Tag Archives: Match Report

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 17th March

Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final

Stevenage Ladies v Watford Ladies U23s

It’s that time of the season again, the first final, a trip down to Letchworth this morning, The County Ground once again hosting the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup with holders Stevenage Ladies taking on Watford Ladies U23s.

FAWNL South East Division One side, Stevenage Ladies looking to retain the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup for a 3rd successive season. Have dominated the competition in recent seasons with this being a fifth successive final appearance, winning 3 of the previous 4 finals. Strong in their defence of the County Cup an established side now in the FAWNL. Have had their fair share of injuries, including captain Paige Logie out with a season ending ACL injury. 

Watford Ladies U23s entering the competition for the first time this season. Watford themselves dominating the County Cup in its early years 5 times winners in 2005,2006,2007, 2008, 2010, reached all but one final between 2005 & 2013. Not entering the competition during their FAWSL years a Watford Ladies Development side won the competition 3 seasons ago beating Stevenage prior to their back to back successes. Watford Ladies U23s play in the FAWNL Reserves South/South East Division. Have goal scorers throughout their squad with several players getting their chance with the 1st team.

  Road to the Final

  A bye for both sides in the 1st Round of the competition. Both were at home in the 2nd Round both progressing with ease as they racked up double figure wins. Stevenage Ladies were playing Beds & Herts Division Two side, Hitchin Belles. A overwhelming win with the hosts scoring 16 goals on their way to the quarter finals. Watford Ladies U23s were at home to Stevenage Ladies Reserves side, 8 different goalscorers, with Jessica Biggerstaff scoring a hat-trick as Watford advanced with a 12-1 victory.

   Home draws for both sides once more in the quarter finals, Stevenage Ladies up against Royston Town Ladies. The ERWFL Premier Division side County Cup finalists in the 2016/17 season. Stevenage coming out on top recording a good win over Royston winning 7-2 to reach the last 4. Watford were taking on another ERWFL Premier Division side, Colney Heath Ladies in the quarter finals a 5-0 win seeing them book their place in the semi-finals of the competition.

 Stevenage Ladies were away for the 1st time in the County Cup drawn away to ERWFL Division One side, Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies. A repeat of last season’s final Stevenage retaining the trophy with a comfortable win then 8-0 to lift the trophy. Once again the FAWNL side were dominant as they reached their (insert) final with a 7-0 win. Watford again at home as they took on Beds & Herts Division One side Hemel Hempstead Town Ladies in the semi-finals, a 3-0 lead at half-time went on to win the game 8-0 with six different names on the scoresheet.

The County Ground in Letchworth the venue for today’s final home of Hertfordshire FA, the stadium recently undergoing some redevelopment including a new 3G playing surface replacing the grass pitch, barriers and surround upgraded. A redeveloped clubhouse area too, a new cafe replacing the old bar with function room beyond. Hot and cold drinks available. An early kick-off, breakfast too a burger van selling hot food in it’s usual berth. Storm Hannah the latest to blow through the UK bringing over night wind and rain. A 3G surface meaning a call off unlikely cool early on and overcast dark clouds threatening the rain would hold off the sun breaking through.

The new playing surface at The County Ground looking pristine

 Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Hannah Vandersluis, Hayley Wood-Thompson, Poppy Bennett, Dominique Godbeer, Charlotte Ryan, Shona Chitate, Amy Josland, Ashleigh Deacon, Ellie Searle, Amy Makewell (C) & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Kristi Burling, Amy Runicman, Melody Jones, Cara Breckenridge & Erin Pope.

 Watford Ladies U23s starting XI – Amy Martin, Ayifa Johnson, Holly Holt, Danielle Maloney, Sydney Hinchcliffe, Katie Akerman, Rebecca McShane (C), Andie Dickens, Linda Afuakwah, Eshe Johnson & Anaisa Harvey. Subs – Jennifer Hughes, Jessica Biggerstaff, Hannah Coote, Holly Greenwood & Alketa Rragami.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s Stevenage to get the final underway kicking off first half wearing white shirts with light red vertical stripes, red shirts and socks with Watford lined up opposite wearing yellow and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. Watford press early Andie Dickens on the left win tackling winning possession getting in behind to cross Charlotte Ryan clearing the ball inside her area for Stevenage. 

 Nicole Emmings receiving the ball in attack for Stevenage turns to her left  sending the ball on down the line with Ellie Searle looking to break in behind, Afiya Johnson getting back well to make the tackle. Stevenage are awarded an early free-kick 35 yards out central Shona Chitate to take the ball put into the area for runners to attack, Watford goalkeeper Amy Martin taking it on the bounce. Watford press the ball high up the pitch, Stevenage rushed into their passes Poppy Bennett’s forwards ball up to Emmings, Sydney Hinchcliffe doing well up against her for Watford preventing the attacker getting in on goal. 

  Dickens getting forwards left has support from Eshe Johnson in attack getting the return ball as she breaks into the box her early shot races wide past the far post. A corner for Watford right side the ball delivered into the near post defended the clearance falling to Watford’s Anaisa Harvey outside the area strikes the ball back in towards goal is safely held by Stevenage goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis 

Stevenage defender, Poppy Bennett getting to the ball ahead of Watford’s Linda Afuakwah

  A bright start from Watford, lively early on closing Stevenage down quick to mount attacks, Emmings and captain Amy Makewell looking to move around find space up top for Stevenage to play them in. Linda Afuakwah with the ball at her feet for Watford on the right drives down the line cutting inside get’s past one defender the ball coming to Eshe Johnson near post she blasts wide from six yards out. A quick turn around from Stevenage the ball from Amy Josland through the middle helped on to Emmings peeling away into a gap on the left runs on into the area the shot on Emmings instead puts it in towards the penalty spot, her cross intercepted as Watford get back the ball sent clear.

  Emmings is through clear in behind moment later central 30 yards out gives chase to the ball, Martin racing out of her area gets there first however to kick the ball away before the striker can capitalise. Watford get on down the left the cross in headed behind for a corner kick, the delivery near post attacked ends up behind for a 2nd corner, this one again from the left higher Vandersluis getting up to glove the ball on wide and behind for a 3rd corner on the right this time.

 GOAL! Watford open the scoring from the corner put in towards the near post area 8 yards out the ball is turned back in towards goal, Stevenage doing well initially to clear the ball off the line the clearance out to the left falling straight to Watford’s Hinchcliffe the centre back smashing a low shot back across goal into the back of the net 0-1.

Sydney Hinchcliffe with the opening goal for Watford Ladies U23s

   Amy Makewell carries the ball on down the right, is stopped by Watford’s Holly Holt. Ashleigh Deacon combines with Chitate as Stevenage try to play Makewell in behind, play brought back by referee Lyn McGregor after there was no advantage after Chitate was fouled. Ryan over the free kick inside the Watford half as players go forwards, the delivery high into the area punched down by martin falls straight to Dominique Godbeer positioned just inside the area catches it on the volley her attempt over the bar. 

Stevenage Ladies, Dominique Godbeer

  A good response from Stevenage having fallen behind Josland and Chitate enjoying a competitive battle with Watford captain Rebecca McShane and Katie Akerman. Challenges a plenty. Afuakwah on the ball right for Watford lays it on through the middle for Harvey, the striker unable to gather the ball races through into the area Dickens lively after it, Hayley Wood-Thompson back with her the Stevenage full back putting Dickens under pressure as she blasts her shot wide. 

  Afuakwah is fouled by Searle outside the area 20 out right of the D, Dickens over it with an early shot over the wall striking the base of the near post… but she had gone to soon wait for the whistle, retaken Dickens puts it over this time. Makewell taking the ball on down the right a powerful run turns inside getting into the box, is eventually stopped as 3 Watford defenders converge to close her down six yards out. Watford quick to counter Afuakwah a ready outlet on their right down the line her cross in cleared by Godbeer. Stevenage return the counter attack with interest putting Searle in on the left closing in on the area her cross inside only finding the Watford defence. Makewell drags a shot wide from the top of the area, the flag raised against her however.

Linda Afuakwah on the attack for Watford

   Makewell linking with Deacon for Stevenage as Emmings breaks down the right wins a corner. The delivery well played drops into the six yard box Deacon with her back to goal closely marked by Martin can’t get around her to shoot the ball scrambled away to the right Makewell drives a shot back in the effort narrowly wide. Play turned around quickly fro both sides the game played at a good tempo, Hinchcliffe with some great defending on Makewell as she is played through on goal centrally. 

Stevenage Ladies, Ashleigh Deacon

  Appeals for handball waved away as Stevenage press Watford outside their area, Hinchcliffe’s arm raised as Makewell attempts to flick it on. A free kick for Stevenage on halfway knocked on by Josland puts Deacon in behind right into the box, Martin out to close her down saves well at her feet, the ball knocked away Martin grounded pouncing to claim the loose ball. 40 minutes played.

Watford Ladies U23s goalkeeper, Amy Martin

  GOAL! Watford have dealt with a spell of pressure from Stevenage well breaking forwards double their lead just before half-time the ball knocked on is into Dickens on the left just outside the area hits the ball well arrowing in towards goal Vandersluis dives to her left full stretch but can’t keep it out as the ball squeezes inside the post 0-2.

Andie Dickens scorer of Watford’s 2nd goal

  Plenty of rubber in the new pitch flying up as sliding tackles come in, lively Stevenage getting frustrated with some decisions. Afiya Johnson forwards to support Eshe and Afuakwah on the right the trio win a corner, played long to the top of the box a shot driven in Vandersluis diving the ball behind for another set piece this time Stevenage defend break on the counter, Josland on for Emmings, Danielle Maloney defends for Watford. 

  Stevenage with a free-kick at the end of the first half the ball defended in the box by Watford’s Afuakwah she brings it away the ball played on to Eshe Johnson she plays it through for Harvey who is tackled by Godbeer, McShane bursting forwards regaining possession picks out Afuakwah into space on the right full of pace takes the ball on into the box blasting a rising shot into the side netting.

Half-time Stevenage Ladies 0-2 Watford Ladies U23s

  A 2-0 lead for Watford at half-time a bright start pressing the ball, forcing their opponents into rushed passes took the early lead, defended well as Stevenage sought to find gaps in behind created opportunities to find an equalising goal the temp high throughout Watford dealing with the pressure ready to go on the attack hit a 2nd late in the first half to give themselves a good platform to build on 2nd half. Stevenage will want to come out of the blocks strong at the start of the 2nd period if they want to get back into the game. 

   It’s Watford to get the 2nd half underway, Stevenage in to get on the ball, Chitate with Bennett the ball launched forwards with Emmings running clear in behind left channel Martin coming out to close the angle saving well getting her gloves onto the ball. Emmings appeals for a penalty as she ends up on the ground inside the box trying to see the ball into her body from a Searle throw in on the right, the appeals waved away. Josland gets across to tackle Afuakwah as Eshe Johnson aims to send her away on the right.

Stevenage Ladies, Ellie Searle

  Bennett is down with a knock for Stevenage, an early change in the 2nd half as she comes off, on in her place Cara Breckenridge. Searle making ground on the left wing for Stevenage a cross in low across the face of goal from deep Emmings diving to head the ball just misses it at the near post the ball racing on. Akerman bringing the ball on for Watford through the middle plays it forwards with Eshe Johnson pulling away right shoots early from outside the area, Vandersluis claims it. 

Hannah Vandersluis down to save for Stevenage Ladies

  A good start to the 2nd half for Stevenage they press forwards, Holt and Maloney both denying final balls for Watford. A throw won on the left played into Josland the Stevenage midfielder shooting from 20 yards out left her strike held into Martins midriff. Watford counter the ball central played out to Dickens left has Holt breaking ahead of her on the overlap the fullback turning inside central closing in on the D, thinks about shooting instead attempts to thread it through for Harvey the Stevenage defence shutting the door the clearance intercepted by Akerman 30 yards out given time to line up a shot her strike doesn’t trouble Vandersluis.

Katie Akerman bringing the ball away for Watford

  Emmings closing down Watford at the back wins the ball outside the box a snap shot right of the D races wide. play brought back after no advantage from a foul Watford have a free-kick 25 yards out to the left of goal, Maloney on it goes for goal the attempt landing wide of the near post. An hour on the clock Stevenage make a 2nd change with Erin Pope coming on for Josland. Afuakwah central runs in behind the Stevenage defence 25 yards out as Vandersluis comes to narrow the angle the Watford attacker shoots her effort past the keeper runs wide of the post.

   GOAL! A corner won on the left as Akerman winning the tackle in midfield plays it out to Dickens on the left support from Holt who gets the corner. The delivery on the spot into the middle of the six yard box 3 Watford players attack it Hinchcliffe, Eshe Johnson and between them Harvey who gets up highest to head the ball down and in to make it 0-3.

  Stevenage make another change Chitate coming off on comes Amy Runicman to join the attack. A minute later Watford make a change and it’s the goalscorer coming off Harvey replaced by Jennifer Hughes. A free-kick wide right for Stevenage, Makewell plays in towards the far post Martin up to glove the ball away for a corner kick, delayed as the trainer comes on for an injury. Watford defending the set piece break Afuakwah through the centre now on for Hughes peeling into space on the left her cross into the box cut out, Eshe Johnson bundled over as she tries to collect just outside the D. Akerman with the free-kick her shot no trouble for Vandersluis.

Watford Ladies U23s, Danielle Maloney

   Emmings after a forwards pass on her right checks inside to get into the area, Hinchcliffe challenging the ball put behind for a corner. In from the right to the near post area Runicman gets over the ball shooting held safely as Martin gets across. Stevenage getting frustrated Watford working hard to keep up the tempo challenge for everything, decisions not going Stevenage’s way. Afuakwah run of running with the ball has Hughes to her right giving her the ball she shoots 20 yards out Vandersluis going to ground pushing the ball behind at the near post.  Makewell and Emmings link up get Deacon in on the left her shot outside the box charged down. 

  GOAL! Counter attacking play from Watford leads to a 4th goal Stevenage pushing for a goal are hit on the break the ball put n quickly for Eshe Johnson through the centre clear on goal closing in on the area right of the D, composed as Vandersluis moves towards her, the striker placing the ball wide of the keeper and into the bottom corner with less than 20 minutes to play 0-4.

Eshe Johnson puts Watford into a 4 goal lead

  Stevenage very nearly pull a goal back from the restart as Makewell is played in on the right down the wing crosses from deep a dangerous ball across the face of goal Emmings meets the ball, virtually on top of Martin the keeper going to ground somehow managing to make the save smothering both ball and player, Emmings trying to get over the keeper to reach the loose ball, Martin snatches it away. Emmings down injured after the coming together, a spell of on the pitch treatment before needing to come off, on comes Melody Jones

  Makewell tries to get Pope in on goal as she breaks through the middle, she sees Searle getting clear on the left tries to play the pass through, McShane backtracking doing well to intercept get the ball back to her keeper. Watford with a change as Dickens comes off Hannah Coote going over to her position on the left. Coote with an early chance as she is played in with a crossfield pass, lets fly from 25 yards out, Vandersluis with a great save diving to her right to push the ball wide for a corner. 

Watford’s, Hannah Coote

  Watford’s turn to appeal for a penalty as the ball comes into the area, play goes on cleared out of the box collected by Hughes on the right sends a cross back in to the far post Maloney up to meet it sends her header wide. Watford think they’ve scored a 5th as the ball is put over the top Vandersluis saving the first strike Afuakwah burying the rebound. The celebrations cut short however assistant Gemma Smith with her flag up and early too before Vandersluis blocked the first attempt no goal.

   Afuakwah comes off with Watford’s top scorer Jessica Biggerstaff coming on. Biggerstaff getting in on the action straight away as she runs on through to send a shot into the side netting. Afiya Johnson linking with Hughes on the right the ball taken to the byline cut back centrally Eshe Johnson with the shot Vandersluis with a superb save. Tempers getting a little frayed Stevenage have been frustrated by their opponents Searle collecting a yellow card.

  A double change late in proceedings for Watford, Eshe Johnson and McShane off, on come Alketa Rragami and Holly Greenwood. Watford finish strong Biggerstaff with space in the box sees her shot deflected onto the keeper to spin away for a corner. A push in the back spotted as Watford play it in. Stevenage with a corner in stoppage time on the left the ball in Searle up to meet it near side her header wide across the face of goal. The final whistle blows and Watford Ladies U23s bundle atop one another in celebration as they win the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup.

Full time Stevenage Ladies 0-4 Watford Ladies U23s

  A fantastic result for Watford’s U23s played well throughout a bright start pressing well, restricting the time their opponents had on the ball getting in front early on Stevenage responding well fighting back didn’t get the decisions growing frustrated as opportunities wen by Watford doubling their lead before half-time. Stevenage you felt needed the next goal as it was Watford were the side to find the back of the net to go 3-0 up. Stevenage could not find a reply to pressure the scoreline Watford strong as they took a 4 goal lead never looking back.  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football east – Player of the Match award. A good performance all round from Watford Ladies U23s putting some good attacking moves together, defending well, Amy Martin with some very confident and brave goalkeeping. Have chosen Linda Afuakwah was a threat throughout on the right then through the middle making some great runs taking players on and creating chances, always an outlet making herself available whenever Watford won the ball.

 

Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Winners, Watford Ladies U23s

 Congratulations to Watford Ladies U23s on winning the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup.

  An early kick-off, managed to avoid the torrential down pour that came after the game. A match report finished before 10pm is a rarity too but lots to do, the finals coming thick and fast now the next on Tuesday. An entertaining match a good number coming to watch, my thanks to Hertfordshire FA for all their help today, much appreciated. 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Ladies

Wednesday 13th March

FAWNL South East Division One

 A late call this Wednesday evening for a spot of midweek football action under the lights, a trip down to Mildenhall Town FC to watch Cambridge United WFC take on Norwich City Ladies in FAWNL South East Division One. 

   Arriving 20 minutes before kick-off the warm ups well underway, the team line-ups readily available, soon set for kick-off. The two sides currently sitting 7th and 8th in the South East Division one respectfully, Cambridge United WFC moving a point clear of Norwich City Ladies as they became the first side in the league to take points off leaders Crawley Wasps Ladies this season holding them to a goalless draw at home at the weekend. Blustery conditions after heavy rain overnight, Norwich saw there game away to Stevenage Ladies called off on Sunday due to a water logged pitch.

   A win for either tonight pushing them right onto the tails of the sides battling for a top half finish. Cambridge with a confidence boosting performance to get a point against Crawley looking to continue that form as they prepare of next weeks Invitation Cup Final against rivals Cambridge City Ladies being played at the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday evening. Will also want to put in a better performance against Norwich having been beaten by them 3-0 with a few regulars unavailable in the reverse fixture back at the start of October.

  Norwich have saved some off their best performances for thier games under the lights, 3 of their 5 wins so far this season coming in midweek fixtures, all against their East Anglian rivals, once against Cambridge with the double over Ipswich Town Women. Building well this season after a couple of seasons battling at the wrong end of the table, should be safe from getting dragged into the bottom two this season, like Cambridge well placed with a positive result having the same effect. Missing a few experienced players tonight especially at the back however have given several young players opportunities this season and most have performed well when called upon.

  A calm evening the air still after Storm Gareth had blown through earlier. Cool, glad the blustery conditions had passed it wasn’t fun on Sunday. The pitch set on a slope at Mildenhall Town from one goal to the the other, a good size offering plenty of width. The bar clubhouse open.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh Anne Burt, Jemma Moore, Vicky Neal, Amber Cantwell, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Amy Howlett (C) & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Fran Gough, Kelley Blanchflower & Holly Turbill. 

