Match Report – Stevenage Ladies v Ipswich Town Ladies

Sunday 3rd December

Action from the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup this Sunday afternoon a trip to Hertfordshire to watch the all FAWPL South East Division One tie between Stevenage Ladies and Ipswich Town Ladies.

History for Stevenage Ladies has already been made reaching the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup for the 1st time. Progressing well as a club overall supported well by Stevenage FC themselves the 1st team gaining promotion to the FAWPL the season before last, are building well on the pitch after their 1st season playing at this level in 8th position one point short of last season’s tally already. Manager Reece Buck recruiting over the close season bringing in Paige Logie, Ashleigh Deacon and the returning Nicole Emming’s all with Cambridge United WFC last season.

  The 1st team at Stevenage being pushed hard by their Reserves side leading the ERWFL Division One South winning all 9 of their opening league games scoring 52 goals along the way and yet to concede, keeping the 1st team on it’s toes. Stevenage entering the FA Women’s Cup in 3rd Round Qualifying a comfortable 8-0 win away to Hassocks LFC to reach the 1st Round Proper. At home to former ERWFL Premier Division rivals Acle United Ladies, Stevenage won 4-1 to reach the 2nd Round Proper.

Ipswich Town Ladies are currently 5th in FAWPL South East Division One actually their lowest position so far this season having been in the top four for a long period very much amongst those hoping to challenge for the title this season are unbeaten in 8 games in league and cup. Like Stevenage, Ipswich have a 2nd side a new Development side that won the Suffolk Women’s Division title in it’s 1st season now promoted to the ERWFL Division One North players from that side going on to appear for the 1st team. Have brought in Gemma Moore and Cassie Craddock previously with Lowestoft Town Ladies and Jordan Arnoup good to see her back on the pitch after a long period out of the game with injury. Speaking of injury however have unfortunately lost goalkeeper Leanne Smith to a long term injury, Sian Fagg usually playing outfield taking on the role between the sticks.

  Ipswich Town Ladies entered the FA Women’s Cup in 3rd Round Qualifying away to Cambridge City Ladies beating the ERWFL Premier Division side 5-1. At home in the 1st Round Proper taking on Leyton Orient WFC newly promoted to FAWPL South East Division One and up their in the top 4 with Ipswich the game finishing 2-2 in normal time Ipswich went on to win in extra-time 4-2 to progress to the 2nd Round Proper.

Stevenage play their home games at Hertingfordbury Park, home of Hertford Town FC. A good sized non league ground, a small seated stand on one side housing the changing rooms, a small clubhouse too serving hot and cold drinks. The pitch looking a little worn has seen alot of football looked a little boggy in places, at the start of December a reasonably cold day, gloomy and dull overhead but little chance of rain.

Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Katherine Long, Paige Logie, Dominique Godbeer, Tanya Blacksley, Chloe Gunn (C), Cara Breckenridge, Ellie Searle, Leah Littlechild, Ashleigh Deacon, Amy Makewell & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Danielle Maloney, Kristi Burling & Rebecca Scola.

Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Sian Fagg, Jac Ball, Jordan Arnoup, Lindsey Cooper, Harriet Petley, Cassie Craddock, Amanda Crump (C), Zoe Cossey, Sophie Welton, Natasha Thomas & Jade Henry. Subs – Miagh Downey, Tori Campbell, Nicole Pannifer, Florence Cage& Gemma Moore.

It’s Stevenage to kick off the match wearing white and red vertical striped shirts with red shorts and socks with Ipswich lined up opposite wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts. The home side look to move the ball across the pitch forwards down the right side the ball played into the area with Amy Makewell giving chase, Ipswich’s Lindsey Cooper gets across to slide in to challenge, Makewell squeezes the ball in towards the near post goalkeeper Sian Fagg is across covering the angle gathers the ball.

   Ipswich win the ball in the middle of the park the pass out to Zoe Cossey left wing looks to attack sends the cross into the area cut out by Dominique Godbeer the middle of Stevenage’s 3 at the back the clearance falls to Ipswich captain midfielder Amanda Crump tries to lift the ball back into the Stevenage area the ball is cleared. Cossey with another run left side, Natasha Thomas and Jade Henry up front for Ipswich in the area her cross is over both retrieved by right back Jac Ball getting up the pitch on the right her cross is blocked by Stevenage’s Tanya Blacksley. The home side look to counter attack Ellie Searle on the ball carries it forwards is stopped by Cooper.

Stevenage Ladies, Ellie Searle

Room on the left wing for Leah Littlechild for Stevenage whips a cross into the box too close to the near post is collected by Fagg. Ipswich launch a rapid counter move the ball through the middle into Henry up top good control takes on the shot from 25 yards out is straight at goalkeeper Katherine Long who makes the comfortable save. Stevenage win their 1st corner of the game delivered left side Ipswich defend at the near post. 

Ipswich’s Jade Henry, marked by Stevenage’s Tanya Blacksley

A lively start to the game both sides competitive and looking to move the ball quickly little break in the action. Searle with another positive forwards run through the middle holding the ball up 25 yards out lays the pass back to captain Chloe Gunn she finds Littlechild free on the left going forwards her cross into the box is cleared comes back to the advancing Gunn now 20 yards out left shifts the ball then shoots the ball zipping in towards goal Fagg makes a great save getting low to her right to push the ball away from goal. 

  Ashleigh Deacon bringing the ball on down the right wing for Stevenage sees her cross into the area headed clear by Ipswich’s Harriet Petley. A free kick to Ipswich wide left on the halfway line Crump plays the ball long into the box to be attacked Jordan Arnoup gets her head on the ball sends her shot wide across the Stevenage goal however play is stopped by an offside flag. Henry and Thomas link up on the right wing as Ipswich launch a counter attack, Thomas sending a high ball in towards goal is collected at head height by Long at her near post.

   GOAL! 20 minutes into the game and the home side open the scoring attacking down the right side from a throw in the ball is with Deacon played into the area Makewell has made a fantastic run getting away from her marker, great control and shoots to send the ball in at the near post 1-0.

Amy Makewell opens the scoring for Stevenage Ladies

 Ipswich look for a quick response from the restart the ball with Cossey left side good footwork to get up the pitch the ball squared into the middle the shot is taken from distance doesn’t trouble Long in the Stevenage goal. A fantastic defensive tackle from Paige Logie to deny Cossey an opportunity to skip in behind with the ball as Craddock does well in the middle for Ipswich. Up the other end Gunn taking the ball forwards tries to play the through ball in for Makewell peeling off the centre backs, Ball is round on the cover for Ipswich to win the ball.

The wide players for both sides are seeing plenty of the ball, Cossey breaking forwards with purpose again left side sees Sophie Welton on the opposite flank looking to get into the box sends her cross long, Blacksley is aware of the threat to the Stevenage defender winning the ball at the top of her area. Littlechild has a clear field ahead of her on the left as the ball is won in the middle fired out to her driving forwards into the box strikes the shot the low ball racing wide across the face of goal. A throw in left side 25 yards out played in Makewell a turn and strike sweeps the shot wide across the goal. 

The goal has swelled Stevenage’s confidence are getting players forwards and pressurising the ball when out of possession. Welton brings down Gunn in a central position. Is Gunn to take the free kick 30 yards out goes for goal the ball over the wall straight at Fagg the keeper gathering the shot. All action Ball looks to go beyond Henry off an Ipswich throw inside the Stevenage half right side up ended by Gunn the visitors with a free kick outside the top corner of the area Crump plays the ball towards the far post, Stevenage regain he ball counter attack the ball up the field Makewell giving chase Fagg out to the edge of her area kicks the ball clear.

  Cossey with the ball left side her cross over Crump arriving in the box making a run from midfield, Blacksley beyond half clears the ball 20 yards out is dropping for Welton closed down can’t get the shot under control as she strikes the ball slicing it wide of the target. Ball makes a good run infield with the ball from the right on for Henry up front into the box, Godbeer does well getting across the attacker to get her head on the ball first, Long able to collect. Welton wins Ipswich a corner on the right players come forwards from the back one of those is Cooper, Crump’s delivery is perfect Cooper gets up 8 yards out headers the ball just over the crossbar. 

Lindsey Cooper header flies over the bar for Ipswich Town Ladies

More good defending from Godbeer to deny Henry a chance inside the box as the attacker looks to receive the ball from Welton’s good right wing run. Cossey on the opposite side whips a low cross in towards the near post Thomas there to try and attack it under challenge sends her attempt wide of goal. Fagg sliding in claims the ball before Searle can latch onto it inside the area following good control from Emmings to see the ball into her body centrally and send the pass into the box.   

Half-time Stevenage Ladies 1-0 Ipswich Town Ladies

   That 45 minutes flew by all action both sides constantly looking to get forwards no one getting much time on the ball. A lively contest both sides creating chances, Stevenage with the narrow advantage competing well, right now the tie looks like it could go either way cup football at its best.

No changes for either side at the start of the 2nd half Ipswich to get the 2nd 45 underway. A little bit of hesitancy at the back from Stevenage as they break up an Ipswich attack however the visitors don’t capitalise the ball regained and cleared. Ipswich win a corner on the right following good work from Ball getting forwards receiving the lay off from Henry putting the ball in towards the top of the area. A great chance from a corner in the 1st half for Cooper, she is close again as the delivery is played in near post gets her head on the ball drills the attempt wide of the near post. 

Sophie Welton bringing the ball forwards for Ipswich Town Ladies

Stevenage get the ball forwards Breckenridge on for Makewell moving left her early cross into the area is over Emmings head central and evades Littlechild beyond out of play a corner is signalled. Taken from the right towards the top of the Ipswich area the ball is cleared back out to Emmings on the right sends the ball back into the area, Godbeer gets her head on the ball drops safely for Fagg to collect. 

  Cossey bringing the ball on down the left for Ipswich sends a pass forwards through the middle, Blacksley misses her clearance comes onto Henry 25 yards out the ball doesn’t sit the striker not catching it cleanly the shot bounces safely on for Long to gather. Searle is brought down by Cooper as she comes forwards through the middle with the ball for Stevenage. The free kick 25 yards out central Gunn over it goes for goal on target but straight into Fagg’s gloves.

Ipswich Town Ladies, Zoe Cossey

Getting a little more physical out there the referee needing to have a word with a few players from both sides, Ipswich half a free kick just inside their own half is played long into the area dipping on Long the keeper looks to have it inside her six yard box but spills it out to her right Crump racing in blasts her shot over from a tight angle. Another free kick on halfway this time Crump on the ball play it forwards into the area gets through the crowd is claimed by Long in goal beyond. 

  The energy levels remain high from both sides, Ipswich looking to get forwards Stevenage nipping at the ball winning it and looking to counter, Searle and Gunn ahead of Breckenridge. Crump gives away the free kick inside the centre circle the ball played high into the area his headed clear by Thomas for Ipswich. 

Cara Breckenridge on the ball for Stevenage Ladies

Ipswich come forwards Welton on the ball right inside to Craddock on for Cossey going up the left wing tackled by Logie the corner conceded. The ball is delivered near post drops to the floor Cooper tries to deflect it goalwards cleared back out to the taker put back into the area again Henry central sees her downwards header cleared off the line. Good defending from Petley for Ipswich as Searle plays the ball in behind for Emmings to chase Petley cutting out her cross. The visitors make the 1st change of the game Nicole Pannifer coming on for Henry. The substitute going to left back Arnoup moving into midfield.

Stevenage Ladies, Nicole Emmings

Direct play from Stevenage almost puts Gunn through on goal the ball kicked long by Long is flicked on with Gunn breaking in behind trying to get into the area, Fagg quick off her line slides in gathering the ball momentum seeing Gunn collide with her. Both are okay.

GOAL! Good work from Cossey on the right side the ball on for Thomas she is tackled by Godbeer inside the area to concede the corner kick. Ipswich already proving they are a threat from corners score the equalising goal the ball whipped in near post Thomas get’s up well to get her head on the ball powers it across goal and in off a defender who has no time at all to react 1-1.

Searle is fouled coming forwards for Stevenage on the left side half way out Gunn plays the ball long into the area appears to go through everyone and out of play however a corner is signalled. Played in towards Logie at the top of the area right of the D gets her foot over the ball her shot on target Fagg is prevented from gathering it on her line as a Stevenage player gets across her deflected out to the right a shot from close range is blocked a 2nd corner given this one successfully defended.

   The game is stretched a little moving into the last 15 minutes both sides still looking for a goal both believing the game is there to be won. Long makes a great save on her line as Thomas looks to sweep the shot home at the near post following Welton’s right wing cross. Stevenage make their 1st change of the match, Deacon coming off to be replaced by Kristi Burling. The referee has been reluctant to show any cards but the fouls are mounting up Crump is the 1st player booked sliding in from behind.

A penalty shout for Stevenage as Makewell goes down under challenge inside the box from a throw in on the left, the referee waves play on. Makewell is presented with a goal scoring chance at close range as Ipswich attempt to header the ball back to Fagg dropping late on the keeper the ball is spilt Makewell racing in pokes the ball wide of the left post. Ipswich work the ball down the right Crump inside for Craddock her shot from 25 yards out is charged down spins away to the right the cross drilled back in rebounds back off the near post then the follow up strike is blasted wide across the six yard box. Cossey with a run through the middle shoots wide from 25 yards out for Ipswich . The score remains 1-1 as the 90 minutes are up the tie heading into extra-time.

Full time Stevenage Ladies 1-1 Ipswich Town Ladies

  A really good match to watch, the action non stop either side could yet still win in Ipswich getting the equaliser 2nd half the energy levels from both sides remaining high throughout more fouls creeping in 2nd half.


  Ipswich to kick off the 1st period of extra-time. A great chance straight away for the visitors as Craddock steals possession from Burling at the back and plays the ball into the area right side with Ball providing the run a blasts her shot wide across the Stevenage goal. Makewell up the other end bursts forwards with the ball taking it into the right corner flashes a cross along the face of the Ipswich goal. 

Stevenage with a free kick wide on the left played into the top of the box Burling with the header sends the ball looping up into the air Ipswich head clear comes back to Searle plays the ball back into the area the 2nd clearance falling to Emming’s outside the area right of the D sends her shot wide. Stevenage press forwards Littlechild on the move left side her cross squared in along the top of the Ipswich area Makewell arriving sends her 1st time strike up over the bar.

Fagg with an easy save as the shot is put straight at her from distance by Emming’s following good work from Gunn winning the ball and playing her in. Gunn then shoots wide from distance following a run with the ball at her feet through the middle. Stevenage make a 2nd change Rebecca Scola coming on for Searle. A corner late in the 1st period of extra-time for Ipswich Thomas with the header on near post Arnoup central headers the ball down towards goal Stevenage clear.

 A substitution for Ipswich at the start of the 2nd period of extra-time, Miagh Downey on for Welton as Stevenage get thing’s started. Gunn with more good work on the ball for Stevenage is brought down by Thomas wide left. The ball cleared Ipswich attack the ball into Cossey through the middle no advance as she is tugged back by Burling the free kick awarded 30 yards out. The shot is attempted a yard wide of the top right corner. 

Both sides still going for it no one is shutting up shop a quick free kick taken by Stevenage has Emmings away down the left into the corner her cross in cleared by Cooper comes back to her, another cross put in lands in the side netting. Gunn brings the ball on plays it through for Emmings trying to get into the area from the left cut out by Petley the corner conceded, Stevenage make their final change before it is taken Danielle Maloney coming on for Makewell. From the left the corner is taken short rolled into Gunn coming and calling for it turns inside 25 yards out connects with the shot wall flying towards the top corner Fagg with a top class save to tip the ball up over her crossbar. 

Ipswich Town Ladies goalkeeper, Sian Fagg

  Thomas is shown a yellow after mounting up the warnings a free kick for Stevenage wide right Emmings over it goes for the shot angling in near post another excellent save from Fagg to tip the ball over once again. The corner taken from the left cleared into Gunn outside the box central blazes her shot over the crossbar. Stevenage pressing hard late on Ipswich make a late change Gemma Moore their final substitution coming on for Cossey. The final whistle and this tie will be settled from the penalty spot.


  I might have mentioned I hate penalty shootouts before so moving on it’s a lottery now both sides have put so much into the game a late winner for either side would have been tough to take. A shootout then for a place in the 3rd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup.

The sides gather on halfway to watch the penalty shootout

   Stevenage to take the opening penalty kick. Breckenridge puts the ball down on the spot and takes it, Fagg dives to her left guessing right the ball misses running wide of the post 0-0.

Arnoup to take Ipswich’s first penalty kick, a confident strike through the middle high into the back of the net to give the visitors the advantage 0-1.

Jordan Arnoup scores Ipswich Town Ladies first penalty

  Up comes Logie to take Stevenage’s 2nd penalty sends the ball low towards the bottom left corner Fagg guesses right getting down to make the save 0-1.

  Thomas walks forwards to take Ipswich’s 2nd penalty no messing straight down the middle to double the advantage 0-2.

   Emming’s comes forwards to take Stevenage’s third penalty goes the opposite side to the previous two wrong footing Fagg however sending the ball high, too high it goes over the crossbar 0-2.

  Up comes Moore to take Ipswich’s 3rd penalty only just introduced to the action no doubt not expecting her penalty to be the one that would send Ipswich through to the 3rd Round, a low and confident strike through the middle she turns to celebrate and is mobbed by her on rushing team mates Ipswich win on penalties 3-0.

It’s a cruel way to end a match but it has to be settled one way or anther Ipswich go through to the 3rd Round Proper extend their unbeaten run to 9 games too. A great game to watch a good sized crowd in attendance too, witnessed a good contest between two committed sides end to end and rarely stopping to draw breath. Stevenage’s run comes to an end but shouldn’t be disappointed too much a great effort today. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   I do make it hard for myself at times since deciding to name a Women’s Football East – Player of the Match another tough call today good performances from players on both sides all over the pitch the back 3 for Stevenage, Fagg with some excellent saves in extra-time, Cossey on the wing for Ipswich. Overall however for today’s Player of the Match I have gone with Stevenage’s captain, Chloe Gunn, a tremendous work rate in the middle of the park good timing of passes and runs forwards a threat from a set-piece too.

   Enjoyed today got to love a cup tie, a great game to watch, tough to end on penalties. My thanks to both sides for their help today. Best of luck to Ipswich Town Ladies in the 3rd Round Draw.