A first for the Supporting Women’s Football Blog today taking in a new league for the 1st time and a long overdue trip to watch a game in the Essex Women’s Premier Division. The venue The Harlow Arena to watch runaway league leaders take on 2nd placed Lawford Ladies.
Harlow Town Ladies haven’t dropped a single league point since they joined the Essex Women’s County league last season having previously been the Bury Rangers Girls U17s, winning the Division One title last season going on to complete a Quadruple, with wins in the Essex Trophy, Tiptree & District Charity Cup and Essex Women’s League Cup finals. Are going as equally strong in the Premier Division following promotion with a 100% winning record to date 14 games won are 14 points clear of 2nd placed Lawford Ladies. In addition to the 1st team Harlow Town Ladies started a new Reserves and an U18s side this season having a good number signed to the club to play for all 3 sides is a little stretched at the moment with a dozen out injured.
Lawford Ladies near Manningtree in North Essex are into their 5th season, started this season with a new manager Marc Lawson coming in. Had a very strong start to the season winning their opening 8 games eventually over took by Harlow as postponements as well a cup games halting their momentum in the league. Have played Harlow once already this season knocking the holders out of the league cup with a 3-0 home win. Have games in hand as they look to be the 1st side in the Premier Division to beat Harlow in the league this season.
The venue for today’s game The Harlow Arena, have visited the stadium before for an FAWSL match a coupe of seasons back between Millwall Lionesses and Watford Ladies. Is a new built stadium featuring a top notch 3G pitch that sees plenty of action throughout the week. Has multi teams playing on it regularly including Harlow Town Ladies 3 sides. A good sized artificial surface a large seated stand on one side housing the changing rooms bar and clubhouse with hot and cold refreshments available. A dry day if overcast overhead, a chilly breeze that was swirling about the stadium, no where near as strong as Doris was in the week.
Harlow Town Ladies starting XI – Kerry Davies, Maisie Ryan, Megan Sende, Fran Gamble, Christie Seakins, Taylor O’Leary, Francesca Tye (C), Nicole Learner, Danielle Hills, Tayla Handscombe & Dempsey Favell.
subs – Tia Dye, Lucy Sende, Karys Paton & Rhiann Patmore.
Lawford Ladies starting XI – Louise Murphy, Jo Ribet, Sofia Serghiou, Hayley Chapman (C), Ella Boyden, Lauren Richardson, Sasha McDonald, Sheena Foley, Jade Heath, Jasmine Cox & Daisy Canny.
subs – Michelle Foley, Codie Laurie, Susie Jackson & Gemma Issacs.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s Harlow to get the 1st half underway, kitted out in red and white hooped shirts with red sleeves, blue shirts and red socks with Lawford lined up opposite wearing sky blue and white vertical striped shirts, navy shorts and socks. The early play is squeezed both sides pressing the ball in the middle Harlow captain, Francesca Tye getting the ball out to Tayla Handscomb breaking into space on the right wing her early diagonal ball intended for striker Dempsey Favell making a run into the box is intercepted and cleared by Lawford’s captain Hayley Chapman playing at centre back.
Working the ball out to the left wing Harlow get the ball into Danielle Hill, Megan Sende gets forwards to support exchanging passes Lawford prevent the cross coming in, the clearance comes to Lauren Richardson the ball played on Lawford counter attack the ball fired into Jasmine Cox moving left to right across the D has the ball at her feet slips as she shoots the ball running harmlessly wide across the Harlow goal.
|Dempsey Favell opens the opening
goal for Harlow Town Ladies
GOAL! 4 minutes played and the opening goal is scored, Harlow launching a counter attack from a Lawford free-kick played up towards the area from the halfway line headed back out of the area by the Harlow defence the ball falls to midfielder Taylor O’Leary, she bursts forwards with the ball at her feet, up top Favell is already on the move O’Leary picking her out with a defence splitting pass, through on goal, Lawford goalkeeper Louise Murphy comes rushing out of her area to close Favell down, she releases the ball early lobbing it over the goalkeeper, into the area beyond and bounces into the goal beyond 1-0.
