The ERWFL Division One is the 4th tier of the women's winter football pyramid currently split into 2 leagues Division One East & West with 7 sides originally contesting each, the Division One Cup replaces the old League Plate format, runs along similar lines however with the sides contesting the 2 divisions split into two groups A & B to play a mini league, providing each side with more competitive matches. The top 4 from each group progressing into a knock-out stage, the quarter finals.
Contrasting season's for both the finalists, Colney Heath Ladies were the beaten finalists in last season's ERWFL League Plate competition. A young side who I have often heard talked about as one to watch in the future this season has seen the sides progress hampered by injuries and like a good number of sides across the region the poor weather that saw them hardly play a game got no momentum going were rooted to the bottom of ERWFL Division One West for virtually the whole campaign. Towards the latter half of the season getting players back and entering the Division One Cup drawn in Group B this saw them find some form winning 3 of their 5 games to finish 3rd in the table to reach the quarter finals 2 successive league wins at the end of the season saw them climb off the foot of the table.
Writtle Ladies are very much a side on the rise newly promoted to the ERWFL this season having had 100% league win record in Essex they continued that form in the league holding onto that 100% right up until the penultimate league games against local rivals Silver End United Ladies, who we will talk about more in the next match report, edged the win in a 7 goal thriller 4-3. By then however Writtle Ladies were already crowned champions of the ERWFL Division One East and will be competing in the Premier Division next season. Were also runners-up in this seasons Essex Women's County Cup Final. Drawn in A in the Division One Cup topped the group going through unbeaten with 4 wins and a draw.
Road to the Final
Onto the knock-out stages the quarter-finals predetermined by the final placing in Groups A & B with 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd. That saw Colney Heath Ladies travelling from Hertfordshire to play Essex side Little Thurrock Dynamos Ladies, who had gone through the group stages unbeaten themselves. Colney Heath Ladies ran out 3-1 winners to reach the semi-finals to play Hoddesdon Owls Ladies a single goal scored by Christina Freestone was enough to see them reach the ERWFL Division One Cup Final.
Writtle Ladies were to face familiar opponents in the quarter-finals were at home to Silver End United Ladies knocked them out of the competition with a 3-1 victory. Reaching the semi-finals they were on the road taking on Offley & Stopsley Ladies had a 3-2 advantage at half-time before going on again to score 2nd half to win the game 4-2 and set-up the potential of a league and cup double.
The venue for today's ERWFL Finals, Hertfordshire FA's County Ground, been here a few time this season for various games, easy to access, a good sized pitch with a large seated stand running along one side behind the dugouts, small covered terraced stands behind the goals with another covered stand on the opposite side. The weather for the finals day couldn't be better, bright, sunny and warm.
subs - Lucy Hancock, Annie Hickey & Jael Muzzi.
Writtle Ladies starting XI - Beth Griffiths, Caroline Brown, Kayleigh Franklin, Hannah Mold, Faith Candice, Courtney Clarke, Georgina Tricker, Leanne Stubbings, Amy Simmons, Abigail Fry (C) & Sophie Vale.
subs - Amelia Murphy, Charlotte Walker, Kimberly Ripton, Rachel Weller & Nicola Medici.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Fry is brought down by Joseph wide right as she attempts to take the ball on around her a free kick in a dangerous position the ball is sent into the box long, Rachel Sheridan winning the header gets the ball clear. Colney Heath have gotten better over the last 10 minutes Sammy May playing the ball to Milton moving across the the right side an early cross into the area from high up the pitch aiming near post with Holly Sheridan making the run Griffiths can gather before the striker can pounce. Slade with a defensive clearance out from the back finds Sheridan who has Randles making a surging run from left back into space rolls the ball gets her team a throw high up the pitch the ball is worked into the Writtle area Kelly Hancock tries to get onto the ball can't bring it under control to shoot Writtle's Hannah Mold gets it out of the area.
