Tag Archives: Tavern Ladies

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 5th May

Norfolk Ladies League Cup Final

Sprowston Ladies v Tavern Ladies

 A brief rest before moving on to my 2nd game from today’s Norfolk Finals Day, the League Cup itself this season being contested by Sprowston Ladies from Division One taking on Division Two side Tavern Ladies. 

  Before that however the Ladies 7’s final was also taking place this afternoon on the pitch behind the main stadium. A repeat of last season’s final with Costessey Sports taking on Hellesdon Belles. Costessey Sports winning the final 6-2 last season to make it back to back wins were looking for a 3rd successive triumph, the pair drawing 1-1 at half-time, Costessey Sports went on to score twice more in the 2nd half to win the final 3-1 a continue thier dominance in the competition.

   Easy to forget Sprowston Ladies are such a young side having done so well since joining the women’s leagues, alot of the squad together since early youth level have grown together as a team. Pushing Bungay Town Ladies all the way in the title race in Division One last season eventually clinching runners-up spot aswell as winning last season’s League Plate Final. A slower start to the season this time around some rebuilding to be done at the start of the season with a few players moving on to test themselves at a higher level.

  Bringing in youth as is their tradition the squad slowly gained momentum little to be done to stop runaway leaders Thorpe United Ladies, Sprowston nevertheless climbing the table to reach 2nd as they completed their league fixtures. Have since dropped to 3rd with Gorleston Ladies overhauling them to finish runners-up. At finals day yet again saving some of their best form for the League Cup. Victoria Leyer once again top scorer with 28 goals so far this season.

Dereham based, Tavern Ladies are firmly amongst the sides challenging for promotion in Division Two, in 2nd position tied on points with Fakenham Town Ladies who have a game in hand, both looking to finish 2nd in the league the pendulum swinging back and fourth with a handful of games left. Have been in great form after making a losing start, scoring plenty of goals along the way. 74 goals between attackers Atlanta Griffith and Katie Hart-Copsey. Griffith with 23 of those whilst Hart-Copsey has scored an incredible 51 goals to date. The only side to defeat league champions Taverham Women United on their way to the Division Two title. A great run to reach the League Cup Final including knocking out the Division One champions, Thorpe United Ladies.

Road to the Final

  A bye for Sprowston in the first round of the competition. Tavern Ladies were at their Scarning Playing Fields home taking on fellow Division Two side Bulldogs Ladies a comfortable 7-1 win seeing them progress.

  Sprowston beginning their league Cup campaign in the 2nd Round in the New Year away to fellow Division One side Aylsham Ladies who had shown great form in the first half of the season. There to watch as Sprowston put in a dominant performance to win the game 7-1 with both Amee Kennett and Leyer scoring a brace. Tavern were at home again taking on a fellow Division Two side, Bure Valley Wildcats Ladies, leading 2-0 at half-time Tavern added a further two goals 2nd half to reach the quarter finals.

  Sprowston at home to Division Two title chasers Fakenham Town Ladies, another dominant performance saw them leading 4-0 at half-time, Leyer scoring 5 goals in the match helping them on to a 10-0 victory. Tavern were at home for a 3rd time taking on Hockering Ladies the Division Two side reinstated to the competition after holders Bungay Town Ladies were removed from the competition having infringed the rules. Hockering struggling for numbers all season suffering a big loss with both Griffith and Hart-Copsey scoring 4 goals each on their way to a 12-0 win.

  Into the semi-finals Tavern looking the underdogs in a strong line-up. Sprowston young guns away to the even younger Taverham Women United. 3-1 to the good against the Division Two leaders at half-time, a hat-trick for Abby Hutchin along with another 4 goals for Leyer seeing Sprowston into a 2nd successive final winning the game 8-1. Tavern were at home again taking on Division One leaders Thorpe United Ladies a battling performance seeing the sides all square at 1-1 at half-time Tavern scoring late on in the 2nd half to win the game 2-1 and reach their first ever final.

 We’re still at Plantation Park so nothing has changed from the first game, the rain hasn’t come which is fantastic remaining chilly in the shade the pitch hard dust coming off the surface as the ball is struck. Tavern in particular bringing good support, their the more vocal at least.

