Monthly Archives: April 2023

Match Report – Mulbarton Belles Ladies v Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women

Sunday 30th April

Norfolk Women’s Division One

A pause in the cup action this weekend gives me the opportunity to take in some league action at what is a critical point in the season for several sides involved in title contests across the East. No less so than in Norfolk Women’s Division One with the top two meeting in the league for the 1st time this season in a match that could go along way to deciding who becomes Champions, with Mulbarton Belles Ladies the defending Champions looking to close the gap on leaders Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women.

  That gap currently sits at 8 points, Mulbarton Belles Ladies crucially having 3 games in hand, but with their next two games home and away to Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women know that they have to go for maximum points. Dussindale & Hellesdon with those two games left against Mulbarton are 4 points away from securing their maiden league title.

  A 1-1 draw at home to 3rd placed Thetford Town Ladies, ending Mulbarton’s 100% league record, 12 wins and a draw from 13 played have been playing catch up with the league leaders all season involved in the Women’s FA Cup earlier in the season and with two highly successful cup campaigns seeing them reach both the finals of the League Plate, where they will play their newly formed Development side and have once again won through to the final of the County Cup for a 3rd successive season, taking on Norwich City Women at Carrow Road on Friday 19th May. 

  Captain Rebekah Lake one of the best strikers on the county top scorer for Mulbarton weighing in with 17 goals so far this season forming a good partnership in attack Francesca Catchpole who was recruited following the folding of Wymondham Town Ladies, scoring 15 goals from her 9 appearances has recently signed with Wroxham in the ERWFL Premier Division. A busy run in for the club that has become an integral part of the Mulbarton footballing family since moving there 3 season’s ago the core of the 1st team sticking together with manager Martin Francis after the turmoil at their former club. 

Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women too have gone from strength to strength following their merger with Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC 3 season’s ago, formerly Sprowston Ladies a young tightly knit squad have developed into one of the leading sides in the county with ambitions to test themselves higher. Have been out in front in Norfolk Women’s Division One since the beginning of the season, losing just one of their 16 league matches played to date. Have also enjoyed successful runs in both the League and County Cups reaching the final of this season’s League Cup while also making it to the last 4 of the County Cup.

Victoria Leyer so often the top scorer for the club in their Sprowston days has continued that form in Dussindale & Hellesdon colours netting 17 goals to date this season. Forming a deadly partnership in attack with Shanice Sutton who has recovered from a very nasty knee injury while at Thorpe United to pile on the goals currently on 31 pushing to finish top scorer in Norfolk currently two behind Long Stratton’s, Luci Middleton. 2 tough games against their main title rivals to end their league campaign.

Mulberry Park the venue for today’s match. The sun shining bright on the last day in April, a pleasant day with a few clouds dotted around but no chance of rain. The pitch looking good the grass lush. The clubhouse and bar open along with the pitch side tea hut serving hot and cold drinks.

Mulbarton Belles Ladies

 Mulbarton Belles Ladies starting XI – Jo Hooper, Olivia Smith, Melissa Belsey, Lucy Lincoln, Megan Belsey, Laura Hedtke, Alice Smith, Ellie Hunter, Sophie Jermy, Molly Ryan & Rebekah Lake (C). Subs – Olivia Mungham-Gray, Alice Ladbrooke & Aneliese Smith.

Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women

 Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women starting XI – Tyla Cole, Siesha Humphries, Rachel Bussey, Calista Tink (C), Ruby Wilson, Abbi Nobbs, Georgina Belton, Abby Hutchin, Chelsea Brister, Shanice Sutton & Victoria Leyer. Subs – Amee Kennett, Hannah Coombe, Chloe Shipman, Kari Kowalczyk & Phoebe Green.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s Dussindale & Hellesdon in their away colours an all light blue coloured kit to get the game underway kicking off the first half with Mulbarton lined up opposite wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts with blue shorts and socks. The ball played back into the middle out to Rachel Bussey at right back sent forwards for Georgina Belton to attack, Olivia Smith heading the ball out for a throw for Mulbarton. The hosts get the ball inside from the throw looking for captain Rebekah lake making a central run the ball cut out well by Ruby Wilson at centre back for Dussindale & Hellesdon lifted forwards into Shanice Sutton in attack, attempts to volley it into the box for Victoria Leyer pulling of the shoulder of the defence, the ball won and cleared by Lucy Lincoln for Mulbarton.

Mulbarton’s Ellie Hunter

  Mulbarton pressing the Dussindale & Hellesdon defence, Sophie Jermy left channel charging down captain Calista Tink’s clearance outside the box the ball rebounding of her in behind, Jermy racing after it crossing from the by-line into lake central, quickly closed down can’t turn to shoot instead laying the ball back to midfielder Laura Hedtke outside the area left side, strike’s the  ball hard, Tink taking the hit as she puts her body in to block, goalkeeper Tyla Cole diving beyond the ball cleared up into Sutton in attack rushing after the ball, Mulbarton goalkeeper, Jo Hooper running out of her area to clear just about getting their first, Sutton colliding with the keeper, down for a moment but recovering is back up on her feet.

  A lively start from both sides, Mulbarton winning the ball in the middle played out to Molly Ryan on the right, Lake up with her exchanging passes the ball rolled in field with Alice Smith in the clear opts to strike it from 35 yards out the ball racing wide of Cole’s left post. Oliva Smith bombing on from left back for Mulbarton taking the ball on well, Sutton in turn tracking back well to slide in to tackle play the ball out for a throw. 

Mulbarton midfielder Alice Smith

 Alice Smith getting about the ground in the middle of the park winning the ball for Mulbarton getting it forwards into Lake making a run into the right channel, stopped by Dussindale & Hellesdon’s Siesha Humphries. Leyer fed the ball from Chelsea Brister on the left turns inside taking on the shot from a long way out pulling the ball wide of the near post. Dussindale & Hellesdon a little edgy Mulbarton able to dictate play through the middle with Alice Smith linking up well with Ellie Hunter the ball forwards for Jermy drives on central, Humphries coming to close her down winning the ball.

Dussindale & Hellesdon midfielder, Abbi Nobbs

  Abbi Nobbs playing the ball on for Georgina Belton through the middle for Dussindale & Hellesdon lifted up towards the top of the area Lincoln heading clear for Mulbarton the break on as the ball is lifted on for Lake pulling right, no one can get up with her as her looping cross lands harmlessly inside the box. Jermy sent racing in behind the Dussindale & Hellesdon defence, Cole rushing out of her box getting their first her clearance though landing at Lake’s feet, 30 plus yards out, the goalkeeper out of position, Lake isn’t given a clear sight on goal as she his hastily closed down, Tink clearing the ball.

Dussindale & Hellesdon captain. Calista Tink

 Dussindale & Hellesdon have let themselves become a little unsettled by the opposition rushing the final ball seeing it lost and coming straight back, Olivia Smith up on the left a throw won high. Lincoln with a long one in her arsenal launched into the box Tink with a firm headed clearance. Hunter opens her body up to lay the ball into the path of Olivia Smith as she races on left side driving at the Dussindale & Hellesdon defence evades two challenges to get into the box to the by-line left turns inside and strikes a rising shot in on the angle may very well have been creeping inside the post but for an excellent save from Cole throwing her right arm up to turn the ball behind for the corner kick. 

Olivia Smith (photo credit Scott Grearhardy)

 Jermy to send the corner into the box from the left, Alice Smith running in towards the near post heading the ball behind taking a nick off a defender a 2nd corner awarded. Same result Smith allowed a free run to the near post twisting her body to head the ball up over the crossbar. 

Alice Smith heading the ball over from the corner for Mulbarton.

 A few decisions going against them adding to Dussindale & Hellesdon’s frustrations a hand ball seeing a free-kick given away top of the circle. Laura Hedtke to play the ball long into the box, Cole with a strong call laying claim to the ball on the bounce. Olivia Smith getting in to win the ball back on the left sends the diagonal ball up into Lake in attack through the middle, Jermy up with her look to play the one two take the ball in behind a vital interception from Dussindale & Hellesdon’s Wilson. 

  Humphries on for Brister left, Dussindale & Hellesdon coming forwards, the ball inside to Leyer outside the area left of the D, looking to shift the ball between her feet and pulls the trigger, Megan Belsey with the well timed tackle for Mulbarton. Mulbarton’s attacker coming back for the ball turning a driving at the Dussindale & Hellesdon defence, Jermy through the middle finds Ryan out wide right forwards for Lake, the visitors defence holds it line well catching her offside. 

Mulbarton centre back Megan Belsey

  Belton powering forwards on the right for Dussindale & Hellesdon with Bussey getting up in support, Oliva Smith pushing Belton wide Bussey getting hold of the ball to send a cross into the box Sutton right of goal looking to turn it goalwards can only pick out the keeper. Jermy taking the ball on for Mulbarton left winning the corner. Dropped into the middle of the box Abby Hutchin with the header clear for Dussindale & Hellesdon. 

  Alice Smith holding up the ball well for Mulbarton 35 yards out letting others get ahead of her wriggling free to send the diagonal ball into Hedtke out wide right her cross/shot on the angle over the crossbar. Sutton looking to get on with the ball wide right for Dussindale & Hellesdon winning a corner kick, players up from the back the high ball into the box headed clear back out to the right the cross fired in along the top of the area met by Wilson her shot blocked by Olivia Smith. Half an hour played an intriguing contest Mulbarton looking lively getting in to win the ball, Dussindale & Hellesdon continue to appear rattled at times, frustrated with themselves knowing they need to settle.

  Cole out of her box early as Alice Smith getting free in the middle plays the ball on for Lake through the middle. Lincoln up on the left to take the through, aiming for Jermy outside the area left of goal, Tink in to head the ball away falls to Hunter 25 yards out looking to clip a looping shot in towards goal, collected by Cole safely. 

  Lake seeing the ball into her feet left side off a throw outside the box takes it on across the D, Wilson staying on her well for Dussindale & Hellesdon allowing no sniff of an opening Lake instead pushing it out to Ryan right side her strike 20 odd yards out driven wide of the near post. Leyer getting on the ball out left for Dussindale & Hellesdon pressing forwards under pressure from Ryan as she comes back at her, 20 yards out unleashes a shot struck wide of the near post. Wilson with another fine interception central as Oliva Smith tries to pick out the strikers with a diagonal ball upfield. 

Victoria Leyer with Megan Belsey

  Dussindale & Hellesdon winning a free-kick out wide left in a deep position the ball floated into the area met well by Tink rising to head goalwards her effort blocked the loose ball deflecting out to Hutchin right of the D, struck on the volley, Hooper down sharply on her line to save. Alice Smith into Hedtke lifted forwards for Jermy and Lake running on through the middle, Wilson in again to cut out the ball.

  The ball over the top by Mulbarton finding Lake bursting into the box right of goal, Cole rushing out to close her down doing enough as Lake forces her shot wide on the near post. Belton strong coming away with the ball right for Dussindale & Hellesdon on for Sutton in attack spins well off her marker to take the ball in behind wide sends a high ball into the box, Hooper needs to keep her eye on it back on her line but takes the catch cleanly.

Dussindale & Hellesdon attacker, Shanice Sutton

  Into the closing minutes of the 1st half, Nobbs on through the middle for Dussindale & Hellesdon picking out Brister running on down the left, Megan Belsey getting her foot in to tackle for Mulbarton. Jermy taking the ball on onto the area left for Mulbarton to the by-line her cross into the six yard box cut out by Nobbs, pushing up Mulbarton keep possession the cross from deep on the left finding Ryan on the right her shot bouncing wide. One last chance in the half for Dussindale & Hellesdon breaking down the left the ball on for Brister struck on the angle into the side netting.  

Half-time Mulbarton Belles Ladies 0-0 Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women

  Goalless at the break, both sides staying out on the field during the half-time interval. Mulbarton creating some good chances as yet to beat the goalkeeper have been sharp to the ball winning the midfield contest and getting the ball on into the attacker who in turn are driving at the visitors defence. Dussindale & Hellesdon struggling to settle have let themselves to get frustrated working hard to win the ball getting it forwards the final pass hasn’t been there a couple of half chances the deadlock yet to be broken will be looking to cause Mulbarton a few more problems 2nd half. 

 No changes at the break, Mulbarton to get the 2nd half underway the ball played back into defence, Dussindale & Hellesdon looking to close it down is played out for a throw on the right. Dussindale & Hellesdon win the ball back on the left Humphries up or Brister the diagonal ball aimed for Sutton tracking into area right side, cut out by Olivia Smith for Mulbarton. 

Mulbarton’s Sophie Jermy with Abbi Nobbs

The visitors looking to get on the front foot at the start of the 2nd half, give away a free-kick out wide left on the half way line. The set-piece launched up into the box won by Wilson for Dussindale & Hellesdon. Alice Smith sending the pass on for Hunter moving right for Mulbarton plays it on for Lake puling away wide her cross into the box cut out by Tink turned behind for the corner kick. 

  Lake breaking on with the ball at her feet right for Mulbarton his tackled by Hutchin as she comes across to defend, the ball played into the middle Dussindale & Hellesdon spring the counter attack lifted on for Sutton high on the right her looping ball into the area dropping for Leyer running in central holding off marker gets her foot on the ball but not enough pace on it as Hooper snatches it up off the deck. 

 GOAL! The deadlock broken in the 53rd minute Mulbarton regaining possession playing the ball on down the left for Ryan to take on driving forwards, the keeper coming out to close the angle, Ryan from 20 yards out lifts the ball over her and into the back of the net to score 1-0.

Molly Ryan surrounded by her teammates after firing Mulbarton into the lead (photo credit Scott Grearhardy)

  A blow for Dussindale & Hellesdon they look for a quick reply breaking up the right with Sutton winning a corner kick. Players pressed forwards the ball curled in near side Tink with the stooping header 12 yards out driving the ball wide of the near post. Humphries strong on the left to win the ball and take it in behind, Melissa Belsey recovering to challenge concede the corner kick. An inswinging ball in high to the near post headed up and across goal by Tink, Leyer jumping to meet it knocked up in towards goal, Hooper back on her line getting her gloves up above her head claiming the ball.

  Dussindale & Hellesdon continue to be frustrated with some decisions made, Humphries bombing on forcing Lake to track back after her getting her cross in from the by-line on the left, claimed low by Hooper at her near post. Alice Smith winning the ball for Mulbarton in the middle, drawing the odd free-kick too. The ball played up to Leyer in attack, holding the ball up well, Lincoln close on her plays it back for Brister, Megan Belsey in to challenge eventually giving away the free-kick.

GOAL! Just past the hour Brister over the set-piece 30 plus yards out to the left of goal, goes for goal getting a good connection on the ball to send a wonderful shot in over the keeper into the net beyond to score the equaliser 1-1.

Chelsea Brister scoring from a wonderful free-kick to equalise for Dussindale & Hellesdon (photo credit Scott Grearhardy)

Chelsea Brister equalising for Dussindale & Hellesdon

  A good response from Dussindale & Hellesdon to falling a goal behind getting back on level terms quickly. Both sides competing for the ball Mulbarton getting a free-kick on halfway to the left played into the top of the area cleared by Belton for Dussindale & Hellesdon. Hutchin seeing more of the ball 2nd half for Dussindale & Hellesdon coming left sending the ball on for Brister in attacker, Melissa Belsey tackling to win the ball back for Mulbarton. 

 Dussindale & Hellesdon making the first change of the game bringing off the goal scorer, Brister replaced by Kari Kowalczyk on the left. Humphries slides in to take the ball away from lake inside the box right side as she runs onto Hunter’s diagonal ball. Mulbarton pressing the ball in the middle Hedtke’s high ball forwards into the area taken confidently by Cole. The game opening up a little players finding gaps to run into.

GOAL! Mulbarton take the ball on down the left side rolled on for Ryan whips a pacy cross low into the area from deep for Lake central back to goal sees it across her feet spinning away from her marker to turn into the shot fire it low back across the keeper to restore Mulbarton’s lead 2-1.

Rebekah Lake sending the ball home to restore Mulbarton’s lead

  Melissa Belsey down after a challenge top of her area needs to come off both sides making a change with a little over 15 minutes left to play. Olivia Mungham-Gray going into the back line for Mulbarton, Chloe Shipman coming on in midfield replacing Nobbs for Dussindale & Hellesdon. Fluids taken on board by both sides too. Dussindale & Hellesdon advance on the left Humphries up to support Kowalczyk winning a throw high, Kowalczyk sending the ball into Leyer top of the area, Lincoln defending for Mulbarton, the visitors press the ball the shot from distance finding it’s way through to Hooper.

  Mungham-Gray and Kowalczyk rush in to contest the ball a hefty 50/50 challenge, as Dussindale & Hellesdon prepare another change Bussey coming off, with Amee Kennett sent on. 

GOAL! Mulbarton attacking left the ball played from deep long into the box for Lake charging into the area right of goal Cole looking to get out to the ball first smashing her attempted clearance into the Mulbarton captain, the ball loose Lake taking a moment to locate it closed down, lays it back towards the top of the area for Jermy who is brought down the referee pointing to the spot. Penalty! Jermy herself to take runs in with a right foot strike wrong footing the keeper to play it low to her left and score 3-1.

Sophie Jermy with the penalty to put Mulbarton 3-1 ahead

  Only adding to Dussindale & Hellesdon’s frustration not happy with the penalty decision in the first place. 3-1 down with 12 minutes left on the clock both sides making a change Phoebe green on for he visitors for Sutton. Lake coming off for Mulbarton replaced by Aneliese Smith. Megan Belsey coming across to challenge Humphries as she breaks on into the box from the left the defender putting her foot in to stab the ball behind for the corner kick.

Siesha Humphries with Mulbarton captain Rebekah Lake

  Dussindale &Hellesdon strong on the left Humphries driving forwards linking with Kowalczyk who gets up the line to win her side a corner. A great delivery into the box, Alice Smith doing a good job marking Tink outside the six yard box allowing Lincoln to clear beyond. Dussindale & Hellesdon pushing up taking a few risks a diagonal ball put into the top of the area from the right, Belsey and Mungham-Gray get in each others way going to clear the ball left of the D, Green close in can’t capitalise before the ball is scrambled clear. 

Dussindale & Hellesdon’s Phoebe Green

  Alice Ladbrooke coming on for Mulbarton late on replaced Hedtke in midfield. The counter launched by the hosts the ball lifted on for Ryan bursting on left side towards the box, Cole rushing out to the edge of her area sliding in to make the blocking save. Green onto the ball central for Dussindale & Hellesdon tries to pick out Leyer pulling off the defence, a vital interception from Lincoln at the back for Mulbarton. 

Lucy Lincoln

  Dussindale & Hellesdon piling on the press late in the game as they look for a goal to set up a nervy finish Shipman coming left on for Kowalczyk pushed into Leyer top left corner of the box, Lincoln marking her closely the pair head to the left corner before Lincoln gets her challenge in the ball cleared only as far as Kowalczyk wide 20 out to lift a cross into the box, Green attacking it near side knocking the ball on across the six yard box, Belton attacking the near post, Olivia Smith getting the ball clear.

(photo credit Scott Grearhardy)

  The game heading into stoppage time Mulbarton release Aneliese Smith on the right in attack, Humphries back at her sliding in with a committed tackle the ball out of play in the corner. Mulbarton looking to keep it there see out the game, the job done as the final whistle blows and Mulbarton claim a vital 3 points in their quest to close the gap on the leaders, now just 5 points.

Full time Mulbarton Belles Ladies 3-1 Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women

  Mulbarton with the early break through in the 2nd half to open the scoring through Molly Ryan as Dussindale & Hellesdon looked to get after them after the restart. A good response however from the visitors pushing on winning a free-kick, a wonderful strike from Chelsea Brister to equalise. The game opening up however Mulbarton got clear on the left to open up the Dussindale & Hellesdon defence with Lake turning well inside the box to restore the lead. The visitors frustrated further as a penalty call went against them, Sophie Jermy stepping up to score and extend Mulbarton’s lead. Dussindale & Hellesdon pushed on late in the game looking to score but it wasn’t to be as Mulbarton held out for the win. Another tough match against Long Stratton coming up in midweek for Mulbarton before they go to The Nest to play Dussindale & Hellesdon in what is now a must win game for the hosts.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. As more often than not a tough call to make with two committed sides going toe to toe. Several performances of note to mention. Ruby Wilson making several vital interceptions and winning tackles at the back for Dussindale & Hellesdon. So too captain Calista Tink winning her fair share of headers in both boxes. Siesha Humphries at left back with some good challenges and got forwards very well 2nd half. Abby Hutchin too taking the ball on well in the 2nd period. For Mulbarton Alice Smith has a strong game in midfield getting after the ball going along way to unsettle Dussindale & Hellesdon in the 1st half. Linked up well with Ellie Hunter who make some positive runs forwards. Sophie Jermy with several driving runs at the opposition defence. The back four were also strong. Full backs Melissa Belsey and Olivia Smith winning the ball, Lucy Lincoln tackling and clearing the ball. The award goes to Megan Belsey was a good contest between her and Leyer in attack putting in some well timed tackles to deny a goal scoring opportunity.

  Still all to play for in Norfolk Women’s Division One and it well be intriguing to see who comes out on top. Whatever the outcome a strong season from both. Good to catch up with both and thanks for the help with the teams details. Also to Scott Grearhardy for the additional pictures used in today’s report.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Cambridge United WFC v Cambridge City Ladies

Tuesday 25th April

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

sponsored by the Alan Boswell Group

A trip into Cambridgeshire this Tuesday evening to watch the final of the Women’s Invitation Cup being played at Cambridge United FC’s Abbey Stadium. Once again an all Cambridge affair with Cambridge United WFC back in the competition playing Cambridge City Ladies the current cup holders.

