Sunday 20th October
Norfolk Women’s League Cup
County Cup football this weekend on Women’s Football East with the Norfolk Women’s competition getting underway this Sunday. A trip to Clipbush Park to watch Fakenham Town Ladies v Tavern Ladies meeting in the 1st Round.
Last season’s final played in front of a record crowd at Norwich City FC’s Carrow Road ground, Wymondham Town Ladies beating King’s Lynn Town Ladies to lift the county cup for the 2nd successive season.
Today’s clash between two sides promoted to Division One this season. Fakenham Town Ladies finishing runners-up in Division Two last season bouncing straight back up following relegation the previous season. Tavern finishing 4th in Division Two going up due to an influx of new sides joining the league this season one of a total of six sides moving up to the top division to ensure an equal distribution of teams.
Fakenham bringing in several new faces over the summer to bolster their squad as they look to consolidate and push on in the top division. Players needing time to settle and gel a heavy loss on the opening day have bounced back since winning two of their last 3 league matches. Started last season with a 4-0 home win against Tavern, the aggregate score 5-5 though with Tavern finishing the season well and scoring plenty of goals winning 5-1.
An excellent start to the new season for Tavern Ladies, the Dereham based side playing in Division One for the first time. A 100% winning start with 4 wins from 4 are one of three sides to have made a perfect start sharing the lead with Bungay Town Ladies and defending champions Thorpe United Ladies who they beat in last years League Cup to reach the final itself. Scored plenty of goals during that campaign most notably Atlanta Griffith and Katie Hart-Copsey scoring 74 goals between them, Hart-Copsey one of two players in the East of England last season to surpass 50 goals. Lucy Kean leading the goal scoring so far this season with 6 goals.
Clipbush Park the venue for today’s match the bar open serving hot and cold drinks leading out onto the pitch itself. A large pitch offering plenty of width a test for any teams fitness. A small seated stand on the opposite side of the pitch, covered areas behind both goals. An overcast day dark clouds around and unfortunately some light rain as the teams walked out onto the pitch.
Fakenham Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Easter, Jemma Riches, Lauren Crundwell, Maddie Smith, Sian Sands (C), Celemence Anhour, Vicki Lubbock, Tash Patten, Holly Davies, Megan Spurrell & Sophie Lubbock. Subs – Rosie Smith
Tavern Ladies starting XI – Zoe Gibbons (C), Emily Fusco, Roxy Bailey, Millie Bell, Cody Barnes, Nicole Costin, Atlanta Griffith, Meganne Smith, Katie Hart-Copsey, Sophie Fuller & Lucy Lean. Subs – Danni Lee & Nat Merry.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s the hosts Fakenham to kick-off the first half wearing amber coloured shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and socks. Tavern lined up opposite in an all blue kit with white trim. The visitors quick to close straight from the off the ball closed down in midfield knocked out of play for a series of throws on the left.
Fakenham looking to make ground on the flank, Tavern regain possession and counter Atlanta Griffith central with the long pass to release Meganne Smith away on the left she plays the ball into the middle for Sophie Fuller 30 yards out she flicks it on through the middle for Lucy Kean getting in between the Fakenham centre backs bearing down on the box, goalkeeper Chloe Easter has to come goes to ground looking to block Kean’s run the attacker taking the ball to her right past her and shoot at the open goal beyond, an early let off for Fakenham as the ball runs wide of the post.
Fakenham attack on the left can’t make any head way in behind the Tavern back line are awarded a free-kick wide on the left players forwards as Maddie Smith prepares to launch the ball forwards towards the area a good delivery near post Sophie Lubbock with a well timed run can’t quite get on the end of it as it runs safely through to Tavern goalkeeper, Zoe Gibbons. Tavern come left a throw in won high dropped into Griffith she spins to play the ball into the box, headed clear by Fakenham captain Sian Sands.
Holly Davies plays the ball forwards as Fakenham bring the ball out for the back picking out Megan Spurrell breaking away on the right wing moving forwards Tavern get players across quickly three conversing to crowd Spurrell off the ball. Emily Fusco at right back for Tavern winning the ball brings it forwards aiming to release Katie Hart-Copsey on the wing, Sands with a timely interception to prevent her getting away. Tavern getting forwards well in numbers Fusco up field as Nicole Costin spreads play in the middle out to the right on for Hart-Copsey, slips on the wet surface as she goes to cross allowing Sands to get across to clear the danger for Fakenham.
