Sunday 29th August
ERWFL Premier Division
Attention switches to the ERWFL this Sunday with my 1st look at a game from the Premier Division this season, a Norfolk derby too as early pace setters Wroxham Women host newly promoted King’s Lynn Town Ladies.
The 5th tier of the women’s football pyramid the ERWFL (Eastern Region Women’s Football League) has always been highly competitive with a good standard of talent on show. Promotion to the FAWNL the prize for the title winners. A full compliment of 12 sides competing again this season with a host of new sides joining the Division One set-up below as the ERWFL pushes on towards it’s goal of having 36 past two playing season’s declared null & void it has hampered the development of the game, hopefully we are turning a corner now and clubs can have more optimism as they build for the future. The FA doing some adjustments to the pyramid in terms of upward movement during the close season see’s Essex side Harlow Town Ladies promoted to the FAWNL, into the Premier Division in their place are King’s Lynn Town Ladies.
That sees 3 Norfolk sides represented at this level in the 12 strong division. Plenty of derby’s to look forwards too. Wymondham Town Ladies the other Norfolk side leading the way with 2 wins from 2 to start the season and they will be there or there about come the end of the season.
Wroxham Women’s ambitions are just as clear as the club is aiming to win the title and clinch promotion to the FAWNL themselves. A backed strongly by the men’s club with whom they share a ground. Wroxham Women formerly Acle United long established in the ERWFL Premier Division coming close to winning the title on occasion. Acle moving to become part of the Wroxham FC family in 2019, have moved quickly to establish the women’s side as an integral part of the club. Playing their home matches at Trafford Park where they have been embraced warmly by the fanbase. Now after two disrupted season’s Wroxham Women will be looking to challenge for the title.
Have gotten off to a great start winning their opening 2 fixtures, joint leaders behind Norfolk rivals Wymondham who have made a similar start. Player recruitment is never easy in Norfolk but the talent pool is growing and clubs ambitions growing with it some shrewd signings have been made. Wroxham adding three players to their squad close season with Hope Strauss coming in having had good experience playing for Billericay Town Ladies. Alice Parker comes to Wroxham, the young defender having FAWNL experience playing for Norwich City Women previously, as does attacker Holly Walker. Also in midfield/attack the club have signed Amber Cantwell the playmaker having spent the past 4 season’s in the FAWNL with Cambridge United WFC. Grace Birchall captaining the side this season their talisman up front scoring a host of goals for the club already has 4 to her name this season including an opening day hat-trick in the 4-2 home win over Luton Town Ladies.
Promoted to the ERWFL Premier Division, King’s Lynn Town Ladies have ambitions to go further up the women’s football pyramid themselves. The 5th tier of the game providing a consistent challenging test for players. It can take a while to get to grips with. Joe Simpson now in charge of the women’s side having had a brief spell coaching at Wroxham Women. A new era of sorts for the club as this season they will be playing all their home games at The Walks home of King’s Lynn Town FC playing in the National League now coincidentally also at tier 5 in the men’s football pyramid. The club has come along way in a relatively short space of time. Narrowly missing out to Haringey Borough Women on the opening day losing 3-2.
The club have made several new signings to bolster the squad as they step up to the 5th tier. Already have a few in the squad with Premier Division experience playing for Peterborough Northern Star Ladies with more making to journey up the A47 to join King’s Lynn, Alexa Hunter and Ella Gavaghan both scoring on her debuts against Haringey, Sam Davis and Amy Magnus also come in from PNS. Goalkeeper Ellie Prentice re-joins after a spell at Wroxham also coming to the club from Wroxham is attacker, Maryanne Hoy. Came back from a goal down away to Essex side Bowers & Pitsea Ladies to earn their first point last weekend, Alexa Hunter on the scoresheet for a 2nd successive match.
Trafford Park the venue for today’s fixture, a good sized grass pitch offering plenty of width, a clubhouse and bar serving hot food and drinks on one side a terraced stand behind one goal where the Wroxham fans were in good voice supporting the team throughout the match. A small seated stand to the other side. The pitch sloping slightly from one goal mouth to the other. Another below par Sunday for August with cloud cover around for much of the day the sun trying it’s best to make an appearance as the players walked out onto the pitch.