Sprowston Ladies starting XI – Megan Lightfoot, Evie Tolson, Georgina Belton, Calista Tink (C), Hannah Roe, Ria Drake, Abbi Nobbs, Abby Hutchin, Millie rake, Amee Kennett & Victoria Leyer. Subs – Jade Mundford, Rebecca Basten & Chelsea Brister.

Tavern Ladies starting XI – Zoe Gibbons, Emily Fusco, Danni Lee, Roxy Bailey, Lydia Hooper, Millie Bell (C), Nicole Costin, Meganne Smith, Lucy Kean, Atlanta Griffith & Katie Hart-Copsey. Subs – Natalie Merry, Jordie Head & Gemma Higgot.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Sprowston to get the League Cup final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing orange coloured shirts with black across the top and shoulders, black shorts and orange socks. Tavern lined up opposite with an all blue kit with white trim. Sprowston look to play the ball out to the right, Nicole Costin straight in to win the ball for Tavern cutting the ball out playing it on to Hart-Copsey in attack, Sprowston captain Calista Tink marking her winning the ball.

Victoria Leyer on the attack for Sprowston Ladies

   Atlanta Griffith bringing the ball on through the middle for Tavern looks to send it on for Hart-Copsey pulling away to the left, Georgina Belton across to intercept for Sprowston. Costin with a strike from distance the ball bouncing up off the hard surface, grabbed by Sprowston goalkeeper, Megan Lightfoot. A higher tempo to the game straight away from this mornings match, Tavern taking the game to Sprowston, Griffith with some forceful runs early on has support from Lucy Kean to her right playing the ball to her the cross into the box is long. 

  Abby Hutchin with a strong run with the ball bringing it on covering alot of ground the ball put on into the area for Leyer stopped form shooting by Tavern’s Roxy Bailey pushing her wide Leyer managing to squeeze a cross into the six yard box the ball headed clear. Sprowston win a corner on the right Tink up from the back meeting it near post turned goalwards Tavern with bodies in front of goal scrambling it clear. Hart-Copsey moving left to get onto the ball plays it in field to Griffith 25 yards out she has a shot the ball in comfortable for Lightfoot. 

Atlanta Griffith carrying the ball forwards for Tavern Ladies

 Tink lunging into the tackle blocks Griffith as she gets in to shoot right outside the box. Both sides closing down and press the attack one the ball is won. Nobbs tackling playing the ball up to Leyer in attack, Lydia Hooper putting a foot in to take the ball away from her. Leyer prepared to take players on gets the ball from Amee Kennett on the left bringing it in field lets fly from 20 yards out her effort racing wide across the Tavern goal.

Sprowston Ladies captain, Calista Tink

  Leyer holding the ball up 25 yards out sends it on up the line left for Kennett, Emily Fusco preventing the cross for Tavern. Griffith on the ball attacking right for Tavern 20 yards out squares the cross inside to Hart-Copsey struck first time the shot lacking pace gathered by Lightfoot. The Tavern strikers combining again, Griffith on the right bringing the ball on inside to Hart-Copsey once more shoots from the angle, Lightfoot down at her near post to save. 

Tavern Ladies captain, Millie Bell

  Leyer racing into space on the right channel in behind into the box goalkeeper Zoe Gibbons out to close her down, the Sprowston attacker getting her shot away Gibbons with minimal contact on the ball slowing it down enough as it runs on towards goal to allow Hooper running back to clear the ball off the line. Tavern under pressure Sprowston get bodies forwards on the right winning a corner the ball put in near post headed on by Tink met by Kennett at the back post she smashes a shot in high Gibbons saving tipping the ball over.

  GOAL! From the resulting corner the lead is gained, Tink the target once again the ball sent in towards the near post the defender glancing it on into the middle dropping into a crowded six yard box the ball is driven in towards goal hitting the hoardings behind the net bounces back out, Sprowston after a brief moment of hestitation celebrating the goal, Georgina Belton with the telling touch. 1-0. 20 minutes played.

