Tag Archives: Needham Market Women

Cup Final Special – AFC Sudbury Women v Needham Market Women

Friday 6th May

Suffolk Women’s County Cup Final

Back down the A12 for my 2nd Suffolk cup final of the week. Following Tuesday’s SGWFL League Cup Final season climax won by Holland Ladies it’s the turn of the County Cup. The showpiece event in the women’s football calendar being played at The JobServe Community Stadium home of League Two side Colchester United FC between AFC Sudbury Women & Needham Market Women.

This evening’s prize

The competition dominated by Ipswich Town Women since the Suffolk and Norfolk County Cups became separate competitions in 2010. Have featured in 9 of the last 10 finals victorious in all including a 7 game streak before withdrawing from the competition as their excellent growth saw the club reach the 3rd tier of the women’s game. Several sides aiming to be as successful in Suffolk as the game continues to grow at pace and this evenings finalists chief amongst them. Both emerging as a leading force in the game, Needham Market Women winning the ERWFL Division One title to win promotion to the Premier Division the 5th tier of the women’s football pyramid. AFC Sudbury Women aiming to join them as they make a late charge to claim the Division One South title.

 Sudbury the only other side bar Ipswich to have won the Suffolk Women’s County Cup since it’s inception in 2010. AFC Sudbury Ladies as they were back then beating Brandon Town Ladies 5-0. Is a very different Sudbury side now, AFC Sudbury Women now fully integrated with the men’s club and academy with a Reserves side backing up the 1st team playing in the Suffolk Women’s Premier Division. Goal scorers throughout the side Jess Allen is leading the way with 17. ERWFL Division One South proving a strong league this season with new sides joining was a 5 way battle for the title for a long period Sudbury with games in hand remaining the dark horse now with their rivals having completed their fixtures in 4th Sudbury are 8 points behind leaders Cheshunt FC who have finished on 35 points. Sudbury with 3 games left will be Champions if results go their way. Are also in the final of the ERWFL Plate.

  Needham Market Women burst onto the scene reaching the County Cup Final in their debut season just 4 season’s ago. Like Sudbury are fully integrated with their men’s club and academy set-up. Establishing a Reserves side to back up the 1st team that has gone from strength to strength joining the ERWFL have gone on to win Division One North with ease this season winning 10 of their 12 league matches scoring gaols by the bucket load, Lina Nagib with 26 to her name from 20 appearances. Have recruited a few ex-Ipswich players adding valuable experience to the squad with both Molly Hall and Ellie Rossiter having prolific seasons with 19 and 16 goals respectfully. Lois Balfour too celebrating her fair share of goals on 16 too. Made their 2nd County Cup Final appearance last season again losing out to Ipswich. Now making back to back finals like Sudbury will be fancying their chances.

Road to the Final

The early rounds of any county cup competition can see some eye watering results as teams across all tiers are drawn together. In Sudbury’s case it was a walk over for both the 1st and 2nd Rounds seeing them into the quarter finals. Needham Market were at home to Mildenhall Town Women in the 1st Round back in September, Racked up the goals against the Cambs Division Two side winning 20-0. A similar score line in the Round as they were away to Halesworth Town Women bottom of the Suffolk Women’s Championship 22-0 this time around.

  Both sides were strong in the quarter finals as they came up against sides in the Suffolk Premier Division. Sudbury away to Brantham Athletic Ladies winning the game 10-1 to progress to the last 4, Georgia Sleep netting 4 goals. While Needham Market were 9-0 winners at home to Woodbridge Town Ladies with Molly Hall also on target for 4 goal. Into the semi-finals played at neutral venues Sudbury taking on a rejuvenated Haverhill Rovers Ladies. Luiza Silva on target to score a hat-trick seeing them into the final courtesy of a 3-1 win. Meanwhile Needham Market were taking on Sudbury’s reserve side in the other semi-final, Lina Nagib with a brace and Jodie Sharp with a hat-trick seeing the club into their 3rd final in 4 seasons winning 5-0.

 The JobServe Community Stadium, home of League Two side Colchester United FC the venue for this evenings final. Great to see more County Cup finals taking place at venues such as this, Portman Road also hosting the women’s finals previously. Has hosted a women’s county cup final before aswell as a Lionesses match. Situated just off the A12 with alot of parking the main stand open to fans with sections for both the Sudbury and Needham Market support the large grass pitch looking great. Suffolk FA putting on a fantastic event to showcase the game one of 6 finals being played here. The weather again warm and dry little chance of a shower.

 

AFC Sudbury Women

AFC Sudbury Women starting XI – Millie Carter, Boni Shepherd (C), Ronni Harrison, Amber Provan, Teigan McHale, Kate Edwards, Phoebe Guiver, Isabella Crawford, Alex Penny, Evie Creaton & Jess Allen. Subs – Faith Candice, Sophie Jeffrey, Tye Smith, Kaylee Dodd, Luiza Silva.

Needham Market Women

Needham Market Women starting XI – Dani Clarke, Nicole Pannifer, Niamh Thomas, Laura Bloomfield, Ele Catchpole, Nicola Henderson (C), Abbie Fisher, Mia Etheridge, Ellie Rossiter, Lina Nagib & Lois Balfour. Subs – Eloise Ward, Paige Wakefield, Jo Brawn, Jodie Sharp & Molly Hall.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  The crowd in good voice before the match both sides with great support, it’s Needham Market to get this season’s County Cup final underway kicking off 1st half wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts, Sudbury lined up opposite in an all yellow kit. The ball played out to the right side with Ellie Rossiter looking to get forwards for Needham Market, Boni Shepherd defending, Sudbury’s captain seeing the ball out for a throw in. The ball contested over on the far side of the pitch as both sides jostle for possession in the early exchanges.

  Ex-Sudbury player, Mia Etheridge tackling to win the ball on the right sending it forwards for Lois Balfour to attack edge of the box, Teigan McHale getting the challenge in to win the ball back for Sudbury. Lina Nagib, through the middle with support from Etheridge and Abbie Fisher the ball spread out to the left wing as Niamh Thomas looks to get on from full back, cutting inside, Amber Provan comes to face her tackling to see the ball out for a throw. Good distance on it into Etheridge inside the box controlling the ball down into her feet looking to turn and shoot, Provan close on her getting her foot on the ball to send it out for another throw.

Amber Provan winning the header for Sudbury

  Needham Market making the brighter start going forwards with the ball Sudbury keeping a good shape readily regaining possession, Nagib battling her way through in the left channel eventually outnumbered, Ronni Harrison getting hold of the ball for Sudbury. Fisher central lays the ball back to centre back Ele Catchpole who sends a long diagonal ball out to the right Rossiter and Etheridge playing a one two finding no way through the Sudbury defence. Sudbury launch a quick counter offensive with a diagonal pass forwards finding Alex Penny running in behind clear on the right running on sends the cross into Jess Allen inside the box turns the ball goalwards, Needham Market goalkeeper, Dani Clarke down smartly to her right to save push the ball behind for a corner kick. Fired in with pace low at the near post Allen turning to strike it can’t get a touch as the ball runs on for Needham Market to launch clear.

   Both sides taking advantage of the pitches width Etheridge strong on the right moving forwards whipping a cross into the top of the Sudbury area is cleared by Harrison at the back. Pushing up almost to half way at times there is space in behind for Sudbury to exploit and they have pacy players in their side, Penny sending it on through the middle for Allen running clear into the left channel, Clarke has to come running out of her box to deal with the threat. Balfour plays a great pass on for Rossiter racing in behind through the middle into the box, McHale getting back to slide in and tackle as goalkeeper Millie Carter closes the gap, Rossiter amongst those appealing to referee Nick Ward but no penalty the ball out for a throw on the left.

  Catchpole playing the ball on for Thomas away on the left for Needham Market, Harrison closing her down the ball gone for a throw, good distance reaching the area, Provan up to head the ball away. 

 GOAL! On 10 minutes the deadlock is broken Sudbury’s turn to press a high line the middle of the park congested Kate Edwards winning the ball plays a fantastic ball in behind for Evie Creaton to run onto breaking clear in the left speedy travelling towards the box shoots on the angle the ball driven forwards, Clarke down sharply gets something on it but not enough to deflect it wide as the ball nestles in the back of the net 1-0.

Evie Creaton opens the scoring for Sudbury

Needham Market get on the attack from the restart captain Nicola Henderson on for Nagib left side a powerful run forwards getting into the box, slowed up by Harrison, lays it back to Balfour 20 yards out who curls a shot narrowly over the crossbar. Nagib looking to get the ball into her feet run at the Sudbury defence at every opportunity sends it across the top of the area picking out Balfour who sees her low shot blocked by McHale. Catchpole at the back with a timely interception as Harrison coming on up the right attempts the through ball to put Allen away in behind the defence.

GOAL! Sudbury double their advantage the ball won in the middle by Edwards her pass defence splitting pass sending Creaton clear as she breaks inside from the left closing in on the area left of the D, Clarke coming out to close her down makes a blocking save as Creaton’s shot shrikes her body, the ball spinning loose central, Allen is alert snatching onto it a stabs the ball goalwards 2-0.

Jess Allen firing Sudbury into a 2 goal lead

  A great start for Sudbury getting into a 2 goal lead inside the opening 16 minutes. Showing lots of energy Sudbury hustle the ball centrally put on for Penny on the right side, looks to driven on, Thomas tackling to deny her. Rossiter providing the outlet for Needham Market on the right wing pace runs on with the ball sending a shot in on the angle 25 yards out, Carter behind it with a safe pair of hands any spills and Nagib was closing her down fast. Penny taking the ball on right flashing a cross into the six yard box, a the ball sliced goalwards off a Needham Market boot, Clarke reacting instinctively down to save the ball. 

  Isabella Crawford finding Penny on the right, up against Catchpole looking to spin in behind the defender, Catchpole gets her tackle right to put the ball out for a throw. Penny is away in the clear on the right as a defensive clearance from Shepherd at the back finds her running on wide her shot/cross flies across the face of goal Clarke unconcerned. Harrison strong up against Nagib as she is put in on the left by Catchpole carrying the ball out from the back for Needham Market. 

  Rossiter out on the right springs the offside and takes the ball on towards the box, Shepherd recovering after her sliding in as she reaches the by-line to send the ball away for a corner. In from the right twice Sudbury defend putting it out for another corner the 3rd coming in more central, Catchpole under it inside the six yard box heading her attempt over the bar. Closing in on half an hour played Needham market press forwards Nagib out left crossfield to Rossiter on the right has Etheridge ahead of her takes the ball on slotting a cross into Balfour inside the area, Harrison seeing the threat emerging getting in tight on Balfour to stop her getting a shot away.

Needham Market’s Mia Etheridge

   Allen pressing the Needham Market back line steals the ball 25 yards out and bursting in behind right of goal flashes a cross in Clarke down on it well with Creaton running in far post. Nagid sends Rossiter away with the ball on the right for Needham Market running on her touch into the box a little heavy as Carter comes to save sliding in Rossiter leaves the ground with a somewhat reckless challenge feet up as she attempts to get the ball Carter holding onto it despite being hurt in the collision. Play paused whilst she recieves treatment but is up and okay to play on. 

  Needham Market’s build up play is slower than Sudbury’s giving them time to get back into their positions whereas when Sudbury regain possession they are rapid in their counter play with Creaton, Allen and Penny all breaking. Provan winning it at the back for Sudbury clipping the ball into Allen 30 out who sends it through to Creaton running in behind her left she plays an early cross out to the right looking for Penny, this time though their progress is halted by the offside flag.

GOAL! 5 minutes left to play 2nd half and a much needed goal back for Needham Market, as Nagib ploughing her way forwards is fouled halfway inside the Sudbury half. Fisher on the ball looks to go for goal a long way out but connects well getting the ball up and down dipping dangerously for Carter back on her line, the ball smashing down off the crossbar into the six yard box with players closing in, Catchpole getting her head to it as it bounces up to turn home 2-1.

Abbie Fisher’s free-kick on its way to hit the crossbar

Ele Catchpole with the header to pull a goal back for Needham Market

  Sudbury aggrieved feeling it wasn’t a foul in Nagib in the first place. Attack on the left Guiver on for Creaton, drives on tackled by Pannifer for Needham Market. Rossiter bringing down a crossfield ball on the right well moving forwards top of the area strikes a vicious shot wide across the face of goal. The game moving into stoppage time in the first half Needham Market encouraged by their goal getting forwards scrapping for the ball left with Fisher supporting Nagib lifted on into the area for Balfour her attack halted by a raised flag.

Needham Market striker, Lois Balfour

  Balfour with good hold up play on the left shielding the ball has Thomas racing forwards on the overlap puts the pass into her path taking it on Thomas moves inside, looking to get around Harrison, the full back flicking out a leg to win the ball back. 

Half-time AFC Sudbury Women 2-1 Needham Market Women

  A good contest so far a 2-1 lead for Sudbury at the break with a good start inviting Needham Market on finding gaps in behind to get their attacking players in on goal opening the scoring on 10 minutes a 2nd added on 16. The ball hotly contested throughout Needham Market on the back foot finding some joy on the right with Rossiter with Nagib too running at the defence needed the next goal and found it with 5 minutes left to play in the half, setting it up nicely for the 2nd 45.

  Sudbury to get the 2nd half underway, no changes for either side as of yet the ball played left Edwards with the ball, on for Creaton but comes to nothing.

GOAL! A fantastic start to the 2nd half… if you’re a Sudbury fan as they win the ball back in defence left side Shepherd on for Creaton racing away on the wing travelling into the box fires a cross into the six yard box, Allen her target, up against Catchpole the defender challenging the ball deflected out to the right and is blasted into the back of the net by Penny to make it 3-1!

Alex Penny puts Sudbury into a 3-1 lead early in the 2nd half

  A blow for Needham at the start of the 2nd half, restart the game going left Nagib with Balfour, the Sudbury defence keeping a solid shape. Allen getting to the by-line on the left with the ball is challenged by Pannifer eventually winning a corner. The ball put into the area, Clarke comes a long way out of her six yard box has to get something on it a fist knocking it down away to the right a shot blasted back in to the angle is blocked. Needham Market make a change early in the 2nd half bringing off Pannifer, with Jodie Sharp on. 

  Sudbury have looked to be more energetic right from the start and a lively at the start of the 2nd half. Creaton attacking on the left has Allen up with her on her inside squares the ball to her goes into the box, Bloomfield, closing her down to defend for Needham Market. Henderson in the middle passing the ball out to Rossiter on the right has Sharp with her pace going past her taking the  ball on as she drifts infield. Sharps cross fizzed into the six yard box his headed clear at the far post landing right of the D, Rossiter is arriving to curl a low shot in towards goal can only find Carter who saves comfortably. 

Needham Market’s Ellie Rossiter

  Shepherd defends against Rossiter on the right a throw high up the pitch, helped on into the box the cross comes in but no one attacking it as Carter catches unhindered. Bloomfield with a great ball forwards for Rossiter on the right wing travelling with it Shepherd back with her forced to concede a corner. In from the right the delivery is met by Etheridge at the near post her header put wide. Half chances created for Needham Market, Sudbury make their first change bringing on Kaylee Dodd for Shepherd, Edwards donning the armband. 

 Nagib holding off challenges turning inside from the left to centre attempts to find Rossiter on the right, Sudbury giving away the throw. Needham Market winning a free-kick inside the Sudbury half similar to the one they had first half. Fisher on it again and again she goes for goal well struck this time though Carter can see it drop safely wide of her left post. Sudbury looking to keep it solid at the back not willing to break as often that said when they get an opportunity they’ll take it Edwards putting Allen on left cuts inside as Needham Market get bodies back into their box her shot cut out by Etheridge. 

  The game stretched opens up as Creaton is sent away on the left towards the area Clarke comes rushing out to charge her down the ball landing in the middle, Guiver taking on the shot from distance with the Needham Market goal exposed, Clarke though back peddles enough stretching up her arm to push the dropping ball down to the right Dodd latching onto it seeing her strike charged down. Sudbury win a corner on their right curled in over the penalty spot Edwards rising at the back post can’t get a touch.

