Match Report – Sprowston FC Women v Bungay Town Ladies

Wednesday 22nd May

Norfolk Women’s Division One 

After a run of 9 cup finals, a brief pause this Wednesday evening for a spot of league action in my penultimate game of the season, a trip into Norwich, to watch a potential title winning clash between the top two in Norfolk Women’s Division One, Sprowston FC Women 2nd a point behind the visitors, leaders Bungay Town Ladies. 

 Bungay Town Ladies climbing to the top of the table having finally caught up with their games in hand a point clear knowing a point or better this evening will see them crowned champions. Sprowston’s last game of the season have to win to keep their own title hopes alive and then hope Caister FC Ladies can do them a favour by beating Bungay in their final game on Sunday. Bungay keen for that scenario not to arise, both sides bringing in the big guns for the game with their dual signings available with their parent clubs season’s having concluded. Whatever the outcome of this evenings match the pair have guaranteed a top two finish. A great season for both.

 Sprowston amongst the chasing pack all season picking up some great results developing a squad of young players, Sprowston FC with a strong youth policy. Lost just one of their opening 12 league matches pushing the leaders all they way and when Caister FC Ladies were deducted 12 point for playing a banned player the Division One picture changed with themselves and Bungay emerging as the title contenders. Reaching the last 4 of the League Cup too will b aiming to end the campaign on a high. Mollie O’Callaghan the top scorer for Sprowston scoring 17 goals in 17 appearances. With Rosie Milligan on 13 goals Bailey Duffield with 12 and Holly Whayman and Lois Wright both on 9.

  Bungay Town Ladies emerging as the Division One leaders late in the season having been playing catch up with their fixtures all campaign. Never an easy task to have the games in hand and fulfil the potential they offer by getting the points on the board but have achieved it to put themselves within touching distance of winning another Division One title, albeit quite a while back. Have long been established in the league have build up a strong squad full of experience and a spattering of exciting young talent. A double within their grasp too, missing out in the final of this seasons League Cup. Mia Rose the clubs top scorer with 14 goals. Lauren Goulder has since moved on with 12. Brooke Osborne signed at the start of the season with 8 to her name.

  Blue Boar Lane the venue for this evenings league clash the Sprowston Sports and Social Club, home of Sprowston FC men and women. The social club leading to the main grass pitch. Surrounded by trees in a residential area. Viewing behind railings all round. The pitch certainly a contrast to the pitch at evening but unfair to compare it to Portman Road. Is uneven in  place the grass a little long, but with all the rain we’ve had in the past 24 hours hardly surprising good growing weather. A little slope to it too from one goal mouth to another a decent crowd too with a few keen observers to see how things will pan out. After that heavy rain yesterday that saw the Suffolk Women’s County Cup final suspended for 1hr 20 minutes it didn’t hit Norwich too bad and the threat to the game being on passed. A few spots of rain in the air clouds around but as the teams kicked off the sun broke through the cloud low setting behind the trees behind one goal.

Sprowston FC Women starting XI – Jade Knight, Courtney Leggett, Bailey Curtis, Holly Whayman, Brianna Rudd (C), Olivia Leggett, Chloe Shipman, Mollie O’Callaghan, Anais Winney, Phoebe Green and Bailey Duffield. Subs – Rosie Milligan, Lois Wright, Lola Hallam & Aimee Dickson.

Sprowston FC Women

 Bungay Town Ladies starting XI – Chloe Pearce, Grace Storey, Marcie Prettyman, Chloe Ellis, Ruby Roos, Charnelle Riggall (C), Selina Rowland, Brooke Osborne, Lily Alexander, Lauren Bullard & Mia Rose. Subs – Naomi Cooper, Kate Pasque, Lauren Purling, Abigail Bell & Zoe Cossey.

Bungay Town Ladies

(roll on roll off substitutes)

Captain’s Charnelle Riggall and Briana Rudd with this evening’s referee, Norwich’s, Alice Parker.

Sprowston having midfielder Chloe Shipman available with Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers Women historic title winning season in EWFL Division One North finished. Played a big part for the club collecting both the Players players and Managers player of the year awards. So too Anais Winney, she and twin sister Lily-Ann joining now relegated FAWNL side Cambridge City Women both having played for the first team. Bungay have midfielder Ciera Flatt out injured but have some of their dual signings available too to this evenings crucial game, Lauren Bullard recently signed on in the starting line up along side fellow Wroxham player, Lily Alexander who netted a goal in Wroxham league cup final defeat at the weekend. Naomi Cooper on the bench. Norwich’s, Alice Parker, refereeing this evenings game.

