Sunday 10th November
Norfolk Women’s Division One
A top of the table clash from Norfolk Women’s Division One this Sunday on Women’s Football East, two sides defending a 100% winning start meeting for the 1st time this season as defending champions, Thorpe United Ladies host Bungay Town Ladies.
Bungay themselves Division One champions the season before, leading the way with 6 wins from 6 so far, Thorpe keeping pace in the defence of their title with 5 wins from 5. Aren’t the only side with a 100% winning start with newly promoted Tavern Ladies in the mix too.
Division One expanded in size this season up to 11 sides following an influx of new sides and a new to even up the two divisions. A strong start with 3 sides all with 100% records, Sprowston Ladies with 12 points from their opening 6 games well placed to capitalise should anyone slip up. One of those 100% records will fall this afternoon.
Thorpe United Ladies finding their form once again last season a force in women’s football since entering the league a strong youth set up seeing a new crop of young players join the squad last season. The squad bolstered going on to win the league title along with reaching the semi-finals of both the County and League Cup. More young players coming in this season, new signing too, Megan and Melissa Belsey from Sprowston Athletic joining the club along with Alice Ladbrooke returning from Wymondham Town Ladies. A new Reserves side formed this season to add to playing opportunities within the club has made a good start to life in Division Two amongst the front runners early on.
A League and Cup double for Bungay Town Ladies the season before last, like Thorpe an established side within the league. A transitional season last time around, losing players took a while to get going bringing new faces in young talent results improving as the season wore on. More new face coming in during the close season experience at a higher level, a fantastic pre-season, winning all their games the momentum carried on into the season itself. 6 wins out 6 to top the league early on, know it will be a competitive campaign with Thorpe and Tavern Ladies matching them so far. Saw Bungay earlier in the season in the Women’s FA Cup in a 15-0 demolition of Riverside Ladies, am not expecting anything like that this afternoon.
The Thorpe Recreation Ground the venue for today’s game, home of Thorpe United Girls & Ladies. A large playing field boasting a number of full-size pitches, a couple of youth matches taking place too on an adjoining pitch. The new clubhouse with a bar and kitchen serving hot and cold drinks. The pitch well used a good size, had hoped to get away with no rain this afternoon but as the teams warmed up it started to fall, light but persistent rain would disappear around 20 minutes into the game itself, thankfully no wind so juggling an umbrella, camera and notepad not as difficult as it could have been.
The players gathering around the centre circle before kick-off, today Remembrance Sunday a minutes silence observed for those who have fought and fallen in armed conflict around the world. Lest We Forget.
Thorpe United Ladies starting XI – Cara Anderson, Morgan Devine, Tash Levesley, Megan Belsey, Holly Peck, Laura Hedtke, Alice Ladbrooke, Melissa Belsey, Ellie Hunter, Sophie Jermy & Rebekah Lake (C). Subs – Molly Howes, Bryony Knights & Millie Cursons.
Bungay Town Ladies starting XI – Joanne Pipe, Kelly Collins (C), Hannah Jones, Charlotte Power, Lyndsey Adams, Charnelle Riggall, Selina Rowland, Nicola Hazell, Grace Storey, Samantha Penman & Leanne Smith. Subs – Porsha Renwick, Shannon Dade & Erin Galer.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Bungay to get today’s top of the table clash underway wearing their new kit, blue coloured shirts with a light green sash across the front, blue shirts and socks with green and white trim. Thorpe in their traditional pink coloured shirts, black shorts and socks. The ball played back towards the defence, midfielder Selina Rowland picking it up carrying the ball forwards over halfway sending it up the line for Samantha Penman to chase, Tash Levesley going with her for Thorpe the full back defending the ball put out for a throw.
Thorpe captain, Rebekah Lake a constant goal threat has 12 goals already this season from 5 appearances, the ball played through the middle as she peels off the shoulder of the last defender, Hannah Jones doing well to get back against her shoulder to shoulder into the box right of goal, Bungay goalkeeper Joanne Pipe coming to close the gap sliding in both collide the ball spinning out to the left into the path of Thorpe’s Ellie Hunter she brings the ball under control before striking towards goal, Kelly Collins captaining Bungay round on the cover to intercept the ball and clear.
