Midweek football action from the FAWPL South East Division One, with a trip along the A47 to Plantation Park to watch a local derby match between Norwich City Ladies & Lowestoft Town Ladies.
Saw Norwich City Ladies play on the opening weekend of the FAWPL Season were at home to Cambridge United WFC put in a strong performance to win the match 3-1. Since then have been on the road with 4 successive away league matches (have had a home game scheduled against Old Actonians Ladies postponed in that sequence). Suffered 3 straight defeats before finally recording their 2nd league win of the season just this past Sunday 3-1 once again to Cambridge United WFC. Those 3 points saw Norwich City Ladies climb into the top half of the table into 6th place.
One of Norwich City Ladies defeats on the road came at the hands of Lowestoft Town Ladies in what is now a new local derby in the FAWPL South East Division One the Suffolk side newly promoted to the league this season after an impressive campaign in the ERWFL Premier Division last season winning a league and cup double going unbeaten with a 100% win record in the league were head and shoulders above everyone else. Life in the higher tier hasn't been so easy the win at home to Norwich City Ladies their only victory to date in the league with 4 defeats recorded a positive result too at the weekend however earning a point with a 0-0 at home to Bedford Ladies.
A local derby under the lights there were a few players out there who had played for both sides with Lowestoft Town Ladies having brought in a few experienced players from Norwich to bolster their squad during their promotion campaign. Bringing in a new head coach, James Buhlemann has also seen some of these players return to Norwich. The match at Crown Meadow also played under the lights at the start of September ended 3-2 to Lowestoft Town Ladies
Now into autumn the day had been bright and sunny giving the pitch at Plantation Park a chance to dry out after the heavy rain that had fallen over the past few days. Cooling as the sun set, dew would form on the grass on a clear windless evening.
Norwich City Ladies starting XI - Jade Nicholson, Bryony Radley, Erin Wilson Ellen Fewkes-Woodrow, Kate Parsons (C), Emily Lewin Brooke Osbourne, Anna Larkins, Paige Shorten, Ebony Wiseman & Natasha Snelling.
subs - Jordan Arnoup, Katie Knights & Abigail Gower.
Lowestoft Town Ladies starting XI - Chloe Pearce, Marcie Prettyman, Jessica Keeling, Chelsea Clarke, Eleanor Froud, Amber Rowland, Charlotte Eastwood (C), Natasha Thomas, Zoe Cossey, Chloe Hoffman & Hannah Waters
subs - Amy Bell, Aimee Durrant, Abbie Everson & Charnelle Riggall.
The camera can be hit and miss under the lights and at Plantation Park it's definitely a miss so it stayed in the bag as the two sides walked out onto the pitch, Norwich in their yellow and green kit, Lowestoft in blue shirts with white across the shoulders, white shorts and blue socks. Lowestoft to kick off the 1st half.
The visitors look to take the attack to Norwich from the off the ball with Amber Rowland in the centre she plays the pass through to Natasha Thomas to her right she opts to hit the early shot from close to 35 yards out is on target hasn't the power to trouble Norwich goalkeeper Jade Nicholson who gathers comfortably as the ball bounces before her.
An early feel of the ball too for Lowestoft's goalkeeper Chloe Pearce as Norwich work the ball up the right, full back Bryony Radley on the overlap lifting the cross into the centre of the area puts the ball in too close to Pearce allowing her to gather. Norwich retain the ball inside the Lowestoft half striker Ebony Wiseman looks to push forwards into the area is pushed, is pushed wide by Lowestoft's Eleanor Froud who makes the challenge putting the ball out for a throw, Norwich bring players up to join the attack giving chase to a ball put out into space on the right Radley retrieves it sends the cross back into the centre is picked up by Natasha Snelling she looks to curl the ball in towards goal puts it straight at Pearce in the centre of goal.
Norwich are dominating in the opening minutes pushing plenty of bodies forwards with Snelling looking to play off the shoulder of the last defender on the right of attack looking for the ball to be played through into the space beyond. Getting hold of the ball after one move cuts the cross back to the edge of the area Emily Lewin latches onto the ball sends her 1st time strike high over the goal.
GOAL! The home side take an early lead after they win a free kick out on the left side of the pitch some 35 yards out. Anna Larkins is the player standing over the ball, hits it in towards goal with players looking to attack the near post comes all the way through them, Pearce misses as she attempts to push it away the ball flying past her and into the back of the net 1-0.
Norwich continue to press forwards have Lowestoft pinned back, Snelling has another go from outside the area a low drive which is blocked by Jessica Keeling deflecting it behind for a corner. The home side have a counter attack on as they break up a Lowestoft foray into their half the ball fires up into Wiseman on the half way line she plays it forwards into Snelling she looks to race in beyond the Lowestoft defence has Larkins up with her ready to run into space to her right, 30 yards out Snelling instead opts to pull the trigger drills the shot wide of goal.