Sprowston opting to switch ends at the coin toss with the sun appearing low behind one goal. Bungay to kick -off the game wearing light blue shirts with black shorts and socks. Sprowston wearing orange shirts and socks with black shorts. The ball played into midfield comes out to the left captain, Charnelle Riggall looking to get forwards on the flank lays the pass inside into Mia Rose up top, Bailey Curtis closing in holding the attackers up inside the D, Rose getting room to turn putting the ball into the far post collected by goalkeeper, Jade Knight.

Bungay looking to make a positive start, Selina Rowland winning the ball in the middle, putting the pass out to Riggall wide left, 30 yards out unleashes a shot the ball brushing the side netting as it runs wide of the near post. Rose winning a throw for Bungay up on the left, Grace Storey putting it into Rose’s feet, wide spins inside to cross, the ball headed clear by Sprowston captain, Briana Rudd.

Bungay’s, Selina Rowland

Riggall pushing on well up the left for Bungay as side win another throw in the corner played into Riggall, sends a crossed arrowing into the far post, players closing in, Marcie Prettyman up with Brooke Osborne, the header turned wide. The game being played at a frantic pace the ball won back and put forwards quickly. Bungay pushing players on, Sprowston clearing into Mollie O’Callaghan in the middle puts a diagonal ball into the right channel for striker, Bailey Duffield to attack Bungay goalkeeper, Chloe Pearce out of her area quickly to put her foot through the ball to clear.

Osborne laying the ball into Rose’s feet as the attacker pulls out to the right 20 yards out spins in behind to flash a cross in along the face of the Sprowston goal, Bullard can’t quite reach it to turn home. Chloe Shipman carrying the ball out to the right lifts it on for Duffield to attack on the flank, Grace Storey back on her as the pair reach the by-line the defender seeing Duffield place her attempted cross behind for a goal kick.

Chloe Shipman

A frantic opening 5 minutes if anything both sides need to settle. Chloe Ellis playing the ball out from the back up to Osborne inside for Bullard, challenged by Sprowston’s Holly Whayman, cleared to the left, Sprowston’s Anais Winney sending the ball into the box for Duffield to attack, Bungay defender Ruby Roos getting across her to shield the ball back to her keep, Pearce picking it up Sprowston claiming Roos touched the ball implying a back pass but nothing doing.

Rowland giving the ball to Riggall getting on up the left flank looks to play Bullard in behind the flag though going up, halting her run. Winney taking the ball on right for Sprowston winning a throw as Ellis comes across to tackle. Off the throw Phoebe Green sees the ball into her feet right corner of the area and turning to shot sends the ball wide past the far post. O’Callaghan with time on the ball 40 yards out lines up a strike a good effort racing wide of the right post.

Rowland bringing the ball under control in the middle, laying it out to Riggall getting forwards on the left pushed into Bullard 20 yards out left of the D, has Osborne making a run across her going ide plays the ball into her, Osborne’s angled cross, claimed by Sprowston goalkeeper, Knight. A free-kick won on half-way to Sprowston, Olivia Leggett to play the ball up into the area, Roos heading it clear for Bungay.

Bungay captain, Charnelle Riggall looking to get in behind Chloe Shipman

Rowland up ended in the middle, gets back to her feet quickly to take it spotting Riggall in space on the left, going forwards Sprowston out to close her down put the ball out for a throw. Alexander receiving the throw do onto her feet, spins in behind to cross the ball blocked by Whayman. Leggett heading the ball away from danger as Riggall whips a cross in towards the top of the area. Bungay pressing getting forwards well. Prettyman on the move right into Osborne racing on her cross/shot taken by Knight down low at her near post.

Knight has a good kick on her the ball launched up to the right has Duffield turning to attack up the line, is brought down as she reaches the corner of the area, winning her side a free-kick. O’Callaghan over it players up goes for the shot fires the ball over the crossbar. Duffield closing Roos down as the defender looks to see the ball out of play on the left forces the corner. Curled in to the far post knocked down drops to Green out beyond the post, sees her shot charged down.

