty still to play for in what is sur to be an exciting end to the season.

Success already this season for Barking FC Women as they were victorious in the final of the Essex Women’s Trophy last weekend, defeating Stanway Pegasus Ladies 2-0.

Barking FC Women, celebrating winning the Essex Women’s Trophy last weekend (photo credit Barking FC Women)

  Amongst the influx of new faces joining the ERWFL this season. A relatively new name although Barking has featured a side in the ERWFL previously. This one having previously been Collier Row Tigers who dominated the Essex Women’s Premier Division in the season before and during the pandemic. Those who remember when I still wrote the Round-Ups will know that Laura Bunton featured heavily in the goals scored for Collier Row and the same continues under the Barking badge, runaway top scorer in the league so far netting 31 goals in just 17 appearances helping Barking to a solid debut at regional level.

AFC Sudbury’s MEL Group Stadium the venue for today’ cup encounter. The artificial playing surface overlooked by the new clubhouse and seated stand with kitchen hatch. Another stand opposite with a mix of terracing and seating at the front. Covered viewing areas behind both goals. The weather again very good, mild, if a little cool in the shade. Some cloud around by no chance of rain, perfect playing conditions. Pot Kiln Primary girls todays mascots led out onto the pitch by the Sudbury players, as part of their matchday experience. Sudbury very much looking to grow the support and participation of girls into the game in Suffolk and beyond.

AFC Sudbury Women

AFC Sudbury Women starting XI – Millie Carter, Faith Candice, Eboni-mae Shephard (C), Ronni Harrison, Teigan McHale, Kate Edwards, Bella Crawford, Luiza Ferdinand Da Silva, Alex Penny, Kaylee Dodd & Jess Allen. Subs – Evie Creaton, Ash Newley, Phoebe Guiver, Georgia Sleep & Amanda Short.

Barking FC Women

 Barking FC Women starting XI – Amy Lewington (C), Juliet Thomas, Lauren Taylor, Rachel Daltrey, Rebecca Killington, Rebecca Gajewska, Kiera Colthart, Grace Holt, Emma Harrison, Sarah Finch & Laura Bunton. Subs – Mia Zorbas.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A few players missing for Barking today, including regular captain, Daisy Cook with just the one substitute on the bench. Sudbury with a full bench to pick from. Sudbury to get the cup tie underway kicking-off 1st half in a all yellow kit with Barking lined up opposite wearing an all blue kit. The ball put back into Bella Crawford in midfield Barking immediately press the ball contested comes back to centre back Teigan McHale to send long upfield to the right with Alex Penny running down the Sudbury right the ball though safely in the gloves of Barking goalkeeper and captain, Amy Lewington.

  Play compact in the middle with both sides squeezing the ball, Keira Colthart looking to thread a ball through for Laura Bunton up top, runs out for a goal kick. Kate Edwards picking up the ball in the middle for Sudbury drives forwards with it tight to her feet, is fouled top of the D, no advantage as the ball spins away to the left, brought back for the set-piece. Luiza Ferdinand Da Silva over the ball, takes on the shot sending her effort up over the crossbar. Sudbury get players up the pitch pressing the Barking defence in possession, Ferdinand Da Silva on the left with a great diagonal ball clipped into the box over the defence for striker Jess Allen brings it down before sending in a low strike on the angle, well held by Lewington.

    Penny running away with the ball down the line on the right fires a cross in knee height towards the near post, Allen with the touch looking to turn into the shot her effort blocked by Barking’s Rachel Daltrey. Sarah Finch taking the ball on from Juliet Thomas on the right for Barking sends it on for Bunton peeling into the right channel, strong on the ball moving into the box, Sudbury’s Ronni Harrison going with her lunging in to make the blocking tackle deflecting the ball behind for a corner. The corner driven in near side, Barking’s Rebecca Killington coming on to meet it turning the ball behind at the near post.

Juliet Thomas clearing the ball for Barking

  Thomas stealing in on the ball right side getting on up the pitch with Finch the pair exchanging passes before Finch pulling wide lifts a cross into the box, easily gathered by Sudbury keeper, Millie Carter. Edwards in the middle with Ferdinand Da Silva who sends a cross field ball out to the right for Penny to take in her stride moving down the line whips a cross into the six yard box, Kaydee Dodd arriving centre of goal not able to get a telling touch as the ball bounces wide. Ferdinand Da Silva top of the box right driving a shot wide as the ball is clipped high into her from the right.

 GOAL! Opportunities coming for Sudbury it is the hosts who concede the opening goal on 11 minutes, Barking’s midfield 3, Rebecca Gajewska, Colthart and Grace Holt working the ball well between them sending it long up to Bunton shifting into space on the left takes the ball on before shooting on the angle her strike fired in across the keeper nestling in the bottom corner 0-1.

Laura Bunton opens the scoring for Barking FC Women

  Thomas doing well on the right winning the ball for Barking gets up the pitch in support of Holt, going into a 50/50 challenge with Sudbury captain Bonni Shephard the right back comes off the worse going down in some discomfort. A pause in play so she can receive treatment. Is up tentatively as allowed back on as play resumes. Shephard defending on Finch as Colthart central winning the ball stabs on from the left into her, forced wide, Shephard keeps on her tackling to put the ball out for a throw in. 

Sudbury captain Bonni Shephard

 Following a Sudbury corner, Thomas is down again struggling with her injury Barking forced into an early change bring on Mia Zorbas in a straight swap at right back. Allen peeling off the back of the Barking defence into the area right of goal latching onto the ball and striking it over the bar on the angle. A competitive opening 20 minutes, a little frantic at times Sudbury seeing more of the ball in the final 3rd. Zorbas in a contest with Dodd on the left has to stab the ball out for a throw as Dodd battles to get in behind. 

  Edwards linking up with Shephard on the left moves inside going on towards the area before being tackled by Barking’s Killington. Sudbury pressing the ball well forcing errors from Barking keeping the ball inside their opponents half. Shephard left lifts it on for Dodd to run down into the corner, keeping the ball moves back to fire in a low cross near side, cut out by Gajewska then put out for a corner kick. Put in to the near post cut out by Zorbas comes back to the taker to lift back into the box  knocked back central at the far post Ferdinand Da Silva coming on can’t get a touch before Barking scramble it away.

Keira Colthart in the middle for Barking

 GOAL! Edwards out on the left flanks keeping the ball in play getting on down the line crosses into the box, Finch looking to cut it out not getting it away the ball cleared beyond her charged down by Ferdinand Da Silva left of the D, lifts the ball into Allen right side her touch knocking the ball down into her feet inside the six yard box to prod pass the keeper and level the scores 1-1.

Jess Allen levelling the scores for Sudbury

  Edwards making some strong runs on the ball through the middle for Sudbury taking the game to Barking, passes to Dodd on her left her cross lifted into the six yard box claimed by Lewington. Sudbury coming on in numbers Allen’s cross cleared straight to Ferdinand Da Silva out to Penny right side her cross scooped up landing on the roof of the net. Another pause for treatment, Sudbury making their first change Ash Newley on for Ferdinand Da Silva who has taken a knock.