Griffith showing great movement off the ball early on getting free on the left the ball put into her path she clips it inside for Fuller central, under challenge as she unleashes a shot form all of 30 yards the pace taken out of the ball runs safely through into the box for Easter to collect. Tavern get high on the left a throw won in the corner put into Kean back to the box close to the byline hooks the ball up and beyond her into the ball dropping central inside the six yards box, Fuller goes to attack it, Fakenham scramble clear, gathered by Meganne Smith wide of the area strikes the shot back in flies wide across goal.
GOAL! The early pressure Tavern have applied seeing them open the scoring inside the opening 15 minutes closing the Fakenham defence down for the ball in front of their area snapping into the challenge it finds it’s way across to the right Hart-Copsey free putting her foot through the ball sending her shot racing past the keeper and in from 18 yards 0-1.
Fakenham straight on the attack from the restart Vicki Lubbock driving forwards from midfield winning a throw on the right. Put into the box the clearance straight to Tash Patten her cross fired in striking Costin somewhat painfully deflected behind for the first corner of the game. The ball lifted into the six yard box cleared by Cody Barnes, Tavern looking to break, Maddie Smith preventing them from doing so.
Patten getting in close to charge down Fuller as she goes to shoot from the top of the area, the rebound fired in towards goal from distance, not troubling Easter. Tavern burst forwards Griffith taking the ball on sending it on to Fuller a flowing move she helps it on over the top for Kean to chase after, too much on the ball allowing Easter to come and claim first. Fakenham make a change, Lauren Crundwell off for Rosie Smith in defence. Maddie Smith wins the race as Fuller plays the ball in behind for Kean to go after.
A few strong challenges coming in a physical contest Tavern using it to their advantage, Griffith getting about in midfield well supported by Costin, the latter winning the ball on for Fuller, Griffith running beyond her to the left the pass into her feet, Maddie Smith sliding in to tackle and regain possession for Fakenham. Bringing the ball on through the middle Clemence Anhour forwards Sophie Lubbock n attack heading it down to Davies on the left she looks to drive in behind, Fusco tackling for Tavern.
GOAL! Fakenham level the scores get players forwards as Spurrell battles for possession on the left with Barnes, the defender lunging in to take the ball away from the attack gifting it to Vicki Lubbock who drives into the space opened up by Spurrell on the right 25 yards out on the angle strikes the ball well the ball coming in at pace rising to drop beyond the keeper into the back of the net 1-1.
Half an hour gone Maddie Smith being kept busy by Kean defending against her at the top of the area as Tavern break forwards with intent Costin winning it in the middle. Griffith coming left squaring the ball inside for Costin 35 yards out forwards for Fuller, Sands stepping out of the Fakenham defence nips in to make the challenge. Kean gets in behind central as the ball is put over the top closing in on the box Easter coming to close her down the attacker manages to get the ball past her before they come together, no pace on the ball however off target as the Fakenham defence get back to clear.
GOAL! Tavern are soon back in front, attacking Fuller on the ball cutting inside from the right outside the box brought down a free-kick awarded. Fuller herself to take the set-piece in a dangerous position. The ball hit well rising to clear the ball and over the keeper to creep in under the bar 1-2.
Fakenham come right win a corner kick. Sands to take a good delivery in near side Vicki Lubbock with a clever run to get in front of her marker puts her head on the ball her attempt wide of the post. Tavern play the ball on for Hart-Copsey getting free on the right sends a cross in along the six yard box, Maddie Smith getting in front of Kean at the near post to head clear. Fuller shooting from distance 20 yards out right of the D her effort stinging Easters gloves as she palms it down cleared before Kean can pounce.
GOAL! Tavern extend their lead, attacking down the right Hart-Copsey getting deep to the by line playing a pacy cross in towards the near post Easter their gets her gloves to the ball but doesn’t stick, the ball dropping to the ground Kean is coming in on the follow up on top of her getting her toe to the ball first to prod it past her into the goal beyond 1-3.
