Sunday 28th May
The final edition of The Round-Up for the 2016/17 season as the weekend saw the last fixtures played… well almost one to sneak in for Norfolk this Wednesday. Most teams played out a handful of games left to play in Essex and the biggest game in their history for FAWPL Southern Division Champions, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies as they took on the Northern Division Champions, Blackburn Rovers Ladies in the FAWPL Championship Play Off the overall winner clinching promotion to the FAWSL. The Supporting Women’s Football Blog was there to cover the match and you can read all about it below.
FAWPL Championship Play Off
FAWPL Championship Play Off – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Blackburn Rovers Ladies
The Clash of the Champions this Sunday at The Valley for the 3rd FAWPL Championship Play Off match between Tottenham Hotspur Ladies & Blackburn Rovers Ladies.
The Champions from the FAWPL Southern & Northern Divisions meeting to decide the overall winner and with it promotion to the FAWSL. A huge game in the women’s football calendar the biggest game in the history of both clubs. Sheffield FC Ladies & Brighton & Hove Albion WFC have won the previous two FAWPL Championship Play Off matches to celebrate promotion to the FAWSL, who will join them?
Based in the East of England I have seen Tottenham Hotspur Ladies a few times over the past few years are one of the most exciting attacking women’s football sides to watch in the country, although they haven’t acheived the success in the league that their potential showed. Was just a matter of a few tweaks here and there for manager Karen Hills to find the winning formula on a regular basis and this season that potential has born fruit.
A competitive league Tottenham Hotspur Ladies have led for pretty much the whole of the season keeping ahead of rivals, Coventry United Ladies, Cardiff City Ladies and Charlton Athletic Women with a long unbeaten record clinching the FAWPL Southern Division title on a memorable night at White Hart Lane itself. Successfully defending the FAWPL Cup as well as winning the Boux Avenue Cup Final a fantastic treble, setting up what maybe a historic quadruple. Attackers Bianca Baptiste and Wendy Martin have netted 25 goals each so far this season.
Blackburn Rovers Ladies wrapped up the FAWPL Northern Division back at the end of March finishing 11 points clear of the rest of the field going the entire league campaign unbeaten winning 17 of their 20 games. Manager Gemma Donnelly building on from last season’s 3rd place finish. Have won a double this season themselves defeating Flyde Ladies 1-0 in the final of the Lancashire Women’s County Cup Final.
Have only lost twice this season and both of those games in cup competitions to the narrowest of margins going down 4-3 after extra-time in the FAWPL Cup. Their other loss against Tottenham at home in the FA Women’s Cup back in February losing 2-1 Bianca Baptiste with both goals the 2nd in the last minute. Have plenty of goals in their attack too with Saffron Jordan on 22 for the season, Ella Toone with 21 goals.
The venue for today’s game The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic FC. A stadium very much set in the heart of the community, quite well hidden surrounded by residential properties. A little bit of research and there are plenty of places to park nearby once you know where to look. An all seater stadium capacity 27,111 fantastic to see another high profile venue hosting a women’s football fixture. A large pitch still in great condition despite the it being the end of the domestic season a little wear, but no more than I saw at Carrow Road on Monday night. Promised to be a very warm day hot and sunny left the coat in the car… was going to regret that later on. The size of the pitch and the heat could well play there part for both sides playing their final game of a long season. Up in the 2nd tier for this one an eagle eye view of the action, no chance of getting a ball in the face for my efforts today…
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Toni-Anne Wayne, Lucia Leon, Leah Rawle, Jenna Schillaci (C), Renee Hector, Josie Green, Sophie Mclean, Maya Vio, Ronnell Humes, Wendy Martin & Bianca Baptiste.
subs – Shannon Moloney, Riana Soobadoo, Eartha Pond, Kelley Blanchflower & Katie O’Leary.
Blackburn Rovers Ladies starting XI – Danielle Hill, Danielle Whitham, Kelsey Pearson, Kayleigh McDonald, Ellie Stewart, Lynda Shepherd (C), Jess Holbrook, Ella Toone, Natasha Fenton, Faye McCoy & Saffron Jordan
subs – Alex Taylor, Hannah Fryer, Ria Montgomary, Emma Rankin & Ellie Cook.
The pre-match formalities done time for everyone inside the stadium to pause and reflect like so many other events across the country, a minutes silence to remember the 22 victims of Monday’s terrible bomb attack in Manchester along with those injured some still fighting for their lives in hospital.
It’s Blackburn to get the FAWPL Championship Play Off match underway kicking off 1st half, wearing their away colours red shirts with maroon horizontal stripes, black shorts and red socks with Tottenham lined up in their traditional white coloured shirts with navy shorts and socks. A break in play early on after Tottenham captain Jenna Schillaci stays down after a challenge from Blackburn’s Natasha Fenton concern as she stays down gingerly back on her feet, Sophie McLean dropping into the back four whilst she is assessed off the pitch the crowd cheering when their captain is able to return.
