Sunday 15th April
The football action this weekend on Women’s Football East comes from the ERWFL Division One North a trip to Hertfordshire to watch Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies play Hertford Town Ladies.
The sides currently 5th and 6th in the Division One North table with a handful of games left to play both looking to end on a positive note after a tough beginning to their campaigns. Hoddesdon Town Owls coming into the game on a high after recently playing in their first ever Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Final back in March. Playing in midweek picked up a very good result at home to promotion chasing Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies winning the match 1-0. The club has come through a transitional period having lost several 1st team regulars two season’s ago rebuilding with a young squad last season results have picked up this campaign.
My 1st look at Hertford Town Ladies, now in their 2nd season playing in the ERWFL having won the Beds & Herts Division One title back in 2015/16. A slow start to life at a higher level last season, results improved towards the end of the season. Into their 2nd season in the ERWFL have struggled for goals and been around the bottom of the table all season. Have been searching for a new manager and today is the first match in charge for Danny Barley.
The venue for today’s game Hoddesdon Town FC on Park View not too far from the town centre. The cricket club next door. A clubhouse and changing room’s between the two. A large pitch seated covered stands on both sides of the ground. On the road parking beside the ground, however there are car parks nearby. The weather… brace yourselves… dry! Actually quite pleasant a few clouds around but the sun is doing it’s best to make an appearance for a welcome change after a long wet winter.
Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies starting XI – Casey Herrick, Katie Kendle, Leah Dunnage, Fay Holder, Charley Handley, Hannah Kelly, Kristina O’Connell, Sian Owens, Chloe Makepeace, Courtney Smart & Natasha Crick (C). Subs – Shannon Daly, Jemma Collison, Stephanie Iaonnou, Megan Davies & Megan Davies.
Hertford Town Ladies starting XI – Ellie Morris, Olivia Worsfold, Zoe Garvey, Lauren Barnard, Claire Pavett, Katie Taylor, Karen Staples, Carly Snell (C), Bilge Taspinar, Lisa Kline & Katie Williams. Subs – Nicola Davey & Vicki Staples.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s Hoddesdon to get the game underway kicking off the 1st half wearing red and navy vertical striped shirts, navy shorts and socks with Hertford lined up opposite wearing yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts.
GOAL! Straight from their 1st attack Hoddesdon take the lead certainly the quickest goal I’ve seen this season. The ball played into Hoddesdon captain Natasha Crick out on the right she brings in on up the pitch fires a ball in towards the area a bit of pinball in the box as Hertford fail to clear the ball rebounding off a couple of players falls to Sian Owens inside the D she catches the ball 1st time and is past goalkeeper Ellie Morris before she can react 1-0.
Hertford attack down the right side Olivia Worsfold playing the ball on for Lisa Kline, a recent addition to the squad dual signed from Enfield Town Ladies has 2 goals from 2 appearances, taking the ball on down the wing fires a diagonal ball into the area, Katie Williams with the central run, Hoddesdon goalkeeper Casey Herrick gathers the ball at her near post. Hertford captain Carly Snell wins a 50/50 ball in the middle of the park the helped on through the middle for Williams the striker giving chase, Hoddesdon’s Fay Holder closes her down wins the ball.
A free-kick wide left fro Hertford inside the Hoddesdon half a good delivery into the area by Claire Pavett. Charley Handley getting up highest to win the header for Hoddesdon. Hannah Kelly plays the ball through the middle for Courtney Smart, she is tackled by Pavett the defender playing the ball long for Williams moving out to the left flank, Holder comes across to clear the ball out for a throw. Hertford despite the early set back of conceding a goal have come back into the game well the ball being moved quickly from back to front. Pushing forwards Bilge Taspinar runs into space after a long ball Herrick coming out of her area to clear smashes the ball against the Hertford attacker. The rebound favouring the Hoddesdon defence the ball hooked away as they get back.
Hoddesdon push players forwards as the ball is carried up the pitch on the right the cross into the top of the area, Kristina O’Connell forwards to support Smart and Owens, Hertford put in a couple of blocks, Pavett then Lauren Barnard before the ball is deflected back to Chloe Makepeace she has a go from distance the ball dropping just wide of Morris’s left post. Kline gets hold of the ball on the right drills a shot/cross in low towards the near post Herrick adjusting well saves with her legs.
End to end at times as Hoddesdon come on, the Hertford defence standing firm winning the ball quick to set up the counter attack. Snell getting forwards wins a free-kick left of the Hoddesdon area. The delivery played up to the far post several players from both sides jumping for it the ball landing in the six yard box is knocked back out to Katie Taylor on the edge of the box, her fierce shot back in is blocked by the Hoddesdon defence.
