Sunday 10th September
FA Women’s Cup
The football season gets into full swing this Sunday with the county leagues getting their season’s underway as well as the FA Women’s Cup where there is once again a record number of entrants with a whopping 103 ties in the 1st Round Qualifying draw with £1,800 going to the winning sides. Off to Manor Road today to watch Long Stratton Women v Brantham Athletic Ladies.
The FA Women’s Cup now offering better prize money to go with the prestigious of the competition an opportunity for clubs to earn some decent and much needed money with a fortuitous run the road to Wembley begins today!
Long Stratton Women having become an established side in Norfolk Women’s Division One over the past couple off season pushing on looking to challenge for honours, that said has been something of and overhaul coming into the new season with the club losing manager Adam Race to ERWFL Premier Division One side along with a number of experienced players. Have brought in Paul Simmons and Simon Charlton to co-manage the side and the duo have brought in a a number of new faces, for other sides and promoted within with the club benefitting from it’s youth set-up and wildcats programme.
Most notably in goal, far from the easiest of positions to fill within the women’s game have done fantastically to bring in Cyan Fullbrook who has season’s of experience playing at a higher level with Wroxham Women. Defender Jade Copeman joins having been with Blofield United Ladies last season. Elisha Bower and Lucy Robbens too bring a host of experience into the side joining from Beccles. While Madeleine Hopkins, Jess, Liv Charlton, Caitlin Skipper. Esme Goodall and Grace Wall set up from the U16s along with Emily Read and Lucy Tull who have been with the club since the Wildcats.
This time last season Brantham Athletic Ladies faced an uncertain future long established in the county league in Suffolk, were struggling for numbers and in doing so form languishing at the foot of the table brought in new coaching staff to help turn thing’s around and haven’t looked back since going on to reach the League Cup final, have grown in the close season with an influx of new players and additional coaching staff setting up a new Development side in the Suffolk Women’s Championship.
The 1st team competing in the Suffolk Women’s Premiership have brought in several players with a great deal of experience from the former Brettvale side including defender, Kirby Seward, Claire Turnbull, Rachel White and Tarnya McKew. Goalkeeper Daisie-Mae Gibbs joins from Needham Market. Striker M’Leah Wright also new to the squad with merlin Watson returning to the club. Like Long Stratton this the clubs first competitive match of the season.
Manor Road the venue for this afternoon’s game the community playing field featuring a new clubhouse with numerous grass pitches a playground and skate park too. A blisteringly hot afternoon as the mini heatwave at the start of September continues promising hot playing conditions with the temperature 30 degrees break to take on fluids a must especially with two sides used to playing with roll on roll off substitutes the FA Cup different just the 3 substitutes permitted. Fitness and stamina sure to be tested.
Long Stratton Women starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Karmen Harvey, Summer Whiting, Esme Goodall, Jade Copeman, Megan Vincent (C), Elisha Bower, Caitlin Skipper, Elsie Downer, Lucy Robbens & Grace Wall. Subs – Emily Coe, Kate Simmons, Scarlett Royden & Liv Charlton.
Brantham Athletic Ladies starting XI – Daisie-Mae Gibbs, Aimee Berry, Shannan Hill, Kirby Seward, Merlin Watson, Lucy Dunnett (C), Laura Tuley, Rachel White, Chloe Wilson, Sophie Crabtree & M’Leah Wright. Subs – Bethany Ryan, Claire Turnbull, Shannon Giles, Rebecca Prime & Jess Ryan.
Not much shade on offer at Manor Road shouldn’t complain the crap weather will be here soon enough. Referee Francesca Catchpole a top quality striker in her own right leading the two sides out for today’s cup tie. Megan Vincent, Long Stratton’s new captain. Lucy Dunnett captaining Brantham. Brantham wearing and all navy strip to get the game underway kicking off the first half with Long Stratton opposite wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts. The ball played back to Lucy Dunnett in midfield put out to Merlin Watson on the move up the right forwards Elisha Bower stepping out to cut the ball out for Long Stratton.
