Norfolk Ladies League Plate Final
Sunday 6th May
The cup final action on Women’s Football East continues this Sunday with a double bill from Norfolk, later on the Ladies League Cup Final but first up an 11am kick-off for the Ladies Plate Final this season being contested by previous Plate winners, North Walsham Angels Ladies taking on Sprowston Ladies.
The sides entering the Norfolk Ladies League Plate after being knocked out of the early rounds in the League Cup.
North Walsham Angels Ladies were the 1st ever winners of the Norfolk Ladies League Plate competition when it was 1st introduced in the 2015/16 season, beat Red Rose 4-0 to lift the Plate. Into the Plate Final once again looking to end the season on a high. Having gotten off to a promising start in the Norfolk Women’s Division One this season had suffered from a period with a lack of games losing momentum results since have been inconsistent. Haven’t scored as many goals as last year, the Middleton sisters Luci & Hope netting 69 goals between them last season.
Sprowston Ladies step up to the league from U16 football and have adapted to women’s football very well, leading the table early on have kept up their in contention all season dropping to 2nd as Bungay Town Ladies overhaul them 3 points ahead with one more to play win that and even maximum points for Sprowston’s remaining 2 games will most likely not be enough with Bungay having a superior goal difference. Bungay’s last game is this coming Thursday at home to Gorleston FC Ladies, after that result Sprowston will know what they have to do. Runners-up spot in their debut season is most certainly on. Bungay slip up and who knows. On top of that were also semi-finalists in this years People’s FA Cup having been amongst the winners season before.
Road to the Final
Both sides were knocked out of the League Cup by Stalham Town Ladies, Sprowston 1st Round then North Walsham fell to defeat in the 2nd Round. A bye for Sprowston in the 1st Round of the Plate competition. North Walsham were 4-0 away winners against fellow Division One side Long Stratton Ladies.
It was North Walsham’s turn to progress without kicking a ball in the quarter finals awarded the away win against Costessey Sports Ladies. Sprowston were at home against Division Two title chasers Beccles Town Ladies. A comfortable 6-0 win seeing them into the last 4 of the competition.
North Walsham were scheduled to play Kirkley & Pakefield Ladies in the semi-finals nut once again their opponents pulled out meaning North Walsham as much as they’d have rather played the game were into the final. Sprowston were taken all the way to penalties by their semi-final opponents Wymondham Ladies Reserves. Both sides getting a goal in the first half couldn’t be separated the game going to a shootout Sprowston celebrating in the finish reaching the final with a 3-2 win.
The venue for today’s Norfolk Ladies League Plate & Cup Finals aswell as the Final of the Women’s 7’s between Hellesdon Belles & Costessey Sports Ladies, once again Plantation Park, home Norwich United and Norwich City Ladies. It was again another beautiful sunny day for the Final’s got sun burnt last year, pretty sure it’ll happen this time around too, always have to burn before I’ll get a tan. Not a cloud in the sky, cool in the shady spots thankfully. The pitch looking fairly dry and firm offers plenty of width. Been a while since I’ve been to the ground, new dugouts replacing the old brick ones.
North Walsham Angels Ladies starting XI – Jade Knight, Lauren Yarham, Gemma Newell, Hannah Sturman, Robyn Johnston, Sian Wager (C), Charlotte Darvill, Abbie Storey, Rachel Bussey, Mary-Anne Hoy & Luci Middleton. Subs – Emma Faux, Hope Middleton & Alice Wardle.
Sprowston Ladies starting XI – Megan Lightfoot, Jade Mundford, Ria Drake, Paige Barnard, Calista Tink, Chelsea Brister, Abbi Nobbs, Rebecca Russell, Abby Hutchin (C), Chelsea Pettifer & Victoria Leyer. Subs – Becky Greenslade & Jenny Trenholm.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s Sprowston to kick off the Plate Final wearing orange shirts with black across the right shoulder and sleeve, black shorts with orange and black hooped socks. North Walsham lined up opposite wearing white shirts, black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Sprowston attack down the left wing the ball played into the top of the area North Walsham defend the rebound picked up by Sprowston’s Victoria Leyer she strikes the ball form 20 yards out Jade Knight in the North Walsham goal can see it out wide across the six yard box.
