Sunday 26th November
ERWFL Division One North
A short journey this Sunday to catch some football action from ERWFL Division One North staying in Norfolk to watch Thetford Town Ladies take on Cambridgeshire side, Histon Ladies both new additions to the league.
The regional league seeing an increase in numbers in recent season’s getting to it’s full potential of 36 sides playing across three divisions, representing tiers 5 and 6 of the women’s football pyramid. Both of today’s opponents amongst 6 new sides successfully applying to join the ERWFL in Division One North, now sadly reduced to 10 sides with the unfortunate withdrawals of St Ives Town Ladies and Yaxley Phoenix Development.
Thetford Town Ladies a late entrant to the league having initially lost out on the promotion pool, but with one of the new entrants having to pull out, Thetford were pleased to be invited to join and make the big step up into regional football for the first time in the clubs history. Manager Luke Pickford busy in the summer bringing in players to help the squad compete at a higher level. Amongst those, experienced defender, Fran Peeling having previously been with King’s Lynn Town Ladies in the league above joining Peeling from King’s Lynn is Alice Collins another player with a high level of experience playing in the league above. Katie Fray and Kate Morris joining Thetford having had a very successful season with Taverham FC Women’s 7-aside team scoring 102 goals between them, Fray netting an incredible 78 goals in just 18 appearances. Attacker, Mary-Anne Hoy has experience playing at a higher level with Wroxham FC Women, while ex-Norwich City player Hannah Claughton joins after a successful season playing for Aylsham FC Women last campaign. Megan Gowing the latest recruit, the young talented goalkeeper joining Thetford having begun the season playing for Wroxham in the ERWFL Premier Division.
Hit the ground running in the league, with an opening day win away to St Ives Town Ladies, Women’s Football East there as Kamile Omeleviciute hit the back of the net for 4 goals in a 6-0 win to see the newcomers sit top of the league. That result and Omeleviciute’s goals from that game chalked off however as St Ives Town Ladies struggling for numbers and injuries pulled out of the league. Thetford now sitting in 9th having played just 5 league matches winning 2, drawing another and 2 losses. Cup competitions affecting any momentum in the league typical at this level their last league game back on the 15th October a positive result this afternoon could see Thetford climb up into the top half of the table. Despite having 4 goals chalked off, Omelevicuite is still the leading goal scorer with 9 officially to her name so far this season, with Katie Fray having scored 6.
Histon Ladies returning the the ERWFL this season after a strong season in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership, finishing 2nd and reaching the League Cup final. Having previously been an established side within the ERWFL. Managed by ex-Cambridge City Women’s chairman, Kevin Jacklin. A club which has always strived to bring on youth players through it’s ranks, several ex-City players following Jacklin to Histon to bolster an experienced squad of players with the likes of Bella Ely, Eloise Page and Natasha Coe joining this season along with Jorja Badcock who was part of the Cambridge United WFC Development team that won the Junior Invitation Cup last a season and Molly Banks another talented youngster from Girls United FC. Also added to the squad midfielder Hannah Seymour-Shove who was vital player for St Ives Town Ladies over several seasons.
Histon’s return to the ERWFL has been a story on inconsistency so far this season, winning as many as they have lost, with 12 points from 8 played are still handily placed in 3rd spot in the table and a positive run of results could well see them consolidate that position and press the top two as the season progresses. Natasha Coe and Rachel Pearce currently leading the goal scoring charts with 3 goals each.
Thetford Town FC’s Mundford Road stadium the venue for today’s league encounter, entry through the clubhouse leading into the ground itself, a burst pipe in the kitchen seeing a clean up operation in progress with no hot drinks available the bar still open however. leading out to the main stand beside the grass pitch with a slope across it to the dugouts on the opposite side. A dull, gloomy day heavy cloud darkening the sky, cold and damp to boot, need some football action to warm thing’s up…
Thetford Town Ladies starting XI – Amber Browne, Sausha Levy-Twomey, Zoe Kimcke, Fran Peeling, Alice Collins, Mia Bambury, Kamile Omeleviciute, Katie Fray, Melissa Boulton (C), Hannah Claughton & Laura Martins. Subs – Megan Gowing, Elizabeth Moore, Erin Lloyd, Amber May & Pola Pasik.
