Sunday 19th February
Norfolk Women’s County Cup sponsored by Harrod Sport
Quarter finals weekend in this season’s Norfolk Women’s County Cup. 4 strong ties with the seeded teams entering the competition. Today’s fixture featuring an all ERWFL line up with Premier Division sides Wroxham Women taking on ERWFL newcomers Fakenham Town Ladies for a place in the last 4 of the cup.
Sponsored by Harrod Sports the Norfolk Women’s County Cup final will once again take place at Norwich City FC’s, Carrow Road stadium. Hosting the final twice previously, Wymondham Town Ladies winning on both occasions. Wymondham one of the seeded teams, the holders have since very sadly folded thus a new side will lift the trophy on Friday 19th May. A resurgent Norwich City Women looking the hot favourites to vying to reach Carrow Road for the first time in the competition, with ERWFL Premier Division sides, Wroxham Women and King’s Lynn Town Ladies the other seeded teams.
The quarter final draw pitting two of those seeded teams together with Norwich City Women hosting King’s Lynn Town Ladies. Two county level sides are guaranteed a place in the last 4 of the cup with last season’s finalists Mulbarton Belles Ladies hosting Thetford Town Ladies. While Norfolk Division One leaders Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women are away to Division Two side KLSC FC Women.
Wroxham Women themselves looking to get to the County Cup final for the 1st time. Have had an up and down season in the ERWFL Premier Division, sitting in mid-table under new manager Joe Simpson alot of new players have joined and it has taken time to settle. Have a good blend of youth and experience, able to bring in a trio of ex-Wymondham players in striker Hannah Waters, midfielder Jennifer Codman and defender Lauren Kett to further strengthen the squad. Waters top scorer with 11 goals from 11 appearances. The County Cup representing a strong opportunity for silverware.
Fakenham Town Ladies entering the Norfolk Women’s County Cup in the previous round, a potential banana skin away to a young and exciting looking Sprowston FC Women, however goals from, Nicole Costin, Sophie Lubbock and Chloe Gravett saw Fakenham come out on top of a physical tie reach the last 8 of the competition. Winning the League Cup last season Fakenham have moved up into regional league football for the 1st time. Has been a steep learning curve but one the squad has relished despite making a poor start losing their opening 5 games have rallied well working hard with a run of positive results in November to carry into the new year plus a good run in the ERWFL League Cup. Sophie Lubbock top scorer with 10 with Chloe Gravett on 9. Today’s County Cup game another stern test.
The venue for today’s game the FDC in Bowthorpe, having previously been on at The Open FDC in Sprowston. Wroxham Women usually playing at Trafford Park along side Wroxham FC the grass pitch has seen alot of action and in need of a little TLC, and with fixture slots running out for Wroxham Women and the Trafford Park pitch receiving a little attention the decision was made to switch venues. Norfolk FA’s FDC (Football Development Centres) spread out about the city and beyond across the county. Providing playing pitches for a number of clubs and communities. The FDC in Bowthorpe boasting the Harrod Sport Arena the large 3G pitch hosting a number of finals with viewing on three sides a small seated stand with the clubhouse beyond serving hot and cold drinks. Brilliant weather considering it’s February, bright and sunny with the sun low in the sky, no wind perfect playing conditions.
Wroxham Women starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Breanna Rudd, Lucy Bradford, Jess Horn (C), Tigi Robson, Zara O’Neill, Jennifer Codman, Becky Russell, Lauren Bullard, Holly Connell & Hannah Waters. Subs – Lara Densley, Holly Walker, Keela Olive, Ellie Overton & Lauren Kett.
Fakenham Town Ladies starting XI – Ciah-Lilly Rudkin, Maddie Smith, Amie Hutchinson, Jemma Riches (C), Sian Sands, Nicole Costin, Vicky Lubbock, Chloe Gravett, Ruby Curtis, Shelley Woods & Sophie Lubbock. Subs – Tilly Betts Hayley Marjoram, Olivia Baker, Megan Spurrell & Holly Davies
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Both sides naming a strong starting line-up with 5 each on the bench. Wroxham with the kick-off first half attacking into the sun with the right side of the pitch well shaded by high trees, the ‘hosts’ wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts with blue shorts and socks with Fakenham lined up opposite wearing Amber coloured shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and socks. The ball rolled back to captain Jess Horn in the defence, sprays her pass long out to the right for Lauren Bullard to attack, Fakenham close her down the ball cleared.