A free-kick on the halfway line for Sprowston, Calista Tink over the ball plays it long up to the left wing, Lauren Yarham defending for North Walsham prevents a cross coming into the box. Abbi Storey winning the ball in the midfield for North Walsham looks to play the ball out to the right wing the pass cut out the ball is gathered by North Walsham captain Sian Wager breaking forwards has a strike from distance her effort sent wide of goal.
Ria Drake cuts the ball out on the right as North Walsham look to build an attack a throw in North Walsham work the ball towards the Sprowston box, Wager playing the ball into the middle of the D, Mary-Anne Hoy seeing the ball into her feet spins away to the left getting into a shooting position inside the area pulls the trigger, Sprowston goalkeeper, Megan Lightfoot making a great save diving to her right to get her glove on the low ball.
A good start to the match from North Walsham as they attack Luci Middleton getting played in behind the Sprowston defence sends her strike from 20 yards out past the advancing keeper, cheers go up from the crowd but they are premature as the ball strikes the base of the post and bounces out across the face of goal, Hoy racing in to latch onto it, a Sprowston defender gets back in the nick of time to slide in and take the ball away for a corner kick.
A lively start to the game North Walsham showing attacking intent, Sprowston defend the corner kick and launch a rapid counter attack Leyer going after the ball played up the line right side, Charlotte Darvill getting back on her to tackle and put the ball out for a throw. Another free-kick on halfway for Sprowston a good delivery from Tink up towards the left corner of the area the ball headed down, Rebecca Russell getting hold of it drives forwards into the box, North Walsham quick to close her down the ball cleared.
Abbi Nobbs with a good tackle to break up the attack as North Walsham come through the middle Johnston on for Wager. Wager coming inside from a throw in on the left inside the Sprowston half has another pop at goal from 30 yards out her strike on target drops safely into the arms of Lightfoot coming across to her right post.
GOAL! A free-kick awarded to Sprowston in a dangerous area just outside the area, as Jenny Tranholm is clipped in a coming together of legs as she looks to break through on goal feed the ball by Leyer through the middle. Russell positions the ball left side of the D half a yard outside the area, drills a low strike in past the wall evading everyone as it races into the bottom corner bouncing back out of the net as it strike the read supporting post 0-1.
North Walsham making a change Emma Faux joining the action. Faux with an early opportunity to get the ball forwards brings it on before trying to release Hoy coming in from the left into the area, the ball claimed by Lightfoot. Hutchin with a strong run forwards on the left for Sprowston, Yarham slowing her down the ball put inside for Russell slid forwards into the box Leyer the target, Hannah Sturman cutting it out for North Walsham.
A bit of ping ball in the middle of the park results in the ball popping over the North Walsham defence, Leyer after in a chase towards the box Darvill on her shoulder, Reaching the top of the area Leyer shoots Knight having started to come stands tall saves with her legs as the ball comes at her quickly. Leyer played on through the middle is adjudged to bring North Walsham’s Darvill down as the pair come together as they race for the box, play pulled back even as Leyer puts the ball into the back of the net.
Sprowston work the ball on through the middle Russell on for Leyer, Pettifer to her right, Sturman winning it back for North Walsham as the 1st half moves into the final 5 minutes. Yarham getting forwards on the right collides with Lightfoot at the corner of the area as both slide in on the ball. Play stretched late on Darvill getting forwards on the left for North Walsham is tackled the ball out for a throw into the middle Sprowston counter the ball on for Russell breaking forwards, Sturman stepping out of the back line to put in the challenge.
Into stoppage time North Walsham on the attack, Lightfoot just about getting hold of a ball played into her area from a free-kick wide left. North Walsham regaining possession Hoy out on the left tries to get a cross in the ball cut out comes to Darvill she plays a good delivery into the area Middleton rising in the middle of the box in front of goal puts her header straight at Lightfoot the goalkeeper holding onto the ball.
Half-time Sprowston Ladies 1-0 North Walsham Angels Ladies
An entertaining opening 45 minutes of this season Norfolk Ladies Plate Final. North Walsham have had the better chances to score but it’s Sprowston who have take theirs to lead the game 1-0 at the break. North Walsham starting brightly Lightfoot with a smart save, the woodwork struck too. Sprowston getting the ball forwards well haven’t had many clear chances at goal, taking advantage of the set-piece awarded to them to open the scoring. Promises to be a close 2nd half.