Lowestoft's turn to play a free kick into the area as the referee awards a free kick 30 yards from goal in a more central position the ball is sent in towards goal on the rise Nicholson throws up a glove knocks the ball onto her cross bar it comes back down in play inside the congested six yard box, a bit of pinball ensues as blue shirts attempt to force the ball over the line pops into the feet of Lowestoft captain Charlotte Eastwood, she turns the ball goal wards but lifts it over the bar.
GOAL! Norwich double their lead within the 1st 15 minutes have been looking to test the Lowestoft goal from distance a high ball is sent in from the left falling back Pearce manages to palm the ball down in front of her goal, Lowestoft can't get the ball clear comes into the middle before finding Radley up with play to the right of the area 35 yards out looks to take on the strike hit's it sweetly a high shot looping up and over the keeper into the back of the net 2-0.
Zoe Cossey for Lowestoft stays strong holding onto the ball as she wins possession for Lowestoft from the left plays the pass out to Thomas on the right bringing it forwards looks to hit the cross on the diagonal with Hannah Waters the only Lowestoft target inside the Norwich area, can't pick her out as Ellen Fewkes-Woodrow gets to the ball 1st heads it clear for a throw.
Norwich's Snelling picks the ball up central has plenty of yellow shirts looking to get up with her lays the ball out to Radley on her right, she puts the early across along the face of the area finds Larkins left of the D can't bring the ball down to get a shot away instead passes it to Paige Shorten on her left inside the area she take a stride with the ball before hitting a low shot in towards goal, Pearce is down sharply at her near post to make the save. Snelling is put through on goal central is a race with Lowestoft's Chelsea Clarke on her shoulder into the area Clarke does well to lunge and take the ball from Snelling before she can shoot.
Pearce has to commit early come racing out to make the clearance as Larkins breaks beyond the Lowestoft defence reaches it just before the Norwich player kicking it away into the stands, Larkins is down after the move needs treatment but walking off looks ok is able to continue. From the throw Radley takes the ball down the right jinks past a player before playing the ball into Snelling, she looks to hit the cross long to the far post with Shorten coming in, Prettyman is back and gets a firm header on the ball to clear.
Lowestoft have been enjoying better possession of the ball as the 1st half wears on are keeping it getting it forwards into the Norwich half by haven't gotten in behind their defence as the home side drops back quickly and keeps a solid shape. For once the visitors get the ball to the by line on the right entering the area the cross is lifted back to the edge of the area, Fewkes-Woodrow gets her head to it knocks it away from the box, drops to Eastwood however she takes on the shot 20 plus yards out lifts the ball a half a yard over the bar.
Half-time Norwich City Ladies 2-0 Lowestoft Town Ladies
A good opening 45 minutes from the home side which saw them score 2 early goals to get an early grip on the game. Testing the Lowestoft goal from distance and piling players forwards whenever they win the ball. Took Lowestoft a little while to settle into the match going 2 nil down they started to get hold of the ball better towards the end, Thomas and Cossey have been doing well on the flanks but that work has more often than not been from a deeper position as they come back to help defend. 2-0 at half time would it be a Lowestoft fightback or would Norwich go on to extend their lead as they kicked off the 2nd half.
The visitors start brightly have the ball inside the Norwich half the pass is fed into Waters just inside the area her back to goal holds it up as Cossey comes in from the left to join the attack plays the ball into her, the ball gets trapped between her feet as she looks to fashion a shot, is closed down the shot blocked. Thomas is a threat in attack for Lowestoft a strong player full of pace wants to be running at a defence. As Lowestoft counter Thomas is through running into space on the right side driving forwards with the ball races into the area, shifts the ball to deceive the defender in front of her then tries to fool Nicholson in goal by hitting the ball with the outside of her boot to turn it in at the near post rather than send the shot across goal, Nicholson isn't deceived and keeping upright claims the ball.
The ball is played up the pitch from Norwich drops to Snelling out on the right on halfway hooks the ball over her shoulder, to release Wiseman in front of her, pacey Wiseman looks to race in towards goal from the right corner of the box she looks to send the shot across the box into the far post, Prettyman racing back to defend intercepts the ball is retrieved by Wisman inside the area still right the angle is tight by the time she shoots fires the ball into the side netting.
GOAL! Lowestoft pull a goal back to get themselves back into the match. The visitors winning a free kick in the Norwich half wide on the left a little further back than from where Norwich scored their opener. The ball is sent into the face of the area into a crowd of blue and yellow shirts, it's a blue that headers the ball down presenting it to Thomas outside the area she looks to drill her shot through the crowd takes a deflection which sends it through but left of the goal, up from the back Clarke is the player to it 1st hits the ball past Nicholson into the back of the net to make it 2-1 from close range.