GOAL! Wroxham come straight back at Fakenham on the right the ball won in midfield forwards for Bullard has Becky Russell up with her inside the ball knocked into the midfielder releases it forwards for striker Hannah Waters to pull off the defence right of goal and strike the ball low across the keeper, Fakenham’s Ciah-Lilly Rudkin down smartly to try and get something on the ball, not enough and it deflected up off her into the bottom corner. Wroxham a goal up inside the opening minute 1-0.
The perfect start to the cup tie for Wroxham and they stay on the front foot closing the ball down in the middle getting on on rapidly players running at the Fakenham defence Bullard right side crossing into the box long gathered by Waters beyond the far post, lays it back to the top of the D for midfielder Zara O’Neill, shoots her attempt blocked by Fakenham captain, Jemma Riches. Jennifer Codman once with Fakenham before moving on to enjoy a successful spell with Wymondham now with Wroxham attacks on the left linking up with full back Breanna Rudd, Ruby Curtis getting in amongst the pair to regain possession for Fakenham.
All Wroxham at the start the game condensed in the middle the ball won are quick to get on the counter with Bullard, Waters and Holly Connell all showing good movement and pace in attack. Connell winning a corner on the right, players up into the box the delivery floated in towards the penalty spot a decisive header clear from Fakenham’s Shelley Woods. With Wroxham pushing Fakenham back keeping them inside their own half getting out is proving difficult, Nicole Costin finding Chloe Gravett out wide left looks to get on with the ball stopped by Wroxham’s Lucy Bradford.
Woods with another clearance inside the box from a Wroxham corner on the right. Codman with a heavy tackle on Smith as the Fakenham defender comes to clear the ball. Sophie Lubbock up top for Fakenham is somewhat isolated looking to plough her own furrow whenever the ball comes into her feet, turns well on the right looking to drive for the box, Rudd getting back on her to challenge the ball gone for a throw. Wroxham alive to the counter attack the defence having runners left and right Bullard picked out right side down the line her cross into the top of the area a vital interception from Riches with Waters ready to take it on behind.
Fakenham mount an attack on the left Gravett winning a throw high up the pitch combines with Sophie Lubbock the cross put long into the six yard box, Curtis attacking the far post can’t quite get anything on it. Wroxham send it clear the counter attack sprung, Connell with a good show of pace bombing on right side her cross whipped into the six yard box, Rudkin down low to make a safe claim. Russell over on the left for Wroxham on down the line for Waters moving into the corner, plays it back up the line for Russell to play the pass into her path as she runs into the box heading for the by-line Riches comes steaming in to make the blocking tackle the ball gone for a corner kick. Russell slicing her cross from the corner the ball swerving across the top of the area cleared by Sian Sands.
GOAL! Wroxham capitalise on their fast start to the game by racing into a 2 goal lead, this one all about pace. The ball won inside the Wroxham half with Fakenham pushed up the pass threaded through the middle for Connell to chase, has the speed to out pace the defence to run onto the box right of the D, Rudkin racing out to try and close her down, Connell composed slotting the ball past her to find the back of the net beyond 2-0.
15 minutes on the clock Wroxham 2 goals to the good and looking strong taking the game to Fakenham. Gravett coming left getting the throw, Sophie Lubbock with the turn and dribbles the ball all the way into the box before being tackled by O’Neill. Sands racing on looking to get hold of the loose ball, can’t get a shot away, nor can Vicky Lubbock as the midfielder presses up into the box, Wroxham scrambling the ball to safety.
Codman tackling Sophie Lubbock sets up a counter releasing Connell on the right to power her way to the by-line Rudkin coming out to close her down does well sliding in at her feet winning getting the goal kick. Smith at the back cutting out Rudd’s pass for Waters looking to steal in behind on the left. Curtis has picked up an injury for Fakenham looks to be a hamstring can’t continue the away side making their first change Megan Spurrell coming on to the right of midfield. Fouled as soon as she gets on the ball Fakenham have a free-kick on half way, Smith to play the ball up to Sophie Lubbock, brings it down 25 out passing it to Spurrell wide right, Rudd getting into her to tackle for Wroxham.
