Sunday, 30 October 2016

Match Report - Freethorpe Ladies v Toftwood United Ladies

  A journey from one end of the women's football pyramid to the other this weekend, I like as you know reading this blog to vary the games and leagues give as much coverage as I can so the focus switches from the FAWSL last evening (see previous report) to county football this weekend in Norfolk, from Division Three, Freethorpe Ladies v Toftwood United Ladies.

 It is the 1st time both sides have featured on the blog, however I have seen Freethorpe Ladies play before back in the days when I was thinking about starting up a blog to help promote the game, they were playing the now defunct Earlham Colney Ladies. 

  For Freethorpe Ladies this is actually their 1st home game of the season having been away from home and having teams call off games since the season started on the 11th September. The Norfolk women's league split into 3 Divisions last season. Freethorpe are amongst 6 sides contesting the league this season was 7, sadly the league lost Red Rose United recently. The remaining 6 sides playing each other 3 times in the league. Awarded the 3 points from their unplayed home game, Freethorpe haven't picked up a point on their travels against the new sides entering the league some of whom have brought in player with higher league experience. A narrow defeat away to today's opponents in the league cup 3 weeks ago.

   Toftwood United Ladies are into their 3rd season as a club based Dereham, Toftwood is a small village adjoining the town. Grew up in Dereham (East Dereham if you live outside of Norfolk) went to school there, Northgate High School which is where Toftwood are playing their home games this season. Drew their opening 2 league fixtures, have since suffered 2 defeats sandwiched between the cup win at home to Freethorpe on the road this Sunday in search of their 1st league win of the season.

  The village of Freethorpe is in East Norfolk near The Broads, the ladies football team play at the Freethorpe Community Pavilion, which houses the village hall as well as a multi sports facility, clubhouse with bar. Two football pitches, both a good size, in good condition with plenty of grass cover a slight slope from one goal to the other. A row of trees forming a wind break one end shedding their leaves onto the goal mouths that end, well into autumn afterall, the clock going back overnight an extra hour in bed for some. The weather still holding fair a dry, bright and mild afternoon.

 Freethorpe Ladies starting XI - Chloe Barber, Toni Talbot, Stacey Barnes (C), Elle-Jay Jarvis, Samantha Greenland, Louise Watts, Sarah Miller, Andrea Colbrook, Michaela Stordy, Megan Wilson & Georgia Goodson.
 subs - Sarah Earl, Wendy Barber & Amy Barber.

 Toftwood United Ladies starting XI - Katie Louise, Jolene Ayrton, Hayley Cross, Lisa Anthony, Olivia North, Summer Copeland, Lydia Hooper, Hayley Majoram, Robyn Penn (C), Katie Hart & Thea Wilson.
 subs - Melanie Freeman, Laura Harvey & Jordie Head. 

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 It's the visitors Toftwood to get the 1st half underway wearing sky blue shirts, navy shorts and sky blue and navy hooped socks with Freethorpe lined up opposite wearing yellow shirts and socks with black shorts. Toftwood have possession of the ball early on make in roads up the left Lydia Hooper firing a cross into the box runs long across the face of goal retrieved by Katie Hart on the right on the byline plays the ball back into the middle, Thea Wilson making a central run into the box, Freethorpe's Toni Talbot gets to the ball 1st clearing it out of the box.

Freethorpe Ladies, Toni Talbot
 Toftwood captain, Robyn Penn on the ball in the middle rolls it out to Hart wide right, is tackled by Freethorpe's, Louise Watts the ball out for a throw, deep inside the Freethorpe half the ball is thrown to Hart turning lifts the ball into the area near post over Wilson going after gets the ball smashed into her face as Freethorpe clear. Hooper moving up the left again puts a cross into the box, doesn't get past, Elle-Jay Jarvis this time as the defender steps forwards to get her foot on the ball. 

  Andrea Colbrook gets forwards into space on the left for Freethorpe as Stacey Barnes, Freethorpe's captain wins the ball at the back rolls it forwards for Sarah Miller her ball picking out Colbrook, Toftwood's Olivia North comes across to tackle put the ball out for the throw. Freethorpe try to work the ball into the box top left corner, charged down Toftwood counter Summer Copeland bringing the ball on sends the pass out to Penn moving out to the right hits the ball early into the box on the diagonal with Wilson and Hooper both bursting forwards the latter left of goal as she enters the box hitting the shot 1st time her strike wide of the target.

  GOAL! Almost 15 minutes on the clock and Toftwood score the opening goal of the game the attack starting on the left the ball played up to Hooper pushing forwards, plays the cross in early getting Wilson in behind the Freethorpe defence goalkeeper Chloe Barber starts to come in an attempt to close the angle, Wilson bringing the ball under control turns and sends her shot low past the advancing keeper into the bottom corner of the net 0-1.