Barking’s Rachel Daltrey

   Play brought back for a free-kick for Barking after Colthart is fouled in the middle. The ball floated up into the area Bunton up well to head the ball down to her left for Finch to take on moving towards goal the blocking tackle again comes in defecting the ball out for a corner. Goes long through everybody at an inviting height. Sudbury come right on for Allen driving on cuts the ball back to the top of the area, Edwards picking it up powers into the box forced out right to the by-line nevertheless screws a cross back in along the face of goal, cleared. Sudbury creating plenty of opportunities going forwards winning the ball back in the middle.

 GOAL! Sudbury pressing the ball on the right winning a corner with 10 minutes left to play in the 1st half. The ball fizzed in with pace near side, Crawford there to met it turning the ball goalwards, neither Zorbas back on the line for Lewington can keep it out as it squeezes in between them 2-1.

Bella Crawford putting Sudbury into the lead

  Barking players voicing their frustration with a few decisions going against them, the referee having words. Edwards over a free-kick 25 yards out to the left of goal. Goes for the shot on target bouncing once Lewington set right behind it can see safely into her gloves.

GOAL! 3 minutes after taking the lead Sudbury add a 3rd goal. Allen out on the right side winning the ball high driving forwards with it into the box striking it low and hard towards goal, Lewington with an instinctive save with her legs the ball spinning away to the right, straight to Allen who makes no mistake the 2nd time 3-1.

  Sudbury finishing the half strong confident coming back from a goal down to lead 3-1 have a throw in high on the left Edwards into Allen left of the D some 20 yards out, her shot swerving as it rises towards Lewington the goalkeeper knocking it down and falling onto the ball. Bunton hasn’t seen much of the ball operating up top Holt finding her on the right sends a cross in on the angle looking for Finch running in from the left, Teigan McHale cutting the ball out for Sudbury.

Rebecca Gajewska on the ball for Barking

  Finch on the left now striking a shot on the angle from 20 yards out rising, taken high by Carter in the Sudbury goal. Edwards with Dodd on the left looking to play a one two get into the area Zorbas cutting it out putting the ball behind for a corner kick. The set-piece delivery dropping inside the six yard box a stooping head turning it goalwards is blocked on the line cleared out wide left to corner taker Penny lifts a high ball in towards goal, dangerous threatening to drop under her cross bar Lewington back on her line taking the ball down.

Sudbury’s Kaylee Dodd

  Penny into the corner with the ball on the left putting a cross into the area helped on across goal, comes back in off the far post before being scrambled away. Edwards with a fantastic cross field pass out to Penny on the right taking it in her stride sends her first time strike over the bar. Barking with few opportunities to get into the Sudbury box Emma Harrison on the right taking the ball on has Bunton ahead of her turning inside from the line to power into the area attempts to find Colthart making a central run, McHale with another timely interception.

 GOAL! Into first half stoppage time, Barking’s defence dwell on the ball outside their area, Allen charging it down after it in behind as it deflects into the box right of goal, blasts it past the keeper into the back of the net to score her hat-trick 4-1.

A 1st half hat-trick for Jess Allen

Half-time AFC Sudbury Women 4-1 Barking FC Women

  A late blow for Barking at the end of the 1st half, going into the changing rooms trailing 4-1 despite scoring the opening goal on 11 minutes. A cagey start from both sides Sudbury taking a little while to settle, were getting players on well pressing the ball and forcing errors from Barking who have been a little slow to move the ball. Hit with an early injury blow, Thomas needing to come off had looked a threat supporting Finch on the right. Bunton with a clinical finish to open the scores. Sudbury coming back to level midway through the 2nd half going onto score 2 quick goals to take the lead Allen with a 1st half hat-trick making it 4-1 in stoppage time. A mountain for Barking to climb if they are to get back into this tie and you feel the next goal scored has to be theirs.

  Thomas still showing signs of discomfort is unlikely to make a return meaning Barking will have to press on with the 11 they have on the pitch, having seen Sudbury before they like to rotate players regularly in the 2nd half and being a young side have plenty of energy in reserve. Barking to get the 2nd period underway. Back into the middle played out to Finch on the left, Faith Candice winning the ball back for Sudbury. 

Sudbury defender Faith Candice

  Allen on the right pressing the ball forcing a corner kick to be conceded. The ball sent long through the area reclaimed far side lifted in to the far post Dodd meeting it knocking it down towards goal striking the base of the post, play stopped however with an offside flag. Barking sloppy at the back at the start of the 2nd half as Sudbury press hard Dodd on the left nicking the ball firing a cross into the area cut out by Taylor. 

GOAL! 47 minutes played and Sudbury add to their tally the ball with Crawford in the middle presented to Edwards ahead of her takes the ball on stealing in through the defence bearing down on goal one on one with the keeper has time to pick her spot and calmly slots it to her left into the bottom corner to score 5-1.

Kate Edwards with a goal early in the 2nd half for Sudbury

  A huge blow to Barking at the start of the 2nd half their task becoming all the more harder. Finch on the left looking to move the ball is tackled by Candice sliding in, comes off the worst down for a moment needing treatment but is okay. Newley central for Sudbury races on with the ball lifting it on for Dodd who with a great touch brings it down attempts to thread it in behind for Allen peeling away right, just a little too much for her to win the race with Lewington coming out to claim.

   Holt on the move through the middle with the ball for Barking laying it on for Bunton into the area, Ronni Harrison getting across the attacker to shield the ball out for a goal kick. Dodd on the right playing a one two with Newley who continues her run down into the corner with the ball checking back on the by-line to fire in a cross towards Allen at the near post she sends it in across goal, Lewington down low with a smart save.

Ronni Harrison winning the ball for Sudbury

   Barking continue to battle for possession in the middle are frustrated, Colthart riding a challenge on for Bunton 20 yards out unleashes a shot, lacking power runs through safely to Carter in goal. Bunton is a busy player in attack getting about the back line opportunities limited so far pulling away to the right blasts a shot behind on the angle from 25 yards. Taylor from the back for Barking on to Finch left whips a cross into the box, Ronni Harrison there to clear for Sudbury unopposed. The break is on a diagonal ball finding Allen top of the D shoots early but can’t place it wide of the keeper.

Barking’s Sarah Finch

   A heavy collision on the touch line between Dodd and Killington. The Sudbury winger coming off the worst down with a bloody mouth. A sore one needs to come off let it get seen to, Evie Creaton coming on in her place. Allen moving left cutting the ball wide into Penny she takes it on into the area unchallenged, firing in a shot sees her effort come back off the base of the post. Sudbury keep coming forwards Zorbas defending for Barking in the corner before Penny finds Newley right of the D her shot sent wide.

Sudbury’s Ash Newley

  Barking attack Colthart with Bunton on the right on for Finch back to Bunton her shot deflected wide at the near post for a corner kick. A change before it’s take for Sudbury Georgia Sleep on for Candice, going up front Allen somewhat miffed at being moved to the right side. The corner in from the right comes to Gajewska can’t get it down into her feet in time before her shot is charged down the ball cleared. 

GOAL! Allen right playing the ball on for Sleep gets the better of Killington to break into the area right of goal her shot rising on the angle smashing against the crossbar coming down to the left side with Penny arriving unmarked to push the ball into an empty net to make it 6-1.