A throw high up on the left for Hoddesdon the pass played through to Smart inside the area closing in on the near post her shot is blocked. A free-kick for Hoddesdon wide left outside the area O’Connell over it whips a good ball in across the face of goal now one can get a touch as it runs wide of the far post. Crick with the ball attacking on the right sides her initial cross in blocked by Pavett, then wins her sides a corner kick. The ball played long towards the to of the area met by O’Connell a looping shot sent in towards goal an awkward height for Morris the goalkeeper gets a glove on the ball knocking it down and claims at the 2nd attempt.
Kelly is fouled as she gets hold of the ball on the right a free-kick awarded to Hoddesdon. Players go forwards into the area as O’Connell places the ball. The midfielder playing in a tempting ball, Crick getting up on the penalty spot can only get a glancing header on the ball not enough to alter it’s direction as it runs out of play. A change for Hoddesdon Smart coming off, Jemma Collison comes on. Obstruction by Katie Kendle on Taspinar in the centre circle. Pavett on the free-kick a looped ball up into the area, again Handley is under it to clear for Hoddesdon.
Kline coming over to the left side as Hertford win a throw in receives the pass turning towards the area avoiding a challenge is bearing down on goal, Makepeace coming back on the cover from midfield putting the ball behind for a corner. Played in towards the far post from the left knocked out to the right the cross is put back on Williams rising at the post flicking the ball on across the face of goal, Herrick gets her gloves firmly around the ball.
Set pieces given away by both sides are creating opportunities to get the ball into the area. A free-kick goes Hertford’s way half way inside the Hoddesdon half. The ball coming into the box falls to Williams her shot is flashed up over the crossbar. A little bit of niggle out their Hertford are doing well winning the ball frustrating Hoddesdon in the final 3rd Zoe Garvey winning the ball against Crick. The Hoddesdon captain picking up a knock late into the 1st half. Hertford are looking to release Williams and Taspinar in particular up front Herrick through has been quick to come off her line and clear whenever the visitors look to turn play around quickly.
Half-time Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies 1-0 Hertford Town Ladies
Despite taking the lead in the opening seconds Hoddesdon haven’t gone on to build on their lead and as the half has wore on have gotten a little frustrated. Hertford if anything have been the slightly better of the two sides growing in confidence throughout the half. Winning the physical battles charging down balls and intercepting passes. Have broken forwards well although opportunities have been limited haven’t tested Herrick with any long range shots. Going in at half-time the game is still very much in the balance.
Changes for both sides at half-time, Nicola Davey running the line for Hertford in the 1st half coming on for Karen Staples. Robyn Jones and Stephanie Iaonnou on for Hoddesdon on for Kendle and Crick. This sees Kelly pushed up front into the strikers role. Hertford to get the 2nd half underway. Snell in with a robust challenge wins the ball in the middle knocks it on into the path of Taspinar she elects to have a go from 30 yards out her effort running a yard wide of the far post.
Williams moving forwards with the ball on the left wins a corner kick the ball into the area cleared by Dunnage for Hoddesdon comes onto Pavett 35 yards out strikes the ball back in towards goal another long range effort not too far wide. Hertford pressing for an equalising goal at the start of the 2nd half push forwards Hoddesdon hit them on the break Jones on the right a one two with Kelly in the middle as she goes forwards before being fouled. O’Connell over the ball the delivery flashes across the six yard box no one can apply a touch at the far post to turn it home.
The same happens a few moments later after Jones wins Hoddesdon a corner on the right, O’Connell with the delivery again the ball inswinging across the six yard box out of play at the far post. Williams is just offside through the middle as Taylor looks to play her through after winning the ball in the centre. A change for Hertford Worsfold has taken a knock needs to come off on comes Vicki Staples. Both sides are giving away free-kick play broken up as a result.
Some painful challenges too, Garvey taking one on the far side as she and Jones contest the ball. Needs to come off, Katie Staples having been running the line 2nd half returns to the action for Hertford. Dunnage is getting forwards more in the 2nd half for Hoddesdon breaking from the back looking to support Kelly ends up getting up ended the free-kick 30 yards out left of goal O’Connell on it her ball into the middle is knocked down by Morris the keeper claiming well under challenge at the 2nd attempt.
