Tag Archives: Long Stratton Women

Match Report – Long Stratton Women v Stalham Town Ladies

Sunday 19th September

Norfolk Women’s Division One

 First match from the county leagues this weekend on Women’s Football East, begin with a game from Norfolk Women’s Division One as Long Stratton Women host Stalham Town Ladies.

  The Norfolk county league kicking off a week late due to a change to the league structure on the eve of the previous weekend. With alot of interest shown in pre-season for several new sides starting up it was hoped the league could begin with 3 divisions off 10 sides as the deadline for new sides to join and established clubs to register that number fell to 24 the league originally going with 3 divisions of 8 sides with 6 new sides joining. This though proved unpopular in some quarters and with further sides withdrawing most notably Tavern Ladies or Division One an emergency meeting was called to vote in a new structure of 2 divisions containing 11 sides in each. 

  The original Division One line-up looking very strong indeed with the loss of Tavern Ladies 4 sides from what would have been Division Two are (promoted) to Division One. Stalham Town Ladies, Thetford Town Ladies, Beccles Town Ladies and North Walsham Angels Ladies, joining Bungay Town Ladies, Dussindale & Hellesdon Women, Fakenham Town Women, Long Stratton Women, Mulbarton Belles, Sprowston FC Women and Thorpe St Andrew Women.

  Established in 2010 Long Stratton Women are part of the wider Long Stratton FC featuring 4 adult teams and 13 youth sides. The women’s team for the most part yoyoing between Division One and Two. Back up into Division One two seasons ago there were signs the club was making progress the COVID pandemic having an impact on development as it has with every other club. Manager Adam Race along with assistant Lee Bambridge looking to build a squad capable of pushing on into the top half of the table challenge the top sides in the division. To that end have brought in 7 new signings over the summer. In come Emma Allsopp previously with Wroxham, Mia Wilkinson from Thorpe, defender, Alice Flatt from Bungay. Jordan Duke is dual signed with Halesworth Town Women. Robyn Johnstone also joining with striker Luci Middleton having been away from the game for 3 years having previously played for North Walsham Angels Ladies. An eye for a goal could form a potent attack with captain Sam Walker who has scored plenty of goals since joining Long Stratton. The latest addition to the squad Jess Brown previously with Tavern.

  The COVID pandemic seeing two season’s effectively lost and most certainly robbed Stalham Town Ladies of the opportunity to win the Division Two title as they re entered the league 2 seasons ago. Going strong topping the table in both only to see the season curtailed. Was a surprise however not to see them promoted 1st time around, however in the new look 2 division set-up take their place in Division One. There captain Amber Mayhew strong in front of goal in previous campaigns it’s a settled squad that moves up with 3 new signings, Megan Swain, Charlotte MacMillan and Charlotte Hardingham.

 Manor Road the venue for today’s match, the club very much at the heart of the community the pavilion open serving hot and cold drinks. The recreational area boasting several grass pitches, with a playground and skate park behind both goals on the main pitch. The pitch set up before the match the mobile dugouts, the goals, corner flag and roped of area for spectators on one side all brought out of storage. Quite muggy with the temperature good clouds building overcast, rain is forecast to potentially arrive and alot of it brought the umbrella just in case but hoping it won’t be needed, afterall I picked a ground with no cover and it’s not easy wielding a notepad, camera and umbrella all at the same time.

  Long Stratton Women starting XI – Mia Wilkinson, Emily Ransome-Farmer, Summer Whiting, Megan Vincent, Kate Ransome-Farmer, Milly Cawcutt, Robyn Johnstone, Beth Stratton, Jordan Duke, Sam Walker (C) & Luci Middleton. Subs – Alice Flatt, Emma Allsopp, Harriet Hunwicks-Rush & Jess Brown.

  Stalham Town Ladies starting XI – Danielle Barnes, Lalaine Davey, Charlotte Fisher, Charlotte Crane, Chloe Yarham, Emma MacMillan, Emma Gillespie, Megan Swain, Katie Clarke, Amber Mayhew (C), & Sophie-Jayne O’Connor. Subs – Becky Houghton, Charlotte Hardingham & Charlotte MacMillan.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

Goalkeeper Jody Todd broke her wrist in pre-season for Long Stratton and with her replacement Kathryn Critchell away in international duty, it was Mia Wilkinson donning the gloves to make her Long Stratton debut between the sticks with fellow new signings, Robyn Johnstone, Jordan Duke and Luci Middleton in the starting XI with Alice Flatt, Emma Allsopp and Jess Brown named on the bench. Megan Swain starting for Stalham with Charlotte Hardingham and Charlotte MacMillan on the bench. It’s Long Stratton to kick of the match wearing an all red kit, with Stalham who usually play in red themselves in their all blue away kit. 

  Stalham are quick to close down the ball in the middle seeing it deflected out to Amber Mayhew on the left wing takes the ball on into the left channel getting in between full back and centre back pushes on towards the top of the area let of the D opts to shot with the outside of her right boot placed her shot across the goalkeeper but wide of the far post. 