The foul count beginning to add up for a few players on both sides, as yet now malice just a competitive affair. Gravett needed to help out at the back for Fakenham aswell as attack on the flank does well to get her head on the ball to cut out O’Neill’s diagonal ball intended to set Connell away on the wing. Fakenham rarely press Wroxham in front of their box but when they van get forwards in numbers that looks to be where they will get the most joy. Connell’s pace a threat, Gravett able to match it this time as she races back to put the ball out for a throw.
GOAL! Wroxham off a throw in on the left Waters takes the ball on her cross fired across the top of the area for Bullard, Gravett lunging in to block her shot the ball deflected behind for a corner on the right. The delivery sent in near post area skipping up off the surface met by Codman to twist her neck and send her header into the goal 3-0.
Wroxham pressing their advantage 3 up midway through the first half win the ball straight from the restart coming left Connell wide right inside for Bullard, Hutchinson blocking her shot from 20 yards out.
GOAL! Fakenham are unsettled losing possession inside their own half Wroxham pushing their midfielders on the ball rolled inside from the right into O’Neill, 25 plus yards out isn’t closed down puts her foot through the ball getting plenty of power behind it the ball sailing into the back of the net 4-0.
Fakenham’s Vicky Lubbock winning the ball inside the Wroxham half pressing forwards on for Spurrell coming inside from the right goes back across the pitch to Gravett left who aims to play the ball on for Lubbock continuing her run through the middle, Tigi Robson getting across the midfielder to tackle send the ball behind for a corner kick. Fakenham make a bit of a mess of the resulting corner failing to get a cross in but from the resulting throw Gravett drags the ball inside before sending a decent strike wide across the face of the Wroxham goal.
Robson pressing on from the back getting a favourable deflection off a 50/50 ball to run in behind the defence left side playing the pass on for Waters who skips inside into the box bearing down on the near post shots low, Hutchinson diving in to try and cut it out not putting off Rudkin beyond who is down sharply to make the stop. Russell with a shot from 30 yards out left side bouncing wide of goal.
Spurrell is getting on better on the right for Fakenham pressing high her challenge seeing the ball rebound off a defender with Sophie Lubbock alert to run onto it inside the box and strike it on the angle low towards goal, Cyan Fullbrook with little to do so far has it covered as she drops to claim.
GOAL! Just as Fakenham are thinking they might get some joy in attack they are hit with a further blow pushed up are hit on the counter attack as Waters running through the defence beats the offside trap to head for a one on one with the advancing Rudkin, Waters with Riches on her shoulder touching the ball around the keeper, going right towards the six yard box, Riches wrong side can’t get to the ball as Waters calmly sends it home for her 2nd of the game.
Bradford with a robust challenge of Vicky Lubbock in the centre that sees the Fakenham midfielder down in some pain clutching her shoulder. A lengthy pause for treatment. Is unable to continue Fakenham forced into another change with Olivia Baker coming on late in the first half. From the resulting free-kick top of the centre circle Woods has only one intention to take on the shot hit well but wide.
Rudd with a quality diagonal pass to pick out Bullard on the move right side stretching the Fakenham defence her cross whipped in dangerous at the near post, Rudkin with the save of the half an excellent stop at close range… as the header is deflected goalwards off the back tracking Riches head (might be a pint owed there). Smith the latest Fakenham player to receive a heavy blow but is up after a moment’s recovery.
Riches with a well timed tackle on Waters left of the box as Codman looks to send the ball on. Bradford bringing down Gravett on the right picks up a yellow card for persistent fouling. The free-kick wide on the left in the closing stages of the first half Costin on the ball goes for goal her attempt landing on the roof of the net.