Blackburn look to get the ball into Fenton wide right winning the throw in the ball worked in field is sent high into the area the cross long to the far post looking to pick out Ella Toone is claimed high by goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne inside her six yard box. Tottenham come forwards the ball played into Martin over halfway she sends it on picking out Bianca Baptiste coming off the left flank getting in behind, Blackburn goalkeeper Danielle Hill out quickly to the top of her area to meet the striker sliding in stops the ball is hurt as she and Baptiste come together, the trainer on Hill is up on her feet after another lengthy spell of treatment.
Hill is soon in the action again after the restart as Renee Hector comes forwards from the back with the ball for Tottenham rolls it on for Ronnell Humes attacking down the right side taking the ball to the byline clips it back in towards goal, Hill claiming it high above her head with runners closing in. A free-kick for Tottenham wide right inside the Blackburn half as Baptiste is caught by Fenton players lining up along the top of the area as Baptiste plays the ball into the area a good punch from Hill as the delivery comes in centrally top of the six yard box falls to Lucia Leon just inside the box looks to place her header back in towards goal, Hill is able to claim.
Warm out there in the opening 15 minutes players from both sides taking the opportunity to take on fluids. Both sides moving the ball about the pitch using it’s full width. Leon comes forwards with the ball from a goalkick has Humes aiming to get in behind ahead of her slides the ball into her run, Hill comes to block with her feet, Tottenham regain possession back with Leon wide right her cross long into the area is again claimed well by Hill with Baptiste coming in around the back.
Tottenham building some momentum getting hold of the ball Mclean on the ball plays the ball on for Humes to chase in behind on the right Hill out of her area wins the race slices her clearance, from the resulting throw in Hector is fouled taken quickly the ball rolled inside is squared into Baptiste her back to goal inside the D, knocks the ball away her intention to turn and strike the ball from 25 yards out her shot taking a deflection off Blackburn’s Ellie Stewart goes away for the corner kick.
Taken by Schillaci on the right a good delivery into the six yard box, Hill comes through bodies near post to get a fist on the ball punch it away dropping to Humes just inside the area she attempts the 1st time lob the ball looping up and down lands on the roof of the Blackburn net. Leah Rawle with the opportunity to carry the ball forwards from left back for Tottenham links up with Martin in fired 25 yards from goal she helps it on into the area with Baptiste coming in off the wing a good challenge from Blackburn’s Kayleigh McDonald to deny her a shot on goal, wouldn’t have counted anyway as the assistants flag is raised for offside.
|Jess Holbrook bringing the ball forwards for Blackburn Rovers Ladies
Midway through the 1st half an intriguing contest both sides attacking with purpose, the ball brought on by Jess Holbrook for Blackburn the ball out wide right a throw won. Fenton sending a high ball into the area to claimed by Wayne. Pressure from Holbrook and captain Lynda Shepherd the ball played down the right as Blackburn come on again the ball played into Jordan’s feet outside the area right looks to get inside as she helps it on for Toone who rolling her mark plays the ball into Jordan 8 yards out gets her foot on the ball stabbing it past Wayne but also wide across the goal, Blackburn’s best chance of the game so far.
|Tottenham’s Maya Vio winning the header against Blackburn captain, Lynda Shepherd
A good spell from Blackburn, Shepherd pressing the ball in the middle charges it down firing the pass on for Toone ahead of her left outside the box 20 yards out goes for goal, pulls her shot away from goal wide of the ear post. 30 minutes on the clock, Kelsey Pearson coming on with the ball down the left for Blackburn plays the one two with Toone the full back going on her cross charged down by Hector.
GOAL! 10 minutes of the 1st half left and Tottenham open the scoring the ball is played up to McLean inside the centre circle plays it into Martin to her right bringing it forwards, Baptiste makes a great run across the top of the area left to right, is onside as Martin threads the pass into her run, taking it on into the area wide of goal fires it back across the keeper, not much pace on the ball no one there to stop it however strikes the base of the far post the rebound taking it into the back of the net 1-0.
|Bianca Baptiste scores the opening goal for Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
Another good opportunity for Tottenham after the restart Schillaci’s tun to bring the ball out from the back left side rolls it on for Baptiste out wide, squares the ball into the area, Martin finding an extra yard of pace looking to get onto the end of it knocks it on getting a shot away as she is challenged the ball going away wide across the face of goal the corner given. Leon defends well against Toone at the back for Tottenham brings the ball forwards a long way up the pitch riding a tackle plays the ball into Humes wide right top of the area she fires it into Martin central attempts to help it on for Baptiste coming inside from the left, McDonald making a vital interception for Blackburn.
Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 1-0 Blackburn Rovers Ladies
|Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Sophie Mclean
|Blackburn Rovers Ladies, Saffron Jordan
Tottenham make the 1st change of the game on 68 minutes bringing of Humes, Katie O’Leary who has been sidelined with injury for much of the season coming on. Into the last 20 minutes, Blackburn push forwards needing a response, Wayne collecting comfortably as Fenton tries her luck from distance. A great delivery from a corner kick for Tottenham from Schillaci, an inviting ball across the top of the six yard box Martin just missing her connection with the header. A double change for Blackburn with 15 minutes left, Fenton and Toone the players coming off, Ria Montgomary and Emma Rankin on. Charging down a Tottenham ball in the middle, Holbrook hits it 1st time lacks the pace to trouble Wayne. Leon breaks forwards with the ball for Tottenham coming inside rolls the ball into Martin getting in behind centrally Whitman across to tackle slides in to win the ball inside the area.
|Blackburn’s Faye McCoy holding off Tottenham’s Josie Green
Into the last 10 minutes, Tottenham keeping possession at the back. Blackburn whenever they get the ball ball play t up into their attackers a throw on the left Stewart takes into McCoy playing it back to Stewart her cross into the area chested down by Jordan but won by Schillaci before the striker and fashion a shot. Blackburn keep possession players in and around the box as Whitham attacks down the right no way past Rawle wins a corner played high into the six yard box Wayne gets a glove on the ball knocking it out to the top of the area McCoy attempts to head the ball back in towards goal Wayne takes the ball down on her goal line.
Both sides make another substitution the last throw of the dice for Blackburn Alex Taylor coming on for McCoy. Riana Soobadoo coming on for Rawle for Tottenham with under 5 minutes of normal time left. Blackburn throw everyone forwards Tottenham hold firm. 4 minutes of tie added on Shannon Moloney another who has missed much of the season through injury comes on for Tottenham replacing Vio. Leon surges forwards letting fly from 22 yards her shot swerving through the air is likely going wide Hill brings it down cleanly launches it up the pitch.
Blackburn send the ball up into the area Jordan with a deft header attempts to knock it down into the path of the onrushing Taylor, Wayne comes well sliding gets hold of the ball.
GOAL! Tottenham seal the win in stoppage time as Wayne kicks the ball long bouncing over halfway, Blackburn with a high line Martin is after the ball striking it from 25 yards out lobbing the keeper the ball landing in the back of the net to make it 3-0. Martin’s is mobbed by her team mates in celebration.
|Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Wendy Martin
In the excitement Moloney has hurt herself ad is carried off Tottenham down to 10 to see out the game. Another injury concern late on as Blackburn play the ball on into the area a comfortable take by Wayne on the bounce top of the area she is clattered into by Taylor. Both need the trainer on Taylor is booked. Wayne is struggling but eventually gets to her feet albeit limping. Moloney having received treatment isn’t 100% ready to return but sent back on. Tottenham’s goal isn’t troubled as the final whistle blows and the celebrations begin.
Full time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 3-0 Blackburn Rovers Ladies
|Celebration’s at the final whistle as Tottenham win the FAWPL Championship Play Off
|Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, FAWPL Play Off Champions
Essex Women’s Premier Division
The final weekend of the season in Essex a few sides with games to play 4 clubs playing double headers to end their campaign. Chelmsford City Ladies secured runners up spot in the Essex Women’s Premier Division edging out Lawford Ladies picking up 4 points from their two games against Wickford Town Ladies. Mia Brisley netting a brace in a 2-0 win for Chelmsford City in the 1st game. The points were shared in the 2nd, Shannon Hughes and Tyler Christou on target for Chelmsford City, Wickford Town earning a point with a 2-2 draw ending their 1st season in the Premier Division in 9th.
In the other double header Walden Ladies couldn’t get the win they needed against Collier Row Tigers as they lost both games going down 2-0 and 8-0 which sees them finish bottom of the Premier Division a point behind Alresford Colne Rangers. The 6 point haul for Collier Row Tigers seeing them climb above Runwell Sports Ladies into 5th on goal difference on the final day.
Essex Women’s Division One
A big win away from home on the final day of the season against their closest rivals Corringham Cosmos saw Frontiers Ladies already Champions of Division One finish the season unbeaten with just the one draw. 7 points clear at the top in the end after Corringham Cosmos had pushed them all the way. Sharon Ferguson scoring 4 goals in the match. There were final day goals too for Hayley King, Kay Foy, Jackie Day and Claire Davidson in an 8-1 victory for Frontiers top goal scorers in the league with 133, edging Corringham by 2. It’s their defensive record that stands out with just the 7 goals conceded in the league all season, going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Premier Division next season.