Tag Archives: AFC Sudbury Women

Match Report – AFC Sudbury Women v Herts Vipers

Sunday 31st October

ERWFL Division One South

 A road trip down south this weekend into Suffolk to watch a game from ERWFL Division One South for the first time this season with AFC Sudbury Women hosting one of the leagues newcomers Herts Vipers.

 Tier 6 of the women’s football pyramid seeing an influx of new sides following the previous two seasons disruption due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. The ERWFL aiming to reach it’s full capacity in the near future as the county leagues below continue to expand. A total of 7 sides promoted to the regional set-up this season with 4 of those joining ERWFL Division One South, Essex sides, Billericay Town Ladies Development and FC Barking Women along with Hertfordshire pair Cheshunt FC Women and Herts Vipers.

  A great start to life in tier 6 for 3 of those sides with Herts Vipers, Cheshunt and Barking 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectfully in the table. With just 5 points separating the top five right now with Essex side Leigh Ramblers Ladies setting the pace. All five of those sides losing just the one match so far so the league looks  like the title race will be hard fought. 

  AFC Sudbury Women currently in 5th spot in the ERWFL Division One South table having played 5. With 3 wins an draw and one loss. Started the season strong with 7 points from their opening 3 fixtures. Defeat in the FA Women’s Cup and their 1st loss of the season at home to Barking following before Sudbury returned to winning ways at Suffolk rivals East Bergholt at the start of the month. An extended period without a game return to action with successive home fixtures against 2nd place Herts Vipers followed by leaders Leigh Ramblers next weekend. 

 Phoebe Guiver currently top scorer with 4 goals so far this season with both Alex Penny and Jessica Allen having 3 goals apiece. AFC Sudbury with an academy set-up for both boys and girls with the Women’s 1st team backed up by a Reserves sides playing in the Suffolk Women’s Premier Division. AFC Sudbury as a whole looking to push the women’s game forwards including giving experience to young female referees, one running the line for today’s match.

Herts Vipers burst onto the scene at the beginning of the 2019/20 season entering a women’s side in Beds & Herts Women’s Division Three. Right from the off the squad assembled looked too strong for that division surging to the top of the table off the back of a number of high scoring wins. Didn’t get to celebrate a title win however as COVID came along to see the season ending null & void. Were promoted straight into the Beds & Herts Women’s Premier Division the following season whilst setting up a new Development side. Again were making good progress with Nicole Jancey in particular scoring plenty of goals which would see her go on to play for London Bees in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division. The 20/21 season of course following the same fate as the previous season the Beds & Herts league adapting their season into a mini-league formant where Herts Vipers went on to win Group A alongside fellow Premier Division sides, Oakland Wolves Ladies, Hemel Hempstead Town Ladies & Garston Ladies.

  Applying for promotion to the ERWFL regional set-up Herts Vipers are an ambitious club and have started life in tier 6 very well winning their opening 3 matches. A draw and first defeat of the season at home to Hutton following before they bounced back to win 3-1 at home to Billericay Town Women Development a fortnight ago. Making history too in the FA Women’s Cup beating East Bergholt 4-3 last weekend to reach the 1st Round Proper of the competition where they will be at home to FAWNL South East Division One side Stevenage FC Women. Kelsey Millen top scoring so far this season with 5 goals with, Georgia Royall, Rachel Wall and Natalie Powell hot on her heels with 4 goals each.

The MEL Group Stadium the venue for today’s match, the weather as much of a factor for determining today’s game as anything else. An artificial pitch inside the main stadium with a training pitch beside the carpark. A new build clubhouse with seated stand along side one side of the ground another terraced stand on the opposite side, covered areas behind both goals. A wide pitch, plenty of volunteers about the place getting the stadium ready for the clubs upcoming televised FA Cup clash against Colchester United. Heavy rain moving across the region to start the day leading to several postponements. Forecast to clear by early afternoon had stopped by the time I arrived at the ground and the sun was forcing it’s way through which with the clocks going back this weekend would pose an issue setting behind one goal.

AFC Sudbury Women

 AFC Sudbury Women starting XI – Becky Platt, Jodie Donley, Amber Provan, Teigan McHale, Bonni Shephard, Kate Edwards, Phoebe Guiver (C), Bella Crawford, Evie Creaton, Alex Penny & Jess Allen Subs – Brandi Whymark-Broyd, Georgia Thorpe, Emily Smith, Tye Smith & Georgia Sleep.

Herts Vipers

  Herts Vipers starting XI – Sasha Tucker, Rebecca Edge, Ciara Meeking, Eva Ramsey (C), Rebecca Scott, Katie Moule-Betell, Sarah Payne, Georgina Royall, Kesley Mullin, Natalie Powell & Rachel Wall. Subs – Maisie Threadgold-Smith, Danielle Cliffe, Chloe Clay & Ellie Stammers.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

Bright sun by the time kick-off arrived behind one goal is definitely going to pose an issue as the game draws on. Sudbury with the kick off in the 1st half wearing an all yellow kit with Herts Vipers lines up opposite in an all light grey strip. The ball lofted forwards cleaned up by Herts Vipers centre back and captain Eva Ramsey, play spread out to the left the forwards pass infield for the advancing Sarah Payne, looks to thread it through into the box for Rachel Wall, Becky Platt quickly out of her six yard box to gather for the hosts.

  Herts Vipers making a positive start to the game the ball fed up the right for Natalie Powell to run onto wins the visitors and early corner, players coming up into the box the delivery by Kesley Millen whipped invitingly across the top of the six yard box is Powell rising at the far post narrowly missing the header. 