10 minutes left to play in the first period, Fakenham play the ball on through the middle into Sophie Lubbock she drives on into the Tavern box, Millie Bell in to make the tackle the ball out for a throw. Jemma Riches getting up the field for Fakenham from defence as the hosts mount an attack the ball squared into Vicki Lubbock top of the box right of the D she plays it forwards for twin sister Sophie making the near post run clear to shot a rising strike Gibbons across to cover the angle making the save pushing the ball behind for the corner kick.
This is where the note taking skills get put to the test, Fakenham up to attack the corner on the right Sands delivering towards the near post Vicki Lubbock coming to attack it, defended put back out to the right for Sands to cross in again dropping central into the six yard box missed, bouncing up at the far post an amber shirt rising to head the ball goalwards the ball striking the crossbar back down into a congested box a scramble ensures, Gibbons getting down to smother the ball.
Tavern continue to attack strongly getting forwards well whilst keeping it tight and organised at the ball. Fakenham finding it tough to break them down. Spurrell looking the most likely on the right a strong run on the ball getting in behind support from Sophie Lubbock struck low on the angle the ball taking a deflection on it’s way through taking it behind for the corner. Vicki Lubbock making some good runs to make herself available for the corner deliveries Tavern not picking her up once again as she moves towards the ball near side turns and sends a shot from 8 yards out over the bar.
Good combination play between central midfielders Anhour and Vicki Lubbock through the middle for Fakenham make ground before Lubbock is stopped by Griffith top of her area for Tavern. Patten on the left getting in beyond for Fakenham to the byline skips pass a defensive challenge going on to cross the ball into the six yard box, Bell cutting it out for Tavern.
Half-time Fakenham Town Ladies 1-3 Tavern Ladies
An entertaining first half played at a good pace, Tavern leading 3-1 having the better of the play creating more opportunities scoring early in the game, organised at the back getting forwards with pace closing down well physical. Fakenham creating chances themselves although not getting in behind the Tavern defence tough to break down. Getting it back to 1-1 Tavern coming back with a well taken free-kick gifted a 2nd goal to hold a two goal lead. Fakenham coming close to pulling a goal back on a couple of occasions hitting the bar with one. All to play for 2nd half.
Tavern to get the 2nd half underway. Fakenham with a change at the start of the half, Crundwell back on for Patten. Fakenham quick to close the ball down get it on down the right for Spurrell to attack winning a throw in, defended as Sophie Lubbock seeing the ball into her feet looks to turn and take the ball into the box. Fakenham lively at the start of the 2nd half Vicki Lubbock receiving of another throw right side top of the area driving inside to the byline looking to cross, Bailey preventing her from doing do lays it back outside to Riches 20 yards out a cross driven in low racing wide near side.
Sophie Lubbock intercepting a poor goalkick top of the box goes to shoot charged down the effort loops up high into the air and drops wide of the Tavern goal for a corner. The delivery in close to the near post not attacked Tavern able to clear. Fakenham continue their early attacking 2nd half Sophie Lubbock moving wide right has Spurrell behind her Costin back to defend outside her box for Tavern.
Tavern break the ball taken to the byline by Kean cut back towards the top of the area for Hart-Copsey, Vicki Lubbock back on her defending for Fakenham before she can get a shot away. Hart-Copsey over on the right a ball crossed into the box headed clear by Sands, up to Anhour in the middle forwards for Davies to attack central running on with the ball but no way through the Tavern defence.
GOAL! Having ridden out a strong spell from Fakenham at the start of the 2nd half Tavern extend their lead with 55 minutes played. The ball won back inside the Fakenham half on the left passed central into Griffith all of 30 yards out lets the ball run across her before striking it a good connection the ball flying in towards goal with power past the keeper before she can react and in 1-4.
Fakenham are getting a little frustrated in the final third good build up play the final ball won’t come more often than not collected by a blue shirt. Fakenham bring Crundwell off on the left side Patten back on. From a throw on the right Vicki Lubbock looks to drive on with the ball at her feet tries to pick out sister Sophie ahead of her in the box, Bell intercepting for Tavern. The visitors make their first change of the game, Danni Lee on for Meganne Smith goes into the defence.
