Monthly Archives: April 2024

Cup Final Special – Holland Ladies v Brantham Athletic Ladies

Friday 26th April

Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final

The end of season finals come thick and fast now with 3 this weekend across the East, starting with a Friday evening trip to Needham Market to watch the Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final, between, Holland Ladies and Brantham Athletic Ladies.

An accomplishment in itself to get this season’s women showpiece final even played with the league itself in doubt at the the start of the season with a new look committee working hard to hastily get thing’s organised and strive on throughout the campaign to get the games played. Under the circumstances a tremendous effort with the women’s section growing in terms of numbers a 7 strong Premiership and 14 strong Championship below with a close contest to see who will emerge out on top in both leagues. This evening the climax of the League Cup campaign.

Holland Ladies beating Woodbridge Town Ladies to win their 1st piece of silverware at the end of 2021/22 season. Woodbridge Town Ladies reaching as successive League Cup final last time out going on to beat Brantham Athletic Ladies. Now Brantham Athletic have repeated that feat knocking out Woodbridge along the way as they meet Holland in the final.

This evening’s prize.

Holland Ladies getting all the way to the League Cup final despite a tough 2nd half to the season where they have been short on players and looking to bolster their squad. Jasmine Cox a prolific goal scorer throughout her career, now player manager. Have done well despite being able to field a bare 11 at times. Retain a strong core of talented players more than capable of beating anyone on their day. Currently 4th in the league have fallen away in the title battle despite scoring plenty of goals. Cox herself the top scorer not only for her club but the league itself, way out in front with 35 goals from 15 appearances. Sennen Gregory and Charlotte Warren both have 7 apiece with captain Lauren Lucas and Charlotte Robertson on 6 each.

Brantham Athletic Ladies know what it’s like to be short on players, struggling the season before last at the wrong end of the league. Brought in Daniel Claxton in November of that season to help out with the coaching help turn their fortunes around and as they got a few more players in results started to improve and with it a run all the way to the League Cup final. 12 months on and fortunes are very different the club in a strong position at the top of the table for much of the season, defending champions Stowupland Falcons Women their fiercest rival a point behind now with the two sides having one more crucial match coming up on Tuesday evening. Have exchanged blows in the cup’s too, with Stowupland knocking Brantham Athletic out of the County Cup in the semi-finals, Brantham Athletic returning the favour in the League Cup. Another large influx of players, several with vast experience from the now folded Brettvale side have formed a new Development team this season playing in the Championship. Stacey Teager the leading goal scorer, netting 14 goals so far this season. Tarnya McKew returning after a serious injury at the end of last season, has 10 goals for Brantham. With Laura Tuley, Chloe Wilson and M’Leah Wright all with 8 goals.

Road to the Final

  Holland with a bye in the 1st Round of the League Cup. Brantham were at home taking on Championship newcomers, Coplestonians Ladies. Their captain, Lucy Dunnett on target for a hat-trick in the game with Chloe Wilson coring a brace and M’Leah Wright also on target in a 6-0 win.

 Onto the 2nd Round both sides racking up the goals. Holland away to newly Ipswich Vale Exiles Ladies newly promoted to the Premiership. Jasmine Cox finding the back of the net for 3 goals. Charlotte Warren bagging a brace too, with Megan Joy, Charlotte Robertson, Libby Batten, Olivia Dowsett and Sennen Gregory all scoring in an 11-1 victory. Brantham were taking on their new development side in the 2nd round, showed no mercy as they too won by double figures Megan Stock and M’Leah Wright scoring a brace each with goals too for Dunnett, Laura Tuley, Rebecca Prime and Sophie Crabtree final score 10-0.

  Into the quarter finals, Holland at home to Championship side, Ramsey & Mistley Ladies. Cox, Lucas and Joy all firing home a brace in another double figure win, 10-0 the final score with Warren, Gregory, Joy and Dowsett all on target too. Brantham taking on Woodbridge at home the current League Cup holders, going into the break leading 3-1, Brantham added a 4th goal in the 2nd half to reach the semi-final. Tuley bagging herself a brace with Chloe Wilson and Kirby Seward also scoring.

  The semi-finals, tighter affairs. Holland with a depleted squad for their match with just 9 available as they travelled to Championship newcomer and league challengers, Capel Plough Women. Despite their lack of numbers Holland’s quality won through with Cox on the score sheet for 2 more goals, Lucas also scoring in a 3-1 win. Brantham away taking on rivals Stowupland a single goal enough to settle it scored by Tarnya McKew to send Brantham into their 2nd successive final.

 This evening’s final being played at Needham Market FC’s Bloomfield’s ground. Have visited their to watch the women play on their 3G pitch and always though I’d like to see a game played on the grass pitch beyond. Both pitches overlooked by the The Hub, Café & Bar with a balcony on either side. The grass pitch a good size with a seated stand on one side and terracing behind one goal with viewing all round. The weather good, still after a bright but chilly day. No rain likely a few clouds around the sun beginning to set as the teams walked out onto the pitch. 

Holland Ladies

 Holland Ladies starting XI – Charlotte Warren, Alisha Blake, Rianne Dimmock, Hannah Campbell, Ellie Grafton, Lauren Lucas (C), Libby Batten, Lauren Bourne, Olivia Dowsett, Jasmine Cox & Sennen Gregory. Subs – Alison Warren.

Brantham Athletic Ladies

 Brantham Athletic Ladies starting XI – Daisy Gibbs, Aimee Berry, Merlin Watson, Shannan Hill, Kirby Seward, Lucy Dunnett (C), Rachel White, Emmi Dennett, Tarnya McKew, Chloe Wilson & Stacey Teager. Subs – Shannon Giles, Issey Bines, Rebecca Prime, Sophie Crabtree & M’Leah Wright.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

Holland with a small squad again or this evenings final naming a starting 11 plus one substitute, that a goalkeeper having kick-off in the 1st half wearing orange coloured shirts and socks with black shorts. Brantham with a full squad naming 5 on the bench lined up opposite wearing their all navy blue kit. The ball played back to Olivia Dowsett in the middle goes back to her defence, Rianne Dimmock retaining possession before giving the ball to Hannah Campbell on her right to play long up the right channel, Merlin Watson dealing with the threat for Brantham.

Brantham’s, Merlin Watson

  Watson looking to bring the ball on release Tarnya McKew on the left flank, hustled by Campbell the ball out of play for a Holland throw. taken the right played forwards into Libby Batten on the right channel looking to progress into the area, Kirby Seward across making the tackling to send the ball behind for a corner kick. The in swinging delivery headed out of the area to the right, Aimee Berry over on that side defending the resulting throw.

  Holland looking to press the ball in the Brantham half, coming back to captain Lauren Lucas she opens up her body attempting a threaded pass into the box for Sennen Gregory coming in off the left, the pass too square easily gathered by Brantham goalkeeper, Daisy Gibbs. Ellie Grafton with a strong challenge to stop Brantham launching a counter through the middle with Emmi Bennett making a run out wide on the right.

Holland’s Ellie Grafton

  Brantham win a free-kick deep on the right, captain, Lucy Dunnett to deliver in across the top of the area, met by Seward 20 yards out gets up to head the ball goal wards, an ambitious attempt, hasn’t the power or height to trouble Holland’s goalkeeper, Charlotte Warren. 

  Holland getting the ball forwards on the left side play Lauren Bourne on to attack running towards the top of the D with the ball at her feet her run stopped by Seward’s challenge. McKew getting hold of the ball on the left attacking for Brantham, holds it up well 20 yards out waiting for Watson to make the overlapping run the ball fed on for the full back into the corner she cuts it back inside to McKew inside the box left corner, turns and shoots her dipping effort played straight into the goalkeeper’s gloves.

  A competitive tussle played at a good pace, Holland looking to press Brantham on the ball, Brantham in turn aiming to stretch their attack, McKew left and Bennett right making strong attacking runs. Gregory taking the ball onto the by-line on the left attacking for Holland her cross charged down by Shannan Hill for Brantham. 

 Stacey Teager in attack through the middle for Brantham, sees the ball into her feet, held up turns well looking to play the diagonal ball in behind the defence for Bennett bursting on down the right, a little too much on the pass allowing Warren to race out to claim it. A loose pass from Rachel White 30 yards out for Brantham, sees Holland’s Gregory steal in on the ball left of the D powering her way into the area, Seward across quickly to lunge in with the challenge put it out to the left, the resulting cross/shot put over the bar.

  Chloe Wilson links up with White as the Brantham pair advance through the middle, White lining up a shot from 25 yards out, charged down by Holland’s Dimmock. Holland working hard at the back to challenge for the ball, Campbell winning it well on the right putting the pass forwards into Jasmine Cox, with a powerful drive forwards she cuts inside running across the top of the D, before getting a down shot away, lacking to pace to trouble Brantham goalkeeper, Daisy Gibbs as she drops to her left getting behind the ball.

Brantham goalkeeper, Daisy Gibbs

  Dunnett on another free-kick wide on the right sends it long beyond the far post Warren across her goal taking it on the bounce before McKew can get there, sets her side up for a rapid counter attack Cox taking it on with a determined run on the right wing squaring a pacy cross into the near post Gregory waiting for it attempting to back heel it on, Gibbs behind her pouncing onto the ball. 

  Holland pushed up in defence as Teager sees the ball into her feet off White, turns to lay the pass in behind on the right channel the flag stays down against Bennett as she breaks clear taking the ball on looking to shoot on the angle, Campbell getting across to stretch and put in the block the ball behind for a corner kick. 

 The corner played into the near post Grafton getting her head onto it for Holland clearing the ball out to the top of the area falling for McKew left of the D sees it across her striking it as she turns her chipped shot put straight at the keeper. 

 Cox out on the left now for Holland sends a diagonal ball into the area on the angle for Gregory to attack her run halted by a raised flag however. Cox receiving the squared pass across the top of Brantham’s area look to burst into the box left of goal, Brantham’s defence quickly converging on her to make sure there’s no where to go. Brantham build through the middle White on for McKew making a central run in behind, Warren alert out to the top of her area to clear the danger, the flag up against the attacker though.

  Brantham pour numbers on in attack runners into the box as Bennett charges down the right her squared cross running behind Teager at the near post, McKew out left looking to get hold of it, Campbell winning the race to take the ball clear of her area. Campbell clipping the ball on for Holland on the right looking for Gregory as she makes a run into the area from the flank, Gibbs quickly out to close the angle gather the ball into her gloves. 

  Teager combining with McKew on the left as Brantham build an attack, numbers forwards, Watson taking the ball on on the overlap her cross inside for Wilson central, Dimmock in to close her down for Holland the clearance falling to Dunnett 35 yards out, has a strong shot on her, goes for it her attempt over the bar. Likewise on her set-pieces as Brantham are awarded a free-kick right of the centre circle striking the ball on towards goal, Warren able to get across her six yard box to get hold of it.

