The final on May 16th 2016 is a long way off plenty of passion and drama to unfold before then. The competition kicked off back at the start of September with 1st Round Qualifying. I get about the country to watch women's football am always excited to go somewhere new and the FA Women's Cup gives me that opportunity as I take in my 1st match of this years competition in Northamptonshire visiting Moulton Ladies as they take on Wymondham Town Ladies in 2nd Round Qualifying.
Both these sides won their matches in 1st Round Qualifying. Moulton Ladies are newly promoted to the East Midlands Women's Football League Division One South after winning the Northamptonshire Women's Football Division last season, scored a staggering 189 goals in 18 matches during that season. Have started life in the higher tier in similar vain winning 11-0 away to Loughborough Students (2006) last Sunday. Moulton Ladies are a new entrant to the FA Women's Cup. Progressed to the 2nd Round Qualifying of the FA Women's Cup with a 3-2 home win over Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership side Netherton United Ladies.
The visitors to the Moulton Playing Fields today for this 2nd Round Qualifying tie are Norfolk Division One side Wymondham Town Ladies. Saw off opposition from Northamptonshire in 1st Round Qualifying too, were at home to Roade Ladies won the match 6-2. Are amongst the favourites to challenge for the title in Norfolk this season and like Moulton Ladies opened their league campaign last weekend with a win, 3-0 over Fakenham Town Ladies. Enjoyed last seasons competition had a decent run to 3rd Round Qualifying where they took FAWPL South East Division One side Cambridge WFC all the way to extra-time before eventually getting knocked out.
The Moulton Playing Fields are set off the road in Moulton beyond the Brunting Road housing estate, is a very good and tidy sporting facility featuring a modern well presented clubhouse situated at one corner of the main playing pitch with further pitches beyond. The pitch was a good size in pretty good shape. The weather pretty good too, warm and sunny although there were a few dark clouds looming.
Moulton Ladies starting XI - Rachael Rayment, Catherine Needham, Amy Varnsverry, Sara Wait, Stacey Chaplin, Amy Willis (C), Simone Cook, Nicola Hardwick, Georgia Webb, Harley Collyer & Emma Dunmore
subs- Jessica Noble, Ashleigh Goodman, Kylie Evans & Molly Chamberlain.
Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI - Gemma Hamilton-Rout, Claire Rennie, Leah Newcombe, Gemma Sanders, Amber Cantwell, Rachel Cossey (C), Kayleigh Holloway, Mary Cann, Laura Hammerton Laura Wiseman & Sally Hammerton.
subs - Kelly Ayers & Louise Rout.
An intriguing contest in prospect you never quite know what you'll get when two sides from opposing counties meet. The pre match formalities done it's Wymondham to kick off the 1st half wearing red shirts with black across the shoulders and sides, white shorts and red and white hooped socks with Moulton lined up opposite wearing black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks.
The visitors look to launch the ball forwards from the kick off push players into the Moulton half the home side get hold of the ball and for the opening couple on minutes the play is congested within the middle 3rd before Moulton striker Emma Dunmore springs the Wymondham offside trap and sprints with the ball towards the edge of the area, Gemma Sanders races across on the cover to put in the challenge for the ball as Dunmore is about to pull the trigger the ball spinning away from danger.
Dunmore is presented with another opportunity to attack the Wymondham goal early on as her defence break up an attack and the ball is played out to her peeling into space on the left, bursting into the box looks to smash the ball over Wymondham's Gemma Hamilton-Rout, the goalkeeper is well positioned on her near post throws up her gloves making the save palming the ball down before safely gathering. Moments later Moulton captain Amy Willis wins the ball back in the centre of the park, plays the ball over the top with Dunmore once again the willing runner, right of goal breaking into the area it's Sanders who comes across to put in the challenge does enough to prevent Dunmore hitting the shot on the run, the no 10 manages to turn back inside get a shot away lacks the power needed to beat Hamilton-Rout as she shifts to her right to make the save.
|Moulton Ladies attacker Emma Dunmore looking to turn and take on the Wymondham defence.|
Wymondham's Amber Cantwell operating down the right of the pitch latches onto a pass from Moulton's Amy Varnsverry as the left back attempts to bring the ball forwards, Cantwell is past her and looking to race towards the box, Varnsverry quickly recovers and making up the ground catches Cantwell sliding in to put the ball out for a throw before the Wymondham player can get the cross into her strikers. From the throw deep in the Moulton half Wymondham keep the pressure on the cross is fired across the face of the box with Sally Hammerton looking to connect 1st time send her shot in towards goal, Moulton goalkeeper Rachael Rayment has read the threat is quickly out diving before Hammerton to make the blocking save with her legs, the ball spins out to Wymondham's Kayleigh Holloway on the left her cross is swept in towards the near post area where it is met by Laura Hammerton who looks to turn her header across goal knocking the ball down Rayment has gotten back into position throws herself to the right to save the ball. A lively start from both sides.