  Nagib as picked up an injury and is struggling for Needham Market, a blow can’t continue, helped off far side, attacker, Jo Brawn comes on. Sudbury too with another change Tye Smith on in attack replacing Allen. 20 minutes left to play players tiring, more changes with Molly Hall coming on, an attacker for a defender with Thomas coming off. Smith straight away flagged offside as Guiver with Edwards look to turn play around in the middle of the park. 

  Hall on halfway with a good flick on for Etheridge right cuts inside looking to get in behind her marker, Penny doing well against her getting the ball back for Cater to clear. Luiza Silva comes on for Sudbury replacing Guiver. Smith with the ball turning in from the right attacking the box her shot sliced away to the left Penny looking to chase it down, not before Bloomfield clears. Needham Market looking for a goal pushing players on gaps at the back, Edwards finding Creaton dropping deep for the ball left, Henderson across to tackle for Needham Market, Etheridge then winning her side a free-kick wide on the right in the corner. Fisher over to take flashed into the six yard box headed outside falling to Rossiter hits the shot takes a deflection robbing it off it’s venom as Carter scoops it up into her gloves. 

   Sophie Jeffery on for Sudbury as the game moves into the final 10 minutes replacing Creaton. A double substitution for Needham Market, Catchpole and Balfour off replaced by Paige Wakefield and Eloise Ward. Sharp over on the left now bombing forwards looks to thread the ball in for Brawn, Carter racing out to the edge of her box getting to the ball first. Faith Candice comes on for Sudbury replacing Harrison at the back. Penny defending top of the D as Brawn looks to turn on the ball. Needham Market pressing on in search on a goal, Sudbury back soaking it up. Sharp getting on left side overruns the ball. 

  The clock ticking down alot of tired legs out there Needham Market leaving gaps as they risk pushing players on, Smith with fresh legs ready to run on with the ball turn the Needham Market defence. Playing in Jeffery to her right, Bloomfield defends for Needham Market. Guiver back on for Edwards late on with stoppage time about to be played. Guiver is fouled 20 yards out left of the Needham Market box trying to bring a ball down from a throw in. Penny on the ball goes for goal her effort landing on the roof of the net. 

  Needham Market come left Henderson with Sharp on for Brawn wide sees her cross charged down. Shepherd back on for McHale in the closing stages for Sudbury. One last attack for Needham Market, Hall laying the ball out to Sharp on the left wing makes a run into the box, Sharp down the line to cross in low Hall meeting it close in near post turns it goal wards, Carter dropping on it smartly, snatching it into her body as Hall follows up. That’s it the final action of the game as the final whistle blows players from the bench rush on to celebrate Sudbury’s victory.

AFC Sudbury Women celebrate at the final whistle

Full time AFC Sudbury Women 3-1 Needham Market Women

  An entertaining final between two strong sides. Sudbury the better on the night solid with plenty of energy taking the lead inside 10 minutes 2 up just 6 minutes later. Looked dangerous on the counter throughout. A goal back five minutes from the end of the first half giving Needham market encouragement going into the 2nd half, the worst possible start however as Sudbury raced into a 3-1 lead and from there looked to keep a good shape and limit opportunities for Needham Market who will feel they didn’t play their best this evening created some chances, Sudbury though had the quicker build up play and threat in attack.

 Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match and this is not an easy one at all several great performances out there. A few of note to mention, firstly Needham Market. Ele Catchpole making a number of vital tackles at the back getting the goal to narrow the gap at the break. Lina Nagib strong with the ball at her feet driving on, looking to set up chances. Ellie Rossiter carrying the biggest threat out on the right always available with some pacy running. For Sudbury the side was solid from back to front Millie Carter in goal, Teigan McHale and Ronni Harrison in defence with some great tackles and cover play. Kate Edwards winning the ball in the middle with the front three lively throughout, Jess Allen central with Alex Penny on the right both scoring. Pipping them all too it though the award goes to Evie Creaton. With some incredible runs took the game to Needham market right from the start and helped set the tone ran herself into the ground always ready to get on the attack.

Congratulations to AFC Sudbury Women on winning the 2021/22 Suffolk Women’s County Cup. Still plenty to play for yet this season.

 Both sides back in action again on Sunday with Sudbury in league action at home to Billericay Town Women Development and Needham Market at home to Barking FC Women in the ERWFL Challenge Cup.

 An enjoyable trip to Colchester (admittedly the journey home wasn’t so good with both the A12 and A14 shut but I got home in the finish). A fantastic attendance with 566 fans treated to a great event. Full credit to Colchester FC and Suffolk FA. Thanks for all you help this evening much appreciated. I suspect this is the beginning of a long rivalry between AFC Sudbury Women and Needham Market Women and there with be many more exciting games to come.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Needham Market Women v Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses

Sunday 6th February

ERWFL Division One North

  A trip down to Suffolk this Sunday to watch a game from ERWFL Division One North with leaders Needham Market Women taking on league newcomers Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses.

  7 sides competing in ERWFL Division One North this season. Is a very young league in terms of the sides competing in it with Newmarket the old hands only joining the ERWFL in 2018. 3 newcomers too this season in Biggleswade United Ladies, Whittlesey Athletic Ladies and Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses. 

 Needham Market Women joining the ERWFL in 2019, were a fast emerging force within women’s football in Suffolk that has seen Ipswich Town Women dominate for several years now. The game in Suffolk needing to grow, Needham Market very much embracing their women’s side within the clubs set-up. 2 county cup final appearances already they will be hoping to make it a 3rd having reached the semi-finals once again this time Ipswich not entering a side. Hold a strong lead at the top of the ERWFL Division One North table losing just one of their 8 matches played so far. In fact should results go their way today they could even clinch the title. The best defensive record in the league it’s their goals scored that has set them apart with Needham Market having 4 out of the 5 top goal scorers . Lina Nagib with 23 goals from 15 played, Molly Hall 18 from 10, Ellie Rossiter has 15 from 13 played with Lois Balfour netting 14 times so far from 15 played. Looking strong for the title and with it promotion to the Premier Division.

  Below Needham Market it is a highly competitive tussle for 2nd spot in the table, with just 5 points separating the sides place 2nd down to 6th. Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses right in the middle of the battle. The Bedfordshire side the newest of the lot formed just the season before this, assembling a strong squad with plenty of experience at this level and above. Joined BHWGFL Division One. Covid disrupting that season but opportunities for progression as the ERWFL opened it’s application pool wider to attract new sides. Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses moving into the regional set-up. A good start beating fellow newcomers Biggleswade 3-2 went on to lose there next 3 in league and cup before bouncing back with a 2-0 home win against Needham Market. Since then results have been up and down 4 wins and 5 defeats so far to sit 4th 2 points off 2nd spot. Also through to he semi-finals of the Bedfordshire Women’s County Cup where they will face fellow league side Biggleswade both looking to reach their first final.

  Bloomfields the venue for today’s game home of all Needham market’s sides. The ground has grown along with the women’s setup since I first started following them. The 3G pitch with a large viewing area and small stand on one side beyond that the changing rooms and cafe above serving hot food and drinks. A balcony all round the top tier allowing for an eagles eye view of the pitch i was tempted to stay up there watch the game safe from the inclement weather, but I prefer being on the side lines and decided to take my chances. The weather already putting pay to the planned game I had several good alternatives and this an opportunity to see two sides I’ve yet so far been unable too. Heavy rain overnight, pretty gloomy with the threat of more rain a windy too the 3g pitch providing little protection from the elements.

Needham Market Women

 Needham Market Women starting XI – Danielle Clarke, Nicole Pannifer, Niamh Thomas, Ele Catchpole, Jodie Sharpe, Nicole Henderson (C), Abbie Fisher, Mia Etheridge, Lina Nagib & Molly Hall. Subs – Eloise Ward, Lois Balfour Jo Brawn & Jessica Marriot.

Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses

 Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses starting XI – Charlotte Cooper, Freya Opperman, Toni Mitchell, Georgia Hall, Charlotte Bedford (C), Cerys Edwards, Kim Mulgrew, Laura Taylor, Laura Simpson, Elena Lancaster & Giselle Randall. Subs – Rebecca Vass, Georgia Edwards, Jess Greaves & Jess Katsinas. 

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Needham Market to get the game underway kicking off 1st half wearing red shirts with black shorts and red socks. Wootton Blue Cross lined up opposite wearing blue shirts fading in shade to the waist, blue shorts and socks. The ball played back to the defence is put out to the right Nicole Pannifer on for Ellie Rossiter attacking up the flanks she has support from Mia Etheridge the pair exchanging passes before Wootton Blue Cross full back, Freya Opperman puts in the tackle on Rossiter to put the ball out for a throw in.

Rossiter recieving the ball off the throw in shifts round her marker getting into the box striking a shot on the angle rising but caught comfortably by Wootton Blue Cross keeper, Charlotte Cooper. Needham Market making a positive start coming on with the ball Ethridge central laying it on for Lina Nagib in the left channel, cuts it back across the top of the area aiming to pick out Etheridge who has continued her run, she is closed down by Wootton Blue Cross captain, Charlotte Bedford the ball knocked back to Needham Market’s captain Nicola Henderson in midfield, Cerys Edwards challenging her to regain possession for the visitors.

Needham Market’s Lina Nagib

   Needham Market with a crossfield ball to find Nagib left knocked down for Molly Hall 25 yards out goes to shoot her effort charged down. The hosts are moving the ball quickly getting players forwards the wind is strong blowing across the pitch Needham Market running into it 1st half. Giselle Randall leading the attack for Wootton Blue Cross sees the ball into her feet twists playing it out to Laura Simpson free on the left, spots the run for Elena Lancaster over on the right attempts to put the diagonal ball over the top however the wind catches it taking it out of play before Lancaster can chase it down. 

Wootton Blue Cross attacker, Giselle Randall

   Henderson fouled on halfway a free-kick for Needham Market, with Pannifer moving forwards right side, out to Rossiter inside to Abbie Fisher opens up her body looking to thread it in behind for Rossiter, the flag going up against her. Wootton Blue Cross with a change out of nothing as the ball is cleared from the back the wind catching it sending it on bouncing awkwardly for the Needham Market defence, don’t deal with it as Randall steals through into the box left of goal onto it striking the ball goalwards, Danielle Clarke coming to narrow the angle diving to her right full stretch to save turning the ball wide for a corner kick.

  Wootton Blue Cross come right Kim Mulgrew on to Lancaster 25 plus yards out on the angle takes on the shot, wind assisted the ball racing across the area wide of the far post. The wind not helping Wootton Blue Cross in attack at all any through ball having too much on it seeing a good attack go to waste. Fisher plays the ball through for Nagib breaking clear of the defence left side, Cooper comes out to close her down hesitates for a split second as she leaves her area Nagib striking the ball against her spins up high into the air dropping behind Cooper wide of goal Nagib willing it to fall, but by the time it does the visitors have regrouped in defence closing her down.

Needham Market defender, Niamh Thomas

  Wootton Blue Cross come right Lancaster inside for Randall sees the ball cross her body 25 yards out turning into the shot the ball looping up but dropping straight into Clarkes arms. Rossiter frustrated as she is flagged offside with the hosts mounting a quick counter offensive. Rossiter posing Wootton Blue Cross a problem on the right of attack as she drives forwards with the ball laying it inside for Hall who spins it back into Rossiter’s path as she arrives into the box shooting puts the ball straight into the keeper.

Needham Market captain, Nicola Henderson

   Henderson with a powerful run through the middle, keeping hold of the ball pushed on into Hall’s feet the striker releasing it to the right as Rossiter gets in behind, just a split second too early the flag raised once again. Rossiter is linking up well with Pannifer on the right team mates at Ipswich previously Cooper though up to the edge of her area quickly to snatch up the ball before Rossiter can take advantage. Etheridge is pulled down attacking on the right a free-kick 25 yards out, Fisher over it sends in a cross towards the far post attacked, Hall up to meet it a glancing header the attempt wide.

Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses, Laura Simpson

   Wootton Blue Cross break the ball fed on through the middle for Randall escaping into the left channel, Clarke reading it quickly out of her box to clear. The visitors keep possession spreading play to the right a shot from distance narrowly wide of the near post. A spell of pressure for Wootton Blue Cross, Randall out to Lancaster right her cross into the are headed clear by Ele Catchpole. Hall getting hold of the ball out left into the corner puts in a cross along the six yard box dropping to Rossiter far post her shot blocked by Hall. Needham Market win a free-kick wide left inside the Wootton Blue Cross half after Jodie Sharp is upended. The delivery into the box cleared comes straight to Henderson central 20 yards out her driven shot charged down by Lancaster. 

  GOAL!  Needham Market build well through the middle numbers on the ball into Pannifer right threads it through to Rossiter in behind taking the ball into the box for the top corner wrapping her foot around the ball connects well with a rising shot power behind it Cooper with the slightest to touches can’t keep it out 1-0. Needham Market opening the scoring midway through the 1st half.

Ellie Rossiter fires Needham Market into the lead

  Needham Market up on the right a throw won into Etheridge has support from Pannifer the cross lofted into the area headed away by Bedford. Opperman in to tackle Rossiter to prevent the cross as Niamh Thomas plays a long ball to her from the back. Lancaster moving to the left as Simpson looks to release her Henderson comes sliding in with a strong tackle to win the ball. 

  GOAL! Wootton Blue Cross with a quick reply to pull the scores level once more. Pressure on the Needham Market defence Randall in control of the ball central 25 out plays it to Lancaster right she lays it into the area Randall after it left of goal, Clarke down bravely at her feet the ball blocked scramble away, out to the right side Needham Market don’t clear possession with Taylor right of the D takes on the shot a low strike angled back across the keeper to roll into the bottom corner 1-1. 

Laura Taylor scoring the equaliser for Wootton Blue Cross

  Randall is making a nuisance of herself in attack for Wootton Blue Cross back to tackle Henderson the ball rolled back to Edwards she looks to play it forwards, the swirling wind however as it has before giving the attacks too much to do to chase it down. Rain falling too falling back to the cover under the balcony to keep the notepad dry. Nagid striding forwards with the ball left side checks inside top corner of the area letting loose a shot driven it straight at and safely held by Cooper. 

 Wootton Blue Cross doing their best to get to grip with the conditions putting some pressure on the Needham market defence coming right the ball crossed into the penalty spot Randall after it saved at the feet of the keeper before being scrambled away for a corner. A change for the visitors with Rebecca Vass coming on to join the attack with Edwards coming off. Etheridge getting into the box for Needham Market winning a corner off the keeper. Played in central headed on by the defence out to the left. Wootton Blue Cross break down the right Vass travelling with the ball her cross goes long out of play beyond the far post.

   Is a good contest between Opperman and Rossiter as Needham market attack on the right Pannifer sending Rossiter on before the full back lunges in with the tackle. Needham Market send the ball up to Etheridge right side of the area cushions down a header to put the ball into Nagib central she in turn lays it out to Sharp looking to go clear on the left, Simpson tacking back well to challenge and get possession back for the visitors. Conditions are really poor the swirling wind and rain showers making it bitterly cold. 

Rebecca Vass

  Vass on the ball for Wootton Blue Cross spins it out to Simpson on her right takes on the shot early looking to strike a looping shot up over the keeper. Not enough on it falls early straight into Clarke’s arms. A chance for Rossiter up top for Needham Market as she is put clear though the middle by Fisher, one on one with the advancing keeper waits for Cooper to commit taking the ball around her to the left, looking to drill the ball into an open goal, Opperman has recovered superbly however having gone with her putting a foot in to take the ball away from her.

