Tuesday, 30 December 2014

SWF Blog 50 Match Challenge - The Final Update

   Here it is then the final update to the SWF Blog 50 Match Challenge of 2014, and it's disappointment on one hand as I didn't quite make the 90 matches in the revised Match Challenge after completing the original 50 Match Challenge way back in July. The final tally 88! I say on one hand there's disappointment but truthfully I'm thrilled to have gotten to 88 and it certainly wasn't for lack of trying in the final push that I didn't get to 90.

   Had a potential of 15 matches over the last period between reaching Game #80 and striving for 90 but 7 of those matches were postponed, some due to the weather, one through the opposition failing to get together a team, but the most frustrating thing for not only myself but fans of football and I can include both genders in this is fixtures simply disappearing from the scheduling. Nothing I can do about it have been the victim more than once turn up at a venue and it simply isn't happening. Now I know growing a fanbase is low on most clubs priorities (growing a team is hard enough) especially the lower down the pyramid you go, but lack of information is a pain.

   Not easy I know, I'm trying to keep my own website updated, write a blog, have a full time job, two gerbils to look after etc.. etc. Clubs rely on volenteers and they do a marvellous job I take my hat off to every single one, what we need is more I suppose. No doubt the girls that want to play the game are there in good numbers, is the infrastructure growing with them? Not an easy task at grassroots level resources are pinched. The FAWSL has helped bring the game on no end these past 4 years.

   Have learnt a hell of a lot about the women's game over these 88 matches, especially in the East of the country, have loved covering and watching every single game, have met plenty of wonderful and helpful people too, have never gotten fed up with it either. All 88 of my matches are accompanied with a (usually out of focus) picture from my mobile phone on my twitter feed @GilharrenD with the caption (SWF Blog 50) or 90 Game #

     So where have I been these last 8 matches of 2014:-

            Game #81 - Bury Town Ladies 0-1 Bar Hill Women
                               (ERWFL Division One North) Sun 9th Nov

            Game #82 - Bristol Academy 1-1 Barcelona FC (agg 2-1)
                               (UEFA Women's Champions League Last 16 2nd Leg) Weds 12th Nov

            Game #83 - Cambridge WFC Reserves 2-3 Cambridge University Women
                               (Cambridgeshire S-Tech Women's League Cup) Sun 16th Nov

             Game #84 - England 0-3 Germany
                                (International Friendly) Sun 23rd Nov

             Game #85 - Ipswich Town Ladies 0-9 Cardiff City Ladies
                               (FAWPL League Cup) Sun 30th Nov

             Game #86 - Huntingdon Town Ladies 3-5 Netherton United Ladies
                               (Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership) Sun 7th Dec

             Game #87 - Thorpe United Ladies 1-1 Bungay Town Ladies
                               (Norfolk Women's Division One) Sun 14th Dec

             Game #88 - Cambridge WFC 2-1 Ipswich Town Ladies
                               (FAWPL South East Division One) Sun 21st Dec

   88 women's football matches, thought I'd have a go at picking my top three of 2014.

                  1st - Sunday 19th January - UEA Women 4-3 Fakenham Town Ladies

         This a was classic cup encounter in the Norfolk Ladies Cup. UEA Women in good form and riding high in Norfolk Women's Division One were clear favourites against fellow Division One competitors Fakenham Town Ladies. It was a backs against the wall defensive display in the 1st half UEA Women coming after the Fakenham goal created plenty of chances but at the break had only found the net once. Fakenham came out 2nd half took the game to UEA Women pulled the scores level early on, UEA Women responded regained the lead, Fakenham came back 2-2 it was end to end. UEA Women scored again 3-2, Fakenham on the counter nearly pulled it level for a 3rd time before UEA Women broke and scored a 4th. Fakenham never gave up got it back to 4-3, UEA Women held on to win the match, it was a stand out game of 2014.

             2nd - Sunday 11th May - Chelsea Ladies 3-5 Arsenal Ladies (aet)

    Played on neutral ground at Woking FC this was another fantastic cup match in the semi-finals of the FA Women's Cup against Chelsea Ladies & Arsenal Ladies these were two teams that badly wanted to reach the final, 0-0 though at half time it was Chelsea who would register on the scoresheet 1st looked to be putting Arsenal under some pressure. Arsenal hit back straight away Kelly Smith with the goal. Chelsea's Yuki Ogimi makes it 2-1 before Smith scores a beauty of a goal from long range to make it 2-2 and send the game into extra-time.
    Arsenal start the better with Danielle Carter and Shinubo Ohno scoring to give them a 4-2 lead. Chelsea aren't done though a great solo run from Eniola Aluko see's her pull it back to 3-4. Casey Stoney has the final say for Arsenal heading the ball into the back of the net to seal Arsenal's place in the 2014 FA Women's Cup final which they would go onto win.

