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Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 17th March

Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final

Stevenage Ladies v Watford Ladies U23s

It’s that time of the season again, the first final, a trip down to Letchworth this morning, The County Ground once again hosting the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup with holders Stevenage Ladies taking on Watford Ladies U23s.

FAWNL South East Division One side, Stevenage Ladies looking to retain the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup for a 3rd successive season. Have dominated the competition in recent seasons with this being a fifth successive final appearance, winning 3 of the previous 4 finals. Strong in their defence of the County Cup an established side now in the FAWNL. Have had their fair share of injuries, including captain Paige Logie out with a season ending ACL injury. 

Watford Ladies U23s entering the competition for the first time this season. Watford themselves dominating the County Cup in its early years 5 times winners in 2005,2006,2007, 2008, 2010, reached all but one final between 2005 & 2013. Not entering the competition during their FAWSL years a Watford Ladies Development side won the competition 3 seasons ago beating Stevenage prior to their back to back successes. Watford Ladies U23s play in the FAWNL Reserves South/South East Division. Have goal scorers throughout their squad with several players getting their chance with the 1st team.

  Road to the Final

  A bye for both sides in the 1st Round of the competition. Both were at home in the 2nd Round both progressing with ease as they racked up double figure wins. Stevenage Ladies were playing Beds & Herts Division Two side, Hitchin Belles. A overwhelming win with the hosts scoring 16 goals on their way to the quarter finals. Watford Ladies U23s were at home to Stevenage Ladies Reserves side, 8 different goalscorers, with Jessica Biggerstaff scoring a hat-trick as Watford advanced with a 12-1 victory.

   Home draws for both sides once more in the quarter finals, Stevenage Ladies up against Royston Town Ladies. The ERWFL Premier Division side County Cup finalists in the 2016/17 season. Stevenage coming out on top recording a good win over Royston winning 7-2 to reach the last 4. Watford were taking on another ERWFL Premier Division side, Colney Heath Ladies in the quarter finals a 5-0 win seeing them book their place in the semi-finals of the competition.

 Stevenage Ladies were away for the 1st time in the County Cup drawn away to ERWFL Division One side, Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies. A repeat of last season’s final Stevenage retaining the trophy with a comfortable win then 8-0 to lift the trophy. Once again the FAWNL side were dominant as they reached their (insert) final with a 7-0 win. Watford again at home as they took on Beds & Herts Division One side Hemel Hempstead Town Ladies in the semi-finals, a 3-0 lead at half-time went on to win the game 8-0 with six different names on the scoresheet.

The County Ground in Letchworth the venue for today’s final home of Hertfordshire FA, the stadium recently undergoing some redevelopment including a new 3G playing surface replacing the grass pitch, barriers and surround upgraded. A redeveloped clubhouse area too, a new cafe replacing the old bar with function room beyond. Hot and cold drinks available. An early kick-off, breakfast too a burger van selling hot food in it’s usual berth. Storm Hannah the latest to blow through the UK bringing over night wind and rain. A 3G surface meaning a call off unlikely cool early on and overcast dark clouds threatening the rain would hold off the sun breaking through.

The new playing surface at The County Ground looking pristine

 Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Hannah Vandersluis, Hayley Wood-Thompson, Poppy Bennett, Dominique Godbeer, Charlotte Ryan, Shona Chitate, Amy Josland, Ashleigh Deacon, Ellie Searle, Amy Makewell (C) & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Kristi Burling, Amy Runicman, Melody Jones, Cara Breckenridge & Erin Pope.

 Watford Ladies U23s starting XI – Amy Martin, Ayifa Johnson, Holly Holt, Danielle Maloney, Sydney Hinchcliffe, Katie Akerman, Rebecca McShane (C), Andie Dickens, Linda Afuakwah, Eshe Johnson & Anaisa Harvey. Subs – Jennifer Hughes, Jessica Biggerstaff, Hannah Coote, Holly Greenwood & Alketa Rragami.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s Stevenage to get the final underway kicking off first half wearing white shirts with light red vertical stripes, red shirts and socks with Watford lined up opposite wearing yellow and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. Watford press early Andie Dickens on the left win tackling winning possession getting in behind to cross Charlotte Ryan clearing the ball inside her area for Stevenage. 

 Nicole Emmings receiving the ball in attack for Stevenage turns to her left  sending the ball on down the line with Ellie Searle looking to break in behind, Afiya Johnson getting back well to make the tackle. Stevenage are awarded an early free-kick 35 yards out central Shona Chitate to take the ball put into the area for runners to attack, Watford goalkeeper Amy Martin taking it on the bounce. Watford press the ball high up the pitch, Stevenage rushed into their passes Poppy Bennett’s forwards ball up to Emmings, Sydney Hinchcliffe doing well up against her for Watford preventing the attacker getting in on goal. 

  Dickens getting forwards left has support from Eshe Johnson in attack getting the return ball as she breaks into the box her early shot races wide past the far post. A corner for Watford right side the ball delivered into the near post defended the clearance falling to Watford’s Anaisa Harvey outside the area strikes the ball back in towards goal is safely held by Stevenage goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis 

Stevenage defender, Poppy Bennett getting to the ball ahead of Watford’s Linda Afuakwah

  A bright start from Watford, lively early on closing Stevenage down quick to mount attacks, Emmings and captain Amy Makewell looking to move around find space up top for Stevenage to play them in. Linda Afuakwah with the ball at her feet for Watford on the right drives down the line cutting inside get’s past one defender the ball coming to Eshe Johnson near post she blasts wide from six yards out. A quick turn around from Stevenage the ball from Amy Josland through the middle helped on to Emmings peeling away into a gap on the left runs on into the area the shot on Emmings instead puts it in towards the penalty spot, her cross intercepted as Watford get back the ball sent clear.

  Emmings is through clear in behind moment later central 30 yards out gives chase to the ball, Martin racing out of her area gets there first however to kick the ball away before the striker can capitalise. Watford get on down the left the cross in headed behind for a corner kick, the delivery near post attacked ends up behind for a 2nd corner, this one again from the left higher Vandersluis getting up to glove the ball on wide and behind for a 3rd corner on the right this time.

 GOAL! Watford open the scoring from the corner put in towards the near post area 8 yards out the ball is turned back in towards goal, Stevenage doing well initially to clear the ball off the line the clearance out to the left falling straight to Watford’s Hinchcliffe the centre back smashing a low shot back across goal into the back of the net 0-1.

Sydney Hinchcliffe with the opening goal for Watford Ladies U23s

   Amy Makewell carries the ball on down the right, is stopped by Watford’s Holly Holt. Ashleigh Deacon combines with Chitate as Stevenage try to play Makewell in behind, play brought back by referee Lyn McGregor after there was no advantage after Chitate was fouled. Ryan over the free kick inside the Watford half as players go forwards, the delivery high into the area punched down by martin falls straight to Dominique Godbeer positioned just inside the area catches it on the volley her attempt over the bar. 

Stevenage Ladies, Dominique Godbeer

  A good response from Stevenage having fallen behind Josland and Chitate enjoying a competitive battle with Watford captain Rebecca McShane and Katie Akerman. Challenges a plenty. Afuakwah on the ball right for Watford lays it on through the middle for Harvey, the striker unable to gather the ball races through into the area Dickens lively after it, Hayley Wood-Thompson back with her the Stevenage full back putting Dickens under pressure as she blasts her shot wide. 

  Afuakwah is fouled by Searle outside the area 20 out right of the D, Dickens over it with an early shot over the wall striking the base of the near post… but she had gone to soon wait for the whistle, retaken Dickens puts it over this time. Makewell taking the ball on down the right a powerful run turns inside getting into the box, is eventually stopped as 3 Watford defenders converge to close her down six yards out. Watford quick to counter Afuakwah a ready outlet on their right down the line her cross in cleared by Godbeer. Stevenage return the counter attack with interest putting Searle in on the left closing in on the area her cross inside only finding the Watford defence. Makewell drags a shot wide from the top of the area, the flag raised against her however.

Linda Afuakwah on the attack for Watford

   Makewell linking with Deacon for Stevenage as Emmings breaks down the right wins a corner. The delivery well played drops into the six yard box Deacon with her back to goal closely marked by Martin can’t get around her to shoot the ball scrambled away to the right Makewell drives a shot back in the effort narrowly wide. Play turned around quickly fro both sides the game played at a good tempo, Hinchcliffe with some great defending on Makewell as she is played through on goal centrally. 

Stevenage Ladies, Ashleigh Deacon

  Appeals for handball waved away as Stevenage press Watford outside their area, Hinchcliffe’s arm raised as Makewell attempts to flick it on. A free kick for Stevenage on halfway knocked on by Josland puts Deacon in behind right into the box, Martin out to close her down saves well at her feet, the ball knocked away Martin grounded pouncing to claim the loose ball. 40 minutes played.

Watford Ladies U23s goalkeeper, Amy Martin

  GOAL! Watford have dealt with a spell of pressure from Stevenage well breaking forwards double their lead just before half-time the ball knocked on is into Dickens on the left just outside the area hits the ball well arrowing in towards goal Vandersluis dives to her left full stretch but can’t keep it out as the ball squeezes inside the post 0-2.

Andie Dickens scorer of Watford’s 2nd goal

  Plenty of rubber in the new pitch flying up as sliding tackles come in, lively Stevenage getting frustrated with some decisions. Afiya Johnson forwards to support Eshe and Afuakwah on the right the trio win a corner, played long to the top of the box a shot driven in Vandersluis diving the ball behind for another set piece this time Stevenage defend break on the counter, Josland on for Emmings, Danielle Maloney defends for Watford. 

  Stevenage with a free-kick at the end of the first half the ball defended in the box by Watford’s Afuakwah she brings it away the ball played on to Eshe Johnson she plays it through for Harvey who is tackled by Godbeer, McShane bursting forwards regaining possession picks out Afuakwah into space on the right full of pace takes the ball on into the box blasting a rising shot into the side netting.

Half-time Stevenage Ladies 0-2 Watford Ladies U23s

  A 2-0 lead for Watford at half-time a bright start pressing the ball, forcing their opponents into rushed passes took the early lead, defended well as Stevenage sought to find gaps in behind created opportunities to find an equalising goal the temp high throughout Watford dealing with the pressure ready to go on the attack hit a 2nd late in the first half to give themselves a good platform to build on 2nd half. Stevenage will want to come out of the blocks strong at the start of the 2nd period if they want to get back into the game. 

   It’s Watford to get the 2nd half underway, Stevenage in to get on the ball, Chitate with Bennett the ball launched forwards with Emmings running clear in behind left channel Martin coming out to close the angle saving well getting her gloves onto the ball. Emmings appeals for a penalty as she ends up on the ground inside the box trying to see the ball into her body from a Searle throw in on the right, the appeals waved away. Josland gets across to tackle Afuakwah as Eshe Johnson aims to send her away on the right.

Stevenage Ladies, Ellie Searle

  Bennett is down with a knock for Stevenage, an early change in the 2nd half as she comes off, on in her place Cara Breckenridge. Searle making ground on the left wing for Stevenage a cross in low across the face of goal from deep Emmings diving to head the ball just misses it at the near post the ball racing on. Akerman bringing the ball on for Watford through the middle plays it forwards with Eshe Johnson pulling away right shoots early from outside the area, Vandersluis claims it. 

Hannah Vandersluis down to save for Stevenage Ladies

  A good start to the 2nd half for Stevenage they press forwards, Holt and Maloney both denying final balls for Watford. A throw won on the left played into Josland the Stevenage midfielder shooting from 20 yards out left her strike held into Martins midriff. Watford counter the ball central played out to Dickens left has Holt breaking ahead of her on the overlap the fullback turning inside central closing in on the D, thinks about shooting instead attempts to thread it through for Harvey the Stevenage defence shutting the door the clearance intercepted by Akerman 30 yards out given time to line up a shot her strike doesn’t trouble Vandersluis.