Histon Ladies starting XI – Kayleigh Blanchard, Jorja Badcock, Abi Laughlin, Katie Levitt, Amy Ozakpinar, Eloise Page, Rachel Pearce, Hannah Seymour-Shove, Bella Ely, Sophie Hopkin & Carla Penny (C). Subs – Molly Banks, Natasha Coe, Kirsty Geal & Tara Fitzjohn.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s Histon in their all blue away strip to get the game underway kicking off the 1st half with Thetford lined up opposite wearing their home colours, an all claret kit with sky blue trim. The ball played back to Eloise Page in defence, launched out to the right for captain Carla Penny to attack, Zoe Klimcke seeing the ball out for a thrown in for Thetford. Pressure from the throw high on the right seeing Histon win an early corner.
The delivery into the Thetford box deflected outside to Histon’s Rachel Pearce some 25 yards out, clips a high ball back in towards goal, Amber Browne, Thetford’s goalkeeper and assistant manager seeing the ball land safely onto the roof of her net. Histon making a strong start getting after Thetford inside their own half, Penny in particular putting herself about chasing and closing the ball down. Klimcke tackling her as she presses on the right brings the ball out from left back looking to play Hannah Claughton in down the line, Abi Laughlin stretching out a leg cutting the pass out for the visitors.
Penny powering her way to the by-line on the right, using her strength on the ball as she checks inside towards the box, challenged the ball behind for another corner, Jorja Badcock to lift the ball into the area headed clear by Thetford’s Katie Fray. Thetford finding themselves on the back foot haven’t settled into the game at all, Sausha Levy-Twomey getting a tackle in to break up a Histon attack through the middle the hosts look to counter the ball forwards into Claughton has options either side with Martins though the middle, Fray pulling wide to the left, playing the pass inside to Martins she in turn releases Fray out wide to whip a cross in towards the top of the Histon area, Amy Ozakpinar intercepting the ball and clearing for Histon.
Penny is pushed in the back as she looks to hold the ball up wide on the right giving Histon a free-kick some 30 yards out, Pearce to lift the ball in towards goal a dangerous delivery with Sophie Hopkin and Ely bearing down on goal the ball dropping inside the six yard box threatening to creep in at the far post, Browne makes a fantastic save dropping down to her right arm outstretched to glove the ball away to the left.
Histon quick to regain possession, Page allowed to travel into space on the right from the back lifting a looping ball into the area for Ely positioned to the left of goal, attempting to get the ball down off her chest to shoot is closed down by Fran Peeling the ball scrambled out of the area, Hopkin looing to latch onto the ball 20 yards out her shot is charged down. Pearce and Hannah Seymour-Shove closing the ball down for Histon inside the Thetford half keeping the hosts unsettled Penny providing a useful outlet picking the ball up driving into the channels is upended out wide on the right.
Pearce to play the set-piece flighted in under the bar, Browne getting up to knock the ball out to the left conceding a corner. Histon sending players up into the area Thetford defending getting it out falling straight to Hopkin 25 yards out on the turn lifts a shot over the bar. Thetford getting frustrated passes not finding their mark the ball coming straight back.
Penny carrying the ball forwards through the middle played on for Hopkin up top with Ely in support the pair exchanging passes 25 yards out before Ely slides the ball into the path of Laughlin getting into the box from the right, Klimcke across her with a well timed tackle to clear the ball for a throw out on the right. Klimcke winning Thetford a free kick on halfway a chance to relieve some pressure as Mia Bambury launches the ball up into the box, Martins right of goal looking to see it down onto her foot to shoot, is closely marked by Katie Levitt
Ely taking the ball forwards on the left for Histon checks inside looking to thread a pass inside for Hopkin in the middle, Collins stretching to cut it out for Thetford. The hosts playing some loose ball forwards gifting Histon possession back as the visitors launch a swift counter attack Pearce on the ball central looking to pick put Penny as she breaks into the box to the right of goal. Klimcke with the tackle once again lunging out a leg to take the ball behind for a corner kick.
Thetford fighting for the ball inside the Histon half, Bambury to Omeleviciute fed on for Martins bursting down the right, Badcock getting back on her to challenge concede the corner, taken short the move breaking down as flag is raised. Histon breaking down the left Ely getting the throw put inside to Penny who turns left corner of the area, shifting the ball as she evades one challenge, lining up the strike, Claughton rushing in to charge the ball down.