Bungay get up the other end the ball into the area, no shot on as Holly Pack wins it for Thorpe played out to the left wing Thorpe launch a rapid counter Hunter keeping the ball in play sending it on for Lake who has broken into space on the left plays it inside for the advancing Laura Hedtke through the middle, lines up a 25 yards strike, low in towards goal not troubling Pipe back on her goal line. Thorpe lively at the start of the match getting players forwards quickly when they have possession using the width of the pitch the ball on the right crossed in dangerously towards the near post, Pipe throwing herself up to keep the ball from creeping in pushing it behind for a corner.
The high ball in from the right defended by Rowland, Bungay can’t get an attack going, Thorpe winning the ball back high up the pitch, keep the pressure on out to Melissa Belsey on the right wing another vicious cross whipped in near post, Pipe doing well to get herself in front of Sophie Jermy running in that side to punch the ball to safety. Bungay not settling well passes rushed no one taking time on the ball, Thorpe able to turn it around, competitive in the middle of the park, Alice Ladbrooke backed up by Hedtke not giving much away. Hunter on the left playing a one two with Jermy as she gets on down the wing, receiving the ball coming inside 20 yards out looking to go across the top of the box, dips her shoulder taking the ball inside to shot the ball narrowly wide of the left post.
Jermy moving left with Hunter combining again,supported by full back Levesley the ball played back to her 35 yard out goes for goal, the ball on target dipping in front of Pipe, traps it well with her legs to bring it under control and claim on the bounce. Light raining falling up until now making it slick on top has finally stopped. Ladbrooke sliding in to regain possession inside the Bungay half setting up an attack out to Hunter taking it on down the left a cross fizzed in along the top of the area, Charlotte Power getting hold of it for Bungay.
The visitors have got little going in the way of attack so far in the match, kept on the back foot by Thorpe’s bright start, Rowland bringing the ball on a good threaded pass to find Grace Storey free on the right lifts it on into the box for Penman, Megan Belsey across putting in the challenge defending well for Thorpe the ball out for a throw. The ball continues to ping around, no one wants a 2nd touch it seems a little rushed at time passes not finding their mark. Melissa Belsey able to travel with it wide right inside for Jermy breaking forwards shoots early doesn’t get a clean strike the ball across the face of goal wide collected easily by Pipe.
Thorpe have the Bungay defence pushed back, the midfield needing to back up making it difficult when they regain the ball to get anyone up to support Leanne Smith and Penman in attack. The attackers combine as Smith takes the ball on with a marauding run on the left cutting the cross back inside to Penman inside the area her 1st touch seeing her beat her marker knock the ball on towards goal, but as the turns to give chase too much to do as goalkeeper Cara Anderson comes to gather for Thorpe.
From a Bungay attacking opportunity off a throw on the left Thorpe win the ball and launch a fast counter attack, Jermy bringing the ball out playing it long for Lake always looking for an opening up top in space, bringing the ball inside closed down in front of the area, opts to cross instead of shot picking out Melissa Belsey far side on the right off the area, her 1st time effort blazed over. Thorpe coming on strong Hunter inside to Ladbrooke the ball knocked on through the middle into the box, Jermy looking to get onto the end of it, Bungay defending desperately, Lake getting a shot away from six yards out, Pipe down to make the save.
Thorpe are using the width of the pitch well Hunter and Melissa Belsey staying close to the touchline the ball worked from left to right well, Jermy central finding pockets of space. with Lake always ready to burst forwards with the ball or to receive it, Lindsey Adams out to intercept on two occasions in quick succession for Bungay. Hunter from the left byline sending in a cross Lake running in far post unable to reach it, Pipe with an outstretched arm plucking the ball down a vital save with Jermy rushing in behind.
Adams once again across to head the ball clear from the box a Lake drives on down the right flank before attempting the cross. Hedtke up for a throw on the left high up the pitch for Thorpe swinging a dangerous ball low into the box, Power sticking a leg out to deflect it out of Lake’s path central before being cleared. Hunter put in clear on the left from a long ball out of defence races on before crossing a dipping ball into the six yard box, Adams cutting it out and launching clear for Bungay.
Bungay make a change a frustrating afternoon so far for Smith she is replaced by Porsha Renwick. Pipe sharp off her line out to win the race to claim the ball as Lake is put in behind from a lofted pass from Ladbrooke central. Bungay’s defence on the back foot, battling well Jones getting in front of Jermy to intercept a cross put in from the right. Thorpe make a change, Melissa Belsey coming off, on comes Millie Cursons, she goes out to the left side with Hunter coming right.
