Tag Archives: Women’s FA Cup

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Stourbridge FC Ladies

Sunday 28th November

Women’s FA Cup

 A trip to Ely City FC’s Demcom Stadium this Sunday for a match from the 2nd Round Proper of the Women’s FA Cup. A contest between two sides looking to create history in the competition to as Cambridge City Ladies take on Stourbridge FC Ladies.

   28 ties taking place this weekend with the potential of facing a Championship club in the 3rd Round an incentive for the winners as the 12 clubs from the games 2nd tier enter this season’s competition.

 Both of today’s opponents looking to create history of their own in the competition. Cambridge City Ladies own history relatively short but on its rise to FAWNL South East Division One have created some memorable moments in the Women’s FA Cup including last minute winners and knocking out higher league opponents, was there for some of those moments too! Cambridge City FC close to completing their new stadium in Sawston the women’s senior team now into their 3rd season in the FAWNL. The COVID pandemic not seeing as much football played as liked in previous seasons, have made a good start to the season this time around laying in midtable.

 Entering this season’s competition in 3rd Round Qualifying, Cambridge City Ladies were drawn away to ERWFL Premier Division side St Ives Town Women. Goals from Grace Stanley, Bronwyn Mulheron and Ellie Cullum along with a brace for Erin Davies securing a comfortable 2-0 win to reach the 1st Round Proper. A trip to the capital as the draw pitted Cambridge City against fellow South East Division One side London Seaward. Grace Stanley on target for a brace inside the opening 15 minutes putting Cambridge City in a strong position as they held on to the advantage to book their place in the 2nd Round. Grace Stanley amongst the goals following her return to the club after university, weighing in with 16 goals so far in all competitions. This the furthest Cambridge City have gone in the competition can they go one better today.

  Their opponents coming to the Demcom Stadium today full of confidence having been the giantkillers of the previous round as Stourbridge FC Ladies made history reaching the 2nd Round Proper for the first time with a memorable away win against FAWNL Northern Premier Division leaders Derby County Women. Courteney Murphy’s 40 yard lob in stoppage time seeing Stourbridge clinch a 2-3 win. Playing in the 5th tier of the women’s football pyramid Stourbridge FC Ladies currently sit top of the West Midlands Regional Football League Premier Division, winning 6 of the 7 games played so far, ahead of Sutton Coldfield Women on goal difference. Promotion to the FAWNL the prize for all the title winners in the 5th tier.

  A strong start to the season no doubt playing a part in their Women’s FA Cup run. Beginning in the 2nd Qualifying Round at home to Kidderminster Harriers LFC. Winning comfortably 6-1 to progress to 3rd Round Qualifying with a trip to Solihull Sporting Ladies were strong once again as they piled on the goals to win the game 9-1. Derby County Women no doubt the heavy favourites when the draw for the 1st Round Proper was made and an early goal for Derby saw them in front inside 2 minutes. Stourbridge responded well coming back with goals from Millie Rogers and Alex Nicklin seeing the visitors leading 2-1 at the break. Derby have assembled a strong squad and got themselves back on level terms with 16 minutes to play through Precious Hamilton. The game heading into stoppage time when Murphy’s lob saw Stourbridge create history as they knocked out a side two leagues above and reached the 2nd Round Proper for the first time. Their giant killing certainly getting plenty of media attention the job now though will be keeping everyone’s feet on the ground more history to be made… maybe.

Ely City Fc’s Demcom Stadium the venue for today’s game. Cambridge City encouraging supporters from the men’s club to come enjoy a ladies game a good crowd building, with Stourbridge laying on a coach for supporters too. Storm Arwen blowing through over the weekend, breaking wet and windy conditions across the country, several games called off as a result the pitch open to the wind holding out well no problems with an early inspection to confirm. A good size offering plenty of width. The main stand above the changing rooms with the clubhouse and kitchen serving hot drinks and food to one side. A bitterly cold day, time to get the hat out.

Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson (C), Ceri Flye, Lauren Tomlinson, Jess Evans, Bronwyn Mulheron, Hannah Bodily, Ellie Cullum, Amy Reed, Charlotte Gillies, Erin Davies & Grace Stanley.  Subs – Becca Fay, Zynia Delglyn, Phillipa Witherspoon & Freya Symonds. 

Stourbridge FC Ladies

 Stourbridge FC Ladies starting XI – Amie Preston, Meg Hadley, Keren Allen, Sophie Heaselgrave, Macey Turvey, Lili-Beth Brown (C), Alex Nicklin, Hannah Fishwick, Esme Moran, Cheryl Edwards & Millie Rogers. Subs – Louisa Butcher, Ruby Meeson, Courteney Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Ellie McGoven, Jess Bate & Gee Thacker.

Captain’s Lili-Beth Brown and Sarah Hudson with today’s match officials

It is the hosts Cambridge to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts and black and white hooped socks with Stourbridge lined up opposite wearing red and white vertical striped shirts, red shorts and socks. The sun is low in the sky but unlikely to cause any problems for the players as the ball put up to the attackers, Megan Turvey heading the ball clear in defence for Stourbridge the pass long out to Esme Moran on the left side, Ceri Flye into her quickly to tackle and send the ball out for a throw in for Cambridge.

Macey Turvey heading the ball clear for Stourbridge

 The visitors straight at Cambridge pressing them for the ball out for a  series of throws on the left, Esme Moran looking to drive on for Stourbridge is challenged by Cambridge midfielder, Ellie Cullum. Stourbridge hustle Cambridge down the flank Millie Rogers winning a throw deep in the corner leading to the 1st corner of the game. Fired in low at the near post defended deflected away to the right. A diagonal pass back to the left finding Charlotte Gillies on the move taking the ball over halfway lays it into the right channel for Erin Davies to chase in attack, Sophie Heaselgrave at the back for Stourbridge getting there first to clear the danger for the visitors.

   A frantic start to the tie the ball closed down in the middle of the park, competitive, Stourbridge captain Lili-Beth Brown taking it forwards tackled by Jess Evans outside the area, Stourbridge a quick to win it back out to Cheryl Edwards on the right wing her cross flung into the area headed away at he far post by Flye. Moran fouled on the left presenting Stourbridge with a free-kick inside the Cambridge half the ball curled into the area, bouncing safely through to Cambridge goalkeeper and captain, Sarah Hudson. 

Cambridge City defender, Jess Evans

  A high tempo pressing game from Stourbridge in to close the ball down and immediately spring forwards in attack. Alex Nicklin getting on the ball powering forwards lifting it to Edwards right side, Lauren Tomlinson in ahead of her to carry the ball up the line for Cambridge sends it on for Davies moving into space on the wing, Keren Allen going with her as she runs for the ball, out for a throw in, Davies is down and looks to be in trouble. Looks to be her hamstring can’t continue Cambridge forced into an early substitution, is replaced up top by Phillipa Witherspoon.

Stourbridge midfielder, Alex Nicklin

 Play resumes with a throw to Cambridge on the left (as you’ve read before Tomlinson has an exceptional throw on her) the ball long for Witherspoon, her presence forcing Allen into conceding another throw in the corner. The ball put into the area, dealt with by Turvey. Cullum across on the left slides in on Allen as she looks to come forwards Cambridge with the throw, Sturbridge win possession back and set off on a counter through the middle out to Moran on the left pushing on towards the box her angle shot covered by Hudson at her near post. 

  Edwards on the right combines well with attacker Millie Rogers the pair winning a free-kick. Wide on the right Allen on the ball as players come forwards. pulls her delivery taking it away from the top of the box to drop near post and be easily taken by Hudson. Edwards in possession on the right as Nicklin makes a run through the middle the ball laid into her path the midfielder takes it on right into the area closing in on the by-line wraps her foot around the ball to send in a cross, Evans back with her sliding in to block take it behind for the corner.

  GOAL! The corner on the right sent in by Rogers into a crowded six yard box Hudson going for it does get there the ball dropping cleared back out to the right, the ball sent in across the face of goal Moran rising in the middle getting her head on the ball, Hudson with an arm up a reactive save might have gotten the merest of touches the ball rebounding back of the crossbar, Moran reacting quickest back to her to rise up and nod the ball past the keeper this time to score 0-1.

Esme Moran with the opening goal for Stourbridge

   Stourbridge open the scoring in the 14th minute any traces of nerves well and truly blown away. A bright start Cambridge on the back foot. Stourbridge straight back at their closing game in the middle Brown the Nicklin the pass out to Edwards free on the right, takes the ball down the line before whipping a ball into the near post area. Hudson able to claim unchallenged. Rogers is busy to top moving across the defence to make herself available taking the ball out to the right Evans going with her defends at the cost of a corner. A good delivery towards the pack gathering at the far post someone connecting with the header drilling the ball back wide across goal.

Stourbridge’s Keren Allen

Cambridge getting frustrated Stourbridge not giving them a moment to settle on the ball, can’t get it up to their attackers. Flye into tackle on the right up to Gillies tries an angled pass into Stanley top of the area, Turvey strong at the back winning the header. Decisions going against Cambridge not helping them build any momentum. Hannah Bodily beating Brown to the ball, Witherspoon fouling her marker as she looks to turn in behind. Gillies plays the ball out to Amy Reed getting forwards on the right Meg Hadley in to challenge as she looks to push the ball past her.

Cambridge’s Hannah Bodily battling with Stourbridge’s Alex Nicklin for the ball

   A trying spell for Cambridge, Stourbridge pressing well, decisions going against them, the visitors backing each other up well one loses it, the ball is quickly recaptured. Edwards drifting free on the right as play is drawn to the left, the ball across to her, Tomlinson stretching managing to cut it out. Witherspoon back to win the ball on halfway out muscling her marker looks to release Stanley up top, goes a little too early, the flag up against her. 

   Hannah Fishwick seeing the ball into her feet central top of the D, turns and unleashes a shot blocked at close range by Mulheron. Cambridge get the ball back on the left Tomlinson looking to run on with it, pace as Rogers goes with her. Turvey comes hurtling out of defence sliding in Tomlinson managing to avoid the challenge as Turvey cleans out Rogers (and the ball) for a throw. 

  Reed finding a little joy on the right for Cambridge taking the ball on takes on the shot angled in from all of 25 yards, Amie Preston in goal for Stourbridge has the near post covered. Edwards on the right for Stourbridge inside for Rogers holds the ball up well inside the box does well to win a corner. Cullum seeing the ball into her feet turns well lifting it up top to the right, Preston comes racing out of her area intending to clear miscues screwing it high into the air, the ball though not falling favourably for Cambridge as Heaselgrave clears. 

Stourbridge striker, Millie Rogers

  Cambridge cannot get a foot hold in the final 3rd Stourbridge fighting for everything, numerous free-kicks given away are leading to more frustration from the hosts. Nicklin into Rogers up to moving right to left across the top of the area twisting and turning looking for an opening. Put back out to midfield another free-kick going against Cambridge to the left, put into the top of the area defended headed behind for a corner on the right.

 GOAL! From the resulting set-piece Stourbridge go on to double their lead the delivery in from Rogers coming in close to goal, dangerous the defender at he near post going up attempting to head it up over the bar can’t get enough on it and instead sees the ball lands in the back of her own net. 0-2.

A little under 10 minutes left to play in the first half and it’s Stourbridge who open up a 2 goal lead. Aren’t letting Cambridge settle at all, Allen taking the ball down the right Bodily coming across to slide in and tackle halting her progress. Nicklin has been strong in the centre of the park through getting hold of the ball making forward runs, combining both as she takes it on to the right of goal surging on shifts inside from 20 yards out before striking a low shot wide of the far post.

Stourbridge goalkeeper, Amie Preston

 Preston not afraid to come running out of her area if necessity requires and sees Reed released on the right by Gillies out of her area getting there first to clear the ball for a throw in. Rogers moving out to the right as Allen plays the ball to her level with the top of the area passes inside to Edwards outside the D sees Nicklin coming on from the middle rolls it into her to strike on target towards the far post but no problem for Hudson across to take the catch. 

  Cambridge get forwards on the right Flye on for Reed deep angles a ball into the area a cross/shot racing across the face of he Stourbridge goal. Cambridge getting more bodies forwards now particularly Tomlinson on the left lays a ball with the outside of her boot into the middle for Cullum inside the D, can’t make anything of it before Turvey and Heaselgrave close her down. Cambridge pressing the ball better themselves now Cullum and Bodily higher up the pitch. Risk getting hit on the counter and that’s exactly what Stourbridge do the ball lifted forwards to Rogers finding space on the right in behind has room to travel, it’s Flye who recovered quickest getting across the box to challenge, Stourbridge forced back working the ball across the pitch to the left a cross hooked into the area headed clear by Evans. 

Cambridge’s Bronwyn Mulheron

  Into the closing stages of the first half Stourbridge break play over on the left the ball finding Rogers to the right of the D 25 yards out drifts inside with the ball looking to line up a strike lets fly, Mulheron jumping central to block the ball taking a wicked deflection of her turning it towards the far post Hudson with an awesome save has little time to react diving low to her right throwing herself full stretch to push the ball away. 

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-2 Stourbridge FC Ladies

  How vital a save in the closing stages of the first half from Hudson with that be for Cambridge who find themselves trailing at home 2-0 in the 2nd Round of the Women’s FA Cup. An excellent first half from Stourbridge however starting the game well high tempo quick to close Cambridge down on the ball not let their opponents settle. Both goals coming from corners have closed the ball down well whilst backing each other up. Alot put into the half will be interesting to see if they can keep it up. For Cambridge alot of work to do if they hope to get back into the tie. The early injury to Davies no doubt affecting their game plan have been frustrated decisions going against them haven’t really got going.

A change for Stourbridge at the start of the 2nd half with Jess Bates coming on at the back replacing Allen. The visitors to get the 2nd half underway defending a 2 goal lead. Both sides in to press the ball straight away, Fishwick tackling Gillies as she tries to get away on the right. Stourbridge come right getting a throw deep in Cambridge territory the resulting cross cut out inside the area by Gillies back to defend. 

Stourbridge continuing with their pressing game Nicklin winning the ball in the left channel seeing Rogers move into the area from the left the ball fed into her she opens her body to shoot, Flye lunging in across her taking a painful blow as she blocks to send the ball behind for a corner. The deliveries from corners a real threat for Stourbridge this one into the congested six yard box headed over but not before the referee blows up for a foul against Cambridge. 

Millie Rogers with Cambridge’s Ceri Flye

  Nicklin wins the ball for Stourbridge playing it across the top of the box for Fishwick on the left her cross swung into the box claimed by Hudson. Reed on the right for Cambridge taking the ball in moving in field, Turvey stepping up to close her down and halt her progress for the visitors. Rogers coming out to the left flank wide taking the ball playing the ball into the box left side as Fishwick closes in, taking a touch as the Cambridge defence come to close her down goes down, the bench immediately appealing for a penalty, not given. 

Phillipa Witherspoon winning the ball for Cambridge

 A visitors making a bright start to the 2nd half looking for a 3rd goal. Plays getting forwards a Nicklin moves on with the ball left channel taking it inside the box her initial effort blocked at close range keeps possession back to goal lays it out to Moran central clipped in from 20 yards out sees her effort come back off the crossbar! 

 Isn’t long after that, that Moran’s game comes to an end chasing after the ball as Cambridge attack on the right pulls up a problem with her left left needs to come off is replaced by Courteney Murphy. Cambridge get the ball back in the middle Cullum to Bodily out to Tomlinson bombing on down the left racing to the by-line flashing a cross into the near post, Preston behind it spills it momentarily before dropping on the loose ball. 

Cambridge City’s Lauren Tomlinson

 Nicklin central spreads play out to the left for Fishwick to drives forwards her ball played in central intercepted by Bodily forwards for Gillies, Brown in to close her down the ball out to Stourbridge’s right. Edwards with a strike, Flye behind it to block with her head a powerfully struck ball, Flye is down seeing stars for a moment. Stourbridge press forwards players up to join the attack as Murphy right lays it back to the wing to be crossed in Rogers top of the area near post swinging at it missing her kick, runs through to Nicklin beyond her her strike blocked, the rebound fired in collected by Hudson. 

   Cambridge matching Stourbridge with their pressing game the match more even now. Nicklin still the driving force in the middle, advancing on the right, held back no clear advantage play brought back for the set-piece. Murphy over it 25 yards out lifted into the mix, deflected over the bar, a corner signalled. The delivery into the six yard box dropping down into the mix scrambled away to the right Edwards sending a snap shot wide. 

  Tomlinson carrying a threat going forwards on the left for Cambridge releasing a diagonal ball early into the area, Preston getting there to catch as Witherspoon closes in. Stourbridge on the right with Edwards succeeds in winning a corner. Evans heading the ball away for Cambridge, Nicklin keeping it alive for the visitors out to Fishwick left side she is fouled. Cambridge making a change before the free-kick can be taken Zynia Delglyn on for Gillies. Murphy to clip the ball into the D, a push on a defender seeing Cambridge given a free-kick of their own.

   Cambridge come on with the ball left the cross fired in along the top of the D reaching Stanley to the right of goal, Hadley in to close her down and block the ball spinning away to Reed free on he right shoots her effort wide of the near post. Alot put in by Stourbridge are beginning to drop back as Cambridge press looking to find a way back into the game. Cullum winning the ball central out to Tomlinson left side taking it on shoots from distance an angled drive wide of the near post. Nicklin 25 yards out right of the D puts the ball across to the left for Fishwick moving down the line her cross is cut out for a corner. Cambridge getting plenty back to defend.

  GOAL! Cambridge getting players forwards well especially Tomlinson on the left has the ball at her feet play opening up as she gets down the line flashing a cross in low at the near post Preston down to meet it doesn’t get hold of it pushed out loose in the six yard box Stanley is quickest to react blasting the ball into the back of the net to pull a goal back for the hosts 1-2.

Grace Staley pulls it back to 2-1 for Cambridge City

  A little over 20 minutes left on the clock game on as Cambridge get a goal. Stourbridge go straight on the attack from the restart the ball out to Fishwick on the left her cross in blocked by Flye, the ball finding its way to Murphy top of the box her shot in headed away from a corner kick. Attacked at the near post by Edwards, Cambridge though get to cleared to safety. Delglyn fouled over on the right for Cambridge, Mulheron standing over the set-piece looking at her options as players move forwards. The ball whipped in near side Stanley moving towards it can’t quite get a touch as it bounces through to the keeper.

  The game opening up a contrast from the first half as Stourbridge attack on the left the ball slid on for Rogers left into the box where she is tripped the referee pointing to the spot. Penalty! Murphy placing the ball on the spot. Shoots aiming to place it to the keepers right, not enough height on it as Hudson goes the right way down to make the save and deny Stourbridge a 3rd goal. 

Sarah Hudson saving the penalty for Cambridge

  Both sides putting bodies on the line now in an effort to win the ball, Bodily in hard on Nicklin central to come away with the ball Fishwick blocked as she travels forwards on the left a free-kick awarded. Murphy sending it in headed away by Mulheron. Another change for Cambridge with Bodily the player coming off for Freya Symonds. Murphy goes in the book for a foul on halfway as Cambridge look to press with the clock ticking down. The goal changing things Stourbridge not prepared to commit so many forwards are tiring. Nicklin though with a turn and shot from distance that has Hudson worried for a moment before it lands safely on the roof of the net. 

Zynia Delglyn on the ball for Cambridge City

   Delglyn bringing the ball under control central on for Cullum in the middle looking to chip it over the defence for Stanley to burst onto, Preston though out smartly to the edge of her area to lay claim to the ball. Moments later Preston is off her line again coming out to block Tomlinson as she travels into the box from the left. Mulheron with a long ball forwards up to Stanley inside the D, Heaselgrave there seeing the ball back to her keeper, Cambridge appealing for a back pass not given. 

Stourbridge defender, Sophie Heaselgrave

 Tomlinson with an angled drive over the bar from 30 yards out on the left. Cambridge pushing hard have Stourbridge on the back foot for the first time in the game little tine left though to find an equalising goal and force the tie into extra-time. Stourbridge making a change bringing off Fishwick for Ellie McGoven with 5 minutes plus added to play. A vital interception at the back by Hadley as Cambridge sent a diagonal ball in from the left with Stanley looking to run in behind. Preston at her near post behind a shot fired in by Tomlinson on the left. 

  The host win a free-kick on the right 30 yards out, Stanley coming out to take it, sends it in central attacked well by Turvey getting a good head on it to clear the danger. Totally different game now Stourbridge holding on as Cambridge attack, Stanley with the ball at her feet the attacker moving across the D shoots the effort blocked… a hand ball spotted the free-kick outside the box. In low by Stanley blocked then cleared out to the right for a throw.