  A high line defensively for Herts Vipers, striker Jess Allen caught offside as the hosts attempt to move out quickly from the back. Millen winning the ball on halfway for Herts Vipers passes it forwards early with both Wall and Powell after it as Teigan McHale finds herself under pressure heading for her own goal, keeps her composure though playing it safely back to her keeper, Platt launching it up the pitch. Herts Vipers get players up to support Georgina Royall on the left inside to Payne 25 yards out shoots on the angle the ball skipping along the surface gathered by Platt covering her near post.

Herts Vipers Katie Moule-Betell

  Powell runs in behind on the right side, Bonni Shepherd getting back on her forcing the attacker wide, holding the ball up Millen gets down the line in support the ball laid back to her she attempts to return it to Powell making a move into the box the pass too heavy runs out of play. Payne links up with Powell central 30 yards out the ball put out to the right as Millen bursts forwards towards the area her shot blocked by Jodie Donley. Herts Vipers keep the pressure on in the final 3rd won back on the left Wall turns 25 yards out striking the ball on the angle in low towards goal, Platt behind it once again.

Kelsey Millen attacking for Herts Vipers

  Herts Vipers are applying pressure to the Sudbury defence early in the game, Powell central hooking the ball over the top for Wall to go after Platt comes racing out to meet her Wall attempts to chip the ball over the keeper can only put it straight into her gloves. 

  GOAL! For all their bright start to the game Herts Vipers are undone on 10 minutes as captain Phoebe Guiver plays the ball through on halfway from Allen to run onto driving forwards central bearing down on the box getting inside the centre back sets her sights slotting the ball low past the standing keeper before she can react into the back of the net 1-0.

Jess Allen opens the scoring for Sudbury

   A mix up at the back almost presents Herts Vipers with a quick reply as Powell goes after a hopeful pass long into the box right of goal with both centre back and goalkeeper coming for it, Platt out of position rapidly back peddling as Powell gets hold of the ball on the by line the angle very much against no one else in the box plants the ball into the side netting. Powell a threat up top getting away on the right off a throw in the Herts Vipers attacker cutting it back towards  Wall top of the area right side of the D, looking to turn into the shot as the ball run across her doesn’t get a clean connection the ball deflected off a defender out to Powel who fires it back in on the angle, Platt down to get behind it make the save.

Natalie Powell attacking for Herts Vipers

   Alex Penny taking the ball on down the left for Sudbury whipping a dangerous cross into the six yards box headed clear by Herts Vipers, Rebecca Edge. Up the other end Powell latches onto a poor goal kick taking the ball out to the right wrapping her foot around the ball flashed in across the penalty spot, Payne has gambled breaking from midfield arriving the cross narrowly beating her. The ball being hotly contested in midfield, Guiver winning it plays an early ball forwards for Allen, the raised flag halting her progress. The wind picking up behind Herts Vipers back hindering there forward play ball running on form both Payne and Millen.

Sarah Payne looking to win the ball for Herts Vipers

   The visitors pressuring the Sudbury defence, Amber Provan gets it clear, on for Guiver right side she sends it long for Allen making a run into the right channel takes on the shot early 30 yards out blazes her effort over the bar. Guiver influential in the middle of the park is down having picked up an injury, is unable to continue Sudbury making the change bringing on Emily Smith with Kate Edwards taking the armband.

    Powell is upended wide on the right Herts Vipers awarded a freekick. Millen over the ball angled in towards the far post runners closing in the ball knocked back down across goal comes back out to Millen on the right clips a high ball back into the area dropping down at the far post Platt gets up well to claim high taken a blow as she is clattered into. A pause in play as the goalkeeper recieves treatment but is okay to continue.

Sudbury’s Alex Penny

 

 Penny forwards on the left for Sudbury has help from Allen the pair pressuring the Herts Vipers defence forcing a corner kick. Put in from the left, Shepherd hooks it in towards goal from the top of the area, the ball headed clear inside the six yard box. Wall fouled on the left presenting Millen with another set-piece opportunity 30 yards out, plenty of pace on her strike racing through the area, Wall closing in far side can’t reach it as it runs wide of the far post. 

Herts Vipers attacker, Rachel Wall

 A change for Herts Vipers with Ellie Stammers coming on up top for Wall. Teigan McHale winning the ball at the back for Sudbury plays it upfield for Allen moving out to the left wing, looks to take it in behind, Ramsey getting across to slide in on her put the ball out for a throw in. Shepherd getting up on the left to support Penny on the wing the pass inside looking for Edwards well placed 25 yards out, Payne throwing out her leg to intercept for Herts Vipers. 

  Millen finds herself out on the eft running onto the ball left of the D prods it on into the box for Powell to see into her feet, Shepherd close on her the striker attempting to turn get inside her marker, Shepherd doing well to prevent an attempt at goal knocking the ball away runs back to Millen who has moved back to the right takes on the strike from distance Platt saving pushing the ball out to her right. 

  GOAL! Half an hour played and the hosts go onto double their lead similar to the opening goal it is a fantastic pass from midfield by Edwards opening up her body too release Allen in attack taking the ball on in behind the defence to run at the box can’t be caught and once again keeps composed to slot it low under the keeper to score 2-0.

Jess Allen through on goal to score her 2nd for Sudbury

  Herts Vipers respond with a double change, bringing off Powell and Royall on come Chloe Clay and Danielle Cliffe. Rebecca Edge with a crucial tackle on Allen as she moves into the left channel seeing the ball into her feet looking to shift and spin in behind Edge timing her challenge perfectly to come away with the ball. 