Brantham captain, Lucy Dunnett

  Cox linking up with Dowsett in attack exchanging passes before Cox let’s fly from 30 yards out her shot driven wide a nick off a defenders boot spotted a corner given. Curled in from the left dropping near post, Brantham scramble it away back to the corner taker on the left, the return ball long past the far post. Holland getting bodies after the ball in the final third pressing the Brantham backline, pops back into the middle for Lucas, attempts to hit a shot in from range, Gibbs has it covered in the Brantham goal.

Holland captain, Lauren Lucas

  Bourne receiving the ball into her feet from 25 yards out for Holland drags it out of her feet as she lines up a shot her effort, played straight at the keeper from the right of he D. Teager with the ball at her feet looks to battle her way on through the middle knocked on for Bennett central holding it up as McKew runs across her, the pass when it comes seeing McKew flagged offside. Brantham pushing on in attack, Teager getting hold of the ball, delays her shot, allowing the defend to rush out to put in the block 20 yards out. Dunnett with another free-kick from halfway played into the box, Lucas heading clear for Holland.  

 GOAL! Brantham’s pressure in attack finally tells as they open the scoring with little more than 10 minutes left in the 1st half, White coming forwards with the ball into the left channel feeding the pass into McKew ack to goal top of the area, seeing the ball into her feet drags it to her right then turns into the strike, sending her chipped shot in on the angle over the keeper to score 0-1.

Tarnya McKew opening the scoring for Brantham.

  Holland look for a quick reply to falling a goal down, Lucas from distance with time to line up a shot, looks to hit it up and over the keeper, doesn’t get enough on it however the ball falling into Gibbs’ gloves backs up into her six yard box. Brantham get Bennett on the ball down the right winning a corner kick, put in near side defended by Lucas, Holland look to counter quickly, Cox the outlet in attack on the left drives on with the ball, Hill getting back at her to put in the tackle for Brantham. 

  Wilson passing the ball out to McKew on the left, is a competitive battle between her and Holland’s Campbell the defender close in preventing her from getting past her. Cox attacking with the ball at her feet from the left checking inside looks to play the one two with Gregory break into the box, Hill and Seward cutting off the space for Brantham.

  GOAL! Brantham’s turn to hit Holland on the counter the ball put on quickly through the middle clipped forwards to Bennett breaking in behind clear on the right channel, surging into the area smashes her shot across the keeper to find the back of the net to double the lead 0-2.

Emmi Bennett breaking on from the right flank doubling Brantham’s lead

  Holland conceding a 2nd goal late in the first half aim to get straight on the attack Grafton out to Cox on the left 30 yards out drives infield getting a shot away under challenge, the attempted tackle doing enough to take the sting out of the attackers shot see it run harmlessly through to the keeper. Bennett on the counter very nearly through on goal again from the right Warren comes rushing out to close her down can’t get hold of the ball knocked up into the air behind her, can turn and get hold of it on the bounce.

Rachel White winning the header for Brantham

Half-time Holland Ladies 0-2 Brantham Athletic Ladies

 The sides head into the changing rooms at half-time with Brantham leading the game 2-0. Getting forwards well pushing numbers on have looked to forceful up top creating chances. Holland though working hard all across the pitch to press the ball prepared to keep a high line to give their attacking players as much opportunity as they can to hustle the ball in the final third. The break through eventually coming with 10 minutes to go in the first half McKew giving Brantham the lead before Bennett broke clear to add a 2nd. The next goal if it comes you’d think has to go to Holland to keep them in the game a lot of effort put into the 1st half and without fresh legs will be interesting to see if they can keep up their determined performance in the 2nd half.

The sides as you were at the start of the 2nd half. Brantham to kick-off the 2nd half defending a 2 goal lead. Look to put the ball long on down the right, Blake dealing with it for Holland. Holland look to get the ball forwards through the middle Lucas on into Bourne right of the D, looks to drive forwards, stopped by Seward for Brantham.

Bennett bringing the ball down on the right fizzes a shot in from distance on the angles, Warren behind it to save for Holland. Holland attacking on the left pushing players on Cox through the middle now the ball back out to the left wing the cross cut back to Lucas 25 yards out sees the ball across her body opening the angle to shot, send in on target running for the bottom corner Gibbs down on her line to smother the ball.

Jasmine Cox with Lauren Lucas

Brantham find McKew on the left, Campbell in to close her down the ball out for a throw in. Controlled and played in central, Wilson with the shot fired over the crossbar. Holland looking to give it a go push Brantham back in defence Gregory playing the ball into the area for Cox to attack left side of the goal, Gibbs out to close the angle down onto the ball.

Holland winning a free-kick out wide on the left 25 yards out Bourne over it angling the ball into the near post, dropping amongst bodies, Brantham manage to scramble it away to the top of the area, Cox getting hold of it right off the D turns inside looking for the opening squeezes her shot away, doesn’t get hold of it though safely gathered by Gibbs. A lively start to the 2nd half.

Pushing on looking to attack Brantham ready to react on the counter the cross-field ball finding Bennett out on the right wing drives on down the line her cross cut back into the area with Teager hanging back to receive it top of the area, Campbell having gone with her for Holland putting in the blocking tackle.

Holland defender, Hannah Campbell

  Wilson winning the ball for Brantham centrally feeds the pass on for McKew on the left flank, Campbell a thorn in her side throughout closing in to tackle the ball quickly back with Brantham the cross field pass going out to Bennett on the right her cross/shot struck over. Holland giving it a go attacking down the right Batten with Bourne and Gregory a throw won in the corner the cross worked into the six yard box from the by-line Cox attacking it, Watson clears for Brantham.

Holland’s Libby Batten

  All action Brantham wanting a 3rd goal Wilson up to Teager, Dimmock preventing the turn back into Wilson then Seward looking to send McKew on down the left, Campbell fighting back to get possession back for Holland. Dunnett taking the ball forwards playing it on for Wilson who picks out Bennett wide right, Blake in to defend for Holland. Holland determined to push out retain a high line at times allow their forwards the opportunity to get at Brantham’s defence, Cox looking to get hold of the ball when ever she can drive forwards into the box. Seward and Hill needing to close her down.

Brantham defender, Kirby Seward

  Cox drives for the area in a race with Seward the defender getting her toe on the ball to take it behind for a corner kick. From the right taken short then back to the taker up the line to sweep the cross into the far post, Berry clearing for Brantham. Campbell aiming to send the ball back into the box with Cox pulling off the defence, Gibbs though can get hold of it first.

  Holland keeping their energy levels up pushing forwards, Berry winning the ball on for Dunnett surging on lays the ball out to Bennett on the right, held up lays it back to Dunnett 25 yards out, smashes her strike over the crossbar. 

Brantham making their first changes of the game bringing off both Watson and Bennett. Sophie Crabtree and M’Leah Wright joining the attack, Wilson dropping back into the back line on the left. Holland lay the pass out to Bourne pulling left on Wilson, taking the ball on, Seward across to support her teammate run Bourne off the ball. 


 Blake tackling for Holland as Wright looks to break forwards from McKew’s cross-field pass. Midway through a lively 2nd half both sides pressing for a goal, Warren out smartly to the edge of her area to snatch up the ball as McKew looks to run onto a diagonal ball. Holland on the attack Grafton into Lucas on for Gregory central 20 out picks out Cox to her left taking the ball on whips a pacy cross low into the six yard box, Gibbs gets down well to make the save pushing the ball out and away from Gregory closing in on the follow up. 

Holland’s Olivia Dowsett

  Campbell unfortunate to give away a handball on the left side as Brantham push players up for the set-piece. Dunnett striking the ball curls her attempt in near post, Warren across to cover the post can see it safely wide. Brantham making another change, Wilson off having gone to left back, Rebecca Prime coming on in that position. The pass clipped on for Crabtree in attack, Blake getting in a timely challenge for Holland.

  Cox laying the ball from left to right across the Brantham area, looking to pick out Batten making the run, can’t quite take the ball in her stride into the box as a defender runs across her. Dowsett laying the ball on for Cox left channel, breaking into the box her shot charged down, Gibbs onto the loose ball.

Stacey Teager

Into the final 15 minutes, Brantham can’t find the goal to put Holland to bed, their opponents giving it everything to pull a goal back. Crabtree peeling wide with the ball on the right for Brantham in attack picking out Teager central, 20 yards out, Dimmock in close making the blocking tackle. Lucas with the ball for Holland put forwards for Gregory wide left takes it to the by-line cutting the pass back up to Cox wide turns to drive into the area, attempts to pick out Bourne at the near post, Brantham snatching possession back.

Lauren Bourne

  McKew played into space on the left checks back inside to shoot from outside the area drags her effort wide of the near post. Comes off then to be replaced by Shannon Giles. Prime getting on down the left to support Teager making a run into the left wing, the ball forwards, Dimmock sliding in to play the ball out for a throw in.

  The game open Brantham counter the ball from White into Teager, almost sends Crabtree through on goal, however Warren with a good starting position top of her area is first to the ball. Another change for Brantham as White is taken off with Issey Bines joining the defence. Dimmock the last defender for Holland getting across to intercept the ball as Crabtree bursting away on the right side looks to get onto the end of Dunnett’s through ball.

Rianne Dimmock

   Prime picks up a yellow card as she looks to clips Cox’s heels as the attacker looks to drive forwards with the ball, unfortunate looked more of a tangle of legs as the defender tried to adjust her position. Cox feeling it late in the game but is up back on her feet with the clock ticking down. Bourne attempting to play Gregory into the area on the left, the attacker fouling Berry as she goes to attack the ball.

  Teager slipping as she goes to strike from distance sends her shot over. Is brought off then with McKew send back into the action with the game moving into stoppage time.

GOAL! Holland have battled on for the entire 90 minutes pushing for a goal in the 2nd half and it finally comes as Cox is played in on the left channel sliding the ball into the box for Gregory on the right she stabs the ball towards goal past the diving keeper and scores 1-2.

Sennen Gregory pulling a goal back for battling Holland late in the game

  A goal back for Holland but little time left in the game as Brantham look to keep it attacking on the right McKew fouled by Lucas a free-kick awarded. Dunnett over the ball strikes her shot over on the angle. That’s it though the final whistle blows and Brantham celebrate as they win this season’s League Cup Final.

Full time Holland Ladies 1-2 Brantham Athletic Ladies

  Two goals in the first half from McKew and Bennett enough to see Brantham win the game. A third goal wouldn’t come in the 2nd half. The game opening up as Holland fought hard to pull a goal back of their own set up a nervy finish, just came too late in the finish but a brilliant effort from the 11 on the pitch. Brantham able to rotate send on fresh legs hard to work hard at the back to keep them out and earn the win, an entertaining final. Have as big a game at home on Tuesday evening against Stowupland as they aim for a league and cup double, part one complete.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A tough call with both sides giving it their all for 90 minutes. Several performances of note and then I’ll probably not list all. For Holland, Jasmine Cox was the driving force for her side getting hold of the ball with some strong runs looking to find a goal. The midfield and defence pushing up well in support. Rianne Dimmock with several vital tackles while Hannah Campbell was determined to win everything throughout. For Brantham, Kirby Seward was strong in defence getting about to win her tackles. Rachel White composed in midfield getting forwards well. Stacey Teager leading the line holding the ball up well. The wide attackers causing issues throughout and it’s a straight fight between them for the award, Emmi Bennett breaking on well down the right a good outlet though out took her goal well. as did this evening’s Player of the Match, Tarnya McKew. A strong performance taking the ball on and looking to create opportunities for herself and other the entire match.