Katie Akerman bringing the ball away for Watford

  Emmings closing down Watford at the back wins the ball outside the box a snap shot right of the D races wide. play brought back after no advantage from a foul Watford have a free-kick 25 yards out to the left of goal, Maloney on it goes for goal the attempt landing wide of the near post. An hour on the clock Stevenage make a 2nd change with Erin Pope coming on for Josland. Afuakwah central runs in behind the Stevenage defence 25 yards out as Vandersluis comes to narrow the angle the Watford attacker shoots her effort past the keeper runs wide of the post.

   GOAL! A corner won on the left as Akerman winning the tackle in midfield plays it out to Dickens on the left support from Holt who gets the corner. The delivery on the spot into the middle of the six yard box 3 Watford players attack it Hinchcliffe, Eshe Johnson and between them Harvey who gets up highest to head the ball down and in to make it 0-3.

  Stevenage make another change Chitate coming off on comes Amy Runicman to join the attack. A minute later Watford make a change and it’s the goalscorer coming off Harvey replaced by Jennifer Hughes. A free-kick wide right for Stevenage, Makewell plays in towards the far post Martin up to glove the ball away for a corner kick, delayed as the trainer comes on for an injury. Watford defending the set piece break Afuakwah through the centre now on for Hughes peeling into space on the left her cross into the box cut out, Eshe Johnson bundled over as she tries to collect just outside the D. Akerman with the free-kick her shot no trouble for Vandersluis.

Watford Ladies U23s, Danielle Maloney

   Emmings after a forwards pass on her right checks inside to get into the area, Hinchcliffe challenging the ball put behind for a corner. In from the right to the near post area Runicman gets over the ball shooting held safely as Martin gets across. Stevenage getting frustrated Watford working hard to keep up the tempo challenge for everything, decisions not going Stevenage’s way. Afuakwah run of running with the ball has Hughes to her right giving her the ball she shoots 20 yards out Vandersluis going to ground pushing the ball behind at the near post.  Makewell and Emmings link up get Deacon in on the left her shot outside the box charged down. 

  GOAL! Counter attacking play from Watford leads to a 4th goal Stevenage pushing for a goal are hit on the break the ball put n quickly for Eshe Johnson through the centre clear on goal closing in on the area right of the D, composed as Vandersluis moves towards her, the striker placing the ball wide of the keeper and into the bottom corner with less than 20 minutes to play 0-4.

Eshe Johnson puts Watford into a 4 goal lead

  Stevenage very nearly pull a goal back from the restart as Makewell is played in on the right down the wing crosses from deep a dangerous ball across the face of goal Emmings meets the ball, virtually on top of Martin the keeper going to ground somehow managing to make the save smothering both ball and player, Emmings trying to get over the keeper to reach the loose ball, Martin snatches it away. Emmings down injured after the coming together, a spell of on the pitch treatment before needing to come off, on comes Melody Jones

  Makewell tries to get Pope in on goal as she breaks through the middle, she sees Searle getting clear on the left tries to play the pass through, McShane backtracking doing well to intercept get the ball back to her keeper. Watford with a change as Dickens comes off Hannah Coote going over to her position on the left. Coote with an early chance as she is played in with a crossfield pass, lets fly from 25 yards out, Vandersluis with a great save diving to her right to push the ball wide for a corner. 

Watford’s, Hannah Coote

  Watford’s turn to appeal for a penalty as the ball comes into the area, play goes on cleared out of the box collected by Hughes on the right sends a cross back in to the far post Maloney up to meet it sends her header wide. Watford think they’ve scored a 5th as the ball is put over the top Vandersluis saving the first strike Afuakwah burying the rebound. The celebrations cut short however assistant Gemma Smith with her flag up and early too before Vandersluis blocked the first attempt no goal.

   Afuakwah comes off with Watford’s top scorer Jessica Biggerstaff coming on. Biggerstaff getting in on the action straight away as she runs on through to send a shot into the side netting. Afiya Johnson linking with Hughes on the right the ball taken to the byline cut back centrally Eshe Johnson with the shot Vandersluis with a superb save. Tempers getting a little frayed Stevenage have been frustrated by their opponents Searle collecting a yellow card.

  A double change late in proceedings for Watford, Eshe Johnson and McShane off, on come Alketa Rragami and Holly Greenwood. Watford finish strong Biggerstaff with space in the box sees her shot deflected onto the keeper to spin away for a corner. A push in the back spotted as Watford play it in. Stevenage with a corner in stoppage time on the left the ball in Searle up to meet it near side her header wide across the face of goal. The final whistle blows and Watford Ladies U23s bundle atop one another in celebration as they win the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup.

Full time Stevenage Ladies 0-4 Watford Ladies U23s

  A fantastic result for Watford’s U23s played well throughout a bright start pressing well, restricting the time their opponents had on the ball getting in front early on Stevenage responding well fighting back didn’t get the decisions growing frustrated as opportunities wen by Watford doubling their lead before half-time. Stevenage you felt needed the next goal as it was Watford were the side to find the back of the net to go 3-0 up. Stevenage could not find a reply to pressure the scoreline Watford strong as they took a 4 goal lead never looking back.  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football east – Player of the Match award. A good performance all round from Watford Ladies U23s putting some good attacking moves together, defending well, Amy Martin with some very confident and brave goalkeeping. Have chosen Linda Afuakwah was a threat throughout on the right then through the middle making some great runs taking players on and creating chances, always an outlet making herself available whenever Watford won the ball.


Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Winners, Watford Ladies U23s

 Congratulations to Watford Ladies U23s on winning the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup.

  An early kick-off, managed to avoid the torrential down pour that came after the game. A match report finished before 10pm is a rarity too but lots to do, the finals coming thick and fast now the next on Tuesday. An entertaining match a good number coming to watch, my thanks to Hertfordshire FA for all their help today, much appreciated. 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage Ladies

Wednesday 12th September

FAWNL South East Division One

Midweek action under the floodlights this Wednesday with a trip to The Abbey Stadium to watch Cambridge United WFC take on Stevenage Ladies in FAWNL South East Division One.

  Cambridge United WFC missing out on the opportunity to play at The Abbey Stadium late last season get an early chance this time round to showcase their talents under the floodlights at the League Two ground. Women’s sides getting more opportunities to play at their respective men’s clubs than ever before.

  4 games into the season and Cambridge United WFC have 4 points from 3 league games played, started the season well with a draw and a win away from home a good result in the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup followed before they suffered their 1st loss of the season at the weekend going down to a stoppage time winner. The two promoted sides, Billericay Town Ladies and Crawley Wasps Ladies getting off to a flyer winning all of their games, Cambridge are amongst a cluster of sides below on 4 points looking to catch them.

   Stevenage Ladies come in to tonight’s game at The Abbey Stadium on the back of 3 straight defeats in all competitions having won their opening match of the season. Like Cambridge are bedding in a few new signings with Mark Dicker taking up the reins as 1st team manager. As great an opportunity this is for Cambridge, their opponents should relish the chance too.

  As you’d expect from a League club ground at the start of the season the pitch is immaculate, no excuses about bobbles tonight. Is a wide pitch so their will be plenty of space to exploit. The mainstand open, hot food and drink available with the Dion Dublin Bar also open. A pleasant evening dry and calm perfect weather for football.

Cambridge United starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Fran Gough, Amy Howlett, Kelly Bingham, Amber Cantwell, Becky Shephard, Vicky Neal & Kelley Blanchflower (C). Subs – Liz Pamplin, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Faith Hewitt, Mollie Coupar & Kirsten Burt.

 Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Hannah Vandersluis, Erin Pope, Paige Logie (C), Dominique Godbeer, Charlotte Ryan, Kristi Burling, Ellie Searle, Shona Chitate, Ashleigh Deacon, Amy Makewell & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Amy Josland, Jodie Whitford-Stark & Poppy Bennett.

The teams lining up before the match

It’s the hosts Cambridge to get the match underway kicking off 1st half, wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Stevenage lining up opposite wearing white shirt with red vertical striping along with red shirts and socks. A couple of strong challenges put in early on from Stevenage as Cambridge look to work the ball forwards, its as the visitors get hold of the ball that Cambridge win it back in the middle of the park Amy Howlett bringing it on central aims to release Becky Shephard making an attacking run on the left cutting inside towards the edge of the area Stevenage goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis alert out to the edge of her area gathers the through ball before the Cambridge winger can latch onto it.

   Play is turned around quickly by Stevenage defending on the left side the ball cleared up to Ashleigh Deacon in a central position she spots striker Nicole Emmings making a run into space on the right sending the ball on for her Emmings takes it on into the box shooting from the angle sends the ball racing low past the the diving keeper Savannah Smith but also wide of the far post. Deacon cutting inside from the right 25 yards out lines up a strike the ball charged down by Fran Gough in the Cambridge defence.

  A good tempo to the match both sides relishing the opportunity Kelly Bingham winning the ball in midfield for the hosts lays it back to left back Carrie Bennett, she goes long with Shephard eager to race in behind for the left the bouncing ball too close to the keeper however Vandersluis positioned high catches the ball. No one spending any time on the ball often leads to defence turned into counter attack, Cambridge captain Kelley Blanchflower has a chance a central run into the box the ball driven into her path taking it left of goal looks to put the shot back across the keeper with the outside of her boot, Vandersluis drifting towards her near post can claim the ball.

  Up the other end Smith comes out to block Emmings as she is played in behind by Deacon taking up a good central position as Stevenage attack. A set-piece for Stevenage wide on the left the ball delivered high towards those gathering at the top of the Cambridge area, it’s Kayleigh-Anne Burt defending for the hosts that headers the ball clear. Cambridge are looking to peel off the full-backs get in behind Vicky Neal up with Blanchflower the latter almost succeeds central only Vandersluis’ quick reactions coming to the edge of her box to slide in to stop the ball prevents a shot, colliding with Blanchflower the contact accidental.

   A good spell from Cambridge, attacking Shephard left sends a pacy ball into the area that evades everyone, the ball retrieved on the right side players are drawn towards it as the driven ball on the diagonal is sent in towards goal running wide Shephard tries to throw herself at the ball with Vandersulis diving for it gets the ball past the keeper lands in the side netting wide. Smith back on her goal line is well placed to catch the ball as Shona Chitate digs a snap shot out of her feet from 20 yards out. Room for Deacon on the right bringing the ball on for Stevenage players breaking into the box her cross sent in low near post is defended by Cambridge out for a corner with Amy Makewell attacking it.

   Cambridge break forwards Howlett central carrying it into the Stevenage half has Shepherd ahead of her cutting in behind from the left, Charlotte Ryan defending centrally for Stevenage gets in front of the Cambridge winger inside the area shielding the ball well allowing Vandersluis to gather safely. Neal’s turn to get in behind on the left holding up the ball sends the cross in long across the face of goal Blanchflower coming in far post the target, Stevenage captain Paige Logie does well to intercept and putting behind for a corner so close to her goal. 

   Neal once again moving to the right  to receive the ball wide has Abi Davies breaking forwards inside her lays the ball into the speeding full backs path Davies shot from range charged down the ball rebounding away for a corner on the right. A good deliver in central under the bar Vandersluis doing well to glove the ball up and on towards the far post, Cambridge’s Gough leaping heads the ball back in towards goal blocked Stevenage defend the ball eventually behind for the goalkick.

  Is a good contest both sides looking to attack quickly sees the attackers from both sides looking to exploit pockets of space. Dominique Godbeer sliding in to challenge Howlett outside the box left of goal as she looks to burst inside receive the return ball from Shephard on the left. Neal charges down Vandersluis as she attempts to kick the ball long from the top of the area, no control over where the rebound goes it’s deflected behind wide of goal. Bennett with a vital interception as Stevenage play the diagonal ball long from the left with Deacon away on the right.

   Breaking Stevenage’s Kristi Burling on for Chitate the pass forwards into Emmings, tries the back heel to try and put strike partner Makewell in behind the Cambridge defence, Gough isn’t fooled turns and cuts the ball out. Shephard and Neal combine in attack Shephard coming forwards passing the ball inside to Neal 25 yards out continues her run past her Neal shifting the ball on into her path edge of the area central Shephard looks to place her shot past the advancing keeper places the ball wide of the goal beyond.

