Sunday 14th May
Norfolk Women’s League Plate Final
On the road early this Sunday heading to Aylsham for this season’s Norfolk Women’s Finals Day. Three finals taking place featuring the 11 aside League Plate and Cup Finals along with the ever popular 7 aside League Cup Final. The League Plate kicking the day off with a 10:30am kick-off between an all Mulbarton final as the 1st team take on their new Development side reaching a cup final in their debut season.
The League Plate the leagues secondary competition with the sides knocked out in the early rounds of the league cup entering the plate competition.
Mulbarton Belles Ladies 1st team with a busy end to the season crowned Division One Champions for the 2nd successive season following a 4-1 win at Bungay Town Ladies in midweek are looking to make it a league and cup double this weekend with another huge final to look forwards to on Friday as they take on Norwich City Women at Carrow Road in their County Cup Final appearance in a row. That sums up their history in a nutshell as Mulbarton Belles Ladies are only into their 3rd season as a club the bulk of the quad following manager Martin Francis to Mulbarton having previously been with Thorpe United.
The women’s side fully embraced by Mulbarton Wanderers FC becoming an integral part of the club reaching the county cup final in their debut season going on to become Division One Champions last year along with reaching the League Cup and County Cup Finals. Have continued to grow their 7 aside team winning the Division One title in their respective league also into this season’s League Cup final taking on Division Two Champions, Taverham Ladies FC. Coming out on top in two huge games against Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women in the league to overhaul their main rivals to reclaim their Division One title.
Reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup too has been another history making season with only one loss in the NWGFL against UEA FC Women seeing them exit the League Cup to enter the League Plate. Are unbeaten in the league with 15 wins and 2 draws. Captain Rebekah Lake their talisman up top in attack one of the leading strikers in the county netting 21 goals this season. Francesca Catchpole with a prolific spell in front of goal for Mulbarton before joining Wroxham weighing in with 15 goals with Sophie Jermy netting a hat-trick in the 4-1 title winning victory in midweek now on 14 for the season.
Growing rapidly with more players joining the club not only has a 7 aside team been established but also a new Development team this season. Managed by Cara Skinner have enjoyed a strong debut season in NWGFL Division Two, amongst the pack pushing for the title playing out there fixtures currently sit 2nd in the table the sides immediately below with games to play may drop a place in the final standings. That league form carrying into the cup competitions. Lucy Kean top scorer for the Development side netting 21 goals from 20 appearances while Charlotte Groves has 13 goals from 16 games.
Road to the Final
Both Mulbarton sides progressing without kicking a ball in the 1st Round of the Plate competition, through to the quarter finals the Development at home drawn against Division One side Beccles Town Ladies. A hat-trick from Charlotte Groves proving to be the difference with the Development side edging the result 3-2 to reach the last 4. Mulbarton’s 1st team away to Stalham Town Ladies bottom of Division One, Molly Ryan netting a hat-trick in the match along with a brace for Francesca Catchpole in a 7-1 victory with Ellie Hunter and Olivia Smith also on the score sheet.
The development side away to another side going strong in Division Two, Thorpe St Andrew Women in the semi-finals. Lucy Kean putting the Development side into the lead early in the 2nd half with Ella Cattermole doubling the lead before Thorpe pulled a goal back, Rosie McNarry making it 3-1 with 10 minutes to play securing the Development’s place in the Plate final. The 1st team at home to Division Two side, North Walsham Angels Ladies in the last 4, Sophie Jermy bagging herself a hat-trick as the hosts ran out comfortable 6-0 winners to reach the final with Rebekah Lake, Ellie Hunter and Molly Ryan all getting a goal.
Aylsham FC’s, Youngs Park hosting the NWGFL Finals day for the 2nd successive year, a weekend of finals held at the ground with the youth team finals held the day before. Aylsham themselves re establishing a women’s side this season just a win away from securing the Division Two title in their first season together, with youth sides at U7’s & U11’s too. The newly build clubhouse and changing room’s over looking the numerous grass pitches with the main pitch beside the bar and kitchen open serving hot food and drinks. A somewhat murky start to the day thick cloud overhead keeping thing’s dull and damp under foot the pitch moist, forecast it for it to burn off get out brighter later in the day.
Mulbarton Belles Ladies Development starting XI – Kirstie Andrews, Meg Anderton, Jessica Clegg, Stephanie Leek, Natasha Williams (C), Nicole Read, Rosie McNarry, Charlotte Groves, Ella Cattermole, Amy Coaker & Lucy Kean. Subs – Kiera Barrowcliffe, Maria Sosnina & Amber Ovens.