Play stretched now Fakenham taking more risks as they attempt to pull a goal back Kean sending the ball on for Hart-Copsey to run in behind central Rosie Smith getting back on her as the pair close in on the area does well to get across her see the ball back to her keeper. Sophie Lubbock chasing the ball as with Bailey in the left corner the striker pressuring to get the ball back up the line to Patten she strikes the ball goalwards from the angle can only put it into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Tavern continue to win the physical battle stronger to win the ball, nothing malicious is a good spirited game, a good contest. Hart-Copsey lifts the ball on for Griffith breaking through the middle, Rosie Smith getting cross to lung in to put the ball wide for the throw in. Tavern winning a corner as Fuller’s turn and hit from 20 yards out takes a nick to divert it wide of goal. The delivery in close to the near post defended. Tavern make another change Barnes the player off back on comes Meganne Smith.
Vicki Lubbock nipping in to win the ball back central for Fakenham lay it forwards for Sophie Lubbock top of the area she shoots the strike put over the crossbar. Tavern turn play around in the middle quickly Kean threatening to get away through the middle 25 yards out Sands lunging in brings her down, the free-kick awarded, not the last defender as the whole Fakenham defence had turned in unison and Maddie Smith was close, nevertheless a yellow card shown to Sands and another set-piece in a dangerous position for Tavern.
GOAL! Now I run the batteries in my camera to the limit knew it was nearly out, so now wasn’t the time to get the big red flashing battery symbol but there you go… happens once a game. Slightly further out to her goal in the first half Fuller is on the set-piece once again left of the D is another well struck shot a strong hit past the wall to land inside the left post and extend the visitors lead 1-5.
A little under 10 minutes left to play Tavern with a commanding lead. Tavern playing well Hart-Copsey latching onto a poor goal kick 30 yards out central tries to lift a shot straight back in plays it off target. Fakenham aren’t giving up by any means looking to get forwards find a goal Spurrell central sees Sophie Lubbock making a move out to the left to get in behind Bailey the full back though reading the move steps across to intercept the pass clear it out to the right, Riches having bombed on for Fakenham getting hold of the loose ball drives a shot wide of the near post from 20 yards.
Kean running on trying to get in behind the Fakenham defence as the ball is put long for her to go after heads it on in behind left of goal carries it on towards the box letting fly with a shot beating the advancing keeper sees her effort strike the side netting. Fusco winning the ball at the back gets a rush of blood to the head as she takes the ball forwards making it at the way to the top of the area before shooting a challenge deflecting it on pushed wide by Easter.
Fakenham come forwards going left good combination play between the Lubbock sisters as Davies chases the ball into the left corner put back up to the top corner of the box for Patten she takes on the shot a looping ball that dips late on the keeper, Gibbons across at her near post blocking with her legs the ball behind for the corner.
The corner ball in cleared by the Tavern defence. The visiting side getting forwards in the closing minute the ball across the top of the area, Meganne Smith brought down inside the D by the outstretched leg of Vicki Lubbock a last gasp free-kick for Tavern. Fuller on a hat-trick setting the ball down this one alot closer not always the easiest to strike has a go for goal the strike put over the bar the last act of the game Tavern winning 5-1 to advance in the Norfolk Women’s County Cup.
Full time Fakenham Town Ladies 1-5 Tavern Ladies
An enjoyable cup tie competitive between the two sides. Clear to see why Tavern have made such a good start to the season organised at the back getting forwards well, clinical with their chances. Fakenham no doubt disappointed but had chances of their own the final ball just not happening at times. Tavern winning the physical battle showing great movement and vision going forwards.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few notable performances to note from Fakenham first, Vicki Lubbock with some great ones on midfield creating both goal scoring opportunities for herself and teammates well backed up by Celemence Anhour who I believe was making her competitive debut in midfield along with Megan Spurrell in attack. For Tavern it was an all round team performance organised at the back breaking up play in the middle and breaking forwards well. There has to be one name alone though. Atlanta Griffith with some great movement on and off the ball the award goes to Sophie Fuller aside from two very well struck free-kicks provided some fantastic link up play between midfield and attack.
An entertaining game both sides have come along way in the year and a bit a last saw them face each other. A competitive cup tie with Norfolk FA making the draw for the next round live on Wednesday evening on twitter at 6pm. My thanks to both sides for the team details much appreciated.