Captain, Amber Mayhew with an early chance for Stalham

  Emily Ransome-Farmer brings the ball on from right back for Long Stratton space ahead of her for Beth Stratton to run into  back heels the ball into her infield to captain Sam Walker who attempts to play Stratton in behind, Charlotte Fisher getting in between the pair for Stalham sliding in to tackle Stratton playing out for a throw in. Taken deep on the right Robyn Johnstone is fouled 25 yards out referee Paul Gibson awarding the host a free-kick. Out wide players forwards into the area, Kate Ransome-Farmer placing the ball sends the set-piece looping in towards the far post, Stalham goalkeeper, Danielle Barnes can’t get to it as it drops to Luci Middleton beyond the far post, can’t get a strong enough touch to deflect the ball back inside the post out for a goal kick.

   A lively start to the match breaking up a Stalham move at the back the ball is cleared to Stratton central she lifts it on up to Middleton 20 yards out back to goal turns round her marker, Charlotte Crane staying on her forcing the striker out wide to the right inside the box, Middleton nevertheless wrapping her foot round the ball to cross in central for Walker on the penalty spot, can’t get a shot away before she is closed down well by Lalaine Davey the ball deflected outside the area to the right a shot struck in with pace in the angle, Barnes stretching at her near post saving superbly tipping the ball round the post for a corner.

Stalham goalkeeper, Danielle Barnes

  The ball bouncing around both sides wanting to get it forwards a quickly as possible, Summer Whiting on the left defending for Long Stratton the ball coming straight back up the right Katie Clarke’s touch sending her on in behind strikes the ball in on the angle, Mia Wilkinson collecting it on the bounce at her near post. 

  GOAL! A face paced start to the game see’s an early goal scored. Stratton’s pace on the right a threat for Long Stratton is played into space takes the ball on level with the penalty spot before squaring a cross into the centre of the box for Walker, gets her shot away early to the keepers right, Barnes lunging with an outstretched leg to try and keep it out is unfortunate as it deflects up off it into the roof of the net 1-0.

Long Stratton captain Sam Walker scoring the clubs 1st league goal

  Long Stratton have settled the quicker moving the ball on quickly from back to front the ball spread out from the middle by Johnstone to Stratton right side puts it back infield for Walker 25 yards out attempts the through ball for Middleton peeling off the Stalham defence into the area however the flag is up against her. More combination play between Stratton right and Walker moving into the channel the ball into her feet she hooks it over the top looking for the run of Jordan Duke on the far side, Barnes up well to claim the ball high inside her box. 

  Stalham a little nervous at the start of the match not able to find their attackers a throw won on the left Fisher puts it on for Mayhew bringing the ball under control well turning taking it on up the wing checks inside heading for the box is tackled by Kate Ransome-Farmer. Davey on the left defends well for Stalham seeing the ball back to her keeper as Long Stratton try to get Duke in on the left side. Walker and Middleton link up outside the D for Long Stratton a defensive error seeing the ball sliced in behind, Walker after it, Davey does well on the cover defending for the visitors. 

Stalham defender, Lalaine Davey

  The ball comes straight back in Long Stratton right the keeper comes but can’t get there before Walker is stranded as the cross is played into the six yard box for Middleton but the flag is raised up against her. Stalham make a change bringing on Charlotte Hardingham for Clarke. Long Stratton doing well to turn play around the defensive happy to clear long knowing they have runners left and right with Walker through the middle. 

  GOAL! Long Stratton go on to double their lead inside the opening 15 minutes have a throw in deep on the left side the ball worked to Kate Ransome-Farmer wide puts in a cross looping up over the keeper may have taken a deflection the result though the ball bouncing into the goal beyond 2-0.

Long Stratton’s Kate Ransome-Farmer

  A good start to the game from Long Stratton carrying a potent threat going forwards, Stalham on the backfoot haven’t been in the final 3rd enough to test Wilkinson in goal. Both Emily and Kate Ransome Farmer defending well for the hosts the latter with a long ball forwards that sees Middleton beat the offside trap taking the ball on Crane managing to exert some pressure as she chases her back towards the area, Middleton getting a shot away disappointed as she picks out the keeper Barnes behind the shot making the save. 

Long Stratton striker, Luci Middleton

 Middleton again top of the box attempting the scissor kick as Walker central inside the area turns Stratton’s cross from the right into her path, the shot running wide of goal. Stalham attacking up the left win a free-kick top of the area, Mayhew across to take it goes for goal struck well the ball racing across the six yard box out beyond the far post. Stalham finding a bit more possession in the Long Stratton half as Hardingham wins a good challenge lifting the ball into the channel for Emma MacMillan to chase, the weight of the pass favouring the keeper however as Wilkinson advances well to claim it.

 Middleton steals in on the ball top of the box moving inside, Davey across from the left forcing the striker away from goal as Barnes advances to take the ball away from her and sent out for a throw wide right. Emma Gillespie and Megan Swain combining to win the ball centrally for Stalham up to Hardingham who hooks it over the top for Sophie-Jayne O’Connor making a right channel run to hit from 20 yards out her strike put straight at Wilkinson who holds onto it back on her line. 

  GOAL! Almost half an hour played and Stalham are coming into the game more pressing the ball in the middle runs on to O’Connor who clips it on into the area right side both Gillespie and MacMillan making runs into the area falling to MacMillan wide right of goal she chips Wilkinson to put the ball beyond her into the back of the net 2-1. 

Emma MacMillan pulls it back to 2-1 for Stalham

  Stalham lively in attack now coming very close to pulling it level straight away winning the ball put out to Mayhew on the left puts it up the line for Gillespie ahead of her strikes a powerful shot in on the angle rising has a little too much on it as it whips over the crossbar. 