  Allen is put through on goal central for a third time by Edwards running over halfway, out pacing the defence bearing down on the area, goalkeeper Sasha Tucker out quickly to the edge of her area getting down low to make the blocking save as Allen attempts to slot it past her, denying Allen her hat-trick. The second goal denting Herts Vipers confidence, giving an obvious lift to Sudbury as they close the ball down higher up the pitch, Crawford onto Edwards plays it forwards for Allen peeling away into the left channel shooting from outside the box, Edge blocking her effort deflected to Crawford 25 yards out right of the D her attempt at goal put over the bar.  Katie Moule-Betell brings the ball forwards for Herts Vipers playing it on for Millen right side taking it on into the area hasn’t many options doing well to win a corner. 

Herts Vipers, Ellie Stammers

  Millen playing a good ball into the six yard box, an inviting height, Stammers up well centrally can’t direct her header on target. Into the final 5 minutes of the first half Rebecca Scott challenging for the ball in the middle for Herts Vipers on for Payne who looks to thread it through for Clay inside the D, McHale intercepting for Sudbury. Allen bats the offside flag for Sudbury for a moment looks to be away but Ramsey recovers superbly to slide in take the ball away from her before being fouled herself. 

  Millen getting a throw deep in the Sudbury half played into Stammers turning on the by-line in near post Clay attacking it, doesn’t get hold of the ball, hurt as she turns needing treatment. A frustrating half so far for the visitors the final ball just not happening. Creaton taking the ball on down the right for Sudbury moves infield pushed on to Allen, turns but runs straight into Edge who tackles well for Herts Vipers setting up an immediate counter attack finding Millen on the right plays it on early through the middle with both Stammers and Clay after the ball the wind though favouring the advancing goalkeeper as Platt gets to it first. 

  Creaton powers on with the ball right side for Sudbury strikes the shot in on the angle, Tucker down to her left with a sharp save the ball pushed away across goal, for a moment Allen looks certain to turn the ball into an empty net but can’t get the ball down before the Herts Vipers defence get back on her to scramble clear. Sudbury finishing the half strong, Edwards on for Creaton comes inside from the right clipping a shot over from 20 yards out.

Half-time AFC Sudbury Women 2-0 Herts Vipers

  Arguably Herts Vipers have created more chances but it’s the visitors who find themselves trailing 2-0 at the break. The difference being Sudbury and particularly Allen have been clinical with their finishing when through on goal. Sudbury have dropped deep inviting Herts Vipers on at times but that has left room for Allen to run into whenever play is turned around. Frustration too for Herts Vipers as the final ball evades them. A confident start pressure early on a blow to concede. The 2nd goal seeing Sudbury grow in confidence finishing the half the stronger. You feel Herts Vipers need to score early in the 2nd half to get themselves back into the match.

  No change for either side at the break. The sun dipping low in the sky now the Herts Vipers defence with have that to content with too in the 2nd half. The visitors to get the 2nd half underway. Herts Vipers sloppy from the restart giving the ball away inside their own half out to Creaton on the right pressing forwards coming inside turning into the box, Ramsey tackling for Herts Vipers before Edge scrambles the ball away. 

Herts Vipers captain, Eva Ramsey

 Creaton flagged offside moment later as Sudbury close the ball down, Edwards winning it in the centre. Cliffe left links up with Moule-Betell for Herts Vipers central looking to lift the ball forwards, Edwards snapping in on her to regain possession for the hosts. Payne bringing the ball on has Millen ahead of her central pushing the pass on Millen reverses the ball putting it into Stammers left of the D, head down drives for the box, Provan standing up against her defending well for Sudbury.

  GOAL! Denied her hat-trick in the first half it doesn’t take long for Allen to claim it at the start of the 2nd half, the ball played out from the ball by Sudbury finding Creaton free on the right she helps it on quickly central in behind the Herts Vipers defence, Allen out paces Ramsey in the race for the ball taking her shot early smashing it high into the back of the net 3-0. 

A hat-trick for Sudbury’s Jess Allen pictured with Herts Vipers Ciara Meeking

  Platt saving at her near post off Cliffe as the Herts Vipers player gets a shot in close to the by-line on the right. The game becoming a little feisty free-kicks being given away as both sides try and close the other down on the ball, no one afforded any time to settle on the ball. No doubt Herts Vipers are frustrated. Creaton looks to plough her way through the Herts Vipers defence from the right but is stopped by Ciara Meeking. Creaton then gets back well to defend on Cliffe as she attempts to take the ball on down the right off a midfield pass from Scott. 

  Sudbury turn play around left side on to Allen up top she squares it to Creaton on her right the winger looking to come inside, goes with a left footed strike from inside the D the be swerving away from the far post. A little bit of rain in the air as Herts Vipers on the back foot press to get the ball, Payne looking to release Millen coming inside from the right, Platt though quickly off her line to slide in and take the ball on the edge of her area. Herts Vipers make a change with Cliffe coming off, Wall returning to the action.

 GOAL! Creaton’s shirt pulled the hosts awarded a free-kick wide on the right players sent up into the box as the set-piece by Creaton comes in the ball looping in under the bar Herts Vipers fail to deal with it at the far post knocked across the face of goal a scramble ensues bodies flying in from both sides, deflected towards goal, Tucker gets her gloves around it  on the ground hooks it away but by then it has already crossed the line, possibly and own goal, Donley with a touch claiming it for Sudbury 4-0.