Norwich City Ladies starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Alice Parker, Keunna Dill, Lilly Bueggeln, Tigi Robson, Jodie Drake (C), Eliza McDonald, Aimee Durrant, Natasha Snelling, Reeanna Cook & Chelsea Garrett. Subs – Kathryn Stanley, Kirstie Smith, Rosie George, Louise Kennedy & Elli-Ray Quinn-Nicholls.

 Norwich choose to attack up the slope first half with Cambridge taking the kick off wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Norwich in their away colours green shirts and socks with yellow shorts. The ball moved left as Cambridge attack Jade Bell down the wing winning a throw in the ball played on into the top of the box headed clear by Norwich’s Tigi Robson. Cambridge press Norwich for possession early on closing them down Bell left the cross into the area Mollie Coupar receiving the ball near post back to goal a turn and hit blocked at close range the rebound blasted over at the far post. 

 Aimee Durrant taking the ball on gets in behind on the right wing for Norwich her cross off the mark screwed wide behind the Cambridge goal. Norwich captain Jodie Drake regaining possession right puts in on for Durrant she squares it inside for Eliza McDonald, Coupar coming back to quickly close the midfielder down to win it back for Cambridge the ball played out wide to Bell running on down the left cuts infield, Alice Parker wit Robson closing her down before she can get into the area.

   GOAL! Cambridge take the lead inside the opening 5 minutes, Amber Cantwell on the ball central passing to Bells left, Becky Shephard racing ahead of her down the line fed the ball drives down to the byline cutting inside fires in a pacy cross across the six yard box with Cambridge’s Amy Howlett wearing the captains armband this evening timing her run perfectly to meet the ball and send it low back across the goal into the bottom corner 1-0. 

  A good start to the game from Cambridge pressing Norwich for the ball, closing down and moving forwards with purpose and pace in attack. Keumma Dill with the defending for Norwich at the far post as Cambridge send in another cross from the left. Durrant is clipped as she looks to get in behind on the right a free-kick awarded top of the area Durrant over it lifts a ball up into the area, Drake making the run central can’t reach it, over her Jemma Moore heads clear for Cambridge. 

  A mix-up at the back almost sees Howlett break clear in behind after the ball into the area, Norwich goalkeeper Hope Armstrong alert quickly out to gather the ball before the attacker can get a telling touch. Another free-kick for Norwich left of the D 30 yards out Durrant with it again, goes for goal her strike half a yard over the bar. Good work from Norwich’s Reeanna Cook in midfield the ball put forwards for Chelsea Garrett leading the attack does well to force a throw in in the corner. Garrett receiving the ball from the throw-in on the byline turns well inside the box to send a cross in the ball just behind Natasha Snelling at the far post. 

  The 50/50 battles going Cambridge’s way, Vicky Neal breaking up a Norwich attack as they try to build through the middle. Kayleigh Anne Burt smashing a clearance into Neal it rebounds favourably for Bell to break on the left, Parker tackling to stop the cross. Cook with McDonald on through the middle Durrant making a run on the right, Carrie Bennett intercepting the ball for Cambridge. 

  Breaking up a Cambridge attack Norwich launch a rapid counter attack the ball with Durrant on the right her diagonal ball up towards Garrett central 30 yards out she gets up well to header in down into the path of the advancing Drake, she spots Cook making the run in behind right side the pass put into her inside the area the angle tight she shes it over her shoulder hits it on the volley the strike well over. 

Howlett pressing the ball up front forces an error from the Norwich defence runs through to get hold of the ball inside the area plays it back out to Coupar on her right, holding it up Coupar gets it back to Howlett as she moves out to the right the ball into her run she slips as she pulls the trigger, Armstrong making the blocking save as she comes to narrow the angle. Cambridge get on down their left win a corner kick the delivery high into the angle headed out drops to Bell 20 yards out smashes it back in her shot over the bar. 

  Snelling up on the left receives the ball from Dill, looks to drive on tackled by Emma Jenkins the loose ball gathered by Garrett, Snelling gets inside the ball returned closing in on the area, her shot charged down. McDonald bringing the ball on for Norwich rides Howlett’s challenge, shooting from all of 30 yards out, the attempt not troubling Cambridge goalkeeper Savannah Smith. Cambridge’s pressing game frustrating Norwich as they struggle to get the ball into advanced positions, Neal winning her fair share of tackles the ball inside to Cantwell, forwards for Coupar, Lilly Bueggeln close  preventing the striker turning in behind. 

  Bell away on the left late in the first half a quick counter Norwich stretched cuts the cross into the box from the byline the shot behind, Shephard runs on to Cantwell shoots before Armstrong can get across to her the ball past the keeper is cleared off the line by her defence tracking back. Cambridge finishing the first half well a corner on the right a good delivery in Armstrong up inside her crowded six yard box gets the faintest of touches to the ball to see it run on out the far side for another corner, this again pushed behind by Armstrong coming near post, the keeper laying claim to the 3rd attempt as the whistle blows. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Norwich City Ladies

  Cambridge with the early goal holding a 1-0 advantage at the break, started well, closing Norwich down for the ball, quick to attack have frustrated their opponents who have struggled to get anything going in attack. Some last gasp defending preventing Norwich from falling further behind. One goal in it Norwich are far from out of it as the teams emerge for the 2nd half.

  No changes for either side at the break Norwich to get the 2nd half underway, The ball out on the right, Durrant pushing on tackled by Bennett. Cook on the ball central looks to thread a pass on for Garrett in attack, Burt defending well up against her. Both sides looking to be positive at the start of the 2nd half, Norwich trying to spread the play. Parker does well winning the challenge inside her box on Howlett as she is played in by Shephard. 

  A throw high on the right for Cambridge Jemma Moore up from the back to take has a long throw the ball into the area put back to her to cross in Norwich heading the threat clear. Dill showing good pace to get back on Shephard as the Cambridge attacker looks to get away with the ball on the right. Cambridge continue to close down prevent Norwich breaking from inside their own half, Coupar the Neal with the tackles. 

   Close again from Coupar as she gets up well at the far post to head a cross from the left back in across the face of goal looks destined to lad in the back of the net, Robson doing brilliantly to hook the ball clear off the goal line. Bell linking up with Shephard in attack the latter seeing her shot from outside the area blocked. Neal receives a yellow card aggrieved as she is adjudged to have fouled Armstrong as she and the keeper come together at the top of the area as they both race to win a 50/50 ball. 

  Snelling getting in behind on the left as Burt can’t get the ball down to clear, the attacker taking it on towards the area puts the cross in, Smith down to claim the ball. Cambridge counter the ball up field quickly Shephard onto a defensive mix-up in behind, closing in on Armstrong the keeper going to ground getting something on the ball stopping it, Shephard looking to retrieve, Armstrong stretching out to get a glove on the ball pull it into her body.

  Cambridge make the first change of the game Bennett having picked up a knock coming off, Kelley Blanchflower coming on the switch seeing Bell drop to left back. Cook cutting inside from the left shoots from 25 yards out her effort straight at Smith. Cambridge starting to see more of the ball, Blanchflower working across the defence to receive the ball. Dill doing well up against Howlett on the penalty spot as a cross is delivered into the box from the left. 

  Norwich’s frustrations continue nothing seems to be coming off in the final 3rd. Coupar driving to the byline from the left into the area gets a cross in, Armstrong has it covered claiming at her near post. Neal stops Norwich getting out as they win the ball from a throw put into the area from the right the midfielder tackling playing the ball on for Coupar her touch taking it inside the box from the left blasts a shot goalwards Armstrong saving well as she comes to block. 

  Parker into the book for foul a free-kick wide left for Cambridge the ball up towards the area headed away for a throw, Moore to take, once again gets it returned to put the cross in Armstrong claiming taking it off the head of the advancing attacker. Closing in on the final 15 minutes Norwich with a 2nd change Durrant coming off, Snelling switching to the right on comes Kathryn Stanley. Cambridge press the attack Blanchflower on for Coupar checks her run the ball taken from her won back by Jenkins getting forwards puts it on for Shephard looking to get away right side coming into the box, Drake sliding in to make the challenge blocks her shot with her leg. 

  Coupar is down hurt play eventually stopped after treatment can’t continue on in her place comes Holly Turbill. Starting to get a little nervy out their as much as Cambridge need a 2nd goal they also want a clean sheet, continue to work hard to close the ball down all over the pitch. Howlett fouled by Dill a free-kick for Cambridge right outside the area the delivery in just out of range of Blanchflower jumping central falls unexpectedly to Neal at the far post can’t get it down under control for a shot before the Norwich defence close her down. 

  A second change for Norwich with Rosie George coming on to replace Snelling. Cook bringing the ball on drake ahead of her plays the diagonal ball out t Stanley left, Jenkins in to challenge with the game into stoppage time. Kirstie Smith coming on for Norwich, Robson fouled trying to get forwards 25 yards out, Cambridge back inside their box to defend, a little scrappy the home side manage to get the ball clear. The ball taken into the corner by Shephard late on, the clock ran down, the final whistle blows Cambridge winning the 3 points.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Norwich City Ladies

  A good result for Cambridge, Howlett’s early goal the difference between the sides, Cambridge creating chances to extend the lead Norwich with two goal line clearances to keep them going further ahead. A frustrating evening for Norwich never really got going in attack largely due to Cambridge’s closing down and pressing. All over the pitch kept up the pressure quick to launch attacks the hard work paying off. Nervy towards the end trailing 1-0 Norwich were never out of the game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, good work from the whole Cambridge team to close down the ball, force errors and break up attacks before they could get going. Jade Bell setting the tone, Amy Howlett making some good runs the award though goes to Vicky Neal little got past her winning the ball in advanced positions keeping the pressure on for Cambridge in the final third.

A late call, so didn’t get a chance to say hello to everyone having to dash at the end too. Good to see both sides, an enjoyable game under the lights, the team details readily available with my notepad I’m all set. The first final of the season upon us this weekend, and that signals the beginning of a usually frantic end to the season, where has the time gone?

Match Report – Wisbech Town Ladies v Ketton Ladies

Sunday 10th March

Cambridgeshire Women’s Division One Cup

Semi-final action this Sunday on Women’s Football East the football from Cambridgeshire with Wisbech Town Ladies at home to Ketton Ladies in the last 4 of the Division One Cup.

 A new competition introduced last season the trophy currently held by Histon Ladies Reserves. The sides from both the Championship North & South entering. 15 entrants this season now down to the last 4. St Ives Town Ladies Development take on Burwell Tigers Ladies in the other semi-final game.

 Today’s semi-final featuring the top two in the Championship North, Wisbech Town Ladies and Ketton Ladies leading the way both with 100% records until they met a month ago at today’s venue, Ketton winning the game 3-1. 3 points the lead for Ketton the pair have to face each other twice more in the league, the title battle could go all the way.

  Wisbech Town Ladies enjoying a successful season to date reaching 3 cup semi-finals. Lost their Invitation Cup last 4 match to ERWFL Premier Division leaders Cambridge City Ladies, this the 2nd of the 3 semi-finals with the League Cup to come next weekend. 2nd in the Championship North have had their fair share of injury problems yet have kept up their title challenge, losing the one game at home to Ketton.

 Ketton Ladies are by some distance West the furthest side covered by the Women’s Football East umbrella, a number of South Lincolnshire sides compete in the Championship North, Ketton west of Stamford, are enjoying a fantastic season themselves, a 100% league record they narrowly missed out on reaching the last 4 of the League Cup having come through the group stage unbeaten. Into the last 4 of the Division One Cup confidence high.

   Wisbech Town Ladies usually play their home games at Fenland Park, but with heavy rain forecast over night in through much of Sunday morning have the option to switch to a 3G surface within Wisbech at the Thomas Clarkson Academy. Game dropping like flies elsewhere due to the weather, we had a heatwave a fortnight ago, no such luck today. The rain mostly gone it remained overcast the rain giving way to strong blustery winds, the sun trying to make an appearance, not at all ideal for a cup semi-final and there would be a bit of everything before the final whistle blew!

Wisbech Town Ladies starting XI – Amy Hepting, Leah Hall, Katie Garner, Kaylie Swinden, Jasmine Luckett, Chelsea King, Abby Sommerville, Chloe Stanborough, Faye Kowalewsky (C), Sophie Swinden & Amt Newell. Subs – Beth Hodgson, Jade Court, Charlotte Rose, Rachael Simpson & Naomi Lyons.

 Ketton Ladies starting XI – Georgia Ireland (C), Amy Gray, Danielle Usher, Katie Altham, Beth Goodman, Jane Roche, Emma Ward, Sascha Smith, Liberty Cook, Claire Lawrenson & Fran Kavanagh. Subs – Ellie Cotterill, Claire Walpole & Natalie Duncan.

(roll on roll of substitutes)

    The weather’s not great at kick-off blustery and cold the sun low also as Wisbech get the first half underway attacking into the weather wearing Red shirts and socks with black shorts. My first look at Ketton this afternoon wearing sky blue shirts with vertical white stripes, navy shorts and socks. Wisbech push on through the middle, Chloe Stanborough with a driving run to get up in support of Sophie Swinden and Amy Newell in attack, closing in on the area, Katie Altham stands her ground tackling to win the ball back for Ketton.

   A throw won high on the right Wisbech captain forces Ketton into conceding a corner, played in from the right the ball across the six yard box cleared at the far post. Ketton bring the ball on through the middle, Jane Roche on to Fran Kavanagh back to goal 30 yards out plays the ball wide to Sascha Smith breaking forwards on the left she drives inside ploughing her way forwards, four Wisbech players converge to stop her run.

  The wind at their backs Ketton’s forwards balls are proving difficult to chase down both Kavanagh and Claire Lawrenson finding the rolling ball picking up speed as it is caught by the wind as they run in behind the Wisbech defence. Lawrenson getting clear on the left into the area receives the pass from Smith on the wing, gets her shot away early past the advancing Amy Hepting keeping goal for Wisbech the ball racing wide across the face of goal. 

Ketton Ladies, Emma Ward

  Emma Ward pressing the ball as Wisbech try to get away on the wing wins a throw high on the right the ball on for Lawrenson she has support on the wing from Liberty Cook the ball into her squared inside with Roche making a central run, meets the shot first time 20 yards out her strike blocked inside the box by Katie Garner. 

  GOAL! A little over 10 minutes played and Wisbech take the lead, the hosts with the ball on the left wing put into Sophie Swinden 25 yards out, holds off Beth Goodman as she turns infield sends the pass on central to Newell the striker takes it on across the top of the D looking for an opening, checks her run superbly giving herself half a yard takes on the shot catching the ball well sending it arrowing in on target just under the crossbar to score 1-0.

Amy Newell with the opening goal for Wisbech Town Ladies

  Wisbech with the early lead the weather volatile to say the least strong gusts making the playing conditions tough, the notepad it taking a battering. On the attack, Newell tackled outside the area, Kowalewsky running on to strike the loose ball 25 yards out sends her effort wide. Kowalewsky busy on the right wing pressuring Ketton on the ball forces another corner. This one causing havoc inside the six yard box over the crowd attacking near post Jasmine Luckett beyond nods it back across, goalkeeper Georgia Ireland getting something on it as it’s knocked goalwards not cleared drops back over the keeper only to be hooked off the line Ketton getting their box clear. 

  Goodman coming on to halfway plays a great diagonal ball on for Smith coming in from the left strikes the ball from 25 yards out her attempt whistling over the bar. Conditions are tough the wind strong one moment gone the next keeping possession difficult, both sides seeing passes going awry. Stanborough winning the ball in the middle for Wisbech looking to get forwards support the attackers. Kavanagh pacy with or without the ball at her feet has it this time cutting in from the left shoots from the angle, Garner blocking. 

Ketton Ladies, Beth Goodman

  Wisbech make the first change of the match Naomi Lyons coming on in attack for Newell. Kowalewsky and Sophie Swinden combine for Wisbech on the right, Altman with Amy Gray stopping the cross the ball put back down the line for Chelsea King she lifts a high ball into the area, Goodman under it heading away for Ketton. Lawrenson coming into midfield pressures the ball winning possession sends it on a deflection of a defender seeing Kavanagh run in behind clear on the left powers on into the area, Hepting coming out to close the angle saves well as the ball is fired at her at close range. 

Wisbech Town Ladies, Sophie Swinden looking to get past Beth Goodman

  Ketton make their first change Claire Walpole on for Cook. Kavanagh is upended the visitors with a free-kick inside the Wisbech half to the left in front of the centre circle. Players go forwards line up across the top of the area Goodman with the wind at her back plays the ball in plenty of high on it the ball flies in over Hepting, Ketton think they have equalised much to their consternation however it is ruled out the flag up with three players encroaching before the ball was played one close on the keeper.

Fran Kavanagh on the attack for Ketton Ladies

  Lyons cutting inside with the ball on the left for Wisbech closing in on the area looks to send the pass across for Sophie Swinden looking to get in behind far post the ball intercepted by Altham. Walpole with a quickly taken throw down the right for Lawrenson she takes it on to the byline her initial cross cut out she gets a 2nd bite lifts the ball in towards the near post Ward arriving flicks a leg up to meet the ball turning it towards goal, Hepting is right behind it. 

  Stanborough plays the ball on for Sophie Swinden running up the right channel after ball checks back as the Ketton defence close her down rolls it out to Kowalewsky on the right wing she lifts it over the top with Swinden running into the area, Ireland reading the danger advancing to catch the ball. 

  Not much time left on the clock first half Ketton press the attack left Smith inside Kavanagh and Lawrenson close the ball don force an error Leah Hall putting the ball back to her keeper Hepting catching it inside her area, an indirect free-kick awarded on the six yard line for Ketton, Goodman forwards as red shirts flood the goal line for Wisbech the free-kick is charged down a Wisbech player down treatment needed a corner conceded, play resumes the ball in towards the top of the area headed clear, the half ends just as the weather takes a turn for the worst. 

Half-time Wisbech Town Ladies 1-0 Ketton Ladies

  A slender lead for Wisbech at the break have dealt wit the conditions better but have been playing into the weather first half the ball running away from Ketton making it difficult to stick in the final 3rd. Few chances created Ketton certainly aggrieved they aren’t level. Both stay out on the field the normally I tweet a few half-time scores out about this time but as it was I was in the eye of a tornado and standing up was tricky enough the sky dark rain falling. Any attempt to put an umbrella up futile. The game far from settled as everyone returns to the pitch for the 2nd half. 

  Ketton to get the 2nd half underway the ball put out to Smith on the wing wins a throw, the ball put into her feet turn inside, garner tackling the ball cleared as far as Roche lifted back into the box Kaylie Smith heading clear for Wisbech as the flag goes up. Up the other end Ireland saves well pushing the ball behind for a corner as Sophie Swinden gets in behind on the right side shooting from inside the box. 

  Just as quickly as the mini storm assaulted the ground, it gives way for the sun breaking through the clouds. Garner intercepts Smith’s ball as she tries to send Kavanagh through on goal. 

  GOAL! An early strike in the 2nd half and it goes to Wisbech who double their advantage the ball hotly contested in the middle, Sommerville then Stanborough the ball pops clear on the right with Sophie Swinden gathering it into her feet and driving on entering the area shoots early before Ireland can set herself, Swinden letting out a roar of celebration as the ball races past the keeper on its way into the back of the net 2-0. 

Wisbech Town Ladies, Sophie Swinden

  Ketton come very close to pulling it back to 2-1 moments later the ball played on up the left for Lawrenson the striker in behind takes the ball on into the area, Hepting coming to close her down, Lawrenson beating the keeper as she goes to ground taking the ball on into the six yard box looks certain to score from the angle the ball fired in, out of no where Kaylie Swinden gets back across the near post to get her head to the ball and send it behind for the corner kick. Wisbech defend the corner are brimming with confidence.

 Ketton make a change Gray coming off on in her place Ellie Cotterill. Newell is back on for Wisbech Lyons off. Newell winning the ball on for Luckett she pushes on, Danielle Usher tackling wins the ball back for Ketton. The visitors with a throw deep on the right Goodman with it into the box Ward with the cross looking for Smith top of the area Kowalewsky back to defend for Wisbech. 