   Howlett brought down as she tries to get forwards left side combine with Neal. A good position 25 yards out left of the D, Cantwell on the ball sends a rising ball in towards goal, off target however as Vandersulis coming across to the near post can watch in drop harmlessly wide. Emmings coming near post sees the ball into her low from Ellie Searle on the left, attempting to control and turn goalwards Gough gets the tackle in. 

A throw in for Cambridge left as they come forwards the ball finding it’s way into Blanchflower controlling inside the box turns her marker making room for a shot plays the ball straight at the keeper. Burling and Searle working together left side a cross squared inside to Makewell 20 yards out her shot charged down by Burt. Stevenage pressing late on in the first half win a corner right side a good delivery in close to goal Smith gloving the ball away dropping far post little time to react volleys the ball up over the crossbar. 

  Attacks in the closing moments of the 1st 45 a free-kick played in from wide left for Stevenage Chitate stooping to header the ball right on the edge of the area sees her effort take a deflection wide. Howlett leaning back to strike the ball coming into her from 20 yards out as Cambridge attack across the face of the Stevenage area sees her effort swerve wide of target. A late break Blanchflower picking up the ball looks for options Shephard with a central run Blanchflower tries to play her in Logie doing well for Stevenage sliding in to intercept the ball. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage Ladies

  A good contest ends in stalemate at the break neither side finding a clinical edge both attacking with purpose with no one taking time on the ball a high tempo has seen passes rushed and quality through the middle at a premium defences doing well. The attackers all wanting to drift into space haven’t been able to combine where it matters inside the box. Will that change in the 2nd half?

2nd half huddles

Stevenage to get thing’s underway in the 2nd period. Cambridge get hold of the ball and coming forwards win themselves a corner on the left. A long delivery Stevenage can’t get the ball away as Howlett plays it back in towards Blanchflower comes in, Ryan defending for the visitors to prevent a shot on goal. A shirt pull spotted by the referee earns Abi Davies a card for Cambridge joining the Makewell in the book who was cautioned first half. The set-piece wide right driven in low towards the near post Emmings there can’t get a clean connection the chance gone.

   Searle picks up the ball driving forwards attempts the diagonal pass out for Deacon on the right, Burt making the interception for Cambridge. Neal is a presence for Cambridge up front working hard to pull the Stevenage defence towards her, her persistence on the left bringing a corner kick. Cantwell to play the ball into the area, Burt coming towards the ball plays it back to the corner taker Cantwell dropping her shoulder cutting past a challenge sends a low cross in towards the near post Gough is there can’t quite get the ball out from under her feet before Stevenage’s Ryan closes her down.

    The ball given to her as she breaks clear on the left Stevenage’s Searle looks to strike the ball in towards goal from the top of the area, Smith with the save diving to her right to push the ball away. The tempo reduced 2nd half both sides still attacking and counter attacking the ball is rarely still. Gough fouls Makewell in a dangerous position central 20 yards out. It’s the Stevenage striker to take it striking the ball in low towards goal finds it’s way through unimpeded straight at Smith however back on her line the keeper coming forwards to gather the ball.

   Both sides make a change within minutes of each other Deacon coming off for Stevenage is replaced by Amy Josland. Faith Hewitt on for Cambridge replaced Shephard. Blanchflower looks to get in behind on the left Pope and Ryan closing her down. 

  Penalty! Cambridge are awarded a spot kick as Neal s checked inside the box as she goes to strike the ball played into her from Hewitt on the left. A chance for taker Howlett to put the hosts into the lead, looking to place the ball high to the right misses the score remains 0-0. 

   Stevenage are fired up now feel aggrieved with the penalty award, Howlett gets back on the ball a strong run into the area right of goal fires a squared ball across the Stevenage six yard box, Ryan clearing for Stevenage. Closing in on the final 15 minutes Cambridge probing put a few long range balls into the Stevenage area, Godbeer and Ryan both winning it for the visitors. A second substitution for Stevenage, Pope coming off with Poppy Bennett. Attacking right side the diagonal ball finding Searle coming in field from the left strikes the ball from the top of the area her effort narrowly over the bar, a corner awarded nicking off a Cambridge body on it’s way through. Gough winning the ball for Cambridge from the set-piece.

  Blanchflower breaking away into the clear on the right as the diagonal pass put long picks her out taking the ball on into the box strikes across the ball on the angle Vandersluis throwing her gloves out to make the save deflects it central, Neal in on the follow up, so to is Ryan the defender doing superbly to get the ball clear in front of goal. 

  A goal now would surely be the winner both sides thinking it is there for the taking Howlett with Cantwell in the middle played on for Blanchflower to the right brings the ball inside across the top of the area determined to get a shot away fired in towards the Stevenage goal Bennett blocks for the visitors. Jodie Whitford-Stark comes on as Stevenage make their final substitution Burling coming off. The substitute with a chance to strike the ball early on laid back to her from inside the box off a throw on the right the ball won’t sit for her as Whitford-Stark sends it over. 

  A free-kick awarded on half way for Cambridge, Cantwell with a good delivery into the area for a moment it looks like Burt might have stolen in behind to attack the far post, Vandersluis managing to get the ball away. Cambridge come close to breaking the stalemate once more Neal with the chance stooping into a header as she positions herself near post the cross played in from the right, Vandersluis diving for it the ball evading her skips out of play off the base of the post. 

  Cambridge press late on Stevenage hit them on the break the ball fired long up field Emmings getting the better of the defence to strike the ball from just inside the box sees her attempt whistle over the crossbar. Ryan defending up the other end as Howlett looks to break forwards onto the ball played in from the right the Stevenage centre back putting in the tackle as Howlett lines up a shot. 

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage Ladies

  The final whistle blows and it’s a point a piece as the sides play out a goalless draw. Another point on the board for Cambridge, Stevenage ending their run of losses. Neither side with be happy with the result as both should feel they could have won the game. Cambridge coming the closet. More clinical finishing was needed however defences on top with little time was devoted to the ball in the middle of the park. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a difficult one, defenders on top ultimately especially through the middle. All did a good job, one edging it for me and that is Stevenage Ladies, Charlotte Ryan who made some well timed and important challenges throughout the match.

Nice to see a game under the lights, a great venue and hopefully Cambridge United WFC will get another opportunity to play there soon. My thanks to everyone for their help this evening.


Cup Final Report – Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup

Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final

Sunday 11th March

Stevenage Ladies v Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies

The first County Cup Final of the season today a 3:00pm kick-off at The County Ground, Letchworth, with Stevenage Ladies looking to successfully retain the trophy for the 1st time take on county cup final debutants, Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies.

 A contest that pits FAWPL against ERWFL, two leagues between the sides a stern test for Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies playing in ERWFL Division One South up against a Stevenage Ladies side that is as strong as it has ever been. 

  Reece Buck the man in charge of Stevenage Ladies 1st team these days into his 2nd season in the job, was previously in charge of Hoddesdon Town Owls taking several of their experienced players with him to join Stevenage. Promoted to the FAWPL they retained their league status in their first season at that level aswell as winning the Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup for the ??? Bringing in several experienced players over the close season have gotten stronger currently in 7th place in the table well away from danger nudging towards a top half finish. Their 4th successive County Cup Final winning the competition in the 2014/15 & 2016/17 seasons Stevenage Ladies are looking to successfully defend the trophy for the 1st time.

 Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies reached the Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Final for the 1st time this season, a great achievement for a side that has been through a difficult spell of late. Following the departure of Reece Buck and several players, Matthew Hudson took over the 1st team having to field an inexperienced side last season, a difficult campaign struggling for points things starting to improve towards the end of the season. Some of their experienced players returning to the club, Leah Dunnage, Kristina O’Connell and Rosy Wodhams were in the starting line-up for Stevenage in the County Cup Final last season Wodhams scoring two goals. Thing’s are improving as Hoddesdon look to reestablish themselves in the ERWFL.

Road to the Final

 A big win away from home for Stevenage Ladies in the 1st Round of the competition as they began the defence of their trophy, taking in Beds & Herts Division One side Garston Ladies. Hat-tricks for both Leah Littlechild and Nicole Emmings in a 14-0 win. More of the same in the 2nd Round away to Bed & Herts Division Two side Evergreen Eagles 14-0 again the winning score, captain Donna McGuigan the pick of the goalscorers with 5 goals to her name.

   Onto the quarter finals and another away trip this time to play Hemel Hempstead Town Ladies whom they beat to win the County Cup in the 2014/15 season. The result 3-0 then it was 3-0 again as Stevenage booked their place in the semi-finals with goals from McGuigan, Ellie Searle and Amy Makewell. A repeat of last seasons final in the semi-finals only Stevenage were at home for the 1st time in the competition as they took on Royston Town Ladies goals from Littlechild, Ashleigh Deacon and Chloe Gunn seeing them into the final courtesy of a 3-0 win.

 Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies started their campaign in the County Cup at home to Beds & Herts Division Three newcomers Welwyn Pegasus Azures. Kristina O’Connell scoring a hat-trick in a comfortable win for the higher league side. At home again in the 2nd Round a much sterner test followed as they faced fellow league side and unbeaten leaders, Stevenage Ladies Reserves. A great result for Hoddesdon as they battled to a 3-3 draw after 90 minutes taking the tie into extra-time going on to win 5-3. Hannah Kelly scoring a hat-rick with O’Connell also getting a brace.

 Higher league opponents in the quarter finals of the competition Hoddesdon were draw at home again to take on Colney Heath Ladies. Another battling display seeing the sides drawing 2-2. Rosy Wodhams and Charley Handley scoring for Hoddesdon the tie going all the way to penalties. Goalkeeper Casey Herrick with some great saves as Hoddesdon went on to win the shoot-out 3-1 to reach the semi-finals. At home once again were the narrow favourites as they took on Beds & Herts Division One leaders, St Albans Ladies. Captain, Natasha Crick scoring twice with a goal each for O’Connell, Handley and Wodhams in a 5-2 victory to reach the County Cup Final for the very first time.

  The County Ground, Letchworth once again the venue for today’s final. The Hertfordshire FA getting their county cup competition wrapped up in most cases a month before the surrounding counties. A nice wide playing surface a little sticky underfoot with the amount of moisture that has fallen recently. Overlooked by a large mainstand on one side the bar at one end the changing rooms beyond. At the other the Pukka Tukka refreshments trailer serving hot food and drinks. A good crowd building for the final. An overcast sky not too chilly little or no rai forecast during the match.   

 Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Shayla Burgess, Paige Logie, Tanya Blacksley, Dominique Godbeer, Cara Breckenridge, Chloe Gunn, Ellie Searle, Leah Littlechild, Donna McGuigan (C) & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Danielle Maloney, Amy Josland, Kristi Burling, Ashleigh Deacon & Rebecca Scola.

 Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies starting XI – Casey Herrick, Katie Kendle, Charley Handley, Faye Holder, Hannah Kelly, Leah Dunnage, Sian Owens, Chloe Makepeace, Kristina O’Connell, Natasha Crick (C) & Rosy Woodhams. Stephanie Iaonnou, Megan Davies, Shannon Daly, Robyn Jones & Courtney Smart. 

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  7 players that started last season’s County Cup Final are in the starting line-ups this afternoon 4 for Stevenage whilst, Leah Dunnage, Kristina O’Connell and Rosy Wodhams represent Hoddesdon this time around. It’s Stevenage to kick off the game 1st half wearing white shirts with pale red vertical stripes, red shorts and socks. Hoddesdon lined up opposite wearing navy and red vertical striped shirts, navy shorts and socks. Midfielder Chloe Gunn sends the ball long from kick-off out into the left channel for Ellie Searle to try and chase down can’t reach it an early goalkick for Casey Herrick for Hoddesdon.

 A bright start from Stevenage trying to get players forwards Hoddesdon with a free-kick on half way as Paige Logie commits the foul for Stevenage the ball played high up towards the top of the area, Dominique Godbeer the middle of Stevenage’s three centre backs getting her head on the ball to clear. Sian Owens on the right side for Hoddesdon looks to make progress down the wing her pass inside to Rosy Wodhams she tries to pick her out with the return pass, Tanya Blacksley coming in tackling the ball out for a throw. Hoddesdon sending captain Natasha Crick away down into the right corner she squares the cross inside the box into Wodhams looking to strike it on the angle first time, Godbeer going to ground slides in to take the ball away from the striker. 