 

  The throw bringing a corner kick. Angled in at the near post Heaselgrave defending for Stourbridge. Another corner for Cambridge in deeper this time put over Stourbridge awarded a free-kick however as Flye picks up a yellow card. Stourbridge are looking to get the ball into the corners run down the clock with several minutes stoppage time being played. Rogers doing her best to hold it up. One last effort from Cambridge the ball long up to Witherspoon and Stanley, Heaselgrave has to defend for Stourbridge and does well as the final whistle blows and Stourbridge win to march on to the 3rd Round.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Stourbridge FC Ladies

 A memorable day for Stourbridge as they continue to make history in the Women’s FA Cup beating Cambridge 2-1 to reach the 3rd RoundStarted the game well pressing Cambridge for the ball not letting them settle on the ball working hard in the final 3rd. Taking the lead from a set play went on to add another before the break. May have been 3 as possibly game over if not for a brilliant save from Hudson. Cambridge never really getting going first half needed a big 2nd half if they were to find a way back into the tie. It was Stourbridge though who created more chances the crossbar struck and a penalty saved could have seen them in control. Cambridge dug in though battling to match Stourbridge pressing for the ball getting it back to 2-1 with 20 minutes left and from there had Stourbridge on the back foot a valiant effort as they tried to get it level Stourbridge working hard in defence, tiring from their earlier efforts. Dug in though to keep Cambridge out and win the game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Moving onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Another tough on to choose a single player a few performances to mention first though. For Cambridge Sarah Hudson’s saves were crucial to keeping Cambridge in the tie. In defence Ceri Flye put her body on the line with so brilliant defending. Lauren Tomlinson on the left giving Cambridge attacking thrust in the 2nd half. For Stourbridge Esme Moran was a threat attacking on the left scoring the opening goal. In attacker Millie Rogers showed great movement holding the ball up well and made herself available throughout. Today’s award though goes to midfielder Alex Nicklin was impressive in the middle of the park, winning the ball leading the pressing game and made some fantastic runs forwards.

Another entertaining match from the Women’s FA Cup. Best of luck to Stourbridge for the upcoming draw for the 3rd round will be as interested as you to see who you get. Always nice to see a club from another part of the country. My thanks to both sides for their help with the team details today.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Wymondham Town Ladies v Norwich City Women

Sunday 14th November

FA Women’s Cup

 This season’s FA Women’s Cup reaches the 1st Round Proper with the sides from the FAWNL Premier Division’s North & South entering the competition. Overall 108 sides meeting this weekend across the country. Women’s Football East at on of those ties on #WomensFootballWeekend a local derby too as Wymondham Town Ladies take on Norwich City Women.

 Wymondham Town Ladies currently top of the ERWFL Premier Division aiming for promotion to the FAWNL to join today’s opponents Norwich City Women in South East Division One. On paper not alot separating the sides. Wymondham have in recent seasons enjoyed their FA Women’s Cup campaigns knocking out higher league opponents on a few ocassions. Making a strong start to their ERWFL season winning all 4 of their opening league matches to top the table, suffered 2 straight defeats at the end of September but haven’t looked back since.

Going on a run now at 6 straight wins in league and cup beginning in 2nd Round Qualifying of the FA Women’s Cup away to Haverhill Rovers Ladies, striker Hannah Waters scoring 4 times as Wymondham cruised through to the next round with a 10-0 victory. Faced a long away trip in 3rd Round Qualifying to Essex to face ERWFL Division One South title contenders, Leigh Ramblers Ladies, a hat-trick for Natasha Youngs seeing Wymondham reach the 1st Round Proper with a 5-1 win. Currently 6 points clear at the top of the ERWFL Premier Division with Hannah Waters top scoring with 12 goals from 12 appearances close behind young striker Francesca Catchpole who has 10 from 12 appearances showing her potential after returning from a serious ACL injury before joining the club. Long term injuries a blow Wymondham has had to deal with all too regularly over recent seasons but the squad has remained resilient throughout, just the one out long term at the moment defender Betty Fretwell.

Saw Norwich City Women on the opening day of their FAWNL South East Division One campaign and they won’t want reminding of that game. Suffering a heavy loss to title contenders Billericay Town Women. Were missing several first team regulars that day and despite a difficult start to the season rallied well with a positive run to gain 7 points from 3 games to pull clear of the bottom of the table. Alot of work to do still if they are to avoid relegation but are in touching distance with the mid-table sides above. Entering the FA Women’s Cup in 3rd Round Qualifying were drawn away to fellow league side Harlow Ladies for a 2nd successive trip to Essex the 1st seeing Norwich 3-0 up in the league only for Harlow to mount an incredible comeback to win the game 4-3.

No such drama the the cup however as 1st half goals from Ellie Bishop and a goal from new signing Freya Fuller on her debut secured a 2-0 win. Fuller joins from Billericay Town Women. Norwich recruiting a trio of Wymondham players over the close season with defender, Chardonnay Johnston, midfielder, Mollie O’Callaghan and attacker Freya Symonds all joining along with goalkeeper Yaz Walford from Royston. Like Wymondham play on an artificial surface at The Nest.

Ketts Park, Wymondham Town Ladies home ground. The community and recreation facility newly build on the outskirts of the town. An all weather artificial main pitch with playing fields beyond. The clubhouse serving hot drinks. A viewing area for spectators along one side of the pitch marked out with various sized pitches catering for all age groups. An overcast day a few spots of rain in the air before kick off, fetched the umbrella but it wasn’t needed.

 Remembrance Sunday everyone pausing for a moments silence before the match.

Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Pearce, Mary Croft, Leah Newcombe (C), Lauren Kett, Aimee Stretch, Jenifer Codman, Katie Knights, Becca Russell, Natasha Youngs, Francesca Catchpole & Hannah Waters. Subs – Jess Luff, Hayley Kindred, Rachel Cossey, Chelsea Clarke, Jess Hawkins, Laura Nicholls & Lyla Studd.

 Norwich City Women starting XI – Bryony Williams, Anna Larkins, Jess Harper, Kate Parsons, Chardonnay Johnston, Millie Daviss (C), Jodie Drake, Freya Symonds, Kathryn Stanley, Megan Todd & Natasha Snelling. Subs – Mollie O’Callaghan, Katie Appleton, Rosie George, Samara Nche, Leilah Gooding, Freya Fuller & Ellie Bishop.

A switch of ends as Norwich get the tie underway kicking off the first half wearing their yellow and green kit. Wymondham wearing red shorts and shorts with black socks. The visitors sending a long diagonal ball out to the left for Kathryn Stanley to attack, dealt with by Wymondham captain, Leah Newcombe at right back for a throw, taken quickly a cross sent into the box from deep, into the gloves of Wymondham goalkeeper, Chloe Pearce. 

  Norwich come through the middle pushed out to Megan Todd pulling right 25 yards out looks to lift it into the box for Natasha Snelling, Lauren Kett defending for Wymondham heading the ball clear. Katie Knights central for Wymondham passes to Natasha Youngs on the left her diagonal ball forwards aimed towards Hannah Waters up top, turning towards goal is pushed out to the right Kate Parsons coming across for Norwich to put in the challenge the ball going away for a throw in the corner. Wymondham working it back up the line before sending the cross in Bryony Williams in goal for Norwich calls and comes to claim the ball.

Wymondham’s Hannah Waters with Norwich captain, Millie Daviss

   Norwich getting on the front foot Freya Symonds getting hold of the ball in midfield going on before playing it forwards to Snelling pulling away to the left her first touch taking her inside moves across the top of the area 20 yards out sending it into Todd’s feet she clips a shot in towards goal looping up comes down off the crossbar! Both sides up for the contest the ball keenly contested in the middle, Symonds closing in on Mary Croft to steal the ball in behind losing her footing can’t capitalise before Wymondham regroup.

Freya Symonds bringing the ball on for Norwich

  Wymondham put the ball into Waters feet back to goal 30 yards out holds it up turning attempting to thread it in behind for Francesca Catchpole making the run, a timely interception by Norwich centre back Chardonnay Johnston. Newcombe at the other end does well defensively heading a sweeping diagonal ball away as Norwich send it in from the right. Symonds finds herself up with the attack central as Todd plays the ball into her inside the D, playing the return ball to Todd she looks to go around the Wymondham defence to the left into the area before unleashing a shot running along the ground lacking the pace to trouble the keeper.

Norwich defender, Chardonnay Johnston

  Norwich making some positive attacking runs at the start of the game Snelling playing it across the top of the area into the path of Todd who strikes a shot over from 25 yards out. Norwich’s captain Millie Daviss central playing a ball out to Anna Larkins moving up field on the left she crosses into the middle picking out Stanley 30 yards out, has a shot the ball loops into the box dropping straight into Pearce’s gloves. Is a little lively on the tackle front both sides giving away freekicks.

Wymondham midfielder, Jenifer Codman

  Jenifer Codman central sees Newcombe on the move down the right the ball put out to her play the diagonal ball forwards early as Waters comes across, Parsons quick to respond going with her tackling for Norwich before Waters can fashion a strike. Catchpole getting onto the ball on halfway allowed to travel with the ball lets fly from all of 30 yards out the shot wide of Williams goal. Players looking to take the ball on through the middle a feature as Stanley gets hold of it for Norwich spots Snelling drifting in behind the defence attempts to lift it through to her, Kett getting her foot up to make a timely interception.

  Kett across to defend against Snelling on the right conceding a corner. The delivery flashed into the box headed clear by Becca Russell for Wymondham. Look to counter on the left, Jess Harper getting across to snuff out the danger. Todd moving to the right with the ball at her feet has Stanley in support the pair exchange passes, Todd trying to get into the area is tackled by Wymondham’s Croft. Appeals from the Wymondham bench for a penalty as Parsons comes across to challenge Waters inside the box the protests waved away. 

  Two fairly evenly matched sides the game open space for both to exploit Norwich counter quickly Stanley on the move with the ball through the middle looking to go all the way is stopped by Aimee Stretch defending for Wymondham. End to end Wymondham play the ball through the middle up to Waters back to goal holding off her marker plays it back to Katie Knights who lifts it out to Catchpole on the left, Larkins coming to close her down the ball out for a throw. 

Lauren Catchpole coming away with the ball for Wymondham

 Russell on the left bringing the ball forwards plays the pass into Waters she turns well to make a run into the box, Parsons coming to challenge lunges across Waters to block her strike. Snelling is moving well across the final 3rd for Norwich making her harder to mark drifting to the left looking to get on the end of a diagonal ball, Newcombe goes up with her to win the header clear for Wymondham. Waters gathering the ball inside her own half plays it forwards looking for Youngs, stretching as she attempts to get hold of the ball run in behind appears to caught her foot in the pitch going down is clearly in distress play is stopped for her to receive treatment. Tentatively gets back to her feet and is okay to continue.

 Waters is the target up top for Wymondham whenever they attack, either to hold the ball up or turn the defence, Parsons more often than not keeping close to her. Waters does well to flick the ball to her left spin in behind going on looking to dig the ball out of her feet inside the d get a shot away, allows the Norwich defence to get back on her en masse to clear. Symonds fouls Knights giving Wymondham a free-kick inside their opponents half. Croft playing the ball up for Waters top of the area parsons winning the header for Norwich.

  Wymondham bring the ball on from the back Croft into Knights pushes it out to the right with Waters moving into the channel to receive, Parsons sliding in to tackle the loose ball latched onto by Catchpole 25 yards out goes for goal her strike sent over the bar. Harper playing the ball on down the right for Snelling to chase in the corner, Stretch comes across to slide in put the ball away for a throw. Jodie Drake in midfield for Norwich with an ambitious strike from all of 30 yards out right side runs wide across the area. 

Norwich’s Kathryn Stanley

 A throw deep on the left for Wymondham Waters turning putting it inside for Codman who turns looking to feed in Youngs behind her, Johnston lunging in to challenge winning it back for the visitors. Stretch with another important interception through the middle as Daviss attempts to thread the ball through for Snelling. The tempo is high both sides moving the ball quickly attacking players providing good passing options not always finding there mark. Croft from a throw left picking out Russell shifts inside sending a diagonal ball into the D, won well by Parsons at the back.

Becca Russell with the ball for Wymondham

   Symonds on the drive central for Norwich plays the pass to rake on her left forwards it goes to Snelling central turns her effort on goal blocked spinning away behind for a corner kick on the right. A little under 5 minutes left to play in the first half.

 GOAL! The delivery sent in long attacked at the far post dropping central Russell trying to bring it down slices it away to the right, corner taker Larkins gathering it on the edge of the box, goes on checks then spins right to whip a dangerous ball in low through the six yard box, Parsons is there at the far post lunging in to divert the ball into the back of the net to score her first goal of the season 0-1.

Kate Parsons opens the scoring for Norwich

  Norwich gaining the lead with the clock ticking down in the first half. Clashes in the middle seeing both sides getting free-kicks. Catchpole needing treatment can continue. Careless at the back from Norwich sees Catchpole taking advantage looking to get away Parsons has closed enough to throw her off her stride get back possession. A neat triangle in attack on the right from Norwich between Todd, Symonds and Snelling before Croft sticks out a foot to take the ball.

 Norwich finishing the half strong Symonds up in the final 3rd central holding the ball up spinning left to clip it into Todd on the right down the lone flashes a low cross into the six yard box Snelling meeting it at the near post lifting her shot over.

Half-time Wymondham Town Ladies 0-1 Norwich City Women

  Norwich scoring late on in the first half holding a narrow advantage at the break. Has been a contest between two evenly matched sides so far. Competitive in the midfield both looking to get the ball forwards quickly, Norwich in particular looking to make runs through the middle get support into the attackers. The crossbar hit early one by Norwich both keepers though have been little troubled, defences challenging and intercepting well for the most part. Still very much in the balance as the teams come out for the 2nd period, extra-time and penalties both available should the scores be level after 90.

  No changes for either side at the break as Wymondham get the 2nd half underway, put back to the defence Norwich are quick to close the ball down Stanley in on Newcombe stealing possession to skip in behind sends in in field for Snelling who in turn spots Todd running into the box from the right lifting the ball in towards the far post high Todd leaping can’t quite get her head to it as the ball runs out for a goal kick. 

Norwich’s Megan Todd

  What happens next is a serious test on my memory and note taking skills as all chaos breaks out in the Norwich box. Wymondham play the ball out from the back into Catchpole she sends it forwards into Waters back to goal lays it off to Russell coming on left, played out further to the advancing Croft who whips a shot in on the angle a powerful strike it kisses down off the cross bar into the six yard box, Youngs is close to it shoots her effort blocked by a defender, then Waters sees another effort blocked at close range the loose ball back to Youngs her 2nd attempt on target rising Williams throws herself back to punch the ball away her save giving the defence the advantage to scramble the ball away… at least that’s what I think happened!

  GOAL! No sooner have Wymondham scared the life out of the Norwich defence the visitors get up the other end to score and double their lead. Todd on the right winning a corner off Stretch. Is a good delivery from Larkins. Through the middle too high for those jumping to attack it central drops at the far post met by Snelling who slots it into the back of the net 0-2.

Natasha Snelling scoring Norwich’s 2nd pictured with Wymondham’s Mary Croft

  Newcombe comes forwards with the ball on the right for Wymondham getting in beyond Larkins to lift a cross into the box, Parsons is under it clearing with a firm header. Codman moving out to the left playing the pass inside for Russell to clips a shot in from 25 yards out, low is claimed by Williams. Kett is booked for Wymondham as she comes across to foul Todd as the Norwich attacker surges for the box. The free-kick on the right corner of the area played short into Drake right of the D, her strike at goal racing in low wide across the six yard box out beyond the far post.

Wymondham captain, Leah Newcombe

   Norwich look a threat on the counter attack Snelling coming for the pass central spinning the ball into Todd’s path on the right, Kett getting across her well shielding the ball before playing it back to her keeper to clear. Wymondham make the first change Catchpole coming off with Chelsea Clarke the player coming on on the left. Knights is brought down in the middle a free-kick to Wymondham launched into the box, Williams keeping her eye on it catching cleanly with Kett closing in.

  A moment of controversy, although I’m just saying that for dramatic effect, Waters getting hold on the ball inside the left channel escaping her marker driving towards the box left of the D, Parsons gets back on her the two coming together Parsons bringing Waters down, from where I’m standing and most of the crowd agree it’s inside the box and as the referee blows up are surprised to see it’s a free-kick outside the area. Parsons recieves a yellow card. An interesting one but I have a mate at work who’s a referee and he will always say who was the referee positioned and in this instance much closer to the incidence than most of the crowd. Nevertheless it’s a free-kick in a dangerous position from Wymondham and Russell is over it. Gets her shot in over the wall the keeper beaten the ball comes back down off the crossbar for a 2nd time.

Becca Russell’s free-kick striking the crossbar

  Symonds continues to make strong runs through the middle for Norwich playing the ball onto Todd central who in turn plays it to Snelling on the left her touch taking it inside a little too heavy allowing Croft to step out and clear for Wymondham. The hosts take the ball on down the right winning a corner kick the delivery lifted into the six yard box, Williams coming through bodies has to claim it and does well to get her gloves on the ball. 

  Parsons across to the right channel slides in to foul Waters presenting the hosts with another set-piece. Players forwards lining up at the far post as Russell lifts a high ball into the box. Williams sees it all the way taking a clean catch as players close in on her. 

  A 2nd change for Wymondham sees Laura Nicholls coming on up top for Youngs. Norwich’s Daviss into Stanley racing forwards central plays it out to Todd on the right wing taking it on down to the by-line checks back laying it back to Harper to cross in from deep her ball into the area dealt with by Stretch for Wymondham. Williams out smartly to the edge of the box to slide in a claim the ball as Knights’ pass threatens to release Waters. Nicholls plays it on for Waters who returns the pass to Nicholls right as she goes on put inside for Codman she opens up her body sending a through ball into the area right side, Williams down onto it before Waters can pounce.

Wymondham’s Katie Knights

  Changes for both sides, Norwich with a double substitution bringing off both Drake and Stanley, on come Mollie O’Callaghan and Freya Fuller. Wymondham’s 3rd change sees Rachel Cossey replacing Codman. The Norwich substitutes combining right away as Fuller holds the ball up well out left before sending the pass inside for O’Callaghan 30 yards out has time to look up and take on the shot plenty of power on the ball however Pearce sees it all the way drifting across her goal to take into her midriff. 

  The game remains open Wymondham committing players on looking for a goal, Norwich ready to break on the counter. Todd out on the right drives forwards into the box taking the ball all the way to the by-line doing well to keep it in play squeezing a cross into Snelling at the near post, the attacker can’t get her feet sorted out in time to release a shot as Kett comes in to close her down and clear the ball back with Norwich on the right struck back in low on the angle the effort blocked.

  Knights on for Waters has Nicholls to the right as Wymondham attack, Newcombe round behind her on the overlap the cross squared inside Russell closing in can’t quite take it in her stride allowing the visitors to clear. Symonds pulls up suffering from cramp alot of tired bodies out there alot being put into the game. Waters has been closely watched by Parsons all afternoon the game entering the final 10 minutes. The Wymondham striker working hard throughout to find an advantage battles her way into the area from the left winning a corner. An inswinging delivery, Williams is there to catch cleanly once again. Nicholls is shown a yellow as she pushes Symonds over Norwich with the free-kick Symonds can’t continue comes off to be replaced by Leilah Gooding. The set-piece flung into the far post hooked clear.

   Cossey and Waters link up out on the right in attack for Wymondham the cross flung into the near post just behind Nicholls trying to pull it across her to get a shot away, Johnston gets across to challenge. Clarke forwards on the left for Wymondham squaring a ball into the top of the area Knights stealing in to take the ball inside and send a shot up over the crossbar. Wymondham pushing players on late in the game Cossey with Newcombe forwards on the right the cross sent into the box looping up, Waters rising central can’t get her head on the ball.

 The hosts with a corner on the left driven in near side headed back out to the left Newcombe inside to Clarke 25 yards out left of the D, smashes a low shot wide of the far past. Late pressure for Wymondham another corner on the left in low near side Russell attempting to flick it on cut out and cleared. Gooding in hard on Newcombe a free-kick for Wymondham on the right.

 Russell lifting it into a crowded six yard box headed away Fuller attempting to bring it away on the left, Newcombe tackling to get it back for Wymondham crosses the ball in can’t quite find Knights stealing in at the near post out for a goal kick. The final whistle blow and it’s Norwich who celebrate as they advance to the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup

Full time Wymondham Town Ladies 0-2 Norwich City Women 

  An entertaining contest between two evenly matched sides. Norwich scoring twice from a set-piece either side of the break to win the tie. Wymondham coming close with two efforts off the woodwork but overall neither keeper was overly tested. Was a strong battle in the middle of the park with the defences on both sides doing well to limit clear cut chances in front of goal. Fouls given away cheaply by both sides although it was never played with any bad spirit. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Rarely an easy decision, as always a few performances of note to mention. For Wymondham, Hannah Waters worked tirelessly up front trying to create openings and passing options for her teammates. Becca Russell doing well in the middle winning several challenges trying to link with the attack. For Norwich it was a solid performance right down there spine. Waters the threat up front for Wymondham, Kate Parsons stayed on her throughout the game putting in challenges and forcing her out of the middle. Freya Symonds was dynamic in the middle thrusting forwards with the ball and often getting an attacking play on the move. The award though goes to attacker Natasha Snelling showed great movement throughout drifting left and right allowing others to burst forwards and created several opportunities. Scoring the 2nd goal.

