Sunday 6 March 2016

Match Report - Colchester Town Ladies v AFC Sudbury Ladies

   On to my 2nd league cup semi-final of the weekend, this one from the Eastern Region Women's Football League (ERWFL) with Colchester Town Ladies taking on AFC Sudbury Ladies for a place in the final.

  The ERWFL has 3 leagues the Premier Division with 10 sides completing and two feeder leagues Division One East and West which both have 7 sides. The Division One sides contested round 1 and 2 of the League Cup before the Premier Division sides entered in round 3.

   Colchester Town Ladies have been something of a Jekyll & Hyde side this season in the Premier Division picking up some great results then not building on them, sit comfortably in mid-table and no doubt that when they have their full squad available to them can beat anyone on their day. Have saved their best form for the cup competitions. Beat Premier Division leaders Billericay Town Ladies in the 3rd round 2-0 away from home. A single goal at home against Haringey Borough Women scored by Chelsea Forde saw them through to the semi-finals.

  AFC Sudbury Ladies came up to the Premier Division this season and have had an excellent season so far in the top division of Regional football, in 3rd place in the table. Were given a Bye in the 3rd round of the League Cup. Drawn away from home to play Great Shelford Ladies in the quarter-finals winning the match 2-1 Sophie Jeffery and Stacey Teager with the goals. 

  15 miles separate the two sides, league results equal a home win for both, however league form counts for nothing with a cup final place up for grabs. The venue for today's match The Boxted Sports Ground, situated in Boxted north of Colchester itself. A multi-sports facility the bar is currently undergoing redecoration, although there was a kitchen available for tea and coffee. It was finally nice to be standing beside a pitch with sunshine bathing down, few dark clouds around but reasonably warm for a change. The pitch has seen alot of action fairly bobbly.

 Colchester Town Ladies starting XI - Nikita Runnacles, Victoria King, Lucy Jones, Elizabeth Blacklock, Ellen Powles, Megan Bamber, Paige Wakefield, Charlotte Bryant, Kerry Stimson, Alexandra Brewis-Shephard (C) & Chelsea Forde.
 subs - Zoe Smith

 AFC Sudbury Ladies starting XI - Helena Brodie, Rebecca Thrower, Marie Seabrook (C), Holly Harrison, Sophie Pink, Sasha Diston, Phoebe Guiver, Natalie Golding, Emma Squirrell, Sophie Jeffery & Stacey Teager. 
 subs - Kayleigh Steed, Jessica Oxlade & Charlotte Golding.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Colchester have kick off 1st half, have two dual signed players in their starting line up today, Kerry Stimson also with C&K Basildon whilst Paige Wakefield is with London Bees. Whilst Sudbury have Jess Oxlade dual signed with Suffolk Women's Division leaders East Bergholt United amongst their substitutes scored 5 goals for them in last Sunday's league game. Colchester are kitted out in red and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks with Sudbury lined up opposite wearing yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. 

   Colchester work the ball up the right early on winning a throw the ball comes to Paige Wakefield level with the area turns an lifts a high ball into the centre of the area, Alexandra Brewis-Shephard, Colchester's captain rises to get her head to the ball leans on Sudbury central defender Rebecca Thrower to do it knocking her headed ball drops into the area, Sudbury captain Marie Seabrook along side Thrower gets her body in the way of the attempted shot, then clears the ball out of her area.

   Megan Bamber carries the ball up the left, plays it on for Brewis-Shephard ahead of her, race to the ball with Thrower as she comes across to win it, gets ahead of the Colchester captain plays the ball back to her goalkeeper, Helena Brodie, she kicks the ball out of her area, no height on the ball rolls straight to Chelsea Forde 20 yards out in the centre, a cheeky back heel beats the defender coming in to challenge her giving her room to shot sends the ball in towards goal curling to the right it won't come back enough to turn inside the post out for a goal-kick.

   Thrower brings the ball out from the back for Sudbury plays it wide right for Natalie Golding to take on into the Colchester half, launches a high diagonal ball into the area for Stacey Teager to attack, is muscled out of the way by Elizabeth Blacklock as she goes to challenge for the ball, Teager ends up on the floor the ball rolling through to Colchester goalkeeper Nikita Runnacles, nothing doing the referee waves play on. 

  Sudbury attack again Golding with the ball wide right again higher up the pitch this time picks out Teager in the middle 20 yards out sends the ball out to Sophie Jeffery on the left then spins off her marker looking to get into the box. Jeffery sends a great ball in across the six yard box bouncing evades Runnacles, Teager tries to control won't sit for her knocks it wide of goal.