Stevenage Ladies, Dominique Godbeer

 Stevenage launch a rapid counter attack, Gunn bringing the ball on through the middle. Nicole Emmings peeling away into space on the right ahead of her Gunn picks her out with the pass her cross into the Hoddesdon area cut out by Faye Holder. Stevenage rebuild in attack coming forwards the pass out to Leah Littlechild on the right her cross whipped in dipping near post captain Donna McGuigan with the run stoops to get her head onto the ball turns her effort wide of the post inside the six yard box. A fast tempo from Stevenage at the start of the game coming forwards with purpose. 

Chloe Makepeace winning the tackle for Hoddesdon Town Owls

  A free-kick for Stevenage wide right level with the top of the area, Gunn their set-piece specialist over the ball goes for goal her strike flashing wide across the face of goal. Searle with the ball on the left rolls it on for Emmings, getting inside the full back puts the ball into the path of Gunn her long range strike controlled by Herrick back on her goal line. As Stevenage come again the Hoddesdon defence gets a little ragged as they attempt to clear the ball falling pushed out wide McGuigan latching onto the ball stumbles slightly before regaining control and firing in a vicious strike towards goal her attempt smashing against the cross bar before running out wide to the left.

 Hoddesdon have defended hard for the opening 15 minutes getting forwards pressing the ball high catch Stevenage in possession Hannah Kelly winning the ball brings it on, Cara Breckenridge getting back on her to win the ball back for Stevenage. The ball played into Gunn she picks out Searle going clear into space on the left her cross fired into the near post intercepted by the Hoddesdon defence. 

GOAL! Stevenage open the scoring in the 16th minute have a free-kick inside their own half the ball played up towards the top of the area, Gunn under it the ball knocked into McGuigan she passes back to Gunn who lays the ball back for Amy Makewell to hit 1st time 25 yards out her low driven shot racing past the diving keeper into the bottom corner 1-0.

  Stevenage looking strong press forwards Emmings with support from Littlechild on the right the ball turned into the area, Holder comes charging forwards to win the tackle for Hoddesdon. Herrick produces an excellent one handed save as Stevenage get in behind her defence Makewell moving to the left cutting the ball across the area for Emmings to strike from 8 yards out Herrick flinging a hand out parrying the ball away from her goal.  

GOAL! On 20 minutes Stevenage’s lead is doubled, Makewell scoring again from outside the box a virtual copy of her first goal, Bodies forwards around the top of the area as the ball comes in Emmings getting the ball into the number 9 she sends another low drive into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

 Little opportunity for Hoddesdon to get the ball into their attackers, O’Connell bringing the ball on through the middle has support from Kelly she holds the ball up well tries to pick out Wodhams on the left, Logie closing her down regaining possession for Stevenage. A free-kick wide right for Stevenage, Gunn to play the ball long into the area, Charley Handley with a commanding header getting the ball away for Hoddesdon. A throw on the left the ball played inside by Stevenage is inviting Breckenridge to have a strike 30 yards out she obliges, pulling her effort wide of the left post. 

Hannah Kelly on the ball for Hoddesdon looking to get past Stevenage’s Cara Breckenridge

 Littlechild breaking away on the right side for Stevenage her diagonal ball into the box parried behind for a corner by Herrick. Taken short up the line on the right Littlechild fires a shot narrowly over the Hoddesdon crossbar. Katie Kendle tackles well to stop Searle on the left as Gunn looks to play the winger in behind. Gunn confident in possession breaks forwards through the middle with the ball O’Connell seeing the threat goes with her sliding in to take the ball from her as she closes down on the area. 

Stevenage’s Tanya Blacksley contesting the ball with Hoddesdon’s Rosy Wodhams

 Stevenage are on top, pushing on the ball played inside to McGuigan in a central position outside the box a turn and hit as the ball comes across her the attempt taking a deflection wide for a corner. Dunnage winning the ball for Hoddesdon, attempting to break themselves Stevenage are organised at the back the 3 centre backs keeping tabs on any one threatening to get in behind. 

GOAL! Half an hour played and Stevenage extend their lead with a well worked goal. Gunn beginning the move and finishing it as she carries the ball forwards laying the pass out to Searle getting in behind on the left Gunn continuing her run into the area as Searle sends the ball into her run, the midfield opening up her body to send the ball angling away from the keeper into the top corner 3-0.

Stevenage Ladies, Chloe Gunn

 Stevenage press their advantage look strong as Hoddesdon look to regroup. O’Connell back to clear the ball hasn’t had much chance to influence thing’s going forwards. Holder scrambling the ball away inside the box for Hoddesdon as the cross is flung into the area from the right, a foul spotted by the referee as Emmings latches onto the ball. A chance for Makewell for complete her hat-trick as the ball comes to her momentarily free in the area a second to composure herself looks to play the ball wide of the keeper right into the bottom corner of the net sees her shot run wide of the post. Hoddesdon make a change, Stephanie Iaonnou coming on in place of O’Connell. 

 Closing in on the final 5 minutes of the 1st half, Hoddesdon have their 1st shot of the match coming as Stevenage give away possession wide on the left Crick with the attempt from all of 30 yards out, on target, Shayla Burgess on loan from Watford Ladies having had little to do in the Stevenage goal, well place however back on her line is right behind the strike palming it down and safely claiming the ball. 

Hoddesdon Town Owls captain, Natasha Crick

GOAL! 41 minutes on the clock and Stevenage have another goal. Launching a counter attack the ball with Littlechild right side she squares the ball inside to Breckenridge coming on through the middle she is fouled in a dangerous position 25 yards from goal. Gunn to take it strikes the ball perfectly the ball lifted up towards goal flies over the keeper and into the back of the net 4-0.

  Late into the 1st half and Stevenage ring the changes, making 3 substitutions, Emmings, Littlechild and Blacksley coming off for Danielle Maloney, Ashleigh Deacon and Rebecca Scola. 

Half-time Stevenage Ladies 4-0 Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies

  A dominant 1st half from Stevenage sees them with a comfortable 4-0 lead. A brace each from Makewell and Gunn. Have created numerous other chances. Hoddesdon have battle hard in defence have see little of the ball themselves with just the one attempt at goal. 

 More changes at half-time for Stevenage, Amy Josland and Kristi Burling replacing Breckenridge and McGuigan. Megan Davies on for Hoddesdon who get the 2nd half underway. A later 3pm kick-off sees the floodlights starting to come on as the natural light begins to fade. Wodhams with the ball at her feet 30 yards out is allowed to come on takes on the strike her effort on target Burgess back on her line right behind it once again comfortably gathering the low ball. 

Stevenage Ladies, Paige Logie

  Deacon wide on the right side for Stevenage receiving the ball off a throw sends the pass inside towards Gunn positioned outside the box connecting with the ball sens it looping high into the air, heading towards goal looks to be heading over but dips very late a real problem for Herrick as she back peddles onto her goal line sees the ball land on top of the crossbar. 

 GOAL! 5 minutes into the 2nd half Stevenage go further into the lead, the Hoddesdon defence stretched pulled over to the left as Searle races on with the ball fires in a cross along the face of goal, both Josland and Deacon are racing in far post the latter getting the touch on the ball to turn it into the back of the net to make it 5-0. 

GOAL! A 6th goal quickly follows a minute after scoring her 1st of the final Deacon with her 2nd with a great individual goal as she is set away on the right side after Stevenage break up a Hoddesdon attack. The right winger carrying the ball on into the area unopposed right of goal sends her shot wide across the keeper to score 6-0.

Two quick goals for Stevenage’s Ashleigh Deacon

  Hoddesdon make a change Makepeace coming off to be replaced by the returning O’Connell. Makewell with a strong run forwards, Holder getting in front of her to get the ball back to her keeper to clear. A free-kick won for Hoddesdon 30 yards out in a central position O’Connell over the ball goes for goal on target the shot lacks the pace to trouble Burgess. 

Makewell close again to completing her hat-trick as Gunn playing deeper 2nd half sends the ball forwards towards Scola as Stevenage come forwards a clever touch from Scola sending the ball on through splitting the Hoddesdon defence Makewell racing in free behind, Herrick starts to come, Makewell puts the ball past her spinning away her head in her hands as she sees the ball strike the base of the post. 

  Dunnage defending well against Makewell on the right giving away the corner as the attacker looks to get around her. Iaonnou comes off for Hoddesdon, Shannon Daly coming on. A free-kick wide on the left inside the Hoddesdon half for Stevenage the ball headed on into the box, Deacon is free far side the flag up for offside however before she can strike the ball. Wodhams and Davies work the ball well together on the left for Hoddesdon, Davies looking to get in behind, Logie with good defensive work for Stevenage.

Megan Davies bringing the ball forwards for Hoddesdon

GOAL! Stevenage get a 7th goal and finally it’s a hat-trick for Makewell. Times her run in behind well as Gunn plays the ball up to her from the back, with the keeper coming to close her down as she carries the ball right the striker dinks the shot over her and into the goal beyond to make it 7-0.

 Tiring Hoddesdon have let their heads drop a little 2nd half Handley winning the ball puts it forwards into midfield the ball deflected out to the right, Kelly wriggles clear to get in behind and fire a cross into the area, Godbeer coming towards her getting in the block. Searle with a burst of energy on the left for Stevenage fires a low cross into the area Josland can’t quite connect running on races onto Scola quickly no control on her attempt as the ball is deflected up over the crossbar. 

Rosy Wodhams winning the ball for Hoddesdon from a Stevenage corner

  A free-kick wide left for Stevenage Gunn to play in towards the far post the ball knocked down comes to Burling controls well hitting the shot on the turn putting the ball wide. Kendle is off for Hoddesdon as Robyn Jones comes on. Stevenage continue to dominate Makewell driving a 20 yard strike wide of the right post. Gunn getting onto the ball 30 yards out plays Josland in behind to inside the box, Herrick coming to close her down going to ground stops the shot getting past her. Emmings comes back on for Makewell for Stevenage, Handley coming off for Hoddesdon, Courtney Smart joining the game. 

Stevenage make more changes, McGuigan and Littlechild returning to the field late on. Into the last 5 minutes. Wodhams with a cross/shot from a wide position on the right sending the ball behind the Stevenage goal. 

GOAL! Another goal for Stevenage late in the match Littlechild on target to bring up their 8th. The attack on the left the ball rolled into Emmings outside the box good hold up play allowing Littlechild to get forwards running past her Emmings lays the pass into her run Littlechild striking the ball from the top of the area finds the bottom corner 8-0.

Godbeer comes off in the closing stages for Stevenage as they finish as strong as thy started the game. Scola wide on the right  flashes a cross along the top of the six yard box, McGuigan in the middle attempting an ambitious overhead kick does’t connect with the ball. 

Full time Stevenage Ladies 8-0 Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies

  The final whistle blows and Stevenage Ladies celebrate having successfully retained the Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup for the 1st time. A dominant performance an 8-0 win. Some well taken goals amongst those. On top right from the off and never let their opponents have any time on the ball. A fantastic effort from Hoddesdon to reach their 1st ever County Cup Final couldn’t get to grips with Stevenage on the day nevertheless should be proud of their achievement.

Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Winners – Stevenage Ladies

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 She’s already got one of these but an easy choice once again for today’s Women’d Football East – Player of the Match. Dominating the midfield with great vision in passing and timing of her runs, especially in the 1st half along with scoring twice is Stevenage Ladies, Chloe Gunn.

Enjoyed my 1st final of the season, plenty more to follow. My thanks to the staff at Hertfordshire FA today for their assistance, everyone was very helpful always appreciated. Lastly my congratulations to Stevenage Ladies on successfully retaining the County Cup.

Match Report – Stevenage Ladies v Ipswich Town Ladies

Sunday 3rd December

Action from the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup this Sunday afternoon a trip to Hertfordshire to watch the all FAWPL South East Division One tie between Stevenage Ladies and Ipswich Town Ladies.

