Normally in the competition both sides would already be in the 1st Round Proper of the FA Women's Cup and no doubt about it a few people were caught out, however more women's sides have entered the competition than ever before, 262 and as a result there is a 4th Round of Qualifying so today Wymondham Town Ladies and Bedford Ladies a vying for a place in the 1st Round Proper.
It's the 3rd FA Women's Cup tie in a row where Wymondham Town Ladies have featured on the blog having travelled over to watch them take on Northamptonshire side Moulton Ladies in 2nd Round Qualifying back in September, were the better side that day coming away with a 3-0 win. The FAWPL Division One sides entered the competition in 3rd Round Qualifying and Wymondham Town Ladies were drawn at home to Cambridge United WFC played on Sun 11th Oct. A side playing 3 leagues above them Cambridge United WFC were struggling for form at the wrong end of the table at the time, but still represented a tough test for the Norfolk side, Wymondham defended well keeping a good shape goalkeeper Gemma Hamilton-Rout pulling off some fantastic saves, then striker Sally Hammerton ran clear onto a loose back pass taking it around the keeper and placing the ball into the back of the net the single goal enough to send Wymondham Town Ladies through to the next round of the FA Women's Cup.
Today they face another FAWPL South East Division One side at home, Bedford Ladies the visitors to King's Head Meadow. Are not having the best of seasons so far in the league having the unenviable position of being bottom of the league with a single league win to date. Entered the FA Women's Cup in the last round of qualifying were away to Wealdstone Ladies won the match 4-1 to set up a trip to Norfolk this Sunday.
An earlier 1pm KO now the clocks had gone back and with the possibility of extra-time and dare I say it penalties. Had been alot of rain across the country on Saturday a few ties falling foul of the weather. Cloudy and over cast but no more rain on Sunday the pitch at King's Head Meadow had held out well, looked a little heavy but no standing water. A good crowd had gathered to watch the match, building on the last FA Women's Cup tie ad Wymondham Town Ladies manager Alex Guy had had to deal with an increase in media interest as his sides cup run had gathered interest.
Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI - Gemma Hamilton-Rout, Laura Hammerton, Claire Rennie, Leah Newcombe, Polly Tarrant, Mary Cann, Rachel Cossey (C), Emily Anderson, Kayleigh Holloway, Amber Cantwell & Sally Hammerton.
subs - Natalie Woods, Emma Chambers, Laura Hamilton-Rout & Kelly Ayers.
Bedford Ladies starting XI - Nina Regolo, Holly Venn, Samela Ahmed, Antonia Mitchell, Sophie Mulvihill, Rebecca Vass (C), Joanne Makin, Kaiya Glynn, Suzie Darby Isobelle Attenborough & Chelsea Hunter.
subs - Charlotte Burton & Jorgie Hall.
Remembrance Sunday a minutes silence was observed prior to kick off to remember those that had fought and fallen defending our county. Wymondham kitted out in red shirts, black shorts and socks get the game under way with Bedford lined up opposite wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks.
The early play is on the right of the pitch with Bedford looking to get it out to Kiaya Glynn. Taking the ball down the line gets and early cross in the ball swinging out of play. Is a scrappy start to the match neither side getting hold of the ball for any meaningful possession as they both press hard, forcing passes to be rushed. In the centre Wymondham's Laura Hammerton plays the ball long looking to play attacker Sally Hammerton through, Bedford central defender Sophie Mulvihill gets across in front of her in front of her box making the lunging tackle to take the ball away from her feet.
Venn plays the ball forwards looking for Makin out left again this time Leah Newcombe slides in to take the ball from her put it out for a throw level with area, the ball is closed down from the throw deflected across the face of the area, half cleared comes to Bedford captain Rebecca Vass, 20 yards out wide of the D, hits the ball on the half volley, is straight at Gemma Hamilton-Rout in the Wymondham goal she scoops the ball up into her gloves. Vass gets another opportunity to strike one from long range a minute later wider angle this time hit across the goal Hamilton-Rout can see it wide as it bounces out for a goal kick.