Wisbech Town Ladies captain, Faye Kowalewsky

  Hepting brave coming across to slide in claim the ball as Kavanagh gives chase into the box on the right the pair coming together the keeper needing treatment is okay to continue. Hall with a good tackle stops a Ketton attack puts the ball on for Newell up the left wing the wind returning once again the gust giving Newell too much to do. Sommerville links with Stanborough breaking forwards through the middle for Wisbech, tries to play the threaded pass on for Sophie Swinden, Cotterill cutting it out for Ketton. The visitors getting frustrated, it’s not happening in the final third as they look to reduce the deficit. 

Ketton Ladies, Jane Roche looking to get the better of Wisbech’s Chloe Stanborough

  Goodman over a free-kick wide right a good delivery across the face of goal bouncing in the six yard box, Smith can’t quite reach it at the far post. Sophie Swinden plays the ball across the top of the area right to left, with Newell getting support from Hall behind her the latter putting in a decent cross towards the far post Swinden their, the flag up against her however. Sophie Swinden comes close once again positioned central 25 yards out the ball rolled into her feet she catches it first time her looping effort smashing down off the crossbar.

  Wisbech growing stronger as the 2nd half progresses, confidence high as the game moves into the final 20 minutes. Lyon rejoining the game in place of Luckett. A throw right side to Wisbech, Stanborough picking it up driving inside 20 yards out is clipped but stays on her feet advantage played as she gets the ball on for Sophie Swinden central she clips it in towards goal, Ireland taking it high right behind it. Into the final 5 minutes of normal play.

 GOAL!  Wisbech are on the attack pressing the ball outside the Ketton box the ball popping around Sophie Swinden with Lyons the ball falling straight into the path off Stanborough just outside the box right of the D meets t on the volley catching it sweetly a perfect strike little lift low to the ground flashes towards goal Ireland diving to her left the ball creeping in inside the post 3-0.

Wisbech Town Ladies, Chloe Stanborough

  More bad news for Ketton as Ireland is hurt trying to make the save may have collided with the post a lengthy spell of treatment follows, Ireland is thankfully up on her feet but can’t continue, Gray the player stepping in to don the keepers gloves. Into stoppage time now and quite a bit to be added with substitutions and injury breaks.

  GOAL! Gray has no time to bed in as Wisbech go on to score a 4th goal good work from Kowalewsky on the right off a throw turns inside puts the ball on for Sophie Swinden cleverly peeling into space on the wing with her captain drawing defenders to her the pass weighted perfectly Swinden shoots early sending the ball across keeper into the back of the net 4-0. 

Wisbech send on Rachael Simpson to join the defence in place of Kaylie Swinden. King receiving the pass central from Kowalewsky sees her high ball into the area drop onto the roof of the net. Hall tackles Lawrenson as she tries to drive in behind her on the right. Stanborough charging forwards with the ball through the middle shes her low shot blocked inside the area the rebound taking it away to the right Kowalewsky sending the cross in long to the far post Sophie Swinden on a hat-trick at the far post volleying over from 2 yards out. 

  GOAL! The miss a distant memory moments later as Swinden goes on to claim her hat-trick Wisbech all attack late on driving forwards Stanborough on central for Lyons her driven effort from the top of the area saved by Gray off the substitutes keepers thigh the deflection putting it behind her to the left Swinden there getting her foot over the ball to smash it into the goal beyond 5-0. 

  Ketton are deflated with moment left the weather cruelly deciding to behave late on too as Wisbech press the attack.

  GOAL! Time for one more goal from the hosts players forwards Stanborough with the ball wide right drifts inside from the angle I suspect it was meant to be a cross but it looked good as she floated a high ball into the area the ball finding the top corner at the far post to wrap up an emphatic result 6-0.

   Full time Wisbech Town Ladies 6-0 Ketton Ladies

  Wisbech Town Ladies reach the final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Division One Cup with a big win against their league rivals Ketton Ladies the final score 6-0. The weather playing a huge factor in the game conditions awful, we had a bit of everything in those 90 minutes, hardly what you need for any game let alone a semi-final. Wisbech adapted the better however and an early goal gave them confidence only growing with another early 2nd half as Ketton saw efforts rules out and denied by last gasp defending. A huge confidence boost for Wisbech to take into the final months of the season, played well from back to front.

  My first look at Ketton and I am sure this is not the performance they wanted, even without seeing them play before know they are better and no doubt this result will hurt, the scoreline certainly harsh with 3 goals added in injury time. The league to focus on now and they remain in pole position both games against Wisbech at home, the title still very much in their control, will bounce back even though today’s defeat will hurt.

   Congratulations to Wisbech Town Ladies on reaching the Division One Cup Final where they will meet St Ives Town Ladies Development who beat Burwell Tigers Ladies 3-1. Details of the final to be announced shortly.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few contenders all wearing red shirts this Sunday. Wisbech Town Ladies captain, Faye Kowalewsky setting the tone on the right wing both in attack and getting back to close down the ball. Sophie Swinden has always been a clinical finisher in front of goal and took her goals well this afternoon. Is just edged out to the award however by Chloe Stanborough right from the 1st whistle she was a threat driving on in midfield setting up numerous attacks aswell as disrupting those of her opponents, scoring 2 goals too is my Player of the Match.

 You ask yourself why do you do it sometimes especially on days like today, the weather was awful a bit of everything, but I know I’ll be back again next Sunday for more, been a tough old week and this is just what I needed. Good to see both sides in action my thanks to both for the team details as appreciated as always onto the next one.

Match Report – Milton Keynes Dons Ladies v Liverpool Feds Women

Sunday 3rd March

FAWNL Plate

 The football action this Sunday comes from the FAWNL Plate. The competition reaching the the last 4, with Milton Keynes Dons Ladies taking on Liverpool Feds Women, the prize for the winner a place in a national final.

  Gillingham FC Ladies play West Bromich Albion Women in the other FAWNL Plate semi-final.

   A Determining Round played at the start of the season to decide which FAWNL sides from a 6 divisions with play in, the winners of that game going on to contest the League Cup the losing sides entering the League Plate. Both competitions down to the last 4. 

  Milton Keynes Dons Ladies are newly promoted to the Southern Premier Division after winning the South East Division One title last season. Beginning to find their feet at a higher level, currently 10th with 4 league wins are well clear of the bottom 2. Have saved their best form for the cup. As well as reaching the FAWNL Plate semi-finals, have enjoyed a good run in this season’s FA Women’s Cup and are once again through to the Bucks and Berks Women’s County Cup Final a competition the club has dominated in recent seasons.

  A bye for Milton Keynes Dons Ladies in the 1st Round of the Plate, they were away to South West Division One side Brislington Ladies in the 2nd Round, a 3-0 win seeing them safely into the 3rd Round. A home tie against Midlands Division One side Bedworth United Ladies needing to be settled by an extra-time winner, Milton Keynes winning 2-1. At home once more in the quarter finals, just last Sunday a tough game against promotion chasing Keynsham Town Ladies from South West Division One, Milton Keynes 2-1 down with the clock running down Amy Gooderham levelling the scores with a last gasp goal to send the tie into extra-time. No more goals the game heading into a penalty shoot-out Milton Keynes edging it 6-5 to advance to the semi-finals.

 Liverpool Feds Women play in the FAWNL Northern Division One currently in mid-table and into the final of their own County Cup competition. Are looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Division one sides, Enfield Town Ladies and Luton Town Ladies in reaching their first ever National League final. Pushed Northern Premier Division leaders Blackburn Rovers Ladies all the way in the Determining Round just missing out on penalties.

   Into the Plate competition received a bye in the 1st Round. At home to fellow Northern Division one side Crewe Alexandra Ladies in the 2nd Round 2nd half goals from Jennifer Rogers and Demi Devereaux securing a 2-0 win. Onto the 3rd Round and another home fixture, a 3rd minute goal from Devereaux the different for Liverpool Feds as they beat fellow league side Chester Le Street Ladies 1-0 to set up a 3rd successive home tie in the quarter finals against Southern Premier Division side Middlesborough Women. 1st half goals from Jodie Mortimer and Carla Lee seeing them cause an upset against higher league opposition to reach the last 4.

 Milton Keynes Dons Ladies have from the beginning of this season played the majority of their home matches at Stadium MK itself. One of the leading football stadiums in the country aswell as hosting MK Dons the facility has hosted a number of national sporting events including England’s Lionesses. A fantastic venue to play at good for the Milton Keynes Dons Ladies as well as a great experience for all the sides visiting. A top quality playing surface and progress to let the women’s side use it on a regular basis. The weather a far cry from last weekend but that was the exception pretty much back to normal for the beginning of March, rain over night and falling for much of the journey down. Overcast and gloomy showers possible throughout the afternoon. Plenty of cover to be had inside the stadium.

 Milton Keynes Dons Ladies – Emma Kirby, Leanna Doyle (C), Louise Naylor, Laura Bright, Vicky Holland, Alice Hughes, Chlarizia Mia, Ellie Gough, Kerry Newman, Leah Cudone & Amy Gooderham. Subs – Sophie Shults, Charley Clarke, Sasha Newcombe, Charly Wright & Kim Farrow.

 Liverpool Feds Women – Meghan Pope, Rosie Kinvig, Abby Pope, Nicola James, Caroline Charlton, Jodie Mortimer, Chantelle Thompson (C), Amy Seagraves, Demi Devereaux, Jennifer Rogers & Carla Lee. Subs – Natalie Clark, Laura Bartup, Helen Griffiths, Mollie Farley & Emily Douglas.

It’s Liverpool to kick-off the Plate semi-final wearing an all navy kit, with Milton Keynes lined up opposite in an all white strip with gold trim. The visitors move the ball left forced to come back inside the ball played into centre back Nicola James on halfway her forwards ball intercepted takes a deflection of the defender sending it out into the right channel into the path of Liverpool attacker Jennifer Rogers 25 yards out she takes on the shot the ball racing wide of the post. 

  Liverpool making a positive start to the game flood forwards the ball left Demi Devereaux given the ball central lets fly from 20 yards Emma Kirby diving at her near post pushing the ball wide for a corner kick. The ball in towards the near post defended for a 2nd corner, this taken short Milton Keynes prevent the cross attempt to counter, Liverpool quick to close the ball down and regain possession. 

Liverpool Feds, Amy Seagraves

  Amy Seagraves on the ball for Liverpool takes it right has Rogers ahead of her, the pair joined by full back Rosie Kinvig back up the line for Seagraves she lofts a high ball in towards the top of the area the header won by Milton Keynes’ Chlarizia Mia. Liverpool have their opponents on the back foot early on pressing the ball and quick to launch attacks. Ellie Gough with the ball for Milton Keynes drives through the middle looks to thread the ball on for Amy Gooderham leading the attack, Liverpool captain Chantelle Thompson tracking back putting the tackle in to win the ball outside the box. The visitors get hold of the ball on the middle rolled out to Carla Lee moving left drives forwards into the area shoots the ball across the keeper strikes the base of the far post.

  GOAL! Liverpool have dominated the play in the opening 9 minutes and the pressure exerted brings them a deserved goal. Mounting an attack on the left Devereaux chasing the ball to the byline manages to send a cross in towards goal, Kirby down at her near post the ball squeezes through her and to her dismay is over the line before it can be cleared 0-1.

  A sluggish start to the game from Milton Keynes the goal conceded the jolt they needed, press on from the restart the ball from Gough into Kerry Newman left side head down she drives on, Caroline Charlton coming across to support Kinvig, no way through for Newman. A throw out on the right level with the top of the Liverpool box dropped into Alice Hughes, turns pushes on into the area past two players before shooting the ball held at the near post by Meghan Pope keeping goal for Liverpool. 

Milton Keynes Dons Ladies, Alice Hughes

  A free-kick won on halfway for Milton Keynes defender Laura Bright to play the ball up towards the top of the area, Charlton up with Gooderham winning the header for Liverpool. Gough with Newman to her left build it attack for Milton Keynes coming central, Gooderham looks to break in behind, Liverpool are quick to close down the threat. Devereaux bombing on down the left wing cuts inside unleashing a shot from outside the box, Kirby getting down making the safe gloving the ball away inside the box, no one on the follow up Bright sends it clear. 

  Seagraves along with Thompson and Jodie Mortimer working hard to close the ball down in the middle, break up any forward momentum Milton Keynes are trying to make. Seagraves winning the ball right plays in Rogers she is fouled a free-kick awarded the delivery to the far post long over the runners. Gooderham is away after the ball into the left corner cuts inside in an attempt to get into the area Charlton doing well up against her wins it back. Play spread by Milton Keynes for Leah Cudone on the right wing, Devereaux back to support Abby Pope the pair prevent the cross.

  GOAL! Milton Keynes get themselves back on level term with 23 minutes gone, the goal coming from a miscued ball at the back from Liverpool, Cudone intercepting the ball put across to Newman 25 yards out left of the D, time and space to line up a shot she hits it superbly, the ball flying in over the keeper kisses the underside of the crossbar on its way in 1-1.

   Is an entertaining game that has certainly got the crowd buzzing a good atmosphere amongst the supporters. Liverpool push on Thompson with the ball makes ground on the left before firing an infield ball in towards Lee 25 yards out central, doesn’t get the connection with the ball she was looking for her low effort on target but lacking the power or pace to trouble Kirby. A free-kick for Liverpool inside the Milton Keynes half the ball played into the area the header seeing the ball knocked down to the right six yards out Rogers peeling away unmarked sets her sights meets it on the volley her attempt fired wide.

Jennifer Rogers breaking forwards for Liverpool Feds

  Bright brings the ball on from the back for Milton Keynes sends it out to Newman on the left wing takes it on before sending a low diagonal ball into Gough outside the box her shot charged down by Charlton Milton Keynes beginning to exert some pressure in the final third the ball left played inside Gooderham right, Abby Pope doing enough closing her down to prevent he taking the ball on drops for Newman, she too is quickly closed down, the ball popping out to Gough he shot well over from distance. 

Liverpool Feds, Rosie Kinvig

  Seagraves brings the ball on right into Rogers closely marked by Naylor a clever back heel sends the ball on Seagraves after it cuts it back for Kinvig, she sends a cross from deep high into the box Lee in a central position six yards out gets her head on the ball, it loops up towards goal Kirby however can see it land on the roof of her net.

GOAL! Milton Keynes turn it around to take the lead in the 38th minute, the hosts winning a penalty as Naylor winning the ball in midfield plays in on for Gooderham getting in behind takes the ball on into the box left is closed down by Meghan Pope the goalkeeper saving at close range is grounded however as the ball bounces up for Gooderham about to take it on the sliding challenge comes in and the attacker is cleaned out the referee pointing to the spot. Captain Leanna Doyle to take, a good strike sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-1. 

Leanna Doyle scoring from the penalty spot

  Rogers with the ball left in attack for Liverpool has Lee inside her, Mortimer has gotten ahead of them both inside the D, tries to set up Lee making a run t o get past her into the box, Vicky Holland wins the ball for Milton Keynes. Cudone with good work with the ball on the right comes inside lays it off for Hughes central her strike from outside the area over. Both sides press late in the first half with defences coming out on top, Holland intercepting for Milton Keynes, Kinvig closing down Newman as she threatens to get forwards.

Half-time Milton Keynes Dons Ladies 2-1 Liverpool Feds Women

  A lively contest Liverpool with a fantastic start that gave them plenty of confidence, getting the lead their play deserved. It was the wake up call Milton Keynes needed after a slow start drawing level with a fantastic strike from Newman end the half leading 2-1. A lot of energy put into the game from Liverpool closing the ball down and positive in attack creating chances. Strong challenges starting to build as the half progressed Milton Keynes frustrated at times.

No changes for either side at half-time it’s Milton Keynes to get the 2nd half underway. The ball lost Liverpool get straight on the offence the ball with Devereaux on the left to the line she fires in a cross along the face of the six yard box the interception by Bright sees the ball cleared. Positive from both sides Liverpool counter Devereaux central laying the pass on for Lee she is marshalled wide left into the six yard box manages to get inside her marker take a shot the angle against her Kirby scooping it up at her near post. 

Laura Bright bringing the ball out of defence for Milton Keynes

  Cudone winning the ball right plays it inside to Gough lifted up into the area James clears for Liverpool. Devereaux with the ball left side comes central a constant threat, Holland clearing her ball into the area for a throw in. Thompson combines with Rogers on the right as Liverpool build in attack the cross squared in low Lee waiting on the penalty spot doesn’t connect with her shot.

  10 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Milton Keynes make the first change of the match with Kim Farrow coming on for Gooderham in attack. Liverpool pressing the ball high up the pitch won by Kinvig on for Rogers her cross into the area for Lee, cut out by Bright for a corner kick. A good delivery into the near post defended the ball headed on across goal runs out for a throw. Milton Keynes threaten to break Farrow with Newman on the left, Liverpool get the ball back to Meghan Pope. Newman attempts to thread the ball in behind for Farrow too much weight on the ball. 

Liverpool Feds, Carla Lee

  Rogers twists and turns with the ball getting into the box from the left looks to drill a ball in across goal, Kirby down the ball pops out of her gloves, the keeper pouncing on the ball before Liverpool can capitalise. An hour gone it’s Liverpool’s turn to make a change Rogers the player giving way on comes Emily Douglas. Seagraves on for Mortimer through the middle looks to release Lee, Bright can get across the attackers run shield the ball back to her keeper. Getting a little scrappy both sides pressing the ball now. 

  GOAL! Liverpool level the scores in the 64th minute… that’s about all I can tell you. Who scored? Liverpool put the ball in from the left into a crowed six yard box Kirby arms up to claim it the ball pops loose what follows it a goalmouth scramble, navy and white shirts all over the place the ball finds it’s way over the line, another own goal possibly, Liverpool don’t care they have the equaliser 2-2.

  That’s reached the volume levels amongst the crowd, Liverpool with a good amount of travelling support. Milton Keynes get on the attack from the restart the ball left put into the box caught safely by Pope. Doyle is shown a yellow card as she concedes a free-kick. The game in danger of spilling over passion showing from both sets of players. Cudone with the ball has Newman and Mia with her getting the return pass on the right is upended by Seagraves wins the free-kick. Hughes over it long to the far post headed back into the middle Cudone first to it can’t keep her shot down. 

Milton Keynes captain Leanna Doyle clearing the ball

 A 2nd change for Milton Keynes, Newman giving way on comes Charley Wright with 20 minutes left on the clock. Liverpool have their tails up getting back on level terms still full of energy. Holland frustrated with a decision against her on the edge of the penalty area ends up in the referees book. Put on from the left the hosts head clear. Hughes central plays it wide to Wright on the left taking it on fires the pass into the area for Farrow, good control near post turns into a shot Pope  saving well with her legs the ball spinning behind for a corner. 

Liverpool Feds captain, Chantelle Thompson

  Liverpool make their 2nd change of the match Lee coming off, Laura Bartup her replacement into the final 15 minutes. Cudone in behind on the right wing on for Gough she plays the ball into the box is over Farrow central, Wright racing in behind can’t turn it goalwards. Liverpool counter the ball through the middle on for Bartup, Bright blocking her shot. Cudone coming into the middle 30 yards out Farrow ahead of her looking to make a run left to right across the D, Cudone picks her out no shot on sees Gough in space to her right sends the ball on Gough striking her shot over the crossbar. 

Milton Keynes Dons Ladies, Leah Cudone

  Liverpool have maintained a good tempo throughout the match and sense the game is their’s for the taking push on Mortimer into Bartup she has a go from 30 yards out a deflection sending the ball behind for a corner on the right. Into the near post Kirby coming for it just about keeps hold of it. Charlton comes on with the ball for Liverpool finds Douglas on the right Kinvig has made a great run inside her forces her way into the box unleashes a shot Kirby diving pushes the ball wide at the near post. 