Mulbarton Belles Ladies 1st starting XI – Cara Anderson, Aneliese Smith, Melissa Belsey, Lucy Lincoln, Megan Belsey, Alice Smith, Ellie Hunter, Laura Hedtke, Sophie Jermy, Emma Farmer & Rebekah Lake (C). Subs – Olivia Mungham-Grey, Olivia Smith & Molly Ryan.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
With all 3 Mulbarton sides in action at the same time (the 7’s kicking off before the end of the Plate final both sides have three available on the bench. Typically I write Mul in my notes but that’s not going to work today so from now on so as not to confuse you or me I will refer to the sides as the Development and 1st’s. The Development side in the home changing room wearing Mulbarton’s home colours, blue and black vertical striped shirts, with blue shorts and socks. The 1st’s wearing their away strip, turquoise coloured shirts with grey coloured shorts and socks. The 1st’s to get the game underway played back into Laura Hedtke in midfield back to Melissa Belsey at right back sends the ball across the defence for Aneliese Smith to send up the left for Ellie Hunter to attack down the flank, Natasha Williams captaining the Development side coming across to defend the ball cleared for a throw.
Both sides getting after each other in the middle in the early exchanges the ball out of play, cleared at the back the 1st’s send the ball out to the right with Emma Farmer bringing it on cutting inside to make a run across the top of the area, laying it into the box for captain, Rebekah Lake right of goal held up lays it back to Hedtke coming on to strike on the angle from 25 yards out sends her shot over the bar.
Alice Smith winning possession in the midfield for the 1st’s lifting the ball over the top dropping into the box with Lake giving chase, goalkeeper Kirstie Andrews wanting to see the ball out of play but pressed by Lake clears for a throw to the left. Sophie Jermy picking up the ball for the 1st’s out on the left surging inside heading towards the area is tackled by the Development’s Stephanie Leek. Hunter and Jermy combine coming forwards on the left for the 1st’s, Jermy forced inside putting the ball into Alice Smith central who plays the ball out to the right for Melissa Belsey bursting forwards from full back puts her cross back to Farmer top of the area right of goal who then curls a cross into towards the far post Hedtke stealing in volleying over from close range.
Lucy Lincoln defending at the back for the 1st’s as Charlotte Groves makes a midfield run linking up with Lucy Kean in attack looking to go on, Lincoln gets her foot in to tackle running back towards her area.
GOAL! The deadlock broken inside the opening 7 minutes, the 1st’s feeding the ball into Jermy on the left is allowed to travel cutting inside pulls the trigger from 25 yards out to smash a shot past the keeper into the right side of the goal 0-1.
The 1st’s getting players on from midfield well Alice Smith with space to pick a pass in the middle clipping a diagonal ball n towards the left corner of the area, Hedtke making the run to get onto the end of it, Leek doing well to clear for the Development side. Groves bringing the ball on through the middle for the Development side put forwards into Kean in attack looks to turn but closely marked by Lincoln instead shifts the ball out to the right flank with Amy Coaker getting into an advanced position squaring a cross in towards the near side, Kean wriggling free to attack it turning it towards goal but plucked up into her gloves safely by goalkeeper, Cara Anderson.
A free-kick for the Development side on halfway, Nicole Read to play the ball long up towards the top of the area won by Lincoln headed clear. The Development side pushed back into their area, Williams defending sending the ball long up to the right, Lincoln intercepting for the 1st’s the ball coming straight back. A throw high on the left for the Development side dropped into Kean not able to turn and strike on the angle plays it into the path of Ella Cattermole coming across her instead is charged down as she goes to strike the ball from outside the box.
Groves looking to make thing’s happen attacking through the middle for the Development side looking to release Rosie McNarry out on the left of attack, Anderson however is quickly out to the corner of her area to claim the ball for the 1st’s. Farmer over on the left in attack for the 1st’s now breaking forwards with Hedtke as the diagonal ball comes floating in towards the top of the box, Williams getting there first to win the header send the ball clear.
Lake coming for the ball in the middle bursting forwards a strong run, halted by Williams as she comes to close her down. Ken linking up with Cattermole through the middle lifting the ball out to Coaker attacking on the right a heavy tough giving Lincoln the half yard to get onto the ball and clear. Hunter coming into the middle spinning to play the ball forwards with Lake making the run into the right channel, Jessica Clegg with a vital interception for the Development side.
Megan Belsey winning the header top of her area as Coaker sends in a cross from deep on the right. A change for the Development side with Amber Ovens coming on for McNarry. Groves pushing up playing a one two with Kean through the middle, Lincoln reading it pulling away to get into the path of the ball and send clear. Several pauses for undone laces the game being played in good spirits Mulbarton is a tight knit and united outfit. The 1st’s burst on through the middle Lake on the move up top Hedtke lifts the ball forwards dropping left of the D, Andrews comes down in front of Lake to save doesn’t get hold of the ball however loose to the left Lake after it the defence racing back, the shot delayed giving Andrews the time she needs to regain her angle and get behind the ball sent towards her goal and claim.
Melissa Belsey taking the ball on for the 1st’s on the right sends it on to Lake down the wing then breaks into the box herself Lake picking the full back out with her cross, sends a looping header in towards goal from the top of the area, Andrews catching it high. The 1st’s getting players forwards well Jermy linking up with Lake on the right top of the area, Hedtke getting on to join the action sending a forwards pass into the area with Lake breaking in behind however she is halted by the raised flag, offside.
25 minutes played and the 1st’s continue to show good movement in attack, players moving across the final 3rd keeping the Development side from committing too many players forwards. Still some good battles out there, Groves always hard to shake off the ball once she gets on a run. Melissa Belsey bringing her down on the left on halfway. Groves looking to link up with Kean in attack again attempt the one two with Kean pulling right forwards into the box for Groves, Lincoln getting across to shield the ball claimed by Anderson.
Clegg doing well at the back against Lake as Alice Smith lifts another inviting ball forwards into the box for the 1st’s. Melissa Belsey with a strong challenge at the back to win the ball for the 1st’s sending the ball on for lake out into the right, player streaming forwards to get into the box, Lake’s low cross cut out by Read, deflected out towards the top right of the area with Hunter latching onto it for the 1st curling a looping effort up towards the left corner the strike cannoning back down into the area left off the crossbar…
GOAL! … the shot is struck on the angle back towards goal, blocked… appeals for handball, referee Ryan Starkey pointing to the spot, Penalty! Hedtke placing the ball on the spot runs up to strike the ball a powerful hit sending the keeper to wrong way to hit the back of the net and make it 0-2.
15 minutes left on the clock in the 1st half Mulbarton’s 1st team doubling their advantage. Coaker coming forwards with the ball central for the Development side picking out Ovens with the pass on the right, Aneliese Smith lunging in to win the tackle for the 1st team. Melissa Belsey right on for Lake to attack on the right her sweeping ball into the box headed clear by Williams. The Development side’s captain winning her fair share of headers inside the box with Lake pulling wide to cross. Coaker with Ovens out on the right getting the Development side a corner. Lifted in near post Anderson comes amongst bodies to get a fist on the ball send it clear to the right.
The 1st’s making a triple switch bringing of Aneliese Smith, Jermy and Melissa Belsey bringing on Olivia Smith, Olivia Mungham-Grey and Molly Ryan. Groves back to defend a throw deep on the right cutting out the ball sending it behind for a corner as Lake turns to attack the area. The ball flung into the mix headed clear.
Groves high up the pitch getting in the tackle to win the ball, sets off, Lincoln with a timely tackle to toe the ball away from the midfielder or she’d be through to attack the box beyond. Time ticking down in the first half the Development side battling hard to defend but often pushed back can’t get players up quick enough to support Kean in attack, seeing the ball come straight back. Hunter in the middle on for Lake ahead of her lays the pass out to Ryan to the right bursts on into the box Ryan playing the ball into her shooting for the left side across the keeper, Andrews getting down smartly to make a superb save push the ball away then back up quickly to save again with her feet beating the ball away as Lake goes after the loose ball.
The Development side winning a corner on the left the ball fired in low across the six yard box knocked back in central falling to Groves can’t get a shot away before being closed down the 1st team defence scrambling the ball clear.
GOAL! Into stoppage time in the first half and a sucker punch for the Development side as they are hit on the counter attack Hedtke bringing the ball on from the middle left side laying it forwards into Lake racing on the keeper rushing out to close her down, Lake top corner lobs it over the keeper with the outside of her boot to send it racing on into the empty net 0-3.
Half-time Mulbarton Belles Ladies Development 0-3 Mulbarton Belles Ladies 1st
A late late goal in the first half seeing Mulbarton’s 1st team take a 3-0 lead into the break. A strong first half scoring an early goal getting forwards well pushing the Development teams defence back. Adding a 2nd from the penalty spot midway through the half then a 3rd late on to put themselves into a strong position going into the 2nd half. The Development side working hard at the back with some good defending and saves from Andrews getting the ball into their attackers hasn’t been easy, Groves with her driving runs looking the most likely to make something happen.
Both sides making changes at the break with Jermy back on for the 1st’s replacing Alice Smith, McNarry and Maria Sosnina on for the Development side who get the 2nd half underway the ball launched forwards at the start looking for Kean pushing on however is long for a goal kick. The Development side looking to start the 2nd half on the front foot Groves looking to play the ball on for McNarry as she get’s past Lincoln, the ball put inside cut out by Olivia Smith.
Read with a coming together with Hedtke leaves the midfielder down for a moment needing a little time to recover, still played in good spirits if competitive. McNarry winning the ball for the Development side putting it on for Groves central as she makes the run right channel to break into the area, Groves playing the ball into her, Megan Belsey in the make the blocking tackle as she goes to shoot the defender then clearing the loose ball.
GOAL! The Development side looking to make a positive start to the 2nd half quickly find themselves trailing by a 4th goal, the 1st’s with the ball in midfield lifting it out to the right with Ryan bursting forwards driving a low cross into the box, near side, Lake stealing in near post to strike the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner for her 2nd of the match 0-4.
Anderton with a strike from all of 30 yards for the Development side over the crossbar as the ball is laid back into from Groves. The Development side with a substitution bring Cattermole back on for Read. Lake flagged offside as Hunter’s pass into Farmer wide left see a cross launched in towards the far post. Anderton up on the left combining with Sosnina, the ball into the area won by Lincoln.
Andrews out smartly to claim the ball to the right of her area before Farmer can reach Hedtke’s crossfield ball. The 1st’s with a triple switch as they bring Alice Smith, Melissa Belsey and Aneliese Smith back on for Hunter, Hedtke and Megan Belsey. Game strategy with Friday’s County Cup Final in mind. Ryan driving a shot wide across goal from a throw high on the right. Framer playing the ball up into Lake in attack, Clegg defending for the Development side…
GOAL! … players up the field the 1st win possession back quickly the pass played into the area for Lake racing in clear left wide of goal to shoot on the acute angle to send the ball across the goal into the net on the right for her hat-trick. 0-5.
The 1st team getting themselves into a 5 goal lead early in the 2nd half, captain Rebekah Lake bagging herself a cup final hat-trick. The Development side making a change bringing off Anderton for Read, soon after Leek picks up a head injury and is taken off to be replaced by Coaker. Ryan taking the ball on for the 1st team moving left pushed on for Farmer racing towards the area left side, Andrews out to close the angle making a fantastic save with her legs as she goes to shoot the ball out for a throw deep on the left. From the dead ball the cross flashed into the six yard box across goal Aneliese Smith attacking it far post sending the ball over from close range.
Read blocking Ryan’s shot as the attacker looks to force her way into the box. The 1st team in control of the game now pressing their opponents in the final 3rd the cross coming in Lake attacking it close in at the right post frustrated but smiling as her attempted shot doesn’t come of instead goes narrowly wide.
Lake turning provider peeling out to the right to fire a cross into the six yard box, Ryan meeting it, Andrews again saving brilliantly with her feet. Read off again with Anderton back on for the Development side. Ovens sending the ball on for Groves as the Development side attempt to break, Jermy tracking back to defend.
GOAL! The game stretched as the Development team tire and push players on looking for an opening, the ball won in the middle played out wide for Aneliese Smith on the right wing taking it in shoots on the angle a vicious strike in low towards the near post, Andrews down covering the angle, getting her gloves on the ball but only succeeds in pushing it across her goal and straight into the path of Lake to stroke the ball home for her 4th of the match 0-6.
The game open now the 1st team coming on at will finding space out wide Alice Smith picking out Aneliese Smith getting up on the right sends the ball inside for Lake 20 out to lay back for Alice Smith to take on the strike from 25 yards out, put in on target saved by Andrews right behind bringing the ball down and claiming.
