Category Archives: FAWSL 2

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Watford Ladies

Thursday 22nd February

 Football action from FAWSL 2 this Thursday evening a trip to Cheshunt FC to watch Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Watford Ladies.

 A solid start to life for Tottenham Hotspur Ladies in FAWSL 2 since winning FAWPL Playoff as Southern Division Champions in May 2017. A good run at the start of the season seeing them sitting 6th in the table on 10 points, a difficult spell of 7 straight defeats in league and cup coming to an end last Sunday at home to Oxford United Women over turning a 1 goal deficit to win the game 2-1. Will look to build on that result in tonight local derby match at home to Watford Ladies. A transitional period for the FAWSL as it is revamped ahead of the new season with new licences being issued Tottenham have applied to retain their FAWSL 2 position for next season.  

 Watford Ladies are founder members of FAWSL 2 have struggled in recent seasons, signs were there that thing’s had started to turn the corner under coach Keith Boanas. Were undone somewhat with the announcement the club wouldn’t be applying for an FAWSL licence next season. This has led to Boanas leaving his position along with a some players. Armand Kavaja taking over as first team manager. Have added a few new faces recently, former Swindon Town Ladies captain, Samantha Hallsworth, midfielder Katherine Huggins from C&K Basildon Ladies and most recently, Georgie O’Halloran form FAWPL South East Division One leaders AFC Wimbledon Ladies. League results haven’t gone their way Watford adrift at the bottom of the FAWSL 2 table have just the one point on the board after 7 games. 

  Cheshunt FC the venue tonight under the lights always busy whenever you pull into the carpark training pitches beyond the main pitch. A bar along with hot food and drinks available. A wide pitch a dry evening the sun down getting very chilly as the sides emerged from the changing rooms ready for kick-off.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Chloe Morgan, Ashleigh Neville, Ryah Vyse, Renee Hector, Jenna Schillaci (C), Josie Green, Coral-Jade Haines, Wendy Martin, Sarah Wiltshire, Bianca Baptiste & Lucia Leon. Subs – Chloe Crook, Hannah Mackenzie, Maya Vio, Katie O’Leary & Lauren Pickett.

  Watford Ladies starting XI – Frances Kitching, Charlotte Kerr, Antonia Gregoriou, Rebecca McShane, Samantha Hallsworth, Anneka Nuttall (C), Emily Hill, Katherine Huggins, Leanne Bell, Adekite Fatuga-Dada & Helen Ward. Subs – Weronika Baronowska, Linda Afuakwah, Andie Dickens, Mollie Dench & Georgia 0’Halloran.

It’s Watford to get the game underway kicking off 1st half wearing yellow shirts with red shorts and socks with Tottenham lined up opposite wearing white shirts and socks with navy shorts. The ball is played forwards Tottenham win it at the back out to the left down the line into Wendy Martin she picks put Sarah Wilshire bursting forwards her diagonal all aimed for Bianca Baptiste arriving in the box coming in from the right, Charlotte Kerr coming with her from left back does well to get her head on the high ball does enough to stop it falling cleanly to Baptiste the ball dropping to the striker doesn’t get a solid connection as she goes to strike the ball 1st time the ball cleared out to the right side as Tottenham pile players forwards Josie Green looking to fire the ball back into the area is blocked and cleared by the Watford defence.

   A fast and bright start to the match from Tottenham as they come forwards, winning a throw on the right Lucia Leon combines with Baptiste the ball worked well between them Leon played into the area on the byline looks to fire a cross in towards goal, the ball intercepted by Samantha Hallsworth put behind for the 1st corner of the match. A good ball played into the middle of the six yard box from the right Watford win the header the ball knocked out to the far post and volleyed clear. The visitors looking to counter attack lose possession Tottenham with a quick turn around the ball finding Baptiste breaking clear on the right charging into the area with the ball shots from the angle the rising ball striking the near post before being deflected out of play.

     Hallsworth with a timely interception cuts out an attempted through ball in the middle of the park looking to release Leon. The ball played forwards Watford unable to make it stick it comes back again the long ball out to Baptiste moving clear on the right once more plays a diagonal ball high into the box too much on it for Wiltshire arriving at the far post to keep in play. Katherine Huggins looks to get an attacking move going for Watford on the left side winning the ball plays it inside to Helen Ward before going on looking for the return pass in behind, Ward plays it forwards Ashleigh Neville going with Huggins intercepting the pass.

   Frances Kitching in the Watford goal makes a great save off Baptiste as the attacker strikes the all 1st time as it comes to her inside the area. Tottenham are looking strong Neville from right back, Ryah Vyse on the left both getting forwards to support the attack Baptiste and Wiltshire ensuring the play stays spread on either flank too. A couple of Tottenham attacks are halted by the offside flag. Wiltshire though is onside on the left as the ball comes into her run taking it on into the box Kitching comes sliding out to win the ball clattering into Wiltshire as she follows through. 

   A burst of pace from Adekite Fatuga-Dada on the right for Tottenham leaves her marker in her wake before swinging in a cross into the area coming near post Neville tracking across is there to get her head on the ball to clear. Fatuga-Dada with another attempt to put the ball into the box moments later sees her effort caught by goalkeeper Chloe Morgan. A brief respite for Watford as Tottenham continue to press forwards winning the ball in the middle Coral-Jade Haines breaking up play well supported by Green the Wiltshire and Baptiste ready to break on either wing. Watford get a sniff up the other en as Ward latches onto a sloppy ball at the back 20 yards out lines up a shot her attempt driven straight at Morgan the keeper saving comfortably.

GOAL! 19 minutes played and Tottenham take the lead a great ball from Haines sees Wiltshire beating the offside trap on the left side running clear with the ball into the box hits the shot hard the ball flying over Kitching into the back of the net 1-0.

   The ball lost from the restart Tottenham push players forwards an attempted through ball aimed for Wiltshire in the left intercepted by Watford’s Antonia Gregoriou gets the ball back to Kitching to kick up field. An ambitious attempt from Baptiste from all of 35 yards out her strike isn’t too far over the bar as it flies over Kitching. Wiltshire with a high ball into the area from the left wing sees Neville who has covered alot of ground already this evening the furthest forwards at the near post inside the six yard box controls the ball on her thigh before striking it on the volley over the goal. 

GOAL! Haines with another fantastic ball finds Neville breaking clear on the right side going on into the box her cross is fired low along the goal face Lucia Leon arriving in the centre putting the ball over the line to score at the 2nd attempt as Watford can’t scramble it clear 2-0 26 minutes on the clock. 

  Tottenham are dominating coming forwards in waves the Watford defence under pressure the all won’t stick further up the pitch. Baptiste brings the ball on through the centre Leon ahead of her top of the area holds up well shifting the ball out to her right finding room to squeeze a shot away the ball drifting wide of the near post.  Baptiste right side with the cross into the area won by Rebecca McShane in the middle the ball up field Haines winning back possession out to Baptiste right down the line a cross from deep claimed by Kitching near post Watford attempt a counter in comes to nothing the ball quickly back up field into Baptiste central she jinks left then right top of the box before pulling her shot wide of the target. 

   Renee Hector and captain Jenna Schillaci comfortable at the back winning any Watford high balls played forwards. Ward alert to any poor ball at the back however from Tottenham latches onto a pass 20 yards out lines up a shot Haines is quick to race back in from midfield to tackle and deny the chance. Ward moves the ball out to the right outside the box looking for space for a shot getting it away the ball is blocked by Vyse. 

 Wiltshire in a similar position to where she scored strikes the ball goalwards comes down into the six yard box off the crossbar. Appears to then be put out of play by a Watford defender however the referee despite Tottenham protests signals a goal-kick. 