Sprowston’s Bailey Duffield

Bungay look to break from the corner get away on the right, Sprowston snapping back to turn play around, Shipman on for Green her cross over everyone from the left, Duffield right looking to keep the pressure on, winning another corner. A dangerous delivery curled in under the bar by O’Callaghan, Pearce getting a fist on the ball to punch it away.

Bungay goalkeeper, Chloe Pearce

Duffield attacking the ball on the right as Knight boots it upfield, Riggall tracking back to help Storey at the back getting a challenge in on Duffield to see Storey clear. Both sides calling for a little calm passes rushed at times. Alexander bringing the ball on for Bungay played into Riggall wide left, spins in behind looknig to get down the line, Curtis back at her to challenge, clears the ball. Sprowston making a change, Duffield coming off in attack, Rosie Milligan coming on.

The ball put inside from the left into Rose inside the D, the Bungay attacker holding the ball up, looking to spin off Whayman marking her to get a shot away, Whayman ready lunging in with her leg to block the ball runs wide to the right of the D, Rowland running on looking to shoot first time blasts her 20 yard attempt wide. Osborne taking the ball on down the right seeing her low cross turned behind by Leggett.

The corner lifted in at the near post Roos up to head the ball twisting her body to angle the ball in down towards goal, blocked on the line, dropping down to the floor and hastily scrambled away, Bungay appealing that the ball had crossed the line but don’t get the decision. VAR not used if it wasn’t over there was only a fraction in it.

Bungay’s Ruby Roos

Good contest. lively, Bungay getting on quickly looking to force the tempo, too quickly at times players not ready for passes, Leggett winning it at the back up to Winney left has Green pulling wide picks her out, the attacker on the angle sending a shot wide across the six yard box.

GOAL! The deadlock broken Bungay bringing the ball on right side played into Rose form a goal kick, 20 yards out right corner of the box back to goal takes it to her left to spin away down the line lifting a cross into the box, over Bullard, dropping on the penalty spot, Alexander charging in unmarked hitting it on the volley driving the ball past the keeper into the back of the net 0-1.

Lily Alexander celebrates as she fires Bungay into the lead

Bungay taking the lead with just under half an hour played. Winney gets the ball up to Green pressing on the left sends a cross into the area, Milligan making a central run, Roos intercepting to head the ball clear. O’Callaghan looking to line up another rocket from 30 yards out, Rowland throwing her self in to block the ball at close range. Rose moving across the Sprowston back line to receive the ball, Rowland taking the ball out to the left rolling her in down the line, Rose and Whayman tangling on the edge of the area, the Bungay attacker winning a free-kick, Whayman shown a yellow card.

Mollie O’Callaghan


 Osborne over the set-piece on the left just outside the box, flighted in towards the far post Roos jumping to nod the ball down into the six yard box, the shot is taken, the ball gratefully grabbed up by Knight put straight into the keeper. O’Callaghan with Shipman bring the ball on through the middle for Sprowston, Shipman sending it up the right wing with Milligan racing in behind the full back firing a cross into the area, won by Riggall over on the other side of the pitch now. A few uneven bounces on the pitch wrong footing plays, there are definitely a few nerves out there the senior plays trying to get everyone to relax.

  Riggall over on the right attacking the ball on for Osborne releases Bullard down to the by-line cuts her cross back up into the box, Leggett snatching it back for Sprowston to clear. Roos comes over to support Riggall as she holds up Green’s progress on the left wing, sends the ball upfield, Rose looking to get it under control, has the ball taken off her feet by Rudd. Bungay pressing on the right, Riggall up with Osborne and Bullard the cross put into the area, Curtis going to clear it, Rose charging the ball down behind for a goal kick. 

  Rowland playing the ball into Rose over on the left 20 yards out controls the ball and shifts it inside to open up the angle to shoot, the ball fired straight at the keeper, back on her line. O’Callaghan angling a 30 yard pass into the right side of the Bungay six yard box, Green attacking it sends the ball over. Sprowston winning a free-kick wide on the left in the closing moments of the first half, O’Callaghan over the ball sends the ball into the area over everyone and out at the far post.

Half-time Sprowston FC Women 0-1 Bungay Town Ladies

  Bungay with the narrow advantage at the break, the teams staying out on the field with a short interval before the 2nd half. The game has been played at a frantic pace, Bungay keen to get the job done this evening. Neither side has settled, a nervous edge to proceedings. A few rash challenges but played in good spirits for the majority. Bungay creating chances getting players on well down the flanks. Sprowston limited in their attacks but proving a real danger on the counter and keeping Bungay on their toes a single goal in it all to play for 2nd half.