North Walsham to kick-off the 2nd half, have Hope Middleton on the right in place of Bussey. A throw on the right fro North Walsham inside the Sprowston half Luci Middleton attempting to turn inside get into the box Paige Barnard with a good tackle to stop her. Faux bringing the ball on through the middle moving right sends it on for Hope Middleton up the line her cross in near post initially cut out Luci Middleton going to retrieve right of goal on the six yard box spins and sends a high ball back in towards goal, Barnard up to head the ball behind for the corner.
Sprowston with possession on the right, Newell conceding the throw in played inside to Leyer right corner outside the area sees the ball into her feet turns and shoots her effort over the goal. Leyer with a run centrally on the ball, closed down plays it on for Russell right side her shot from outside the box charged down. Johnston off for North Walsham Storey back on. Hutchin with a run inside from the left the ball sent into the box gathered by Knight.
Progress up the pitch on the left North Walsham get a throw in the ball helped on into the area for a moment Hope Middleton is in the clear baring down on goal, Drake getting back on her with the touch to take the ball from the striker, Lightfoot getting hold of it. Good defensive work at the other end from Yarham as the ball is played through the middle, both Hutchin and Leyer going for it for Sprowston.
GOAL! 20 minutes played in the 2nd half and North Walsham find the equalising goal. Storey with the assist through the middle picking the ball up and sending it through for Hope Middleton making the central run Lightfoot comes rushing out to the edge of the area Middleton shooting getting the ball past her and into the back of the empty net 1-1.
Lightfoot with a good save under pressure as she is closed down by Luci Middleton at her near post the striker looking to get onto the end of a high ball into the area from Hope Middleton top of the area the keeper coming and punching the ball off her head, then dropping down to claim it before Middleton can react.
GOAL! 3 minutes after losing their lead Sprowston get themselves back into the lead. Leyer with the strike as she runs into space behind the North Walsham defence as the ball is pressed in the middle, shooting from 25 yards out drives the ball across the keeper into the back of the net 2-1.
Johnston is back on for North Walsham. A good tempo to the match both sides closing the ball down. Faux onto Johnston out to Hope Middleton right side, Drake challenging getting the ball back. Hutchin driving at the North Walsham defence gets inside looking to slide the ball into the area for Leyer, Yarham can let it go through to the keeper. Bussey back on for North Walsham, Becky Greenslade on for Sprowston.
Brister does well for Sprowston at the back up against Luci Middleton trying to get a shot away as she gets into the box. Yarham intercepting at the back as Russell looks to put her in behind. PENALTY! Bussey central on for Luci Middleton to her right gets into the area tries to turn make room for a shot is clipped by Pettifer the spot kick given. Bussey to take it driven in low too close to Lightfoot who guesses right down low shifting to her right makes the save the ball looping up off her Luci Middleton quickest to react getting her foot under the ball sends it across the six yard box.
A save up the other end moment later, Leyer with a run on the left coming into towards goal tries to slot the ball past Knight the keeper making the save. That’s it the final whistle blows a save from the penalty spot by Lightfoot in the closing minutes keeping Sprowston’s 2-1 lead in tact they they win there first piece of silverware.
Full time Sprowston Ladies 2-1 North Walsham Angels Ladies
A narrow win for Sprowston Ladies taking their chances and holding out late on North Walsham coming close to forcing the Final into extra-time. An entertaining game two lively and well matched sides. North Walsham will feel disappointed created more chances than their opponents just weren’t converted into goals. Sprowston having an excellent season with such a young side adapting to the women’s league very well have a tremendous work-rate and an abundance of energy. Getting back on players when it looks like they have gotten away from them.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Picking the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match for this one is incredibly tough everyone put in a shift today for both sides. Abbie Storey in midfield for North Walsham making some important tackles and playing it forwards was impressive. The award however goes to Sprowston’s Paige Barnard strong in the middle of defence or coming out wide to prevent a cross. Play was turned around so quickly at times there was only time to write 16 stops… before your attention has to go down the other end of the pitch.
Congratulation’s to Sprowston Ladies on winning this season’s Norfolk Ladies League Plate Final.
One final down one to come. My thanks to both clubs for there help with the teams. Good to catch up with both.