Sprowston Ladies, Georgina Belton

A change for Sprowston Millie Drake coming off on comes Chelsea Brister. Griffith continues to make threatening runs through the middle played on by captain Millie Bell strikes from 25 yards out a swerving shot caught well by Lightfoot. Belton pushing on up the right for Sprowston the ball crossed into the area Leyer making a near post run, Hooper winning it for Tavern. A nasty looking fall for Kean in the middle as she goes down under challenge landing heavily on her back jars her neck play immediately stopped the trainer rushing on. A pause whilst she is assessed up gingerly looked painful sensibly is brought off for further assessment, Jordie Head the player coming on.

 Hooper and Bailey combine to dispossess Leyer as she tries to force her way through the middle into the box the ball cleared to the right Sprowston keep it alive Kennett to cross in Leyer hooking a shot over from 8 yards out. Rebecca Basten on for Sprowston for Ria Drake. Leyer given time and space 20 yards out to tee up a strike central the ball racing in low pushed away by Gibbons diving to her right. Nobbs onto Hutchin the ball put over the top for Leyer to burst in behind Bailey recovering well to get back across her so shield the ball into her keeper. Tavern doing well competitive, Griffith forwards shooting from distance safely held by Lightfoot, Tavern having nothing inside Sprowston’s box yet with Tink marking Hart-Copsey well.

Tavern Ladies, Lydia Hooper

 Belton brought down by Bell getting on cutting inside from the right a free-kick 25 yards out, Hannah Roe forwards to take, an ambitious effort trying to get the ball to loop in over the keeper near post the ball instead dropping wide. Brister winning a corner right for Sprowston met again by Tink coming near post the attempt turned wide. Costin tracks Hutchin as she tries to get away on the right tackling to regain the ball.

Nicole Costin

 Hutchin upended by Smith central late in the first half a change before it’s taken Smith coming off Kean back on. Mayhem in the box from the free kick put up towards the top of the box Tink heading it down into the middle Leyer latching onto it inside the six yard box left of goal, Gibbons down at her feet the ball almost squeezing through Gibbons plucking it off the line, cleared straight to Brister positioned at the opposite post shoots Gibbons still grounded with a fantastic save throwing herself towards the ball getting a arm up to parry it away, the defence scrambling the ball clear. 

Sprowston’s Chelsea Brister with Tavern’s Danni Lee

 Danni Lee cutting out a ball played inside for the right to prevent Leyer getting into the box. Nobbs winning the ball in the middle on for Leyer 30 yards out has a go the shot held by Gibbons.

Half-time Sprowston Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies

  A narrow lead for Sprowston at half-time 1-0 up, could and probably should have had more but for heroic goalkeeping from Gibbons looking solid through the middle Tink, Nobbs, Hutchin and Leyer in attack all doing well. Tavern playing their part however competitive battling for the ball getting forwards whenever they have the ball Griffith with some great runs shots from outside the box not troubling Lightfoot so far. Tavern to get the 2nd half underway the ball put to the right, Tolson closing Fusco down the ball pressed early the ball ending up behind for a goalkick Tavern break as the ball is played long up top for Hart-Copsey to chase, Roe in to tackle the ball wide for a throw in.

Abby Hutchin with Tavern’s Lucy Kean

  Griffith up on the right does well to win Tavern a corner the ball delivered from the right by Hart-Copsey won by Tink for Sprowston inside the box. Getting forwards Hutchin on the ball right plays it inside to Leyer top of the area hooks her first time strike wide of the near post. Kennett bringing the ball forwards left with the diagonal ball central for Leyer 25 yards out, pushed wide by Bailey nevertheless gets a cross away into the box with Tolson after it Gibbons rushing forwards their first to kick clear. 

Leyer lively in attack keeping the Tavern defence on their toes Nobbs putting the ball on into her run, Hooper defending concedes the corner. Players up for the corner ball angled towards the top of the area a shot driven in blocked by Costin comes back out meet by a Sprowston attack the ball sent over the bar. Leyer pressing the defence the ball outside the box running int Tolson central pokes a shot wide of the left post. 

Tavern’s Nicole Costin with Sprowston’s Abby Hutchin

  A free-kick to Tavern on the left into Griffith central has support from Kean getting forwards on her left sending her the pass Kean checks back inside getting a shot away from outside the box. Lightfoot behind it saving comfortably. Sprowston with a corner left taken short the cross put in from the top of the area Tink with the near post run, Hooper going with her blocking her shot. Bell brought down central a free-kick to Tavern, Costin to send it up into the area, Tink winning the header. Sprowston pushing for a 2nd goal Leyer in particular as she drives into the area from the left, checks her run to try and find a half yard to unleash a shot, Bailey putting her body on the line to block. 