            3rd - Saturday 14th June - Scotland Women 1-3 Sweden Women

    Picking a 3rd game wasn't so easy but I've chosen the Women's World Cup qualifying match between Scotland & Sweden played up at Fir Park back in June this year. I do like the Sweden team and have wanted to see them play for a long time, it was also a good opportunity to see the Scottish Women's national team as having watched several of their star players perform consistantly well in the FAWSL they were and still continue to be a rapidly emerging team. Were looking good in qualifying had yet though to face group fasvourites Sweden and the Swede's weren't unestermating Scotland either.
   As it was the visitors scored an early goal through Caroline (please come to the FAWSL) Seger. Scotland's Kim Little pulled the scores level converting a penalty. Sweden though lead at the break with Kosavare Asllani scoring. She goes on to add her 2nd and Sweden's 3rd in the 2nd half proving to be too strong for a spirited Scotland on the day. Was an added highlight to meet Sweden coach Pia Sundhage after the match.

     Some great highlights and I look forwards to many more in 2015 will no doubt be covering women's football matches all over the place and will see you all and some point I'm sure. Thank you to every one that has read my reports and the blog over these past 12 months it has been so encouraging to see it grow. Wishing everyone all the best for 2015. See you at a match soon.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Match Report - Cambridge WFC v Ipswich Town Ladies

   The last match report of 2014 in what has been a fantastic and adventurous year of supporting women's football. A short trip down the A10 to Ely City FC to watch Cambridge WFC take on Ipswich Town Ladies in the FA Women's Premier League, South East Division One.

   Going into the match Cambridge WFC were laying in 4th place in the South East Division One table with 15 points from 9 matches played and were looking for a win and the 3 points that would see them close the gap to 3rd placed Crystal Palace Ladies going into 2015.

   Ipswich Town Ladies too were looking for the win to take them into the New Year have had just the single league victory, which belies their form, as the club has had a good run in the cup competitions, reaching the last 16 of the FAWPL League Cup, are still in the FA Women's Cup aswell as the semi-finals of the Suffolk Women's County Cup.

   The shortest day of the year it was cold and overcast, cloudy but little chance of rain the pitch not too bad a little cut up in places plenty of mud around.

   Cambridge WFC starting XI - Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Becca Fay, Liv Abbott, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Hannah Bodily, Laura Bright (C), Laura Mills, Laura Baker, Dawn Mallett & Sophie Thompson.
     subs - Becky Russell, Liz Pamplin, Carrie Bennett, Robyn Phillips & Hannah Goodchild.

   Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI - Chloe Wood, Coral Young, Lucy Du Plooy, Aimee Harrison, Lindsey Smith, Danielle Bitten (C), Samantha Carson, Amanda Crump, Ellie Rossiter, Roxanne Small & Jasmine Cox.
    subs - Enya Moore & Molly Hall.

   It was Cambridge in their home kit of sky blue shirts and socks with navy shorts to kick off the match against Ipswich lined up in their away strip of red shirts and socks with black shorts. A new name in the Cambridge WFC line up one I recognised from seeing her play in FAWSL 2 for London Bees last season was Dawn Mallett, had played in Cambridge's previous match too a 1-0 win at Bedford Ladies.

    It's the visitors who start the brighter winning the ball one the left it comes into the feet of Amanda Crump outside the area she puts a lofted cross into the box Cambridge's Liv Abbott heads the ball clear of the area, centrally Ipswich win it back the shot comes in from distance is wide of goal.

   Ipswich's Roxanne Small makes a run into the left channel, the ball finds her on the run she cuts it back into the area, Cambridge win the ball and break get it up the pitch on the right work it across the 18 yard box out to Laura Baker on the left, she looks to feed it into the box for either Sophie Thompson or Dawn Mallett to run onto, the Ipswich defence gets to the ball first.

   The visitors are quick to spring a counter attack through Ellie Rossiter on the right hand side of the pitch passes it into striker Jasmine Cox and continues her run, Cox returns the ball, Rossiter closing in on the byline looks to cross the ball sends it behind the goal.

Ipswich Town Ladies Ellie Rossiter

   Ipswich are enjoying a fair amount of possession are winning the ball on a frequent basis, centrally the ball is played back to Bitten who looks to strike it on the half volley 30 yards out, doesn't get the power or height on the shot to trouble Verity Crook in the Cambridge goal.

Amanda Crump coming inside from the wide left position is seeing alot of the ball, having moved into a central position has a shot from distance as Lucy Du Plooy brings the ball out from the back and plays her in, the attempt wide of goal. Crump once again looks to thread a pass through the Cambridge back line for Bitten to run onto, just too long Crook is able to get to it first.