  A huge blow for Herts Vipers conceding a 4th goal. Sudbury on top leaving the visitors with a mountain to climb if they hope to get anything from the game. Powell returns to the action for Herts Vipers replacing Payne. Meeking with a good ball forwards from the left up the wing for Wall, getting down the wing squares it into the box but behind Powell as McHale intercepts and launches clear for Sudbury. Herts Vipers taking risks pushing players on trying to pressure Sudbury at the back, Clay nipping in to take the ball outside the D, Edwards is back on her sliding in to tackle before a shot can be unleashed.

  The ball being hotly contested in the middle pinging back and forth deflects favourably for Allen up top after it, Edge comes round on the cover with a good challenge. Sudbury with a corner on the right defended at the near post behind for a 2nd corner. Dropping at the near post Tucker comes to catch, the ball kicked out of her gloves, she is smartly down to smother it inside her six yard box. The game opening up suddenly the Sudbury defence drawn out Clay seizes the opportunity lifting it over the top for Powell to chase looks to be one on one with the advancing keeper but for McHale her recovers her ground excellently sliding in with a well timed tackle.

Sarah Payne bringing the ball out for Herts Vipers

  Clay is caught hard on the ankle by a mistimed tackle out on the left, play brought back with no advantage for the free-kick. Clay though is in alot of pain, after lengthy treatment has to come off carried off the pick by her coaches. Royall coming back on. Edge on the set-piece long up into the area, Platt calls and coming through bodies claims well. A double change for Sudbury with Creaton and Allen coming off in attack. On come Georgia Sleep and Tye Smith. The low sun is making viewing difficult behind the Sudbury goal. Shepherd sliding in to block on Millen as she breaks into the box from the right a corner conceded. Donley defending for Sudbury.

Sudbury’s Tye Smith with Herts Vipers Katie Moule-Betell

  Sudbury are content to sit back invite Herts Vipers onto them the visitors with Scott on the ball out to Millen on the right, Shepherd out to her tackling to give away the throw. The hosts regaining possession off the throw moving the ball on up the left Sleep with the cross in along to top of the box cleared by Edge. Frustrations increasing the referee showing a card to the Herts Vipers bench as Crawford is fouled by Meeking on the right. 

  Millen driving inside from the right pushed into Wall inside the box plays it back to Moule-Betell to strike over from 25 yards out for Herts Vipers. The visitors pressing Stammers on the right plays it central for Royall top of the area heads it into the box, Platt down on it before Powell can pounce. Scott central out to the right for Stammers has support form Millen the pair exchanging passes before Stammers flashes a shot over the bar. Sudbury making a change with a little under 15 minutes left to play Georgia Thorpe coming on for Crawford. 

 Stammers getting down to the by-line well sends a cross along the face of goal only no one has gambled for Herts Vipers. McHale halting Millen’s progress as she looks to power her way through the Sudbury defence. Brandi Whymark-Broyd coming on in defence for Sudbury late on replacing Donley. Edwards out to Tye Smith on the left taking the ball on towards the box looses possession but quickly regains it squaring it inside for Sleep, Ramsey in well to defend for Herts Vipers. 

Seems no matter what Herts Vipers try nothing will fall their way in the final third 2nd balls more often than not claimed by a Sudbury shirt. Payne comes back on for Meeking. Whymark-Broyd defending in the box for the hosts against Powell as Stammers crosses from the right. Scott central on for Stammers she spins the ball away to the advancing Millen’s on the right from a tight angle smashes a strike in Platt throwing herself at the ball a sharp safe tipping the ball up and away to the left. Herts Vipers pushing on winning a corner on the left defended for a 2nd corner, Shepherd clearing that behind at the near post for a 3rd corner. This delivery longer to the far post headed down into into the mix blasted over the bar from 10 yards out.

  Late in the game Sudbury continue to soak up the pressure as Herts Vipers push on trying all they can to find a goal. Whymark-Broyd sliding into a challenge to stop Stammers advance. The ball inside the box pinging about a tackle, Platt picks it up, judged to be a back pass Herts Vipers are awarded a late indirect free-ick inside the box. Left of the goal 10 yards out Millen on it to tee up Edge. Sudbury slow to get players into there wall, gaps as Edge runs onto Millen’s nudge hits it hard through the fragmented wall giving Platt no chance as it’s hammered home for a late consolation goal 4-1. 

Rebecca Edge with a late consolation goal for Herts Vipers

  Too little too late the clock ticking down, Sudbury make a change bringing Creaton back on for Tye Smith. The home defence frustrated at conceding so late in the game the ball out on the right as Herts Vipers attack Millen fouled picking up and injury is brought off there’s seconds left no sub is made as the ball is played upfield to Sleep the final whistle blows and the 3 points go to Sudbury.

Kate Edwards contesting the midfield for Sudbury

Full time AFC Sudbury Women 4-1 Herts Vipers

  A convincing win in the finish for Sudbury who climb above Herts Vipers on goal difference into 2nd in the Division One South table. A poor start to the 2nd half from Herts Vipers seeing Sudbury capitalise to double the 2 goal advantage they had at the break. After that the Suffolk side was prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure ready to hit on the counter attack. The defence all making crucial tackles. A frustrating afternoon for Herts Vipers who I am sure can play better. Created opportunities making a good start to the game. A sucker punch from Sudbury to take the lead. Allen clinical for her hat-trick. Rarely did Herts Vipers open up their opponents.