  The referee playing the advantage as Kean coming on is fouled by Tink, the ball rebounding in behind Hart-Copsey after it left shooting from the edge of the box a deflection seeing the ball put wide for a corner kick. Sprowston winning the header at the near post the ball sent over the bar. Tavern working hard in defence to keep the scoreline down whilst Costin and Kean try to get on to support Griffith and Hart-Copsey in attack. Belton is down having taken a knock to the ankle cannot continue helped off the field on comes Jade Mundford. 

Tavern’s Katie Hart-Copsey with Sprowston’s Rebecca Basten

  Head on the right for Tavern getting forwards with support from Fusco wins a throw high up the pitch, Griffith then getting Tavern a corner kick. Hart-Copsey making a near post run meeting the ball to hook it towards goal, Lightfoot back on her line claiming the high ball. Hutchin picking up the ball deep allowed to drive on through the middle almost squeezes through in on goal, Bailey in to tackle sends the ball behind. Natalie Merry coming on for Tavern replacing Bell. The game entering the final 15 minutes still just the one goal in it. 

  Costin winning the ball on the right plays it central on for Griffith, Basten closing her down winning the tackle for Sprowston. Millie Drake back on for Sprowston replacing Roe. Costin bringing the ball on right Fusco past her on the overlap receiving the ball crosses into the box, Basten beating Hart-Copsey to the ball. Kean pushing forwards with the ball getting into the box, closed down plays the ball back to Griffith top of the box she strikes a shot up over the bar. 

Sprowston Ladies, Abbi Nobbs

  Leyer carrying the ball on right coming inside, Merry sliding in to tackle and win the ball for Tavern look to get the ball up field, Nobbs cutting it out. Fusco’s momentum coming forwards sees her collide with Kennett on halfway a free-kick for Sprowston left Nobbs putting the ball on Tolson breaking clear into the box left Gibbons coming out to close her down, the shot past her defenders racing back Hooper with the clearance. A corner on the left Tavern defend the ball played forwards a late change for Tavern with Gemma Higgott on for Lee little time to make an impact as Sprowston prevent Tavern getting out of their half to see the final whistle blow and celebrate winning this season’s League Cup. 

Full time Sprowston Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies

  An entertaining final played at a good tempo both sides committed, Tavern contesting the ball trying to find a reply in the 2nd period having gone a goal down in the first half. Sprowston limiting their opportunities, not able to find a 2nd goal themselves 2nd half half and make the result more comfortable. Sprowston having the better of the chances, Leyer in particular a threat in attack. Tavern with a creditable performance edged out by a single goal.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   A second Women’s Football East – Player of the Match to give this afternoon, several notable performances from both sides. Atlanta Griffith with some great runs with the ball a threat for Tavern, Nicole Costin with some fine tackles in midfield too. For Sprowston Calista Tink strong in defence keeping a close watch on Hart-Copsey especially first half a threat up the other end in the box too. Victoria Leyer pushing forwards in attack always willing to take players on. Abby Hutchin with several storming runs on the ball. The award however goes to Abbi Nobbs the unsung heroine of the side solid in the middle winning the ball and happy for others to take it on in attack, ready whenever possession breaks down.

Congratulations to Sprowston Ladies on winning this season’s Norfolk Ladies League Cup

Sprowston Ladies, 2018/19 Norfolk Ladies League Cup winners

 Another enjoyable day watching the Norfolk Ladies League Plate and Cup Finals, my thanks to everyone for there help this afternoon, the clubs and committee members much appreciated.

Match Report – Fakenham Town Ladies v Tavern Ladies

Sunday 9th September

Norfolk Women’s Division Two

 On the same day as the new fully professional FA Women’s Super League begins so to does the county league season get into full swing across the country. Beginning the season in Norfolk a game from Division Two with Fakenham Town Ladies hosting Tavern Ladies.