Wroxham Women starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Hope Strauss, Alice Parker, Jess Horn, Harriet Meers, Becky Russell, Amber Long, Kayleigh Holloway, Amber Cantwell, Grace Birchall (C) & Holly Walker. Subs – Laura Beevor, Gracie Squires, Rhianne Brister, Broghan Scully & Lauren Bullard.
King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Christina Vivas, Shanice Burch, Samantha Davis, Frances Peeling, Oksana Imanalijeva, Amy Magnus, Zara O’Neill, Jodie Hopkins, Rachel Skinner, Tiffany Forshaw (C) & Jade Kelly. Subs – Amy Bell, Kimberley Fairweather, Amy Cropley & Katie Ward.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Hunter missing for King’s Lynn today as the visitors kick off the 1st half wearing their away strip of green shirts and shirts with black trim with black and green socks. Wroxham opposite in their home colours blue and white vertical striped shirts, blue shirts and socks. King’s Lynn sending the ball out to the left with Oksana Imanalijeva breaking forwards bringing the ball under control checks her run before swinging in a cross to the near post, the Wroxham defence slicing it behind giving away an early corner. Lifted in from the left to the near post goalkeeper Cyan Fullbrook amongst bodies going up for it gets deflected behind for another corner. Flung in deep this time King’s Lynn captain Tiffany Forshaw making a far post run strikes her back rebounds out of the area to be picked up by midfielder Zara O’Neill looks to drive on into the box, Jess Horn charging down her shot.
A bright start from King’s Lynn, Jodie Hopkins tackling 25 yards out to regain possession looks for Imanalijeva on the left, the pass cut out by Hope Strauss for Wroxham. A throw to the visitors high on the right, Forshaw turning it into the box, Jade Kelly central can’t quite reach it but play stays with King’s Lynn as Imanalijeva bringing it under control wide left looping a ball back into the six yard box, Fullbrook back on her line taking a low catch. King’s Lynn on the front foot keeping Wroxham penned back in the final 3rd closing the defence down quickly not letting the hosts break out.
Wroxham full back Alice Parker with a chance to relieve the pressure as she brings the ball out from the left firing a long diagonal pass out to the right looking for the advancing Kayleigh Holloway, controlling well the winger jinks infield before sending in a dangerous ball near post, Frances Peeling in ahead of Holly Walker to clear the threat. Jade Kelly moving to the right in attack for King’s Lynn runs onto the ball looking to go on get into the area, Parker gets back on her well to lunge in put the ball out for a throw.
Outnumbered at left back as Hopkins and Rachel Skinner get upfield to support Kelly, Parker does well to scramble the ball upfield, turns into a good ball for Wroxham captain, Grace Birchall to latch onto halfway, takes the ball on is sent tumbling to the ground as she releases the ball with Amber Cantwell furthest forwards play stopped however by a raised flag for offside. A free-kick awarded to King’s Lynn for a push in the back 35 yards out central. Forshaw over it hits the wall with her strike.
Birchall coming deep to get onto the ball spins sending a long pass out to Holloway deep on the right quickly closed down in the corner plays it back up the line for Strauss to clip a high ball into the area, goalkeeper Christina Vivas able to claim it unchallenged. King’s Lynn setting a high tempo closing down the ball has unsettled Wroxham who are struggling to find their rhythm. The midfield pushing on to support their attackers.
GOAL! 11 minutes played and King’s Lynn capitalise from their good start to the game by taking the lead. Rachel Skinner with the strike from distance all of 35 yards out as the ball deflected in midfield runs into her sees the keeper off her line and connects with the ball perfectly to send it angling into the back of the net 0-1.
Wroxham go on the attack from the restart working the ball out to the right winning a free-kick inside the King’s Lynn half. Strauss to delivery, sends it looping up into the top of the area the King’s Lynn defence heading it away. Going on the offensive themselves are awarded a free-kick in virtually the same position as Skinner took her shot from. Players up into the area a Peeling places the ball, clips it into the box invitingly at the far post a knock sending it goalwards, Fullbrook reacting quickly off her goal line to lunge forwards and claim the ball.
Imanalijeva showing good pace on the left enjoying a good contest with Strauss squares a cross into the near post area, headed away by Horn, drops to Hopkins 25 yards out left of the D takes on the volleyed effort her attempt angling wide of the near post. Wroxham are letting their frustration show giving away several niggly fouls which aren’t helping the hosts gain any momentum.