History for Stevenage Ladies has already been made reaching the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup for the 1st time. Progressing well as a club overall supported well by Stevenage FC themselves the 1st team gaining promotion to the FAWPL the season before last, are building well on the pitch after their 1st season playing at this level in 8th position one point short of last season’s tally already. Manager Reece Buck recruiting over the close season bringing in Paige Logie, Ashleigh Deacon and the returning Nicole Emming’s all with Cambridge United WFC last season.

  The 1st team at Stevenage being pushed hard by their Reserves side leading the ERWFL Division One South winning all 9 of their opening league games scoring 52 goals along the way and yet to concede, keeping the 1st team on it’s toes. Stevenage entering the FA Women’s Cup in 3rd Round Qualifying a comfortable 8-0 win away to Hassocks LFC to reach the 1st Round Proper. At home to former ERWFL Premier Division rivals Acle United Ladies, Stevenage won 4-1 to reach the 2nd Round Proper.

Ipswich Town Ladies are currently 5th in FAWPL South East Division One actually their lowest position so far this season having been in the top four for a long period very much amongst those hoping to challenge for the title this season are unbeaten in 8 games in league and cup. Like Stevenage, Ipswich have a 2nd side a new Development side that won the Suffolk Women’s Division title in it’s 1st season now promoted to the ERWFL Division One North players from that side going on to appear for the 1st team. Have brought in Gemma Moore and Cassie Craddock previously with Lowestoft Town Ladies and Jordan Arnoup good to see her back on the pitch after a long period out of the game with injury. Speaking of injury however have unfortunately lost goalkeeper Leanne Smith to a long term injury, Sian Fagg usually playing outfield taking on the role between the sticks.

  Ipswich Town Ladies entered the FA Women’s Cup in 3rd Round Qualifying away to Cambridge City Ladies beating the ERWFL Premier Division side 5-1. At home in the 1st Round Proper taking on Leyton Orient WFC newly promoted to FAWPL South East Division One and up their in the top 4 with Ipswich the game finishing 2-2 in normal time Ipswich went on to win in extra-time 4-2 to progress to the 2nd Round Proper.

Stevenage play their home games at Hertingfordbury Park, home of Hertford Town FC. A good sized non league ground, a small seated stand on one side housing the changing rooms, a small clubhouse too serving hot and cold drinks. The pitch looking a little worn has seen alot of football looked a little boggy in places, at the start of December a reasonably cold day, gloomy and dull overhead but little chance of rain.

Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Katherine Long, Paige Logie, Dominique Godbeer, Tanya Blacksley, Chloe Gunn (C), Cara Breckenridge, Ellie Searle, Leah Littlechild, Ashleigh Deacon, Amy Makewell & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Danielle Maloney, Kristi Burling & Rebecca Scola.

Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Sian Fagg, Jac Ball, Jordan Arnoup, Lindsey Cooper, Harriet Petley, Cassie Craddock, Amanda Crump (C), Zoe Cossey, Sophie Welton, Natasha Thomas & Jade Henry. Subs – Miagh Downey, Tori Campbell, Nicole Pannifer, Florence Cage& Gemma Moore.

It’s Stevenage to kick off the match wearing white and red vertical striped shirts with red shorts and socks with Ipswich lined up opposite wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts. The home side look to move the ball across the pitch forwards down the right side the ball played into the area with Amy Makewell giving chase, Ipswich’s Lindsey Cooper gets across to slide in to challenge, Makewell squeezes the ball in towards the near post goalkeeper Sian Fagg is across covering the angle gathers the ball.

   Ipswich win the ball in the middle of the park the pass out to Zoe Cossey left wing looks to attack sends the cross into the area cut out by Dominique Godbeer the middle of Stevenage’s 3 at the back the clearance falls to Ipswich captain midfielder Amanda Crump tries to lift the ball back into the Stevenage area the ball is cleared. Cossey with another run left side, Natasha Thomas and Jade Henry up front for Ipswich in the area her cross is over both retrieved by right back Jac Ball getting up the pitch on the right her cross is blocked by Stevenage’s Tanya Blacksley. The home side look to counter attack Ellie Searle on the ball carries it forwards is stopped by Cooper.

Stevenage Ladies, Ellie Searle

Room on the left wing for Leah Littlechild for Stevenage whips a cross into the box too close to the near post is collected by Fagg. Ipswich launch a rapid counter move the ball through the middle into Henry up top good control takes on the shot from 25 yards out is straight at goalkeeper Katherine Long who makes the comfortable save. Stevenage win their 1st corner of the game delivered left side Ipswich defend at the near post. 

Ipswich’s Jade Henry, marked by Stevenage’s Tanya Blacksley

A lively start to the game both sides competitive and looking to move the ball quickly little break in the action. Searle with another positive forwards run through the middle holding the ball up 25 yards out lays the pass back to captain Chloe Gunn she finds Littlechild free on the left going forwards her cross into the box is cleared comes back to the advancing Gunn now 20 yards out left shifts the ball then shoots the ball zipping in towards goal Fagg makes a great save getting low to her right to push the ball away from goal. 

  Ashleigh Deacon bringing the ball on down the right wing for Stevenage sees her cross into the area headed clear by Ipswich’s Harriet Petley. A free kick to Ipswich wide left on the halfway line Crump plays the ball long into the box to be attacked Jordan Arnoup gets her head on the ball sends her shot wide across the Stevenage goal however play is stopped by an offside flag. Henry and Thomas link up on the right wing as Ipswich launch a counter attack, Thomas sending a high ball in towards goal is collected at head height by Long at her near post.

   GOAL! 20 minutes into the game and the home side open the scoring attacking down the right side from a throw in the ball is with Deacon played into the area Makewell has made a fantastic run getting away from her marker, great control and shoots to send the ball in at the near post 1-0.

Amy Makewell opens the scoring for Stevenage Ladies

 Ipswich look for a quick response from the restart the ball with Cossey left side good footwork to get up the pitch the ball squared into the middle the shot is taken from distance doesn’t trouble Long in the Stevenage goal. A fantastic defensive tackle from Paige Logie to deny Cossey an opportunity to skip in behind with the ball as Craddock does well in the middle for Ipswich. Up the other end Gunn taking the ball forwards tries to play the through ball in for Makewell peeling off the centre backs, Ball is round on the cover for Ipswich to win the ball.

The wide players for both sides are seeing plenty of the ball, Cossey breaking forwards with purpose again left side sees Sophie Welton on the opposite flank looking to get into the box sends her cross long, Blacksley is aware of the threat to the Stevenage defender winning the ball at the top of her area. Littlechild has a clear field ahead of her on the left as the ball is won in the middle fired out to her driving forwards into the box strikes the shot the low ball racing wide across the face of goal. A throw in left side 25 yards out played in Makewell a turn and strike sweeps the shot wide across the goal. 

The goal has swelled Stevenage’s confidence are getting players forwards and pressurising the ball when out of possession. Welton brings down Gunn in a central position. Is Gunn to take the free kick 30 yards out goes for goal the ball over the wall straight at Fagg the keeper gathering the shot. All action Ball looks to go beyond Henry off an Ipswich throw inside the Stevenage half right side up ended by Gunn the visitors with a free kick outside the top corner of the area Crump plays the ball towards the far post, Stevenage regain he ball counter attack the ball up the field Makewell giving chase Fagg out to the edge of her area kicks the ball clear.

  Cossey with the ball left side her cross over Crump arriving in the box making a run from midfield, Blacksley beyond half clears the ball 20 yards out is dropping for Welton closed down can’t get the shot under control as she strikes the ball slicing it wide of the target. Ball makes a good run infield with the ball from the right on for Henry up front into the box, Godbeer does well getting across the attacker to get her head on the ball first, Long able to collect. Welton wins Ipswich a corner on the right players come forwards from the back one of those is Cooper, Crump’s delivery is perfect Cooper gets up 8 yards out headers the ball just over the crossbar. 

Lindsey Cooper header flies over the bar for Ipswich Town Ladies

More good defending from Godbeer to deny Henry a chance inside the box as the attacker looks to receive the ball from Welton’s good right wing run. Cossey on the opposite side whips a low cross in towards the near post Thomas there to try and attack it under challenge sends her attempt wide of goal. Fagg sliding in claims the ball before Searle can latch onto it inside the area following good control from Emmings to see the ball into her body centrally and send the pass into the box.   

Half-time Stevenage Ladies 1-0 Ipswich Town Ladies

   That 45 minutes flew by all action both sides constantly looking to get forwards no one getting much time on the ball. A lively contest both sides creating chances, Stevenage with the narrow advantage competing well, right now the tie looks like it could go either way cup football at its best.

No changes for either side at the start of the 2nd half Ipswich to get the 2nd 45 underway. A little bit of hesitancy at the back from Stevenage as they break up an Ipswich attack however the visitors don’t capitalise the ball regained and cleared. Ipswich win a corner on the right following good work from Ball getting forwards receiving the lay off from Henry putting the ball in towards the top of the area. A great chance from a corner in the 1st half for Cooper, she is close again as the delivery is played in near post gets her head on the ball drills the attempt wide of the near post. 

Sophie Welton bringing the ball forwards for Ipswich Town Ladies

Stevenage get the ball forwards Breckenridge on for Makewell moving left her early cross into the area is over Emmings head central and evades Littlechild beyond out of play a corner is signalled. Taken from the right towards the top of the Ipswich area the ball is cleared back out to Emmings on the right sends the ball back into the area, Godbeer gets her head on the ball drops safely for Fagg to collect. 

  Cossey bringing the ball on down the left for Ipswich sends a pass forwards through the middle, Blacksley misses her clearance comes onto Henry 25 yards out the ball doesn’t sit the striker not catching it cleanly the shot bounces safely on for Long to gather. Searle is brought down by Cooper as she comes forwards through the middle with the ball for Stevenage. The free kick 25 yards out central Gunn over it goes for goal on target but straight into Fagg’s gloves.

Ipswich Town Ladies, Zoe Cossey

Getting a little more physical out there the referee needing to have a word with a few players from both sides, Ipswich half a free kick just inside their own half is played long into the area dipping on Long the keeper looks to have it inside her six yard box but spills it out to her right Crump racing in blasts her shot over from a tight angle. Another free kick on halfway this time Crump on the ball play it forwards into the area gets through the crowd is claimed by Long in goal beyond. 

  The energy levels remain high from both sides, Ipswich looking to get forwards Stevenage nipping at the ball winning it and looking to counter, Searle and Gunn ahead of Breckenridge. Crump gives away the free kick inside the centre circle the ball played high into the area his headed clear by Thomas for Ipswich. 

Cara Breckenridge on the ball for Stevenage Ladies

Ipswich come forwards Welton on the ball right inside to Craddock on for Cossey going up the left wing tackled by Logie the corner conceded. The ball is delivered near post drops to the floor Cooper tries to deflect it goalwards cleared back out to the taker put back into the area again Henry central sees her downwards header cleared off the line. Good defending from Petley for Ipswich as Searle plays the ball in behind for Emmings to chase Petley cutting out her cross. The visitors make the 1st change of the game Nicole Pannifer coming on for Henry. The substitute going to left back Arnoup moving into midfield.

Stevenage Ladies, Nicole Emmings

Direct play from Stevenage almost puts Gunn through on goal the ball kicked long by Long is flicked on with Gunn breaking in behind trying to get into the area, Fagg quick off her line slides in gathering the ball momentum seeing Gunn collide with her. Both are okay.

GOAL! Good work from Cossey on the right side the ball on for Thomas she is tackled by Godbeer inside the area to concede the corner kick. Ipswich already proving they are a threat from corners score the equalising goal the ball whipped in near post Thomas get’s up well to get her head on the ball powers it across goal and in off a defender who has no time at all to react 1-1.

Searle is fouled coming forwards for Stevenage on the left side half way out Gunn plays the ball long into the area appears to go through everyone and out of play however a corner is signalled. Played in towards Logie at the top of the area right of the D gets her foot over the ball her shot on target Fagg is prevented from gathering it on her line as a Stevenage player gets across her deflected out to the right a shot from close range is blocked a 2nd corner given this one successfully defended.