  The FAWNL South East Division One sides the highest league based sides in the county have dominated the Invitation Cup in recent season’s enjoying a healthy rivalry with Cambridge City making a rapid rise through the women’s football pyramid to join United in the 4th tier of the women’s game. 

This evening’s prize

Cambridge United WFC re-joining the Invitation Cup competition after a season away competing in the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup. Playing their home games at St Neots Town FC, Laura Mitchell scoring a late winner to see them beat St Ives Town Ladies to lift the cup. Mitchell one of several players to move on over the close season with the club seeing alot a changes to the squad as they began a new and stronger relation with Cambridge United FC, the League One club setting up a women’s board with closer ties men’s club which has included a number of games being played at The Abbey Stadium this season with their final league game against Actonians Ladies being held their this coming Sunday.

  With several new faces coming in and injury set backs to others Cambridge United WFC haven’t found the consistency they would have liked and after a promising start have struggled to get points on the board on a regular basis. Down in 8th place never in danger of being pulled into the drop zone (no non- existent with the sad withdrawal of two sides) A late late winner from Sarah Wiltshire, away to Chesham United Ladies in their penultimate league fixture seeing United set up what could be a positive end to the campaign with a cup final this evening and league finale at The Abbey Stadium. Sarah Wiltshire the clubs marque signing over the close season, with a wealth of experience playing at this level is well clear in the goal scoring charts netting 16 from 20 appearances. Aiming to make it a double in the county cup competitions with their Development side winning the Junior Invitation Cup 10 days ago.

 Cambridge City Ladies too enduring a tough season currently bottom of FAWNL South East Division One although with two sides gone no threat of relegation. Just the one league win all season that coming all the way back on the opening day. A further point gained ironically at The Abbey Stadium in their league fixture with United earlier in the year. Still have a chance of getting off the bottom of the table with their final league game away to Chesham United Ladies who themselves have struggled for points just 2 above. Beating, Newmarket Town Women 5-1 in last season’s final to win the Invitation Cup.

  Alot of changes at the club under a new management team has seen alot of player departures the side vastly changed from that which secured victory on the opening day. The club has always had a strong youth policy and set-up with young talent always coming through the 1st team well backed up by an U23s side and Development team. Several young players have found themselves promoted to the first team and have risen to the challenge. One of those attacker Sophie Billing who has scored 32 goals in 11 appearances for Cambridge City’s U18s side currently top of the U18 league in Cambridgeshire with a 10% record. Becca Stephenson top scoring for the first team with 6 goals. Have had terrible luck with injuries too most recently losing experienced defender Bronwyn Mulheron who dislocated her knee playing against league champions Hashtag United Women. Like United a good opportunity to end a difficult season on a positive note.

Road to the Final

  Both sides entering the competition at the 2nd Round stage, Cambridge United progressing without kicking a ball awarded the A-w win over Park Ladies who would go on to reach the Junior Invitation Cup Final eventually beaten by United’s Development side. Cambridge City away to Cambridgeshire Division Two side March Town United Ladies. A grace Stanley hat-trick, along with a brace for Shannon Shaw with a goal each for Karly Tolentino, Lauren Tomlinson and Becca Stephenson securing a 9-0 win.

  Into the quarter finals, United away to Cambridgeshire Division One side Leverington Sports Ladies. City at home were also taking on Cambridgeshire Division One opposition in Cambridge Rangers WFC. Emphatic score lines for both with United scoring 7 without reply. City going one better netting 8 without conceding.

Into the semi-finals United and City kept apart in the draw, United hosting last season’s finalists Newmarket Town Women, a first half brace for both Francesca Partridge and Sarah Wiltshire seeing United leading 4-0 at the break before going on to win 6-0 with Wiltshire getting her hat-trick. City away to Division one side Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds, a brace each for Ellie Cullum and Becca Stephenson with a goal too for Rose Sparrow seeing City into the final courtesy of a 5-1 victory.

The Abbey Stadium once again hosting the Women’s Invitation Cup, the League One ground the grass pitch immaculate, the sun bright with a little heat left in it setting over the terraced stand opposite the main stand. Filling up nicely for the final. Hot and cold food and drink available. Was in a bit of a rush and wanting a cup of tea, decided to try one of the gourmet burgers, can highly recommend was very nice.

Cambridge United WFC

 Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Lauren Webb, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Lauren Rouse, Abbie Jackson, Gisela Otten (C), Sammy Edgar, Harley-Jean Simpson, Ruth Fox, Francesca Partridge & Sarah Wiltshire. Subs – Jorja Badcock, Serena Cobb, Natasha Collins, Libby Fraser & Niamh Day. 

Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson (C), Lexi Pryke, Jess Fitzpatrick, Amy Reed, Millie Struthers, Rosie Mead, Ellen Marson, Rose Sparrow, Jess Wood, Becca Stephenson & Haile Richards. Subs – Olivia White, Sophie Billing, Sarah Payne, Jennifer Moore & Olivia Briffa.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Several players missing through injury and unavailability for both sides with 6 1st team regulars out for United, defender Rachel Kosky turning her ankle at the weekend the latest casualty. That sees United calling on their Junior Invitation Cup winning side with, Niamh Day, Libby Fraser, Serena Cobb and Jorja Badcock named on the bench along with Natasha Collins returning from injury. City likewise losing players to injury with several of their experienced players side lined, a young squad named with most U20. It’s United to get the 202223 Invitation Cup final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks with City lined up opposite wearing white coloured shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. The ball played back to Sammy Edgar in midfield out to Carrie Bennett at left back City rushing on to press the ball forcing united to play the ball all the way back to goalkeeper Lauren Webb to clear.

United attack down the right flank the ball fed on for Ruth Fox down in the corner turns to dig a cross out into the area dropping for Francesca Partridge in the clear top of the six yard box sees the ball down and shapes to shoot, City goalkeeper and captain Sarah Hudson coming in to make the blocking save at close range getting something on the ball is deflected off her behind rolling for the bottom corner, Millie Struthers getting back clearing the ball off the line. United coming close in the opening couple of minutes.

Ruth Fox (photo credit Ben Phillips)

Abi Davies with the ball on to Fox right side played the ball inside finding Harley-Jean Simpson central 20 yard out lifts the ball into the box for Sarah Wiltshire whose first time shot is straight at Hudson. United making a positive start getting the ball into the City half Wiltshire sending the ball out to Partridge wide left she attempts the return pass finding Wiltshire breaking into the box however the offside flag curtails a goal scoring opportunity. Pressing the ball in midfield, Sammy Edgar lifts a pass out to Partridge pulling wide left, Jess Fitzpatrick getting back at her tackling for City.

Wiltshire running away with the ball at her feet on the left cutting inside her marker to get into the area right corner, Hudson racing out to clear the ball, cleared as she and Wiltshire collide, some think it’s a penalty, but the free-kick goes the other way with Wiltshire the one who catches Hudson on her follow through trying to get the ball. Hudson down for a moment but is okay to play on.

Cambridge City Ladies Lexi Pryke with Cambridge United’s Sarah Wiltshire (photo credit Ben Phillips)

Rose Sparrow taking the ball on through the middle for City lifting it into Haile Richards in attack back to goal 25 yards out holding it up well before rolling it back to the advancing Sparrow to strike goalwards from distance, United goalkeeper, Lauren Webb catching confidently. The ball with Edgar in midfield United’s attackers race forwards, Edgar attempting the placed pass in behind, a vital interception by Fitzpatrick. City win a free-kick on halfway to the left the ball send long up into the United area cleared out to the left, Lexi Pryke getting hold of it 25 yards out struck wide across goal.

Fitzpatrick getting back at Wiltshire on United’s left to challenge and clear the ball as she looks to drive into the area. United seeing more of the ball playing the ball across the pitch. United winning a free-kick deep inside the City half to the left, Wiltshire launching the ball in towards the top of the area headed out to the right, Fox after it with a turn and hit from 20 yards out pulled wide of the right post. United’s attackers lively Wiltshire moving across the line finding Fox on the right her cross lifted into the six yard box, Hudson up to claim with Partridge closing in.

Simpson up with Partridge on the left wins a corner as her cross is deflected behind of a City defender. Taken by Wiltshire on the left, swung in near post cleared back out to her by Fitzpatrick, moving up the line for a better angle hits a curling shot wide past the far post. Richards coming into midfield getting the ball off Jess Wood advancing right, holding off Carri Bennett sends the pass wide for Wood racing down the right, Lauren Rouse getting across to win the ball clear it for a throw.

Harley-Jean Simpson (photo credit Ben Phillips)

Richards strong holding up the ball turns and drives forwards for City central before being brought down 35 yards out winning the set-piece. The ball floated into the area attacked far post nodded down towards goal, Webb down to her left sharply the ball turned behind for the corner. Swept in long across the face of goal beat away at the far post, United look to get on the counter Wiltshire carrying the ball away left side, Simpson up with her the pass into her Struthers cutting out the return pass intended for Wiltshire.

City settling down now after United’s strong start getting in to win the ball, players spread out at times, picking the final pass tricky. United captain, Gisela Otten playing the ball on for United’s attackers, Wiltshire sending out out to Partridge left of the D 20 yards out, has more time that she realises, taking the shot her effort pulled wide of the near post. Wood taking the ball on down City’s right, Rouse going with her sliding in to win the ball back for United.

Cambridge United WFC captain, Gisela Otten with Cambridge City’s Rosie Mead (photo credit Ben Phillips)

Simpson bringing the ball on for United running into the left channel pushed out to Partridge wide, looking to open up her body thread the low diagonal ball into Wiltshire’s path outside the D, Struthers in the way intercepting to play it back into her keeper to clear. United attacking on the left Bennett advanced up with Partridge winning a throw high, dropped into Wiltshire’s feet coming back off the by-line to wrap her foot around the cross fired into the six yard box, Pryke clearing for City.

Wiltshire with alot of running with the ball taking it on for Edgar in midfield racing forwards tackled by City’s Rosie Mead. Davies on the right coming on with the ball for United playing a diagonal ball across to Partridge out left side dragging it down ahead of her sweeps a long pass out to Fox looking to get into the box from the right, Pryke cutting the ball out for City.

Ellen Marson linking up with Mead in the middle the ball clipped out out Becca Stephenson out on the left flank, taking the ball on down the line, Davies getting back at her to tackle for United. Partridge picked out on the left by the diagonal pass bringing the ball down sends a cross into the six yard box from 25 yards out Wiltshire surging in throwing up a boot getting to the ball before the keeper prods the ball wide of the left post.

Cambridge United’s Abi Davies( photo credit Ben Phillips)

Davies combining with Fox on the right lifting a cross into the City area, headed clear by Amy Reed. United continue to knock on the door with 35 minutes played Wiltshire with a shot on goal from 25 yards out left of the D, held by Hudson. Rouse bringing the ball up from the back for United into the City half right channel out to Wiltshire near the top right corner, the ball at her feet turns inside to shoot, her attempt straight forwards for the keeper, Hudson taking it high.

Edgar showing great passing ability as she tries again to clip a long ball into Partridge pulling away left, Fitzpatrick stabbing a foot out to take the ball away from her. United regain possession quickly inside the City half Simpson lively after the ball.

GOAL! Players getting up the pitch Bennett fed the ball on the left taking it to the by-line checking back to burst into the area before smashing a cross into the six yard box, Wiltshire pouncing to send the ball past the keeper central to opening the scoring in the 40th minute 1-0.

Sarah Wiltshire with the opening goal for Cambridge United WFC (photo credit Ben Phillips)

Edgar playing the pass forwards into Wiltshire left of the D 25 yards out, Bennett rushing on up the line in support, City racing back to defend, Sparrow getting there to regain possession before Bennett can get in behind. United lively at the end of the half coming on at will right side the ball lifted into the area Reed’s clearance dropping for Simpson 25 yards out central shifts the ball between her feet before placing her shot straight at the keeper.

Wiltshire flagged offside as she breaks in between the City centre backs looking to get onto the end of another Edgar pass. City making a change bring Sophie Billing on for Wood. Wiltshire is brought down on the right outside the box as she looks to take the ball on from Fox. The set-piece sent over. Wiltshire taking the ball on left played on by Partridge, held up by Fitzpatrick sends it back to Simpson 30 yards out drags the ball inside before shooting, no power on the strike caught by Hudson. A double change coming for City late in the first half with Sarah Payne and Jennifer Moore coming on for Marson and Sparrow. Time for one last United attack from the right the ball landing in the side netting.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Cambridge City Ladies

  United with a strong 1st half performance seeing more of the ball getting forwards well with numbers putting the City back line under pressure, an early effort cleared off the line. Opportunities created the dead lock finally broken in the 40th minute. Sarah Wiltshire’s goal the difference between the sides at the break. City have worked hard to fight for the ball having little opportunity to test the defence at the other end one chance turned wide by the keeper off a set-piece. At one nil however remain very much in the final and one chance could put them back on level terms, question is can they keep United out at the other end.

City making another change at the start of the 2nd half bringing on Olivia White for Struthers. United unchanged with City having the kick-off 2nd half the ball played back into the middle before being put out to White on the left, Davies getting back at her to challenge for the ball. City looking to make a fast start 2nd half pressing United on the ball a shot from distance dragged wide from the right. Payne winning the ball forwards into Richards, closely marked by Jackson.

(photo credit Ben Phillips)

Payne with the ball turning central to send the pass out to Stephenson on the right threads it through to Richards breaking into the area from the right, tracked all the way to the by-line running out of room back heels the ball back into the area, no one arriving to attack it. An open start to the 2nd half City making a few tactical switches United needing time to adjust too. Stephenson taking the ball on over halfway right laying the pass forwards for Richards bursting clear right channel, Webb racing out of her area to clear just about getting there first. United regroup the ball won by Edgar in midfield on to Wiltshire her diagonal ball looking for Partridge pulling into the area left, Fitzpatrick winning it for City

GOAL!  United regaining momentum push players forwards keeping possession out on the left the ball put inside to Edgar outside the box, puts her foot through the ball, powering a wonderful strike into the top corner across the keeper to double the lead 2-0.

Sammy Edgar scoring for Cambridge United WFC (photo credit Ben Phillips)

United 2-0 inside the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half a blow for City as they look to start the half on the front foot. Edgar carded moments after scoring with an over zealous tackle on City’s Reed as she brings the ball out from the back. Simpson playing the ball out to Bennett running on down the left flank, tackled by Fitzpatrick. Stephenson attacking out on the right for City her cross squared into the D, looking for Richards, Davies nipping in to clear for United.

Fox on the right seeing the ball down well flicking in on cleverly behind the defence after it heading it on, not quite under control as Reed stretches a leg to clear. Wiltshire taking the ball on across the top of the City area tripped winning a free-kick in a dangerous position right of the D. Over the free-kick smashes a low strike past the wall looking for the inside if the left post, Hudson with a fantastic save getting down to push the ball away behind for the corner to the left.

City certainly competing better 2nd half the ball being closed down in the middle a few tackles coming in free-kicks given away. Stephenson getting hold of a long pass floated into the D back to goal turns to her left taking the ball inside, Jackson close in staying on her to put in a well timed tackle to win the ball back for United. Reed defending at the other end inside her box heading the ball clear with Wiltshire closing in following Otten’s hooked clearance upfield.

GOAL! City win a corner out of nothing on the right as the ball runs behind following a challenge up field, an opportunity to get players into the box. A high ball looped down into the six yard box, Pryke running in jumping well to power her header in of a United defender over the keeper pulling a goal back on the hour. 2-1.

Game on United look for a quick response Simpson’s diagonal ball out to the left Partridge caught offside. Fox shoved in the back United winning a free-kick out on the right the ball in from Davies long to the far post a looping attempt put long past the far post retrieved on the right wide on the angle a high ball back in threatening to drop under Hudson’s crossbar the goalkeeper claiming it above her head.

Simpson getting hold of the ball left brought down outside the box presenting United with another set-piece. Wiltshire firing the ball in towards the near post on the angle, Hudson coming claiming well. United making their first switch bringing off Fox in attack sending on Niamh Day. City winning a throw high on the left, the ball played into Billing the attacker turning knocking the ball into the box, slightly over hit, Webb rushing out to close her down dive at her feet, Billing jumping in rashly catching Webb. A free-kick for United Webb needing a few moments to recover is okay to play on. 

  Wiltshire putting the City defence under pressure capitalising on a mis-cue to latch onto the ball and take it on into the area right of goal, never quite having it under control, screws her shot wide at the near post as Reed gets back to challenge. The competitiveness gone up a notch City with their tails up having pulled a goal back a few nerves showing from United. City winning a free-kick on half way the ball lifted up to the top of the area initially headed clear by Jackson, the shot struck from distance wide of the left post.

(photo credit Ben Phillips)

   City push on left side with Billing finding Stephenson out wide, checking back inside 25 out, rolls the ball inside for Moore who in turn puts it into Mead’s path hitting the shot from all of 30 yard out the effort blasted wide. City making a switch bringing Billing off with Wood returning to the field. Payne playing the ball forwards into Richards inside the D, Jackson in to block her attempt at goal the ball rebounding away. Rouse feeling her knee goes down requiring treatment both sides going to their benches to take on fluids and instructions with a little over 15 minutes left to play.

  United on the ball a great diagonal pass picking out Partridge bursting into the box from the left, Hudson rushing out to close her down, Partridge getting her foot up to lob the ball over the keeper, Reed racing back towards goal clearing the ball off the line.  City making a double change bringing on Olivia Briffa and Sparrow for Reed and White. United also making a substitution, Partridge coming off, Fox returning to the field to the left of attack. 

  City winning a free-kick wide left push players up into the box the ball fed into the six yard box, Webb up to punch the ball clear, falls to Stephenson right of the D, her strike charged down, Payne onto the ball to strike from distance Webb behind it plucking the ball down comfortably. United giving free-kicks away late in the game encouraging City to push players up, Pryke to play the ball forwards form the top of the centre circle knocked back out of the area straight to Stephenson, Simpson racing out to close her down for United. The 90 minutes almost up 4 minute of added time to be played.

  City getting another free-kick inside the United half 30 yards out Pryke again over the ball central, takes on the shot curling the ball towards the right post, Webb diving to save send the ball behind for a corner kick. Swung into the mix inside the six yard box, Edgar getting behind the ball to scramble it clear, City pressing the ball eventually out for a goal kick. 

  United get the ball away into the City half on the left a corner won, taken short they look to keep it there run down the clock. City sending the ball away up the right winning a throw high, played across to Sparrow out on the left her cross flung into the box, cleared by Fox. 

 GOAL! United break the ball sent forwards into Day’s path as she races forwards on the right wing taking the ball on towards the box produces a wonderful strike to send the ball looping across the keeper to land in side the goal at the far post! Day wheeling away with her arms wide in celebration in front of the fans the 3rd goal surely winning the game for United 3-1.

Niamh Day securing the win for United at the death (photo credit Ben Phillips)

  Little time left United making a change bringing on Natasha Collins for Davies to see out the closing seconds, no time for City to get another attack in as the final whistle blows.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 3-1 Cambridge City Ladies

  Cambridge United WFC winning the Invitation Cup final 3-1. With the bulk of the chances making a positive start to the game, goal line clearances and goalkeeping saves keeping United out 1st half until Carrie Bennett cut into the area from the left to send the ball across goal for Sarah Wiltshire to score. 1-0 at the break City making changes starting the 2nd half well before conceding a 2nd goal. Kept plugging away getting a goal back on the hour as Lexi Pryke headed the ball home, very much game on then as City grew in confidence and United became a little nervous giving away free-kicks, had more chances however to score riding out some late City pressure to break away and score a 3rd clinching goal in the dying moments of the match. A valiant effort from Cambridge City’s youngsters may well have been thrown in at the deep end, but will have gained valuable experience and have performed well, certainly in the games I’ve seen they never give up and wins have to be earned one last effort needed away to Chesham on Sunday to see if they can get the win needed to get themselves off the bottom of the table. Cambridge United with one last game at The Abbey Stadium to come this Sunday taking on 4th placed Actonians Ladies, winning the cup will be up for the match.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. The Cambridge derby in whatever format always a committed affair with both sides giving it there all. Several players out for both. Cambridge City’s young side battled throughout giving United something to think about 2nd half. Sarah Hudson in goal with some vital saves. Jess Fitzpatrick with a good performance at right back, with some well timed tackling and interceptions. Harley-Jean Simpson with some great ball control and runs in the final third. Francesca Partridge and Ruth Fox providing great outlets on the flanks in attack linking up with Sarah Wiltshire who herself made some excellent runs and created goal scoring chances opening the scoring. The award goes to midfielder Sammy Edgar was strong on the ball showing a great range of passing and getting stuck in to win the ball back, a fantastic strike for United’s 2nd goal. First saw her playing for Watton Ladies in Beds & Herts Division Two has risen up through the pyramid into regional football, this season her first at tier 4 wanting to test herself at a higher level has been a consistent performer for United, rising to the occasion. 

(photo credit Ben Phillips)

Cambridge United WFC 2022/23 Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup winners

Congratulations to Cambridge United WFC on winning the 2022/23 Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup

 An enjoyable evening at The Abbey Stadium with the crowd seeing another entertaining and commit encounter between City and United. My thanks to both sides for the team details and to the staff at the ground and Cambs FA for their help and to Ben Phillips for the additional pictures used in the report.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Stevenage FC Women v Royston Town Women

Sunday 23rd April

Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Final

A trip into Hertfordshire this Sunday to watch another cup final, to watch the Hertfordshire FA Women’s County Cup Final between Stevenage FC Women & Royston Town Women. 