The referee plays an advantage as Dunmore slides in attempting to win the ball from Wymondham's Leah Newcombe at the back, the ball is up with Sally Hammerton on the right, she looks to play the pass through into Cantwell who has made a central run, 20 yards out her 1st time shot screws away from goal. Cantwell looks to send Hammerton through in the next attack the attempted pass is a little long, however Laura Wiseman races in from the left of the area looking to close down Rayment who has come out to clear the two collide both are down as the ball rolls loose on the right it's Hammerton who reaches it 1st takes on the shot places the ball into the side netting.
In the middle for Moulton, Nicola Hardwick is working hard to break up play and get her team moving forwards plays the ball out to Simone Cook wide on the right, looks to swept an early cross into Harley Collyer making the run into the area, Newcombe closes her down as Collyer smashes her shot against her. Every time Dunmore gets the ball at her feet she is looking to turn and take on players, happy to go shoulder to shoulder is hard to shake off the ball, the Wymondham defence pushing the striker wide more often than not limit her opportunities to get a shot away.
|Moulton Ladies Harley Collyer|
Play building up down the right with Wymondham on the attack the pass sees Sally Hammerton driving down the wing squares the ball across the front of the area manages to pick out Wiseman stretching for the ball she stabs it towards goal, it looks as if Rayment is beaten the ball going to her left into the bottom corner the keeper makes a late lunge getting down to push the ball wide for a corner kick. The corner is played in deep to the far post area from the right Wiseman makes contact but places the ball wide.
Wymondham win a free kick in the middle the ball is sent long in towards the near post by Holloway, Sanders is making the run to get across the keeper, Rayment is distracted claiming the ball launches a Moulton counter attack the ball fired up the pitch with Dunmore peeling out wide into the space vacated by Sanders, driving into the area Hamilton-Rout comes to close the angle, Dunmore get's her shot past her is rolling across the face of goal hits the far post coming back out Newcombe is the player racing back on the line she almost turns herself inside out as she manages to hook the ball off the line.
GOAL! Wymondham take the lead. Moulton have been conceding free kicks in the middle of the park and it from one of these the visitors score from. Holloway over the ball again is once again looking to dink the ball in towards the near post looks like this one will bounce through to Rayment, instead Wymondham captain Rachel Cossey makes a late run from the penalty area to reach the ball first stab her foot out to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net 0-1.
|Wymondham Town Ladies captain Rachel Cossey opens the scoring.|
GOAL! In quick succession Wymondham double their lead. Rayment comes to the edge of her area to block another Sally Hammerton shot, the loose ball is cleared for a corner on the left. The set play is sent into the area is met by Laura Hammerton who rises to head the ball down out of the area into space in front of goal, Cantwell is the player who gets to it 1st 20 yards out, lifts her shot over the crowd in front of her to score. 0-2.
Once more Dunmore gets on the ball for Moulton is allowed to run 20 yards with the ball before Wymondham come to close her down force her across the face of the area the striker still manages to get a shot away dragging the ball wide of goal.
Cantwell tries her luck from distance a few minutes later with Holloway pushing forwards down the left plays the ball into Laura Hammerton in the middle 25 yards out she has Cantwell coming inside behind her, sets her up Cantwell shoots sending a looping effort over the cross bar.
|1st time my car has featured in the blog... um sorry Moulton's Nicola Hardwick |
challenges Wymondham's Kayleigh Holloway for the ball.
Half-time Moulton Ladies 0-2 Wymondham Town Ladies
A lively opening 45 minutes with both sides looking to attack and creating openings both keepers called into action more than once. A fairly even start before Wymondham took the lead with 2 quick fire goals to have the advantage going into the break. A tricky score line job done so far but with another half to come Moulton will think they have been creating enough openings to get themselves back into the tie as the teams come out for the 2nd half.
The home side kick off the 2nd half. It's Wymondham who start on the offensive winning the ball back in the middle, Laura Hammerton attempts to play the through ball to send Cantwell in on goal inside the Moulton box, she is stopped by the linesman's flag. Sanders is robust in the challenge and looks to take the ball forwards whenever she wins a tackle pushing forwards covers plenty of grass before sliding the ball through to Sally Hammerton making the run to get into the box central she takes on the shot a low effort that poses little trouble to Rayment in goal.
|More midfield battles Nicola Hardwick looking to tackle Wymondham's Laura Hammerton|
Is Sanders last action of the match as Wymondham make an early change 2nd half bring on Kelly Ayers at right back. Picking up the ball centrally Wiseman gets her head down and pushes forwards has Willis on her shoulder all the way as the pair race towards the area, preventing Wiseman from shooting, Willis gives her defence the chance to clear as Sara Wait comes in to put the tackle in win the ball inside her area.