Two committed sides out there some crunching 50/50 balls no one afforded much time on the ball, Lawford win a free-kick on halfway the ball played up to the top of the area is won by Sasha McDonald who heads the ball on into the box, Cox goes after it as goalkeeper Kerry Davies rushing out to claim slides in the pair collide the ball deflected behind goal, play is brought back for a free-kick for Harlow the flag up against Cox.
Tye bringing the ball on through the middle of the park for Harlow has Maisie Ryan breaking forwards from right back plays the ball out to her playing the cross into the box early the ball goes long, bouncing in the area is picked up by Hill on the left side inside the box, shoots putting the ball wide of goal. Ryan with another chance to bring the ball on down the right side plays it into Favell outside the area, seeing the ball into her body holds it up well before passing it into the area for Tye making a forwards run on her right closing in on goal looks to square the ball across the six yard box, Lawford’s Sofia Serghiou sliding in produces a great tackle the ball going out for a corner on the right. Glanced off a Lawford head inside the six yard box the ball goes out for a throw-in on the opposite side of the pitch.
|Lawford Ladies, Sofia Serghiou
GOAL! Harlow extend their lead inside the opening 15 minutes, Lawford force Harlow to play the ball backwards from the throw, getting it across the pitch to the right the long ball forwards once again picks out Favell outside the box holding it up right of goal puts the ball into the centre isn’t cleared played through into the feet of Nicole Learner left of the D shoots from outside the box the ball past the diving Murphy and into the bottom corner of the net 2-0.
|Nicole Learner makes it 2-0 for Harlow Town Ladies
A good start to the match for Harlow and they very nearly extend the lead moments later the ball as Fran Gamble wins the ball at the back play it into O’Leary sees Handscombe on the move on the right wing passes the ball out to her carrying it down the line fires a cross in towards Favell making a near post run controls well inside the six yard box adjusting her feet and getting a shot away as she falls, Murphy has the post covered getting across makes the blocking save the ball rebounding out across goal drops to Learner attempts to volley it goalwards flies back across the six yard box grounded Favell uses her studs to knock it back across goal Chapman boots it clear for Lawford.
Frustrated at conceding 2 early goals Lawford double their efforts to close Harlow down on the ball, McDonald winning the tackle in the middle plays it on for Daisy Canny, the striker charging through the middle towards the Harlow box lifts the ball beyond the defence into the area with Jade Heath looking to get in behind from the right, Davies is off her line quickly out to claim the ball before her goal is threatened. Up the other end a timely challenge from Chapman getting back to tackle Hill breaking down the left channel as the ball is played long to her for Harlow.
|Daisy Canny attacking for Lawford Ladies
Ryan breaking forwards on the right for Harlow sweeps her cross deep into the Lawford area across the six yard box, Lawford substitute, Suzie Jackson tracking back has to play the ball behind for the corner with Hill behind her on the left. Both sides are using their substitutes, Foley only just taken off comes back on for Ella Boyden who has taken a knock. Tye bringing the ball forwards for Harlow sends it on up into the area for Favell moving to the left, gets her shot away as Murphy comes sliding in to close her down the ball runs wide of goal a corner is signalled played in from the left Murphy coming through bodies near post punches the ball away falls to Hills inside the box but closed down quickly sends her shot wide of goal. Hills comes off for Harlow, Tia Dye coming on with 30 minutes played.
|Tayla Handscombe looking to get away from
Lawford’s Sofia Serghiou
Progressive build up play from Harlow looking to play short passes to get the ball forwards then out to Handscombe and Dye on the wings, in defence Chapman and Serghiou dealing with the final ball for Lawford into the box. Hills receives the ball from the left pushing on looks to shoot from 20 yards out, Serghiou rushing to meet her charges the shot down the ball deflects straight to O’Leary 25 yards out her snap shot loops up over the bar. Lucy Sende comes on for Handscombe for the last 5 minutes of the 1st half.
Lawford get the ball forwards late in the 1st half Richardson playing it into Canny outside the Harlow area left of the D with Cox in close support between the pair they keep hold of the ball rolled into Cox she shifts it into a central position room to curl in a shot is rising but straight at Davies central in her goal plucks the ball down cleanly into her gloves. A rapid counter from Harlow the ball played on by O’Leary sees Favell in behind left of goal driving on into the box doesn’t get much power behind her shot the ball rolling along the ground is easily saved by Murphy coming to close down the angle.
