Sunday 19th Aug
The new season of ERWFL (Eastern Region Women’s Football League) began this weekend with 25 sides competing across two divisions this campaign. 12 sides in the Premier Division with 13 in Division One, plenty of football to come over the next few months with plenty of interesting encounters lined up.
ERWFL Premier Division
Acle United Women are the early leaders in the Premier Division with a crushing home defeat on the opening day taking on Haringey Borough Women, relegated from the FAWPL as it was last season. A difficult season for Haringey Borough loosing alot of players as they entered the higher level a baptism of fire for a young squad then and still recovering from that suffered a heavy defeat on their return to the ERWFL against one of the sides likely to be pushing for the title. Grace Birchall getting Acle into an early lead inside 5 minutes. Captain Megan Todd going on to score a brace to put Acle 3-0 up before Birchall added her 2nd of the game and Rhianne Brister was on target to give the Norfolk side a 5-0 half-time lead. More goals followed 2nd half Todd and Birchall rounding off their hat-tricks, Laura Holden and Brister with her 2nd of the match making it 9-0 in the final 10 minutes.
Is a Norfolk one, two in the ERWFL Premier Division after the opening weekend with newly promoted Wymondham Town Ladies recording a big win away from home. A trip to Bedfordshire to play a team I had been led to believe had folded over the summer, AFC Dunstable Ladies, they haven’t however and pleased to see, far from the start they would have liked against a side more than one person has told me look strong in pre-season. Top scorer last season, Laura Nicholls wasted no time opening her account this time around grabbing a 1st half hat-trick with a goal too for Betty Fretwell and new signing Carolyn Sarafian on her debut making it 5. Dunstable did pull a goal back but only a consolation as Wymondham added further goals 2nd half Nicholls with her 4th of the game, Jorja Patterson and Chelsea Clarke also getting an opening day goal in an 8-1.
Cambridge City Ladies, were runners-up last season in their debut season in the ERWFL Premier Division. Started this season with a trip to a new local rival as Peterborough Northern Star Ladies join the ERWFL having previously played for the East Midland’s regional section. Cambridge City getting off to a great start with a 5-2 win. Laura Mills, Carla Penny and Shannon Shaw on her debut all scoring along with substitute Grace Stanley who netted a brace.
Harlow Town Ladies are the other new entrants to the Premier Division with a 3rd successive promotion having finished runners-up in ERWFL Division One South last season. Began life at the higher level at home taking on fellow Essex side Brentwood Town Ladies. Georgia Holdaway scoring a brace for the visitors it wasn’t enough for Brentwood as they suffered an opening day loss Harlow Town running out 5-2 winners. Olivia Steele scoring an opening day hat-trick with Lily Bruno and Rubie Smith also on target.
AFC Sudbury Ladies were hosting Bedford Ladies in the final game played in the ERWFL Premier Division on Sunday. An injury time goal for the home side denying Bedford all 3 points after Mayo Sidhu had given them the lead. Ceri Harris sending the ball home for AFC Sudbury in stoppage time to secure a point for the Suffolk side.
Colney Heath Ladies start to the ERWFL Premier Division delayed as they were instead in action in the FA Women’s Cup, Preliminary Round hosting Hemel Hempstead Town Ladies. A hat-trick for new signing Rianne Townsend-Brown on her debut, along with a goal for fellow debutant Charlene Moreton plus a brace from last season’s top scorer Nicola Hollicks and one from Kelly Hancock seeing Colney Heath progress easily with a 7-0 win.
ERWFL Division One
One single Division One this season consisting of 13 teams 4 new sides joining, St Ives Town Ladies and Newmarket Town Ladies plus Hatfield Peverel Ladies and Lawford Ladies from Essex. Another new name in the ERWFL being Bowers & Pitsea Ladies formerly Little Thurrock Dynamos.
It was a game from ERWFL Division One where Women’s Football East began it’s season taking in a match between two of the newly promoted sides, St Ives Town Ladies hosting Lawford Ladies. St Ives getting off to a fantastic starting breaking away to score inside the opening minute, Tierney Coulson sending in a strike from outside the box. St Ives started well finding room to exploit as Lawford struggled to get to grips with their young energetic forwards, captain Amy Seymour-Shove running clear on the left curling home a shot from the top corner of the box to make it 2-0. Last season’s top scorer Georgia Stancombe also opened her account seeing her initial shot saved by Lawford keeper Jamie Newstead the ball came back to her to lift the ball over her and in or 3-0. A rampant St Ives adding a 4th goal with newly introduced substitutes Caitlin Jarman and Lauren Gibson combining for the latter to score with her first touch on her St Ives debut after joining from Cambridge United WFC in the summer.
4-0 at half-time, Lawford needed to reorganise or risk being over run 2nd half came out with a more solid shape 2nd half and pulled a goal back through last season’s top scorer Jasmine Cox as she caused trouble for the St Ives defence form a long ball forwards. St Ives had the energy and goal advantage to push on and Coulson reintroduced to the game 2nd half found herself on the end of two final balls to wrap up an opening day hat-trick. The 6-1 win sending St Ives to the top of the table.
Last season’s ERWFL Division One South winners, Stevenage Ladies Reserves chose not to take promotion to the Premier Division, remaining in Division One they began the new campaign away to Bishops Stortford Ladies who had a difficult debut season at regional level, will be hoping for better results this time around. Stevenage Ladies Reserves got off to a great start against them however with a 5-0 win on Sunday. Daniela Martucci getting herself hat-trick in the match with Emily Schofield and Sherrie Evans both getting a goal a piece. Stevenage Ladies Reserves are 2nd.
Weren’t the only side to score 5 goals in their opening match of the season with 2 more hitting 5 at home to collect all 3 points. Hutton Ladies enjoyed a successful campaign last time out collecting two trophies, including retaining the ERWFL Plate. Started this season’s league campaign at home to Histon Ladies. The visitors from Cambridgeshire taking the early lead against the Essex side Jordanne Sillitoe resigning for Histon scoring after just 2 minutes. Hutton went on to have full control of the match taking a 4-1 lead into the dressing room at half-time. Vicky Kinsman making her debut for Hutton scoring all of the goals went on to add a 5th to her name 2nd half, Hutton winning 5-2, Sillitoe scoring again for Histon.
Also scoring 5 goals on the opening day to clinch victory were last season’s ERWFL Division One North runners-up, King Lynn Town Ladies, were hosting Newmarket Town Ladies, newly promoted to the ERWFL after finishing runners-up in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership. Natalie Wright, Deva Rawlings and Chloe Witt were making their debuts for King’s Lynn. Newmarket Town have lost a few players in the summer but were blessed with a large pool of talent to call upon previously and although leaner have a solid side. It was King’s Lynn who would take the lead Oksana Imanalijeva making it 1-0. Tiffany Forshaw opened her account to make it 2-0 to the hosts. Brooke Wickens getting a goal back for Newmarket. King’s Lynn with the 2-1 advantage at the break.
Chloe Witt bagged herself a goal on her debut for King’s Lynn to make it 3-1. The score going into a frantic last 10 minutes, Newmarket puling it back to 3-2 through Sarah O’Rourke. Rochelle Woods and Imanalijeva with her 2nd of the game putting King’s Lynn into a 5-2 lead. Molly Agnew scoring a 3rd goal for Newmarket not with two minutes left on the clock not enough as King’s Lynn took the 3 points with a 5-3 result.
Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies ended the last campaign in magnificent form 5 straight wins in the league and have carried that momentum on into the new season winning away from home on the opening day of the season. Were taking on Ipswich Wanderers Ladies. Charley Handley scoring Hoddesdon’s first goal of the season to put the visitors 1-0 up at the break. Kristina O’Connell making the score 2-0 to Hoddesdon 10 minutes into the 2nd half a 3rd soon followed scored by Natasha Crick. Ipswich Wanderers getting a consolation goal deep into injury time new signing Stacey Teager from AFC Sudbury Ladies scoring on her debut.
An away win for Bowers & Pitsea Ladies completes the opening days results in the ERWFL. Were taking on fellow Essex side Hatfield Peverel Ladies newly promoted to the league as Essex Women’s Premier Division Champions. Goals from new signing Sabrina Campbell and Abbie Simmonds giving Bowers & Pitsea a 2-0 lead looked comfortable for the result Hatfield Peverel grabbing a late goal through Lauren Crozier to make the final score 2-1.