  Two divisions in Norfolk once again this season, that decided late on however with a host of new sides wishing to join the league, teams thus didn’t know where they would be placed, as it was a few never got going and a possible North/South split to a Division One never happened, 8 sides will contest the top division with 12 sides making up the 2018/19 roster in Division Two including 5 new sides. 3 stepping up from youth football. 

   Fakenham Town Ladies drop down to Division Two, not necessarily a bad thing after struggling for results for the previous two seasons, an opportunity to rebuild, strengthen and regain morale. Starting the season with a smaller squad than they would have liked but one that is very much an integral part of the larger Fakenham Town football club. Very much a community club have teams playing at youth level from U6 to U17, an U18 means sides, Reserves, Ladies, Veterans and of course the 1st team playing in the Thurlow Nunn League. 

  Tavern Ladies, are a Dereham based side have been together for the past 2 season’s having previously been Dereham Ladies. Sponsored by The Railway Tavern in Dereham a pub I myself have frequented a few times in my younger days being a Dereham boy myself. Results improving with the name Tavern finished runners-up two seasons back and 3rd last season, will be amongst the sides threatening at the top once again in what is a much larger Division Two.

   Clipbush Park the venue for today’s game plenty of activity at the ground already with several youth sides having been in action over on the pitch behind the ground itself. The Ladies game advertised on the entrance to the ground situated in a busy roundabout leading into Fakenham itself. Playing on the main pitch fitness will be a key factor as it is one of the largest and widest in the league. Looking good at the start of the season a small seated stand along the far side of the pitch people more likely to converge on the clubhouse beside the pitch on the near side leading into the ground offering hot drinks and a bar. Cloudy overheard with a cool and brisk breeze blowing across the ground from one goalmouth to the other. Nothing over concerning but it would play a factor in the game especially first half.

 Fakenham Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Easter, Ellie Websdale, Jemma Riches, Maddie Smith, Laura Merin, Sian Sands (C), Tara Betts, Fanny Dankskanen, Kayleigh Robb, Jemma Riches, Jennifer Codman & Sam King. Subs – Anna Palomino & Sophie Anderson. 

 Tavern Ladies starting XI – Zoe Gibbons, Roxanne Bailey, Rachel Casey, Charlotte Allum, Sophie Fuller (C), Emily Bell, Jordie Head, Lanta Griffiths, Lucy Lincoln, Lucy Kean & Katie Hart-Copsey. Subs – Dani Lee, Meganne Carmicheal & Lesha Bagura.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s Fakenham wearing yellow shirts with black across the left shoulder, black shorts and socks to get the game underway with Tavern lined up opposite in an all blue kit. Tavern press the ball early keep Fakenham pinned back inside their own half winning a series of throw-ins on the left wing without finding the final ball into the box, Fakenham regain possession the ball put long up the right wing Sam King peeling away into space takes the ball on to the corner before whipping in a cross into the area the ball headed clear by Tavern’s Charlotte Allum. 

   King pressing with the ball on the right again closing in on the box looks to drop her shoulder push the ball inside cut out by Lucy Lincoln the corner conceded. The ball angled in towards the near post from the right by Sian Sands, Fakenham’s captain, is headed behind for a 2nd corner kick, this one put in longer Zoe Gibbons playing in goal for Tavern comes well through bodies to punch the ball away. Tavern look to break, Tara Betts nips in to win the ball back for Fakenham on the left side before being upended the foul given by referee Andy Waite. Betts to take it herself 25 yards from goal hit along the ground races wide and out of play at the near post. 

Tavern Ladies, Rachel Casey

  Fakenham are testing the Tavern defence, King with good movement up front making herself available for the ball. Jordie Head intercepting a forward pass turns and puts the ball out to the right for Lanta Griffiths to chase, the Fakenham defence converging on the attacker outnumbered the ball is lost the home side bring it forwards, Sands, King and Ellie Websdale building an attack in front of the Tavern area, Sands set up for a shot left of the D is closed down by Roxanne Bailey. 