Alex Penny on the score sheet for Sudbury

  Time for another change from Sudbury as they bring on Phoebe Guiver for Crawford. Zorbas fouled Penny out on the left a free-kick for Sudbury 25 yards out. Allen over the ball takes on the shot angled in Lewington punches it down and scrambled to smother the falling ball. Sudbury coming on at will Barking struggling to clear there lines keep possession in the middle. A diagonal ball lifted into the area from the left finds Allen running in far post sends her first time effort wide as it clips the upright.

GOAL! Sudbury are able to come on at will Edwards with Newley in the middle on for Allen right of the D inside to Sleep who lays it out to Penny wide she in turn lifts it up towards the right post with both Sleep and Allen providing the run falls to Allen to slot home for her 4th of the match 7-1.

 GOAL! Soon after much to Barking’s dismay Sudbury go on to add another. The ball with Barking in the middle pressed hits the referee unable to avoid it. A drop ball the result Sudbury putting  on to Penny left channel she plays a diagonal pass in behind for Allen running in on goal right side smashes her strike in over the keeper to score 8-1.

Jess Allen bringing the ball down

  20 minutes left to play Sudbury on a high Barking reeling conceding 8 goals still look to be positive Finch with Bunton on the left side of the D tries to pick out Harrison running through the middle, can’t quite pick her out the ball cleared. Edwards stealing in on the ball top of the area taking it to the by-line right cutting it back to Sleep on the penalty spot her shot in low held by the keeper. 

  The hosts break through the middle up to Allen with Sleep in attack Sleep on into the box one on one with the keeper tries to pick her spot Lewington with a superb save with her feet to deny her. Barking moving the ball well in burst short passes but lacking a cutting edge. Crawford and Dodd ready to return for Sudbury with Edwards and Penny coming off. 

GOAL! Pressure high up the pitch from Sudbury all game, brings them a 9th goal. Attacking left the ball cut out in the box by Taylor is closed down pinging back and forth rebounds through to Allen clear on the right side the smash a shot in low across the keeper for her double hat-trick 9-1.

  A free-kick to Barking top of the circle Emma Harrison decides to have a crack at goal put through on target Carter takes it on the bounce central even as Bunton rushes in on her. Carter then out to her right side to slide in and claim at the feet of Bunton as Emma Harrison sends the ball on. Guiver with good foot work playing the ball out to Sleep left inside the box Zorbas getting across her well to see the ball back to her keeper. Allen with help from Guiver on the right drives on before flashing a cross into the box just behind Sleep central. 

Evie Creaton

Guiver shifting the ball between her feet again playing a one two with Allen on the wing getting the return ball 20 yards out curls a shot in caught by Lewington. Dodd 25 yards out left of the D allowed time to shoot sees her effort come down off the crossbar. Sudbury dominating play through the middle Newley into Sleep inside the D Daltrey tackling the ball running behind for a corner. Sudbury making another change with 7 minutes left to play McHale coming for for Amanda Short.

Barking’s Rebecca Killington battling for possession with Sudbury’s Evie Creaton

  Taylor with a vital interception at the back as Sudbury break left the diagonal ball meant for Allen racing clear in behind. Lewington holding onto a shot at her near post driven in by Dodd out wide. Guiver outside the box getting hold of the ball working it well between her feet before skipping inside and driving a low strike wide of the goal. 

GOAL! Guiver makes it double figure moments later as a tired Barking don’t clear their back line latching onto it left of the D Guiver controls shifting the ball before curling a shot wide of the keeper 10-1.

  Penny comes back on for Sudbury to see out the closing minutes replacing Allen. Finch dropping back to assist the defence late on Taylor on the left as Barking come on the right Emma Harrison with Bunton ahead of her crosses into the box Taylor looking to get hold of the ball tackle by Short. Edwards and McHale back on replacing Ronni Harrison and Shephard. Sudbury regularly bringing on fresh legs Barking with none to bring on. Emma Harrison left for Barking getting the ball down off a throw in sees her shot blocked by McHale. 

  Finch at the back defending well against Sleep as she looks to turn and shoot after seeing the ball into her body off cross on the left. A inswinging cross claimed well by Carter in the Sudbury goal as Holt feeds Bunton in down the left. Into stoppage time Guiver lively on for Sleep left into the box, Zorbas and Finch defending for Barking.

A double hat-trick for Sudbury’s Jess Allen

Full time AFC Sudbury Women 10-1 Barking FC Women

  Full time and a big win for Sudbury sees them progress to the last 4 of the ERWFL League Plate to face Leigh Ramblers Ladies at home date to be confirmed. A dominant display 2nd half having led 4-1 at the break and early goal 2nd half killing off and Barking hopes of a come back goals coming at regular intervals afterwards with fresh legs coming on against an 11 who were tiring. Coming on at will took advantage of a dispirited opponent to hammer home the advantage giving them plenty of confidence going into their final games. No doubt this isn’t the Barking side that has acheived so much this season a brutal defeat can only regroup and go again.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A good all-round performance from Sudbury a few performances to mention. Firstly for Barking, Kiera Colthart worked hard in the middle to try and win the ball get it into Bunton up top. Sarah Finch on flanks with some useful runs when she was able to get forwards. For Sudbury Teigan McHale was assured at the back. Kate Edwards in midfield was sensational with some great ball winning tackles and driving runs forwards. The award though goes to double hat-trick scorer Jess Allen. Was a constant threat in attack peeling of the defence and finding goal scoring opportunities a first half hat-trick putting Sudbury in control of the game. Carried on in the same vein 2nd half albeit moving to the right of attack didn’t slow her down as she went on to add 3 more goals some great finishes.

  An enjoyable trip to the MEL Group Stadium, a warm welcome from a club who is trying hard to give their female players the opportunities they deserve in the game. My thanks to both for sides for their help with the team details always appreciated, plenty of goals in this one after to extremely rare 0-0’s.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage FC Women

Wednesday 30th March

FAWNL South East Division One

 A midweek trip to St Neots Town FC for a game under the lights from FAWNL South East Division One with Cambridge United WFC taking on Stevenage FC Women.

 A big game for both with Stevenage FC Women in the relegation zone giving themselves a fighting chance picking up vital points at the close end of the season away to 7th place Cambridge United WFC who have lost there last 3 in the league to keep them a little too close to the scrap at the bottom for comfort.

 Cambridge though know that a win changes everything, sees them comfortable in mid-table clear of what is likely a scrap at the bottom that will go all the way to the wire. Consistency has been a problem for Cambridge all season have assembled a decent squad who are more than capable on their day. Have had a few off days however that is proving a quandary, a run of 3 straight defeats taking the gloss off their season, looking well clear of the danger zone the points tally drying up whilst those below have picked up some vital wins against each other has seen the gap close to just 5 points. Have a number of players out through illness and injury including captain, Laura Baker and full back Carrie Bennett with a further 4 first team players missing. That though a great opportunity for those amongst the squad to put on a performance.

  Stevenage FC Women were looking dead and buried adrift 2nd bottom on the FAWNL South East Division One table just over 5 weeks ago 3 wins against their relegation rivals with 9 points collected from 12 has seen them push themselves back up amongst the competition moving onto 18 points taking them to within 3 points of possible safety. 3 games left to play Stevenage’s end of season for could yet pull them to safety. That good form also  seeing Stevenage regain the Hertfordshire County Cup 10 days ago.

