Sunday 14th Jan
Norfolk Women’s Division Two
A short trip this Sun day to watch a top of the table clash form Norfolk Women’s Division Two. An exciting title race emerging as we enter the 2nd half of the season. 4 sides making a strong start to the season with 3 tied at the top on 24 points, it’s to one of those I travel today, Mundford FC Ladies as they take on 4th placed Beccles Town Ladies Development hot on the heels of the leading trio.
A host of new sides joining the NWGFL this season with Costessey Sports Ladies going straight into Division One and 8 others joining Division Two seeing it grow to 14 sides. A large league with plenty of fixtures to cram into the season, newcomers Bure Valley Women and Mundford FC Ladies hitting the ground running with Stalham Town Ladies relegated from Division One last season all vying for top spot level on points with identical records having played 9, won 8 with just the one defeat. Behind them with games in hand a new look Beccles Town Ladies side undefeated to date having won 6 of their 8 matches played to date. Some big fixtures at the top of the table to come.
Mundford FC Ladies formed over the summer, joint mangers Rob Johnstone and Dan Ellis recruiting players from the area to compliment the core of players joining from the Thetford Bulldogs playing in Division Two last season. Started the season with a 10-0 away win away to fellow league newcomers Martham FC Ladies with a further 4 wins on the spin to propel them to the top of the league before suffering their only league defeat to date away to fellow title chasers Stalham Town Ladies. Bounced back to win the following 3 league games scoring 19 goals along the away while keeping 3 consecutive clean sheets. Livvi Hodges top scoring so far this season netting 18 goals in 10 matches with Ellen Kerbey on target for 9 goals and Lauren Roberts scoring 8.
A new look Beccles Town Ladies to compete in Division Two last season, a new era with Alan Runnacles stepping down as coach, The club loosing a lot of their experienced players as they struggled for points in Division one last season. With a handful of last season’s players left and the club bringing through several of their U16s players they weren’t keen on staying in Division One which was a proposal with the new leagues taking shape this season. With a young squad coaches Konner Carter and Gary Elder going straight into women’s football set up with a new title effectively as Beccles Town Ladies Development.
A wise call in my opinion having seen how tough life in Division One can be for a young side as others have suffered in the past. That said Beccles have began life in Division Two well, the only undefeated side winning 6 of their 8 matches played including wins against title chasers Bure Valley and Stalham Town Ladies. Have a lot of football to play with just 8 of their proposed 26 games played to date haven’t played for 7 weeks for various reasons and have a busy 2nd half of the season to come. Libby Elder top scorer with 10 goals from 8 matches while Vicky Bloomfield and Alisha Tuttle have 7 each.
The Glebe, the venue for today’s match home of Mundford FC situated beside the cricket ground just off the A134. For once a game I can travel to in under 20 minutes. The changing rooms situated by the carpark leading out to some grass training pitches with the main grass pitch and stadium further down by the road. Railing all around a small terraced stand behind the dugouts housing a tea hut serving hot drinks. The cold weather blowing in overcast with a few spots of rain in the air with the sun doing it’s best to break through which setting low behind one goal might pose some issues.
Mundford FC Ladies starting XI – Sharn Thompson, Sophia Price, Kiara Dale, Beth Seymour, Ruby Wilson, Tiff Seymour, Iris Jaggard, Gabi Varanaiciute, Stevie Malkinson, Ellen Kerbey & Lauren Roberts. Subs – Lynn Fuller, Amber Briggs, Jess Todd & Shae Malkinson.
Beccles Town Ladies Development starting XI – Annabel Outlaw, Kelly Collins (C), Sally Schug, Lola Middlemass, Evie Bailey, Megan Sergeant, Vicky Bloomfield, Millie Reeve, Libby Elder, Alesha Tuttle & Marie Carter. Subs – Georgia Tiffin, Saffron Jones-Yates, Erica Hansen, Sophie Runnacles & Emily Wilkinson.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Mundford to get the match underway kicking off the 1st half wearing red and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks. Beccles captained by Kelly Collins who has plenty of experience playing in the NWGFL for both Beccles and Bungay lined up opposite wearing white shirts with black trim, black shorts and socks. The ball played back to Ruby Wilson in defence she sends it long up the right for Stevie Malkinson to attack, Marie Carter clearing for Beccles at the back
Evie Bailey gathering the ball in the middle for Beccles getting on the move looking to end it on for Millie Reeve looking to get in behind on the right flank, Mundford captain Gabi Varanaiciute sticking out a timely leg to intercept the ball to prevent Reeve racing clear. Beccles temporally down to 10, someone forgetting (I won’t mention who) to put their shin pads on. Beccles lively in the opening exchanges pressing the ball in the final third Alesha Tuttle up with Evie Bailey top of the D the snapshot flashed in wide of the right post.
Pushed up Beccles pressing the advantage on Mundford’s goal kicks winning the ball clipped in from the right, Wilson stepping out of the backline to win the challenge clear the ball for the hosts. Mundford yet to get the ball into their opponents half as a Beccles cross from the right is deflected behind for a corner. The in swinging delivery into the six yard box claimed confidently by Mundford goalkeeper, Sharn Thompson.
At last Mundford get hold of the ball in the middle and attack with purpose, Ellen Kerbey carrying the ball on before laying on on for Malkinson running clear wide on the right gets her foot over the ball to lift a cross in towards the near side of the Beccles goal, Lauren Roberts trying to adjust to get her head to the ball as it drops slightly behind her, the chance gone as the Beccles defence scramble it away for a throw. Beccles winning a series of throws up the left side of the pitch win a free-kick inside the Mundford half, wide to the left a good way out midfielder Vicky Bloomfield over it goes for goal, not a bad strike plenty of power behind the ball just too high as it flies over Thompson’s crossbar.
Iris Jaggard getting hold of the ball for Mundford in the middle linking up with Kerbey the ball forwards for Malkinson breaking on the right pace to get herself ahead of the Beccles defence, lets fly from all of 30 yards out, a low strike racing into the near post, Beccles goalkeeper Annabel Outlaw has her angles covered gets down to see the ball into her body. Both sides looking to get rid of the ball getting players turned run at the defence.
A hopeful clearance from the Beccles defence sees the ball launched forwards with Libby Elder looking to break clear race after it into the box, Thompson though alert out to the top of her area quickly to get to the ball first. Roberts playing the ball into Malkinson’s path 30 yards out from goal, takes a wicked bobble as she goes to strike it, half catching the ball her shot swerves well wide of Outlaw’s left post. After a slow start Mundford are gathering a head of steam building through the middle looking to get players forwards en masse.
Mundford’s turn to capitalise from a poor goal kick won on the right by Roberts has Malkinson up with her tracking wide to cross the ball back into the area a vital interception by Collins to clear the ball for the visitors. The Beccles defence pushed up Mundford regain possession central look to turn play around lifted on for Roberts driving on through the middle, Lola Middlemass racing back with her doing the defending prodding the ball back to her keeper Outlaw to clear.
The game even now Beccles making a change bringing Cater off on comes, Sophie Runnacles. Middlemass back to defend inside the box for Beccles as Malkinson attacks down the right the cross put behind for a corner kick. Lifted in towards Kerbey coming towards the ball from the near post knocked up into the air, Beccles rush in to try and scramble the ball away falls to Malkinson outside the area to the right of goal, strikes the ball her shot racing wide of the far post.
Beccles clearances from the back looking a promising form of attack as they turn the Mundford defence caught high, Elder right channel after the ball, Beth Seymour recovering well for the hosts getting back at Elder to slide in with the tackle the ball deflected off Elder for the goal kick. Reeve attacking with the ball on Beccles right wing squares a cross in towards to D, the foul won to the right of goal as Elder is brought down 20 yards out. Bloomfield over the set-piece, over cooks it this time sending the shot high over the bar.
Emily Wilkinson coming on at the back for Beccles, replacing Reeve. The game a more even contest now, Mundford with more possession central pushing players on, Beccles lively capable of launching a quick counter. Kerbey’s run clear on the left side halted by the offside flag, as Jaggard plays the ball through to her, a very tight call. Jaggard fouling Bloomfield 25 yards out from goal as she looks to shift the ball onto her right foot to shoot. Bloomfield picking herself up to take the free-kick strikes it wide of goal.
Mundford come through the middle, Tiff Seymour with Roberts threaded through to Kerbey pulling off the Beccles defence into the area left of the D aiming to send her low shot back across the keeper, Outlaw get down smartly to make the save. Mundford pressing the attack getting players up to press the ball high, Malkinson from the angle right of the box flashing a shot wide across goal.
Beccles making another switch sending Saffron Jones-Yates on replacing Elder. Outlaw with an unorthodox save with her legs as she throws herself forwards to stop the cross from Malkinson chipped in from the right. Collins does well at the back for Beccles tackling Roberts as the striker turns to attack drive at the box from 25 yards out as she receives the off a throw from the left. Roberts in again to attack the area central as she runs onto a through ball, Wilkinson racing back with her the defender seeing Roberts shoot over.
Mundford strong as they advance through the middle the ball lifted out to Malkinson on the right her cross lifted into the area, Middlemass tracking back well there to intercept the ball ahead of Roberts lining up to attack the ball. Beth Seymour rushing across to tackle Jones-Yates in the box as she breaks into the area from the right a strong challenge as Jones-Yates goes over but well timed no penalty.
Bailey coming out to the right for Beccles whipping a dangerous ball into the six yard box, Beth Seymour cutting it out at the near post behind for a corner. Played in towards the top of the area, Beccles lose possession Mundford countering, Middlemass tracking back to defend conceding a corner up the other end. Beccles with a player down needing treatment as Mundford make a change bringing of Varanaiciute for Jessica Todd. Swung in near side Outlaw comes for the ball and misses it, falls unexpectedly at Kerbey’s feet, little time to adjust, knocks it into Todd in close proximity who fires over from close range.
Elder back on for Beccles, races forwards to attack the ball right channel, Kiara Dale coming across to slide in clear the threat for the hosts. Jaggard coming off for Mundford with Lynn Fuller entering the game. The clock ticking down in the first half a competitive tussle Beccles bringing Reeve back on for Sergeant. Bailey on the right for Beccles up with Tuttle who shoots over from 25 yards out. Beccles finding some extra energy late in the half pressing forwards Bailey winning a free-kick inside the Mundford half to the right, Bloomfield to float the ball in towards the top of the area the shot taken from the left of the D blasted wide across goal.
Into stoppage time, Dale winning the ball at the back for Mundford carrying it forwards before threading a great ball through the middle for Roberts to attack racing on towards the area Collins tracking back with her the striker looks to chip the ball over the keeper, not enough on it however as Outlaw standing tall plucks the ball down to make the save.
GOAL! Deep into first half stoppage time Mundford coming away with the ball wide left on halfway knocked forwards into Roberts up top runs onto the ball left of goal into the box, Collins going with her the attacker makes no mistake this time as she goes to chip the keeper, Outlaw agonisingly getting her fingertips to it but not enough to stop the ball traveling beyond her into the back of the net 1-0.
Half-time Mundford FC Ladies 1-0 Beccles Town Ladies Development
Mundford with the goal late in the first half to go into the half-time interval leading the game. Finishing the half strong after an unsettled start that saw Beccles press the advantage in the opening exchanges putting pressure on the ball in the final 3rd. Took their foot off the gas to allow Mundford to gain some momentum with some strong runs through the middle the hosts creating a few opportunities while Beccles defended well at the back looking a threat on the counter with a couple of half chances themselves. A blow to concede so late in the half some adjustments to be made at the break to get themselves back into the match, a single goal in it still very much all to play for.
Georgie Tiffin coming on for Beccles at the start of the 2nd half with a quick turn around with both sides staying out on the pitch during the break. Beccles to get the 2nd half underway the promise of a little sun having gone the cloud cover firmly in place the ball clipped long out to the right bouncing on sees Bailey spin in behind looking to get after the ball into the box, Thompson rushing out to the corner of her area sliding in well to make the blocking save.
Malkinson bringing the ball out to the right for Mundford winning a free-kick. The ball chipped into the near post, dealt with by Outlaw.
GOAL! The Mundford backline pushed up to half way as Beth Seymour gets hold of the ball surges forwards before knocking it wide to Malkinson, continuing her run pointing to Malkinson to lift the ball over the top as she powers in behind the Beccles defence running onto the pass taking the ball wide down to the by-line running out of room wraps her foot around the ball as she slides onto it sending a venomous ball past the keeper into the goal beyond to double Mundford’s lead 2-0.
Beccles quickly conceding a 2nd goal early in the 2nd half look for a reply Tuttle holding onto the ball as she brings it on central played on for Reeve, who crosses the ball in towards, Jones-Yates top of the D, Tiff Seymour stepping in to cut the pass out clear for Mundford. Tuttle making some useful runs with the ball for Beccles driving on into the right channel tackled by Mundford’s Fuller.
Beth Seymour covering a lot of ground at the back for Mundford coming across to tackle Reeve as she attacks with the ball left corner, taking it out for a throw in. Mundford imposing themselves on the game getting after the ball. Sergeant returning to the action for the visitors replacing Reeve. Bailey on the right with Sergeant who knocks the ball forwards a little too much on it but does well to pressure the defence win a corner kick. The in swinging ball flashed across the face of goal through every one Bloomfield lunging at it far post but can’t turn it home as it goes out for a goal kick.
Tiff Seymour with the ball at her feet bringing it on through the middle laying it out to Malkinson moving right looking to turn into the box, Middlemass getting back to challenge stabbing the ball behind for a corner. Beccles frustrated a Tuttle looking to evade Tiff Seymour as she looks to get away on the right gives away the free-kick the bench unhappy with the decision. Tempers flaring between the coaches as Dale comes in with a strong challenge winning the ball between the dugouts a few words exchanged the referee looking to calm thing’s down, Malkinson however says one thing too many and as a consequence is shown the yellow card and sent to the sin bin.
Mundford down to 10 players for the next 10 minutes. Beccles making a change bringing Wilkinson back on for Hansen. Beccles need to settle if they are to try and press the player advantage however they give away a free-kick inside their own half to the left of the centre circle, the ball angled n towards goal dipping in front of the keeper, Outlaw does well to save getting down to punch the ball away to her right, the ball cleared.
The hosts winning another free-kick wide on the right, struck in towards the far post Todd 10 yards out knocking the ball up back in towards goal Roberts going up for it with the keeper, fouling Outlaw as she gets her gloves on the falling ball. Amber Briggs coming on for Mundford replacing Todd. The game scrappy the ball pinging about in the middle of the park. Beccles bringing Elder back on for Tiffin.
Beccles getting players forwards, Bailey out on the right laying the ball back for Sergeant to cross in near post Collins bringing the ball down turning to send her strike over the bar. Malkinson’s 10 minutes up she returns to the game Mundford back up to their full compliment.
Beccles winning a corner on the right played short into Tuttle, looks to turn inside but is closed down by Price the ball cleared. Malkinson coming off now with Varanaiciute back on.
Beccles applying some pressure as Mundford drop back into their area playing the ball across the area Tuttle lively looking to make something happen the ball struck wide from 20 yards out. Wilson playing the ball long from the back helped on through the middle for Kerbey pulling left with Roberts the back cut back into the middle for Tiff Seymour getting up to join the attack, Middlemass out to close her down for Beccles.
Mundford attacking left price on for Roberts to turn and strike the ball on the angle racing in low to the near post, Outlaw behind the shot to make the comfortable save. A free-kick for Beccles a good 40 yards out, Bloomfield can get some power behind the ball as she tries her luck from range the ball running wide of Thompson’s left post. The game moving into the final 10 minutes, Beccles pushing on trying to find an opening Mundford settled at the back working well together to limit openings.
Tuttle evading a challenge wide on the left taking the ball on for Beccles Hansen back on ahead of her crossing inside for Wilkinson top of the area left of the D looks to play it forwards for Elder, Beth Seymour though can get across the path of the ball to shield it out safely for a goal kick.
Play stopped Beccles having had a player go down unexpectedly off the ball, concern as she lays unmoving as teammates and coaches rush onto the pitch. Appears to have fainted a pause in play as she is accessed and eventually helped of the pitch carried to the bench somewhat groggy, hoping it’s nothing too serious as play resumes Beccles bringing Runnacles and Reeve back on, Hansen also coming off. Mundford bringing Shae Malkinson on for Briggs.
The clock ticking down Beccles pushing on a little disjointed with players out of position as they look to pressure the Mundford defence late on try and take something from the game. Sergeant getting hold of the ball 25 yards out driving on into the area, Beth Seymour stretching to tackle her winning the ball. Launched up to Roberts has Kerbey up in support as they look to keep the ball in their opponents half with the referee signalling the game has entered stoppage time.
Tuttle running onto the ball played out to the right inside looking for Elder, Wilson challenging to clear the ball for Mundford as the final whistle blows and Mundford celebrate winning the 3 points. The result taking them 3 points clear of 3rd placed Stalham Town who were in county cup action this afternoon, remain neck and neck with Bure Valley Women who won 1-0 away to SWFC Lingwood Ladies.
Full time Mundford FC Ladies 2-0 Beccles Town Ladies Development
Two goals either side of half-time the difference between the sides in the finish. Mundford recovering after a slow start to create opportunities in the first half. Lauren Roberts played trough into the box to score in first half stoppage time and despite goalkeeper Sharn Thompson being called into action early in the 2nd half Beth Seymour broke forwards to score a wonderful goal to put the hosts 2-0 early in the 2nd half. Mundford settled back then comfortable defending their lead working hard to ensure a 4th consecutive clean sheet. Beccles frustrated as they suffer their first league defeat despite a strong start to the game and some promising attacks didn’t really get at Mundford 2nd half and will be looking to put things right next weekend as they host Mundford in the return fixture.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football east – Player of the Match. Rarely an easy decision although I did have a strong favourite in mind as I left the ground today and the notes only confirm that. Several strong performances to mention first though. For Beccles. Alesha Tuttle was good in attack making some strong runs with the ball looking to take the game to Mundford bring her teammates into contention. Emily Wilkinson and Kelly Collins making some vital challenges at the back getting back to win the ball. Lola Middlemass superb covering the ground in the middle and getting back to help the defence. For Mundford, Lauren Roberts made some great attacking runs strong on and off the ball scoring the opening goal. Stevie Malkinson providing a great outlet attacking down the right flank. The back line strong, Ruby Wilson and Kiara Dale with some great interception and tackles the award though goes to Beth Seymour was strong at the back getting back to make some well timed tackles covering the ground well the icing on the cake her burst forwards to score the 2nd goal.
Great to catch a top of the table clash from Norfolk Women’s Division Two remains an exciting title race. My first look at both sides in competitive action and both look in great shape. Mundford with a good setup with a decent squad. Beccles with plenty of youthful talent in their ranks too will only get better as they grow as a team. My thanks to both for their help today and wishing Beccles poorly player all the best for a speedy recovery
by Darren Gilham