GOAL! Late into the 1st half and Tottenham extend their lead the ball won from a goal kick inside their half taken on to the byline right side and a dangerous cross is fired in along the goal face a yard in from of goal Leon can’t quite reach it in the centre Wiltshire arriving far post can as she meet the ball sending it home for a 3-0 lead right on the stroke of half-time.

 Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 3-0 Watford Ladies

   A dominant 1st half from Tottenham a 3-0 lead could well have been more have had Watford on the ropes for much of the half giving the visitors very little of the ball showing great movement when coming forwards. Is only a matter of whether or not they will continue to be so ruthless in the 2nd half or Watford came somehow find a way back into the game. 

It’s Tottenham to get the 2nd half started a change for Watford, Kerr off the pitch Linda Afuakwah joining the attack. The home side winning an early corner from the left Kitching with the punch to send the near post delivery over for a corner on the right this one landing in the box bouncing Neville strikes the ball on the volley sending it high over the goal. Watford get the ball forwards Emily Hill with the pass to release Fatuga-Dada on the right Tottenham have the threat covered. 

Martin gets onto the end of a loose Watford pass inside the visitors half, McShane stepping out well from the back for to get the tackle in and win the ball, played up through the middle into captain Anneka Nuttall she is brought down in a dangerous position 30 yards from goal a free-kick awarded she picks herself up to take it. Goes for the shot the ball fired over the bar. A sloppy ball at the back for Tottenham  falls to Fatuga-Dada on the right comes inside evading a challenge before shooting her effort flying straight into Morgan who takes cleanly in side her six yard box. Tottenham break forwards Baptiste moving to the left holds her run perfectly to stay onside squares it to Wiltshire in the middle looks to move the ball to the right Watford close her down win the ball.

 GOAL! A bright start to the 2nd half from Tottenham sees them extend their lead in the 53rd minute Wiltshire with a well taken goal to seal her hat-trick. The Tottenham attack clustered central for a change as the ball is fired into them for distance Leon taking it on into the box looks to have overrun the ball as Kitching goes to ground Wiltshire to her left gets onto the end of the ball opening up her body to curl the ball over the keeper to score 4-0. 

Kitching is the busier of the two goalkeepers by far alert she claims the ball at the near post as Baptiste gets a cross in from the byline on the right. Leon picks out Wiltshire getting free on the left her ball into the area whipping over the Watford goal. Tottenham steal in to win possession from a poor Watford ball at the back Leon with the shot her low ball saved by Kitching going to ground. Nuttall with the ball for Watford drives on through the middle space to shot Schillaci is in the way to block the powerful strike.

Baptiste is getting frustrated as she sees chance after chance go begging the ball played into her on the right her low diagonal ball towards goal finds it’s way through the Watford defence runs narrowly wide of the far post. A give and go between Leon and Baptiste at the top of the box right side Leon going on making a near post run pull the trigger as the ball is returned to her Kitching making a brilliant save with her legs to keep the ball out. Tottenham make their 1st change of the night bringing on Katie O’Leary for Martin.

 Good defending from Hill at the near post from a Tottenham corner on the right for Watford getting a firm head on the ball. Hallsworth with a good tackle to stop Leon as she attempts to run through into the area with the ball. Kitching called into action making a great save from a Leon header as Baptiste screws a cross in from the byline on the left. The home side continuing to dominate.  A corner for Tottenham on the right Kitching coming for the ball near post gets a glove on the ball falls to Wilshire at the top of the area looks to move it to the right appears to be upended appeals for a penalty but the referee waves play on.

    Watford make a 2nd change Fatuga-Dada coming off Georgie O’Halloran coming on. Tottenham press the ball played into O’Leary her pass on for Leon not closed down shoots from 20 yards out pulls her strike wide of goal. Baptiste with a strong run on the ball coming into the area from the right stays on her feet as she rides a sliding tackle gets a shot in from close range Kitching saving instinctively with her legs at the near post. A 2nd change for Tottenham Hannah Mackenzie comes on to go into the back-line replacing Schillaci. 

 Little opportunity for Watford up the other end Hill attempts a shot from all of 35 yards out the ball well over. The visitors working hard in defence as Tottenham keep coming on wanting more goals. Baptiste shes another long range shot whistle narrowly over the crossbar. The final change for Tottenham sees Leon brought off up front to be replaced by Lauren Pickett. Hallsworth in the way to block a strike from Haines the ball coming straight back to the Tottenham midfielder she has her head in her hands as she sees Kitching tip the ball over the bar.

    The corner to Tottenham on the right, Watford make their final change before it is taken, Mollie Dench coming on for Gregoriou. The corner played into the six yard box is scrambled away to the top of the box Mackenzie running onto the ball strikes it hard for Tottenham the shot charged down. An injury to Bell as she gets the ball into the box up the other end taking a knock is helped of the pitch to receive treatment all their subs made Watford finish the last 5 minutes of the game with 10 players.

 GOAL! Tottenham capitalise getting up the other end to score the ball through the middle picking out Baptiste who has timed her run perfectly her touch putting her clear on into the area central opens up her body to stab the ball wide of Kitching to get the goal her play has deserved at last 5-0.

   GOAL! One goal for Baptiste quickly becomes two in the latter stages of the game play stretched Tottenham winning the ball break quickly Baptiste in a central position runs clear towards the area after the ball almost a carbon copy of her 1st goal she has time to open her body once more and steer the ball wide of Kitching as she goes to ground 6-0. 

   Morgan ensures their no late drama up the other end as she confidently claims a cross flung into the box from the right by Ward. Kitching up the other end coming out to close Wiltshire down as the attacker gets clear into the box from the left for Tottenham the final whistle blows Tottenham winning for the 2nd successive match move up to 5th in the FAWSL 2 table. 

Full time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 6-0 Watford Ladies

   A confident and dominant display from Tottenham from start to finish relentless coming forwards and not prepared to give anything away at the other end Haines breaking up play well in the middle as the attackers in front posed a constant threat. One to forget for Watford all they can do as a team is move onto the next one battled hard at the back Kitching with some fine saves but in the end they were well beaten.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  A good all round performance form Tottenham this evening a few contenders for the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match have chosen Sarah Wiltshire who showed great movement throughout the match playing wide left getting her hat-trick taking all 3 goals well.

   Thanks to Tottenham for their assistance tonight haven’t done a midweek game for a while good to get one in.

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

Sunday 7th January

  Beginning 2018 with a game from FAWSL 2 a trip to Cheshunt FC to watch the leagues newest members Tottenham Hotspur Ladies take on Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

 Two ambitious clubs joining the FAWSL as it enters a new and challenging era adjusting to a return to the winter calendar too. A reshaping of the leagues seeing clubs bidding for either a place in FAWSL 1 or FAWSL 2 having to meet stringent criteria. Tottenham Hotspur Ladies looking to retain their FAWSL 2 status have bid for place in that league whilst Brighton & Hove Albion WFC receiving significant backing from the club have bid for a place in the new FAWSL 1 where all clubs will have to be fully professional.

Both following the same path to the FAWSL, both prominent clubs within Women’s Football East the FAWPL Southern Division being the top league that is covered. Brighton & Hove Albion WFC were crowned Champion’s 2 season’s ago with Tottenham Hotspur Ladies winning the title the season after both going on to win the subsequent FAWPL Playoff game between their Northern Division counterparts to achieve promotion.

 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies have had a solid start to life in FAWSL 2 the move from summer to winter not affecting them at all. Have strengthened their squad by bringing in defender Ashleigh Neville from Coventry United Ladies and experienced WSL attacker Sarah Wiltshire from Yeovil Town Ladies and young prospect Lauren Pickett. A narrow opening game defeat away to Durham Women FC, Tottenham responded well winning their next 2 league games a along with their 2 opening Continental Tyres Cup group matches unbeaten in 5 before ending the year with 3 straight defeats in league and cup. In 6th place in the table a win today puts them onto 10 points amongst those challenging at the top of the table.

