The Round-Up – FAWPL 20/08/17

The Round-Up

Sunday 20th August

The new season is finally here and with it The Round-Up is back too. All the action from the FAWPL Southern Division right down to the county leagues across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire covered. The county leagues don’t get underway until next month but this weekend saw the return of both the FAWPL and the ERWFL. First up the FAWPL Round-Up covering both the Southern and South East Division One. 

FAWPL Southern Division

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies won the FAWPL Southern Division title last season going on to win the FAWPL Playoff game to win a place in FAWSL 2. With Tottenham going up and only 11 sides in the Division bottom side QPR Ladies were spared relegation. 12 sides contesting the league this season with Division One South East and South West champions, Gillingham FC Ladies and Chichester City Ladies both promoted. Looking at thing’s in pre-season would have to say Coventry United Ladies or Charlton Athletic Women are favourites to win the title, Crystal Palace have recruited well too could be another contender.

Onto the action and of the two favourites I mentioned above they couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Goals a plenty in the league on the opening weekend 32 in all across the six games. It’s Crystal Palace Ladies holding top spot in the Southern Division as they won big on the opening day. At home played QPR Ladies, Crystal Palace have bolstered their squad over the close season bringing in Striker Nikita Whinnett from Tottenham Hotspur Ladies along with Megan Lynch. Stefanie Simmons joins from Charlton. Megan Chandler and Ria Collins also new additions. It didn’t take Whinnett long to open her account for Crystal Palace scoring in the 8th minute.

   An equally important signing was retaining the services of striker Gemma Bryan scored plenty last season and on the half hour mark opened her account for this season. Crystal Palace had more chances in the 1st half but at the break the lead was 2-0. It rained goals in the 2nd half and both Bryan and Whinnett had another goal each inside the 1st 10 minutes of the restart on 57 minute Bryan completed her hat-trick. Stefanie Simmons got in on the scoring act netting on her debut. Whinnett not to be out done made it a hat-trick too in the 75th minute. Bryan going on to claim 5 goals on the day netting 2 more in the final 5 minutes as Crystal Palace ran out 9-0 winners inflicting a heavy defeat on QPR.

   Coventry United Ladies weren’t far behind Crystal Palace just a goal in it in 2nd spot as they racked up a high score away to Swindon Town Ladies winning 8-0. Have another player in hot scoring form early in the season as Alison Hall scored a 1st half hat-trick with goals in the 3rd, 30th and 34th minute, the lead 4-0 at the break with Keeley Davies opening her account volleying home a minute after Hall had scored her 1st. Hall went on to add a 4th goal to her tally early in the 2nd half with substitute Nikki Miles making it 6-0 just past the hour mark. Jade Brook went on to score a double to round off the score. A tough home start for Swindon Town Ladies. 

Charlton Athletic Women were also amongst the goals as they began their season at home to Lewes Ladies at Thamesmead. Have like Crystal Place added several new players to their squad with James Marrs coming in to join the coaching staff. Charlotte Gurr joins having been at Gillingham FC Ladies along with goalkeeper Katie Startup. Kat Nutman is a good addition with plenty of FAWSL 2 experience with Oxford United Women. Ellie Dorey comes in from Brighton, Liz O’Callaghan another new addition. Chloe Brunton Wilde coming in too plenty of new faces. It was the visitors who themselves have made some useful signings strikers Amy Taylor and Lisa Fulgence who were to take the early lead Lewes ahead in the 7th minute Kate McIntyre scoring. Charlotte Lee got Charlton back on level terms netting on 20 minutes with 2 late goals putting the home side ahead in the 1st half an own goal on 38 minutes, Ellie Dorey scored on her competitive debut to see Charlton lead 3-1 in the 42nd minute.

Last season’s top scorer for Charlton, Kit Graham was introduced from the bench in the 61st minute went on to score twice on the opening day to make it 5-1 to Charlton with Gurr scoring her 1st Charlton goal in the final minute of the game.

Portsmouth FC Ladies are 4th after the opening day fixtures as they picked up a great result at home playing one of last season’s title contenders Cardiff City Ladies. Molly Clark, Jade Widdowson and Rachel Panting amongst Portsmouth’s new signings it was Shannon Albuery who gave Portsmouth the early advantage scoring a goal in the 3rd minute. Natasha Stephens doubled the lead just past the quarter hour mark and own goal soon after pulling it back to 2-1. Samantha Quayle netting with a couple of minutes remaining in the 1st half to see Portsmouth lead 3-1 at half time. Cardiff were reduced to 10 early on in the 2nd half Laura Williams red carded. But so too were Portsmouth goalkeeper Michelle Beasley sent to the dressing room too. It was Molly Clark on her debut to make the 3 points beyond doubt for Portsmouth scoring in the 88th minute to seal a 4-1 victory.

 Another side recruiting well before the season are Essex side C&K Basildon Ladies. Have brought in April Bowers and Ellie Manning from Gillingham FC Ladies aswell as Katie Whitehead from Billericay Town Ladies. Were at home on the opening day at Canvey Island FC hosting newly promoted Chichester City Ladies. Goals for Danica Revell and April Bowers on her debut saw the home side start with a win taking all 3 points with a 2-0 win that puts them into 5th early on.