Freya Opperman back to defend denying Rossiter

  The clock ticking down in the 1st half, Wootton Blue Cross mount an attack piling players forwards the ball fed through the centre out to Randall peeling away left top of the area on the angle attempts to use the outside of her boot to put the ball inside for Lancaster, Henderson back there to defend the ball back with Randall her shot charged down by Thomas. The half-time whistle blowing as Rossiter is flagged offside one final time.

   Half-time Needham Market Women 1-1 Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses

  All square at the break the sides drawing 1-1. Played in difficult conditions. Needham market starting brightly on the attack getting players forwards taking the game to Wootton Blue Cross. Creating chances pressuring the ball high and looking to break in behind the offside trap sprung on a few occasions. Ellie Rossiter putting the hosts in front midway through the half. Wootton Blue Cross responding well pressing the ball in the final 3rd and pulling level quickly. Took a while to get used to the condition the wind at there backs making it run on t attack making timing passes extremely hard. All in all an even contest with conditions unlikely to improve.

  No changes as far as I can tell for either side at the break, Needham Market opting to stay out on the field during half time the sun trying to break through the clouds but plenty of grey still around as Wootton Blue Cross kick off the 2nd half kicking into the wind. Needham market immediately press the ball getting onto the Wootton Blue Cross defence to hustle the ball in the final 3rd prevent their opponents breaking out in attack. 

  GOAL! Needham Market’s pressing starting to the 2nd half brings an early rewards as the hosts attack Fisher 20 out right of the D with a ball knocked on into the box isn’t cleared properly Hall latching onto it right of the D striking the low shot along the ground across the keeper to find the bottom corner 2-1.

Molly Hall putting Needham Market back into the lead

GOAL! A perfect start to the 2nd half is make even batter as Needham Market quickly add a 3rd goal. Nagib regaining possession in the middle on to Etheridge  she plays a good diagonal pass out to Sharp on the move on the left wing using the wind to her advantage making an already speedy player look even quicker using its momentum to take the ball to the by line lays it back up to Hall waiting for it top corner to lift in a cross along the D to fall to Henderson far side she brings it down striking a fantastic shot up over the keeper into the goal beyond 3-1. 

Nicola Henderson making it a quickfire double for Needham Market

  A great start to the 2nd half for Needham Market 2 quickfire goals to go 2 goals in front. Wootton Blue Cross come right side Lancaster tripped as she brings the ball on a free-kick 22 yards out right of the D, Vass over it goes for goal her effort high over the bar. Sharp caught out by the offside flag left side as Hall attempts to flick a crossfield pass onto her in attack. Fisher central winning the ball forwards to Rossiter right looks to go on Opperman forcing her to stay wide sliding in to put the ball out for a throw.

  The weather’s changeable to say the least getting very dark a rainbow isn’t always a good sign you know a storm is on the way. Opperman allowed to get up the pitch left side a high cross into the area, Randall waiting for it to drop, Henderson back to deal with it for Needham Market. Opperman over a free-kick for Wootton Blue Cross to the left of the D 25 yards out struck low finds its way through to goal Clarke though right behind it. 

  Taylor comes right for Wootton Blue Cross her cross cut out by Henderson, Taylor has another go the ball back with her this time deflected behind for a corner kick. The ball defended at the near post comes back to Mulgrew another cross played into the six yard box Needham Market scrambling it away. Mitchell gets up on the right with the ball for Wootton Blue Cross her cross squared into the area over Randall on the penalty spot falls to Taylor beyond turns the ball goalwards, Clarke right behind it to save. 

Elena Lancaster

  Sharp on the move with the ball on the left all the way for Needham Market turning into the box, Hall comes back to put in a strong but fair tackle. Simpson and Vass combine out on the right for Wootton Blue Cross the ball crossed into the area Taylor the target, Thomas dealing with it for Needham Market to clear. The wind has gotten stronger is bitter out there. Cooper out to the top corner off her area to block Rossiter’s stab on as she is played on by Pannifer.

Needham market’s Nicole Pannifer

  Changes for Needham Market, off come Nagib, Thomas and Hall off on come Jo Brawn, Eloise Ward and Lois Balfour. The hosts with a corner kick on the right taken short before the cross is cut out deflected behind for a 2nd corner this time Wootton Blue Cross win it and break quickly Clarke needing to come hurtling out of her area to clear the ball. A change for Wootton Blue Cross with Jess Greaves coming on for Taylor. 

Charlotte Cooper tipping the ball away

 Henderson with a shot off the crossbar for Needham market as the cross comes into her left of goal from the right. The weather horrible Needham market with a corner on the left the ball hanging up in the wind dropping dangerously far post Cooper fouled as she attempts to claim it. Appeals for a penalty (mainly from the crowd) as Brawn is down in the box after a coming together with Cooper nothing doing. Winds strong now anything not anchored down shifting. Needham Market come left Sharp lifting the ball over the top looking for Balfour the wind though taking it away from her.

Pretty nasty out there

  A double change for Wootton Blue Cross with Lancaster and Simpson off for Jess Katsinas and Georgia Edwards. Really terrible out there now wind and rain, hail too, rubber from the pitch is blowing up onto my notepad. Difficult to play, Sharp off for Needham Market on comes Jessica Marriot. Pannifer on the left combining with brawn the pass back infield to Pannifer left of the D 20 out her shot blocked by Mulgrew. Getting very dark out there the clock ticking down.

  GOAL! Needham Market regain possession central Etheridge on for Fisher 20 yards out right of the D, strikes the ball goalwards pace behind it Cooper can’t reach it as it flies over her and into the back of the net 4-1.

Abbie Fisher adds a 4th for Needham Market

  Needham Market have been strong in the 2nd half the ball won in midfield Henderson out to Rossiter drives on Opperman once again sliding in to take the ball away for a throw. Pressing on late in the game Fisher opening her body to release Balfour on the right puts a cross in along the area out to Brawn left side looks to hit it on the run first time slices it wide. 

  The final whistle blows, Thomas who’s taken over flag duties from Balfour in the 2nd half has had enough and makes a hasty retreat to a warm and more importantly dry changing room as Needham Market celebrate a win that leaves them on the cusp of winning the Division One North title.

Full time Needham Market Women 4-1 Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses

 Honours even after the 1st half it was a devastating start to the 2nd half that saw Needham Market take control of the game scoring two quickfire goals to lead 3-1 at the start of the half. Were in control as condition grew worse, extremely difficult to play in towards the end. Wootton Blue Cross battling well in the 1st half despite a positive start from the hosts the wind seeing through ball runs on making it difficult responded well to falling a goal behind. Were undone at the start of the 2nd half and struggled to get back into it from there. By my reckoning Needham Market need one win from there final 3 games to ensure the title. That could be in a fortnights time at home to Haverhill Rovers, next weekend a stern test against Premier Division side Luton Town Ladies away.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, it’s another tricky one but of course a few performances of note to mention first. For Wootton Blue Cross, Freya Opperman had her hands full with Rossiter for much of the game preventing a number of crosses ad denying her a goal scoring opportunity. Giselle Randall with a handful for the Needham Market defence at the back battling to win the ball and fashion chances for herself and her teammates. Elena Lancaster getting into some good positions throughout the game. For Needham Market, Ellie Rossiter was a constant threat on the right a good contest with Opperman getting into a number of good goal scoring positions opening the scoring. Mia Etheridge showing good intent going forwards taking the ball to Wootton Blue Cross and looking to set up others. Today’s award though goes to Needham market’s captain Nicola Henderson a strong performance in midfield winning the ball, and both tracking back to help the defence and get forwards to support the attack a superb strike to make it 3-1.

  A rearranged fixture but a great opportunity to see two more sides in action. Appreciate the help with the team details at short notice. An entertaining game (expect little else from the ERWFL these days) albeit I could have done without the weather, was bitter out there.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Ipswich Town Women v Needham Market Women

Sunday 30th May

Suffolk Women’s County Cup Final

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 The action this Sunday comes from the Final of the Suffolk Women’s County Cup, with Ipswich Town Women looking to make it 7 successive wins in the competition as they take on Needham Market Women.

Today’s prize

 Suffolk FA like their counterparts in Norfolk and Bedfordshire pressing on with their County Cup competitions following the emergence from the 3rd lockdown during the ongoing Covid pandemic at the end of March. The Suffolk Cup running on it’s own since 2010 the competition has been dominated by Ipswich Town Women winning 8 of the last 9 finals including a run of 6 successive wins.

Ipswich Town Women are the leading force for women’s football in Suffolk and are only getting stronger. The first team topping the FAWNL South East Division One in both the previous Covid affected seasons and with a shake up of the pyramid coming the club is in a strong position to apply for upwards movement. Today’s squad though lends testament to that strength as Ipswich have fielded there WSL Academy side throughout the competition, which sees there youngsters playing against as the name suggest some of the countries top female academies and underlies the clubs ambitions. Setting goal scoring records too scoring a staggering 71 goals without reply in 4 matches to reach todays final.

Another club on the rise within women’s football in Suffolk is Needham Market Women, established in 2018, recorded a 2nd placed finish in the Suffolk Women’s Division aswell as reaching the final’s of the League and County Cup. Joined the ERWFL looking to test themselves at regional level whilst setting up a Reserves side. The Covid pandemic affecting both season’s, lost out to Ipswich in the semi-finals of the County Cup last season before bouncing back this term to make it 2 finals out of 3. Warren Lewis-Claxton taking over the running of the 1st team from Freya Louis who is now the Girls & Women’s Development Manager for Needham Market Academy the club themselves offering a pathway for both mens and women’s football. 

Road to the Final

  The County Cup getting underway before the 2nd lockdown in November and for both sides it rained goals. Ipswich’s academy side seeing the County Cup retained for a sixth straight season with a 6-0 win in the delayed final carried over from last season began their defence with a home tie against Suffolk Women’s Division Two newcomers Kesgrave Kestrels Ladies, dominated from start to finish winning 18-0. Needham Market were just as ruthless at home to another Division Two side, Chantry Grasshoppers recording a 22-0 win. 

  The 2nd Round after the 3rd lockdown seeing contracting matches played out. Ipswich were away to Suffolk Division One side Brantham Athletic Ladies, the goals flowing once again eased through to the quarter finals with a 15-0 win. A tougher opponent for Needham Market at home to AFC Sudbury Women, like them another club offering a women’s football pathway as the ERWFL Division One side looks to re-establish itself as a dominant side within women’s football in the county, the pair contesting a 1-1 draw the tie going to penalties, Needham Market coming through with a 4-3 victory. 

  More of the same for Ipswich in the quarter finals rattling in a further 14 goals without reply away to East Bergholt United. An away win awarded to Needham Market who were drawn against Norfolk Division One side Waveney Ladies. Onto the semi-finals played at neutral grounds. Ipswich taking on Bungay Town Ladies at Framlingham Town, were far too strong for the Norfolk Division One side as they ran riot scoring 24 goals with Zoe Barrett and Lucy O’Brien netting 13 between them. Needham Market travelled to Mildenhall Town FC to take on fellow ERWFL Division One side Haverhill Rovers Ladies, newly established themselves reaching the last 4 of the County Cup are a club in a similar vein to Needham Market. Two goals late in the 1st half from Abbie Wilkinson and Nia Evans seeing Needham Market leading 2-0 at half-time a penalty scored late in stoppage time by Lois Balfour sealing a 3-0 win.

The venue for today’s final at The MEL Group Stadium home of AFC Sudbury’s mens and women’s teams. A state of the art artificial playing surface. A modern newly built clubhouse over looking the pitch with bar and kitchen hatch serving hot food and drink, a seated stand beside  with one more on the opposite side. An evening kick-off a bright and sunny day, a pleasant Bank Holiday weekend. 

 Ipswich Town Women starting XI – Nina Meollo, Summer Hughes, Emma Wallis, Amy-Leigh Abrehart, Liv Bilson, Abbie Jackson, Molly Sutherland (C), Kyra Robertson, Zoe Barrett, Lucy O’Brien & Maddie Biggs. Subs – Leonie Jackson & Sarah Brasero.

Ipswich Town Women

 Needham Market Women starting XI – Danielle Clarke, Ellie Rossiter, Jodie Sharp, Laura Bloomfield, Ele Catchpole, Nia Evans, Nicole Henderson (C), Amber Sparkes, Mia Etheridge, Abbie Wilkinson & Lois Balfour. Subs – Francesca Rainbird, Sasha Diston, Gemma Foster & Freja Scott.

Needham Market Women

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   The teams lining up before the match Ipswich will be kicking off the first half wearing their all blue kit with white trim. Needham Market opposite wearing red shirts with yellow trim, red shorts and socks. The ball rolled back to the defence is put to the right for Emma Wallis to take forwards exchanges passes with Zoe Barrett on the flank before looking to drive on, Needham Market’s, Jodie Sharp coming to close her down tackle and see the ball out for a throw., Needham Market work the ball across the field out to the right, Mia Etheridge taking it on sending an early cross into the top of the area, headed clear by Ipswich’s Abbie Jackson.

Zoe Barratt on the attack for Ipswich

  A few of the Ipswich side have some experience with the 1st team, one of those being attacker Maddie Biggs who is fed in making a run into the left channel, likes to run at defences pace unleashes a shot from 20 yards out the ball wide at the near post. Amy-Leigh Abrehart out on the left for Ipswich sends the ball through for Biggs to attack the left channel once again, Laura Bloomfield sliding on to challenge her win the ball for Needham Market.  Ipswich on the offensive right from the off, Lucy O’Brien latching onto a poor pass at the back from Needham Market right side looks to drive for the box is clipped brought down a free-kick awarded 20 yards out right of the D. Abrehart over it goes for goal, her strike high and wide of the near post. 

Ellie Rossiter bringing the ball on for Needham Market

Ellie Rossiter brings the ball on down the right for Needham Market on for Abbie Wilkinson, attempts to cut inside with Etheridge providing a run moving into the right channel, Molly Sutherland captaining Ipswich soon to head off to the United States getting back on her to regain possession. Ipswich quick to turn play around, Ele Catchpole stepping out from the back to tackle for Needham Market put long up to captain Nicole Henderson she heads it on in behind right side, Summer Hughes there to put out for a throw prevent Wilkinson taking it on.

Needham Market captain, Nicole Henderson

  Wallis plays in on for Barrett in space on the right, carries the ball on looking to take on Sharp, attempts to knock it around the full back get in behind, Sharp doing well stretching to take the ball away from Barrett. O’Brien recieving the ball in a similar position on the right drives for the area, is closed down by three Needham market players at the top of the area, riding a challenge well staying on her feet in behind bearing down on goal lets loose from the angle, goalkeeper Danielle Clarke down smartly to make the blocking save the ball deflected across the six yard box cleared by Bloomfield.

Danielle Clarke down to save for Needham Market

   Wilkinson played into the box right side by Etheridge does well to ensure her side get a corner. Ipswich defend the set-piece at the near post the ball dropping back to the taker is fired back into the area, an Ipswich leg cutting it out before being cleared. Clarke off her line early comes out to close the angle as Biggs gets away with the ball at her feet on the left smashes her shot against the onrushing keeper. Ipswich lively moving well as a unit, the attackers looking to stretch the Needham Market defence, playing 3 up top are on the front foot. 

Jodie Sharp coming forwards for Needham Market

 

  Sharp has been kept busy in defence has a rare chance to get forwards for Needham Market on the left Ipswich standing off her she comes inside striking the ball from 25 yards out left of the D, curling the ball in near post, doesn’t trouble Ipswich goalkeeper, Nina Meollo. Nia Evans on the ball centrally looks to play it over the top for Amber Sparkes through the middle, Ipswich step up well at the back however seeing her stray offside. Henderson with a short pass into Etheridge turns plays it on for Sparkes, Liv Bilson winning the ball back for Ipswich at the back. 

  A free-kick for Needham Market out wide on the left a chance for players to come up towards the area, the delivery into the near side Etheridge jumping well to met it heads it on down towards the far post, Sharp the closest to it but can’t reach it before Meollo has it safely in her gloves. Etheridge central with Henderson, Needham Market go forwards the pass laid forwards for Lois Balfour attempting to get in behind, read well by Jackson winning the ball back for Ipswich. 