GOAL! 5 minutes left to play in the 1st half and all the pressure Thorpe have exerted brings them a goal. Lake hard to shake off the ball once she gets hold off it draws players towards her as Thorpe overload the right skipping inside into the area drives on towards the six yard box firing a cross in towards Cursons positioned central inside it, she shoots, close on Pipe manages to get something on the ball as she throws herself down by not enough to keep it out 1-0.
Ladbrooke fouled by Rowland top of the centre circle a free kick to the hosts players come forwards Hedtke to take lifted into the top of the area Riggall winning the header for Bungay, Rowland clears. Bungay make a 2nd change Erin Galer on for Storey on the right, Jones pushed forwards. Thorpe break Hunter right passing inside to Hedtke forwards into Lake she aims to thread it through into the box for the breaking Jermy, Pipe able to claim it.
Thorpe ending the half strong a corner won on the right played up the line short for crossed in near post, Ladbrooke jumping can’t get a touch Rowland back on the post defending to clear for Bungay. A free-kick wide on the right to Thorpe, Hedtke to play into the area cleared by Riggall, the visitors attempt to break, Thorpe in well to break in down as they have all half. Levesley left on for Cursons to cross it caught by Pipe.
Half-time Thorpe United Ladies 1-0 Bungay Town Ladies
A dominant 1st half display from Thorpe sees them leading at the break, just the 1 goal to show for all that dominance however, Pipe with some excellent stops to keep the score down, other chances not taken. Have hardly been troubled by Bungay in attack. Despite that Bungay battling have defended well often on the back foot struggling to get anything going forwards often starting from deep unable to get support up to their attackers. At 1-0 however they are far from out of the game and half-time a chance to regroup ad reorganise.
As well as serving the community as a sports ground, Thorpe Recreation Ground is a haven for dog walkers. Those attending the match and out for a stroll. The half-time entertainment provided by tiny jacket wearing Chihuahua with probably the squeakiest bark on the planet, not deterred by his size his little legs pumping after a much larger dog, his opponent unsure what to make of his cat sized attacker… it all ended peacefully.
The overcast skies seeing the light fading fast as the teams entered the pitch for the 2nd half. Smith back on for Bungay Penman off. Thorpe to get the 2nd half underway attacking left, Power conceding an early corner. Thorpe take it short up the line the cross in from deep almost finds its way through near post. Bungay look to bring it out, Hedtke central in to win it back for Thorpe lifts it up towards the top of the area for Lake, the bounce not favouring the Thorpe captain she plays it instead out to Cursons free left side, her shot put over the bar.
Thorpe beginning where they left off 1st half, Hunter attacking right putting it back central for Hedtke 20 yards out she plays it though to Lake left side of the area, Galer winning the challenge for Bungay a corner conceded. The ball cleared, comes straight back on Devine with a good ball forwards Lake with the opportunity won;t come down as she knocks it to the right, Pipe blocking as she slides in on the ball. Lake gathering the ball on the right played inside for Hedtke 25 yards out shoots over.
Hunter gets hold of the ball on the right drives on down the line for Thorpe, Collins though stays on her well keeping pace and preventing the cross coming in eventually winning a goalkick. Bungay getting frustrated are far from done battling to find an opening Hazell left side has Smith running into space ahead of her the pass picking her down Smith looks to get on, Megan Belsey coming across to tackle the ball taken off Smith, Peck backing up as Renwick looks to pounce take it on into the area. The game starting to open up a little Thorpe need that 2nd goal. The hosts make a change Bryony Knights coming on to replace Hunter.
Bungay starting to find a bit of rhythm Rowland and Riggall getting more joy through the middle. Rowland in to win it playing it up to Renwick, Peck preventing her turning in behind. Hazell left turns her marker well off a throw in plays it on to Rowland inside the box flashes a dangerous cross into the six yard box the ball cleared. Another throw won on the corner left side Smith gathering turning pushing on into the area, players closing her down it skips up for Renwick with her in the left to clip in towards goal with the outside of her boot, Anderson well placed to catch.
Bungay creating opportunities of their own taking more risks going forwards are further at risk of being hit on the break and Thorpe a quick to turn play around the ball long up to Lake already on the move left channel running with the ball into the area pulls the trigger, a brilliant save from Pipe throwing up a glove to tip the ball over the bar. The resulting corner in from the left knocked down inside the box a scuffed shot in on goal the ball trapped on the line and cleared.