  Both sides making changes, Zoe Cossey and Abigail Bell on for Bungay in place of Osborne and Storey off. Duffield back on for Sprowston along with Lola Hallam, Green and Winney off. Sprowston getting the 2nd half underway, Bungay immediately in to close the ball down, get the ball up the right crossed into the box, drops for Rose stabs the ball over the goal. Bell closing the ball down in the final 3rd for Bungay out to the right, Courtney Leggett defending sending it out for a throw. 

 Sprowston up on the right getting a throw, played into Duffield top of the area lays it down the line for Hallam to lift a cross into the area, Pearce claiming the ball at the near post. Shipman tackling Rowland in the middle to bring the ball away right, for Hallam, Riggall challenging for Bungay to stop the attack. Courtney Leggett getting on with the ball left for Sprowston fires it forwards up into the box with Duffield the target, Roos goes with her foot instead of her head to clear the ball, slices the ball in behind gets away with it as it runs straight into the keepers gloves.

Sprowston’s Lola Hallam

  Bungay queuing up inside the box as Rose on the right looks to wriggle her was past three defenders, the cross coming in, Whayman winning it for Sprowston to clear. Rowland booked as she is late with her tackle, then clears the ball inside the box from the resulting free-kick. The game remains lively Cossey carrying the ball up through the middle for Bungay sending it on for Rose up the right flank, Courtney Leggett getting a foot on the ball, brings it on setting off a Sprowston counter attack, rolls into Milligan, pulls the trigger from 30 yards out her shot only succeeds in finding the keeper.

  Cossey getting up to the top of the D, laying the ball off to the left for the onrushing, Alexander to take on Curtis making the blocking tackle for Sprowston. Milligan with another attempt from distance 25 yards out on the right places the ball over the crossbar. Shipman wins Pearce’s goal-kick for Sprowston seeing the ball down lays it forwards looking to play Hallam through on goal right side, the pass a little too strong gives Pearce the opportunity to get the ball safely back into her gloves.

  Bungay defending their six yard box heading the ball clear as Sprowston pushing on the right win a corner. Bungay come on through the middle Rowland on for Cossey left of the D, 25 out looks to thread the ball into the path of Bullard ahead of her, not quite as Whayman clears, the ball going straight to Prettyman 25 yards out right of the D, shoots the ball racing wide of the far post. 

Marcie Prettyman tackling Rosie Milligan

 Curtis putting the tackle in on Rose as the Bungay attacker drives forwards with the ball at her feet in the left channel. Alexander on the move right plays the ball on for Rose bursting to the by-lie stabs her cross up into the near post, Curtis with a timely tackle on Bullard as she looks to attack it. Bungay upping the ante pushing on Roos lifting a pass into Bullard moving right back to Prettyman, inside for Rowland looks to turn, Milligan nips in to win the ball for Sprowston, they look to counter Milligan finding Shipman looks to release Hallam on the right, Riggall defending for Bungay. 

  Changes from both sides, Shipman coming off for Sprowston, Green coming back on. Bungay bringing off Rose, sending on Lauren Purling. Leggett needing to defend for Sprowston does well as Alexander picking up the ball 25 yards out drives on towards the box, left side of the D. Bungay giving the ball away in the middle, O’Callaghan snapping onto the ball letting fly from 30 yards out, the shot grabbed down by Pearce. 25 minutes left to play the score remains 1-0 to Bungay, the ball not sticking on the middle, but Sprowston can’t get it into their attackers. 

Bungay’s Zoe Cossey

 Cossey with a chance to double the lead as she breaks into the area central, riding a challenge stays on her feet moving to the left, taking the shot, not enough on it to evade the keeper, Knight down to make the save. Bungay pressing, Alexander on the drive with the ball at her feet central feeding the pass out to Purling on the right 20 yards out ends the ball arrowing into the box central, for Bell looking to attack it on the half volley, places the shot straight at the keeper. Cossey coming inside from the left to try her luck on the angle too can only pick out Knight in the Sprowston goal. 