   Chances for Cambridge are limited are struggling to get the ball into their attacking players, make it stick. peeling out to the left Hannah Bodily works the ball forwards gets it into Mallett in the centre outside the box despite being under challenge she deflects the ball towards goal, no power however it is an easy gather for Ipswich goalkeeper Chloe Wood.

   Coral Young brings the ball out from the back for Ipswich the right back links up well with Rossiter in front of her, she takes the ball out to towards the corner puts in a good cross, Cox is coming in, Crook though takes the ball. Cambridge are giving away a number of niggly fouls in the centre of the pitch it's Crump to take has been looking to play them into the danger area inside the crowded penalty box, this one comes in up from the back Lindsey Smith rises to meet it can't quite get the touch going over her Cambridge captain Laura Bright puts the ball out for a corner.

   GOAL! It's Crump to play the set piece in from the right, puts the ball in across the goal face Crook calls for it but it goes over her and drops at the far post, Jasmine Cox gets something on it to send the ball over the line past the player defending the post to give the visitors the lead 0-1.

Ipswich Town Ladies Amanda Crump

   Cambridge have been sluggish so far going behind seems to spurr them into life Mallett wins a free kick in the centre circle takes it the ball flighted into the Ipswich box is headed behind for a corner. The ball is played in towards the crowded near post area, squirms through Ipswich clear it from the six yard box the ball comes to Kayleigh-Anne Burt on the edge of the area, she shoots the ball goes over the bar.

   On numerous occasions in the 1st half Ipswich have exposed Cambridge one on one, attacker against defender, it has been the defender that has won the ball, has needed too. At the other end Sophie Thompson has had little opportunity to get a strike in on the Ipswich goal, wins a corner though as her shot from outside the box takes a nick to send it wide of Wood's goal. The corner played along the edge of the area is rolled back into the path of Laura Baker she sends her shot over.

   Cox with good possession holds the ball up on the left of the area allwoing players to get there in support she finds Samantha Carson on the edge of the box, she tries to line up a shot, Becca Fay coming round on the cover is forced to play it out for a corner. Cambridge get the ball out of the area but can't hold onto it as Bitten puts the ball in behind for Rossiter to chase, too long Crook can gather.

                       Half-time Cambridge WFC 0-1 Ipswich Town Ladies

   A one goal lead at half time is no more than Ipswich deserve, have had the lions share of possession, pressured the ball well and created numerous openings found themselves one on one with the Cambridge defence on several occassions. One goal though Cambridge were still in the match and half time was a chance to regroup.

   Ipswich kick off the 2nd half and are straight on the attack down the right win a free kick, Crump plays the ball into the box, goes over everyone, but the referee spots a push and Cambridge have the free kick.

   Cambridge captain Laura Bright plays a superb ball forwards from midfield picking out Laura Mills making a run into space on the right, driving forwards with the ball puts a cross into the box, looking for Thompson the ball is just beyond her head as she leaps to meet it.

   Mallett looks to play a similar pass from the centre as Mills makes another good forwards run the ball dropping into the box this time gives Wood a chance to come off her line and drop on the ball before Mills can reach it.

   Cambridge have started the 2nd half better are getting on the ball. Ipswich are still dangerous on the counter, down the right it's Rossiter on the ball, she puts the ball into towards goal,  high across her, Crook with quick hands somehow plucks the ball out of the air and gathers at the 2nd attempt.

   Crook with another good save as Crump plays the ball forwards into Rossiter, she is in on goal looks to slot it wide of Crook, the Cambridge keeper saving with her leg, the ball is loose for a moment, the Cambridge defence get back and the ball the shot under challenge is put wide.

    Laura Baker gets onto the ball wide left holds off a couple of challenges pushes forwards looks to put the ball into the box, no one has made the run to meet it as Ipswich clear. Cambridge make the 1st change with Baker the one to come off Becky Russell comes on in her place. Not long after the 2nd change is made this time Hannah Bodily is replaced by Hannah Goodchild.

   Ipswich make their 1st change too with Enya Moore coming onto the pitch for Roxanne Small.

   Cambridge attack, Mills getting onto the ball coming in from the left puts Thompson through on goal is ahead of the Ipswich defence, Wood comes rushing off her line to try and close her down, Thompson lofts the ball over the keeper as she goes to ground gets it over her, but also over the crossbar.

   Ipswich play the ball out from the back Du Plooy pushing on, links up with Rossiter the ball squirming through to her inside the box she shoots, Crook with an excellent save to put the ball behind for a corner. The set piece is played in towards the far post by Crump, Cambridge head clear of the box, the ball comes back to Crump who looks to aim her shot towards the far post. Crook is there to pluck the ball out of the air and make the save.