It's Writtle wearing green and white horizontal striped shirts with green shorts and socks to kick off the 1st half with Colney Heath lined up opposite wearing black and white vertical striped shirts, with black shorts and socks. Writtle press Colney Heath right from the start getting the ball out on the left, look to get the ball into the area Colney Head central defender intercepts the ball and launches it far from her area. Writtle regain possession and try their luck on the opposite flank, captain Abigail Fry running into space receiving the ball squares her cross in towards the near post area, Colney Heath goalkeeper Natalie Hilton has come across and is there to scoop the ball up into her gloves.
Colney Heath look to teat Writtle out through the centre, play the ball long looking for striker, Adrienne Milton first, looks to get into the box onto the ball, Faith Candice gets her foot on the ball first. Peeling away to the right Milton's strike partner, Holly Sheridan does find herself played in on the ball taking it into the box on the right side, Writtle goalkeeper Beth Griffiths comes charging out to close her down, Sheridan smashes her shot straight at the keeper, spins away from danger.
GOAL! An early lead for Writtle, the ball is rolled into Sophie Vale on the right holding the ball up initially, spins off her marker and turning in behind puts in an early cross into the Colney Heath area, along the six yard line, Leanne Stubbings is there having made a midfield run, unmarked the ball comes into her she connects to turn it 90 degrees on target, is past Hilton before she can react, a late dive to her left in vain the ball already over the line 0-1.
|Leanne Stubbings opens the scoring in the ERWFL Division One Cup Final|
From a throw on the left side on half way the ball is sent across field picking out Amy Simmons on the left for Writtle, carrying the ball on towards the area unleashes a shot from 25 yards out left of the D looking to across the diving keeper, Hilton sees the ball run wide at the far post. Simmons is played through again left side by Courtney Clarke has Colney Heath defender, Rachel Sheridan on her shoulder as they run into the are, Simmons attempts to lob the keeper, Sheridan does enough to deflect the ball wide for a corner kick. The corner is cleared out to the left, winning a 2nd corner Writtle go short this time Caroline Brown receiving the ball comes to the top corner of the area and aims for the top corner her shot landing on the roof of the net.
Writtle have started well, Colney Heath haven't gotten going yet. Plenty of energy on show from both sides especially Colney Heath who are looking for Holy Sheridan or Milton whenever they win the ball, Sheridan finds room on the right sends a driving ball into the Writtle area no one is making a run to get onto the end of it. Colney Heath captain, Sophie Joseph gets onto the ball winning a 50/50 on halfway left side drives forwards with the ball laying the pass into Holly Sheridan coming left side back to goal on the edge of the box, turns playing the ball on with Milton the pass a little heavy Milton does well to win a corner. Comes in long from the right far post players there but no one can get a touch.
Clarke wins Writtle a corner as the Essex side wins a throw deep on the right Kayleigh Franklin putting the ball into her feet inside the box, Eustacia Randles closing her down to concede the corner, played into the box from the right, Simmons back to goal can't control it Stubbings far side goes to retrieve and shoot but Colney Heath have pushed out quickly the offside flag is raised. Stubbings linked up with Vale through the middle inside the Colney Heath half, the midfielder playing the ball forwards into Vale outside the box, looks to turn inside and hit the shot, is blocked by Kirsty Feasey as she tracks back to help defend the rebound rolling back to Stubbings her strike back in towards goal is straight into the gloves of Hilton.
|Writtle Ladies, Courtney Clarke|
Is a warm day the referee lets the players take on fluids as Vale receives treatment in the middle after the affects of a robust challenge in the middle of the park. As play resumes Colney Heath press the ball high Holly Sheridan winning it and putting the pass through the middle for Milton, up against Candice the two chase the ball into the box, Griffiths is coming forwards, Milton stretches trying to get it past her sends her attempt high and wide.
|The captains tussle for the ball, Writtle's Abigail Fry with Colney Heath's, Sophie Joseph|
Changes for Colney Heath with Joseph and Holly Sheridan coming off, Annie Hickey and Jael Muzzi come on. Colney Heath are putting alot of effort into pressuring the ball when Writtle hit them on the counter Georgina Tricker latching on to the ball and taking it down the left wing, cutting back inside into the area her shot is charged down by the advancing keeper, Hilton runs back to Tricker she is closed down no shot on lays it back to Vale edge of the box bouncing she can't quite get her foot over the ball, turning it in, Randles is able to head it clear.