Brantham Athletic Ladies, 2023/24 Suffolk Women’s League Cup winners

  Congratulations to Brantham Athletic Ladies on winning this season’s Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final.

 An entertaining final, good to see a game on the grass at Needham Market. My thanks to both sides for there assistance with the teams details this evening much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Cup Final Special – Cambridge United WFC v Derby County Women

Sunday 21st April

FAWNL League Plate Final

A road trip up to Manchester this Sunday for Women’s Football East to watch the Final of the FAWNL Plate with both opponents reaching their first national final, Cambridge United WFC  from South East Division One taking on Northern Premier Division side, Derby County Women.

The FAWNL representing tiers 3 an 4 of the women’s football pyramid, with an ever growing pool of talented players an clubs wit high ambitions of reaching the Championship an WSL.  above. The league having two senior cup competition the League Cup and Plate, a determining round played at the start of the season seeing the sides from all 6 Divisions drawn against one another to ‘determine’ which competition each club will go on to compete in the winners the Cup the losing sides the Plate.

Today’s prize

Some mixed feelings about the Determining Round but on the whole positive, no one is dumped out at this stage a no loss game in some ways gives managers a great opportunity to look at their sides early on in a competitive match and make any tweaks for the forth coming campaign.

Cambridge United WFC losing 5-0 at home to Norwich in the Determining Round bounced back superbly with a 4-0 opening day league result against Haywards Heath, the clubs top scorer from the previous season netting all 4 goals! That though was to be Wiltshire’s last game for the campaign as she was pregnant with her 3rd child. A blow losing your top scorer so early in the season however Cambridge found a solution that worked superbly playing midfielder Alysha Stojko-Down in a false 9 position. Scoring crucial goals that pushed Cambridge up into the top 4 early in the season is leading scorer with 13 to her name. Chasing her down though are attackers Bella Simmons with 12 an Ruth Fox on 10 to date, all three scoring vital goals to propel Cambridge into their 1st national final.

The loss of Wiltshire not the only hurdle the club have had to deal with injuries to other keys players including new signing Fran Steele the midfielder joining from rivals Cambridge City at the start of the season. The squad responding each time whilst others have started to return from long term injuries, Harley Jean Simpson back on the score sheet against City last time out with the club in 7th looking for a top half finish with 2 league games to play. Two cup finals for the club in consecutive weekends with their new U18s side reaching the final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.

Has been quite a while since I last saw Derby County Women in action, back in the Supporting Women’s Football blog days. The East Midlands club are a long established club in the FAWNL North Premier Division. Like Cambridge reaching their first ever national final with a strong run to the final all of those matches away from home too. A good run too in the FA Women’s Cup getting through to the 4th Round Proper before eventually being knocked out by WSL side Leicester City Women. In between their cup exploits has been a mixed set of results in the league unable to put a run of results together however comfortable in 8th position in the league.

Capable of scoring goals, captain, Amy Sims is top scorer for the club this season and 2nd top scorer in the league itself netting 18 goals in 28 appearances. With Eleanor Ashton firing home 11 goals in her 26 matches. Rebecca May and Yasmin Mosby both on 7 a piece.

 Road to the Final

  Both sides away from home in the 1st Round of the League Plate, Cambridge taking on fellow South East Division One side, Actonians Ladies. Goals from defender Rachel Kosky and Alysha Stojko-own securing a 2-1 win. Derby up against Northern Division One side Doncaster Rovers Belles, a strong first half performance from the Ewes seeing them leading 4-0 thanks to goals from, Rebecca May and Maria Timms plus a brace for Marli Rhodes-Andrews. Sarah Jackson with a further goal in the 2nd half to seal a 5-0 victory.

Cambridge hosting South West Division One side, Keynsham Town Ladies in the 2nd Round, Ruth Fox scoring on the hour the sides drawing 1-1 after 90 minutes heading into extra-time. The dreaded penalty shootout looming Bella Simmons popping up to find the back of the net in the closing minutes of the extra period to send Cambridge onto the quarter finals. Derby travelling to play Midlands Division One side Northampton Town Women in the 2nd Round. Kira Rai firing in an 8th minute goal a further goal on45 minutes from Amy Sims saw Derby leading 2-1 at the break. Yasmin Mosby extending Derby’s lead early in the 2n half, Megan Tinsley and Ashton both on target in the 2nd half powering Derby to a 5-2 win.

Into the quarter finals Cambridge had to wait a bi before eventually travelling down to play Maidenhead United Ladies in their quarter final tie. A single goal enough to beat the South West Division One side, score by Stojko-Down to send them into the last 4. Derby taking on another Midlands Division One side in their quarter final tie travelling to play Sutton Coldfield Town Women. A 1st half half-trick from Amy Sims securing a 3-0 lead at half-time. Rebecca May adding a 4th in the 80th minute with Kira Ria securing a 5-0 win in stoppage time to send the club into the last 4.

Cambridge with a tough test at home in their semi-final contest taking on Division One North title hopefuls, Barnsley WFC. A good start for Cambridge as Rachel Kosky headed them into an early lead. Alayna Millard getting Barnsley back on level terms 1-1 at half-time the visitors came out strong at the start of the 2nd half looking to find a goal, Cambridge held firm breaking to retake the lead themselves through Bella Simmons. Ruth Fox coming off the bench to make it 3-1 with 15 minutes left. Jodie Michalska getting one more back for Barnsley but Cambridge held on to reach their first national final. A tough test for Derby too as they travelled to the South West coast to take on Exeter City WFC pushing for the South West Division one title. The hosts taking the lead on the half hour, Derby responded well firing in twice late in the half through, Eleanor Ashton and Charlotte Steggles to lead 2-1 at the beak. An own goal extending Derby’s lead early in the 2nd half Exeter pulled it back to 3-2 before Camilla Jenkins scored with 10 minutes to go to send Derby into their first national final with a 4-2 win.

Broadhurst Park the venue for todays final home of FC United of Manchester, their women’s team competing in the FAWNL. Hosting both the Reserve League Cup and Plate finals the day before. Both games ended 4-3! Oxford United WFC Development beating AFC Bournemouth Development to lift the Reserve Cup. Liverpool Feds Reserves beating Peterborough United Women U23s to win the Reserve Plate. A few fans expressing their dismay at the final venue with Manchester announced a good trek for 5 out of the 6 weekend finalists. Was booked before the announcement however just unfortunate it be announced after the finalists were confirmed. Think the sooner a venue can be announced for a final the better people know the score then and will accept it better. The FAWNL itself having a transitional period this season itself with the previous committee volunteers stepping down and the FA taking on the leagues. That all said, Broadhurst Park is an impressive looking stadium One large seated stand on entry housing all the facilities the press area outside the large hospitality area. The grass pitch with standing viewing on the opposite side and behind one goal with a terraced stand behind the other.

 I like the Cambridge United WFC squad opting to travel up to Manchester on the Saturday stay overnight. Derby a little closer travelling up on the day of the final itself. The weather absolutely perfect for a cup final, an we haven’t been able to say that much recently. Warm in the sun, no wind or rain in the forecast. A little cool in the shade fancied a spot in the sun on the opposite side of the main stand to take my notes as the teams headed out onto the pitch t begin the game.

Cambridge United WFC

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Lauren Webb, Lauren Rouse Abbie Jackson (C), Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris. Rachel Kosky, Ella Marden, Sammy Edgar, Serena Cobb, Ruth Fox, Bella Simmons & Alysha Stojko-Down. Subs – Sophie Marjoram, Gisella Otten, Harley-Jean Simpson & Charlotte Gillies.

Derby County Women

 Derby County Women starting XI – Sarah Morgan, Camille Jenkins, Sarah Jackson, Charlotte Steggles, Emily Joyce, Emelia Wilson, Amy Sims (C), Hannah Ward, Kira Rai, Rebecca May & Eleanor Ashton. Subs – Anna Draper, Marli Rhodes-Andrews, Helena Meadow, Isabel Sheridan & Eve Shepherd.

Captains. Amy Sims and Abbie Jackson with todays Plate final officials

The pre-match formalities complete the captains meeting today’s officials to decide kick-off. Cambridge’s poor luck with injuries continuing into the final, with Zoe Wood not available, a new signing at the start of the season has been highly influential in games. Regular captain Gisela Otten on the bench, Abbie Jackson donning the armband for today’s Plate final as Cambridge prepare to kick off the 1st half, wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Derby lined up opposite wearing white coloured shirts and socks with black shorts. The ball rolled back to Sammy Edgar in midfield her pass clipped out to the right channel with Ruth Fox and Rachel Kosky bombing forwards, Camille Jenkins dealing with the ball for Derby cleared into midfield helped on out to the right Hannah Ward playing it forwards, Lauren Webb in goal for Cambridge gathering up the ball.

  Cambridge pushing on looking to press the Derby defence on the ball, regaining possession Derby put the ball long for captain, Amy Sims bursting on through the middle, Cambridge’s captain, Abbie Jackson intercepting the ball at the back seeing it back for her keeper to clear. Eleanor Ashton plays the ball across the pitch picking out Kira Rai out on the left combining with Rebecca Day taking the ball all the way to the by-line fires the cross low into the six yard box, cut out by Abbie Jackson and cleared. 

Cambridge captain, Abbie Jackson

  Derby given time on the ball at the back, Sarah Jackson n the right of defence with time to pick a pass looks to send the ball up into the left channel, Lauren Rouse heading it away for Cambridge. The game settling down Cambridge looking to drop back as a unit defend their area, inviting Derby on, look for the opening to counter. Emelia Wilson sending the ball out to Ward on Derby’s right flank plays it down the line for Sims breaking forwards, her attempted cross, blocked by Cambridge’s Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris out for a Derby throw in.

Derby’s Emilia Wilson

  Ward strong to win the ball for Derby on the right, has Ashton across with her the ball down the line crossed into the packed area cleared by Abbie Jackson, back to the right, Derby keeping the pressure on Ashton putting it back into the mix, Kosky throwing herself into the challenge for Cambridge, the ball loose in the area Derby seeing two shots blocked at close range before being turned wide for a goal kick. Serena Cobb winning the challenge for Cambridge looks to release Stojko-Down, Derby quick to get players around her crowd her off the ball.

  Derby’s midfielders taking the ball on with so forceful runs adding to the team pressure, Emily Joyce, coming right onto Ward, Alysha Stojko-Down tracking back to tackle for Cambridge. Sims with the ball at her feet pushing on central looks to lift it on for Ashton up top, Abbie Jackson close on her 20 yards out getting their first to clear for Cambridge. 