Lawford attack the ball with Richardson is played out to Canny moving into space on the left side, Gamble goes with her, Canny getting to the ball 1st, cleverly shifts it inside to evade the defenders challenge heading towards the box lifts the ball up into the top of the area Heath coming in with Seakens challenging her, Davies rushing from goal they all meet 12 yards out the ball squirming free rolling towards the six yard box Canny is after in but before she can get there Gamble throws herself at the ball clearing it for a corner kick.
|Lawford Ladies, Daisy Canny
GOAL! From the resulting corner Lawford pull a goal back is a good delivery inswinging towards the near post area inside a yard from goal Canny is there the ball chest height Harlow struggle to clear it ends up diverted into the back of their net Canny pumping her arms in celebration, looked more an own goal and after match this was confirmed 2-1.
Into injury time in the 1st half Harlow have a free-kick 30 yards out wide left of the Lawford area, Tye over the ball fires in low skipping off the surface in towards O’Leary positioned on the six yard line looks to turn and shoot as the ball crosses her path, Chapman closing her down defends well getting the ball away for a corner on the left. Defending the corner Lawford fail the get the ball away a hand ball spotted by the referee outside the box same side but closer in this time Richardson yellow carded as her protests go in vain. Tye takes on the shot this time the ball sails over the bar.
Half-time Harlow Town Ladies 2-1 Lawford Ladies
Having had the better of the 1st half Harlow Town Ladies take a narrow 2-1 lead into the changing rooms at half-time having taken a early 2 goal lead and frustrating their opponents Lawford capitalised late on to pull a goal back get themselves firmly back into the match. A competitve contest intriguing to watch clear to see why both sides are where they are in the league.
Has gotten alot colder as the chilly breeze picks up strength swirling about the stadium as the two sides come out for the 2nd half Lawford getting things back underway. Karys Patmore is on in place of Ryan at right back for Harlow at the start of the 2nd half as they gain possession and look to make progress on the left side the ball into Lucy Sende wins a throw in. From the throw in Sende receives the ball rolls it across the face of the box where the 1st time shot is smashed in swerving wide of goal. Tye gets hold of the ball in the middle and drives forwards for Harlow, tries to thread the pass in behind the Lawford defence with Sende coming in from the left, Murphy sliding in saves at her feet, the ball is loose for a moment the goalkeeper adjusting quickly on the ground to pull it into her body with Favell closing it down.
|Winning the ball in the middle captain Francesca Tye looks to attack for Harlow Town Ladies
The strength of the wind is apparent as it causes a free-kick played in from the right for Harlow to stand up in the wind headed away by McDonald they look to counter attack, Richardson on the ball but fouls Sende as she attempts to get past her giving away a free-kick 40 yards out, Tye over the ball aims to drop it into the area in front of the six yard box, Murphy confidently catches with runners from Harlow closing in. The home side make full use of their substitutes regularly changing personal Learner and Rhian Patmore given a rest with Megan Sende and Hills returning to the action. A few challenges resulting in free-kicks the referee adding to Lawford’s frustration with both Canny and Richardson yellow carded.
|Lawford Ladies, Jade Heath
Harlow are giving away free-kicks too Lawford awarded on on the top of the circle inside their opponents half the ball is played long to Heath out on the right her touch taking the ball inside towards the top of the box, Seakens can get to it 1st clear for Harlow. Serghiou is yellow carded for Lawford as she fouls Favell just outside the area as she receives the ball from O’Leary breaking through the middle. Is O’Leary with Tye over the ball right of the D, O’Leary’s as Tye runs at the ball hits it hard, Lawford’s Ribet charging towards the shot blocks taking a painful blow on the side of her head for her troubles the ball cleared for a throw in on the right. The ball helped on into O’Leary outside the box right corner drills a shot is flashing wide across the face of goal.