  Getting heated now into the final 5 minutes Liverpool are on the front foot late in the game, make a last change with Mollie Farley coming on for Seagraves. Farrow has made a difference since coming on for Milton Keynes seeing the ball into her feet turns and sends it on for Gough bursting into the area right the angle against her she blasts her riding shot into the side netting. Devereaux has a shot charged down for Liverpool the rebound inside box coming to Douglas to her right she slices it wide. Liverpool close the ball down high up the pitch frustrating their opponents. 

  Cudone is fouled wide right inside the Liverpool half, Milton Keynes making a change before it is taken, Sasha Newsome on for Naylor. The ball long into the area cleared by Liverpool. Alot of stoppage time played few chances created Mortimer with a high cross into the Milton Keynes area cleared by Holland, the final whistle goes and the semi-final goes into extra-time.

Full time Milton Keynes Dons Ladies 2-2 Liverpool Feds Women

Extra-time

  Both sides have made 3 changes but the new rules introduced this season mean a 4th substitute is permitted in the extra half hour of play. Liverpool with a tremendous effort to take it this far finishing the game strong, Milton Keynes to get the 1st 15 minute period of extra play underway. The ball squared into Newcombe attacking centrally for Milton Keynes she is stopped by Kinvig top of the area for Liverpool. 

  A shot from the left from Liverpool races wide at the near post. Douglas with the ball wide on the right plays an inviting cross into the area, claimed well by Kirby with Bartup closing her down. A corner for the visitors on the left the ball delivered into the near post knocked down through the crowd, Kirby down smartly on her line to claim it.

  GOAL! Liverpool take the lead on the 6th minute of extra-time, Mortimer linking up with Bartup through the middle bringing the ball on Mortimer playing it through into the box with Devereaux cutting inside from the left she hits it hard and low past the keeper into the bottom corner 2-3.

  Cudone pressuring the ball on the right gets inside to get a shot away Pope with the easy save.

  GOAL! A good response from Milton Keynes to falling behind find an immediate reply the ball won back in the middle play turned around Farrow running clear in the middle into the area can’t be caught closing in on the keeper slots the shot past her and into the back of the net 3-3.

  Thompson fires a stinging shot into the Milton Keynes goal form 20 yards out the ball bouncing out of Kirby’s gloves her defence getting to it first. Cudone pressing right whips in a low ball missed by the defender six yards out onto Farrow quickly turns and shoots the ball wide. Bartup skims the top of the Milton Keynes crossbar with a long range strike. Liverpool with a 4th change, Helen Griffiths on for Abby Pope. Charlton doing well inside the area to shield the ball from Farrow the ball in from the right Pope down on it.

Half-time extra-time Milton Keynes Dons Ladies 3-3 Liverpool Feds Women

  15 minutes left for one side or the other to find a winning goal or we will have a penalty shoot-out. Liverpool to get the game restarted. Cudone rushing in to claim a loose ball at the back, plays it on for Farrow a driving run is ended as Thompson gets back to defend. Players starting to go down with cramp alot of tired legs out there. Mortimer lets fly from distance Kirby dropping forwards to claim the ball. 

 GOAL! 5 minutes into the 2nd period of extra-time and Milton Keynes get themselves in front attacking down the left Wright with the cross in towards the near post a great height for Farrow gets up and twisting her neck powers her header across the face of goal to strike the inside of the far post and in for her 2nd of the game 4-3.

  Devereaux wins Liverpool a corner the late goal sapping their strength the ball played into the congested six yard box Milton Keynes scramble it away. Devereaux has the legs to get forwards for Liverpool left she dives her cross/shot wide at the near post. 

  Newcombe fouls Bartup 20 yards out in a dangerous position central. Bartup on it goes for goal Kirby gloving her attempt up into the air manages to punch it away as she’s closed down a corner won, Cudone back to cut it out. Milton Keynes break the ball with Farrow, Bartup gets back to defend Gough onto the loose ball right her cross behind. 

Full time extra-time Milton Keynes Dons Ladies 4-3 Liverpool Feds Women

  Milton Keynes Dons Ladies win the game 4-3 in extra-time to reach their first ever National Final. Coming out on top in the finish in a hard fought contest the 2nd game in a week that has gone into extra-time, penalties not needed this time. Were on the back foot for large portions of the game, frustrated by their opponents conceding early never got on top of their opponents, Farrow’s goals proving the difference in the finish. A successful weekend all round for the club with their U16 RTC making it to their 1st ever final too the FA Youth Plate.

A tremendous effort from Liverpool Feds Women pushing Milton Keynes all the way to extra-time, worked hard throughout, the better side easily for large spells a good start a deserved lead, 2-1 down at the break were never out of it and getting back on level terms forced the game into extra-time just running out of steam towards the end. Backed by a buoyant and vocal travelling support they can be proud of how far they have come.

Will be an all Southern Premier Division Final too with Gillingham FC Ladies beating West Bromich Albion Women 1-0 in the other Plate semi-final.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  They don’t get any easier it’s another tough one this Sunday in trying to pick the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. 9 times out of 10 it will be a player from the winning side but occasionally you can’t ignore the notes, which is why today’s award goes to a Liverpool Feds player, Demi Devereaux, a constant threat throughout the game full of running, getting forwards to influence the attack, in what was a great team effort.

 An enjoyable trip to the Stadium MK. Always nice to see another side for the first time an entertaining semi-final, Kept dry a bonus my thanks for Milton Keynes for their help with the team details and congratulations upon reaching the FAWNL Plate Final.

Match Report – Peterborough Northern Star Ladies v Wymondham Town Ladies

Sunday 24th February

ERWFL Premier Division

West along the A47 this Sunday afternoon for a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, 4th versus 5th with Wymondham Town Ladies travelling to play Peterborough Northern Star Ladies.

  Both side new to the league this season, Peterborough Northern Star moving across from the East Midlands Regional Premier Division. Wymondham Town Ladies promoted as ERWFL Division One North Champions.

   Peterborough Northern Star Ladies now a fully integrated part of Peterborough Northern Star FC. One of the leading sides in Peterborough which has a very strong and growing women’s football scene. A new Reserves side into their 2nd season. A new challenge moving across the play in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL). Amongst the sides likely to challenge for the title itself before the season started have plated as high as the FAWNL. Currently in 5th have games in hand on the sides above. Have lost just one league game to date that on the opening day to current leaders and unbeaten Cambridge City Ladies.

   Wymondham Town Ladies are doing very well following promotion to the ERWFL Premier Division. Up to 4th in the table and in a strong position to finish in the top half of the table in what is a strong league. Like their opponents have a Reserves side, and are one of the sides leading the way in women’s football in Norfolk. Scoring plenty of goals, 18-year-old Laura Nicholls has 34 already this season.

  Both sides involved in the semi-finals of their various County Cup competitions last Sunday. Peterborough Northern Star narrowly losing to local rivals Peterborough United 2-1. Wymondham going all the way to penalties against fellow Premier Division side Acle United Women winning the shootout 5-4 to reach their 3rd successive final and will be hoping to retain the trophy they lifted for the 1st time in their history last season.

  Peterborough Northern Star Ladies home ground is the Branch Bros Stadium. Situated in the north of Peterborough not far off the A47 itself. Set in a residential area has a community feel about it. A clubhouse leading out to the main pitch, two large sports fields either side. A snack bar serving hot and cold food and drinks. as for the weather SUMMER’S HERE! (Well in might be a bit premature) a lovely bright sunny and warm day in the final weekend of February. The coat can stay in the car, left my sunglasses at home needed them. The sun high over one end of the ground.

Peterborough Northern Star Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson, Frances Peeling, Larissa Frederick, Leah Barnes, Bronwyn Mulheron, Faith Horner, Emma Pollard, Chanade Henderson, Vicky Gallagher (C), Georgia Coulson & Cassie Steward.

Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Ashleigh O’Callaghan, Leah Newcombe, Bethany Fretwell, Chardonnay Johnston, Summer Ward, Kayleigh Holloway, Rachel Cossey (C), Alice Ladbrooke, Mollie O’Callaghan, Laura Nicholls & Hannah Waters.  Subs – Jorja Patterson & Rebecca Russell.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   The bare 11 available for Peterborough missing a few players including top goalscorer Katie Steward who has 15 so far this season. New signing Summer Ward and Chardonnay Johnston starting for Wymondham. Peterborough in their home strip, black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. Wymondham in their away colours, purple shirts and socks with red shorts. Peterborough to kick-off the 1st half, Wymondham with the sun at their backs.

   Straight away a competitive tussle in midfield the ball closed down, Alice Ladbrooke winning it for Wymondham the ball lost comes back to Emma Pollard for Peterborough central plays the diagonal pass long for captain Vicky Gallagher to attack on the right wing, Chardonnay Johnston can see it out of play for Wymondham. Wymondham make progress up the right Kayleigh Holloway winning a throw put inside pushed on to Ladbrooke she flicks the ball on into the area, Bronwyn Mulheron heading clear for Peterborough. 

Leah Newcombe after the ball for Wymondham Town Ladies

   Mulheron defending well again for Peterborough as Hannah Waters tries to get through into the area from a central pass the defender seeing the ball back to goalkeeper Sarah Hudson. Wymondham counter Ladbrooke winning the ball plays it on for Laura Nicholls central she lays it out to Holloway right, Larissa Frederick closing her down the fullback tackling the ball out for a throw. Peterborough attack with pace through the middle, Bethany Fretwell with a vital interception as Cassie Steward looks to run in behind. 

  Mulheron winning the ball at the back for Peterborough the ball long up the left wing for Georgia Coulson drives forwards wins a throw the ball inside to Pollard 25 yards out plays it across the face of the Wymondham area with Chanade Henderson picking it up moving across the D shapes to shoot, Johnston charging the ball down. The final ball a little too heavy from both sides early on, Wymondham get up the pitch a throw won players forwards the ball 25 yards out helped onto Mollie O’Callaghan the young midfielder drags her shot wide across goal.

Peterborough Northern Star Ladies, Bronwyn Mulheron

   O’Callaghan sets up a Wymondham attack her past forwards Nicholls spreads play wide to the right she drives up the line gets inside the fullback to fire a cross into the six yard box Nicholls arriving far post connects but can’t keep the ball down. Peterborough break with pace the ball with Pollard 20 yards out inside to Henderson she attempts to slide Coulson through into the area Ashleigh O’Callaghan in the Wymondham goal out smartly to make the save with her legs. 

Georgia Coulson with the ball for Peterborough Northern Star Ladies

  Both sides looking to spread the play not afraid to go from one side of the park to the other in their build up play. Wymondham have the ball left Ladbrooke on for Mollie O’Callaghan the pass swept out to Summer Ward breaking on the left the wing back getting into the box puts her shot straight into Hudson covering her near post. Holloway on the ball right breaks it in puts the ball inside to Waters she turns sends it on for Nicholls 20 yards out her first time effort looping up towards goal, doesn’t have the carry to trouble Hudson as she takes the catch. 

Peterborough’s Larissa Frederick with Wymondham’s Kayleigh Holloway

 Steward influential on the ball inside the Wymondham half looking for runners to get in ahead of her attempts a ball out to the right for Gallagher too much on it the keeper can claim. Steward gathering the ball into her feet on the left cuts inside driving towards the area takes on the shot her attempt blocked. Henderson with a good forwards ball into Coulson coming in from the left Fretwell defends for the visitors. 

Cassie Steward lining up a shot

 A free-kick on halfway for Wymondham as Ladbrooke is upended. Fretwell to play the ball in towards the top of the area over Waters central, Rachel Cossey making a good run gets her head onto the ball, the Wymondham captains looping header in on target safely caught by Hudson. Steward drives on down the right wing cutting inside into the box fires a rocket in low towards the near post o’Callaghan making a fantastic save with her legs, Steward tries to get onto the end of the follow up the ball behind for a goal kick. 

 Nicholls gets the ball out to Holloway on the right coming inside into the area Hudson coming to close the angle saves with her feet the ball loose, Holloway after it between Hudson and Frederick the ball is cleared for Peterborough. A throw on the right Wymondham pressing get hit on the counter the ball wide out to Steward left by the touchline does enough to get the ball beyond Fretwell, Pollard taking it on drives inside, Ladbrooke tracking back does well to regain possession for Wymondham. 

Emma Pollard with the ball for Peterborough

  Waters comes close to opening the scores for Wymondham, the visiting side attacking right Holloway on for Nicholls moving into the channel. her pass finding Waters closing in on the area in behind central, Hudson out to the top of her area Water looks to take it around her the keeper diving at full stretch managing to get her gloves to the ball, momentarily, Waters is still with it an open goal to aim at shots the ball running narrowly wide across the goal. 

  Wymondham looking strong as the first half draws to a close Peterborough a little frustrated passes not coming off as intended. A few niggly challenges out there. O’Callaghan is brought down very close to being a penalty right on the line left of the Peterborough goal. O’Callaghan picks herself up to take a dinked effort in on goal the ball landing on the top of the crossbar. 

Wymondham Town Ladies, Mollie O’Callaghan

  Holloway on the right delivers a high swerving ball into the area Ward far side attempts to cushion a header down back across the six yard box for Waters, Hudson nipping in before her gets her gloves firmly around the ball. Frederick gets forwards for Peterborough plays the past on into Steward she turns well to get in behind Fretwell into the area shoots, O’Callaghan saving well with her legs once again to deny her. 

Half-time Peterborough Northern Star Ladies 0-0 Wymondham Town Ladies

  Goalless at the break, both sides with chances to open the scoring, Waters for Wymondham. Ashleigh O’Callaghan twice denying Steward. The final ball rushed at times a committed tussle in the middle, Wymondham using their wing backs well. More clinical finishing needed 2nd half if either side is going to get their noses in front. 

Wymondham captain Rachel Cossey with Peterborough’s Chanade Henderson

  Wymondham with a change at half-time Mollie O’Callaghan the player off on comes Rebecca Russell. Peterborough to get the 2nd half underway the ball played out to Pollard on the right  she gets forwards as space opens up before her O’Callaghan out to the corner of her box gets down to claim the ball. Steward in a good position back to goal 20 out left of the D sees the ball int her feet does fantastically well to send the ball on into the box for Coulson bursting in behind from the left she shoots early the ball held by O’Callaghan at her near post. Cossey with the ball in the middle of the park for Wymondham out to Ward on the left she pushes on delivering a cross into the area Mulheron up to head clear for Peterborough. 

 GOAL! 5 minutes played in the 2nd half and the deadlock is broken. Wymondham win a corner on the left the ball cleared inside the box comes out to Steward left she takes the ball on over halfway Pollard is bursting on through the middle to get ahead of her the two combine Steward into Pollard she plays it out to Steward on the left wing in an advanced position she shoots from the angle plenty of power behind the ball in races past O’Callaghan to nestle in the back of the net 1-0.

Peterborough Northern Star Ladies, Cassie Steward

   Wymondham look to get forwards Russell on for Waters outside the area she turns into traffic Leah Barnes and Faith Horner closing her down to win the ball back. Frances Peeling closes Ward down as Ladbrooke wins the ball in the middle looks to spread the play. 

  GOAL! Peterborough build on their lead quickly making it 2-0 the goal starting with Henderson pressing high in the middle winning the ball her pass finding Pollard in space on the right 25 yards out plays it back infield into Steward central she does well 20 yards out back to goal to shift the ball beat her marker and turn and strike a shot back across the goalkeeper into the back of the net to make it 2-0 with a clinical finish.

  Wymondham make a change Jorja Patterson coming on in the place of Ward. The move sees Holloway come over to the left. Coulson attacking down the left swings a cross into the area Fretwell clears for Wymondham. The Norfolk side break the ball played on over the top with Nicholls breaking in behind right of goal takes the shot on early her attempt fired wide of the right post. Holloway on the left gets in behind drives to the byline cuts the ball back for Nicholls she tries to pick out Waters central Barnes charges her shot down.

  You’ll see it all the time in a game a winger trying to get in behind their marker the two shoulder to shoulder, Coulson on the left ends up on the ground play continues but is soon halted the Peterborough player clearly in a lot of pain. A serious injury suffered has landed on a snapped her wrist. A lengthy and necessary pause in play follows as she receives on the field treatment can’t be moved too quickly. Not nice to witness, the football doesn’t matter in these moments. Needs to go to A&E and of course with no subs Peterborough will continue with 10. Coulson up to her feet in carefully guided off the pitch.

  Almost half an hour delay before play resumes difficult now for both sides Peterborough needing regroup, Wymondham were on the back foot need to gather themselves too. Play a little disjointed at the resumption. Steward tries to release Pollard on the right, Johnston gets back on her to defend for Wymondham. Mulheron defends as Waters central tries to spin off her into the box. Ladbrooke is winning alot of tackles in the middle for Wymondham breaking up Peterborough’s momentum. 

Mollie O’Callaghan with Peterborough’s Faith Horner

  Nicholls is fouled 35 yards out in a central position, Fretwell to take a floated ball into the area, Hudson calls and lays claim to it. Hudson is then out to the top of her area to smother the ball as Waters attempts to run in behind through the middle. Johnston cuts out a pass a Henderson tries to play Gallagher in through the middle the rebound comes out to Steward 30 yards out left meets it on the volley her attempt wide of the mark.

Peterborough Northern Star Ladies, Chanade Henderson

   Fretwell does well under pressure from Steward through the middle to nod the ball back into her keepers gloves as Horner plays the ball forwards. Johnston on for Holloway ahead of her left side she drives forwards cuts inside shooting from 25 yards out Hudson making the save at her near post. Pollard wins the ball with a good challenge on the right plays it across the face of the area to Gallagher she puts it through the back line for Steward, she shots a hard driven ball but the flag is up it won’t count. Wymondham make a change Cossey the player off back on O’Callaghan.

   Barnes with the tackle to deny Holloway after Ladbrooke regains possession in the middle for Wymondham. A free-kick wide on the right for Peterborough the ball put into the area by Steward an inviting cross, O’Callaghan with a good catch not put off by Henderson closing her down. Counter attacking play from both sides Peterborough not interested on sitting on their 2-0 lead, Steward forwards, O’Callaghan winning it back for Wymondham pushed in with Nicholls finding space in behind closing in on the area, Hudson out to close her down the shot put past the advancing keeper, but so to the goal beyond. 

    GOAL!  Wymondham pull a goal back have the ball on the right side Waters driving on is tackled outside the area the ball loose O’Callaghan up in support first to it plays it inside to Nicholls top of the box she takes on the shot first time putting the ball into the back of the net across the goalkeeper 2-1.

Laura Nicholls pulls it back to 2-1 for Wymondham

  10 minutes or so left, Henderson and Gallagher look to combine for Peterborough through the middle. Newcombe defends for Wymondham. Gallagher gets up into the corner looks to hold play up Wymondham get the goal kick.

  GOAL! The scores are levelled Wymondham win a penalty kick as Waters carrying the ball in behind on the right is pulled down inside the area the referee pointing to the spot. Nicholls with the ball tacked under her arm the taker. The sun low behind the ground now the goal covered in shade she opts for power, Hudson guessing right dives but the ball is beyond her Nicholls with her 2nd of the game scoring the equaliser 2-2. 

  Peterborough straight on the attack after the restart the ball from Steward on for Henderson getting into an advanced position Fretwell doing well tackling to deny the chance. Gallagher yellow carded for a high foot that catches Newcombe in the face as both go for the ball, looked ugly but Gallagher did try to pull out as she released the ball wasn’t there to be won. Newcombe needs treatment on the pitch another pause in play she needs to come off Cossey returning to the action.