Eleanor Ashton

  Derby with time on the ball at the back the defence looking for options and have plenty of movement up top, Ward and Rai keeping wide, runners through the middle, Sarah Jackson clipping the diagonal ball in towards the top of the D with Sims making the run, lets the ball drop over her shoulder getting hold of it as it lands to chip, her snap shot racing wide of the left post.

  Winning the ball at the back Abbie Jackson for Cambridge releases Ella Marden into space on the left wing, taking the ball on Derby a coming to close her early cross cut out deflected back to goalkeeper Sarah Morgan. Cambridge are working hard to keep in compact inviting Derby on at times. Sarah Jackson taking the ball on down the right flashing a cross into the near post, Sims arriving to meet it driving her header wide. 

Amy Sims tackled by Cambridge’s Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris, Serena Cobb getting round to clear the ball

 15 minutes played Derby piling on the pressure, Abbie Jackson in to win another ball lifted forwards into the box, Cambridge can’t get hold of it, Derby straight back on the attack, Sims through the middle playing the pass out to the left for Rai to attack the by-line her cross cut back to the top of the area, Wilson looking to hit her shot 1st time can’t keep her effort down sends it over the bar.

Kira Rai on the attack for Derby

  Sims fouled by Edgar on the right Derby with a free-kick 30 yards out, Day effort hitting the Cambridge wall. Webb sending the ball on won well by Stojko-Down central puts Marden away on the left a rare attack for Cambridge, brings them a corner as Marden’s cross is deflected off Ward. The delivery played long through the area to the far post attacked by Abbie Jackson her attempt glanced wide. 

  Rouse winning the ball as she goes in to close Rai down inside the left channel as Sarah Jackson puts her diagonal ball into her. Derby pushing on Cambridge dropping off it is limited the latter’s chances to get the ball into their attackers, Bella Simmons and Stojko-Down having a lot of work to do as they try and get hold of the ball quickly closed down by Derby’s defenders, Charlotte Steggles reading the game at the back cutting those chances further.

Derby defender Charlotte Steggles

  Day on for Rai out on the left to the by-line her crossed whipped into the area, intercepted by Cheal-Ferris, before a 30 yard shot is charged down. The midway of the first half fast approaching Derby come forwards Sims playing a neat triangle with Ward and Ashton the ball crossed into the Cambridge box, Webb getting her gloves wrapped around the ball. Cambridge continue to work hard at the back, succeeding in slowing Derby’s tempo down.

  Stojko-Down getting the ball down for Cambridge inside the Derby half finds Simmons, she is closed down by Steggles, Cambridge have got players up to support as Kosky is played on down the right flank charging forwards her cross turned behind for a corner kick. An in swinging delivery from the right, Morgan is called into action getting up with her fist to turn the ball away from under her crossbar to drop beyond the far post Cambridge with a 2nd corner. 

 Derby with possession at the back Sarah Jackson on the left looking up playing the diagonal ball into the area looking t pick out Wilson getting forwards, Rouse looking to challenge in a packed box, the two come together Rouse knocked to the ground laying prone on the floor as the shot is stabbed forwards, strikes the defenders arm, the referee immediately pointing to the spot Penalty! Looked a harsh call little the defender could down about it her arm outstretched from the fall but the call has been made, an opportunity for Derby to take the lead from the spot.

 GOAL! Ashton placing the ball on the spot to take the penalty for Derby cool as you like, as she sends Webb the wrong way and smashes the rising back onto the left side of the goal to give her side the lead on the half hour 0-1.

Eleanor Ashton fires home the penalty

   The Derby pressure paying off a set back for Cambridge, battling for the ball can’t make it stick up top. Sarah Jackson up on the right the ball on for Sims pulling wide , Abbie Jackson intercepting well for Cambridge. Fox getting the ball on for Kosky bursting down the right for Cambridge, Jenkins defending for Derby. Cambridge with a throw in the right played inside to Cobb turning to attack the area left of the D, her shot charged down, the loose ball coming to Ward on the right gets Derby on the move with a rapid counter forwards for Ashton to flash a cross into the Cambridge six yard box, Joyce looking to meet it just evades her head as races wide to be cleared by Rouse on the far side.

Emily Joyce

  Sims lively with the ball at her feet in the heart of the action for Derby seeing the ball into her 20 yards out looks to roll her marker track inside to shoot, Cheal-Ferris staying on her well to win the tackle for Cambridge. Rai picking up the first yellow card of the game as she brings down Rouse. Abbie Jackson on the free-kick played up the right drops for Fox to strike on the angle a vicious effort that races past the far post. 

  Ashton driving on through the middle with the ball, is stopped by Abbie Jackson. A change for Derby, Day having received treatment coming off in the 44th minute to be replaced by Marli Rhodes-Andrews. 

 GOAL! Derby looking to finish the first half strong attacking down the right another neat triangle between Sims, Ward and Ashton the latter pushing down the wing firing a low driven cross into the six yard box, goalkeeper Webb down sharply looking to stop it, but can’t get hold of it palming it out beyond her to the left, it’s Sims racing into the area who is first to it turning the ball into the back of the net to double Derby’s lead 0-2.

Captain, Amy Sims firing Derby into a 2-0 lead

  Into first half stoppage tie Edgar finds Stojko-Down who sends the pass on for Simmons pushing into the right channel, the Derby defence back en masse to force her off the ball. Launch a counter attack the ball played out to Ward on the right her ball into the area defended by Abbie Jackson under pressure from Ashton, gets it back to her keeper to clear.

  Half-time Cambridge United Women 0-2 Derby County Women

  A blow for Cambridge conceding a 2nd goal so late in the first half, no more than Derby deserve however for all their attacking play. Creating numerous chances putting the Cambridge back line under pressure. Still having worked so hard at the back Cambridge will fell hard down by conceding a harsh penalty, Derby getting a 2 goal cushion will need to come out more in the 2nd half if they want to get back into the game, that will open up further gaps for Derby to exploit. 

  A presentation at half-time for Derby County Women’s Reserves side winning the FAWNL Reserve Midland Division. going the entire season unbeaten in the league a tremendous achievement, well done to all. 

  Derby to get the 2nd half under way, no changes for either side, Rhodes-Andrews a late substitute for Derby in the first half. Cambridge looking to press the defence Derby break forwards Sims playing the ball on for Sarah Jackson to bomb forwards her cross, intercepted by Edgar for Cambridge. 

Fox up on the right with Kosky gets the ball out to her, looking to receive the return ball in behind, Steggles defends for Derby. Cambridge showing more attacking intent at the start of the 2nd period, Rouse winning the ball high on for Kosky with Simmons puling wide looking to attack the corner, Jenkins tackling for Derby conceding the throw in. 

Camille Jenkins

 A more open feel to the 2nd half Cambridge getting on down their left the early cross, cut out by Jenkins in the Derby defence. Rai taking the ball inside with a forceful run before getting up ended taking a knock in the process. Ashton picked out on Derby’s right taking the ball on cutting the cross back to Wilson positioned top of the area right of the D, opens up her body leaning into the shot, fires her effort wide of the left upright.

  Sims threatening to catch, Webb in possession in the box charging her kick down, the ball looping up into the air though favours the goalkeeper as Webb can turn see it safely down into her gloves. 

Cambridge’s Ruth Fox

  Fox getting hold of the ball for Cambridge pushing on before being fouled on the left 30 yards out. Curled into the box across the penalty area, both Simmons and Abbie Jackson making a move for it, a raised flag from the official halting the attack. Cambridge seeing more of the ball now, that though has opened things up Derby looking for the right opportunity to counter. 

 Fox into Kosky as Cambridge get on down the right, Simmons making a run for Kosky, Jenkins cutting the pass out at the back for Derby. Rhodes-Andrews playing the ball on for Rai her cross intercepted by Edgar for Cambridge. Fox and Kosky linking up well for Cambridge, keeping Jenkins busy for Derby as she cuts out another pass intended for Simmons. 

Cambridge’s Sammy Edgar

  Cobb goes into the book after an over zealous challenge on Rai. Cambridge making a change in the 50th minute, bringing off Simmons, send on Harley-Jean Simpson. Rai taking the ball inside her pass over hit. Sims sends it out to Sarah Jackson free out right, laying the ball on down the line for Sims to attack, races after it but can only succeed in keeping it in play, the Cambridge defence clearing.

Sarah Jackson

  Marden getting onto the ball up the left for Cambridge attempting to thread the pass into the box for Simpson to attack, Morgan saving getting down to grab the ball before Simpson can pounce.

  Sims on the ball running infield for Derby playing a one two with Ward looking for the return ball inside the box, Webb down to claim it at her feet for Cambridge. Cobb with Edgar the ball played up to Stojko-Down inside the box, can’t quite feet as she is closed down, Morgan rushing onto the loose ball before Simpson can get there. 

 Derby making their 2nd change bringing on Helena Meadows to replace Rai. Rhodes-Andrews taking the ball on moving central left to right before unleashing a shot from 25 yards out her attempt fired wide of the left post. Derby winning a free-kick out wide right the delivery from Sarah Jackson fired into the near post, attacked well by Sims, heading her effort into the ground it bounces wide of the mark. 

Derby’s Marli Rhodes-Andrews

 20 minutes left to play the game remains at 2-0, derby looking to finish Cambridge off, Cambridge in turn looking for a goal to get themselves back into the match. Sims lining up a strike from all of 30 yards, put straight at Webb. Edgar winning the ball for Cambridge sending Fox on down the left, knocking the ball on her touch a little heavy giving Sarah Jackson the time needed to stretch and put the ball out for a throw.

Cambridge’s Rachel Kosky

  Cambridge from the throw working a cross into the six yard box, intercepted by Jenkins a vital touch with Simpson lurking ready to attack it. Kosky playing the ball on for Cobb coming to support on the right forwards for Simpson in attack, Jenkins cutting the pass out for Derby. looks to carry the ball out from the back forwards up to Ward, up the left, Rouse in to defend for Cambridge the ball out for a throw.

  Derby making another change bringing off Ashton, sending on Isabel Sheridan as the game moves into the last 15 minutes. Meadows attacking on the right with the ball for Derby her cross defended turned behind for a corner.  A dangerous delivery curled in on goal Webb saving well getting a glove on the ball to turn it onto the roof of her net for a 2nd corner. Again played in from the right, Webb up well with a confident claim.

Lauren Webb up to make the save for Cambridge

  Fox taking the ball on for Cambridge looking for Stojko-Down with the pass into the channel, Joyce intercepts for Derby. Simpson takes a blow as she and Sims come together in the middle. Needing lengthy treatment she is unable to continue, Cambridge bringing on Gisela Otten, with a little over 5 minutes plus stoppages left to play. Play resuming Rouse on the left forwards for Fox, Jenkins in to win the ball back for Derby. Ward on the left pulling wide for Derby delivering a cross into the box, cleared by Abbie Jackson.

  GOAL! And what a goal too! Derby on the attack the ball on the right coming into Joyce all of 30 yards out to the right of the area, hits an absolute thunderbolt rifling her shot past the diving Webb into the top corner, a beauty of a strike and doesn’t Joyce know it as she screams in celebration her goal sealing the win for Derby 0-3! Joyce’s first goal of the season too!