 After a 2 season absence Gillingham FC Ladies were back in the FAWPL Southern Division making their bow at home on the opening day and doing so at Gillingham FC’s Priestfield stadium to hosting West Ham United Ladies now fully under the umbrella of West Ham United. Gillingham despite promotion have seen several players depart the squad over the summer had a large squad with plenty of young players ready to step up. West Ham United have several new signings, Mollie Kmita was with Gillingham for a spell herself last season, Abi Igbavboa formerly with Crystal Palace have also added Amber Stobbs who had spells with FAWSL sides Reading FC Women and Everton Ladies, now named as captain at the club. The game itself looked to be heading for a draw neither side able to break the dead lock right up until the final minute when Kallie Balfour found the back of the net to score and seal an opening day 3 points for Gillingham FC Ladies.

FAWPL South East Division One

Onto the FAWPL South East Division One, again the opening day saw all 12 sides in action with contrasting results for the two newly promoted sides Leyton Orient WFC and Haringey Borough Women. For the past two seasons the league has been won by a runaway side Gillingham FC Ladies and Crystal Palace Ladies respectfully. This time round I think it will be much closer at the top Milton Keynes Dons Ladies finishing runners up last season may be slight favourites but the likes of AFC Wimbledon, Actonians Ladies, Luton and Cambridge may well be there or there about. Is a league where anyone on their day can beat anyone else.

Actonians Ladies surged to the top of the pile as they gave new promoted Haringey Borough Women a debut day defeat they aren’t likely to forget in a hurry. Were a surprise package last season their 2nd in the league started strongly and stayed competitve all season in the top 5 eventually clinching a top half finish. Alessandra Barreca was their top scorer then and hit the new season running smashing 5 past Haringey Borough. Katrina Duncan and Sinthujah Sooriyakumar both netting a brace there were goals to for Lafa Uche, Catherine Murphy, Caterina Kensbock and Mariko Engels in a resounding 13-0 win. A tough loss to start the season for Haringey Borough who also had Stephanie Cooper sent off for 2 bookable offences

The other side newly promoted to the side from the regional leagues are Leyton Orient WFC they made their debut in the FAWPL away to Cambridge United WFC at Mildenhall Town FC. That match was the featured game of the weekend on Women’s Football East and the match report can be found just below this post. Plenty of changes for Cambridge United WFC who looked in contention for the league title for a good portion of last season before eventually finishing 4th. Lots of new faces and a few absences and injuries early on seeing a new look side take to the pitch against a Leyton Orient WFC side that had retained almost all of last season’s promotion winning squad excited to get going to. Chances early on for Cambridge, Leyton Orient grew into the game. A competitive and physical game the visitors held Cambridge to 0-0 at the break came out strongly 2nd half both sides may well feel they could have got the winning goal but in the end the points were shared overall the result a good platform for both to build on.

New signing Amber Cantwell attacking for Cambridge United WFC

Luton Town Ladies are 2nd in the table after the opening round of fixtures as they hosted Stevenage Ladies starting their 2nd season in the league. New signings for both sides, Luton bringing in goalkeeper Grace Brooks from London Bees, Steph Gale from Leicester City and Lisa Nixon from Watford along with adding development players to their 1st team squad. Stevenage have resigned striker Nicole Perschky (now Emmings) aswell as Paige Logie from Cambridge United WFC, along with Amy Makewell, Emma Marshall and Chloe Gunn.  

Luton opened the scoring on 11 minutes with Zara Carroll rifling home from 35 yards, it was Carroll again on target 10 minutes later to make it 2-0. Jess McKay put Luton into a 3-0 1st half lead but the score was 3-2 at the break as Stevenage fought back with two quick goals from captain Donna McGuigan and Amy Josland. Luton going on to secure the 3 points in the 2nd half with Nicola Henman scoring twice to seal a 5-2 win.

Norwich City Ladies were in a relegation battle at the bottom of the South East Division One table last season saving themselves with a magnificent performance in their final games. Have added to their squad for the new campaign bringing in striker Vivian Moyo from Thorpe United Ladies. Goalkeeper Eilish Brogan from Lowestoft and Luka Goodfield from Acle United Ladies along with Sasha Diston returning after being with AFC Sudbury Ladies. Also welcome back midfielder Jordan Arnoup who has been out of the game for the game for 2 seasons battling injury. Hosting Enfield Town Ladies, Norwich got off great start Aimee Durrant putting them into the lead inside 15 minutes, Chelsea Garrett doubled the advantage early in the 2nd half before Enfield fought back Lisa Kline making it 2-1 on the 67th minute had them level just 3 minutes later. 2 quickfire goals turned the game around in Enfield’s favour with 15 minutes left, Robyn Ami Brown a 2nd half substitute scoring to make it 3-2 Amira Martin made it 4-2 to the visitors 2 minutes later to see Enfield leave Norfolk with all 3 points.

Milton Keynes Dons Ladies hit the ground running as they netted the fastest goal of the day at home to Denham United Ladies on Sunday. Kerry Newman scoring inside the opening 2 minutes chances to extend the lead it was 1-0 at the break. Denham got themselves back on level terms with 58 minutes on the clock awarded a set piece up stepped Alissa Down to send the dead ball over the keeper into the back of the net the final score both sides taking a point from the game.

   A repeat of last season’s opening day fixture AFC Wimbledon Ladies were hosting Ipswich Town Ladies at Sutton United. Ipswich Town scored 3 goals in the match but left empty handed suffering a 4-3 defeat. 3 goals this time however were enough to secure the 3 points as they came back back from a goal down after Kelly-Jade Whelan had put Wimbledon into the lead. Natasha Thomas scoring a brace on the opening day along with a goal for Lindsey Smith seeing the visitors win 3-1. 

An eventful 1st weekend in the FAWPL best get used to it because I can’t see it being any different a busy season ahead.