   Kerry Stimson with a great pass to put Bamber away up the left side takes the ball high into the Sudbury half before whipping a high cross along the face of the area dropping far side Brewis-Shephard leaps up to head it down centrally for Forde, is closed down the ball looping up towards goal Brodie steps forwards and gathers it into her body. The referee's not putting up with any swearing and Stimson's reasoning for it doesn't get her anywhere.

  GOAL! Breaking up a Colchester attack in the middle Sasha Diston brings the ball forwards through the middle sends it out into the path of Jeffery wide left surges forwards turning inside to drive into the box with the ball reaching the six yard box has Teager making a run near post plays the ball into her feet the striker beating the defence to the ball to turn it home and give Sudbury the lead 1-0.

AFC Sudbury Ladies striker Stacey Teager
  Straight from the restart Colchester get the ball out to the left full back Lucy Jones playing it into Stimson with Bamber ahead of her left looks to play her in inside the box, Brodie comes to close her down sliding in blocks the shot the ball spinning away behind her for a corner kick. Next attack for Colchester is with Brewis-Shephard on the right her cross into the box too close to Brodie with Forde rushing in central the keeper brings it down into her body. Forde then has a go from 20 yards out running central, the shot taking a nick off Seabrook as she looks to  stop it rolls through to Brodie. 

Lucy Jones on the ball for Colchester Town Ladies
  GOAL! Colchester get back on level terms, win a corner kick as Thrower throws herself at the ball inside the box to take it away from the boots of the advancing Forde. The 1st corner put in from the is put out for another corner from this one Colchester score an in swinging ball sent into the centre of goal comes at Brodie quickly instinctively punches the ball sending it swerving out towards the far post area, Colchester get the ball back in across the face of goal with Forde central to bundle the ball home 1-1. 

Chelsea Forde puts Colchester Town Ladies
back on level terms

  Diston commits the foul against Stimson on halfway, from the free kick Ellen Powles plays the ball high to the edge of the area for Forde to attack goes over the Colchester attack, Sudbury clear the ball out to the right Brewis-Shephard gets hold of it and from the angle goes for goal hitting the ball hard sending it across the six yard box and wide far post. 

   Stimson takes the ball from Seabrook at the back and is in behind her to take the ball in towards goal, Brodie comes racing out to meet her sliding in to pounce on the ball, releases it quickly back to Seabrook who brings it forwards overrunning it slightly on halfway she and Wakefield are hurt as they both lunge in for it neither get it end up hurt on the deck needing treatment a painful blow to the knee for Seabrook she is helped off Kayleigh Steed coming on whilst she recovers. Wakefield limping off to is able to come back on. 

   Sophie Pink and Steed look to combine down the right the full back, Steed holding the ball up with Pink coming for the ball gets it as Steed rolls off her marker looks to go down the line, Pink plays the ball forwards, Steed turns towards the area, Jones tackles her brings the ball forwards looking to put the ball long for Forde, Thrower closes her down preventing the shot. Seabrook is ready to go again Steed appearance for now brief.

  Penalty! Late into the 1st half Colchester have a chance to take the lead from the penalty spot. A powerful run with the ball from Stimson up the right riding a challenge turns inside as she reaches the touchline, gets into the box Seabrook lunges in from behind trying to win the ball, brings down Stimson the referee pointing to the penalty spot. It's Stimson herself to take, hits it low and hard to Brodie's right the keeper doesn't move however the ball smashes against the bottom of the post and spins out of play... miss.

Half-time Colchester Town Ladies 1-1 AFC Sudbury Ladies

  An entertaining 1st half played under the sunshine, two sides that are very much up for it battling hard to win the ball and create chances. Sudbury to kick off the 2nd 45, with the game perfectly balanced will we have a winner in normal time or will it go to extra-time?

   Colchester have the visitors pinned in their own half early on keep the pressure on for several minutes without finding the final ball to send someone in on goal a free kick relieves the pressure. Sudbury come back into it, Jeffery with good work up the left plays it across the pitch looking for Golding her diagonal ball into the box is headed away by Elizabeth Blacklock. Stimson gives away a foul on halfway, Thrower to take lifts it high towards the edge of the box with Jeffery looking to get onto the end of it can't get to it a deflection off a defender sends the ball in behind rolls right Teager coming in latches onto it is blocked spinning out for a corner kick on the right. 

  Brodie makes a save at the feet of Forde as she and Thrower are involved in a chase at the back Thrower getting in front of Forde as they enter the area tries to header it back to her keeper, doesn't get the carry with Forde looking to close it down, Brodie comes to her diving in to make the save. Sudbury bring Guiver off with Steed returning to the pitch.