   The game is stretched a little moving into the last 15 minutes both sides still looking for a goal both believing the game is there to be won. Long makes a great save on her line as Thomas looks to sweep the shot home at the near post following Welton’s right wing cross. Stevenage make their 1st change of the match, Deacon coming off to be replaced by Kristi Burling. The referee has been reluctant to show any cards but the fouls are mounting up Crump is the 1st player booked sliding in from behind.

A penalty shout for Stevenage as Makewell goes down under challenge inside the box from a throw in on the left, the referee waves play on. Makewell is presented with a goal scoring chance at close range as Ipswich attempt to header the ball back to Fagg dropping late on the keeper the ball is spilt Makewell racing in pokes the ball wide of the left post. Ipswich work the ball down the right Crump inside for Craddock her shot from 25 yards out is charged down spins away to the right the cross drilled back in rebounds back off the near post then the follow up strike is blasted wide across the six yard box. Cossey with a run through the middle shoots wide from 25 yards out for Ipswich . The score remains 1-1 as the 90 minutes are up the tie heading into extra-time.

Full time Stevenage Ladies 1-1 Ipswich Town Ladies

  A really good match to watch, the action non stop either side could yet still win in Ipswich getting the equaliser 2nd half the energy levels from both sides remaining high throughout more fouls creeping in 2nd half.


  Ipswich to kick off the 1st period of extra-time. A great chance straight away for the visitors as Craddock steals possession from Burling at the back and plays the ball into the area right side with Ball providing the run a blasts her shot wide across the Stevenage goal. Makewell up the other end bursts forwards with the ball taking it into the right corner flashes a cross along the face of the Ipswich goal. 

Stevenage with a free kick wide on the left played into the top of the box Burling with the header sends the ball looping up into the air Ipswich head clear comes back to Searle plays the ball back into the area the 2nd clearance falling to Emming’s outside the area right of the D sends her shot wide. Stevenage press forwards Littlechild on the move left side her cross squared in along the top of the Ipswich area Makewell arriving sends her 1st time strike up over the bar.

Fagg with an easy save as the shot is put straight at her from distance by Emming’s following good work from Gunn winning the ball and playing her in. Gunn then shoots wide from distance following a run with the ball at her feet through the middle. Stevenage make a 2nd change Rebecca Scola coming on for Searle. A corner late in the 1st period of extra-time for Ipswich Thomas with the header on near post Arnoup central headers the ball down towards goal Stevenage clear.

 A substitution for Ipswich at the start of the 2nd period of extra-time, Miagh Downey on for Welton as Stevenage get thing’s started. Gunn with more good work on the ball for Stevenage is brought down by Thomas wide left. The ball cleared Ipswich attack the ball into Cossey through the middle no advance as she is tugged back by Burling the free kick awarded 30 yards out. The shot is attempted a yard wide of the top right corner. 

Both sides still going for it no one is shutting up shop a quick free kick taken by Stevenage has Emmings away down the left into the corner her cross in cleared by Cooper comes back to her, another cross put in lands in the side netting. Gunn brings the ball on plays it through for Emmings trying to get into the area from the left cut out by Petley the corner conceded, Stevenage make their final change before it is taken Danielle Maloney coming on for Makewell. From the left the corner is taken short rolled into Gunn coming and calling for it turns inside 25 yards out connects with the shot wall flying towards the top corner Fagg with a top class save to tip the ball up over her crossbar. 

Ipswich Town Ladies goalkeeper, Sian Fagg

  Thomas is shown a yellow after mounting up the warnings a free kick for Stevenage wide right Emmings over it goes for the shot angling in near post another excellent save from Fagg to tip the ball over once again. The corner taken from the left cleared into Gunn outside the box central blazes her shot over the crossbar. Stevenage pressing hard late on Ipswich make a late change Gemma Moore their final substitution coming on for Cossey. The final whistle and this tie will be settled from the penalty spot.


  I might have mentioned I hate penalty shootouts before so moving on it’s a lottery now both sides have put so much into the game a late winner for either side would have been tough to take. A shootout then for a place in the 3rd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup.

The sides gather on halfway to watch the penalty shootout

   Stevenage to take the opening penalty kick. Breckenridge puts the ball down on the spot and takes it, Fagg dives to her left guessing right the ball misses running wide of the post 0-0.

Arnoup to take Ipswich’s first penalty kick, a confident strike through the middle high into the back of the net to give the visitors the advantage 0-1.

Jordan Arnoup scores Ipswich Town Ladies first penalty

  Up comes Logie to take Stevenage’s 2nd penalty sends the ball low towards the bottom left corner Fagg guesses right getting down to make the save 0-1.

  Thomas walks forwards to take Ipswich’s 2nd penalty no messing straight down the middle to double the advantage 0-2.

   Emming’s comes forwards to take Stevenage’s third penalty goes the opposite side to the previous two wrong footing Fagg however sending the ball high, too high it goes over the crossbar 0-2.

  Up comes Moore to take Ipswich’s 3rd penalty only just introduced to the action no doubt not expecting her penalty to be the one that would send Ipswich through to the 3rd Round, a low and confident strike through the middle she turns to celebrate and is mobbed by her on rushing team mates Ipswich win on penalties 3-0.

It’s a cruel way to end a match but it has to be settled one way or anther Ipswich go through to the 3rd Round Proper extend their unbeaten run to 9 games too. A great game to watch a good sized crowd in attendance too, witnessed a good contest between two committed sides end to end and rarely stopping to draw breath. Stevenage’s run comes to an end but shouldn’t be disappointed too much a great effort today. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   I do make it hard for myself at times since deciding to name a Women’s Football East – Player of the Match another tough call today good performances from players on both sides all over the pitch the back 3 for Stevenage, Fagg with some excellent saves in extra-time, Cossey on the wing for Ipswich. Overall however for today’s Player of the Match I have gone with Stevenage’s captain, Chloe Gunn, a tremendous work rate in the middle of the park good timing of passes and runs forwards a threat from a set-piece too.

   Enjoyed today got to love a cup tie, a great game to watch, tough to end on penalties. My thanks to both sides for their help today. Best of luck to Ipswich Town Ladies in the 3rd Round Draw.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage Ladies

  Midweek football action from Mildenhall Town FC on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog with 3rd placed Cambridge United looking to build on recent good form could go top tonight should they beat newly promoted Stevenage Ladies who picked up their 1st point at this higher level at the weekend.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage Ladies

  A short journey down to Mildenhall Town FC this evening to catch some midweek action from the FAWPL South East Division One, with Cambridge United WFC hosting newly promoted Stevenage Ladies.

  Cambridge United WFC are up to 3rd in the FAWPL South East Division One table after a 3-1 win away to Norwich City Ladies on Sunday. A point off the leaders Luton Town Ladies had the chance to go top of the table tonight with a win albeit early days in the season. Have made several new signings over the close season, with Rosie Kmita coming in from Tottenham Hotspur Ladies recently making her competitive debut for the Cambridge against Norwich at the weekend. Nicole Perschky and Hollie Jardine know tonight’s opponents well having joined from Stevenage Ladies over the summer. Both were starting tonight.

  Stevenage Ladies won the ERWFL Premier Division title last season to earn promotion to the FAWPL South East Division One. Gary Bailey took over as 1st team manager during the close season, joining him as assistant manager, Reece Buck formerly managing Hoddesdon Town Ladies. A few Hoddesdon players have followed him from the club, Daniela Martucci, Stephanie Mann, Leah Dunnage, Becky Scola & Kristina O’Connell. Becky Day who is a regular for the Hertfordshire FA’s representative side also joins from Hitchin Town Ladies. Lost their opening 2 league matches at this level, most recently earning their 1st point in the FAWPL drawing 3-3 at home to Actonians Ladies last Sunday, Kristina O’Connell scoring all 3 goals.

  Has been another hot and sunny day, still warm as the sun starts to go down and the floodlights come on. The Mildenhall Town FC pitch looking in great condition even though it has seen alot of play already this season 20 games with 5 sides using it. A slope from one goal mouth to the other. 

  Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Verity Crook, Hollie Jardine, Rosie Kmita, Emma Jenkins, Laura Bright (C), Paige Logie, Dawn Mallett, Becky Taylor, Ashleigh Deacon, Laura Mills & Nicole Perschky
  subs – Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Faith Hewitt, Evie Gallop, Tahnee Perfect & Carolyn Sarafian. 

  Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Becky Scott, Sophie Bailey, Leah Dunnage, Tanya Blacksley, Amy Josland, Amy Notschild, Donna McGuigan (C), Lisa Milliken, Cara Breckenridge, Kristina O’Connell & Becky Scola.

  subs – Hayley Wood-Thompson, Bolu Fisher, Becky Day & Jenny Hepton.

  It’s Stevenage to get the match underway kicking off 1st half attacking down the slope wearing an all blue kit with black sleeves on the shirts with Cambridge wearing amber shirts and socks with black shorts. The home side make ground attacking down the right the ball is swung up into the middle the clearance top of the box falls to Cara Breckenridge lays the ball forwards for Becky Scola to take on into the Cambridge box is pushed wide, wins th visitors an early corner. 

  Breckenridge picks the ball up from a throw inside the Cambridge half plays a long crossfield ball to the right wing with Lisa Milliken charging forwards into space, Rosie Kmita playing at left back for Cambridge gets her head to the ball taking the ball over Milliken out for a throw on the right. 

  GOAL! Cambridge get hold of the ball from the throw the ball played up the left for Ashleigh Deacon, taking it on, Kmita bursts forwards receiving the ball on the overlap fires the ball into Nicole Perschky inside the Stevenage area, a good 1st touch to kill the pace on the ball wrong foot her marker, then turns hitting her shot low and hard across goalkeeper Becky Scott into the back of the net 1-0. 4 minutes played.

Nicole Perschky with Stevenage’s Tanya Blacksley
(photo credit Gary Reed)

  A bright start from Cambridge another attack up the left the ball played inside into Perschky, looks to play the ball on for Laura Mills who has charged up the right wing coming inside into the box, the attack is stopped by the offside flag. 
  GOAL! Hollie Jardine starting at right back for Cambridge tonight fouls Stevenage captain, Donna McGuigan inside the Cambridge half left of the centre circle. A chance for Stevenage to push players forwards from the back with Breckenridge on the ball. Plays a great delivery into the area swung in centrally has to be dealt with, both Cambridge centre backs look to come to the ball jump to head it away, Emma Jenkins gets her head to the ball ends up playing the ball into her own net 1-1. The lead lasting just 2 minutes.

  Is a frantic pace to the match, Stevenage playing 3 at the back with Milliken and Breckenridge providing the width left and right dropping back went necessary. Some committed challenges on the field to a few complaints to the referee. Jardine wins the ball inside the Stevenage half on the right plays it into Logie in midfield, put back to Jenkins her pass lifted up to Perschky in a central position looks to flick it over the top into the box Tanya Blacksley heads it away to the right for Stevenage. Mills gets hold of it looks to play the cross back into the box, Cambridge want a penalty as Taylor is bundled over, nothing given.

  Becky Scott is out to the edge of her area to claim the ball as Perschky runs in behind the Stevenage defence looking to get on the end of Dawn Mallett’s through ball. Jardine attempts to play the crossfield pass for Deacon to run onto on the left, Sophie Bailey steps out of the back line to put in a good tackle to win the ball. Deacon with the ball at her feet as Cambridge attack down the left again 25 yards out comes back inside moving central attempts to reverse the ball play it into the area for the attackers to run onto, too straight the ball runs out of play. 

   Stevenage are working hard to compete for the ball, in front of the defence, Amy Notschild is cutting out alot of Cambridge passes, playing the ball out to Breckenridge on the left, plays the ball into Scola going on the overlap beyond her gets the ball back sends a cross into the box, too close to Verity Crook, Cambridge’s goalkeeper catches the ball. 

  Jardine comes away with the ball making the challenge inside the Stevenage half up the right wing for Mills to go after, squares the cross in towards the near post, Leah Dunnage cuts the cross out, the ball cleared into the middle is played back up into the box Perschky looks to hold it up, Dunnage closes her down tackling taking the ball away from her, a corner is conceded on the left. Stevenage defend 2 near post deliveries before the 3rd one goes long out of play.