A contrast of halves with Norwich the side getting forced back with Lowestoft pushing forwards Thomas looking to link up with Waters who is doing well to hold the ball up bring others into player the ball is fired into her in front of the D knocks it down with Thomas in close proximity she looks to hit the ball on the volley doesn't make clean contact the scuffed shot rolls through into Nicholson.
Wiseman has plenty of energy and looks to be Norwich's biggest threat 2nd half out on the left she will take on players whenever she is given the ball, this time she cuts it back to the edge of the area Larkins is the player up with her has three Lowestoft defenders converge on her but still manages to head the ball wide to their left to make the room for the shot, Pearce dives to her right to make the save turn the ball behind for a corner.
Is a fast paced derby being played with great spirit by both sides. Wiseman gets her head down on the right decides to take on the entire Lowestoft defence is pushed right of goal still manages to win a corner. Thomas is back for Lowestoft to defend the corners and more often than now she gets her head to the ball 1st to head it clear sets up an attack Rowland bringing it out before sending it long for Waters, this time Nicholson is quickly out of her area to kick clear.
All action the clearance comes to Wiseman peeling out to the right as Lowestoft push up Pearce makes the decision to come commits to the save edge of the area, Wiseman takes the ball around her is through on goal, Clarke though makes up the ground to get back superbly shoulder to shoulder she forces Wiseman wide of goal wins a goal kick.
Lowestoft make a change bringing on Aimee Durrant for Rowland. Norwich bring off Brooke Osbourne send on Abigail Gower who moves out to the right side, has an early chance to attack with the ball as it is sent out to her driving down the wing cuts back inside before laying the ball back to Radley she takes on the shot drilling the ball low and wide across the area.
Waters is through in the middle gets free of the Norwich defence makes the run into the area right of goal puts her foot through the shot, Nicholson doesn't need to make the save as her captain Kate Parsons comes back brilliantly to throw herself in to get her boot on the ball and turn it out for a corner. The corner from the right is set it deep beyond the far post Keeling gets her head to the ball but can only put it behind for a goal kick.
The match enters the last 10 minutes with both sides looking to score. Pearce is down low to save push the ball behind for a corner as Wiseman goes on another driving run down the right hits the shot on the run forcing Pearce into the save. The corner from the right is swept into the middle threatens to creep under the bar, Pearce throws up a glove to punch it clear from danger. Pearce is called into action again needing to race out of her area a her defence struggling to clear a high ball end up knocking it on with Wiseman ever alert after it on the right Pearce wins the race get's to the ball 1st kicks clear outside her box.
Pearce with another save this time off Shorten the play down the right with Gower she only has one target in the area Shorten moving into a central position ten yards out picks her out, Shorten gets her head to the ball looks to send it wide of the keeper, Pearce throws herself out to push the ball around the post. From the corner the ball is played deep and cleared at the far post Lowestoft have a break on up the right the ball played early into Waters with a surging run she holds off a defender before hitting a shot low and hard as she enters the area, Nicholson is down quickly in goal to make the safe push the ball behind for a corner kick.
GOAL! Lowestoft pull the scores level in the closing minutes the the goal coming from the corner kick played into the six yard box from the left comes to Thomas on the six yard line gets her head on the ball knocking it down hits the defender covering the post no time to react the ball is beyond her and into over the line 2-2.
Norwich look to pile bodies forwards as they are awarded a free kick on halfway the ball is sent long into towards the far post area Pearce gets a fist up to knock the ball down to her right, Snelling goes after in the angle is tight as she pulls the trigger fires the ball into the side netting. Pearce keeps the scores level making a fantastic save at the death as the ball is driven in from distance throwing her arm up tips the ball onto her cross bar as both sides look for what would be the winning goal in injury time.
Waters still has life in her legs at the end as she is played through in behind the Norwich defence running towards goal hits a fierce drive from the edge of the area places the ball wide of goal. The final action as the referee blows the whistle and Lowestoft come back from 2-0 down to salvage a point the final score 2-2.
The result keeps Norwich in 6th, whilst Lowestoft climb a couple of places into 8th. A highly entertaining local derby match played under the lights a game of two halves certainly with Norwich having the play for much of the 1st half with some good attacking moves taking an early 2 goal lead. Signs were there at the end of the 1st half that Lowestoft could get back into the match and an early goal in the 2nd half gave them the belief still both sides had plenty of opportunities to score further goals, 3 of the 4 goals coming from set pieces.
Thanks to both clubs for there help with the teams tonight. Lowestoft are away to Cambridge United in the FAWPL League Cup this coming Sunday. Norwich have another home match Denham United the visitors both 2pm kick off's.