 Stevenage FC Women dominating the county cup in recent season’s have featured in every final since Women’s Football East started back in 2014 appearing in 8 consecutive finals regaining the cup last season as the competition returned after a 2 year hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic aiming for a 5th win in the competition. Royston Town Women looking to win the trophy for the 1st time. Both sides playing in the ERWFL Premier Division.

Today’s Prize

 Stevenage FC Women currently 2nd in the ERWFL Premier Division attempting to bounce back at the first attempt after suffering relegation from the FAWNL last season. A tough ask in a strong competitive league with only one promotion spot up for grabs, AFC Sudbury Women looking strong favourites to take the title. Nevertheless a strong season from Stevenage once again reaching the County Cup final and also the final of the ERWFL League Cup. Fadi Mazloum stepping down as manager the club have appointed assistant Dave Parry as interim manager. Have a large squad backed up by a Development side, injuries haven’t helped maintain a settled side, players coming in have performed well. Amy Makewell the leading goal scorer with 14 goals to her name with Becky Shephard on 8 and Emily Schofield on 7.

 Royston Town Women’s manager Lewis Endacott recently celebrating his 250th game in charge. Royston more often than not amongst the sides contending in the top half of the ERWFL Premier Division, aiming to build a side to challenge for the title and promotion to the FAWNL. That cause has been heavily thwarted by long term injuries to key players, captain Amy Cooper, attacker Emma Slater and new midfield signing Riana Badal all suffering ACL and MCL injuries. Becky Charter breaking her collar bone recently returning to the side. Have moved quickly to bring in experienced attacker Laura Mills from Haverhill Rovers Women along with Chloe Gunn once with Stevenage now dual signed with QPR Women. Poppy Smith joining Royston in the summer is the current top scorer with 12 goals, Gemma Croucher close behind netting 10 to date.

Road to the Final

  No seeded teams in the Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup, 32 clubs entering in the 1st Round. Stevenage beginning the defence of the cup at home taking on Beds and Herts Premier Division newcomers Wormley Rovers Ladies. Becky Shephard scoring a brace along with a goal each for Holly Greenwood, Erin Price and Shianne Swarres to see Stevenage progress with a 5-0 win. Royston away to Garston Ladies new Development side playing in Beds and Herts Women’s Division Two, Emma Slater scoring a hat-trick with Royston dominating going on to win 7-0 with Ellie Pickard, Natalie Richardson, Becky Charter and Charlotte South also scoring.

 Into the 2nd Round, Stevenage drawn away to play ERWFL Division One South side, Wodson Park Ladies. Jodie Bellinger on hand to score a hat-trick in the game for Stevenage who would go on to win 6-0 with Becky Shephard, Erin Price and Amy Makewell all getting a goal. It was raining goals too in Royston’s 2nd Round tie as they were once again drawn away to beds and Herts Women’s Division Two, Wheathampstead Wanderers Ladies, Riana Badal, Charlotte South, Natalie Richardson, Emma Slater, Gemma Croucher and Poppy Smith all scoring a brace each in a 15-0 win with Amy Houghton, Charlotte Grogan and goalkeeper Amy Martin all getting on the scoresheet too.

  Stevenage progressing into the semi-finals without kicking a ball as the ERWFL Premier Division side was awarded the home win over Beds and Herts Division One side Hitching Town Women. Royston handed a tough looking quarter final tie away to Watford FC Women U23s. Lily Dolling scoring for Watford, Natalie Richardson found the back of the net for Royston to see the game end 1-1 and go straight to penalties. Royston edging the shootout 5-4 t0 advance to the semi-finals.

The semi-finals saw an all Stevenage affair with the 1st team drawn against their Development side, no walk over this one the sides battling out a 1-1 draw to send the tie into penalties the 1st team winning it on sudden death 6-5. The game chalked off however due to some infringement/error leading to the game being rescheduled the Development side forfeiting the 1st team advancing to the final. Royston as they have been all competition drawn away from home to play Watford Ladies Development. Poppy Smith’s deflected shot seeing the side draw 1-1 at 0 minutes another shootout to settle things Royston again coming out on to taking it 5-4 to reach the County Cup Final to face their local rivals.

 The County Ground, Letchworth the venue for today’s game the headquarter of the Hertfordshire FA next to the ground is also the home for Stevenage FC Women. A large artificial playing surface the ground undergoing alot of renovation in recent season’s. The cafe under the main stand serving hot and cold food and drinks. The seated stand over looking the dugouts with a terraced stand on the opposite side with viewing all round. An overcast and muggy afternoon. A few spots of rain around but nothing substantial forecast during the game. 

Stevenage FC Women

 Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Mia O’Brien, Nicole Farmer, Hannah Nebbitt, Erin Price, Vicky Neal (C), Holly Greenwood, Rosy Wodhams, Hannah Bodily, Kelsey Millen, Emily Schofield & Amy Makewell. Subs – Celine Rey, Lucy Webster, Jodie Bellinger, Becky Shephard & Amy Gooderham.

Royston Town Women

 Royston Town Women starting XI – Amy Martin, Mistie Fox Baker, Annie Georgiou, Amy Houghton, Georgia Miller, Ailish Straver, Charlotte South (C), Laura Mills, Amy Josland, Gemma Croucher & Poppy Smith. Subs – Eloise Page, Hattie Bourne, Nicole Hendrick, Chloe Hunt & Becky Charter.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Vicky Neal captaining Stevenage with regular captain, Lucy Webster named amongst the substitutes. Charlotte South captaining Royston with Amy Cooper side lined through injury. It’s Stevenage to get the 2022/23 Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing red coloured shirts fading to black across the bottom half and top of the sleeves, red shorts and white socks. Royston lined up opposite wearing white coloured shirts, with black short and socks. The ball rolled back into midfield out to Nicole Farmer at right back launched forwards for Kelsey Millen to chase, cleared by Royston’s Annie Georgiou. 

  South fouled inside her own half as she looks to carry the ball forwards, goalkeeper Amy Martin to play the set-piece hit long out to the right channel for Gemma Croucher, Hannah Nebbitt across her run to see the ball out for a Stevenage goal kick. Erin Price operating in the back line for Stevenage this afternoon, defending well up against Poppy Smith as the ball is fed into her as she bursts into the box from the right. Neal with a firm clearance at the back for Stevenage sending the ball long up to Amy Makewell in attack 20 yard out shifts the ball inside form the left to shoot firing the ball wide of the far post, the offside flag however is raised against her. 

 Lively start to the game the Stevenage back line spread out the game open both sides looking to get on down the flanks. Stevenage come right Millen breaking clear on the right cutting the ball back inside for Hannah Bodily the ball clipped up into the area, central won’t drop kindly for Makewell as she lines up a strike, Georgia Miller clearing for Royston. Stevenage press the ball high regaining possession the diagonal ball finding Millen running into space on the right into the corner her cross in low caught by the keeper inside her six yard box. 

Stevenage’s Hannah Bodily

  Stevenage coming on well, Rosy Wodhams winning the ball in midfield, lifting the ball out to Emily Schofield on the left, Mistie Fox Baker closing in to win the ball back for Royston. Price winning the ball at the back for Stevenage coming out into midfield before attempting the through ball for Makewell pulling into the left channel, Miller intercepting the pass for Royston. Holly Greenwood cleaned out as she plays the ball on for Millen on the right, Georgiou defending play brought back for the free-kick with no advantage. Right of the circle, Nebbitt over the ball hit long towards the far post the ball out for a goal kick.

  Royston attack down the right, Croucher on for Smith in attack challenging for the ball with Neal, Laura Mills rushing in to get onto the loose ball race into the box right of goal pulls the trigger her shot running wide of the far post. Schofield up on the left flank pulled down Stevenage getting a free-kick in the corner. The ball dropping far post no one getting a telling touch before Amy Houghton strikes it clear for Royston. Croucher pressing winning the ball playing in on for Smith up top, Price stretching out a leg intercepting for Stevenage. 

Royston’s Gemma Croucher

 The game being played as a good tempo Stevenage come on through the middle Wodhams attempting to play the one two with Millen to her right, Miller cutting the pass out top of the D for Royston passing it back for Martin to clear. Nebbitt advancing well on Stevenage’s left forwards into Schofield taking the ball inside 20 yards out no room for a shot, Makewell taking the ball on with the same results Royston’s defence closing the ball down.

Stevenage’s Emily Schofield

Croucher clipping the pass on for Smith pulling into the right channel, Neal across her well to safely shield the ball out for a goal kick. Martin racing out of her area to put her foot through the ball to clear as Price’s clearance at the back threatens to put Millen in on goal.  

  South getting into an advanced position on the left for Royston playing the ball to Amy Josland out wide left, she in turn putting it back up the line for Georgiou getting forwards closed down plays the ball back to Miller the defender firing a pass forwards into the D, Price going to put her foot through it to clear instead slices the ball in behind, Mia O’Brien in the Stevenage goal onto it sharply to claim before Smith can pounce.

Royston captain, Charlotte South.

  Millen a good outlet for Stevenage on the right enjoying a good contest with Royston’s Georgiou, the full back’s clearance dropping to Greenwood some 30 plus yards out lines up a strike putting her foot though the ball arrowing in low possibly wide of the far post, Martin diving taking to chances getting hold of the ball.

Martin catching a high ball fired into the box from the right as Millen breaks on for Stevenage. Croucher attacking down the right for Royston sees her cross cut out by Stevenage’s Nebbitt. Houghton fouling Schofield on halfway a chance for Stevenage to send the ball up into the Royston area, dropping central Millen looking to attack it Martin coming to close her down doing enough to see Millen force her shot wide of the left post. Martin racing out of her area to clear the ball left side just about gets there ahead of Makewell, hurt as her follow through takes out the Stevenage striker, no appeals on field a few voices amongst the crowd feeling different.

Stevenage’s Hannah Nebbitt

  Royston winning a free-kick on halfway the ball lifted in towards the top of the area, headed clear by Neal. Mills getting hold of the ball firing a pass forwards into the D left of goal, missed by Farmer going to clear, Josland after it, can’t capitalise before Stevenage regroup scramble the ball to safety. Martin goes down needing treatment on her back, both sets of players going to the dug outs for refreshment and instructions. The goalkeeper okay to continue play resumes a long ball played into the right channel for Smith to attack, Neal across lunging in to put the ball out for a throw.

Royston’s Poppy Smith with Stevenage’s Vicky Neal

  Wodhams winning the ball the short pass into Greenwood plays a great threaded pass forwards looking to pick out Makewell breaking into the D, Houghton with a vital interception for Royston. 3pm arrives and as expected mobile phones go off with the government testing it’s new emergency alert system, hardly registers with an exciting game taking place Mills taking the ball on down the right for Royston, sending it inside for South, 25 yards out prepares to strike the ball, Farmer racing out of the back line to charge down the shot for Stevenage. Royston getting on well Ailish Straver winning the ball forwards for Mills attacking right channel, fed into the box, Price defending well for Stevenage. 

  Stevenage quickly on the counter attack the ball lifted on up the right wing for Millen racing forwards her low cross fired into the area cut out and cleared by Miller. Goes straight to Greenwood 25 yards out right of the D, drags her shot wide out past the left post. Stevenage winning the first corner of the game out on the left the ball swung in to the far post knocked down by Neal into the mix, scrambled away to the left for a 2nd corner kick. This delivery long beyond the far post.

  Wodhams getting back well on Croucher to tackle and win the ball as the Royston attacker looks to take the ball on through the middle. Mills using the ball well for Royston getting it under control sending a quality pass forwards for Smith out right wing, Neal lunging in with an outstretched leg to send the ball out for a throw deep on the right. 35 minutes played.

 GOAL! The deadlock broken Royston with players up field for the throw in the ball crossed in taking a deflection, sending it in towards Josland attacking the near post, close in nods the ball over the keeper and across goal into the bottom corner to score! 0-1!

Amy Josland opening the scoring for Royston Town Women

  The game opening up as Stevenage look for a quick response, Croucher getting back to tackle Nebbitt as she drives on with the ball left wing. Georgiou coming on with the ball left side for Royston inside for Straver who sends the diagonal pass out to Croucher on the right, forwards for Smith to chase too much on the ball out for a goal kick. Stevenage rapid to play the ball down the other end Bodily into Greenwood out to Millen wide right down the line her cross cut out by Georgiou out behind for the corner kick. Whipped in across the penalty spot runners coming in but no one gets a touch turned behind beyond the far post for a 2nd corner on the left. The ball cleared out of the area falling for Schofield left of the D to line up a strike the ball charged down by Miller for Royston. 


 Royston pressing well late in the first half Straver to Croucher right inside for South central her first time strike wide off target 30 yards out. Croucher pushed in the back winning a free-kick outside the Stevenage box left of goal. Georgiou over the ball sends her attempt over at the far post. Smith tussling with Price for possession of the ball right of the D, nipping onto the ball snatches her shot over the crossbar. Makewell fouled on halfway late in the 1st half, Price to launch the ball up towards the Royston area the ball cleared falling to Greenwood sees her shot charged down outside the box, Georgiou clearing for Royston.

Half-time Stevenage FC Women 0-1 Royston Town Women

  507 in attendance for today’s final see Royston heading into the changing rooms leading by a single goal at the break. Amy Josland in at the near post to put Royston into the lead on 35 minutes. The game has been lively and open played at a good tempo with both sides using the wings particularly their right flank. Millen getting on well for Stevenage, Croucher and Mills both looking to feed Smith the ball for Royston. Few clear cut chances both defences with some vital interceptions with good one on one battles taking place all over the park.

  Stevenage making a triple change at the start of the 2nd half bringing on, Lucy Webster taking over as captain for Nebbitt at left back with Becky Shephard and Amy Gooderham replacing Greenwood and Schofield. Royston unchanged kicking off the 2nd half played back into defence Stevenage quick to set their stall out rushing in to close down the ball. Pressure on the Royston defence, the ball cleared.

  Royston get the ball on well through the middle Straver into Croucher has South up in support plays the short ball into her, South opening up her body attempting to put the ball in behind for Smith breaking into the box, O’Brien able to get her gloves wrapped around it first. 

Royston defender, Amy Houghton

 Shephard seeing the ball into her feet for Stevenage on the left with a clever back heel to send Gooderham away down the line her cross cleared by Georgiou. Georgiou busy at the back for Royston in ahead of Millen to clear the ball as Price sends it upfield. Mills off a throw on the left dragging the ball across her and shooting from 25 yards out putting the ball straight into the keeper. 

Royston’s Laura Mills

 Gooderham breaking on with the ball on the left for Stevenage sending it inside for Makewell inside the D, closed down by Houghton and Miller, sends the ball wide to Shephard left of goal 20 out her strike curled into towards goal straight into the keeper. Makewell with a sharp turn and strike from all of 30 yards out caught well racing in low towards goal Martin throwing herself down to her right full stretch getting her fingertips to the ball, turned behind, heart in her mouth for a moment the ball running behind narrowly wide of the post a corner awarded on the left.

Royston goalkeeper, Amy Martin

 GOAL! Stevenage carry a strong threat from a corner getting players up into the area to attack the ball and it’s from a set-piece that they find the equalising goal, the delivery whipped in fast across the face of goal attacked at the far post by Neal getting her head onto the ball and driving it home into the back of the net 1-1.

Vicky Neal congratulated by her teammates after she heads home the equaliser

 Stevenage finding the equaliser 10 minutes into the 2nd half. Royston get hold of the ball South laying it back for Straver to float a ball forwards up into the box, O’Brien catching the ball. Gooderham brought down on halfway giving Stevenage a free-kick and opportunity to send players forwards, Webster over the ball lifted into the box Shephard getting onto the end of it sending her shot over the bar. 

Stevenage’s Becky Shephard

  Shephard taking the ball forwards for Stevenage on the left crossing into the area, Makewell looking to turn central, Straver back to put in the tackle the ball not clear as Stevenage press Bodily out to Millen, Mills back to regain possession for Royston. Stevenage pressing well, Wodhams linking up with Bodily out to the right a free-kick won, the ball put in from deep dropping central Martin opting to punch the ball out of her area dropping to Wodhams 20 yards out puts her foot through the ball, Houghton getting in the way the ball deflecting off the defender behind for a corner on the right. Defended at the near post, Fox Baker looks to carry the ball up field for Royston Wodhams sliding in catching her on the ankle.

  Josland tripping Gooderham as she takes the ball on left side, Shephard to play the ball into the box long to the far post attacked by Neal her effort headed over the bar. South driving forwards with the ball through the middle for Royston clipped forwards to Mills going right into the corner her cross cut back towards the near post headed away by Neal. Martin rushing out of her area just about getting there to stop the ball in it’s tracks as Gooderham breaks clear out on the left. 

  Royston quick to counter Fox Baker right lifting a great ball into the box central for Mills to attack, looking to lift the ball up over the advancing keeper, O’Brien with a tremendous save throwing herself to her left to push the ball wide, her defence clearing the threat. 

Rosy Wodhams

  Wodhams out to Gooderham attacking left her diagonal ball in towards the top of the area defended well by Miller turning it off her body into the keeper with Millen in the clear beyond. The game has really come to life open both side looking for a goal, Gooderham doing well on the left for Stevenage getting on cutting the cross inside for Makewell central 20 yards out despite being tackled deflects the ball through into the area for Shephard coming in far post, martin out to snatch up the ball before she can reach it. 

Stevenage’s Nicole Farmer

  O’Brien with another fabulous save for Stevenage Smith with the turn and hit at the top of the area left of the D as she sees the pass into her feet, heading for the top corner, O’Brien throwing herself across getting a glove onto the ball to turn it over for the corner. The subsequent corner cleared Stevenage make another change Jodie Bellinger coming on to replace Millen on the right.

Stevenage goalkeeper, Mia O’Brien

  Nicole Hendrick coming on for Royston to replace Croucher in attack. Royston finding Josland out wide attempts to put the ball into Smith moving across the defence, Price stretching getting her leg out to cut out the pass. Josland inside the box right of goal catching the ball on the half volley as it comes into her off a throw in, O’Brien diving forwards to save. Royston pressing high South to the right the ball inside the area finding Josland right of goal smashes her cross along the six yard box missed comes out to Hendrick far side blasts her shot over the bar.

  The game finely balanced Wodhams on for Makewell sent out to Bellinger right, Georgiou back to defend. Mills getting onto the ball central driving forwards for Royston pulls away to the right before sending shot over the bar from 25 yards out. Wodhams on the right with a strong run linking up with Bellinger to the by-line the cross cut back to Makewell central her shot saved low by the keeper deflected away to the left, Shephard free with an open goal to shoot at can’t believe it as she slices her 1st time strike over.

  Mills bringing the ball out from defence for Royston picking out Straver who drops a shot over from distance. Neal with a vital win at the back has to get there as Royston launch the ball forwards winning the ball at the ball from a free-kick, Mills and Smith threatening to run clear Neal slides in to send the ball out of the ground. Makewell down in the opposition box struggling with cramp, the change made, Schofield coming back on with the clock ticking down. Straight to penalties if the scores remain level.

  Fox Baker defends well for Royston as Wodhams picks out Gooderham on the left. Royston making a change bringing Josland off, Croucher coming back on. Play paused as Straver has the ball smashed into her from close range.

 GOAL! Into the 89th minute Mills getting hold of the ball for Royston carrying it p into midfield turns her ankle going down in agony, Stevenage rush onto the loose ball played forwards into the area left of the D, Gooderham in to pressure the keeper as Martins comes for the ball drags it away from her to the left and with and open goal to aim at makes no mistake to fire Stevenage into the lead 2-1!

Stevenage’s Amy Gooderham with the last minute goal to put Stevenage into the lead.

  A huge blow for Royston at the death worse still as Mills can’t continue, Chloe Holt coming on. Stevenage get the ball into Webster out left breaking forwards going shoulder to shoulder with Fox Baker the Royston defender putting in a good challenge to win the ball.

Royston’s Mistie Fox Baker with Stevenage’s Lucy Webster

 Royston get up the other end force a corner on the right into stoppage time everyone up into the box including the goalkeeper. goes long out to the left put back into the mix, the ball blocked come out off the area struck back in, O’Brien taking it on the bounce. Hendrick carded for a strong tackle on Wodhams as she attempts to bring the ball out. Royston win the ball back Croucher long for Holt out on the right her cross cut out by Neal. Schofield is stopped by the offside flag just over halfway as she looks to run away with the ball for Stevenage, one last chance for Royston to play the ball into the box…

 GOAL! Martin to take the free-kick the goalkeeper sending a great ball into the Stevenage area dropping to the right of goal attacked by Miller, her shot driven in across the keeper into the bottom corner the defender racing away to celebrated chased by her ecstatic teammates 2-2!

Georgia Miller running away in celebration after scoring the last gasp equaliser

 Virtually the last kick of the game, Stevenage making a change the game heading to penalties swap goalkeepers, O’Brien off replaced by Celine Rey. 

Full time Stevenage FC Women 2-2 Royston Town Women

  A dramatic end to an exciting final both sides with chances in the 2nd half, Stevenage coming back to level the scores looking strong Royston defending well, the game remained open could have gone either way. Stevenage scoring in the final minute, Royston equalising with the last kick of the game we go to penalties. Harsh that it should be decided this way but both sides fought well, it now comes down to the lottery of the shootout. Just so happens I was making my way round the pitch at the end to end up behind the goal where the penalties are to be taken let the drama unfold.