Needham Market’s Mia Etheridge

 Barratt full of running on the right in attack for Ipswich getting hold of the ball charges on towards the area, Sharp getting back on her the pair shoulder to shoulder, Sharp doing enough to see the ball safely collected by her keeper. Biggs carrying an equally dangerous threat on the left side of Ipswich’s attacking trio, surges into the box Clarke coming to close the angle Biggs moving central shoots, Clarke down saving well getting something on the ball as she drops squirms out from under her but rises up to cannon off the crossbar and down for the defence to launch clear. Needham Market with a free-kick on the halfway lime left side put up into the congested D, Etheridge again up well to head the ball goalwards but lacking power is gathered by Meollo.

  GOAL! 22 minutes played and Ipswich open the scoring, Wallis clear on the right side getting into an advanced position flashes a cross in along the top of the Needham Market area, controlled by O’Brien central laid to her right for Barratt who sees the ball into her body turning well right of the D to hit a low strike in past the diving keeper at the near post 1-0.

Zoe Barratt opens the scoring for Ipswich

  Ipswich waste no time in getting hold of the ball from the restart, Kyra Robertson out to Wallis right side she powers forwards sending in an early cross across the area met by the advancing Abrehart far side sends her shot wide across the goal. Changes for both sides as Ipswich bring Sarah Brasero on for Biggs. Needham market bring on defender Sasha Diston for Sparkes. Misplaced passes out from the back are putting the Needham Market defence under pressure Ipswich lively looking for the ball Barrett snatches it right side firing it into the area with O’Brien providing the run moving right, Clarke does well out to save bravely at her feet before she can get a shot away.

  Sutherland with some strong tackles in the middle, is stopping Needham Market gaining any momentum through the middle, Evans and Henderson looking to feed it forwards to Balfour, Etheridge and Wilkinson when they can. The Ipswich captain moving into a shooting position 30 yards out sends a shot wide of the near post. Sharp with time on the ball left side advancing goes central looking for options, runs into traffic 25 yards out, Sutherland putting in the tackle to set up another Ipswich attack. Brasero and Wallis bringing the ball on centrally combining well before Henderson get’s back to tackle Brasero. The ball pops loose straight to Wallis her strike from distance blocked by Bloomfield. 

Luara Bloomfield with the header for Needham Market at the back

 Ipswich with a corner on the right put into the top of the area comes back to Barratt on the right loops a ball in towards goals drops down off the crossbar, dropping far post a shot blasted in, saved excellent work from Clarke on her line before being cleared, Needham Market break forwards the ball into Wilkinson in space on the right looks to set up Balfour at the near post, Sutherland back clearing it for a corner kick. A inswinging delivery from Sharp is at a catchable height, safely into Meollo’s midriff. 

 GOAL! 10 minutes left in the 1st half as Ipswich get forwards and double their lead, the ball fired into O’Brien from the left the striker in a central position, gets a shot away before Sharp can tackle her, Clarke down sharply to her left saving well, O’Brien alert however after the loose ball to the right of the keeper retrieves coming back inside turning to send her low strike in at the near post 2-0.

Lucy O’Brien doubles Ipswich’s lead

 

  Needham Market working hard frustrated going forwards, Evans on for Etheridge who is hauled down in the centre. Sharp out wide left taking the ball on attempts to get in behind, Wallis with the challenge sending the ball out for a throw. Evans allowed time on the ball in the middle threads it through to Balfour central, Wallis getting tight on does well in defence to prevent the Needham Market attacker getting away from her. 

 

 

  Abrehart over on the right now for Ipswich finds some space hugging the touchline, takes the ball on up the line, Sharp finding the pace to get out to her lunging in with the tackle to concede the corner. Taken short with Hughes moving towards the ball back to the take the pair working a cross into the box defended by Catchpole. Catchpole defending again as Wallis lets loose from the angle on the right the centre back cutting her strike out falls for Abrehart inside the box wide right fires her shot wide across the face of goal. 

Needham Market’s, Sasha Diston

  Diston winning the ball inside the Ipswich half left side plays it inside for Etheridge 25 yards out central turns to pass forwards to Balfour breaking right, the attacker tackled inside the D, appeals but no foul given. 

Half-time Ipswich Town Women 2-0 Needham Market Women

  Ipswich go into the half-time break leading the Final 2-0. But for some excellent saves from Needham Market goalkeeper Danielle Clarke could have been 4 or 5. Have been lively going forwards the front 3 causing their opponents defence problems and that in turn limiting Needham Market’s own opportunities going forwards. The teams staying out on the pitch during the break in the shade provided by the building behind. Ipswich leading will be a tough ask for Needham Market to find a goal of their own. 

Needham market to get the 2nd half underway changes for Ipswich a change of goalkeepers with Leonie Jackson on for Meollo, Biggs back on too. The ball put to the left, won back by Hughes the full back looking to get forwards for Ipswich Diston comes in to win the challenge before Needham Market win a free-kick. Etheridge playing it long, Bilson defending. Needham Market almost capitalise as Ipswich get out of shape at the back the ball fired on for Wilkinson to chase Ipswich getting out of shape at the back as the keeper comes for the ball, Leonie Jackson recovering well however to get back on Wilkinson to block and clear. 

Needham Market’s Nia Evans

  Robertson moving out into the right channel for Ipswich taking the ball down to the by-line whips a cross back in the ball cut out by Sharp conceding the corner. Swung into the six yard box, Clarke going for is fouled. A blatant push on the advancing Biggs sees Ipswich awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position outside the D to the right of goal. O’Brien to take goes for goal over the wall but falls comfortably for Clarke to take cleanly beyond. 

Ipswich fullback Summer Hughes

Ipswich are defending from the front well their attackers in to close the Needham market defence down making playing out from the back difficult and bringing about unforced errors. Biggs latching onto the ball right sides lifting it across to Barratt on the left into the box, Rossiter getting across her to hook the ball away to safety. Biggs is full of energy on the right surging to the by-line clipping it back to Wallis getting forwards with her to hit 1st time on the angle, Clarke covering her near post down to scoop up the ball. 

 GOAL! Ipswich extend their lead Biggs attacking right tackling Catchpole to steal in behind racing forwards sends the cross in towards Barratt getting away far post to connect with the ball and turn it into the back of the net for her 2nd of the game 3-0.

 Catchpole gets back at Biggs this time as the attacker threatens to race through once more, the flag though already up against her. Biggs a menace on the drive the ball at her feet right, shifts inside into the box shooting low, straight at Clarke however the keeper gathering. Ipswich come left Hughes linking with Barrett and Brasero who escapes her marker to get into the box flashes a cross into the six yard box, Robertson advancing meeting it to hit 1st time sees her effort fly up over the bar.

  Needham Market are on the backfoot can’t get the ball into an advanced position, Sutherland stifling play in the centre the full backs can’t get out. Evans committing a foul in the middle Ipswich take it quickly Sutherland to Robertson moving left goes on tackled by Rossiter out for a throw, drops to Barratt  back for Sutherland as she turns heading for the area, recieves the return pass, strikes a shot in on the angle from the corner of the area in low safely collected by Clarke. 

  GOAL! 64 minutes on the clock and Ipswich cap a dominant period in attack with a 4th goal as O’Brien snaps in to win the ball high on the right takes it on in behind swinging a cross in towards the near post, Barratt and Brasero both closing in on Clarke, the keeper blocking Barratt’s attempt, the ball drops down to the feet of Brasero to top of them both and she stabs it home 4-0.

Ipswich attacker, Sarah Brasero

 A drinks break following a chance for both sides to regroup, Freja Scott enters the game for Needham Market. Abrehart back on for O’Brien for Ipswich. Bloomfield with a long ball up top for Balfour to attack, Bilson is close on her to ensure she does get the ball down and in behind. Biggs unleashes a shot from 25 yards out on the right but is again frustrated as her attempt is held by Clarke. Biggs then beats the offside flag breaking centrally racing in behind, the defence can’t catch her, Clarke comes racing out of her area has to get to the ball slides in takes it away from the attacker behind her, Rossiter back to send it clear from a throw out on the left. 

 GOAL! Surging forwards, Ipswich go on to add a 5th goal, numbers forwards Needham Market on the backfoot the ball right fired in to the path of Biggs, a frustrating afternoon so far in front of goal, she makes no mistake this time with a powerful strike from 20 yards out that leaves Clarke with no chance as it hits the back of the net across her 5-0.

Maddie Biggs with a powerful strike adding Ipswich’s 5th

  Needham Market tiring Ipswich remain full of running with less than 20 minutes left to play, Brasero left sends it on for Abrehart escaping into the box beyond the defence, the flag up however thwarts her attempt on goal. Abrehart is gifted another opportunity moments later as Needham Market give the ball away at the back left side steals inside to shoot on the angle driven in low near post, Clarke down diving full stretch to make another fantastic save sending the ball behind for a corner. The delivery in defended well by Scott at the near post for Needham Market. Balfour comes off for Needham Market with Gemma Foster coming in at left back pushing Sharp further forwards. 

Needham Market defender, Ele Catchpole

Bloomfield in to block )’Brien at close range as Abrehart plays her in left side of the goal. Barratt returning to the game for Ipswich. Catchpole in on Brasero as the Ipswich attack looks to burst clear through the middle off a Robertson pass. Robertson on the ball central again plays it out to Biggs right side, Foster intercepting to clear up to Sharp for Needham Market. The game into the final 10 minutes. Ipswich on top coming on looking for more goals. Hughes getting on a diagonal ball into Barratt shoots from distance, the ball held confidently by Clarke.

Needham Market goalkeeper, Danielle Clarke

  Changes for both sides Robertson off for O’Brien for Ipswich, Francesca Rainbird on for Evans for Needham Market. Hughes races away down the left for Ipswich sending in a cross from the by-line cut out by Bloomfield tracking back for a corner with Barratt on her shoulder. 

  GOAL! Ipswich send players up from the back for the corner, from the left angled in across the face of goal towards the far post, deflected goalwards is blocked on the line Needham Market failing to clear falls central in the six yard box stabbed goalwards by Bilson he shot rising up to smash down off the crossbar and down over the line 6-0.

Liv Bilson netting Ipswich’s 6th goal

  Etheridge central with a ball over the top as Ipswich are caught with a high line, Leonie Jackson quickly out of her area to clear smashes the ball straight against the advancing Wilkinson, rebounding behind them both, it’s the keeper who can recover the quicker and nullify the threat. Hughes lays the ball inside from the left to O’Brien 25 yards out drops her shoulder shifting the ball to her right before letting fly sends her strike over the bar. Hughes and Abrehart combining on the left a give and go Abrehart sending the full back in behind fires a cross into the area, Biggs breaking clear far side after it, Clarke saving at point blank range coming out to close her down.

  Ipswich creating chances a shot angled in from distance on the right cannons off the post. Abrehart central curling a shot around the post from beyond the D. Ipswich finishing the game strong all Needham Market can do is try to thwart the advance, Clarke immense throughout out to save at the feet of O’Brien. The flag stays down as Biggs bursts through in behind in stoppage time, shots on the drive, falls to the ground beating it in frustration as she sees another effort wide. 

Full time Ipswich Town Women 6-0 Needham Market Women

  The final whistle blows and Ipswich finishing the game strong win comfortably 6-0 to make it 7 straight County Cup wins. Were on top from start to finish their attacking trio causing the Needham market defence all sorts of problems with their pace and movement. Chances created taking the lead after 22 minutes, going in 2 up at the break. Could have had more. Needham market having few opportunities up front couldn’t get the bodies forwards to worry the Ipswich backline. Ipswich strong in the 2nd period full of energy as Needham Market tired, more chances, the goals coming at regular intervals.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Difficult to pick one it has to be said but firstly huge credit goes to Needham Market goalkeeper, Danielle Clarke an ex-Ipswich player she was immense in goal pulling off some incredible saves and although her side eventually lost 6-0 without her saves it could have been double that. For Ipswich really hard to pick one player out was an all round team performance, Molly Sutherland was strong centrally commanding the midfield. The front three lively, Maddie Biggs a constant threat on the left first half right the 2nd, Lucy O’Brien through the middle but narrowly edging it the award today goes to Zoe Barrett, some great link up play and movement scoring 2 goals.

Congratulations to Ipswich Town Women on winning the County Cup for a 7th successive time.

2020/21 County Cup Winners, Ipswich Town Women

  An entertaining afternoon at AFC Sudbury, as always my thanks to the clubs for providing me with the team details and the staff at Suffolk FA too for their assistance. Women’s football in Suffolk is on a rapid upwards curve and whilst Ipswich continue to be out in front Needham Market are amongst the frontrunners looking to close the gap.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Needham Market Women v Newmarket Town Ladies

Sunday 24th November

ERWFL Division One North

 League action this weekend on Women’s Football East, a game from the ERWFL Division One North, newly promoted Needham Market Women hosting Newmarket Town Ladies.

 A meeting between two sides that have several similarities, a young talented squad looking to make an impact. Needham Market Women just over a year old formed during last summer made a great start one of several new sides competing in an expanded Suffolk Women’s Division. Made a strong debut pushing eventual champions East Bergholt United Ladies all the way in the title race aswell as reaching the finals of both the League and County Cup. Moving straight up to join the ERWFL along with East Bergholt, the club setting up a new Reserves side to compete the the Suffolk Women’s Division, going well with a 100% record after 7 games played.

Freya Louis one of the youngest managers around looking after the 1st team and pretty much involved with everything to do with the club. Passionate about her role and loving it to the max, writes the Happy Gaffer blog in her spare time and most recently has set up the #WeAre twitter account with the aim to celebrate females in all roles within the game and to encourage more participation, to find out more go to and follow @UK_WeAre

 Stepping up to the regional set-up Needham Market into Division One split into two divisions this season North & South. Are in the North league along with East Bergholt, Cambridge City Ladies Development and Gorleston Ladies also new this season with AFC Sudbury, Histon, King’s Lynn and Newmarket seeing 8 competing. Has been a stop start season so far for Needham Market which can often be the case for ERWFL in the first half of the season. 3 league  games played so far yielding 4 points. Cup games dominating for the large part the early stage of the League Cup seeing the Division One teams divided up into 4 groups of 4 playing each other once with the group winners going on to join the Premier Division sides in the knockout stages, Needham Market topping Group C. Lois Balfour featuring for the first team today, prolific in front of goal for the Reserves so far this season with 28 goals from just 7 appearances.

Newmarket Town Ladies beginning their 2nd season playing in the ERWFL made a solid debut upon stepping up into regional league football, quickly found their feet in a highly competitive single division last season eventually finishing in fifth spot. On top of that won silverware as they reached the final of the ERWFL Plate beating Histon Ladies to lift the trophy. Reestablishing a Development side this season, Craig Boneham coming in to take charge of the 1st team as the club looks to push on once again. The ERWFL Division One North looking a strong league this season Newmarket have 7 points from their opening 5 games, young striker Annabel Cuthbert finding her form in front of goal early netting 16 goals so far this season from 10 played.

 Bloomfields the venue for today’s game home of Needham Market FC, it’s women’s sides part of a wider club and academy. The Hub cafe & bar was in construction the last time I visited now build dominating as you enter the ground the grass pitch beyond overlooking the 3G pitch where today’s game will be played. Two stories the ground floor home to the changing facilities, the upper floor housing a conference room and the cafe itself serving hot and cold food and drinks a balcony for viewing surrounding it. A smart looking set-up. A hive of activity very much a community feel to the place. Pity the weather was rubbish, dull and overcast, the rain though should stay away. A game taking place on the 3G on arrival would run into the next game causing a delay in kick-off so both sides can get warmed up properly.