Thea Wilson with the opening goal of the match for Toftwood United Ladies
  Freethorpe push players on from the restart up the field as Toftwood clear it, Watts intercepts the ball wide left inside the Toftwood half takes the ball in field picking out Georgia Goodson outside the box turning towards goal gets a shot away from inside the D along the ground the shot lacks power Toftwood goalkeeper Katie Louise gathers. Jolene Ayrton advances from the back for Toftwood on the left passes the ball into the path of Hooper breaking forwards the cross goes into the box early near side Copeland racing into the area connects with the ball on the outside of her boot trying to help it goalwards knocked into the ground bounces lacking pace, Barber gets hold of it in the six yard box.

Toftwood United Ladies, Summer Copeland
  Freethorpe make a change, Amy Barber coming on for Miller. The home side counter attack from a Toftwood free-kick getting the ball down the other end quickly Goodson carrying it forwards, support from Michaela Stordy to her left receives the ball, North in to tackle the ball out for a throw. Talbot forwards to take the throw tries a long one Colbrook the target top of the area, Toftwood clear but commit the foul wide left. Amy Barber on the set-piece curls the ball into the box Lisa Anthony gets her head on the ball to clear for the visitors.

  GOAL! Closing in on the half hour mark in the 1st half Freethorpe break forwards in number and equalise the ball won at the back is played into the midfield play spread wide to Amy Barber on the left carries the ball forwards, both Goodson and Megan Wilson going with her, Copeland gets back to pressure Barber on the ball as they reach the top of the area, Hayley Cross comes in to tackle Barber the Freethorpe attacker nudging the ball past the full-back as the two collide, the ball runs beyond everyone Wilson is quickest to react getting to the ball in the six yard box gets her shot past Louise as she lunges with her leg to block, the ball is past her strikes the post and bouncing up across the face of go, Goodson is on hand to bury the ball into the back of the net 1-1.

Georgia Goodson scorer the equaliser for Freethorpe Ladies
  Putting pressure on the Toftwood back-line Freethorpe are getting more joy going forwards. Wilson winning the ball in midfield plays the ball out to Watts on the left sends the ball on down the line for Amy Barber, leaning back as she goes to cross the ball puts it behind for a goal kick. Wendy Barber comes on for the home side replacing Stordy. Freethorpe have a free-kick beside the box on the left side after the referee spots a push in the back. Jarvis forwards to take it sends the ball into the box top of the six yard box far post Wilson knocks the ball down for Amy Barber can't keep her shot down as she goes for goal.

 Toftwood's Wilson has the ball on the left attacking plenty going forwards for Toftwood in this attack whips the cross into the area trying to pick out Penn in a central position, Talbot nips in ahead of her to clear the ball rolls out to Copeland 25 yards out, looks to play the ball back in with Wilson coming central wanting the ball fed int her feet, can't take the ball on the move, the Freethorpe defence get it away out to the right, Hart latches onto it one touch before hitting a low drive in towards the near post, Barber down to her left makes the save.

 Getting players forwards Freethorpe are frustrating Toftwood late in the 1st half, Barber the outlet ball on the left. Winning a throw deep on the flank, receives the ball from the long throw turning to hit the ball across the six yard box is deflected into the side netting for a corner. Cleared out of the area Samantha Greenland regains possession for Freethorpe the pass inside to Goodson goes to shoot 25 yards out, the ball charged down by Anthony. 

  GOAL! Closing minutes of the 1st half and Toftwood hit Freethorpe on the counter to retake the lead, North on the ball plays it up through the middle into the box picking out Wilson similar position to the opening goal, hits the shot on the turn left of goal sending the past the keeper into the back of the net. 1-2.

  A late chance for Freethorpe to grab a goal a half chance as Amy Barber pressuring the defence forces and error running in behind left side into the box, Louise is quickly out to slide in and get hold of the ball before the attacker can reach it.

Half-time Freethorpe Ladies 1-2 Toftwood United Ladies

  Toftwood started the match well, attacking early on and taking the lead inside 15 minutes. Freethorpe coming back into the game found the equaliser, were forcing the pace of the game after that for a spell putting pressure on Toftwood's defence to bring about mistakes, hit on the counter late in the 1st half to go into the dressing room a goal down. All set up for the 2nd half. Two changes for Toftwood at half-time with captain Penn of along with Cross, Laura Harvey and Melanie Freeman on. Thea Wilson wearing the captains armband 2nd half. Freethorpe get the 2nd half underway. Stordy is back on for Freethorpe.