   Bright gives away a free kick to the right of the box, Crump looks to play the dead ball in towards the far post, a spot of head tennis ensues, the ball comes back across the six yard area drops to Rossiter coming in at the near post she puts her foot through the ball, hits Crook at pointblank range as the keeper comes across her goal to cover the post.

   Cambridge make their 3rd change with Becca Fay, coming off for Robyn Phillips, she drops into the centre of defence as Kayleigh-Anne Burt moves out to left back. Crook is called into action again as Ipswich get a ball in over the defence for Cox to chase, Crook is out of her area and reaches the ball before Cox can get to it.

   Becky Russell and Emma Jenkins combine well down the right for Cambridge with the latter's cross being put behind for a corner which Ipswich clear. The visitors make a change with Molly Hall coming on for Rossiter as the game enters the last 5 minutes.

   Thompson playing off the shoulder of the last defender is put through no offside flag, Wood races out of her box has to get to the ball before the Cambridge striker can reach it and take it around her. Does reach it first kicks the ball away, it falls straight to Cambridge's Mills 40 plus yards out, she looks to strike the ball goalwards, through the bodies racing back to defend, it's instinctive from Wood she flashes out a glove to stop the ball, outside the box, the referee blows up has a decision to make, the shot from Mills looked at least from my angle to be on target but it was a long way out and Wood had two defenders on the cover behind her. A yellow card is shown, the right colour I think. The free kick is awarded level and to the right of the D.

   GOAL! It's Dawn Mallett over the ball is a bullet of a strike rising heading towards the top left hand corner, Wood dives but no chance of stopping it as Cambridge level the scores 1-1.

   GOAL! It's the dying seconds of the match Ipswich have gotten the ball into the Cambridge box have pushed up Crook claiming the ball plays it out into the middle it's another attempted long pass from the middle that is played out to Becky Russell in loads of space out on the right inside the box the ball she collects is perfect she takes a touch and shoots sends the ball across Wood and into the net at the far post to give Cambridge the lead 2-1.

   That's it the final whistle blows and Cambridge come back to steal the 3 points and win the match. Elatation for Cambridge a hammer blow for Ipswich, having lead the match for so long and having created numerous other goal scoring chances to lose the match in the dying seconds is very tough to take, that though is football.

   Cambridge manager Steve Edwards tells me the pass for the winning goal is something the team have been working on in training, it certainly paid off today as they claim the 3 points to move onto 18 and close the gap on 3rd placed Crystal Palace Ladies going into Christmas, and in doing so have already equalled the points tally they achieved last season.

   Thanks to both teams managers, Steve Edwards and Ralph Pruden for helping me out with the teams today and I wish everyone at both clubs a Merry Christmas.



Sunday, 14 December 2014

Match Report - Thorpe United Ladies v Bungay Town Ladies

   Match action form the Norfolk Women's Division One for myself this Sunday a trip along the A47 to Thorpe St Andrew in Norwich to watch Thorpe United Ladies v Bungay Town Ladies.

   Scheduled to play at Thorpe United Ladies usual home venue Dussendale Park I was happy to have gotten there in plenty of time for a change... only to discover no one was there! Now it's not the 1st time I've turned up at a ground only to find the match as been called off or moved, thankfully though thanks to the wonder that is social media I was able to contact Thorpe United Ladies and found they were playing just round the corner on the Thorpe Recreation Ground.

   Making it just in time for kick off this was a clash between 2 sides sitting comfortably in the middle of the Norfolk Women's Division One table. Thorpe United Ladies in 4th place had played 5, were undefeated having won 3 and drawn 2. 3 points and 1 place behind Bungay Town Ladies had played 6 games with an even spread of played 2, drawn 2 and lost 2. The last match action of 2014 for most county divisions both teams would be hoping to end the year with a win.

   Thorpe United Ladies starting XI - Kirstie Andrews, Chelsea Clarke, Shannon Miles, Alice Ford (C), Cara Andrews, Judith Bloomfield, Hayley Kindred, Laura Hedtke, Charlotte Groves, Kirstie Kindred & Sophie Jermy.
   subs  - Charlotte Chandler & Rachael Wall.

   Bungay Town Ladies starting XI - Emma Harvey, Kelly Collins (C), Gemma Moore, Emily Fusco, Lauren Purling, Vicki Hudson, Sian Carter, Rebecca Calver, Leah Shepherd, Katie Moore & Inna Marx
    subs - Michelle Stanborough & Jordan Harris

                                                (roll on, roll off substitutes.)

    It was another chilly and breezy December Sunday, the pitch up on the highest part of the large Thorpe Recreation Ground was open to the elements, a large pitch not exactly the flatest I have seen. It was the visitors Bungay in sky blue shirts, black shorts and socks to kick off the match against Thorpe lined up in pink shirts and socks with black shorts.

