Sunday 23rd October
Women’s FA Cup
Back to the Women’s FA Cup this Sunday with a massive 88 ties scheduled across the country in 3rd Round Qualifying with the FAWNL Division One clubs entering the competition all vying for a place in the 1st Round Proper with the increased prize fund seeing the winning sides also recieving £4,000.
Today’s action comes from Trafford Park, my 2nd trip to Wroxham this weekend with Wroxham Women taking no Enfield Town Ladies.
Wroxham currently 5th in the ERWFL Premier Division, amongst the chasing pack looking to put pressure on leaders Luton Town Ladies. A mixed bag of results in the league having won 3 an lost 3, similar form for several clubs in what is shaping up to be another competitive season. Joe Simpson previously head coach at King’s Lynn in charge of Wroxham Women now has brought in several new recruits from his former club and ex-Norwich city youth players to build up the squad further adding Ellie Overton another from Norwich along with midfielder Jennifer Codman and vastly experienced a prolific striker, Hannah Waters who were part of the Wymondham Town Ladies side (now sadly withdrawn) that won the league and cup double (treble if you count the county cup) in the ERWFL last season.
Hannah Waters hitting the ground running at her new club joining Holly Connell as top goal scorer netting 5 goals. 3 of those goals coming in the last round of the Women’s FA Cup were Wroxham secured a 4-1 win away to Essex side Lawford Ladies. Captain Jess Horn who herself has 4 for the season the other goal scorer. Two more ex-Wymondham players joining up with Wroxham with defender Lauren Kett and attacker Hayley Kindred coming in to strengthen the squad further.
Enfield Town Ladies were for a long time an established side in the 4th tier of the women’s football pyramid. Coming to an end last season as they were relegated from FAWNL South East Division One in a season where 4 sides would ultimately go down. Unfortunate not to hold onto their status drop back down into regional football in the London and South East Premier Division, where they face a challenge to bounce back at the first attempt. A strong player pathway within the club with girls sides from U10 up with 3 women’s sides.
Dean Perrett who saw Harlow Town Ladies promoted from the ERWFL to the FAWNL the season before last coming in as first team manager for the new season as the club looks to try and bounce back at the 1st attempt. Never an easy task with just one side promoted from the 12 strong London and South East Regional Premier Division. Like the ERWFL is a competitive league with several strong sides. Enfield’s start to the season similar to Wroxham’s with 3 wins and 3 losses so far from 6 played. Karesha Iton leading goal scorer so far with 6 goals with Katie O’Leary on 5. A home win awarded to Enfield in the previous round over Edgwere & Kingsbury.
Trafford Park the venue for today’s match, has been lovely weather in October so far, today the exception with heavy rain forecast sweeping up from the south west. Enfield travelling up to Norfolk with rain accompanying them the whole way and with games getting called off elsewhere wondered if it would be a wasted journey. However the rain was light in Wroxham leading up to kick off the pitch with a bit slope unlikely to be affected. The rain starting to fall heavier with both teams out warming up retreated to the bar for a cup of tea. A wide grass pitch the clubhouse one side a small terraced stand behind one goal and a larger seated stand over on the far side this is where I headed for the game as a pose to my usual spot in anticipation of getting soaked. Indeed the heavens were to open up moments before the match was due to kick off the teams walking out to a deluge.
Wroxham Women starting XI – Megan Lightfoot, Breanna Rudd, Lucy Bradford, Jess Horn (C), Lauren Kett, Zara O’Neill, Jennifer Codman, Becky Russell, Keela Olive, Lauren Bullard & Hannah Waters. Subs – Holly Walker, Holly Connell, Lucy Eagle, Lara Dengley, Summer Copland, Tiffany Forshaw & Hayley Kindred.
Enfield Town Ladies starting XI – Grace Taylor, Sheryce Slater, Danielle Smith, Beth Powell (C), Brionne Fowle Etta Sam, Olivia Syson, Etta Sam, Amy Nash, Leah Littlechild, Katie O’Leary & Karesha Iton. Subs – Maisie Wyer, Rebecca Evans & Lauren Cann.