GOAL! Vale gets another chance to shoot at goal moments later an takes it doubling Writtle's lead late in the 1st half. Writtle turn the play around quickly the ball through the middle sending Vale through determined to reach in lunges for the ball outside the area digging it out of the ground sends it in rising towards goal comes at Hilton quickly throws her gloves up at it but can't get a firm grip as it squeezes through and dropping behind her over the line. 0-2.
|Sophie Vale scores to make it 2-0 to Writtle Ladies|
A late free kick for Colney Heath on half way, Slade to play the ball long in to the Writtle area, Hickey throws herself at the ball may have got a touch but either way bouncing on Griffiths pushes the ball wide of goal conceding the corner kick. Played in from the left, long again to the far post Milton rising cranes her neck to try and turn the ball on target sends the attempt over the bar.
Half-time Colney Heath Ladies 0-2 Writtle Ladies
A 2-0 lead at half-time Writtle Ladies started the brighter and took an early lead, Colney Heath slow to get started improved as the half wore on, both sides creating chances Writtle doubling their lead 5 minutes before the break. A usual lead to have at half-time another goal would put a hand firmly on the cup.
Colney Heath to get the 2nd half underway, Holly Sheridan and Joseph are back on the pitch, Randles and Milton off, Lucy Hancock has also been introduced to the action. Straight away they are pressing Writtle on the ball get the ball into the area, Griffiths gets the ball into her gloves. Both keepers are out of their area in the opening minutes with play congested in the middle the ball popping free to send an attacker through. Both keepers come and kick well. Fry attacking down the right wins Writtle a corner kick put in Stubbings looks to help the ball on into the crowded six yard area in front of goal, Rachel Sheridan gets the ball away.
|Colney Heath's Sophie Joseph in a race for the ball with Writtle's Courtney Clarke|
Hickey going after a ball played through the centre nods it on with her head looks to chase it down into the Writtle area, Mold gets back on her the shot deflected wide out to the right is picked up by Kelly Hancock her ball sent back into the box is cleared. Colney Heath are awarded a free kick wide right 25 yards out May to play into the area a good delivery whipped in with pace an inviting height, Holly Sheridan goes up for it can't quite get the connection to turn the ball in towards goal.
Writtle have players ready to burst on when the ball is won back, Fry makes the move on the right wants the ball, gets it taking it on turn inside closing in on the area fires the shot in low and with power, Hilton gets down to stop it, pops out of her grasp for a second Simmons closing in from the left is interested, the keeper snatches the ball back into her body. Candice is in alot of pain from a tackle in the centre the defender is unable to carry on Charlotte Walker comes on goes up top in attack with Stubbings dropping into defence.
The stand behind the dugouts is shielding the fans from the sun over on the far side but it is a potential problem for the keepers when any ball is put in from the opposite with any height, Vale does just that attacking down the right for Writtle, up high and dropping down close to her crossbar Hilton on her line does well to get hold of the ball. In the opposite goal Griffiths comes charging out of her box as Holly Sheridan as played in through the middle sliding in fully committed gets everything behind the ball to deny Sheridan the chance to shoot.
Tricker gives away a free kick wide on the left close to 30 yards out, may is standing over the ball goes for goal gets plenty of pace on the shot smashes against the woodwork coming back out into play, Writtle hurry the clearance get the ball up the other end. Colney Heath are seeing more of the ball getting it up the field with urgency have a throw on the right taken quickly by Kelly Hancock she plays Holly Sheridan into the Writtle area, Mold gets the tackle in putting the ball out for a corner kick. Taken from the right Tricker defends the ball near post then fouls the corner taker Joseph outside the box. The set-piece is launched long to the far post a crowd of Colney Heath players after it one connects the header is wide took a knick a corner on the left is given this ball is cleared out only as far as Joseph standing on the edge of the area, snatches at the ball her shot well off target.
|Colney Heath Ladies, Kirsty Feasey looking to get hold of the ball|
More substitutions, for Writtle Amelia Murphy comes on for Vale whilst Colney Heath bring Randles and Milton back on for Lucy Hancock and Muzzi. Tricker brings the ball out from the back and covers alot of grass knocking it past the full back ahead of her before playing the ball into the area, Rachel Sheridan comes across to win the ball putting it behind for a corner.