    Right from the kick off it's Thorpe who are doing the early pressing, winning the ball back and looking to push onto Bungay's defence, with their captain Alice Ford (filling in for Rebekah Lake still out with the ankle injury she picked up against Fakenham Town Ladies back in September.) laying a ball across the pitch into team mate Charlotte Groves who 25 yards out strikes her foot through the ball on the half volley she swerving shot over the crossbar.

    The crossbar is struck soon after as the ball is worked rapidly along the face of the Bungay penalty box out to Thorpe's Kirstie Kindred peeling away into the right channel, she pushes forwards squares a ball into the middle, coming across the six yard box it is met by Sophie Jermy running in making firm contact she gets too much height on the strike the ball cannoning off the crossbar and down Bungay recover and clear the danger.

   Thorpe continue to press win two corners, on both they look to get it into the player at the near post to win the ball, then look to turn and send a ball into the centre, both times the cross is headed clear by a Bungay defender. Katie and Gemma Moore playing up front for Bungay are seeing little of the ball early on as Thorpe pushing everyone back make it hard for the visitors to get an attack going.

    Thorpe though are forced to make an early change with Shannon Miles playing at left back unable to continue through injury, Charlotte Chandler comes on in her place.

   Bungay captain Kelly Collins has time and space to push forwards from her left back position puts a good ball through for Katie Moore in front of her to latch onto, the ball at her feet Moore pushes on, keeping with her Thorpe right back Chelsea Clarke makes the tackle putting the ball out for a throw, Bungay take it quickly Moore get's a yard on her marker to put a cross into the box, Gemma Moore has made the run towards the far post, doesn't reach her as Thorpe's Judith Bloomfield back tracking jumps to head the ball away.

   Wide left Thorpe's Jermy has the ball at her feet pushing forwards looks to make her way into the box has support with her fires a cross along the six yard line it evades everyone, Bungay goalkeeper Emma Harvey getting a touch to send the ball behind for a corner.

   GOAL! Thorpe are on the attack have a shot from the left hand corner of the box, Bungay put a block in and then launch a quick counter a long ball is played up the pitch finds Katie Moore who holds it up well, gets it out to Gemma Moore making the run on her right, receiving the pass she takes on her marker and drills her shot across the goal the ball squirms past Thorpe keeper Kirstie Andrews as she looks to come out close down the angle and finds the back of the net 0-1.

   Having ridden out the early pressure Thorpe were putting them under, Bungay have the lead. Are on the attack again down the left, Collins linking up with Katie Moore again strong on the ball the no14 pushes up the left of the pitch, this time turns inside puts her cross into the box too close to Andrews who takes the catch.

Bungay Town Ladies Katie Moore

   Andrews then makes a vital save with her legs as she comes rushing off her line to block a Bungay shot as the visitors find an opening in the centre of the park make the break from midfield. Alice Ford takes a free kick for Thorpe in the middle playing it forwards into Laura Hedtke, controlling the ball 30 yards out, her standing foot goes out from under her as she looks to shoot, the ball goes staight into Harvey's gloves. Harvey reacts quickly coming out of the six yard box to dive on the forward pass from Ford looking for the run from Charlotte Groves.

    It's Bungay's turn to put the Thorpe defence under some pressure out on the right with her pace Gemma Moore looks to take on players, getting through strikes the ball looking to go across the goal again, Andrews has the angle covered saves well with her legs, grabs the ball before Moore can get to it. Gemma Moore with another shot from the right after Bungay counter attack this time the effort from 25 yards out finds the side netting.

   Late in the half Thorpe's Groves tries an ambitious effort with the outside of her boot from a Ford free kick, makes good contact lacks the height needed to beat Harvey who is able to palm the ball down as the half time whistle blows.

                                  Half-time Thorpe United Ladies 0-1 Bungay Town Ladies

    Having soaked up alot of pressure from Thorpe in the early stages of the match it's Bungay who have the advantage going into the 2nd half. Grew into the game and had a couple more chances to extend their lead too. Thorpe though had created plenty of openings themselves in the 1st half.

    It's Thorpe to kick off the 2nd half have made changes with Rachael Wall coming on in attack and Alice Ford dropping from the centre of midfield into the centre of defence. The home side are on the attack straight away with Jermy and Groves combining on the left hand side of the pitch the latter flashing a cross along the face of goal looking for Hayley Kindred making a run towards the far post the ball goes out.

Thorpe United Ladies Charlotte Groves

   Hedtke puts a shot from outside the box straight at Harvey after she collects the ball from Groves to her left, from her gloves Bungay get the ball up the pitch with Vicki Hudson finding Gemma Moore out on the right she hooks the ball back into Katie Moore just inside the area, she finds herself unmarked has time to pick her shot, puts it too close to Andrews who makes the save.