Back with Dunnett in the middle puts the clipped pass on for Sophie Crabtree making a run into the right channel, Esme Goodall getting in the challenge to prevent the attacker stealing into the box, the ball cleared for a Brantham throw high on the right. Long Stratton heading the ball clear inside the box get on the attack the ball lifted forwards into Caitlin Skipper on the move wide right taking the ball on with pace, Kirby Seward comes across to slide in with the tackle send the ball out of play.
Hot out there but both sides willing to take each other on close down the ball, Merlin Watson lunging in with the tackle winning the ball a Megan Vincent looks to put Grace Wall away into the left channel for Long Stratton. Brantham get the ball down exchanging passes well outside the Long Stratton area, Dunnett finding Tuley right of the D some 25 yards out shapes to shoot drags the effort wide past the far post. Shannan Hill and Seward making several winning tackles at the back as Long Stratton look to tee up their pace players in attack, Seward stepping in to halt Skipper as she plough forwards.
Chloe Wilson tracking inside with the ball on the left for Brantham striking a shot over the bar from all of 30 yards. Long Stratton get the ball on through the middle lifted up to Wall breaking in behind the Brantham back line, Hill doing well staying on her shoulder to win the ball confidently tackling inside the box.
Pushing up Brantham risk getting opened up at the back as long Stratton bring the ball left the diagonal pass inside the clearance missed by Seward the ball travelling on to the right Long Stratton break with two spare, Aimee Berry getting a foot to take the ball away from Elsie Downer, allowing her defence time to recover. M’Leah Wright taking the ball on from the left cutting inside outpacing the defence shoots from the top of the area the ball rising held comfortably by Cyan Fullbrook in the Long Stratton goal.
Downer showing good pace on the right driving forwards down the line for Long Stratton gets a cross into the box well under challenge, Daisie-Mae Gibbs rising to claim the ball for Brantham.
GOAL! 12 minutes on the clock and the deadlock is broken as Dunnett getting hold of the ball in the middle lines up a shot from 30 yards out a thunderbolt rising central Fullbrook with a athletic leap throwing an arm up to try and stop it gets the merest of touches enough to turn the shot up to smash down off the crossbar, the ball smashed home as Wright runs through on the follow up to score from close range 0-1.
Long Stratton bring the ball on down the left Robbens out to Wall wins a throw in the ball launched into the area headed clear by Hill for Brantham. The Brantham backline high at times allowing the midfield to press, using their experience to intercept the ball, White playing the ball inside into Crabtree, Goodall with a well timed tackle against her right of the D as she looks to skip on into the box.
Long Stratton coming into their own as the first half enters the midway point Vincent and Bower closing the ball down in the middle looking for Skipper, Downer and Wall making runs ahead of them. Seward putting the ball on into Dunnett, Brantham’s captain looks to release Tuley to her right, Karmen Harvey stretching a leg out to win the ball back for Long Stratton.
Watson takes a high ball down superbly in the middle putting the pass into Dunnett who in turn sets Crabtree away to attack on the right racing into the box, Goodall getting back on her wins Brantham a corner kick. Players up from the back the ball played into the six yard box knocked down and wide past the far post. Summer Whiting doing the defending at the back for Long Stratton as Crabtree attacking through the right channel looks to tee up Wilson on the left.
Seward giving herself a vital half a yard on Wall in the Long Stratton attack as Robbens sends the ball on through the middle defender and striker racing towards the box Seward stretching to shield the ball seeing it safely back to her keeper. A drinks break called with players struggling in the heat, Long Stratton making a change bringing off Harvey with Emily Coe on at left back. Long Stratton press the ball from the restart getting forwards on the left with Wall, Robbens and Downer combining the latter storming into the area Hill going with her tackling to put the ball out off Downer for a goal kick.
Brantham get straight up the other end to win themselves a corner on the left swept into the six yard box met by Seward at the far post knocked wide. A pause in play a Hill goes down needing treatment players taking on additional fluids is very hot out there. Hill okay to play on. Wilson cutting in from the left lines up a shot blocked by Long Stratton’s Jade Copeman, then Goodall heads the ball clear as Wilson attempts to lift the ball back into the box. Bower busy in the middle for Long Stratton getting after the ball.