Good build up play from Bedford as Makin brings the ball over half way holds on to it evading a tackle plays the ball out to Hunter on the left, turning back inside Hunter passes the ball into Isobelle Attenborough, has Makin bursting up to the edge of the box to join the attack looks to play her in Newcombe does well setting out from the back line get to the pass first. Bedford are applying early pressure at times it's just goalkeeper Nina Regolo inside their own half. Vass is able to find the space whenever Bedford attack, but like in the Cambridge match the Wymondham back line is very hard to carve open, putting the blocks in Vass capitalises finding herself on the loose ball hitting the shot from distance this time though she is closed down quickly the attempt smashed into an on rushing defender.
|Joanne Makin on the ball for Bedford Ladies|
For all the early pressure though it's from Bedford, it's the home side that almost open the scoring. Wymondham win a throw on the left on half way from that Holloway gets the ball into midfielder Emily Anderson, she drives forwards into the Bedford half with the ball plays it forwards towards the area with Amber Cantwell racing into the centre from the right, getting to the ball 1st hits it early from the edge of the area, Regolo makes a reaction save having no time to set herself falling throws a leg out to her right to make a fantastic save the ball spinning behind for a corner kick. Has been a fast paced opening 15 minutes.
Glynn is fouled as she tries to take players on down the right once more for Bedford, the set piece from Vass is played in towards the edge of the Wymondham box, knocked down into the crowd, it's Laura Hammerton who gets her foot through the ball to get it away before anyone can snatch a shot at goal. Holloway when she's not tracking back to help Mary Cann deal with Glynn is looking to travel with the ball up the wing herself, another good run and turn inside sees her go for goal 30 yards out Regolo takes the shot into her body at her near post. Bedford have a free kick wide on the left inside the Wymondham half, Vass over the ball looks to go for goal, too long sends the ball wide at the far post.
|Bedford Ladies captain, Rebecca Vass looking to go for goal from a free kick|
Wymondham send the ball long through the centre with Bedford pushed up Sally Hammerton is after it, Regolo has to come out of her area just about gets there with a blocking clearance, is up quickly and back-pedalling towards her goal as the ball falls to Anderson she attempts to hit it early, doesn't get the shot on target.
GOAL! Bedford are on the attack, committing players forwards as Glynn has the ball on the right, sends the cross into the box, Newcombe gets on the end of it her clearance towards the edge of the area a difficult height for Claire Rennie to deal with tries to get her foot over the ball can only knock it down into the ground, Vass is there to pounce 20 yards out wraps her foot over the shot drills it arrow straight into the bottom corner across the goal to give Bedford the lead on 23 minutes 0-1.
Wymondham with the crowd getting behind them go up the other end Holloway attacking down the left sends a dangerous ball into the area, coming to meet it is an awkward height for Regolo getting a faint touch to the ball knocks it up into the air behind her with Sally Hammerton coming in she ends up on the ground the referee blowing up against Hammerton even as she blasts the ball into the side netting.
|Leah Newcombe looking to push forwards for Wymondham Town Ladies|
Mitchell turns Wymondham's next attack into a great counter move as she intercepts the final pass, bringing the ball out from the back plays it into Makin, a give and go between her and Hunter outside the area in again read by Tarrant getting there before Makin can run clear on goal. Hamilton-Rout produces a fantastic save to tip the ball over her cross bar, needed to as the shot came from her misplaced goal kick presented to Darby 25 yards out gets plenty of power behind the shot a rising effort Hamilton-Rout back-pedalling to produce an excellent save.
Half-time Wymondham Town Ladies 0-1 Bedford Ladies
Certainly a fast paced and end to end first half, Bedford started the brighter pushing bodies into the Wymondham half, got the goal to have the lead at half time. The home side far from out played however created chances themselves. Bedford captain Vass finding the pocket of space in front of the Wymondham defence giving them the advantage.
Bedford get the 2nd period under-way, Holloway get's the ball on the left for Wymondham early on drives forwards coming inside the pass put into Anderson in the middle, she sprays the ball out to Sally Hammerton on the left in space sends the cross into the box early, Cantwell peeling off her marker darts into the area, can't quite connect with the ball as it flies across the penalty spot before Bedford get it away.
Bedford have rearranged their personnel in the 2nd half Vass is further forwards part of the attack with Hunter in a deeper role in midfield. Cantwell is playing up top closer to Sally Hammerton for Wymondham 2nd half too. She is doing alot of running to harry the Bedford back line winning it plays the pass back to Anderson who looks to thread it through for Sally Hammerton peeling off the last defender to get into the box, the flag goes up of offside stopping play.
|Kayleigh Holloway on the attack for|
Wymondham town Ladies
Game is end to end now as Wymondham press hard for an equalising goal taking a few risks at the back. Holloway is sent clear into space down the left drives to the byline gets the ball over the 1st challenge looks to fire the cross along the goal face, Mulvihill throws herself into the block putting the ball behind for a corner.