   GOAL! Thorpe get the equaliser. The back played through the centre into Rachael Wall looks to drop her shoulder turn and take on the Bungay defence finds herself through in on goal central shoots early slotting the ball past Harvey before she can set herself to pull the scores level 1-1.

    Thorpe are pushing forwards Groves out on the left pushes forwards has Wall in support plays a looping pass into her, Wall fires her cross low into the area for Kirstie Kindred at the near post, her effort is blocked the ball spinning loose comes back to Wall, she stabs her shot straight at Harvey.

  Katie and Gemma Moore have Michelle Sanborough joining them in attack for the 2nd half the no 9 holds the ball up well as Katie Moore lays it into her and continues her run past her into the box, the return pass is cut out a corner is won. Played in from the left the ball at the near post is into Leah Shepherd she looks to turn and put a cross into the danger area plenty of bodies in front of Andrews it's a Thorpe head that meets the ball gets it away.

    An open game Thorpe have plenty of attack minded players on the pitch are pressing forwards Bungay though are defending well and have good counter attacking options in Stanborough and Katie and Gemma Moore. The latter racing onto a deflected back clearance dropping into space on the right she looks to drive inside with no one in support looks to shoot from a tight angle puts it straight into Andrews.
Bungay Town Ladies Gemma Moore on the attack
    From a deeper position in the Thorpe back line Ford is still able to find a penetrating pass to put someone through this time she finds Wall who from a central position pushes on under challenge from Sian Carter she puts her shot from the edge of the box wide of goal. Thorpe are doing much of the pressing now as the sun drops low behind the Bungay goal as the match enters the last 15 minutes.

   Down the left for Bungay Stanbrough gets onto the end of a good through ball from Laura Purling, running into the box Stanborough has little to aim for, Gemma Moore is looking to make up the ground coming in from the right, Stanborough looks to put the ball in towards the near post Andrews makes the save putting the ball behind for a corner. From the set piece it's Katie Moore who headers the ball on but Thorpe clear.

   Harvey makes a vital save for Bungay on her goal line as Thorpe get numbers in and around the box the ball coming in from Jermy is struck by Groves inside the area, Harvey in the right place to block the shot.

    Bungay's Leah Shepherd is on hand to win the ball in the centre of defence late on, on two occasions she intercepts an attempted threaded pass the 1st from Groves looking for Hayley Kindred the 2nd Wall and Groves as Thorpe look for an opening. The final whistle blows and the points are shared 1-1 the final score.

    Another fast paced and committed game from both sides. Thorpe with the early possession created several chances before Bungay countered to take an unlikely lead 1st half the visitors having chances to extend the lead before the break were pegged back in the 2nd half with Thorpe getting the equaliser, and although their back line was put under alot of pressure 2nd half they defended well as a unit to hold on and get the point.

    Thanks to both clubs for helping me out with the squad details today.





Sunday, 7 December 2014

Match Report - Huntingdon Town Ladies v Netherton United Ladies

   For my women's football action this weekend I travelled south down the A141 into Cambridgeshire to watch the match between Huntingdon Town Ladies & Netherton United Ladies in the Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership.

   The new name for the top level of women's football within the county this season this was my 1st look at a league match at this level this season. A clash between 2nd and 3rd in the league going into the match with both teams on 10pts. Huntingdon Town Ladies have played 6 games, have won 3 drawn 1 and lost 2, have had a lengthy lay off due to postponements hadn't played a game since the 19th October,only returned to match action last weekend losing 1-0 to Cambridge University Women.

   In that time Netherton United Ladies have caught them up on points have played 2 games more, their record after eight played 8, won 3, drawn 1 and lost 4. The Peterborough based side were looking to get back to winning ways after losing 5-1 to Fulbourn Bluebirds last time out.

   The venue, Jubilee Park, the home of Huntingdon Town FC, a new built ground on the outskirts of the town. A very nice footballing facility, easy to find I was there in plenty of time, which is something I've not had much luck with this past month. As well as the main pitch which wasn't in use today the site boasts a number of extra pitches, the one for todays match exposed to elements as it was a bitterly cold and windy day. The other matches in the Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership today had been postponed so it was a relief to know find the one I wanted to see was on.

    Huntingdon Town Ladies squad - Amy Rae, Rachael Bowd (C), Shephanie Day, Natasha Dowdell, Emma Clark, Barbara Williams, Amy Chapman, Claire Knox, Joanne Bull, Megan Stow & Sian Gamble.

   Netherton United Ladies squad - Sophie Heather, Hannah Chapman, Megan Parrett, Alice Flowers, Stacey Fullicks, Natasha Anderson (C), Alice McNicol, Delia Festini, Shannon Hilton, Chloe Schulze, Rachael Anderson, Kerry Camwell & Tia Vacca.
                                                              (roll on, roll off subs)

   Before the match started both teams participated in taking a joint team picture to mark the centenary of the 1914 Christmas Truce during World War One. Football Remembers.