White taking the ball inside from the left picks out Fullbrook with her strike on goal. Dunnett placing the pass into Tuley as Brantham build well through the middle Tuley opening up her body attempting to place the ball into Wright’s path as she bursts into the box left of the D, racing after the ball can’t quite keep it in play. Skipper bundled over by White as she drives forwards for Long Stratton the hosts winning a free-kick some 30 yards out, Bower over it floats a shot in towards goal, not troubling Gibbs claiming it low back on her line.
Skipper winning the ball wide for Long Stratton sending the pass inside for Robbens to line up a shot her effort lacking to pace to trouble Gibbs. Brantham hit Long Stratton on the counter Watson left inside for Dunnett on for Wright in attack Copeman throwing herself into the tackle just about getting a toe on the ball taking it wide to the left with Wilson breaking into the box from the left fires over as Fullbrook comes racing out to close her down.
Watson struggling for Brantham sees another long pause as she gets the necessary treatment. Wall pulling out to the right for Long Stratton in attack but Hill stays on her well to get the challenge in prevent the ball finding it’s way into the box.
Long Stratton finding some momentum late in the first half as Brantham tail away slightly pressing forwards win a free-kick out wide on the right the ball played across the top of the area by Bower, Robbens meeting it sees her shot charged down by Dunnett, the Brantham captain again in the way as Skipper strikes the rebound. Long Stratton pressing the Brantham back line forcing errors. Hill strong in the Brantham backline winning her tackles.
The visitors a threat on the counter turn play around quickly the threaded pass into the box finding Wright stealing in behind the defence right of goal, Fullbrook out to close her down with a brilliant blocking save as she slides in. Wright then looking to put the ball on for Wilson pulling left for Brantham her cross cut out by Long Stratton’s Goodall. The host quick to counter putting the ball long on the left for Downer racing on with the ball, Hill and Watson closing her down to defend for Brantham.
Play end to end all of a sudden with Dunnett putting the ball on for Tuley for Brantham right channel finds Crabtree breaking into the area her shot brushing the side netting. Heat taking it’s toll on a few players putting in a hard shift closing down the ball, the half stretching on with a number of breaks but precaution shown at all times by the officials. Watson busy on the left with Wall and Downer switching sides, Brantham bring Berry across to the right as Watson prepares to come back on on the left.
Seward throwing herself into the tackle as she comes across to stop the marauding run of Skipper on the right the ball out for a throw. Off the throw Robbens finds Wall right of the D her low shot forcing Gibbs into a low save turns the ball wide of the right post for a corner kick.
GOAL! Whiting to put the ball into the box from the corner in towards the near post attacked six yards out by Downer turned onto the post before the rebound is fired past the keeper into the back of the net Long Stratton equalising late in the first half 1-1.
Long Stratton with their tails up as the first half draws to a close Brantham on the back foot as Robbens looks to send the ball on for Skipper breaking on into the left channel, Hill intercepting for Brantham.
Half-time Long Stratton Women 1-1 Brantham Athletic Ladies
The score all square at the break as Long Stratton battle back to find an equalising goal late in the first half. Both sides putting a lot of effort into the half despite the heat. Brantham pressing the ball in the middle with a high back line at time making a positive start taking the lead inside the opening 12 minutes, creating a couple more chances Cyan Fullbrook the busier of the two goalkeepers. Long Stratton with youth and pace in their attack looking a threat out wide and breaking into the channels capitalising a Brantham tailed off towards the end of the half. Still very much all to play for going into the 2nd half.
Brantham making a couple of changes at the start of the 2nd half bringing on Bethany and Jess Ryan on their left replacing Watson and White. Long Stratton unchanged as the hosts get the 2nd half underway. Brantham snapping in to win the ball in midfield the visitors mount the first attack bursting away down the right with Bethany Ryan on the ball her cross squared high into the box plucked down into her gloves safely by Fullbrook.
Coe lunging in with the challenge to win the ball from Bethany Ryan as she is fed the ball out on the right by Dunnett. Long Stratton pressing bodies on at the start of the 2nd half, Hill defending as Robbens looks to track inside from the right, Dunnett links up with Crabtree and Tuley in attack as Brantham build on the left the cross squared into the top of the Long Stratton area won by Vincent and cleared. Jess Ryan bringing the ball on right side for Brantham plays it on for Bethany Ryan twists and turns on the ball looking to find her way into the box, Coe snapping at her heels going to ground just about getting in the tackle to deflect the ball off Ryan into her keepers gloves.
A competitive tussle brewing between Skipper and Berry as the winger looks to get in behind the full back on Long Stratton’s right. Long Stratton win a free kick in a dangerous area 25 yards out left of the D as Wall is brought down looking to take the ball on from Robbens. Bower over the set-piece floats a shot over the Brantham goal. Brantham drop off allowing Bower time on the ball in midfield lines up a shot from distance, can only pick out Gibbs in goal.
Long Stratton looking to get the ball forwards find their way pass the Brantham defence, the visitors looking to launch the counter attack, Dunnett looking to pick the pass whenever she gets onto the ball finds Bethany Ryan on the right the pass inside for Tuley, taking the ball in Vincent in to close her down for Long Stratton. Goodall then getting the tackle in outside her area as Wright and Tuley look to link up in attack. Tuley covering the ground sending a strike over from 25 yards out.
A corner for Long Stratton out on the left cleared at the near post by Seward for Brantham who is then fouled by Bower.
GOAL! Having struggled to find any rhythm at the start of the 2nd half Brantham hit Long Stratton with a sucker punch to retake the lead, Dunnett sending a great ball in over the defence that sees Wright run through into the box the flag stays down closing on the keeper places the ball wide of Fullbrook to score 1-2.
The goal injecting a much needed boost into the Brantham players as they come on with purpose, Dunnett laying a diagonal pass into Crabtree bursting forwards on the left, Whiting intercepting the ball for Long Stratton. Tuley putting her shot wide as she lets fly from 25 yards out to the right of goal. Another pause for drinks as Long Stratton look to regroup. It’s Brantham though who have the momentum, Bethany Ryan out wide right surges infield before striking the ball low on the angle, Fullbrook has her near post covered.
Brantham with a free-kick left on halfway Dunnett chipping the ball in over the back line Tuley stealing in behind clear onto the ball into the box Fullbrook rushing out to close her down with an excellent blocking save. Long Stratton’s turn to counter the ball lifted into Skipper right racing on with the ball fired inside towards Wall central can’t quite take it on the turn as Hill clears. Seward bringing the ball on for Brantham sends the ball over the top for Wright to attack, Fullbrook out to claim it keeping her eye on the ball catching safely and holding onto it as Wright crashes into her. Both up okay.
GOAL! Long Stratton equalise, strong from Wall at the top of the area as Whiting finds her out on the right with a superb diagonal pass the striker turning into the box driving into the six yard box right of goal holding off her challenger to knock the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner, 2-2.
The contest between Berry and Skipper hotting up the pair going shoulder to shoulder as Skipper drives on with the ball, Berry incensed as she is adjudged to foul the Long Stratton winger presenting the hosts with free-kick wide outside the area. Bower sweeping the ball in across the face of goal Wall getting up well, can only get a glancing header the ball carrying on out to the left sent forwards as Brantham break, through into the box for Wright to chase.
Crabtree with the ball driving to the by-line on the left looking to get past Whiting checks back inside to flash a cross into the far post Wright inside the six yard box looking to attack it Coe going to ground getting enough of the ball to deny the snap shot before Wright does connect Fullbrook throwing an arm up to tip the ball over from close range.
Both sides working hard despite the heat to get hold of the ball a competitive cup tie finely balanced as Brantham win another free-kick on half-way, Dunnett to deliver a high ball into the area the header won by Copeman clearing for Long Stratton the hosts break Skipper through the middle on for Wall top of the area, Seward getting back at her to defend. Players tiring have been out there for nearly 2 hours now due to the various breaks for drinks and injuries still 10 minutes left to play.