 Both Cambridge and Stevenage suffering 4-0 home losses at the weekend against the Essex sides vying for the title, Billericay Town Women and Hashtag United Women.

 St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium the venue for this evenings game. The rain forecast coming later in the day and not as much as predicted meaning the game wasn’t in danger of getting called off as was the case after heavy rain a 3 weeks ago for Cambridge derby. Light rain falling as I arrived at the ground but that would clear. The temperature dropping sharply however with a return to wintery conditions after what has been a relative heat wave at the start of the week. The grass pitch offering plenty off width.

Cambridge United WFC

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Lauren Webb, Anna Re, Abbi Griffin, Rachel Kosky, Lauren Rouse, Faith Hewitt, Gisella Otten (C), Emma Jenkins, Abi Davies, Laura Mitchell & Ruth Fox. Subs – Kira Markwell, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Ella Marden, Charlotte Crisp & Nicole Emmings.

Stevenage FC Women

Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Tea Oldroyd, Lucy Webster (C), Hannah Nebbitt, Vicky Neal, Chloe Gunn, Shianne Swarres, Holly Greenwood, Jodie Bellinger, Kate French, Emily Schofield & Amy Makewell. Subs – Shakeela Hussain, Jodie Southby, Dionne Manning, Poppy Bennett & Louise Godden

It’s Stevenage to get this evening encounter underway kicking off the 1st half, wearing white shirts with red sleeves, red shorts and socks with Cambridge opposite line up wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts an socks. The ball played back to the defence sent long out to the right wing, players racing forward, Emma Jenkins getting hold of it for Cambridge, moves forwards, Amy Makewell closing down tackling to win the ball back for Stevenage lays it out wide right for Jodie Bellinger on the flank, turns inside reaching the area before putting her foot through the ball, her attempt blocked by Cambridge’s Abbi Griffin going out for a throw.

  Stevenage pushing forwards at the start of the game looking to take the game to Cambridge, keeping the hosts pinned back in their own half. Laura Mitchell taking the ball on for Cambridge powering forwards on the left moves inside getting all the way top the top of the box before Chloe Gunn gets across her well to defend able to shield the ball as goalkeeper, Tea Oldroyd comes to claim dropping to smother the ball. Both full backs for Stevenage looking to get on in support on the wings, captain Lucy Webster on the right, Hannah Nebbitt on the left a throw won high on the left the ball lifted on into the box, Emily Schofield up at the near post with a glancing header aiming to send it on, Rachel Kosky cutting it out at the back for Cambridge, a recent addition to the squad clearing the ball into midfield. 

Stevenage captain, Lucy Webster

  A tussle in the middle of the park, saw Shianne Swarres tackling and breaking up play at the Hertfordshire County Cup final, is playing in the same vein this evening and with Cambridge’s Gisella Otten captaining the side this evening in the middle too it will be an interesting contest to watch. The ball fed to Abi Davies right side she plays it inside for attacker Ruth Fox her foot up attempting to bring the ball down as a Stevenage player stoops into the header caught the decision going Stevenage’s way a free-kick on half way. Webster putting the ball in towards the top of the box, won and cleared by Otten. 

Cambridge captain, Gisella Otten

  Both sides not settled yet play bitty at times as passes are rushed, the opposition closing each other down the ball toing and froing between defences. Swarres digging the ball out from under her feet on halfway clipping a great ball forwards for Bellinger to attacker running clear. Lauren Webb with a good starting position quickly out to the top of her area to scoop the ball up into her gloves. Otten in midfield out to Davies right played up into Fox she turns looking to take on the defence, Vicky Neal close at hand to get her foot on the ball take it away from her. 

  A positive break for Cambridge on the left Jenkins winning it short to Fox with Laura Mitchell to her right taking it on up the wing, riding a Swarres tackle continues her run, Amy Makewell tracking back well for Stevenage catching Mitchell, tackling to halt the attack. Kosky dealing with the threat at the back as Holly Greenwood lifts a ball onto Schofield up top coming through the centre. Nebbitt up with Kate French on the left a free-kick won deep as good as a corner, plenty packed into the area in front of goal the ball floated into the mix the referee spotting an infringement however Cambridge have the free-kick. 

  A strong run on the ball from Schofield for Stevenage through the middle lifting it on into the box with the outside of her boot, won back by Kosky. Good pressure applied by Stevenage  going forwards finding their rhythm quicker than Cambridge. Griffin able to get on with the ball on the left for Cambridge with Jenkins crossed in the clearance won back in the middle, clipped back up to the top of the area Neal heading it away, Cambridge snapping at the ball getting it back on over the top but play halted by a raised flag. 

Nebbitt attacking on the left delivering a high cross in towards the near post, watched well by Webb at her near post, taking the catch. Webster up on the right with Bellinger off a throw the a great cross flashed through the six yard box players attacking far post, none getting a telling touch. Stevenage strong on the left getting on well, Anna Re stepping in with the tackle getting hold of the ball for Cambridge on for Davies puts it long looking for Fox, too much though as Oldroyd can come out and claim the ball. Davies finding some space on the right flank a good touch seeing her take the ball on up the line before delivering a great cross in towards the neat post Mitchell sliding into the six posting connecting putting the ball wide of the post.

  Midway through the 2nd half and it remains a cagey affair with neither side finding a break through, Greenwood with Swarres on up to Schofield up to looking to bring the ball down and turn at attack, Kosky marking backing off giving herself the opportunity to clear the dropping ball. Swarres tackling in the middle threading it through the middle, Kosky composed seeing it back to her keeper as both Schofield and Makewell give chase. Davies carrying a threat on the right for Cambridge with a driving run on the ball before firing an angled strike wide across goal. 

Amy Makewell

Swarres tackling winning possession shifts the ball between her feet letting fly from 20 plus yard out, Lauren Rouse stepping forwards to put in the block for Cambridge. The hosts awarded a free kick 30 yards out to the right of the Stevenage area the delivery long to the far post Jenkins getting her head to the ball. falls straight to the keeper. Cambridge winning the ball high on the left attack the ball squared across the top of the D, Davies, right side a shot driven in along the ground the ball skipping up in front of Oldroyd she gathers cleanly with Fox closing in. 

Kosky winning the ball at the back for Cambridge cleared out to the right Davies forwards with support from Fox who takes the ball on fire in ear post Mitchell arriving the ball turned wide of the goal. Greenwood on for Makewell through the centre attempting the through ball for Schofield, Kosky stabbing out a boot to push the ball away from the attacker. Stevenage come on Makewell out for French on the right running down the line wrapping her foot around the ball to cross in looping up swerves over the crossbar. The game livening up towards the end of the 1st half Stevenage getting players up, Fox attacking tries to find Jenkins to her left, Webster in to tackle for Stevenage.