Bungay’s Abigail Bell

Bungay looking to turn the screw, O’Callaghan nipping back in on Purling as the Bungay winger looks to get away on the right, out for a throw, Prettyman putting the ball up the line for Purling to attack driving to the by-line, Rudd going with her holding her up well eventually conceding the throw in the corner. Prettyman putting it long into Alexander inside the box, Olivia Leggett challenging to clear the threat. 

 Rowland bringing the ball down puts it into the path of Bells 25 yards out right of the D, unleashing a shot whips past the near post. Bungay with a free-kick on halfway lifted into the right side of the six yard box headed down into the mix, scrambled away to safety.

GOAL! Bungay having created a series of good chances make one count as the ball from the left is clipped into the top of the area, Purling seeing it down beyond the defence knocks it right heading for the six yard box and from the angle strikes the ball in across goal over the line at the far post 0-2.

Lauren Purling about to send Bungay into a 2 goal lead.

 Bungay getting a precious 2nd goal make a change bringing off Rowland with Naomi Cooper coming on. Bungay full of running in the latter stages of the game, one hand on the league title Alexander laying the ball on for Bullard, Curtis closing the attacker down top of the area. Bullard on the ball right side up to Purling inside the box, Rudd stepping in to win the ball back runs back out to Bullard places her shot into the side netting.

Lauren Bullard

  A triple switch for Sprowston as they bring O’Callaghan, Duffield and Whayman off, on come, Lois Wright, Aimee Dickson and Winney. The light starting to fade Bungay with a throw on the right make a change Prettyman having pulled up with cramp replaced by Storey. Cooper looking to play the ball into Bullard moving right, the pass cut out by Curtis. 

 Cossey looking to play a one two with Purling as she makes a central run towards the box, can’t quite get control of the return pass. Sprowston look to bring the ball away launch a counter long for Winney, Ellis defending for Bungay. The game stretched as Sprowston look to throw players forwards. Cossey hooking the ball forwards for Bullard on the right, Curtis going with her lunging in to play the ball out for a throw. The cross from the throw long to the back stick, Cooper rising to get her head on the ball nods it down into the keeper.

  Milligan strikes the shot from distance the ball swerving in towards goals caught by Pearce. The game moving into the final minute, Bungay working hard to limit Sprowston in possession a free-kick won lifted up to Purling on the right takes into the corner before winning a corner. Curled into the area and headed clear, the final whistle blows and Bungay have done it, are CHAMPIONS winning the Division One title.

Fulltime Sprowston FC Women 0-2 Bungay Town Ladies

  Lauren Purling has been with Bungay for a long time, her father Graham managing the side for a long period too, great to see her score the goal in the 2nd half to help secure the league title. Please for the club, great to see them win the league, know they have done it before but not in the WF East era. Have always been very supportive of my efforts to help promote the game. Leading 1-0 at half-time found an extra gear in the 2nd half to push on create good chances eventually making one count. Sprowston beaten by the better side on the night, have nevertheless secured runners-up spot. haven’t seen them this season until now, but have heard them talked about in high regards and have done fabulous to be in the title race right up until their final game of the season.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the penultimate Women’s Football East – Player of the Match of the season. Have to say this is a difficult one but the notes paint a picture of who done what help alot on occasion. A few performances of note, for Sprowston, Bailey Curtis made a number of crucial tackles at the back. Olivia Leggett in front of the defence getting across the pitch to win the ball. Chloe Shipman in the middle with some useful passes. For Bungay, Lily Alexander with some fantastic runs on hand to volley home the opening goal. Mia Rose got about the top of the area to receive the ball with some great link up play. Selina Rowland strong on the ball in the middle got Bungay moving forwards. Zoe Cossey and Abigail Bell coming on 2nd half pushed on to keep Bungay up the pitch to create attacking opportunities. The award though goes to their captain, Charnelle Riggall worked hard to win the ball down the left in the first half getting it on down the line linking up with her attackers then in defence 2nd half limited Sprowston’s attacks down the right well.

 Congratulations to Bungay Town Ladies on winning Norfolk Women’s Division One.

Bungay Town Ladies, 2023/24 Norfolk Women’s Division One Champions (photo credit Darrell Allen)

 An exciting game to end the Division One title race, and already you know it’s going to be just as good next season. My thanks to both teams for the team details. Great to see so many taking an interested in the outcome across the footballing community in Norfolk. One more game to go then the season’s done.

by Darren Gilham