GOAL! Both sides needed an early goal in the 2nd half, it's Wymondham who extend their lead. The attack building through the centre finds Wymondham's two wide players Holloway left and Cantwell right drifting into the middle exchange passes before Cantwell sends the high ball over the Moulton defence with Wiseman the player racing in beyond the ball dropping over her she makes the connection with her boot sending the ball up and over the keeper to make it 0-3.
|Laura Wiseman pointing, scorer of Wymondham's 3rd goal.|
Moulton make their 1st change bringing off Georgia Webb and sending on Molly Chamberlain. Wymondham are getting both Wiseman and Sally Hammerton in over the top, the latter bursts through from the centre Rayment comes out to close her down sliding before her to save with her feet. Holloway is making up ground with the ball on the left squares the ball across the box is just behind Sally Hammerton, Cantwell is inside the area behind her latches onto the ball, the shot turned behind as Rayment dives low to her left to push it wide.
Rayment produces a fantastic save moments later with Holloway putting Hammerton through again central this time Rayment comes out to close the angle, Hammerton looks to lift the ball over her, the keeper throws an arm up to knock the ball wide to the left of her goal, Hammerton looks to retrieve it get a shot away but by then the Moulton defence has the line well protected. Wymondham make their 2nd change with Cantwell replaced by Louise Rout wide on the right. Moulton make their 2nd change too with Kylie Evans coming on to replace defender Catherine Needham with the home side switching to 3 at the back as they go looking for a goal to get themselves back into the match.
To that end Simone Cook is pushed forwards down the right wins the ball and pushes into the channel sweeps an early cross into the area with Dunmore making up the ground can't quite connect with the fierce cross to turn it towards goal. Cook with another drive down the right into the corner sends an inviting ball in towards the near post, Wymondham's Claire Rennie rises highest to head it away across her box. Pushing forwards in search of a goal Moulton are in danger of getting caught at the back Sarah Chaplin back tracking makes a vital tackle to deny Sally Hammerton as a long pass threatens to put her through on goal.
|Captain's collide as Rachel Cossey and Amy Willis go for the ball.|
Wymondham are still looking a threat whenever they attack have Holloway high up the pitch on the left with Wiseman coming near post she sends the ball into her, controlling with her back to goal Wiseman turns fizzes the ball into Sally Hammerton behind her central 8 yards out the ball is swept up and over as the striker looks to deflect the ball past Rayment. Moulton make their final change with Jessica Noble coming on in attack for Collyer.
Rayment has been by far the busier of the two keepers 2nd half makes another great save as Holloway sends a cross in from the left, with Sally Hammerton bearing down on her central Rayment keeps her eye on the ball, leaps and punches the ball away. Two more saves seconds apart as Louise Rout sends a dangerous diagonal ball in from the right, bounces dangerously inside the area Rayment is back tracking the ball in danger of getting by her she is falling as she pushes it away to her right, the ball is picked up by Holloway, Rayment is up quickly scrambling back to cover her near post as Holloway looks to smash the ball into the roof of the net the keeper throws up a glove turning the ball over.
Into the closing minutes and Wymondham finish with 10 as Newcombe comes off to nurse her battered ankles. Moulton look to try and take advantage the ball is rolled into Noble her back to goal 20 yards out she sends Dunmore through on the left of the area, she is pushed wide as Hamilton-Rout comes out of her goal to come and dive on the ball. Cook driving down the right plays the cross into Dunmore in a central position she shifts the ball between her feet 20 yards out making room for the shot pulls the ball wide of goal.
The final whistle blows and it's Wymondham Town Ladies who win the match 0-3 and progress to the next round of the FA Women's Cup where the FAWPL Division One sides enter the competition. A comfortable win in the end for Wymondham after an even start scored 2 quick fire goals to take control of the tie and were the stronger side 2nd half creating a host of chances would have increased their lead if not for some fantastic saves from Rayment in the Moulton goal.
Moulton Ladies bow out of the competition had a few opportunities to take the lead themselves and had one been taken could have changed the complexion of the tie. A great game to watch especially 1st half an enjoyable trip to Northamptonshire, my thanks to Moulton Ladies for their help today with the teams and hospitality, best of luck for the rest of the season.
Congratulations to Wymondham Town Ladies who will now be looking forwards excitedly to who they will get in the next round of the FA Women's Cup the draw on Monday for the 3rd Round Qualifying. Thanks too to Wymondham manager Alex Guy for helping me out with their team details too. Added congratulations to Wymondham Town Ladies players Gemma Sanders and Laura Wiseman (both new signings this season) who have been selected for the England Women's Deaf Futsal squad for the upcoming World Cup to be held in Thailand in November.
*UPDATE* earlier this afternoon the draw for the FA Women's Cup 3rd Round Qualifying was made and it will be a repeat of last season's tie with Wymondham Town Ladies drawn at home to play Cambridge United WFC, scheduled for Sun 11th October.