  GOAL! Toftwood extend their lead barely a minute into the 2nd half, Copeland  on the ball has a run at the defence right side stands the ball up lifting it up towards Hooper inside the six yard box at the far post gets up well to head the ball just the right amount of lift to get it up and over Barber trying to reach it drops behind her into the net 1-3. A blow for Freethorpe right at the start of the 2nd half.

Lydia Hooper heading the ball, does the same to score inside the box to make it 3-1 to Toftwood United Ladies
 Toftwood come on again the ball with Harvey played on for Hart wins a corner kick. An inswinging ball coming near post Barber in the Freethorpe goal calls for it and makes a confident claim as she advances. Up the other end Stordy closes the ball down forcing an error as Toftwood try to clear the ball rebounds back into the middle running into the box, Goodson after it, Louise is quickly off her line to the edge of her area to slide in and grab the ball. 

Toftwood's Copeland battles with Freethorpe's Elle-Jay Jarvis for the ball

  Hooper gets the ball into her feet on the left a forceful run sends the cross in early curling into the six yard both Barber with a good take gets her gloves firmly on the ball with Wilson running in central. Barber is the out of her box to clear a ball over the top from Toftwood with both Wilson and Hart closing her down. Toftwood's Wilson goes after the ball played into the left corner area. Time to play the cross in has both Copeland and Hart waiting at the top of the area into Copeland she knocks in on for Hart to strike goalwards her shot dragged wide of the near post.

 With the ball on the right Colbrook tries to get a cross into the box for Freethorpe, wins a throw the ball given to her turns lifts the ball into the box North clears it for Toftwood. The home side make a change Jarvis coming off with Sarah Earl coming on. Barber produces a smart save with her feet as Hart with the ball wide right shows a burst of pace to take it on behind the defence before drilling the ball in towards goal on the angle Barber saving with her foot the ball out for a corner. 

  Majoram brings about an error from Freethorpe as she pushes forwards with the ball a miscued clearance bringing a corner kick on the left, North to take plays it into Copeland near side top of the area her touch deflecting the ball into the six yard box, Barnes clears for Freethorpe. 

Summer Copeland gets up to win the ball fr Toftwood from the corner

  GOAL! Toftwood extend their lead 18 minutes into the 2nd half, has to go down as an own goal but is very unfortunate from Barber. Harvey is advancing with the ball inside right for Toftwood 20 yards out looks to send a ball into the box comes in at a vicious height near post Barber jumping up to try and get a glove on the ball manages to knock it out of the air off balance however she falls to the ground the ball loose bounces towards goal, the keeper tries desperately to keep it out with her legs but can't the ball crossing the line 1-4.

 Toftwood have Freethorpe on the back foot keep coming forwards, Hart on the ball down the right wing sees her cross turned behind by Watts for a corner. Freethorpe clear the initial ball from the set-piece on the right the clearance coming to Hart top of the area lifts the ball back in near side Wilson getting her head to the ball sends a looping header on up into the six yard box, Barber keeps her eyes firmly on the ball not distracted by Hooper closing in to take the ball down into her body cleanly.

 Substitutes for both sides Freethorpe bringing off Wendy Barber with Megan Wilson back on. Toftwood make 3 changes Cross and Penn back on for Ayrton and Majoram, Jordie Head comes on for Copeland. The visitors break with menace 3 forwards moving through the middle Hart on the ball unleashes a shot from the top of the area, Barber saves well the ball cleared out to Head who sends in back in with Wilson moving across the six yard box gets her head to it near post puts the ball wide. An unorthodox save from Barber moments later as the ball over the top sees Head bearing down on goal left side the keeper comes flying out to slide in rolls over in doing so stopping the ball with her bottom as Head leaps over her.

  GOAL! Head has been lively since coming on for Toftwood up front and her energy brings a mistake at the back which she capitalises on getting in behind right side pushing on with the ball hits the shot on the angle plenty of pace on the ball flies past the diving keeper into the goal beyond 1-5.

 Freethorpe reintroduce Jarvis to the action Earl coming off. Little for the Freethorpe attackers to feed on 2nd half, Colbrook is gifted a chance as Louise plays her goal-kick straight at her, 25 yards out goes for goal, on target Louise gets behind it to gather on the bounce.

Freethorpe Ladies, Andrea Colbrook

  GOAL! Toftwood go forwards the ball played out to Harvey onto Hart down the right takes the ball all the way to the byline cutting inside into the box looks to send the ball across the six yard box, hits a Freethorpe defender the deflection helps it on to the top of the six yard box with Head racing onto the ball smashes her shot into the back of the net 1-6.

