Sunday 28th April
Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final
King’s Lynn Town Ladies v Wymondham Town Ladies
The football action this Sunday comes from Carrow Road the home of Norwich City FC, the club celebrating a return to the Premier League last evening with a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers FC, today it hosts the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final for the first time a special occasion that will no doubt live long in the memory of the two clubs winning through to this season’s final as King’s Lynn Town Ladies take on Wymondham Town Ladies the current holders.
Two of the leading women’s football sides in the county, 4 of which play above county league level, Norwich City Ladies the highest league placed club in Norfolk playing in the 4th tier, FAWNL South East Division One. Wymondham along with Acle United Women (to become part of Wroxham FC next season) play in the league below tier 5 the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL) Premier Division with King’s Lynn Town Ladies played in ERWFL Division One.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies currently 5th in ERWFL Division One are into their 1st ever Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final playing their 2nd season playing at regional level pushing for the title with Wymondham the eventual champions. This season a larger single Division One a very competitive league up to 5th jostling for a top half finish with a cluster of sides most having 4 left to play the season going the distance scheduled to finish in the final weekend of May. King’s Lynn on a good run as they look to get some momentum coming into today’s final winning their last 3 in the league including a 9-0 demolition of Essex side Hatfield Peverel Ladies the game played at The Walks two weeks ago.
Wymondham Town Ladies currently 3rd in the ERWFL Premier Division their highest ever league position and testament to a strong debut season playing at that level having been promoted as Division One North Champions. Along with Acle have ambitions to reach the FAWNL itself. The ERWFL Premier Division featuring some strong sides from all across the East. Growing rapidly in recent season’s a reserves side playing in Norfolk Women’s Division One, Wymondham have enjoyed some good runs in the FA Women’s Cup aswell as the County Cup, this being their 3rd successive final appearance. Missing out to Thorpe United Ladies in their debut County Cup appearance learnt alot from that game better prepared 2nd time around last season taking on Acle United Ladies winning the game 3-2 to lift the trophy for the 1st time.
Road to the Final
Both sides entering the competition in the 1st Round although Wymondham progressed without kicking a ball awarded the away win over Norfolk Division Two side, Bure Valley Wildcats Ladies. King’s Lynn away to Sprowston Ladies from Norfolk Division One a 3-0 win seeing them comfortably into the 2nd Round.
King’s Lynn at home in the 2nd Round were taking on Norfolk Division One side Tavern Ladies, now hitting top form in the league pushing for promotion King’s Lynn meeting them early in the season however ran out 6-1 winners to reach the last 8. Wymondham were away to Bulldogs Ladies bottom of Division Two a huge gulf between the sides 4 leagues Wymondham have plenty of goals in their side and scored 22 without reply to reach the quarter finals. The announcement made after the 2nd Round that the final was going to be played at Carrow Road for the first time.
Another Sprowston side for King’s Lynn in the quarter finals again from Norfolk Division One, Athletic Ladies, after a couple of postponed weeks King’s Lynn made the trip winning 4-0 to book their spot in the last 4. Wymondham taking on Taverham Women United’s young guns unbeaten at the top of Division Two at the time now the champions, a big defeat in the County Cup however against Wymondham going down 12-1, Wymondham’s cup defence rolling on.
A very strong line-up for the semi-finals of the competition with King’s Lynn drawn away to Thorpe United Ladies the Norfolk Division side reaching 4 successive County Cup Finals with back to back success in 2016 & 2017. Strong all season in the league runaway champions Thorpe were suffering from injuries their squad stretched by the time they welcomed King’s Lynn to the Thorpe Recreation Ground. King’s Lynn taking the lead couldn’t find a 2nd goal, Thorpe coming back late on to level the scores send the game into extra-time. Tiffany Forshaw with King’s Lynn’s goal in normal timing on target for two more to complete her hat-trick in extra-time. Thorpe getting it back to 3-2 setting up a nervy finish but King’s Lynn held on to reach their first ever final.
No less dramatic in the other semi-final a repeat of last season’s final with Wymondham away to Acle United Women. The pair drawing at 2-2 after 90 minutes the game going into extra-time both added a further goal to see them locked at 3-3. The game heading into a penalty shootout. Wymondham holding their nerve to edge Acle out 5-4 to reach a 3rd successive final.
The Norfolk Women’s County Cup sponsored by MacDonald’s this season as part of their promotion giving out free child’s tickets. The venue Carrow Road, and I can safely say if there was one ground above all others I wanted to cover a women’s football match at it was the home of Norwich City FC, Norfolk born and bred so naturally I’m a canary supporter. Ambition fulfilled, the Geoffrey Watling Stand open for the match, the playing surface looking great the sun out a little chilly in the shade a good atmosphere a decent crowd building.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Robinson, Chloe Burch, Annie Rooks, Shanice Burch, Charlotte Griffith, Beck Russell (C), Natalie Wright, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Oksana Imanalijeva, Deva Rawlings & Tiffany Forshaw. Subs – Chloe Witt, Georgia Freeman, Olivia Baker, Lisa Wilson & Emma Corbyn.
Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI – Ashleigh O’Callaghan, Leah Newcombe, Chelsea Clarke, Chardonnay Johnston, Jorja Patterson, Rachel Cossey (C) Rebecca Russell, Mollie O’Callaghan, Kayleigh Holloway, Laura Nicholls & Hannah Waters. Subs- Bethany Fretwell, Nadine Basson, Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris, Alice Ladbrooke & Summer Ward.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A change of ends at the start the sun a problem for goalkeepers standing at the Barclay End setting behind the stadium. King’s Lynn to kick-off this season’s County Cup Final wearing blue shirts with yellow shorts and socks, Wymondham in their away colours purple shirts and socks with black shorts. Mollie O’Callaghan straight in to tackle and win the ball for Wymondham in the centre playing it on through the middle looking for striker Hannah Waters, Shanice Burch cutting it out inside the D for King’s Lynn.
King’s Lynn get forwards Oksana Imanalijeva with the run stopped by Chardonnay Johnston the ball won back high up the pitch by Shanice Burch Wymondham defend once more and this time break Waters making a run into the right channel fed the ball into her run takes it on towards the top of the area pulling the trigger outside the box the strike racing low across the box out past the far post for a goal kick.
Pressure high on the left from Wymondham brings a throw in the ball played inside finding Rebecca Russell in the area her touch taking her in behind closing in on the six yard box looks to play a shot across the goalkeeper, Bryony Robinson closing the angle the keeper does well getting down to save take the sting out of the shot her defence getting back to clear the ball as in rolls away. Wymondham vice captain Leah Newcombe getting forwards hurt in a challenge needing treatment before she can continue.
Robinson called into action again in the early stages of the game as Waters is put in clear on the left, the King’s Lynn goalkeeper haring out of her box needs to win the race lunging into the challenge traps the ball well with her legs on deny Waters. Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse winning the ball high on the right for King’s Lynn pays the ball infield for Natalie Wright she plays the diagonal ball forwards to try and get Imanalijeva away, Chelsea Clarke closing her down regaining possession for Wymondham.
Imanalijeva lively for King’s Lynn in the opening exchanges wins the ball 20 yards out central support from Tiffany Forshaw to her left gives her the ball the striker taking it on down the wing sending a low cross into the area, evading Wymondham goalkeeper Ashleigh O’Callaghan at her near post Imanalijeva having made up the ground to get into the six yard box throws herself at it just evades her. Wymondham captain Rachel Cossey has picked up an injury a spell on lengthy treatment needed, King’s Lynn looking a threat going forwards Imanalijeva with a good burst of pace in her legs wins the race for the ball on the right checking inside to get into the area has a crack the ball racing wide across goal.
Shanice Burch doing well in defence for King’s Lynn stopping Rebecca Russell as she and Laura Nicholls look to combine in attack for Wymondham. A blow for Wymondham as Cossey cannot continue a ready made replacement on the bench a Alice Ladbrooke another combative midfielder comes on. Wymondham break with speed and purpose Nicholls carrying the ball down the right squaring a cross into the near post for Waters to attack, Annie Rooks closing her down with a fantastic challenge to clear the ball. Johnston in defence up the other end for Wymondham slinging in to take the ball away from Imanalijeva central as Hopkins-Duckhouse sends the pass in from the right. Play paused a cap of the baseball variety sent on for Robinson with the sun shining down.
GOAL! The opening goal coming inside 15 minutes, Wymondham with it on the counter a swift move seeing Nicholls surging forwards with the ball right of goal driving into the area squaring it across the face of goal inside the six yard box with Waters charging in central meeting it to turn the ball into the back of the net. Waters wheeling away in celebration scoring the opening goal at Carrow Road 0-1.
King’s Lynn captain Becky Russell back playing again just a few months after giving birth to son Charlie receives the ball from Forshaw 25 yards out, time and space looks ready to shoot, Kayleigh Holloway getting back at her to nick the ball just in time. A bit physical King’s Lynn in particular giving free-kicks away. Wright does well breaking up an attack central as King’s Lynn commit players forwards the ball lifted back into the area won by Jorja Patterson. Johnston aggrieved as she is judged to have fouled Imanalijeva as the tries to get in behind her on the right the free-kick outside the box. Becky Russell to take the ball sent in towards the top of the box Forshaw coming for it getting her head on the ball her attempt dropping wide of the post.