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. For Herts Vipers, Rebecca Edge made a number of crucial tackles in defence and carried the ball out from the back well. Kelsey Millen on the right looked a threat and looked to set up a number of opportunities for the attackers. Overall it was a solid all round team performance from Sudbury hard to single a player out. Jess Allen of course was clinical in her finishing to net her hat-trick. Creaton was a constant threat on the right. Teigan McHale with some fantastically timed tackles at the back. The award though goes to midfielder Kate Edwards enjoyed the battle in midfield getting after the ball rising up after being handed the armband, played a number of excellent forwards passes.

 Another enjoyable trip to the MEL Group Stadium. I can see how much the club is looking forwards to their FA Cup encounter with Colchester and I wish them all the best of luck. Good to see both sides in action. Been wanting to tick Herts Vipers off the list for a while but like always this only means another side I want to see again. My thanks to both sides for giving me the team details as always much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – AFC Sudbury Women v Newmarket Town Women

Sunday 1st November

ERWFL League Cup

Cup action this Sunday in the featured match on Women’s Football East with a trip down into Suffolk to watch a game from the 2nd Round of the ERWFL League Cup, AFC Sudbury Women v Newmarket Town Women.

  The two ERWFL Division One sides meeting at the Kings Marsh Stadium a little under a month since a dramatic game in the FA Women’s Cup that saw Newmarket edge Sudbury out 4-2 on penalties after the 90 minutes finished all square at 3-3. Victory today for either seeing them reach the last 16 of the ERWFL League Cup one o 4 sides from Division One to join the 12 Premier Division sides in the next round.

Has been quite a while since I last saw AFC Sudbury Women in action were still Sudbury Ladies in fact. Has been something of a rebuilding of the side since it was relegated from the ERWFL Premier Division. Playing in ERWFL Division One South this season having been in the North previously. AFC Sudbury football club featuring an academy for both boys and girls have been one of the leading forces for women’s football in Suffolk in recent seasons and Suffolk as a whole has seen a healthy grow for women’s football of late. A strong start to the season for AFC Sudbury Women despite a narrow 3-2 defeat on the opening day are 3rd in ERWFL Division One South are unbeaten since 5 league and cup matches if you don’t count the penalty shootout loss to Newmarket. Two league wins out of three lay 3rd in the table a point behind title contenders Millwall Lionesses and Hutton Ladies. Beat Suffolk rivals East Bergholt United Ladies 5-0 in the 1st Round of the League Cup. A new Reserves sides entering the Suffolk Women’s Premier Division this season.

That penalty shootout win part of a fantastic run for Newmarket Town Women in this season’s FA Women’s Cup beginning with a memorable win in the extra preliminary round over higher league opponents Wymondham Town Ladies form the Premier Division, again drawing after 90 minutes winning the resulting shootout. Advancing through two more rounds with wins against Bungay Town Ladies and Sudbury before the run was ended by FAWNL South East Division One side Norwich City Women. One of just six sides now competing in Division One North is a league where all six sides are capable of challenging for the title, have won one and lost twice in the 3 games played so far. A strong youth section within the club, with a Development sides several players have stepped up to the first team in recent seasons. Won 4-1 away to Division One South side Stevenage FC Women Development in the 1st Round of the League Cup.

The game being played at AFC Sudbury’s, King’s Marsh Stadium. The large 3G pitch surrounded on all sides a large newly built clubhouse and kitchen to one side with a covered seated stand, a terraced stand opposite with the viewing area’s behind both goals covered. Covid restrictions well in place. A youth game taking place as I arrived an hour before kick-off a nasty injury in the game seeing it running late delaying the kick-off for today’s cup clash. Alot of rain recently but I didn’t think the ground would be affected. Dull and overcast with a little rain in the air a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch would affect the flight of the ball.

AFC Sudbury Women starting XI – Ciara Roberts, Faith Candice, Jodie Donely, Amanda Short (C), Brogan McHale, Maisie Goodwin, Megan Partridge, Georgia Thorpe, Amber Provan, Amy Thompson & Tye Smith. Subs – Teigan McHale, Hannah Stephenson, Rebecca Stephenson, Evie Creaton & Isabella Crawford.

Newmarket Town Women starting XI – Dominika Szary, Holly Dryland, Layla Weston, Beth Woodfield (C), Rebecca Towler, Jess Linger, Chloe Slater, Katie Webb, Katie Hayes, Gemma Moore & Annabel Cuthbert. Subs – Tash Patten, Kaitlin Elsey, Liv Caffarelli, Hannah Doyle & Megan Spurrell.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  The game eventually able to get underway a little after 2pm, it’s Newmarket to get the first half in their change strip as both sides wear yellow, the visitors in an all red kit today with Sudbury in their all yellow kit featuring an array of squad numbers from 3 to 57. Annabel Cuthbert playing the ball back to midfielder Chloe Slater she plays it long out to the left looking for the run of Katie Hayes, Sudbury full back Faith Candice in quickly to close her down prevent her skipping in behind her challenge taking the ball out for a Newmarket throw. A positive start from the visitors Newmarket pressing high closing the Sudbury defence down forcing a throw deep on the right.