Half-time Wroxham Women 5-0 Fakenham Town Ladies
Wroxham in control of the quarter final tie going into the half-time interval with a strong 5 goal lead. Have looked the stronger from the opening minute taking the lead and going on to score at regular intervals throughout the first half. A dominant display from the midfield getting the ball into the attacking three quickly with the pace up top causing Fakenham issues. Penned back inside their own half getting forwards has been a challenge the ball all to often coming back quickly. Alot of work for Fakenham to do if they are to have any chance of getting back into it. Wroxham though can control the pace of the 2nd half.
No more changes for either side as they come out for the 2nd half. Spurrell and Baker coming on for Fakenham in the first half through injuries to Curtis and Vicky Lubbock. Fakenham to get the 2nd period underway the ball into Costin back to Hutchinson in defence lifted forwards to the left, cut out by Bradford for Wroxham.
Russell turning on the ball in midfield for Wroxham looking to play the ball into Waters up top, cut out well by Riches. Bullard out wide on the right seeing the ball deflected back into her path strikes it on the angle Rudkin back on her line collecting it into her gloves as it skips up in front of her. Sands into Costin on for Baker, Fakenham building a solid attack, Baker pushing forwards aiming for Gravett, Horn coming to close her down tackling the ball out for a throw. From the resulting throw on the left Baker sees it cross her body well hitting the pass in across the top of the D, Woods looking to turn onto it a strike as it bounces up off the surface, Horn throwing herself forwards to knock it out of her path.
GOAL! Just as Fakenham look to be getting some momentum going forwards they are hit with another sucker punch as Wroxham hit them on the counter the ball played on rapidly through the middle on for Connell central to run clear of the defence and run on for another one on one with the keeper, Rudkin diving in trying to get the ball Connell squeezing it past her and seeing it run on into the goal beyond to net her 2nd of the game 6-0.
A pause in play as Gravett picks up a head injury, time taken to be accessed before being allowed to continue. Riches needs to make the ball hers at the back for Fakenham as Connell hooks one forwards for Waters to attack left of the D, the defender winning her clearance sending the ball wide for a throw. Waters gathering the ball on the left driving on stopped by Smith for Fakenham. Again Fakenham look a threat when pressing the Wroxham back line forcing errors Fullbrook’s kick out from the goal falling straight to Costin left of the box 25 yards out, drags her shot wide of the near post.
Woods with the ball in an advanced position on the left for Fakenham sending an angled cross into the top of the area, a glancing header from Horn as she goes to clear the ball enough to deflect it away from Sophie Lubbock to her left. Wroxham make their first change of the game Codman coming off to be replaced by Lara Densley. Riches getting her foot in to tackle Connell top of the D.
GOAL! Wroxham further extend their lead as they build well on the left players getting on to support Waters the attacker striking the ball from the left corner of the area to see it race across the goal into the bottom corner to complete her hat-trick. 7-0.
Wroxham 7 goals to the good both sides ringing the changes Fakenham bringing 3 off, Smith, Hutchinson and Costin all replaced, Hayley Marjoram, Tilly Betts and Holly Davies coming on. Wroxham with a double change Rudd and Bradford coming off the full backs replaced by Lauren Kett and Keela Olive. Wroxham winning a free-kick wide left Connell on the ball flighted into the near post claimed well by Rudkin with Waters lurking.
Fakenham deflated continue to battle despite being on the back foot Wroxham with renewed energy pouring forwards Russell into the box sees her she blocked the ball ricocheting to Bullard wide right of goal inside the box scoops it across to Waters closing in on the near post she shot held well by Rudkin back on her line as she gets down to take it into her body.
Gravett on the move with the ball releases Sophie Lubbock on half way, running for goal has alot of ground to cover and three Wroxham defenders converge to crowd the striker off the ball.
GOAL! Kett winning the ball at the back with a good ball forwards for Waters pulling away to the right her low drive in across the face of goal not held by Rudkin comes back off the post Connell on the follow up closing in back heeling the ball home from close range to net her hat-trick. 8-0.
Despite the goals racking up Riches is doing all she can to limit the damage at the back for Fakenham winning a number of vital balls is on hand once again to deny Waters inside the six yard box to concede the corner kick. The inswinging delivery plucked down well by Rudkin. Rudkin coming out to take the ball as she sees Waters turn on the left towards her box.