Tavern Ladies Lanta Griffiths

  Tavern look a threat on the break Griffiths with good pace right bringing the ball inside has Katie Hart-Copsey free on the left gives her the ball, taking it on early Hart-Copsey sends the diagonal ball looping up towards the far post the ball running wide of goal. Tavern regain the ball in the middle of the park Emily Bell on for Griffiths, has Lucy Kean with her making a run central the ball into her rolled wide left for Hart-Copsey closer in this time she hooks the ball in towards goal on the angle, on target is safely caught by Fakenham goalkeeper Chloe Easter back on her line. 

Tavern Ladies, Charlotte Allum tackling Fakenham’s Sam King

   The early stages of the game fairly even, Tavern getting more players into advanced roles when they are attacking. Laura Merin making a couple of vital interceptions at centre back for the hosts, with Hart-Copsey wanting the ball played into her. Up the other end King is the threat for Fakenham looking for space, hustling the Tavern defence shows good strength to win a bouncing ball laid forwards, getting a shot away from 25 yards out, hitting it as it skips up off the surface the strike sails over the bar.

   Tavern captain, Sophie Fuller getting control of the ball in the middle combines well with Hart-Copsey to the left as they bring the ball into the Fakenham half Hart-Copsey with a good ball inside to Griffiths making a run right side her 1st time strike is blocked by Merin. The wind is blowing fairly briskly across the ground is holding the ball up a little favouring Fakenham, Sands coming forwards with Jennifer Codman in close support through the middle the pass forwards dropping into the path of King breaking towards the edge of the area Gibbons comes out quickly sliding in to smother the ball at the attackers feet.

Fakenham Town Ladies, Jemma Riches

  Tavern counter attack with urgency the ball carried out of defence the pass put long into the path of Griffiths cutting inside from the right, controls the ball well before digging a shot out of feet before she is charged down, her 30 yard effort a foot over the Fakenham crossbar. Tavern are awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area after Merin handles the ball trying to bring in clear for Fakenham. 20 yards out left of the D, Fuller takes position over the ball puts a good ball in towards the far post area the ball standing up in the breeze is headed goalwards by Griffiths blocked at close range the ball drops to the floor inside the six yard box Rachel Casey with a snap shot again blocked.

  Tavern are enjoying a good spell of possession inside the Fakenham half Hart-Copsey winning a corner, delivered into the near post the ball is headed up onto the roof of the net a 2nd corner kick given, a longer effort this time, Maddie Smith getting it away for Fakenham. Tavern are ready to spring an attack whenever they regain the ball in the middle, Fuller has a good range of passing ability, plays the ball on for Kean central she tries to release Hart-Copsey early on the left side, Merin covering the ground well to get across and put in the tackle.

   Websdale committing a foul wide left another chance for Tavern to play the ball into their area from a set-piece Fuller sending the ball high into the box, Merin gets her head on it to clear for Fakenham. Fakenham make a switch midway through the 1st half Smith coming off, replaced by Anna Palomino. Merin is busy in defence for Fakenham closing down to regain possession.

The goalkeepers for both sides have had relatively little to do so far in the match, Easter called into action pulls off a superb double save to deny Tavern the opening goal of the game. Tavern build well players coming forwards through the middle with Hart-Copsey on the ball down the left squares the ball inside towards Kean 25 yards out from goal she helps it on to Fuller coming in central she sets herself for the shot making good contact the ball racing in towards goal, Easter is right behind it but needs to get down sharply to block, stopping Fuller’s strike the ball is loose and Kean racing in on the follow-up is first to it tries to open her body up to place the ball wide of the keeper, but can’t Easter with the double block.

  Smith returns to the field for Fakenham with Betts coming off. Fakenham push forwards Riches with Sands right side the ball into the area headed away for a throw on the right. Bailey defends well for Tavern up against King as she looks to power her way into the area. Tavern get Fuller onto the ball she spins putting the ball out to Hart-Copsey, her early cross laid in towards the top of the Fakenham area cut out by Merin. 

  GOAL! 35 minutes played and the deadlock is broken Fakenham taking the lead the goal coming from a set-piece given away as Kayleigh Robb is brought down as she carries the ball forwards on the left. Smith to take, 30 yards out to the left of the Tavern goal she strikes it well sending the ball high into the area a little wind assist no doubt helping as the ball drops over the keeper to land inside the side netting 1-0.