Jermy into Lake out on the left sending a cross in central from deep, Ryan latching onto the ball to cut past the defence and shoot, left of the D, Andrews diving he ball though racing wide of her left post. The Development side struggling to find any rhythm, Groves continues to get onto the ball but frustratingly can’t get it into her teammates as Alice Smith, Lincoln and Melissa Belsey all close her down. McNarry winning the ball back right putting it forwards, Olivia Smith there to reclaim before Kean can get across to it. Sosnina out on the left bringing the ball down plays it into the area , Lincoln in to clear for the 1st team.
Andrews rushing out to slide in and claim at the feet of Aneliese Smith on the right as she runs in behind the defence. The game moving into the final 10 minutes the 1st’s winning a throw deep in the corner on the right put into Jermy near side a turn and volley sent over from 10 yards out. Despite the score line everyone is playing with a smile on their face good banter being exchanged.
Coaker coming off for the Development side, Ovens back on, Farmer on the left flashing a cross along the face of goal, Aneliese Smith sending it over, but play halted by the raised flag. Lincoln has done as much as anyone to frustrate the Development sides attacking efforts during the match getting in to tackle more than one driving run from Groves through the middle.
Ovens attacking with the ball into the right corner for the Development side laid back to Cattermole top of the box right her cross in cut out by Jermy, the 1st’s launching a counter attack racing up the pitch the ball out to Aneliese Smith on the right inside the box for Jermy to attack a swing and a miss as two sliding challenges come in. Game end to end as the Development side look to break the game stretched.
Ryan sending the ball inside for Aneliese Smith inside 20 yards out from the right takes on the shot a high ball lifted in towards goal, taken by Andrews on the bounce. Into the closing moments McNarry breaking into the box for the Development side the ball is lifted over the top, Lincoln holding her off as Anderson calls loudly and rushes out to claim the ball.
The game into the dying second lifted forwards by the 1st’s cleared by Williams as the final whistle blows and the 1st team celebrate winning a league and cup double.
Full time Mulbarton Belles Ladies Development 0-6 Mulbarton Belles Ladies 1st
Mulbarton’s 1st team with a strong performance to win the Norfolk Women’s League Plate Final, Sophie Jermy scoring inside the opening 7 minutes with a 2nd added from the penalty spot by Laura Hedtke was a real blow for the Development side to concede a 3rd so late in the first half. Andrews with a number of crucial saves while the defence worked tirelessly. Looking to make a positive start to the 2nd half the Development side soon found themselves 4 goals down with 1st’s captain Rebekah Lake netting her 2nd and soon after her 3rd of the game. In control of the game now the 1st’s pressed on looking a threat in attack, a 6th goal coming as Lake got onto the end of a saved strike from Aneliese Smith to add her 4th of the game and the 1st teams 6th. A heavy loss for the Development side in the end but it mustn’t distract from the an excellent debut season reaching a cup final while challenging week in week out at the top end of their league and great to see both sides united after the game.
A league and cup double for Mulbarton’s 1st team as they gear up for their 3rd successive County Cup Final appearance on Friday as they take on Norwich City Women at Carrow Road.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, several strong performances out there but as always only one winner. For the Development side the defence worked hard throughout making a number of vital interceptions and tackles none more so than captain, Natasha Williams. Goalkeeper, Kirstie Andrews pulling off a number of fantastic saves. Charlotte Groves getting about in midfield looking to take the ball on force play and ring others into the attack. For the 1st’s Lucy Lincoln was immense at the back reading the game well, making alot of interceptions and winning the ball with her head. Sophie Jermy covering the ground getting on with the ball and tracking back to defend opening the scoring with a wonderful strike. The award though goes to captain Rebekah Lake scoring 4 goals in the final, getting into some great positions inside and outside the box pulling wide for the ball never still.
This is a Mulbarton centric report s o here is the best time to give a shout out to their 7’s side who were also victorious in their Cup Final today. Alice Ladbrooke with the only goal of the game seeing them beat Taverham Ladies FC, with goalkeeper Jo Hooper named player of the match.
Congratulations to Mulbarton Belles Ladies 7’s on winning today’s League Cup final.
Congratulation’s too, too Mulbarton Belles Ladies on winning today’s League Plate Final and for becoming Division One Champions for the 2nd successive season.
An enjoyable first game at today’s Norfolk Women’s Finals day, thanks to the NWGFL committee and teams for their help this morning a quick turn around and some food needed before this afternoon’s League Cup final.
by Darren Gilham