  Stevenage up first in the shootout, Jodie Bellinger walking forward to take the opening penalty, scores with a coolly taken low strike into the bottom right corner. 1-0.

 Amy Houghton to take Royston’s first penalty opting for power well struck rising to the keepers right. 1-1.

 Nicole Farmer up next for Stevenage placing the ball on the spot doesn’t get any power on the shot straight down the middle a straight forward save for Martin. 1-1.

 Gemma Croucher to take Royston’s second spot kick calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right corner past the diving keeper 1-2.

 Amy Gooderham up next to take Stevenage’s 3rd penalty kick, hit well high to the keepers left. 2-2.

 Ailish Straver up next for Royston, a good strike rising to the keeper’s left to score 2-3.

Becky Shephard to take Stevenage’s fourth spot kick, placing the ball on the spot goes for power blasted home as Martin dives the right way can’t reach it 3-3.

 Georgia Miller up next for Royston again looks for power, turns in agony as the ball smashes down off the cross bar. 3-3.

One penalty left for each then we enter sudden death, Emily Schofield to take Stevenage’s 5th penalty. Cool as you like low placed into the bottom corner the diving keeper can’t get to it 4-3.

 Charlotte South to take Royston’s 5th spot kick, the captain sending the keeper the wrong way to send the tie into sudden death 4-4.

 Vicky Neal up next for Stevenage places the ball into the bottom corner, the keeper can’t reach it 5-4.

 Becky Charter up next for Royston places the ball on the spot and steps back and Rey saves. 5-4.

Stevenage race forwards in celebration as they win the Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup for the fifth time.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  A cruel way to end a game but huge credit to both sides for providing us with a hugely enjoyable cup final. Penalties are a lottery and right until the end the game could have been decided either way. Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Some huge performances all over the park a few to mention. For Royston, Amy Martin with some vital saves and claims in goal. Annie Georgiou played well at full back winning the ball well on a number of occasions. Laura Mills getting hold of the ball with some great passing and skill. For Stevenage the Kelsey Millen provided a great outlet on the right especially first half. Amy Gooderham coming on 2nd half strong out on the left getting forwards with the ball creating chances scoring late on to put Stevenage into the lead. Erin Price with some great defensive work at the back along side Vicky Neal who won the ball well at both ends scoring the equaliser. Mia O’Brien with some huge saves. The award goes to midfielder Rosy Wodhams covered alot of ground in midfield getting after the ball coming forwards and setting up numerous attacks.

Stevenage FC Women 2022/23 Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup winners

Congratulations to Stevenage FC Women on winning this season’s and their 5th Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup

 A thrilling Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Final. The result could have gone either way played at a good tempo, an open game both sides competitive till the end. My thanks to the staff at Hertfordshire FA for their help today and both teams with the team details 

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Cambridge United WFC Development v Park Ladies

Sunday 16th April

Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitation Cup Final sponsored by the Alan Boswell Group

The cup finals coming thick and fast now this the 3rd in 5 days a trip over to Histon FC’s Bridge Road Stadium to watch the final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitation Cup between Cambridge United WFC Development and Park Ladies.

 Cambridgeshire like Essex having a secondary county cup competition giving the sides not usually expected to reach the latter stages of the senior cup a chance to contest for silverware.

Today’s prize

Cambridge United WFC Development playing their football in the FAWNL South East and Central Reserve League with 11 other clubs 2nd teams across tier 3, 4 and regional set-ups. The women’s section enjoying a stronger relationship with Cambridge United FC with the setting up of a woman’s board and growth within the youth pathway which of which the development side is a vital link. The Development side have struggled for points this season and are currently bottom of the table, not adrift by any means with 4 games to play a positive end to the season could see them move up a place or two. The league aside, reaching the Junior Invitation Cup Final and a chance to compete for silverware. Niamh Day top scorer with 8 goals.

 Park Ladies are having a great season vying for the title in Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two. Top of the table unbeaten and the leagues top scorers  with 77 goals too. The Wimblington based side into their first ever cup final looking forward to the occasion. Taking the title battle all the way with Francesca Plitsch scoring in the dying moments to see Park come back from a goal down to beat main rivals Peterborough Sports Ladies at home back in February. Plitsch the top scorer for the club so far this season with 27 goals from 18 appearances. Georgia Stimson close behind on 25 goals from 18 played with Amy Hunt on 16 and Sophie Fenner on 11 goals respectfully.

Road to the Final

  Both sides with a bye in the first round moving into the quarter finals, Cambridge United WFC Development were to progress into the last 4 without kicking a ball awarded the away win against March Town United Ladies. Park Ladies were away to Division Three strugglers Ely City Women, Park’s attack proving too strong as they racked up a 16-1 win with Plitsch netting 5 goals. Hunt with 4 to her name. A hat-trick Georgia Stimson with a goal each for Eilish Brown, Imogen James plus a brace for Georgia Payne.

 Into the semi-finals Cambridge United WFC Development drawn away to rivals and fellow Reserve league opponents Cambridge City Ladies U23s, a goal for City’s Olivia Briffa and one for Niamh Day seeing the sides level at 1-1 to send the tie into a penalty shootout going into sudden death Cambridge United edged it 6-5 to win a place in the cup final. Park at home to Division Three side Cambourne Ladies who themselves were unbeaten in their league coming into the game. Georgia Stimson putting Park 1-0 in the first half, it wasn’t till the 80th minutes a a quick fire double from Amy Hunt and Erin Powell that victory was assured and Park reached their first ever cup final.

 Histon FC’s Glassworld Stadium the venue for today’s cup final. Hosting the Veterans Invitation Cup Final earlier in the morning. Soham Town Rangers Veterans beating Royston Town Veterans 4-0 to win the trophy. Onto the Junior Invitation Cup Final, a 2:30pm KO, my 1st visit to the Glassworld Stadium this season (although the weather has put pay to earlier visits, the home of Histon Ladies into the league cup final and vying for the title with opponents Cardea FC Ladies. A large grass pitch with covered viewing all round seated stands on both sides the man stand over the changing rooms the bar behind. The kitchen hatch open serving hot food and drinks. The weather set fair, mild if a little muggy with cloud cover around but no rain forecast.

Cambridge United WFC Development

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Freyja Bermudez, Katie Harding (C), Beatrice Rogers, Talia Gisonni, Jorja Badcock, Serena Cobb, Emily Waterman, Eleanor Townsend, Maya Edwards, Niamh Day & Megan Chandler. Subs – Libby Fraser, Alyssa Bovis, Tilly leather & Gabby Cobb.

Park Ladies

 Park Ladies starting XI – Sian Holcroft, Erin Fox, Imogen James, Charlotte Marshall, Eilish Brown, Erin Powell (C), Francesca Plitsch, Georgia Payne, Sophie Fenner, Georgia Stimson & Amy Hunt. Subs – Liv Robinson, Maddie Jackson, Teagan Pulman, Casey Ward & Sophie Hunt.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 It’s Park to kick-off the 1st half wearing dark blue shirt and shorts with red coloured socks, with Cambridge lined up opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball fed into the middle, Cambridge rush to close the ball down, putting Park’s defence under pressure forced back to the keeper, Sian Holcroft going to kick the ball clear strikes the on rushing attacker, the deflected ball bouncing away to the left Holcroft able to retrieve without threat. 

  Park captain, Erin Powell turning on the ball in midfield lifting the pass out to the left channel with Amy Hunt making  a move in behind down the flank, Talia Gisonni across in defence to clear the ball out for a throw. Park get numbers up the throw nodded on into the box, Cambridge goalkeeper Freyja Bermudez can come to grab the ball at her near post. Eleanor Townsend getting hold of the ball central for Cambridge driving over half way is brought down by Park’s Eilish Brown winning the free-kick. Just in front of the centre circle Jorja Badcock nevertheless connects with the ball sending it in with pace towards the left of goal, Holcroft across her line to claim the ball into her midriff.

Cambridge’s Jorja Badcock

  A lively start from Cambridge getting after the ball, hustling Park in possession. Sophie Fenner taking the ball out to the for Park driving at the defence challenged the ball out for a throw. Both sides looking to use the whole pitch an open start to the game, Gisonni jumping into Imogen James with a strong challenge going to win the ball, conceding the free-kick out wide inside her half. Francesca Plitsch over the set-piece struck goal ward pulled a little wide of the near post. 

Park midfielder, Francesca Plitsch

  Cambridge advancing on the left the ball on for Megan Chandler takes it all the way to the by-line cutting inside to cross, Holcroft down low to claim the ball. Space for Niamh Day to run into on the right Badcock picking the past, Day gets the ball into her feet, cuts inside looking to get past James the defender sticking a foot out to take the ball away from her. Moments later James brings Day down on the right winning Cambridge a free-kick. Badcock on the ball delivers it across the top of the area far side, the defensive header sending the ball back out to her on the right, her attempted cross blocked Park look to break, Stimson in past the defence rushing after the ball, Bermudez out of her area to kick the ball clear.

 GOAL! A lively opening 10 minutes brings the opening goal, Cambridge winning the ball in the middle the diagonal pass picking out Day drifting clear wide right, sends her cross in low across the Park area, Chandler getting hold of it left of the D shapes to move to her left cutting back onto her right foot striking the ball goal wards, pace on the shot Holcroft down sharply can’t quite get enough on it the ball squirming under her into the back of the net 1-0.

Megan Chandler congratulated by her teammates after firing Cambridge into the lead

  Cambridge quick to regain possession from the restart Badcock in to win the tackle puts the ball forwards, Chandler up with Emily Waterman in front of the Park area the ball struck, Charlotte Marshall adjudged to have handled the ball as it comes at her with pace, the free-kick awards central 25 yards out Badcock with the attempt on goal pulls the low strike wide of the left post. 

 GOAL! Cambridge getting plyer on well both left and right, coming down the left they double their lead winning a throw high taken quickly the cross whipped in there to be attacked, Waterman racing in on the keeper getting there ahead of Holcroft to force the ball over the line to make it 2-0.

Emily Waterman getting to the cross ahead of Sian Holcroft to make it 2-0

  A blow for Park conceding two goals in quick succession inside the opening 17minutes. Forced back are struggling to get the ball into Stimson and Hunt up top. Soon find themselves under more pressure as they give away a free-kick wide on the right. 

 GOAL! Day over the ball in the right corner getting her foot under the ball to send the ball looping up in towards goal flies over Holcroft at pace, Waterman clear at the far post leaping after the ball, but it’s already over dropping under the bar 3-0.

Niamh Day with Cambridge’s 3rd goal

 3 quick goals for Cambridge getting themselves off to the perfect start, have been lively nipping in to win the ball, giving Park little time to settle. Maya Edwards with a 30 plus yard strike dipping late, Holcroft getting her gloves up to palm the ball down and safely claim. Holcroft the busier of the two goalkeepers sharp getting down to save at close range as the shot comes in off a Day cross from the right the ball deflected back out to Day, tries to get the ball out of her feet to shoot, James charging her down the ball going away for a corner kick. 

Park’s Imogen James

  Badcock putting the corner ball in long across the area, Erin Fox heading it clear for Park back out to Badcock on the right plays a low cross in along the top of the area, helped through to Chandler left side o the angle fires her shot over the bar. Park making a change bringing off Fenner, replaced by Casey Ward to the right of attack. Plitsch with a deft ball dropped over the defence, Hunt giving chase Bermudez starts to come, Gisonni tracking back with Hunt not taking any risks clearing the ball to the right for a throw. 

Park attacker, Georgia Stimson

 Stimson on the ball inside the Cambridge half playing it on for Hunt looking to get into the box from the left Gisonni back on her to tackle the ball behind for a corner kick. Cambridge clearing the corner, break on the right Day up the line to cross into the area, Erin Fox heading clear for Park. Cambridge making a double switch bringing on Libby Fraser and Gabby Cobb, bringing of Waterman and Chandler. Bermudez comes out of her area again to clear as Stimson looks to break through the defence get onto the ball Rogers in danger of becoming collateral damage!

  Stimson peeling away to the left wing getting the ball into her feet and squaring a cross into the top of the area, Hunt arriving, under pressure from Edwards doesn’t get  clean connection scuffs her attempt wide. Day wide on the right on the attack for Cambridge ending a diagonal ball into the area, takes a wicked deflection up off Marshall, looping over her towards goal, Holcroft in the right place to punch the ball away to safety. Serena Cobb with a 25 yard strike that rattles the Park cross bar as she sees the ball run across her from the left.

Serena Cobb

  Cambridge pushing forwards the ball rolled into Fraser running across the top of the Park area thinking about the strike by not one rolls the ball onto Day out wide on the right wins her side a corner kick. Park heading the ball clear of their area doesn’t stick Cambridge nipping in to regain possession, Rogers into Serena Cobb 25 yards out left of the D her strike landing on the roof of the net. Another double switch for Cambridge with Serena Cobb, and Townsend off, Tilly Leather and Alyssa Bovis coming on. 

Park midfielder, Francesca Plitsch

  Park with little of the attack under pressure Brown getting the ball forwards Hunt taking it on through the middle driving forwards playing the one two with Ward to her right, getting the return pass as she enters the box stretching puts her low shot into the keeper. Fraser putting the pass out to Day on the right touchline pushing for the corner her cross whipped into the area turned behind by Marshall for the corner. Put in across the six yard box from the right headed clear back to the corner taker a vicious ball fired in near post James here to clear for Park. 

Park’s Amy Hunt with Cambridge captain Katie Harding

  Cambridge rushing in to regain the ball inside the Park half Badcock firing a diagonal ball right side in across goal over Holcroft attacked beyond the far post, into the side netting. Edwards opening up her body to stab the ball forwards looking for Gabby Cobb pulling off the defence, a vital interception from Parks Brown. Plitsch more effective attacking from the midfield seeing her runs restricted in the first half getting holding of the ball linking up with Brown powers forwards, Rogers out to put in the challenge. 

Cambridge defender, Beatrice Rogers

  Ward fed the ball out wide right for Park powers her way forwards sending a stinging cross in low at the near post, Hunt stealing in unmarked getting her foot on the ball looking to turn it inside the post instead sends her shot over from close range.

Park striker, Amy Hunt

A couple of half chances for Park late in the half as they look to finish it on a positive note. Brown linking with Plitsch through the middle stabbing the ball on through the Cambridge back line for Hunt to attack, Bermudez racing out of her box to clear.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC Development 3-0 Park Ladies

  Making a fast start getting after the ball and finding the back of the net inside the opening 10 minutes Cambridge went on to score two quick goals to open up a 3 goal lead at the break. Creating chances to add to that score line too have been energetic and first to win the ball making use of the pitch to stretch Park at the back. Park quickly on the back foot have struggled to get the ball into their attackers, with goals in their locker however have broken away to created a couple of good opportunities in front of goal but know they have an uphill task 2nd half if they are to get back into the game.

Park making a change at the start of the 2nd half Fenner back on replacing Hunt in attack as Cambridge get the 2nd half underway. Park’s turn to press the ball won in midfield out to Fenner pulling left wins a throw high up the pitch, inside to Plitsch the ball cut out by Cambridge captain Katie Harding. 

 Powell tracking back to mark Leather top of the area as Bovis left whips a low cross in towards her wining the tackle the ball going behind for a corner kick. Swung in near post, James with the clearance for Park. The ball latched onto outside the area the shot blasted in towards goal, the flag goes up as it’s deflected through towards goal. Badcock moving left playing the ball on up the wing for Bovis, Fox getting out to her to clear the ball for the throw. Level with the top of the area dropped into Fraser runs across the top of the D before wrapping her foot around the shot, struck wide of the right post.

  GOAL! A busy start to the 2nd half Cambridge pressing the ball inside the Park half rolled into Gabby Cobb 30 yards out central, back to goal sees the ball into her feet then with a clever spin pulls off her maker putting in into the path for Fraser ahead of her 25 yards out strikes the ball goalwards racing in low Holcroft diving across her goal gets the merest of touches but not enough as the ball squeezes home inside the post 4-0.

Libby Fraser scoring early in the 2nd half for Cambridge

 Park looking to get going through the middle Brown to Payne lays the diagonal ball into Ward running on right side, Gisonni across to put in the tackle see the ball cleared out of the ground, not for the first time today. Fraser getting hold of the ball from atop the centre circle driving forward with a wild lash of the ball that goes well wide. Cambridge strong first to the ball Bovis left on the move fed inside for Fraser, Fox nipping back at her to win the ball for Park at the back. 

Park defender, Erin Fox

 GOAL! Day continuing to cause Park problems down the right wing on the ball driving to the by-line inside to lay the cross in near post Gabby Cobb inside the six yard box with the 1st time effort smashes up and down off the cross bar! The ball loose Day continuing her run into central first to the ball rifling home from close range 5-0.

Niamh Day on the follow up to score Cambridge’s 5th

  Cambridge ringing the changes with another double substitution, Waterman and Chandler returning to the action. Badcock and Edwards the players coming off. Park under the cosh look to get the ball into Fenner out on the left in attack, is tripped winning a free-kick. The ball into the area headed away by the Cambridge defence.

Park’s Casey Ward

 GOAL! A 6th goal for Cambridge as they press home the advantage at the start of the 2nd half Day on the ball again wide right bursting down to the by-line cutting her cross back into the area, the shot from the penalty spot blasted in towards goal blacked by Powell running back to defend, can’t do anything with the rebound as the ball drops straight to Fraser to smash home her 2nd of the game 6-0.

Libby Fraser with a cup final brace

  Park responding with a double switch bringing on Sophie Hunt and Teagan Pulman for James and Payne. Gabby Cobb passing to Bovis out on the left cuts the cross back along the top of the area for Fraser who has a go from 20 yards in low doesn’t have the power to trouble Holcroft. Fraser taking the ball away to the left to cross the ball running into the area for Gabby Cobb to race in to shoot, Marshall in to put in the block the rebound striking Cobb going out behind for the goal kick.

Sophie Fenner

  Fenner looking the most likely outlet up top for Park on the left to create something Plitsch giving her the ball drives forwards preparing to strike from range, Harding getting her leg out to make the blocking tackle bring the ball forwards for Cambridge. Cambridge full of energy quicker to the ball, Ward picked out on the right for Park with the diagonal ball but offside.

 Bovis with an awkward fall over the keeper as Holcroft comes to the left of her area diving in to get to the ball as Fraser lays it forwards. Looking to go over strike her head on the turf, but comes away holding her shoulder battered but otherwise okay. A throw for Cambridge on the right Fraser spinning in behind sends a cross into the box, Gabby Cobb racing to meet it top of the area slicing her shot wide, Day running in near post gets a stab at the ball sends it wide of the post.

Cambridge defender Talia Gisonni

  Fenner charges in on the goalkeeper as Bermudez comes to clear the ball, hitting the striker, the ball deflected in behind her Fenner can’t get to it before t ball runs out of play. Gisonni winning the ball on half way takes it forwards for Cambridge right channel laying the pass out wide for Day she sends the return ball into the defender arriving inside the box , Fox rushing out to charge her down as she lines up a shot the ball rebounding of Gisonni wide for a goal kick. 

  Day and Bovis come off for Cambridge as they rotate their substitutes with Townsend and Serena Cobb coming back on. Townsend involved straight away taking the ball left whipping a deep cross into the box claimed well by Holcroft with Gabby Cobb and Fraser rushing in however the flag is up for offside against one or both. Park making a change bringing off Plitsch on comes Liv Robinson.

 Park’s Fenner taking the ball on down the left winning a corner. Played in towards the near post defended put behind for another corner kick. Again an inswinging delivery cleared by Harding for Cambridge back to the corner taker played short into Brown inside the area left her shot charged down, Park with a another attempt to put the ball into the area too high for Powell to reach at the far post.

  The Park fans celebrate as they find the back of the net the ball long out to Powell on the right her cross from deep in across the face of goal over the keeper sees Fenner in beyond bundle the ball over the line, the flag though it up won’t count. Cambridge playing the ball out from the back on for Fraser time to line up a shot from all of 30 yards out straight at Holcroft. Serena Cobb away to the right on the ball lifting a cross in on the angle, Townsend meeting it on the volley sending the ball over the cross bar. Cambridge taking full advantage of having roll on roll off substitutes with another double change Leather and Fraser off for, Badcock and Edwards.

  Cambridge winning a corner on the right, swung in on the keeper, Gisonni leaping in on Holcroft causing Holcroft to drop the ball, the keeper though sharp to get down and smother the ball before it can be attacked. Park send Plitsch and Amy Hunt back on for Ward and Brown. Cambridge bring Day back on for Gabby Cobb. The game moving into the final 5 minutes. Townsend playing a diagonal ball into the area loose Marshall rushes in to charge down the ball as Day prepares to shoot.

 GOAL! Cambridge continue to see more of the ball play spread out wide to the right Serena Cobb in possession top of the are not closed down sends a cross/shot looping in towards goal, over the keeper and inside the top corner to make it 7-0.

Serena Cobb surrounded by her teammates after scoring the 7th goal

  Badcock fouled on the left for Cambridge. players up into the area for the free-kick, the header won well by Park’s Marshall out of the box for Plitsch to clear. Cambridge up on the right winning a corner the ball in near side Gisonni out to meet it and turn her shot charged down, the loose ball lifted back over the top, Day after it but the flag up straight away. Cambridge finishing strong getting bodies forwards right the cross in low near side evading everyone comes onto Townsend central sends her first time hit over. 