  Another enjoyable game from the FA Women’s Cup and an entertaining local derby between two sides that will no doubt lock horns in crucial games in the future. Like Norwich I look forwards to the draw for the 2nd Round Proper. My thanks to both sides for the team details as always.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – King’s Lynn Town Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Sunday 24th October

 Women’s FA Cup

 Back to King’s Lynn this Sunday for a game from the Women’s FA Cup as the competition enters the 3rd and final qualifying round with 170 sides competing for a place in the 1st Round Proper. Amongst those ERWFL Premier Division newcomers King’s Lynn Town Ladies as they host Cambridge United WFC at The Walks Stadium.

  The FAWNL Division One sides entering the Women’s FA Cup in the final qualifying round, with this year featuring a record number of entries. Teams looking to make history in what is very much regarded a pinnacle competition within the game.  

 King’s Lynn Town Ladies making their debut in the ERWFL Premier Division this season. The squad responding well after winning just a point from their opening 3 matches going on to win 3 of their following 4 matches including a 4-0 home win against title contenders Wymondham Town Ladies to climb up to 5th in the table. successive 2-2 draws away to Colney Heath Ladies and at home to Luton last weekend with Alexa Hunter scoring in the 100th minute to see the points shared. Alexa Hunter amongst the goal scorers too as King’s Lynn Town Ladies won their opening game in the Women’s FA Cup against Suffolk Premier Division side Brettvale Ladies in 2nd Round Qualifying. Amy Magnus also scoring in a 5-1 away victory with Rachel Skinner, Aimee Ford and Oksana Imanalijeva all scoring their first goals of the season. 

 Cambridge United WFC entering the FA Women’s Cup at the 3rd Round Qualifying stage looking to build on what has been a great start to their league campaign in FAWNL South East Division One. Under the new manger Darren Marjoram assisting head coach Ben Yeomans the club are up to 5th in the league and whilst it looks as though the title fight will be between Essex rivals Hashtag United Women and Billericay Town Ladies, Cambridge United lay 2 points behind 3rd placed AFC Wimbledon Ladies. Injuries have seen the whole squad tested and players that have been brought in have responded well to make selection a headache at times. Battled hard against 2nd placed Billericay last time out goalless at the break and trailing by a single goal going into the final 10 minutes before a quickfire double sealed a 3-0 win for Billericay. 

The Walks Stadium

The Walks stadium the venue for today’s FA Cup tie home to The Linnets, King’s Lynn Town FC is now the home ground for the ladies side too. The ERWFL a decent standard of football a great opportunity for the club to expand it’s fanbase within the town. The large mainstand can be seen from picturesque green space beside the ground leading into King’s Lynn’s town centre. A covered terrace on the opposite side with a cafe serving hot and cold food and drinks. A good crowd building, the sun bright over the mainstand, likely to cause some interference to the players during the game. Otherwise dry with a chilly breeze.  

King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Christina Vivas, Chloe Burch, Samantha Davis, Tiffany Forshaw (C), Shanice Burch, Alexa Hunter, Zara O’Neill, Lily Porter, Rachel Skinner, Amie Ford & Amy Magnus. Subs – Amy Bell, Amy Cropley, Kimberley Fairweather, Ella Gavaghan, Jodie Hopkins, Frances Peeling & Catherine Day.

 Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Kira Markwell, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Gisela Otten (C), Grace Waygood, Amy Houghton, Alysha Stojko-Down, Amy Howlett, Laura Mitchell, Emma Jenkins & Ruth Fox. Subs – Grace Joslin, Albany Hodgson, Charlotte Crisp, Abbi Griffin & Niamh Day.

A rarity at this  level with both sides naming a substitute goalkeeper on the bench. captain Laura Baker and full back Ana Re out with knocks for Cambridge, Alysha Stojko-Down previously with Watford FC Women making her first start for the club in midfield along side Amy Houghton with Gisella Otten named as captain. The tie seeing too two players sponsored by Women’s Football East this season going head to head, Amy Howlett for Cambridge and King’s Lynn Town Ladies captain, Tiffany Forshaw, a pleasure to be sponsoring both.

  King’s Lynn in an all blue strip to take the kick-off with Cambridge lined up opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Played back into the middle where Alexa Hunter sends it long over the top for Amy Magnus to chase the ball bouncing harmlessly through to Kira Markwell giving the keeper an early feel of the ball. The ball kicked up field touched on to Laura Mitchell out right for Cambridge outside the area plays it central for Fox, no way through lays it out to Emma Jenkins to her left, tries to get into the area is tackled well by Shanice Burch for King’s Lynn.

  King’s Lynn making a lively start to the game the ball closed down in the centre Skinner on for Hunter lifted forwards, Markwell seeing the ball into her gloves safely. Cambridge advance quickly down their right flank Mitchell carrying the ball to the by-line whipping in a low cross not dealt with at the near post escapes into the middle of the six yard Jenkins there to strike the ball from close range, King’s Lynn goalkeeper Christina Vivas with a superb save down low before Jenkins getting her gloves up sharply to parry the ball away.

King’s Lynn goalkeeper, Christina Vivas

  Cambridge pressing forwards right again a corner won, fired in low inside the six yard box scrambled clear drops to a Cambridge player 25 yards out right of the D hit first time dropping beyond the far post Vivas across to smother the ball. Players nipping in to try and win the ball, a touch scrappy at the start with King’s Lynn keen not to let Cambridge settle on the ball the visitors trying to make use of the width offered, Mitchell and Jenkins available wide with Amy Howlett coming through the middle to support attacker Ruth Fox. Jenkins left on halfway lays it back to full back Carrie Bennett who attempts to dink it forwards for Fox spinning off the last defender, Shanice Burch reading the pass intercepting the ball for King’s Lynn.

King’s Lynn defender, Shanice Burch

  Alysha Stojko-Down comes out to the left with he ball at her feet for Cambridge on for Jenkins who whips in a cross. Tiffany Forshaw with the header inside the six yard box to clear the danger for the hosts. Zara O’Neill tracking back for King’s Lynn as Cambridge break down the right in well positioned to cut out Mitchells cross as she tries to set up Howlett inside the D. Jenkins moving left for Cambridge looks to get in behind a good recovering tackle by Chloe Burch for King’s Lynn as she slides in to take the ball away for a throw. A lively opening 15 minutes King’s Lynn battling to win the ball can’t keep hold of it for long before Cambridge turn play around. 

  A pause in play whilst Forshaw recieves treatment but King’s Lynn’s captain is okay to continue. As Chloe Burch gets forwards on the right for King’s Lynn linking up with Amie ford ahead of her with Amy Magnus drawing the Cambridge centre backs with her, Ford attempting to lay the ball back into Magnus’ path, Jenkins tracking back puts in the challenge to regain possession for the visitors before they can make the attack count. Amy Houghton central for Cambridge spotting Howlett moving clear into a gap on the left looks to get her head down take the ball on, Shanice Burch coming across to slide in take the ball away from her for King’s Lynn.

  Cambridge with another chance to open the scoring Fox picking the ball up centrally 35 yards out knocking it on for Howlett inside the area right of goal, looks to turn the ball across the keeper the ball bouncing up inside the six yard box Vivas throwing herself to her right getting down in time to make the save. Magnus ends up fouling Grace Waygood at the back for Cambridge as the pair tussle for possession after Hunter wins it centrally. Rachel Skinner getting a shot away for King’s Lynn on the right off a throw in dropped into her 20 yards out clips the ball on into the area, straight at the keeper however Markwell holding onto the ball.

King’s Lynn’s Amy Magnus battling with Cambridge’s Grace Waygood

  Abi Davies playing the ball on for Mitchell down the right for Cambridge checks inside before sending in a cross the ball cut out and put behind for a corner kick. The delivery played into a congested near post area, the ball attacked, referee Andrew Wilson spotting a foul King’s Lynn awarded the free-kick. King’s Lynn with an opportunity to break on the right as Magnus gets hold of the ball centrally, Ford bursting on down the flank, pushed wide Ford turns well laying the ball back to Magnus 25 yards out, time and space to line up a shot fires the ball in towards goal, on target but not troubling Markwell. 

Amie Ford on the attack for King’s Lynn

  Cambridge continue wrestle the ball back form King’s Lynn centrally spraying play out to their wide players Mitchell away on the right cuts it back for Houghton top of the area right side, struck on the run her shot races wide across goal. The game opening up as Skinner finds some space out on the right Magnus knocking it out to Ford she sends it on for Skinner who pivots well to lay the ball inside the box for the advancing Magnus, gets her foot to the ball pushing it wide of the near post. 

  A good battle developing between Magnus and Waygood, the King’s Lynn attacker using her body well to try and turn in behind the centre back inside the D, Waygood in turn recovering superbly to lunge in take the ball away from Magnus’ feet allowing fellow centre back Otten to launch clear. Shanice Burch putting in the block on Howlett right of the six yard box as she looks to turn into another shot from a Mitchell cross. Cambridge pressing outside the box the pressure bringing a corner kick. Put in near side King’s Lynn struggle to clear it the ball coming back out to the corner taker blasted back in on the angle, Vivas down smartly at her near post the save.

Amy Howlett looking to get hold of the ball for Cambridge

 Otten playing a long pass out from the back to find Jenkins on the left bringing it down well shifts in field running towards the D, is body checked Cambridge awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position. Jenkins over it goes for goal lifting the ball high over the wall drops onto the roof of the net. Cambridge seeing more of the ball forcing King’s Lynn back making it hard for the hosts to get going up top, Houghton on for Stojko-Down lines up a strike from 20 yards out, her effort charged down by Forshaw,

Cambridge’s Alysha Stojko-Down

 Lily Porter gets forwards for King’s Lynn as they get bodies forwards moving right has support from Ford the ball rolled into her path she attempts to cross on the run the ball spinning inside favourably for the goalkeeper to claim. King’s Lynn coming close to taking the lead themselves coming from a mix up at the back from Cambridge, Otten and Markwell getting to close top of the area as the keeper comes for the ball with Magnus harrying, Otten attempts to play it out only for Magnus to nick it off her toes take it into box and shoot towards the rapidly back peddling Markwell, the rising ball a fraction of an inch over the bar!

Rachel Skinner trying to get on with the ball for King’s Lynn

 

  King’s Lynn enjoying a purple patch at the end of the first half pushing players on Skinner and Ford closer to Magnus up top. Skinner brought down in the middle a free-kick the ball played forwards into the area Magnus looking to take it down right of goal an arm comes across her as she tumbles over. Strong appeals for a penalty but nothing doing a corner nevertheless. The ball played in along the top of the six yard box Markwell coming amongst bodies attempts to punch it away knocked up into the air the keeper grabs it on the deck as King’s Lynn attacks the ball try to knock it out of her hands, for a moment tempers flare up but the incident is quickly dealt with before anyone can get themselves into trouble.

Cambridge goalkeeper, Kira Markwell coming to glove the ball away

Half-time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 0-0 Cambridge United WFC

  An interesting first half goalless at the break. Cambridge with two very good chances to open the scoring whilst King’s Lynn had a good shout for a penalty turned down late in the first half whilst narrowly sending a shot over the bar. The FAWNL South East Division One side with the majority of the attacking play forcing King’s Lynn to defend deep making it hard for the hosts to get the ball to stick with their attackers up top. Cambridge using the width well with both Mitchell and Jenkins finding space right and left. Niggly tackles disrupting play, King’s Lynn will want more of the same in the 2nd half hoping they can keep Cambridge out whilst fashioning a chance of their own.

 

  No changes for either side at the break rarely move from my position during a game but in this instance decided to relocate to the opposite side with the sun setting lower in the sky. Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway.

 GOAL! The perfect start to the 2nd half for the visitors as Cambridge get bodies forwards to open the scoring. Play out on the left Jenkins back to Bennett allowed space to come out sends it low into Fox central, controls well shielding the ball back to goal shifts it to her right turning into the strike the ball rising plenty behind it, Vivas throws herself back attempting to save not sure if she gets a touch or not the ball though coming down off the crossbar bouncing inside the six yard box, Howlett rushing in from the right on the follow up quickest to the ball connecting with it solidly to smash the ball into the back of the net 0-1.

Amy Howlett opens the scoring for Cambridge

   A positive start to the 2nd half from Cambridge a blow for King’s Lynn. play resumes tackles flying in the ball out of play over on the right. Jenkins winning a free-kick for Cambridge on the left level with the top of the area, flighted into the box, headed clear by O’Neill, the ball dropping for Stojko-Down to smash from distance her strike blocked, deflected in behind Markwell able to get down to grab the ball as Magnus closing in goes over her.

Midfielders, Alysha Stojko-Down and Zara O’Neill battle for possession

  Cambridge pushing on Fox picking up the ball deep on the right powering her way forwards down to the by-line before playing it back to Howlett top of the area right of the D she in turn laying it off for Mitchell closing in her powerfully hit strike angling away from the near post. Ford plays the ball on for O’Neill for King’s Lynn central she drives forwards is brought down, to the right of the circle 40 yards out, O’Neill to play the ball into the box attacked inside the six yard box, Markwell though gets down to smother the loose ball.

  Both Waygood and now Otten are continuing to enjoy a good battle with Magnus up top for King’s Lynn. Magnus getting the free-kick this time against Otten 40 yards out. Forshaw on the set piece, her attempt at goal landing on the roof of the Cambridge net. King’s Lynn making a change with Ford coming off, Ella Gavaghan sent on to join Magnus up top. 

  The game opening up as King’s Lynn press on looking for a reply they are left exposed at the back, Fox taking advantage as she is played in making a move to the left getting in behind Chloe Burch the full back attempting to get back on her before she can get into the box slides in an brings the attacker down.

Chloe Burch bringing down Cambridge’s Ruth Fox

  GOAL! Cambridge with a free-kick outside the box left side, Mitchell coming across to take as players group around the top of the area right side ready to attack the delivery. Mitchell lays it on a plate putting in a great ball across the six yard box, players rushing in Stojko-Down the first to the ball to drive it home to make it 0-2 and score her first for Cambridge.

The build-up to Alysha Stojko-Down scoring her 1st and Cambridge’s 2nd goal.

  Waygood coming across to defend win the ball off Skinner as she gets the ball into her feet and drives on down the wing. Cambridge winning the ball centrally Houghton linking with Stojko-Down on for Howlett peeling away on the right striking the ball early on the angle sends it wide through the six yard box. Fox leading the attack for Cambridge finding space to run into now seeing the ball into her feet well spins in behind running for the area 30 yards out, Shanice Burch recovering brilliantly to catch Fox sliding in has to get her tackle right and does connecting with the ball to force it out for a corner on the left.

King’s Lynn’s Ella Gavaghan with Cambridge’s Grace Waygood

  Taken short between Jenkins and Mitchell, the latter turning for the by-line inside the area flashing a ball through the six yard box no one connecting, Fox retrieving beyond the far post is closed down by Forshaw the danger cleared. Magnus almost put through inside the box on the left escaping her marker as the diagonal ball comes in, Markwell close in deflects the ball behind for a corner, Cambridge defending at their near post. Jenkins moving left inside for Stojko-Down clips it on into the area looking for Fox, too close to the keeper though Vivas takes on the bounce.

Emma Jenkins looking to turn outside the box for Cambridge

  Jenkins and Fox combine on the left the ball squared into Fox by Jenkins top of the D left side who in turn lifts the ball in towards goal, straight at Vivas the keeper claims it cleanly. Houghton is fouled on halfway right side for Cambridge the set-piece played on up the line leading to a corner being won on the left. Before it is taken Cambridge make a change bringing off Stojko-Down for Abbi Griffin who is returning from a recent injury. 

   GOAL! A strong 2nd half from Cambridge so far and with the game moving into the final 15 minutes the visitors go on to extend their lead from the corner kick. Attempting the same move that didn’t come off minutes ago the ball is put short into Mitchell spinning towards the by-line wrapping her foot around the ball fires it across the face of goal finding Fox beyond the far post she lashes it back across to score and make it 0-3.

Ruth Fox breaking in attack for Cambridge scoring the visitors 3rd goal

   King’s Lynn make a chance bringing on Jodie Hopkins. Almost makes an immediate impact as the hosts win a free-kick to the left the ball drops into the box Hopkins running through almost heading getting her head on the ball as Markwell comes to punch it away to safety. Magnus with a strike from distance some 30 yards out to the left Markwell seeing it run wide at her far post. Hopkins too with a strike from distance moments later that only succeeds in picking out Markwell. A change at the back for King’s Lynn with Forshaw coming for, on comes Frances Peeling. 

Amy Houghton winning the ball for Cambridge

   Griffin is brought down in the middle by O’Neill. The visitors making a 3rd chance with Houghton taken off on comes ex-King’s Lynn player Albany Hodgson. The set-piece taken put out to Jenkins on the left as Bennett races on to support her, doubling up on Chloe Burch both see a cross blocked inside the area first by Shanice Burch then O’Neill before Skinner clear it up field. Fox showing good control with the ball close at her feet turning to lay in on for Jenkins left of the D leaning into her shot places it wide of goal. Pushing on looking for a goal King’s Lynn are tiring risking gaps opening up at the back Davies allowed to charge on right side flashing a cross behind. 

   Cambridge bring Fox off late in the game sending on Niamh Day up top. Cambridge win a corner as Bennett left puts the ball on for Jenkins to cross into the six yard box picking out Howlett her snap shot deflected behind. Right side the delivery floated in high Griffin rising well near side to get her head on the ball drilling a header down across goal, Waygood closing in at the far post goes for it the ball squeezing wide past the post.

Rachel Skinner attacking for King’s Lynn

  Skinner moving across the final 3rd getting a little joy on the right pressing on squares a ball in centrally, cut out by Hodgson before Gavaghan can latch onto it. Hopkins tackling to stop Cambridge breaking keeping the attack alive shoots from 20 yards out her effort over the top. Hunter gets hold of the ball in the middle battling her way through shoots from all of 30 yards out, frustrated as her effort only finds Markwell back on her line.

King’s Lynn’s Jodie Hopkins with Cambridge’s Gisella Otten

  Griffin plays the ball on central for Day to break in behind, Peeling getting across to slide in and tackle take the ball away from her before she can reach the box line up a strike. 

King’s Lynn’s Frances Peeling tackling Cambridge striker, Niamh Day

  The game into stoppage time Cambridge strong throughout the 2nd half pressing forwards with Mitchell right side players arriving in the box, the cross coming in Skinner has covered alot of ground to get back heading the ball clear inside the six yard box with Day behind her.

Full time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 0-3 Cambridge United WFC

  A strong 2nd half performance from Cambridge seeing them win the match 3-0 to advance to the 1st Round Proper of the Women’s FA Cup. Getting the half off to the perfect start rocking King’s Lynn back with an early goal. Continued to dominate throughout getting on well and exploiting the space further as King’s Lynn pushed up looking to get play into their attackers. Few opportunities for King’s Lynn 2nd half Cambridge always having Mitchell and Jenkins available out wide Fox too enjoying more freedom in the middle. The 2nd and 3rd goals coming from set plays Cambridge getting the job done. Looking strong as a team unit as they have for much of the season so far. King’s Lynn battling hard in the first half might well have taken the lead themselves with a couple of chances but couldn’t match Cambridge 2nd half.

 Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Firstly a few performances of note to mention starting with King’s Lynn. Amy Magnus worked hard leading the attack making live uncomfortable for  the Cambridge centre backs. Shanice Burch with a number of crucial tackles at the back. Amie Ford finding space on the right trying to get up with Magnus. As they have done already twice this season Cambridge make it very difficult to single out an individual for the POM award as they put in a shift as a team. Nevertheless Alysha Stojko-Down and Amy Houghton both played well in central midfield with Laura Mitchell making great runs on the right. Today’s award though goes to attacker Ruth Fox, led the line well with some good positional play and control enjoying more freedom 2nd half either going forwards on her own or bringing others into play scoring the 3rd goal.

  Another enjoyable afternoon at The Walks my thanks as always to the clubs and Gary Reed for helping me out with the team details and for the assistance offered by everyone at the stadium. 

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Royston Town Women v Bowers & Pitsea Ladies

Sunday 3rd October

Women’s FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

A trip to Hertfordshire this Sunday to watch a game from the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Women’s FA Cup. An all ERWFL Premier Division clash between Royston Town Women and Bowers & Pitsea Ladies.

A record number of entries into this season’s competition, 120 ties pulled out of the hat for the 2nd Qualifying Round. For many it’s the first step to Wembley regardless of how long the journey might be. A historic competition that stirs up emotions. Last season’s competition still ongoing delayed due to the ongoing COVID pandemic the quarter finals played in midweek see FAWSL sides Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Brighton reach the last 4. For those sides competing today it’s the beginning of a new adventure.

An all ERWFL Premier Division clash between Royston Town Women and Bowers & Pitsea Ladies as both begin this season’s Women’s FA Cup having met already once this season with Bowers & Pitsea Ladies having home advantage in a 2-0 win.