  An entertaining game end to end can’t take your eyes of it, Long Stratton winning a corner on the right. The inswinging ball played into the six yard box Barnes doing well amongst bodies to get a glove up to push the ball behind at the near post for a 2nd corner. The 2nd delivery knocked on at the near post falls into the box, whipped clear by O’Connor. 

Danielle Barnes punches the ball clear

  MacMillan with the ball wide right attacking for Stalham checks inside her marker firing in a cross along the face of goal, Wilkinson down on it with a smart grab inside the six yard box with Mayhew in the clear beyond her. 10 minutes left to play in the 1st half. Players dragged across to the right as MacMillan with help from Gillespie advances up the wing the cross fired into the area headed clear by Emily Ransome-Farmer, drops to O’Connor 20 yards out right of the D smashes a shot back in the ball rising over the crossbar. 

  MacMillan carrying a threat for Stalham on the right doing well to win her side a corner, the delivery in near side defended by Megan Vincent out for a throw right side. MacMillan gathering it into her feet driving into the area is quickly crowded off the ball by the Long Stratton defence a goal kick awarded. swain brings down Stratton as she bursts forwards with the ball on the right. A late opportunity in the half for the hosts to bring players forwards into the area as Kate Ransome-Farmer plays it in. O’Connor with the header to clear. 

Long Stratton defender Emily Ransome-Farmer

 Crane brings down Middleton out left side some 30 yards out from goal a free-kick given. Walker over it goes for goal, isn’t far away either the shot narrowly over the bar. Stratton more central now picking up the ball 30 yards out for Long Stratton turns well taking on the defence jinking left the right into the area creating space for the shot plants the ball straight into the keeper. 

Half-time Long Stratton Women 2-1 Stalham Town Ladies

 A highly entertaining 1st half comes to a close with Long Stratton leading Stalham 2-1. A strong start from the hosts getting on the attack early on getting the ball into their wide players early the defence winning the ball at the back quick to turn play around. Have shown good movement and pace in attack. Stalham were nervous early on took them a while to settle into the game and by then found themselves trailing by 2 goals despite that come back well finishing the half the strongest pulling a goal back and having opportunities to draw level. Long Stratton though carry a strong threat in attack have created a host of chances could well have held a bigger lead. As is so often the case the next goal will be crucial Stalham will want to start the 2nd half as they finished the first.

Beth Stratton on the ball for Long Stratton

  Long Stratton with a change at the start of the 2nd half bringing on Emma Allsopp for Duke, the change seeing Stratton move to the left side with Allsopp on the right. Stalham having made tactical changes of their own towards the end of the first half to get players further forwards, Gillespie now in an advanced role. So far so good as far as the rain is concerned, the odd rumble of thunder in the background the air close hinting at an approaching storm as Stalham get the 2nd half underway. 

 

  O’Connor lifting the ball on for MacMillan right side slips in behind the defence travelling towards the area inside the box, Vincent closing her down before she can get a cross away. The visitors looking to press the ball higher up the pitch at the start of the 2nd half. Pressure from Swain on Whiting forcing the full back to play the ball out for a throw in, the ball worked in field runs to Gillespie central 25 yards out takes on the strike doesn’t get full contact with the ball seeing it lack pace as it runs through to the keeper. 

Stalham’s Emma Gillespie

 Kate Ransome-Farmer with a good diagonal clearance out of defence from left to right for Allsopp to touch down into her path as she runs in behind moving central across the D places her shot wide of the far post. Wilkinson with a sharp save at her near post as Mayhew goes after a ball placed ahead of her in the right channel a heavy first touch allowing Whiting to clear smashes the ball straight into Mayhew who goes after the deflected ball inside the area attempts to lift it over the keeper, Wilkinson doing well to get her arms up deflect the ball down into the ground and claim on the bounce.

Mia Wilkinson keeping goal for Long Stratton.

   GOAL! An action packed start to the 2nd half with Stalham pressing looking for an equaliser it’s Long Stratton who pounce to grab themselves a 3rd goal, the ball popping about in the middle is claimed by Johnstone top of the circle who chips it out to Allsopp making a good run on the right brings it down well into the area and prods home beyond the keeper at the near post for her 1st Long Stratton goal 3-1.

A blow for Stalham early in the 2nd half the visitors are straight on the attack from the restart Mayhew right side in the clear sending a sweeping ball in across the six yard box, dealt with well by Emily Ransome-Farmer at the far post heading clear for Long Stratton. Walker moving out to the left to receive the ball whips in a cross into the box, both Middleton central an Allsopp far side going after it the bounce favouring Barnes who gets in between the pair to claim. End to end action both sides bypassing their midfields at times, Wilkinson composed clears the ball as Gillespie comes sliding in on her. Up the other end Davey defends well against Stratton as she looks to drive into the area with the ball at her feet.

   Stratton off a throw left side turning inside to run towards the area just inside Crane times her tackle well as she puts in a foot to take the ball, Long Stratton’s appeals waved away. Gillespie carrying the threat in attack for Stalham now making some goo runs through the middle, Wilkinson knowing she has to be ready to come and clear if she bursts in between the centre backs. Stalham get a corner on the left side players up a good delivery into the box missed by everyone at the near post drops to O’Connor central gets her head on the ball, sees her effort rise over the cross bar.