Derby celebrate as Emily Joyce makes it 3-0 with a beautiful strike

 Cambridge respond with a change bringing on Charlotte Gillies to replace Marden. Otten sends the ball forwards up to Stojko-Down puling to the right strikes it on the half volley the ball taking a nick off a defenders boot landing on the roof of the net a corner awarded. Curled in from the right under the bar, Morgan gets a glove up to punch in away to the left inadvertently catching her own player in the face in the process, play stopped but everything’s OK.

 Into added time Derby with a free-kick forwards to Ward on the left drives on before blasting her angled shot into the side netting. Derby bringing on Eve Shepperd late on to replace Sarah Jackson. Winning a free-kick 30 yards out. Rhodes-Andrews has to crack on goal her shot curled wide.

derby keeping the ball well in the latter stages Ward sending Jenkins on on the overlap down the left the cross, cleared by Edgar for Cambridge. The final whistle blows and it’s Derby celebrating winning their first national trophy.

Full time Cambridge United Women 0-3 Derby County Women 

  A strong performance from Derby to see them win the FAWNL Plate beating Cambridge 3-0 in the finish a thunderbolt from Emily Joyce sealing the victory after a powerful first half attack saw them leading 2-0 at the break. Cambridge working hard all through the first half to keep Derby at bay needed to come out and attack more 2nd half, the game opened up and chances fell to both sides. Cambridge couldn’t find the goal to haul themselves back into it, but can nevertheless be proud of their performance and having reached their first national final themselves should make them hungry for more. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. As is more often the case than not is a tough call and I am going to disagree with the PoM on the day. But that is the advantage of writing copious notes. Of course a few performances to mention first. For Cambridge, Abbie Jackson was the standout player wearing the captains armband rose to the challenge making several vital tackles and interceptions at the back. Rachel Kosky looked to get on down the right create opportunities. Ruth Fox with some useful attacking runs came close to finding a goal. The team as a whole battled hard throughout. Derby came on at will at times, but had to remain cautious in defence, Camille Jenkins won a fair share of her challenges and proved difficult to get through. Kira Rai was a threat down the left getting in some dangerous crosses. Emelia Wilson with some excellent midfield runs get into some great positions. Sarah Jackson used the ball well playing some useful balls into the box. Emily Joyce with a strong performance in the middle, scored a wonderful goal. The award though goes to Derby’s captain. Amy Sims drove her team forwards on a number of occasions, bringing the ball on through the middle or linking up out wide to set up opportunities for herself and others inside the box.

 Congratulations to Derby County Women on winning this season’s FAWNL Plate.


2023/24 FAWNL Plate winners Derby County Women

  An enjoyable trip to Manchester, an entertaining final. My thanks to the FAWNL staff and staff at FC United of Manchester for all there hospitality and assistance this afternoon. Much appreciated as always. The finals come thick and fast now off to Suffolk on Friday evening before a cup double from Cambridgeshire next weekend, best time of the season though.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Chelmsford City Women v Colchester United Women

Sunday 14th April

Essex Women’s League Cup

A road trip down into Essex this Sunday to take on one of the semi-finals from this season’s Essex Women’s League Cup with Premier Division leaders, Chelmsford City Women taking on the leaders of Division Two, newcomers Colchester United Women.

An intriguing line-up in the last 4 of the League Cup with just one Premier Division side left along with the league leaders of Division One and Two and Sudbury Sports Women also new to the league this season 2nd in Division Two away to Southminster United Ladies top of Division one and aiming to go one better than last season where they finished runners-up in the competition. 

 Chelmsford City Women won the League Cup in 2022 as they narrowly missed out on the Premier Division title. Have always been up and around the top of the league but frustratingly not quite win the title, the long standing ambition for the club, Chelmsford are in a strong position this time around to go all the way leading the Premier Division table by 7 points with 4 games left to play. A league and cup double very much on the cards however they face a strong test today in their semi-final. 

Welcoming back players from injury and making some additions to the squad Chelmsford have lost just the one league game so far this season, winning 11 of their 14 matches. Jay Blackie a prominent new addition to the side brings a wealth of experience to the side having played in the FAWNL. Is top scorer so far this season with 12 goals from 14 appearances. With Kaci Crook scoring 8 and Ellie Dopson on 7 goals. Recently welcomed back captain, Gaby Freedman from a long term injury, in part documented in a new film released recently on You Tube called False9 revealing a portrait of what a women’s football club at grassroots level goes through just to play the game they love. Well worth a watch can be viewed at the following link :- 

Colchester welcome back a women’s football side having featured in the ERWFL before the women’s side is now fully part of the Colchester United family and looking to become a force within Essex once more. Have certainly made an impact with big ambitions have built up a strong squad bringing in players with plenty of experience playing at regional level and beyond along with a crop of talented youngsters. Entering the league in Division Two have certainly proved that by winning all of their league matches to date 15 from and scoring plenty of goals along the way.

  A goal difference of 110 tells it’s own story have yet to concede double figures with no less than 8 players into double figures for the season. Ruby Greenleaf clear at the top as leading goal scorer netting 23 goals so far from 12 games. Ella Cahill has 17 from her 14 appearances with, Emily Agar, Kenza Chieowit-Munns, Hayleigh Jenkins, Ruby Vinton, Niamh Gamble and Lindsey Morgan the others into double digits. A league and cup double also within their sights have knocked out two other sides from the Premier Division on route to the semi-finals.

 The Melbourne Stadium the venue for today’s semi-final, home of Chelmsford City FC along with the Chelmsford Sports and Athletics centre, the grass pitch surrounded by a running track with a large seated stand on one side with seating opposite and viewing behind the goals. The clubhouse and function room leading into the stadium with a bar offering hot food and drinks. At long last a rather nice pleasant day for football with no rain around, nor the wind that persisted last weekend. Bright and sunny.

Chelmsford City Women

 Chelmsford City Women starting XI – Hannah Streetley, Kaylee Shurety, Shannon Kelly, Brogan Lambert, Mia Brisley, Rosie Coe (C), Helen Alder, Jay Blackie, Ellie Dopson, Kaci Crook & Broghan Kelly. Subs – Holly Richards Beth Morrell, Georgia Sleep, Emma Rushen & Michaela Iley. 

Colchester United Women

 Colchester United Women starting XI – Jamie Newstead, Sophie Farrow, Karys Paton, Deben Howlett, Niamh Gamble, Cassie Craddock-Ball (C), Thalia Adams, Emily Ager, Ruby Vinton, Lindsey Morgan & Ella Cahill. Subs – Ruby Greenleaf, Hayleigh Jenkins, Rosa Devall, Leah Pope & Jodie Morgan.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

Captain’s Cassie Craddock-Ball and Rosie Coe with today’s match officials

  It’s the visitors Colchester to get today’s semi-final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing yellow coloured shirts with blue shorts and blue and yellow hooped socks, with Chelmsford lined up opposite in their all claret strip. The ball played back into the defence as Chelmsford rush forward to press the ball played from right to left across the ball, Sophie Farrow’s ball forwards charged down out of play for a throw in.

  Chelmsford pressing early on looking to get after the ball in the final 3rd Broghan Kelly in attack hooking the ball forwards, for Kaci Crook to attack racing on to the by-line forces Colchester into clearing for a throw in the corner, to the left the cross driven in behind at the near post. 

Chelmsford’s Broghan Kelly with Colchester’s Thalia Adams

  Broghan Kelly looking to hold the ball up high on the left is bundled over, giving the hosts a free-kick. Players up into the area as Mia Brisley prepares to play the ball, floated in beyond the far post knocked down  back into the six yard box, Colchester goalkeeper, Jamie Newstead able to gather cleanly, unopposed.

  Chelmsford captain Rosie Coe winning the ball in the middle, linking up with Jay Blackie the ball fed out to the right for Ellie Dopson to attack, racing up the wing her low cross is cut out by Niamh Gamble at the back for Colchester. Competitive in the middle, Colchester captain Cassie Craddock-Ball combining with Thalia Adams bringing the ball on the diagonal ball finding Ruby Vinton on the move down the left flank her early cross into the area intercepted by Brisley. 

Colchester captain, Cassie Craddock-Ball

 Helen Alder getting hold of the ball in the final third for Chelmsford through the middle looking to play Crook on right channel, Gamble getting her foot on the ball. Vinton powering down the left wing for Colchester taking the ball to the by-line, Chelmsford’s Brogan Lambert tracking back to defend preventing the cross forcing Vinton back up the line to attempt to angle a cross into the box, her effort catching Lindsey Morgan straying offside through the middle.

  Vinton looking to cause Chelmsford issues out on the left wing taking the ball on checks inside, Brisley stepping out of the back line to close her down. Alder, Coe and Blackie with a slick move through the middle for Chelmsford the ball passed forwards to Dopson on the right, Farrow putting in the challenge for Colchester to deny the cross.

  The game played at a quick tempo a good contest shaping up, Chelmsford wining the ball high on the left, Broghan Kelly holding it up as Alder moves left the pair attempting a one two, Kelly’s return ball into the box a little too strong Newstead out of her six yard box to gather. 

Chelmsford’s Helen Alder

 GOAL! Colchester’s turn to press the ball in the final third, Emily Ager on the right closing down Shannon Kelly as she looks to bring the ball forwards, Ager stealing the ball nipping inside threading a perfect pass into Ella Cahill inside the D back to goal turns well left of goal and inside the area slots her shot under the advancing keeper into the back of the net to put the visitors into the lead 0-1. 

Ella Cahill opens the scoring for Colchester

 Colchester into the lead just past the 15 minute mark, win the ball back from the restart, Morgan getting onto the ball through the middle laying it on for Cahill, Brisley quickly in to close the attacker down. Chelmsford winning a free-kick out wide on the right, sent into the box from the angle, is a straight forward catch for Newstead. 

GOAL! Chelmsford quickly back on level terms with a goal from back to front as goalkeeper Hannah Streetley plays the ball up into midfield, Adler in space brings it down well and quickly releases it forwards into the path of Crook breaking into the right channel 20 yards out lifts the ball over the keeper as she comes rushing out to equalise 1-1.

Kaci Crook celebrating the equaliser for Chelmsford

  Colchester making a change, Farrow picking up an injury needing to come off for treatment, replaced by Leah Pope. Brisley coming across to the right of her defence to deal with Vinton as she gets in behind on the wing. Broghan Kelly getting hold of the ball moving left 25 yards out turns and let’s fly, her shot blocked by Colchester’s Karys Paton. Brisley hauls down Cahill on halfway presenting Colchester with a free-kick, a teasing ball played into the area, Dopson taking no chances conceding the corner kick Fired in towards the near post, Streetley stooping amongst bodies taking a knock in the process punching the ball clear. After being checked over is alright to continue.