  Freethorpe haven't pressured the Toftwood defence like they did 1st half aren't getting anything up front as a result, when they do get the ball into the box, Louise in the Toftwood goal has more often than not come for it. Watts gets hold of the ball taking it inside Amy Barber moves into the area the cross in towards her the Toftwood keeper slides in to claim at her feet.

A hat-trick for Toftwood United
Ladies, Jordie Head
  GOAL! Into the final 10 minutes of the game Toftwood extend their lead further. Freeman on for Hart down the right carries the ball to the top of the area before unleashing a stinging drive towards goal, Barber throws herself at it falling gets her gloves to the ball knocking it to the ground, Wilson is racing in near post and 1st to arrive wraps her foot over the ball to send it home for her hat-trick 1-7.

  GOAL! Goal number 7 is quickly followed by goal number 8, little Barber can do about this one as 2nd half substitute Head completes her hat-trick the ball rolled into her 25 yards out back to goal spins inside and sends a shot arrowing into the top corner of the goal 1-8.

 Wilson comes off late for Toftwood, Majoram back on. The visitors have a corner on the right the ball played into Harvey near post inside the six yard box scuffs her attempted shot the ball rolling into Majoram ahead of her the angle against her as she goes for goes puts her strike behind for a goal-kick. The final whistle blows and Toftwood with a dominant 2nd half display win their 1st league game of the season.

Full time Freethorpe Ladies 1-8 Toftwood United Ladies

  Well I certainly didn't see that 2nd half coming after the 1st half. Totally different story 2nd half Toftwood with a quick fire goal making it 3-1 went on to dominate the attack Getting plenty of bodies forwards and creating goal scoring chances. Freethorpe after a good display 1st half getting back into the game, didn't put the pressure on the ball 2nd half that had brought about the success 1st half. Let their heads drop too early. Little time to lick their wounds the two sides meet again in the league next Sunday, Freethorpe making the trip to Dereham.

  Good to see both sides in action at last. My thanks as always to both clubs for their help with the team details today always appreciated.

Match Report - Everton Ladies v Bristol City Women

  Nearing the end the season in FA WSL 2 and the battle for promotion to top tier of Women's football couldn't be much closer. With 2 games left to be played everything could be decided this weekend or else it'll make for a dramatic last day. 4 sides have been involved in the hunt for promotion all season. Two of those meeting this Saturday for the penultimate game of the season with 3rd placed Everton Ladies hosting Bristol City Women. 

  2 points the gap between the 2 sides both founding members of the FAWSL. Bristol City Women with a 2 point advantage can win promotion back to FAWSL 1 at the 1st attempt with a victory tonight. Everton Ladies win and they go top and put themselves in pole position for a promotion spot going into the final day next Sunday. A huge game for both sides.

  Have see Everton Ladies a few times this season, play some good flowing football, goals throughout the side captain Michelle Hinnigan top scorer with 7 goals. A young squad bolstered by loan signings, Chloe Kelly joining for the latter part of the season doing well in attack has since returned to Arsenal Ladies. Rosella Ayane another loan signing to make a big impact coming in for Chelsea Ladies had a spell on loan at Bristol City Women at the start of the season.

  Haven't seen Bristol City Women this season yet and seeings as they are the only side throughout the FAWSL I haven't thought I'd best get myself along to a game. Relegated from FAWSL 1 last season have had a strong season so far as they look to bounce back at the 1st attempt. Manager Willie Kirk having to over see a little bit of rebuilding with high profile players departing in recent seasons. Has brought in a crop of young players a mixture of permanent and loan signings. Jodie Brett and Millie Farrow in on season long loans from Chelsea Ladies, Farrow top scorer with 8 goals has been out injured recently. Olivia Fergusson and Caitlin Leach in from Aston Villa Ladies too amongst others with younger players stepping up from the development squad amongst them Norfolk's Flo Allen.

  It's a long haul up from Norfolk to the Select Security Stadium, having discovered the Mama Mia fast food place near the stadium earlier in the season I was suitable refuelled before the game under the lights at the Select Security Stadium. An artificial surface, the weather still pretty good considering we're at the end of October, dry and mild.

FA WSL 2 Top of the Table
Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Yeovil Town Ladies 16
2 Bristol City Women
3 Everton Ladies
4 Durham FC Women

 Everton Ladies starting XI - Kirsty Levell, Vicky Jones, Danielle Turner, Gabrielle George, Megan Finnigan, Millie Turner, Michelle Hinnigan (C), Kelly Jones, Rosella Ayane, Krystle Johnston & Claudia Walker.
 subs- Alex Brooks, Jenna Dear, Ellie Stewart, Simone Magill, Emily Hollinshead & Lauren Davies.

