This Sunday saw the Suffolk Women's County Cup semi-finals being played and it was a very strong looking last 4 in this years competition. With Ipswich Town Ladies playing Lowestoft Town Ladies and AFC Sudbury Ladies taking on Bury Town Ladies. It was the 2nd of these semi-finals that I travelled to, to watch today.
AFC Sudbury Ladies are the current holders of the Suffolk Women's County Cup. Both themselves and Bury Town Ladies play their football in the Eastern Region Women's Football League Division One North and are in a tussle for the title 1st and 2nd with Bury Town Ladies newly promoted this season leading the way, so on paper it looked a competitive tie.
Both clubs had entered the cup at the 2nd round stage with AFC Sudbury beating Brantham Athletic Ladies 9-1 away then travelling to Bungay Town Ladies in the quarter finals coming away with a 4-0 win. Bury Town Ladies beat Brandon Town Ladies at home 1-0 in the 2nd round before clinching a 6-0 home win against Copleston Ladies in the quarter finals.
Played on a neutral ground the venue today was The New Croft home of Haverhill Rovers FC. On the outskirts of the town, the stadium is a new built sports complex. With very good facilities, clubhouse and refreshments a small covered stand along one side of the pitch. The pleasantly warm weather that had been with us all week had decided to disappear for the match was very chilly once again overcast and breezy, but the rain did stay away.
AFC Sudbury Ladies starting XI - Mollie Noble, Sophie Pink, Charlotte Churchman, Phoebe Guiver, Marie Seabrook, Rebecca Thrower, Kayleigh Steed, Laura Yarrington, Natalie Golding (C), Charlene Roach & Sophie Jeffery.
subs - Natalie Curtin, Holly Harrison, Emma Squirrel, Skye Ramsey & Enya Moore.
Bury Town Ladies - Charlotte Osbourne, Lisa Pratt, Emma Boreham (C), Jess Horgan, Gemma Carter, Laura Bloomfield, Steph Hanratty, Hayley Turner, Lyndsie Duemmel, Helen Cryer & Mikaela Tolbert.
subs - Vicky Barber & Molly Wilson.
Bury were without a few of their 1st team regulars for the match as the teams took to the pitch for a 2:30 kick off. Bury were kitted out in all blue as Sudbury kitted out in yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts kicked off the match.
Sudbury are on the attack early on the ball played out to the right, the referee spots a push in the back and a free kick is awarded. Sudbury captain Natalie Golding plays the set piece into the area, is deep beyond the far post a Bury head gets to the ball puts it behind for a corner. The corner from the left is delivered into the crowded near post area the ball gets headed on across the goal face, in space Sudbury's Sophie Jeffery gets her head to the ball, sends her attempt wide of goal.
Bury are being penned in their own half as Sudbury press the ball and look to release it to their forwards quickly, Laura Yarrington sweeps the ball out to the left looking for the run of Jeffery, Bury's, Helen Cryer makes a timely interception to stop the ball reaching her.
GOAL! Charlene Roach opens the scoring for Sudbury. It's good work from Jeffery out on the left that sets up the goal as she chases down a long cross field pass sent out to the left, taking the ball into the corner has two Bury players giving chase, manages to turn and get past them running in she sends a high looping cross into the area, Roach is covering the ground meets the ball at the far post and turns it into the back of the net 1-0.
Another push in the back sees Sudbury have a free kick in a good position central 25 yards from goal again it's Golding to take looks to go for goal, get's the ball around the wall, but not enough pace or height to trouble Charlotte Osbourne in goal.
It's taken Bury a little bit of time to get themselves into the match, now they are pressing the ball better themselves looking to release both Lyndsie Duemmel into space on the left and Gemma Carter likewise wide right with limited success. Duemmel puts in a high ball from the left of the area inside the box team mate Mikaela Tolbert jumps but can't quite get to the ball, it falls to Carter on her right she sends the ball goal wards Sudbury keeper Mollie Noble is alert and claims the ball.
When Bury do get the pass beyond the Sudbury defence, they find that Noble is quick to come off her line and clear the ball. In midfield for Sudbury, Phoebe Guiver is looking to take the ball forwards when ever she wins a tackle and then look to play in Jeffery making herself available on the left or Roach centrally, one pass from Guiver sends Roach through on goal to the right inside the box she shoots puts the ball into the side netting.