Chelmsford goalkeeper Hannah Streetley

   Alder covering a lot of ground for Chelmsford in the middle getting out to the left looking to curl a cross into the area, cleared by Howlett for Colchester. Morgan in possession in the right corner for Colchester looks for the corner and gets it. Played in across the top of the area, Coe wins the header for Chelmsford the ball cleared up field the hosts looking to launch a quick counter, Pope preventing it at the back for the visitors.

  Shannon Kelly taking the ball on up the left for Chelmsford has support with Broghan Kelly and Alder showing for the ball into Broghan Kelly sends it on for Alder out wide, Paton moving in to defend for Colchester the ball sent out for a throw in. In the corner dropped into Broghan Kelly put back into Shannon Kelly to cross her looping ball played into the area, Dopson can’t get any control on her header knocked up into the area, Howlett putting it clear.

  The visitors spring a counter attack the ball from Morgan out to Vinton up on the left has Cahill with her, Brisley closing the latter down to intercept the ball. Chelmsford content to play a high line at time, works as they catch Morgan straying offside as Cahill looks to play her on. Gamble winning the ball well at the back for Colchester driving forwards into the midfield before attempting to thread it through the defence, Cahill though caught offside.

Colchester’s Lindsey Morgan

  Pretty even both sides competing for the ball looking to get on in attack. Broghan Kelly putting herself about up top for Chelmsford charging down the ball, but can’t keep the rebound in play. Blackie sending the header on for Broghan Kelly to attack racing after it towards the top of the area, Newstead out quickly alert to the threat clearing the ball. A nasty clash of heads between Howlett and Broghan Kelly as they jump for the ball. Both groggy for a moment time taken to see they are okay before the game can continue. 

  Gamble playing the ball out for Vinton wide on the left for Colchester fires the pass inside to Cahill left of the D, closely marked turns to play the ball across the top of the area into Morgan, no shot on lays to back to Paton coming on into space on the right, the full back clipping a looping ball back into the area. Streetley comfortable taking the catch on the bounce.

Colchester defender, Karys Paton

  Craddock-Ball putting the ball on for Pope who sends it forwards for Cahill to attack, Streetley racing out of her box, her clearance sliced out to the right Ager collecting it for a moment the goal is exposed but as Chelmsford quickly regroup at the ball the option isn’t taken instead Ager has Morgan pulling wide right giving her the ball Morgan ends her cross/shot racing wide of the far post. 

 Colchester with a burst late in the first half Morgan flicking the ball on for Ager, right Shannon Kelly defending for Chelmsford. The hosts with a free-kick in the closing stages of the first half Brisley over it wide on the right, not a bad effort her strike over the bar.

Half-time Chelmsford City Women 1-1 Colchester United Women

  All square at the break as Colchester head back into the changing roos, Chelmsford opting to stay out on the pitch for their half-time team talk. All in all a pretty eve contest, both sides competing for the ball, looking to get it forwards use the wide areas run at the defence. Chelmsford making a strong start before Colchester grew into the game and broke forwards to take the lead just past the quarter hour mark. Chelmsford with a quick reply getting the ball on quickly to score the equaliser. Chances few between both sides working hard at the back to limit balls into the area, beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

  Chelmsford making a change at the start of the 2nd half Beth Morrell coming on at the back to replace Lambert. Colchester unchanged as the hosts get proceedings underway in the 2nd period. The ball fed out to the right early on won well by Colchester’s Pope. Broghan Kelly moving out to the right to receive the ball fouled b Gamble 3 yards out. Picks herself up to take the free-kick herself, played into the top of the area, Chelmsford see a couple of shots blocked before the ball pops up to Blackie right of the D, looks to power her header on into towards goal, Newstead can claim it before any runner can interfere. 

  Chelmsford aiming to make a strong start to the 2nd half impose themselves on the game, Blackie and Alder in to win the ball, Kelly playing a cross into the six yard box, Newstead grabbing hold of the ball before Crook can pounce. 

Lindsey Morgan with Kaylee Shurety

 Morgan getting about the pitch looking to influence the game for Colchester in the final third moving to the wide her initial cross cut out by Brisley, comes back to her has Cahill in support feeding her the ball Cahill brings her side a corner kick. Played in to the top of the area comes back to Craddock-Ball 25 yards out right of the D, strikes the ball, a venomous strike over the crossbar… but not by much!

Chelmsford’s Beth Morrell

  Pope bringing the ball on for Colchester forwards into Vinton, powering on up the left whipping a cross in close to goal, Streetley getting down well to claim back on her line. Morgan and Blackie are two experienced campaigners one teammates know each others game well, getting stuck into the task of winning the ball, Blackie feeling it as the pair clash but no harm done.

Colchester’s Emily Ager


  Morrell getting her foot in to take the ball off Vinton’s toes as the winger looks to drive forwards on the flank. Very competitive both sides up for it

GOAL! Both sides pushing for a goal, Colchester attack on the left Morgan up with Vinton to close the ball down Vinton setting Morgan on her way wide in behind the defence, unable to close her down the cross is fired in across the six yard box, Streetley can’t quite reach it as it skips through to Cahill chasing in at the far post to attack the ball and put in over the line from close range 1-2.

Ella Cahill with her 2nd of the game putting Colchester back into the lead her teammates celebrating acknowledging the cross from Morgan

  Colchester back into the lead on 58 minutes. A blow for Chelmsford falling behind once again, straight on thee attack a burst of pace from Broghan Kelly on the right side checking inside from 25 yards out to curl and effort in on goal, caught well just evades the top corner as it flashes wide. 

Chelmsford striker, Broghan Kelly

  Chelmsford up on the left the ball running back for Blackie to strike on the angle, all of 30 yards out the strike racing wide past the far post. The game opening up Adams playing the ball out to Vinton on the move up the left wing her cross squared in along the top of the Chelmsford area Cahill looking to roll it on for Ager attacking right, Shannon Kelly making the tackle for the hosts.

Chelmsford’s Shannon Kelly

  Vinton with a give and go with Cahill as the attacker breaks out to the left Vinton driving in central looking for the return ball, Coe back to intercept and clear the threat for Chelmsford. A change at the back for Colchester with Paton coming off, Farrow returning to the action sees Pope switch over to the right of defence. Coe heading the ball on for Blackie through the centre attempts to play Broghan Kelly in behind, the attacker just straying offside as the Colchester defence holds it’s line.

  Vinton bursting away on the left crossing into the area aiming for Cahill, cut out by Morrell, the hosts launching a rapid counter, Crook caught offside, end to end now. Blackie picking up a card as she fouls Morgan, the free-kick on halfway launched up into the area headed away by Shannon Kelly. Chelmsford pressing on the right Shurety up with Broghan Kelly and Dopson, Gamble across to defend help out Farrow. 

 Colchester making another change bringing on their top scorer, Ruby Greenleaf replacing Ager. Blackie getting forwards on the right for Chelmsford top of the area putting the ball on for Broghan Kelly at the near post gets up to head the ball down into the six yard area, Newstead on the stretch able to get hold of it before Kelly can capitalise.

Colchester goalkeeper, Jamie Newstead

 Colchester pushed back in defence at times inviting Chelmsford on, the hosts attacking left Blackie up with Broghan Kelly and Crook the cross lifted into the area defended by Howlett. Blackie pushing on the pass into Shurety coming on right side dinks the ball in towards the top of the area, Broghan Kelly heading it on in towards the near post, Newstead snatching it into her gloves before Dopson can attack it.

Ruby Vinton

  Chelmsford making a switch sending on Emma Rushen in place of Dopson as they look to find an equaliser with the clock ticking down. Winning a corner on the left Chelmsford send players forwards played in towards Broghan Kelly top of the area gets up well to head the ball, her attempt blocked at close quarters rebounds to Shannon Kelly put back on to the left she wins throw in the corner. Colchester determined at the back to defend their advantage.

Mia Brisley coming forwards for Chelmsford

 With Chelmsford pushing on they are leaving space at the back, Vinton the outlet looking to take full advantage sending a diagonal ball inside for Cahill to race after in behind the defence, Streetley comes a long way out of her area just about getting there her clearance slicing away to the right for a throw. Chelmsford a little rushed in their attacks need to settle down. Brisley out on the left flashing a shot wide across goal.

Thalia Adams

  Shurety coming off for Chelmsford with Dopson adding to the attacking options back on. Winning a corner out on the right swung in towards the near post defended by Colchester’s, Farrow. Comes back to Brisley out wide curls the ball back in onto the roof of the net. Blackie joining the attack on a more regular basis now pushed up on the left her cross into the six yard box collected by Newstead. 

Chelmsford’s Jay Blackie

  Morrell lunging in with the challenge winning the ball back off Vinton on the left the hosts quickly countering the ball played cross the park to the left the attempted cross won by Howlett. Vinton brought down by Morrell this time as she gets hold of the ball on the left, the visitors with a free-kick 25 yards out on the angle. Morgan over the ball as Chelmsford set their wall. Morgan sending her strike up over it towards goal, however Streetley is well placed to accept the catch.

  Chelmsford pushing on Blackie to Broghan Kelly wide left the cross into the area won by Gamble. The visitors fighting at the back. The counter attack on as a free-kick is played up to Vinton up top 20 yards out right of the D turns to shoot placing the ball wide of the left post, took a nick off a defender though a corner awarded. From the left into the mix Chelmsford defend. Into stoppage time Chelmsford find Broghan Kelly peeling clear on the right, her cross into the area not finding a teammate, Colchester defending deep. 

 Chelmsford throwing everything forwards have a throw high on the left, stabbed on into the box, struck clear by Howlett. Morgan flagged offside as she looks to break free off a Greenleaf pass. Colchester with the ball up the other end with moments to spare winning a corner, keeping Chelmsford away from their goal as the final whistle blows and they celebrate reaching the League Cup final in their maiden season.

Colchester celebrate reaching the League Cup final

Full time Chelmsford City Women 1-2 Colchester United Women 

Chelmsford captain Rosie Coe getting the ball away as Colchester’s Ruby Vinton comes to try and block

  A brace from Ella Cahill, seeing Colchester over come Chelmsford to book their place in this season’s League Cup final. The scores all square at 1-1 at the break. Chelmsford looked to impose themselves on the game in the 2nd half but Colchester were determined working hard at the back, breaking forwards to get themselves back in front and despite a strong push from Chelmsford to get back on level terms the visitors defence held firm defending their box their forwards ready to take advantage of any openings up top. Colchester will now face Southminster United Ladies who are aiming for a league and cup double themselves after they reached their 2nd successive league cup final beating Sudbury Sports Women 2-1. Chelmsford will be thoroughly disappointed at not reaching the final but still have the league title to aim for and are determined to win it.  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. After 3 weeks of having a clear contender it’s another tough call today with two players vying for the award. A few performances of note to mention first of course. For Chelmsford , Mia Brisley was strong in defence winning several important tackles and got the ball moving well. Jay Blackie battling for possession in the middle and pushing on late on to try and get her side back into the game. Helen Alder with some useful balls and movement in the middle linking up with the attack Broghan Kelly working hard throughout to to create openings up top getting about the pitch to receive the ball. For Colchester, Deben Howlett was a solid at the back winning everything. Ella Cahill scoring both goals make some great attacking runs took her chances well. Ruby Vinton was a ready outlet on the left during the entire 90 minutes causing Chelmsford issues throughout taking the ball forwards and looking to set up chances and score. Is narrow edged out by Lindsey Morgan who used her experience and skill on the ball to get about the pitch using the space well in the final third and create openings for herself and her teammates throughout.