Wymondham Town Ladies. Alice Ladbrooke

 Into the last 5 minutes… a free kick to Wymondham, Fretwell with the long ball into the area Nicholls interested, Hudson though can claim it. Ladbrooke closing down breaks up anther Peterborough attack. Waters chasing the ball to the byline on the right wing cuts the ball back in across the face of goal Holloway at the far post, Peeling in ahead of her cuts out the threat for Peterborough. 

  Peterborough press forwards Henderson central to Gallagher her shot from 25 yards out is half blocked by Fretwell the sting taken out of it O’Callaghan gets hold of it. Steward halfway on for Henderson, has Peeling breaking up the right wing her cross in cut out by Johnston.

Full time Peterborough Northern Star Ladies 2-2 Wymondham Town Ladies

 The full time whistle blows and the points are shared Wymondham coming back from 2 goals down to level the scores. An action packed 2nd half. Peterborough starting well two well taken goals from Steward putting them 2-0 up. Injury to Coulson seeing a long delay and the hosts down to 10 with no subs to bring on. Wymondham coming back into it to get themselves a point. A tough result for Peterborough in a good position at 2-0 with 11 on the pitch may well have added more as Wymondham pressed. The visitors had to work had against 10 for the point nevertheless. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Was a committed tussle especially in the middle a few contenders out there and as are my rules can pick one and one only. Cassie Steward was influential in the final third and scored two great goals. Chanade Henderson also with some driving runs through the middle. Today’s award however goes to Wymondham’s Alice Ladbrooke had a very strong game in the middle of the park, breaking up attacks and protecting the defence, tracking back and timing of her tackles was superb.

  Enjoyed my first trip to the Branch Bros Stadium, sure the weather helped. The ERWFL rarely fails to deliver good footballing fare and today was no exception. Tinged with sadness of course to the serious injury to Peterborough winger Georgia Coulson, can only express my best wishes to her for a full and speedy recovery. My thanks to both clubs for their help with the team line-ups always appreciated.

 

Match Report – Thorpe United Ladies v King’s Lynn Town Ladies

Sunday 17th February

Norfolk Women’s County Cup

  Cup football this weekend on Women’s Football East, from the semi-finals of the Norfolk Women’s County Cup, Thorpe United Ladies v King’s Lynn Town Ladies.

  A strong line-up in the last 4 of the competition the prize for the winners huge as the Women’s County Cup Final this season is going to be held at Carrow Road the home of Norwich City FC.

  A repeat of last season’s final in the other semi-final with ERWFL Premier Division sides Acle United Women and Wymondham Town Ladies going head to head, an extremely tough game to call two strong sides. So to the other semi-final with Thorpe United Ladies twice winners of the County Cup themselves runaway leaders in Norfolk Women’s Division One at home to King’s Lynn Town Ladies playing on the league above ERWFL Division One.  A huge incentive for everyone today to get the opportunity to play at Carrow Road, the job might be trying to avoid that distraction and concentrate on the job in hand.

  Thorpe United Ladies are 15 points clear at the top of the league with just the one defeat in 11 played. The squad a good blend of experience and young talent. Have enjoyed themselves in the County Cup since it stood alone from Suffolk in the 2013/14 season have reached the final on four consecutive occasions two losses against Norwich City Ladies and then Acle United on penalties before back to back wins against Aylsham Ladies and Wymondham Town Ladies. Last season the exception an early exit to eventual winners Wymondham. A bye in the 1st Round were at home to fellow Division One sides Gorleston Ladies in the 2nd Round 2-2 after extra-time Thorpe won through on penalties. That set up a home tie against another Gorleston side Gorleston Rangers Ladies from Division Two, Thorpe comfortably winning the quarter final game 10-0 to book their place in the last 4 of the competition.

  King’s Lynn Town Ladies have never reached the County Cup final. Have risen rapidly through the leagues in their short history. Starting as Lynn Ladies merged with King’s Lynn Town FC, are now into their 2nd season playing in the ERWFL. In mid-table with a bit of a fixture backlog partly due to a their involvement in the County Cup. Began with an away trip to play Norfolk Division One side Sprowston Ladies, a 3-0 win were drawn at home to Dereham side Tavern Ladies in the 2nd Round ran out 6-1 winners to find themselves with another away trip to Sprowston in the quarter finals playing Sprowston Athletic Ladies from Division One that tie twice postponed due to the weather King’s Lynn safely negotiating the tie with a 4-0 win to reach the semi-finals.

The venue for today’s semi-final the Thorpe Recreation Ground, a large playing field home to a number of sporting clubs and activities. A number of pitches, a large open space can be bitterly cold if the wind is blowing but today it was much warmer hugely welcome, bright sunshine in a largely blue sky, just a slight breeze could leave the coat in the car for a change.

Thorpe United Ladies starting XI – Cara Anderson, Molly Howes, Natasha Leversley, Shannon Miles, Holly Peck, Chloe Young, Joanne Hooper, Laura Hedtke, Aneliese Smith, Molly Yong & Rebekah Lake (C). Subs – Sharnie Boast & Kirstie Andrews.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Robinson, Shanice Burch, Annie Rooks, Charlotte Griffith, Georgia Freeman, Natalie Wright, Becky Russell (C), Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Oksana Imanalijeva, Tiffany Forshaw & Rochelle Woods. Subs – Emma Corbyn, Olivia Baker & Chloe Burch.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A depleted starting line-up for Thorpe with a few key players missing, with a couple of injury concerns taking to the field and another having not played for quite a while. King’s Lynn themselves welcome back captain Becky Russell, playing again 9 weeks after giving birth to son Charlie, she played for Thorpe for several seasons too. Norfolk FA supplying 3 officials for the game. Thorpe to get the tie underway kicking off 1st half wearing pink shirts with black shorts and socks. King’s Lynn with blue shirts, yellow shorts and socks.

   The hosts send the ball up to the right channel goalkeeper Bryony Robinson out of her area to kick the ball clear. King’s Lynn look to build from the back the ball played across the pitch left to right, Natasha Leversley putting in the tackle for Thorpe to win the ball back from Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse on the right wing for the visitors. 

  The ball won in the centre of the park Russell sends it on through the middle for attacker Rochelle Woods a cushioned headers carrying the ball on into the area she gives chase right of goal, is closed down by Shannon Miles the defender challenging Woods, a corner the result. Hopkins-Duckhouse to take played low into the box near side Russell coming towards in sweeps the ball out of the area towards Natalie Wright position 25 yards out central doesn’t connect with her 1st time shot cleanly the ball hooked wide of goal.

   Hopkins-Duckhouse lively on the right early on for King’s Lynn picks up the ball tries to drive in field is instead forced wider by Leversley still manages to get a high ball looping into the area dropping far post, goalkeeper Cara Anderson taking it on the bounce despite being clattered by the onrushing Woods. Shaping up to be a good contest from the start, Thorpe aiming to get the ball up for captain Rebekah Lake the forward active across the whole front line making it difficult for one defender keep tabs on her. 

Thorpe United Ladies captain, Rebekah Lake looking to get in behind the defence

  Wright and Russell combine in the middle slick passing before Russell opens up her body to slide a pass in behind for Hopkins-Duckhouse running in behind, the pass a little heavy allows Anderson to gather inside her area, Thorpe quick to turn the play around Molly Young on the left with the early ball over the top, for Lake the striker after it, Robinson out of her area sharply once again to kick the ball away. Kin’g Lynn with a free-kick on halfway the ball up towards the top of the area into Woods she looks to turn and shoot the effort sliced is intercepted and cleared by Holly Peck. 

Thorpe United Ladies, Holly Peck

  King’s Lynn push on the right a throw won top of the area played into Russell she turns sends the ball in central to Tiffany Forshaw takes on the first time shot the ball spinning away off target. Laura Hedtke pushing on for Thorpe with the ball inside the King’s Lynn half aims to release Lake ahead of her, Georgia Freeman cuts it out for King’s Lynn. Pressure from King’s Lynn in the final third a pass for Hopkins-Duckhouse on the right intercepted by Leversley the ball not away a bit of pinball sees it pop loose central Forshaw 25 yards out running onto it can’t keep her strike down.

   King’s Lynn have Thorpe pushed back defending their box the ball popping around with not one given anytime on the ball falls to Russell 25 yards out left of the D catches the shot well on the half volley the ball swerving through the air on target favours Anderson as it the goalkeeper ends up right behind it to make the catch. Lake drives forwards on the ball, into the right channel wants to come inside instead is pushed wide by Charlotte Griffith, still manages to get a ball in towards goal the angle against her Robinson getting her gloves on it concedes the corner. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies captain, Becky Russell

 Russell is tackled by Joanne Hooper the ball out to Chloe Young right on for Lake her touch giving Annie Rooks the opportunity to slide in take the ball away for a throw. Oksana Imanalijeva on the left for King’s Lynn plays the ball inside for Woods the strike looks to play it on for Hopkins-Duckhouse bursting into the box on the right, Peck and Leversley close her down regain possession for Thorpe. Hedtke is doing well to pick out Lake ahead of her she in turn looking to turn the King’s Lynn defence, Shanice Burch sliding in to win the ball for the visitors. 

  GOAL! Just past the half hour the dead lock is broken, King’s Lynn taking the lead the ball over on the left the in field ball coming to Forshaw 25 yards out seeing it across her body strikes it sweetly the sun at her back the ball flies in towards the top corner over Anderson and into the back of the net 0-1.

Tiffany Forshaw with Thorpe’s Chloe Young

  Thorpe get down the other end a free-kick won outside the area on the left Hedtke over it the deliver long towards the far post area just evades the onrushing attackers. Thorpe make a change with Hooper the player coming off on comes Sharnie Boast. Peck with another piece of smart defending inside the area for Thorpe does well against Hopkins-Duckhouse as Russell plays a great ball to her from halfway. Hedtke in to block wins the ball in the centre circle lifts it on for Lake to attack in behind Robinson is off her line quickly claiming it at the top of the area. 

  Rooks with the ball on for Imanalijeva on the left the Lithuanian international coming inside is tackled by Thorpe’s Molly Howes the defender sliding in to take the ball. Aneliese Smith helps the ball onto to Hedtke in the middle Molly Young to her left the ball knocked into the channel, Freeman intercepts for King’s Lynn. Griffiths then goes in high catching Lake as she threatens to get into the box from the right, a free-kick awarded in a dangerous position, Hedtke on it a bouncing ball in the six yard box skips up for Molly Young far post gets her head to the ball but can only place the ball into Robinson’s gloves. 

 Hopkins-Duckhouse’s first touch sees her push the ball inside evading her marker travels further infield before unleashing a shot 20 yards out swerving through the air Anderson throws herself to her right, the ball just wide of the post. King’s Lynn finishing the 1st half strongly the ball won from a goalkick by Russell played into Woods in the area controls well a touch to shift it to her left and turn into a shot the attempt up over the crossbar. 

Half-time Thorpe United Ladies 0-1 King’s Lynn Town Ladies

  A narrow lead for King’s Lynn at half-time Tiffany Forshaw’s strike the difference between the sides. The visitors creating more in the final third have played well as a unit. Thorpe defending well have been under pressure Lake their outlet up front has lacked support, but is always likely to make something happen. King’s Lynn out onto the pitch early will need another goal you would think, Thorpe with only one defeat this season and that just 1-0 aren’t out of it by any stretch. The sun beginning to set a further problem for the teams to deal with 2nd half.

Bryony Robinson with the save for King’s Lynn

   Thorpe to get the 2nd half underway. Right from the off both sides a closing the ball down quickly. Forshaw and Imanalijeva look to link play on the left, Howes defends well for Thorpe. Up the other end Thorpe win a corner on the left off a free-kick the ball cleared back to the taker comes back into the box Robinson taking the dropping ball well under pressure inside her six yard box. The visitors break Imanalijeva on the left wing bursting forwards swings an early cross into the box Woods six yards out central is put under pressure by Miles, the ball dropping to Forshaw at the far post she stabs the ball forwards puts it wide. 

Thorpe United Ladies, Shannon Miles

   Good build-up play from King’s Lynn on the right the ball inside to Russell 20 yards out she shoots the strike straight at Anderson the keeper holding onto the ball. A corner to Thorpe on the left the ball played in central met by Leversley she turns it goalwards her effort cleared off the line, King’s Lynn attempt to break a crunching 50/50 on halfway between Miles and Griffith, Thorpe get the free-kick, Hedtke to play the ball forwards Russell winning the header inside the box.

   Less chances being created 2nd half, Hedtke in a deeper role for Thorpe, King’s Lynn are dealing with Lake better. Russell with the pass forwards for Woods outside the area right of the D turns well shoots the attempt wide across goal. Imanalijeva with a couple of surging runs 2nd half pushes on well down the left in behind sends a cross in along the top of the area is behind Forshaw runs on for Hopkins-Duckhouse taking it into her stride lets fly with a shot the ball wide at the near post.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Oksana Imanalijeva

   The chances are adding up for King’s Lynn pushing on down the right the ball on for Woods takes it to the byline cuts it back to the top of the area with Imanalijeva running onto the shot can’t keep it down. Forshaw with the ball forwards Imanalijeva the target with a run into the box left of goal six yards out her 1st touch lifting the ball inside over Miles the defender preventing Imanalijeva from shooting. Another change for Thorpe Smith coming off on comes Kirstie Andrews. Imanalijeva seeing alot of the ball now pushes down the left wing cuts it across the top of the area for Woods with her back to goal lays it back to Hopkins-Duckhouse who hits the shot from 20 yards out sees the ball race over the bar. 

Thorpe’s Molly Young with King’s Lynn’s Rochelle Woods

  The pressure building from King’s Lynn chances coming and going Thorpe have had little for the attack themselves 2nd half. Working hard concede a corner on the right a good delivery from Hopkins-Duckhouse into the six yard box straight to Forshaw, gets too much power into the shot her hands go to her face as she sends the ball over the bar. 

  Lake has the ball on the left wing drives on gets inside Boast making a run top of the area that side Lake sends the ball across Boast carrying it into the box King’s Lynn defenders slide in Boast it up ended as the challenge comes in the ball just about taken as both defender and Boast need treatment. Play resumes Lake with the ball wide right needs support in the box isn’t there as she gets a cross in. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Natalie Wright holding of Thorpe,s Sharnie Boast

  Wright winning the ball left on for Imanalijeva takes it on down the line plays in a cross near post Woods closely marked by Miles manages to get her head on the ball but it drops wide of the mark. Imanalijeva comes off for King’s Lynn on comes Emma Corbyn. Forshaw with Woods pushing on central out to Hopkins-Duckhouse right side she drills a shot in on the angle Anderson pushing it behind at the near post for a corner the game entering the last 10 minutes. 

Rochelle Woods with the header for King’s Lynn Town Ladies

  King’s Lynn giving away free-kicks, Hedtke on the ball left side plays it in high to the near post Robinson gloves it down claiming it at the 2nd attempt. Burch with a great lunging tackle to take the ball away from Lake as she enters the box almost played through by Hedtke. 

  GOAL! Hedtke wins Thorpe a fee-kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out left of the area. The ball played in towards the goal Robinson clawing it down the ball half cleared out to the left fired back in blocked by the rising Forshaw rebounds back out to the left and is smashed home by Boast to level the scores 1-1.

 Frustration for King’s Lynn, joy for Thorpe the visitors had their chances weren’t taken and Thorpe level the scores game on with a little over 5 minutes of normal time left to play. King’s Lynn attack from the restart Forshaw on for Corbyn left side her high cross into the area cleared by Peck. A cross from the right side is cleared straight to King’s Lynn’s Wright 25 yards out right of the D meets it well the strike narrowly wide across goal. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Charlotte Griffith

Griffith with a vital interception for King’s Lynn as the game become stretched in the closing moments, a late change for the visitors Imanalijeva returning for Corbyn on the left. Thorpe with a series of corners late on the 3rd one bringing the 90 minutes to an as we enter extra-time. 

Full time Thorpe United Ladies 1-1 King’s Lynn Town Ladies

  An entertaining game King’s Lynn had the chances to be out of sight 2nd half but didn’t take them, Thorpe in contrast with a backs to the wall performance finding a levelling goal late in the game. An extra 30 minutes to try and decide the winner or it’ll be settled by penalties.

Extra-time

  King’s Lynn with the setting sun low in the sky at their backs have kick-off in the 1st period of extra-time. Imanalijeva with the ball left tries to push on but can’t get the better of Boast. Imanalijeva played on by Rooks goes with the early diagonal ball for Hopkins-Duckhouse in the opposite flank, the ball just evading her as she breaks into the box.

 GOAL! Come from a Thorpe goalkick the ball intercepted by Woods she heads it down right side and drives into the box towards the byline cuts the cross back across the face of goal and finds Forshaw unmarked to rise and header the ball down past Anderson from six yards out 1-2.

  A positive start to extra-time from King’s Lynn press the attack Hopkins-Duckhouse upended a free-kick to King’s Lynn left side Russell with the diagonal ball into the area, Forshaw gets her head to it with Anderson coming in, the flag up for offside however play halted. Woods gets in behind on the right her cross too long for Imanalijeva coming in far post retrieves and looks to set up Forshaw inside the area her touch lifting the shot over. 

 GOAL! A free-kick defended Griffith carries the ball forwards for King’s Lynn into the Thorpe half sends it on for Hopkins-Duckhouse wide right is pushed wide, holds it up well in the corner gets support from Russell the ball played back to the central midfielder on the wing she swings in a cross that evades Anderson’s glove at her near post Forshaw running in behind with a simple close range tap in to complete her hat-trick and put King’s Lynn further in front 1-3.

A hat-trick for King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Tiffany Forshaw

   Griffith goes into the book for a tackle on Molly Young as she tries to take the ball on into the area. A free-kick 25 yards out on the angle left of the box Boast on it goes for goal on target but Robinson behind it gloves the ball down and holds. Wright with the ball on for Hopkins-Duckhouse up the line a low cross driven into the near post area Anderson cuts it out. Woods comes off for King’s Lynn on up front in her place Olivia Baker. Thorpe too with a late switch Hooper comes back on for Andrews. 

Half-time extra-time Thorpe United Ladies 1-3 King’s Lynn Town Ladies

  King’s Lynn getting the goals in the 1st half of extra-time with Forshaw completing her hat-trick to lead 3-1. Some much needed daylight alot for Thorpe to do as they get the 2nd period underway. The ball lost in the middle played on for Baker moving right is pushed wide by Leversley the cross comes in lacks power an easy gather for Anderson. 

  GOAL! Thorpe is brought down outside the area as she goes to retrieve the ball fired in from the left. 25 yards out Hedtke over it a good shooting position she takes it on a good strike the ball looping up threatening to drop under the bar, Robinson gets something on it but not enough to keep it out as it falls over the line. Game on once again 2-3.

  The sun low now light starting to fade King’s Lynn with the lead try to run the clock down taking the ball into the corner Hopkins-Duckhouse holding it up well. Another change for King’s Lynn Forshaw comes off, on in her place Chloe Burch. A free-kick on the right for King’s Lynn taken early by Wright on for Imanalijeva central top of the box Miles stopping her initial effort the ball loose to the right Imanalijeva after it drives a shot against the post it cannons back out into the area before being hooked clear. 

  Hooper tries her luck form all of 35 yards out on the left plenty of power behind her shot, but straight at Robinson covering her near post. Thorpe with a free-kick wide left the delivery into the near post area helped on into the middle Rooks with the no nonsense clearance for King’s Lynn. The visitors press late on Imanalijeva left inside for Baker 20 yards out tries to tee up Russell, she is tackled. Russell regaining possession takes it into the corner the final whistle blows and King’s Lynn are through to their first ever County Cup Final.