   Walker on the ball deep of Long Stratton right side sends it long for Middleton peeling off the defence to run onto top of the box she sees the ball down well striking it on the run low across goal, Barnes down well to make the save diving to her left to put the ball wide for a corner leaving Middleton frustrated once again. Emily Ransome-Farmer defending the resulting corner.

GOAL! Long Stratton go further ahead the ball contested in the middle Johnstone involved on for Stratton plays the pass early releasing Walker the ball ahead of her she takes it on into the area can’t be caught is one on one with the keeper is a case of staying composed, Walker places the ball to the keepers right to make it 4-1.

Sam Walker makes it 4-1 to Long Stratton

  20 minute played in the 2nd half remains a busy contest Long Stratton with a healthy lead now taking their chances make a change at the back Alice Flatt coming on for her debut replacing Whiting. Walker away to the right whipping a cross in to the top of the area bouncing Middleton attempting to get it down under control, Barnes coming to close her down the pair collide the loose ball hooked clear by MacMillan back covering in defence. Barnes is down for a moment but okay to continue. Johnstone off for Long Stratton another debutant coming on Jess Brown. 

Stalham’s Charlotte Hardingham with Long Stratton’s Jess Brown

 Long Stratton press the ball Cawcutt on for Middleton plays the pass out to Allsopp on the right down the line before lifting a cross into the six yard box, Middleton in on the keeper neither getting a touch, Davey mopping up at the back post. A strong run from Gillespie out on the left of attack Emily Ransome-Farmer under pressure playing the ball out for a corner. Stalham with a double change before it’s taken, Yarham and Davey off at the back on come Charlotte MacMillan and Becky Houghton. The corner fired in striking the base of the near post and out of play for a goal kick.

    Into the final 15 minutes Hardingham right side at the back on for Emma MacMillan bursts into space on the wing before firing a cross in on the angle swerving on near post, too close to the keeper, Wilkinson claiming it low before Mayhew can get a touch. Emma MacMillan is finding pace on the right getting in behind however on one has gambled in the middle to meet her cross as she plays it into the area. 

  Stratton playing central now for Long Stratton passes forwards to Middleton who clips the ball out to the left for Brown her cross sliced off a defender looping up towards the back post claimed well high in the air by Barnes. Players tiring from both sides Allsopp on the right inside to Middleton left of the D moves inside before unleashing a shot not happening this afternoon as the shot rolls wide of the right post. 

  Swain is tackled well inside the box by Stratton as she comes back to defend for the hosts after she is played into the box by O’Connor 25 yards out. Stalham’s turn to make the appeal but again nothing’s doing. Stalham bring off Hardingham late on with Clarke returning to the action. Stratton too coming off for Long Stratton replaced by Harriet Hunwicks-Rush. Clarke winning a corner in bizarre circumstances as her long ball forwards looks to be threatening the Long Stratton goal, Wilkinson can’t be sure takes the catch but has drifted past her post and steps over the by-line  before she can release the ball. A Stalham handball is spotted inside the area from the resulting corner Long Stratton win the free-kick. 

  Long Stratton with a rapid counter attack the ball into Walker right on for Allsopp takes it on before firing in a near post cross Middleton there to make contact with the ball sending it wide across the keeper, wide too though beyond the far post. Emily Ransome-Farmer with another well timed tackle to deny Mayhew a crossing opportunity on the left. The visitors quick to win it back Gillespie with a shot on the angle powered wide of the near post. 

  GOAL! Stalham pull a goal back in the dying moments of the game, Charlotte MacMillan with a hopeful ball forwards from the ball central it’s weighted well, Gillespie may have gotten a touch outside the box as it runs in inside for O’Connor to latch onto unmarked and send high wide of the keeper to make it 4-2.

  Not much time left in the game Stalham try to get players forwards the ball loss comes to Allsopp on the right sees Brown on the move left side attempts the diagonal ball into the area bounces too close to the keeper, as Barnes steps out to claim it. Long Stratton with the ball in attack seconds left on the clock Middleton with it right Allsopp inside her right of the D the ball put into her strikes it on the turn, Clarke in to charge the ball down as the final whistle blows.  

Full time Long Stratton Women 4-2 Stalham Town Ladies

  A highly entertaining game to open the season in Norfolk Division One the action non stop for 90 minutes, both teams committed going for a positive result. Long Stratton settling the quicker getting an early goal capitalising to go further ahead as Stalham nervous early on took time to settle down pull themselves back into the match getting it back to 2-1 finished the 1st half the stronger. Wanting to build on that 2nd half it was Long Stratton who got the early goal 2nd half going on to make it 4-1. Stalham kept going looking for a goal both sides with chances to add to the score line it was Stalham with the goal in the closing moments of the game to see it end 4-2.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football east – Player of the Match, it’s not often they’re easy decisions and today is no exception a few performances of note. Firstly for Stalham I thought Lalaine Davey was excellent in defence making a number of crucial tackles and getting round on the cover. Emma Gillespie too worked hard throughout pushed further forwards did her best to create an opening bring her side back into the game. For Long Stratton, Beth Stratton was superb her pace and movement causing Stalham problems where ever she was operating on the pitch. Sam Walker again with great positioning on and off the ball looking to create chances and set up other scoring twice. The award today though goes to Emily Ransome-Farmer a strong performance at the back tackling well and limiting opportunities for Stalham throughout.