Rowland looking to bring the ball forwards making a couple of strong runs without finding the final pass, the Thorpe defence under some pressure now Bungay fired up sensing they can get something from the game. Rowland on the left after the ball crossing from the byline, Smith sliding in near post, Anderson getting it away down to block. Thorpe bring off Devine to be replaced by Molly Howes with 25 minutes left to play. Smith sends a shot over from outside the ball as a ball is deflected into her path by Jones.
Smith off a quickly taken throw on the left puts it inside to Rowland top of the area, turns attempting to get inside to shoot, a lunging tackle from Ladbrooke denies her. Hazell out wide left takes on a shot from distance in on target Anderson back peddling getting her arms up to tip it away to the right. Bungay keep possession a low driven ball fired back in Anderson down to make another save the ball pushed away for the corner. In from the left inswinging Anderson in a crowded six yard box punching it away.
Despite their earlier dominance Thorpe defending a 1 goal lead aren’t comfortable battling themselves now to keep their advantage intact. Lake strong on the ball bringing it forwards left side travelling at pace, Adams defending well for Bungay. Bungay bring on Shannon Dade for Riggall in the middle. Power intercepting a Thorpe through ball, looks to get Hazell away on the left, Ladbrooke regaining possession for Thorpe. Players committed forwards Thorpe counter played up to Cursons central 30 yards out her first touch pass setting up the advancing Lake moving across her into the area right side to shoot across goal, Pipe with another fantastic saving diving to her left arm out to push the ball behind.
The game end to end now the clock running down Bungay can’t clear from the resulting corner Thorpe put it back in Knights near side can’t fashion a shot forced to put it back out to the left the cross long this time Jermy up at the far post her header put cross goal. Bungay get the ball on through the middle Rowland forcing her way in behind clear for a moment looks to have the beating on the advancing Anderson as both slide in Rowland knocking it past the keeper but the power lost on the ball it rolls on to be safely cleared by the recovering Thorpe defence.
Cursons into the Bungay box receiving a long diagonal ball from the left cuts across her shot firing the ball back across the keeper, Pipe with more acrobatics diving full stretch the push the ball behind her goal. A substitution for Thorpe before the corner is taken, Jermy off with Melissa Belsey back on. Lake remains a constant threat peeling away into the channels left this time racing on to shoot on the angle the ball held by Pipe low at her near post. Adams off late on for Bungay, Penman back into the action.
Into the closing minutes the light has almost gone very gloomy, Thorpe battling late on to hold onto their lead, keeping the ball well the youngsters encouraged to run it into the corner. A free-kick won slowing thing’s down Hedtke to play it into the box, headed up high by the Bungay defence play stopped a foul spotted. The ball played out the final whistle blows and Thorpe United Ladies end Bungay’s 100% winning start make it 6 wins out of 6 themselves.. ironically drop a place to 3rd in the table as the other 100% winning side Tavern Ladies go top win a big win against bottom side Freethorpe to claim top spot, all three sides on 18 points now, an intriguing title race that’s far from over.
Full time Thorpe United Ladies 1-0 Bungay Town Ladies
A 1-0 win for Thorpe in the finish Millie Cursons goal late in the first half proving the difference. Thorpe dominant in the 1st half having just the one goal to show for it could and perhaps should have been leading by more. Started the 2nd half well, Bungay frustrated fired up coming strong with opportunities of their own to level the scores as Thorpe grew nervous uneasy will just a single goal lead. Dangerous on the counter though as the game opened up, Bungay had Joanne Pipe to thank producing some fantastic saves to keep it to 1-0. Couldn’t find an equalising goal in the finish and that would have been harsh on Thorpe who in the end had to earn the win.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few contenders, for Bungay huge credit to Joanne Pipe produced some quality saves to keep her side in the match throughout. For Thorpe, Rebekah Lake has had a few of these and rightly so a constant threat hard to shake off the ball and making great runs to get into scoring position setting up the winning goal. Sophie Jermy too early on especially finding pockets of space between defence and midfield, where Thorpe were strong, the notes will often help towards picking someone out and that is the case today, Laura Hedtke close but just beating her to the award Alice Ladbrooke. Won alot of challenges, breaking up play and setting up attacks.
Always a good rivalry between the two sides and had no doubt today would be a close fought game. 1 goal in it should have been more but kept the intrigue going to the end an entertaining fast paced contest, a good advert for women’s football in Norfolk. Thanks to both teams for the team details always appreciated.