Another advantage of taking advantage of the stand is the press box, has a table to set my notepad on which seeing as I’d managed to forget my usual notepad had to resort to my larger A4 fixtures & results pad. But at least I had an alternative. Lauren Kett in the starting line up today for Wroxham along with fellow ex-Wymondham teammates Jennifer Codman and Hannah Waters with Hayley Kindred on the bench. It’s Wroxham to get the tie underway kicking off 1st half wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts with blue shorts and socks with Enfield lined up opposite in an all sky blue kit. Played back into midfield Enfield quick to move in close the ball down, Becky Russell getting it out long into the left channel for Hannah Waters to go after, full back Sheryce Slater getting across her to see the ball back to goalkeeper Grace Taylor who promptly launches the back over the stand and out of the ground.
Enfield rushing in to press the ball in the early exchanges is all a bit fragmented the ball regularly out of play for a throw in. Etta Sam taking on possession 30 yards out running for the Wroxham area right of the D closed down looking for Katie O’Leary ahead of her as she is blocked off, wants a foul but instead Wroxham have a free-kick with O’Leary straying offside. Olivia Syson bringing the ball on for Enfield centrally looks to thread it through into the box for Karesha Iton pulling in behind from the left, Megan Lightfoot in the Wroxham goal rushing forwards able to claim it first.
Wroxham bring the ball on through the middle with pace Russell travelling the pass forwards helped on to Keela Olive 20 yards out left of D, goes to shoot her low effort running wide of the left post. Taylor sold a little short on the back pass inside her area has Waters racing in to try and charge her down as she goes to put her foot through the ball, deflects off the Wroxham attacker behind for a goalkick. Zara O’Neill with the ball in midfield for Wroxham comes on right side support from Lauren Bullard and Lucy Bradford out wide the cross flashed in to the top of the area cut out by Enfield’s Brionne Fowle play brought back though with a Wroxham foul spotted in the build up.
A slick playing surface now with the heavy rain falling O’Neill on for Russell through the middle for Wroxham clipped forwards to Waters pulling left, lays it back up the line for Breanna Rudd, her crossfield pass intercepted by Syson played into Nash who picks out Sam as the visitors storm forwards, Sam on the right putting it into the area for Iton wide of goal, Kett comes sliding in with a committed challenge to win the ball. Iton looking to get across the Wroxham back line force an opening looking to get into the area take a shot attacking right her cross cut out cleared Wroxham look to get on the counter the ball on the left Waters the target, Sam tracking back getting hold of the ball and winning the foul as her shirt is pulled trying to bring the ball forwards.
Wroxham winning a corner on the right, played in near post Kett the target in low gets it back to the corner taker, flashed back in towards goal on the angle Taylor at full stretch diving forwards to push the ball out of her box, Wroxham sending a shot back in the ball blocked. Russell coming forwards for Wroxham with Waters pulling wide left recieving the ball plays it back inside for Russell to shoot 20 yards out her strike blocked then, Syson comes sliding in win the ball deny her a 2nd opportunity.
Iton needing the trainer on, a pause in play allowed back on as a drop ball resumes play, Enfield getting forwards on the left Leah Littlechild with Nash on through the middle with Iton ahead of them the cross fired into the area intercepted by Wroxham captain Jess Horn. The wet grass is great for sliding tackles and both sides have players that are enjoying them. Enfield though win a free-kick out wide on the left. A good delivery played into the box, Fowle getting her head on it, can’t direct her header on target wide for a goal kick.
Enfield putting pressure on the Wroxham defence getting players up and around the 18 yard box, a pass through into Iton’s feet inside the area, turns to shoot, Kett throwing herself across her to charge down the ball, frantically Wroxham look to get the loose ball away right of the D Enfield play it back into the area, blocked once again before a shot is put in on goal low from 20 yards, Lightfoot right behind it to gather safely.
Kett putting in some bold but will timed sliding challenges for Wroxham, denying Sam as the Enfield midfielder looks to jink her way into the area. 20 minutes on the clock Enfield gathering momentum getting players forwards well intercepting a good share of passes as Wroxham look to get the ball into midfield. Nash bursting into the left channel slowed down by Bradford, the ball running loose to the by-line Nash racing onto it to fire a cross into the six yard box cleared by Horn. The ball cleared long to the right Waters going after it feeding the pass inside for Olive to strike wide from 20 yards.