  Cambridge in the corner on the left Mitchell back to Jenkins lays the ball in central with Griffin up in an advanced position 20 yards out clips a shot up over the bar. Stevenage come left winning a free-kick 35 yards out. A teasing ball fired into the area sees Webb scrambling across her goal, the ball bouncing wide, a corner awarded much to Cambridge’s consternation. Nebbitt with an inswinging delivery from the right her effort coming back down off the crossbar, Makewell’s snap shot blocked the ball cleared Cambridge break a foul given as play is brought back following no advantage, Stevenage’s turn to be aggravated by a decision. The ball floated up to the top of the area well defended comes out to Schofield on halfway is one on one with only Griffin behind the ball, the full back needing to time her tackle well and does to prevent Schofield getting past to take a run at goal.

Davies taking the ball on well up the right flank whipping a cross into the box Oldroyd up making a spectacular grab to pluck the ball out of the air. Stevenage get on well down the left Nebbitt getting up the pitch to send in a great ball to the near post, Schofield up well twisting her body as she heads the ball, sending her attempt wide across the Cambridge goal.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage FC Women

 The sides head into the changing rooms goalless at the break. An unsettled start from both sides, highly competitive in the middle. Stevenage the quicker to settle having the better of it getting players on down the flanks but haven’t tested Webb as yet Nebbitt’s inswinging corner hitting the bar there closest chance. Cambridge have competed well enough with Davies making some great runs on the right putting in some dangerous ball. Oldroyd like Webb at the other end relatively untroubled however. 

  Is getting colder by the minute as the sides emerge for the 2nd half a big 45 to come with both wanting the points. No changes as yet Cambridge to get the 2nd period underway the ball lifted long to the left Webster seeing it out for a throw. Kosky at the back on for Mitchell central plays it back to Re on the left forwards down the line for Davies, Nebbitt defending the ball going for a throw. A tentative start to the 2nd half players quick to close the ball down rushing forwards passes. 

Cambridge’s Abi Davies

 Mitchell central the hosts breaking with players running on Gunn moving out to deal with the threat on the left as Jenkins looks to take the ball on out for a throw. Mitchell getting hold of the ball running on central Fox ahead of her into the left channel, Mitchell running beyond her making for the box as Fox finds Jenkins on the left to lift a ball into the box, Nebbitt defending on the penalty spot to ensure Mitchell can’t get a touch to turn it goalwards. Neal on Fox left side to see the ball out for a throw in the corner. Cambridge showing more intent in the 2nd half. 

Stevenage’s Vicky Neal

 Stevenage come away with the ball moving right the crossfield pass well placed picking out French on the move on the left side, Re closing in defending at the top of the area for Cambridge. The sides less cagey no the tempo risen wanting the ball played on quicker my well invite a mistake. A crossfield ball played left to right knocked down well by Davies moving wide her cross deflecting behind off a defender for a corner kick. The ball played in to the top of the area put back to Jenkins out wide, Neal moving out to press Jenkins turning for the by-line digs a cross out the ball cut out at the near post. 

Stevenage’s Kate French

  Kosky getting across Schofield shields the ball back to Webb as it it put on from midfield. Mitchel attacking on the left tackled by Gunn the ball played up to French advancing on the left driving on into the area, Kosky with a great challenge to deny the shot. An hour played Stevenage make a double change with Jodie Southby and Louise Godden on for Nebbitt and Makewell respectfully. Hewitt in the middle playing the pass on for Davies right down the line checking inside heading for the box lays it back to Hewitt 25 yards out sends a high ball up into the area, Oldroyd up to claim holds onto the ball despite being taken out Gunn marking Fox.

  Godden getting back pressing the ball into Swarres moving left on the left up for French wins her side a corner. Everyone lined up beyond the far post the delivery sent into the mix is cleared by Cambridge, play stopped due to a head injury for a Cambridge player. Swarres moving out right slowing down Re as she looks to break with Davies on the wing. Mitchell working form midfield seeing more of the ball for Cambridge almost threads a pass through to Jenkin’s up top, Neal in well to get a foot on the ball. Cambridge with a free-kick out wide left dropping top of the D to Otten on the turn does quite catch the whole of the ball seeing it lack the pace needed to beat Oldroyd as it skips through to goal. 

 Schofield central playing the pass out to French on the left into the corner works a cross into the area the ball cleared out to the right, Bellinger racing onto it 25 yards out Hewitt there to block as she smashes the ball. Cambridge make their first change with Rouse coming off at the back to be replaced by Kayleigh-Anne Burt returning to the 1st team after a lengthy layoff through injury. Stevenage too making another change Schofield coming off for Dionne Manning. Mitchell travelling with the ball out for Davies to her right looking to go on Southby into her to tackle the ball out for a throw.

  20 minutes left to play no side on top yet, Cambridge carrying the threat 2nd half. Hewitt 25 yards out seeing a goal bound attempt blocked. Jenkins with a shot from distance on the left rolling wide. A time out both sides coming over to the benches with Godden needing treatment for Stevenage. Okay to continue Cambridge on the right Fox up with Davies the cross into the area cleared by Neal. Stevenage with a free-kick wide right, cleared for a throw in the corner put back up the line an angled ball lifted into the box, Webb down to claim low at French’s feet as she closes in. A 2nd change for Cambridge, Fox coming off for Nicole Emmings now back at Cambridge after 4 season’s with Stevenage. Shakeela Hussain also on for Stevenage in place of Bellinger.

 Into the final 10 minutes, the ball cleared from the Stevenage area is loose there to be won, Jenkins sliding in getting the ball but catching the foot of the Stevenage player attempting to clear coming the other way with her trailing leg. The Cambridge bench unhappy as Jenkins goes into the book. Mitchell attacking right with Davies, Gunn closing in to tackle, Emmings getting the ball back for Cambridge from the right sends a cross along the face of goal Jenkins coming in beyond the back stick unable to get a touch, the ball cleared into the middle Hewitt latching onto it 25 yards out sending a shot back in the effort blocked. Players down for Stevenage seeing a pause in play.

Cambridge’s Faith Hewitt

  Hewitt on for Otten through the middle for Cambridge onto Jenkins left channel, Swarres back to tackle for the visitors. The ball lifted forwards Godden peeling left attacking is halted by Burt. Jenkins on the ball left checking inside, closed down ends up committing a foul, called over by the referee is in trouble having only been booked minutes before as players scuffle beyond her. That broken up before the 2nd yellow card is issued and Jenkins is sent off Cambridge finishing the game with 10. No advantage for Stevenage however as they themselves are forced down to 10 with Webster needing to come off.

  Stevenage send everyone up into the box as they are awarded a free-kick wide left the clock ticking down one last push to fin a winning goal. In the end the high ball in is an easy claim for Webb. Godden getting on with the ball coming inside left, is tackled by Burt before she can reach the area. The hosts looking a little nervous as they drop back in the closing stages not wanting to concede. Burt fouled this time as Stevenage get the ball into Godden. Stevenage breaking in stoppage time the ball right into Godden sending on into the area, Webb rushing out to slide in to claim the ball in the nick of time, the offside flag up in any case. 