Although Brighton & Hove Albion WFC were promoted the season before Tottenham Hotspur Ladies this is technically their first season of FAWSL 2 football too as they entered the league during it’s transitional period prior to reverting back to the winter a one off Spring Series played during the 1st half of 2017 each side facing their opponents once. Would have benefited Brighton the most giving the club an opportunity to get used to the league and it’s strengths.

   Operating with an interim manger during that period the club has shown it’s ambitions by bringing in former England manager, Hope Powell to coach the 1st team. Several new faces joining the playing squad too bringing FAWSL experience with them, ex-Notts County player Danielle Buet along with Aileen Whelan and Fern Whelan who were with Everton ladies prior to coming down to the South Coast. Ini Umatong  who was previously with Oxford United Women along with Fliss Gibbons and goalkeeper Lucy Gillett. Currently in 4th spot in the FAWSL 2 table one of 3 sides on 10 points looking to challenge leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles for top spot with 3 wins and a draw from their opening 5 league matches.

 The two sides met in November in the group stages of the Continental Tyres Cup, Brighton & Hove Albion WFC winning the game away from home 4-1. The venue for today’s game Cheshunt FC a large pitch offering good width, has fared well despite the recent heavy rain. Quite an open stadium a bitterly cold day at the beginning of January but dry. Hold food and drinks available along with a bar. 

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Chloe Morgan, Lucia Leon, Ashleigh Neville, Jenna Schillaci (C), Renee Hector, Sophie McLean, Hannah McKenzie, Sarah Wiltshire, Lauren Pickett, Katie O’Leary & Ronnell Humes. Subs – Toni-Anne Wayne, Maya Vio, Wendy Martin, Coral-Jade Haines, Bianca Baptiste & Ryah Vyse. 

Brighton & Hove Albion WFC starting XI – Lucy Gillett, Beth Roe, Sophie Perry (C), Laura Rafferty, Fern Whelan, Kirsty Barton, Jenna Legg, Kate Natkiel, Bronwen Thomas, Fliss Gibbons & Ini Umotong. Subs – Laura Hartley, Sophia Pharoah, Lucy Somes, Natalie Taylor & Vicky Ashton-Jones.

It’s the away side to kick off the game Tottenham changing ends to have the low sun at their backs in the 1st half. Brighton in their away colours an all yellow kit with bronze across the shirt shoulders. Tottenham in their home colours white shirts and socks with navy shorts. Brighton looking to keep the ball moving along the ground work the ball forwards out to Fliss Gibbons on the left she is tackled by full back Lucia Leon the ball out for a throw in. 

Laura Rafferty on the ball for Brighton

Getting the ball forwards the long pass finds Ronnell Humes in space drifting right for Tottenham, Fern Whelan coming to put in the tackle prevents the striker getting a shot away as she enters the box. Brighton launch a quick counter attack the ball moved forwards quickly the diagonal ball aimed for Bronwen Thomas running down the right is tackled in the corner by Ashleigh Neville to concede the 1st corner of the game.

A quiet opening to the game both sides looking to get on the ball make progress up the pitch Brighton pressing the ball inside the Tottenham half well not letting the home side retain any meaningful possession. Leon gains ground on the right supporting Lauren Pickett, Whelan is across again to stifle the threat, when Tottenham eventually get a cross into the area it is caught by Lucy Gillett at her near post. 

Brighton come forwards Jenna Legg finding a bit of room on the ball 30 yards out central attempts the slide the ball forwards for Ini Umotong making a run towards the top of the area, Renee Hector closes her down for Tottenham gets her foot to the ball first directing it back to goalkeeper Chloe Morgan to clear. Sarah Wiltshire gets forwards for Tottenham sees her cross swung in from the right claimed by Gillett.

Tottenham’s Sophie McLean looks to find a way through

GOAL! Brighton are soon down the other end of the pitch a free-kick is won just outside the box to the left of the D, captain Sophie Perry comes forwards to take it as referee Stacey Pearson moves the Tottenham was back. A quality free-kick from the Republic of Ireland international the ball whipped past the Tottenham wall with plenty of pace just inside the post evading the diving Morgan to give Brighton an 11th minute lead 0-1.

Brighton captain, Sophie Perry opens the scoring from a free-kick.

Tottenham look to respond right away Wiltshire with the through ball for Humes is closed down by Laura Rafferty, Gillett coming out of her goal to prevent the ball spinning away for the corner. Brighton work the ball forwards through the centre enjoying good possession before the pass is played out to Thomas on the right cutting inside with the ball attempts to curl the shot towards goal, angled in is straight at Morgan who saves comfortably.

The visitors are working well as a unit to break up any Tottenham forward play then moving it forwards with purpose when in possession using the full width of the pitch, full back Beth Roe putting in the tackle as Humes is played in through the centre, Barton in the middle plays the ball forwards with Umotong making a good run from left to right across the top of the Tottenham area aims her cross back across the box for Gibbons far side who lashes the ball into the back of the net even as she receives the ball the flag is up for offside.

A free-kick to Brighton on halfway the ball lifted up in towards the top of the box is headed clear dropping for Barton 30 yards out controls well on her chest before volleying a shot in towards goal on target the ball is caught low by Morgan right behind the shot. Neville brings the ball on up the left for Tottenham plays a cross into the area cleared for a throw. A one two between Katie O’Leary and Humes the latter seeing her cross cut out as Whelan clears for Brighton. 

Brighton’s, Beth Roe

 A great tackle by Tottenham’s Hannah McKenzie to deny Brighton’s Umotong as Legg plays the ball into her path breaking forwards. Up the other end Whelan is reading the game well for Brighton winning the ball as the home side try to find a way in behind. Kate Natkiel coming forwards the ball played on to Legg out to Thomas right side 25 yards out takes on the shot curling in again top corner, Morgan has time to get across and take the ball into her gloves. 

Brighton’s Kate Natkiel evades Hannah McKenzie’s tackle

Tottenham come forwards Sophie McLean on for Wiltshire the pass out to Pickett on the right plays the cross into the box, Gillett claiming it well at her near post with Humes and Wiltshire both coming in. Another free-kick in a dangerous position for Brighton top right corner outside the area this time Perry with the step over as Gibbons curls the ball in towards the far post Tottenham win the header the ball cleared, Brighton quickly regain possession the ball played into the box Whelan still up from the back directs her header wide of goal.

Ronnell Humes in possession of the ball for Tottenham

The visitors are finishing the 1st half the stronger winning the ball in the middle Barton with a good challenge, Natkiel comes forwards lets fly form 25 yards out her shot deflected wide to the right Thomas after the loose ball sends her shot wide across the face of goal. Leon is fouled late in the 1st half a free-kick to Tottenham 10 yards inside the Brighton half players come forwards from the back as captain Jenna Schillaci plays a great ball into the area bouncing inside the six yard box their are appeals for a penalty as Hector goes down appearing to get caught by a high boot. Play stopped so she can receive treatment the protests are waved away.

  Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

   Sophie Perry’s 11th minute set-piece goal the difference between the two sides at half-time Brighton leading 1-0 have had the better chances in the 1st half. Have enjoyed more of the ball pressing Tottenham inside their own half whilst defending as a unit have prevented their opponents getting anything meaningful going forwards in attack. Just the 1 goal in it however plenty of time for Tottenham a turn it around with the 2nd half to come.

It’s gotten decidedly colder with a strong breeze blowing across the stadium has had some effect on the ball too during the match towards the end of the 1st half. Tottenham to kick-off the 2nd half have made a change at the break Maya Vio on for McKenzie in midfield. An early attack for the home side a tidy spin as the ball comes into her for Wiltshire 30 yards out sends the pass on looking for Humes making the break into the box, Gillett spotting the danger is out to the top of her area quickly to slide in and take the ball at the strikers feet. 