Needham Market Women starting XI – Freya Louis, Jodie Sharp, Ashleigh Goddard, Maria Smith, Amy Dunn, Sasha Diston (C), Taylor Cooke, Amber Sparkes, Francesca Rainbird, Lois Balfour & Annie Northwood. Subs – Megan Stock.

Newmarket Town Women starting XI – Elli-Rai Quinn-Nichols, Rebecca Towler, Holly Dryland, Beth Woodfield (C), Chloe Slater, Jess Linger, Antonia Smith, Laura Brame, Molly Agnew, Lauren Deller & Annabel Cuthbert. Subs – Yasmin Woodfield, Hannah Rogers, Jordanne Sillitoe & Layla Weston.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A few players missing for Needham Market only able to name the one substitute, manager Freya Louis donning the goalkeeping gloves today with 1st choice keeper Amber leeks out injured. Newmarket naming two 16-year-old Development players amongst their squad today Rebecca Towler and Layla Weston. Needham Market to get the first half underway wearing an all red kit with yellow trim. Newmarket lined up opposite wearing yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. Back to the defence Newmarket quick to close down on the right forcing a throw, Needham market build again through the middle captain Sasha Diston bringing a wealth of experience to Needham Market having joined in the summer playing the ball forwards into Lois Balfour she lays it out to the left wing, Francesca Rainbird racing down the line fizzing in a cross towards the near post Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield racing in clearing despite goalkeeper Elli-Rai Quinn-Nichols well placed to pick up.

   Newmarket bring the ball out from the back central forwards into attacker Lauren Deller, spots Molly Agnew making a run on the left putting the pas into her feet she takes it on Jodie Sharp, another of Needham Market’s summer recruits playing right back getting back across Agnew to defend and play the ball back to her keeper to clear. Woodfield plays a fantastic pass from the back out long to the rights to set Laura Brame away recently joining Newmarket was at Needham Market at the beginning of the season. Against her former club takes the ball in behind a good turn of pace letting fly from the angle her shot over the bar.

Newmarket Town Ladies captain, Beth Woodfield

 Brame played in again on the right after another superb ball from Woodfield at the back taking the ball on travelling into the box Maria Smith sliding on to tackle brilliantly for Needham Market the ball sent behind for a corner kick. The corner delivered near side Woodfield running forwards to meet it getting a firm header on the ball looming high into the air dropping over the goal. 

  Rainbird getting hold of the ball for Needham market left side threads a pass through to Annie Northwood in attack, joining from rival East Bergholt United scoring 40 goals last season. Northwood touching the ball looks to shift inside to get a shot away inside the box, well read and defended by Newmarket centre back Chloe Slater. Maria Smith with another fine piece of defending on Annabel Cuthbert central as Deller almost slides her through in behind, the ball put back to Louis to kick clear. Holly Dryland up on halfway as Newmarket lose the ball does well defensively to stop Needham market getting away on the wing. 

Holly Dryland in to win the challenge for Newmarket

 Needham Market win the ball back central put forwards into Amber Sparkes she plays the ball forwards with the outside of her boot scooping it over the Newmarket defence for Northwood getting in behind moving to the right into the area sends a shot in low across the keeper, Quinn-Nicholls down well throwing out a glove to push the ball wide of the far post for a corner. A god delivery in from the right through the six yard box, Diston the target gets no contact retrieved by Sparkes hooks the ball over her head back across the face of goal Diston inches away again. 

Needham Market Women’s Amber Sparkes

  Diston with a strike from distance off a throw in on the left side sets her sights from 40 yards out on target one bounce in the box, Quinn-Nichols catching safely right behind it. Newmarket pressing well showing good movement intercepting more than one mislaid Needham Market pass and getting it forwards quickly, Deller finding room coming for the ball, Brame and Agnew outlets on either flank. Nearly pays off as Agnew is played in right side squaring a cross into Cuthbert top of the area a great piece of skill to wrong foot the defence and get into the box, Maria Smith recovering fantastic to dive in make the challenge put the ball away for the corner before Cuthbert can pull the trigger.

Molly Agnew looking for a passing option as she gets hold of the ball for Newmarket

GOAL! Closing in on the opening 20 minutes and Newmarket open the scoring. From the corner kick put in from the right Woodfield making the run once again closer in across goal, forcing the error Diston getting her head on the ball to her dismay sends it into her own goal 0-1.

  Needham Market haven’t settled not giving themselves enough time on the ball in the early stages Sparkes gets hold of the ball 40 yards out and battles her way forwards riding a couple of tackles before shooting from the top of the box, the ball straight into Quinn-Nicholls back on her line. Sparks has Sharp making a run on the overlap right side puts her in taking it to the line sends in a cross along the top of the six yard box the ball cut out by Slater. 

Amy Dunn clearing the ball for Needham Market

  Sparkes showing intent in attack getting on for Needham Market a great pass forwards putting her in by Diston central Sparkes quick takes the ball into the area, right of goal has it in her sights Slater coming to close opts to take another tough into the six yard box wide of the post turns inside looking to knock it past the keeper and shoot, Quinn-Nicholls down at her feet makes the save. Needham Market creating opportunities now have a free-kick wide on the left the ball flighted in goes long Taylor Cooke hooking it back in across goal beyond the far post met first time by Northwood fired over. 

  Antonia Smith and Jess Linger working well together in the centre of Newmarket frustrating Needham Market as they look to play the ball though the middle, Rainbird always ready to break on the left for Needham Market almost in behind, Rebecca Towler getting in close to tackle and deny the cross. Louis races out of her area to get to the ball first as Cuthbert is played in behind by Antonia Smith getting forwards as Brame wins the ball. Amy Dunn coming to help Sharp on the right as Agnew receives from Deller in the middle. 

Laura Brame playing the ball for Newmarket

  Balfour on the ball high on the right for Needham Market passing central for Diston getting forwards good work on the ball dinks it over the top into the area for Northwood great control with her first before shooting lifting the ball high but straight at Quinn-Nicholls, gloves up palms it down coolly. Cuthbert has been almost gotten away from the Needham Market defence on a few ocassions playing off the shoulder of the last defender, more often than not Maria Smith has been the defender making the vital tackle. The home sides turning play around quickly look to get Sparkes away central as she comes inside, Dryland getting her toe on the ball to deflect it away from her into the box for Quinn-Nichols to clear. 

   GOAL! Late in the first half Newmarket double their lead Brame running with the ball on the right in behind crosses into the box, Louis coming out to that side gets her fists on the ball, pushes it out of her area, but it well out of position as the ball falls straight to Deller 20 yards out puts her foot through the ball rifling it into the back of the empty net 0-2.

Lauren Deller fires Newmarket into a 2-0 lead

  Sparkes seems intent on taking the whole Newmarket defence on at once as she picks up the ball 35 yards out central forces her way forwards checking back inside the D, spots Rainbird to the left breaking in behind attempts to chip the ball to her, Woodfield getting hold of it clearing for Newmarket. 

 GOAL! Time almost up first half, Needham Market frustrated so far getting a late lifeline on the attack Balfour lifting the pass forwards for Rainbird racing on into the box, Quinn-Nichols to the ball first knocking in away from the winger, does claim however as Rainbird gets back on her to steal possession and roll the ball into the empty net beyond 1-2.

  On last attack for Newmarket Deller taking the ball on down the left, Sharp quick staying with her for Needham Market putting in a good challenge to win the ball back.

Half-time Needham Market Women 1-2 Newmarket Town Women

  2-1 to Newmarket at half-time, a late life line for Needham Market giving them something to take into the first half. Good chances created by both sides the goals however all coming from errors. An intriguing contest, Newmarket settling the quicker looking a threat out wide and Deller picking up the ball finding space. Needham Market frustrated passes not finding their marked have more time on the ball than they are giving themselves. The game still very much there for the taking.

  No changes at the break the floodlights coming on Newmarket to get the 2nd half underway. Sparkes on the attack straight away forcing her way forwards brought down 30 yards out winning a free-kick. On the set-piece herself goes for goal on target finds its way through but not troubling Quinn-Nichols. A positive start from the hosts on the offence driving forwards Sharp running in behind on the right delivering a low cross into the area takes a deflection sending it behind for a corner.

   GOAL! Needham Market straight back on level terms at the start of the 2nd half an inswinging corner falling into the six yard box takes an unfortunate deflection of a Newmarket defender sending it straight into the path of Diston close in to stab over the line and equalise 2-2.

Needham Market captain, Sasha Diston

  Needham Market fired up now coming forwards a fantastic through ball to set Northwood away into the area clear left of goal fires a low drive across goal, Quinn-Nichols down well to save pushing the ball wide well away from danger. Newmarket win the ball central Linger into Brame left forwards to Cuthbert making a run into the channel the striker carrying the ball inside looking for a shooting opportunity tackled by Dunn, the ball spins loose to Deller central her first time strike charged down. 

Jess Linger, Newmarket’s dead ball specialist

  Newmarket make a double change Towler and Agnew coming off on come Yasmin Woodfield and Jordanne Sillitoe. Linger a threat from any dead ball situation, over a free-kick 40 yards out, plays the ball into the box swinging towards the far post, Louis doesn’t catch the ball dropping wide of goal. Diston plays a nice crossfield pass 30 yards out left into Sharp advancing into the area on the right catching it on the volley blasts into the side netting. Needham Market make a change Sparkes the player off Megan Stock on comes over to left back with Goddard switching to the right Sharp pushed forwards. Goddard called into action right side straight away defending well as Cuthbert controlling the ball 25 yards out looks to shift and shoot. 

Needham Market’s Ashleigh Goddard

Anyone’s game at the moment Needham Market coming back well, both sides looking to get forwards. Sharp getting clear on the right into the corner does well to get a cross towards the top of the six yards box, think it’s Balfour racing in near post stooping into the header, sends the attempt wide across goal. Stock linking up with Rainbird bringing the ball out from the back the latter crossing along the top of the area Northwood receiving looks to tie up Balfour inside the box, Beth Woodfield in between the strikers intercepts the pass. Newmarket make another change Layla Weston coming on for Deller. 

Development player, Layla Weston on for her senior team debut for Newmarket

  Goddard shown the first yellow card of the game for a somewhat ungainly challenge on Cuthbert as she attempts to break into the box. The free-kick in a dangerous position 20 yards out left of the D, Linger over the ball takes on the shot, on target Louis with a superb save tipping it over the bar, is rather pleased with her effort. The resulting corner sees Slater almost steal in around the back to poke out a boot stab towards goal her shot blocked. Needham Market hit Newmarket on the counter Northwood carrying the ball down the left all the way into the area closing in on goal drags her shot wide of the near post. The game entering he  final 15 minutes Sharp causing problems for Newmarket on the right in attack a surging run with the ball towards the ball Slater tackling the ball behind for the corner. 

Needham Market’s, Jodie Sharp

 GOAL! Needham Market come back from 2-0 down to take the lead for the first time in the match. The corner from the right into a congested six yard box Quinn-Nichols up amongst bodies gets her fist on the ball knocks it down and straight at Rainbird back on the penalty spot an instinctive hit lifts her shoot back in an down off the underside of the crossbar 3-2.

  Newmarket respond straight away with a substitution, Hannah Rogers on Brame coming off. Needham Market lively getting players forwards Rainbird continuing to carry a threat on the left winning a corner. Diston making thing’s tick in the middle for Needham Market now coming inside of a throw in right side drags a shot narrowly wide from 20 yards out. The game open Needham Market on the attack, Newmarket still carrying a threat up the other end Cuthbert pushing the ball central for Sillitoe can’t get a clean connection as she throws herself into the shot. 

Newmarket come forwards Antonia Smith playing it on for Cuthbert on the left comes infield is challenged the ball deflected spins out to Sillitoe right comes inside top of the area into a shooting position a shot curled in low Louis diving to her right making the save.

GOAL! Needham Market get down the other end win a corner on the right the delivery in with pace attacked near side missed runs across goal, Balfour racing after it to retrieve left side turns an fires the ball in towards the near post, Northwood sticking out a leg meets the ball turning it into the back of the net to give the hosts a 2 goal cushion late in the match 4-2.

Annie Northwood battling for the ball with Antonia Smith.

Needham Market come forwards Balfour playing her pass out to Rainbird advancing on the left shoots towards the near post Quinn-Nichols down to make the save. Sharp on the opposite flank striking the ball on the run blasting it wide across goal. Time running out Needham Market starting to put everyone behind the ball Newmarket press forwards, Dunn and Maria Smith solid through out the game. 

Needham Market centre backs, Maria Smith and Amy Dunn

  GOAL! Into stoppage time a last gasp free-kick wide on the right for Newmarket Linger to delivery played long to the far post knocked down back across goal, defended on the line the block putting it straight into Sillitoe to smash home from close range pull a goal back 4-3. 

  No time left however for another attack the final whistle blows and Needham Market record back to back wins in the league to join Newmarket on 7 points.

Full time Needham Market Women 4-3 Newmarket Town Ladies

  A thoroughly entertaining match this afternoon, Needham Market coming back from trailing 2- to win the game 4-3. Newmarket having the best of the 1st half causing Needham market problems creating chances forcing errors. A vital goal coming late in the 1st period for Needham Market began the 2nd half strongly straight back on level terms. The game wide open for a spell, Needham Market taking the lead and getting a 2 goal cushion, Newmarket never out of it pulling one back late hadn’t enough time left to find another.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, several contenders out there. Lauren Deller for Newmarket scoring their 2nd goal, finding pockets of space between midfield and defence almost had Cuthbert in on goal on a couple of ocassions. For Needham Market I’ve mentioned the centre backs a few times, Maria Smith in particular with some great tackles first half to prevent Newmarket shooting. Jodie Sharp in defence but mostly in attack a threat on the right as was Francesca Rainbird on the left. Have gone for Sasha Diston overall strong in the middle the engine for Needham Market a good range of passing bringing others into play and winning the ball.

  An enjoyable trip to Bloomfields, an entertaining match, always competitive in the ERWFL, never disappoints. My thanks to both clubs for the team line-ups much appreciated.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Tuesday 7th May

Suffolk Women’s County Cup Final

Ipswich Town Women v Needham Market Women 

A Tuesday night trip to Portman Road home of Ipswich Town FC for the final of this season’s HomeStore Suffolk Women’s County Cup, Ipswich Town Women looking to retain the trophy for the 5th successive season, Needham Market Women their opponents reaching the final of the County Cup in their debut season.

Ipswich Town Women have dominated in the Suffolk Women’s County Cup for over a decade now appearing in 10 of the last finals winning the competition winning the trophy on 8 occasions, whilst it was a shared competition with Norfolk that as a stand alone competition in Suffolk. 4 successive wins coming into tonight’s final looking strong to make it five in a row as they come up against an emerging side playing 3 leagues below. Ipswich the leading woman’s club in Suffolk playing in the FAWNL South East Division One where they secured a 7th placed finish with a last gasp winner on Sunday. A change of management after an indifferent start to the season Jo Sheehan looking after their U21s side stepping up to the role, has brought some of Ipswich’s talented youngsters through to play for the senior team to bolster an established and experienced squad.

 A fantastic first season for Needham Market Women coming together in the summer, the squad building, several names familiar having been part of Bacton United Ladies and Coplestonians Ladies. Hit the ground running winning their opening 5 league games matching East Bergholt’s 100% winning start, their 1st league defeat of the season at home to East Bergholt losing narrowly 3-2 Needham Market nevertheless bounced back well returning the compliment with a 3-0 win against East Bergholt at the start of March that though East Bergholt’s only defeat, Needham Market losing 3 in total clinching runner-ups spot, more success too in the cup competitions reaching both the finals of the League and County Cup.

 Missing out on collecting silverware in the League Cup played last week losing 2-1 to East Bergholt who won a 2nd successive double. Plenty of goals within the squad over 120 scored a wonderful occasion to mark the end of their first season together getting the opportunity to play at under the lights at Portman Road. Know it will be a tough test playing against a side playing their football 3 leagues higher in the FAWNL. Suffolk itself ready for new sides to establish themselves up the women’s football pyramid and Needham Market as in a good position to build.