 Bristol City Women starting XI - Caitlin Leach, Megan Alexander, Georgia Evans, Hayley Ladd (C), Frankie Brown, Flo Allen, Jodie Brett, Eloise Wilson, Chloe Arthur, Claire Emslie & Millie Farrow.
 subs - Hannah Reid, Olivia Fergusson, Paige Sawyer, Katie Jones, Poppy Wilson & Lily Woodham.

  It's Everton to get the 1st half underway wearing blue shirts with white shorts and socks, Bristol kitted out all in red. The ball is played long from the start out to the right wing with Krystle Johnston giving chase, getting across her Bristol full-back Megan Alexander can see it out for a goal kick. A quiet opening to the match both sides looking to spread the play across the field. Attacking down the right the ball is lifted into the box with Bristol's Millie Farrow trying to get onto the end of it, Gabrielle George closes her down wins the ball sending it clear.

  A strong run from Everton's Rosella Ayane coming inside from the left evading a tackle the ball is in behind the Bristol defence, trying to get it as it runs into the box Ayane fouls the player trying to shield the ball. End to end as Bristol's Jodie Brett is fouled on half way, the ball played up into the area by Chloe Arthur trying to pick out Farrow, Everton win the ball break down the left the ball whipped into the box is headed out by Bristol captain, Hayley Ladd falls to Claudia Walker outside the box, shoots Ladd blocks tries again same result spi out to the right the shot blazed high and wide.

  Hitting Bristol on the counter attack Everton are flagged offside on 3 occasions early on in the game. Everton captain, Michelle Hinnigan gets hold of the ball in the centre of midfield, plays it to Kelly Jones on her right, carrying the ball further wide as she closes in on the box has Millie Turner with her they play a one two before Jones whips a cross into the box is just behind Walker as she races into the area, Ayane beyond her picks it up is squeezed off the ball by Frankie Brown before any shot can be made.

  Kelly Jones bursts forwards to get into the box getting onto the end of an Ayane cross played in from the left, 12 yards out sends her strike over the Bristol crossbar. A fabulous ball out from the back by Everton goalkeeper, Kirsty Levell as the back pass is rolled into her switching play sweeps a long ball out to the right wing, Johnston out there runs onto the ball and surging forwards crosses early into the area, the ball once more just beyond Walker as she runs into the area.

  The crowd go up calling for a penalty as Kelly Jones appears to be fouled inside the box wide right as she tries to get the cross in, the referee isn't interested and no Everton player protests. Good tempo to the match a great advert for football in FAWSL 2. A good turn as the ball is played into her feet Farrow spins off her marker to get in behind takes the ball on towards the box, George getting back on her as they enter the area, gets a foot in to take the ball away from the Bristol attacker goes behind for the corner.

  A few fouls being given away by both sides. Everton have a free-kick 40 yards out on the right inside the Bristol half looks to go for goal an ambitious effort flies over the bar. Hinnigan plays the ball on for Walker moving forwards left riding a challenge brings the ball on before crossing from the top of the area into Ayane near post is leaned on as she tries to go up to head the ball, cleared runs into Johnston outside the box to the right of goal, shoots plays the ball over the bar.

Bristol City Women's Claire Emslie looking to get into a shooting position
  Johnston the ball at her feet drives at the back peddling Bristol defence has Ayane in close support as everyone moves into the box nudges the ball in behind looks to go after it Ayane gets there 1st is flagged offside as she plays a soft shot in towards goal, Bristol goalkeeper, getting down to gather easily. Bristol break the ball on the left with Arthur squares her cross into the area just behind Farrow moving near post outside the six yard box, Claire Emslie far post stretches to get to the ball, is taken off her toes cleared out of the area, Flo Allen coming on from midfield latches onto it shoots her strike is charged down, the break is on for Everton played into Ayane left charges forwards cutting back inside into the box shoots her low ball drilled in near post Leach down sharply saves pushing the ball behind for a corner kick.

  GOAL! Bristol score the opening goal in the game 26 minutes on the clock the ball is out on the left inside the Everton half, they visitors with the throw the ball is played into Brett she passes the ball to Emslie 35 yards out turns inside with it, bringing in on stumbles on the ball but keeping her balance moves forwards no one from Everton closes her down as she puts her foot firmly through the ball gets plenty of pace and power on the shot it swerves in the air as Levell throws herself at it the movement beating her as the shot flies past her into the back of the net 0-1. 