 An enjoyable trip to Manor Road, the umbrella wasn’t needed in the finish the rain staying away for the entire match. An entertaining game end to end plenty going on chances created the result could well have unfolded differently Long Stratton making the better start the key. My thanks as always to the clubs for providing me with the team details always appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Long Stratton Women v North Walsham Angels Ladies

Sunday 25th April

NWGFL GiveToLocalUK Challenge Cup

A trip down the A140 in Norfolk this Sunday for the featured game on Women’s Football East. The NWGFL in Norfolk setting up a new competition to see out what’s let of the season with the regular one being declared null & void due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. An opportunity to see one of the few sides yet to appear in a match report for the first time Long Stratton Women as they host North Walsham Angels Ladies.

 The new competition the @GiveToLocalUK Challenge Cup seeing the teams entering from both Division One and Two drawn into 4 groups of  to 5 in a Champions/Europa League format playing each other once with the final standings seeing the teams positioned for the knock-out stages.  

Long Stratton Women and North Walsham Angels Ladies drawn in Group B along side Division One sides Dussindale & Hellesdon Women and Sprowston Athletic Ladies, both of who were amongst the title challengers before the season was curtailed. 

Long Stratton Women are an established side within the NWGFL, promoted back to Division One a couple of seasons ago were comfortable in mid-table before the season ended, the addition of Sam Walker to their attack adding a potent goal threat to an experienced group of players. As I said despite seeing them in action in a couple of pre-season friendlies with Bungay I’ve yet to see Long Stratton in competitive action and was keen to do so before the end of the season. Long Stratton beginning their Group B campaign away to Dussindale & Hellesdon last weekend without their goalkeeper, Walker donning the gloves herself was missed up front as Long Stratton went on to lose the game 5-0.

North Walsham Angels Ladies are too a side I yet to see play… at least this Angels side as the first side folded up at the end of the 2016/17 season having enjoyed a brief yet successful spell in the NWGFL. Missing for a couple of seasons North Walsham returned for the 2019/20 campaign a young squad with barely anyone from the original side left. Were finding their feet in Division Two just as the pandemic hit, Rhianne Holt top scoring with 10 goals. Keira Brown joining this season having had a fantastic season in front of goal for Bure Valley the season before, were looking to put pressure on the top three before seeing another season end. Placed into a tough group with three Division One sides. Will face Group rivals Sprowston Athletic Ladies two weekends in a row as the only Division Two side to reach the Norfolk Women’s County Cup quarter finals.

Has been difficult for anyone to develop a side during these past 12 months and hopefully better times are around the corner.

  Manor Road the venue for today’s match the council pavilion overlooking a multi-sports recreation ground, featuring numerous grass pitches, a skate park and playground. A public facility in the heart of Long Stratton. Fairly overcast making it feel cooler than in previous days, but when the sun could break through plenty of heat in it. A large pitch plenty of grass cover, even a sprinkling of dandelions.

Long Stratton Women starting XI – Kathryn Critchell, Emily Farmer, Karmen Harvey, Megan Vincent, Kate Ransome, Milly Cawcutt, Beth Stratton, Rachel Bussey, Annie Mayes, Sam Walker (C0 & Ellie Sostman. Subs – Harriet Hunwicks-Rush Megan Bird & Ellie Lyon

North Walsham Angels Ladies starting XI – Emily Penrose, Shannon Owen, Rhianne Hindle, Grace Hanley, Sophie Hall, Megan Briggs, Rhiannon Holt, Marth Wittrick-Riley, Jade Starling, Keira Brown & Lucy Taylor. Subs – Gracie East, Rio Dobbie & Mia Harris.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Emily Farmer and Rachel Bussey both starting for Long Stratton were regulars for the first incarnation of North Walsham Angels. Kathryn Critchell in goal for Long Stratton today seeing captain Sam Walker back up front leading the attack. The hosts wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts to kick-off the first half. North Walsham lined up opposite wearing black and white vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball put back to the defence sent long out to the right side for Beth Stratton to chase early on, bounces once in the box before being safely claimed by North Walsham goalkeeper Emily Penrose. 

North Walsham play out from the back the ball helped on through the middle dropped in behind on the left with Keira Brown giving chase, Farmer forced to play it out for a throw deep inside the half. 

GOAL! Long Stratton win the ball back from the throw and launch a rapid attack down there left Farmer playing it down the line into the feet of Stratton 30 yards out she completes a neat triangle turning the ball forwards central to Walker making a run in the box gathering it inside the D, stapes to go left before checking back on her right to curl her shot past a defender and into the top right corner of the goal 1-0.

Long Stratton captain, Sam Walker on the ball opening the scoring

A great start from the Division One side taking the lead inside the opening 2 minutes of the match. The hosts on the front foot Farmer with a high ball from halfway, Ellie Sostman central tries to bring down under control, doesn’t quite manage it the ball running through to Penrose. Bussey lively in the opening minutes nipping into her challenges winning the ball moves into space on the right as Long Stratton counter Stratton central receiving the ball spinning her pass out to the left picked up by Bussey drives into the box, Grace Hanley getting onto her shoulder for North Walsham preventing a shooting opportunity taking it behind for the first corner of the game.

