Wednesday 17th May
Suffolk Women’s Premier Division
Heading back into Suffolk this Wednesday evening to take in some action from the Suffolk Women’s Premier Division with Brettvale Ladies finishing their campaign at home to Brantham Athletic Ladies.
The Suffolk Women’s County League the smallest in terms of numbers across the East for a long time featuring just one Division, growth happening like the rest of the region within the women’s game particularly at youth level saw the single league split into 2 last season to better accommodate sides and ability. With sides dropping out and moving up numbers have been reduced in the Premier Division to 7 overall. A decision made late on for the sides to play each other 3 times has seen the season extended all the way to the end of May with some sides putting in midweek fixtures to ensure thing’s get done, thus a great opportunity to get in some league action where normally I’d struggle.
Brettvale Ladies formed 5 season’s ago building a squad around a core of experienced players from the old Ipswich Wanderers Ladies side that used to play in the ERWFL. A solid debut season were to reach the final of the County Cup in the Covid hit season that followed eventually losing to Ipswich Town Women. Strong pushing at the top end of the table won the Suffolk Women’s Premier Division last season. Likely to finish as runners-up this time round, a great achievement in itself when you bare in mind how badly the side has been affected by injuries this season, several long term too. The most recent top scorers Tarnya McKew, damaging her achilles, her goals will be a huge miss for Brettvale having netted 16 this season. There final game of the season this evening will be glad to get the season done rest up and prepare for a new campaign hopefully see some players recover for the new season especially with a few of their senior players preparing to retire. Struggling for numbers have just the 10 available this evening but want to fulfil the fixture complete their fixtures. Players needed to fill gaps their goalkeeper hurting her wrist out too, captain Claire Turnbull donning the gloves. Formed a new U13s girls team this season another positive step building for the future.
Brantham Athletic Ladies very close to not starting the season at all, the longest established club in the Suffolk Women’s Football league struggling for numbers with injuries and unavailability too playing their part. Have turned thing’s around however bringing in Daniel Claxton to coach the side have been working hard on fitness and getting the best out of the players they have, moral improving drastically and that is certainly noticeable in the games I’ve seen. There best form saved for the League Cup going all the way to the final, knocking out Brettvale on the way. Have pulled away from the bottom of the table, this evening possibly their last fixture of the season too with their opponents unlikely to fulfil the fixture. A good mixture of young talent and experienced players within the squad have a few out themselves this evening still able to name a squad of 13. Like Brettvale have an U13s side aswell as a side playing in the U14s league.
Brettvale playing their football in Raydon just off the A12 south of Ipswich at King Georges Playing Fields. A pavilion and clubhouse in one corner of the ground housing the changing rooms and community bar. Room for several grass pitches the players and coaches setting up the pitch before kick-off. Stark contrast to last evenings game held at Colchester United FC just up the road, but a reminder that the women’s football pyramid isn’t all that big, the FAWSL just 6 promotions away (it’s a big just mind). Still I love these kinds of games both sides in good spirits before kick off the sun bright setting behind one goal. A narrow pitch not overly big.
Brettvale Ladies starting XI – Claire Turnbull (C), Rachel White, Lois Gooderham, Deban Howlett, Danielle Lynch, Bethany Bennett, Jess Gill, Sophie White, Amy Parton & Georgia Lindon.
Brantham Athletic Ladies starting XI – Connie Madley, Jess Prime, Katie Lovekin, Shanice Leeks, Shannan Hill, Harriet Young, Lucy Dunnett (C), Sophie Crabtree, Amee Berry, Shannon Giles & Chloe Wilson. Subs – Georgia Long & Freya Gudgeon.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A 7pm kick-off with no floodlights two halves of 40 minutes agreed before the game with a short turn around in between the ensure the game is completed before the light fades. Brantham to kick-off the first half wearing an all claret coloured away kit with Brettvale in their home colours blue shirts fading to sky blue with navy shorts and sky blue socks. The ball played back to captain, Lucy Dunnett , put back to Katie Lovekin on the left, Brettvale rush on to close the defence down the ball hastily cleared for a throw, coming inside the ball played long out to Amee Berry attacking on the left for Brantham, Danielle Lynch across to close her down for Brettvale.