 Newmarket’s Katie Webb fresh from riding her first winner at Leicester Races earlier in the week combines with Gemma Moore up the line on the right exchanging passes before Moore attempts to pick out Cuthbert making a near post run, the Sudbury defence blocking can’t get it clear Newmarket push numbers into the final third, Cuthbert central 20 yards out unable to get a Jess Linger ball down under control and hit on the turn as Brogan McHale closes her down for Sudbury, Slater pressing keeping the attack alive the ball played out to Layla Weston getting forwards on the right the full back sending in a cross from 25 yards out Cuthbert getting hold of it this time inside the area takes it to her right intending to shoot, Sudbury captain Amanda Short at centre back getting on her shoulder tackling to send the ball behind for a corner kick. 

Sudbury defender, Brogan McHale

   GOAL! Newmarket hammer home there fast start opening the scoring inside 4 minutes. The corner put in by Linger from the right defended by McHale at the far post, the hosts can’t break however as Newmarket are quick to close the ball down turn play around the ball played out to the left side nudged on for Cuthbert finding space inside the box top left corner, opens up her body to send a curling effort high across the diving keeper into the far corner of the net 0-1.

Annabel Cuthbert with the early strike to give Newmarket the lead

  Sudbury yet to have any meaningful possession inside their opponents half fire a warning shot across their bow straight from the restart the ball out to Amy Thompson running clear on the left has support from Tye Smith the ball put across the top of the Newmarket box, Georgia Thorpe running with it before putting her foot throw the ball from the top of the D, her shot straight at Dominika Szary, the Newmarket keeper catching it cleanly. Newmarket left back Holly Dryland finding herself in space strikes the ball across field as Webb makes the run on the opposite flank, picks her out superbly (if catching her on the side of the head and sending her sprawling was the intention) nevertheless having been poleaxed Webb is okay to continue. 

Newmarket’s Holly Dryland playing the ball forwards

  Newmarket regain possession in the middle Slater taking it on with Moore ahead of her peeling right attempts the diagonal ball into the box for Cuthbert, Candice intercepting setting up a Sudbury attack forwards for Maisie Goodwin taking it on plays it forwards towards Smith, Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield defending at the back, plays it long for Hayes away to the left her touch knocking it on gets in behind before checking back inside to take on the strike from the angle 20 yards out lifts her strike over the crossbar. A good battle shaping up in the centre of the park Linger winning it for Newmarket passes to Hayes out on the left, crosses early too close to the goalkeeper, Ciara Roberts with a confident claim high at her near post.

Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield clearing the ball ahead of Sudbury attacker Tye Smith

   Goodwin’s turn to get the better of the midfield battle coming away with the ball at her feet into the Newmarket half lays it on for Thompson left side, a clever touch seeing her take the ball in behind the Newmarket defence into the area but can’t win the race to the ball before Szary can come off her goal line lay claim to the ball. Newmarket continue to press the Sudbury defence on the ball McHale with limited options as she is closed down by Cuthbert outside the box turning back into the box the striker nipping in to take the ball off the centre back 8 yards out gets a shot away but is a tame effort along the ground Roberts down to smother it inside her six yard box. 

Gemma Moore looking to get away with the ball for Newmarket in attack

 Goodwin tracking back tackles Webb inside her box bringing the ball away plays a fantastic long range pass up to Smith in attack the striker getting hold of the ball looking to take on the Newmarket centre backs Rebecca Towler slowing her progress as Woodfield comes in to make the tackle. Candice stepping up wins the ball intended for Hayes from Dryland at the back space to run into has good vision to pick out the run made by Smith peeling off Towler’s shoulder to get into the box right of the D, pulls the trigger early her strike racing wide behind at the left post. 

Sudbury’s Amy Thompson

 Thompson with a powerful run with the ball on the left in attack does well to win Sudbury a corner kick. A cluster of players gathered at the top of the box Newmarket keeping 3 up to occupy the Sudbury defence. The delivery from the left in central Thorpe jumping nodding it down towards goal, Weston defending the post scrambling the ball away to safety. 20 minutes played the game starting to level out Sudbury finding more time on the ball have to stay alert, Jodie Donley doing just that at left back as Cuthbert coming deep to receive the ball into her feet turns brilliantly to send it forwards for Webb attempting to run clear on the right side, Donley cutting it out. 

Newmarket’s, Katie Webb

 Newmarket having make a fantastic start, unsettling Sudbury the hosts starting to get hold of the ball centrally, Goodwin tenacious supported well by Megan Partridge locking horns with Linger and Slater. Goodwin’s pass long for Thompson left plays it inside for the advancing Smith who in turn plays a diagonal ball into the area looking for Thorpe far side, running in with Dryland on her shoulder the Newmarket left back defending well. Thompson and Smith combining as they come forwards for Sudbury left side Thompson inside to Smith bombs on up the wing Smith picking her out gets into the area near post to receive the cross flashes a ball across the face of goal Thorpe running in far post can’ t quite get there. 

Newmarket’s Jess Linger and Chloe Slater combine to win the ball

 Partridge getting forwards to the edge of the area as Sudbury win a throw high on the right sees the ball rolled into her feet lets fly from 20 yards out right of the D fires her shot over the bar. Amber Provan nips in to regain possession for Sudbury 30 yards out, attempts to play in Thorpe to her right, goes on into the area, Dryland lunging in with and outstretched leg taking the ball away from her.

  GOAL! Newmarket double there lead on the half hour getting forwards win a corner on the left. Push players forwards into the box the delivery put in across goal into the six yard box Cuthbert, Webb and Slater all gathered at the far post the ball knocked down to the floor is loose for a second, Woodfield closest the quickest to react stabbing the ball in over the line at close range 0-2.