Full time extra-time Thorpe United Ladies 2-3 King’s Lynn Town Ladies

  An entertaining contest going all the way to extra-time, King’s Lynn with a narrow lead at half-time spurned chances in the 2nd half to put the tie to bed, Thorpe with a depleted squad putting in a great effort levelling the scores late in the game to force extra-time. King’s Lynn in the end needed Tiffany Forshaw’s hat-trick her two goals in the 1st period of extra-time crucial. King’s Lynn through to thier first County Cup Final and the first to be held at Carrow Road. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies through to their first ever County Cup Final

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Onto today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, and boy this is a tough on was a great all round team performance from King’s Lynn hard to pick one player but one must be chosen those are my rules. Tiffany Forshaw got the all important goals her hat-trick securing King’s Lynn a place in the final. Becky Russell was influential in midfield. Oksana Imanalijeva a threat on the left especially 2nd half. On the right Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse was a threat all through the game driving on with the ball created opportunities and showed good hold up play to bring others into the game, she is my choice for the award.

   Was spoilt for choice when selecting a County Cup match this Sunday and it seemed few disappointed. This one no exception. King’s Lynn will face holders Wymondham Town Ladies their game with Acle United Women ending 3-3 and going to penalties Wymondham winning 5-4 in the shootout. An enjoyable afternoon, congratulations to King’s Lynn and my thanks to both teams for their help with the teams always appreciated.

Match Report – Norwich City Ladies v Ipswich Town Women

Wednesday 13th February

FAWNL South East Division One

 A spot of midweek football action this Wednesday evening with a trip up the A47 to watch the East Anglian Derby match between Norwich City Ladies & Ipswich Town Women at Plantation Park the two sides meeting just 4 days after the men’s clubs went head to head at Carrow Road.

  Both these sides stalwarts of the FAWNL South East Division One as it’s currently known have seen it’s many guises over recent season’s remains the 4th tier in the women’s football pyramid. Both East Anglian clubs with ambitions to climb out of Division One and into the Southern Premier Division above.

 Ipswich lay in 7th spot going into this evenings game with Norwich a place and 2 points behind in what is a tightly contest league once again this season a real tussle for position in the middle of the table any team getting a run of results going likely to find themselves in the top 5 or higher such is the competition, Crawley Wasps Ladies aside who have a 100% after 10 played to lead the way look strong contenders for the title and promotion.

 A change of coaching personnel towards the end of last for Norwich, Grant Palmer in charge of the 1st team now. The side languishing at the wrong end of the season for a couple of seasons prior, have improved this campaign a good balance of youth and experience, fitness also worked on results and performances see them looking to push up the table instead off getting dragged into relegation zone. 4 wins to date in the league two of those coming under the lights including their 1st win of the season a 1-0 result away to Ipswich in the reverse fixture.

  Carla Dickinson taking over as 1st team manager at Ipswich Town Women at the beginning of the season worked with Grant Palmer at Norwich prior to taking on the head coaches role. Taking charge of a side challenging at the top end of the league recently, has brought in several new faces to the squad, amongst them Toni-Anne Wayne now enjoying playing an outfield role after keeper goal for Tottenham Hotspur Ladies for a number of season prior. Midfielder Ceira Flatt joining from Acle United Women, with two new signings announced on the eve of this evenings derby, Amy Nash and Georgia Box joining from Billericay Town Ladies, a over that sees Kerry Stimson and Laken Duchar Clark head in the opposite direction. Recent form against Ipswich with just the one point collected from their last 4 league games.

  A good atmosphere building at Plantation Park before the game the positive result for the Canaries on Sunday seeing the timing of this evenings derby match spot on, the club hoping the feel good factor will see an increased attendance and it looked positive with a crowd in excess of 230. The pitch at Plantation Park seeing plenty pf action, offering plenty of width is a good size the bar overlooking one goal a small seated stand along one side of the pitch. Has been a mild day, dry the evening air cooling but no chance of rain.

Norwich City Ladies starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Tigi Robson, Alice Parker, Sasha Diston (C), Laura Tacker, Jodie Drake, Millie Daviss, Reeanna Cook, Aimee Durrant, Kathryn Stanley & Natasha Snelling. Subs – Eliza McDonald, Keunna Dill, Christina Papadopolou, Rosie George & Chelsea Garrett.

Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Sian Fagg (C), Jac Ball, Gemma Moore, Hannah Petley, Florence Cage, Jordan Arnoup, Cassie Craddock, Natasha Thomas, Zoe Cossey, Amy Nash & Toni-Anne Wayne. Subs – Danni Clarke, Sophie Welton, Paige Wakefield, Ciera Flatt & Georgia Box.

 New signing Amy Nash starts for Ipswich with fellow new signing Georgia Box on the bench for Ipswich the visitors kitted out in blue shirts and socks with white shorts. Norwich wearing yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow and green banded socks the home side to kick off the game under the lights. The hosts playing the ball out to Aimee Durrant getting forwards on the right wing, Jac Ball dealing with the threat for Ipswich heading the ball back to goalkeeper Sian Fagg wearing the captains armband.

 Ipswich get straight down the other end the ball played on for Toni_Anne Wayne moving out to the right squares the ball back across the top of the Norwich area for Natasha Thomas back to goal she helps it on into the path of Jac Ball racing on on the left takes on the shot from the angle hits it well rising her powerful strike smashes against the crossbar.

Norwich build from the back the ball played on up the left side Kathryn Stanley giving chase, Gemma Moore getting to the ball just before the attacker clears it for the throw. Norwich look to plough a path through the middle of the park Millie Daviss with support from Reeanna Cook and Natasha Snelling, Florence Cage and Hannah Petley playing in the centre of defence for Ipswich close the door break up the attack.

The ball intercepted at the back Laura Thacker for Norwich playing the ball into Jodie Drake in midfield, sees the ball into her feet well turns cleverly sending an over the top pass on for Durrant breaking right, Fagg reacts quickly getting out to lay claim to it before the winger can pounce. A good tempo to the game both sides looking to move the ball quickly, Ipswich pressing Norwich.

Daviss and Cook look to combine through the centre of midfield as they drive forwards a tackle seeing the ball pop loose into the path of Snelling she sends it on over the defence into the area, Durrant alert to it however Fagg can safely claim it first. Jordan Arnoup picking the ball up in midfield for Ipswich plays a good early ball out to the right for Amy Nash to go after, Alice Parker recovering to get across her the full back can see it out for a goal kick.

Zoe Cossey moving right keeps the ball well beating three players as she looks to come inside the Ipswich attackers shot saved by Norwich goalkeeper Hope Armstrong at her near post the ball behind for a corner. The high ball in cleared back to the taker on the right side, Norwich winning in back look to counter, Cossey with a superb tackle regaining possession driving on from 30 yards out cuts inside closing in on the area unleashes a shot the dipping ball cannoning off the crossbar once gain.

   A couple of over exuberant challenges coming in both sides getting on with it however. Ipswich continuing their bright start attack down the left side a driving run and shot from Ball, Armstrong coming across her goal claiming it. Norwich starting to gain a little momentum the ball won in the middle, Jodie Drake on for Cook she plays the pass on for Durrant breaking forwards on the right wing her cross/shot into the area held safely by Fagg at her near post.

  GOAL! 15 minutes on the board and Norwich take the lead strong build-up play in the middle the move beginning with Cook a powerful run forwards on the ball support from Daviss to her right the two drive on the ball played into Snelling back to goal 20 yards out central, holds it up Cook continuing forward moves left the ball coming into her she controls to take the ball away from her body and setting herself curls a fine strike past the keeper and into the back of the net 1-0.

    Cook with good work to win the ball once again in the middle looks to release Stanley on the left side, Florence Cage getting out to her to tackle and regain the ball for Ipswich. Nash doing well on the right an experienced player able to get the ball in behind her full back the tempo remains high Norwich pacy in their build up play. Snelling peeling away to the left sees her cross into the area taken by Fagg. Cossey looking to take something happen in the final 3rd lays the ball inside for Cassie Craddock the midfielder closed down by Norwich captain Sasha Diston outside the area.

   Daviss wins the ball in the midfield is quick to play the pass on for Snelling breaking forwards moving right, Ball defends for Ipswich. Snelling back to goal outside the area sees the ball into her feet holding off her marker lays in back for the onrushing Drake her shot charged down by Hannah Petley. Craddock with the pass to pick out Nash getting clear on the right she squared a cross along to top of the Norwich area the ball cleared by Laura Thacker before Wayne can reach it.

  The ball is pinging about in midfield as players from both sides close each other down, Ipswich managing to get it clear on for Nash running away on the right closing in on the byline lays the ball back inside Wayne taking on the first time strike can’t keep her shot down. Cage with some great defensive work closing down Snelling as Stanley breaking on the right plays the ball inside to the attacker. Cook lifts the ball on central for Snelling looking to bring it down under control as she closes down Cage the Ipswich defender doing well under pressure to deny a shooting opportunity.

  A free-kick for Ipswich wide right level with the top of the Norwich area the ball fired into Nash position top right hand corner she drives a shot in through the crowd, Armstrong seeing it late down well to parry it away the ball loose latched onto by Thomas hits it hard close range Armstrong making another great stop to stop Ipswich levelling the scores with less than 10 minutes of the 1st half left to play. 

  Norwich get up the other end a throw won on the right dropped into Daviss she surges forwards knocking the ball on trying to get into the area Snelling with her the door shut the ball cleared is latched onto by either Cook or Drake 25 yards out a low shot driven in coming through bodies Fagg is well positioned to drop and claim the ball. Norwich finishing the half well pushing forwards Stanley into Snelling more good hold up play before sending the pass out to Drake making a run right of her takes on the shot lacks the power trouble Fagg. A good tackle from Tigi Robson stops a late Ipswich attack as the visitors look to break in behind on the wing.

Half-time Norwich City Ladies 1-0 Ipswich Town Women

  Norwich holding the slender lead at the break. The game played at a good tempo the half racing by. Ipswich starting well striking the woodwork twice and denied too with a terrific double save from Armstrong. Norwich grew into the game good build-up play purposeful and with pace Cook taking her goal very well to see the hosts leading. All set up for another intriguing 45 minutes play.

  Norwich making a change at half-time Stanley the player subbed on comes Chelsea Garrett, making her return after a 3 month long injury lay off. It’s Ipswich to get things underway in the 2nd half.

   GOAL! The ball played out to the right wing, Robson over that side now winning the ball for Norwich put up field centrally Garrett running onto the ball breaks in behind and races for the box let’s fly from the top of the area the ball racing past Fagg and into the back of the net, a perfect start to the 2nd half for Norwich and a scoring return for Garrett moments after coming on 2-0.

  A blow for Ipswich right at the start of the 2nd half, no time to get into place any game plan talked about at half-time. Norwich gaining confidence Durrant getting clear on the right wing driving on sweeps a cross in centrally, Cook getting her head on it top of the area left of the D the ball looping up and wide of goal. Cossey as busy as ever in the middle off the park gaining possession running on putting the ball on into Wayne she spins tries to play the ball on for Nash to get in behind on the right, just too much weight on the pass. 

  Cossey central brings the ball on laying it out to Nash left of her outside the Norwich area Arnoup central, Nash plays her in she sends it out for Thomas breaking into the area to her right comes inside shooting from close range Armstrong making the blocking save. Ipswich make their first change of the game with Craddock coming of Paige Wakefield coming on. Garrett adding a threat centrally in attack for Norwich, Snelling coming left the midfielders sitting back more. Thomas pushes on down the right, in behind Robson, Diston coming across slides into the challenge the ball out for a throw. Cossey gathering the ball turns and drives towards the top of the area, strikes the ball well her effort fired wide across Armstrong’s goal. 

  Durrant is finding space on the right as Ipswich push up played in behind she is quick on the ball taking it down the line fires an inviting ball into the six yard box Garrett their looks set to turn it in but for the timely arrival of Moore the right back with a fine piece of defensive work in a dangerous area. Ipswich with a throw high on the right into Wayne given to Cossey she comes inside along the top of the area slips as she goes to shoot the ball harmlessly through to the keeper. Nash this time wide on the left for Ipswich taking the ball to the byline fires a ball in across goal Wayne meeting it first time the shot blocked Thomas closed down as she tries to latch onto the loose ball.

   Just over an hour played and Nash’s work is done for the evening a good debut. Her replacement Sophie Welton who takes up a position on the right. Soon after Norwich make their 2nd change Snelling coming off on comes Christina Papadopolou, the Greek player making her 3rd appearance for Norwich. 65 minutes played.

  Norwich playing the better 2nd half pushing forwards well as a unit win a corner right side the ball delivered into Garrett position central outside the box turns the ball into the box her low strike racing wide of goal. Ipswich win a free-kick inside the Norwich half, Arnoup over the ball plays it high into the box, Diston under it heading firmly clear for Norwich. The game opening up Ipswich counter attack Wakefield getting furthest forwards tries to take the ball on into the area is stopped by Thacker, Norwich turning the attack around counter themselves Durrant still full of energy bursting away right side fires a low cross into the area Cook meeting it 8 yards out her near post shot saved well by Fagg pushed behind for the corner. 

  Norwich are getting stronger as the 2nd half progresses Ipswich looking a little disjointed are getting out of shape a few last gasp challenges made as Garrett breaks forwards with support to her left and right, Arnoup going into the book following a strong tackle sliding in 25 out. The resulting shot from the free-kick dropping wide of goal. Welton getting forwards on the right for Ipswich her cross into the box gets through the defensive comes into Thomas unexpectedly gets a first time shot away the attempt sliced wide of goal.

Durrant clear again right side as a deflected ball in the middle loops in behind the Ipswich defence, Cage  and then Ball get back to defend, trying to get out Norwich close the ball down regain possession in the final third the cross played in Garrett with the shot central the ball claimed by Fagg. Cossey has picked up a knock comes off with 12 minutes to go, Georgia Box coming on to make her Ipswich debut. Durrant is showing no signs of fatigue breaks away right again lays the ball in central Garrett attempting a deft header for Papadopolou, the ball headed clear by Petley.

   Wakefield links up with Welton on the right for Ipswich the midfielder laying the ball out to the winger receiving the return pass inside the area her shot held by Armstrong covering her near post. Norwich remain lively win a corner right side a good delivery into the six yard box Fagg  doing well amongst the crowd to get a firm fist on the ball. The ball collected far side the ball back in a tackle seeing it deflected behind for another corner, Norwich taking the opportunity to make a change it’s the taker Durrant coming off, on in her place a Keumma Dill for her first Norwich appearance studying at the University of East Anglia is a Burmudian International.

  The corner coming in high claimed by Fagg she launches an attack Ipswich getting the ball out to the right, Parker over that side winning the tackle for Norwich the ball out for a throw, end to end in the closing stages of the game, Garrett breaking with the ball tackled by Cage, the ball put up field Box has it left outside the box Ball around her on the overlap played in her low cross fired into the area cleared by the back tracking Drake. 

 GOAL! Into the final five minutes a free-kick to Norwich on halfway the ball played out to the left onto the path of Cook the young midfielder driving forwards turning towards the area and shoots a powerful strike racing past Fagg into the bottom corner to assure the 3 points for Norwich 3-0. 

  The hosts remain full of energy Cook combining through the middle with Garrett central Cage putting an end to the move. Dill with the ball right cuts it inside with Cook running on, she attempt to slide the ball into the area for Garrett, Fagg can lay claim to it before the attacker. One last attack for Ipswich the ball played on Wayne doing well chasing it down top of the area holding it up getting the pass into Box arriving left side her shot scooped up into the area taken cleanly by Armstrong. 

Full time Norwich City Ladies 3-0 Ipswich Town Women

  3-0 win to Norwich the 3 points seeing them leap frog Ipswich in the South East Division One and leaves them just a point off the top half. By far the stronger side in the 2nd half an early goal in the 2nd period helping the cause working well together gaining confidence and maintaining great energy levels throughout. Enjoy playing under the lights this their 3rd league win this season in mid-week. Buoyed by a good sized crowd wiling them on. Were clinical in their chances with 3 well taken goals.

  Ipswich starting the game well creating opportunities and could have had the lead themselves. Became a little disjointed as the game wore on not reading each other as well as Norwich were, individuals at times plenty of talent it wasn’t happening for them tonight.

 Breaking news as I finish up this match report with Carla Dickinson stepping down from her role as Head Coach, sorry to hear and wish Carla all the best for the future.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few contenders for Norwich, will mention Zoe Cossey for Ipswich first some great runs with the ball is hard to tackle when she gets going created several openings. For Norwich a fine double stop from Hope Armstrong. Aimee Durrant might have stopped running by now a threat on the right all game especially 2nd half. Chelsea Garrett with a immediate attack kept the Ipswich defence busy. Reeanna Cook gets the award however with some fantastic work in midfield winning the ball getting involved in the forward play adding pace and urgency to the attack and taking her two goals superbly.

  An enjoyable game under the lights good to see a decent crowd, my thanks to both clubs for their help with the teams.

Match Report – AFC Wimbledon Ladies v Bristol City WFC

Sunday 3rd February

FA Women’s Cup

Longest journey of the season to date this Sunday a road trip south the watch the FA Women’s Cup 4th Round match between AFC Wimbledon Ladies & Bristol City WFC.

  35 places and 3 leagues between the sides the biggest gap of all 16 ties in this Sunday’s FA Women’s Cup reaching the 4th Round stage where the big guns from the FAWSL & Championship enter the competition. AFC Wimbledon Ladies one of three FAWNL Division One sides to reach the 4th Round along side South East counter parts and league leaders Crawley Wasps Ladies and Keynsham Town Ladies 2nd in the South West league.

  AFC Wimbledon Ladies currently 6th in what is a hotly contested top half battle in South East Division One are relishing & excited for the what they know will be a tough test at home against a side from the top tier of women’s football. Have made history already reaching the 4th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup beating higher league side Hull City Ladies from the FAWNL Northern Premier Division 3-0 away from home. Showing good form in the cup competitions are also through to the last 8 of the FAWNL Cup. This there sixth game in their historic cup run

 As Bristol Academy, Bristol City WFC were one of the founding members of the FAWSL and have seen the league undergo many changes in it’s relatively short history. The latest being the top tier of the women’s game going fully professional. Tanya Oxtoby’s side comfortably established in 5th position in the 11 side league. Has been a while since I’ve seen any FAWSL football, the clubs closer to home keeping me busy but have always had a soft spot for Bristol enjoyed many trips down to their Stoke Gifford Stadium home in the past. The standard has increased year on year and an intrigued to see how much it has risen.

AFC Wimbledon Ladies played their home matches at Carshalton Athletic FC. A 3G playing surface soon I guessed it would fair better with the previous few days inclement weather. A good size the stadium tucked away in a residential area. A large terraced stand along one side of the pitch another seated stand opposite a bar and large clubhouse, hot and cold refreshments a tidy layout with a decent sized crowd building. The weather quite good actually bright and sunny after a cold start blue skies.

AFC Wimbledon Ladies starting XI – Edie Kelly, Rosie Russell, Sian Kylie, Kelly Highman, Hannah Billingham, Becky Mclaren-Johnson, Jess Trimnell (C), Rebecca Sargent, Caroline Bisson, Georgia Heasman & Jenny Nagle. Subs – Megan Kowalski, Lindsey Clarke, Sarah Wentworth, Katie Stanley, Hannah Baptiste & Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins.

Bristol City WFC starting XI – Eartha Cummings, Gemma Evans, Heather Payne, Danique Kerkdijk, Julie Biesmans (C), Poppy Pattinson, Carla Humphrey, Poppy Wilson, Abi Harrison, Katie Robinson & Juliette Kemppi. Subs – Sophie Baggaley, Loren Dykes, Frankie Brown, Lucy Graham, Rosella Ayane & Jess Woodley.