Bury have had little opportunity to get a shot in on the Sudbury goal. Pressing the ball high up the pitch Laura Bloomfield does well in the tackle and shifts the ball to shoot 20 yards from goal, a low effort it lacks the power to beat the well placed Noble. Carter sends in a great free kick from the corner of the Sudbury area right between the six yard line and goal, no one can get on the end of it.
GOAL! Late in the half Sudbury double their lead. It comes from a hopeful ball played in from the right from Golding, high in the air Osbourne coming for it inside her area looks to have it, whether it swerves late on or the goal keeper misreads the ball, it comes off her and is deflected across the six yard box into the path of Jeffery coming in, gets her head on the ball and puts it into the back of the net 2-0.
Last action of the half, Duemmel has been working hard on the left to try and make something happen for Bury, harries the ball wins it from Sudbury and looks to come inside, charging into the 18 yard box, rushes her shot getting no power on the low driven effort at all, an easy gather for Noble.
Half-time AFC Sudbury Ladies 2-0 Bury Town Ladies
A slow start from Bury and an error at the end of the half see them 2 goals down against a well organised and determined Sudbury side. Plenty to do 2nd half if they hope to get back into the tie. Bury kick off the 2nd half.
Sudbury though are the team on the offensive early on again with Jeffery stealing the ball off a Bury toe and bursting forwards slots the ball to Roach to her right, she lays it back to Kayleigh Steed on the edge of the box who tries flicking the ball up and hitting it on the volley, the attempt is off target.
Jeffery is causing all sorts of problems for the Bury defence, either out wide or when she comes inside looking for the ball. The attack is all Sudbury a ball comes in from the right, not sure who struck it, a good hit it flies past Osbourne and cannons off the far post, back into play the ball is cleared. A cross from the left is then held up well by Roach inside the area, has Guiver coming in to support lays the ball off to her, she hits the ball 1st time sends her shot wide.
Bury are on the back foot pushed back their defenders have a lot to do. Lisa Pratt is called into action to clear the ball off the line as she covered the are post from a Sudbury corner, get's good back up from Helen Cryer as Sudbury attempt to turn the rebound home, Cryer puts in a great tackle inside the six yard box giving away another corner.
Sudbury make their 1st substitution bringing off Kayleigh Steed with Emma Squirrell coming on going into the right of the attack. Bury make a double change with Molly Wilson and Vicky Barber coming on for Steph Hanratty and Laura Bloomfield. In attack Hayley Turner for Bury releases Carter into space on the right taking the ball forwards she looks to send the cross back into the box, players are coming in to try and get to it, Noble though comes racing towards the ball and puts her claim to it.
GOAL! The corner count is wracking up for Sudbury this time they score as the delivery put in from the right is sent into a central position on the edge of the six yard box, two Sudbury players are going for it, Rebecca Thrower and Charlotte Churchman, the final touch looks like it comes off Churchman as the ball is sent into the back of the net and Sudbury add a third 3-0.
GOAL! The stuffing has been knocked out of Bury, are getting frustrated as Sudbury add a 4th goal, from a Bury attacking move they reclaim the ball is played direct through the middle another touch sees the ball sent into the path of Jeffery sprinting forwards she is inside the area has company but get's her shot away early slotting the ball past Osbourne and into the back of the net 4-0.
It's a triple change for Sudbury as they bring on three players in quick succession with Pink, Guiver and Roach leaving the field for Skye Ramsey, Holly Harrison & Enya Moore. Sudbury win the ball launch it up the pitch for Jeffery to chase, has room to run into, making up the ground to catch her is Bury's Mikaela Tolbert, does very well to catch up with her and produce a great saving tackle inside the area.
Entering the last 10 minutes of the match Sudbury continue to look strong in shape and build up play, Bury are trying to make something happen in the last third the final ball just won't come. Laura Yarrington tries her luck from 30 yards out finds Osbourne wall placed to bring the ball down with her gloves. At the other end Noble continues to sweep up anything her defence let's sneak through.
The final whistle blows and Sudbury make it to the final of the Suffolk Women's Cup with a convincing all round display to wrap up a 4-0 win. Bury will be disappointed with the result just weren't at it today.
Sudbury's opponents in the County Cup final will be Ipswich Town Ladies after they beat Lowestoft town Ladies 1-0 an Amanda Crump penalty separating the sides. The date and venue for the final will be announced in due course.
My thanks to both clubs for helping me out with the squad details today.