GOAL! Enfield coming on with the ball Nash moving forwards left channel has Iton ahead of her rolls the ball forwards, Iton getting hold of it to shoot from the angle sending a chipped shot from 25 yards over the keeper into the back corner of the net 0-1.
The visitors on the front foot taking the game to Wroxham, Iton on the right off a throw in turning inside driving a cross/shot into the centre of the six yard box the defence blocking in front of the keeper, O’Leary first to the loose ball looking to force her way into the box her run blocked off. Penned back Wroxham look to clear the ball long for Waters, Bullard up with her through the middle Waters infield ball looking for her 20 yards out is just behind Bullard allowing Enfield captain Beth Powell the opportunity to clear.
Rudd into space on the left for Wroxham plays the infield pass into Codman 30 yards out, lining up a shot Fowle reacts well to rush in to put the block in. Wroxham encouraged come forwards apply a bit of pressure of their own out on the right the cross inside to Olive 20 yards out her low strike in gathered by Taylor. The ball moved quickly upfield into Iton out on the right turns inside shaping to curl a shot in towards goal her effort block the Enfield bench going up to appeal they think with a hand but nothing doing.
Wroxham give the ball away carelessly in midfield, Sam latching onto it breaking forwards looking to capitalise, her shirt pulled gets the free-kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out. O’Leary over it. Goes for goal getting the ball up and over the wall dropping Lightfoot back on her line palming the ball down to save and smothering it at her near post before Iton can pounce on the follow up. The rain having slowed to a drizzle stopping completely.
Wroxham getting up on the right Bullard to the by-line cutting the ball back to the top of the area for Olive to hit right of the D, Taylor throwing herself cross to make the save the ball away for a corner on the right. Once again Kett the target before the near post in low looking to turn and put it across goal to be attacked Slater gets her head on the cross the turn it behind for a 2nd corner. In near side again Enfield are awarded to free-kick this time around.
Enfield are the livelier side winning the ball more often than not in midfield and looking to get forwards Sam and O’Leary looking to combine on the right, Rudd sliding in on O’Leary to put the ball out for a throw. Horn clearing the ball for a corner inside her box to the left as Nash looks to play O’Leary in. The corner dealt with Wroxham look to counter get players forwards rapidly Olive up to Waters who tracks from the left into the box looking looking to lay it off for Bullard moving across her, Powell in to defend on Bullard then Fowle sliding deny Waters from shooting the ball deflected back to the keeper to clear.
In stark contrast to the heavy rain at the start of the game the 1st half draws to a close with the pitch bathed in bright sunlight. Kett with another strong challenge to deny Iton up the other end. Sam comes on with Nash right channel plays it inside looking for Iton making a run inside the box, intercepted by Kett. Enfield finishing the half strong Syson with the ball in the middle out wide to Iton hugging the right wing her cross fired into the area cut out by Horn, Enfield quick to regain possession back with Syson into O’Leary out to Iton wide right her cross put in claimed into her mid-riff by Lightfoot. Looks to get the throw out quickly get Wroxham on the move.
The ball is lost a misplaced pass on the left seeing Iton steal in behind the defence to charge into the area, Kett the last defender getting a cross to try and put in a last gasp block Iton evades her challenge to move on towards goal, Lightfoot closing her down staying big making the blocking save as Iton pulls the trigger.
A frustrating half for Wroxham passes not finding their mark Enfield winning a good portion of interceptions in the middle turning play around quickly meaning the ball not up with the hosts attackers as much as they would like. Enfield have a player down late in the first half Fowle looks to have picked up an injury and can’t continue on in her place Maisie Wyer.
Wroxham come left late in the half Olive on for Waters looks to set up he return pass, Syson though coming back to defend for Enfield. Russell moving to the right for Wroxham getting on with the ball before delivering a cross into the area cleared by Powell.
Half-time Wroxham Women 0-1 Enfield Town Ladies
The 1st half ending in bright sunshine it’s Enfield who head into the changing rooms the happiest leading the game by a single goal at the break. Not much between the side at the start Enfield looking the stronger as the half wore on getting players up the pitch and winning the ball back high up to turn play around. Creating a number of chances some heroic blocks and challenges denying them a further goal. A well struck shot from Karesha Iton 20 minutes in the difference. Wroxham struggling to get the ball up to their attackers at times have had a few opportunities and with just a single goal in it far from out of the tie.