Tottenham’s Maya Vio & Brighton’s Jenna Legg battle for the ball

Brighton counter attack the ball moved forwards quickly with Gibbons finding space on the left take on the shot from distance cutting across the ball sending it sailing over the crossbar. Umotong a powerful runner on the ball hard to shake off wriggles clear as she makes a run towards the area, Hector across on the cover cuts out her strike. Up the other end Humes evades Perry’s tackle right corner plays a cross into the area Whelan heading clear at the far post for Brighton. 

Tottenham’s Renee Hector

Neville getting forwards for Tottenham wins a corner left side the ball played in is cleared by Rafferty at the near post. A great run by Leon coming into the Brighton half from the right for Tottenham coming inside closing in on the box opens up for a shooting opportunity instead the full back opts to lay the ball on for O’Leary inside the area to her right, Gillett already on the move dives in to claim the ball at the strikers feet.

 A 2nd change fro Tottenham closing in on the hour mark with Bianca Baptiste coming off the bench to replace Humes up top. An immediate impact by the substitute too as Tottenham come forwards she provides a great run across the top of the Brighton area as Wiltshire picks her put with a superb pass right of the D sends a shot it towards goal the ball inches over the crossbar.

Bianca Baptiste

   Leon fouled wide right players up from the back into the box as Schillaci plays the ball into the area, caught in the strong breeze, Gillett is forced into the save pushing the ball behind for the corner kick. The ball in from the left is scrambled away by Brighton. The visitors make their 1st change of the match Vicky Ashton-Jones celebrating her birthday today coming on for Rafferty at the back. Tottenham doing better now getting more players forwards Leon down the right, Ashton-Jones slides in to tackle conceding the corner. Gillett calls for the ball catching the delivery at her near post.

A corner won for Brighton with 20 minutes left to play before it is taken Tottenham make their 3rd change bringing on Wendy Martin for O’Leary in attack. Neville wins the ball from the corner for Tottenham heading the ball clear of her box. Getting the ball up the other end Pickett gets the better of Whelan flicking the ball over the defender aiming to get in behind into the area Gillett is again out rapidly to stifle the threat. 

   Gibbons with the ball left side as Brighton advance plays the pass inside to Umotong she lays it on for Natkiel who puts the shot in towards goal from 25 yards out Morgan behind it all the way catches cleanly. The game is a little stretched late on as Tottenham look to try and find an equalising goal, Wiltshire’s ball into the box from the right is chested away by Whelan straight into the path of Baptiste coming in from the left her 1st time shot from 20 yards out flies wide of the near post.

Ini Umotong getting past the Tottenham defence

A deflection on Baptiste’s shot a corner given delivered from the left in high towards the near post Martin gets her head on the ball knocking it down towards goal, Gillett smothering it makes the save. Martin receiving the ball into her body turns and releases Baptiste on the left she cuts inside her shot landing in the side netting. 

  Brighton attack as the game moves into the final 10 minutes Umotong with the run right side her cross from the byline saved at the near post is deflected towards the top of the box with Natkiel looking to strike it back in towards goal, Vio racing back does enough to prevent the no 10 taking the 1st time shot, keeping her composure Natkiel still has the ball at her feet sends her shot up over the goal. 

Kirsty Barton beats Sarah Wiltshire to the ball

There are a few robust challenges being made late on Martin’s complaints she her shown a yellow card. Brighton make a 2nd change Legg coming off to be replaced by Natalie Taylor. The home side continue to press chances remain limited however Gillett claiming anything played from deep into the box. The game moving into injury time a late free-kick for Tottenham as Wilshire is brought down the ball curled in towards goal claimed comfortably by Gillett. 

A late chance for Brighton as they break the ball played up field into Umotong a powerful run on the ball into the box getting in behind the Tottenham back line as she moves left of goal six yards out looks to stab the ball wide back across goal past Morgan the goalkeeper down smartly makes a fantastic save.

  The final whistle blows and Brighton with a clean sheet win the 3 points thanks to Perry’s first half free-kick. Keeps the status quo at the top with Brighton staying fourth as the side above them all claimed victory too this Sunday.

Full time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

   One defeat from their opening 6 league games Brighton are looking well placed to challenge Doncaster Rovers Belles for the title along with Durham Women FC and Millwall Lionesses. A good performance today especially 1st half pressing Tottenham well for the ball inside their opponents half making it difficult for the home side to get any momentum going forwards. Solid at the back too with Gillett always alert to any threat behind her defence. Tottenham created chances in the 2nd half bringing on Baptiste and Martin just couldn’t find that one clinical chance to take anything from the game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   The 1st Women’s Football East – Player of the Match in 2018 goes to Brighton’s Fern Whelan. I thought the central defender had an excellent game at the back covering the ground well to keep Tottenham finding a way in behind and defending well from set-pieces. 

Good to be back at it after a lengthy break over Christmas enjoyed the football on display if not the cold. My thanks to the Tottenham staff for all their assistant today everyone was very helpful.  

Match Report – Durham Women FC v Tottenham Hotspur Ladies

Sunday 24th September

 Way off the beaten track this Sunday, up in the North East, new beginnings all round a new season of FAWSL football begins and for the 1st time a match report from the FAWSL will feature on Women’s Football East. An exciting looking game to begin with too from FAWSL 2, Durham Women FC one of the favourites to win the league hosting newly promoted Tottenham Hotspur Ladies.

  Merging my two women’s football sites this season, the Supporting Women’s Football Blog no more the match reports remain however just in a new home Women’s Football East, for the past two season’s an FAWSL free zone namely as their was little FAWSL presence in the region. Arsenal Ladies can stake a claim however from FAWSL 1 along with Watford FC Ladies in FAWSL 2. Brighton & Hove Albion WFC and now Tottenham Hotspur Ladies winning the FAWPL Southern Division title and then the FAWPL Playoff game earning promotion since the time is right to cover the countries top two leagues as well.

   FAWSL 2 is a highly competitive league and no doubt it will be again this season, new challenges with the FAWSL reverting back to the winter to move in line with the rest of the women’s football pyramid. The league itself is a hard on to call this season. With the make up of the league Durham Women FC have their best chance ever of mounting a title challenge. Doncaster Rovers Belles will be up there. Millwall Lionesses have recruited well and had a really strong Spring Series. London Bees under new manager Luke Swindlehurst have made some useful signings, Aston Villa Ladies if they can find consistency might spring a surprise. Brighton & Hove Albion WFC have had the Spring Series to get used to the league with Hope Powell now there manager have made good signings over the summer. As for Tottenham Hotspur Ladies themselves have a strong winning mentality and haven’t had to wait over a year like in previous seasons to make their FAWSL bow. 

Durham Women FC one of the founder members of FAWSL 2 are well established and stable. Progress made on and off the pitch since 2014. Finishing in the top half of the table in 2016 & 2017. Attendances have steadily grown one of the best in engaging with fans on social media haven’t the men’s club behind them but are a leading force for women’s football in the North East likely to challenge rivals AFC Sunderland in that regards if they keep going the way they are. Named FAWSL 2 Club of the Year the side collected the award in front of their home crowd before today’s game. Have added a few additions to their squad, Striker Abigail Cottam along with midfielder Nicola Worthington. Scottish defender, Kathryn Hill also comes to Durham along with Scottish youngster Ellis Dagliesh.