 Southby out left defending against Davies as she brings the ball on for Cambridge. Stevenage want to get forwards an altercation on the left seeing a free-kick awarded, Neal going into the book for voicing her opinion about a decision. A high ball into the Cambridge box defended seen out for a throw. The final whistle blowing the honours even.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage FC Women

 The points shared in the finish and overall a fair result a late winner for either would have been welcome but looked increasingly unlikely. Cambridge with the better of the 2nd period taking the game to Stevenage who had few opportunities. Again neither keeper overly tested, promising forward play the final ball not clinical. Cambridge the happier at the end with the clean sheet ending a run of defeats, with 3 left to play and with other results this evening aren’t likely to fall in the drop zone now. As you were in the bottom 4. Kent Football United’s tenure in the FAWNL coming to an end can’t escape now with 4 left to play. Stevenage 11th on 18 points remain 3 points from safety with 2 games left. Enfield Town Ladies in 9th on 21 points drawing with QPR. Stevenage away to Kent Football United before finishing their season at home to QPR can yet get out of trouble.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Is another tough one a battling display from both sides. Performances of note include Shianne Swarres in the middle for Stevenage with a number of tackles to disrupt Cambridge throughout the match. Vicky Neal composed at the back with Emily Schofield carrying a threat in attack. For Cambridge Abi Davies was a constant threat on the right side making a number of daring runs putting she dangerous crosses into the box. Laura Mitchell with the ball, attacking and getting hold of it in the centre in the 2nd half. The award though goes to defender Rachel Kosky. Cambridge’s new defensive signing with and assured and composed performance in defence, reading the game and winning the ball.

 A chilly night in St Neots, my own fault for leaving my hat and gloves behind in Norfolk. Successive 0-0, that is a rare occurrence to say the least but defences were on top this evening chances at a premium in a evenly fought contest. My thanks to both sides for the team details and their help, as always appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Peterborough United Women v Doncaster Rovers Belles

Sunday 27th March

FAWNL Midlands Division One

A return to the league this Sunday with a trip west along the A47 to watch a game from FAWNL Midlands Division One. Peterborough United Women promoted to the FAWNL for the 1st time this season taking on 2nd placed Doncaster Rovers Belles.

 A league not normally covered by Women’s Football East, Peterborough itself is with a number of clubs featuring across the various leagues. Is a hot bed for footballing talent with Peterborough United Women currently the leading club in the area.

Enjoying strong links with the men’s club playing in the EFL Championship. Peterborough United Women were pushing hard for promotion from the East Midlands Regional Premier Division only to be denied through the Covid pandemic bringing 2 seasons to an early finish, were awarded promotion this season as the FA expanded the sides above across the women’s football pyramid. A win on the opening day followed by successive draws proceeding a run of 5 straight defeats on the league seeing the club in trouble with 4 sides likely to be relegated reduced to 3 with withdrawal of Holwell Sports.

A change of management seeing Dan Lawlor taking on the 1st team. Results in 2022 much improved with the club turning a corner 3 straight wins pulling The Posh Women as they are also know away from the bottom 3. Are unbeaten at home so far in 2022 up to 7th in the table 9 points clear of the drop zone and with 5 games to go will be aiming to consolidate a midtable finish. Captain, Keir Perkins the leading goal scorer with 17 overall from 22 appearances whilst Jess Driscoll has 11 from 21 games.

Have fond memories of watching Doncaster Rovers Belles in my days supporting fellow WSL founding side Lincoln Ladies. Unfortunately both clubs were dealt some heavy blows as the top flight of women’s football tried to find it’s feet in those early years. A club with a long and rich history in the game the financial pressure saw the club lose it’s place in the what was WSL 2 then re-joining the FAWNL. Dropping down to tier 4 as the rebuilding process began, the Covid pandemic has hampered a quick return.

Lay 2nd in the Midlands Division One table with just 3 defeats from 18 played so far 9 points behind leaders Boldmere St Michaels who look strong to clinch the title. With 2 games in hands however Doncaster Rovers Belles can apply pressure in the run in while making sure they don’t get caught, by the new version of Lincoln City Women who are hot on their heels in 3rd. Jasmine Saxton their top scorer netting 18 goals overall so far from 23 appearances.

The idverde Training Ground the venue for today’s match the academy ground, boasting one all weather pitch with two grass pitches beyond. A small covered seated stand for spectators on one side. A decent size the clocks going forward this weekend, the weather pleasant all week staying great for this afternoon’s game some cloud around, but warm and bright with no chance of rain. 

Peterborough United Women

Peterborough United Women starting XI – Amy Butler, Kayleigh Aylmer, Niamh Connor, Natalie Hurst, Evie Driscoll-King, Cassie Steward, Elloise Copson, Jess Driscoll, Beatrix Borque,  Katie Steward & Kier Perkins (C). Subs – Sophie Powell, Hannah Hipwell, Katie Lowder & Destiny Makenjuola.

Doncaster Rovers Belles

Doncaster Rovers Belles starting XI – Eleanor Sharpe, Jessica Andrew (C), Isabella Trevillion, Holly Housley, Charlotte Dinsdale, Sophie Scargill, Lauren Breen, Sophie Bell, Lindsey Tugby, Nadia Khan & Jasmine Saxton. Subs – Hannah McWilliams, Emily Cahill, Freya Rattenbury, Phoebe Sneddon & Jessica Price.

Peterborough’s Reserve side playing at the same time on one of the grass pitches beside the 3G taking on Coalville Town Women in the EMWRFL Division One South. Both games pausing for a minutes silence, on Mother’s Day in remembrance of all those who have lost their mother’s.

It’s Peterborough to get this afternoon’s game underway wearing  blue shirts with white sleeves, white shorts and blue socks. Doncaster lined up opposite wearing an all red kit with white horizontal piping. Played back into midfield passed out to right back Kayleigh Aylmer looks to get it up the wing charged down play spread to the left Beatrix Borque able to travel with the ball for Peterborough sends the ball on for striker and captain Kiers Perkins to hunt down, Charlotte Dinsdale getting across her seeing the ball back to her goalkeeper Eleanor Sharpe.

  Perkins nipping in to pressure the ball in the left corner as it is put on from a throw in winning Peterborough an early corner. The inswinging delivery headed clear by Doncaster at the near post. Peterborough quick to regain possession put back to corner taker Katie Steward coming back up the line on the left sends a dangerous ball into the six yard box Evie Driscoll-King stooping to head the ball down towards goal, Sharpe with a reflex save throw herself down to her left to keep it out, superb goalkeeper. An early chance of Peterborough to open the scoring.

Eleanor Sharpe with a superb save for Doncaster Rovers Belles early in the game

Doncaster snapping after the ball in the middle Sophie Scargill recently returning to the side after suffering an ACL injury putting it on for Lauren Breen clipped diagonally out to the right with Nadia Khan finding space in the right channel takes on the early strike cutting the angled shot high and wide of the near post. Tugby winning the ball in midfield she drives forwards  sending it out to Khan away on the right wing squares an inviting ball across Peterborough’s six yard box, cut out by the defence at the far post and cleared. A lively opening pace in attack from both sides.

Nadia Khan controlling the ball for Doncaster Rovers Belles

  The attackers looking to take the game on to their opponents Jess Driscoll on for Perkins she lifts it on for Katie Steward through the middle, Sharpe needs to come win the ball outside her box, just about gets their as she and Steward collide The loose ball regained by Peterborough wide left an attempt to find the empty net made the ball bouncing harmlessly wide of the near post Katie Steward down for a moment recently back herself after dislocating her thumb. Is okay to continue. 