  Winning the ball back for Stevenage, Notschild plays it into Scola coming to the halfway line, turns well evading a tackle passing into McGuigan ahead of her, shoots from distance the back dropping into the back of the net, however she committed a foul before shooting play brought back for the free kick. Amy Josland plays the ball on for Milliken wide right taking it on down the wing, passing the ball inside to McGuigan, top of the area she slips as she looks to play the ball on into the area with Milliken continuing her run. 

  Kmita gets in around the back as she races up the wing to support Deacon turning inside loos to lift the ball into the area for Perschky, Notschild back defending heads the ball out of danger. Jardine comes on with the ball gets fouled by Scola 30 yards from goal the free-kick given. The Stevenage management aren’t happy with the referee getting a little carried away play is stopped as he has a word. Bright on the set-piece plays it in to the top of the area Dunnage going up with Taylor does well getting enough on the ball to knock it down to the floor before it is launched clear.

   A committed contest both sides working hard, some strong challenges will be a few bruises to show for it in the morning. Pinging around in midfield the ball runs favourably for Taylor 30 yards out, takes on the shot dips late but not enough as it whistles over the crossbar. Taylor involved again as she closes Josland down to the right inside the Stevenage half, plays the ball in field Mallett picking it up driving on before taking on the shot pace on the ball it bounces as it comes straight at Scott, escapes her for a moment but grabs hold of it at the 2nd attempt before Deacon can capitalise.

  Breckenridge takes the ball inside from the left attacking for Stevenage plays the ball into McGuigan’s feet pushing forwards lays the ball out to Scola peeling away into space on the left into the box shoots her low drive into the centre of the six yard box, Crook going to ground makes a comfortable save. 

  Cambridge attack late in the 1st half up the right Jardine on for Taylor her low cross driven into the box is sliced across the area by Dunnage as she goes to clear, no one wearing an amber shirt can react. A corner on the left for Cambridge taken quickly by Mills down the line for Mallett cuts inside, shoots aiming for the far corner the ball goes wide.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-1 Stevenage Ladies

  A square at the break both goals coming early on, the game played at a high tempo, Stevenage putting alot in to close the ball and minimise Cambridge possession. The three at the back dealing with most thing’s if Cambridge have been able to get it past Notschild in the 1st place. The better chances have fallen Cambridge’s way without overly testing Scott in the Stevenage goal. 
  Cambridge attacking down the slope in the 2nd half as they kick-off no changes for either side at the break. Lose possession early on the ball as Kristina O’Connell challenges for it, goes after the ball passing it wide left to Scola, shoots from the angle the ball in low wide of goal. Cambridge get Taylor on the ball inside the Stevenage half passes to Perschky central her back to goal, lays it wide to Kmita coming on from the back who plays the diagonal ball towards Mallett moving towards the top right corner of the area, Mallett takes on the shot drilling her effort wide across the face of goal.
  Josland finding room in the middle to bring the ball on sends the pass on to McGuigan ahead of her, 25 yards out opts to shot, loses her footing taking the pace of the ball the shot bounces through to Crook. Mills with the ball at her feet runs up the right wing squares a cross into the box is deflected behind for the corner. The ball is played in towards the top of the area, Bright headers the ball down with Logie free to her left connects with the ball sending a looping ball in towards goal his headed away from the goal line dropping into the crowd beyond, another shot comes in this one is taken cleanly by Scott.
  No let up in the pace, a couple of clattering challenges one leaving Logie in a heap on the floor needing treatment. Mallett is over the free-kick central a long way out drops the ball straight into Scott’s gloves. Milliken drives up the right with the ball attempts the through ball for Scola, is cut out by Bright. Cambridge break the ball fizzed into Perschky’s feet good hold up play with Mills making the run on the right looks to get the ball across to her, Breckenridge tracks back well to tackle and thwart the attack.
  A free kick for Cambridge out wide on the right, Mallett over the ball flights a good delivery into the six yard box Logie gets up to meet it headers the ball wide of goal. O’Connell charges down Bright as she looks to play the ball out of the back the ball rebounding in behind the striker goes after it, Crook is sharply out of her area to kick the ball up field. Good build up lay from Stevenage the ball played up to O’Connell heads it down for McGuigan, Notschild comes on receives the ball looks to thread it through the middle for Scola, Jenkins steps forwards to intercept.
  A change for both sides, Becky Day coming on for Notschild for Stevenage. Kayleigh-Anne Burt comes on for Cambridge replacing Deacon sees a shift of personnel with Burt joining Bright at centre back, Jardine switching from right to left back with Kmita pushed up the pitch, Jenkins into right back. 
  GOAL! 20 minutes into the 2nd half and Cambridge retake the lead. Build up on the right as Jenkins wins possession of the ball plays it on for Taylor. She passes the ball into Perschky just inside the box into her feet, shifts it well to evade her marker creating room to shot sends the up into the top corner 2-1.

  Stevenage look for a immediate response from the restart the ball played out to Breckenridge on the left crosses early playing the ball into the box, the onrushing O’Connell gets her head to the ball places it wide. Cambridge get the ball up the other end win a corner kick on the right the ball fired in near post is cleared drops to Taylor at the top of the area her shot into the crowd ahead of her is blocked spins out to the left the ball is launched back in towards the far post Cambridge have plenty of players their the ball turned goalwards is initially cleared off the line before being turned in again and bundled over the line, but in all the excitement the flag is up on the far side for offside goal disallowed.
  GOAL! Cambridge do extend their lead on the 70th minute, attacking down the left Jardine on for Kmita the ball is fired up into the box, Perschky the target, good foot work to see the ball into her body then roll it on for Taylor unmarked to her left inside the box Taylor goes for goal hitting her shot back across the keeper and into the bottom corner 3-1.

Cambridge United WFC’s
Becky Taylor
(photo credit Gary Reed)

  Cambridge make their 2nd change bringing Evie Gallop on for Logie. Stevenage make 2 changes, Bolu Fisher coming on for Scola in attack. Milliken is substituted too, Hayley Wood-Thompson comes on. McGuigan takes a heavy knock as she is fouled in a central position 25 yards from goal. O’Connell on the ball hits it hard, how hard only Mallett will know as charging out she blocks, her bottom feeling the full force of the shot.

  Cambridge do everything bar score as they get a corner on the right Mills playing the ball towards the near post Bright headers on is cleared off the line drops into the area another shot comes in  blocked a 3rd attempt coming back off the post before Stevenage scramble it to safety. Cambridge make their final change bringing on Carolyn Sarafian for Jardine. Into the last 10 minutes and both sides are still putting alot of energy into their football. Another Cambridge corner headed on at the near post falls to Mills waiting far side looks to lift a shot into the near post Scott gets across her goal face smartly to take the ball.

  GOAL! Stevenage pull a goal back as they push up the field, O’Connell has come deep to receive the ball, Wood-Thompson is already on the move on the right, O’Connell picks her out, as she runs in behind takes the ball on turning inside towards the box before shooting sending a delightful ball up and over Crook to nestle in the back of the net 3-2 to set up a lively finish with 3 minutes of normal time left on the clock. 

  Free-kick for Cambridge wide right, Mallett over sees her initial delivery cleared back out to her by Blacksley. Taking the ball on down the line lifts a cross in high towards the far post Taylor coming in throws herself up to try and get the ball, can’t get to it ends up in the net herself. Kmita with a burst of pace on the left plays the ball long crossfield into Mills on the right takes the ball on down to the byline before cutting it back to Taylor outside the area goes for goal, Scott is right behind the shot makes the save.

  Stevenage press hard for an equaliser as the game move into injury time, from a throw on the right, Bailey up the pitch plays it on for O’Connell right plays the ball into the area, Bright does enough to keep McGuigan from getting anything on the ball as it bounces up allowing Crook to collect inside the six yard box. 

Full-time Cambridge United WFC 3-2 Stevenage Ladies

  Cambridge hold on at the end to win 3-2  the win seeing them go top of the FAWPL South East Division One. An entertaining contest, played at a fast tempo from start to finish in front of a good sized crowd. Plenty of action another great advert for the women’s game, Stevenage working hard to close the ball down and limit Cambridge’s attacking play. Going 3-1 down before pulling a goal back later on to set up a tense finish. No easy games in this division going to be an intriguing league from top to bottom all season and we’ve barely gotten started.
  My thanks to both clubs for their help with the team details tonight. 

Match Report – Stevenage Ladies Reserves v Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies

Latest match report featured on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog, from Sun 27th March.

Match Report – Stevenage Ladies Reserves v Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies


 A match this Sunday from the last round of group matches in the ERWFL Division One Cup, taking a look at two new sides for the 1st time, too with Stevenage Ladies Reserves hosting Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies.

 The competition involves the sides competing in the ERWFL (Eastern Region Women’s Football League) Division’s One East and West drawn to play each other in two groups with 6 in each following West Billericay Ladies pulling out of the league and Sawbridgeworth Town WFC not taking part. Originally I was led to believe it was the top two from each group A & B going into a semi-final knock-out stage and for weeks have been putting that info out without being corrected, today I have found out there is actually a quarter final stage hence the top 4 from each group progress with 1st playing 4th from the opposite group, as well as 2nd v 3rd. 

  So I turned up today thinking this was a winner takes all match in Group A with Little Thurrock Dynamos in 2nd spot needing just a draw to progress, Stevenage Ladies Reserves needing the win. As it is both are jockeying for final position in the Group with the top two having home advantage in the quarter-finals.

ERWFL Division One Cup – Group A              
Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Writtle Ladies 5 4 1 0 17 3 14 13
2 Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies 4 2 2 0 7 3 4 8
3 Stevenage Ladies Reserves 4 2 0 2 10 7 3 6
4 Ipswich Wanderers Ladies 5 1 1 3 5 14 -9 4
5 Hutton Ladies 4 1 0 3 7 9 -2 3
6 Bury Town Ladies 4 1 0 3 6 16 -10 3

 That was of course if there was a match taking place at all. Heavy over night rain and more forecast meant there was a good chance it wouldn’t survive with Storm Katie on the horizon too. Headed for Hertfordshire dark clouds ahead of me. The venue Codicote Social Club a few miles outside Stevenage where both Stevenage Ladies 1st and Reserve sides play. 2 pitches both sides were scheduled for a game today and the squads were doing their best working to get water off the pitches trying to get their games on even as more heavy rain fell. A lot of water on the ground in the goalmouth and before the penalty area where the pitch dips a little half an hour to go before kick off it didn’t look promising. Final decision with the referee who was last to arrive needed the rain to stop falling for a couple of hours or so, it did slow and thanks to the hard work put in by the Reserves side their match was on albeit a few minutes late kicking off.

Credit to the Stevenage Ladies Reserves players for the work put in to get the game on.

    Although I’ve seen Stevenage Ladies in action before, who play in the league above the ERWFL Premier Division and are looking a good bet for promotion to the FAWPL, I haven’t seen their Reserves side, the club works closely with the men’s team. The Reserves play in the ERWFL Division One West and with 2 league matches left to play can overhaul leaders Hutton Ladies for top spot. The Codicote Social Club boasts a large newly built clubhouse with bar over looking the pitches with a good sized changing room block beside it with further plans to improve the playing grounds in the near future. 

   The visitors today are Essex side Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies they compete in the ERWFL Division One East, along with 6 other sides have played out their league fixtures finishing 5th in the table. Have shown much better form in the Division One Cup Group stage are 2nd in Group A, unbeaten in their previous 4 games a draw or better today guarantees 2nd and gives them home advantage in the quarter finals. A growing club also runs a reserve side competing in the Essex Women’s County League along with a number of youth sides.

 Stevenage Ladies Reserves starting XI – Emily Goodacre, Netice Chalkright, Jade Beckett, Keri Green, Chloe Rouse, Cara Breckenridge, Rebecca Brooker, Megan Evans, Sherrie Evans, Dani Friel & Leah Littlechild.
 subs – Steffany Cowell, Kelly Hannington, Isabelle McAree, Kerry Milton & Sarah Payne.

 Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies starting XI – Atlanta Fulva, Courtney Fraser, Elysia King,
Danielle Styles, Taylor Parrish, Sydney Killick, Patrizia Leo, Libby Clarke, Abbie Simmonds, Georgia Fraser & Katy Judd.
 subs – Robin Mudd, Naomi Hayes, Kerri Thomas, Kaylee Warwick & Martine Smith

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   We had a game on the rain had stopped the dark clouds moving around the ground actually had blue skies beyond, the 1st team weren’t so lucky their match against AFC Dunstable Ladies getting called off. A quarter of an hour late it’s Stevenage playing in an all blue strip with black sleeves on the shirts get the 1st half underway, with Little Thurrock wearing lime green shirts with black across the front and sleeves, black shorts and socks. Play is congested in the midfield before Stevenage flight the ball long for striker Leah Littlechild breaking into the area has strayed offside. Up the other end, Little Thurrock’s striker Katy Judd, hustles the Stevenage back line looking to take the ball off a toe and steal into the box.
The match kicks-off as the dark clouds in the distance disappear.
Picking up the ball in central midfield, Sydney Killick plays the ball in over the top for her Little Thurrock team mate Georgia Fraser, 20 yards out wants to get into the area but is pushed wide by Stevenage’s Cara Breckenridge, puts in the challenge lunging to take the ball away from Fraser who goes after the ball wrapping her foot around it on the byline sends high cross into the area is pulled down out of the air by Stevenage goalkeeper, Emily Goodacre with Judd coming in behind her. Little Thurrock come again down the left side Courtney Fraser onto Libby Clarke ahead of her reaching the edge of the box unleashes a shot, fires it straight at Goodacre who holds onto the ball.
   Little Thurrock get the ball into the area from the flanks on a couple of occasions, Stevenage’s Jade Beckett gets her head on both to clear. Bright sunshine all around, grounds still wet the ball now carrying but players keeping their feet well enough, those that don’t want to go for a slide in the mud that is. Judd springs the offside trap and runs in behind the Stevenage defence from the right the ball getting held up as she goes to shoot from inside the box doesn’t get the contact to take it past Goodacre the goalkeeper sees the bouncing ball into her gloves.
  GOAL! Stevenage get the early advantage going ahead a striker Littlechild steals in on the ball taking it off the Little Thurrock defence carries it towards the area, Courtney Fraser tries to get across from left back to put in the challenge slides in takes the ball away from Littlechild but she stays on her feet gets after the ball rounding left and turns her shot across the Little Thurrock keeper Atlanta Fulva and in at the far post 1-0.
Leah Littlechild carrying the ball forwards for Stevenage Ladies Reserves
  Stevenage have another goal chalked off for offside moments later a high ball sent across the pitch from the left sees Rebecca Brooker racing into the box from the right looks to knock her header across the goal, falls far post and is turned home, however the flag is up. Testing ball played in from the right for Little Thurrock by Patrizia Leo, little too high for Judd, will carry through to Georgia Fraser beyond, Stevenage’s right back Netice Chalkright attempts to hook it clear smashes the ball into Fraser but the rebound spins away from goal out for a goal kick.
  GOAL! Little Thurrock get themselves back on level terms as Judd is followed out wide on the right the set piece halfway inside the Stevenage half, right back Elysia King to take. Sends a high ball floating in towards the near post. too high for a runner to head on Goodacre goes up to put a glove on the ball set it wide mishandles and to her dismay the ball drops behind her into the back of the net 1-1.
   Judd goes after a ball put through into the left channel by Little Thurrock captain, Abbie Simmonds, taking it down to the byline her 1st cross is cut out by Chalkright, the ball comes back to Judd steals around the Stevenage right back into the area as she tries to recover, takes on the shot sends the ball high and wide across the goal face. Little Thurrock make a double change switching the wide players Leo and Clarke come off for Martine Smith and Robin Mudd.
Little Thurrock Dynamos captain, Abbie Simmonds
Strong run through the middle by Littlechild taking the ball into the area, Little Thurrock central defender Taylor Parrish recovers well to get back on her slides in to send the ball out for a throw. Stevenage’s Keri Green defends well against Smith trying to bring the ball down the right as she is send down the line by Judd. Georgia Fraser is subbed by Little Thurrock which sees Smith move into the middle with Naomi Hayes going right. 
  GOAL! Initially it is a fantastic tackle from Little Thurrock’s Danielle Styles to deny Stevenage’s Megan Evans a shot on goal as she is put through into the area, Styles committing to the sliding challenge has to get it right the ball goes out for a corner on the left. The defending for the corner isn’t great the ball whipped in by captain Sherrie Evans is missed by the defender at the near post squeezing through and goes in at the far side to put the home side back into the lead 2-1.
Stevenage Ladies Reserves
captain, Sherrie Evans
  Simmonds plays a great ball though the middle dissecting the Stevenage defence with Mudd making a run around the back from the left side to get into the area, Goodacre has read it and off her line quickly is onto the ball before Mudd can connect. Good build up play from Stevenage, Dani Friel putting the  ball into Littlechild 20 yards out back to go rolls it left to Evans, who passes back to Friel her pass releasing Breckenridge on the left wing, she looks to put the cross into the box for Littlechild the is challenged the ball turned behind for a corner. Stevenage make a change bringing on Kelly Hannington for Breckenridge who took a knock in their last attack.
   Hannington attacks down the right for Stevenage as they finish the 1st half strongly, whips a cross in near post, is cut out by Styles, rolls back to Hannington looks to curl her 2nd cross in towards the far post, too close to Fulva the keeper claims the ball. Late chance for Little Thurrock as Simmonds goes long with the pass, Smith is after it closing in on the left corner of the Stevenage box goes for goal hits it wide across the six yard box.
Half-time Stevenage Ladies Reserves 2-1 Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies
 Amazingly despite all the rain before kick-off we’ve had a 1st half played in bright sunshine, blue skies the pitch has held up well, little tricky with the white lines faded but can’t be helped, players have been able to keep their footing. Stevenage have the advantage Littlechild a threat through the middle. Little Thurrock have used the width more got the ball into the box however the Stevenage defence has been winning the headers. 
  Changes at the start of the 2nd half for both sides Kaylee Warwick and Kerri Thomas on for Little Thurrock. Three changes for Stevenage with Kelly Milton, Isabelle McAree and Steffany Cowell on as they look to try and build on their lead. Little Thurrock to kick off the 2nd half. Evans wins the ball in midfield looks to send Littlechild in the centre through on goal, Parrish gets across to challenge her for Little Thurrock sees the ball out for a throw. Stevenage are pushing Little Thurrock back at the start of the 2nd half have players up around the front of their area spreading play right to left comes to Hannington stabs the ball up for Evans just inside the area, central heads the ball down sees it bounce wide of the goal. 
Little Thurrock Dynamos Sydney Killick looking to beat
Stevenage’s Megan Evans to the ball
  Little Thurrock relieve some pressure launch the ball long for Judd to go after running central, Goodacre had been carefully marking the edge of her area where the water had sat before kick off at the start of the 2nd half comes racing out to close Judd down out of the area gets her boot to the ball 1st as the pair come together. Stevenage break down the right Littlechild with possession drives on, has players up with her for the cross lining up along the area, is rolled though to Hannington in a central position shoots, a low effort Fulva gets down to her right to stop it, is loose but her defence helps to clear as Milton tries to latch onto the ball.
Stevenage’s Megan Evans won’t be shoved of the ball as she drives forwards
Both sides are making full use of the roll on roll off substitutes, Clarke returning to the action for Little Thurrock with Judd rested sees Mudd go up to support Smith in attack. Breckenridge is back on for Stevenage with Brooker the player coming off. Play on the right the cross is from Milton into the area, Littlechild looks to flick it on, Little Thurrock half clear the ball coming to Hannington left side of the area closing in on the near post lifts her shot high over the bar, took a knick corner given. The ball drops into the middle of the area, bit of pinball between the sides before Little Thurrock get it away. Evans won’t be knocked off the ball as she pushes her way through the middle, Hannington is coming in from the left side wants the ball put into the area, Evans turns the ball inside, Fulva is closest to it get’s her gloves on it before Hannington can connect.
Martine Smith on the ball for Little Thurrock Dynamos
GOAL! It looked like only one side was going to score the next goal, however football isn’t like that for all the pressure Stevenage have been applying at the start of the 2nd half Little Thurrock go up the other end and level thing’s back up. Bringing it over half way the ball is fired into Smith midway inside the Stevenage half back to goal pulls off her marker and drives out right looking to get into the area the Stevenage defence can’t get back on her as she clips the shot in sending it arrowing up over Goodacre the ball smashes against the crossbar drops back into play left side inside the six yard box, Mudd is running in on the follow up to turn it back in, Goodacre throws herself at it but the ball squeezes under her to make it 2-2.
Robin Mudd makes it 2-2 for Little Thurrock
   Simmonds is back on for the visitors. The goal has lifted Little Thurrock’s game they win the ball in the middle, Simmonds putting it long for Mudd to have a run at the Stevenage are a defender on her shoulder closing in on the left corner, Goodacre comes to close down, sliding in gets hurt as she takes out her own player, the ball is still alive rolling on, Clarke races onto it tries to put the ball into the empty net, Stevenage get back to intercept the ball. Goodacre is okay after receiving treatment. Gathers a shot lacking pace from Mudd as she is played onto the ball by Thomas bursting through the middle. 
  Smith and Mudd are replaced in attack with Judd and Georgia Fraser back on for Little Thurrock. Friel comes back on for Stevenage as the game moves into the final 10 minutes. Good defending inside the box from Leo for Little Thurrock on Stevenage’s Hannington inside the box as she looks to control a high ball sent in from the right. Isn’t long before Leo finds herself up the other end of the pitch Simmonds playing her in down the wing she looks to hit the ball the cross/shot straight at Goodacre at her near post.
 GOAL! 3 minutes left on the clock and Little Thurrock take the lead for the 1st time in the game, Parrish out from the back puts the ball up into the Stevenage half is helped out to the right side in front of the area with Georgia Fraser getting hold of it takes on the shot, sending the ball up and over Goodacre and into the back of the net 2-3.
Georgia Fraser scorer of Little Thurrock
Dynamos Ladies 3rd goal
  Into injury time Stevenage get the ball down into the Little Thurrock penalty box shouts for a penalty are waved away as they see a player go down in the box from a Styles challenge the ball out for a corner kick on the left.
  GOAL! The corner ball is fired in shoulder height near post their are plenty of bodies around trying to get something on the ball, is in Fulva’s gloves memorially but doesn’t stick and drops over the line, now idea who got the final touch possibly an own goal 3-3.
  Late drama Little Thurrock defend frantically as Stevenage come on, Breckenridge steals in on the ball with the visitors having a throw, takes the ball into the area left of goal sees her shot blocked deflected wide for another corner is cleared scrambled up to halfway as the referee blows the final whistle and the match ends in a 3-3 draw. Both sides into the quarter finals, Little Thurrock end the group stage unbeaten will hope to carry that form on into the knock-out stages were under a spell of pressure 2nd half but came back into the game well taking the lead before eventually conceding. Stevenage did well especially 2nd half dominant didn’t convert their chances the draw sees them stay 3rd in the group.
  And if the quarter finals are as I’ve been told they should look something like this:
Writtle Ladies v Silver End United Ladies
Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies v Colney Heath Ladies
Hoddesdon Owls v Stevenage Ladies Reserves
Offley & Stopsley Ladies v Hutton Ladies 
 A good contest today enjoyed it my thanks to both clubs for all of their help with the team details today. Thanks to for the Stevenage Ladies team and staff for their tremendous efforts in making sure we had a game on in the 1st place. Best of luck to both sides in the knock out stages.

Match Report – Stevenage Ladies v Watford Ladies Development U19’s


 First Final of the 2015/16 season this weekend in the East, from the County Ground, Letchworth. The Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Final. Stevenage Ladies are the current holders of the County Cup, are on course for the title in the ERWFL Premier Division with 4 games in hand on the leaders the gap 3 points, are looking to make it a league and cup double. So too are their opponents today, Watford Ladies Development U19’s top and undefeated in the GLWFL Premier Division not much separating the sides in terms of league placement sets up an intriguing final. The Supporting Women’s Football Blog was there to watch see who would lift the Cup for all of the match action click on the link below.

Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup Final 2015/16