   It has been a wet period the pitch does look heavy, a good size a few bobbly patches around as the bare 11 of Huntingdon in red and black hooped shirts and socks with black shorts kick off the 1st half against Netherton lined up in navy with yellow trim shirts, red shorts and black socks.

   The opening exchanges are concentrated in the middle of the park Netherton playing with one up top and 5 across the middle. Huntingdon have a couple of free kicks taken from 40 yards out, both played into the box Netherton goalkeeper Sophie Heather comes and claims both times.

   Getting onto the ball wide on the left Netherton's Alice McNicol looks to drive forwards make a run into the box, Huntingdon's Claire Knox has tracked back to put in a good tackle on the edge of the area to deny McNicol a goal scoring chance.

   On the attack Huntingdon press forward in number, with Emma Clark linking up well with team captain Rachael Bowd playing the ball into her feet outside the box, Bowd turns and shoots the effort blocked by Netherton's Rachael Anderson, the ball spins loose to the left of goal, Clarke having continued her run meets the ball her strike claimed by Heather at her near post.

Huntingdon captain Rachael Bowd with Netherton's Alice McNicol

   A good spell of pressure from Netherton in their opponents half is broken as defender Megan Stow wins the ball back and sets up a counter attack the ball played through the centre is played over the visitors defence for Huntingdon striker Sian Gamble to chase, Netherton keeper Heather is quick to react coming out of her area to kick the ball clear.

   GOAL! Following up from the break Huntingdon put the Netherton back line under pressure the ball is won by Claire Knox on the edge of the area, on the ball she finds the space to have a shot on goal and puts the ball into the back of the net to give Huntingdon the lead 1-0.

    Netherton get the ball out into McNicol out in space on the left again her progress down the flank is halted as Huntingdon's Shephanie Day puts in a sliding tackle to send the ball away for a throw. The ball from the sideline has plenty on it launched into the area falls loose around the near post area, Huntingdon goalkeeper Amy Rae reacts quickly putting her foot through the ball to safety.

   Heather makes a smart save from a Huntingdon corner played into the box from the right a good delivery it goes over the two Netherton defenders that jump for it in the middle comes through to striker Hannah Chapman, has a stab at goal instinctively at close range, either side of Heather and she can't react in time, the shot is straight at her however and she holds onto the ball well.

   GOAL! Netherton pull the scores level. The visitors win a free kick wide right as Day brings down McNicol as she attempts to push on with the ball. It's Rachael Anderson over the set piece, she looks to send the ball in towards the near post area, the ball coming in at pace is high goes over everyone, Rae throws herself up to get to it, can't reach it as it sails in under the bar to make it 1-1.

   Huntingdon's Natasha Dowdell is getting some joy on the ball in the middle finding space between the Netherton midfield and defence, peels off into the right channel played a high looping ball into the box the ball bouncing Netherton captain Natasha Anderson stays composed and holds of the challenge from Huntingdon's Chapman as she clears the ball.

   Netherton bring on substitude Tia Vacca for Megan Parrett. It's Huntingdon on the attack down the right Knox plays in an early cross into the box looking for the run of Sian Gamble, Heather comes out and takes the ball as Gamble closes her down. Not long after Gamble has a strike as she peels off to the far post area to meet another ball fired in from the right, the shot is hooked off the line by Day, Netherton clear.

   GOAL! Huntingdon win a free kick 25 yards from goal on the right hand corner of the Netherton area, it's Bowd over the ball, looks to play a low ball across the 18 yard line for a team mate to run onto, goes to soon beats the referee's whistle, gets a 2nd attempt to put the ball in. This time looks to put a high ball in towards the far post, is into the wind, scrambling back Heather throws herself at the ball but it's too high for her as the ball finds the top corner and is in 2-1.

   End to end action both teams are making full use of the pitch, Netherton's Chloe Schulze, looking to support Chapman up front hold the ball up well, lays it off into the run of Stacey Fullicks to her right, she powers forwards squares a low cross along the six yard line looking the run of Chapman, Huntingdon's Stow makes a vital interception.

   GOAL!  Netherton pulls the scores level again the ball is played into Chapman peeling out to the right, she turns her marker and sprints forwards with the ball, drives inside running along the 18 yard line looking for an opportunity to unleash a shot, when it comes the attempt is blocked the ball deflected spins out to the left inside the box it's Schulze who latches onto it two strides and she finds the room to let fly from 8 yards drills the ball into the back of the net 2-2.