Peterborough attacker, Katie Steward looking to get the better of Doncaster’s Charlotte Dinsdale

  Seen Amy Butler at two different clubs already this season, outfield and in goal. No 1 of Peterborough, needs to come racing out of her box to clear as Khan threatens to break into the box from the left. Cassie Steward busy in the middle for Peterborough in to tackle the ball played out to Borque on the left, looks to get on, Doncaster’s Isabella Trevillion in to challenge her the ball out for a throw. Pressure from Perkins on the throw bringing another corner.

Doncaster’s Isabella Trevillion

  Even start both sides pressing the ball well wanting to get it forwards with pace. Cassie Steward playing the ball on for Perkins in attack sends it out to the right with the full back coming on the cross sent in Perkins goes to head it’s Charlotte Dinsdale who wins it to head the ball on picked up by Tugby, Doncaster counter attack through the middle, Tugby racing on with the ball, on for Jasmine Saxton outside the D passes to Sophie Bell on the right wing held up gets it back to Tugby to as Peterborough get back in numbers to defend their box, right side Tugby puts it into Saxton’s find inside the area, looks to shift left and turn into the shot, Cassie Steward back to put in the blocking tackle.

Doncaster’s Lindsey Tugby challenging Peterborough’s Jess Driscoll

  Driscoll coming away clear with the ball at her feet through the middle for Peterborough has Katie Steward providing a run into the left channel, sends the pass into her feet looks clear to bear down on goal sends her shot wide of the post. A lively opening 10 minutes. Peterborough attack right Cassie Stewards up with Perkins and sister Katie. Doncaster captain, Jessica Andrew tackling the attack breaking down outside the box as Dinsdale clears it long looking for Khan. Breen and Tugby both looking to travel with the ball whenever Doncaster mount an attack the latter getting her shirt tugged by Driscoll winning a free-kick 30 yards out. 

Charlotte Dinsdale winning the ball at the back for Doncaster

The set-piece defended Peterborough are quickly on the attack play going right Cassie Steward with Aylmer up on the right, crossed in early no one gambling through the middle Sharpe can take the catch unopposed. Scargill on for Breen drives forwards out to the left plays the ball inside to Saxton inside the D, nods it down to the right, for a moment Bell on that side has an opening if she can reach the ball to charge into the box and take a shot, Borque though recovering well for Peterborough just gets their first to clear the ball. Breen finding gaps to run into with the ball sends it on for Khan running into the left corner, checks back up the pick before being brought down for the free-kick. Tugby over it curls a shot on the angle in towards goal, Butler with an easy claim. 

Doncaster midfielder, Sophie Scargill

  Butler starts to come to try and win the ball before Saxton as she is put through by Khan on the left, can’t get there is stranded as Saxton spots Bell available on the right, goes for it 20 yards out her first time effort curled over the bar. Katie Steward and Perkins work the ball well on the left side getting it squared central with Cassie Steward racing on from midfield, connects first time cutting her shot high away from goal. Peterborough giving it a go Driscoll tackling on for Perkins lays the ball to the right for Katie Steward her angled cross falling near post collected by Sharpe.

Kayleigh Aylmer

  Aylmer getting on with the ball right inside for Cassie Steward, plays it into Katie Steward outside the box she looks to find Perkins inside the D, Andrew and Dinsdale into challenge getting the ball clear to their left, Aylmer latching onto it a high ball clipped into the box, taken high by Sharpe. Breen gets on the move down the right side a powerful run as Bell sends the pass on for her looks to travel all the way to the by-line whip a cross in across the face of goal, Niamh Connor closing down tackling to see that doesn’t happen.

Peterborough’s Niamh Connor

  From the resulting throw in the ball in lifted into Trevillion 20 yards out right of the D, puts her foot through the strike, is charged down by Peterborough centre back, Natalie Hurst. Khan taking the ball on down the right, combines with Saxton the pair exchanging passes finding their way into the box wide of goal, Butler comes to smother the ball at Saxton’s feet. Khan looking dangerous running into the channels plays it infield for Breen outside the D, she is brought down, Doncaster with a set-piece in a dangerous position. Breen to take it goes for goal her shot curling wide of the far post.

Nadia Khan

  Midway through the 1st half has been a lively game so far. Doncaster mount an attack Breen on for Tugby sending it out to Khan free on the right, wraps her foot around the cross sending an inviting ball into the six yard box, headed clear by Driscoll-King. The visitors looking to pressure the ball higher get caught on the counter Driscoll taking it on through the middle threading it on for Perkins right of the D, Andrew getting across well to shield the ball as Sharpe comes to gather at her feet. 

One captain holding off the other, Kier Perkins with Jessica Andrew

  Aylmer right on Katie Steward down the line her cross angled in near side, Perkins the target, Sharpe snatching down first. Breen passing into Khan on the right Bell up with her in the corner, a cross working in dropping inside the six yard box, Butler claims well under pressure from Saxton. Peterborough with players up for a throw on the left, Driscoll is tackled the ball loose Trevillion playing it on for Saxton the visitors break the striker, picking out Khan making a right channel run shifting inside, Elloise Copson across with a well timed tackle get the ball Doncaster first to the loose ball 25 yards out the long range lob dropping wide of the far post.

  Borque takes the ball on down the left after good work from Cassie Steward to regain possession in the middle. Borque playing a diagonal ball into the area, Perkins going forward marked by Dinsdale who tackles the ball out to the left collected by Borque floated back in on the angle claimed safely by Sharpe. Housley getting forwards on the left for Doncaster checking back before being tackled by Aylmer the ball coming to Breen 25 yards out pulls her 25 yard  strike wide across goal. 

 Into the final 5 minutes of the first half, Driscoll battling for possession in the centre finding Borque on the left wing, Bell getting back at her challenging for Doncaster. Scargill with Breen work the ball on well through the middle before Driscoll-King intercepts the forward pass for Peterborough, Tugby on with the ball for Doncaster passes to Khan outside the area right of the D, shifts inside to shoot taking a deflection off an attempted block the ball skips up over Butler landing on top of her crossbar out for a corner kick.

Peterborough’s Cassie Steward

 Dinsdale winning the ball at the ball plays it forwards into Scargill through the middle plays it to the right for Saxton moving into the corner plays it up the line for Bell to lift a curling cross into the area, headed away by Hurst. One last attack for Peterborough with Cassie Steward winning the ball in the middle on for Katie Steward who looks to play it on for Perkins the through ball running behind her as she looks to go across to the right.  

Half-time Peterborough United Women 0-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles

  An entertaining first half draws to a close with the sides goalless at the break. Has been a lively game Peterborough taking the game to Doncaster both sides looking to get on with the ball quickly, defences standing firm. Peterborough with a great opportunity to open the scoring inside the opening 2 minutes but for a smart save from Doncaster keeper, Eleanor Sharpe. Players on both sides with driving runs through the middle, defences dropping deep at times to limit opportunities inside the area. An intriguing contest will be interesting to see if both sides can keep it up 2nd half. 