Beth Woodfield (5) quickest to the loose ball to put Newmarket 2 nil up

 Sudbury ring the changes using all five substitutes as Evie Creaton, Hannah Stephenson, Teigan McHale, Isabella Crawford and Rebecca Stephenson enter the game coming on for Smith, Provan, Brogan McHale, Candice and Thompson. Other players moving position too the intent to cause an impact Sudbury are on the attack Creaton central onto the ball rolled out to Crawford on the right side firing in an early cross into the box, Woodfield tracking back clearing inside her own six yard box. Newmarket clear their back line left side long with Cuthbert moving into the channel does well getting the bouncing ball under control holding it up as team mates races forwards in support slipping inside lifts a cross into the area, Slater arriving on the penalty spot stooping to head the ball wants to loop it over the keeper, not easy and succeeds in dropping it into Roberts gloves instead.

   GOAL! The substitutes having the desired effect as Sudbury pull a goal back injecting pace into side clear there defence the ball played on into the middle Crawford racing onto it taking it on plays a superb ball through to Partridge leading the attack now having peeled into the right channel sees the ball into her run sets herself and lets fly from inside the box keeping it low races pass Szary into the back of the net 1-2.

Megan Partridge moving into attack pulls it back to 2-1 for Sudbury

 Sudbury have sharpened up are pressing Newmarket at the back as much as the visitors were to them at the start of the game forcing errors. Goodwin in the middle tackling to get another attack going comes left on for Creaton, looks to go on Weston getting back on her doing well to force her run away from goal Creaton still managing to square a cross into the six yard box, Szary at full stretch diving to get her gloves on the ball with both Partridge and Crawford coming in. 

  Newmarket bringing players forwards for a corner Sudbury defending look to break Thorpe outside the area getting hold of the ball taking it forwards covering alot of ground before sending it out to Partridge away to her right, 25 yards out comes back inside closing in on the area, strikes the ball her shot angling wide across the face of goal. Into the last 5 minutes of the first half. Teigan McHale blocking a cross fired into the box from the left fired in by Dryland as she goes beyond Hayes. The game intense both sides closing each other down looking for openings both defences being kept on their toes. Rebecca Stephenson bringing the ball under control centrally 25 yards attempts to thread it through for Partridge, Towler throwing a leg out intercepting outside the box.

Half-time AFC Sudbury Women 1-2 Newmarket Town Women

  Newmarket with a fast start putting Sudbury under pressure at the back closing the ball down capitalising with an early goal. Unsettling the hosts took Sudbury a while to find their rhythm, before the game settled into a more even contest Newmarket continuing to create chances doubling their lead on the half hour. Sudbury responding with 5 changes, making an immediate impact pulling a goal back setting up an intriguing 2nd half.

Maisie Goodwin bringing the ball away in midfield for Sudbury

   Newmarket’s turn to ring the changes at the start of the 2nd half making 4 substitutions, on come Kaitlin Elsey, Tash Patten, Hannah Doyle and Megan Spurrell, replacing Webb, Moore, Hayes and Linger. Sudbury to get the 2nd period underway. Look to get the ball left, find no joy as Weston gets control of the ball plays it inside for Woodfield to launch upfield. Elsey peeling into space on the left for Newmarket in attack checks back inside to attack the box her cross cut out the loose ball gathered by Doyle 20 yards out central hits it hard, Short with the block. 

 The visitors pressing at the start of the 2nd half keep the pressure on in the final 3rd Doyle into the box left side shooting on the angle Roberts on her line down to make the save. Short does well inside her box defending against Elsey as the Newmarket attack looks to take her on entering the box left of the D.

  GOAL! Defending one end Sudbury get straight on the attack the ball out from the back wide to Crawford in space attacking right side plays a great diagonal pass into the box for Partridge making the run in behind advancing on the keeper, slots the ball along the ground wide of her to equalise early in the 2nd half 2-2.

Megan Partridge equalises for Sudbury early in the 2nd half

  Tash Patten is brought down in a dangerous position for Newmarket 25 yards out from the Sudbury goal the referee awarding a free-kick. With Linger off, it’s Slater on the set piece takes on the shot over the wall dips too soon making it a straight forward catch for Roberts. Minutes after equalising Sudbury are celebrating once again thinking they’ve taken the lead, almost a carbon copy of that goal today Crawford racing clear on the right sending the ball through to Partridge inside the box in behind the defence, the flag is up straight away however even before the ball nestles in the back of the net, the celebrations cut short.

  Crawford and Creaton lively on the right side for Sudbury, the former pushing on into the area from the wing, Towler coming across to slide in take the ball away for a corner. Defended Newmarket attempt to break, Sudbury close the ball down well centrally press the attack to win a corner on the right. Rebecca Stephenson with an inswinging delivery trying to use the wind to her advance goes long through the crowded six yard box to strike the far post, rebounded out towards the top of the area a shot fired back in is blocked spins away for a corner on the left. Another good delivery inswinging towards the near post, Szary with a good leap punching it away to safety.

  Patten with a risky but nevertheless good sliding tackle just inside the box against Partridge denies the attacking a shot on goal as the ball is send into her feet from the left. Sudbury with the brighter start 2n half keep the ball inside the Newmarket half Goodwin onto Rebecca Stephenson. A free kick awarded 30 yards out to the right of goal, Rebecca Stephenson on it blasts over. The host pressing well in the final 3rd win a corner on the left, the delivery long over everyone retrieve by Goodwin beyond the far post flashes a cross through the six yard box Partridge far post can’t get a telling touch runs through to the corner taker, Rebecca Stephenson shifting it onto her right foot inside the box shoots on the angle the ball bulging the side netting.