 First time I’ve managed to get down to the Melbourne Stadium to see Chelmsford at home and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, one of my favourite stadiums now I think (and I’ve been to a few) a good atmosphere, and entertaining contest. My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams today as always much appreciated. 

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Real Bedford Ladies v Haringey Borough Women

Sunday 7th April

ERWFL Premier Division

Into the final 2 months of the season, crucial games up and down the league tables, teams battling for titles and promotion. And it’s a top of the table clash this Sunday on Women’s Football East, from the ERWFL Premier Division with a trip to Bedfordshire to watch, leaders Real Bedford Ladies, looking strong at the top in  their debut season under their new banner with a 100% taking on 2nd placed Haringey Borough Women.

The ERWFL Premier Division representing tier 5 of the women’s football pyramid in the east of England. An extremely difficult league to get out of with only one promotion spot as champions offered. Success earning the title winners a place in the FAWNL. Both today’s opponents having had a brief taste of life in the 4th tier.

Real Bedford Ladies formerly known as Bedford Ladies a long established side in the ERWFL. Moving to neighbouring Real Bedford the season prior adopting the name this season. The change seeing the senior women’s side bringing in a host of new players with plenty of experience in the ERWFL and the FAWNL above as they look to fulfil some very ambitious plans to progress up the pyramid. Initially under new manager Dean Perrett, has since departed with Georgia Clarke taking over the role. Not altering Real Bedford’s form one bit sitting 7 points clear at the top with a perfect record winning all 15league games so far.

In fact their only loss so far this season was at home to tier 3 Billericay Town Women in the FA Women’s Cup, (the one game I covered for WF East) that aside have also reached the finals of both the ERWFL League Cup and Bedfordshire Women’s County Cup where they will play Wroxham Women and AFC Dunstable Women respectfully. Have scored plenty of goals too with over a hundred shared amongst 15 different scorers. Top of the charts a Bedford legend, Natasha Fensome always prolific in front of goal bagging herself 29 so far from 22 appearances. 2nd and 3rd are new signings, Gemma Croucher and Francesca Partridge on 18 and 17 a piece with Neve Mayes scoring 13 and Chloe martin also into double figures.

Looking to end Real Bedford’s 100% are today’s visitors Haringey Borough Women, a run of 5 straight league wins powering them up into 2nd spot, have been amongst the sides looking to chase down the leaders all season. Are another of the most established clubs in the ERWFL, know what it takes to win the title and promotion to the FAWNL having done it back in 2017. There stay brief the North London club is back up there challenging at the top and will fancy their chances today having narrowly lost 3-2 in the reverse figure at the start of the year.

Haringey like Real Bedford have plenty of goals throughout the side with 12 different scorers this season. Bringing through another group of young talented players. Victoria Campbell leading the way with 22 to her name from 20 appearances. Ronnell Humes has found the back of the net for 15 goals with Kylie Manktelow also into double figures on 12 for the season. Have played 3 games more than Real Bedford and would need a lot to go their way to pip them to the title but nevertheless are will placed for a top three finish

McMullin Park the venue for this afternoon, ERWFL Premier Division match, just off the A421, parking leading into the ground itself, the clubhouse and bar by the entrance serving hot food and drinks. The stadium beyond a small seated stand beside a large grass pitch in great condition bearing in mind all the wet weather recently. A bright sunny day with a strong wind blowing across the pitch from one goal to the other. The teams walling out onto the pitch Real Bedford with today’s mascots.

Real Bedford Ladies

Real Bedford Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson (C), Amy Reed, Lisa Milliken, Gemma Franklin, Georgie Giddings, Erin Price, Gemma Croucher Amber Smith, Chloe Martin, Francesca Partridge & Natasha Fensome. Subs – Zara Carroll, Neve Mayes, Sophie Billing, Sophie Mulvihill & Lauren Coppin.

Haringey Borough Women

Haringey Borough Women starting XI – Liamara Hensel-Burg, Lexi Wade, Lola Shack, Chloe Ions, Summer Young, Rimini Lowe, Emily Pickard, Kylie Manktelow, Ronnell Humes (C), Jada Pollendine & Marta Boabonay. Subs – Victoria Campbell, Amy Hayes & Lillian Hart.

(roll on roll off substitutes) 

  Haringey with the wind at their backs in the 1st half taking the kick-off wearing their away colours green shirts and socks with black shorts. Bedford lined up opposite wearing  light orange coloured shirts with black shoulders, black shorts and socks. The ball rolled back to Kylie Manktelow in midfield she clips it long out to the right for Marta Boabonay to chase, too strong the ball carrying through to Bedford goalkeeper and captain, Sarah Hudson.

An early change for Haringey the switch made seeing Jada Pollendine coming off up top, Victoria Campbell sent on. Erin Price getting hold of the ball in the middle for Bedford laying the pass forwards for Natasha Fensome play switched out to the left with Chloe Martin on the move, Lexi Wade getting back at her to defend for Haringey prevent the cross from coming into the box.

Bedford looking to get the ball into the channels, Price on for Amber Smith away on the right, Emily Pickard tracking back with her sliding in to charge down her cross, deflect the ball behind for the corner kick. Lisa Milliken coming forwards to take the corner on the right, fired in deep towards the far post, Martin getting up to head the ball turns her effort wide of the left post.

Bedford with a lively start, Gemma Franklin with a strong challenge at the back to regain possession forwards into midfield for Gemma Croucher has Price with her laying the ball off Price sweeps the pass wide out to the left wing, Martin on the move getting hold of the ball whipping a cross into the six yard box, Fensome there under the ball, puts her header over the crossbar.

Haringey battling for the ball in the middle of the park, Manktelow forwards for Campbell looking to pull off the defence into the right channel, Franklin throwing a leg out to intercept the ball turning it out for a throw. Haringey working the ball down the line bringing themselves a corner kick. Chloe Ions to swing the delivery in across goal headed back out to the right side Ions on it up the line for Haringey captain, Ronnell Humes on the angle 30 yards out smashes a ball in across to the far post, defended by Amy Reed for Bedford before being knocked out of play for a goal kick.

Amy Reed wins the ball for Bedford

A busy start to the game both sides looking to be positive get the ball moving forwards as quickly as possible. Fensome gathering the ball into her feet with a driving run through the middle sending the ball on for Francesca Partridge up top pulling into the left channel, Summer Young getting in the tackle at the back for Haringey.

Erin Price with Haringey’s Kylie Manktelow

The visitors winning a free-kick inside the Bedford half the ball launched into the box, headed clear by the Bedford defence falls straight to Manktelow 25 yards out chips the ball back in towards goal on the half volley, straight at the keeper, Hudson right behind it with a comfortable catch. Lola Shack playing the ball on for Boabonay peeling away to attack on the right strikes the ball on the angle low and fast towards the near post Hudson has the angle covered.

Haringey attacker, Marta Boabonay

 GOAL! Just past the quarter hour mark and Haringey take the lead, the ball played up to Humes pressing Reed in possession wide getting hold of the ball, turning inside 30 yards out, Franklin coming to close her down the attacker takes the ball wide of her opening up the angle to shoot, puts her foot through the ball left of the D, I’m right behind it, it’s struck well, put the camera down as it looks in all the way whipping up over Hudson to drop into the back of the net 0-1.

Haringey captain, Ronnell Humes opening the scoring

Bedford looking for a quick response to falling behind the ball fed out to Martin racing on down the left wing her cross, bouncing into the six yard box, Smith looking to attack it far post, goalkeeper, Liamara Hansel-Burg called into action throwing herself across to make the blocking save. The visitors set off on the counter attack the ball lifted on for Humes to take forwards on the left, Reed defending for Bedford the ball rebounding back to Ions she opens up her body to fire a dangerous ball high in towards goal, wind assisted Hudson stretching to get to the falling ball back on her line does brilliantly to get her glove on the ball turn it behind for the corner kick.

Another vicious in swinger from Ions on the right drops at the far post the ball stabbed goal wards, Hudson down smartly on her line to get hold of it. End to end at times the game lively little time on the ball played forwards, Croucher out to Martin left winning a corner kick. Clipped in across the six yard box comes through to Price positioned beyond the far post heads the ball wide.

Bedford’s Georgie Giddings

Georgie Giddings on the ball for Bedford played on for Price to lay the diagonal pass out to Martin left side, tracking inside on the angle 20 yards out has an attempt on goal fires her shot straight into the arms for Hensel-Burg. Bedford regaining possession on through the middle Croucher passing the ball left for Martin to battle her way on down the line firing a cross into the six yards box, Partridge central can’t quite connect the ball not safe Haringey struggle to clear it, as Fensome takes a swing at it throws her arms up in frustration as the ball swerves wide of the right post.

Real Bedford striker, Natasha Fensome

Midway through the half, Haringey competing for everything, Rimini Lowe playing the ball into Manktelow who sends it up top for Campbell, back to goal 25 yards out looks to play Boabonay in behind on the right, Milliken with a vital interception for Bedford. Boabonay coming off then with Jada Pollendine returning to the action. Young tackling at the back to win the ball back for Haringey does well before being fouled trying to bring the ball away.

Humes playing on the right after the switch, the ball put out to her see’s her cross charged down for a corner. From the right another dangerous ball swung into the area, the crossbar struck, Bedford struggling to deal with the pace on the ball scramble it clear, look for the quick counter attack however the ball meant to release Fensome see’s her instead flagged for offside.

Haringey’s Rimini Lowe with Bedford’s Chloe Martin

Fensome turning on the ball threading the pass on into the right channel to release Smith charging forwards shoots on the angle power behind the rising ball, Hensel-Burg across to cover the angle palming the ball up into the air and claiming it. Haringey coming forwards Shack on for Ions left side looking for Pollendine in attack, Reed into challenge for Bedford, Ions after the loose ball her cross cut out by Giddings. Humes right channel looks to turn get in behind Franklin the defender getting back at her going to ground to block her cross turn the ball behind for the corner kick.

Gemma Franklin

GOAL! Haringey’s corners have caused Bedford problems all half and aided by the wind blowing towards there goal certainly favours Ions in swinging deliveries as she once again gets plenty of pace on the ball fired in across the face of goal, no one can get a touch but not needed as it whips inside the far post to see the visitors double their lead in the 31st minute 0-2.

Chloe Ions corner goes straight in

Chloe Ions celebrates her goal

A blow for Bedford as they restart the game attacking on the right Ions in to challenge Smith plays the ball up the line for Pollendine, tussling with Franklin for the ball, Bedford win it back played central into Fensome sweeps it out to Martin on the left, lifts her cross into the box, Partridge’s shot blocked the ball deflected behind for the corner. Swung into the box from the left Croucher looking to attack it central falls out towards Fensome positioned top of the area, slices her volley wide of the mark.

