Sunday 9th April
FAWNL Midlands Division One
Down in Essex last Sunday for the Women’s Trophy Final, heading the opposite this Easter Sunday, west along the A17 to watch a game from FAWNL Midlands Division One with Peterborough United Women looking to finish strong pushing for a top 3 finish taking on Solihull Moors Women.
Stourbridge FC Women looking all but certain to win the title 10 points clear with 4 games left to play. The battle to finish runners-up a much different story, with 5 points separating the teams currently placed 2nd to 5th, Peterborough United Women firmly involved currently fifth taking on Solihull Moors Women 3 points back in 7th who will have a large part to play in determining the final positions with trips to 3rd placed Sporting Khalsa Women and 4th placed Northampton Town Women to come.
Peterborough United Women promoted to the FAWNL last season, with great connection with Peterborough United FC have been growing rapidly over the past few season to emerge as the regions strongest side. Finishing 8th in their debut season, playing at Peterborough’s Training Academy, with a growing fanbase a new home was needed with more capacity. Have moved to Bourne FC’s Abbey Lawn Stadium and with great support and marketing has certainly proved effective with crowds of over 300 a regular occurrence now.
Assembling a strong squad, with captain Keir Perkins recently scoring her 150th goal for the club leading the attack. Perkins with 18 goals so far this season with Tara Kirk up front alongside her firing in the goal too. A season of two halves to some degree getting off to a reasonable start with 3 wins in their opening 5 games a lull towards the end of September saw the club picking up just 2 points from the next 4. A long pause till their next league match with a run of cup matches which included getting all the way to the 3rd Round of the FA Cup where they were to narrowly lose to Championship side Durham FC Women 1-0. Resuming league action in January went on a run of 5 straight wins to push them up the table and have remained in contention for a top 3 finish since.
The last time I saw Solihull in action was way back in 2016 in the Supporting Women’s Football Blog days (can still find the blog click on the link at the top of the page) Back then they were still Solihull Ladies just joining with Solihull Moors FC. Have been an established side in the FAWNL since in first became the FAWPL nearly 10 years ago. Becky Knight their leading goal scorer this season netting 13 goals so far with Lyndsey Ross-Baker on 9 and captain Zoe Creasey scoring 7.
Solihull’s season in contrast to their opponents losing just 0nce in their opening league matches before like Peterborough getting bogged down in cup competitions to see out the year. Also reaching the 3rd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup losing 5-2 at home to AFC Fylde. Back to back wins upon their return to lead action well placed in the table have since been on a poor with just one win in their last 8, that coming at home against Peterborough winning 4-0 which will give them confidence going into todays match, just 3 points back a positive run in could see Solihull getting back into the mix.
Bourne FC’s Abbey Lawn Stadium the venue for todays game no parking in the ground but plenty close by and the option to use the nearby M&S carpark (my option) only a short walk from the ground entering in one corner the clubhouse behind the main stand running along one side of the grass pitch with standing viewing all round. A kitchen hatch open serving hot drinks and pies, with a barbeque selling burgers sausages and chips another option. A beautiful day on Easter Sunday dry, bright and sunny the pitch a good size sloping a little.
Peterborough United Women starting XI – Neive Corry. Evie Driscoll-King, Elie York, Niamh Connor, Lucie Mugridge, Jess Evans, Stacey McConville, Cassie Steward, Megan Lawlor, Keir Perkins (C) & Tara Kirk. Subs – Kayleigh Aylmer, Taylor Dean, Edyn Osker, Rachel Lawrence & Elloise Copson.
Solihull Moors Women starting XI – Freya Upson, Ellie Gibb, Hannah Snape, Abby Jackson, Jenna Roberts, Zoe Creaney (C), Demi Walker, Tiana Russell-Cartwright, Lyndsey Ross-Baker, Eva Rogers & Becky Knight. Subs – Charlotte Taylor, Emmalee Hornsby, Harley Savage, Katie Jamieson & Amber Dawns.