Harriet Young getting forwards for Brantham on the left taking the ball on from a throw in sending in on through the Brettvale defence for Chloe Wilson running in left of goal, shoots sending the ball in across the goal, captain Claire Turnbull getting a glove on the ball to turn it away to the right. Jess Gill pushing on down the right for Brettvale wins her side a corner kick. Swung in towards the top of the area, controlled by Berry who looks to travel with the ball Brantham threatening to break, Rachel White in to challenge for Brettvale on halfway.
Brettvale looking to be positive despite their player disadvantage getting another corner on the right, a good delivery into the ox, headed clear by Young for Brantham. Amy Parton with the diagonal ball for Brettvale into Lois Gooderham attacking down the right, knocks the ball on Dunnett lunging in to win the ball back for Brantham. The visitors combine well through the middle Berry into Young sends it forwards for Wilson racing through the defence after the ball Turnbull coming to clear an outfield player by instinct and is often the case kicks clear rather than picking it up.
Dunnett with a great pass in her locker sends a diagonal ball out to the right for Sophie Crabtree pulling off the Brettvale defence, the line held she is flagged offside. Deban Howlett tackling Wilson as she picks up the ball 30 yards out looks to head into the left channel. Georgia Lindon and Gooderham look to combine down the left in attack for Brettvale, Lindon 25 out putting the ball into Gooderham wide on the touchline her return pass squared back inside to Lindon left of the D, Shannan Hill doing the defending for Brantham preventing the attacker from turning to shoot.
Berry fouled on half way as she looks to attack for Brantham, Brettvale back to defend their box with Dunnett over the set-piece, floated in to the top of the area won by Parton and cleared. Jess Prime coming on up the left for Brantham forwards into Berry, Lynch tacking the ball gone for a throw. Prime with a long throw, Howlett in to win it for Brettvale. Level with the top of the area the ball dropped into Wilson, turns well to shoot pulls her effort wide of the far post, Crabtree racing in to try and deflect it goalwards can’t keep the ball in play.
A lively 10 minutes all action, no one allowed time on the ball, Brantham getting a throw high on the left dropped into Berry edge of the box lays it back up to Dunnett top corner to cross in central, Young coming onto the ball 25 yards out hitting a strike straight at the keeper, Turnbull bringing it down playing the ball out to the right, Brettvale threatening to break as Lindon races away down the wing, Hill getting back on her tracking the attacker all the way doing well to win a goal kick for her side.
Lynch coming to tackle Berry as the Brantham midfielder drives on with the ball. Young again playing a good ball through to Wilson breaking through the defence, Turnbull once again rushing out to kick the ball clear inside her area. Danger for Brettvale as they concede a free-kick outside their box to the left corner of the area, Dunnett over the ball doesn’t get the connection she wanted frustrated as she sends the shot over the bar. 15 minutes played.
GOAL! The break through coming for Brantham in the 15th minute Wilson threatening to run clear to attack the goal on a couple of occasions is put through by Hill as play is congested in the middle of the park, taking the ball to the top of the area before striking it on the run sending a rising shot over the keeper into the top right corner 0-1.
Howlett defending at the back for Brettvale getting in to tackle Crabtree and she and Wilson attempt to break in behind. Play rushed players drawn to the ball no time to settle. Berry unhappy again as she is barged over in the middle. Dunnett again on the dead ball lifting it over the defence, to the right the flag already up as Crabtree goes to strike the ball across goal. Shannon Giles with a shot put wide of the right post for Brantham from 25 yards out as Crabtree puts the ball back to her.
20 minutes played the game ticking along at a fast pace Prime getting forwards on the left getting a throw high, looks for Dunnett the return pass put out for another throw in the corner, Young taking over long throw duties, high into the box, Parton doing the defending for Brettvale. Wilson with another attempt from distance struck over. Berry on the move with the ball up the eft for Brantham, Bethany Bennett getting back on her for Brettvale shoulder to shoulder getting a foot on the ball to take it behind for the corner kick. An inswinging ball from Dunnett headed confidently clear by Howlett.
Howlett strong again in defence winning the ball as Giles out on the left fires the ball into Wilson inside the D. Howlett then racing out to charge down Berry charging down her cross to the left. Lindon pulling away to the right for Brettvale in attack, Prime in to close her down getting the ball bac to goalkeeper Connie Madley to clear. Brettvale winning a free-kick wide on the right inside the Brantham half Howlett to deliver into the box with players going forwards, flighted in across the face for goal Parton central almost getting their a faint touch the ball cleared. The referee having words with a few players mainly Brantham’s voicing their complaints, Young putting herself about on the middle. Brettvale keeping the pressure on up top winning a corner on the left flashed in near post missed by Madley races on across the face of goal, no one there to attack it Parton retrieving far side her cross back into the box cut out by Hill.
