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.