  Into stoppage time  Fenner left sending a cross long across the six yard box no one able to get near it. Cambridge counter up the left the ball put on for Townsend running into the box, Sophie Hunt with her for Park defending as Holcroft starts to come the ball deflected behind the keeper scrambling back to grab it. The final whistle blows and Cambridge celebrate as they win the Junior Invitation Cup.  

Full time Cambridge United WFC Development 7-0 Park Ladies

  A flurry of goals at the start of the 2nd half securing Cambridge’s victory and stifling any hopes of a Park comeback. With an energetic display getting to the ball first and using the width of the pitch to full advantage to stretch their opponents Cambridge’s young side took their chances never letting Park settle on the ball. Park battled hard but pressed at the back couldn’t get the support to the attackers to create chances. A tough defeat to take but shouldn’t distract from what has overall been a very successful season need to push to the end an unbeaten league campaign still there for the taking. The cup victory going along way to boost the confidence and give Cambridge belief going into their remaining league games.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few contenders for this one but with a clear winner in the finish. A tough game for Park nevertheless Erin Fox made  number of crucial challenges at the back. Sophie Fenner in attack working hard to provide an outlet 2nd half running with the ball. Cambridge with a strong game all over the pitch, Talia Gisonni strong at the back putting in the tackles and clearing the ball. Jorja Badcock a threat with the dead ball showing good passing range. Serena Cobb skilful with the ball at her feet taking on defenders. Libby Fraser with two goals getting into some great positions. The award though goes to Niamh Day. Strong out on the right flank getting forwards a ready outlet taking the ball to the by-line setting up goals and scoring two herself.


Cambridge United WFC Development lifting the cup

 Congratulations to Cambridge United WFC Development on winning the Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitation Cup.

Cambridge United WFC Development 2022/23 Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitation Cup winners

  A enjoyable return to Histon to a see my 4th cup final of the season. May yet be a double or Cambridge United in the County Cup with the 1st team facing rivals Cambridge City at the Abbey Stadium for the Invitation Cup on Tuesday 25th April. Will be there too. My thanks to Chris Abbott and the Cambs FA staff for their help today and both teams for providing me with the team details, as always much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Billericay Town Women v Hashtag United Women Reserves

Thursday 13th April

Essex Women’s County Cup Final 

Hot on the heels of the Hunts FA Women’s Cup Final last evening heading down to Colchester this evening for the final of the Essex Women’s County Cup with Billericay Town Women (also in cup final action last evening) taking on Hashtag United Women Reserves.

 The showpiece women’s final being held at Colchester United FC’s JobServe Stadium for the first time. The woman’s game growing in popularity a bigger stadium natural progression hoping for a record crowd to match the occasion.

This evenings prize

  Billericay Town Women and Hashtag United Women dominating the County Cup competition in recent season’s with Hashtag United Women formerly C&K Basildon beating Billericay last season to regain the county cup. Billericay though going on to claim the main prize over their rivals finishing a point above Hashtag to win the FAWNL South East Division One title and reach the 3rd tier of the women’s football pyramid for the first time. 

  With some strong recruitment to bolster their squad Billericay have enjoyed a strong debut season in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division. Pushing up into the top half with some good results. Have since seen several players depart, those that remain united and focused on finishing the season strong comfortable in mid-table, reaching two cup finals which due to the scheduling were to be played on consecutive evenings. Jess king currently top scorer with 12 goals from 20 appearances with Zoe Rushen on 11 for the season.

  Tonight’s squad having played in the Reposs Isthmian Women’s Cup Final on Wednesday against Charlton Athletic Women’s U21s. Lucy Jones firing Billericay into the lead 1st half before Charlton came back to level in the 2nd half. Morgan Rogers hitting the back of the net on the 90th minute to restore Billericay’s lead alot of stoppage time played Charlton coming back to equalise for a 2nd time on 90+11to send the final to penalties. Heartbreak for Billericay as they went on to lose the shootout 5-4. A quick turn around far from ideal the starting line-up rotated with the same players involved. 

  Hashtag United Women Reserves playing in the FAWNL South East and Central Reserve Division. Are a young squad mostly U18s in 8th spot in the league have enjoyed a fantastic run in the County Cup to see both Hashtag teams into the last 4. The Reserves going on better to win their semi-final and reach the final the first time. Starting from the 1st Round beating some strong sides along the way. Isabelle Thorogood top scorer this season netting 11 goals in 15 matches with Millie Langley scoring 6 and captain Ruby Kilden scoring 5 goals in the county cup. 

Road to the Final

  With Billericay Town Women one of 4 seeded sides scheduled to enter the competition at the quarter finals all the other entrants were to play progressing through 3 Rounds. Hashtag United Women Reserves at home to ECWFL Division One newcomers Toby Ladies, Isabelle Thorogood on the scoresheet twice with a race along with goals for Molly Bowness, Ruby Kilden and Jess Wright in a 5-0 win. 

  Into the 2nd Round drawn away to Grays Athletic Women newly promoted to the ERWFL Division One South. The game ending all square on 90 minutes with the sides sharing 6 goals, moved into extra-time Hashtag getting the better of their opponents in the extra half hour to rattle home 3 more goals to win 6-3, Thorogood again on target with a brace, so too Kilden with Bowness and Millie Langley also scoring.

  The 3rd Round saw Hashtag on the road again drawn to another ERWFL Division One side Lawford Ladies pushing on at the top of the table Hashtag found themselves trailing by a single goal at the break to run out 3-2 winners in the 2nd half with Thorogood again scoring twice in between a Faye Murphy goal.

  Reaching the quarter finals to FAWNL and ERWFL Premier Division sides entering the competition. Billericay drawn away to their Development side, riding high in ERWFL Division One South the first team strong as they racked up a double figure win with Ruby Sealey and Zoe Rushen both scoring a hat-trick there were goals too for Holly Turner, Che Thomas. Karissa Doo and Beau Parker. Hashtag Reserves once again away to ERWFL Division One South opposition in Hutton Ladies and with a repeat of the previous rounds score line edged the win 3-2 to reach the last 4, Ruby Kilden with a brace with Lily Wolstenholme also on target with a goal.

  The semi-finals producing two contrasting matches. Billericay drawn away to rivals Hashtag United Women. A Jess King penalty for Billericay and a Katherine Nutman goal seeing the pair level 1-1 at 90 minutes the game heading into extra-time. Hashtag captain putting the hosts back in front in the 108th minute. Jay Blackie on hand to score a dramatic leveller in the closing seconds to send the tie to penalties. The shootout no less dramatic with it going to sudden death Billericay in the end taking it 9-8 to reach the final. Hashtag Reserves some how managing to get drawn away to another ERWFL Division One South side this time Barking FC Women who would go on to win the league, Thorogood scoring the only goal of the game in the 20th minute to see yet another Billericay Hashtag showdown in the final.

 This season being played at Colchester United FC’s JobServe Community Stadium for the first time. The League Two club having hosted the Suffolk Women’s County Cup final in recent seasons as well as the Lionesses. Essex FA hoping for a record crowd buoyed by positive ticket sales. Just off the A12 the stadium boasts great facilities around the ground a large carpark. The main stand open with opposing fans having their own sections. The pitch immaculate offering good width. The weather pleasant once again a few ominous clouds but nothing forecast likely to get chilly as the evening wears on.

Billericay Town Women

 Billericay Town Women starting XI – Alex Baker (C), Scarlett Williams, Morgan Rogers, Kerry Stimson, Jess King, Jay Blackie, Zoe Rushen, Che Thomas, Karissa Doo, Karesha Iton & Ruby Sealey. Subs – Millie D’ath, Lucy Jones, Georgie Morton, Charlotte O’Shea & Paige Clemenson. 

Hashtag United Women Reserves (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

 Hashtag United Women Reserves starting XI – Christie Hale, Rianna Everett, Stephanie Cornwell, Cayley Winters, Jessica Wright, Molly Bowness, Macey Rothon, Ruby Kilden (C) Faye Murphy, Isabelle Thorogood & Lauren Butcher. Subs – Kaja Grochowska, Chloe Galea, Millie Langley & Macie Windsor.

Captains Ruby Kilden and Alex Baker with this evening’s match officials

   Elise Jennings the only change for Billericay form the squad that played in last evenings final, the subs rotated, with Karesha Iton coming in to the starting 11. Billericay wearing their all red kit this evening having the kick-off first half with Hashtag lined up opposite wearing white shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and white socks. The ball rolled back to Zoe Rushen in midfield back to the defence as Hashtag rush forwards, played back to the keeper, pressure on the ball but cleared to Scarlett Williams on the right the full back sending the ball long for Ruby Sealey in attack the offside flag up against her as Hashtag hold their defensive line well.

  Billericay with time on the ball send it out to the right, Karissa Doo driving on brought down a free-kick awarded. The ball lifting in towards the top of the area, Che Thomas looking to get after it the flag raised quickly once again. Hashtag looking to keep their shape letting Billericay have the ball inside their own half play their passes.

  GOAL! Williams with the ball at left back plays a peach of a pass forwards up top that sees Sealey run off the Hashtag defence to burst into the box central and fire the ball wide of the goalkeeper to score 1-0.

Ruby Sealey with the opening goal for Billericay (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

  The perfect start for Billericay a goal inside the opening 4 minutes, on the opposite side of the coin a big blow to Hashtag’s young side conceding so early in the game. Pushed back as a unit as Billericay attack down the right Doo with Thomas Jessica Wright tackling to see the ball out for a throw. A high ball put into the six yard box from the right allowed to bounce Thomas knocking it on across the area, looking for Sealey wide of the attacker goes to retrieve and turn Hashtag’s defenders in to close her down the ball cleared. 

 Faye Murphy fouling Billericay’s Jess King as she lays the ball on down the right. Billericay with time on the ball Rushen passing to jay Blackie coming on through the centre the ball put out to the left for Sealey looking to break in behind, Rianna Everett defending for Hashtag putting the ball out behind however the flag is up once again play brought back Sealey offside. 

Hashtag’s Faye White with Billericay’s Karesha Iton (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

 Hashtag goalkeeper, Christie Hale comes rushing out of her area on her left just about getting there to clear as Karesha Iton breaks forwards. Billericay strong attacking on the right players up in support the ball fed into the area for Thomas laid back outside to Blackie 20 yards out to put her foot through looping up heading towards the top corner, Hale has plenty of height on her back on her line plucks the ball down confidently to save. 

10 minutes played Hashtag trying to keep a good shape not over commit going forwards inviting pressure with Billericay able to move the ball about. Billericay’s, King attacking on the right running inside bursts into the box to shoot on the angle smashes her strike over the crossbar. Given time on the ball inside their half ideal for Billericay stroking the ball about not expanding too much energy after playing last evening. William coming on left side looking to find Sealey puling away down the line, Everett defending well, tackling for Hashtag. 

 Hashtag with some time on the ball, Lauren Butcher linking up with her captain Ruby Kilden playing the ball between them through the middle, Kilden’s return pass intercepted by Billericay’s Kerry Stimson played back t goalkeeper and captain, Alex Baker to clear, out to Williams on the left forwards into the middle helped on towards the top of the area Cayley Winters winning the ball for Hashtag at the back. 

Lauren Butcher (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

  Rushen coming back to help the defence as they are caught dallying in possession by Kilden up with Butcher. Rushen coming forwards with the ball, tries the threaded pass into the right channel for Thomas, Winters stretching in to cut it out for Hashtag. Kilden playing the ball long out to the right corner for Butcher to chase down, Williams getting back to defend for Billericay the ball out for a Hashtag throw. Hashtag applying a bit of pressure around the Billericay area in central Rushen in to win the ball back looking to counter out to right Iton after it, Hale out quickly to the top of her area to gather the ball.

Isabelle Thorogood (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

  Billericay pour forwards Thomas on the right whipping a cross into the six yard box behind Sealey at the near post, retrieved far side deflected back out to the top of the D, Blackie rushing onto the ball, her strike taking a deflection of Stephanie Cornwall as she throws herself in to block out behind wide of goal. Billericay getting forwards the high ball into Thomas inside the D, Winters getting something on ball defending comes to Iton right side shot not troubling the keeper. 

  Billericay coming on strong with 20 minutes played Hashtag working hard at the back defending their box, King on the left inside to Iton can’t quite connect with the ball, Hale getting hold of it. A corner won on the right by Billericay in central knocked up into the air, before being nodded down by a defender and grabbed by the keeper. Rushen up on the right with Iton gets the ball back as she bursts into the area wide of goal, her strike taking a massive deflection off a defender behind for the corner.

Billericay midfielder jay Blackie

   The delivery in to the box finds Blackie near side knocked up into the Hashtag rush to close the ball down defected out for another corner. Thomas taking the ball on with pace right side down the line to square the ball in towards the near post, Doo attacking it shooting wide. A long throw by Williams as Billericay get on down their left high into the area cleared by Everett. Winters with a strong tackle on Rushen as she comes out of the back line to try and win the ball. Doo, Iton and Thomas getting on up the right for Billericay the ball fed into the top of the area won by Winters for Hashtag.

   Billericay continue to enjoy good possession getting on with the ball looking for runs left and right. Hashtag doing okay remain disciplined defending deep hard to get out when the win the ball. Stimson with the ball at the back encouraged to travel forwards over half way pushing left, has her heels clipped by Everett. Moments later Everett earns the first yellow card of the game as she fouls Williams after a confident run forwards a free-kick out wide Sealey over it opts to try her luck from distance sends it over the bar. Kilden winning the ball back in the middle for Hashtag lines up a strike from distance her effort over the bar.

Hashtag captain, Ruby Kilden (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

  Sealey doing well to get  high ball towards into her under control back to goal shifts it to her left looking for Iton, Winters getting her foot in tackling for Hashtag the ball out for a throw. Brings a corner kick on the left. Morgan Rogers to put the corner in swinging in near side put behind for a 2nd corner taken short up the line for Blackie to cross from deep dropping far post no one can get a touch. Winters rushing out to block as Blackie lines up a blast from range, Hale rushing out to claim the ball as it falls loose in the box.

  Williams getting on well on the left for Billericay pushes the ball into Blackie who sends a great through ball in behind for Thomas to attack as she beats the offside flag. Hale though racing out of her box to clear get there first. Hashtag keeping it tight battling at the back to stop Billericay getting into the box, Winters, Wright and Rothon all making good tackles. Iton with a clever turn to get into the area plays the pass into Thomas, closed down quickly by the hashtag defence the ball cleared. Isabelle Thorogood to the left in attack picked out by Kilden drives on up the line before being tackled by Rogers

 Billericay pour forwards Thomas left back for Sealey taking the ball across the top of the area looking for an opening, no shot on lays it back to Blackie right into Rushen who switches play out to the right Iton shooting over from the angle. Into the final couple of minutes of the first half Thomas plays the ball on for Doo in attack right of the D running into the area one on one with the keeper puts the shot straight into her arms. 

(photo credit Lucy Copsey)

 Billericay finishing the half strong looking for a 2nd goal Williams pacy down the left into the corner to whip a dangerous ball into the six yard box Hale stooping to claim, Iton leaping in knocking it out of her hands loses sight of the ball as she lands the Hashtag defence scrambling back to clear their lines. Into stoppage time Everett defends well against Sealey as she looks to receive the diagonal pass from Blackie in the middle.

Half-time Billericay Town Women 1-0 Hashtag United Women Reserves

 Ruby Sealey’s 4th minute strike the difference between the sides as they head down the tunnel for the half-time interval. The perfect start for Billericay scoring early have been afforded alot of time on the ball, chances created but on the whole Hashtag have been disciplined keeping their shape working hard to limit opportunities without seeing much of the ball. From an energy expending point of view Billericay haven’t been turned around too often able to play the ball around. Overall both will be pleased with the score line, Hashtag will look to keep it that way try and take their chance if it comes Billericay will want more goals to prevent a nervy finish.

The teams out for the 2nd half

  A change made by both sides at the break, Kaja Grochowska coming on for Cornwall for Hashtag with Lucy Jones replacing Rogers for Billericay. Hashtag to get the 2nd 45 underway. Back into the midfield, Rushen quick to close the ball down all the way back into the defence. Billericay after the ball early on won on the left Doo with the strike on the angle, Hale diving to save pushing the ball wide beyond the far post conceding the corner kick. he delivery in central Hale able to catch unopposed.

   Thomas seeing the ball into her feet central turning to her left to play the ball into Doo inside the box right side getting her foot over the ball her cross/shot over hit wide of the far post. Billericay pressing at the start of the 2nd half Doo put in on the right sending the cross into the middle Iton under challenge inside the six yard box heading over the ball dropping onto the roof of the net. Rushen seeing a shot put straight into the keeper as the ball comes across from the right into her inside the D off a throw.

Isabelle Thorogood taking the ball forwards for Hashtag (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

  Thomas spinning away to the right with the ball for Billericay, Winters coming across to tackle clearing the ball for a throw. Thorogood out on the left looks to give Hashtag some relieve driving on with the ball getting past Stimson, Rushen tracking back to defend stays on Thorogood tackling to prevent the cross. Billericay winning a free-kick wide on the left, Rushen sending a pacy ball angling in to the near post seen and caught well by Hale into her midriff. 

Lucy Jones (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

  Jones getting up on the left for Billericay as Blackie lays the ball into her, Everett across to challenge for Hashtag. The game opening up a little, Billericay coming on well Hashtag looking to get the ball into the channels for Thorogood and Butcher. Billericay winning a corner on the right Jones short into Sealey takes the ball on into the box her shot blocked the ball rebounding out to Blackie to the right corner of the box 20 yards out her shot picking out the keeper.

(photo credit Lucy Copsey)

Essex FA announcing a record crowd of 2044 at the final a fantastic attendance and testament to the growth of the game. Both sides bringing good support getting behind there teams Billericay spurred on, Hashtag encouraging their young side who are fighting hard at the back. The ball knocked back out of the area into Rushen central the ball at her feet attempts to force her way through the defence in get in on goal too many to beat. 

Zoe Rushen (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

  A push in the back sees Hashtag awarded a freekick to the right 40 yards out just past the hour mark, Kilden over it with a good attempt on goal whipped in dropping just over the cross bar. Thomas pulls away to the right taking the ball down the wing sending the cross into the box picking out Blackie top corner swings her leg trough the ball dragging the shot wide of the far post. Winters with a fantastic challenge to deny Thomas as the Billericay attacker cuts into the box from the right.

Hashtag defender Cayley Winters with Billericay’s Jess King (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

   Iton on the move with the ball through the middle for Billericay flicking it on over the top to Doo right channel, Rothon intercepting the ball cleared falls straight to Iton outside the box with the outside of her boot attempts to lob the keeper, Hale though is back on her line and brings it down safely. Midway through the 2nd half Billericay frustrated looking for a 2nd goal Hashtag standing firm, Billericay making 2nd change bringing on Charlotte O’Shea replacing Doo. Hashtag too with a change Wright coming off with Millie Langley entering the pitch. 

Hashtag goalkeeper, Christie Hale (photo credit Lucy Copsey)

 Sealey taking the ball out wide right seeing her cross sent over by Iton outside the box. Hashtag play the ball out to Thorogood on the left holding the ball up in the corner as support arrives plays the pass into Kilden 20 yards out left of the D lining up a curling shot puts it wide of the far post . All the time there remains a single goal in it the potential is there for extra-time and penalties if required. Rothon left putting a high ball into Hashtag’s Thorogood outside the box can’t get it down under control before Stimson gets in to her to clear the ball.

  A good spell from Hashtag taking the pressure off the defence Thorogood attacking on the left wing getting a corner, can’t make it count, the game stretched Rushen looking to put the diagonal ball out to Thomas racing on left side, Hale rushing out to the top of her area can’t pick it up but does enough to put Thomas off giving her the chance to clear. Blackie coming off for Billericay to be replaced by Georgie Morton with 77 minutes played. 

(photo credit Lucy Copsey)

  Williams defending well at the back for Billericay as Thorogood looks to take the ball on down the line. Rothon goes down for Hashtag in some discomfort looks to be cramping up can’t continue hashtag making the substitution bringing on Chloe Galea. Rushen right on for Sealey her cross cut out turned behind for a corner by Winters. Hashtag continue to work hard in keeping Billericay at bay Murphy and Grochowska with vital tackles the clock ticking down into the final 5 minutes a goal to either side completely changing things Billericay attacking left a free-kick won short into Thomas her strike on the angle charged down out to Rushen to strike sends wide of the left post.

Georgie Morton

  Players getting tired going down with cramp alot of effort being put in. Morton with the ball through the middle for Thomas left channel sends it wide to Iton chasing down the right her cross cleared by Winters straight to Morton right of the D, sends her strike wide past the left post. The clock ticking down a tense finish into the 89th minute Williams into Thomas picks out Iton on the right turns inside tackled by Langley. 

  4 minutes of stoppage time to be played Billericay with appeals for a penalty as the ball is struck into the box, not given, a corner won on the right swung in towards the near post Hale up well to claim the ball. Billericay bringing off Thomas late on for Paige Clemenson. Billericay in possession in the closing stage Sealey 25 yards out finding Iton out wide right, Langley cutting out the cross the ball cleared as the final whistle blows, Billericay regaining the County Cup celebrating.