Lawford’s McDonald closes Hills down inside the area as the ball is swung into the area from the right, getting the ball away. Harlow are quick to press the ball in the middle of the park regain possession send it long out to Favell on the right looking to turn inside get into the area McDonald is their again getting her body across the attacker and playing the ball into Murphy the keeper kicking the ball clear. A strong start to the 2nd half by Harlow, Lawford unable to get any meaningful possession in the final 3rd.
GOAL! Midway through the 2nd half and Harlow’s pressure counts as they extend their lead. Have a corner on the right after Tye’s run into the box sees her tackled strongly by Serghiou. Gamble up from the back heads the ball on at the near post into the middle of the six yard box, drops to Favell her shot is blocked at close range the rebound coming back to O’Leary 12 yards out, Serghiou lunges in to try and win the ball, takes the player aswell the referee pointing to the penalty spot. O’Leary to pick herself up and take the spot kick, sends the keeper the wrong way as she coolly rolls the ball into the opposite corner of the net 3-1.
|Taylor O’Leary makes it 3-1 to Harlow from the penalty spot
Lawford get the ball forwards from the restart Richardson passing the ball up towards the area with Heath coming in from the right, Davies coming out to the edge of her area to slide in and claim the ball at the attackers feet. Cox is fouled inside the centre circle giving Lawford a fee-kick, Ribet playing the ball up towards the top of the area Richardson up to head the ball on towards goal is cleared coming back to Richardson who meets the ball on the volley her strike blocked inside the six yard box. Tye turns and runs at the Lawford back line sliding Favell in behind, clear to attack the box beyond Murphy comes racing out of her area to win the ball send it back up the pitch. Favell comes off for Harlow as Handscombe returns to the action.
GOAL! Harlow extend their lead with less than 15 minutes of the 2nd half left to play. Players getting forwards as the ball is carried through the middle by O’Leary, her pass picking out Tye outside the box left side of the D, seeing the ball into her body moves inside finding half a yard to shoot sends the ball arrowing in towards goal rising flies over the keeper and into the back of the net 4-1.
|Harlow Town Ladies captain, Francesca Tye
A quiet spell follows as both sides compete to stop the other having the ball attacks broken down before they can begin. Hills sees a goal chalked off for offside as she beats the keeper to the ball inside the box having gotten onto the end of a through ball from Learner. Cox then charges down a shot from Learner herself as she looks to take aim from 30 yards out. Codie Laurie comes on late in the game going up top with Chapman coming off at the back as they look to alter formation go 3 at the back. Harlow attack the ball rolled into O’Leary 25 yards out in front of the Lawford box has Dye to her right plays the ball into her feet carries it into the area doesn’t shoot 1st time, Serghiou threatens to take the ball from her getting it around the defender shoots the ball coming in centrally easily held by Murphy.
|Lawford Ladies, Lauren Richardson with Harlow’s Lucy Sende
Defending a Lawford free-kick Harlow attempt to break from their area, Richardson closing the ball down on the left side wins it back rolls in inside to Canny back to goal holding the ball up looks to roll it into Heath, Seakens can reach it 1st and plays it out from the back for Harlow. Into injury time Dye gets hold of the ball taking it on through the middle, Serghiou across times her tackle well.
Full time Harlow Town Ladies 4-1 Lawford Ladies
Harlow Town Ladies extend their winning run in the league to 15 games, are in a commanding position at the top of the Essex Women’s Premier Division and well on their way to claiming their 2nd league title in as many seasons. A frustrating result for Lawford conceding early were on the back foot for much of the match despite some good build up play were never allowed much time on the ball in the final 3rd. Pulling it back to 2-1 late in the 1st half gave them an opportunity, Harlow coming out the stronger in the 2nd half played some good short passing football looking to use the whole pitch rotating their substitutes to full effect. A great advert for women’s football in Essex.
SWF Blog – Player of the Match
A few names in contention for the SWF Blog – Player of the Match today. I’ve picked midfielder Taylor O’Leary, proactive all game winning the ball for Harlow and looking to turn and attack herself or bring others into play, won and scored the penalty. A good range of passing too.
|Harlow Town Ladies, Taylor O’Leary
Enjoyed my 1st taste of Premier Division football in Essex, my thanks to Harlow for their hospitality and both sides for their help with the teams today.