Appear to be no changes 2nd half. The FA Women’s Cup only allowing 3 substitutes in regular play. The sun disappearing as clouds roll back in for the 2nd half dry nonetheless the teams out before the officials keen to get going again. Enfield with the kick off 2nd half the ball into midfield played out to the left for Littlechild, Horn stepping in to head the ball away for Wroxham. The hosts looking to put some pressure on at the start of the 2nd half Bullard bringing the ball on looking to put Waters through on halfway with the Enfield defence pushed up get their line right to catch Waters offside.
Enfield get on the counter attack the ball clipped out to Sam on the right wide her cross lifted into the box, intercepted by Codman tracking back from midfield the ball crashed behind for a corner kick. The delivery put into O’Leary just inside the box central, puts her foot through the ball looking for the opposite side runs wide of the post.
Horn plays the ball long to Bullard on the right looks to play a give and go with Russell in the middle, Smith getting across to Bullard to cut out the return ball. The ball coming inside to Olive off the resulting throw left of the D her strike riding Taylor well positioned behind it all the way. Slater coming on with the ball well from the back for Enfield sends it on into the eft channel for O’Leary running in behind between full back ad centre back that side turns inside into the box top corner looks to shoot her curling ball presented straight to the keeper.
Enfield making a good start to the 2nd half, Littlechild coming forwards well on the left into space to receive the ball with O’Leary, Syson and Iton all providing good support. Olive booked for a foul wide on the right for Enfield. Is the play to head clear as the ball is lifted in near post area. Wyer regaining possession the pass out to Littlechild on the left her shot wide of the near post for a goal kick.
Sam wide on the right for Enfield crossing into the box Horn with great defensive work to take the ball off the head of Littlechild attacking the near post. The hosts making a change on the hour with Codman the player coming off on comes Lara Dengley. Horn at the back for Wroxham up to Bullard goes wide with her pass to Bradford up on the right wing, puts it into the box for Dengley closing in on the by-line right of goal her cross played in claimed by Taylor.
O’Leary giving away a free-kick out wide on the right. Wroxham bringing players up Russell over it is a teasing ball lifted into the area put across the penalty spot Kett running clear of her marker across it getting a touch deflecting the ball goalwards a good chance by frustratingly straight at the keeper. Taylor safely claiming it.
Close to scoring at one end Wroxham are in danger of conceding up the other as Taylor puts her foot through the ball sending it long up field bouncing through the middle, Horn under pressure from Iton trying to shield the ball for her advancing keeper to come claim, defender and goalkeeper coming together as the ball pops loose to the right, Iton can’t reach it as Kett comes hurtling back to smash the ball away for a corner kick. Horn needing a spot of treatment looks uncomfortable as play resumes. Enfield with bodies in the box for the corner from the right goes long half cleared by Bradford at the far post O’Leary steals in on the ball top of the area tries to lay it into the feet of Syson right of goal she stabs a shot in low hasn’t the power to trouble Lightfoot.
GOAL! Enfield double their lead midway through the 2nd half Slater playing the ball long from the back into Littlechild attacking on the left gets forwards playing a squared ball into the box for O’Leary who lifts a cross into the six yard box for Iton who swivels superbly off her marker to bury her shot into the top corner of the net 0-2.
A further blow for Wroxham after conceding a 2nd goal as they lose their captain to injury Horn having picked up a knock coming off along with Olive as they make a double change bringing on Holly Connell and Hayley Kindred. Littlechild latching onto a poor ball put back into the box for O’Leary. Dengley getting ack at her to defend for Wroxham.
Russell looking to carry the ball forwards for Wroxham attacking left rides a strong challenge the advantage played as Bullard takes it on inside the box looks to put it back to Russell inside the D cut out, Dengley onto the loose ball 20 yards out her shot low not troubling Taylor who has been solid all game. The visitors making a change as the game moves into the final 15 minutes Sam coming off for Lauren Cann.