Lindon seeing the ball across her 25 yards out spins away to the right heading for the area, Hill lunging in to block for Brantham. Brettvale send a long diagonal ball into the box right of goal, Hill looking to clear it smashes the ball straight into the on rushing Lindon, could have gone anywhere deflected towards goal is straight at Madley who gets hold of the ball. The grass a little long Lindon slipping as she goes to pull the trigger from 35 yards out sees the ball screwed wide of target.
Howlett busy in defence for Brettvale as Young linking up with Dunnett comes on through the middle. Dunnett moving right up the field with Wilson and Crabtree, the ball laid forwards Howlett getting across Crabtree to see the ball out for a goal kick. Young hooking the ball forwards for Brantham, Howlett getting in between Wilson and Crabtree to out her head on the ball. Brettvale doing well enough with 10 players, The defence holding a good line not exposing Turnbull in goal beyond, Brantham a little frustrated the final ball not quite coming off.
Berry in space for Brantham 30 yards out has Dunnett on the move to the left, up the line cuts back onto her right foot to curl a looping shot in towards goal over Turnbull the ball smashes against the crossbar and out to the right. The first half drawing to a close Brantham coming close to a 2nd goal attack overloading the right Dunnett threading the ball through for Crabtree staying on side this time into the box shoots on the angle the shot put straight at Turnbull who gets down to get hold of the ball. Crabtree with seconds to spare wriggling free of the Brettvale defence to chase after the ball, Turnbull out to the top of her area to kick clear.
Half-time Brettvale Ladies 0-1 Brantham Athletic Ladies
Brantham with the advantage at the break leading by a single goal, Chloe Wilson’s 15th minute strike the difference. Lucy Dunnett coming closest to adding a 2nd crashing the ball into the crossbar from a curled effort from wide. Brettvale on the whole coping well with the players disadvantage, Wilson breaking through early in the game but have dealt with the threat better since. Brantham too containing their opponents at the back, Lindon getting about in attack Hill and Prime both tracking her to defend.
Changes for Brantham at the break with Georgia Long coming on for Prime at the back and Freya Gudgeon on for Crabtree on the right. A quick turn around the sun setting with Brettvale to get the 2nd half underway, the ball played out for Gill attacking on the right, Hill defending for Brantham. Brettvale pressing on at the start of the 2nd half winning a throw out on the right in across the top of the area Leeks clearing for Brantham.
Brettvale pushing up on the right Parton into Gooderham inside for Lindon, Hill in to win the ball back for Brantham. A good battle developing between Brettvale’s Gill and Brantham’s Young the latter fouling Gill giving away the free-kick inside the Brantham half. 35 yards out Howlett mashing the ball into the Brantham wall. Young counters lifting the ball over the top for Wilson taking it down away to the left of the box, Turnbull coming to close her down blocking the ball loose as the defence race back Wilson closed down before she can attempt a strike.
Lindon racing clear on the right into the box for Brettvale after the ball, Madley rushing out to close her down blocking to knock the ball back against the attacker to spin out for a goal kick. Sophie White looking to bring the ball on left for Brettvale gets her ankle caught on the turf rolling it goes down in discomfort a pause in play as she is assessed not looking good not being risked taken off Brettvale down to 9 players.
Howlett intercepting at the back as Hill sends the ball up to Wilson in attack. Gill tracking back to close the ball down for Brettvale as Young puts it on through the middle. Lindon offside for Brettvale as she is fed through on the right. Gooderham playing the ball into Gill outside the, Young in close a hand ball spotted Brettvale winning a free-kick in a dangerous position. Gill over the ball fires the ball in around the wall dipping in front of Madley the keeper pushing the ball away to the left Brettvale after it put back to Lindon left corner who sends her strike wide of the far post.
Long putting the ball forwards on the left for Berry to play Wilson through to attack racing on for the corner of the area, the Brantham attacker shoots putting her effort wide across Turnbull’s goal. Gill with a long range punt for Brettvale 40 yards out dropping wide of the left post. Lindon getting back at Hill inside the box to wrestle the ball back feeds it back for Gill central to strike from 25 yards out her effort straight at the keeper.