Clarke getting up the pitch on the left with a deft ball over the top for Waters to attack inside the area, Charlotte Griffith defending for King’s Lynn the ball out for a throw in. Imanalijeva with another burst of speed looks to get on down the right Johnston sliding in to stop her ends up taking out assistant referee Tracey Clayton instead, Imanalijeva racing on into the box shoots early the ball put wide across goal again. Shanice Burch is being kept on her toes by Waters as the striker is continually ready to break whenever Wymondham bring the ball on.
A further injury blow for Wymondham, Newcombe is down again and after a lengthy spell of treatment on the pitch is unable to continue walking off gingerly on in her place comes Summer Ward. Nicholls brings the ball on right is pushed out by Chloe Burch into the corner, somehow manages to squeeze a cross in, Griffiths back to intercept. Nicholls beats the offside trap turning the attack around bearing down on goal, Robinson is way off her line does very well however as Nicholls goes to shoot the goalkeeper throwing out a shin making the save. Waters getting a throw for Wymondham on the left put inside for O’Callaghan she shoots over from 20 yards out.
Wright bringing the ball on through the middle plays in on for Hopkins-Duckhouse, Ward cutting the pass out playing it back into the middle Becky Russell back to Hopkins-Duckhouse right she lifts a cross in high to the near post Forshaw arriving jumping up can’t get her head on the ball. King’s Lynn with some promising attacking moves Imanalijeva with pace to burn beating Johnston to the ball on the right cuts her cross back along the top of the area Deva Rawlings inside the D leaning back into the shot sends the ball over the crossbar.
A good spell from King’s Lynn Becky Russell with a diagonal ball from the left into the top of the area Hopkins-Duckhouse there so too Johnston the defender getting the better of the bounce to clear the ball. Rebecca Russell breaks on the right for Wymondham, Nicholls making the run down the line, Chloe Burch with a vital interception for King’s Lynn. Forshaw 25 yards out rolls the ball in Rawlings inside the area is crowded off the ball, Wright winning it back high up the pitch.
GOAL! Wymondham hit King’s Lynn on the break to double their lead Rebecca Russell getting hold of the ball sent on up top for Nicholls racing away clear through the middle, Robinson comes out of her area in an attempt to get there but this time Nicholls takes the ball around her to send her shot on into the empty net 0-2.
King’s Lynn look for an immediate reply Imanalijeva racing forwards the ball rolled into her path takes it on into the area, Clarke doing well to get across her and marshal the ball into the arms of her keeper. 8 minutes of stoppage time to be played after the earlier injuries. Shanice Burch with a top draw tackle to slide in and stop Waters inside the D as she is put through on goal by Nicholls.
King’s Lynn keep coming forwards in search of a goal late in the 1st half Forshaw seeing a shot from the top of the area deflected behind for a corner. Wymondham with numbers back to defend. Johnston with more good defensive work inside the box to deny Imanalijeva as Rawlings lifts the ball on. Clarke hurt as she throws out a leg to block Forshaw’s shot as she brings the ball across the top of the area. Ladbrooke back into her box to tackle Wright as she gets into an advanced position for King’s Lynn.
Half-time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 0-2 Wymondham Town Ladies
A busy and fast flowing 1st half comes to an end with Wymondham Town Ladies holding the advantage going into the 2nd period leading the game 2-0. Taking an early lead through Waters the assist from Nicholls, the latter breaking late on to double the lead. Tempered with the injury blows to their captain and vice-captain. King’s Lynn have created opportunities look dangerous going forwards are by no means out of it yet.
Wymondham readying a 3rd substitution for the start of the 2nd half, Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris the player coming on Holloway giving way, Wymondham to get the 2nd half underway. Start well winning a series of throws down King’s Lynn’s right. O’Callaghan on the ball central for Wymondham has Clarke racing on down the left wing playing in the full back she looks to be in the clear, Griffith getting back to steal the ball as she enters the area put it behind for the corner. In from the left Robinson up to punch it away for another corner kick. Taken short the cross in cleared straight to Ladbrooke 35 yards out she hits it back in the ball over the top.
Wymondham looking to press the attack at the start of the 2nd half, Ladbrooke tackling to prevent Forshaw taking the ball on throw the middle. Chloe Burch sliding in recklessly takes Nicholls out outside the area receives a yellow card. Wymondham to make a change before it is taken Holloway returning to the game in place of O’Callaghan. Johnston on the set-piece strikes the ball hard the two players wall doing it’s job albeit painfully.
Forshaw left has support inside from Wright, Ladbrooke closing the ball deflected into Rawlings she lifts it out to Hopkins-Duckhouse wide right her cross into the middle of the area claimed by O’Callaghan. A record attendance for a Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final this afternoon 776 enjoying themselves. King’s Lynn make their first change of the game Rawlings coming off, Chloe Witt joining the action. Wymondham doing a better job of restricting Imanalijeva’s influence 2nd half.