Long Stratton midfielder, Rachel Bussey

The corner is played long invitingly through the six yard box cleared at the far post Long Stratton close down quickly to keep the attack alive a cross turned in from the right dealt with by North Walsham captain Sophie Hall. Megan Hindle right side puts the ball on for Martha Wittrick-Riley as North Walsham attack up the wing Brown racing onto the forwards pass looking to take players on closed down by two defenders Long Stratton re quick to turn play around, Milly Cawcutt clearing the ball long Stratton on the shoulder of the last defender beating the offside flag strikes the bouncing ball early 20 yards out right of the D her attempt running wide of the post.

  Long Stratton getting attackers forwards in numbers Stratton and Annie Mayes out wide getting forwards to join Walker and Sostman putting the back four of North Walsham on the back foot. Megan Briggs with a crucial interception as the last defender for North Walsham to cut out a dangerous through ball from Bussey as Walker threatens to steal in behind. North Walsham’s opportunities limited up top are getting joy down the right with Brown on the ball and the bouncing ball is causing the Long Stratton defence problems.

 GOAL! A little over 10 minutes played and North Walsham come back to level the game a ball hit in behind bouncing sees Rhiannon Holt race through from midfield onto it showing a great turn of pace to out manoeuvre the Long Stratton defence takes the ball on into the area right side of goal, Critchell coming to close her down, Holt fires her shot past her and running towards the open goal beyond is an agonising chase for the defence as it rolls over the line 1-1.

Rhiannon Holt levelling the scores for North Walsham

  North Walsham having got themselves back on level terms defend at the back Hanley clearance up o the right collected by Brown, drives forwards before being clattered into as she makes the cross her diagonal ball just to close to the keeper at the near post as Holt makes the run to intercept, play brought back however for the foul on Brown. Nothing coming from it North Walsham win possession back in midfield Jade Starling picking out Wittrick-Riley breaking right flashes in a cross/shot over the crossbar.

North Walsham’s, Martha Wittrick-Riley

  Long Stratton defending a high line at times gives them the platform to press forwards in numbers as Walker moves out to the right, taking the ball on whipping a dangerous ball in across the top of the six yard box narrowly misses Sostman central, Hanley behind her attempts to clear for North Walsham doesn’t get it away the hosts pressuring to top right of the area, a scramble for the ball pops up for Ransome attempts to scoop her shot up wide across the keeper Penrose’s gloves up sharply to pluck the ball down into her body.

  Play at a rapid pace no one settling one allowed to settle on the ball, Bussey determined to travel with it whenever she has it at her feet, coming right is tackled well by Shannon Owen for North Walsham. Rio Dobbie joining the action for North Walsham. Hall coming to the left for North Walsham on the ball has Holt bolting past her looking for the past in behind, up the flank, Ransome stays on her into the area well to prevent her turning inside and getting a shot away. Hanley in to clear a bouncing ball central again sees Holt up in attack run clear of the defence 25 yards out has more time than she realises as she slices her first time effort wide.

Grace Hanley clearing the ball for North Walsham

  Holt moving into a more advanced position as given North Walsham the attacking impetus, isn’t pretty at times however the bouncing ball is being pressured well, Holt linking up with Wittrick-Riley right side he ball swung into the box is intercepted by Stratton coming all the way back into her box. Stratton running with the ball looking to power her way forwards covers the ground well, Walker moving left Sostman ahead of her, Hall putting the the tackle allowing North Walsham to regroup Bussey has it back spreads play to Stratton now on the left travels towards the area Hanley standing her up Stratton shoots the ball deflected by Hanley away for a corner.  

Beth Stratton on the attack for Long Stratton

  Is a very dangerous delivery from the corner bouncing through a crowded six yard box evading everyone Holt sending it behind for a corner on the opposite flank. Again the delivery from the right catches everyone out again even the taker is apologising thinking sees put into the near side netting but instead it stays in passing right in front of the goal line without now one moving. Collected by Long Stratton in the left corner put back to Walker who strikes it hard from the angle her shot going over the top.

 GOAL! Half an hour played and the hosts retake the lead the 2nd goal as with the first involving great link up play between Stratton and Walker. Stratton inside the North Walsham half seeing the ball played into her feet is aware of Walker making a run central merely helps the ball on into her path the striker taking it on towards the box right of goal has Briggs on her shoulder holds her off getting free to pick her shot send it angle across the keeper into the far corner of the net 2-1.

  From the restart North Walsham get the ball up the right winning a corner kick. Swung in near side the ball attacked in headed in across the face of goal, Stratton defending the far post heading the ball clear. 

 GOAL! As North Walsham commit more forwards they risk getting hit on the counter, Long Stratton quickly moving the ball forwards whenever the back four gain possession back, comes to Walker free on the left holds onto it gaining ground drawing players towards her before whipping in a fantastic cross into the middle of the area that falls invitingly to Sostman arriving unmarked, has tome to control the ball before scooping a rising shot high wide of the static keeper 3-1.

Ellie Sostman makes it 3-1 to Long Stratton

  Walker causing issues for the North Walsham defence with her movement drawing players to her creating space for Sostman and Stratton in particular to run into. 2 goals in 5 minutes seeing them gain the advantage.