Full time Billericay Town Women 1-0 Hashtag United Women Reserves

  Ruby Sealey’s well taken 4th minute strike proving to be the winner in the finish as Billericay regain the Essex Women’s County Cup. Did their best to find a 2nd goal coming on to Hashtag throughout the 90 minutes coming close on a number of occasions moving the ball around well. Hashtag with a resolute and determined performance worked hard to keep Billericay at bay and although losing by a single goal can be proud of their cup run. Two finals in two days little time to celebrate and rest for Billericay before welcoming Plymouth Argyle Women to their New Lodge ground on Sunday in the Southern Premier Division.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, Credit to both sides with a number of contenders. Hashtag’s youngsters working hard at the back to keep Billericay out, goalkeeper Christie Hale with an assured display with good positioning throughout. Cayley Winters the pick of the defenders although the rest deserve much credit making a good number of tackles and coming out to win the ball. For Billericay Zoe Rushen got the ball about the pitch well, getting players on in attack, tracking back and into some good shooting positions. Che Thomas lively seeing the ball into her feet and turning to attack either through the middle or out wide. Ruby Sealey taking her goal very well. The award goes to the player with the assist Scarlett Williams was a fantastic ball, gave an all round strong performance at the back using the ball well getting forwards down the line and launching attacks.

Billericay Town Women 2022/23 Essex Women’s County Cup winners (photo credit Nicky Hayes)

Congratulations to Billericay Town Women on winning the Essex Women’s County Cup.

  An enjoyable evening at the JobServe Community Stadium, got a pic with the Euro Trophy too. Fantastic to see so many there watching huge credit to all involved and thanks to Essex FA for letting me cover both the County and Trophy finals for Women’s Football East. Credit and thanks to Nicky Hayes from Billericay and Lucy Copsey from Hashtag United for some of the pictures used in the report too. Plenty of finals still to come it’s going to be a hectic end to the season but that’s the best bit.

by Darren Gilham


Cup Final Special – St Ives Town Ladies v Cardea FC Ladies

Wednesday 12th April

Huntingdonshire FA Women’s Senior Cup Final

 The cup finals start to come thick and fast now across the East beginning this Wednesday evening with a trip over to Eynesbury Roves FC to watch the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final between St Ives Town Ladies and Cardea FC Ladies.

  The Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup still very much in it’s infancy with this being the 2nd season the competition has taken place with Cambridge United WFC beating St Ives Town Ladies with a last gasp winner to win the inaugural final by a single goal.

This evening’s prize (photo credit Hunts FA)

  Cambridge United WFC with a one season stay in the competition re-joining the neighbouring Cambs FA competition, the competition set for a new name on the trophy. A small catchment area with alot of potential for growth within the women’s game, 7 sides across county and regional leagues entering.

 St Ives Town Ladies very much the strongest and most established of these sides, enjoying a rapid rise through the women’s football pyramid a 3 season stay in the ERWFL Premier Division coming to an end last season. Looking to bounce back straight away always a challenge with only one promotion spot up for grabs into ERWFL Division One North have been building a strong squad but haven’t had the consistency or luck with injuries to pressure to top two sitting comfortable in 3rd have a solid platform going forwards, a great relationship with St Ives the women’s section very much part of the club, re establishing a 2nd team this season too, playing in Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two. Annie Posnett one of St Ives new signings this season a striker who I have heard talked about highly on several occasions has so far weighed in with 23 goals from 16 appearances. Into the last four of the ERWFL League Plate too with the potential to challenge for more silverware.

  Cardea FC Ladies reaching their first ever final, near Peterborough are a side very much on the rise getting stronger each year after initially finding life tough as a new side. Playing in the Cambridgeshire County League are currently top of Division One vying for the title with Histon Ladies both currently on the same points Cardea crucially with a game in hand. The signing of Emma Pollard playing a large role in Cardea’s development over the past few season’s coming to the club form Peterborough Northern Star with both experience in the FAWNL aswell as ERWFL is often amongst the goals, has an incredible 48 goals so far this season from just 15 appearances and will be a player St Ives need to watch. Isn’t the only goal scorer in the side by any means with captain Laura Rudd also weighing in with 16 goals to date along with Georgie Elsom and Courtney Coles on 9 and 8 respectfully. Underdogs in terms of pyramid placings but that gap is a little misleading will fancy their chances. Also through to the final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup where they with again face Histon Ladies on Weds 10th May at St Neots Town FC.

Road to the Final

   Huntingdon Town Ladies with the bye in the quarter finals, St Ives Town Ladies were drawn away to Cambridgeshire Division One side Eaton Socon Ladies who had made a strong start following promotion the following season. Goals from Annie Posnett, Georga Stancombe and Katie Stancombe seeing St Ives through with a 3-1. Cardea FC Ladies at home to Yaxley Phoenix Ladies born from the Netherton United Ladies side that won the Cambridge Division One title last season new to the ERWFL a tough one on paper Cardea coming out on top to win the match 4-2 with goals from Emma Pollard, Courtney Coles, Georgie Elsom and Laura Rudd.

  Into the last four St Ives drawn against their 2nd’s team, goals scored by Donna Nicholls, Hannah Seymour-Shove and Sasha Tristram securing a 3-0 victory and a 2nd successive cup final appearance. Cardea drawn away to Huntingdon Town Ladies of Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two. Emma Pollard in fire in front of goal that day scoring a double hat-trick as Cardea run out comfortable winners 9-0 Georgie Elsom also on target with a brace along with a goal or Brooke Ware.

Eynesbury Rovers FC

  Eynesbury Rovers FC hosting the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final for the 2nd successive season. Features a large grass pitch offering plenty of width and space to stretch an opponent. In good condition the recent heavy rain a concern leading up to the match but thankfully not too much on match day itself. A scaffold seated stand built behind one goal with viewing all round. The clubhouse on one side offering alcoholic drinks and a tea hatch serving hot drinks and food. Build onto that the changing rooms behind another seated stand along one side of the pitch. The weather better than forecast with clouds around but the heavy showers likely to stay away. The setting sun red in the sky over the main stand as the teams are led out onto the pitch by referee Lauren Dobbs heading up an all female officiating team.

St Ives Town Ladies

St Ives Town Ladies starting XI – Sarah Aftelak, Lauren Fort, Sarah Mosley, Georgia Stancombe(C), Hannah Seymour-Shove, Niamh Sutherland, Jess Perrin, Evonne Yerrell, Katie Stancombe, Donna Nicholls & Annie Posnett. Subs – Claire Stancliffe, Sasha Smith, Jess Conyard, Koren Evan & Jess Didio.

Cardea FC Ladies

 Cardea FC Ladies starting XI – Poppy Halstead, Laura Ramsaran, Fiona Plumb, Sofia Aragosa, Jess O’Sullivan, Helen Buckingham, Laura Rudd (C), Brooke Ware, Olivia Smith, Emma Pollard & Georgie Elsom. Subs – Maisie Homden, Courtney Coles, Titch Abraham, Mia Newman & Charlotte Moffat.

  Cardea to get the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing an all navy kit with St Ives lined up opposite wearing white shirts with black vertical striping on the front, black shorts and socks. The ball played into midfield St Ives rushing in to press the ball forced back to Laura Ramsaran at right back, Katie Stancombe closing her down for St Ives the ball cleared across the defence to Fiona Plumb on the opposite side to send up the line for Emma Pollard to chase, St Ives, Evonne Yerrell sliding in to put the ball out for a throw

 GOAL! Cardea taking the lead inside 50 seconds with the ball high on the left Pollard sliding the pass inside for captain Laura Rudd all of 30 yards out to strike a high ball in towards goal, St Ives goalkeeper Sarah Aftelak not on her line back peddling can’t reach it as it drops over her into the back of the net beyond 0-1.

  The perfect start for Cardea taking the lead inside the opening minutes need to settle as St Ives get hold of the ball in the middle counter out to Katie Stancombe left she sends it long into the right channel with Annie Posnett bursting forwards, Ramsaran getting in close to challenge the ball out behind for a goal kick. The ball contested in the middle rebounding off plays popping forwards for Pollard pulling away into the right channel space to attack, Yerrell coming across her to put in the block to prevent the cross, Lauren Fort getting across in support clearing the ball.

  Cardea making a positive start buoyed by the early goal looking to close St Ives down all over the pitch. Katie Stancombe getting onto the ball left wing brought down by Cardea’s Brooke Ware winning a free-kick 35 yards out, Sarah Mosley over the set-piece going for goal getting her shot over the wall wide of the near post. Cardea working hard at the back to close down the ball, Pollard a ready outlet in attack with the ball cleared up field. 

  Cardea attacking on the left Georgie Elsom coming back to win the ball forwards for Rudd, attempts the threaded pass forwards into Pollard breaking in behind, Fort with the interception for St Ives getting hold of the ball. St Ives looking to se the width of the pitch with some god crossfield passing coming right to left into Mosley forwards for Katie Stancombe, pace looking to surge down the wing, Ramsaran on her shoulder sliding in to put the ball out for a throw. Is shaping up to be an open and even contest Cardea winning the ball well in the air deeper not wanting to let St Ives find room in behind.

  Jess Perrin bringing the ball on in midfield for St Ives aiming for Posnett drifting out to the right, Plumb winning the ball for Cardea. St Ives press through the middle, Posnett looking to force her way through the defence, Sofia Aragosa tackling well for Cardea before the free-kick is given away in a dangerous position 25 yards out right side of the D, Hannah Seymour-Shove over the ball. Attempts the shot curling wide of the top left corner. 

   Poppy Halstead’s goal kick finding Elsom her flick on looking to put Pollard away in behind to attack the St Ives box a vital interception from St Ives captain, Georgia Stancombe. Another interception form Georgia Stancombe at the back sprays the pass left into Katie Stancombe bringing the ball on comes back inside picking out Niamh Sutherland  into Nicholls moving to the right with Seymour-Shove the cross cleared by Cardea’s defence. Yerrell with Nicholls out on the right for St Ives lifting an inviting cross into the area, Halstead with an assured catch in her six yard box with Posnett providing a central run. Yerrell staying down after the attack, assessed need to come off an early change for St Ives Jess Conyard coming on with 20 minutes played.

  Cardea pushing on well up the left Rudd on for Pollard winning a corner kick. A vicious inswinging ball into the near post from the left, St Ives dealing with the threat launched clear get on the counter attack winning a corner on the right. Another great delivery from a corner swung in central Halstead rising well in her six yard box to punch the ball away to the right, St Ives looking to keep the pressure on however the ball forwards is over run out for a goal kick. Cardea working hard frustrating St Ives remains open, players often drawn to the ball condensed plenty of space available to run into.

  Mosley closing down Ware of the left to win the ball attacks sending it on for Posnett pulling into the left channel racing into the box, Halstead rushing out to save at her feet, play stopped however by a raised flag. Cardea appealing for a foul at one end on Pollard are nearly caught out at the back by an awkward bouncing ball 30 yards out Aragosa doing well to keep her eye in it with Posnett looking to latch on it steal in on goal wins the free-kick against her. Helen Buckingham playing the ball into Rudd the midfielder breaking forwards through the middle, attempts to get Pollard in on the ball cutting inside from the left, a little too much on the pass as Aftelak rushes out to the edge of her area to claim. 

   St Ives putting the ball across the pitch from right to left Mosley forwards into Katie Stancombe sending it inside for Seymour-Shove, Rudd snapping back at her to regain possession for Cardea. Sutherland bringing the ball under control for St Ives central puts the threaded pass on for Seymour-Shove to attack, Halstead with a good starting position inside her box racing out to get hold of it first. Pollard coming back to win the ball lays it back for Jess-O’Sullivan picks out Rudd with her pass, finds Pollard racing up the left, is fouled.

  Free-kicks given away by both sides a feature of the game with both rushing into one another to try and win the ball. Elsom seeing the ball into her feet well sending the pass infield for Rudd bursting forwards, Georgia Stancombe getting into close her down winning the tackle. Katie Stancombe high on the left putting a diagonal ball out to Nicholls on the right side knocked inside cleared by O’Sullivan for Cardea. Conyard forwards on the right supporting Nicholls and Seymour-Shove, O’Sullivan getting in amongst it to win the ball back for Cardea. St Ives finding it tough to break down a stubborn Cardea back line. Ramsaran with a long throw in her arsenal looking to relief some pressure. 

  Elsom out on the right for Cardea looking to line one up from distance, charged down by Mosley. St Ives with time to move the ball in front of the Cardea back line going left to right Nicholls lifting a cross into the near post, Katie Stancombe looking to get it down off her chest into her feet and turn to shoot, is quickly closed down by the Cardea defence. St Ives pressing the attack right side Conyard with Seymour-Shove out to Posnett wide the ball sent inside across the top of the area for Nicholls left of the D, Ware back to defend for Cardea getting a toe on the ball to take it away from the attacker, Nicholls still after the ball puts her foot through the ball, Ware with the blocking tackle. 

35 minutes played Cardea with the early goal working hard to keep St Ives from finding a reply, Ramsaran cutting out a diagonal ball from the middle as Perrin and Sutherland combine in midfield giving the defence a chance to regroup. St Ives pushing late in the first half winning a throw high on the right the ball inside cleared by Buckingham into Olivia Smith then Elsom, Seymour-Shove getting back to tackle Pollard as Elsom tries to pick her out up top. Nicholls left channel forwards into Posnett top of the area, trying to pull off her marker, O’Sullivan stabbing out a foot to take the ball away from the attacker.

  The battle in midfield intense at times Rudd up to Elsom sends the pass into Pollard running into the left channel, Aftelak out well to the top of her area to lay claim to the ball. Nicholls with a good piece of skill to get the ball under control and turn lifting it on for Perrin breaking from midfield, Aragosa defending as she closes her down attempting to get the ball under control inside the D. Seymour-Shove playing the ball forwards to Posnett pulling into the area right of the D, Halstead starts to come for the ball Aragosa struggling to get to the flight of the ball knocking it down away to the right of goal, Posnett lively after it, Aragosa recovering to get across and swing her leg through the ball to clear.

  Sutherland into Perrin left in midfield, clipped high into the box, the defensive header from Aragosa to clear. The game moving into stoppage time at the end of the first half, Pollard remains the outlet up top taking the ball on down the left wing, Conyard preventing the cross coming into the area. With St Ives pressing players forwards Cardea’s defence remains solid Ramsaran winning the ball cleared up into the opposition half  Pollard out on the right corner of the area unleashing a shot races wide of the far post. 

 St Ives with a good chances for a counter attack in the closing moments of the half, the ball launched out to the right Posnett racing after it Ramsaran getting across to her to slide in with the challenge knocking the ball out of play. Trouble for Posnett though as she stays down a blow can’t continue is replaced with little time left till the half-time break, Jess Didio coming on. Cardea mounting one last attack the ball sent out to the right for Ware to chase down checks inside to play the ball across the top of the Si Ives area looking for Elsom, Georgia Stancombe with a fantastic tackle, winning a free-kick in the process.

Half-time St Ives Town Ladies 0-1 Cardea FC Ladies

  Laura Rudd’s speculative strike in the opening 50 seconds seeing Cardea open the scoring and that is how it has remained for first half. Cardea sticking back working hard in defence to win the ball prevent St Ives getting in to expose them. Competitive with a high work rate has been a open game to a degree, St Ives allowed to come on spreading the ball across the pitch frustrated haven’t found the final clinical pass. Losing two players to injury too compounding that frustration yet with just a goal in it still plenty to play for. Cardea putting alot into the 1st a half will aim to do the same 2nd half with space likely to open up.

  Appears to be no more chances at half-time St Ives to get the 2nd half underway has become decidedly chilly. The ball rolled back into defence Elsom pressing the full back, Conyard getting back at her to regain possession for St Ives. Cardea looking press St Ives defenders at the start of the 2nd half, Pollard getting hold of the ball top right of the D, Georgia Stancombe getting across her to put in the blocking tackle. Katie Stancombe up top for St Ives now running towards the box jinking left and right on the ball closed down, the loose ball coming to Seymour-Shove sends her cross/shot wide across goal.

   Ware winning the ball well for Cardea on the left inside for Rudd tackled by Perrin, St Ives come left winning a throw, work the cross into the area headed clear by Aragosa. Back out to the left St Ives winning the free-kick. Katie Stancombe sending an inviting ball in across the area no one from either side getting a touch as it bounces out beyond the far post for a goal kick. St Ives building momentum in attack getting players up around the box, Katie Stancombe laying the ball back for Perrin to strike up into the area, Aragosa under it for Cardea, the ball going away for a corner kick to the right.

  The corner put in towards the top of the area flicked inside the ball struck hard whistling past the keeper into the back of the net St Ives wheel round to celebrate thinking they have the equaliser, but no the assistants flag it up it won’t count!

  St Ives need to re focus immediately, Cardea pressing the ball into the middle looking to release Pollard in attack Georgia Stancombe intercepting, encouraging her side to keep going. Ware attacking on the right, Mosley closing her down just about to stop the pass getting through to Elsom in attack. Pollard putting in a shift in attack pulls up suddenly looks serious as play is stopped but as Aftelak comes to offer support it is thankfully just a nasty case of cramp. St Ives nevertheless take the opportunity to make a change bringing on Sasha Smith for Sutherland. 

  Bursting up the left attacking St Ives win a corner, sending players up into the box is a great ball curled in towards the middle of goal putting the keeper under pressure as Halstead goes down to get hold of it St Ives attempting to force it over the line, appealing it’s over the line but Halstead saves well has it firmly in her gloves. St Ives making a few positional changes taking a few risks at the back bringing more players on looking to find an opening Seymour-Shove pulling right sends a high cross into the box, Halstead up well to pluck the ball down safely in control of the situation.

   Perrin frustrated as she’s adjudged to have fouled Buckingham on half way a free-kick to Cardea. Aragosa sending it long up to the top of the area Katie Stancombe back there to head clear. Up to Nicholls as St Ives look to break, Plumb defending well for Cardea. Cardea making a double switch on the hour mark ringing of Ware and Smith on come Mia Newman and Titch Abraham. Perrin clattered down top of the centre circle winning the free-kick for St Ives, Katie Stancombe sending it up towards the top of the area headed clear by the Cardea defence. 

  Nicholls enjoying a good tussle with Rudd as the pair battle for possession of the ball, Nicholls getting away to run down the line, fouled as O’Sullivan and Abraham converge to close her down. St Ives getting more of the ball Cardea fighting for everything, Perrin driving on central looking for the one two with Didio, the return ball cut out top of the area. Cardea holding their line well as Katie Stancombe tries to pick out Seymour-Shove wide right. Cardea winning a free-kick on half-way make a 3rd change bringing on Courtney Coles for Georgie Elsom who has felt her hamstring tightening up. The ball sent up into the St Ives area won by Georgia Stancombe headed clear.

   20 minutes left to go Cardea tiring but resolute fighting hard to close down the ball in the middle of the park take the pressure off the defence. Abrahams getting the ball of Aragosa at the back for Cardea pulling right, with Buckingham coming on in support, Conyard out to close the ball down well inside for Didio, Rudd snapping into the challenge. Coles with the lay off up top into Abraham racing in behind left channel, Fort getting across to challenge for St Ives. The game stretched to substitutes bringing renewed energy onto the field. St Ives with a double change looking to respond, Mosley and Seymour-Shove off, Koren Evan and Claire Stancliffe coming on.

  Cardea sensing they hold out Ramsaran lunging in to tackle at right back as St Ives get the ball out wide into Smith. Abraham lively on the flank intercepting the ball or Cardea inside the St Ives half on for Pollard wide, Abraham bursting forwards to get into the box as Pollard shifts inside to send the ball into her path Abraham 1st time strike blasted wide of the near post.

   Chances opening up for Cardea as the game progresses, Pollard with a shot from wide on the right held low by Aftelak at her near post. St Ives winning a free-kick 35 yards out Perrin over it to the right of goal players lining up to attack the far post Perrin instead puts the ball in towards goal, Halstead not caught off guard catching well. Cardea playing a set-piece from half way into the right channel, Stancliffe getting across to clear for St Ives. O’Sullivan down for Cardea struggling needing to be replaced Charlotte Moffat.

  Straight into the action the ball lifted into her left side of attack holding it up well as teammates look to get up in support. The game stretched St Ives looking to get it into their attacking players just can’t get it to stick, Cardea giving no one any time on the ball. Katie Stancombe the most likely to make something happen the ball rolling into her path she unleashed a strike from distance hit well angling in for the top corner, Halstead with a brilliant save throwing her herself up to her right to get a hand on the ball knock it away to the touch line, St Ives retrieving Smith firing a low ball in towards the near post Halstead scrambling forwards to dive on the ball. 

  The clock running down St Ives still trailing y a single goal the game there to be turned on it’s head if they can find that one all important chance. Abraham closing down Conyard well on the wing as the full back looks to get on. Halstead busy inside her box out well to lay claim to the ball as a shot is driven in from the left, then gives it away kicking the ball straight to Evan 25 yards out, attempting to lob the keeper find the open goal beyond Halstead backing up frantically relieved to bring the ball down safely into her gloves.

  Into the final 5 minutes Cardea determined to hold out St Ives pushing on Katie Stancombe finding Conyard up on the right, Plumb preventing the cross coming in closing her down. Georgia Stancombe pushed up field right of the box flashing a cross into the six yard box, Halstead with a good take. Plumb coming off for Cardea late on Maisie Homden coming on. The game moving into stoppage time Pollard experienced looking to take the ball into the corner, one goal for St Ives changes everything, straight to penalties Pollard winning a throw in the ball rolled into Coles outside the box lifted inside Moffat drifting in near post puts the shot wide. St Ives break on with one last attack the ball knocked on Halstead out to the top corner of the area to put her gloves on the ball, cleared the whistle blows Cardea win the cup.