A break on for Hertford through the middle Snell and Taylor through for Kline coming inside a run at the Hoddesdon defence, looks to shift the ball inside as she enters the box, Holder throwing out a leg lunges in to stop her shot. Snell closing the ball down sees it deflected on into the area, Taspinar under it making it difficult for the Hoddesdon defence gets a corner kick. The ball into the box cleared by Dunnage. A change for Hoddesdon Owens coming off to be replaced by Megan Davies with 20 minutes left on the clock. Involved straight away as Dunnage breaks forwards with the ball on the left looking to play a one two with Davies, Barnard in to win the ball back for Hertford.
Morris produces a great save on the edge of her area to deny Kelly as Hoddesdon work the ball forwards well the move starting with Kelly in the centre circle as she shows a great piece of skill to control the high ball played into her and hold off her marker releasing the pass into Handley as she bursts past her Kelly gets in behind through the middle Handley putting the ball back into her Morris quick to react of her line meeting Kelly as she gets to the ball at the edge of the area making the blocking save. Hertford make a change Williams coming off up top, Worsfold back on a straight swap.
Hoddesdon launch a rapid counter attack O’Connell with a great touch bringing the ball under control in the middle looks to play Kelly in behind through the middle the pass a little too heavy Morris is able to gather before Kelly can reach the ball. Jones showing good pace down the right gets in behind whips a ball into the area, Morris claiming well at her near post. Iaonnou comes off for Hoddesdon Kendle coming back on. Kline finds space in behind on the right as Hoddesdon commit players forwards, attacking drives into the area from the right pulls the trigger, Holder racing across lunges in to charge the shot down for a corner.
Williams comes back on for Hertford Taylor the player off. Kelly comes off for Hoddesdon, Crick returns to the field.
GOAL! Into the last 10 minutes Hoddesdon are on the attack Handley in the middle looking to help the ball in a hand ball is spotted by the referee a free-kick given to the home side in a dangerous position 25 yards out right of the D. O’Connell on it has looked to set up others previously closer in this time takes on the shot hits the ball perfectly flighted over the keeper lands in the back of the net 2-0.
GOAL! The 2-0 lead is short lived as Hertford pull a goal back straight away. The ball hotly contested in the middle players down after a coming together play goes on the ball knocked forwards centrally Holder looking to see it back to her keeper on the edge of the area under pressure from Worsfold the ball is deflected away to the left Worsfold after it a touch taking it the six yard box, players rushing to get back on the cover Worsfold slides it through them over the line to make it 2-1 and if the full-time stats are correct that is her 1st goal of the season.
A tense finish set-up there is already plenty of niggle out there, frustration shown in a few camps. Some strong challenges nothing malicious however. Crick breaks clear with the ball on the left side good running takes on two players beating them gets into a shooting position 20 yards out her rising effort angling away from the top corner. O’Connell on the ball in the centre on for Handley moving to her left 20 yards out slides the ball through into the area for Crick the angle against her Crick shoots Morris with a good one handed save keeping the ball out trying to adjust her body Crick strikes the ball on the volley cutting it up over the crossbar.
A little bit of afters sees a bit of pushing and shoving that results in Crick and Davey being shown a yellow card each. Hertford since getting it back to 2-1 haven’t been able to get any meaningful possession on the ball, Handley back to tackle Snell as she tries to get forwards. Dunnage tackling Kline in stoppage time. Taspinar over on the left gets into the area wins a corner kick. Hoddesdon defend Makepeace heading the ball behind for another corner no time to take it however as the final whistle blows and Hoddesdon claim the 3 points.
Full time Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies 2-1 Hertford Town Ladies
An interesting game this one if scrappy at times Hoddesdon holding on for the narrow win in the end went after barely 30 seconds on the clock it looked like they might have a comfortable afternoon. Hardly the case. Hertford responding well to conceding early came right back into the game and winning the physical battle in the 1st half finished the stronger. As the 2nd half progressed you had the feeling that if Hertford could find and equaliser then they might well go on to win the match. Hoddesdon made changes 2nd half pushing Handley further forwards O’Connell influential still remained close Hoddesdon getting that all important 2nd goal, Hertford responded well scoring straight away but not enough in the end to take anything from the game.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match goes to Hoddesdon Town Owls midfielder Kristina O’Connell a hotly contested area in midfield this afternoon with some robust challenges to deal with time on the ball limited. Got forwards well to support the attackers especially 2nd half. Good control and range of passes, aw well as scoring a superb free-kick.
Hoddesdon have little time to celebrate the win a warm down after the game they are back in action tomorrow evening Monday 16th at home once again, Bishops Stortford Ladies the visitors with 2 wins in 2 this week already they will be looking to make it 3.
Good to see another side for the 1st time, many more out there. My thanks to both clubs for all their help with the team details always appreciated.