Sophie Scargill with Cassie Steward

  A change for Doncaster at the break Emily Cahill on for Housley. No changes for Peterborough. Doncaster to get the 2nd half underway. The ball played long out to Khan racing on right side, Connor though can see it out for a goal kick. Scargill regaining possession in the middle finds Saxton on the right has Tugby up with her the pair looking to exchange passes on the wing come inside Hurst challenging the loose ball lifted back over the top finding Tugby offside. 

Driscoll continues to snap into the tackles winning possession in the middle for Peterborough sends the ball out to Aylmer on the right, drills a pass into Perkins inside the box, holds it up but can’t pick out a teammate as she is closed down by Dinsdale and Andrew. Doncaster are looking to take the game to Peterborough at the start of the 2nd half, Saxton with Tugby linking on the left, Hurst getting amongst them to tackle, Tugby on the loose ball attempting to lay it into Khan positioned inside the D, Driscoll-King winning it. 

Breen taking attack to Peterborough looks to batter her way through into the box, Hurst defending well up against her. Cassie Steward central winning the ball for Peterborough lays it forwards for Perkins, too much on it though as Sharpe comes running out of her area to kick upfield. Driscoll on the ball with a great pass to find Borque clear on the left, Bell though recovers well for Doncaster to get back at her and tackle a throw for the hosts in the corner  

 Perkins doing well to win a corner on the right as Copson plays the ball down the line. Peterborough regaining some momentum with a free-kick on the left put into the box Dinsdale up with the defensive header deflected behind for a corner. An infringement spotted by the referee in the six yard box seeing Doncaster regain possession. Tempers flaring up as Tugby and Driscoll clash the referee having words with the pair. A free-kick wide right for Peterborough, Aylmer delivering it long to the back stick knocked back in across goal, Sharpe grabbing it, with Driscoll-King flying in.

Doncaster striker, Jasmine Saxton

  A change for Peterborough with almost an hour played Katie Steward coming off for Hannah Hipwell who goes into midfield with Cassie Steward moving up top join Perkins in attack. The new strike force looking to combine on the right, Breen getting back to win the ball, takes it on down the left flanks coming inside is brought down somewhat clumsily by Driscoll winning a free-kick. Driscoll lucky not to pick up a yellow card. Andrew to play the set-piece up into the box cleared away from a throw on the right. 

Bell winning Doncaster a corner on the right, a great delivery into the six yard box dropping central Dinsdale connects her shot smashing back off the post then put behind for a corner on the left. Played long beyond the far post cleared out to the top of the area Andrew retrieves no space to shoot plays it to Bell inside the box right side blasts a shot goalwards her effort blocked. Doncaster pressing the advantage coming left the cross angled in cut out by Driscoll-King sliding in at the near post. The visitors pushing hard on the right the cross over everyone in the middle, Breen reclaims it beyond the far post turns back towards goal lifting her shot over the bar.

  Hipwell carrying the ball on through the middle finding Cassie Steward on the right, comes back inside before lifting a cross into the far post with the outside of her boot, Borque flying in can’t get a touch as the ball runs wide of the far post. Peterborough with a corner goes long to Hurst at the far post nods it back into the centre met by Perkins, is narrowly over the crossbar. Chances for both sides with no let up in the tempo. Steward on the right from a throw swivels to put a cross into the centre of the six yard box, too close to the keeper with Sharpe taking it as Perkins makes the run.

Peterborough’s Jess Driscoll

  Final balls not always finding their mark but this is more to good reading of the ball from both defences more than anything else. Bell winning Doncaster a corner on the right before it is taken however a change with a little over quarter an hour left, Khan coming off for Hannah McWilliams. Peterborough with a change too Borque off replaced by Katie Lowder. The corner swung in centrally, Andrew up well to meet it, her header directed wide of the far post.

   Breen has been upended several times during the match, Steward the latest to do so, earning herself a yellow card. The set-piece wide on the left lifted in towards the penalty spot put behind for a corner kick. The corner going through everyone attacking the far post. Doncaster with a 3rd change Scargill off for Jessica Price with 11 minutes left to play.  Steward with Perkins up on the left after the ball, Perkins back to Steward who shifts the ball between her feet before shooting on the angle her attempt wide across goal. 

 Both sides showing signs of nerves at the back as much as they want to score neither wants to concede so late in the game. Hurst is pulled back a free-kick wide right for Peterborough, Aylmer playing it into Steward inside the D lays it off of Driscoll is closed down quickly no room for a shot. Peterborough make a 3rd change Destiny Makenjuola on for Hurst. Lowder winning a poor kick out from the back goes forwards doesn’t get a clean strike away the ball running safely through to the keeper. 

Doncaster’s Jessica Price

 Connor with a great defending tackle inside the box on Saxton right of goal as the ball in clipped into her from Breen on the left. Price on the turn 25 yards out central to shoot as she gets hold of the loose ball, Butler coming across her goal can see it bounce wide of her left post. Driscoll-King turning the ball behind for a corner on the right as Doncaster get forwards with Bell and Saxton. Put into the middle isn’t cleared, a scramble seeing it hooked clear. Advantage played as Driscoll charging through the middle is tugged back. The ball running on for Perkins holds it up well picking out Steward to the right of the D, her shot charged down.

   Driscoll with another free-kick won 30 yards out, struck towards goal, strikes a Doncaster arm the referee with a better view of it awarding the hosts a free kick just outside the D to the right of centre. Lowder over  in the 88th minute curling a shot past the wall, Sharpe diving to her right can’t get there the shot cannoning back off the upright, then behind for a goalkick as a blue and white shirt flies in.

Kate Lowder’s late free-kick striking the post

 So close for Peterborough at the death, the hosts come on again Driscoll on for Hipwell picks out Steward right of the D, inside to angle a ball across to the far post, Perkins diving on can’t quite reach in goal kick. Into stoppage time a frantic final minute neither side giving an inch as the final whistle blows to see the points shared.

Full time Peterborough United Women 0-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles

 A hard fought point for Peterborough in the finish, frustrating Doncaster in an evenly fought contest. Defences on top for the most part a good opportunity at either end of the match for the hosts to score a goal. Both sides striking the woodwork. The later the game wore on nerves played a part. Peterborough as keen to keep the clean sheet than they were to score. Doncaster pushed forwards just couldn’t find a way through. As a neutral it was a great game to watch despite it being 0-0 and I don’t see too many of those.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. It’s another tough one ultimately to pick out an individual player but I have my notes to help me out. Defences were solid and worked hard throughout for both sides. For Doncaster, Nadia Khan posed a threat on the flanks going forwards. Lindsey Tugby through the middle with so dynamic runs. Lauren Breen got clattered several times for her efforts but such was the threat she posed to the opposition with some strong runs forwards. For Peterborough Beatrix Borque carried a threat in the wide areas and it is neck and neck between the other two Cassie Steward battling for the ball well in the middle getting forwards then joining the attack 2nd half creating chances both for herself and others. Just edging it though is Jess Driscoll was strong on the ball in the centre winning possession back and taking the game to Doncaster.

An entertaining trip to Peterborough (once I got there) Been looking to get over see a game for a while and it’s always great to catch up with Doncaster Rovers Belles. My thanks to both clubs for assisting me with the team details, much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham