Sunday 6th March
Norfolk Women’s Division One
Staying in Norfolk this Sunday with a trip east along the A47 then down the A140 to watch a game from Norfolk Women’s Division One with Long Stratton Women taking on Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women at Manor Road.
After two season cut short by the Covid pandemic it is good to see a buy football schedule continuing into March and for plenty of teams across the East there is still alot of football to be played. The battle at the top of Norfolk Women’s Division One shaping up nicely. Mulbarton Belles Ladies the team to beat at the top with a 100% record so far from 12 played. Competitive amongst the sides chasing below jostling for position in the top 6.
Long Stratton Women amongst those sides currently 4th in the table, looking to establish themselves as a side that can challenge for silverware in the coming seasons. Their captain Sam Walker a prolific goal scorer prior to joining the club has continued to find the back of the net on a regular basis for Long Stratton already on 30 for the season to date from 14 appearances. Long Stratton’s goal threat doubling with Luci Middleton joining the cub at the start of the season after a period away from the game. Back with a bang with her tally at 24 from 14 as she chases down a 30 goal target herself. Winning 6 of their 13 games played so far with 2 draws and 5 loses are unbeaten in the league so far in 2022 with 3 wins an a draw.
Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women were formed in 2020 the playing squad having previously been Sprowston Ladies. Under the Sprowston name were a highly successful side winning the league cup aswell as finishing in the top three in previous seasons prior to the Covid pandemic. Looking to continue in that vein as Dussindale & Hellesdon were looking strong in their debut season before things were curtailed. Similarly this time around currently 6th in the Division One table but have played less games than those above them just 8 so far winning 6 with 2 losses. Victoria Leyer their talisman in front of goal in previous seasons and has 15 goals so far this season from just 6 appearances. Dussindale & Hellesdon far from reliant on Layer’s goals however as they are scoring plenty of goals with 3 more players into double figures already. Chelsea Brister with 12 goals from 11 appearances, whilst ex-Long Stratton player Charlie head has scored 18 from 9. With Shanice Sutton top scoring with 21 goals so far from 10 finding the form she’d shown when at Thorpe United before a catastrophic knee injury saw her side-lined from the game for a lengthy spell.
Manor Road the venue for today’s game, home to Long Stratton 4 adult sides plus youth teams the large recreation ground boasting a number of grass pitches and other sporting facilities overlooked by a new pavilion and kitchen area. Today’s game on the pitch at the far end of the ground, offering plenty of width, the ground heavy underfoot, muddy conditions for sure. A stiff breeze blowing across the pitch bringing with it dark clouds and although no rain was forecast we would be graced with a few spots during the match.
Long Stratton Women starting XI – Jody Todd, Emily Farmer, Mia Wilkinson, Megan Vincent, Megan Bird, Milly Cawcutt, Beth Stratton, Kate Ransome, Emily Allsopp, Harriet Hunwicks-Rush & Sam Walker (C). Sub- Karmen Harvey.
Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women starting XI – Tyla Cole, Amee Kennett, Sieska Humphries, Calista Tink (C), Georgina Belton, Abi Nobbs, Katy Leigh, Abby Hutchin, Chelsea Brister, Shanice Sutton & Tallulah Bell. Subs – Kirstie Rusted, Carina Holmes & Lucy Wetherall.
A few keys players missing for Long Stratton today including Luci Middleton up top, with just one player available from the bench. Charlie Head missing for Dussindale & Hellesdon after picking up an ankle knock. Long Stratton to kick-off the game in the 1st half wearing red shirts and socks with black coloured shorts. Dussindale & Hellesdon usually in an all claret kit fearing a kit clash adorning navy coloured tops for the game. The ball closed down in the middle straight away both sides charging in to close it down, skipping up back and forth between the players, Beth Stratton releasing it up the right wing for captain Sam Walker to chase, Sieska Humphries tackling for Dussindale & Hellesdon the ball out for a throw in.
The throw in clipped on into the area, safely in the hands of Dussindale & Hellesdon keeper, Tyla Cole guarding her near post. Play continues to be intense in the middle of the park players diving in to win the ball no control, skipping up Kate Ransome attempting to feed it through for Walker up top, Dussindale & Hellesdon’s captain, Calista Tink defending at centre back, clearing the ball upfield. Shanice Sutton collecting the ball inside the Long Stratton half on the right playing a diagonal ball into Tallulah Bell up top the Dussindale & Hellesdon attack, not able to get control of the ball before she is challenged by Long Stratton’s Milly Cawcutt.
Roles reversed a few moments later as the ball is angled into Bell drifting left before whipping a long cross into the area for Sutton beyond the far post, Mia Wilkinson closing in at full back to defend getting the ball back to her keeper Jody Todd. Long Stratton looking for Walker out on the left wins a throw high up the pitch, Harriet Hunwicks-Rush to take it has a long throw on her sent into the area a strong header from Dussindale & Hellesdon’s Georgina Belton to clear, out to Amee Kennett on the right the visitors looking to break the ball fed on for Bell taking it on before playing a long diagonal ball forwards into the box looking for Sutton, difficult to get under control before she is tackled by Megan Vincent.
Dussindale & Hellesdon are quick to win the ball back keep momentum going Chelsea Brister over on the right putting a diagonal ball into Bell inside the D, sees it up onto her chest on the turn to lift a shot over her marker, over the crossbar too. Rain falling steadily the wind blowing the clouds on not likely to last long. Humphries charging forwards on the ball for Dussindale & Hellesdon making ground on the wing before she is stopped by Long Stratton’s Emily Farmer.
Dussindale & Hellesdon making frequent sorties down the wings Brister this time left side whipping in a cross, can’t quite find Sutton. Nor does Bell attacking left checking back up the line to curl a cross in going long over Sutton attacking central. Conditions not helping the game somewhat scrappy at time with both sides working hard to close the ball down in the middle often congested no one afforded any time. Walker operating on her own up top Long Stratton looking to feed the ball into her one to chase, Belton having just enough of a head start to win the race knock it back to her keeper to clear.
Bell looking lively drifting out to the left in attack for Dussindale & Hellesdon, squaring a cross into the near side of the box looking for Sutton running behind her comes to Abby Hutchin outside the , shifts it right looking to open up space for a strike, Ransome going with her getting her foot up to block her effort deflecting it up over the bar for a corner kick. Players forwards the delivery long dropping far post cleared up field by Vincent a potential break with Walker charging after it Humphries needing to defend well, and does to clear.
Walker has the ability to turn any situation into a goal scoring opportunity if given half a chance. 40 yards from goal brings a long ball down off her chest, no one on her turns smartly to strike a shot goalwards, off target however Cole can see it safely roll past her far post.
GOAL! The deadlock broken in the 20th minute as Dussindale & Hellesdon with a corner on the left. Players come forwards a well practised set piece, Brister to play the corner in near post Tink rising up to head the ball twisting to power the ball into the back of the net 0-1.
Long Stratton competing for the ball well enough in the middle of the park are struggling to get it into Walker in attack, Tink and Belton winning it back bringing it forwards demanding passing options ahead of them. Kennett carrying the ball on right side cuts inside driving for the area, Kate Ransome coming across sliding in to take the ball away from her for a throw in on the right. The visitors applying pressure in the final 3rd winning another corner on the left, the delivery long this time over to the far post.
Belton winning the ball against Walker takes it forwards for Dussindale & Hellesdon before being brought down presenting the visitors with a free-kick. Hutchin on to Leigh who puts it into Sutton in front of goal, Concedes a foul giving Long Stratton possession back. The ball coming back all to often for Long Straton the host frustrated with a few decisions a free-kick conceded central Hutchin clipping in on for Leigh left of the D helps it on to Bell inside the box behind her she crosses it to Sutton on the right, Wilkinson closing in to take the ball away from her.
Stratton clattered in the middle down for Long Stratton a pause in play whilst she receives treatment goes off but is okay to return to the action is over on the left as the ball comes to her connects sending it over the top for Walker, Tink back peddling however for Dussindale & Hellesdon getting her head on the ball first. Stratton up ended again centrally as the hosts look to up the tempo apply some pressure higher up the pitch. Players up into the area Ransome getting her head on the ball near side knocking it down past the far post Megan Bird after it keeping the attack alive no one to help her is forced wide Stratton arriving to receive the ball knock inside before lifting in a cross into the area that bounces wide of the near post.
Vincent in to block again getting her foot up to deny Sutton as she drifts away to the right of goal. Bell on the left taking the ball out wide down the line Farmer across with her preventing the cross coming in.
GOAL! A little under 5 minutes left to play in the 1st half and Dussindale & Hellesdon go on to double their lead the attack staring with Kennett on the right space to run into travels inside moving central before clipping the ball on for Sutton making a run to the near post right on goal, taking the ball on, looks to commit the keeper, pace Todd stands her ground six yards out Sutton taking it wide to further to the right sending a angled ball back to strike the back of the net 0-2.
Long Stratton having just conceded a 2nd goal find themselves at a further disadvantage moments later. Allsopp is busy central working to win possession back the ball rebounding up striking her arm is penalised and not at all happy about it, those protests landing her in trouble with the referee as she is yellow carded and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. Long Stratton to see the half out with 10 players. Dussindale winning a free-kick wide on the left, the ball floated into the area cleared by Wilkinson beyond the D, drops straight to Brister, 20 yards out left of the D, takes on the strike blasting the ball wide across goal.
The game moving into stoppage time, despite being down to 10 Long Stratton are prepared to commit players forwards, as Walker gathers the ball on half way left sends it on into the middle for Ransome to head down into the path of Bird beside her she in turn has Wilkinson bombing on wide left picking her out, she delivers a cross into the area, Dussindale & Hellesdon getting sufficient players back inside their box to win the header and clear.
Hutchin taking the ball on left for Dussindale & Hellesdon playing it on into Sutton left of the D, doesn’t connect cleanly with her shot, scuffed it rolls straight to Todd at her near post. Kennett on the charge right side evading Wilkinson’s challenge in behind to whip in a cross near side for Sutton to attack, Vincent in ahead of her slicing the ball away to the top of the D, Nobbs racing onto it taking on the first time shot her attempt swerving away from goal wide.
Dussindale & Hellesdon with a free-kick wide left put in near side Todd coming through bodies at her near post the clear, back out to the left Dussindale & Hellesdon drawing players out before sending a cross dipping into Sutton at the near post attempts an audacious back heel flick, would have been a spectacular goal, only to Sutton despair the ball cannons off the base of the far post before Todd scoops it up into her gloves.
Half-time Long Stratton Women 0-2 Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women
A 2-0 lead for Dussindale & Hellesdon at the break both sides staying out on the field as the temperature drops considerably. A strong first half creating a host of chances scoring twice. The game in itself quite a scrappy affair the ball heavily contested in the middle, Dussindale & Hellesdon getting players up to support Bell and Sutton in attack, Long Stratton in contrast working hard to try and get hold of the ball struggling to get Walker into the game up the other end.
No changes as far as I can tell for either side at the break. The rain has stopped the sun trying to make an appearance now despite the chill in the air. The start of the 2nd half a repeat of the first the ball going no where in the middle popping back and forth, Leigh eventually clipping a long pass forwards dealt with by Vincent for Long Stratton at the back.
Ransome getting possession for Long Stratton in the centre lifting the ball on for Walker to attack, Tink getting in to header it clear for Dussindale & Hellesdon. Long Stratton soon back up to 11 as Allsopp is allowed to return to the action. Hunwicks-Rush looking to send her long throws on into the area, a potential problem for Dussindale & Hellesdon as Stratton looks to get the ball down before it is hooked clear.
GOAL! The last thing Long Stratton wanted to do was concede early in the 2nd half, Bell has moved over to the right in the 2nd half getting hold of the ball drives for the by-line Wilkinson going with her, Bell brought down as she manages to lift a cross in along the face of goal. The referee pointing to the spot, Wilkinson penalised for her challenge on Bell Penalty! Sutton to place the ball on the spot fires it straight at Todd who saves with her feet. The ball deflected up dropping to the right of goal as players rush in on the follow-up Sutton their to receive as the ball is cut back into her to drive hard past Todd as she dives in vein to her left to try and keep it out. 0-3.
Dussindale & Hellesdon 3 goal to the good with 50 minutes gone. Hutchin has made a number of driving runs through the middle for the visitors Bell always available peeling away on the flanks taking the pass on down the line from the angle her cross landing on the roof of the net. Hutchin combining with Bell again on the right the cross deeper this time dropping near post catch cleanly by Todd with Sutton closing in. Sutton with an attempt on goal herself from all of 35 yards dipping in front of Todd caught back on her line.
Stratton battling for the ball left side taking it forwards sends the pass on for Walker to attack but as has been the case for much of the afternoon the final ball is dealt with by Dussindale & Hellesdon as Cole comes racing out of her area to clear. Tink clearing a Hunwicks-Rush throw sent into the area on the right sets up a counter attack Nobbs playing the ball on for Sutton to lift out to Bells pulling away on the right wing strikes on the angle a powerful shot Todd stretching getting a firm glove on the ball to deflect it wide of the far post for a corner kick.
Allsopp continues to work hard centrally for Long Stratton going in to close the ball down getting hold of it inside the centre circle spots Walker moving into the right channel, so too does Belton for Dussindale & Hellesdon the centre back having kept a close eye on Walker throughout closing in to win the ball back, Long Stratton continue to be frustrated with decisions going against them. The hosts do win a free-kick on the right the delivery into the near side inside the box Vincent low knocking the ball up into the air inside the six yard box Cole up to claim it clattered wins a free-kick.
Cawcutt taking a knock at the back for Long Stratton a pause in play allowing a substitution Karmen Harvey on for Hunwicks-Rush with 25 minutes left to play. Stratton seeing the ball into her feet spinning off her marker in the middle putting the ball on for Walker, Belton going with her tackling to deny an opportunity on goal. Todd moving out to the right corner of her area to deal with the threat from Bell as she looks to steal in behind as the ball in played long from midfield.
Walker has worked hard up top moving about the back line to try and find and opening all game taking the ball right Belton going with her again, gets the better of the centre back this time frustrated though an her angled drive lands in the side netting. Brister from the left firing a cross in across goal over Bell attacking the far post retrieved on the right a shot put wide. Walker picking up the ball deep powers her way forwards through the middle before sending a shot wide of goal. Both sides beginning to tire the yellow ball coated in mud. Both sides seeing passes going astray Long Stratton frustrated as it just doesn’t seem to be running their way.
A double switch for Dussindale & Hellesdon with around 15 minutes left on the clock, Brister and Nobbs coming off on come Kirstie Rusted and Carina Holmes. Long Stratton are taking more risks Allsopp trying to get up with Walker at times as they look for a goal. Wilkinson on the charge down the left gets in behind only to overrun the ball giving Cole a chance to sprint out towards her claim the ball.
GOAL! Into the final 10 minutes Dussindale & Hellesdon get the ball up on the right players up in attack Bell back for Sutton right corner of the box drills a shot towards goal low and hard through the defence into the bottom corner to claim her hat-trick 0-4.
Another blow for Long Stratton they look to regroup press the attack Stratton battling for possession out to Allsopp, the pass forwards intercepted. Allsopp looks to go on her out through the middle a unfavourable bobble taking the ball away from her. Bird on the right for Long Stratton wrapping her foot around the ball looking to deliver it into the near post, Belton winning the defensive header for Dussindale & Hellesdon.
Todd with another save off her legs as Bell fires a shot in from the right as she and Sutton combine on the flank. A corner given on the right put into the crowd near post Todd calls coming into the mix to punch clear sliced out to the left cleared by Stratton. Belton has been a thorn in Walkers side all afternoon the defender in to tackle well again as Walker attempts to force her way through into the box on the right.
Into stoppage time Dussindale & Hellesdon on the attack a cross put into the box from the right headed away by Ransome. Holmes with a strike from distance send wide right to left past the far post a second later the final whistle blows.
Full time Long Stratton Women 0-4 Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers FC Women
A comfortable win for Dussindale & Hellesdon in the finish coming out on top in what was at times a scrappy contest played in difficult conditions. The job done however a well practised set-piece leading to the opening goal. The advantage doubled before the break with further opportunities created in front of goal. Long Stratton with a battling display working hard but all too often Walker found herself isolated in attack, the ball coming back to Dussindale & Hellesdon. A penalty conceded early in the 2nd half well saved by Todd only to be struck home on the follow up putting the visitors in control. Sutton going on to complete her hat-trick moving onto 24 goals for the season lifting Dussindale & Hellesdon above Long Stratton into 4th in the process.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match One winner in the finish but a few performances of note to mention first. For Long Stratton, Sam Walker worked tirelessly leading the attack and made herself available for her teammates throughout the game. Whist Beth Stratton and Emma Allsopp both battled hard in the middle to try and regain possession. For Dussindale & Hellesdon both Calista Tink and Georgina Belton were solid at the back, the latter dealing with Walker’s threat well in the 2nd half. Abby Hutchin with some strong runs on the ball from the middle. Whilst Katy Leigh won more than her fair share to tackles in midfield. In attack was impressed by Tallulah Bell her movement out into the flanks causing problems drawing players out and in doing so opened up opportunities in front of goal for her strike partner and today’s player of the match, Shanice Sutton. Found some great positions in front of goal and took her goals well, creating further chances (if only that back heel flick had gone in!).
Finally caught up with Dussindale & Hellesdon since their name chance good to see them and Long Stratton in action once again. Now doubt women’s football in Norfolk is getting stronger more to come from both sides I feel. My thanks to both sides for the team details as always much appreciated.
by Darren Gilham