Ellie York making her debut for Peterborough at right back, with the hosts to kick-off the 1st half wearing blue coloured shirts with navy blue shorts and white socks. Solihull lined up opposite wearing red shirts and socks with white coloured shorts. The ball played back into the middle send to the right for York, Becky Knight rushing in to put pressure on the ball hastily put across to the left with Evie Driscoll-King launching it forwards up the line for captain Keir Perkins to attack, Ellie Gibbs at full back dealing with the threat for Solihull out for a throw.
Peterborough getting the ball down off the throw deep on the left working a cross low into the near post, Solihull goalkeeper Freya Upson coming out to lay claim to the ball. Solihull defending at the back with and opening on the left the ball sent upfield for Lyndsey Ross-Baker on the wing gets inside Yorke as she makes the challenge 25 yards out, Lucie Mugridge getting a toe into take the ball away from her rolls on for Solihull captain Zoe Creaney central looks to clip a looping ball in towards goal falls wide of the right post.
Both sides snapping into one another looking to get hold of the ball neither side settling early on a series of throws over by the main stand. Jenna Roberts with the headed clearance top of her area as Peterborough get forwards well on the left numbers up the ball drops to Cassie Stewards wide attempts to thread a pass through for Tara Kirk to break in behind, Upson racing out quickly to slide in thwart the move.
Solihull come on up their right Gibbs feeding the ball on for Tiana Russell-Cartwright, pace to travel up the wing looking to come inside tackled by Driscoll-King. The ball popping about Peterborough get it forwards into Kirk central looks to pay in Megan Lawlor attacking right side, Hannah Snape cutting the ball out for Solihull. The visitors counter up the right Russell-Cartwright with the looping cross into the six yard box, Knight up well to knock the ball down aiming to put it inside the far post, York in the way blocking well for Peterborough.
An even start with Solihull frustrating Peterborough working hard to break up play get on right side Knight combining with Russell-Cartwright, Driscoll-King defending the ball going out for a throw. Ross-Baker finding space on the left racing on with the ball attempting to put it through into the box for Knight pulling off the right channel, Neive Corry, in goal for Peterborough getting to it first.
Peterborough encouraging one another to get going attacking down the left the cross put in by Perkins, met by kirk six yards out on the half volley, Upson with a great save down smartly to beat the ball away to the left, the pressure still on as Peterborough push up the diagonal ball into the area dropping far post for Lawlor under challenge gets her head to it but not enough to beat Upson across to cover the post catching high. Peterborough livening up after tentative start Perkins strong with the ball on the left getting down the line to win a corner.
Solihull bringing the ball on up the right Roberts-Cartwright playing it inside the pass cut out comes to Gibbs in space 40 yards out takes the opportunity to strike her effort over the bar. Creaney trying to find her range in the centre on the park with both Russell-Cartwright and Ross-Baker providing good outlets. Russell-Cartwright found on the right drives up the line her low cross driven into the area intercepted by Niamh Conner at the back for Peterborough.
Snape coming on up the left for Solihull sends the ball into Eva Rogers looking to turn into the shot left of the D, Mugridge racing in to charge down her attempt jumping across her path Rogers, stabbing her half volley wide of the near post. A free-kick won wide left for the visitors Snape with a chance to play the ball into the box, comes in high, Corry can see it safely land in the side netting. Abby Jackson over another free-kick for Solihull on half way taken short good work from Kirk for Peterborough pressing the ball forcing it to be played all the way back to the keeper.
Kirk put through on goal central as the ball is played back over the top from a rushed clearance, into the D leaning back as she goes to shoot, struck goalwards Upson with a fine save diving to her left to push the ball away. Peterborough looking strong attacking on the left numbers up Perkins pulling wide Jess Evans with the ball putting the pass into Kirk’s path left top of the area, Upson racing out diving in to save at the attackers feet, the ball loose the keeper now out of position the goal attempt comes in drops wide of the mark.