  Everton press forwards looking for an immediate response the ball is lifted up into the area, Walker inside tries to get onto the end of the bouncing ball is crowded off it as it is cleared to the right for a throw in. Johnston sends the cross in from the right side, Ayane at the far post ca't get to the ball as it is put behind for the corner kick.

  GOAL! PENALTY! The corner from the left is swept into the area around the six yard box near side where the players are gathered the ball is attacked and cleared, however the referee has seen something and points to the penalty spot. Not sure what the referee saw has several perplexed nevertheless Everton have the opportunity from the spot just 4 minutes after conceding the opening goal. Walker to take the penalty, cool as you like Leach moving the wrong way as the ball is slotted along the floor into the right corner 1-1.

The referee spots a penalty offence in here can you see it?

Claudia Walker puts the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1 to Everton Ladies
Vicky Jones
A free-kick for Everton on the right outside the box in a dangerous area 22 yards out, Danielle Turner to take it. Sends the ball angling in towards the far post bouncing inside the six yard box, Leach dives and pushes the ball wide, her defence to it 1st to clear before any Everton player can hit it in on the follow up. Millie Turner picking the ball up for Everton outside the box lets fly on the turn from the left her effort flashing across the face of goal.

OFF THE LINE! Bristol get the ball in over the top of the Everton defence as the 1st have moves into the final couple of minutes, Farrow spins off her marker to get after it, George is close behind her as the pair enter the box, Levell has come off her line to close Farrow down the striker manages to lift the ball up over the advancing keeper, her lob is on target dropping towards goal, Vicky Jones tracking back clears the ball off the line putting it behind for the corner. 

Half-time Everton Ladies 1-1 Bristol City Women

  An entertaining 1st half both sides playing some great football, the game all square at 1-1 still all to play for 2nd half as Bristol get a huge 2nd half underway. The ball is played out to Arthur on the right plays the pass inside for Farrow inside the D, is tackled by Megan Finnigan. A long ball played up the field by Everton for Walker to chase down causes chaos in the Bristol defence as Leach comes rushing out of her area to get to it, Walker is tugged to the floor by Ladd 30 yards out the referee booking the Bristol captain. Ayane isn't afraid to strike the ball from distance goes for goal her attempt flying over the crossbar. The niggly fouls a feature of the 1st half continue.

   GOAL! 7 minutes into the 2nd half and Bristol retake the lead, the ball is played into Farrow 10 yards inside the Everton half turns and looks to push on with the ball at her feet, looks to have lost it, a mix-up at the back as the ball is played back by Everton, Farrow after the ball gets hold of it moving into the box shoots sending the ball past Levell into the net to made it 1-2.

  Leading the line for Everton, Walker is a strong player on and off the ball, looks to attack the ball as Millie Turner plays her in over the top into the box shoulder to shoulder with Ladd the defender pushes Walker out to the right the angle acute as she gets a shot away the ball played straight into Leach who comfortably holds onto the ball. 

 Emslie with the ball out wide left sees her cross turned behind by Vicky Jones for the corner. The corner is played into the area top of the box, Georgia Evans has 2 attempts to strike the ball towards goal both charged down before Farrow is fouled in a dangerous position to the right outside the box. The ball in from Brett goes long to the far post Arthur running onto the ball squares it through the six yard box, George clears for Everton. Bristol push forwards Allen into Eloise Wilson up top right side outside the box links up with Farrow on her outside the ball played into her, Wilson spins inside into the box gets the ball back from Farrow, shoots a low strike in towards the near post Levell down smartly saves pushing the ball away for the corner kick. 

  Levell makes another save against Wilson a minute later the ball played in over the top for her to go after landing in the box left of goal, Levell charging out slides in to make the save at her feet as Wilson tries to dink it over her. Both sides are going for it Everton wanting the equaliser, Bristol another goal for a little breathing space. Everton make the 1st change of the match, Millie Turner the player off as they send on striker Simone Magill. 

  Brown gets a little too tight on Walker as the ball is played forwards into the Everton attacker, seeing the ball into her body, spins off the defender to get in behind moving the ball down the left channel, Brown recovers well getting back on Walker to tackle and clear for a throw. The ball is with Danielle Turner her cross whipped into the six yard box is head agonisingly wide by Hinnigan.

Claire Emslie
  GOAL! Those orange boots Emslie is wearing are on fire as she picks up the ball on half-way and brings it forwards a mazy run good control, no one from Everton goes to challenge her 20 yards from goal unleashes a strike of pure beauty rifling the ball past the keeper into the top corner, a wonderful strike and I'm calling it now the best goal I've seen in FAWSL 2 this season 1-3. The Bristol players converge on the celebrating Emslie burying her a 2 goal lead with 20 minutes left to play.