Witt on the ball outside the area left of the D on to Imanalijeva to her right she plays it further wide to Hopkins-Duckhouse her high ball in looping over O’Callaghan strikes the base of the post out into the six yard box just evading Witt racing in. Becky Russell getting about the pitch winning the ball back for King’s Lynn trying to get thing’s going in the final 3rd. Hopkins-Duckhouse blasting a shot wide from 25 yards out as the ball is deflected into her path as King’s Lynn attack. Chloe Burch sliding in cleanly this time concedes the corner as Nicholls tries to run in behind on the right.
GOAL! Wymondham extend their lead midway through the 2nd half from the corner the ball played in headed out of the box lands straight at Ward’s feet 20 yards out she takes a touch to set herself then rifles a shot back in a quality finish to put Wymondham into a 3 goal lead 0-3.
A chance to make it 4 soon after Wymondham hitting on the counter Nicholls in clear right side Robinson racing out to meet her the attacker getting a shot under her the ball rolling on towards the empty net Griffith getting back to stop it and clear up field. Becky Russel lifting a shot wide from 25 yards out played in by Imanalijeva central. A 2nd change for King’s Lynn Wright coming off on comes Emma Corbyn. Hopkins-Duckhouse nips in to rob the Wymondham midfield of the ball plays it on or Becky Russell left of the D leaning into the shot curls it over the bar. King’s Lynn keep on looking for a goal, Wymondham soaking up the pressure well.
Ladbrooke pushing the ball on into Nicholls top of the area won’t sit for her to shoot, Shanice Burch getting close in to win it back. A great ass forwards by Becky Russell into Corbyn up top her first touch excellent taking the ball wide of the defender marking her the shot tame in comparison an easy save for O’Callaghan. Holloway doing some great work in the centre of midfield for Wymondham along side Ladbrooke. Waters central with a turn and shot outside the area drags the ball wide. Waters attacking again Robinson out to close her down blocks the ball loose to her left Waters with it sends a shot in the King’s Lynn defence back to clear off the line. The game entering the final 10 minutes.
GOAL! With King’s Lynn looking to get players forwards in attack late on gaps are opening at the back Waters ready to exploit getting hold of the ball left bringing it on Robinson out to close her down Waters composed her touch taking the ball past her and plays the ball on into the back of the net for her 2nd of the game 0-4.
King’s Lynn make a 3rd change Griffith coming off, Georgia Freeman the player on. Waters over on the left support inside from Nicholls the ball put into her feet her shot outside the box blacked by Shanice Burch.
GOAL! King’s Lynn celebrate a cup final goal of themselves late in the game the ball on the right played into the top of the area by Witt, Corbyn seeing an effort blocked near side drops away to the right as Forshaw gets to it her goalwards blast charged down the ball spinning into Corbyn she has no one in front of her as she gets over the shot to smash it into the back of the net 1-4.
A double switch for King’s Lynn, Olivia Baker on for Hopkins-Duckhouse soon followed by Lisa Wilson on for Chloe Burch. Johnston flattens Imanalijeva as the game moves into stoppage time a free-kick wide played into the area cleared Forshaw gathers no shot on plays it inside to Becky Russell, Patterson racing out to charge her down. That’s it the final whistle blows and Wymondham celebrate having successfully retained the County Cup and in doing so the first side to win it at Carrow Road.
Full time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 1-4 Wymondham Town Ladies
An entertaining final played in front of a great crowd enjoyed the occasion two good sides, Wymondham with the early goal, King’s Lynn creating plenty of opportunities hit on the break to go 2-0 down at the break. King’s Lynn needed the next goal you felt, it didn’t come Wymondham adjusting well with their substitutes performing well got that all important 3rd goal and a 4th late on secured the trophy. King’s Lynn getting a late goal themselves. A fantastic occasion which I’m sure will live long in the memory.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Oksana Imanalijeva and Becky Russell with great performances for King’s Lynn. Chardonnay Johnston and Jorja Patterson strong for Wymondham, Laura Nicholls a threat in attack she is just edged out by her strike partner today Hannah Waters a real handful in attack getting forwards at every opportunity and ready for the ball whenever her teammates looked up opening and finishing the scoring.
Congratulations to Wymondham Town Ladies upon retaining the Norfolk Women’s County Cup.
Wanted one thing from today an that was for the winner to be the game itself regardless of the winner a great advert for the women’s game showcasing it at Carrow Road. Think we got that an entertaining game both sides playing their part a memorable occasion fingers crossed we will see more finals played there… and maybe the East Anglian derby afterall the women’s sides are still in the same league. My thanks to Norfolk FA for giving me the opportunity to cover a game at Carrow Road it certainly gave me alot to write about.