 

The ball drops into the back of the net from Maddie Smith’s free-kick to give Fakenham the lead

Maddie Smith scorer of the first goal of the season for Fakenham Town Ladies

  Fakenham regain possession from the restart the ball played up the line right side by Websdale on for King who carries the ball on to the byline before cutting a cross back into the Tavern area running long for Robb coming in from the left she doesn’t get the ball under control to strike it 1st time allows the Tavern defence to get away for a throw on the left Fakenham press late on the ball put into towards the near post with King lurking, a touch taking it wide of goal the corner given again swung in near post Gibbons takes command of the situation coming to claim the ball.

   Easter with another important save right at the end of the first half comes out bravely to the edge of her box to slide in and claim the ball at Kean’s feet as she looks to get onto Hart-Copsey’s cross put in from the left.

Half-time Fakenham Town Ladies 1-0 Tavern Ladies

  An intriguing first half which sees Fakenham take a narrow lead into the dressing room. Could very easily have been the other way around. Clear cut chances at a premium, defences working hard. King causing all sorts of problems for the Tavern back line not playing off any single defender. Tavern attacking with purpose and pace whenever they can. Easter denying them the lead themselves all poised for the 2nd period.

   Tavern to get the ball rolling for the 2nd half.  The sun has broken up the clouds warmer now and with it the breeze that was prevalent first half has disappeared. It’s Gibbons called into action with a spectacular save in the opening minutes as her side lose the ball is fed into King breaking clear left of the box she aims to shot across the Tavern keeper, Gibbons throwing herself down to the left to push the ball away from goal.

   Hart-Copsey operating on the right wing for Tavern now likes to get the ball at her feet and take on players a strong run on the wing she vents her frustration as her final ball from the corner of the area is sliced behind the goal. A busy start to the 2nd half Easter has to come and claim the ball low as it is pinged forwards for Kean to chase, never really gets control of the bouncing ball which enables the keeper to save.

Tavern’s Katie Hart-Copsey keeping an eye on the ball with Fakenham’s Anna Palomino

   Tavern build through the middle Bell onto Griffiths her past long finds Hart-Copsey wide right a terrific cross fired in across the face of the Fakenham goal, excellent defending from Merin at the far post to get the ball away from danger. 

  GOAL! End to end action at the start of the 2nd half Tavern are hit on the counter attack as Fakenham double their lead the ball deflected forwards in the middle sees Codman running free in behind the visitors defence, seeing it down over her shoulder, 25 yards from goal the advancing goalkeeper in her sights she sends the lob over her and runs away in celebration as the ball bounces into the back of the net 2-0. 53 minutes played.

Jennifer Codman

  Fakenham have their tails up bringing the ball forwards King is played in left of the D she moves across looking for an opening to shoot, taking to long Allum steps in to make the tackle out to Lincoln who sends the ball on for Fuller, Danskanen in to win the ball back for Fakenham. Lesha Bagura enters the game for Tavern moving into a forward position Head coming off. Gibbons catching the ball as Websdale shoots from all of 30 yards out the ball played into her by Riches. 

  GOAL! Fakenham capitalise to get themselves a bigger lead another goal coming about from a counter attack, Tavern having won a corner Fakenham win the ball come forwards with Dankskanen she times her through ball from the right side perfectly for King in the centre running clear Gibbons comes racing out to the edge of her area sliding in as King pulls the trigger the ball past her as striker and goalkeeper collide, racing back the Tavern defence can’t reach the rolling ball in time as it crosses the line 3-0.

  A delay in play as Gibbons is hurt are the coming together accidental but painful the goalkeeper sadly can’t continue has a nasty black eye for her efforts, walking off the pitch however, Head is the player volunteering to done the goalkeepers gloves for the remainder of the game. Sands comes across to make the tackle on Griffiths as Hart-Copsey attempts to slide a pass into her from the right as she makes a central run. 

  Tavern get the ball forwards on the right Hart-Copsey linking up with Bagura wins a corner on the right played long into the area Lincoln up from the back the target, Smith getting close and heading the ball away for Fakenham. Sophie Anderson is on for Websdale for Fakenham the ball with her on the right moving deep she wins a throw-in. Play stretched now Tavern losing their shape a little Fakenham full of confidence press forwards. Dankskanen winning the ball right slid forwards for King her snapshot from 25 yards out charged down by Lincoln.  King nips in ahead of the Tavern defence stabbing a shot over the bar as she is alert to Robb’s ball in from the right as she brings it forwards down the left.  