Pre-match handshakes

It’s the visitors Bristol to get the game underway 1st half wearing red shirts and socks with white shorts, Wimbledon it their all blue kit, a bit of eager encroachment seeing the kick-off retaken.

  GOAL! The quickest goal of the weekend I suspect and certainly the quickest recorded in a match report on Women’s Football East. Bristol playing the ball out to the right back position the diagonal ball is long probing to the left Abi Harrison, Bristol’s latest signing making her first start picking the ball up into her run as she ghosts in behind into the area shapes to shot sending a low driven shot across the keeper and into the goal beyond, her 1st goal for Bristol, 12 seconds played 0-1.

Bristol City WFC’s Abi Harrison

Certainly not the start you want as the underdogs, a blow so early in the game no time to implement a game plan the visitors able to settle early a goal to the good. Wimbledon look to play the ball long for Caroline Bisson on the right hand side straight from the restart, Poppy Pattinson can see it safely out for Bristol. The visitors quick to counter the ball with Pattinson left side on for Poppy Wilson making a run forwards into the left channel, Kelly Highman getting across her run to see it out of play safely for Wimbledon. 

  Bristol on the front foot right from the off make ground on the right the cross flashes into the area, Highman gets a boot on it knocks it out to the top of the area comes straight to Wilson she connects with it sweetly the ball clattering off the post right back into Wilson path no time to control can only put the follow up over the bar. Bristol finding room on the flanks pushing Wimbledon back Carla Humphrey with the ball it her moves right before sending a cross into the box, Sian Wylie clears inside her six yard box for Wimbledon the ball picked up by Wilson 20 yards out her shot back in straight at Wimbledon goalkeeper Edie Kelly.

AFC Wimbledon Ladies, Sian Wylie

  Most of the play inside the Wimbledon half, Bristol invited to come on Wilson combining with Humphrey in the middle the pass out to Katie Robinson breaking down the right, her attempt to cut inside stopped by Wimbledon full back Rosie Russell. A melee in the box ends up with goalkeeper Kelly down needing treatment, Humphrey’s cross from the right initially cleared by Highman, falls to Wilson can’t quite getting over the bouncing ball to  smash a clean shot in Wimbledon get it away.

  Bristol overload the right as they attack the ball squared inside across the top of the area helped on comes to Wilson her low shot driven in low held by Kelly. A rearguard action from Wimbledon early on standing off Bristol inviting pressure the FAWSL team able to let their full backs get forwards, captain Julie Biesmans and Danique Kerkdijk at the back able to pick their passes often the only themselves along with goalkeeper Eartha Cummings in their half. Another ball into the area from the right side, Kelly goes to ground as Juliette Kemppi closes her down the pair come together the keeper manages to hold onto the ball, as Highman gets around to cover behind. Kelly needs treatment but is okay to continue. 

Bristol City WFC captain, Julie Biesmans

  Bristol will be used to a high tempo game the ball squeezed decision making often forced a different story at the moment players looking up deciding what option to take willing runners left and right, Humphrey coming for the ball moving into gaps Wilson able to push on through the middle, Jenny Nagle leading the line for Wimbledon has little to feed on and is pushed back into her own half much of the time. Billingham jumps well inside the box to get her head on it and clear for Wimbledon as Robinson puts a ball in from the right. Kemppi fouled outside the box right of goal, Biesmans over the free-kick goes for goal her attempt still rising as it goes over.

   GOAL! 23 minutes played and Bristol’s dominant start to the game brings them a second goal, Harrison and Pattinson linking up on the left wing Pattinson running in behind with the ball fires a vicious ball across the face of the Wimbledon goal Katie Robinson arriving far post half a yard on her marker to smash the ball into the back of the net and make it 0-2.

Katie Robinson on the attack for Bristol City WFC

Gemma Evans with the ball at the back decides to go on a forwards run cutting inside on halfway laying the pass into Pattinson, her run forwards halted by Wimbledon’s Becky Mclaren-Johnson. A corner for Bristol right side taken short up the line the cross/shot driven in Kelly with an excellent fingertip save to take the ball up over the bar for a 2nd corner. Hannah Billingham heading clear for Wimbledon. Humphrey has the ball at her feet right of goal all of 30 yards out strikes it well her shot whistling wide across goal. 

AFC Wimbledon Ladies, Rebecca Sargent

  Bristol’s good start has silenced the crowd but there is a passion clear amongst those gathered and when they see their side getting stuck in they’re ready to will them on, Nagle putting the tackle in on half way to win the ball Rebecca Sargent looking to burst through with it stopped by Evans. Mclaren-Johnson winning the ball back as she is pushed onto her defence. 

  GOAL! Bristol get a 3rd goal their central midfielders combining Humphrey sending a great diagonal ball on for Wilson making a run towards the top of the box, beats two defenders effortlessly to get herself clear into the box, left of goal sends her shot racing across the keeper to nestle inside the side netting 0-3.

Poppy Wilson driving forwards with the ball for Bristol City WFC

   Wimbledon haven’t had much of the ball let alone in their opponents half Georgia Heasman trying to get forwards on the right but as quick as the Bristol full backs are to join the attack their wide players are back to help in defence. Bristol come left Harrison with the cross into the area for Kemppi looks to get turned for a shot Billingham in to close her down. Wimbledon captain Jess Trimnell plays the ball on for Nagle, Bisson in close support the crowd willing them on run into traffic the game open for a moment Bristol play it forwards Highman in to win the tackle. The biggest cheer of the day goes up when the referee takes a tumble.

AFC Wimbledon Ladies, Jenny Nagle

  Late into the 1st half a rare attack for Wimbledon Nagle out to Heasman on the left Russell on the overlap gets forwards down the line but Bristol prevent the cross as the referee blows for half-time. 

Half-time AFC Wimbledon Ladies 0-3 Bristol City WFC

  As easy a first half as Bristol have ever played, have had the majority of the ball and that in the opponents half. Taking such an early lead settled any nerves they might have had have been able to get forwards at will since, rarely threatened in attack, created numerous chances and taking a goal lead into half-time. Wimbledon haven’t had a single shot at goal even created a chance, have defended deep stood off thier opponents, very unusual as they are usually a high pressing in your face side who are at their best on the offensive. The early goal no doubt not in he game plan but will need to do something be more positive in the 2nd half if they wish to get anything out of the tie. A big ask at 3-0 down. 

 

  A change at half-time for Bristol, Robinson picking up an injury replaced by Rosella Ayane. Wimbledon with a positive intent straight from the start kicking-off the ball forwards with Heasman, on to Nagle looks to hold it up is tackled. Mclaren-Johnson nipping in to win the ball back, Trimnell too. Give away a free-kick right the ball played in high his claimed well by Kelly. Wylie clearing a Bristol corner. Wimbledon get the ball forwards win a throw right side put into Trimnell who takes the shot on from distance plenty of power behind it Cummings can see it wide of her goal. 

AFC Wimbledon Ladies captain Jess Trimnell after Bristol’s Poppy Wilson

  Wilson with the ball out to Harrison running on left side her ball into the box picked up by Kemppi right of goal, Highman sliding in to take it away from the attacker before she can get a shot away. A more open game 2nd half Bristol still have more of the ball but Wimbledon quicker to close it down get players in support of Nagle. Mclaren-Johnson very proactive in the middle Sargent looking to get forwards. Bristol come right Heather Payne getting forwards in support of Kemppi the pass back to the full back the cross in towards Humphrey getting into a central position stoops into the header her looped ball on target but caught by Kelly. 

 Wimbledon make a change Nagle coming off up top to be replaced by Katie Stanley with an hour played. If Wimbledon do manage to get away on either flank the run is short lived Bristol have pace in abundance and put it to good use to recover the ball. Kemppi this time back to tackle and put the ball out for a throw. Stanley is tackled in the final 3rd Bristol counter quickly the ball left the cross in long gathered by Harrison right side looks to tie up Humphrey central connects well her shot arrowing in just swerving away from the top corner. 

Bristol’s Carla Humphrey leaping clear of the tackle

  Bristol make their 2nd change, Pattinson coming off on comes Scottish international Frankie Brown. Harrison puts the ball on for Wilson central she pushes on, Mclaren-Johnson in to tackle and win the ball well outside the box. Heasman comes off for Wimbledon on in her place Megan Kowalski. Bristol remain strong are still holding a high line getting down the flanks crosses left the right dealt with by the Wimbledon centre-backs. Bristol not afraid to go direct either when the opportunity presents itself breaking up a Wimbledon move outside their box the ball played up into Harrison on half-way controls well turning plays a great pass on for Humphrey breaking on in behind only a good starting position from Kelly denies her a chance as the keeper claims on the top of her area. 

  Bristol come on the cross low into the area Kemppi right of goal tries to bring it down and turn into the shot Highman sliding in makes the block, the rebound comes to Ayane her shot from outside the box blocked by Wylie as Bristol push bodies forwards. Stanley does well inside the Bristol half to win the ball support from Kowalski in front of the centre circle, her pass long finds Bisson running in clear on the right, Cummings has had little to do but is alert going to ground on the edge of the area to get something on the ball play however is halted by a raised flag.

Less than 10 minutes left a change for both sides, Hannah Baptiste coming on for Wimbledon replacing Trimnell. Jess Woodley on for Bristol replacing Harrison. Kelly with another fine finger tip save turning the ball up over her crossbar as a Bristol shot is driven in from distance. The corner right side a good delivery no one attacking it far post. Wimbledon mount an attack Bisson a threat on the right if she can get forwards a great ball fired into the six yard box Russell furthest forwards tries to get there, Kerkdijk getting in front of her clearing the danger for Bristol.

Bristol City WFC defender, Danique Kerkdijk

Woodley sees the ball into the back of the net for Bristol off a corner on the left, won;t count however as the officials flag is raised. Kelly sees a poor kick out land straight at Kemppi’s feet left of the area she takes a touch to get it out of her feet drags her shot wide of goal.

  Wimbledon with a throw right side comes on into the top of the Bristol area finds Kowalski she lays it back to Mclaren-Johnson her ball back in cut out spins to Stanley right of the D, her first time shot is dragged wide of the target. Bristol finish the game strong, mounting an attack the ball into Kemppi tackled by Highman then Billingham slides in to charge a shot down from Wilson. 

Full time AFC Wimbledon Ladies 0-3 Bristol City WFC

  A goalless 2nd period a much improved performance from Wimbledon, the damage down in the first half, Bristol able to sit off in the 2nd half with a 3 goal lead. Played well dominated without really being tested at the back, weren’t pressed when on the ball, case of choosing the right options and that was made easier by good movement and use of space in front of them. Training full time have the edge when it comes to fitness good on the recovery when needed.

  Wimbledon’s fine FA Women’s Cup campaign comes to an end, not how they would have wanted a great achievement getting this far in the competition history made, should make you hungry for more. The early goal certainly playing a part, hold out for the first 10/15 minutes the confidence grows you start to ask questions and with their passionate supporters ready to will them on…  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time for today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Edie Kelly with some fine saves and Becky Mclaren-Johnson two stand out performers for Wimbledon this afternoon. Bristol were dominant for much of the game playing the game inside their opponents half. It’s a straight shoot-out between their central midfielders, Poppy Wilson making some great forwards runs joining the attack and getting in behind when Wimbledon were looking to keep it tight through the middle took her goal well. Carla Humphrey edging it however, finding some great space moving right with a useful range of passing, getting into some great attacking positions unlucky not to score herself is today’s Player of the Match.

Been awhile since I’ve travelled south of the Thames for a game, enjoyed it though even if the trip out of London wasn’t fun, halfway home decamped at a hotel to get the report written tonight. The Draw for the 5th Round to be make live on TV tomorrow evening, several ties postponed this weekend. Nice to see Wimbledon at home at last, a nice venue, a tasty bacon bap and a much needed cup of tea. My thanks for the clubs help with the teams today.

Match Report – Hertford Town Ladies v Bishops Stortford Ladies

Sunday 27th January

ERWFL Division One

Back to the football after having weeks rest, a trip down to Hertfordshire this Sunday to watch a game I’ve had pencilled in the diary for a while from ERWFL Division One, Hertford Town Ladies v Bishops Stortford Ladies.

  The Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL) having two divisions steps 5 & 6 of the women’s football pyramid. 12 teams contesting the Premier Division, 12 teams contesting Division One, back to a single division this season having been split North & South last season. Started with 13 the league has sadly lost Ipswich Wanderers Ladies due to lack of numbers, sadly a feature that is affecting women’s football across the board right now.

   Today’s sides at the wrong end of the table Hertford currently the bottom side, Bishops Stortford 10th. Followed each other into the ERWFL winning the Beds & Herts Women’s Division One title, Hertford in 2015/16, Bishops Stortford the following season. Two sides that rose rapidly through the county leagues have hit the buffers somewhat since joining the ERWFL

Hertford showing signs they are starting to turn the corner, Danny Barley taking over as manager towards the end of last season. Have a new home venue Wodson Park Sports Centre. A multi-sports complex next to Ware FC. Looks a impress partner to become associated with and plans are afoot for Hertford to be renamed in time for the new season. Have a grass pitch surrounded by a running track and access to a 3G pitch too. Had suffered due to lack of numbers have addressed that balance a new crop of players coming in to bolster the squad Rhianna Patmore, Chloe Ring, Georgia Turville, Megan Sende and Dempsey Favell amongst the new arrivals. Got their 1st league point on the board last Sunday a very good result a 1-1 with unbeaten St Ives Town Ladies at home.

  Bishops Stortford are struggling for committed players right now and are continuing to fulfil fixtures despite not being able to always field a starting XI, injury adding to that too. Just the 10 last week away to Newmarket Town Ladies, a commendable performance taking the lead but eventually lost 4-1. Together from youth level and successful they rose all the way through the age levels into women’s football, there as can often happen with a youth side climbing into women’s football there are loses to university. Since then Bishops Stortford have struggled to get results 3 points on the board so far. 

  It’s a windy one and very chilly with it, the hats on for the first time this season and I’ve brought the umbrella but how I’m going to hold it down if it does start raining I don’b know gloomy and overcast. Fingers crossed the rain stays away. The main pitch deemed too wet due to the overnight rain the game to be played the 3G pitch, a good size room for spectators down one side. The Sports Park offering the usual facilities. 

Hertford Town Ladies starting XI – Ellie Morris, Zoe Garvey, Megan Sende, Rhianna Patmore, Christie Seakens (C), Lauren Barnard, Georgia Turville, Chloe Ring, Olivia Worsfold, Katie Williams & Donna Watts. Subs – Nicola Davey, Karen Staples, Carly Snell, Dempsey Favell & Clare Pavett.

Bishops Stortford Ladies starting XI – Teigan McHale, Matilda Attridge, Rebecca Bull, Chloe Haken, Samantha McComish, Brogan McHale (C), Heather Martin, Poppy Kelly & Hollie Tate.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  As you can see from above straight away the visitors are at a huge disadvantage, arriving late not much time to prepare have just the 8 to take to the field with one on the way. Hertford with their new additions have twice the number available. The 3G pitch on a elevated position the hollowing wind is assured to play a huge part in the game a to some regards be something of a leveller. Bishops Stortford to get the game underway wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts blue shorts and socks with Hertford lined up opposite wearing sky blue shirts with a navy band across the front, navy shorts and socks.

  Bishops Stortford playing into the wind first half, Brogan McHale playing the diagonal ball out to Poppy Kelly attacking right drives at the Hertford defence, Megan Sende standing her ground putting the tackle in at left back. Bishops Stortford quick to close down Matilda Attridge into win the ball onto McHale, a great pass long to the right for Kelly crosses early, won by Rhianna Patmore at the back for Hertford. Kelly lively early on gets her head down prepared to run at players wins a throw in. Play across to the left side the pass inside to McHale given time shapes to shoot 30 yards out the ball wide of the upright. 

Bishops Stortford Ladies, Matilda Attridge with Hertford’s Zoe Garvey

 The wind at Hertford’s back isn’t necessarily helping forwards balls for the attackers running on difficult to chase down aiding the Bishops Stortford defence. Chloe Haken blocking a ball inside box for Bishops Stortford sees Hertford with a corner right side the ball crossed into toward the near post high for Donna Watts to try and bring down and turn and shoot, won’t come down Bishops Stortford see the threat away. Hertford unsure where best to exploit their opponents lack of numbers possession football very difficult with the wind press Bishops Stortford into their own half the 8 doing well enough in the opening exchanges. 

Hertford Town Ladies, Donna Watts bringing the ball down

  Balls that are played in behind would create problems on another day but the wind again makes these balls difficult to run down. Heather Martin coming back to win the ball for Bishops Stortford as Zoe Garvey brings the ball on from the back on the right for Hertford. Hertford come close to opening the scoring the ball fired in low across goal, Teigan McHale wearing the gloves today making a smart save with her leg at the near post of Chloe Ring, the ball loping up comes at Katie Williams quickly gets a touch the ball falling wide of the post. 

GOAL! The hosts open the scoring launch an effective counter attack, Lauren Barnard carrying the all on through the middle a threaded ball through to Watts moving right into the area McHale coming out to close the angle the striker shoots McHale saving with her legs going to ground, the rebound coming straight to Ring following Watts into the box from the right sends the ball back in across the empty goal and I think the ball is over the line at the far post even though Williams sliding in makes sure 1-0.

Hertford Town Ladies, Chloe Ring looking to keep the ball in play

Hertford look to press the advantage Olivia Worsfold puts a low ball in from an the right intercepted by Haken. Ring getting into the area twists and turns wins a corner the ball in from the right cleared out of the box falls to Garvey 25 yards out tries to lift it in over the goalkeeper, drops short into her arms. Worsfold sees a pass wide left into her feet left of the D turns into a shot the low ball running straight to McHale to claim low. A change for Hertford Georgia Turville off on comes Carly Snell.

Bishops Stortford Ladies, Brogan McHale

  Bishops Stortford defending for the majority in their own half have the ability to hit on the counter do just that the ball won the pass played early for Kelly bursting away on the right is clear goalkeeper Ellie Morris comes running out of her area to close her down, Kelly gets her shot away beating the keeper the ball heading for the goal beyond strikes the base of the near post. Calls for a foul as McHale is brought down outside the Hertford area, none given Hertford counter, the through ball for Ring clear right side Teigan McHale coming to close the angle Ring shoots the keeper getting her leg in the way of the ball sees it spin away across the face of the six yards box Watts getting a touch the ball spins away from goal wide. 

Samantha McComish heads the ball clear for Bishops Stortford

  Up the other end Broghan McHale is still down needs treatment, the wind is really hollowing now is bitterly cold. A few strong challenges coming in Kelly bundled off the ball. Hertford attack as Christie Seakins brings the ball forwards Worsfold looking to combine with Watts up top the wind ruining the move. Hollie Tate arrives Bishops Stortford have 9 on the field. A flowing attack from Hertford’s attacks Watts with it right 20 yards out plays it inside for Worsfold inside the D she lets it run on for Williams coming in left side hits a fierce shot in on the angle McHale making a great one handed save to palm the rising ball behind for the corner. Broghan McHale off for repairs has a bloody knee, vaseline applied she’d back on. 

 GOAL! The lead is doubled, from the set-piece the delivery good from the corner falls to Williams far post shapes to shot is blocked at pointblank range the ball spinning away to the to left hand corner of the area straight to Snell catches it well lashing the ball into the back of the net 2-0.

Hertford Town Ladies, Carly Snell

  A committed performance from Bishops Stortford’s 9 players are getting a few knocks for their efforts, Rebecca Bull the latest needing treatment. Hertford are enjoying the majority of the possession but no one is being afforded any time on the ball. Samantha McComish breaking up a Hertford attack. McHale combining with Kelly up front the latter forcing her way through in behind left the ball squared into Haken can’t turn as she is quickly closed down inside the D. Calls for a penalty as Snell appeared to be body checked inside the area but the appeals are waved away. 