Tuley shooting wide inside the box for Brantham as she in played though to the left of goal, Fullbrook doing well as she comes out towards her to narrow the angle the ball played wide of the far post. Long Stratton making a change bringing off Skipper with Kate Simmons coming on. Dunnett lining up a shot from 35 yards straight at the keeper. The visitors winning a throw high in the right corner the ball knocked into the box close to the near post Wright attacking it Fullbrook down well to save pushes the ball straight into the on coming Tuley no time to adjust prods the ball wide.
GOAL! Brantham restore their lead late in the game as they bring the ball on through the middle the Long Stratton defence backing up as Dunnett plays the ball out to Crabtree on the left, 20 out curls a cross into the box with both Wright and Tuley getting in behind the ball drops for Tuley who makes no mistake sending the ball back across the keeper into the bottom corner 2-3.
Brantham confident as they pour forwards Dunnett with time on the ball to pick a pass finding Crabtree out left running into the box, Goodall across to defend putting the ball out for a corner kick. Brantham making a change before it’s taken bringing off Wilson on comes Turnbull. The corner angled into the box met on the volley by Crabtree 12 yards out crashed wide. The game entering the final 5 minutes Long Stratton with their 3rd change bringing off Downer, on comes Liv Charlton.
Brantham using their experience now running the ball into the corner Tuley holding players off eating up valuable time, Long Stratton trying to get hold of it, Bethany Ryan stealing it back to shoot on the angle the ball into the keeper. Crabtree coming left for Brantham laying the ball back into the middle for Dunnett to strike goal wards from 30 yards out, Fullbrook sees it all the way.
A lot of tired legs out there a welcome breeze blowing across the pitch Brantham finishing strong winning a corner on the left fired in towards the top of the area, Dunnett with a miscued shot deflected through to put Wright clear on goal, however the flag goes up against her.
Brantham break up a Long Stratton attack the ball cleared out to the left Whiting looking to see it run out of play as Crabtree closes her down the attacker stealing the ball on the line to turn inside run into the box and shoot, Fullbrook with a superb save leaping up to tip the ball up onto the bar and over. The resulting corner on the right the last action of the game as the ball falls to Bethany Ryan inside the box her strike blocked and cleared.
Full time Long Stratton Women 2-3 Brantham Athletic Ladies
Brantham scoring the winning goal inside the final 10 minutes to settle a tremendous cup tie, with both sides putting in a great effort in very hot conditions. Brantham starting well going in front inside the opening 12 minutes created some good chances, Long Stratton fighting back towards the end of the first half to get themselves back on level terms set up an intriguing 2nd half. The hosts making a positive start to the 2nd period Brantham guilty of tailing off a little but still remained a threat going forwards retaking the lead a Wright broke clear on goal to score her 2nd of the game but again Long Stratton fought back a strong run from Wall seeing them equalise for the 2nd time in the game. Fullbrook pulling off some fine saves along the way, Tuley though having missed a few opportunities got in behind the defence to score the winning goal late in the game. A home tie against another Norfolk Women’s Division One side awaits with Sprowston FC Women their opponents.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A fine effort from both sides in very hot conditions to produce a great cup tie and both look in good shape going into the new season. Hard to single out a single player and their were several performances to note firstly for Long Stratton, Esme Goodall with some vital defending at the back. Elisha Bower strong in the middle looking to win the ball, Caitlin Skipper pacy on the ball looking to take her opponents on. Goalkeeper, Cyan Fullbrook outstanding on her Long Stratton debut pulling off a number of top quality saves. For Brantham both Kirby Seward and Shannan Hill were strong at the back winning the ball back, reading the game well. Sophie Crabtree out wide in attack with some great running throughout the match getting into some good positions. Pipping everyone though the award goes to midfielder Laura Tuley covered a lot of ground in the middle getting into some great positions to carve out opportunities in front of goal and ultimately score the winning goal.
An entertaining cup tie between two sides only beginning their season a great effort from both in very hot conditions Long Stratton pushing Brantham all the way levelling up the scores twice before Tuley’s winning goal. My thanks to both sides for their help with the team details today and good luck for the campaign ahead.
by Darren Gilham