  GOAL! Fakenham go further in front as King nips in to score her 2nd of the game, the build up on the right, Dankskanen isn’t closed down as she picks her past slipping the ball in behind the Tavern back line as King supplies the run coming towards her spins into the path of the ball and right of the target sends her shot across goal into the far corner 2-0. 

Fakenham Town Ladies, Sam King

   Tavern frustrated nevertheless press on Hart-Copsey with a good run on the right wins her side a corner in towards the near post, Fakenham have it covered concede a 2nd corner this one goes longer, Smith clearing back to the corner taker, Hart-Copsey lines up a ball into the box, it’s Merin who clears with the header for the home side this time. 

  King with a chance for an opening day hat-trick almost a carbon copy of the previous goal Dankskanen playing her in on the right inside the box she takes on the shot drags this one wide across the face of goal. Tavern win themselves a corner on the right the ball played back out to Hart-Copsey sends a driven cross back into the congested area cleared falls straight to Bell 20 yards out right of the D doesn’t get a clean connect sends her attempt wide of the target.

   A snap shot struck on the half-volley by Kean from the edge of the Fakenham box as the visitors push forwards on the left the diagonal ball is fired in low towards the area Palomino first to it sends her clearance straight at the on rushing Tavern attacker a good improvised effort loops over the crossbar. The game open now Fakenham break Robb putting a pass out to King drifting free on the right, swings a cross into the area, Anderson near post, Sands central the ball falls between them Allum able to get her head on it to clear for Tavern. 

  Codman picks up a knock for Fakenham comes off the field with Websdale heading back on. Fuller with a quality strike from the top left corner off the area comes within a lick of paint of pulling a goal back for Tavern the ball cut back across the area towards her from the byline her strike racing across the diving Easter comes back off the base of the far post. Fakenham with a free-kick wide left players go forwards into the area Sands over the ball the delivery long towards the far post a header comes in the ball though driven behind off target. 

Tavern Ladies, Sophie Fuller

Robb with a powerful run on the ball down the left, can’t shake off Bailey as she tries to get inside her the defender lunging in to win the ball. Betts comes back on to replace Robb the game entering the final minutes. Fuller with a terrific ball forwards for Hart-Copsey on the right wing clear she sweeps in a cross looking for Kean closing in far post, Merin up against her with another top draw defensive tackle to prevent a shot coming in. 

Even as I’m writing that attacking move down Fakenham are on the counter attack the ball out right fired in across the face of the Tavern goal Anderson closing in on the far post 2 yards out is tackled Bailey I think the ball behind for a corner. Tavern defend the set-piece. All Fakenham in the closing moments Bailey with a last ditch tackle inside the box denies Anderson a shot on goal as she makes a run to the right. The corner conceded playing in from the right isn’t cleared inside the area Fakenham can’t get a shot away Tavern scramble the ball away.

Full time Fakenham Town Ladies 4-0 Tavern Ladies

 The final whistle blows and Fakenham Town Ladies celebrate with an opening day victory. 4-0 the final score finishing the game stronger capitalising with an early goal 2nd half to double their lead quickly became 3-0 and from their looked to have the 3 points in the bag. Tavern had their chances however and the first half might well have been the side leading themselves. Fakenham were the stronger side in the 2nd period took their goals well. Tavern had chances and on another day they would have capitalised themselves, a disappointing defeat nonetheless to begin their season need to and can bounce back, certainly have the ability. After a couple of difficult season’s this is a very welcome result for Fakenham and one that will do wonders for team spirit.  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Time to pick this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Sometimes they are difficult sometimes they are easy, today’s is the latter. The notes will usually reveal a contender or two but sometimes a stand out performer will present themselves long before that and right from her first interception Fakenham Town Ladies centreback Laura Merin put herself forwards. On numerous occasions she was the defender making that interception, winning the header or last ditch tackle.

  A good contest to begin the county league season, another example of why I’ve fallen in love with the grassroots game, just makes choosing which one to go to next all the harder. My thanks as always to both sides for their help with the team details.