Mary Cann makes a rare move forwards overlapping Holloway on the left as Wymondham commit bodies forwards again get it up the pitch quickly catching Bedford short at the back, Cann travels with the ball into space getting to the byline whips the cross in goes over Regolo drawn towards her near post flies across goal Sally Hammerton is racing in to meet it a yard out looks a cert to score just needs to put her head on the ball, goes for the deftest of touches looking to turn it in instead sends the ball over the ball as she ends up in the bottom of the net. Another frantic start to a half just 15 minutes gone again.
|Laura Hammerton driving through the middle for Wymondham Town Ladies|
Cantwell intercepts another Bedford clearance plays it into Sally Hammerton edge of the box, Mitchell manages to get a knick on the ball as the Wymondham attacker tries to skip through the ball is sent out to the right Hammerton after it, Regolo commit's herself to winning the ball risks leaving her goal exposed if she doesn't get there first, does making a strong clearance to send the ball out for the throw.
With players pushed forwards once more Bedford get Vass onto the ball through the centre the break is on the ball is played up the middle with Attenborough going after it. Hamilton-Rout comes racing out of her area goes to ground looking to put everything behind the ball, a bobble takes it over her legs and Attenborough looks to be clear on an empty goal, Tarrant finds the yards in her legs to get back just in time to lunge in take the ball away from her. A corner kick for Bedford played in from the right sees Hunter run in to meet it 8 yards out near post directs her header wide of goal. Next attack for Bedford sees Darby travelling with the ball into space on the right fires the cross on low across the six yard box, Vass is running in can't get her toe on the ball to turn it home.
Hunter picks up a yellow after fouling Newcombe one too many times on halfway. Glynn attacking on the right for Bedford sends her cross into the middle, Hamilton-Rout looks to have it in her gloves, Hunter racing in on her heads it out of her fingers but wide past the post.
Anderson has made several good runs through the middle for Wymondham today, threads the pass into the box for Sally Hammerton, takes a touch pushing her wide of goal to the right takes the shot hitting it hard, Regolo coming to close the angle makes another fantastic save with her legs to deny her a goal. Darby is the next player to go into the referees book as the visitors make a change bringing off Glynn with Jorgie Hall coming on to lead the attack with 25 minutes left to play.
|Rebecca Vass with 2 goals|
Cantwell receives a caution for Wymondham as the home side make a double change, with Newcombe and Anderson coming off, Louise Hamilton-Rout and Kelly Ayers coming on in a move that sees them go to a 3-4-3 formation Holloway looking to join Cantwell and Sally Hammerton up top. Regolo makes a blocking save at her near post off Cantwell conceding a corner on the right. The delivery sent into the six yard box goes over the stranded keeper falls to Holloway coming in unmarked behind heads her shot over the cross bar.
Wymondham continue to press forwards Sally Hammerton driving forwards has Cantwell central running with her shifts the ball into her path hits the shot on the run 25 yards out doesn't get enough lift on the ball to take it over Regolo well placed inside her goal to pluck it down and claim. Regolo then holds onto a curling effort from Laura Hamilton-Rout as she cuts back inside from the left and has a go from 25 yards out.
Wymondham are pushing hard, Bedford are working just as hard to defend Mulvihill and Mitchell winning their fair share of the ball, ready to launch a counter attack catch Wymondham short at the back with Vass always open to receive the ball, getting the ball takes it forwards cutting inside hits a bullet from 30 yards out drills the ball wide of goal.
Possession down the right for Wymondham brings another corner kick, Holloway takes it short up the line to Ayers free in plenty of space, she puts her foot through the ball sending the ball into towards the near post Regolo gets across to make the save. With 5 minutes left to play Wymondham goalkeeper Hamilton-Rout comes up for a corner delivered into the box from the right falls amongst bodies at the far post before being lifted over the bar a goal kick is awarded.
The final whistle blows and Bedford Ladies win the match 0-2 to progress to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Women's Cup. A goal in either half from captain Rebecca Vass to seal the win and hopefully added confidence to take into their league campaign.
A brave effort from Wymondham Town Ladies but their FA Women's Cup run comes to an end have gone further in the competition than ever before, played in front of anther good sized and supportive crowd given women's football in Norfolk added media coverage and exposure.
My thanks to both clubs for the help with the teams today.
Best of luck to Bedford Ladies in the next round of the 1st Round Proper FA Women's Cup.