Full time St Ives Town Ladies 0-1 Cardea FC Ladies

  Cardea win the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup in their 1st ever final appearance, Laura Rudd’s early strike the difference. Cardea working hard fighting to close down the ball all over the pitch keeping it tight at the back winning some vital balls. Getting tense towards the end a 2nd gaol would have gone along way to relieving that but defended well the substitutes all playing their part in keeping the work rate up. St Ives frustrated losing the final by a single goal for the 2nd year running, back then a late late winner. This time hit with an early goal couldn’t find a reply, had a goal disallowed 2nd half and the keeper holding the ball on the line but couldn’t find the break through injuries not helping. County Cups often throw up rivalries over the season’s and there’s a good chance we’re seeing another one here, these two sides will be regular contenders for the trophy. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. As usual it’s a tough call some great performances out on the pitch. A few to mention, for St Ives Katie Stancombe carried a strong threat in attack, running with the ball and getting into advanced position’s coming close to finding the equaliser with a fine strike. At the back Georgia Stancombe was solid making a number of vital tackles and winning the ball. Cardea were strong from back to front working hard to close the ball down and a whole round team effort including their substitutes. Emma Pollard providing a great outlet in attack always available for the ball. Laura Rudd winning the ball in midfield netting the winning goal. The defence strong in particular Laura Ramsaran and Sofia Aragosa, the award like last year though goes to the keeper, Poppy Halstead with a great display inside her box calling well positionally sound and coming for the ball with a couple of vital saves too.

Cardea FC Ladies 2022/23 Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Winners (photo credit Hunts FA)

Congratulations to Cardea FC Ladies on winning the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup

  An enjoyable evening at Eynesbury Rovers my thanks to the staff their and those at Hunts FA for all their help. So pleased the rain stayed away. Thanks to too both teams for their help with the starting line-ups will update with extra pictures as son as I have them.

by Darren Gilham


Match Report – Peterborough United Women v Solihull Moors Women

Sunday 9th April

FAWNL Midlands Division One

Down in Essex last Sunday for the Women’s Trophy Final, heading the opposite this Easter Sunday, west along the A17 to watch a game from FAWNL Midlands Division One with Peterborough United Women looking to finish strong pushing for a top 3 finish taking on Solihull Moors Women.

 Stourbridge FC Women looking all but certain to win the title 10 points clear with 4 games left to play. The battle to finish runners-up a much different story, with 5 points separating the teams currently placed 2nd to 5th, Peterborough United Women firmly involved currently fifth taking on Solihull Moors Women 3 points back in 7th who will have a large part to play in determining the final positions with trips to 3rd placed Sporting Khalsa Women and 4th placed Northampton Town Women to come.

 Peterborough United Women promoted to the FAWNL last season, with great connection with Peterborough United FC have been growing rapidly over the past few season to emerge as the regions strongest side. Finishing 8th in their debut season, playing at Peterborough’s Training Academy, with a growing fanbase a new home was needed with more capacity. Have moved to Bourne FC’s Abbey Lawn Stadium and with great support and marketing has certainly proved effective with crowds of over 300 a regular occurrence now.

  Assembling a strong squad, with captain Keir Perkins recently scoring her 150th goal for the club leading the attack. Perkins with 18 goals so far this season with Tara Kirk up front alongside her firing in the goal too. A season of two halves to some degree getting off to a reasonable start with 3 wins in their opening 5 games a lull towards the end of September saw the club picking up just 2 points from the next 4. A long pause till their next league match with a run of cup matches which included getting all the way to the 3rd Round of the FA Cup where they were to narrowly lose to Championship side Durham FC Women 1-0. Resuming league action in January went on a run of 5 straight wins to push them up the table and have remained in contention for a top 3 finish since.

  The last time I saw Solihull in action was way back in 2016 in the Supporting Women’s Football Blog days (can still find the blog click on the link at the top of the page) Back then they were still Solihull Ladies just joining with Solihull Moors FC. Have been an established side in the FAWNL since in first became the FAWPL nearly 10 years ago. Becky Knight their leading goal scorer this season netting 13 goals so far with Lyndsey Ross-Baker on 9 and captain Zoe Creasey scoring 7. 

  Solihull’s season in contrast to their opponents losing just 0nce in their  opening league matches before like Peterborough getting bogged down in cup competitions to see out the year. Also reaching the 3rd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup losing 5-2 at home to AFC Fylde. Back to back wins upon their return to lead action well placed in the table have since been on a poor with just one win in their last 8, that coming at home against Peterborough winning 4-0 which will give them confidence going into todays match, just 3 points back a positive run in could see Solihull getting back into the mix.

Bourne FC’s Abbey Lawn Stadium the venue for todays game no parking in the ground but plenty close by and the option to use the nearby M&S carpark (my option) only a short walk from the ground entering in one corner the clubhouse behind the main stand running along one side of the grass pitch with standing viewing all round. A kitchen hatch open serving hot drinks and pies, with a barbeque selling burgers sausages and chips another option. A beautiful day on Easter Sunday dry, bright and sunny the pitch a good size sloping a little. 

Peterborough United Women

 Peterborough United Women starting XI – Neive Corry. Evie Driscoll-King, Elie York, Niamh Connor, Lucie Mugridge, Jess Evans, Stacey McConville, Cassie Steward, Megan Lawlor, Keir Perkins (C) & Tara Kirk. Subs – Kayleigh Aylmer, Taylor Dean, Edyn Osker, Rachel Lawrence & Elloise Copson.

Solihull Moors Women

 Solihull Moors Women starting XI – Freya Upson, Ellie Gibb, Hannah Snape, Abby Jackson, Jenna Roberts, Zoe Creaney (C), Demi Walker, Tiana Russell-Cartwright, Lyndsey Ross-Baker, Eva Rogers & Becky Knight. Subs – Charlotte Taylor, Emmalee Hornsby, Harley Savage, Katie Jamieson & Amber Dawns.

Captains Keir Perkins and Zoe Creaney with today’s match officials

Ellie York making her debut for Peterborough at right back, with the hosts to kick-off the 1st half wearing blue coloured shirts with navy blue shorts and white socks. Solihull lined up opposite wearing red shirts and socks with white coloured shorts. The ball played back into the middle send to the right for York, Becky Knight rushing in to put pressure on the ball hastily put across to the left with Evie Driscoll-King launching it forwards up the line for captain Keir Perkins to attack, Ellie Gibbs at full back dealing with the threat for Solihull out for a throw.

  Peterborough getting the ball down off the throw deep on the left working a cross low into the near post, Solihull goalkeeper Freya Upson coming out to lay claim to the ball. Solihull defending at the back with and opening on the left the ball sent upfield for Lyndsey Ross-Baker on the wing gets inside Yorke as she makes the challenge 25 yards out, Lucie Mugridge getting a toe into take the ball away from her rolls on for Solihull captain Zoe Creaney central looks to clip a looping ball in towards goal falls wide of the right post.

Lucie Mugridge clearing the ball for Peterborough

   Both sides snapping into one another looking to get hold of the ball neither side settling early on a series of throws over by the main stand. Jenna Roberts with the headed clearance top of her area as Peterborough get forwards well on the left numbers up the ball drops to Cassie Stewards wide attempts to thread a pass through for Tara Kirk to break in behind, Upson racing out quickly to slide in thwart the move.

  Solihull come on up their right Gibbs feeding the ball on for Tiana Russell-Cartwright, pace to travel up the wing looking to come inside tackled by Driscoll-King. The ball popping about Peterborough get it forwards into Kirk central looks to pay in Megan Lawlor attacking right side, Hannah Snape cutting the ball out for Solihull. The visitors counter up the right Russell-Cartwright with the looping cross into the six yard box, Knight up well to knock the ball down aiming to put it inside the far post, York in the way blocking well for Peterborough. 

 An even start with Solihull frustrating Peterborough working hard to break up play get on right side Knight combining with Russell-Cartwright, Driscoll-King defending the ball going out for a throw. Ross-Baker finding space on the left racing on with the ball attempting to put it through into the box for Knight pulling off the right channel, Neive Corry, in goal for Peterborough getting to it first.

Solihull’s Abby Jackson

  Peterborough encouraging one another to get going attacking down the left the cross put in by Perkins, met by kirk six yards out on the half volley, Upson with a great save down smartly to beat the ball away to the left, the pressure still on as Peterborough push up the diagonal ball into the area dropping far post for Lawlor under challenge gets her head to it but not enough to beat Upson across to cover the post catching high. Peterborough livening up after tentative start Perkins strong with the ball on the left getting down the line to win a corner. 

  Solihull bringing the ball on up the right Roberts-Cartwright playing it inside the pass cut out comes to Gibbs in space 40 yards out takes the opportunity to strike her effort over the bar. Creaney trying to find her range in the centre on the park with both Russell-Cartwright and Ross-Baker providing good outlets. Russell-Cartwright found on the right drives up the line her low cross driven into the area intercepted by Niamh Conner at the back for Peterborough. 

  Snape coming on up the left for Solihull sends the ball into Eva Rogers looking to turn into the shot left of the D, Mugridge racing in to charge down her attempt jumping across her path Rogers, stabbing her half volley wide of the near post. A free-kick won wide left for the visitors Snape with a chance to play the ball into the box, comes in high, Corry can see it safely land in the side netting. Abby Jackson over another free-kick for Solihull on half way taken short good work from Kirk for Peterborough pressing the ball forcing it to be played all the way back to the keeper.

  Kirk put through on goal central as the ball is played back over the top from a rushed clearance, into the D leaning back as she goes to shoot, struck goalwards Upson with a fine save diving to her left to push the ball away. Peterborough looking strong attacking on the left numbers up Perkins pulling wide Jess Evans with the ball putting the pass into Kirk’s path left top of the area, Upson racing out diving in to save at the attackers feet, the ball loose the keeper now out of position the goal attempt comes in drops wide of the mark.

Peterborough’s Tara Kirk about to be arrested by Solihull’s Demi Walker and Jenna Roberts

   Connor doing well at the back defending on Russell-Cartwright as she looks to get onto the ball inside the box from the right out for a goal kick. The long diagonal ball put out to Lawlor pressing up on the right corner of the box tries to take it on the volley, doesn’t catch it, Snape getting back at her to defend for Solihull. Players up around the top of the box as Solihull win another free-kick over half way Jackson’s ball up intercepted by Steward the break on but the passes rushed breaks down. 

  GOAL! Peterborough surge down the left wing the ball played inside to Perkins 25 yards out gets the ball onto her right foot and strikes it beautifully to soar over the keeper into the back of the net 1-0 Peterborough taking the lead midway through the first half. 

Peterborough captain, Keir Perkins opens the scoring

  Perkins pressing on down the left in attack a high cross lifted into the near post Lawlor looking to get under it well defended by Snape, a free-kick awarded to Solihull. Peterborough turning the screw coming on well Kirk with the ball central driving on riding a challenge taking the ball left into the box all the way to the by-line squeezing a cross into the six yard box, Evans attacking it, Snape blocking for Solihull. 

  Rogers taking the ball on from Demi Walker through the middle, pushing towards the box, York with the challenge for Peterborough. Steward fouling Creaney in halfway Solihull sending players up to the top of the area the ball lifted forwards, Stacey McConville dealing with it for the hosts. Rogers with a great crossfield pass to find Ross-Baker on the move up Solihull’s left Creaney up with play attempts the one two with her outside the box, looking for the return pass, read by Mugridge the defender sliding on to take the ball away from the winger. A corner for Solihull on the left through the six yard box taking a nick behind another corner awarded on the right, an in swinger curls over the bar.

Solihull captain, Zoe Creaney

  Evans strong in the middle winning the ball for Peterborough allowing Steward to get forwards support the attackers, picked out by Kirk 25 yards out coming right plays the ball into Lawlor right, her touch taking her inside to shoot, put straight at the keeper. Kirk fouled on half way the ball played up to Perkins left side, Gibbs in close to defend the ball bouncing in behind Perkins racing to get it on the by-line her cross swerving to land on the roof of the net. 

 Russell-Cartwright out to Knight on the right the Solihull pair combining the cross lifted into the area headed clear by Conner. The ball helped on through the middle McConville and Steward into Kirk drives on Roberts tackling for Solihull. 

GOAL! Peterborough attacking down the left winning a corner kick, players forwards the ball swung in before the near post met brilliantly by Connor getting her head down twisting her body to drive the ball past the Solihull defence before anyone can react 2-0 

Niamh Connor (no3) with the near post header to double Peterborough’s lead

  Solihull look to find a response conceding a 2nd goal late in the first half Gibbs bringing the ball on up the right on for Roberts-Cartwright her cross whipped in Mugridge stretching to cut it out behind for the corner. Solihull’s inswinging corners real threat the ball curled in over Corry smashing down into the six yard box off the crossbar, skipping up before Snape trying to react up to try and head the ball but can’t get it on target. 

Solihull’s Hannah Snape

  Kirk with the bit between her teeth attacking on the left brought down, Lawlor on the set piece 20 yards out plenty in the box sends it out beyond the far post with Kirk free to head the ball down back across the six yard box, McConville throwing herself at it far post turning it behind. The game moving into stoppage time Solihull looking to get on with Creaney, Ross-Baker giving her a great option bursting forwards on the right, tries to pick her out wit the pass just a little to heavy giving Corry time to get out to ball collect. Solihull winning a late throw in the left as Mugridge slides in to defend as Snape gets forwards to support Ross-Baker on the left comes to nothing.

Half-time Peterborough United Women 2-0 Solihull Moors Women

  Peterborough with a 2 goal lead at the break coming on well after a slow start not settling, picking up momentum getting players on well attacking down the left and through the middle. Perkins carrying a threat out wide scoring a fine goal midway through the first half to go along way to settling Peterborough down looking strong after that coming on well players making runs through the middle. Solihull with a couple of good chances to get a goal themselves with Freya Upson making some good saves. Peterborough doubling their lead from a corner late in the 1st half Connor with a great headed goal. Solihull hitting the woodwork late in the half, frustrated with a few decisions and not quite finding their mark with their passes looking to use the flanks. 2-0 the score, same as last weekend the next goal can often prove crucial, Peterborough would like the comfort of a 3rd goal, Solihull score and their back in it.

  No changes at the break for either side, have managed to put my bag down on an ant’s nest so goodness how many of them are coming back to Norfolk with me! Solihull to get the 2nd half underway. Back into Walker in midfield Kirk rushing in to closer the keeper down as the ball is played back to her the clearance rushed, the ball contested in the middle. Creaney getting hold of it taking it on well lifting it over the defence catches everyone flat footed giving Peterborough the chance to regroup.

Tara Kirk with Jenna Roberts

  Kirk and Perkins pressurising the Solihull defence off a throw playing the ball between them Perkins on the by-line trying the back heel to spin in behind doesn’t quite come off, goal kick. Peterborough quickly getting on the front foot at the start of the 2nd half. York doing well at the back for Peterborough as Snape sends the ball on for Ross-Baker up the left winning a free-kick. Solihull making a change bringing of Walker on comes Charlotte Taylor. 

Peterborough’s Jess Evans

  Peterborough send players up into the area winning a corner on the right. The ball sent long beyond the far post Evans up to head the ball, down into towards goal plenty of Solihull bodies to black and get it clear. Roberts back peddling goes down over her goalkeeper as Upson comes out to claim a high back through the middle, an awkward fall is down for a moment needing treatment but able to play on. Driscoll-King on the left forwards for Perkins up the line Roberts coming across in the cover stretching as she makes the challenge, another awkward fall. 

 Driscoll-King getting a throw in high on the left the ball finding it’s way into Kirk left of the D lays it back to Steward running across her central plays the pass across the D to pick out McConville 20 yards out strikes the show goalwards, may well have been going wide of the right post but Upson is across her line well to dive onto the ball.

Cassie Steward

  Peterborough winning the ball well, Evans competing in the middle. Solihull look to get on down the right with pace Gibbs on for Russell-Cartwright turns inside attempting the crossfield ball to release Ross-Baker on the left, Peterborough holding their line well however to catch her offside. 

Tiana Russell-Cartwright

  Connor winning the ball at the back pressing on into the middle coming out the better in a strong 50/50 challenge the put the ball on for Driscoll-King wide sent up to Perkins in attack, Roberts stretching getting hold of the ball to turn behind for a corner. That set-piece coming to nothing, Peterborough quickly regain the ball in the middle to go on and win another corner on the left. In by Lawlor across the face of goal, Connor leaping up can’t quite get her head on the ball.

Peterborough’s Jess Evans with Solihull’s Zoe Creaney

 Solihull making a double change Gibbs and Roberts coming off at the back, Amber Dawns and Emmalee Hornby coming on with instructions for the captain as the visitors look to make a few positional changes. Peterborough making their first change too Rachel Lawrence on replacing Lawlor on the hour. Connor has a long throw in her arsenal comes up on the right side to take dropped into McConville, 20 odd yards out to the right of goal, struck on the half volley low with pace, Upson with a fantastic save down smartly to deflect the ball away across the six yard box to far post bouncing Perkins after it can’t get a clean touch to put it back in out for a goal kick.

Russell-Cartwright cutting inside with the ball at her feet with a wild strike from distance flashed over the bar. Hornby taking the ball on looks to drive forwards through the middle Peterborough closing her down, The hosts counter the ball on through the middle into Lawrence 25 yards out right of the D, hits the shot angling on low, Upson with another vital save pushing the ball away to the right, Perkins out there onto the ball hooks a cross over the keeper to the far post Kirk rushing in with the swing of a leg can’t get a touch. 

Solihull goalkeeper, Freya Upson

  Solihull winning a free-kick wide on the left crossed into the area dealt with by Mugridge for Peterborough. Another change for the home side with McConville coming off to be replaced by Kayleigh Aylmer. Solihull come close to finding a goal off a long throw in the left the ball nodded on central comes to Rogers up well drives her header onto the crossbar.

Solihull’s Eva Rogers

 A moment of chaos ensues as Peterborough race up the other end appealing for a hand ball as the cross is cut out top of the area Solihull straight down the other end Corry out of her area to charge the ball down, Mugridge round on the cover clearing.


 Peterborough lively up on the left a corner won, whipped in across goal to the far post Driscoll-King with the low strike from close range, Upson there again with another superb save diving to her left to turn the ball around the post. From the corner on the right put in high Connor with the flick on near side, comes onto Driscoll-King quickly can’t react sends the ball wide. 15 minutes left on the clock both sides making a change, Harley Savage coming on in attack for Knight. Elloise Copson and Taylor Dean coming on for Peterborough in place of Steward and Yorke. Aylmer up to Perkins left into the box in a race with Dawns, Upson rushing out to save at her feet the ball knocked out to the left…

GOAL! Peterborough get players on in support as Solihull struggle to regroup the ball wide with Dean laying it on for York to put in across the top of the area Lawrence collecting central just inside firing a shot away straight at Upson can’t get her hands up quick enough as the ball deflects up over her into the back of the net 3-0. 

Rachel Lawrence congratulated after putting Peterborough into a 3 goal lead

Peterborough extending their lead with 12 minutes left to play. A frustrating afternoon for Solihull gets worse as worse as Russell-Cartwright is involved in a heavy collision with Connor as the defender comes into the back of her to win the ball, Russell-Cartwright down having taken a nasty blow to the head. The physio’s on, Jackson also down in the box for the visitors. Time taken as is right with a blow to the head Russell-Cartwright groggy. Helped off the pitch not risked Solihull make a change Katie Jamieson coming on A free-kick the outcome Dawns over it lifts the ball in towards the top of the area dealt with by the Peterborough defence. 

Solihull’s Amber Dawns

 Solihull giving it ago getting on left side the threaded pass finding Savage bursting into the box, Mugridge looking to get back at her lunging in to tackle getting the ball putting it behind for a corner kick. A good delivery from the left coming into Dawns on the penalty spot rising to head the ball, Corry with an excellent save throwing a glove up to turn the ball away.

Peterborough goalkeeper, Neive Corry

  Into the last 5 minutes Evans with the ball on through the middle helped onto Perkins top of the D her strike saved beat down by the keeper, Perkins after the rebound sends it wide. Perkins last action of the game as she comes off to be replaced by Edyn Osker. Creaney finding her range late on to get Ross-Baker in on the right to the by-line her cross flashed in Corry down sharply at her near post to push it away with Rogers running in clear central. 

Lyndsey Ross-Baker

  The clock ticking down into stoppage time Connor with a less than subtle challenge on Savage a free-kick won wide on the right. The box packed Peterborough winning the header. Creaney taking a painful blow to the midriff off Osker winning Solihull a free-kick at the death. Takes it herself the ball struck into the wall cleared. Peterborough winning to climb a place into 3rd, 2 points behind 2nd placed Doncaster Rovers Belles who they travel to on the final day of the season both with 4 games left.