Histon making a change, bringing off Hopkin on comes Molly Banks with 24 minutes gone. Klimcke busy at the back defending for Thetford bringing the ball out sends it up the line for Martins pulling out to the left channel, Page coming out to close her down winning the ball back for Histon. The visitors setting the questions Thetford remain unsettled unable to find any rhythm, captain Melissa Boulton linking up with Omeleviciute through the middle, Ozakpinar cutting out the pass intended for martins as she makes a run towards the right of the D. Histon winning another corner on the right, curled in towards the near post, Omeleviciute defending heading the ball away for Thetford.
Thetford pushing on well through the middle, played forwards into Omeleviciute racing into the right channel, Martins with her the ball rolled into her path inside the box, the challenge clumsy, Martins upended the ball though away for a corner on the right. Histon defending there box well the ball lifted forwards, the threat of a counter attack halted by Peeling on halfway as she gets across to smother the ball.
Thetford in need of a lift attack on the left Claughton taking the ball on with Omelevicuite providing a good run into space ahead of her picking her out Omeleviciute turning into the area, rides a tackle staying n her feet to send a dangerous ball in across the top of the six yard box, Boulton central throwing herself at the ball can’t get any contact coming through to Martins beyond the far post, looks to check back inside before the Histon defence regroup and close her down.
Penny shooting over the crossbar from inside the D, as the ball comes into her feet of a rebound in midfield. Thetford pulling players out right and left looking to find some joy going forwards, Fray playing the ball into the area from the left, Badcock clearing for Histon. Signs Thetford are getting back into the game having absorbed a lot of pressure as Histon pressed the ball well.
GOAL! The game turned completely on it’s head as Omeleviciute steals in to win the ball on halfway and drives forwards bearing down on the area moving to the left before angling her shot back across the keeper to send the ball into the bottom corner to rattle in her 10th goal of the season and open the scoring for Thetford 1-0.
Thetford into the lead, fair to say against the run of play, but goals bring confidence and straight from the restart Thetford look a different side after the ball, Collins on for fray peeling out to the left, taking the ball into space, Page across to close her down the ball put out for a throw in. Omeleviciute playing the ball in across the top of the area, Seymour-Shove clearing for Histon.
Thetford winning a corner on the left played in long knocked down at the far post, Kayleigh Blanchard down smartly to claim the loose ball. Blanchard hurt then as she goes across to slide in claim a ball whipped in from wide on the right diving in as Martins races in looking to attack the ball, the goalkeeper gets the ball but comes off the worst as she and Martins accidentally collide. A lengthy pause as Blanchard is down in some distress needing treatment. Coming off holding her nose can’t continue, Tara Fitzjohn, on the bench, the physio too, needing to don the goalkeeping gloves coming on to see out the remaining minutes of the 1st half.
The ball cleared out to the right, Thetford latching onto it Boulton lifting it on into the area for Martins to chase, Fitzjohn out well to get hold of the ball. Thetford with numbers forwards on the right Omelevicuite driving down the line appears to be fouled, doesn’t get the decision however as the cross is curled into the near post claimed high by Fitzjohn. Thetford finishing the 1st half the stronger Bambury pushing the ball forwards into Boulton on the right, clips it back in towards the D, Martins the target, Seymour-Shove back to defend for Histon.
Half-time Thetford Town Ladies 1-0 Histon Ladies
The first half ends with Thetford going into the changing rooms leading 1-0. A brilliant individual goal from Kamile Omeleviciute turning the game on it’s head. Histon no doubt the team on top up until that point getting after the ball inside the Thetford half putting the defence under pressure and frustrating Thetford who didn’t settle into the match, having rode out that difficult start however, the signs were there things were on the swing then Omeleviciute drove forwards to score and put some much needed vigour into Thetford’s blood the goal bringing confidence the hosts finishing the first half strong. A single goal in it all to play for 2nd half.
Bad news for Histon goalkeeper, Kayleigh Blanchard, with a suspected broken nose is heading off to hospital to get it looked at. A blow for Histon, who make two more changes at the break bringing on Natasha Coe and Kirsty Geal replacing, Ely and Levitt. Thetford unchanged, very gloomy out there now and the floodlights need to be turned on, now raining but the air heavy with moisture. Thetford to get the 2nd half underway the ball out to Claughton on the left launched high into the area, caught by Fitzjohn.
Geal racing on into space on the left for Histon whipping a cross into the six yard box flashed in across the face of goal, Klimcke down having gone in for a challenge at the near post the game stopped for her to receive treatment but is up and okay to continue. Boulton getting away onto the right for Thetford getting the ball under control lifting a cross into the area Martins looking to attack it near side has plenty of defenders for company can’t get a telling touch the ball knocked through for the keeper to safely gather.
Penny bringing the ball inside plays it into Banks central 25 yards out, knocks it wide for Badcock rushing forwards on the wing, Martins tracking back to defend challenging to win possession back for Thetford. Coe with the ball at her feet coming inside from the right to play the diagonal ball out to fellow 2nd half substitute Geal wide on the left, she in turn squares the cross into Banks 25 yards out top of the D, latching onto the shot she strikes the ball wide of the left post.
Claughton on the attack on the left powering forwards with the ball sends it on for Martins attacking the channel, Page out to close her down for Histon before she can break into the area the ball safely through to the keeper. Peeling sending a long ball looping in towards goal from the right, Fitzjohn back on her line getting her gloves up to make the save spilling the ball however, recovering well throwing herself down on it bravely as Fray steaming in to attack it goes over her.
Fitzjohn the busier of the two goalkeepers at the start of the 2nd half Thetford getting the ball out to Claughton on the left fed forwards into Fray left inside the area, Fitzjohn out sharply to gather the ball. Boulton in a race to get to the ball before it runs out of play on the right, does well to keep it in play on the by-line before sending a cross high into the six yard box, too close to the keeper however Fitzjohn snatching it into her gloves
Thetford making a double switch bringing off Martins up top bringing Amber May on. Megan Gowing also coming on to make her Thetford debut in goal replacing Browne. Histon winning a free-kick on the left a chance to put the new goalkeeper under pressure, instead goes long to the far post, Thetford clearing the ball.
Boulton finding pockets of space to run into for Thetford in the 2nd half surging on through the middle, making her way into the area, Geal back to block her shot for Histon. May up top for Thetford putting herself about looking to press the defence on the ball, giving Boulton the opportunity to get beyond her looking to get the ball into the area. The pair linking up as May pulls wide right to lift a teasing ball into the near post, Fitzjohn well placed to snatch the ball into her chest with Boulton closing in looking to put her head on the ball.
Badcock with an attempt on goal from range, easily dealt with by Gowing. Histon attacking on the left with Badcock forwards to support Geal and Coe, Fray coming back to do the defending for Thetford lifting the ball up to May who looks to feed in Boulton on the right, her cross easy for Fitzjohn to pluck down. Thetford stronger in the 2nd half the game more open. Coe looking to combine with banks through the centre, Levy-Twomey tackling for Thetford.
Coe strong on the ball coming inside from the right with Laughlin going past her on the overlap into the box, Klimcke tackling for Thetford. Histon gaining some momentum in the final 3rd with Coe getting hold of the ball pressing towards the box the visitors making a change ringing Hopkin back on to replace Pearce as they look to change formation press another player forwards.
Fray and Claughton forwards for Thetford 25 yards out left of the D playing the one two Claughton teeing up Fray inside the area to strike the ball, wide of the left post, a nick off a defender spotted the corner awarded. Taken short, the opportunity to cross wasted, however Histon can’t retain possession the ball rolled into the path of Omelevicuite central drives for the box but can’t find a way through on goal.
Peeling lifting the ball out long for Claughton on the left, knocking it forwards, in a race with Laughlin the defender sliding in t send the ball behind for a corner kick. The ball played short into Boulton coming towards the ball turns to drive into the area, tripped inside the white line, referee Anoushka Williamson pointing to the spot, PENALTY! Boulton herself to take it placing the ball on the spot gets too much on it turning in frustration as she balloons the ball over the crossbar, the opportunity to double the lead gone.
The game moving into the final 15 minutes Thetford up on the left the cross dipped into the D, May looking to bring it down under control, Badcock closing in to defend for Histon. The hosts working hard to win the ball back that in turn putting them on the front foot, are keen to score a 2nd try and put the game to bed, Histon far from out of it. Boulton striking the ball over on the half volley from inside the D.
Histon making another change bringing Ely back on for Badcock. Geal racing away in the left for the visitors sweeping a cross into the six yard box, Klimcke clearing for Thetford at the far post. Page with a crack from range for Histon her shot dropping wide of the left post. Thetford making a double switch late in the game bringing off Klimcke and May, Elizabeth Moore and Pola Pasik coming on.
Laughlin winning the ball on the right as Thetford attempt to counter keeping the pressure on inside the final 3rd. Seymour-Shove winning Histon a corner on the right. The ball in near post knocked out across goal to the left retrieved by Geal fired back in cleared by Omeleviciute for Thetford. Banks with a wild strike from distance over. The game opening up Omeleviciute breaking for Thetford, Geal tracking back to defend clearing the ball, Peeling charging down a 25 yard strike.
Histon on the counter attacking right Coe with Laughlin players drawn to the ball as the cross is swept into the top of the area Geal free left of the left striking the ball on the volley back across the keeper towards the right post, but agonisingly wide. Histon applying pressure late on winning a free-kick in the corner on the right. knocked on across the area out for a corner kick on the left. Put in long knocked down to Laughlin central her strike from outside the area deflected over the bar. A corner for Histon on the left played in towards the near post defended by Collins for Thetford back out to the left the return cross clipped over the bar.
GOAL! Just as Histon looked to be turning the screw Thetford break away to double there lead, the ball played into Claughton left side races forwards powering her way into the left channel before unleashing a venomous strike, Fitzjohn down sharply at her near post getting her gloves on the ball but not claimed loose beyond her Boulton the fastest to react rushing in to blast the ball into the back of the net 2-0.
Thetford getting that all important 2nd goal as the game moves into stoppage time coming just as Histon were looking for push for a late goal themselves to salvage something from the game. Bambury down with a knock late on for Thetford, the hosts making a late change bringing of Fray sending defender Erin Lloyd on. The substitute straight into the actin intercepting a cross put in from Laughlin on the right.
Histon pushing players forwards looking to find a goal in the closing stages, Thetford back defending their area. Lloyd and Levy-Twomey both winning crosses. The job down the final whistle blows and Thetford celebrate the victory and the 3 points moving up a couple of places into 7th seeing the middle of Division One North bunch up closely with just 2 points between them and Newmarket Town Women who move into 3rd spot with a 2-1 win over leaders Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers Women. remains a highly competitive league will be intriguing to see who emerges out on top come the end of the season.
Full time Thetford Town Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies
Gaols change games and this was certainly the case today. Thetford finding themselves on the backfoot for much of the first half, unsettled as Histon pressed the ball well creating opportunities without taking advantage of their dominance. Thetford in need of a moment of inspiration and Kamile Omeleviciute delivered to steal the ball on halfway and break way to score a brilliant individual goal to give the hosts the lead, finished the half on the front foot and came out positive in the 2nd half taking the game to Histon who made changes riding out a strong Thetford spell themselves before threatening to pull the scores level late in the match, Thetford again breaking away to get that all crucial 2nd goal to win the game.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Most of the time it’s never an easy decision although today I did have someone in the forefront of my thoughts leaving the ground only for my notes (and I do write down a bit as you know) sending me in a different direction. A few performances of note to mention of course, for Histon, captain Carla Penny was exceptional, especially in the first half getting after the ball, taking the game to her opponents and creating opportunities for herself and others. Substitutes Kirsty Geal and Natasha Coe both making a positive impact coming on in the 2nd half while Abi Laughlin get forwards well on the right to support the attack while defending well at the back. For Thetford, Kamile Omelevicuite goal changed the course of the game giving Thetford a vital shot of confidence to carry them forwards for the rest of the match. Katie Fray working hard in midfield getting forwards to support the attackers. Hannah Claughton with some strong runs out on the left. captain Melissa Boulton making some excellent attacking runs in the 2nd half linking up well with the midfield and attack. Pipping her to today’s award though is defender Zoe Klimcke made a number of crucial tackles at the back, especially in the first half while Histon were on top preventing the ball getting into the box and denying shots to keep Thetford’s goal intact.
Great to catch up with both sides. Always a good contest in the ERWFL, hopefully for Thetford the result will count this time. Wishing Histon goalkeeper Kayleigh Blanchard all the best hoping for good news regarding her injury. My thanks to both sides for their assistance today as always much appreciated.
by Darren Gilham