That loss aside Royston Town Women have made an excellent start to the season in the league, winning 4 of their 7 games so far including a 5-1 midweek win at home to Haringey Borough Women that saw them climb up to 2nd in the Premier Division table. Emma Slater, Royston’s top scorer so far netting 7 times in 7 appearances whilst Bella Simmons, dual signed to Royston with Cambridge City Ladies has 5 goals to her name including a midweek hat-trick against Haringey. Also coming into the squad are 3 former Histon Ladies players, Becky Charter and Lauren Martin with Abby Laughlin also returning to the club. Matt Phillips formerly head coach at Histon joining Lewis Endacott’s coaching team.

Change’s at Bowers & Pitsea in the management department too. Darren Fraser and Daniel Foord bringing Little Thurrock Dynamo’s to the club to become Bowers & Pitsea Ladies the club has grown successfully. Fraser moving on whilst Foord is now ladies chairman aswell as looking after the media. John Levy now managing the 1st team assisted by Adam Sinclair. The ERWFL Premier Division not an easy league to get established in getting stronger year on year Bowers & Pitsea have made a solid start to the season pitching up some useful results. Sit comfortably in mid-table well placed to push on as the season progresses. Have a largely settled squad backed up by a Development side. Amber Amey coming in from Hutton Ladies whilst, Phoebe Keys and Talisa Bruton come up from the Development side.

Garden Walk the venue for today’s game home to Royston Town FC aswell as the women’s side. A large clubhouse and bar area serving hot and cold drinks. A small seated stand on one side of the pitch opposite the dugouts. The pitch itself looking immaculate the grass lush and green offering good width whilst sloping slightly from on end to the other. After a day of heavy rain yesterday the pitch has drained well, the weather much calmer today clouds around but the sun still ale to offer a little heat when it breaks through as we enter October.

Royston Town Women starting XI – Mia O’Brien, Fran Gough, Abby Laughlin, Tally Miles, Amy Cooper (C), Sammy Edgar, Georgia Miller, Charlotte South, Becky Charter, Emma Slater & Bella Simmons. Subs – Paris Coldicott-Stevens, Grace Georgiou, Anny Chambers, Hattie Bourne & Ellie Pickard.

Bowers & Pitsea Ladies starting XI – Violet Hickman, Natalie Strange, Phoebe Keys, Danielle Sillitoe (C), Katie Whitehead, Amber Amey, Sarah Wilson, Sophie Rhodes, Holly Moore, Talisa Bruton & Georgia Fraser. Subs – Danielle Styles, Courtney Fraser, Eloise Ives & Sophie Dowman.

A change of ends to begin the game with Bowers & Pitsea kicking off the 1st half wearing and all red strip with white trim and white across the breast of the shirt. Royston in their home colours of white shirts and socks with black shorts. Played back to Danielle Sillitoe in defence, Bowers & Pitsea’s captain sends it long out to the left looking for the run of Holly Moore, has the pace but so does the ball as it skips on along the surface enabling Royston’s Fran Gough to get across Moore and see it out of play for a goal kick. 

Bowers & Pitsea’s Sarah Wilson with Royston’s Fran Gough

 

   The ball quickly closed down in the centre of the park Bowers & Pitsea look for width again out to the right this time with Katie Whitehead getting up the pitch to support Talisa Bruton looks to get infield towards the box, Tally Milles getting in on her shoulder defending for Royston the ball running behind for a corner kick. Fired in central Royston captain Amy Cooper gets up highest to head it clear of the six yard box, Bowers & Pitsea reclaiming left side put back in central, Charlotte South blocking a shot at close range before a strike comes in off the deflected ball outside the box runs wide of the left post.

  Royston bring the ball up the pitch right side on for Emma Slater peeling out to the wing squares it inside for Bella Simmons outside the box right of the D, Sillitoe sliding in to cut the ball out puts it away for a throw. South links up with Simmons on the right for Royston laying the ball on into the area for Simmons to chase Phoebe Keys getting across the striker to guide the ball out for a goalkick. Bowers & Pitsea looking for runners right and left as they break up play in the middle. Cooper has to come across to deal with Bruton as she jinks her way inside from the right the ball cleared for a throw.

Bowers & Pitsea defender, Phoebe Keys

 Is competitive both sides putting in the challenges early on Bowers & Pitsea frustrating Royston harrying the defence, South unhappy as a decision goes against her presenting Bowers & Pitsea with a free-kick in a central position 30 yards out. Georgia Fraser over the set-piece the attacker having an attempt on goal the shot looping over the bar. Sammy Edgar clatters into Sophie Rhodes out wide right giving the visiting side another free-kick some 40 yards out. 

  GOAL! Sillitoe on the set-piece as Bowers & Pitsea load players into the box, is a fantastic delivery whipped in towards the fair post attacked well, Sarah Wilson at the back stick amongst those running in gets her head to the ball powering it past the keeper into the back of the net to score her 1st goal of the season 0-1.

Sarah Wilson opens the scoring for Bowers & Pitsea

  Tally Miles defending well at left back for Royston carrying the ball out from the back plays a one two with Georgia Miller in the middle before taking the ball on up the line sending a early ball into the box looking for Slater, Violet Hickman out of her six yard box early coming to claim the ball. Play a little stretched at times Bowers & Pitsea quick to get on the counter attack the ball won by Rhodes out to Bruton breaking away down the right drawing players to her Gough finds herself outnumbered in the box as the cross is fired in Georgia Fraser can’t reach it central in bounces through to Moore beyond the far post clips her half volley over the bar from 10 yards out. 

Royston’s Emma Slater

 

  Bowers & Pitsea have started the game well getting on the front foot, Royston haven’t really settled the Essex side using Moore and Bruton well on the flanks. Rhodes busy in the middle of the park breaking up play. South turning on the ball sweeping a pass out wide right to the advancing Charter crosses early the ball taking a deflection favouring the goalkeeper. Edgar battling for possession in the middle for Royston lays it into Miller who flicks it out to the right for South, attempts to thread it through for Slater, too much on it Hickman can come and gather. A vicious bounce on the ball inside the box as Moore attacks on the left for Bowers & Pitsea sides Mia O’Brien coming to close the angle deceived the ball looping over her turns relieved to see it run wide of her far post.

   Royston are getting frustrated some decisions going against them, Rhodes mopping up in the middle once again for Bowers & Pitsea rolls the ball back to her defence who are straight away looking to get their wide players on the attack. A throw inside the Royston half on the right for Bowers & Pitsea inside for Rhodes turns and puts a great diagonal ball in behind the defence for Georgia Fraser to attack, O’Brien sharp off her line to slide in and save at the attackers feet.

  GOAL! Midway through the first half and Royston come back to level the scores the ball played out of the back quickly to Charter on the left wing breaks forward well laying it inside for Slater to take on into the area, Hickman rushing out to close her down, saves well at close range blocking Slaters attempt the ball still alive in the area, Simmons racing in on the follow-up first to it strikes the ball Hickman on the floor throwing herself at it making another save the ball though dropping straight back to Simmons who keeps her composure to lift her 2nd attempt over the stranded keeper into the back of the net beyond 1-1. 

Bella Simmons (centre) getting Royston back on level terms

  Royston get straight back on the offensive after the restart attacking right, Keys winning it back for Bowers & Pitsea into the middle play turned around rapidly Moore away on the left Georgia Fraser breaking central as the winger gets to the by-line turning to flash a rising cross in near post Fraser meeting it on the volley around six yards out clipping her attempt over the bar. Neither side looking to dwell on the ball wanting to move it forwards quickly Royston finding Charter on the move left side has support from South inside she turns playing the ball along the top of their opponents area for Edgar on the right who sends it up the line for Gough making the overlapping run, Natalie Strange stepping in to win the challenge for Bowers & Pitsea. 

Charlotte South attempting to win the ball for Royston

  Whitehead getting up the pitch with Bruton right side a dangerous cross whipped in near post Georgia Fraser throwing herself at it can’t quite make contact. The game opens up suddenly one moment Bowers & Pitsea are on the attack with Moore on the left, O’Brien holding onto the ball put into the box is played out rapidly to Charter on the left, Slater providing a good left channel run seeing the ball rolled into her path strikes it on the angle Hickman down low saving well the ball loose though Simmons in on the follow up sees her strike blocked by the keeper this time the Bowers & Pitsea defence getting back to block another goal attempt. 

Bowers & Pitsea captain, Danielle Sillitoe

  Key fouls South out wide left a free-kick to the hosts, Edgar on it plays an inviting ball in long to the far post, Sillitoe doing well defensively for Bowers & Pitsea the ball carried out of the area by Rhodes the counter attack is on as the midfielder spreads play long to the left for Moore breaking away down the wing sending it through for Georgia Fraser, O’Brien quick off her line to the edge of the area to slide in and smother the ball. 

 Bruton gets herself into a central position taking the ball on travelling at pace looks to plough her way through the Royston defence, Laughlin holding her up, the ball rolls back to Rhodes closing in with Bruton, Cooper though stepping in quickly to charge the ball down as Rhodes goes to shoot. Bruton causing problems for Royston is central still attempting a through ball right to left for Georgia Fraser to run onto, O’Brien sharp out quickly to meet her once again. 

  Wilson in the middle for Bowers & Pitsea threading the ball through to Bruton inside the D, Cooper getting in a foot to stab the ball away for a throw on the right. Key playing a long diagonal ball out to Moore advancing on the right, an ambitious attempt striking the falling ball on the volley connects with it well enough the strike though whistling over the bar. Bruton on the right wrestles the ball off Gough at the back sends it inside for Georgia Fraser some 30 yards out a scuffed effort doesn’t trouble O’Brien running wide of her near post.

  Royston with a throw high on the left Laughlin into South puts it infield for Slater 25 yards out lays it back for Edgar to lift into the box to the right looking for Simmons who can’t quite get it down with her head to direct a shot on target. Royston attacking late in the first half on the left inside for Slater who lays it back central for Miller 25 yards out. leaning back into her shot puts it up over the crossbar. Whitehead bringing the ball on for Bowers & Pitsea right side crossing for Georgia Fraser central, Miles in ahead of her to head the ball clear for Royston.

Half-time Royston Town Women 1-1 Bowers & Pitsea Ladies

  A lively first half that has seen plenty of action certainly has a cup tie feel about it. Bowers & Pitsea starting the game well going on to open the scoring inside 10 minutes. Were on the front foot early on whilst Royston seemed to take a while to settle were frustrated at times as thing’s didn’t appear to go their way. The visitors using the width of the pitch quick to get attacks going. Royston coming back to level the scores though settling better the game open at times as both looked to get on quickly the hosts coming closest to having the lead, as it stands it remains all square with both sides creating opportunities. Has to be settled on the day either with a goal through open play or penalties. 

A change for Bowers & Pitsea at the start of the 2nd half with Courtney Fraser coming on for Katie Whitehead. The sun making a appearance at the start of the 2nd half low in the sky a potential problem for the team defending that end, Bowers & Pitsea goalkeeper, Hickman donning a cap as the players return to the pitch. Royston to get the 2nd period underway. The visitors getting hold of the ball with Strange at left back able to travel forwards into space on for Moore, is tackled by Cooper play quickly turned around put into the middle with Simmons on the turn putting it over the top for Slater, Hickman needs to come racing out of her box, just about wins the race getting her foot on the ball before Slater can nick it past her.

    South with the ball on the left passes inside to Edgar who in turn places it central for Miller to line up a low strike from 25 yards out angling in low Hickman dives to her left to make the save inside her six yard box turning the ball behind for a corner kick. Royston looking to get on the offensive early on in the 2nd half a throw left inside for South battles her way infield to pick out Miller top of the D she lays it back to Edgar who hits the shot 1st time blasting the ball wide of the right post. A double change for Royston with Miller and Laughlin coming off, on come Ellie Pickard and Paris Coldicott-Stevens who recently celebrated making her 100th appearance for the club.

Royston’s Paris Coldicott-Stevens

  Simmons in on the ball right of the box as Edgar wins it high up the pitch, whips in a strike on the angle always rising goes over the bar. South tussling for the ball does well to win a corner on the right for Royston following good work from Charter up the wing. In low towards the near post Wilson defends well for Bowers & Pitsea. Regained on the left by Charter players turning back towards goal as she whips a cross into the area Cooper up trying to get her head on the ball knocks it down, too close to Hickman who can snatch it to safety. 

 Royston with all the pressure in the 2nd half, Bowers & Pitsea pushed back, the ball put in from the left Simmons central gets a strike away defended comes out to the right another strike blazed in Hickman with a spectacular diving catch at her near post. Bowers & Pitsea finding themselves on the back foot at the start of the 2nd half.  The trainer on as both Moore and Rhodes are down. 

Becky Charter looking to send Emma Slater away for Royston

  Both up on their feet play resuming Wilson putting it out to the right Bruton racing forwards getting in behind fires in a shot on the angle driven in low races across the six yard box Moore closing in far side can’t get there as it runs out of play. Royston make another change bringing on Hattie Bourne for Gough. Rhodes central up to Bruton right of the D 20 yards out Georgia Fraser close to her, Miles in between both seeing the ball safely back to her keeper. Refereeing decisions still causing Royston some frustration as they feel they are not getting the rub of the green. 

 Bowers & Pitsea with a free-kick on halfway to the right of the centre circle. Sillitoe to play it up into the area Royston head it away drops to Rhodes outside the D her shot is charged down runs back to Georgia Fraser central leaning back into her shot sends a curling effort narrowly wide of the top corner. Rhodes last action of the game as she is replaced by Sophie Dowman.

  A busy few moments for Key in the Bowers & Pitsea defence as first she sees the ball back to her keeper as Slater gets on her bike in the middle. Then the defender makes a double block as both Slater and Simmons have a go from outside the box. With Royston getting players forwards much better in the 2nd period Moore is called into action at the back tracking back well to slide in and take the ball away from Charter as she gets past Strange. 

  Edgar plays a superb pass out to Charter getting clear on the right taking a run at the box Sillitoe gets across to put in the blocking tackle as she goes to unleash a shot. The ball running behind for a corner. A great delivery flashed in low to the top of the six yard box near side, Edgar digging out a goal bound effort, defended on the post by Wilson. Royston are quick to reclaim the ball out on the right Charter’s cross flying harmlessly through the six yard box as the game moves into the final 15 minutes. 

Royston’s Hattie Bourne

  Royston a pressing hard for a goal coming trough the middle Coldicott-Stevens then Edgar lifting an inviting ball in towards the top of the back on both occasions Sillitoe winning a vital header at the back for Bowers & Pitsea. The visitors away on the right Bruton with pace after the ball, O’Brien out to the top of her area sliding in to clear the ball out for a throw. Up on the right Bowers & Pitsea work the ball in central top of the area, a hand ball is spotted the referee pointing to the spot!

  GOAL! Royston disputing the decision arguing the infringement was outside the box the decision stands however. A penalty for Bowers & Pitsea, up comes the captain to place the ball on the spot a chance to fire her team into the lead with a little over 10 minutes to play, running up makes no mistake wrong footing the keeper to place the ball high to her left to score 1-2.

Danielle Sillitoe running in to score for Bowers & Pitsea

   A blow for Royston go straight on the attack from the restart, Slater bursting on winning a corner that frustratingly comes to nothing. Charter is causing problems on the right for Royston however Moore is tracking back with her constantly to slide in and defend putting the ball out for another corner. Comes in near side Miles getting something on it knocking it down into the middle, Amey fouled as she goes to defend Bowers & Pitsea with the free-kick. 

Holly Moore tackling Becky Charter

  Space opening up at the back for Bowers & Pitsea as Royston commit players forwards looking to get back on level terms Bruton away right firing in a cross/shot claimed by O’Brien. Simmons chases out to the right to nick the ball back of a defender turns back to attack the box flashing in a cross along the penalty spot picking out Slater falling back into the shot, sees her strike run wide of the right post. Cooper carries the ball out from the back for Royston before playing it on down the right for Simmons to the by-line her cross is plucked down confidently by Hickman. 

Royston midfielder, Sammy Edgar

  Royston piling forwards late in the game South battling to win possession right on for Charter who lifts a cross in to the far post attacked well by Edgar the ball seeming to take a deflection as it drops wide of goal, Edgar furious a corner isn’t awarded recieves a yellow card. Less than 4 minutes plus stoppage time left for Royston to find a goal. Bowers & Pitsea defending for their lives at times can’t get the ball to stick up top, Charter and South combining on the right before the cross is played into the top of the area Slater getting her head on the ball turns it over the crossbar. 

  A hand ball decision favours Royston this time out on the left a free-kick awarded 35 yards out a high ball played into the area is dangerous threatening to dip under Hickman’s bar, gloves up to claim it on her line as players close in the keeper falls to the ground keeping hold of it as Royston’s attack trying to get the ball over the line, the whistle blowing Royston claim the goalkeeper carried the ball over the line are dismayed when after consulting with the linesman the original decision that the goalkeeper was fouled stands.

 Into stoppage time Royston winning a corner send everyone up the delivery in to the far post hooked clear by the visiting defence, a strike from distance rattles back in wide of the left post. One last attack on the left for Royston, Coldicott-Stevens on for Miles breaking forwards, Courtney Fraser can get across her to guide the ball out safely for a goalkick.  

Full time Royston Town Women 1-2 Bowers & Pitsea Ladies

  The final whistle blows and it’s Bowers & Pitsea who celebrate as they win 2-1 to advance in the competition. Certainly had to put in a defensive shift 2nd half to keep Royston at bay. Scoring the all important goal with 10 minutes left to play. A proper cup tie Bowers & Pitsea getting off to a good start on the front foot early whilst Royston didn’t seem to settle find their rhythm the visitors taking the lead inside 10 minutes, Royston battling back to level midway through the first half both having chances to lead at the break. A different story 2nd half arguably Royston were the better side getting on the front foot straight away putting the Bowers & Pitsea defence under pressure. The Essex side stood firm however having few opportunities up the other end but when they had one they took it to get their noses in front and held on to claim the win. Royston will no doubt be hurting after that result a game they themselves might well have won just wasn’t to be their day decisions going against them adding to their frustrations. Bowers & Pitsea though advance in the cup and will be hoping for a home draw in the 3rd Qualifying Round scheduled to be played Sun 24th October. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, thought this was going to be a tough one but the notes I’ve taken present a clear winner. A few performances of note to mention first. For Royston, Becky Charter carried a strong threat on the both flanks throughout the game getting forwards and linking up with the attackers. Charlotte South got about the pitch battling for possession well, along with Sammy Edgar who put in a committed performance in the middle of the park. For Bowers & Pitsea, Talisa Bruton and Holly Moore caused plenty of problems on the wings whilst Sophie Rhodes was excellent in the middle especially 1st half. The award today though goes to Bowers & Pitsea’s captain Danielle Sillitoe a strong performance in the heart of the defence winning numerous balls, setting up the 1st goal and scoring the winning penalty.

An enjoyable trip to Hertfordshire today, an entertaining cup tie, could well have gone either way and shows what the ERWFL is all about even if this was a cup tie. My thanks to both clubs for their help with the team line-ups today as always much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Netherton United Ladies v Leigh Ramblers Ladies

Sunday 4th October

Women’s FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying

Back on the FA Cup trail this Sunday with a game from 1st Round Qualifying. Cambridgeshire Premiership side Netherton United Ladies reaching this stage of the competition for the first time hoping to cause an upset hosting ERWFL side Leigh Ramblers Ladies.

  The Women’s FA Cup now sponsored by Vitality, and whilst Everton Women will face Manchester City Women in the final of last season’s competition at Wembley on the 1st November. This season’s competition is now into it’s 3rd round of games, 84 sides reaching 1st Round Qualifying. 42 ties to be played with Storm Alex blowing in bringing with it alot of rain, promising a wet afternoon everywhere, several games falling by the wayside.

  Netherton United Ladies play on 3G however so there would need to be a heck of a lot of water to see it called off. Has been quite a while since I last visited The Grange to see Netherton play, alot of changes since then. Lee Martin now in charge of the women’s side. A long established side competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership and aiming to challenge for the top positions. Made history in the Preliminary Round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup winning convincingly away to Northamptonshire side Desborough Ladies 10-0. Drawn at home to higher league opposition in 1st Round Qualifying know it will be a tough challenge, recieving video messages of support from Jimmy Bullard and Paul Merson to give the squad added motivation before the game.

  A long journey in the rain from Essex for Leigh Ramblers Ladies. Have made some good memories in the Women’s FA Cup themselves in recent season’s as a county league side knocking out higher league opposition. Successive promotions those results no doubt going a long way in seeing them promoted to the ERWFL themselves. A solid debut season at that level before Covid brought thing’s to an end. Began this season with a 2-1 away win against Chelmsford City Ladies in the Preliminary Round, Rhiana Castle and Chloe Gilligan with the goals. 

  Peterborough a hot bed for women’s footballing talent boasting a number of sides competing at various levels. The venue today The Grange, situated behind a new build estate the facility boasts a number of grass pitches alongside the main 3G pitch, a small stand offering some cover for spectators. A food truck on hand serving hot food and drinks. Various measures in place to make the facility Covid secure. The weather crap, dull and overcast rain forecast and to fall heavily during the match. Multi-tasking skills to the fore today, a notepad and camera to juggle aswell as an umbrella, thankfully little wind about so the umbrella can be stuffed down the jacket

Netherton United Ladies starting XI – Ali Beel, Lucy Johnson, Dita Upesjure, Carmen Giles (C), Klinta Kulite, Megan Strickland, Lauren Laws, Jenna Nairn, Yasmin Green, Emily Johnson & Katie Barber. Subs – Amy Stanyon, Chloe Earth, Sasha Haw, Ellie Gaston, Amber Parkinson, Natalie Gibbs, Tayla Harris & Clare Noades.

Leigh Ramblers Ladies starting XI – Emily Mackler, Rhiana Castle, Jess McGarva, Paige White, Jordan Castle, Rebecca Dalgarno, Georgia Holdaway (C), Rhianne Cunningham, Ria Toovey, Amber Denton & Elisha Turner-Powell. Subs – Chloe Gilligan, Connie Mashford, Molly Giles & Lucy Dalgarno.

  The rain has been steady but the worst is on it’s way. Leigh to have the kick-off in the first half wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. Netherton lined up opposite wearing red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and red socks. Played back to Rebecca Dalgarno she passes it into captain Georgia Holdaway who spreads play out to the left wing with Ria Toovey after the ball, Lucy Johnson back on her in defence the full back conceding an early corner. Put in towards the top of the area Netherton clear and look to break with Emily Johnson racing on with the ball left channel the ball knocked on as she tries to get in behind, Leigh can see it out for a goal kick. 

   Netherton captain Carmen Giles gets across from centre back to tackle Toovey as she attempts to get in behind the full back on the right. Leigh making a bright start winning another corner on the right. A good delivery in from Dalgarno inswinging towards the far post, goalkeeper Ali Beel stretching getting a glove on the ball to punch it away to the left side the visitors winning a 3rd corner in as many minutes. Netherton not settled.

 GOAL! Leigh score from the corner, take it short up the line, the cross then played in along the top of the area runs through to Rhianne Cunningham right of the D 20 yards out striking the ball 1st time lifting her shot up and over the keeper to find the back of the net 0-1.

Rhianne Cunningham opens the scoring for Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  An early blow for Netherton get on the offensive as Emily Johnson on the left has support through the middle with Megan Strickland. Johnson controlling the ball well passing it inside for Strickland to head on into the gap opening on the left Emily Johnson racing into it gathering the ball puts a diagonal ball into the box looking for Yasmin Green coming in far side the ball though ahead of her goalkeeper Emily Mackler not troubled.

  Amber Denton getting hold of the ball travelling down the right for Leigh putting it inside for Toovey 25 yards out goes to strike the ball, Klinta Kulite close into her blocking the ball. Leigh on top in the early exchanges moving the ball through the middle well finding Denton out on the right Toovey along side fellow attack Elisha Turner-Powell making some threatening runs through the middle. Dalgarno attempts to thread a pass through the middle both attackers on the move a vital interception from Kulite. Giles is down in need of treatment after a coming together on the left. Walks off gingerly, the referee allowing her back on as play resumes.

Leigh Ramblers, Jess McGarva defending against Netherton’s Emily Johnson

  Denton with a strong run gets clear on the right into the corner pivots to put a cross in along the face of goal misses Toovey attacking near post, Turner-Powell right behind her connecting lifts her attempt over the bar. Holdaway allowed time on the ball left side sets her sights and takes on the strike from all of 30 yards out, dipping late drops over. Emily Johnson looking to carry the threat in attack of Netherton in the early exchanges wins her side a corner. The ball played in from the right comes through to Emily Johnson far side bringing it back up to the top of the area plays it across, Rhiana Castle getting there to clear before Lauren Laws can arrive from midfield.

Rhiana Castle clearing for Leigh Ramblers

   Giles can’t shake off her knock has to come off handing the armband to Strickland on comes Amber Parkinson at the back. Holdaway scoops a ball over the top for Turner-Powell to chase, a god starting position from goalkeeper Beel allows her to get out to it first and launch clear. Jenna Nairn playing the ball up to Green in attack on the right wins the hosts a corner kick. A good inswinging delivery from the right under the bar, Mackler though is able to claim it high in her gloves without challenge. Leigh a quickly in the attack up the other end as Holdaway releases Turner-Powell into the left channel, challenged by Lucy Johnson the ball spinning behind for a corner. 

  The game is opening up both sides looking to get it on through the middle, Nairn puts Katie Barber in at goal, Jess McGarva on her shoulder, Barber gets the ball out diagonally to the let with Emily Johnson bombing forwards plays it early into the box, Mackler advancing scooping the ball up into her gloves. 

 GOAL! Denton is finding room out on the right the ball played into her takes it further into the corner stretching play drawing players with her as Toovey and Turner-Powell break centrally into the area. Denton’s cross on the money dipping as it arrives into the six yard box straight to Turner-Powell seeing it into her feet turns to guide the ball over the line from close range. 0-2.

  Leigh doubling there lead with a little over 15 minutes played. The visitors making a strong start. Jordan Castle breaking up a Netherton attack at the back gets Leigh going forwards the ball into Dalgarno central she has Cunningham to her left sends it through for Turner-Powell breaking in behind left side, Beel out quickly to the top of her area claiming the ball. Emily Johnson pace on the wing left side gets in behind taking the ball on to the by-line looking to get into the box evades a tackle reaching the top of the six yard box angling to shoot across the keeper, Mackler down sharply to make the save pushing the ball wide, Cunningham and Green coming together far side as the midfielder attempts to clear the ball. Put out as Cunningham recieves treatment back on her feet the corner has been awarded. Sportsmanship from Netherton however as they acknowledge the ball was played out given back to the visiting goalkeeper.

   Nairn brings the ball on from the middle for Netherton left side has Emily Johnson ahead of her as Strickland hugs the line, Johnson spotting her sends the ball out to her as she races forwards to get into the box, Strickland attempts to return the ball read by Jordan Castle who slides in on Johnson to regain possession for Leigh. The rain has eased enough to abandon the umbrella (for now). A free-kick for the hosts on halfway played up for Green right side she crosses early. Mackler holding it cleanly into her midriff at the near post with Emily Johnson running in. Nairn with an ambitious attempt from all of 35 yards out central, clipping the ball up lands on the roof of the net. 

  Denton continues to make good runs into the right has Cunningham making a run across her to get into the right corner picking her out her cross into the area is held well by Beel at her near post. Netherton gaining some momentum as they look to get a foot hold back in the game Emily Johnson recieving the ball inside the area from the advancing Nairn, back to goal lays it back to the midfielder struck on the run from 20 yards her effort straight at the keeper.

 GOAL! Leigh deliver a sucker punch as Netherton go forwards they are hit on the counter the visitors moving the ball quickly lifted over the top as Toovey breaks in behind towards the box, Beel starting to come Toovey connects early striking the bouncing ball to lob her and score. 0-3.

  Chloe Earth is on for Netherton as Nairn puts it on through the middle for Barber strength tries to bulldoze her way through into the area before being stopped by Jordan Castle tackling her inside the D.

 GOAL! Just as Leigh race into a 3 goal lead Netherton hit back with an immediate reply as Emily Johnson is played in on the right side as the hosts spread play across the middle, Johnson taking the ball in into the area head down angling in towards goal has one intent as she smashes it hard over the keeper to pull a goal back 1-3.

  Half an hour played and the game has been all action, Leigh with a strong start capitalising scoring 3 goals Netherton pulling one back.

 GOAL! One becomes two Johnson causing havoc in the Leigh defence the ball played through the middle splitting the two centre backs, the keeper coming Johnson closing her down, takes the ball away from her wide of goal to the right the defence can’t get back as she strokes the ball into an empty net 2-3.

Emily Johnson pulls it back to 2-3 for Netherton

Leigh push forwards winning a corner on the right the delivery dangerous swung in towards the far post Turner-Powell can’t get a telling touch as the defence scramble clear. Nairn getting hold of the ball in the middle for Netherton now setting up an attack coming on through the middle out to Green to her right she switches it to the left for Strickland coming on attempts to play her return ball across the box for Green to run onto, puts it too far ahead of her allowing White to clear. Netherton make another change with Sasha Haw coming on for Barber up top. 

  Leigh find Denton moving clear on the right whips a dangerous ball into the box, players rushing back as Turner-Powell sees it into her feet on the penalty spot, turns into the strike sending it towards the far post, Beel hasn’t much time to react does superbly diving to her right to get her glove to the ball saving well sending the ball away to the left. A race between Turner-Powell and Parkinson through the middle the defender tackling to win the ball outside the box. Good link up play between Emily Johnson and Strickland on the left side attempting the one two outside the area Jordan Castle though has read it for Leigh and gets in between both in intercept the pass.

  GOAL! 3 minutes of normal time left in the first half and Netherton turn things around, fighting back from 3 goals down to level the scores. Emily Johnson playing a big part in all the goals scoring twice turns provider this time setting up Green inside the box to score as the hosts race up the left wing carving open the Leigh defence Johnson’s early cross dissecting the centrebacks as Green central steals into the box to gather the ball into her feet and shoot low wide of the advancing keeper, Mackler terribly unlucky getting a glove on the ball not enough as it escapes to run on behind over the line 3-3.

  One last attack in the half for Leigh the Essex side building with purpose through the middle Cunningham inside to Dalgarno on for Turner-Powell up top spinning lays it in behind for Toovey, Beel quickly out off her line to gather the ball.

Half-time Netherton United Ladies 3-3 Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  An exciting first half of cup football. Leigh starting well on top getting into a 3 goal lead looking strong, Netherton on the back foot and for a little while you’d be concerned they might be overwhelmed but showed good character to get back into the game quickly pegging it back to 2-3 finished the 1st half strong to level the scores. Terrible conditions to play in both sides have coped well showing attacking intent the game open, you feel there are more goals in it yet. Both sides stay out on the pitch during the half-time interval

 Netherton making a 4th change at the start of the 2nd half a change of goalkeepers with Beel off replaced by Amy Stanyon. Netherton to get the 2nd half underway if the scores are level at 90 minutes the tie goes straight to penalties. Leigh comfortable in defence as Netherton put it forwards mount an attack up the right Denton winning a corner. Molly Giles on for McGarva for Leigh. 

GOAL! The perfect start to the 2nd half as Leigh restore their lead. Scoring straight from the corner. Dalgarno’s deliveries have looked menacing all through the first half her inswinging ball whipped in with pace going straight in as the rain starts to fall more heavily 3-4.

Rebecca Dalgarno scores straight from a corner to restore Leigh Ramblers lead

  Has been a good contest in the middle of the park between Dalgarno and Holdaway and Laws and Nairn, the ball exchanging heads outside the Leigh area Nairn directs one down for Emily Johnson to skip onto inside the D, her snap shot looping in low parried away by the diving Mackler. Turner-Powell taking the ball on 25 yards out evading a sliding challenge from Noades shoots the ball put straight at Stanyon. 

Netherton United Ladies, Amy Stanyon

  Green clear out on the right side as the crossfield pass finds her can see it run across her body before hitting it angling in, Mackler moving across her goal looks to be threatening the top corner however she can see it safely over… just. 

GOAL! Again Netherton come back to level the scores, Lucy Johnson with the ball on the right allowed to bring it on before knocking it forwards for Green stealing in behind right of goal the angle closing hits it hard smashing the ball past the keeper to make it 4-4.

Yasmin Green with her 2nd of the game for Netherton makes it 4-4.

 Getting a little niggly out there Leigh certainly frustrated having held a 3 goal lead and getting pegged back. The rain falling heavily now making playing conditions all the harder. Nairn nipping in to regain possession central rolling her pass out to Green right side hits it early sending her attempt wide across the six yard box. The game could go either way Leigh make another change bringing Lucy Dalgarno on for White. Emily Johnson and Greens movement stretching the Leigh defence. Turner-Powell always ready to make the run at the other end. Giles stepping in to tackle Haw as she turns inside the D with the ball rolled into her feet.

Netherton United Ladies, Jenna Nairn

   Turner-Powell central holding the ball up well 30 yards out spins putting in on for Toovey into the right channel Parkinson sliding in forcing her wide top of the area her angled shot back in held by Stanyon at her near post. It’s a good contest despite the weather both sides up for it. Kulite in to block Rebecca Dalgarno as she meets a cross from Rhiana Castle on the left 25 yards out. A double change for the visitors with both Connie Mashford and Chloe Gilligan coming on Toovey and Cunningham coming off.

  Defending one end a hopeful ball forwards see Haw in the clear for Netherton 25 yards out blasts her shot over the crossbar. Holdaway makes a move up the left is picked out by Gilligan holds it up as Gilligan gets up to support her rolled into her feet she crosses into the corridor an inviting ball Turner-Powell is caught static doesn’t move. 

GOAL! midway through the 2nd half and the hosts take the lead for the first time in the tie, pile players forwards in the pouring rain, into the box as the ball out on the by-line right side is flashed into the six yard box players attacking it in front of the goalkeeper, Mackler grounded a shot put in cleared on the line by Lucy Dalgarno pops loose straight back to Haw to smash over the line 5-4!

Sasha Haw fires Netherton into the lead for the first time in the game

  Netherton are full of energy now Nairn laying the ball out to the right Green away down the wing whipping a cross in near post Haw nipping in in front of the keeper lifts her touch over the bar. Mashford lays the ball forwards for a moment Turner-Powell in clear a yard in behind Kulite with the legs to get back on her to tackle and take it away from her before she can get into the area. Lucy Johnson intercepting as Turner-Powell comes into the left channel looking to get onto a Holdaway pass.

Netherton’s Lucy Johnson with Leigh Ramblers Rhiana Castle

  Holdaway herself bursting through the middle into the box as a cross comes in from the right lobs the keeper only to see her attempt land on the roof of the net, however the flag is up against her. Netherton are looking the better side now, pulling Leigh out of shape as the visitors clearly frustrated look to find a response of their own. Are more than capable the rain falling heavily impacting both sides horrible out there. Denton moving clear right side up the line lifts a dipping cross in near post, Turner-Powell lunging for it can’t direct it across the face of goal out for a goal kick.

Leigh Ramblers, Lucy Dalgarno

 Rhiana Castle looking to get forwards more on the left with Lucy Dalgarno behind her. Has the ball at her feet charging into the box, Lucy Johnson sliding into the tackle Castle rides it, had she gone down the referee would have had to make a decision as it is Castle wins a corner. The delivery put in central headed over for another corner, Netherton clearing their lines this time. I’m sure the pictures tell you how tough it is playing out there, hardly what both sides need, Leigh pushing hard risking it at the back, Rhiana Castle and Holdaway looking to join the attack. 

  Mashford central plays it to Lucy Dalgarno advancing up the left her ball played infield finding Rebecca Dalgarno top of the D striking the ball her shot races wide of the post. Haw races onto a pass from Emily Johnson centrally 25 yards out, Lucy Dalgarno getting up with her sticking a leg out to knock the ball on for her keeper to clear. Rebecca Dalgarno coming forwards into the right channel swings a ball into the area, a yard ahead of Turner-Powell. Leigh regain possession quickly Mashford out to Rebecca Dalgarno has space to move into left her diagonal through ball picking out the run of Turner-Powell free to shoot lacks power straight at the keeper from inside the box.

Leigh Ramblers captain, Georgia Holdaway

  The game moving into the closing minutes Netherton bring on Ellie Gaston for Earth as they look to see out the game. Are inviting Leigh on somewhat, the final ball just not happening for the visitors as they try to square things up. The ball missed by the Netherton defence centrally Turner-Powell after it, Kulite gets back in just the nick of time to lung in take it away from the strikers feet. Frustrations boil over as Rhiana Castle and Lucy Johnson get involved in a shoving match after going for a 50/50 ball Johnson ushered away quickly by her teammates both she and Castle receive the first cards of the game.

  Into stoppage time a Leigh attack breaking down Netherton come on with the ball but are reluctant to commit to an attack slow things down the clock ticking down. Leigh get the ball back out with Rhiana Castle right inside for Holdaway through for Turner-Powell, Stanyon out to the top of her area to launch clear as the final whistle blows and the Netherton team rush towards the centre circle to celebrate a memorable victory.

Netherton United Ladies celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Netherton United Ladies 5-4 Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  What a game a nine goal thriller, Netherton United Ladies coming back from 3 goals down to win the tie 5-4 to advance to 2nd Round Qualifying of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. An exciting tie to watch (there are advantages to being neutral). Entertaining despite the awful weather, what an advert for the cup there is something magical about it. Leigh Ramblers will leave the ground highly frustrated at 3-0 up they were cruising and looked in control threatening to pull Netherton apart. The hosts showing great character getting 2 goals back quickly before turning it around to level at 3-3 at half-time. Leigh responding brilliantly to score straight away 2nd half but again Netherton came back to level and from that point with their tails up looked strong threatening the Leigh defence and going on to take the lead for the first time in the match, 5-4 the winning score in the finish as the heavens opened playing conditions hard Leigh pushed them all the way just wasn’t to be.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as per usual several contenders from both sides, starting with Leigh Ramblers, Elisha Turner-Powell never stopped running in attack carving out several opportunities for herself and her teammates. Rebecca Dalgarno too in midfield with some good running and a threat with her delivery on corners. For Netherton Jenna Nairn was influential in midfield getting hold of the ball to set up attacks playing the ball forwards. Yasmin Green a threat on the right scoring two goals. The award though goes to Emily Johnson. No doubt her goals to bring it back to 2-3 were the turning point in the tie a threat taking on the Leigh defence on the left was strong on the ball throughout.

  Despite the awful weather I thoroughly enjoyed the game a highly entertaining contest between two attacking sides. Good to visit The Grange again and will have to do so again when the sun is shining I did fancy something from that food truck bar a cup of tea. My thanks as always to both sides for those all important teams details good to catch up with both sides. Netherton will be eagerly awaiting the draw for the next round.

Match Report – Wroxham Women v Kettering Town Women

Sunday 6th September

Women’s FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

  Dusting down the notepad after 175 days of inactivity the previous season ending abruptly declared null & void as the COVID pandemic spread across the globe. Good to be back and raring to go many sides getting there season underway this Sunday taking part in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Women’s FA Cup, a record number of entrants once again and a whooping 87 ties taking place across the country. Heading to Trafford Park home of Wroxham Women as they welcome Northamptonshire side Kettering Town Women.

 376 sides entering this years FA Cup competition, plenty of sides making their debut in the cup to all taking the first step to Wembley. Today’s clash a meeting between two sides that locked horns in the early stages of last seasons competition, Kettering the hosts that time around getting into the lead before Wroxham came back to win 6-2. Kettering making the trip to Norfolk this time around, both sides playing in the Premier Division of their respective Regional Leagues. 

  Wroxham bringing the already established ERWFL side Acle United Women under their umbrella last season. The club offering plenty of support to the woman’s set-up and have high ambitions for Wroxham Women to go on and achieve promotion into the FAWNL. Manager Rebecca Burton bringing in several new faces to further strengthen the squad amongst them, pacy winger Zoe Cossey who has plenty of experience playing in the FAWNL most recently with Ipswich Town Women. Becky Russell also brings plenty of experience to the side, the ex King’s Lynn Town Ladies captain strong in an attacking midfield role has a decent range for goal from outside the box. Jess Horn another new addition joining from AFC Basildon. Erin Wilson coming to the club from Lincoln with Ellie Prentice adding to the goalkeeping options joining from King’s Lynn too.

   Northamptonshire side Kettering Town Women are established in the East Midlands Women’s Regional Premier Division. Like the ERWFL the regional Premier Division’s are getting stronger year on year offering plenty of competitive action. Kettering have added a few new faces to thier squad prior to today’s match. Centre back Hayley Matthews coming in along with goalkeeper Jade Smallbones. Winger Lauren Adams and Stephanie Gale in attack who has plenty of experience leading the line will pose strong threat for opposing defences.

 Trafford Park the venue for today’s match, my first trip to the ground. On the outskirts of Wroxham coming from Norwich. A large grass pitch sloping from one goal mouth to the other. Plenty of room for spectators a small seated stand one side of the ground the clubhouse and changing rooms situated behind the dugouts on the opposite side. The bar open, tea and coffees also being serves along with food… and although I very nearly did I resisted the temptation to purchase a cheeseburger. Pleasant weather sunny and bright a few clouds around keeping things cooler.

 Wroxham Women starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Laura Dawson, Lauren Bailey, Leanne Symonds, Jess Horn (C), Kate Pasque, Broghan Scully, Becky Russell, Kayleigh Holloway, Lauren Bullard & Grace Birchall. Subs – Ellie Prentice, Victoria Pleavin, Amber Rowland, Charlotte Gardiner, Zoe Cossey, Madeleine Pitt, Rhianne Brister, Laura Beevor & Emma Allsopp.

 Kettering Town Women starting XI – Jade Smallbones, Sami Jones, Kylie Evans, Hayley Matthews, Maddie Bates, Jo Brandon (C), Brodie Betts, Lauren Handley, Caitlin Redfern-Christie, Leah Stacey & Stephanie Gale. Subs – Charlotte Hyams, Michelle Smith & Jess Perrin.

Nine substitutes on he bench for Wroxham, this is new for the FA Cup this season still the same number can be brought on during the game however. Wroxham having the numbers available and knowing I was coming knew they’d all get a mention in the match report. Becky Russell and Jess Horn captaining the side making their competitive debuts with fellow new signings Zoe Cossey and Ellie Prentice on the bench. Jade Smallbones, Hayley Matthews and Stephanie Gale all starting for Kettering. The visitors getting the tie underway kicking off first half wearing red and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and red socks. Wroxham opposite wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts blue shorts and socks.

Lauren Handley looking to get the ball away for Kettering

  The hosts pressing the ball straight away inside the centre circle comes to Kayleigh Holloway right side pushed into midfielder Broghan Scully back playing after missing most of last season through injury prods it on for Russell driving on towards the box before sending it out to Laura Dawson on the wing, Brodie Betts in to make the challenge for Kettering the ball going out for a throw. A bright start from Wroxham numbers forwards the ball crossed in from the throw in headed clear by Hayley Matthews for Kettering. A free kick given outside the box in a dangerous position for Wroxham, Scully over the ball hits a good strike goalwards, Smallbones up well on her line to make a confident claim.

Jade Smallbones with a confident take in goal for Kettering Town Women

The ball is quickly regained by Wroxham pushing on with intent in the opening minute, put in from the right headed clear to the left, Lauren Handley attempting to get it up the pitch for Kettering, Leanne Symonds closing her down inside her own half getting Wroxham back on the offensive. Laura Dawson linking well with Holloway on the right, Russell getting on to support Grace Birchall and Lauren Bullard in attack the hosts keeping Kettering penned inside their own half in the opening 5 minutes. Russell bringing the ball on central with the attempted through ball for Birchall top of the area sends to to Dawson deep on the right who lays it back for Holloway to lift a cross into the area Birchall there nipping in to attack it near post getting her boot up to connect with the ball drills it wide of the post.

Kettering’s Hayley Matthews

  A free kick won inside the Wroxham half gives Kettering an opportunity to try and get a foot hold in opposition territory, the ball put in high towards the top of the area defended well by Jess Horn heading clear, Wroxham look to build an attack on the right, Handley over on that side now putting the a good tackle to regain possession. Wroxham look sharp Dawson providing a good outlet on the right, pacy down to the byline wins her side a corner. The delivery into the box won by Matthews she looks to play it up field to Gale in attack, getting the ball into her feet, using her strength to get forwards hasn’t support is eventually crowded off the ball.

Wroxham’s Leanne Symonds coming in to tackle Kettering’s Stephanie Gale

   Getting numbers into the Wroxham half Kettering are caught on the counter attack, Russell getting hold of the ball driving forwards lining up a curler from distance is blocked by the back tracking defence. Frustration up the other end as Sami Jones looks to have gotten Caitlin Redfern-Christie clear on the right wing only for the flag to go up against her. Wroxham setting a good pace building up quickly on the right the ball sent in low central Russell rushing on to strike it goalwards her shot straight into keeper Jade Smallbones. Handley looking a threat for Kettering whenever she gets hold of the ball inside the opposition half holding off her marker spins looking to send it through the middle for Gale, the Wroxham defence moving well to catch her offside.

Sami Jones on the ball for Kettering Town Women

Birchall scores plenty of goals and never needs an invite to shoot, from a throw in on the right the ball is helped on towards her top of the area right side, strikes it on the volley the shot looping up over the bar. Gale is left frustrated again by another offside decision. Handley on the left does well to get the ball up the line to Leah Stacey the Kettering attacker winning a throw in the ball sent in towards the box left hand corner Gale attacking it but can’t turn to shoot as three Wroxham defenders converge on her. 

 A heavy blow to the face for Kettering captain Jo Brandon as she goes up for the ball with Birchall. A pause in play so she can receive treatment, is up and okay to continue, Scully in the wars for Wroxham moments later in a coming together with Gale. 20 minutes played Wroxham with the better start as play stops for a drinks break. Play resuming were Wroxham left off on the attack Russell skipping past a challenge in the middle threading a pass low through to Dawson right side Birchall running in behind her plays a clever back heel to her, her shot blocked by Kylie Evans inside the box, spins out to Dawson wide right driven back in races wide across the face of goal.

Wroxham Women’s, Laura Dawson

   Again Russell finds Smallbones in the Kettering goal as she attempts to dink the ball in high from the edge of the box having been set-up by Birchall receiving the ball after good build-up play on the right between Dawson and Holloway. Brandon sliding in to regain possession in the middle for Kettering onto Handley, drives up the right, Symonds coming in to close her down can’t release the ball as Wroxham get it back and are immediately racing forwards. Birchall peeling away to the left side spins in behind is clear grass in front of her, Bullard racing on through the centre, Birchall finding her, her strike from outside the area charged down by the Kettering defence.

  GOAL! with a little over 10 minutes to play in the 1st half Wroxham get the goal their dominance has deserved. Players rushing on as the hosts attack down the right Holloway down the line for Dawson her cross back in towards the top of the area over Birchall near side comes to Russell top of the D strikes her foot through the ball stroking it past the keeper for her first Wroxham goal 1-0.

A goal for Becky Russell on her debut for Wroxham

 GOAL! One goal brings two as Wroxham immediately double their lead, attacking right side Holloway with a ball lifted into the box initially headed clear falls straight to Russell all of 25 yards out right of the area hits it hard and low into the bottom corner 2-0.

  Birchall on the ball 25 yards out jinks left the right looking to get a shot away, leaning back as she does she sends her strike over the crossbar. Wroxham looking strong in the latter stages of the 1st half Holloway right side drills in a low cross cut out by Matthews. Holloway fed the ball into her feet by Scully moments later sends it central for Birchall who can’t quite tee up Russell bombing on. 

Kettering Town Women captain, Jo Brandon

Kettering haven’t had much of the ball at all in the 1st half in the closing moments win a corner on the left a chance to bring players forwards into the opposition box. The first corner cleared behind at the near post for 2nd take, this one deeper headed high into the air dropping onto the roof of the net a 3rd corner given this one cleared brings with it the whistle for half-time. 

Half-time Wroxham Women 2-0 Kettering Town Women

 Wroxham going into the half-time interval leading 2-0 with Becky Russell scoring a brace on her debut. A dominant display from the hosts during the first 45 minutes on the front foot right from the off, getting players forwards good runs down the right and through the middle. The hosts defence rarely troubled Kettering struggling to match Wroxham’s pace haven’t been able to fashion much in the final third. Have alot of work to do if they want to get back into it and certainly you feel need to keep it tight early on in the 2nd half not concede a third and then hopefully pull a goal back themselves apply some pressure on Wroxham.

The teams back out for the 2nd half Wroxham making a change Zoe Cossey on to make her debut right side replacing Scully with Holloway coming central and Dawson dropping deeper. The hosts kicking off the 2nd period straight on the the attack winning a throw in the right Cossey straight into the action receiving the ball to her feet twisting inside and bursting towards the box, a boot stabbed out tripping her inside the area a penalty kick awarded.

 GOAL! Bullard has the ball under her arm sets it on the spot, deceives the keeper who is wrong footed as the ball is sent along the ground into the opposite corner 3-0. The perfect start to the 2nd half for Wroxham.

Lauren Bullard makes it 3-0 to Wroxham from the penalty spot

  Cossey full of pace and energy as she gets hold of the ball for Wroxham prepared to take players on Betts getting the challenge in to deny her a chance, the visitors get the ball on quickly mounting an attack on their right the cross swung in across the face of goal, Fullbrook snatching it into her gloves. Up the line for Cossey on the right wing her cross into the box just over Birchall near post cleared central by the Kettering defence the visitors on the back foot.

  GOAL! Birchall with a sweet strike from close to 30 yards out as the ball comes to her left of the D connects well the ball up and over the keeper dipping under the bar into the back of the net 4-0.

Wroxham’s Grace Birchall with Kettering’s Jo Brandon

  GOAL! Wroxham going for the kill at the start of the 2nd half scoring 2 quick goals add a 3rd as Bullard nets her 2nd of the game the ball into her top if the area right of the D into the box closing in on the keeper looks to slot the ball past her, Smallbones making an excellent save close in to turn the ball up onto the crossbar, brutal then that it should rebound back into the six yards box and Bullard alert as any attacker shoulder be runs onto it to send into the empty net 5-0.

  Cossey finding herself on the left has the ball played into her feet takes on the Kettering defence lets loose from all of 25 yards out her rising strike saved fantastically by Smallbones diving to her right to put the ball behind for a corner. 

  GOAL! The corner taken short played back up the line left side a diagonal ball sent into the box dipping at the near post Cossey nipping in in front of the keeper to score her 1st goal for Wroxham 6-0. 

Wroxham’s Zoe Cossey with Kettering’s Brodie Betts

  A devastating spell from Wroxham at the start of the 2nd half scoring 4 goals in just 9 minutes to take the game firmly away from Kettering. A further blow for the visitors too as Handley picks up a knock from a challenge and can’t continue Michelle Smith coming on. Wroxham making their 2nd change with Amber Rowland coming on for Lauren Bailey. Russell playing deeper in the 2nd half with a chance to get forwards a good run up towards the top of the box before being tackled by Brandon, Birchall looks to get hold of the lose ball but is quickly closed down by Jones and Evans. 

Wroxham’s Kayleigh Holloway with Kettering’s Lauren Handley

 Holloway coming on central dribbling the ball gains alot of ground before attempting to thread the pass through for Birchall central, Evans doing well to cut it out. Birchall’s not interested in tap ins today as she has another go from 30 yards out her effort whistling over the bar nevertheless getting a loud cheer from the vocal home support from behind that goal. Jess Perrin and Charlotte Hyams are on for Kettering with Gale and Stacey coming off. 

  GOAL! Cossey scoring her 2nd of the game as she makes a great run between two defenders into the box following a fantastic pass from Rowland in the middle, lifts the ball up into the back of the net to make it 7-0.

  GOAL! Wroxham are running rampant Kettering getting pulled out of shape tiring a cross lifted up and into the box from the right, Birchall lively nipping in to attack in near post gets her head down to nod it in before the keeper can claim 8-0.

  Four Wroxham players all on a brace the race is on to see if anyone can claim their hat-trick, energy levels and confidence are high. Kettering reeling trying their best to regroup. Cossey setting up Birchall outside the box opens her body to shoot across the keeper, Smallbones with a wonderful save to deny her. 

Kettering Town Women’s goalkeeper Jade Smallbones

  Smallbones gets exposed by her defence moments later called into action produces a brilliant double save, Bullard running into the box clear left side this time headers the ball from close range Smallbones instinctive gloving it down to the floor, is up quickly as Bullard takes a swing at the loose ball saves with her legs a save of top quality despite the scoreline. 

  Cossey making a huge impact since coming on 2nd half for Wroxham is after a ball played on up the right wing for her by Holloway, cuts inside beating a defender gets her heels clipped but stays on her feet carrying the ball across the top of the box into the D squeezes a shot away the ball screwed wide of the far post. 

  GOAL! Doesn’t take Cossey long to make amends however gathering the ball into her feet having drifted over to the left head down charges towards the box one intent lets fly with a strike curling it low past the diving keeper into the far corner of the goal to make it a hat-trick on debut 9-0.

  Kettering have yet to trouble Fullbrook in the Wroxham goal, get an opportunity when Rowland brings down Brandon 35 yards out central a long way out but the shot is attempted Fullbrook seeing it wide of her right post. Perrin shifts the ball between her feet looking to gain ground attacking left can’t quite find Redfern-Christie with the pass the ball cleared straight to Betts however she has a go from distance the shot on target caught by Fullbrook. 

Wroxham Women’s, Amber Rowland

  Hyams tackles Cossey to concede a corner on the right as Holloway looks to roll the ball on for Cossey. Swung into the box the ball is cleared.

  GOAL! The hosts make it a double figure score-line with the game closing in on the final 5 minutes Russell having scored a brace in the first half with two well taken strikes saves her best  till last time on the ball from all of 30 yards out hits it cleanly sending it flying in over the keeper to complete her hat-trick 10-0.

  Wroxham are full of confidence the stuffing knocked out of their opponents pace in every attack get it out from the back rapidly into Birchall 25 yards out not closed down lines up her shot, Smallbones has had to keep picking herself up and produces yet another excellent save to send the ball wide. Symonds off in the closing stages on comes Victoria Pleavin at the back. Birchall central 25 out receiving the ball into her feet lays it off for Bullard to strike her shot swerving wide of the right post. Evans charging down a shot from Bullard inside the box as the hosts push on looking for more goals. 

  Holloway making some good runs with the ball through the middle sends the pass on for Birchall top of the area right side turns under challenge her shot sent off target behind goal. Cossey with a punt from 30 yard out late on falling wide across goal. The Wroxham attackers getting clear too easily in the closing minutes Kettering down and out, Birchall away, Smallbones not letting her get a strike away rushing out to meet her as she enters the box sliding in to save with her legs. The final whistle blows.

Full time Wroxham Women 10-0 Kettering Town Women

  A comprehensive 2nd half display from Wroxham with 4 goals in 9 minutes at the start of the 2nd period to take the game away from their opponents. Having had the better of the first half eventually going on to lead 2-0. The next goal is often crucial in these games and Wroxham took the game by the scruff of the neck. The display and goals seeing their energy levels remain high an confidence grow. Their defence rarely troubled worked well as a unit throughout the match Kettering finding it tough to break down. The scoreline sapping their energy didn’t offer a threat in attack and inviting Wroxham on made for a tough game came have little complaints, a very harsh scoreline, all you can do is dust yourselves down and move onto the next one, their league campaign is still 3 weeks away no doubt fitness levels played a part. 

Wroxham Women winning their opening game of this season FA Women’s Cup 10-0

  The draw for the next round already made Wroxham will now play King’s Lynn Town Ladies away from home on Sunday 20th September.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the new season. Rarely is it an easy choice and today is no exception. Several displays of note to mention, firstly for Kettering, Lauren Handley looked like she could cause problems for Wroxham especially first half with some good tackling and runs. Jade Smallbones too I know it sounds odd when a keeper has conceded 10 but she nevertheless pulled off some brilliant saves that kept that score down might well have been 15-0. For Wroxham the team produced a dominant attacking display whilst being disciplined at the back, have laid down a marker for the season already. Kayleigh Holloway was excellent linking up with Laura Dawson who attacked well down the right. Becky Russell with three great strikes on her Wroxham debut making some great runs from midfield, nudging her out though is the other hat-trick debutant Zoe Cossey made an instant impact coming on 2nd half and took the game away from the opposition.

 Great to e back covering games looking forwards to the season ahead, was terribly rusty today my notes more shocking than usual but I wrote far too much as usual. Enjoyed my first trip to Trafford Park and will no doubt be back at some point. My thanks as always to the teams for providing me with the squad details much appreciated.

The Round-Up – 16/02/20

The Round-Up

Sunday 16th February

 The first multi-competition edition of The Round-Up last season after Storm Dennis played havoc with the fixture lists once again this weekend. A total wipe out of matches the weekend with Storm Ciara blowing through. 12 games in all to report on from Sunday featuring sides competing in the leagues covered by Women’s Football East. 

Women’s FA Cup

 Starting with the biggest game of the week a dream tie in the Women’s FA Cup 5th Round for Ipswich Town Women, a historic run taking the Suffolk side into the last 16 of the competition, the lowest ranked side to get this far playing in the fourth tier up against the current holders and FAWSL leaders, a tough test but an occasion to be savoured Ipswich’s history making run drawing national attention in the media.

 Manchester City starting well against Ipswich the visitors fielding a young side with 7 17 year olds in their side. Defender Lucy Egan with a couple of vital blocks in the opening 18 minutes, Manchester City taking the lead in the 19th minute breaking away from an Ipswich corner Laura Coombs striking the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0. Ipswich goalkeeper Nikita Runnacles saving with her legs to deny, Norfolk born Lauren Hemp a goal 2 minutes later. Pauline Bremer amongst the goals for Manchester City this season firing the hosts into a 2 goal lead midway through the first half rounding the keeper to score. Jess Park shooting from the edge of the area seeing Manchester City leading 3-0 on the half-hour. That the score at half-time. 

Ipswich striker Natasha Thomas up against Manchester City & England captain Steph Houghton (photo credit @RossMediaUK )

   Ipswich with plenty of travelling support for the match spirits high everyone enjoying the occasion. Manchester City out of the blocks quickly in the 2nd period Bremer with an early chance before adding her 2nd of the game in the 49th minute. Ipswich fighting plenty of energy put into closing the ball down Manchester City kept on their toes a professional performance extending the lead in the 57th minute a ball put across the face of goal Georgia Stanway sliding in to score. Bremer netting completing her hat-trick in the 64th minute. Manchester City stepping it up as Ipswich tired Stanway with her 2nd of the game to make it 7-0 two minutes later. Into the final 15 minutes and Park is slid through on goal to net her 2nd of the match wrapping up her hat-trick 3 minutes later her distance strike finding the top corner. Stanway becoming the 3rd Manchester City player to score a hat-trick as she finished from distance from a clearance with 3 minutes to go to see the match won 10-0. A large defeat in the end for Ipswich but a massive gulf between the sides Manchester City a side to be inspired by. Ipswich’s fantastic FA Cup journey coming to an end putting the club firmly on the map plenty still to play for this season challenging for the title in FAWNL South East Division One straight back to it this Wednesday with as big a game away to Norwich City Women in the East Anglian derby.

FAWNL Cup

Another big game in the FAWNL Cup competitions for Milton Keynes Dons Women this weekend at home taking on Northern Premier Division side Stoke City Women in the semi-final this Sunday. A 2nd successive season for Milton Keynes reaching the last 4 of a national competition. League Plate semi-finalists last time out, have saved their best performances for the FAWNL Cup this season dogged in defence going through on penalties in earlier rounds, up against a Stoke City side in good form. The Stadium MK offering some protection from the elements that would certainly play apart in other matches surviving the afternoon, Stoke starting well putting the ball into the Milton Keynes area he home defence standing firm the sides goalless at the break. Abby Hunt firing Stoke City into the lead in the 57th minute the visitors going 2-0 5 minutes later courtesy of a powerfully struck 25 yard free-kick from Hollie Gibson. Milton Keynes looking for a reply seeing a goal ruled out for offside. Milton Keynes breaking with 15 minutes left a shot fired inches wide. Alison Hall smashing a shot against the crossbar for Stoke City with 3 minutes left, a 3rd goal not required 2-0 enough to see Stoke City into this season’s FAWNL Cup final where they will face either Sunderland AFC Ladies or Southampton FC Women the pair meeting in their semi-final this coming Sunday.

Norfolk Women’s County Cup

 Two games surviving Storm Dennis in Norfolk at the weekend and both big ones as the semi-finals of the Norfolk Women’s County Cup took place. Women’s Football East braving the elements to watch one of those matches Norwich City Women taking on Wroxham Women. Played at The Nest north of the city the weather rubbish very wet and windy the pitch holding out well however the game on. A fairly even start to the game both sides testing the other creating opportunities joy on the flanks. Wroxham taking the lead just past 20 minutes, captain Anna Larkins put away down the right her ball in on the angle parries down across goal by Norwich goalkeeper Hope Armstrong, top scorer Grace Birchall sliding in at the far post to score from close range. Norwich quick to respond the ball put forwards quickly through the middle their top scorer Chelsea Garrett breaking in behind the defence, goalkeeper Amy Bell starting to come can’t get there is caught in no mans land as Garrett lobs her from outside the box to make it 1-1. No sooner are Norwich level then they take the lead themselves Aimee Durrant putting a free-kick from the right into the box a shot from the left charged down the rebound falling to Garrett top of the box rifles it home for her 2nd of the match. A devastating spell from Norwich as they go on to score twice more in quick succession Durrant causing problems wide right her cross into the six yard box bringing an own goal, then putting pressure on defender and goalkeeper as they get to close to each other at the top of the area steals in to rob the ball and walk it into the empty net.

Natasha Snelling with a late double to help send Norwich through to the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final

 Norwich leading 4-1 at half-time scoring 4 goals in 6 minutes, Wroxham coming out fighting at the start of the 2nd half as they look to pull a goal back quickly Norwich solid at the back defender Lauren Cullum clearing a ball off the line. The game entering the final 10 minutes midfielder Jodie Drake lining up a strike from 35 yards out struck well to seal the win 5-1 it was the catalyst for another Wroxham collapse as they suffered a repeat of the 2nd half. Keunna Dill on in the 2nd half free on the left away down the line squaring a ball along the face of goal Natasha Snelling arriving for the tap in. 6-1 quickly became 7-1, a corner taken short Sian Douglas with a well struck shot on the angle driving the ball home to score her first goal for the club. Dill racing away again shooting over Bell seeing her shot strike the bar coming back down not gathered Snelling latching onto it to score her 2nd of the game. Norwich through the the Norfolk Women’s County Cup final, getting the opportunity at long last to play at Carrow Road. The whole game report can be found below this post.

  Norwich’s opponents in this season’s Norfolk Women County Cup final will be back to back winners of the competition Wymondham Town Ladies as they made it a fourth county cup final appearance in a row winning away to Sprowston Ladies at the weekend. Sprowston the only county league side to make it this far in the competition amongst the top sides in Division One putting on a spirited performance against a Wymondham side despite being hampered by injuries throughout the season scoring plenty of goals. Vice captain Leah Newcombe at last making her return to the field after being out since last season’s cup final. Goals from Freya Symonds, Katie Knights, striker Hannah Waters and her first for the club from defender Lauren Kett seeing Wymondham through to a fourth successive final 4-0. The County Cup Final to be played on Sunday 19th April kicking off at 11am at Carrow Road.

Essex Women’s County Cup

 County Cup semi-final action too in Essex this weekend again the only games to beat the weather and had a feeling if any would it would be these both played on good 3G pitches kicking off later in the afternoon. The competition dominated by Billericay Town Ladies and AFC Basildon Women in recent season’s Basildon first and recent Billericay have lifted the trophy locking horns in recent finals. Both playing in FAWNL South East Division One, Basildon rebuilding somewhat have found their feet in the league making up a strong top half of the table joined by Billericay. Drawn to meet in the semi-finals this time around both fancying their chances on recent form. Played at Aveley FC a 4:30pm kick-off no clear cut chances for either side in the opening 15 minutes. Basildon opening the scoring in the 21st minutes Jodie Osborne flicking the ball over the keeper to make it 1-0. The visitors getting themselves into a 2-0 before the half hour Kelly Wealthall with the tap in following great work on the ball from strike partner Holly Turner. Billericay coming back at Basildon Zoe Rushen seeing a shot saved, Therese Addison with an effort blocked on the line late in the half Basildon going into the changing rooms 2-0 up. 

Action from this weekends semi-final (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

 Another block on the goal line denying Rushen a goal early in the 2nd half Basildon going on to take a 3-0 lead 15 minutes into the 2nd period Turner with a well struck shot. Basildon adding a 4th goal 5 minutes later with Poppy Binding tapping home to put the visitors into a strong position with 25 minutes to play. Billericay getting a goal back straight away Hannah Smith making it 4-1. Billericay pushing later on shots saved Addison firing in a free-kick with 3 minutes left a consolation as Basildon were celebrating at the final whistle reaching the County Cup Final again 4-2. 

 History to be made in the other Essex Women’s County Cup semi-final with Bowers & Pitsea Ladies at home to Collier Row Tigers both looking to reach the final for the first time. Bowers & Pitsea doing well in their first season in the ERWFL Premier Division not underestimating their lower league opponents Collier Row Tigers top of the Essex Women’s Premier Division unbeaten dropping just 2 points so far this season whilst scoring plenty of goals and keeping it tight at the other end conceding just 11. Weather condition poor wet and windy scrappy at the start few clear cut chances created. Goalless at half-time Collier Row Tigers proving a tough opponent Bowers & Pitsea battling to get the opening goal wouldn’t come the game going to extra-time. A further half and hour of play seeing no goals added the semi-final to be settled on penalties. Some well taken penalties it was Bowers & Pitsea who were celebrating at the finish going through to the final 6-5 in the shootout. The Essex Women’s County Cup Final to be played on Thursday 9th April a 7:45pm KO at Aveley FC.

Essex Women’s Trophy

 Another semi-final played at the weekend in Essex in the Trophy competition and better news for Billericay Town Ladies in this one played earlier in the afternoon at Aveley FC with their Reserves side beating Essex Women’s Premier Division side Beacon Hill Rovers Ladies 3-0 to reach the final. Amelie Johnson scoring the opening goal of the game. Becky Gallagher striking to put Billericay 2-0 ahead Leigha Bradding-Butler netting the 3rd goal. Billericay’s Reserves will face either Hutton Ladies Reserves or Lawford Ladies in the final their semi-final falling foul of Storm Dennis will try again this coming weekend.

Suffolk Women’s Division

 There were just four league matches that survive at the weekend and just the one match in Suffolk. Bury Town Ladies keeping up their title charge as they move into 2nd spot ahead of Brettvale Ladies on goal difference with a double figure win at home against bottom side University of Suffolk Women the visitors short of a full side up against a Bury Town side full of goals players contributing throughout the side. Julie Brind top scorer netting a hat-trick at the weekend moving her onto 22 for the season. Mia Bambury into double figures too now scoring at the weekend on 10. Kirsty Pollard with a brace goals too for Sophie Hemming and Norma Locker. Katie Walker with another goal has 2 form 2 appearances with Georgia Parker scoring her first goal of the season. 

Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership

 Again in Cambridgeshire Storm Dennis wreaked havoc with the fixture lists on Sunday with just one match played in  both the Premiership and Championship. In the Premiership it was a poignant game for St Ives Town Ladies Development away to Netherton United Ladies. Sad news this weekend with the sad news that one of their founding players Charlene Martin passing away losing her battle with bowel cancer. Can only offer my condolences and thoughts to her family and friends and those at St Ives was an inspiration to so many.  

 The club coming together to play at the weekend travelling to play Netherton United Ladies. A late winner in stoppage time seeing the 3 points go to Netherton, Yasmin Green scoring from the penalty spot for the hosts earlier in the game, Tash Applegate scoring for St Ives Town. Katie Barber finding the back of the net in the 93rd minute giving Netherton the win, moves them level with St Ives Town on 16 points in what is a very congested mid-table in the Premiership a number of sides pushing for a top 4 finish there is still alot of football to be played.

Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship

One game played in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship at the weekend rough conditions too for Cardea Ladies as they hosted 2nd placed Mildenhall Town Ladies at the weekend the opening half an hour seeing no goals. Charlotte Nash putting away her 10th goal of the season for Mildenhall seeing the visitors open the scoring. 5 minutes later were 2-0 up with Nadine Basson on target with a goal. A flurry of goals coming late in the first half 10 minutes left to play Courtney Coles pulling it back to 2-1 for Cardea. Nash scoring her 2nd of the game restoring Mildenhall’s 2 goal lead, Coles with her second bringing it back to 3-2 at half-time. Mildenhall ramping it up 2nd half to ensure the 3 points. Top scorer Katie Hayes scoring her 19th goal of the season on the hour, Jasmine Luckett with her 5th of the campaign 5 minutes later along with a brace in the final 15 minutes from Rachel Pearce seeing the game won 7-3 moving Mildenhall to within 4 points of leaders Cambridge Rangers Women.

Beds & Herts The Chris Renshaw Cup

A couple of matches too surviving Storm Dennis in the Beds & Herts Women’s Football League. Division One side Hitchin Belles hosting Division Two leaders AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College Ladies in the quarter finals of The Chris Renshaw Cup. The visitors in good form at the top of the table Hitchin Belles bottom of the Division One table Kempston Ton & Bedford College tight at the back conceding just 6 goals in the league keeping Hitchin out on Sunday in the cup progressing through to the semi-finals of the competition winning 4-0 with both Charlie Mullins and Chloe Urbanowicz scoring a brace. AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College will now be at home to fellow Division Two side Garston Ladies Vintage Purples in the semi-finals date to be announced.

Beds & Herts Women’s Division Two

As AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College Ladies were advancing through to the last four of The Chris Renshaw Cup they were also knocked off the top of the Division Two table on goal difference by Woburn & Wavendon Lionesses as they won big at home to bottom side Wheathampstead Wanderers Ladies at the weekend. Charlotte Bedford opening the scoring for Woburn & Wavendon in the first minute. Laura Taylor seeing them 2-0 up inside 5 minutes. Jess Katsinas adding to the scoreline with a goal 5 minutes later Woburn & Wavendon with a strong opening to the game were 4-0 up with 15 minutes played Kelly Randall scoring her first goal of the season. Katsinas with her 2nd of the match putting them 5-0 up. Taylor netting 2 goals in 3 minutes to complete a first half hat-trick seeing Woburn & Wavendon leading 7-0 at half-time. More goals in the 2nd half with Emily Wall getting her first of the season on the hour. Bedford and Randall on target for their 2nd goals of the game each. Lucy Boyle another to celebrate her first goal of the season in the final 10 minutes. Jessica Greaves at the death sealing a 12-0 win. Woburn & Wavendon going top of goal difference but still incredibly tight at the top of Division Two with 3 points separating the top 4.

The Round-Up – FAWNL 26/01/20

The Round-Up

Sunday 26th January

Women’s FA Cup

 Three sides from the FAWNL Southern and South East Division One reaching the 4th Round of this season’s Women’s FA Cup. History already made for both Ipswich Town Women and Billericay Town Ladies from South East Division One getting this far in the competition. 

Leading FAWNL South East Division One, Ipswich Town Women beating Southern Premier Division side Portsmouth FC Women in the 3rd Round drawn away to another FAWNL Premier Division side in the 4th Round playing in the Northern section, Huddersfield Town Women. The game played at Huddersfield Town FC’s John Smith’s Stadium, the women’s side playing their for the first time. Ipswich getting off to a fantastic start a long clearance forwards, 16-year-old attacker Maddie Biggs giving chase beating both defender and the advancing keeper well out of her area to take the ball on into the empty box and place the ball into the back of the net. Biggs at it again just 8 minutes later to send the visitors into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes pulling away at the near post to head the ball dropped in from the left across the goal to score.

Ipswich Town Women celebrating a goal at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday through to the last 16 of the Women’s FA Cup (photo credit Ross Media UK)

Ipswich on top pressing numbers forwards going further ahead in the 20th minute Sophie Peskett free on the right sending in a fantastic cross, top scorer Natasha Thomas sliding in at the near post to beat the keeper. Huddersfield with chances themselves Ipswich goalkeeper Nikita Runnacles with a fantastic diving save to deny them a strike from distance. Late in the first half Biggs going on to complete her first senior hat-trick for Ipswich the visitors breaking good work from Thomas against the defence picking out Biggs free inside the box the send the Suffolk side into a 4-0 lead at half-time. Huddersfield came out fighting in the 2nd half Lucy Sowerby with her 18th goal of the season seeing them pull a goal back early in the 2nd half. Runnacles though with a couple more top draw saves to prevent the hosts adding to the score Ipswich’s historic run goes on into the last 16 of the Women’s FA Cup the reward a dream tie away to FAWSL side Manchester City Women.

A last gasp winner in the previous round against fellow South East Division One side seeing Billericay Town Ladies making history themselves in the Women’s FA Cup were drawn away to Championship side Lewes FC Women. The Essex side pushing their higher league opponents all the way in the end losing out by just one penalty in the shootout after sending the ti into extra-time. Paula Howells putting Lewes into the lead a great first touch to control the ball outside the box 20 yards out turning and striking home from the half volley. Billericay coming back to level the scores pressure on a Lewes throw on the right leading to the ball being crossed into the area picked up by Therese Addison a drop of the shoulder to take her round a defender before striking the ball across the face of goal into the bottom corner. No further goals added Billericay more than matching Lewes on the pitch the game going into extra-time having to be settled from the penalty spot, 5 kicks each in the shoot out anguish for Billericay’s Zoe Rushen as her kick came back off the post, Lewes successful scoring all 5 of their penalties celebrating as they reach the last 16 of the Women’s FA Cup, a tremendous effort from Billericay.

It was top of the FAWNL Northern Premier Division versus top of the Southern Premier Division as Watford made the long trip up to the North East to play Sunderland AFC Ladies. Two of the founding members of FAWSL 2 now the Championship both targeting a return to the league this season meeting in the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup. Sunderland with a strong start to the game Watford chances restricted looked to be heading in goalless at the break, Sunderland’s Keira Ramshaw firing the hosts into the lead in the 45th minute. Watford’s Emma Beckett seeing a free-kick struck from outside the box saved by Sunderland’s keeper on the hour. Watford’s Chrissie Wiggins saving up the other end following a scramble from a corner the game heading into the final 15 minutes, Ramshaw scoring her 2nd of the match to double Sunderland’s lead heading home from a corner kick. Watford unable to find a reply Sunderland advancing to the 5th Round of the competition. 

The draw for the last 16 of the Women’s FA Cup made live on the BBC News Channel last evening the ties to be played Sunday 16th February as follows:- 

Bristol City Women v Everton Women

Coventry United Ladies v Tottenham Hotspur Women

Leicester City Women v Reading FC Women

Crystal Palace Women of Southampton Women’s FC v Brighton & Hove Albion Women

Manchester City Women v Ipswich Town Women

Arsenal Women v Lewes FC Women

Sunderland AFC Ladies v Birmingham City Women

Chelsea Women v Liverpool FC Women

FAWNL  Southern Premier Division

One match played in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division this Sunday and with leaders Watford Ladies in Women’s FA Cup action, 2nd placed Crawley Wasps Ladies took full advantage to beat 3rd placed Cardiff City Ladies at home to move 3 points clear at the top of the table. The hosts taking an early lead inside 2 minutes scoring from their first attack a left wing cross headed out of the area by the Cardiff defence dropping straight to the on rushing Megan Stow from midfield, striking the ball hard from 20 yards out to put Crawley ahead. Crawley strong at the start of the game further chances to extend the lead missed whilst at the back Darcey James made a couple of good challenges to thwart Cardiff. 1-0 at half-time. Cardiff keeper, Laura O’Sullivan with a great save to deny Sam Pittuck in the 2nd half neither side with a clear cut chance after that Crawley awarded a penalty with 15 minutes left to play Naomi Cole putting it away to see Crawley win the game 2-0.

FAWNL Plate

FAWNL South East Division One side Stevenage FC Women made the long journey into the South West to play Southern Premier Division side Plymouth Argyle Ladies in the quarter finals of the FAWNL Plate competition on Sunday. Few opportunities created in the opening quarter hour Plymouth with some good build up play winning a corner kick in the 19th minute the ball played into the box by Helen Bleazard turned in by captain Katie Middleton. Plymouth quickly doubling their lead going 2 up 4 minutes later Bow Jackson putting the ball on for Bethany Everson to round a defender and slot the ball into the bottom corner. Benjamin Kyle with a fantastic save to keep a clean sheet for the hosts at the other end heading into the half-time interval 2-0 up. Plymouth with a good start to the 2nd half it was Stevenage though on the hour that would score the next goal Nicole Emmings running clear from a goalkeepers kick to send the ball into the back of the net. Bleazard causing problems on the wing for Plymouth delivering a cross into the box that saw an own goal scored Plymouth 3-1 with 15 minutes to play going on to win and book their place in he last 4 of the competition. Are joined by Middlesborough Women who beat Nottingham Forest on Sunday. The other two semi-finals featuring Chichester City Ladies and Watford Ladies and Bolton Wanderers v West Bromich Albion played this coming Sunday.

FAWNL South East Division One

One game played also in FAWNL South East Division One and just as in the Southern Premier Division whilst the league leaders Ipswich Town Women were making more history in the Women’s FA Cup, 2nd placed AFC Wimbledon Ladies who beat Ipswich last time out took full advantage to move top of the table themselves winning away to Cambridge United WFC. Megen Lynch making her debut in goal for Wimbledon. The visitors taking an early lead Katie Stanley lobbing the keeper from quite some distance to open the scoring. Cambridge restricting Wimbledon in attack after that few chances a goal late in the first period for Wimbledon ruled off for offside.  1-0 at the break Wimbledon going 2-0 midway through the 2nd half Stanley setting up Georgia Heasman to fire in the goal for Wimbledon. Move 2 points clear at the top of the table but still very tight in the top half of South East Division One the chasing sides all with games in hand.

The Round-Up – FAWNL 12/01/20

The Round-Up

Sunday 12th January

FAWNL Southern Premier Division

 Watford Ladies ending 2019 top of the Southern Premier Division  3 points clear of nearest challengers Crawley Wasps Ladies who like Watford had suffered just one defeat in the first half of the season following promotion as South East Division One Champions the season before and with Watford’s home game against Portsmouth FC Women falling foul to the weather, it presented a opportunity for Crawley Wasps to move back level on points at the top of the table. A tough test though with an away trip to another side making a strong start to the season Plymouth Argyle Ladies who ended 2019 with back to back defeats in the league after a long winning streak of 7 matches following an opening day loss away to Crawley Wasps.

  Plymouth hit by injuries, Crawley Wasps starting well getting on the front foot few chances created the score 0-0 at half-time the 2nd half looked to be heading the same way both sides defending well the game closing in on the final 10 minutes, Plymouth seeing Katie Middleton Sin Binned for decent the hosts down to 10, Crawley Wasps attacking the ball on the right played central picked up by Rachel Palmer free 25 yards out to line up a great left foot strike to put Crawley Wasps into the lead and see the 3 points won.

 Plymouth off the back of a 3rd successive defeat drop down to 4th in the Southern Premier Division table overhauled by Cardiff City Ladies the Welsh side making the trip to Kent on Sunday to play Gillingham Ladies who beat Cardiff 1-0 in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season. A competitive start by both sides Gillingham suffering a blow midway through the 1st half as they were reduced to 10 Bethany Powell sent off. Cardiff taking the lead moment later Cori Williams heading in to make it 1-0, a 2nd goal coming for the visitors in first half stoppage time Williams on target to make it 2-0. Cardiff pressing for a 3rd goal went further ahead early in the 2nd half Carrie sending the ball home to make it 3-0 on 54 minutes. A quickfire double with 10 minutes to go sealing a 5-0 victory for Cardiff, Nadia Lawrence with a goal to make it 4, Williams wrapping up her hat-trick to take her goals tally for the season to 9.

 Cardiff now a point ahead of Plymouth it is incredibly tight in the top half of the Southern Premier Division table with just 2 points between the sides making up the top 6. Oxford United Women joining Plymouth on 21 points in 5th spot with an away win against Keynsham Town Ladies on Sunday.  Oxford opening the scoring inside the opening 15 minutes Georgia Clifford’s making a run down the left whipping in a cross for Cheryl Williams to turn in at the far post. Keynsham battling their way back into the game Oxford creating good chances Keynsham equalising on the stroke of half-time a curling shot finding it’s way into the top corner. Oxford straight back into the lead at the start of the 2nd half another left wing cross Stephaney Bent  to tap home. Oxford pressuring the home defence in search of more goals a 3rd coming on the hour, Brogan Moore pouncing in a shot fumbled by the goalkeeper putting the visitors 3-1 ahead Williams striking from the edge of the box a minute later to net her 10th goal of the season. Oxford dominating adding a 5th goal with 10 minutes left Georgia Clifford scoring her first league goal for the club. A 6th coming moments later with Carly Johns scoring to keep pace match Williams tally of 10 for the season.

  Yeovil Town Women making up the top 6 with a big home win at the weekend over struggling Hounslow Women 2 points behind 3rd placed Cardiff. A battling performance to earn a point away to bottom side Chichester City Ladies last weekend the game finishing goalless. Hounslow  with just 3 points haven’t won this season 2nd bottom fighting to stay in the league faced a Yeovil side with plenty of goals in them would finish the afternoon as the Southern Premier Division’s leading goalscorers. Early pressure from the hosts Hounslow’s goalkeeper making a couple of saves. Sarah Wiltshire putting Yeovil into the the lead getting onto the end of a ball put in by Charlotte Buxton with 20 minutes played. Meesha Dudley-Jones adding a 2nd goal for Yeovil just a 2 minute later put through to score by Katie Jones. Wiltshire scoring her 2nd of the match 5 minutes later to see Yeovil in control of the match a penalty stroked home by Annie Heatherson in first half stoppage time seeing Yeovil leading 4-0 at the break. Wiltshire on target for her 17th goal of the season completing her hat-trick 5 minutes into the start of the 2nd half. Ellie Strippel making her debut for Yeovil marking the occasion with a goal with the game entering the final 15 minutes. Wiltshire making it 7-0 with her 4th strike of the match in the 81st minute the final score 8-0 to Yeovil with Megan Wood scoring with 3 minutes left to play.

4 goals at the weekend for Yeovil Town Women’s, Sarah Wiltshire

Despite making a bright start to the season Milton Keynes Dons Women winning their opening two matches a poor run since has yielded just one more point. 6 straight losses to end 2019 despite some battling performances particularly in the cup competitions. Bringing in a host of new players were looking to get 2020 off to a positive start as they hosted bottom side Chichester City Ladies at the Stadium MK on Sunday. Milton Keynes creating opportunities early on, Chichester still in search of their first win of the season beginning 2020 with a goalless draw with fellow strugglers Hounslow Women last weekend with a couple of chances of their own over the bar. Jade Bell’s cross/shot from the wing finding the back of the net to put Milton Keynes 1-0 midway through the first half. Jamie Rowlands with a with a great save to deny Milton Keynes a 2nd goal late in the first half. Leading 1-0 going into the 2nd half. Around the hour Milton Keynes doubling their lead combination play between Louise Naylor and Kim Farrow seeing Jessica Driscoll score from the resulting cross. Emma Kirby off her line to make a fantastic save to in the final 5 minutes for Milton Keynes ensuring they kept a clean sheet and began the year with a much welcome 3 points.

FAWNL South East Division One

Ipswich Town Women ending 2019 4 points clear at the top of FAWNL South East Division One unbeaten in their first 9 matches played dropping just 2 points those coming back on the opening day a home draw 1-1 with AFC  Wimbledon Ladies. Reaching the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup beating Southern Premier Division side Portsmouth FC Women last weekend were back in league action this Sunday with a top of the table clash against… AFC Wimbledon Ladies. One of a host of sides making a strong start to the season very tight in the top half of the South East Division One table, Wimbledon like Ipswich undefeated long into the first half the season suffering a 1-0 defeat to Actonians Ladies in their final game of 2019 to end that record. Up to 2nd in the table 4 points the gap to Ipswich. The visitors getting off to a fantastic start with Elouise King racing onto captain Amanda Crump’s fantastic forwards pass to turn inside outside the box and send a shot in off the bar to make it 1-0 inside 3 minutes. Wimbledon goalkeeper Charlotte Ferguson suffering a head injury bandaged up the game resuming making some vital saves to keep the scoreline at 1-0 with Ipswich pressing. Ipswich ending the first half with 10 Lucy Egan in the Sin Bin for descent the disadvantage continuing into the 2nd half.

 Ipswich back up to full strength with was Wimbledon’s turn to go down to 10 however Stephanie Mann with shown a straight red the hosts a goal and player down with a mountain to climb 2nd half. Ipswich pushing forwards Ferguson on hand making several vital saves to deny to frustrate Ipswich. The game turned on it’s head in the closing minutes Wimbledon pressing just one goal in it new signing Lily Stevens sending a thunderous free-kick onto the crossbar. Five minutes left to play Wimbledon awarded another set-piece Steven’s with another well taken strike Ipswich goalkeeper Nikita Runnacles with a tremendous save getting a glove up to the ball fell to a Wimbledon players crossed back into the six yard box Georgia Heasman launching it into the back of the net. 1-1 the game deep into stoppage time Steven’s over another free-kick 40 yards out struck well again Runnacles unable to get to it the ball over her dropping into the back of the net to see Wimbledon snatch a 2-1 win at the death and end Ipswich’s unbeaten record closing the gap to the leaders to just a point.

That result seeing thing’s really tighten up in the top half of the FAWNL South East Division One table, just 6 points separating the top six now positive results at the weekend for 3 more of those sides seeing 3rd placed Billericay Town Ladies who were in FA Cup action pushed down to 6th spot in the table, the Essex side with 2 games in hand on the leaders. Leyton Orient WFC now within 3 points of Ipswich themselves as they won the 3 points away to 2nd bottom Cambridge City Ladies at Ely City FC on Sunday. Early chances for Leyton Orient, Cambridge goalkeeper Dominika Szary wit a couple of saves, Leyton Orient’s top scorer Otesha Charles getting hold of the ball at the top of the box making room to get a shot away low across the keeper to make it 1-0. The visitors pushing for a 2nd goal Ellie Stenning sending in a cross at the near post with half an hour played. 2-0 the lead at half-time Cambridge improving 2nd half creating opportunities without really testing the goal keeper pulled it back to 2-1 with 20 minutes left Bella Simmons heading in at the near post. Leyton Orient keeping them from scoring a 2nd to win it 2-1.

Enfield Town Ladies just a point further back from Leyton Orient in 4th spot were hosting Cambridge United WFC who had ended the year with a confidence boosting 3-0 home with over Leyton Orient. Always a tough game between themselves and Enfield. The pair contesting a goalless first half. Enfield awarded a penalty 3 minutes into the start of the 2nd period. Beth Lumsden placing the ball into the bottom corner to give the hosts the lead. Nuala McKevitt captaining Enfield doubling the advantage on the hour heading home from inside the six yard box. Sophy Stonehouse saving a penalty up the other end for Enfield to keep their clean sheet intact Tyra Mills scoring in injury time to see Enfield take the points with a 3-0 victory.

AFC Basildon Women up to 5th in the South East Division One table coming out on top in a high scoring game away to Norwich City Women at the weekend. Basildon hitting Norwich on the break to score an early goal in the match Chelsea Garrett pulling Norwich back level with a quarter played finding the top corner to make it 1-1. Basildon soon coming back to restore their lead a strike from the edge of the box to find the top corner, the hosts failing to clear the ball leading to Basildon going 3-1 ahead. Aimee Durrant seeing a great strike from distance go in off the post to get it back to 3-2 in the 35th minute. Basildon though restoring their 2 goal cushion before half-time to go into the changing rooms 4-2 up. The Essex side further extending their lead early in the 2nd half a counter attack making it 5-0 in the 50th minute. Basildon capitalising in Norwich mistakes going 6-2 up Garrett firing home to score her 2nd of the game for Norwich midway through the 2nd half. Basildon making it 7-3 with a shot from distance the game into the final 15 minutes a corner for Norwich Reeanna Cook getting a touch to put it over the line, Basildon going up the other end to score an 8th of the game and take the points home with an 8-4 win.

Women’s FA Cup 

One more game to bring you and seeing as it features two more clubs from FAWNL South East Division One is worth a mention as Billericay Town Ladies and Actonians Ladies the two lowest league placed sides left in the competition met this Sunday in the 3rd Round of the Women’s FA Cup. History to be made a trip to Championship side Lewes FC Women. Postponed from last Sunday played at Aveley FC under the lights. An action packed first half Billericay’s Karissa Rodney capitalising from a corner to score at close range after a header from a corner smashed down of the crossbar in the 10th minute that goal the difference between the sides going into the break. Actonians a threat all game attacking came back to level the scores midway through the 2nd half top scorer Alessandra Barreca through on goal scoring from the tightest of angles. 1-1 with 15 minutes to play Actonians turning it around to take the lead a corner swung into the six yard box from the left headed home by Barreca to put Actonians 2-1 ahead. Billericay awarded a penalty soon after Therese Addison striking a powerful low drive into the back of the net. Extra-time looming the game deep into stoppage time Billericay winning a corner the high ball looped into the six yard box evading the keeper, the ball going in off Billericay captain Lindsey Morgan to see the game won at the death 3-2.

Lindsey Morgan celebrating after scoring the winning goal for Billericay Town Ladies in stoppage time (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

Match Report – Ipswich Town Women v Portsmouth FC Women

Sunday 5th January 2020

Women’s FA Cup

 First game of the New Year, a new decade in fact a trip down into Suffolk to watch a game from the 3rd Round of the Women’s FA Cup, Ipswich Town Women leading FAWNL South East Division One taking on higher league opponents Portsmouth FC Women.

 The winners of today’s tie going on to potentially face FAWSL opposition as the clubs from the top tier and Championship below enter the competition. Ipswich looking to reach the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their history.

  Having a fine season to date leading the way in FAWNL South East Division One 4 points clear at the top of the table unbeaten winning 8 of their 9 matches played so far. A host of sides in the hunt to chase them down can’t afford to let their foot off the gas. Starting 2020 with a cup tie against higher league opposition will fancy their chances. Ipswich are currently the dominant force in women’s football in Suffolk and that looks unlikely to be contested for some time with manager Jo Sheehan having previously looked after their U21s side bringing in a host of new talent to boost the 1st team and their is plenty of talent coming through as not just I but anyone who has seen them in action will testify. 

 A well organised and committed media team established to promote the women’s side the Tractor Girls are building a solid fan base with numbers in attendance up. Their local derby with Norwich City Women seeing over 700 in attendance earlier in the season. A good crowd building before today’s match have played 3 games in the Women’s FA Cup to date entering in 2nd Round Qualifying, beating ERWFL Premier Division side Royston Town Women 7-0. A 6-1 home win against Norwich followed, with another home win 5-0 agianst fellow league side AFC Basildon Women following in the 1st Round Proper. A trip to the South Coast to face Southern Premier Division basement side Chichester City Ladies in the 2nd Round came home with a 6-0 to set up today’s home clash with Portsmouth.

  Portsmouth FC Women a long established side in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division. A side capable of beating anyone on their day. Their form up and down this season with just 7 league games played so far have games in hand on everyone in the league 4 wins and 3 losses so far. Have saved their best form for the cup reaching the quarter finals of the FAWNL Cup including a couple of extra-time wins. The Southern Premier Division sides entering the competition in the 2nd Round, Portsmouth were at home to FAWNL South East Division One opposition a tricky tie on paper with Leyton Orient WFC on the pitch Portsmouth were comfortable running out 6-1 winners. 

 Felixstowe & Walton FC’s Goldstar Ground the home of Ipswich Town Women a newly build clubhouse and changing room facility leading out to the pitch beyond. A bar and kitchen serving hot food and drinks available. The pitch a good side well used fairly bobbly in places. Offers good width. An overcast day with some light rain in the air prior to kick-off none forecast. 

 Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Nikita Runnacles, Paige Peake, Lindsey Cooper, Lucy Egan, Anna Grey, Sophie Peskett, Blue Wilson, Amanda Crump (C), Abbie Lafayette, Eloise King & Natasha Thomas. Subs – Lucy Williamson, Nicole Pannifer, Eva Hubbard, Maddie Biggs, Zoe Cossey, Ellie Rossiter & Molly Sutherland.

  Portsmouth FC Women starting XI – Hannah Haughton, Rebekah Tonks, Laura Ingram, Jazz Younger, Danielle Rowe, Jade Bradley (C), Mia Adaway, Katie James, Hayley Bridge & Charmaine True. Subs – Mel Burns, Amelia Southgate, Tamsin De Bunsen & Molly Clark.

 Mia Adaway making her full debut for Portsmouth this afternoon wearing their all purple away kit as they switch ends at the coin toss, Ipswich to kick-off the first half wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts. Referee Stacey Fullicks leading an all female officiating team this afternoon. Portsmouth pressing in midfield the ball put on down the right progress made before Lucy Egan puts her foot in to win the ball back for Ipswich the hosts playing the ball up to Natasha Thomas leading the attack for Ipswich on halfway her header under challenge seeing the ball knocked on for captain Amanda Crump to chase, Laura Ingram defending that side for Portsmouth putting the ball out for a throw.

 A lively start from both sides neither settling on the ball passes rushed, Charmaine True in attack for Portsmouth playing the ball out to Eilidh Currie breaking into space on the left to the byline whips a high ball into the box comfortably taken above her head by Ipswich goalkeeper, Nikita Runnacles. Currie getting some joy out wide left for Portsmouth finding space again puts a squared ball across the top of the Ipswich area the ball cleared by Lindsey Cooper. 

 The visitors pushing forwards joy on the flanks, Ipswich winning it back unable to get an attack going Jazz Younger stopping their advance on halfway keeping Portsmouth inside their opponents half. True coming out to the right flicks the ball inside for her captain Jade Bradley, a superb crossfield ball to send Ingram away with the ball on the left taking it on, Crump with the sliding tackle to halt her advance for Ipswich the ball out for a throw. 

Laura Ingram carrying the ball forwards for Portsmouth FC Women

Ingram with the ball at her feet on the attack for Portsmouth down the left sends it on for True back to goal 25 yards out looks to spin in behind her marker, Paige Peake in close challenges to prevent the attacker getting into the box beyond. Ipswich taking longer to settle have seen little of the attack in the opening quarter hour standing firm at the back as Portsmouth come on. Crump is brought down on the right giving Ipswich a chance to put players forwards as they are awarded the free-kick. Peake over the ball plays it in towards the crowd at the top of the box far post running in, headed goalwards but high onto the roof of the net. 

Natasha Thomas and Jazz Younger challenge for the ball

Portsmouth giving free-kicks away their bench unhappy as decisions go against them. Peake over another set-piece out wide the ball played long into the box, controlled well and cleared by Younger for Portsmouth. Ipswich finding a bit of momentum going forwards Abbie Lafayette going out to the left taking the ball on pace before sending in a dangerous ball across the face of goal Sophie Peskett running in far post pressure on the defender who slices the ball behind for a corner kick. An inviting delivery from the corner players up no one can get a telling touch. 

Blue Wilson bringing the ball down for Ipswich

Portsmouth launch a rapid counter attack True deep on the right into the box with the back heel out Currie making a central run 20 out has support coming from Bradley on the overlap to her left rolls the ball into her path, Peskett running back sliding into the tackle for Ipswich before Bradley can unleash a shot. All action, challenges coming in from both sides pace can’ take your eyes off it for a second. Causing both sides to rush their passes a little no one taking their time on the ball. Currie coming back to defend for Portsmouth as Crump with support from Peskett and Thomas looks to make ground on the right. Crump brought down again another free-kick awarded Peake to play the ball in towards the top of the area the ball knocked down runs wide for a goal-kick.

Portsmouth captain Jade Bradley shielding the ball

  Adaway races forwards for Portsmouth on the left into space as Currie finds her with the pass taking it into the corner cuts back to cross the ball finding the side netting. Hayley Bridge on the ball right for Portsmouth over halfway puts the pass infield for Bradley 30 yards out pulls the trigger her shot falling wide of the far post. Peskett picks up the ball for Ipswich right taking players on skips past one into space turning inside is closed down before she can get a cross away. 

Sophie Peskett on the attack for Ipswich Town Women

An even contest both side cancelling each other out somewhat, Portsmouth taking the ball on down the right wing, James with support from Bridge getting a corner kick. The ball put into the box played back to the taker her 2nd cross in cleared by Crump central. Portsmouth keep coming another corner the ball cleared straight to Bridge passed into Rowe inside the D she sends in a curling shot the ball confidently caught by Runnacles. Half and hour played. Thomas for the majority of the match so far has been close guarded by the Portsmouth defence, moving out to the left as Ipswich build in attack the ball rolled into her turns well to get inside attack the box shooting the ball flying wide across goal. The fouls mounting up Anna Grey the first player to go into the referees book with 36 minutes played.

GOAL! Ipswich send players forwards as they win a free-kick wide on the left inside the Portsmouth half. Peake coming over to take plays in a fantastic delivery racing through the six yards box players running to try and meet it, Thomas closest, the ball finding it’s way through everyone into the bottom corner. No doubt about the scorer as the Ipswich players race over to congratulate Peake the defender with her 7th goal of the season.

Paige Peake opens the scoring for Ipswich Town Women

Portsmouth frustrated pressing the attack Ipswich battling well to close the ball down Adaway seeing an effort charged down, Currie’s left wing cross long at the far post with James racing in. Currie again on the ball a driving run into the final third Ipswich coming back on her to crowd her off the ball. Would talk about someone else but Currie dominates the notes right now a determined run with the ball central is finally brought to a halt by Ipswich’s Blue Wilson 25 yards from goal. Currie with a crack from distance moments later 30 yards out the shot held by Runnacles.

Eilidh Currie on the ball for Portsmouth FC Women

Portsmouth coming on at the end of the first period Currie pulling up in frustration as she is caught offside, just, as Rowe plays a great through ball in behind the Ipswich defence. The visitors seeing the woodwork struck in injury time True having latched onto a misplaced goalkick sending in a looping strike from 20 yards out the ball cannoned off the bar.

Half-time Ipswich Town Women 1-0 Portsmouth FC Women

  A fast paced first half comes to an end with Ipswich holding a narrow advantage, Paige Peake’s 37th minute goal the difference between the sides. Both sides slow to settle Portsmouth finding momentum in attack getting forwards, space out wide Currie in particular finding joy in the left, Nikita Runnacles hardly tested however. Likewise Hannah Haughton up the other end for Portsmouth. Ipswich taking longer to settle hardly had any attack early on defended well, closing down free-kicks given away eventually taking advantage of one to score. Competitive, Portsmouth frustrated just a single goal in it however all to play for 2nd half. Extra-time and penalties if required.

  No changes for either side at the break the Portsmouth getting the game restarted on the attack, Adaway getting forwards on the left to support Currie, Peskett back to help Peake the pair preventing a cross coming in. Currie comes again on the left sending in a low cross the ball deflected behind for a corner kick. Put in high the ball cleared Eloise King aiming to send Lafayette away Portsmouth recovering to prevent the break. 

Ipswich’s Abbie Lafayette looking to close down Portsmouth’s Jade Bradley

  Ipswich build through the middle Wilson the Crump out to Lafayette she releases Grey bursting away into space on the left, Younger coming across puts in the challenge for Portsmouth the ball sent out for a throw. Ipswich from the throw the ball to King’s feet plays it central for Crump a brilliant chip over the top sees Thomas in behind left into the box fires in a vicious ball across the six yard box attacked far post, a corner the result despite Portsmouth protests for a foul on their defender. The corner swung into the box headed clear. 

Ipswich Town Women’s Natasha Thomas

 Ipswich lively at the start of the 2nd half have Portsmouth on the back foot pressing the attack looking for a 2nd goal, Grey, Lafayette and Crump all making good runs. Run the risk of being caught out the other end, Rowe working hard on the ball in the middle for Portsmouth sending it forwards for True making the run, Cooper reading it at the back giving herself room to intercept and clear for Ipswich. Peskett’s turn to get on the attack for Ipswich a surging run with the ball on the left runs into traffic. 

Anna Grey looking to turn in behind for Ipswich

 King links up with Thomas in attack for Ipswich rolling the ball on for Thomas to take on into the box makes a run towards the far post Thomas left putting a pacey cross through the six yard box defended at the far post Ipswich quick to retrieve Crump putting it inside with King free, her shot charged down. Ipswich winning a corner on the right the ball pinging around inside the box Portsmouth struggling to get it clear Ipswich unable to latch onto a shot. The hour fast approaching and Ipswich make the first change of the match King the player coming off in attack to be replaced by Maddie Biggs.

Eloise King racing after the ball for as Ipswich break

 Haughton with a fantastic save for Portsmouth, as Peskett right robs the ball from Currie and charges in behind to shoot on the angle her low driven shot deflected wide across goal as Haughton gets down to it at her near post a corner awarded. Ipswich on top Portsmouth respond with their first change of the match, Molly Clark on for Adaway. Lafayette plays the ball up to Biggs and Thomas in attack for Ipswich 20 yards out the pair combine Thomas with the lay off, Biggs with the turn left of the D screws her shot wide. 

Danielle Rowe in the thick of the action for Portsmouth FC Women

Peake winning the header at the back for Ipswich as Bradley getting room in the middle plays it up to for Currie left side. Thomas on the ball central for Ipswich turns playing it on for Biggs to run in on goal one on one with the keeper, commits Haughton to the dive takes the ball around her to the right as players race back to cover the goal, the angle tight Biggs sets herself to strike, Tonks on the line making a superb block for Portsmouth, Thomas closing in on the loose ball, is scrambled away.

Rebekah Tonks saving on the line for Portsmouth

Into the final 20 minutes play getting a little stretched, both sides needing a goal Ipswich to give themselves breathing room albeit a little and Portsmouth to get back on level terms, despite being frustrated throughout the match confident they will come back. Amelia Southgate entering the game for Portsmouth in place of Bridge. A minute later Tasmin De Bunsen comes on for the visitors replacing James. Wilson goes into the book for Ipswich. Clark with a shot from all of 40 yards out drops wide of the Ipswich goal.

 

Currie a constant threat out left for Portsmouth gets away on the ball taking it on towards the box preparing to pull the trigger Peake gets back on her to make a brilliant last ditch tackle to put the ball out for a throw. The game into the final 8 minutes. Ingram pushing on for Portsmouth in the latter stages Lafayette back to help in defence for Ipswich the pace of the match showing no let up. Ipswich determined as Portsmouth commit more players forwards Bradley on for De Bunsen has support with Ingram right her cross into the box just over the jumping Clark in the middle. 

 True left side gathering the ball turns to run at goal shooting on the angle an comfortable save at her near post for Runnacles. The visitors on the attack in the closing minutes, Ipswich making a change in the 89th minute Zoe Cossey on for Thomas. Ipswich with a free-kick in stoppage time Peake with the ball in Lafayette central inside the box almost clear to nod home, Haughton with the ball firmly in her grasp. Younger sent up top in attack at the death Ipswich though keeping the ball up the other end the final whistle blows and the hosts celebrate wildly as they make history reaching the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Ipswich celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Ipswich Town Women 1-0 Portsmouth FC Women 

 A fantastic result for Ipswich Town Women beating Portsmouth 1-0 to reach the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time. Paige Peake’s 37th minute goal proving the difference over a tough 90 minutes. Portsmouth for their part never at any moment out of the game just couldn’t find that telling goal that could have sent the tie into extra-time. despite soaking up alot of Ipswich pressure early in the 2nd half as the hosts looked to build on their narrow lead. Well contested fast paced, little time to settle on the ball, lots of free-kicks given away but no malice shown through out. A great advert for the game. A fantastic crowd of 368 there to watch the game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few contenders as always and a difficult decision. For Portsmouth, Danielle Rowe was outstanding in the middle covering plenty of ground to win and keep hold of the ball set up attacks, out of the left Eilidh Currie a constant threat, Jazz Younger and Rebekah Tonks in defence. A great all round team performance from Ipswich battled at times got forwards well, Amanda Crump in the middle with some good challenges and runs. Anna Grey too getting forwards in attack. The award though goes to Paige Peake scoring the winning goal of course but some fantastic ball in from her set-pieces aswell as several fantastic challenges in defence.

  Congratulation to Ipswich Town Women on their historic win all ears now on the draw for the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup live on Talksport radio tomorrow at 5pm. A great game to start the decade many more to come thanks to everyone for their help today.