Road to the Final

 Ipswich Town Women away to ERWFL Division One side Ipswich Wanderers Ladies in the 1st round of the Suffolk County Cup a close result Town going through with a 2-1 win. Needham Market receiving a bye.

Both sides with a walk over in the 2nd Round with their opponents pulling out. A home draw for both in the quarter finals with Ipswich at home to Suffolk Women’s Division One side, Brantham Athletic Ladies a big score ranked up with Ipswich finding form in front of goal winning the game 14-0. Needham Market at home playing title rivals and Suffolk Women’s Division Champions, East Bergholt United Ladies. A fantastic result seeing Needham Market edge East Bergholt out winning the game 2-1.

The semi-finals to be held at neutral venues, Ipswich were meant to be taking on last season’s finalists AFC Sudbury Ladies, however the ERWFL Premier Division side struggling for numbers throughout the campaign made the decision to pull out sending Ipswich unopposed through to another final. Needham Market taking on Haverhill Rovers Ladies at Long Melford FC, a 4-1 victory sending them through to their 2nd final of the season.

The final returning to Portman Road the home of Ipswich Town FC having hosted the final back in the 2015/16 Ipswich winning 8-0 against Norfolk Division Two side Kirkley & Pakefield Ladies. Another leading stadium within a county in the East and beyond hosting their Women’s County Cup Final, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire too showcasing the women’s game a tell to how much the game is growing. A fantastic opportunity for both sets of players the pitch immaculate. The lights on the upper tier filling with supporters. Overcast the threat of rain in the air. 

Needham Market Women starting XI – Amber Leeks, Niamh Thomas, Megan Stock (C), Maria Smith, Nicola Henderson, Elysia Young, Emily Steward, Amber Sparkes, Laura Tuley, Francesca Rainbird & Lois Balfour. Subs – Amy Dunn, Milly Carter, Isobel Chaplin, Ashleigh Goddard & Abbie Wilkinson.

 Ipswich Town Women starting XI – Sian Fagg, Nicole Pannifer, Eva Hubbard, Aimee Stretch, Lindsey Cooper, Paige Wakefield, Amanda Crump (C), Amy Nash, Zoe Cossey, Natasha Thomas & Charlotte Kellett. Subs – Danni Clarke, Jac Ball, Flo Cage, Sophie Welton & Toni-Anne Wayne.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Ipswich to get this season’s Suffolk Women’s County Cup Final underway kicking-off the 1st half wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts, Needham Market kitted out all in red, captain Megan Stock taking her place in the back-line having recovered form what looked like a nasty knee injury in the League Cup Final a week ago. Needham Market pressing the ball from the start keep Ipswich inside their own half. A free-kick awarded top of the centre circle as Laura Tuley getting hold of the ball for Needham Market in attack is upended, the ball played high into the box defended by Amy Nash the clearance sent back into the area claimed by goalkeeper Sian Fagg.

  Ipswich attack Zoe Cossey left sending Eva Hubbard on from left back bombing forwards her diagonal ball into the box met by Natasha Thomas her touch deflecting the ball goalwards, safely held by Needham Market goalkeeper Amber Leeks back on her line. Charlotte Kellett one of those impressing for the U21s side for Ipswich moves out to the right with the ball cutting it back into the area for Thomas near side on her quickly can’t adjust to get a shot away before the Needham Market defence close and clear. 

  The flag up against both sides in quick succession Cossey going too early in the left for Ipswich, Lois Balfour through the middle for Needham Market following a great ball forwards from Elysia Young. Niamh Thomas does well at right back to tackle  Natasha Thomas inside the box as the Ipswich attacker bombs forwards with the ball left, Maria Smith clearing the ball. Kellett latching on to the ball from a Needham market goalkick moves left to get into a crossing position flights a great ball into the box Thomas rising to head the ball knocking it down towards goal grabbed by Leeks.

   Having had vocal support at the League Cup Final the Needham Market fans within the crowd were in good voice, that stirring the Ipswich supporters into action a good atmosphere in the stands adding to the occasion. Thomas playing the ball forwards for Ipswich into the left channel, Kellett their supporting Cossey getting the ball in the box tackled the ball behind for the corner. An inswinging ball by Nash claimed high on her line by Leeks. Thomas busy in defence at right back for Needham market as Cossey looks to attack Kellett sending the pass into her run the defender doing well to stick her foot in take the ball. 

Ipswich Town Women’s Zoe Cossey

  Needham Market trying to get there strikers into the game whenever they can a ball long into the right chased down by Balfour her cross into the box cleared by Lindsey Cooper. The ball out from the back has Cossey attacking left checking back top of the area curls a cross in towards the six yard box, Ipswich captain, Amanda Crump meeting it n the volley the ball straight at and held by Leeks. Needham Market doing okay in the early stages mostly defensive Stock vocal leading well, Young in midfield looking to find a forwards ball. Hubbard latching onto a loose ball in the middle bursting on into the area stopped by Thomas, Nicola Henderson clearing.

Needham Market’s Nicola Henderson

  Amber Sparkes playing the ball through for Balfour in attack, Aimee Stretch getting in front of her in defence for Ipswich to guide the ball back to her keeper. First Thomas, then Kellett fouled to the right attacking for Ipswich 30 yards out Paige Wakefield sending both free-kicks high. Ipswich press forwards numbers in attack looking for the opening goal Cossey left he cross long Nash jumping far post can’t reach it. Emily Steward with a rare opportunity to attack for Needham Market looking to combine with Tuley in attack the return pass cut out at the back.

  Kellett in behind off a Needham Market throw misjudged on the left to the byline cuts her cross back central the ball met by Crump driven goalwards Leeks diving to her right making a fantastic save pushing the ball behind for a corner. Put in from the left Cooper up from the back heading the back wide of the near post. 

 GOAL! 27 minutes played and Ipswich’s pressure brings the opening goal attacking down the right the ball crossed in to the near side top of the six yard box Leeks coming to claim doesn’t get it fall straight into the path of Kellett beyond and she sends it into the back of the net. 1-0.

Charlotte Kellett with the opening goal at Portman Road

  Young back to help in defence for Needham Market top of the area tackling Crump as she looks for a one two with Kellett. Thomas looking lively for Ipswich and hungry to score coming on right side holding the ball up finds room to get a shot away the effort over the bar. Cossey lets out a roar of frustration as she sees her 25 yard strike held by Leeks as she is given the ball by Crump. Henderson putting in the tackle to deny Thomas as she threatens to run in behind. Pace in the Needham Market side penned back they can’t exploit it their attacking players seeing little of the ball. 

  Henderson carrying the ball out from the back for Needham Market forwards to Balfour looks to send the ball on for Tuley who is upended. The free-kick played up towards the top of the area Ipswich heading it away. Ipswich creating and getting numbers on haven’t found the clinical edge yet. Needham Market battling, Francesca Rainbird wanting to get forwards more often than not supporting Stock in defence on the left. The game entering the final 5 minutes of the 1st half. 

Post! Cossey getting hold of the ball on the left dribbling inside 25 yards out drawing the attention of the Needham Market defence, Thomas slipping into a gap near post as Cossey sends her the pass she sends the ball on towards goal cannons off the base of the upright. Wakefield with the ball on for Cossey left cuts back and sends a shot long past the far post. Cossey continues to be a menace on the left getting away to cross the ball falls to Crump at the back stick strikes a shot in towards goal, Leeks with another fine stop diving to push the ball wide. 

Into injury time Ipswich push forwards looking for another goal. Needham Market although on the back foot for long spells haven’t been overwhelmed and to keep it at 1-0 going into the changing rooms a great achievement. Cossey getting down to the byline sending the ball back towards the near post Thomas with the well timed run meeting her puts the ball straight into Leeks. 

  GOAL! Right on the stroke of half-time Ipswich get the 2nd goal they wanted, Crump bringing the ball on lays it on for Thomas breaking away into the area right of goal, hits it well putting the ball across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner. 2-0.

Half-time Ipswich Town Women 2-0 Needham Market Women

  A crucial goal right on the stroke of half-time for Ipswich Town Women to see them finish a strong 1st half leading the Suffolk Women’s County Cup final 2-0. Have been the dominant side by far and created plenty of chances not as clinical as they would like so far but you can only soak up so much pressure. Needham Market doing okay creating nothing in attack as of yet Ipswich getting the ball forwards with intent regularly Young doing well in the middle trying to break up attacks Ipswich though with options all over the pitch. The 2nd goal so late a blow a 1-0 deficit going along way to encourage Needham Market heading into the 2nd half.

Needham Market to get the 2nd half underway their supporters shouting encouragement. Ipswich get hold of the ball straight away however Thomas getting on through the middle her run stopped by Smith. 

GOAL! The worst possible start to the 2nd half for Needham Market as their opponents go further in front the ball played into Thomas left of goal as she enters the box catching it with the outside of her boot lifts the ball on past the keeper into the top corner to score her 2nd of the game and see Ipswich lead 3-0.

Ipswich Town Women attacker, Natasha Thomas (picture credit Gary Reed)

  Needham Market look to be positive the ball played long for Rainbird looking to get away down the left wing the flag halting her progress.

  GOAL! 3 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Ipswich take full control of the final getting a 4th goal. Cossey with the ball left on for Crump bursting forwards the Ipswich captain moving left down the line with the ball at her feet getting into the box close to the byline the angle against her nevertheless strikes it goalwards the ball squeezing under Leeks and inside the post as she goes down for it 4-0.

Ipswich captain, Amanda Crump (picture credit Gary Reed)

  Thomas moving left has support from Hubbard getting on the ball played inside to Cossey she takes it on shooting from 25 yards out Leeks claiming it. Niamh Thomas out to charge down the ball as Hubbard gets on down the left attacking for Ipswich. Stock in to clear for Needham Market her side a little shell shocked at the start to the 2nd half. Young with a fantastic ball long to the left Rainbird and Tuley after it, Cooper in between intercepting taking the ball to the left Tuley in to nick it turns back into the area, getting a shot away as Cooper slides in the ball blocked by the defender and Fagg in goal. 

  Cossey up the other end getting a shot away from distance, forcing Leeks to tip the ball over. Thomas surging into the box getting in behind shooting from the angle the goalkeeper parrying it behind for a corner right side put in central headed down, Rainbird on the post blocking for Needham Market. Ipswich strong in attack coming forwards with more intent Thomas moving across the back line to make herself available, Crump with several good runs from the middle to support. 

  Changes for both sides, with Milly Carter on for Steward, a double switch for Ipswich Stretch and Pannifer off at the back, Flo Cage and Jac Ball on. The support hasn’t been dampened in good voice another well supported final with 769 in attendance. 

   GOAL! close to an hour on the clock and Ipswich extend their lead further a fine individual goal for Nash as she attacks right, breaking on into the area stays on her feet as Henderson tackles, the evading Stock sliding in the ball sent across the keeper and inside the side netting to see Ipswich go 5-0 up.

Ipswich’s Amy Nash with Needham Market’s Francesca Rainbird (picture credit Gary Reed)

   Nash coming off then replaced by Sophie Welton, Natasha Thomas off too with Toni-Anne Wayne. The substitutes looking to link on the right in attack straight away Smith doing the defending for Needham Market. A double switch for Needham Market then with Smith and Balfour coming off for Amy Dunn and Ashleigh Goddard. Cossey keeps trying her luck from distance another shot sailing over the bar. Needham Market aren’t deterred prepared to attack and try and get forwards whenever they can, Ipswich’s movement and counter attacking dangerous.

  GOAL! 67 minutes on the clock and Ipswich score another with Wayne running in behind onto a long ball taking it into the box staying composed as she is closed down clever with her movement away left any tackle likely to result in a penalty she closes in on the keeper and slots it past Leeks to score. 6-0.

 Dunn does well making a recovering tackle to concede the corner as Kellett gets forwards into the box. 

  GOAL! 3 minutes after taking a 6 goal lead Ipswich moving the ball well in attack score a well worked 7th, Crump with it at her feet on the left level with the top of the area passing it inside to Kellett central she sends it on to Welton ahead of her right of goal six yards out she shoots across the keeper to find the bottom corner 7-0.

  GOAL! A purple patch from Ipswich as they add an 8th in quick succession Kellett bringing the ball on through the middle on for Wayne in behind inside the box sets up Crump forwards with her on the her left for a simple tap in to make it 8-0.

  Ipswich running away with it now Needham Market making a change with Abbie Wilkinson on for Tuley. Ipswich substitute their goalkeeper Fagg off, Danni Clarke going on between the sticks. Ipswich who are restricted to three substitutes in the FAWNL rolling the changes at Portman Road in the County Cup make multiple changes towards the end of the game. Stock having battled for Needham Market coming off Smith returning to the action. 

  Needham Market despite the heavy scoreline continue with their positive intent getting forwards cheered on whenever they get the ball Sparkes through the middle stopped by Cage. Rainbird bursting forwards showing what she can do in attack getting in behind into the box one on one with the keeper, Clarke does well saving at her feet. Henderson prepared to bring the ball out of defence onto Young her pass for Wilkinson intercepted. Rainbird with Sparkes left Jac Ball cutting out finding Cossey central she puts it on for Crump top of the area she shoots over. 

  Thomas passing to Wakefield running on into the area left side her strike goalwards saved by Leeks the loose ball gathered by Welton 20 yards out her shot put over. Henderson defending as Wayne attacks conceding a corner on the right the ball met by Wayne near post her header dropping over. Thomas getting in behind 25 yards out tees up Wayne to send a shot in goalwards the ball smashing down off the crossbar. Wakefield taking the ball on plays a one two with Crump central before seeing her shot drop wide of goal. 

  Into added time Rainbird bursting clear right into the box taking the ball in close the the keeper placing it wide of her inside the near post, the crowd cheer seeing a Needham Market goal scored at Portman Road or so they thought Rainbird’s joy short-lived a chorus of boo’s ringing out at the sight of the flag raised for offside. Young winning the ball back high up the pitch on for Sparkes 25 yards out her low shot gathered by Clarke late on.

Full time Ipswich Town Women 8-0 Needham Market Women

  Full time and Ipswich Town Women celebrate winning the County Cup once again matching the scoreline the last time they graced Portman Road winning 8-0. Found the clinical edge not with them 2nd half taking full advantage o Needham Market’s inexperience and as they tired create goal scoring opportunities taking their chances well. Showing good movement going forwards and using the space to full advantage, an early 3rd goal 2nd half putting them in full control after scoring at the death in the first half.

These defeats hurt, will take the gloss of what Needham Market Women have acheived the score raw in the memory, but over time those achievements will return, a goal would have been nice at Portman Road but it wasn’t to be. A great occasion nonetheless. In the end runners-up in all three competitions but to be in contention for a possible treble just months after forming is amazing and for Needham Market Women this is just the beginning.

Needham Market Women thanking their supporters

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time for tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few players to mention, for Needham Market, Elysia Young in midfield and Nicola Henderson at the back standing out. For Ipswich, Zoe Cossey was a threat all game running with the ball an unlucky not to be on the scoresheet. Natasha Thomas did score two goals crucial to either side of half-time great movement and desire shown in attack runs tonight’s winner close with Ipswich captain Amanda Crump getting the award make some fantastic runs forwards and scoring two herself whilst setting up chances for others.

Ipswich Town Women, 2018/19 Suffolk Women’s County Cup winners

  Congratulations to Ipswich Town Women on winning a 5th successive Suffolk Women’s County Cup.

 Not the pre-match to a game I wanted but got there in the end and enjoyed the game Portman Road a great venue, a fantastic crowd in support. My thanks to those that helped me out and thanks to Gary Reed for the additional pictures used.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Tuesday 30th April

Suffolk Women’s League Cup

Needham Market Women v East Bergholt United Ladies

A 2nd final in 3 days with a trip down to Suffolk for their League Cup Final to be contested by league newcomers Needham Market Women and league champions and current holders of the cup East Bergholt United Ladies.