  A good run down the right wing by Johnston for Everton squares the ball into the area as she reaches the top of the box, Walker racing in can't quite get the ball under control take the shot on the stride, Ladd in to win it back. Another change for Everton, Ellie Stewart coming on for Vicky Jones. George comes forwards, bringing the ball from the back has a shot from 25 yards out lacks the pace to trouble Leach in the Bristol goal. 

  A free-kick to Bristol wide left, outside the box, they make there 1st change on 77 minutes Farrow coming off to be replaced by Lily Woodham. The free-kick is played in central Arthur up heads the ball down into the six yard box, Levell is quickest to react getting her gloves firmly on the ball. Alot at stake Bristol's injured captain Grace McCatty has been unable to sit down all 2nd half as she wills her team on from the stands. Leach calls for the ball flung into the area by Johnston on the right claiming hold with Walker advancing. Changes for both sides Olivia Fergusson coming on for Bristol with Wilson coming off. Jenna Dear comes on for Everton going into the back line Johnston the player off as George it sent up top. Into the final 10 minutes.

It's all too tense injured Bristol City Women captain Grace McCatty can't sit down.
   GOAL! Pushing players forwards looking for a goal Everton pull one back with 5 minutes of normal time left, the ball is with George left side bringing it on turns inside taking on a defender gets the ball past and into the box hits the shot in towards goal on her right foot, comes at Leach quickly with players closing into the six yard box, saves the shot the ball isn't in her gloves however spilt it is bundled over the line by Danielle Turner to set up a tense finish.

  4 up top now Everton intent on attacking push forwards the ball with Ayane left side sweeps the ball in along the top of the six yard box, Leach leaps up and punches the ball away from her area. Danielle Turner coming down the left with the ball screws her shot/cross over the bar. Hinnigan rolls the ball into George inside the D back to goal holds it up Walker to her left taps the ball into her run hits the shot is drilled low and wide taking a deflection off a Bristol boot on the way through corner. Played in near side Hinnigan coming to meet it can't wrap her foot over the ball to turn it goalwards. 

  5 minutes of added time to be played. Corner for Everton left, the ball is put into the mix Leach coming through bodies catches the ball. Bristol are defending for their lives as Everton through everything at them. Ayane has a chance to put the ball in from a free-kick wide right her effort lands on the top of the crossbar. Deep into injury time the 5 minutes are up and Everton are awarded a PENALTY! George with the ball onto the left flings it into the box near side from where I am I think there some holding on, a dubious one but it is given late drama Everton with a chance to grab a point from the game put Bristol's celebrations on hold. Walker to take it, goes the same way as her earlier penalty, so to does Leach diving to her left makes the save pushing the ball onto the post and the ball is cleared.

Not the best picture but Caitlin Leach dives to her left to save Claudia Walkers penalty at the death
  Time for one more long ball forwards into the box Leach palms it down and the final whistle blows, players and staff run onto the pitch in celebration as they secure a 3-2 win and with it promotion back to FAWSL 1.

Bristol City Women celebrate winning promotion at the final whistle
Full time Everton Ladies 2-3 Bristol City Women 

  Was a great game to watch, entertaining some good football on display from both sides who didn't let the significance of the game inhibit their performance. Bristol bounce straight back up following relegation, having not seen them until now it's clear to see why they've been at the top end of the table all season. Tough on Everton gave everything and have played good football all season, today's loss a huge blow, not out of it yet however they need London Bees to do them a favour and beat 2nd placed Yeovil Town Ladies. If they don't the final day will be all about who will win the title.

  Congratulations to Bristol City Women on achieving promotion.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Match Report - Gillingham FC Ladies v Milton Keynes Dons Ladies

  This Sunday's match on the Supporting Women's Football Blog comes from the 2nd Round of the FA Women's Premier League Cup an all South East Division One clash between Gillingham FC Ladies & Milton Keynes Dons Ladies.

  A Determining Round played at the start of the competition with the winning sides going on to contest the FAWPL Cup, the losing sides going into the FAWPL Plate.

  Gillingham FC Ladies are unbeaten in all competitions at the start of the season. Games in hand on all the sides above them in the table currently in 7th spot. Beat Southampton Saints Girls & Ladies 4-0 away from home in the Determining Round with a bye in the 1st Round now play Milton Keynes Dons Ladies 2 places above them in the league for a place in the last 16 of the FAWPL Cup. Felicity Gibbons returns to the club after spells with Brighton & Hove Albion WFC and Millwall Lionesses. Vicky Ashton-Jones and Amy Taylor who both played a large part in helping Brighton & Hove Albion WFC to the FAWPL Southern Division title last season have also come in at the start of the season.