Sudbury’s Rebecca Stephenson coming forwards with the ball

 An hour played a lively contest between two battling sides no let up from either, Patten on the wrong end of a strong challenge in the middle, Slater to play the free-kick into the box taking a deflection on it’s way past goal winning Newmarket a corner. Elsey up attacking the far post can’t get her header on target. Sudbury ring the changes once again, Brogan McHale, Provan, Candice, Thompson an Smith back on for Goodwin, Partridge, Short, Thorpe and Donely. Newmarket making a change too Woodfield off at the back on comes Liv Cafferelli. The flood lights coming on as the light starts to fade. 

Newmarket’s Chloe Slater

  Newmarket get on the attack Slater on for Cuthbert getting clear in the middle running clear on goal opening up for her has Elsey running with her to the right opts to cross set her up the weight of the ball a little to heavy evading her. Patten having picked up a couple of knocks for Newmarket is replaced by Linger. The visitors get an attack going the ball out to Spurrell on the right peeling off the shoulder of the last defender into the box shoots low Roberts well placed to drop onto the ball make the save. A triple change for the visitors Newmarket bringing off Weston, Cuthbert an Slater, Webb, Hayes and Moore retuning to the action. 

  Creaton getting hold of the ball well for Sudbury causing Newmarket problems on the right sees the ball into her feet off a throw in turns inside to play in a cross to Smith centrally outside the area, Cafferelli getting in front of her well to win the ball back. Creaton skipping on past her marker right side sends a diagonal ball into the area long for Thompson far side, closing in on goal from the left, Szary closing down the angle down smartly to save low, her defence scrambling the loose ball away. 

GOAL! Into the final 20 minutes Sudbury have upped their game 2nd half pushing on in attack win another corner on the left, players gathering at the top of the area to make runs as Rebecca Stephenson places the ball, flights it in towards the near post six yards out, Creaton has snuck in unchecked leaping to nod the ball down into the ground and bounce up over the line into the roof of the net 3-2.

Evie Creaton scores to put Sudbury into a 3-2 lead

  It’s competitive there are some strong challenges out there a little niggle too creeping into the game. Elsey is hurt in one such challenge and needs to come off, Cuthbert retuning to the action as the game enters the final 10 minutes. Provan gets back well to tackle Hayes as she looks to gather the ball into her feet in attack on the left drive at the defence for Newmarket. The host win a free-kick in a dangerous position left of the D a yard outside the box, Rebecca Stephenson placing the ball, strikes it well racing in on target, a superb attempt, an equally superb save by Szary getting across her goal diving to her right throwing out a glove to palm the ball behind conceding the corner. 

  The corner defended Newmarket can’t get the ball forwards Sudbury are closing everything down working hard to regain possession. Hayes threatening to run in behind catching Sudbury with a high line, goalkeeper Roberts comes running out of her box to win the race and clear the danger. Szary at the other end has to come racing out to the top of her box to as a looping ball is played forwards, to risky to attempt handling it ha to get her head on the bouncing ball cleared but not far Crawford 30 yards out attempts to take advantage catch the keeper off her line the shot however off target dropping wide of the post. Dryland across to dive in halts a Sudbury attack as they press numbers on through the middle.

 Moments later Dryland pulls up looks like cramp but very painfully the Sudbury bench helping her off the pitch, Slater is sent back on with 5 minutes left to play. Rebecca Stephenson a threat in any dead ball situation Sudbury are drawing their fair share of free-kicks aswell as giving them away. This though is adding up to time lost as Newmarket frustratingly cant get the ball into their attackers late on. Creaton on the ball good close control as she dribbles towards the Newmarket area taking players on is clipped right on the edge of the area. Rebecca Stephenson placing it right of the D, strikes it early, Szary not set but the attempt is wasted racing wide past the left post. Stoppage time being played Rebecca Stephenson left rolls it on for Smith in attack, puts Cafferelli under pressure as she attempts to shield it back to Szary, the clearance put straight to Stephenson she strikes it wide across goal. Creaton holding it up in the corner as the final whistle blows.

Full time AFC Sudbury Women 3-2 Newmarket Town Women

  Sudbury come back from 2-0 down to win the game 3-2 in the 2nd half to reach the last 16 of this season’s ERWFL Cup. A highly entertaining contest between two evenly matched sides. Newmarket quick out of the blocks taking an early lead going 2 up on the half hour. Sudbury ringing the changes pulling a goal straight back to trail 2-1 at half-time scored early in the 2nd half and maintained there strong start to the 2nd period to go on and find the winning goal whilst doing well to limit Newmarket’s opportunities up the other end.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Again another tough one to decide, rarely are they easy, but that’s the nature of the game. A few contenders for Newmarket, Beth Woodfield was strong at the back making several important tackles as was Chloe Slater in the middle, getting forwards well too. For Sudbury Megan Partridge came into her own taking over in attack getting into some great positions, scoring twice to level the scores. Evie Creaton too with a great performance getting hold of the ball setting up numerous attacks and keeping the momentum with Sudbury scoring the winning goal. The award though goes to Maisie Goodwin had an excellent game in midfield, battling hard winning the ball and when she did having the vision and range of passing to find her attackers.

  If it is to be my last game for a while an excellent match to leave it one highly entertaining from the first minute to the last plenty of talent on display a great advert for the ERWFL. My thanks to both sides for the all important teams details as always much appreciated.