 The Suffolk Women’s Division seeing growth this season with a host of new sides joining the league 12 in total. Needham Market Women pushing East Bergholt all the way in the title race.

A great debut season for Needham Market Women coming together in the summer, the squad building several names familiar having been part of Bacton United Ladies and Coplestonians Ladies. Hit the ground running winning their opening 5 league games matching East Bergholt’s 100% winning start, their 1st league defeat of the season at home to East Bergholt losing narrowly 3-2 Needham market nevertheless bounced back well returning the compliment with a 3-0 win against East Bergholt at the start of March that though East Bergholt’s only defeat, Needham Market losing 3 in total clinching runner-up spot, more success too in the cup competitions reaching both the finals of the League and County Cup to be played on Tues 7th May at Portman Road against Ipswich Town Women. Plenty of goals within the squad over 120 scored Francesca Rainbird top scorer with 33 goals.

  East Bergholt United Ladies completing the double last season unbeaten that year on their way to the title. Their squad a blend of experience and youth players learning their game opted for another season season in Suffolk to further player development rather than move up to the regional league above. Just that one loss to Needham Market blotting their league record this season the other 21 games won. Have applied to the ERWFL for promotion along with Needham Market themselves. Annie Northwood, East Bergholt’s top scorer with 40 goals to her name this season. Both sides growing within the county which ultimately is great for the game with one side dominating for so long.

Road to the Final

 Big away wins for both sides in the opening round of the League Cup, Needham Market scoring 8 without reply against Brettvale Ladies. East Bergholt with over twice that total winning 19-0 against University of Suffolk Women.

Needham Market at home in the quarter finals of the competition taking on Leiston St Margarets Ladies a 5-1 win seeing them into the last 4. East Bergholt progressing without kicking a ball awarded the away win over drawn opponents Woodbridge Town Ladies.

 A strong line-up for the semi-finals of the League Cup contested by the top 4 sides in the league itself, Needham Market away to Alresford Colne Rangers, scoring twice Needham Market secured victory and a cup final appearance in their first season together. East Bergholt away to local rivals Brantham Athletic Ladies. Always a competitive game between the two sides East Bergholt came out on top to win the game 3-1 to reach a 2nd successive League Cup final.

  This evening’s final taking place at Hadleigh United FC. Traffic from Swaffham through Thetford and Bury St Edmund slow going arrived later than I like but nevertheless is a picturesque part of the county. The main carpark already full the gates to the overflow carpark open the field behind the stadium filling up rapidly. A good number already there, the bar open, hot food and drinks available, a small stand filling on the other side of the pitch. A warm evening dry and clear.

Needham Market Women starting – Amber Leeks, Niamh Thomas, Megan Stock (C), Amy Dunn, Maria Smith, Elysia Young, Nicola Henderson, Amber Sparkes, Milly Carter, Francesca Rainbird & Lois Balfour. Subs – Jemma Mortimer, Josie Haward, Amy Trenter, Emily Steward & Jemma Wessels

 East Bergholt United Ladies starting XI – Kimberley Lynch, Harriet Meers, Jess Quinsee, Deben Faiers (C), Georgia Lockerbie, Millie Wilding, Charlotte McGrath, Jess Clarke Cara Savage, Stacey Teager & Annie Northwood. Subs – Katie Bruce, Pippa King, Charlotte Warren, Ellie Nitsche & Isla Romer-Lee.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

A good crowd building prior to kick-off the overflow carpark filling up it’s Needham Market to get this season’s League Cup Final underway kicking off 1st half wearing an all red kit with East Bergholt wearing green coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Pressing the ball straight away East Bergholt make ground on the left flank winning a couple of throws the final ball played long into the seen out for a goal kick by Needham Market captain Megan Stock. East Bergholt with the ball inside Needham Market’s half early on the ball played back to centre back Georgia Lockerbie she plays it long into the area safely claimed by Needham Market goalkeeper, Amber Leeks.

   Needham Market come left Francesca Rainbird driving on with the ball has support inside from Milly Carter 25 yards out she in turn plays it on central to striker Lois Balfour gets a shot away the ball racing low wide past the right post. Charlotte McGrath getting on the ball in the middle for East Bergholt passes to Cara Savage ahead of her the ball played into striker Stacey Teager she turns in behind her touch a little heavy, a race for it with the Needham market defence, Leeks coming for it but with Teager on her shoulder Amy Dunn clears it for a throw out left.

  Rainbird and Carter looking to get on up the left support from full back Niamh Thomas, Harriet Meers slowing down progress for East Bergholt. Keeping possession Needham market win a free-kick out wide 25 yards out the ball whipped in towards the near post dipping, goalkeeper Kimberly Lynch meeting it on the volley to launch clear of her area. Handball spotted in the middle a free-kick given to East Bergholt the ball put forwards runners after it the ball claimed by Leeks. Rainbird a threat from the start for Needham market on the left picking the ball up and prepared to take players on getting up the line attempts to play the pass inside to Balfour outside the box, Deben Faiers captaining East Bergholt with the interception at the back. 

  Savage right playing the ball forwards Annie Northwood giving chase in behind, Leeks racing out of her area gets to the ball first. Millie Wilding central for East Bergholt out to Northwood making a run into the left channel into the box checks inside before sending a shot over. East Bergholt have the ball left a throw in leading to a cross, Stock winning it at the back for Needham Market. 

  GOAL! East Bergholt making a promising start are hit on the counter Needham Market breaking to open the scoring in the 12th minute. Faiers having played the ball up to Teager in attack Needham Market deal with the bouncing ball putting it on for Rainbird breaking on the left with Balfour coming inside Rainbird shoots from 25 yards out a low ball heading towards goal, Lynch leaving the ball thinking it’s going wide of the near post, to her dismay it creeps inside the post to see Needham Market take the lead 1-0.

Francesca Rainbird with the opening goal for Needham Market Women

East Bergholt with a free-kick wide left inside the Needham Market half Jess Clarke to play it on into the area, Leeks getting her gloves on the ball a split second before being clattered into, down Needham Market’s defence are back quickly to scramble it away. Nicola Henderson combining with Balfour as the pair enter the East Bergholt half the through ball forwards finding Rainbird running clear the flag up against her having gone too early, close mind. 

  Again East Bergholt have a free-kick wide left similar to the previous Clarke lifting the ball long to the far post defended headed out of the area straight to McGrath a touch to set herself then let’s fly with a shot from 20 yards out, safely held by Leeks. Rainbird is the outlet for Needham Market looking to get the ball out left whenever they have possession, a pacy dribbler of the ball her run taking her into the area forcing East Bergholt to concede the corner. Played in from the left central inside the six yard box Lynch up well to get a glove up to clear the danger. Needham Market giving away several free-kicks the East Bergholt bench complaining. 

  East Bergholt getting a corner on the right the deliver dropping near post met turned goalwards Leeks with a reactive save stopping the ball on the line with her legs deflecting it back out to the left put back in the keeper catching it this time. Needham Market make the first change of the game Carter the player coming off on comes Josie Haward. East Bergholt get bodies forwards left a cross delivered into the box, Stock meeting it to clear, Wilding looking to reclaim it outside the box pushed over a free-kick. 20 yards out left of the D Wilding on it goes for the shot over the bar. 

  The ball played on up the right by Amber Sparkes, Balfour and Faiers in a race for it, Lynch out well to the right corner of her area to slide in claim the ball. A corner won on the right East Bergholt bring players forwards the 1st ball in defended near post back with east Bergholt on the right flank the 2nd ball in attacked by Teager and Lockerbie near post the ball headed over the bar. East Bergholt with their first switch of the game Katie Bruce on fr Savage. Build up play on the left McGrath over to support Clarke, Jess Quinsee bombing forwards from full back, Needham Market preventing a cross.

  Needham Market with a free-kick on the left played into the box, McGrath back defending heading the ball out of the area drops straight to Rainbird positioned top of the D, her shot whistling over the crossbar. Half an hour played a 2nd change for East Bergholt Wilding the player off on comes Charlotte Warren. Faiers and Lockerbie winning the ball as Needham Market look to get Balfour away in behind, Rainbird and Sparkes getting on up the wings. Another free-kick awarded Faiers adjudged to have brought down Balfour 30 yards out looked a tangle of legs. Balfour on the set-piece a great ball in on target, Lynch with a terrific save the merest of touches to tip the ball onto the bar and away behind for the corner. Lynch up at her back post making a confident claim from the corner.

Kimberly Lynch making the save

  Northwood with a shot 25 yards out left sends it wide across the box. Elysia Young putting the ball on for Rainbird to chase into the box keeping it in play Lockerbie gets across to tackle. Young into an advanced position supporting Rainbird attacking left the pass squared to Young looks to play Balfour into the box, Faiers reading it cutting the ball out for East Bergholt. 

 GOAL! Less than five minutes of the 1st half left to play East Bergholt break away to score the equaliser, McGrath getting hold of the ball on halfway with a fantastic ball forwards, the Needham Market defence static as Northwood breaks in behind no flag runs on into the box one on one with the keeper Leeks staying big, Northwood putting the ball wide of her left to find the back of the net 1-1.

  Rainbird full of running making a nuisance of herself pressing the east Bergholt defence 25 yards out the ball popping loose to Young getting forwards she sees a shot drop wide of the mark. Ellie Nitsche entering the game late in the first half for East Bergholt as they press the attack late on. The ball played right sees Leeks beaten as she comes for it the ball cleared away by the back tracking defence, light fading fast the half-time whistle blows. All square at the break.

Half-time Needham Market Women 1-1 East Bergholt United Ladies

  An entertaining first half a vocal crowd spurring both sides on the best attendance I’ve seen for a Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final, 400 plus. East Bergholt with the early pressure, Needham Market though with the early goal however. Working hard in defence East Bergholt getting more players forwards when they attack, Rainbird a threat on the left wing looking to create something more often than not. East Bergholt drawing level late in the first half. set up perfectly for the 2nd period, the lights on now.

 Needham Market with a change at the start of the 2nd half Emily Steward on for Balfour in attack. East Bergholt to get the 2nd half underway. Straight on the attack the ball pushed on through the middle Nitsche looking to race away in behind the Needham Market centre backs close Maria Smith putting in the challenge the ball scrambled away. East Bergholt pressing high the ball won inside the final 3rd lifted into the area right side six yards out Stock grappling with Teager to win the ball comes straight to Nitsche outside the box a shot struck back in pace and power smashes against the crossbar!

GOAL! East Bergholt capitalising on their fast start to the 2nd half the ball played in through the middle sees Nitsche burst clear of the defence this time carrying it into the area she slot a shot past the keeper to put East Bergholt into the lead. 2-1.

A sluggish start to the 2nd half from Needham market not switched on, Sparkes looking to get an attack going on the right, Quinsee in to make the challenge a corner conceded. Lockerbie defending the ball put in to the near post area. Young with the ball at her feet 20 yards out sees a shot charged down. A corner won for Needham Market on the left the ball defended near post back with the taker up the line top of the area rolled inside to Henderson she has a go driving a shot wide.

Needham Market’s Nicola Henderson

East Bergholt get Teager away left side to attack the box, Leeks out to meet her sliding in the ball not claimed Teager spotting Nitsche free 25 yards out central drags a shot wide. East Bergholt keeping a closer watch on Rainbird the ball not getting to her as much as it did in the first half. Clarke with Bruce and McGrath closing the ball down well further up the pitch. Lynch confident as she rushes out to the right of her box to slide in a claim the ball with Sparkes attacking.

East Bergholt United Ladies, Charlotte McGrath

Nitsche lively in attack causing Needham Market a few problems away on the right sends a ball into Teager top of the area catching it first time deflects it towards goal, straight at Leeks. Changes for both sides Carter back on for Needham Market. Isla Romer-Lee on for East Bergholt.  Dunn defending an East Bergholt free-kick played into the box. A fluid attacking move from East Bergholt as they come very close to adding a 3rd goal. Starting with McGrath central on to Nitsche linking with Teager 25 yards out the ball out to Romer-Lee int space right lays the ball back into the middle for McGrath driving on into the box she shoots putting the ball across the keeper runs narrowly wide of the post.

Romer-Lee cutting inside from the right passing to Nitsche she tries to pick out Teager at the far post, Thomas defending for Needham Market. McGrath with another storming midfield run into the box, Dunn shielding the ball out for the goal kick. An injury blow for Needham Market as Stock going up to win an aerial challenge, lands awkwardly appearing to twist her knee, clearly in alot of pain the trainer on straight away play stopped as she requires lengthy treatment, wearing a knee brace is in alot of pain. Up gingerly cannot continue Jemma Mortimer heading on to take her place in the back line. 

  A double change for East Bergholt, Wilding returning to the field along with Pippa King on for Teager. Carter linking with Rainbird as they get forwards on the left the latter crossing to Steward out towards the far post she looks to cushion it down for Carter central, the defence intercepting and getting it away for East Bergholt. King with the ball attacking left high into the box for Nitsche 8 yards out connects with the ball not enough on it to beat Leeks in goal. East Bergholt with alot more of the attack 2nd half, Needham Market pushed back defending just the one goal in it still. 

  Savage back on for East Bergholt, Jemma Wessels on in place of Carter for Needham Market. The final entering the last 10 minutes. A free-kick won on the left as Rainbird is brought down outside the area, Wessels on it plays the ball long to the far post Lynch up well reaching up to make the claim caught lands heavily but okay. East Bergholt counter attack Romer-Lee clear on the right a Needham Market commit players forwards busting into the area she puts the ball low across the keeper her shot coming back off the base of the post.

  Amy Trenter on for Needham Market. East Bergholt strong late on winning the midfield battle McGrath breaking it on. Northwood back on for Nitsche as Needham Market are forced back late on, Smith tackling to regain possession inside her box. Rainbird getting away left into the corner playing a cross into the area Faiers back in her six yard box winning the header. The final whistle blows and East Bergholt celebrate winning the League Cup and completing the double for a 2nd successive season.

Full time Needham Market Women 2-1 East Bergholt United Ladies

   An entertaining final watched by a passionate and supportive crowd a good atmosphere and close result between the sides. All square after the 1st half, East Bergholt had much more of the attack in the 2nd period pressing the ball higher and preventing the ball getting into Needham Markets attacking players scoring early in the 2nd half a 3rd goal would have made thing’s more comfortable but it din’t come, Needham Market though unable to find a clinical goal scoring chance up the other end. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few performances of note, firstly for Needham Market, Francesca Rainbird was a constant threat especially in the first half. Megan Stock captain marshalling her defence well making some important tackles. For East Bergholt Ellie Nitsche was a danger in attack pacy with great movement and positional sense. The award though goes to East Bergholt’s Charlotte McGrath the midfield superb throughout the game winning the ball centrally, setting up attacks some fantastic runs forwards.

East Bergholt United Ladies, 2018/19 Suffolk Women’s League Cup winners (picture East Bergholt United Ladies)

  Congratulations to East Bergholt United Ladies on this evenings success and completing the double double.

  Arriving late at the ground I didn’t feel prepared but the help I got from both sides plus Mandy from the Suffolk Girls & Women’s Football league plus a cheeseburger put me at ease, a busy start to the week 2 finals in 3 days both thoroughly enjoyable however, tired now but next up it’s 4 finals in 4 days! As daunting as that sounds I’m really looking forwards to it. Thanks to all for their help this evening. 

Match Report – Needham Market Women v East Bergholt United Ladies

Sunday 21st October

Suffolk Women’s Division

  Another top of the table clash from the Suffolk Women’s Division this Sunday on Women’s Football East, the top 2 meeting both starting the season with a 100% win rate, new comers Needham Market Women leading the table hosting East Bergholt United Ladies the defending Champions.

The Suffolk Women’s Division expending this season with an influx of new sides, 13 in total for the 2018/19 campaign with 7 of those new names along with Alresford Colne Rangers who move to the league having previously competed in Essex.