Durham Women FC – FAWSL 2 Club of the Season

 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies stormed to the FAWPL Southern Division title last season, going unbeaten for most of the campaign. Went on to beat Blackburn Rovers Ladies the Northern Champions in the FAWPL Play-off game in Charlton back in may. A short but in real terms close season to prepare with the FAWSL reverting back to the winter clubs no longer having to wait over 8 months to begin life in the FAWSL. Karen Hills side is one of the most exciting and attack minded teams I’ve seen play and have no doubt that is how they will approach life in the FAWSL. Have made a few new signings bringing in some FAWSL experience with striker Sarah Wiltshire joining from Yeovil Town Ladies, Carol-Jade Haines comes to the club on a season long loan from Birmingham City Ladies. Ashleigh Neville joins from Coventry United Ladies. Hannah McKenzie from Reading FC Women. Lauren Pickett new to the club too looks a talented addition. Whilst it’s also good to see the likes of captain Jenna Schillaci, goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne and attacker Wendy Martin getting an opportunity to show what they can do at this level. Tottenham are also the FAWPL Club of the Year with Karen Hills awarded Manager of the Year.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies – FAWPL Playoff Champions

New Ferens Park the venue for today’s game have only been here once before it’s a long way from Norfolk. That said a simple run A17 then A1 just off the motorway. 3 and a half hours and the radio managed to stay on the whole way there for a change. A compact ground an all weather playing surface. A seated stand along one side housing the changing rooms a cafe bar on entry. Hot refreshments available I wasn’t hungry but was lured by the smell of cooking bacon so I gave in very nice it was too. Looked an interesting game on paper a chance to see what Durham were made of and whether Tottenham were ready for the next challenge.

Durham Women FC starting XI – Helen Alderson, Anabel Johnson, Jordan Atkinson, Sarah Wilson (C), Caroline Dixon, Beth Hepple, Zoe Ness, Emily Roberts, Kathryn Hill, Rachel Lee & Nicki Gears. Subs – Megan Bothwick, Nicola Worthington, Ellie Curson, Lauren Briggs & Abigail Cottam.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Toni-Anne Wayne, Lucia Leon, Renee Hector, Jenna Schillaci (C), Josie Green, Sophie McLean, Ashleigh Neville, Coral-Jade Haynes, Sarah Wiltshire, Wendy Martin & Bianca Baptiste. Subs – Chloe Morgan, Hannah McKenzie, Lauren Pickett & Ronnell Humes.

It’s Durham in their all blue kit to get the 1st half kicked off with Tottenham lined up opposite wearing white shirts and socks with navy shorts. Right from the off Tottenham press Durham for the ball win possession down the left Sarah Wiltshire wins her side a corner kick. The inswinging delivery coming central Durham goalkeeper Helen Alderson rises to punch the ball away across goal a 2nd corner, this one fired in near post is attacked by Durham headed clear. 

  The visitors on the front foot Coral-Jade Haines plays a long pass out for Wiltshire breaking left with the ball cuts inside puts the ball into the middle, Sarah Wilson, Durham’s captain clears comes out to Ashleigh Neville on the left, Wiltshire ahead of her takes it on down the line fired the cross in this time headed clear from inside the six yard box by Durham’s Caroline Dixon. Kathryn Hill bringing the but up from the back sends a diagonal pass out to the left wing the early cross in won by Tottenham captain, Jenna Schillaci. A fast paced start Tottenham setting the tempo.

Durham captain Sarah Wilson up against Tottenham’s Sarah Wiltshire

  Bianca Baptiste on the ball right side for Tottenham, is brought down by Dixon the referee having a word with the defender. Schillaci to play the set-piece from wide right outside the box heading towards goal a great save from Alderson to tip the ball away across goal for a corner kick. Sophie McLean has made a couple of runs from midfield to get ahead of the attack to Tottenham slid through into the box right of goal, Alderson closing her down saves near post. 

  Beth Hepple looks to thread a ball into Zoe Ness inside the Tottenham area as the home side attack through the middle the ball is won back and send long, good head work from Baptiste through the middle knocking it on for Wiltshire the striker is clear on goal taking the ball into the box, Alderson comes out stays big as Wiltshire looks to place her shot wide of her, not wide enough the keeper going to ground snatching the ball into her body.

A competitive contest both sides battling for the ball Durham haven’t made the most of it early on getting forward Hill tries her luck from 25 yards out as the ball is rolled into her path, struck well goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne can see it wide of her near post. McLean getting forwards on the left links up with Wiltshire her ball into the box cut out Durham counter attack Jordan Atkinson receives the ball in space on the right delivers an inviting cross towards the far post, Schillaci again has her head on it.

  20 minutes of the 1st half played an intriguing game Tottenham more than matching Durham the home side starting to get a little more possession in the final 3rd. Looking to take players on as she picks up the ball wide left Emily Roberts drives in field making ground is brought down. The free-kick floated into the crowd gathered inside the box is deflected onto Atkinson in space inside the area right of goal puts her foot through the ball her strike flying wide across the Tottenham goal. Durham are starting to find space on the flanks, Nikki Gears riding a challenge taking the ball on to the by-line sees her cross claimed by Wayne. Rachel Lee sends a shot whistling over the bar from outside the box as the clearance from a free-kick delivery falls to her.

  Wiltshire and Baptiste switch flanks for Tottenham, now left Baptiste springs the offside trap plenty of pace surges down the wing cutting the cross in along the top of the six yard box, Wendy Martin coming in near post can’t quite reach it, races on through to Wiltshire she plays the ball back for McLean at the top of the area, leaning back into her shot she lifts the ball up over the crossbar. Lucia Leon is caught in possession bringing the ball out from the back for Tottenham out of position Atkinson moves forwards onto the pass forwards lets fly from outside the area her shot straight at Wayne saved,

  The ball sent up field from the back by Tottenham, Dixon and Martin go up to contest it Martin grounded the ball is knocked on picked up by Baptiste is quick to release it fired across to Wiltshire moving into the area from the right, Alderson comes racing out to met her Wiltshire tries to lob her squeezes the ball past her but no pace, full back Annabel Johnson has gotten round on the cover to clear. Roberts coming on with the ball left sends her cross racing through the six yard box picked up by Atkinson far side she lays it back for Ness who sends er shot over for Durham.

Tottenham’s Wendy Martin contests the ball with Durham’s Beth Hepple

  Martin sends the ball on for Wiltshire as she beats the offside flag left side moving down the line fires a vicious cross along the six yard box looking for Martin making a far post run, Martin puts the ball back out of the area towards Haines coming on she strikes the ball hard, Wilson blocks feeling the full force of the shot stays down, the ball is scrambled behind for a corner. A pause in play Wilson off the pitch for the corner. The ball played long towards the far post drops to Wiltshire she strikes the ball goalwards Alderson across her goal drops forwards to make the save.

GOAL! In minute of normal time to play in the 1st half the stalemate is broken and it’s the home side who take the lead. Attacking down the right Gears on the ball the cross is fired into the Tottenham box is behind Ness who has made a central run adjusts well spinning falling back knocks the ball out of the area towards Hepple. Very little back lift n her strike gets plenty of power behind the shot nevertheless, Wayne is rooted to the spot as the ball races past her to nestle in the back of the net 1-0.

GOAL! The lead doesn’t last long however Tottenham restart and go straight on the offensive the ball with Baptiste on the left wing she has space to run into takes the ball all the way into the box closing in on the six yard box shoots sending the ball across Alderson and into the bottom corner to equalise and in doing so score Tottenham’s 1st ever FAWSL goal 1-1.

Bianca Baptiste scores Tottenham’s 1st ever FAWSL goal

GOAL! Into 1st half injury time and again Durham come back to retake the lead breaking up a Tottenham attack the ball worked rapidly through the middle put into the box comes onto Gears inside the area 10 or so yards out, spins and shoots the ball finding its way inside the near post before the diving Wayne can get there 2-1.

Nikki Gears restores Durham’s lead

Half-time Durham Women FC 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies

  3 goals in quick succession at the end of the 1st half and Durham go into the changing rooms leading 2-1. That scoreline could just as easily been the other way around Tottenham starting the game on the front foot getting forwards had some good opportunities to take the lead. Durham grew into the match and when the chances came their way took them. An entertaining 1st half.

Tottenham to get the 2nd half underway no changes from either side at the break. Wiltshire is fouled as she attacks down the left players come up from the back for the free-kick, a great delivery into the area Neville gets her head on the ball directs it into the back of the net however it won’t count as the flag is raised for offside. Wiltshire on the ball central again lifts the ball into the area for Baptiste running away to the right of goal taking the ball on checks back to evade a tackle then looks to scoop the cross up towards the far post, Alderson can get her gloves around the ball.

Durham’s Kathryn Hill with Tottenham’s Sophie McLean

  Good work from Haines winning the ball out to Green moving into space on the left pushes on before whipping a ball into the area, Martin goes up for it near post can’t get a clean header on it knocked to the ground the Durham defence shields the ball allowing Alderson to gather. End to end both sides leaving room to exploit on their flanks Roberts threads a pass through to Gears on the left, McLean tracking back slide in to concede the corner before the cross can be put in. The resulting corner is headed clear Tottenham break the ball with Baptiste she surges forwards sends the ball into the box early too close to Alderson the keeper takes cleanly.

Tottenham’s Josie Green

Good running from Gears moving clear on the left once again squares the ball into the area as she arrives at the top of the box looking to pick out Roberts she connects with the ball 1st time turning it goalwards but without the power needed to evade Wayne the keeper going down claiming the ball. Durham coming at Tottenham more 2nd half Roberts finding more time on the ball. Finds Gears available on the left side again taking the ball to the byline sends a cross in towards the near post Ness arriving turns it goalwards Wayne has the post covered saves a close range the ball behind for a corner kick.

Durham Women FC’s Emily Roberts

Atkinson on the right gathers the ball from inside the Tottenham drives forwards shooting from 30 yards out the ball sailing over the bar. Hector trips Hepple as the Durham midfielder looking to take the Tottenham defence on through the middle. The set-piece in a dangerous position top of the D. Hepple with the shot sends her strike over the bar.

Durham’s Rachel Lee with Tottenham’s Coral-Jade Haines

Tottenham make a double change 21 minutes into the 2nd half bringing off Haines and Martin send on Ronnell Humes and Lauren Pickett. Durham also make a change bringing Abi Cottam on for Atkinson. A free-kick for Tottenham wide on the right the ball flighted into the top of the area half cleared falls to Wiltshire central 20 yards out jinks left the right before taking a shot the ball easily palmed down by the keeper. Tottenham make their final change bringing off Leon for Hannah McKenzie.

  Durham bring on Lauren Briggs for Gears. Durham press forwards Roberts sees her shot from the top of the area deflected wide for a corner kick on the right, a good ball delivered centrally, Cottam gets her head on the ball puts it wide across goal. Durham looking the stronger as the game moves into the latter stages. McLean puts a cross into the box from the right for Tottenham, Baptiste after it goes down under challenge but the appeals are waved away. A single goal it still Tottenham press forwards, Durham ready to hit on the counter Cottam is clear left side driving towards the box Wayne comes to meet her the attacker knocking the ball beyond the keeper goes after t looks to send the ball in from the six yard line, Tottenham have Schillaci and Hector racing back between them the ball is cleared of the line. 

Durham make their final change, Ness coming off to be replaced by  Nicola Worthington. The game moves into the last 7 minutes. Getting forwards players around the box the ball sits up nicely for McKenzie to strike Alderson concedes the corner making the save. The ball drops over the players gathered near post drops to Humes stabs the ball up over the bar. A throw left for Durham inside the Tottenham half into Worthington chips it on for Hepple 25 yards out not closed down has a go for goal her strike rising swerving away from goal. Tottenham push on late into the game 2 crosses into the Durham box cleared by Wilson.  The final whistle blows the flurry of goals at the end of the 1st half enough to secure and opening day win for Durham.

Full-time Durham Women FC 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies

   An entertaining game to watch fast paced. Durham not quite at their best starting with a good result however matching Tottenham’s tempo 2nd half the game might have gone either way. Tottenham will be disappointed to start with loss but nevertheless showed they are more than capable of competing in the FAWSL and that will only make the league more exciting than it already is.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   These decisions don’t get any easier picking today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match is another tough one. Thought Sophie McLean was fantastic for Tottenham. Have chosen Durham’s Emily Roberts strong running with the ball and more often than not her pass found a teammate going forwards, setting up a few chances.

  Good to finally get back into some FAWSL action even if it was a long journey still is, as I churn this last bit off in the Motorway Services… been a long time since I’ve done that too. A good game to watch in front of a great crowd of 617 too plenty of chips sold too. My thanks to Durham Women’s FC for their help today especially Mark Donnelly. Best of luck to both sides for the rest of the season.

Match Report – London Bees v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

What’s this? A game from the FAWSL on Women’s Football East! Well it seems only right to give Brighton & Hove Albion WFC the coverage afterall they earned promotion to the FAWSL last May via the FAWPL Play-off game after winning the Southern Division title and after all Women’s Football East wants to see as many sides in the region reach and play at the top level of the women’s game. The Supporting Women’s Football Blog was at The Hive to cover their debut match in the one off Spring Series as the new season got underway.

Match Report – London Bees v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

   A new season of FAWSL football begins this Saturday, although it’s a much shorter season compared to the one’s we’ve been used to. With the FAWSL preparing to move back in line with the rest of the women’s football pyramid in England for the 2017/18 season after 5 years of playing during the summer months there will be a one off Spring Series. A trophy for both the FAWSL 1 & 2 competitions with each side playing each other once to decide the overall winner. The FAWSL 2 Spring Series starts with London Bees versus FAWSL newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion WFC at The Hive.

 Wrote a preview for the FAWSL 2 Spring Series in the post prior to today’s match. As I said then I’m excited by what the one off competition has to offer, is silverware to play for but not the pressure a full blown season offers sides can bed in new players, try new thing’s for better or worse. Momentum can’t be under estimated mind a good Spring Series will send a side into the new 2017/18 season with confidence. 

  London Bees enter the Spring Series with a stride in their step having had a much improved season in 2016 under Dave Edmondson. Playing some attractive football eventually ending up 7th their highest FAWSL 2 finish in amongst the mid-table sides the perfect platform to go on and improve. Have made several new signings over the winter bringing in Laura-May Walkley from Reading FC Women. Defender, Anne Meiwald joins from Chelsea Ladies along with Watford Ladies trio, Jordan Littleboy, Amber Tullett and Mollie Burgess aswell as retaining the services of several of their stand-out performers last season.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC, winning the FAWPL Southern Division title last season went on to beat Northern Division Champions, Sporting Club Albion Ladies in the FAWPL Play-off match at Wycombe Wanderers in May to win their place in the FAWSL the 2nd side to be promoted to the league following Sheffield FC Ladies last summer. So began the long wait to make their league debut at the higher level in FAWSL 2. As I mentioned in my Spring Series Preview could benefit the most by the Spring Series as it will give their players time to adapt to playing at a higher level, although I do feel the top FAWPL sides are on a par with certainly the sides in the lower half of FAWSL 2. Have a strong fan base and behind the scenes have been working hard off the pitch to ensure they would meet the FAWSL 2 licencing criteria. 

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC haven’t been quiet on the transfer front either strengthening their squad before the start of the Spring Series bringing in Chelsea Ladies trio, Laura Rafferty, Jenna Legg and Alessia Russo. Sophie Perry returns to the club after a short spell with FAWSL 1 side Reading FC Women. Have also added highly experienced Irish International goalkeeper, Emma Byrne to their squad, with regular 1st team goalkeeper Faye Baker working her way back to fitness following injury. 

  Has been a while since I last visited The Hive, London Bees home ground 18 months or so. Sharing with Barnet FC it is very much a club in the heart of the community, practice pitches open to all age groups outside the main stadium. The stadium itself has undergone development now has a large seated stand behind one goal aswell as the one along the side of the pitch opposite the former bar & clubhouse which is now divided into the Tea Hut where you can purchase hot & cold drinks & snacks along side the new Pecking Order Restaurant. Tickets for a London Bees match are £4 for an adult but for £15 you can purchase a deluxe ticket which gets you a meal at the Pecking Order Restaurant too and when we talk about the ‘matchday experience’ I think it’s a good deal. Car parking is a £1 you purchase a token from the club shop which stocks a good range of London Bees merchandise, and I may well purchase a London Bees mug the next time I’m in town. 

  Onto the playing surface itself is a large pitch plenty of width, holding up fairly well as the season enters moves into mid-February. It might be called the Spring Series but it’s still winter was bitterly cold with a few flakes of snow in the air before kick-off.
  London Bees starting XI – Shayla Burgess, Anne Meiwald, Sophie Fogarty, Ellie Perkins, Amber Tullett, Emma Beckett, Jordan Littleboy, Ashleigh Goddard (C), Lucy Loomes, Paula Howells & Jo Wilson.
 subs- Amelia Houghton-Boyle, Becky Anderson, Laura-May Walkley, Mollie Burgess, Evie Clarke & Hana Lalani

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC starting XI – Emma Byrne, Jenna Legg, Sophie Perry (C), Vicky Ashton-Jones, Ellie Dorey, Laura Rafferty, Kirsty Barton, Charlotte Young, Alessia Russo, Kate Natkiel & Amy Taylor.

  subs – Bronwen Thomas, Hollie Olding, Lucy Somes, Natalie Taylor & Nina Wilson.

   On to the football, 4 of London Bees new signings were making their 1st start in FAWSL 2, Anne Meiwald, Lucy Loomes, Jordan Littleboy and Amber Tullett with Laura-May Walkley and Mollie Burgess on the bench. With Sophie Harris injured, Shayla Burgess was making her debut in goal for London Bees. Emma Byrne, Laura Rafferty, Jenna Legg and Alessia Russo all start for Brighton & Hove Albion WFC. 

 It’s Brighton to get the 1st half of Spring Series football underway wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts, blue shorts and socks with London Bees lined up opposite wearing orange shirts with a black sash and horizontal piping, black shorts and socks. Brighton make a positive start the ball played back into Kirsty Barton in the centre of midfield, has Alessia Russo on the move on the right, the pass to her is perfect in behind the London Bees defence takes the ball on into the box cutting across the ball as she shoots it swerves away from the near post.

  Both sides testing the other out on the flanks early on Amber Tullett playing the ball out to Sophie Forgarty on the left up the line Jo Wilson picks it up looks to get in behind is tackled by Brighton’s Vicky Ashton-Jones the ball out for a throw. Brighton work the ball from right to left sending Ellie Dorey down the line, Anne Meiwald goes with her sliding in to deny the cross the ball out for the 1st corner of the match. Goes long across the six yard box no one picking the ball up. Jordan Littleboy puts in the challenge in the middle of the park winning the ball plays it out to Paula Howells on the left wing sends the ball forwards for Wilson up front a surging run to take the ball into the area, Ashton-Jones gets across to challenge shoulder to shoulder forces the striker away from goal tackling well getting the goal-kick. 

Jenna Legg on the ball for
Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

 London Bees win a corner on the right side as Ashton-Jones puts Lucy Loomes cross behind. Taken short to captain Ashleigh Goddard the ball is played to Emma Beckett in position at the top of the area, is closed down quickly by the Brighton defence before she can find room to shoot possession is lost. Jenna Legg links up with Russo ahead of her on the right, Kate Natkiel provides the run in behind, Tullett tackling to put the ball out for a throw, the ball finds it’s way into the box, Tullett clears. Good build up play from both sides Brighton looking strong, runs from deep to pressure the London Bees back line.

  Loomes coming inside with the ball lays it forwards for Wilson, right of goal holds off Charlotte Young as she gets into the area, Emma Byrne comes racing out to close her down the striker takes the ball around her as she goes to ground looks to have an empty net to shoot at takes the shot, Legg saves Brighton getting back to throw herself at the ball clearing it off the line.  

Alessia Russo scorer of Brighton
& Hove Albion WFC’s 1st ever
FAWSL goal

 GOAL! 13 minutes played and the 1st ever Spring Series goal is scored. Brighton are on the attack Kirsty Barton in the centre of midfield plays the ball over the top for striker Amy Taylor to chase, Is won by Tullett in the area before she can reach it plays the ball out to Forgarty at left back, is caught on the ball as Russo moves quickly to close her down, taking the ball past her cuts in field driving into the area and sends a ferocious shot angling across the keeper into the top corner 0-1.

 Brighton are looking a real threat on the right Legg and Russo finding each other with their passes, both Taylor and Natkiel making positive runs, Russo taking the ball inside tries to pick out Taylor sending the ball in towards the penalty spot, London Bees goalkeeper Shayla Burgess gets to it 1st claiming the ball. Howells is left on the ground needing treatment after a coming together with Natkiel but is okay to continue. The game restarts the ball at the feet of Laura Rafferty as she brings it on through the middle Taylor breaking into space on the right the midfielder picks her out, Tullett gets across to mark shoulder to shoulder the Brighton attacker is fouled the free-kick awarded players forwards into the box, captain Sophie Perry plays towards the far post Dorey gets her head to the ball sending it high, before anyone can react plays is stopped by the assistant referee’s flag. 

 Natkiel with a threatening run carves open the London Bees defence on the left getting into the box pulls the trigger sending the ball goalwards, Burgess get down sharply diving to her left getting her gloves to the ball an excellent stop the ball the pace taken off the shot the ball rolls across the face of goal, Fogarty reacts quickest getting the ball launched clear before Russo can reach it. The goal has seen Brighton dominate, London Bees a little careless in possession giving the ball away allowing the visitors to come at them. 

Brighton’s Amy Taylor looks to stop London Bees Emma Beckett

  Beckett getting the ball from Goddard picks out Howells making a move to get forwards down the left flank taking the ball down to the line screws her cross behind goal. A rapid counter from Brighton the ball played up to Taylor central controls well picking out Russo looking to get in behind on the right, Forgarty recovers well to slide in and prevent the cross coming in winning the goal-kick off Taylor. Natkiel looks to play the ball in over the London Bees defence with Taylor after it, Burgess comes out sliding in gather the ball keeps hold of it as Taylor having thrown herself forwards in an attempt to get to the ball crashes into her. 

Brighton’s Kate Natkiel with London Bees, Emma Beckett

  A throw on the right side for London Bees 30 yards out from goal the ball is played inside to Littleboy ties up a strike, sending it goalwards is straight and Byrne who gathers cleanly. The game is stretched end to end a high tempo as you’d expect from a FAWSL fixture, both keepers come out to the edge of their areas to clear a threat as the ball is played over the top. Howells closes down Russo winning he ball plays a great diagonal ball up towards Wilson heading into the area, Ashton-Jones closes her down quickly conceding the corner. From the left the ball bounces across the six yard box picked up by Wilson far post the referee spots a handball Brighton have the free-kick.

London Bees, Jordan Littleboy

  Beckett wins the ball in midfield for London Bees sends it forwards for Wilson who switches play out to the right with Loomes on the move shoots from outside the box the ball flying towards the near post area, Byrne makes the save deflecting the ball behind for the corner kick. Coming in high near post Perry get’s her head on the ball nodding it behind for a 2nd corner, this one goes long no one can get onto the end of it as it flies across the six yard box. London Bees have regained some composure and playing some neat triangles are getting forwards better, Fogarty bringing the ball forwards on the left lifts a high ball in towards the area, Byrne calls for it claims well. 