 GOAL! 3 goals rapidly become 4 Long Stratton quick to bring the ball out from the back over half way into Sostman coming to the right opens up her body to send the diagonal ball angling into Walker making a left channel run gathering the ball runs at the area, Penrose off her line quickly coming to close her down, Walker experienced staying composed getting her shot away just into time beating the keeper, little power on the shot but placed perfectly as it trickles over the line Walker scoring a first half hat-trick 4-1.

   GOAL! The hosts running riot in the closing minutes of the first half to take total control of the game as they deliver another sucker punch to North Walsham. A throw inside the visitors half taken quickly into Walker’s feet she sweeps round to play the ball into Stratton racing in towards the top of the box who strikes it hard rifling her shot into the back of the net 5-1.

Beth Stratton adds a 5th goal for the hosts

 North Walsham blown away with 4 goals in quick succession from Long Stratton have made changes with Mia Harris and Gracie East coming on prior to the 4th goal look to regroup have a free kick on the right wide players up, Hall to put the ball in, Hanley gets a shot away on the angle the keeper misses it however the ball bounces wide of the far post. Harris central carries the ball on for North Walsham his clattered into the advantage played as the loose ball falls to Dobbie beside her lifts it forwards with Holt breaking in behind the bounce of the ball seeing it run through to the keeper before she can get there.

 GOAL! A late goal in the first half as North Walsham pull one back, Holt staying forwards is well placed right of the box as Hanley’s clearance bounces in behind the defence. Holt racing onto it pushes for the area into the top corner Critchell starts to come to close her down Holt releases her shot early putting it past her into the far corner 5-2.

 Time for one more attack from Long Stratton look a threat every time they go forwards Walker out wide with Mayes, a shot is driven in on the angle Penrose down low to her left stretching saves with her gloves managing to push the ball wide onto the post comes out and is cleared by Hall. 

North Walsham goalkeeper, Emily Penrose

Half-time Long Stratton Women 5-2 North Walsham Angels Ladies

 No doubt about it scoring 4 goals in quick succession late in the first half have seen Long Stratton take control of the game putting them in a solid position. Started well taking an early lead and looked a threat going forwards throughout the half. North Walsham however under pressure at times fought back to level the match and were causing problems of there own bypassing midfield at times the bouncing ball no easy to deal with. Play from back to front rapid from Long Stratton, Walker back up front always a clinical finisher, scoring 3 and setting up 2. North Walsham scoring a 2nd goal late in the half to give them some belief as they look put some pressure on 2nd half.

 The sun has been doing it’s best to break through the clouds has become a pleasant afternoon to play a game of football, both sides putting alot into the first half will be interesting to see if the tempo can be maintained 2nd half as North Walsham get things underway. Long Stratton though are straight on the front foot Bussey closing the ball down, into Harvey long up to Stratton on the right the cross swept in claimed by Penrose.

 North Walsham’s goalkeeper called into action moments later as she makes a brave save sliding in at the feet of Long Stratton’s Mayes as she receives a crossfield pass from the right, driving into the box from the left, the ball deflecting between attacker and keeper cleared by Hindle getting back to clear. A few positional changes for North Walsham in the 2nd half, Wittrick-Riley furthest forwards on the right in support of Holt central getting hold of the ball travelling into the box keeping possession to check inside and send a ball into the near post claimed well by Critchell low at her near post any mistake and Holt was racing in behind her.

  Long Stratton frustrated as a decision goes against them offside a free-kick to North Walsham inside their D the keeper hitting it long threatens to send Holt clear in behind but a good starting position from Critchell sees the keeper out of her area to send the ball back up field. A good contest in midfield shaping up Bussey busy as ever rives on only to be tackled well by Harris. Is physical too although without any obvious malice, both sides getting on with it. Hanley over a free-kick wide on the right, headed clear out of the Long Stratton Box, drops to East 30 yards out looks to ding it back over the top for Holt, the host defence stepping out well seeing her flagged offside.

  Harriet Hunwicks-Rush comes on for Long Stratton to replace Harvey. The hosts winning s free-kick 30 yards out on the left side Walker on it goes for goal her effort claimed high back on her line by Penrose. North Walsham are doing well to keep Mayes and Stratton quieter now Long Stratton sitting back comfortable with a 3 goal cushion however. Holt working hard up top but too often isolated does well on the right to win a free kick on the by-line. Hall playing it in across the face of goal is headed clear at the far post. North Walsham get it back the ball fired into Holt central outside the area her snap shot lacking power runs wide.

  The game has become a little scrappy both sides hitting it long looking for there attackers to break away. Holt with space to burst into in the left channel, Critchell comes charging out of her area to challenge Holt misses it is stranded as the loose ball is claimed out wide on the left red shirts racing back to close down angles prevent any attempt on goal. Vincent comes back on for Mayes for Long Stratton. Bussey taking the ball out to the right swinging in a deep cross too close to Penrose the keeper plucking the ball down safely.

  Good work from Long Stratton off a throw inside their own half on the left Bussey away up the wing comes inside, playing it on for Walker to take on top of the area 20 yards out moves across the D looking for an opening to release a shot, cutting it back in across goal Penrose comfortable on her line down to smother it. Cawcutt has picked up a knock needs to come off for Long Stratton, Harvey coming back on.

Harriet Hunwicks-Rush winning the ball back for Long Stratton

 Quieter in the 2nd half, North Walsham putting alot of effort in, Long Stratton able to sit back. Holt with a snap shot from 35 yards out left side not troubling the keeper. Sostman has been playing in a deeper role 2nd half, finding herself up with play exchanges a one two with walker 25 yards out that almost sees the latter slip in behind Hindle the defender with a timely lunge to take the ball. 