  Needham Market Women starting by far the better of all the newcomers. 5 wins from 5 to start the season their 100% winning start seeing them 3 points clear at the top from East Bergholt United Ladies and Brantham Athletic Ladies who have both started with 4 successive victories. A part of Needham Market FC’s Academy set up. Have bolstered their squad bringing in some ex-Bacton United Ladies players that already have experience playing in the Women’s Division. Today’s match representing the toughest challenge Needham Market have experienced so far.

   If Needham Market are to get the win this afternoon than they will have to do something no one else has so far this season and that is breach the East Bergholt United Ladies defence. Did the double last season winning the league and cup. An unbeaten season too. A great start to the season as they look to defend their title. Are the team to beat know and that brings a different aspect to the squads development, a large squad backed up by an U18s side. Not conceding a goal in their opening 4 matches East Bergholt United have scored 41 goals up the other end including a 19-0 over new side University of Suffolk (albeit their opponents short on numbers on the day). Always likely to score from midfield have added Stacey Teager to their attack, regularly amongst the goals for former club AFC Sudbury Ladies.

  Bloomfield’s the venue for this afternoon’s match home of Needham Market FC. The main pitch looking pristine, a clubhouse with bar and hot food leading to it. A new 3G pitch beside the main pitch, a good size, building work ongoing to improve facilities for the Academy. Room for spectators down one side aswell and behind one goal. A glorious sunny afternoon late in October in stark contrast the miserable wet Sunday just gone. Bright sun low in the sky would pose a few issues during the game. Another game on the 3G before the women’s teams could get onto it and warm-up little time for East Bergholt to get used to the new surface before kick-off.

Needham Market Women’s starting XI – Natalie Green, Charley Mussellwhite, Jemma Mortimer, Maria Smith, Megan Stock (C), Isobel Chaplin, Milly Carter, Francesca Rainbird, Eboni-Mae Shepherd, Abbie Wilkinson & Lois Balfour. Subs – Jemma Wessels, Megan Davies, Josie Harward & Freya Louis.

East Bergholt United Ladies starting XI – Kimberley Lynch, Harriet Meers, Jess Quinsee, Katy Lambert, Georgia Lockerbie (C), Millie Wilding, Jess Clark, Charlotte McGrath, Katie Bruce, India Griffin-Jenkins & Stacey Teager. Subs – Deben Faiers, Elena Nitsche & Isla Romer-Lee.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

It’s the home side to kick-off the 1st half, Needham Market wearing red shirts with yellow trim, red shorts and socks. East Bergholt United with the sun at their backs 1st half wearing green shirts with white trim, black shorts and socks. Jess Quinsee defending at left back for East Bergholt as Needham Market look to play in Eboni-Mae Shepherd on the right. Look to get the ball on down the left themselves, Charley Mussellwhite defending putting the ball out of play for Needham Market. 

  Building through the middle the ball up to Abbie Wilkinson, the Needham Market number 10 holding the ball up as midfielder Milly Carter gets up in support to her right the pass into her feet Carter puts the low diagonal ball through to Lois Balfour making a run into the box left of the D the pass weighted perfectly she strikes the ball goalwards past East Bergholt goalkeeper, Kimberly Lynch as she throws herself into the dive the ball strikes the base of the post the rebound back out into the middle of the six yard box, Lynch twisting pouncing on the ball.

    Millie Wilding makes a run on the right wing the long diagonal pass reaching her taking it down the line no way past Jemma Mortimer as the left back closes her down the deflected ball cut back into the path of Charlotte McGrath as she bursts forwards into the area the sliding challenge coming in as she goes to shoot the ball deflected up and behind for the corner. A good delivery in from the right cutting through the box no one can get a telling touch on the ball to turn it towards goal. 

Needham Market Women’s, Lois Balfour

   A free-kick awarded to East Bergholt 30 yards out, Jess Clarke over the ball, takes on the shot, the sun at her back, going to be tricky for the goalkeeper, dips late, Natalie Green back on her line as the ball hits her crossbar before going out of play. Good combination play between McGrath and Wilding releasing Stacey Teager down the right channel, attempting to get inside the area is adjudged to have fouled the defender tracking back with her. Francesca Rainbird picks up the ball for Needham Market on halfway a powerful run forwards coming in field from the left looks to try and lift the ball in behind the East Bergholt defence with Wilkinson ready to go, Georgia Lockerbie wearing the captains armband for East Bergholt lifting her leg to make a vital interception. 

Needham Market Women’s, Eboni-Mae Shepherd

  A lively start to the game, Needham Market settling the quicker. Carter getting herself about in midfield winning the ball willing runners ahead of her. Isobel Chaplin sliding in takes the ball as Katie Bruce moves forwards. The ball forwards Wilkinson giving chase, Lockerbie across to tackle for East Bergholt. A change for Needham Market, Chaplin coming off on comes Josie Harward. Lynch’s goalkick is long finding Teager the striker heading the ball on with Bruce making a run in behind her, Needham Market captain, Megan Stock coming over to challenge the ball puts it out for a throw on the left. 

Megan Stock winning the header for Needham Market.

   Is a big 3G pitch plenty of space to exploit if players are drawn across, Shepherd puts the ball forwards into the middle, both Balfour and Wilkinson making runs, Katy Lambert intercepting this time for East Bergholt.

  GOAL! 18 minutes gone and the East Bergholt defence is breached for the 1st time this season as Needham Market take the lead. Pressing the ball in midfield Carter with a pass forwards into Balfour positioned  outside the area left of the D, controls the ball shaping to hit the shot on the volley, miscues her attempt, turns into a fantastic assist as the ball rolls on further to the left into the path of Rainbird closing in on goal she shoots, Lynch coming to close the angle gets something on the ball but not enough to prevent Rainbird scoring as she peels away in celebration 1-0.

Francesca Rainbird scorer of the opening goal for Needham Market Women

   East Bergholt look to get players forwards from the restart, Needham Market break Rainbird on the ball running on left 25 out shapes to shot the ball striking her own player in it’s way through the deflection turning it up and over the bar for the goal kick. East Bergholt build well through the middle Clark with support from Bruce and Indian Griffin-Jenkins before the final pass is slide on through for Teager bursting into the area, a shooting chance denied by the offside flag. 

  The visitors overload the right side players drawn across as Wilding picks up possession squares along the top of the area Teager central can’t bring down Mussellwhite doing well to get the ball clear with Clark free coming in around the back. Changes for both sides, Jemma Wessels entering the action for Needham Market replacing Shepherd. A double change for East Bergholt, Isla Romer-Lee and Elena Nitsche on for Wilding and Griffin-Jenkins. Nitsche straight into action as she is played in on the right taking the ball on cuts the cross back into the box Teager hitting it first time central her effort blocked spins on for Romer-Lee behind her her shot running wide of the far post.

Quinsee getting forwards from the back for East Bergholt is tackled by Wessels. The favour returned a few moments later as Wessels tries to get in behind down the wing. McGrath doing well in the middle for East Bergholt breaking up play disrupting Needham Market’s quick build-up play. Clark finding room too for the visitors. McGrath n to put in the tackle winning the ball in the middle puts it long for Romer-Lee down the left a fierce cross fired into the area both Teager and Nitsche attacking it far post both jumping neither can get a touch. 

Jess Clark with the header for East Bergholt.

 East Bergholt finishing the 1st half strong pushing players on, Mussellwhite with good defensive work up against Romer-Lee as she tries to get inside her on the left. Harriet Meers coming inside to support Lambert in defence cuts out Rainbird’s forward pass. Clark in space in the middle spots Romer-Lee breaking into the left channel the ball put on into her run she shoots from outside the area the ball running wide of the post. 

Half-time Needham Market Women 1-0 East Bergholt United Ladies

   A competitive 1st half Needham Market starting well an early shot against the post, took the lead on 18 minutes, Francesca Rainbird the first player to score against East Bergholt this season. Pressing the ball took a little while for East Bergholt to settle but signs were building towards the end of the half they were likely to find a reply. Beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

Katie Bruce holding the ball up for East Bergholt

  East Bergholt to kick-off the 2nd half no changes for either side at the break. East Bergholt starting the 2nd half well pressing forwards, Romer-lee left with Bruce ahead of her picking her out she plays the ball inside to McGrath who releases Nitsche on the right side cutting inside her cross is charged down. East Bergholt keep possession in the final 3rd, McGrath laying the ball back for Clark who takes on the strike from distance the ball landing inside the area claimed by Green.

   Play stretched even this early in the 2nd half with East Bergholt prepared to commit players forwards Needham Market came counter if the can get the ball into their attackers. Rainbird with the ball left cuts inside a good run plays it forwards for Balfour right side outside the box her cross back in towards the far post as she tries to pick out Carter breaking from the middle, Meers needs to and wins it for East Bergholt. 

  Teager holding the ball up for East Bergholt as players get up to support her McGrath receiving the ball puts on on for Nitsche bursting into the area from the right, Smith doing really well up against her in her own six yard box right of goal as she slides in to deny the shot and put the ball out for a corner kick. A fantastic ball in from the right side the penalty box congested the ball met at the far post Teager I think getting her head on the ball driven in towards goal blocked on the line by Mortimer before being scrambled away for a 2nd corner. Put in towards the top of the area this time is met well by Lockerbie striking it goalwards in through bodies it’s Mortimer to the rescue again her foot stopping the ball from crossing the line. 

   Needham Market pressed at the back get the ball forwards away down the right played into Rainbird making a central run free for a moment aims to drag the ball across her before shooting, Lockerbie recovering well to get back to close Rainbird down the ball spinning away off the defender for a corner. It’s East Bergholt’s time to clear the ball off the line, as the ball in is attacked near post.

  East Bergholt’s time to break forwards Nitsche right into Romer-Lee central 20 yards out lines up a shot the ball driven in towards goal strikes the bar, Green may well have gotten a touch on it too. Carter getting into an advanced position for Needham Market pulls the trigger from the top of the area right side her effort running low past the far post. Good running from McGrath coming right on for Nitsche down the line a good cross into the six yard box claimed well by Green before Romer-Lee can attack it running in from the left. Teager coming deeper for the ball turns putting it on for Nitsche right side cuts into the box, Stock getting back with a good tackle stops her. 

  Clark over a free-kick for East Bergholt as the referee brings play back with no advantage, 30 yards out central, Clark takes on the shot her attempt over the crossbar. Nitsche a threat on the right for East Bergholt making good runs has the ball at her feet lays the cross back into the middle for the advancing McGrath striking the ball from 20 yards out it bounces out wide past the far post. Needham Market are under pressure pushed back getting the ball forwards into their attackers isn’t easy. Lambert intercepting an attempted through ball. A change for East Bergholt, Bruce coming off Wilding coming back on. 

 GOAL! The equalising goal has been coming East Bergholt have been turning the screw comes from a strike from distance, Clark onto the ball, sends an effort in towards goal, Green trying to get to it can’t keep in out 1-1.

Jess Clark with the equalising goal for East Bergholt

   East Bergholt press straight from the restart winning the ball, drive on, Teager onto the ball a powerful run towards the box, Stock doing very well up against her. Clark with another opportunity to have a shot at goal from a set-piece a free-kick awarded 25 yards out right of centre, curls a shot in looping towards goal, Green getting across to it pushes it behind conceding the corner. 

  GOAL! No sooner have they equalised then East Bergholt go on to take the lead in the match the goal coming from the corner on the right an inswinging ball is defended on the line by Needham Market pushed out into the box the ball comes to Lockerbie positioned at the top of the area just inside she meets it well driving the ball back in and this time no-one cane stop it as it nestles in the back of the net 1-2.

   East Bergholt on top pressing the ball in the final third Needham Market with their backs to the wall defending deep a corner given away on the left. In towards the near post Lockerbie gets on the end of it headers over. Teager strong on the ball is fouled inside the D, Needham Market slow to close her down. Teager to take it as Clark is otherwise indisposed the striker putting the ball over. The visitors looking strong now as Needham Market struggle to regroup after falling behind. McGrath on for Wilding central attempts to loft the ball in towards the far post area with Romer-Lee making a run the ball going away from her out of play. 

 GOAL! East Bergholt press their advantage enjoying a purple patch add a 3rd goal attacking on the left the ball lifted forwards into the box with Nitsche racing in behind through the middle six yards out the ball landing in front of her holds off a defender opening her body to side foot the ball wide of the keeper and score 1-3.

  Needham Market make a change, Chaplin back on coming into the defence with Smith pushed on into the midfield. Need to get forwards Carter on the ball, Rainbird and Wessels offering support on the left the ball helped on Wilkinson flagged offside. Into the final 15 minutes. Wilding shooting from distance central the ball safely held by Green. East Bergholt make a change Nitsche coming off, Griffin-Jenkins back on. Needham Market attack getting forwards well right side the cross fired in near post Rainbird there to attack in Mussellwhite doing well closing her down.

  Balfour twisting and turning with the ball through the middle finds half a yard to shoot from 25 yards out her attempt dropping wide of goal. Harward comes off for Needham Market, Shepherd back on. A throw on the right for Needham Market inside the East Bergholt half put into Wilkinson she turns and shoots from outside the area Lynch down low to gather at her near post. 

  The game has taken alot out of both side, East Bergholt are tiring late on have been intense in the 2nd half, Needham Market pushed back come forwards now play stretched Rainbird getting forwards to support Balfour on the left, Meers across to defend for East Bergholt.

  GOAL! The ball kept by Needham Market on the left brings the home side a 2nd goal, Rainbird putting it back up the line as Mortimer gets forwards to support the fullback playing it inside Rainbird in the meantime breaking into the box is seen the pass cutting open the East Bergholt defence, Rainbird throws herself at the ball her lunge putting the ball wide across the keeper an in to the back of the net 2-3.

  Not much time left but Needham Market have found an extra reserve of energy with the goal the game is open now having been pushed back for much of the 2nd half the home side press forwards risk getting hit on the counter sense they might be able to yet to get something from the game. Rainbird their main threat her ball in from the left cut out by Lockerbie. Quinsee bringing the ball out from the back for the visitors however he forward pass for Romer-Lee sees the flag raised. 

  Is some tired defending at the end East Bergholt have put alot into the 2nd half, Wilkinson driving on, Lambert closing her down. the visitors counter Romer-Lee left side her cross into the area deflecting off Mussellwhite falls for Teager back to goal lays it off for the onrushing Wilding connects with the ball 20 yards out the effort whistling over the bar. The last action of the game East Bergholt making it 5 out of 5 go top of the table.

Full time Needham Market Women 2-3 East Bergholt United Ladies

  Is a 3 ways tie at the top now East Bergholt with the superior goal difference, Needham Market taste defeat for the first time this season whilst Brantham Athletic Ladies receive a home win to keep up their 100%. 13 teams in the league however a long way to go. An entertaining contest played with some enjoyable late October sunshine. Needham Market starting well taking the lead 1-0. East Bergholt building momentum late in the 1st half kept going 2nd half pressing the ball in the final third shooting from distance got level then very quickly took the lead, Needham market slow to respond the visitors going further in front, Needham Market getting a goal back late on but East Bergholt went on to claim the 3 points.

  The defending champions looking good after 5 games, know there is still a long way to go. Needham Market showing plenty of potential will only get better.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time for this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Sometimes a contender will emerge early on in a match and it’s a case of seeing if they maintain that level of performance. There were two this afternoon that caught the eye both for East Bergholt and it was a tough decision picking one out over the other, getting forwards into space and a threat from set-pieces Jess Clark stood out getting a goal too. Just edging it though for me was central midfield partner Charlotte McGrath. Played well throughout winning the ball getting across the park, setting up others and offering support with some well timed runs through the middle today’s award goes to the East Bergholt number 10.

  An enjoyable trip out to Bloomfield’s this afternoon, the bright sunshine no doubt helping a good crowd in attendance too. Is a great facility and by the looks of the development will only get better. My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams always appreciated.