Taylor with the save of the match albeit off her own miscue as the Enfield goalkeeper presents the ball straight to Waters off a back pass from Slater. Waters shifting across the D wrapping her foot around the ball hit with venom rising, Taylor back peddling throwing herself out to her left to save pushing the ball out to the right corner of the area put back across the area for O’Neill to lift a shot up towards goal. Taylor taking the catch high above her head.
Littlechild winning a corner for Enfield on the left played in near post O’Leary with the header on, Cann unable to get a touch far post. Littlechild full of energy late in the game has Syson up with her on the left rolls the ball on, Connell tracking back with Syson getting a foot in to prod the ball behind for a corner. Taken short before being played in across the six yard box, O’Leary attempting the header far post wide. Enfield with a strong 2nd half performance coming on well Syson sending a shot over from 20 yards out.
Powell sliding in to take the ball away from Waters as she breaks into the box from the right, Waters accidentally standing on the defenders leg as she makes the challenge leaving Powell in some discomfort but okay to continue. Wroxham haven’t given up keep looking to get players on with the clock ticking down looking for a goal Connell right off a crossfield pas from O’Neill getting the the by-line before crossing. As has been the case so often can only pick out Taylor in the Enfield goal.
Iton doing most of her attacking through the middle 2nd half picking up the ball and driving at the Wroxham defence jinking left then right before unleashing a shot 25 yards out. Lightfoot right behind the ball to make the save. O’Leary recieving the ball top of the area left side from a diagonal pass looking to find the top corner with her strike lets out a cry of frustration instead as she only picks out the keeper. The game moving into stoppage time Enfield with their 3rd change Nash coming off for Rebecca Evans. The visitors hit Wroxham on the break Littlechild bursting down the left flashing a cross into the six yard box Syson there central up trying to meet the header can’t quite get there.
GOAL! A 3rd goal coming in stoppage time the icing on the cake for Enfield as Evans wins the ball back in midfield plays it on for Syson right channel 25 yards out shifts the ball onto her left foot and strikes her shot in over the keeper at the near post 0-3.
Enfield finishing the game strongly getting players on Cann with the ball moving inside from the right to line up a shot driven in low Lightfoot down to stop it the ball squirming out of her grasp dribbles slowly wide of her near post for a corner kick. A shot from the set-piece resulting in a goal kick.
Full time Wroxham Women 0-3 Enfield Town Ladies
Enfield win the game 3-0 to advance to the first round proper of the Women’s FA Cup. A strong 2nd half performance to build on the narrow lead they had secured at half-time. That goal coming from Karesha Iton, she went on to score a superb 2nd midway through the 2nd half, moment after Wroxham had had their best chance of the game to level the scores. Wroxham frustrated were never out of the tie the 3rd goal coming late in stoppage time had opportunities to score just couldn’t take one Grace Taylor proving a strong final hurdle to clear for Enfield.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Left the game thinking I knew who I’d pick but like to go through the notes just to confirm. Several performances to mention first though. For Wroxham, Lauren Kett had a brilliant debut with some excellent last ditch and well time tackles plus carrying a threat when coming forwards. Likewise Jess Horn make some vital challenges and interceptions. Becky Russell looking to get the game going for the hosts with some strong runs from midfield. A solid team performance from Enfield working hard to win the ball take the game to their opponents. Olivia Syson strong in the middle getting forwards with the ball feeding it into the attacking players scoring an excellent goal. The two from Karesha Iton weren’t bad either. Strong on the ball moving about the back line to get into good positions. Leah Littlechild with a strong game on the left particularly 2nd half getting forwards. The award though goes to Enfield’s goalkeeper, Grace Taylor. Was a colossus throughout the game frustrating Wroxham all game with some excellent positioning and quality saves to ensure a clean sheet.
An enjoyable cup tie despite the weather, but then that only added to the drama. A bigger notepad means I write more and I write enough notes as it is so mustn’t leave it at home again. Good to see Enfield again interested in seeing how they ae getting on now they’ve drifted away from the leagues covered by Women’s Football East hope to see them back soon and am keen to see how they do this season. My thanks to both sides for their help and hospitality today. Looking forward to the draw for the 1st Round Proper.
by Darren Gilham