Full time Peterborough United Women 3-0 Solihull Moors Women

 Three goals and a clean sheet for Peterborough, ideal preparation for this weeks Northamptonshire Women’s Cup Final as they take on Northampton Town Women Development. An even start to the game Peterborough a little tentative both sides creating chances, got going midway through the 1st half with Keir Perkins opening the scoring. Freya Upson with some good saves before Niamh Connor headed home from a corner late in the half to double the lead. 2 goals up were quickly on top in the 2nd half, getting hold of the ball Upson again saving well the 3rd goal eventually coming in the 77th minute. Solihull frustrated didn’t get some decisions, had chances the woodwork struck twice just wasn’t to be.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as more often than not a tough one to make. Player performing well all over the pitch, putting in a shift. For Solihull, Freya Upson was outstanding despite the score line produced a number of excellent saves to keep her side in the game for a long period. Lyndsey Ross-Baker getting on well on the wing lacking support at times likewise Tiana Russell-Cartwright trying hard to make thing’s happen on the right. Peterborough were strong all across the pitch Keir Perkins in attack on the left a constant threat driving forwards and getting the ball into the box with a well struck goal to open the scoring. Niamh Connor at the back excellent to strong competitive getting in to tackle win the ball and cut out crosses. A great header to make it 2-0. A close run thing the award though goes to Jess Evans had a strong game in midfield going along way to set Solihull’s frustrations winning the ball and getting it back into the attacking players to pressure the defence.

  An enjoyable first trip to Abbey Lawn, is a nice stadium and set up with a crowd of 340 creating a great atmosphere. An entertaining game my thanks to every one for their assistance today, a busy week ahead with 3 cup finals to come the car keeps on racking up the miles.

by Darren Gilham


Cup Final Special – Southend United Ladies v Toby Ladies

Sunday 2nd April

Essex Women’s Trophy Final

A long road trip down into Essex this Sunday to watch my first cup final of the season with Southend United Ladies facing Toby Ladies contesting the Women’s Trophy competition.

Essex County FA’s secondary cup competition with the sides losing in the opening 2 rounds of the County Cup going on to contest for the Women’s Trophy.

Today’s prize, the Essex Women’s Trophy

This season seeing two sides reaching their first ever cup final. Two sides from the ECWFL (Essex County Women’s Football League) too.

Southend United Ladies looking strong this season riding high in the ECWFL Premier Division currently in 4th position 5 points behind leaders Stanway Pegasus Ladies with 2 matches in hand, very much involved in the title contest. Formed in 2017 have become an established side within the ECWFL assembling a talented squad, the Women’s Trophy the clubs first final appearance, are also going strong in the League Cup. Abbie Rex, Southend’s leading goal scorer with 8 goals so far this season from 10 appearances. Georgia Wilson 2nd with 7 goals, 4 of which have come in the Women’s Trophy competition.

Toby Ladies not only reaching a cup final in their debut season, but also the first Toby FC side to reach a cup final in the clubs 90 year history. Toby FC taking on a new women’s side this season and have firmly been embraced into the Toby family. Entering into ECWFL Division One quickly building a big squad with a good level of experience, large chunk of their squad part of the former St Clere’s Women’s side that featured in the ECWFL Premier Division last season. So have alot of players used to playing with one another, a strong squad that has so far achieved a 100% record in the league moving to the top of the table last weekend as they recorded their 10th straight win. That while conceding just the 2 league goals. The irony being the only game Toby have lost this season in the County Cup against Hashtag United Women Reserves putting them into the Trophy competition in the first place. Ellie Jones, Toby’s leading goal scorer netting 12 goals so far this season from 12 appearances.

Road to the Final

  A bye for both sides entering the 1st Round of the Women’s Trophy. Southend were drawn at home to Division One leaders at the time Leigh Ramblers Ladies, a tricky tie on paper was settled by a single goal with Georgia Wilson putting the ball into the back of the net to see Southend progress to the quarter finals. Toby were drawn away to another side with a 100% league record as they squared off against Division Two leaders Emerson & Upminster Ladies like themselves another debutant side, Toby coming back strong in the 2nd half to win the match 6-1 to reach the quarter finals with goals from, Ellie Jones, Grace Woolley, Jade Kavanagh, Taylor Adcock, Kristi McLeavy and Demi Cassie.

Southend back at home for their quarter final tie up against fellow premier Division one side, Bowers & Pitsea Ladies Reserves. The pair going on to contest a 3-3 after extra-time with Georgia Wilson, Amber Denton and Abbie Rex all scoring. Southend coming out on top on the penalty shootout winning 3-1 to reach the last four. Toby’s match quarter final match no less eventful as they faced Premier Division side Chelmsford City Women at home. Having already knocked Chelmsford the current holders out of the League Cup the sides were to end the 90 minutes goalless. Chelmsford seeing 2 players sent off in extra-tine Toby went on to edge the contest 2-1 with goals from Jones and April Sykes to make it into the last four.

Onto the semi-finals. Southend at home once again hosting Division One side Tiger’s Ladies. The Hornchurch based side finding a bit of form coming into the game, Southend though too were in great form as they held a strong 4-0 lead at half-time going on to secure their place in the Women’s Trophy final with a 7-0 win. Amber Denton, Chloe Woolaway and Georgia Wilson all on target with a brace. Katie Burbridge also on the scoresheet. Toby drawn away to Premier Division side Frontiers Ladies. Jade Kavanagh netting a brace as Toby booked their spot in their first ever final with a 3-1 win. Ellie Jones like Southend’s Georgia Wilson also on target to score in each round of the competition.

Burroughs Park

Burroughs Park, home of Great Wakering FC the venue for this afternoon’s Women’s Trophy final. Situated to the east past Southend-on-Sea. Down a narrow lane surrounded by allotments. The stadium boasts a large grass pitch with a clubhouse leading into the ground with bar and kitchen hatch serving food and drinks. Fenced all round with two small covered stands on either side. The pitch looking a little cut up from the Veterans Cup Final having taken place in the morning a few divots. Much better weather this Sunday after the heavy rainfall the previous week seeing the finals originally scheduled for last Sunday called off. A total change to start April the sun out high and bright in the sky, dry with little cloud around. 

Southend United Ladies

Southend United Ladies starting XI – Molly Lee, Amber Denton, Lauren Johnson, Jordan Castle, Beth Cooper, Abbie Rex (C), Paige White, Georgia Wilson, Christina Fragnito, Izzy Wallings & Emily Perks. Subs – Sian Hills, Chloe Lyus, Zoe Perks, Fran King & Katharine Pearson.

Toby Ladies

Toby Ladies starting XI – Enya Hayes, Kristi McLeavy, Kesley Young, Donna Fletcher, Jodie Sanderson, Fran Browne (C) April Sykes, Jade Kavanagh, Charlotte Collins-Blaize, Ellie Jones & Becky Gallagher. Subs – Connie Heather, Taylor Adcock, Kiera Adcock, Grace Woolley & Rebecca Kemp.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 It’s Toby to get the Essex Women’s Trophy final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing an all royal blue kit with Southend lined up opposite wearing navy blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The ball played back to midfielder and captain, Fran Browne the pass lifted forwards into the right channel, cleared forwards by Southend’s Lauren Johnson. Southend press up on their left flank getting up the pitch winning a throw working the ball inside to captain Abbie Rex her cross in dropping wide at the near post.

  Southend getting hold of the ball inside the Toby half the diagonal ball threaded out to Emily pert out on the right sees the attacker burst through into the box, goalkeeper Enya Hayes rushing out to try and close down the angle, Pert releasing her strike early sending the ball past the keeper heading for the goal beyond, Jodie Sanderson racing back clearing the ball off the line to prevent a goal inside the opening couple of minutes. The ball defended at the near post from the resulting corner kick.

  The pitch offering plenty of space to exploit on the flanks Toby finding striker Ellie Jones out on the left wing, getting the ball down takes it forwards her crossfield pass intercepted by Johnson at the back for Southend. An open start to the game both sides looking to get on quickly with the ball. Toby winning a free-kick, Donna Fletcher playing the ball on for Kesley Young to put the cross into the Southend box, headed clear.

Ellie Jones attacking for Toby Ladies

  Southend getting players forwards well pushing up against the Toby defence, both Fletcher and Sanderson intercepting attempted through balls, before a quick counter attack is sprung the ball lifted forwards onto the right wing players rushing forwards the cross findings Jones breaking clear of the defence right of the D, the flag going up immediately as Jones slots the ball past goalkeeper, Molly Lee into the back of the net, won’t count.

  Players drawn to the ball often compact, there is space to exploit if right pass is deployed. Southend getting forwards on the left Johnson up to Rex the ball sent into the top of the area headed away by Toby’s, Fletcher. Players rushing in to win the ball shaping up to be a physical contest.

Southend United Ladies captain, Abbie Rex

 GOAL! The deadlock broken in the 12th minute, Southend turning play around the pass forwards into Christina Fragnito driving on into the right channel laying the ball wide to Pert wide out near the touch line 25 yards out puts her foot through the ball sending a high looping ball in towards goal, drops over Hayes under the crossbar and bounces into the back of the net 1-0. Pert’s first goal of the season too.

Emily Pert opens the scoring for Southend

 Jones attacking on the left for Toby, up with jade Kavanagh the ball pushed on for Becky Gallagher to burst on towards the area, Jordan Castle getting across to defend tackling to send the ball out for a throw. The throw bringing Toby a corner on the left players forwards into the box the delivery in near side defended by Southend’s Amber Denton. Paige White battling for possession of the ball in the centre for Southend fed out to Pert on the right, out for a Southend throw. Pert seeing the ball down looking to get her head down drive forwards on the flank, Kristi McLeavy challenging for Toby. Another Southend throw players up pressing the ball the cross coming in landing on the roof of the Toby goal.

Toby Ladies, Kristi McLeavy

  Southend finding Pert out on the right, prepared to break on with the ball at her feet all the way to the by-line sends the cross in, cut out by Toby’s McLeavy. Good footwork from Sykes for Toby in the middle to get room to thread the pass on for Gallagher to break in behind though the middle, racing forwards Lee is out quickly to get hold of the ball in the Southend goal. Southend spring the counter bringing the ball on through the middle with pace fired forwards into Izzy Wallings path, goalkeeper Hayes seeing the threat quickly out to the top of her area to close her down sliding in to make the blocking save colliding with Wallings, Fragnito onto the loose ball snatching her 1st time strike wide of the left post.

GOAL! Southend double their lead, with players up the pitch from the previous attack pressing the ball at the back to the left of goal, Georgia Wilson striking her shot on the half volley to lash it across the keeper into the bottom corner 2-0. 

Georgia Wilson congratulated by her teammates after doubling Southend’s lead

Toby making a change bringing off Young with Taylor Adcock coming on finding themselves 2 goals down inside the opening 20 minutes. Bringing good vocal support with them looking to spur the side on frustrated though when the offside call goes against them. White snapping after the ball in the middle for Southend on to Fragnito helped on through the middle, Sanderson heading away for Toby the ball dropping to Wilson 25 yards out left of the D, her strike wide past the far post. 

Toby Ladies defender, Jodie Sanderson

  Gallagher timing her run well beating the offside trap to break clear of the Southend defence races on towards goal. Lee racing out of her goal to try and close her down, Gallagher unleashing her shot 20 yards out shoots over the bar. Sykes fouled in the middle for Toby, send players up as Adcock puts the ball in to the top of the area, headed clear by Southend. Quick to get the ball forwards on the left winning a corner out on the left. Swung in near post Toby see it out behind for throw in the corner. Both sides with a long throw in their arsenal finding it’s way into the box Toby head clear the counter looking to be on, the crowd not happy as their player appears to be pulled back.

  Gallagher making a run out to the left getting the ball put into her feet, cutting inside to drive into the box, Denton getting across her to lunge in with the tackle clearing the ball away for a throw on the left. Sykes with some great passes forwards for Toby in the middle, finding Gallagher pulling into the left channel, this time it’s Southend’s Castle getting into her to make the tackle the ball away for a corner. Neither side making the most of their corners so far in the match.

  Wilson up with Rex and Wallings on Southend’s left flank the cross lifted into the box headed behind by Fletcher for the corner kick. Swung in short take a nick behind for a 2nd corner. Southend go short this time up the line to the top of the area the cross looped in near post, dropping for Rex, can’t direct her header on target. Southend seeing more of the ball in the final 3rd putting the Toby defence under pressure. A heavy clash between Toby’s Browne and Southend’s Denton as they go in for a 50/50 ball. Denton coming off the worse needing treatment before being allowed back on. Fletcher heading the ball to safety as Southend build on the left.

Donna Fletcher heading the ball clear for Toby Ladies

  Fletcher and Sanderson doing well as they combine at the back to defend as Fragnito sends the pass on for Wallings. McLeavy too out on the left defending well stopping, Pert as she looks to bring the ball inside from the right flank. Strong challenges coming in all over the pitch a committed contest. Fletcher reading Wallings intent to get a foot on the ball inside the D as the attacker looks to hook it over her shoulder turn to attack.

  The clock ticking down at the end of the 1st half Toby launching a counter attack the ball played on for Jones racing away on the right, wrapping her foot around the cross to lift an inviting ball into the middle of the six yard box Gallagher jumping on the keeper knocking the ball over the top.

   Southend break the ball on through the middle White to Wilson out to the left winning a corner kick. The delivery swung in claimed well by Hayes on her line. Southend attacking late in the half the ball coming into Wallings central back to goal 25 yards out turns on the ball to lay it into Pert’s path as she bursts into the area from the right, McLeavy in to block her initial effort the rebound however seeing the ball run in behind the grounded defender for Pert to chase unleashing her strike as Hayes throws herself forwards to try and block the ball, the shot lifted up over the bar.

Half-time Southend United Ladies 2-0 Toby Ladies

   Southend with a 2-0 lead at the break, getting on the front foot early in using the width well getting players forwards a shot cleared off the line in the opening 2 minutes, Pert’s speculative effort giving them the lead in the 12th minute. Further chances followed Wilson doubling the lead 6 minutes later. A physical contest, both sides looking to get after the ball Toby working hard have carved out some good opportunities in front of goal to try and pull a goal back and as is often the case with a 2 nil lead the next goal could prove critical in determining the outcome of the game. 

Southend’s Paige White with Toby’s April Sykes

 The bright sun moving around the ground behind one goal now, Hayes donning a cap with Toby facing it in the 2nd period. A change for Toby at the break with Grace Woolley coming on at the back replacing Collins-Blaize. Looks to be a slight change for formation to switching to a 3 5 2. Southend to get the 2nd half underway put back into the middle before being fed long to the right, McLeavy dealing with it for Toby. Played forward quickly as Toby look to get on the front foot at the start of the 2nd half Jones attacking it, the ball though safely through to goalkeeper, Lee.

Southend defender, Jordan Castle

  Denton shielding the ball back to the keeper well after a her kick falls short straight to Jones the striker looking to capitalise. A clash of heads between Adcock and White sees both players floored in need of treatment play paused. Toby’s crowd not happy with some of the refereeing decisions remains a physical game both sides giving as good as they get. Denton out to make a strong challenge on Jones as Fletcher coming on well into the middle sends the ball into her, the ball going for a throw. 

Southend’s Amber Denton with Toby’s Becky Gallagher

  Toby with a positive opening to the 2nd half Sykes linking up with Adcock in the middle the ball up to Gallagher played out to Kavanagh breaking clear on the right top of the area , hesitates the moment to shoot passing as she is closed down by the keeper, Lee sliding in to save at her feet. Southend getting the ball out to Rex on their left the ball played forwards Sanderson defending for Toby cleared for a throw. Johnson with the long throw. Into the box bouncing Toby launch clear up to Browne central hooked on for Jones up top outside the D, the bounce favouring Castle in to close her down getting a foot in to stab the ball away. 

Toby Ladies captain, Fran Browne

  Another collision, between Fletcher and Wilson this time. Fletcher getting on into midfield looking to influence the game. Substitute Woolley with space to run into with the ball on the right for Toby lays it forwards for Kavanagh to take on to the by-line her cross whipped into the near post caught well by Lee. Wallings seeing the ball into her feet back to goal with a clever flick to take the ball in behind wrong foot her marker, Hayes alert out of her six yard box to snatch up the ball.

  Wilson bundled over out wide left inside the Toby half a free-kick for Southend, players forwards with Denton placing the ball down, curled in towards the top of the area, Browne with the headed clearance for Toby.

GOAL! Southend dealing with a bit of Toby pressure at the start of the 2nd half get the ball moving through the middle the diagonal pass finding Pert racing on right side down the line to whip a teasing ball into the box, Wilson arriving near post under it to head the ball past the keeper to extend the lead 3-0.

Georgia Wilson heading home Southend’s 3rd goal

 A blow for Toby conceding a 3rd goal after making a positive start to the 2nd half. Battling for possession Sykes laying it forwards into Jones central running across the top of the area, Lee rushing out to close the angle, the striker getting to the ball first her shot narrowly wide of the far post. 


  Toby breaking up a Southend attack get on the counter the ball into Adcock laid out to Kemp racing into the right channel, strikes the ball goalwards racing in low straight at the keeper. Sanderson doing well in defence for Toby, getting hold of the ball of Wallings as she looks to spin off her from a throw in on the left. 

Southend’s Issy Wallings

 Adcock getting hold of the ball central for Toby looking to release Kavanagh on the right, frustrated as the flag goes up against her. Southend making a change bringing off Cooper, on in her place Zoe Perks. Both sides going after each other looking to win the ball. Woolley fouling Wilson wide left, Denton to play the ball in towards the top of the area, cleared by Fletcher. Toby with a triple change Connie Heather, Kiera Adcock and Rebecca Kemp on for, Sanderson, Browne and Kavanagh.

  Rex bringing the ball on down the left wing for Southend pressing forwards her cross inside to Wallings back to goal top of the D, held up release it to Pert 25 yards out, Heather tracking back to make the challenge for Toby before she can pull the trigger. McLeavy with a timely interception at the back for Toby as Southend’s Wilson looks to release Pert on the flank following good work at the back to win the ball by Perks.

Zoe Perks clearing for Southend

  Lee rushing out of her area to clear the ball as Kemp bursts clear though the middle, the ball loose the crowd venting their frustration as play is stopped with the keeper down needing treatment. Toby getting a free-kick on half way left side McLeavy to play it forwards, Perks defending against Kiera Adcock. Lee with a diving save at her right post pushing the low drive from Jones struck on the half volley from the left away for a corner kick. Toby again not making the most from their set-pieces not troubling the Southend defence.

  Toby spurred on getting a throw high on the right taken long into the box Rex defending for Southend, Toby quick to press put back out to Woolley wide her cross swung into the six yard box missed by the keeper, Southend scrambling to get the ball clear knocked back out to the right, no shot on rolled back to Kiera Adcock 25 yards out the shot struck goalwards held by the keeper. Late pressure from Toby. Katharine Pearson coming on for Southend.

GOAL! That pressure bringing Toby a goal in the 84th minute, Fletcher with the forwards ball knocked through into the box for Jones to race onto from the left and strikes it well putting the ball across the keeper into the back of the net 3-1.

Ellie Jones fires home to score for Toby Ladies

  Lee certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers despite the score line saves well again at the feet of Kemp as Toby’s no 11 looks to race onto a high ball fed into the area from the right, Lee out well to close down the angle with the blocking save. Taylor Adcock getting the ball forwards well into Gallagher right of the D, Denton getting back at her making a superb tackle the ball away for a corner. Toby will their tails up giving it a go at the death s they push players on. Southend putting in the blocks around the edge of their box.

  Fletcher on the ball closed down can’t get her shot away instead feds the ball on for Taylor Adcock bursting into the area to attack the near post going to shoot back across the keeper, Lee with a brilliant save throwing herself down to get behind the ball bat it away.

Molly Lee with the save

 A goal kick giving Southend a spot of much needed respite. The clock tickling down Sykes picking up a yellow card, the first in the game despite it being a physical contest. The ball played on form half way McLeavy defending as Pert looks to attack through the middle the ball away to the right Wilson running it down into the corner holding the ball up letting the clock tick down. The final whistle blows and Southend win the 22/23 Essex Women’s Trophy. 

Full time Southend United Ladies 3-1 Toby Ladies

  Southend coming out on top in what proved to be a physical contest between two committed sides. The Premier Division side getting off to a good start with a early shot cleared off the line going on to open the scoring in the 12th minute soon adding a 2nd. Seeing more of the ball in the final 3rd. Toby working hard at the back weren’t without their chances carving out a couple of good opportunities to pull a goal back before the break. The Division One side with some adjustments at half time looking to make a positive start to the 2nd half getting after the ball applying a little pressure, Southend held firm however countering to score a 3rd goal before the hour. 3 up deflating Toby for a spell they came back strong in the final 10 minutes Jones getting them a deserved goal back but despite a strong finish Southend defended well with Lee producing a couple of quality saves to deny them.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. by no means an easy decision some great performances out there. both sides putting alot into the game. For Toby, April Sykes was composed in the middle of the park producing some great forward passes to launch attacks. Kristi McLeavy with some great tackles and interceptions at the back Ellie Jones up top getting hold of the ball and running the channels well. For Southend Georgia Wilson netting a brace linking up the midfield and attack well with some great runs. Emily Pert out on the right a ready outlet for the ball looking to get on opening the scoring. The work at the back just as important with a solid defensive display, goalkeeper Molly Lee with some superb saves. The award though goes to defender Amber Denton was excellent at the back making a number of tackles to deny Toby’s attacking players throughout the game.

Southend United Ladies 22/23 Essex Women’s Trophy winners

Congratulations to Southend United Ladies on winning this season’s Essex Women’s Trophy

Both sides could yet meet again this season in another final with both in action in the ECWFL League Cup semi-finals this coming weekend, Southend away to Division One side Southminster United Ladies. Toby at home to Premier Division side, Bowers & Pitsea Ladies Reserves. 

An enjoyable day out at Great Wakering, a long road trip from Norfolk for my 1st cup final of the season. Plenty more to come a busy month ahead! My thanks to both sides for their assistance with the team details today much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham