Sunday 28th Jan
ERWFL League Cup
Back at it after a much needed weeks break, heading over to Mulberry Park this afternoon to watch Mulbarton Wanderers Ladies take on fellow Norfolk side Wroxham FC Women in the quarter finals of the ERWFL League Cup.
A strong line up reaching the last 8 of this season’s competition with Mulbarton Wanderers Ladies one of two Division One sides to progress this far, with the other being Division One South leaders Watford Ladies Development away to the Premier Division’s runaway leaders Real Bedford Ladies. defending cup holders Luton Town Ladies are away to St Albans City Women next week. Bowers & Pitsea Ladies taking on Stevenage FC Women in the remaining quarter final tie. A different format to the League Cup this season with all the clubs entering at the 1st Round stage, previously the Premier Division sides entered in the 3rd Round.
Mulbarton Wanderers Ladies moving up into regional football after back to back titles in Norfolk Women’s Division One. Building a strong women’s section in their relative short history bringing in a high level of talent from Norfolk. Have made a good start to life in tier 6, whilst suffering the frustration of a lack of league fixtures for various reasons, that had seen them a low as 2nd bottom purely through lack of game time, but with just 13 points separating top to bottom a 3-2 at home to Fakenham last weekend push Mulbarton up to 5th and with plenty of game in hand on the sides above are more than capable of putting pressure on the top two whom they have yet to face in the league.
Rebekah Lake amongst the best strikers playing in the county has been top of the scoring charts for Mulbarton Wanderers Ladies since their beginning and is out in front again this season finding the back of the net for 14 goals from 9 appearances. Sam Walker another leading goal scorer in the county joining Mulbarton from Long Stratton last season has 5 so far from 8 played. A bye for the club in the 1st Round of the League Cup drawn at home to Division one South side Billericay Town Women Development, Lake on target for a brace with Walker also scoring in a 3-0 victory. Away to another Division One South side in the 3rd Round taking on Lawford Ladies, goals from lake, Lucy Kean, Atlanta Griffith, Laura Hedtke and Charlotte Groves sealing a 5-2 win to send Mulbarton into the last 8.
Wroxham FC Women currently 4th in the ERWFL Premier Division table, amongst a cluster of sides in the top 5 separated by just two points challenging for what looks like runners-up spot with runaway leaders Real Bedford Ladies yet to drop a point so far this season. Adam Race taking on the managerial role this season having moved from Long Stratton, inheriting a strong squad with a great blend of youth and experience have added a number to their ranks with the most recent signings being talented young goalkeeper Bryony Williams and experienced defender Mary Croft both dual signed from Norwich City Women.
Hannah Fuller (previously Waters) can easily go toe to toe as one of the best strikers in the county. Both are a nightmare to defend against finding great positions to run in behind and take on players. Leading the goal scoring charts for her club once again netting 20 goals so far from 15 matches . Lara Densley enjoying a great season for Wroxham on the scoresheet for 8 goals from 16 played. Luci Middleton and captain Becky Russell both with 7 goals. Like Mulbarton a bye for Wroxham in the opening round, an away trip to Essex to play newly promoted Southend United Ladies in the 2nd Round, Holly Connell striking twice with goals from Hannah Fuller, Lauren Bullard, Lara Densley and Keela Olive securing a 6-1 win. A home tie in the 3rd Round against fellow Norfolk side and Division One North leader, Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers Women. Fuller on target to bag herself a hat-trick with Ella Gambell and Russell getting a goal apiece in a 5-1 victory.
Mulberry Park the venue for todays game the weather much improved after the stormy conditions at the beginning of the week. Warm and bright, with no wind. The pitch seeing a lot of action, the ground still damp heavy in places. A small seated stand opposite the dugouts with the tee hut open serving hot drinks and snacks. The sun low behind the stands moved from my opposite flank to view the game so I had it at my back to help with the camera.
Mulbarton Wanderers Ladies starting XI – Jody Todd, Lauren Bumstead, Rachel Jermy, Megan Belsey, Ellie Hunter, Leah Brown, Lanta Griffith, Sam Walker, Sophie Jermy, Molly Ryan & Rebekah Lake (C). Subs – Melissa Belsey, Laura Hedtke, Poppy Loveland & Olivia Smith.
Wroxham FC Women starting XI – Bryony Williams, Leah Newcombe, Chelsea Clarke, Tigi Robson, Albany Hodgson, Becky Russell (C), Jennifer Drummie, Lauren Bullard, Lara Densley, Luci Middleton & Hannah Fuller. Subs – Ella Gambell, Rachel Cossey, Keela Olive, Ellie Overton & Sumer Copland.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Mulbarton to get this afternoon’s quarter final underway kicking off the first half wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts with blue shorts and socks. Wroxham lined up opposite in their away colours aquamarine coloured shirts with black across the top of the chest and shoulders, black shorts and socks. The ball played back into the middle, Wroxham break forwards quickly to pressure the ball out on the left the ball won pushed back towards captain Becky Russell outside the box clips a high ball in towards goal dropping down cannons off the bar back into play the Mulbarton defence launching it clear.
Wroxham setting the tempo early doors getting at the Mulbarton back line keeping the hosts pinned in the final 3rd Chelsea Clarke combining with Lara Densley on the left flank on for Luci Middleton wide her cross blocked behind for a corner kick. Curled into the area defended headed back out to the left the 2nd ball in deflected away for a throw in. Wroxham threatening left side Russell with Densley forwards for Middleton to attack running into the box, tackled the ball prodded out of play for another corner.
Ellie Hunter looking to take the ball on through the middle spark Mulbarton into life played on for captain Rebekah Lake up to, Albany Hodgson stepping in to intercept the pass. Wroxham come right Jennifer Drummie off a throw in forwards for Lauren Bullard to travel the the by-line before squaring a ball into the six yard box, cut out and cleared by Megan Belsey at the back for Mulbarton. All Wroxham winning the ball inside the Mulbarton half push players into the final third the ball rolled into Densley top of the D, struck on the half volley, dipping in front of goalkeeper Jody Todd does well to get her palms behind it make the blocking save.
Mulbarton yet to get a toe hold in the Wroxham half yet a meaningful attack registered, Drummie in to win the ball in the middle, Clarke left and Leah Newcombe on the right getting forwards to push the hosts back. The ball sent long on the left in behind for Fuller to attack from the left channel a strong run, Lauren Bumstead and Belsey going with her as she powers her way into the box the ball won well and cleared.
Wroxham dictating the play able to push their defence up play the ball across the back, Lake up top alone with a lot to do if her teammates can get the ball into her. Newcombe taking the ball on up the right forwards for Bullard looking to turn in behind, Hunter tracking back well getting to the ball to take it clear for a throw.
Hodgson plays the pass along the ground into Densley left side, lines up a strike from range her shot flashing wide of the far post. The visitors forwards on the left Clarke on for Densley into Fuller left of the D, gets the ball across the top of the area for Middleton central ready to shoot, Hunter gets back on her in the nick of time to win the ball the opportunity gone. Sam Walker goes into the book for an off the ball offence with Drummie.
Walker with a ell timed challenge a few moment later to halt Densley’s progress as she looks to make ground on the left. Belsey out to block Densley as she lines up another strike 25 yards out top of the D. Walker find Leah Brown on the right as the winger looks to get away down the line pushing inside, Densley closing her down stops the cross, Brown winning Mulbarton their first corner of the game. Taken short, Mulbarton dally on the ball too long as Wroxham rush out to close it down threaten to counter, Belsey standing her ground on halfway to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Midway through the first half, Wroxham dictating play creating chances around the box, Mulbarton yet to have in theirs working hard at the back, getting the ball out and keeping it their proving difficult. Middleton seeing the ball into her feet 25 yards out to the left of the D, turns well to hit the shot her effort flashing over the crossbar. Drummie out to Newcombe right on for Bullard, Rachel Jermy stretching to win the ball clears for Mulbarton.
Russell sending the pass on for Bullard wide right squares it across the top of the area, Drummie running onto the ball her shot charged down by Belsey. Newcombe taking the ball in behind for Wroxham on the right, Sophie Jermy running back to challenge on the by-line clearing for the hosts falls straight to Russell positioned right of the area 25 yards out, looks to thread a diagonal ball on for Middleton spinning off the defence into the area central, Bumstead getting back at her to lung in take the ball away from her.
Sophie Jermy pushed back needing to slow down Newcombe help Rachel Jermy out with Bullard looking to run in behind her. Walker on for Hunter through the middle, Lake pulling out wide on the left into space brings the ball down whipping a cross into the area, Molly Ryan cutting in of the right channel looking to attack it the ball though cleared by Hodgson.
Mulbarton finding a little momentum in the middle as Lanta Griffith, Hunter and Sophie Jermy combine getting forwards on the left, Jermy sending the ball on for Hunter bursting into the left channel the ball crossed in cleared back out to Griffith, lifted back into the box, Tigi Robson heading clear for Wroxham out to the right of the box, Ryan looking to latch onto it, Clarke in to block her shot.
Clarke on from the left with Densley played into Fuller left of the area turns inside bursting into the six yard box putting it in across goal, Todd their first to snatch the ball down, vital with Middleton lurking ready to turn it home. Clarke getting up on the left receiving the lay off from Fuller left of the D, shots her shot blocked defecting harmlessly through to the keeper. Wroxham upping the ante pressing forwards as a pack the ball played into Fuller up top left side flicks the ball into the path of Middleton putting her clear right side to attack the goal, shoots, Todd down smartly gloving the ball away for a corner kick.
The ball dropped into the box scrambled away by Hunter for Mulbarton. Sophie Jermy alert on the left taking a quick throw looking to set Griffiths away, Newcombe getting back at her to tackle see the ball out for a throw. Clarke putting Fuller through in behind to run into the box, and score won’t count however the flag early against her as Mulbarton’s defence hold a good line. Fuller hungry for a goal, so too Clarke as the ball comes back to her on the left, as soon as it arrives you can see she’s going to take the shot on hit on the angle a vicious ball in low dipping late on Todd does well to block with her legs as she falls forwards doesn’t get hold of it as Fuller rushes in on the follow up, strikes the ball looking to get it over the keeper, Todd getting enough of her body in the way to deflect it over the bar!
Bryony Williams has largely been a spectator in goal for Wroxham in the first half but need to remain alert pushing up from the back Mulbarton winning it back launch a pass long for Lake to try and chase down, Williams needing to come hurtling out of her area to clear the ball. Wroxham attack right Bullard sending it on for Newcombe on the overlap to the by-line back to Bullard turning into the area right lifts a cross into the mix, Hunter trapping the ball top of the six yard box, but not away Fuller taking a swing at it as it rolls forwards doesn’t get a clear hit scuffed as Megan Belsey gets the block in and taken away to the left for a corner kick.
Mulbarton making a change bringing off Ryan with Poppy Loveland coming on. Russell seeing the ball onto her feet for Wroxham outside the D, puts her foot through the shot rising in on goal, Todd with the spectacular save gloving the ball up over the bar for the corner kick.
Swung into the area knocked down into the mix, cleared by Bumstead, the counter on as Sophie Jermy takes it on for Griffiths who bombs forwards into the left channel making for the box is clipped as she looks to drive into the area, goes down play brought back for the free-kick, Bullard goes into the referees book. Loveland on the set-piece gets it past the Wroxham wall in towards goal, Williams though right behind seeing the ball into her mid-riff as she drops forwards.
Into first half stoppage time Wroxham still prepared to push player forwards Drummie winning in in the middle on for Russell, playing the ball forwards as Rachel Jermy and Walker collide allowing a gap for Fuller to turn and run into looking to get onto it as it races towards the box, Todd sharp diving forwards onto the ball in the nick of time Fuller leaping up letting out a cry of frustration.
Half-time Mulbarton Wanderers Ladies 0-0 Wroxham FC Women
As one sided a goalless first half as you will ever see, Wroxham will be wondering how they are not in front have pushed hard for the opening goal, seeing one disallowed and the woodwork struck. Mulbarton goalkeeper Jody Todd called into action for a number of saves. The hosts have had to work hard at the back to keep Wroxham at bay right from the off a gutsy performance under pressure. Rebekah Lake up top on her own getting little to fed on. Wroxham pushing up will getting their full backs advanced to keep Mulbarton pushed back looking to move the ball about the park. Still with nothing in the goal scored column all to play for 2nd half.
Changes for both sides at the break, Mulbarton staying out on the pitch making two changes bringing on Laura Hedtke and Melissa Belsey for Bumstead and Griffith. Ella Gambell coming on for Wroxham on the right replacing Bullard. Wroxham to get the 2nd half underway, played into Russell looks to clip the ball out to the left for Densley, Brown can see it safely out of play for Mulbarton.
Gambell into the attack early on racing down the right into the corner winning a free-kick. Looped into the near post headed on across goal headed goal wards the ball claimed by Todd in goal. Russell gathering the ball into hr feet on the right tracking inside for Wroxham fires it into Densley running in central to curl a shot from 20 yards out wide of the right post.
Wroxham looking to start of the 2nd half where they left off the first. Middleton drifting right seeing her cross cut out turned behind for a corner. The corner curled into the middle of the area by Densley headed back out to the right inside the box snatched hold of by Gambell strikes a shot on the angle saved by Todd knocked down into the ground and cleared by the defence.
Hedtke sending the ball on for Lake pulling out to the left for Mulbarton wide has limited options as she looks to cross the ball into the area, the ball intercepted by Hodgson. Drummie on through the middle, Middleton and Fuller running in ahead of her towards the area plays it on for Middleton central as Fuller peels away to the right of goal, Middleton lays the ball into her Megan Belsey getting across to lunge in to put in the block as she goes to pull the trigger the ball spinning away for a corner kick.
The corner count rising Densley putting so useful balls ball in from that side, in central cleared back to Gambell right this time sends her shot behind. Mulbarton making another change bringing on Olivia Smith to replace Walker. Brown storming forwards with the ball on the left for Mulbarton, sending it inside to Lake 20 yards out, Clarke in to challenge her before she can look to spin in behind to shoot.
Clarke running into space on the left found by Russell striking in a shot on the angle held by Todd. Mulbarton’s back line remain pinned back, Megan Belsey and Rachel Jermy both making a blocking tackle on Middleton and Fuller respectfully. Gambell adding to Wroxham’s threat going forwards with some driving runs on the right, sees a cross snuffed out by Rachel Jermy as he breaks for the by-line.
Clarke adding to the threat going forwards from the back on the left for Wroxham, bursting forwards plays a one two with Fuller as she continues her run past her into a central position to shoot from 20 yards out her effort fired straight at Todd who claims the ball.
Wroxham make their 2nd change bringing Rachel Cossey on to replace Middleton. Densley tracking in from the left appears to be bundled over, the visitors appealing for the fouls as the ball runs through to Gambell 25 yards out right side, Rachel Jermy rushing out to meet her win the challenge for Mulbarton. Wroxham win a corner on the right swung in near post Todd comes out into the mix to try and get hold of it doesn’t as the ball is turned behind for a 2nd corner.
GOAL! The corner deliveries from the right have been dangerous and this one brings the opening goal the ball fired in with pace into the six yard box met by Robson making her 50th appearance for Wroxham gets her head under the ball powering it into the back of the net 0-1.
The deadlock finally broken in the 65th minute. Play resumes Ryan and Griffith back on for Mulbarton the ball played up the left sent into the area, cleared. Robson down needing treatment. Wroxham suddenly down to 10 as Clarke finds herself sent to the sin bin the game had gotten a little testy. The visitors adjusting to the player disadvantage by making a change bringing of Densley, with Ellie Overton coming on the fill in at the back.
Gives Melissa Belsey less to worry about on her flank the full back getting forwards as Hedtke picks her out with the pass up the pitch lifts a cross into the box knocked clear by Hodgson. Mulbarton a goal down with a player advantage need to come out attack, have to remain wary of Wroxham’s attack still lively Gambell on the drive central closed down well by Megan Belsey. The ball swept out to Fuller pulling right side of the box lay the cross into the D with Drummie on the move Ryan going with her getting enough of a challenge in to slow her down force the ball left as Megan Belsey comes to clear the ball.
Wroxham competing well with one less player keeping the ball away from their exposed left flank. Russell on the left of the box heading the ball down into Fuller central turns to run out to the right, Smith stretching to stop her cross. Robson going down under a heavy challenge picking up a knock Wroxham on the attack Drummie clipped out to Fuller right her cross chipped into the box cleared by Megan Belsey.
Griffith getting hold of the ball driving forwards through the middle for Mulbarton aiming to thread the ball through the Wroxham defence for Lake to hunt down, Williams though ready racing out to the top of her area to dive onto the ball.
Mulbarton pressing on trying to find a break through to get them back on level terms Hedtke on for Lake to attack, Williams again going down to claim it spills the ball however no one is close enough to capitalise as the ball is made safe. Clarke’s time up is allowed back onto the pitch eager to resume, Overton pushed on ahead of her. Hunter and Gambell battling for the ball come together a bit of afters quickly dispelled, Hunter hurt in need of treatment can’t continue, Bumstead coming back on.
Fuller with a drive on the right smashing the ball against the crossbar from the angle. Robson is down feeling the effects of her earlier knock, needs to come off with Newcombe returning to the game. The clock ticking down Wroxham continue to dominate the attack, yet while the score remains 1 nil Mulbarton only need one moment to turn the game on its head, looking unlikely though with Fuller driving on with the ball into the area, Melissa Belsey and Bumstead combining to defend see the ball out for a corner.
Gambell from the right cutting inside lays the ball in central, Loveland cutting it out for Mulbarton playing it forwards the left, Clarke latching hold of it coming straight back at them. The final whistle signalling the end of the game Wroxham clinch the win to send them through to the last 4 of this season’s ERWFL League Cup
Full time Mulbarton Wanderers Ladies 0-1 Wroxham FC Women
Tigi Robson’s 65th header proving to be the difference between the sides as Wroxham find a goal in the 2nd half to win the match. Doesn’t tell the whole story, Wroxham no doubt the dominant side going forwards right from the opening whistle creating chances getting players forwards to keep Mulbarton penned back limited their opportunities going forwards in the process. An intriguing yet tense contest. Mulbarton on the back foot never really found the spark to get ignited going forwards that left Lake isolated in attack, no doubt part of Wroxham’s game plan. Credit to the defence however who played well making some vital challenges under a lot of pressure.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Time to pick this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match as more often than not a difficult one and one I don’t thankfully have to make on the final whistle, even if one or two players are in prime position in my thought the notes help immensely. Some great and battling performances out there. Firstly for Mulbarton, Ellie Hunter really covered the ground in the middle getting back to help the defence and winning the ball doing her all to get her side going forwards. Credit to the defence for a hard fought display particularly Megan Belsey for some vital blocks and tackles. Goalkeeper Jody Todd too her saves and positioning undoubtedly keeping the score down. For Wroxham was a strong attacking performance without necessarily getting the rewards. Both full backs got forwards well Leah Newcombe on the right, Chelsea Clarke strong on the left with some great runs and passing, getting into good shooting positions. Hannah Fuller up top would have scored a hat-trick on another day made some great runs pulling into the channels setting up others. Luci Middleton deeper with some fantastic runs with and without the ball to create chances. Tigi Robson scoring the winning goal in her 50th appearance for the club. As is often the case when one side is pushing the other back it’s how the ball is won back in the middle that often keeps the pressure on and for that today’s award goes to Jennifer Drummie a strong performance in the middle to win the ball and keep Wroxham pressing forwards getting into some good positions to have herself a shot too.
Well rested after a week off, didn’t know how much I needed it. A great game to come back to. Always a good contest between the sides who might well end up facing each other in the County Cup should they win there respective quarter finals. My thanks to both for there help with the teams today and to catch up with a few footballing friends.
by Darren Gilham