  Walker always looking for an opening drifts to the left the ball clipped into her surges forwards into the box East tracking her, Walker wants to check back on her right 8 yards out East setting in to nick the ball away from her. Walker nevertheless gets a 2nd bite at it crossing to the far post Stratton bringing it down is closed down quickly forced to play it back Harris winning it back. The game entering the final 20 minutes. Brown returning to the action for North Walsham.

North Walsham’s Gracie East

 GOAL! Long Stratton extend their lead Ransome on the ball central playing a great ball forwards for Walker to attack right side into the box on the shoulder of the last defender leans back as she strikes the ball putting power into her shot rifles it home for her 4th of the game 6-2.

 GOAL! Just as it was in the 1st half one goal quickly brings a 2nd another hammer blow for North Walsham as Long Stratton full of confidence now press forwards a throw high up the pitch left side played across the North Walsham defence. Walker snapping in to close the ball down steals the ball to cut in behind into the box and blast high into the back of the goal to claim her 5th of the game 7-2.

  Long Stratton find a renewed level of energy as they press the advantage have North Walsham on the back foot. Hanley having made several good challenges at the back doing well as Sostman pushes forwards left side. Starling returns to the action to replace Hindle for the visitors as the game enters the final 15 minutes. Wittrick-Riley up top along side Holt the pair are released in behind by Hall, Critchell coming out of her area again smashes her clearance against her own defender Harvey the deflection favouring the keeper however as she reacts to kick away before either attacker can turn.

  Hanley running towards her own goal doing well to deal with a long ball played up field by Long Stratton with Walker on her shoulder deftly heading it into her keepers gloves inside the box. Soon after Penrose carrying the ball out of her area gives away a free kick just outside the area. Walker placing the ball, Long Stratton making a change before it is taken Mayes back on for Sostman.

North Walsham’s Grace Hanley with Long Stratton’s, Kate Ransome

 GOAL! A free-kick in a dangerous position for Long Stratton left side inside the D, Walker on a double hat-trick takes on the shot, the North Walsham walk jumping as she looks to clip the ball over towards goal takes a wicked deflection knocking the ball downwards, Penrose wrong footed attempting to get down to it is unfortunately as it evades her clutches to cross the line 8-2. 

A double hat-trick for Long Stratton’s Sam Walker

 Walker is proving a real handful for the tiring North Walsham defence continues to create chances prods a shot wide across goal, takes a slight deflection off a defender however to see a corner awarded. left side swung in North Walsham defending at the far post have no one up can’t break. Hall nevertheless getting hold of the ball plays it up the line for Holt to chase the attacker doing what she can nut outnumbered is closed off the ball by Hunwicks-Rush. 

North Walsham captain, Sophie Hall

 Wittrick-Riley breaking free right side for North Walsham does well to get into the box checks inside before crossing the high ball collected by Critchell. Hanley right charges down Stratton ending the ball up top for Holt to attack, Critchell coming out of her box again to close her down top of the D does enough to put Holt off forcing her into an early strike that lacks power and accuracy. 

 Despite conceding three goals late in the 2nd half North Walsham keep up their efforts to find another goal from a throw on the right inside the Long Stratton half Holt lays the ball inside for Starling she in turn feeds a diagonal ball through the middle for Wittrick-Riley to race onto, Critchell has come committed drops to close the angle deflected the ball away, Wittrick-Riley’s momentum sees her collide with the keeper, a moment of concern but both players are okay, Critchell undoubtedly feeling it more. One more chance comes to Wittrick-Riley right to cross the ball in find Holt near post but once again Critchell is well placed to intercept the ball.

Full time Long Stratton Women 8-2 North Walsham Angels Ladies

  Long Stratton win the Group B match comfortably to claim their 1st points in the Challenge Cup. The Division One side starting the game well taking an early lead. Never what a lower division side wants however North Walsham fought back well the level the game. Long Stratton always looked a potent threat going forwards and creating openings took their chances hitting in 4 quickfire goals to leave North Walsham with a mountain to climb. A late goal giving the visitors some belief reshaped 2nd half containing Long Stratton whilst never finding the goal they needed to exert some pressure of their own. In the end a repeat of the 1st half Long Stratton finally scoring a 6th were quick to add 2 more. An 8-2 score line maybe harsh on North Walsham a young side with lots of potential  Will give Long Stratton plenty of belief going into their final group game against Sprowston Athletic.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Often a difficult choice however not the case today I suspect you’ve already picked her yourself. Before that however a few notable performances to mention. Firstly for North Walsham, Rhiannon Holt was superb in attack doing well to lead the lone when called upon took her chances well. Sophie Hall and Grace Hanley too with some good challenges throughout the match. For Long Stratton, Beth Stratton was superb especially first half and for a while was neck and neck with the eventual winner. Rachel Bussey too put herself about in the middle of the park never letting North Walsham settle on the ball. The award though has to go to Sam Walker scoring a double hat-trick and assisting with the other 2 goals showing fantastic movement leading the attack throughout the 90 minutes.

A pleasure to see both sides in action today, a good match despite the final score line another new side checked off, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing both in action again soon. As always the help with the team details is much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham