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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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