  Into the last 10 minutes of the 1st half Brighton attack the ball played out to Dorey on the left side getting down the pitch squares the ball into the area a touch from a London Bees boot just about deflects the ball away from Taylor looking to get on the end of it, retrieving the ball Taylor attempts to turn back inside get a shot away, is closed down by 3 London Bees defenders the chance is gone. Howells gets a throw on the left as she tries to get forwards linking up with Fogarty the cross is is swept in towards the near post Wilson trying to get their is claimed well by Byrne.

  Russo surges forwards with the ball at her feet on the right her powerful cross into the box misses everyone going out to the opposite flank Natkiel regains possession some 30 yards out coming inside, strikes the ball goalwards is well held by Burgess in goal. 

Half-time London Bees 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC 

  A fast paced and entertaining 1st Brighton starting life in FAWSL 2 with a confident stride taking the game to London Bees early on clearing the ball off their own goal line then going up the other end to take the lead. Dominated for a spell after that before London Bees found their way back onto level a level footing chances created at both ends.
  A change for Brighton at the start of the 2nd half Bronwen Thomas coming on to replace Dorey on the left. London Bees to kick-off the 2nd half or they would if they had all their side on the pitch the midfield is missing, Littleboy and Goddard arrive the game kicks-off without Beckett as she emerges from the tunnel. Brighton win the ball early on get it out to Thomas on the left driving forwards her shot is saved by Burgess at her near post. Thomas influential in the opening minutes of the 2nd half looking to link up with Natkiel is tackled by Ellie Perkins inside the area the ball cleared. Thomas then wins a corner kick take short played back to the taker the cross is swept into the six yard box well claimed by Burgess.

Kate Natkiel on the attack for Brighton

  Howells over on the right for London Bees as she and Loomes switch sides early on  gets the ball down the line whipping a cross in towards the near post dropping forwards to take it Byrne spills the ball giving away the corner kick. Played in towards the near post is cleared. Howells is limping a bit picked up the injury 1st half is inside the D as London Bees win possession back on the left Goddard onto Fogarty the ball is squared across the face of the Brighton area into Howells, controls well and sends a curling shot narrowly over the crossbar. 

London Bees, Paula Howells with Brighton’s Jenna Legg
  London Bees make their 1st substitution, Littleboy the player coming off to be replaced by Hana Lalani in the middle. Perry plays the ball out from the back towards Natkiel moving left a powerful run taking her up the other end of the pitch wins the corner of Meiwald. The set-piece comes out to Rafferty top of the area, central her shot is charged down, London Bees look to counter, Legg wins the tackle on halfway. Russo with a good run down the right cuts the ball back for Taylor top of the area right of goal shoots sending the ball wide across the area.
 GOAL! 10 minutes played in the 2nd half and London Bees get themselves back on level terms. Meiwald wins the ball back in defence playing it into Lalani in the middle, picks out Howells free on the right side getting forwards ties up the cross as players make runs into the box the cross goes long dropping far side beyond the goal, Goddard has timed her run to perfection getting her head onto the ball to drive it back in across Byrne and into the back of the net beyond 1-1.

London Bees captain,
Ashleigh Goddard
 London Bees having equalised find that extra bit of pace that Brighton had in the 1st half after they took the lead. The tempo remains high, but it is freezing too so everyone might be running around to stay warm too. Loomes coming across to the right as London Bees build an attack plays the ball on for Howells as she looks to get into the area is stopped by a firm tackle form Perry. Brighton threaten to counter Natkiel with acres of space to run into on the left is prevented from doing so by Goddard as the London Bees captain comes running in sliding to tackle and put the ball out for a throw.
  Goddard on the ball as London Bees attack passes forwards into Loomes top of the D looks to divert the ball into the area with Wilson looking to get inside from her left, calls for handball as the ball is stopped from reaching her, the referee waves the plea’s away. Competitive tussles all over the pitch, the referee has a word with Rafferty and Goddard. London Bees are almost through on goal to take the lead as they ball put forwards early threatens to send Loomes clear, Byrne comes racing out of her area doesn’t get their as Loomes knocks the ball past her, Wilson goes after the ball running wide of goal picking it up on the right inside the six yard box goes for goal but by the time she has it the Brighton defence is back to block. 

London Bees, Jo Wilson with Brighton centre backs, Vicky Ashton-Jones & Charlotte Young
 Closing in on the final 15 minutes and London Bees make their final substitution bringing on England Youth International Evie Clarke for Howells who has had a fantastic game. Clarke has an early opportunity to take a shot as she recieves the ball from a throw inside the Brighton half on the right plays the ball to Loomes outside the area right of goal laying it back to Clarke as she moves forwards her strike is charged down by a defender. Brighton come forwards Barton on for Russo with Taylor to her right her cross into the area goes long, Thomas tries to keep it alive inside the box, can’t get a ball around Perkins the defender winning the ball back with a good tackle.
   Brighton make a change bringing on Lucy Somes for Taylor in the 75th minute. A break is on for London Bees Lalani playing the ball out to Loomes on the right sends an early cross into the box, takes a deflection on the way through to the near post, not enough to wrong foot Byrne who is across to lay claim to the ball. One end to the other Russo slips the ball in behind for Somes, Fogarty on her shoulder has support from her goalkeeper as Burgess comes racing out to slide in and gather the ball. Burgess is in the wars as she is clattered by Russo coming out to kick the ball clear as it is played down the wing. Is okay to continue. 
London Bees, Anne Meiwald

  Close from Wilson for London Bees as Loomes wins possession inside the Brighton half on the right passes infield into Lalani outside the box lays it across to Wilson left of the D sends her strike narrowly over the crossbar. Moments later Clarke has a shot from inside the six yard box right of goal that flies into the side netting after she controls a cross fizzed into her from the right wing. Somes controlling the ball 25 yards out back to goal turns an rolls the ball in for Russo to try and burst into the box, both Meiwald and Goddard are quickly n the attacker squeezing her off the ball. 

  The game could go either way neither is settling for the point Beckett plays a long diagonal ball into the area from the right looking to pick out Wilson, Byrne coming for the ball punches it clear of her area. Goddard finding space on the right squares her cross along the penalty spot, just beyond Clarke she manages to lay it back for Loomes who sends her 1st time shot wide of the goal. Loomes on the right manages to squeeze a cross in Clarke winning the corner as her attempt to help the ball on is blocked by Young. The corner is won by Brighton headed out of the area they threaten to break, again it’s Goddard who tackles to win the ball.
  Into injury time late chances for Brighton, a 50/50 challenge in the middle sees the ball squeezed forwards to Russo on the left drives forwards into the box closing in on goal is a clumsy looking challenge goes down as Burgess gets hold of the ball, cries for a penalty, nothing doing London Bees attempt to clear their box get the ball forwards lose it in the middle the ball placed into the run of Natkiel right 20 yards out, Burgess comes rushing out to close her down as she enters the box making an excellent save on the final whistle. 
Full time London Bees 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  A dramatic opening game to the Spring Series watched by 703 supporters, the points shared London Bees might feel they could have taken all 3 late on Brighton the same a draw in the end both get a point on the board. Brighton leading the table with the alphabetical advantage. Played at a high tempo throughout, no sign of rustiness or nerves from Brighton right from the start the early goal no doubt adding the their confidence their new signings fitting in well, Russo scoring their 1st ever FAWSL goal. London Bees new signing also doing well Tullett and Meiwald at the back, the London Bees fans already knowing what Loomes is all about, Littleboy too doing well in midfield. Getting themselves back into the game levelling in the 2nd half.
SWF Blog – Player of the Match

 Several contenders, both Lucy Loomes and Paula Howells with great performances on the flanks for London Bees, more often than not they were put through by Ashleigh Goddard, the London Bees captain with some fantastic tackles to break up Brighton’s attacks and scoring their 2nd half equaliser so the SWF Blog – Player of the Match goes to Ashleigh Goddard.

  Enjoyed my return to The Hive don’t think I’ll be leaving it so long next time.