Cup Final Special – Holland Ladies v Brantham Athletic Ladies

Friday 26th April

Suffolk Women’s League Cup Final

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

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

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

This evening’s prize.

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

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

Road to the Final

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

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

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

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

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

Holland Ladies

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

Brantham Athletic Ladies

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

(roll on roll off substitutes)

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

Brantham’s, Merlin Watson

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

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

Holland’s Ellie Grafton

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

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

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

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

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

Brantham goalkeeper, Daisy Gibbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brantham captain, Lucy Dunnett

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

Holland captain, Lauren Lucas

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

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

Tarnya McKew opening the scoring for Brantham.

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

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

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

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

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

Rachel White winning the header for Brantham

Half-time Holland Ladies 0-2 Brantham Athletic Ladies

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

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

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

Jasmine Cox with Lauren Lucas

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

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

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

Holland defender, Hannah Campbell

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

Holland’s Libby Batten

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

Brantham defender, Kirby Seward

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

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

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


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

Holland’s Olivia Dowsett

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

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

Stacey Teager

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

Lauren Bourne

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

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

Rianne Dimmock

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

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

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

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

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

Full time Holland Ladies 1-2 Brantham Athletic Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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


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

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

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

by Darren Gilham