Brettvale coping well with have two less players getting after the ball, Howlett and Lynch winning the ball. Dunnett moving into an advanced position on the right clipping a shot in towards goal, dipping in front of Turnbull saves well with her legs, deflecting the ball away from goal. Brantham look to make changes Prime and Crabtree back on, Lovekin and Leeks coming off. Bennett charging down Wilson as she drives for goal into the left channel. Turnbull cheered by her teammates as she catches a long range strike fired into her from the left.
Dunnett over a dead ball on the left 40 yards out the ball brushing the crossbar on it’s way over. 20 minutes left to play the score remains 0-1. Long getting the challenge on a Gill looks to take the ball on through the middle for Brettvale. Dunnett picking out Gudgeon getting away on the right for Brantham, Gooderham getting across to tackle for Brettvale. A throw for Brantham high on the right.
GOAL! Taken quickly dropped into Dunnett outside the box turns and strikes the ball curling a fine strike across the keeper into the top corner to double the lead 0-2.
More injury concerns for Brettvale as Gooderham is hurt in a 50?50 challenge on the ball hurting her ankle. Time taken no risks wanting to be taken Gooderham tentatively putting weight on it carrying on for now. Brantham with a corner on the right the ball swung in central cleared by Gill who then rushes out to charge down Giles as she lines up a strike from outside the box.
Crabtree picking out Gudgeon getting clear on the right swings a cross into the box, Howlett defending against Wilson the ball out to the right, Berry shooting from the angle, Turnbull claiming the ball at her near post. The game played in good spirits Brettvale giving it a go winning a free kick wide on the right. Dunnett going to defend heading the ball on across her area, thankfully no one from Brettvale free that side to attack it.
Gill coming through the middle for Brettvale looking to fed it through for Lindon, Prime cutting it out. Lindon pulling right looking to take the ball on it the box is again thwarted by Hill lunging in to tackle. The game moving into the final 8 minutes Giles on the move with the ball through the middle for Brantham picks out Gudgeon breaking away on the right her early shot struck wide of the near post.
Bennett in to win the ball well for Brettvale high on the left lifts in on into the box for Lindon running though on goal the ball skipping up before her hits it on the volley annoyed with herself as the ball goes over the bar. Brettvale attacking out wide right the ball inside for Lynch from distance catches the ball sweetly sending a superb strike over the keeper crashes down off the crossbar! Brettvale giving it a go in the closing stages.
Gill taking the ball on right side up the line into the corner cuts it back into the area coming to Lindon inside the box goes to strike the ball across the keeper her shot crashing against the far post out to the left. 2 minutes left to play Brettvale hitting the woodwork twice in close succession. Gill’s frustrations getting the better of her as she is shown a yellow late on for a push in the back.
Dunnett over the set-piece long to Crabtree right knocked inside for Giles, Howlett out to put in the blocking tackle top of the D rebounds back to Dunnett who drags her shot wide of the left post from 30 yards.
Full time Brettvale Ladies 0-2 Brantham Athletic Ladies
Brantham winning the 3 points to end their season on a positive note coming up against a stubborn Brettvale down to 9 players in the 2nd half, got the job done scoring a 2nd goal rode their luck a little bit late on, Dunnett with a superb finish to double their lead will be encouraged by performances in the 2nd half of the campaign as they prepare for the new season. Brettvale knowing they’d be up against it ending the season in good spirits nonetheless starting with 10, then down to 9 early in the 2nd half battled well, creating chances with the woodwork struck twice at the death. Time to rest and get some of their injured players back for the new season.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. As is sometimes the case you have an idea before the game in written up who it will be but the notes often bring someone else to the fore. Several good performances to note of course, Brettvale battling with 10 then down to 9 putting in a shift. Deban Howlett standing out in defence winning the ball and getting about to defend the back line. Jess Gill getting about the park looking to win the ball get forwards and doing her fair share of defending too. For Brantham, Harriet Young put herself about in midfield get the ball into the attackers. Chloe Wilson making some great runs through the middle took her goal well. Jess Prime at the back with some great tackles. Shannan Hill excellent at the back too getting across the defence to win the ball putting in some great tackles. The award though goes to the captain Lucy Dunnett. Her range of passing excellent finding players in attack and from set-pieces, hitting the woodwork twice herself always a threat if allowed a strike from distance as the 2nd goal proved.
Good to see both sides in action at the close of their season’s an entertaining contest both sides in good spirits my thanks to both for their help with the team details, sending my best wishes to the injured players. Getting to explore the back roads of Suffolk with the A12 being closed think the car will be glad when the season’s over…
by Darren Gilham