Cantwell moving right with the ball at her feet pushed on down the line for Holloway whips a cross in along the six yard box, Walker closing in can’t make contact, King’s Lynn bring it away up the left Skinner driving forwards playing in Forshaw right channel, Parker diving in to put the ball out for a throw. King’s Lynn come close to doubling their lead with another punt from distance deep on the right this time hit hard by Shanice Burch her looping ball his Fullbrook beaten the goalkeeper turning to see the ball drop onto the post and deflect away across the face off her goal rolling all the way out for a throw in.
King’s Lynn winning the ball in the middle Amy Magnus into Forshaw, turns tries to thread it through a needle for Kelly, Harriet Meers cutting it out for Wroxham. A throw for Wroxham left side inside the King’s Lynn half dropped into Birchall’s feet turns drives on a powerful run with the ball looking to get into the box, Peeling forcing her back out into the D, Birchall strong nevertheless turns sharply getting a shot away angled in low Vivas down low to her left making a comfortable save. A change for Wroxham has seen Long replaced by Broghan Scully in midfield.
Skinner is finding space to run into with the ball for King’s Lynn on the right central plays a through ball intended to put Kelly in on goal, Meers once again making a vital interception. Birchall is putting herself about the pitch looking to get things going for Wroxham, the hosts winning a throw on the right the ball put onto Birchall’s feet turns towards goal driving on, Forshaw coming back to tackle as Peeling closes her down before Birchall can line up a shot. Birchall moments later from a throw on the left dragging a speculative attempt wide of the near post.
GOAL! King’s Lynn go on to double their advantage and the goal comes from another strike from distance. Attacking on the right side, Kelly with Skinner, Meers in to tackle as Fullbrook is drawn towards the ball right of the box, the clearance falling to Forshaw sends a high ball up into the air from 30 yards out, coming down it’s difficult to tell where it’s going to fall has Fullbrook worried but the goalkeeper can’t get into a position to deflect it away as it bounces in front of goal and up into the roof of the net 0-2.
The visitors taking a 2 goal lead midway through the first half continue to press the advantage closing the ball down in the middle Skinner on for Hopkins turns looking to play Kelly in behind, the flag however going up against the attacker. Sharper to the ball King’s Lynn are working hard, Wroxham clearly rattled are looking for a spark to get them going in attack, Birchall looking the most likely to make that happen as she comes for the ball turning to take on defenders, both Burch and Peeling with strong tackles to halt her runs.
Forshaw with another crack at goal from distance sees her effort bounce wide of the right post. Skinner too with a strike from distance, Fullbrook seeing it all the way takes into her midriff. The challenges getting a bit stronger now a little heated the referee needing to have a word with a couple of players calm things down. Magnus brings the ball on down the left for King’s Lynn on for Kelly in the box puts her shot wide.
GOAL! The 1st half entering the final 5 minutes and Wroxham pull a goal back. Attacking down the right, Holloway his fouled by Peeling right on the by-line a free-kick awarded. Strauss with the set-piece more or less a corner whips it in with pace inswinging towards the near post Birchall comes charging in jumping to plant a bullet header past the keeper into the back of the goal 1-2.
Wroxham straight on the attack as they win possession back at the restart Scully out to Holloway right pace down the line, Sam Davis sliding into challenge the ball out for a throw. Wroxham work the ball into the box near side Walker closed down will by Skinner who comes out on top to clear the danger for King’s Lynn. The goal has given Wroxham a much needed boost as they look to finish the 1st half on the front foot. On the ball in the final 3rd right off the area flashed out to Birchall left hand corner 18 yards out back to goal closely marked squirms inside the turn and angle a shot over the crossbar.
Birchall gathering the ball in the middle ploughs forwards spotting Cantwell moving free into the right channel attempts to slide her in, Burch doing well sliding in to take the ball away from Cantwell’s feet the half-time whistle blowing up a second later.
Half-time Wroxham Women 1-2 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
A strong start to the game from King’s Lynn on the front foot right from the off closing the ball down in their opponents half preventing Wroxham’s defence from getting the ball up to their attackers. A high tempo performance the midfield up with the attackers, the bright start rewarded with a goal. Found themselves 2 goals to the good midway through the half with Wroxham rattled frustrated. The foul count rising nothing you wouldn’t expect in a derby match. The hosts looking for a spark to get them going a goal pulled back with 5 minutes left in the first half just what they needed. Birchall heading it home to see them trailing 2-1 at the break.