                        Half-time Huntingdon Town Ladies 2-2 Netherton United Ladies

   A lively and entertaining 1st half with Huntingdon taking the lead twice only for Netherton to peg them back both times, everything was set up for the 2nd half. Huntingdon have no subs to bring on to rest tired legs. Netherton kicking off the 2nd half have Megan Parrett back on the pitch with Vacca off, Kerry Camwell joins Hannah Chapman up top as the visitors go with 2 in attack.

   Huntingdon have the 1st attempt on goal as they break Dowdell beating two players before playing the ball into Gamble, she has a strike from outside the box, puts it straight at Heather who makes the save. Heather saves again not long after as Dowdell finds Gamble out to the right of the box this time she passes it seeing the run from Amy Chapman in the centre, on the turn she gets her shot away, Heather reacting quickly to get down and save on her six yard line.

Huntingdon's Natasha Dowdell

  Netherton captain Anderson defends well as Huntingdon's Clarke gets onto the ball in the middle and stealing a yard on her marker breaks into the area, Anderson keeps with her pushes her wide gets the tackle in to win the ball set's up a counter attack getting the ball forwards Megan Parrett in the middle prods it forwards for Kerry Camwell, Rae though is quickly out of her box to get the ball away.

   Huntingdon's Joanne Bull is winning her fair share of tackles in the middle of the pitch, making a forwards run lays the ball off to Gamble who holds the ball up well under challenge, Bull continues her run Gamble finds her pushing on the ball comes back to Bowd who blasts her shot over the bar.

   Strong running from Netherton's Parrett as she takes the ball across the pitch passes it out into the feet of Chapman wide on the left, she fires the ball into the middle Day gives away the corner. The set piece comes into the box into Schulze she can't get the shot away as Huntingdon win the ball and break with Bull looking to push forwards, Netherton's Alice Flower makes a vital tackle to prevent the Netherton goal being exposed.

    The wind has picked up and the afternoon wears on favouring Netherton in attack, with 2 up front the visitors are getting more possession are pushing Huntingdon back. Win a corner played in from the right to the centre of the D, Camwell misses her shot as the ball comes through to Schulze behind her 18 yards out she lets fly but the shot is straight into Heather's gloves.

   GOAL! Huntington take the lead for the 3rd time in the match, Huntingdon having been pushed back put the Netherton box under seige for a couple of minutes, working the ball across the pitch the ball is put into Gamble on the right of the box, strong she holds the challenge off, turns and shoots a low strike with plenty of pace across the six yard box looking for the far post bulges the side netting, 3-2.
Huntingdon's Sian Gamble

  From the restart Netherton's Stacey Fullicks coming in from the right has a 1st time strike at goal as the ball comes back out to her after Chapman does well to keep possession of the ball inside the box sees Fullicks run towards her plays her in, the shot a curling effort outside the box is wide of target.

   GOAL! Netherton pull the scores level for the 3rd time in the match. Camwell is the scorer a brilliant strike from 20 plus yards as the ball is played into her from Shannon Hilton from midfield, central to goal she has the time and space to line up a shot sends the ball past Heather and into the net 3-3.

   Netherton have more of the ball in the 2nd half keeping it on the ground are looking for an opening with Parrett and Hilton in the middle looking to find their wide players as much as they can stretch Huntingdon. From a corner delivered from the right Fullicks making a run from the centre towards the near post leaps and meets the ball with her head puts her effort wide into the side netting.

Netherton's Stacey Fullicks

   GOAL! Netherton take the lead for the 1st time in the match. The move starting with Hilton who wins the ball in the middle looks to put a high ball into the Huntingdon box the defensive header only sends the ball on into the box Fullicks running in from the right causes problems in defence at close quarters her shot is half blocked squirms through to Chapman ahead of them both who turns and sends her low strike into the net 3-4.

   Huntingdon press forwards looking to get back into the match, Gamble has a shot from wide left that goes behind for a goal kick. Gamble then turns provider putting a ball into the box for Chapman to run onto coming out to meet her on the penalty spot Heather does enough to put her off. Huntingdon with a corner from the right, Clarke headers the ball on into the middle, Day is there to meet the ball her powerful shot is blocked on the line by Rachael Anderson.

  GOAL! Virtually the last action of the match, Netherton have a 5th goal, on the break have got players forwards late in the match, the ball is played into the area early from the left it's Parrett who has made the run finds herself furthest forwards keeper Rae comes for the ball but fails to collect, Parrett steals onto it and has an open goal to shoot at doesn't miss 3-5.

Netherton's Megan Parrett

                  Full-time Huntingdon Town Ladies 3-5 Netherton United Ladies

   It's Netherton that claim the 3pts to climb above Huntingdon into 2nd place in the Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership, having come back from being a goal down 3 times to go on to win.

   A great game to watch, lively and committed from both sides, another good advert for women's football in Cambridgeshire. I appreciate and thank both clubs for the help they gave me with the squads today.