Connor doing well at the back defending on Russell-Cartwright as she looks to get onto the ball inside the box from the right out for a goal kick. The long diagonal ball put out to Lawlor pressing up on the right corner of the box tries to take it on the volley, doesn’t catch it, Snape getting back at her to defend for Solihull. Players up around the top of the box as Solihull win another free-kick over half way Jackson’s ball up intercepted by Steward the break on but the passes rushed breaks down.
GOAL! Peterborough surge down the left wing the ball played inside to Perkins 25 yards out gets the ball onto her right foot and strikes it beautifully to soar over the keeper into the back of the net 1-0 Peterborough taking the lead midway through the first half.
Perkins pressing on down the left in attack a high cross lifted into the near post Lawlor looking to get under it well defended by Snape, a free-kick awarded to Solihull. Peterborough turning the screw coming on well Kirk with the ball central driving on riding a challenge taking the ball left into the box all the way to the by-line squeezing a cross into the six yard box, Evans attacking it, Snape blocking for Solihull.
Rogers taking the ball on from Demi Walker through the middle, pushing towards the box, York with the challenge for Peterborough. Steward fouling Creaney in halfway Solihull sending players up to the top of the area the ball lifted forwards, Stacey McConville dealing with it for the hosts. Rogers with a great crossfield pass to find Ross-Baker on the move up Solihull’s left Creaney up with play attempts the one two with her outside the box, looking for the return pass, read by Mugridge the defender sliding on to take the ball away from the winger. A corner for Solihull on the left through the six yard box taking a nick behind another corner awarded on the right, an in swinger curls over the bar.
Evans strong in the middle winning the ball for Peterborough allowing Steward to get forwards support the attackers, picked out by Kirk 25 yards out coming right plays the ball into Lawlor right, her touch taking her inside to shoot, put straight at the keeper. Kirk fouled on half way the ball played up to Perkins left side, Gibbs in close to defend the ball bouncing in behind Perkins racing to get it on the by-line her cross swerving to land on the roof of the net.
Russell-Cartwright out to Knight on the right the Solihull pair combining the cross lifted into the area headed clear by Conner. The ball helped on through the middle McConville and Steward into Kirk drives on Roberts tackling for Solihull.
GOAL! Peterborough attacking down the left winning a corner kick, players forwards the ball swung in before the near post met brilliantly by Connor getting her head down twisting her body to drive the ball past the Solihull defence before anyone can react 2-0
Solihull look to find a response conceding a 2nd goal late in the first half Gibbs bringing the ball on up the right on for Roberts-Cartwright her cross whipped in Mugridge stretching to cut it out behind for the corner. Solihull’s inswinging corners real threat the ball curled in over Corry smashing down into the six yard box off the crossbar, skipping up before Snape trying to react up to try and head the ball but can’t get it on target.
Kirk with the bit between her teeth attacking on the left brought down, Lawlor on the set piece 20 yards out plenty in the box sends it out beyond the far post with Kirk free to head the ball down back across the six yard box, McConville throwing herself at it far post turning it behind. The game moving into stoppage time Solihull looking to get on with Creaney, Ross-Baker giving her a great option bursting forwards on the right, tries to pick her out wit the pass just a little to heavy giving Corry time to get out to ball collect. Solihull winning a late throw in the left as Mugridge slides in to defend as Snape gets forwards to support Ross-Baker on the left comes to nothing.
Half-time Peterborough United Women 2-0 Solihull Moors Women
Peterborough with a 2 goal lead at the break coming on well after a slow start not settling, picking up momentum getting players on well attacking down the left and through the middle. Perkins carrying a threat out wide scoring a fine goal midway through the first half to go along way to settling Peterborough down looking strong after that coming on well players making runs through the middle. Solihull with a couple of good chances to get a goal themselves with Freya Upson making some good saves. Peterborough doubling their lead from a corner late in the 1st half Connor with a great headed goal. Solihull hitting the woodwork late in the half, frustrated with a few decisions and not quite finding their mark with their passes looking to use the flanks. 2-0 the score, same as last weekend the next goal can often prove crucial, Peterborough would like the comfort of a 3rd goal, Solihull score and their back in it.
No changes at the break for either side, have managed to put my bag down on an ant’s nest so goodness how many of them are coming back to Norfolk with me! Solihull to get the 2nd half underway. Back into Walker in midfield Kirk rushing in to closer the keeper down as the ball is played back to her the clearance rushed, the ball contested in the middle. Creaney getting hold of it taking it on well lifting it over the defence catches everyone flat footed giving Peterborough the chance to regroup.
Kirk and Perkins pressurising the Solihull defence off a throw playing the ball between them Perkins on the by-line trying the back heel to spin in behind doesn’t quite come off, goal kick. Peterborough quickly getting on the front foot at the start of the 2nd half. York doing well at the back for Peterborough as Snape sends the ball on for Ross-Baker up the left winning a free-kick. Solihull making a change bringing of Walker on comes Charlotte Taylor.
Peterborough send players up into the area winning a corner on the right. The ball sent long beyond the far post Evans up to head the ball, down into towards goal plenty of Solihull bodies to black and get it clear. Roberts back peddling goes down over her goalkeeper as Upson comes out to claim a high back through the middle, an awkward fall is down for a moment needing treatment but able to play on. Driscoll-King on the left forwards for Perkins up the line Roberts coming across in the cover stretching as she makes the challenge, another awkward fall.
Driscoll-King getting a throw in high on the left the ball finding it’s way into Kirk left of the D lays it back to Steward running across her central plays the pass across the D to pick out McConville 20 yards out strikes the show goalwards, may well have been going wide of the right post but Upson is across her line well to dive onto the ball.
Peterborough winning the ball well, Evans competing in the middle. Solihull look to get on down the right with pace Gibbs on for Russell-Cartwright turns inside attempting the crossfield ball to release Ross-Baker on the left, Peterborough holding their line well however to catch her offside.
Connor winning the ball at the back pressing on into the middle coming out the better in a strong 50/50 challenge the put the ball on for Driscoll-King wide sent up to Perkins in attack, Roberts stretching getting hold of the ball to turn behind for a corner. That set-piece coming to nothing, Peterborough quickly regain the ball in the middle to go on and win another corner on the left. In by Lawlor across the face of goal, Connor leaping up can’t quite get her head on the ball.
Solihull making a double change Gibbs and Roberts coming off at the back, Amber Dawns and Emmalee Hornby coming on with instructions for the captain as the visitors look to make a few positional changes. Peterborough making their first change too Rachel Lawrence on replacing Lawlor on the hour. Connor has a long throw in her arsenal comes up on the right side to take dropped into McConville, 20 odd yards out to the right of goal, struck on the half volley low with pace, Upson with a fantastic save down smartly to deflect the ball away across the six yard box to far post bouncing Perkins after it can’t get a clean touch to put it back in out for a goal kick.
Russell-Cartwright cutting inside with the ball at her feet with a wild strike from distance flashed over the bar. Hornby taking the ball on looks to drive forwards through the middle Peterborough closing her down, The hosts counter the ball on through the middle into Lawrence 25 yards out right of the D, hits the shot angling on low, Upson with another vital save pushing the ball away to the right, Perkins out there onto the ball hooks a cross over the keeper to the far post Kirk rushing in with the swing of a leg can’t get a touch.
Solihull winning a free-kick wide on the left crossed into the area dealt with by Mugridge for Peterborough. Another change for the home side with McConville coming off to be replaced by Kayleigh Aylmer. Solihull come close to finding a goal off a long throw in the left the ball nodded on central comes to Rogers up well drives her header onto the crossbar.
A moment of chaos ensues as Peterborough race up the other end appealing for a hand ball as the cross is cut out top of the area Solihull straight down the other end Corry out of her area to charge the ball down, Mugridge round on the cover clearing.
Peterborough lively up on the left a corner won, whipped in across goal to the far post Driscoll-King with the low strike from close range, Upson there again with another superb save diving to her left to turn the ball around the post. From the corner on the right put in high Connor with the flick on near side, comes onto Driscoll-King quickly can’t react sends the ball wide. 15 minutes left on the clock both sides making a change, Harley Savage coming on in attack for Knight. Elloise Copson and Taylor Dean coming on for Peterborough in place of Steward and Yorke. Aylmer up to Perkins left into the box in a race with Dawns, Upson rushing out to save at her feet the ball knocked out to the left…
GOAL! Peterborough get players on in support as Solihull struggle to regroup the ball wide with Dean laying it on for York to put in across the top of the area Lawrence collecting central just inside firing a shot away straight at Upson can’t get her hands up quick enough as the ball deflects up over her into the back of the net 3-0.
Peterborough extending their lead with 12 minutes left to play. A frustrating afternoon for Solihull gets worse as worse as Russell-Cartwright is involved in a heavy collision with Connor as the defender comes into the back of her to win the ball, Russell-Cartwright down having taken a nasty blow to the head. The physio’s on, Jackson also down in the box for the visitors. Time taken as is right with a blow to the head Russell-Cartwright groggy. Helped off the pitch not risked Solihull make a change Katie Jamieson coming on A free-kick the outcome Dawns over it lifts the ball in towards the top of the area dealt with by the Peterborough defence.
Solihull giving it ago getting on left side the threaded pass finding Savage bursting into the box, Mugridge looking to get back at her lunging in to tackle getting the ball putting it behind for a corner kick. A good delivery from the left coming into Dawns on the penalty spot rising to head the ball, Corry with an excellent save throwing a glove up to turn the ball away.
Into the last 5 minutes Evans with the ball on through the middle helped onto Perkins top of the D her strike saved beat down by the keeper, Perkins after the rebound sends it wide. Perkins last action of the game as she comes off to be replaced by Edyn Osker. Creaney finding her range late on to get Ross-Baker in on the right to the by-line her cross flashed in Corry down sharply at her near post to push it away with Rogers running in clear central.
The clock ticking down into stoppage time Connor with a less than subtle challenge on Savage a free-kick won wide on the right. The box packed Peterborough winning the header. Creaney taking a painful blow to the midriff off Osker winning Solihull a free-kick at the death. Takes it herself the ball struck into the wall cleared. Peterborough winning to climb a place into 3rd, 2 points behind 2nd placed Doncaster Rovers Belles who they travel to on the final day of the season both with 4 games left.
Full time Peterborough United Women 3-0 Solihull Moors Women
Three goals and a clean sheet for Peterborough, ideal preparation for this weeks Northamptonshire Women’s Cup Final as they take on Northampton Town Women Development. An even start to the game Peterborough a little tentative both sides creating chances, got going midway through the 1st half with Keir Perkins opening the scoring. Freya Upson with some good saves before Niamh Connor headed home from a corner late in the half to double the lead. 2 goals up were quickly on top in the 2nd half, getting hold of the ball Upson again saving well the 3rd goal eventually coming in the 77th minute. Solihull frustrated didn’t get some decisions, had chances the woodwork struck twice just wasn’t to be.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as more often than not a tough one to make. Player performing well all over the pitch, putting in a shift. For Solihull, Freya Upson was outstanding despite the score line produced a number of excellent saves to keep her side in the game for a long period. Lyndsey Ross-Baker getting on well on the wing lacking support at times likewise Tiana Russell-Cartwright trying hard to make thing’s happen on the right. Peterborough were strong all across the pitch Keir Perkins in attack on the left a constant threat driving forwards and getting the ball into the box with a well struck goal to open the scoring. Niamh Connor at the back excellent to strong competitive getting in to tackle win the ball and cut out crosses. A great header to make it 2-0. A close run thing the award though goes to Jess Evans had a strong game in midfield going along way to set Solihull’s frustrations winning the ball and getting it back into the attacking players to pressure the defence.
An enjoyable first trip to Abbey Lawn, is a nice stadium and set up with a crowd of 340 creating a great atmosphere. An entertaining game my thanks to every one for their assistance today, a busy week ahead with 3 cup finals to come the car keeps on racking up the miles.
by Darren Gilham