The Bure Valley Wildcats providing the half-time entertainment playing a game out in the middle. No changes for either side at the break with Wroxham getting the 2nd half underway. Move the ball up the left sung into the box, King’s Lynn defend. Wroxham with intent at the start of the 2nd period looking to turn play around the ball played forwards into the right channel, Birchall getting inside Peeling scooping a shot up over the crossbar.
Wroxham’s turn to snap into the tackles competitive in the middle of the park, Cantwell , then Russell pushing the ball through the centre for Birchall peeling off the defence to attack inside the box Vivas out quickly to close her down sliding in isn’t put of, claiming the ball well as Birchall dives in on the ball. The hosts winning a corner left side King’s Lynn defending it well at the near post. Sloppy at the back from Wroxham left side see Magnus run in to take the ball flashes a snap shot wide across the six yard box.
Birchall looking determined sees the ball into her feet inside the opponents D, holding off her marker turns unleashing a shot, leaning back though she places it wide of the right post. King’s Lynn make a change bring on Katie Ward for Kelly up top. Wroxham too with a change, switching keepers bringing on Laura Beevor for Fullbrook. Scully battling in the middle of the park to win the ball puts it forwards for Birchall to attack taking it into the box, Peeling stays on her well to tackle put the ball out for a throw. Wroxham with a strong start to the 2nd half press the advantage Walker running with the ball left of goal strikes it hard on the angle blasting it into the side netting. The hosts coming on right side put up to Cantwell on the touchline looks to flick it on skip past Imanalijeva who throws out a leg sending Cantwell sprawling, a free-kick awarded and a card shown to Imanalijeva.
GOAL! It’s from the set-piece that Wroxham find the equalising goal. Now I have a picture of the build up of this that gives me a clearer indication of what happened, Strauss placing the ball down angles a pacy delivery in towards the top of the area, Birchall near side leaps either gets a glancing touch or misses entirely either way has unsighted Forshaw rising beyond her the ball hitting her square in the face knocking her to the ground, drops forwards toward the six yard box right side, Birchall reacting with Magnus both sliding in on the loose ball Birchall’s boot sending the ball flying up to beat the diving Vivas into the top corner! 2-2.
A long pause after the equalising goal as King’s Lynn have two players down, Forshaw and Magnus hurt in the collision with Birchall. Both trainers called onto the pitch to assist. Both needing to take their time. Magnus eventually able to continue. Forshaw needing to come off to access her injury. Amy Cropley coming onto the field.
A more positive approach 2nd half has seen Wroxham pull the scores level and looking the sharper now, with Russell and Scully linking up better with the attacking players. Play resumes Wroxham quickly get the ball onto Cantwell central has space, takes the ball on pushing for the area, O’Neill coming on to charge her down 20 yards from goal. Both sides continuing to give away free-kicks one for King’s Lynn wide right angled high into the box, Beevor though can catch comfortably inside her six yard box. Lauren Bullard has come on for Wroxham replacing Walker in attack.
Is a good contest King’s Lynn have put a lot into the first hour Wroxham strong in the 2nd period. Skinner in a more advanced role for King’s Lynn picks up the ball central driving on Horn coming in to go shoulder to shoulder with the attacker, tangling they both end up on the floor Skinner stays down with cramp. Wroxham winning the free-kick. Burch defending against Birchall inside the box left side as the attacker bursts towards goal close in Burch tackles the ball loose the angle almost gone a falling Birchall turns to lift a shot over the goal.
Space opening up in midfield Russell playing it up the left for Birchall wide wraps her foot around the ball sending it in towards Bullard near the penalty spot just behind her Bullard does well to help it on to Cantwell at the far post, shifting it inside to avoid a tackle shots back across goal lacks pace as Vivas gets down to hold onto it. Forshaw is back on for King’s Lynn. Fewer opportunities for King’s Lynn in the 2nd half the defence the busier of the two now, Davis defending superbly against Holloway as she attempts to cut inside from the right.
GOAL! And the turnaround is complete as Wroxham comeback from 2-0 down to take the lead. Holloway with the ball at her feet on the right taking on her marker up the wing checking back to skip inside top of the area to fizz a diagonal ball into the near post Cantwell racing in throwing herself at it sliding in on the ball to turn home from inside the six yard box 3-2 with a little over 10 minutes to play.