GOAL! Waters quicker to release her shot moments later as she gets hold of the ball on the left to send her strike past the advancing keeper heading in at the near post, denied by Betts as the substitute blocks the ball on the line can’t do much about the follow up as the deflected ball comes straight to Bullard to curl the ball inside the left post 9-0.
Bullard coming off then for Wroxham replaced by Ellie Overton. Wroxham leading by 9 goals know how it feels to be on the other end of that score line. On top this afternoon dominating the game a strong performance and look hungry for more goals as they come on at will. Gravett a willing runner for Fakenham looking to make something happen traveling with the ball going all the way into the box from the left cutting inside is clipped, but stays on her feet before the ball is blocked and cleared.
Overton with a cross on the right from deep position long into the box cut out by Riches falls back into midfield a shot struck from distance held by Rudkin. Wroxham winning a corner out on the right the ball fired in long across the six yard coming to Russell beyond the far post can’t angle her header back on target, taking a nick off a Fakenham body a 2nd corner awarded on the left. Again long to the far post Olive looking to get it down under control inside the six yard box is crowded off the ball before she can get a shot away.
Gravett coming off for Fakenham, with Costin back on. Waters pulling away to the right leaning back as she strikes the ball sending her effort over the crossbar. Olive with the pass on for Waters, Riches in to tackle the ball out for a corner on the right.
GOAL! Lara Densley bringing up double figures for Wroxham with a well struck shot. The ball played into the box is knocked down falling straight to Densley top of the area, behind it all the way the goal opens up before her as she puts her laces through the ball to send it into the corner of the net 10-0.
Wroxham with a double switch bringing Bullard and Rudd back on for Waters and Robson. Riches blocking the ball at the back as Wroxham send players on.
GOAL! One way traffic late in the game Wroxham able to come on at will Fakenham battling in defence. Bullard with the ball on the right wide twisting off her marker to steal in behind to whip a cross into the six yard box, Olive running in at the near post meeting in sweetly on the volley to turn the ball into the back of the net 11-0.
Nearly 12 as O’Neill’s strike from distance cones crashing down off the cross bar into the six yard box before being scrambled clear. Rudkin getting down to save on her goal line as Wroxham fire an angled strike in from the left the deflected ball coming to Rudd right of goal smashes her shot back in wide across the goal.
Marjoram with a neat bit of defending inside the box to deny Bullard a shot as she attacks from the right cleared for a corner. Spurrell breaking with the ball on the right in the final seconds can’t pick Sophie Lubbock out with the final pass as the final whistle blows.
Full time Wroxham Women 11-0 Fakenham Town Ladies
Wroxham dominating the game from start to finish booking their place in the last 4 of the Norfolk Women’s County Cup where they will be joined by Norwich City Women, Mulbarton Belles Ladies and Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women with be an interesting draw all of these sides have beaten the other on their day in the competition. Wroxham making the perfect start with a goal inside the opening minute adding a 2nd after 15 never let Fakenham settle pressing the ball high the midfield linking up well with the attackers to press the advantage leading 5-0 at the break any response Fakenham could muster 2nd half was quickly extinguished both Waters and Connell going on to score hat-tricks. Raining goals Fakenham were out played a dispiriting result but fought till the end. One result doesn’t defy a season and although it’ll hurt they can be proud of the progress they’ve made as a squad so far.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Not an easy call today by any means several contenders for Wroxham. For Fakenham the stand out player was their captain Jemma Riches without her interceptions and tackles there would have been further goals fought till the end. For Wroxham it was a clinical display that will do no end to boost confidence. Was a strong performance from the midfield trio, Jennifer Codman, Zara O’Neill and Becky Russell winning the ball getting forwards and setting up attacks. Lauren Bullard with a strong game out on the right. Comes down to the hat-trick scorers, Hannah Waters with her experience getting into some great positions and taking her goals well, ultimately Holly Connell’s pace is what caused Fakenham the most issues with her up front Wroxham had a ready outlet for the counter and linked up will with the midfield showing great composure for her goals.
Never the easiest of report to write when one side has racked up a high score against another but that is football, you never know what’s going to happen. Great to be back at the FDC. My thanks to both clubs for their help with the team details and to Daniel Kett for the additional photo’s used in today’s report.
by Darren Gilham