A break for Colney Heath, the attacking 3 looking to combine as Holly Sheridan plays Milton into the box from the right side, looks to flash a cross into Hickey chasing in far post along the six yard box, Griffiths throws herself on the ball making the save in front of Hickey. Both sides are fashioning chances as Writtle play Fry in on the right attacking with the ball drives inside running along the front of the Colney Heath area rolls the ball across to Murphy waiting for it left of the D, looks to turn the shot in towards goal, curls it over the crossbar.
Lucy Hancock is back on for Colney Heath replacing Kelly Hancock. Writtle's Caroline Brown plays a superb ball out to the left for Simmons to chase down into the Colney Heath box, the angle is fading fast as she closes in on the six yard box Hilton coming to close her down goes to shoot across the face of the goal, sees the effort run wide at the opposite post. Hilton needs some treatment after she ribcage is rattled coming to claim a Writtle free kick put in from halfway gets her gloves to the bouncing ball before being clattered - is okay to continue.
Corner for Colney Heath played in from the right side into the box dropping to Sheridan unmarked central on the six yard line headers the ball in towards goal, Griffiths looks beaten as the ball flies to her left, somehow produces an amazing piece of agility to throw herself at the ball is past her as she plucks it away from a certain goal.
|Beth Griffiths produces an amazing save to keep Writtle's 2-0 lead intact|
Muzzi and Feasey return to the pitch for Colney Heath Hickey and May the players coming off. Colney Heath are running out of time to get a goal back and get themselves back into the final. Win a corner on the left the ball put in is headed clear by Clark for a throw in the left the ball is retained by Colney Heath is played across the face of the area, running across her Feasey opens up her body to turn the ball in towards goal, Griffiths is caught static turns to see the ball bounce off the base of the goal post and roll across the six yard box before being cleared.
Another Colney Heath free kick on half way, Slade over it is encouraged to shoot, goes for goal on target but Griffiths has plenty of time to shuffle across and claim it. Kelly Hancock comes back on for Colney Heath, Milton comes off. With Colney Heath pushing players on looking for a goal the game is stretched, Writtle patient are ready to hit them on the break the ball is fed out to Simmons now on the right having switched with Fry, squares the ball in to the near post with Murphy running onto it lifts the strike over the crossbar. The ball is sent out to the right again as Writtle counter the early ball sent in long is past Hilton hits the crossbar and then the far post looks certain to drop over the goal line however Rachel Sheridan gets back on her line to hook it away.
GOAL! Closing in on stoppage time and the goal Colney Heath have been pushing so hard for 2nd half finally comes. The game is stretched late on Writtle aren't interested in taking it into the corner want a 3rd goal themselves to seal it, Colney Heath win it back play the ball through the middle, Holly Sheridan is after in racing after the ball gets plenty of power behind the shot from the edge of the box the ball coming at Griffiths is rising flies over her and hits the back of the net 1-2.
|Holly Sheridan is held aloft by Molly Slade after she scores in the Cup Final for Colney Heath Ladies|
Into stoppage time so little time left Writtle get hold of the ball and keep it late on inside the Colney Heath half-time don't let their opponents have it have the lead and are going to keep it the final whistle blows and Writtle Ladies win 2-1 to end their season with a league and cup double winning the ERWFL Division One Cup.
A good contest played at a fearsome pace, chances at both end Writtle Ladies started the better and got the lead 2-0 at half-time were patient knew Colney Heath had to come at them both sides created chances wasn't till late on Colney Heath got a gaol back 10 minutes sooner maybe it could have been game on however Writtle defended well for the most part and won the game.
|Writtle Ladies 2015/16 ERWFL Division One Cup Winners|
Congratulations to Writtle Ladies on winning the ERWFL Division One Cup and making it a double success with the Division One East title too. My thanks to the management of both sides for their help with the teams today.