King’s Lynn on the backfoot for most of the 2nd period now behind get forwards on the right winning a free-kick right on the touchline as good as a corner. Bring players forwards whipped into the area Wroxham hook it upfield to Birchall to break quickly shoots from outside the area, Vivas down low good hands to make the save. The game opening up space for both sides Forshaw central on the ball flinging a good diagonal ball out to Imanalijeva left side squares a ball in along the top of the area, Scully back to defend hurt as she clears the ball. O’Neill gets back to help Davis out on the left of defence as she has Cantwell and Bullard advancing to support Holloway, the ball cleared.
GOAL! Birchall a threat up top all game scores her 2nd hat-trick in 3 matches to make an excellent goal scoring start to the season. The ball won in the middle fired into her feet back to goal left side 20 out turns inside powerful bursting into the area pace behind the shot driven in low Vivas down to her left smartly pushing it away, her momentum seeing her there for a 2nd bite at the cherry Birchall shows composure to lift it up over the keeper to find the goal beyond 4-2.
A blow for King’s Lynn with just a couple of minutes of regular time left to play. Taking the ball forwards from the restart O’Neill sends it through to Ward left side getting in behind lifts a cross into the box looking for Skinner central, Meers getting in front of her to win the ball back and clear. Birchall comes very close to adding a 4th goal to her name late on but for a brilliant save from Vivas. Recieving the ball outside the box left of the D turns clipping a rising shot in aiming for the top corner Vivas jumping well throwing up an arm tipping the shot over the bar.
The corner given on the left fed up the line before being delivered near side attacked by Russell can’t direct it on target. King’s Lynn bringing on Kimberly Fairweather late in the game. Cantwell goes into the box for a clumsy challenge.
GOAL! Harsh on King’s Lynn but joy for Wroxham in the closing moments of the match as they further extend their lead. Pushing players forwards looking for a foal of their own Wroxham break lifting the ball up beyond halfway Birchall and Bullard together beating the offside trap, Birchall taking the ball on Bullard inside her on into the area, Vivas outnumbered has to go towards Birchall who unselfishly squares it to Bullard to put into the empty net 5-2.
A complete turnaround for Wroxham as they make a late double substitution bringing of Cantwell and Holloway with Walker returning to the action alongside Gracie Squires. Not much time left for either to make an impact as Wroxham see out the game to make it 3 wins from 3 to start the season stay neck and neck at the top of the ERWFL Premier Division with Wymondham who also made it 3 wins from 3 this afternoon.
Full time Wroxham Women 5-2 King’s Lynn Town Ladies
A good contest and certainly a match of two halves, a brilliant start from King’s Lynn getting on the front foot early in the 1st half playing at a high tempo to close down the ball prevent Wroxham bringing it out of defence taking a deserved lead. Wroxham rattled further as they feel 2 goals down midway through the half. A much needed goal pulled back at the end of the first half and a chance to set a few things right for the 2nd half. Starting the 2nd half strong Birchall setting the example the ball closed down better chances at the other end limited severely for King’s Lynn. The host getting back on level terms before Cantwell slid in to put them in the lead. Birchall sealing her 2nd hat-trick of the season late in the game a goal from Bullard in stoppage time the icing on the cake as King’s Lynn pressed forwards looking for a reply.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A good contest this a clear winner but a few performances of note to mention first. For King’s Lynn, Rachel Skinner was impressive especially first half putting in challenges and getting forwards to support the attacking players. In defence Frances Peeling making a number of vital tackles. Christina Vivas despite being on the losing side making some great saves. For Wroxham both full backs did well Hope Strauss on the right Alice Parker on the left. Kayleigh Holloway a willing runner on the right of attack throughout. The award though has to go to Wroxham’s Grace Birchall things not going for her side in the 1st half rolled up her sleeves and took the game to King’s Lynn. Powerful with the ball at her feet travelling forwards and an instinctive finisher scoring her 2nd hat-trick of the season… which is only 3 game old.
A great first game of the season from the ERWFL for Women’s Football East to showcase. A game of two halves entertaining between two committed sides entertaining. My thanks to both clubs for their help with the teams details good to catch up with both will no doubt see them in action again this season.
by Darren Gilham