Shack with Ions on the left for Haringey the ball on for Pollendine checks inside looking to thread the ball in behind for Campbell making a central run, Franklin with a crucial cut out for Bedford at the back.

Bedford’s Amber Smith

Bedford mounting an attack Giddings to Partridge central plays it inside for Fensome 20 out puts the pass into the area with Croucher stealing in between the centre backs the flag going up against her straight away even as the ball runs past her on for Partridge coming round the back to send the ball home, the goal won’t stand.

GOAL! Ions is sent tumbling in midfield the free-kick awarded to Haringey inside the Bedford half, left of the centre circle. Lowe placing the ball on the ground the wind assisting anything the visitors play forwards, Lowe sets her stance before moving to strike the ball I’m right behind this one again and it’s a beauty of a strike heading for the top corner has Hudson in trouble as it drops late under the crossbar and Lowe celebrates her 5th of the season and Haringey’s 3rd 0-3.

Rimini Lowe with a beauty of a strike from nearly half way to put Haringey 3 up

Again Bedford are straight on the offensive from the restart the ball put on for Partridge powering into the left channel striking the ball on the half volley 25 yards out her effort saved confidently by Hensel-Burg. The hosts winning a throw high on the right Price getting the ball down for Smith, Shack tackling for Haringey. The Haringey defence battling for everything in to block crosses and close Bedford down in the final 3rd. Winning a free-kick wide left another opportunity to fire the ball in towards goal, whipped in on target, Hudson getting up well to deal with the threat.

GOAL! Into the closing stages of the first half Haringey getting on down the right, Humes taking the ball on her cross charged down turned behind for the corner. Ions to whip the ball in across the face of goal again, Campbell positioned at the far post getting her head onto the ball to send it over the line and extend the visitors lead 0-4.

Victoria Campbell heads home Haringey’s 4th

Half-time Real Bedford Ladies 0-4 Haringey Borough Women

Haringey’s Victoria Campbell putting the visitors 4 goals up at the break

Bedford head into the dressing room, with their 100% league record under serious threat, trailing 4-0, Haringey remain out on the field buzzing from their first half performance. An entertaining match with both sides looking to get forwards quickly both creating opportunities early on the opening goal on 17 minutes. Bedford looking for a quick reply forcing a save from the Haringey keeper, Hensel-Burg. The wind aiding Haringey going forwards took full advantage Bedford struggling to deal with their corners Ions in swinging delivery going straight in to make it 2-0, Campbell on the end of another delivery to make it 4 with a superb free-kick from Rimini Lowe in between. A tough task now for Bedford to get back into the match, but they have a side full of goals will be keen to pull an early goal back.

So much so they are out onto the pitch early for the 2nd half, Haringey excited to get going too, just one thing missing the officials and nothing can happen without them, half-time tea drunk the game is ready to restart. Bedford with a change, Zara Carroll on to replace Giddings in midfield. Bedford with the wind advantage in the 2nd half as they get thing’s underway the hosts looking to get on Croucher linking up with Price in the middle the ball out to Smith on the right dealt with.

Has been a physical game with some robust challenges, but between two sides who just get on with it. Bedford with a free-kick in midfield, Carroll on the pitch now a set piece specialist striking the ball up towards the box, Young heading it away for Haringey drops to Milliken 30 yards out on the left sends it back in on the angle, Hensel-Burg with a comfortable claim inside her six yard box.

Lisa Milliken looking to put Chloe Martin in to attack

Ions picking up a knock needs to have treatment, up and moving to the side lines is okay to play on. Price winning Bedford a free-kick on the right struck on the angle with pace the ball is driven wide past the far post. Bedford looking for an early goal to mount their fightback attacking down the left Fensome up with Martin the cross fired in with pace towards the near post Partridge racing in to attack it struck up against the crossbar and over, a corner signalled must have taken a nick off a defender. The corner curled onto the roof of the net.

Partridge taking the ball on up the left channel forcing Haringey into conceding the corner. From the left whipped in across the six yard box attacked beyond the far post turned wide. Pushing players on Haringey with their lead can sit back choose their moments to attack, Pickard winning it at the back on for Manktelow who picks out Pollendine on the move down the right breaking for the by-line looking to get into the area Milliken recovers to get back on her and put in the tackle, the ball launched clear.

Haringey’s Jada Pollendine

Fensome brought down as she attacks wide left on half way. Milliken to send the free-kick into the area swung in central looping over Fensome, Partridge rushing in at the far post, Hensel-Burg down smartly on her line stretching to smother the ball into her body.

Hensel-Burg called up as Bedford attack the ball out to Smith right fires a cross in to the far post looking for Fensome racing in to attack it, the keeper moving across to try and cover the angle as the ball lands just behind Fensome, Martin though is running into the area on the follow-up six yards out looks to smash the ball goal wards, her effort rising, Hensel-Burg gets up off the ground excellently to make herself big throwing her arms up to tip the ball over the bar.

It’s a scrappy game now Bedford putting the pressure on Haringey battling for everything at the back. Milliken left clips the ball forwards for Fensome, into the area too much to do as it runs safely through to Hensel-Burg. Fensome nipping into win the ball at the back sends it out to Martin wide on the left she lifts her high cross looping up into the six yard box dropping central, Hensel-Burg keeps her eye on it making the catch above her head not distracted by Croucher closing her down.

Smith running onto a diagonal ball played out to her on the right taking it on sees her cross blocked by Pickard for Haringey. The hosts winning a corner on the left fired into the near side defended by Campbell behind for another corner. Put into the mix the ball is cleared out to the right falling to Fensome on the angle strikes it back in towards goal, Hensel-Burg with another brilliant save to turn the ball over the bar for a corner out on the left.

 GOAL! The pressure tells with Bedford pulling a goal back past the hour the corner powered in across the six yard box coming to Price at the far post meets it well to drive her header back across the goal and over the line 1-4.

Erin Price pulling a goal back for Bedford

Bedford making a double change after the goal breaking on Sophie Billing and Neve Mayes to replace Martin and Partridge in attack. The ball won back in the middle played out to Fensome pulling into space wide left turns her marker to get in behind to cross the ball in central, Mayes on the spot closing it down, Hensel-Burg reacting sharply getting down to save block the ball on the line.

Neve Mayes

Young with a vital header at the back to clear Milliken’s diagonal ball aimed to Mayes pulling off the right channel. Time for a double switch from Haringey with Boabonay coming back on along with Amy Hayes replacing Pollendine and Campbell. Bedford attacking up the right the ball inside for Fensome, Wade closing her down making the tackle for Haringey. The clock ticking down, Haringey working hard, frustrating Bedford as they look to get the ball forwards. Lowe on the end of a strong challenge up ended as she looks to take the ball forwards for the visitors.

Hensel-Burg saving for Haringey again getting down to hold onto the ball as Fensome steals possession back left corner of the area to fire a shot in low on the angle. Franklin at the back for Bedford getting back t tackle Humes as she looks to break in behind down the left, the ball back to Carroll, lifts it forwards towards Billings, Manktelow closing her down for Haringey.

Humes marauding forwards down the left flank for Haringey, Franklin stretching dives in to make the tackle send the ball behind for the corner. A change before the corner for the visitors Shack coming off, Lillian Hart sent on moving up into the box. Swung in across the area, Reed defending getting her head on it Hudson catching the ball looking to get her side moving.

Lauren Coppin coming on for Bedford replacing Smith on the right side of attack. Haringey scrapping for ball winning it back central looking for Humes bursting down the left, too much for her to do this time. Bedford with a corner out on the right curled in across the face of goal knocked down, Hensel-Burg throwing herself down on her line getting behind it to save.

Haringey winning a free-kick wide a chance for Manktelow to play the ball into the area from the right put across to the far post knocked down back across to the opposite post, Hudson across well to lay claim to the ball with Hart closing in. Bedford counter rapidly the ball lifted long up the left Fensome to whip the ball in across the face of goal, Coppin throwing herself at the ball far post, can’t get a touch.

Bedford’s Gemma Croucher

Price taking the ball through the middle forwards into Mayes out to Fensome inside the left channel, but can’t quite take it on as Lowe gets her challenge in. Hensel-Burg throwing her glove up with the faintest of glances to deflect Coppin’s cross from the right onto the roof of her net.

Haringey’s goalkeeper, keeping Bedford at bay with another superb save this time on Fensome central as the ball is crossed into her from the right, getting her foot up over the ball looks to strike it back to the right post, Hensel-Burg diving full stretch to her left to keep the shot out.

Haringey goalkeeper, Liamara Hensel-Burg in the thick of the action.

More goalkeeping heroic’s from Hensel-Burg a double save as the ball is fired at her from close range by Mayes inside the six yard box off a Coppin ball fired in from the right. Hensel-Burg everywhere in the six yard box throwing her body on the line to thwart Bedford as they fight to get a goal.

An intense finish to the game Haringey fighting to keep Bedford out at one end looking for the chance to counter up the other with Humes and Boabonay working the channels left and right ready to run in behind. Milliken pushed up late on with a scuffed shot 30 yards out central running through to the keeper. Humes surging into the box from the left flank crowed off the ball by the Bedford defence.

Full time Real Bedford Ladies 1-4 Haringey Borough Women

The final whistle blows and Haringey celebrate as they win the 3 points and bring an end to Bedford’s 100% league record. Closing the gap at the top to 4 points. Battled hard for the win, the damage done in the first half. A 4 goal cushion to defend was always going to be a hard task to find a way back into the game but Bedford gave it a good go 2nd half creating chances only came up against a determined defence and goalkeeper. 15 league wins on the spin is no less an incredible achievement and Bedford shouldn’t be to disappointed. Seen a few of these runs end over the season’s they take some doing and no doubt the club will be setting it’s sights on a new run.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. For the 3rd game in a row it’s a straight forward decision, isn’t often the case, but another clear winner today. A few performances of note to mention first though. For Bedford, Erin Price won the ball well in the middle and drove forwards with it at her feet looking to bring her attackers into play. Gemma Franklin with some vital stops at the back. Natasha Fensome working hard up top to create goal scoring opportunities for herself and others, just wasn’t to be today. For Haringey captain Ronnell Humes was strong on the ball in attack a ready outlet looking to take on the defence opened the scoring. Chloe Ions corner deliveries a threat throughout especially first half scoring from one and assisting the 4th goal. Lola Shack with several important tackles at the back along side Summer Young and Rimini Lowe. Kylie Manktelow with some excellent passing from midfield. The award though goes to Haringey’s 17 year old goalkeeper, Liamara Hensel-Burg what a performance, acrobatic threw herself into her saves getting across her line to make several vital stops and help keep her sides lead largely intact.

Another entertaining game from the ERWFL Premier Division. An enjoyable trip to Bedfordshire. Whether I’ll be welcome at McMullin Park again is another matter as Bedford have only lost twice this season and I’ve been there both times (sorry). Still it’s a welcoming club and I appreciate the help from both sides today.

by Darren Gilham