Suffolk Women’s Division
A Round-Up on a Friday? What’s that all about? Well with it being a hectic start to the week the season in Suffolk finishing this Thursday evening I thought I’d wait and put it all into one final edition.
Rewind the action to Wednesday 24th April, Needham Market Women having secured a 2nd placed finish in their debut season playing their last league match of the campaign at home to Leiston St Margarets Ladies. A comfortable 4-0 lead for Needham market at half-time went on to score a further 3 goals 2nd half to end with a 7-0 victory. A fantastic first season for the club together achieving a runners-up finish pushing league winners East Bergholt United Ladies all the way, and 2 cup finals to look forwards too. Top scorer Francesca Rainbird scoring a hat-trick their were goals too for Isabel Chaplin, Nicola Henderson, Milly Carter an a first Needham market goal for Jemma Mortimer.
Playing on Thursday evening Brantham Athletic Ladies were at home to Alresford Colne Rangers in their penultimate game of the season. A high scoring game between the sides had to settle for a share of the points scoring 3 goals each. Jodie Sharp, Sophie Crabtree & Shanice Leeks scoring for Brantham up to 3rd in the table, whilst Rae Clancy, Jo Harvey & Jasmine Warner scored the goals for 5th placed Alresford Colne Rangers in what would prove to be their final match of the season with Sunday’s opponents Coplestonians Ladies forfeiting the game.
Onto Sunday, the final weekend of the season 3 matches played, with Woodbridge Town Ladies at home to Leiston St Margarets Ladies on Thursday. A 7-0 win for Needham Market in midweek as they prepared for Tuesday’s Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final their opponents and league champions for a 2nd successive year were ending their league season away to Leiston St Margarets. Annie Northwood, East Bergholt’s leading goal scorer this season on target for a brace in the game whilst their was a goal a piece for Stacey Teager, Cara Savage and Pippa King in a 5-1 win, East Bergholt impressive in the defence of their title losing just the one game. Looking to make it a 2nd successive league & cup double playing again on Tuesday against Needham Market in the League Cup Final.
Brantham Athletic Ladies away to Walsham Le Willows Ladies in their final game of the season getting the points they needed to be assured of a 3rd placed finish winning the game 2-0 thanks to goals from Lucy Dunnett and Lucy Elmes.
An impressive 2nd half to the season for newcomers Brettvale Ladies saw them end on a high with a crushing home win over bottom side University of Suffolk Women in their final game of the season. Tarnya McKew very much a part of their improved results the experienced striker scoring 8 goals in the match taking her to 27 goals from just 11 appearances. Brettvale winning the game 15-1 the rest of their goals spread out with Claire Turnbull, Danielle Lynch, Shaan Hayre, Georgia Lindon, Lucy Brown & Iris Gunnarsdottir all on the scoresheet along with Clara Gosling with her first goal for the club.
A win for Brantham on Sunday meaning they could not be caught by 4th placed Woodbridge Town Ladies another new comer to the league this season having an improved 2nd half to the campaign picking up some great results to climb up the table, as high as 3rd at one point are the reason I’ve kept this Round-Up till the end of the week as they were playing their final game of the season last evening at home to Leiston St Margarets Ladies. Jenna Liverpool getting the goals for Woodbridge the clubs top scorer finding the back of the net for 2 more goals to end on 21 for the season with Kiera Hines also scoring in a 3-1 win to end the season, great form too with 9 wins from their last 10 league games. Leiston St Margarets Ladies finishing the season with 3 straight defeats nevertheless finish in 6th.
Before Woodbridge & Leiston St Margarets brought the curtain down on the 2018/19 Suffolk Women’s Division season their was the League Cup to be decided Women’s Football East was their and below is the full report from the game. A larger league this campaign great to see the game growing within Suffolk the new sides all making an impact and will be interesting to see how they progress in the new season.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.