Half-time Hertford Town Ladies 2-0 Bishops Stortford Ladies

  The half-time whistle blows and Hertford head into the changing rooms leading the game 2-0. Not good conditions for playing football the wind playing a huge part, have gotten the goals putting themselves into a good position to build on 2nd half know the wind will be against them 2nd half should see the through balls hold up better. Have the player advantage to which will be a factor as their opponents begin to tire. Bishops Stortford for their part have done very well a shortage of numbers everyone needed to step up to the plate and has, in their own half for much of the game came close to getting a goal themselves, pressed well and wind will be in their favour 2nd half.

Changes at half-time with Nicola Davey and Dempsey Favell on the field for Hertford at the start of the 2nd period the hosts to get us underway. A little lull in the wind but it won’t last long. Bishops Stortford win the ball come away on the left a driving run first by Kelly then picked up by McHale she is dispossessed outside the area the ball though coming to Martin, she has a shot 20 yards out the ball held by Morris in the Hertford goal. Tate is fouled going forwards McHale encouraged to have a go from 30 yards out the ball deflected wide for the corner. The visitors making an encouraging start to the 2nd half. 

Poppy Kelly on the attack for Bishops Stortford

  Hertford build on the right side a Ring pushing on in behind sends a cross in along the face of goal Williams arriving far side heads the ball wide. Favell with a great low ball through for Worsfold to go after bursting into the right channel, McHale comes early racing in intercept just gets there for the attacker, momentum keeps to keeper coming on gets a 2nd blocking tackle in as Ring is right behind Worsfold. The hosts starting to get a hold of the game push Bishops Stortford back into their own half once more. The visitors making she last gasp blocking tackles in and around their area, Bull, Attridge and Haken all called in to action. 

  GOAL! Hertford extend their lead a goal started ad finished by Worsfold the ball with her left side over halfway combines well with Favell breaking forwards the diagonal ball inside to her feet, Worsfold running on into the box receiving the return ball opens up her body to curl a low shot in McHale gets something in it but Worsfold gets a 2nd bite and makes no mistake 3-0.

Olivia Worsfold looking to win the ball for Hertford

  Kelly carries a real threat with the ball at her feet for Bishops Stortford attacks right is stopped by Seakens outside her box the ball played on for Favell a flowing attack she turns the ball on into the area for Worsfold peeling into space between the defence shots McHale going to ground making another good save with her legs. Williams comes off for Hertford on come Clare Pavett. The hosts have Bishops Stortford penned into the final 3rd, the wind holding the ball up in the air as Snell lifts in on for Worsfold left side she gets it up across the six yards box Ring racing in sees her shot charged down. Sende with the ball looks to get in past Worsfold on the left Bull sliding in wins the ball. Ring comes off for Hertford on in her place Karen Staples. 

  Favell plays the ball on for Pavett left side her cross inside to Worsfold central lets it run on for Snell she unleashes a shot 25 yards out, gathered by McHale. The light is starting to fade and the wind is getting stronger, won’t sit on the corner spot for Martin.

 GOAL! That though is the cue for someone to hold the ball still for the kick taker as Bishops Stortford are awarded a free kick all of 40 yards from goal the win at her back Bull over it has a go McHale laying beside the ball an outstretched finger holding it still, works as Bull catches it well the shot on target looping up and with the wind adding to the pace is over Morris before she can adjust 3-1.

Rebecca Bull with the goal for Bishops Stortford

Hertford continue to push players on Staples drifting out to the right sends in a cross/shot from the angle looping down at the near post a difficult on for McHale to deal with gets a glove to it turning it behind for the corner. The corner headed over by Davey. Into the last 10 minutes Bishops Stortford get some joy wide right winning a corner a great ball in across the six yard box by Martin isn’t attacked. 

Hertford Town Ladies, Nicola Davey

 Broghan McHale onto a loose kick out from the keeper sends a shot back in low left of the D, Morris setting herself has it covered. A free-kick wide on the right for Hertford the ball driven into the area with pace Favell gets a bullet header on it central, Teigan McHale with a fantastic one handed save especially as her body shape is taking her the wrong way. 

  GOAL! Space opening up late in the game the light fading fast Hertford attack right Davey on for Favell, good hold up play 20 yards out turns her marker to get inside drives a cross into Staples in space to the right of goal, she smashes a shot in towards goal defenders racing across to block it takes a nick and that carries it past the keeper and in 4-1. 

  Not long left Hertford finish strong Favell on for Snell right side shoots from the angle the ball skipping up of the surface claimed by the keeper. 

Full time Hertford Town Ladies 4-1 Bishops Stortford Ladies

  4-1 to Hertford Town Ladies they win their first league game of the season 4 points from the last two games taking them off the bottom of the table. A promising start to 2019 as they look to rebuild and become a force in the league. Exceptionally difficult conditions today the wind just meant there was no opportunity to get the ball down and play which would have tired their opponents out quicker, always hard to against a side without 11 on the field they will work all the harder simply because they know the have to. Patience usually paying off though.

  Full credit to Bishops Stortford a great effort from start to finish, 4-1 perhaps a little harsh one them, to start with 8 and keep their opponents from scoring a hat full of goals. The wind in their case suited them today the ball not going to stick to anyone. Great commitment shown and I’ve heard nothing but praise before seeing it for myself. If they can just get a few more committed to the cause they have got a fantastic core of talent to build with.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A tough day for playing football no doubt that wind just awful. Credit to Bishops Stortford for the work rate through out the side. For Hertford Carly Snell made a impact upon coming on scoring the 2nd goal, Dempsey Favell too influential in the 2nd half finding pockets of space bringing others into play.  Today’s award however goes to Olivia Worsfold, her link up play excellent and always looking for opportunities up front for herself and others, the wind in her favour 2nd half she got herself into some good attacking positions and scored too.

  Good job I love what I do, it was bitterly cold out there today that wind simply the worst cut right through you, glad to be in the warm this evening. Enjoyed it though I can never predict what I’m going to get and glad I don’t. My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams today much appreciated.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v AFC Wimbledon Ladies

Sunday 13th January

FAWNL South East Division One

The football action this Sunday on Women’s Football East from the FA Women’s National League, Cambridge United WFC v AFC Wimbledon Ladies in South East Division One.

The two promoted sides Crawley Wasps Ladies and Billericay Town Ladies getting off to a blistering start, to lead the way Billericay with 5 straight wins to start life at the higher level, Crawley Wasps have yet to drop a point 9 wins from 9 whilst continuing on in the cup competitions. A 5 point lead at the top for Crawley over 2nd placed Billericay, a further 4 point gap to the chasing pack where it is very tight just 3 points separating 3rd to 7th.

Cambridge United WFC would dearly love to be amongst that mid-table cluster but instead find themselves looking nervously over their shoulders 3rd from bottom, they are in need of the league points. Have played less matches than everyone else in the league, largely due to involvement in various cup competitions that have actually seen them play just 3 league matches since the end of September, that coupled with postponements and the sides around them getting games in and picking up points pushing them down the table now into 2019 league points are the priority. Win those games and they are back amongst the mid-table battle.

AFC Wimbledon are the side leading the chasing pack in South East Division One currently in 3rd spot. Finished runners-up in the league last season, leading for the majority before Milton Keynes Dons Ladies winning their games in hand eventually overhauled them to win the title. A slower start this time around, it has been the nature of the league this season that any team getting a run together can propel themselves up the table. Wimbledon doing just that at to climb up to 3rd.

Are enjoying success in both the FAWNL Cup and FA Women’s Cup. Beating higher league sides to progress in the FA Women’s Cup, Southern Premier Division side, Portsmouth FC Women in the 2nd Round and just last Sunday a 3-0 away win against Hull City Ladies of the Northern Premier to reach the 4th Round of the competition for the 1st time in their history where they have been drawn at home to FAWSL side Bristol City Women.

Wimbledon are also into the quarter finals of the FAWNL Cup beating today’s opponents Cambridge United WFC at home 2-1 to advance. The two sides sharing a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season.

Mildenhall Town FC, Cambridge United WFC’s home ground. A sloping pitch from one goalmouth to the other as I’ve mentioned before. A wide pitch plenty of space to exploit. Another gloomy day cloudy, a light drizzle in the air prior to kick-off. The bar open, hot drinks and food available.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abigail Davies, Holly Northfield, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Jemma Moore, Amy Howlett, Vicky Neal, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Kelley Blanchflower (C) & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett & Charlotte Crisp.

AFC Wimbledon Ladies starting XI – Edie Kelly, Rosie Russell, Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins, Sarah Wentworth, Hannah Billingham, Kelly Highman, Becky Mclaren-Johnson, Rebecca Sargent, Georgia Heasman, Katie Stanley & Caroline Bisson (C) Subs – Linsey Clarke, Sian Wylie, Megan Kowalski, Jenny Nagle & Hannah Baptiste.

It’s Cambridge to get the 1st half underway attacking up the slope wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks Wimbledon lined up opposite all in blue. The visitors quick to press the ball from the start won in midfield played back to Sarah Wentworth the central defender sending it long, striker and captain Caroline Bisson spinning in behind, goalkeeper Savannah Smith out to the ball early kicking it clear for Cambridge.

Wimbledon busy in the opening minutes of the game pressing looking to move the ball quickly and spread play, Rebecca Sargent putting herself about in midfield, sets up the first opportunity winning the ball in the middle spreading play out to the left wing Katie Stanley coming inside bringing the ball down shapes to shoot 30 yards out the attempt looping up into the air drops wide of the Cambridge goal.

Cambridge struggling to get anything going in the final 3rd in the early stages win a throw high on the right, captain Kelley Blanchflower with a driving run with the ball into the box, Hannah Billingham clearing the ball for the visitors. Wimbledon have Cambridge penned in their own half Sargent with some powerful runs supported by Becky Mclaren-Johnson and Kelly Highman, the ball fed into the left channel, Kayleigh-Anne Burt coming across to defend put the ball out for a throw.

Wimbledon come again building from the ball the defence on the halfway line the pass into Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins left side she attempts a through ball to unleash Bisson, well intercepted by Jemma Moore in the centre of the Cambridge defence. Wimbledon win a corner on the right side the delivery in towards the near post headed on across the area by Billingham looping down at the far post Wentworth stretching for it can’t direct her effort on target behind for a goalkick.

Is developing into a scrappy battle in midfield both sides press the ball pinging back and forth it suddenly squeezes through in behind Bisson latching onto it slides into a shot before Burt can close her down 20 yards out the ball is knocked up and whistles past the top right corner. All Wimbledon have Cambridge pushed back a free-kick won wide right Billingham over the ball a great effort fired in bounces through the six yard box no one able to provide a telling touch.

Billingham is hurt moment later looking to seeing the ball out for a throw Mollie Coupar pressing her for Cambridge sliding in the resulting tangle of legs seeing the Wimbledon defender clatter into the metal railings surrounding the pitch, a blow to the head that sees play stopped for a lengthy period as Billingham receives treatment that ultimately leaves her sporting a unfashionable blue head bandage, thankfully able to return to the action. Cambridge pressure the throw in the ball coming into the area, Edie Kelly taking it cleanly as Coupar closes her down.

Blanchflower has her hands full with Sargent restricting her attacking runs, picking up possession in a favourable position drives forwards sends the ball put to Jade Bell up on the left wing her cross long to Coupar at the far post getting up looks to header it down for Blanchflower the Wimbledon defence crowding her out.

Sargent strong in the challenge wins the ball nips in to get hold of the ball 25 yards out turning well central spaces opens up in front of her she goes for the shot catching the ball well fired over the crossbar. Frustration creeping in from both sides, Amy Howlett fouling Sargent. The free-kick 40 yards out ambitious from Billingham but she sends the ball in towards goal drops kindly for Smith to claim in her mid-riff.

Cambridge are conceding free-kicks the next alot closer to goal, Billingham on it once again 25 out right of the area, the shot narrowly over the crossbar. Another free-kick soon after central Bisson over this one Billingham the target far post the ball flighted in Cambridge manage to deal with the threat. Stanley with a good bit of control as the ball is played into her moving down the left her touch taking it in field 30 yard out turns well and shoots the ball wide of the right post.

GOAL! The visitors have dominated possession but against that it’s the hosts that take the lead. It is a well worked goal nevertheless, Blanchflower getting forwards a throw won high on the left the ball played up into the box dropping into Coupar, shielded by Billingham holds it up well pushed out to the top of the area turns well sending the pass into Blanchflower peeling clear into space inside the box wide right her squared ball across the face of goal, Bell rushing in Kelly blocking her initial effort, the ball skips up wide of the grounded keeper, Bell alert sending it on into the goal 1-0.

Wimbledon have had all the possession are straight back on the attack, Howlett isn’t making any friends with another foul on Sargent. The free-kick wide left, Bisson to delivery a great ball up to the far post Billingham forwards not put off heading the ball whatsoever a stooping header back across the top of the six yard box Sargent there central leaning back catches the ball agonisingly up over the crossbar.

Wimbledon press forwards right side Sargent with a good ball Bisson ready to spring in behind, closing in on the area, Moore sliding in makes a great tackle to take the ball away. Howlett is booked for persistent fouling. Wimbledon remain the sharper to the ball have Cambridge with their backs to the wall at time but despite that the young defence are standing firm. Coupar working hard up front pressing the ball presenting an opportunity on the right for Bell to put a cross in from the byline cut out at the near post.

Abigail Davies wins the ball for Cambridge right side on for Shephard a slight hestitation before putting the cross on allows Billingham the chance to put a foot in win the ball. Sargent plays the pass on for Heasman sending the ball on she releases Bisson in behind, closing in on the box, Moore shows great pace to get back on her make the challenge.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 AFC Wimbledon Ladies

Wimbledon have dominated the play in the first half, seeing the majority of the ball pushing Cambridge back, creating opportunities, could be leading themselves however at half-time they find themselves trailing 1-0. Cambridge have worked hard had their backs to the wall, their defence under pressure has coped well, getting up the other end a well worked move seeing them take the lead. An interesting 2nd half looms.

Cambridge’s Kelley Blanchflower with Wimbledon’s Rebecca Sargent

No changes for either side at the break the light starting to fade the floodlights are on Cambridge attacking down the slope 2nd half as Wimbledon get the game back underway. Cambridge with more intent inside the Wimbledon half right from the off, Neal adjudged to have fouled Highman on halfway. The home side launch an attack the ball flicked on by Neal to Blanchflower breaking forwards her ball down the right channel for Coupar to chase, Billingham across to stretch and cut it out for Wimbledon.

GOAL!  Cambridge’s bright start to the 2nd half sees them extend their lead have the ball on the left side building down the wing the ball played into Coupar head down she carries it on into the area before firing in a cross along the six yard box, Blanchflower timing her run perfectly ahead of the Wimbledon defence to smash the ball into the back of the net 2-0.

Sargent continues her work ethic in the middle for Wimbledon getting hold of the ball fires a pass up the right channel for Heasman getting forwards she cuts her low cross back towards the D, Stanley closing in on it can’t keep her shot down as she sends her 1st time effort over. Is a bruising encounter between two sides that give as good as they get, largely in good spirit…sort of…

Wimbledon’s Katie Stanley

A busy afternoon for the officials too Wimbledon with a free’kick wide right Bisson over it lifted into the area Billingham escapes her runner near side from close range wide of goal can only find the side netting. Cambridge frustrating their opponents now enjoying more of the ball, Coupar scrapping away up front bundled to the ground.

Mclaren-Johnson pressurising for Wimbledon central with the ball at her feet has support going forwards from Heasman, her cross squared to Stanley cutting inside from the left shoots 20 yards out, Smith diving to her left pushing the ball away from goal. 20 minutes gone in the 2nd period and Wimbledon make a change, Hannah Baptiste coming on for Highman. Cambridge with a throw left inside the Wimbledon half into Coupar 25 yards out a touch taking it inside before curling a shot over the bar.

An open game now a complete contrast to the first half Cambridge coming on more now competitve remains a scrappy affair Holly Northfield preventing a crossing opportunity on the right for Wimbledon. Russell up the other end across as Bell tries to put Coupar away. Wimbledon attack Billingham with a great forwards ball into the area controlled well by Bisson, Cambridge win in the ball sent long…

GOAL! With the game more open and Wimbledon committing more players forwards Cambridge capitalise to score a 3rd goal Coupar getting on the scoresheet after being involved in the hosts opening 2 goals. The ball played long up to her peeling away into the right channel ahead of Billingham, Wentworth comes across pushes Coupar wide right of goal as she enters the box the young striker strong on the ball gets a shot away from the angle firing the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner 3-0.

Neal with a firm tackle to deny Wimbledon building an attack through the middle. Moore with good defensive work at the back as the visitors attack through the right. Coupar tries to burst on with the ball Sargent back to defend against her for Wimbledon. Wimbledon make a 2nd change Jenny Nagle on for Heasman on the right side. A free-kick wide right for the visitors Bisson with the ball up into the area eventually cleared by Burt. Nagle attacking right Northfield sliding in to prevent the cross the ball out for a throw.

Mollie Coupar holding the ball up for Cambridge United WFC

Both sides make a change, Emma Jenkins coming on for Blanchflower for Cambridge. Sian Wylie replacing Hoesli-Atkins for Wimbledon with a little over 15 minutes left on the clock. Wimbledon continue to attack looking to pull a goal back that pressure bringing a corner, Stanley to take it from the right a long delivery to the far post Cambridge winning the header a determination set in to keep a clean sheet.

Smith with a point blank save going to ground in front of Bisson as the striker gets onto the end of a diagonal ball inside the six yard box fired in from the right. Wimbledon pressure late on in the game pushing players on into the last 8 minutes. Cambridge make a 2nd change Carrie Bennett coming on replacing Coupar late on.

Bell doing some vital work in defence late on for the hosts doubling up with Northfield as Wimbledon look to double up on the full backs. Winning the ball tries to release Shephard up front, Wentworth regaining possession for Wimbledon. Moore tackles Stanley a throw deep in the right, the ball kept up top a swerving cross in under the crossbar taken high by Smith.

Little time left now, Wimbledon’s frustrations mount a decision going against them protests voiced results in Stanley and Mclaren-Johnson yellow carded for dissent. A late late corner for Wimbledon right side an inswinging delivery pushed down and away by the jumping Smith falling to Wylie the defended stretching for it sends it across to the far post, cleared Wimbledon appeal for a penalty, nothing doing the final whistle blown soon after.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 3-0 AFC Wimbledon Ladies

A terrific result for Cambridge and 3 valuable points won. Most definitely a game of two halves. Wimbledon dominating the 1st half playing the ball quickly, spreading play and pushing their opponents back, chances created but not scoring paid the price as Cambridge took the lead against the run of play. A different story 2nd half Cambridge battling to defend 1st half buoyed by their goal came out on the front foot 2nd half scoring early. Took their chances well, a competitive tussle, expected nothing less, just adds to the excitement in what is undoubtedly a competitve league, with alot of talented players. Any side can beat the other on their day. That’s why I love it so much.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few performances worthy of note. Firstly for Wimbledon, Rebecca Sargent was a driving force in the midfield, putting herself about getting forwards too with some timely runs and good passing especially first half. For Cambridge, Jemma Moore the newest face to line-up in defence played well making some great and well timed tackles the back-line on the whole learning alot from today’s game. Jade Bell too using her experience to great advantage opening the scoring for Cambridge and vital in defence late on. Overall though today’s award goes to attacker Mollie Coupar put in a great shift up top for the hosts prepared to get stuck in a willing learner, good hold-up play involved in both the opening goals and great individual skill and strength to score the 3rd.

Another good advert for women’s football in the FAWNL, scrappy yes but played by two committed sides, a good watch. My thanks to everyone for their help today always appreciated.