  GOAL! Colchester take the lead early in the 2nd half and it's from another penalty. Starts at the other end a Sudbury have a free kick in the centre circle the ball is played long into the area headed clear the break is on, Stimson is released as she breaks over halfway, running towards the box the defender closest to her can't get the tackle in Thrower racing back comes across and clatters into Stimson leaving the referee with an easy decision. Stimson is hobbling after the challenge, it's Wakefield to take the spot kick the ball is hit low and hard, Brodie guesses right and dives across can't reach it as Colchester lead 2-1.

Paige Wakefield challenges AFC Sudbury Ladies Sophie Jeffery for
the ball with Marie Seabrook looking on
  Sudbury bring off Golding, sending on Jessica Oxlade. Attacking down the right Jeffery bringing the ball on squares her cross along the face of the Colchester area is just behind Teager, rolling on for Emma Squirrell she looks to hit the shot, Brewis-Shephard is back to challenge just about does enough to put Squirrell off the ball deflects wide to the right Teager lunges at it turns it wide of goal.

  GOAL! The visitors get the score all squared up again, a controversial one leaving the Colchester fans unhappy, Sudbury break from the back Colchester have over committed bodies in their last attack the ball is sent long into space up the left with Jeffery bolting after it, Victoria King gets into her stride as Jeffery reaches her the two racing for the ball left of the area shoulder to shoulder Jeffery puts her body into King sending her tumbling and runs on with the ball closing in on goal sends her shot across the goal face past the diving Runnacles, it comes back off the far post into the centre of goal Jeffery's momentum has carried her their and sliding in sees the ball over the line 2-2.

Sophie Jeffery scores to make it 2-2 for AFC Sudbury Ladies
   GOAL! No sooner have Sudbury got themselves back into the match then Colchester go up the other end and retake the lead. Stimson is on the ball put through in the middle for a run at the Sudbury box evades Seabrook's challenge, carrying the ball on has Brewis-Shephard to her right lays the ball off to her and continues on into the area, Brewis-Shephard returns the ball into Stimson's run and she shoots powering it past the diving goalkeeper into the back of the net 3-2.

Colchester Town Ladies, Kerry Stimson
  GOAL! Direct from the restart Sudbury bring it back level, Squirrell with the ball on the left puts it into the area Colchester don't clear it far enough is picked up by Holly Harrison 20 yards out central puts the ball back in over the top towards the right of goal Teager lunges for it getting the touch needed to evade Runnacles and put it over the line 3-3. A goal feast midway through the 2nd half still no clearer to seeing who will come out on top.

  King and Brewis-Shephard link up down the right for Colchester carrying the ball down the line King gives it to Brewis-Shephard then going on the overlap whips a high cross in towards the far post Wakefield is under it heads it down towards the edge of the area with Stimson coming in looking to meet it, good connection powering in towards goal fantastic save from Brodie throwing herself to her right pushes the ball wide of goal, Brewis-Shephard is 1st to the ball hits her shot wide across the six yard box.

   GOAL! 10 minutes left on the clock and another goal is scored. The ball is pinging around in the centre of midfield neither side able to get hold of it when a header is won the ball put forwards with Stimson springing the offside trap in the middle 25 yards out to run through towards the box Brodie starts to come, Stimson shoots early 20 yards out lifting the ball over the keeper it drops behind her into the back of the net as Colchester lead for the 3rd time in the 2nd half 4-3.

   Can they hold onto the lead this time around, as I told you in yesterdays match report the U18s from Newmarket had no intention of running the ball into the corner late on hold the lead, few more experienced head out on the field today, Colchester have the opportunity to attack instead carry it the opposite way into the corner, 1st Stimson then Brewis-Shephard keep Sudbury their own half. The visitors get a free kick the ball is played up into the Colchester half. Jeffery puts it into Oxlade attacking through the middle with Teager running in behind ahead of her Oxlade looks to slide the ball into her run, back pedalling Powles in between Teager and the ball manages to cut out the pass. 

Colchester Town Ladies captain Alexandra Brewis-Shephard takes the ball
towards the corner flag late into the game defending a 4-3 lead
   Into injury time Colchester do a good job to keep the ball inside the Sudbury half, and celebrate as the final whistle blows and they make it into the final of the ERWFL League Cup. A highly entertaining game, but then I would say that as a neutral, a 7 goal thriller with neither side getting the better of the other for long the game ebbed and flowed and the win could have gone either way right till the end.

   In the other ERWFL League Cup semi-final played this afternoon, Division One East newcomers Silver End United Ladies beat Premier Division title hopefuls Stevenage Ladies 2-1 both goals scored by Rebecca Hollocks to set up an all Essex final, date and venue to be announced.

  Congratulations to both Colchester Town Ladies and Silver End United Ladies on reaching the final. My thanks to both Colchester and AFC Sudbury Ladies for their help with the team details today. 



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