  Milton Keynes Dons Ladies are 3 points above Gillingham in the FAWPL South East Division One table in 5th spot with 4 wins from 7 league games so far this season. Have a new manager with James Honeyman taking charge of the 1st team. Beat Luton Town Ladies away from home in the Determining Round to enter the FAWPL Cup proper had a bye in the 1st Round. Kara Howes has resigned for the club after being with WSL 2 side London Bees. Rebecca Vass, Bedford Ladies captain last season was also signed at the start of the season. 

  Gillingham FC Ladies have a new home this season, Corinthians FC. Just off the A2 through the villages of Bean and Longfield, ignoring the 'Road Closed' signs you find it just fine. In the countryside a picturesque setting you come to the Corinthian Sports Club a multi-purpose sports facility with a farmyard beyond, which you'll end up in if you follow the Sat Nav, however there is a gate which I suspect is unlocked on most match days at that end. A large clubhouse with a bar upstairs refreshments hot and cold available. The ground itself is very nice a small seated stand behind one goal plus a small stand on one side. More seating in front of the building housing the changing rooms in on corner overlooking a large pitch, plenty of width on this on, not the flattest but in great condition nevertheless. A bright sunny day clouds dotted around but a warm afternoon, will enjoy them whilst they last.

 Gillingham FC Ladies starting XI - Katie Startup, Ellie Manning, Grace Seely, Charlie Thurston, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Rachel Ahern, Jade Keogh (C), Katie Hardaker, April Bowers, Harriett Chapman & Felicity Gibbons.
 subs - Courtney Shanly, Bethany Nugent & Kallie Balfour.

 Milton Keynes Don Ladies starting XI - Emma Kirby, Kara Howes, Samantha Gillings, Leanne Doyle, Vicky Holland, Charley Clark (C), Heather McDonnell, Charly Wright, Hannah Barrett, Leah Cudone & Rebecca Vass. 
 subs - Anna Loftus & Louise Naylor.

  Gillingham FC Ladies were without a few 1st team regulars but do have a large squad of players to draw from and with the games already building up the squad will be needed although absences and injuries see only 3 named on the bench, one of those goalkeeper Courtney Shanly with Katie Startup recently returned from Jordan having represented England Lionesses side in the U17s World Cup starting between the sticks. Milton Keynes Dons Ladies name a strong starting XI but a light on the bench with just the 2 substitutes to call upon. It's the visitors to kick-off the 1st half, Milton Keynes Dons Ladies kitted out in red shirts and shorts with a black and white band down the sides, along with red socks with a black and white band. Gillingham lined up opposite wearing blue shirts with a vertical white stripe down the right, blues shorts with a white bands around the left leg and white socks with blue at the top.

  From kick-off, Milton Keynes look to get the ball out to Leah Cudone on the right bringing the ball down looks to knock it past Gillingham's Ellie Manning, the full back gets a foot in to win the ball, plays it in field into Katie Hardaker through the middle up to Felicity Gibbons leading the line holding the ball up has Harriett Chapman making a run on the left sends the ball out to her, Milton Keynes, Kara Howes running with her to win the ball tackles to put it out for a throw.

MK Dons Ladies, Leah Cudone tussles with Gillingham
FC Ladies, Ellie Manning for the ball

   Gillingham have started the match brightly have the ball inside the Milton Keynes half, Gibbons with the ball at her feet back to goal looks to link up with April Bowers on the right, her cross lifted up towards the penalty spot is headed clear of the area by Milton Keynes centre back Vicky Holland. Picking the ball up from half-way Gillingham captain, Jade Keogh carries it forwards rolls the pass into Bowers moving right, sends it on for Gibbons breaking into the box on the right side right of goal moving into the six yard box, looks to shoot the angle tight doesn't get a very good connection with the ball runs tamely into the gloves of Milton Keynes goalkeeper, Emma Kirby.

Gillingham FC Ladies
April Bowers
Milton Keynes are sitting back inviting Gillingham on to them, defending the final ball played in towards the box. Bowers is over a free-kick won in front of the centre circle after Gibbons is fouled, plays the ball up in towards the D Milton Keynes, Leanne Doyle clears it with her head. Chapman pushes forwards with the ball on the right for the home side passes inside to Hardaker, aims her pass towards Gibbons wanting the ball inside the D, Holland marking her closely gets her foot in to push the ball away from the attacker.

  Milton Keynes are defending well, deep however the starting platform to get the ball into Rebecca Vass and Cudone up top is giving the Gillingham defence time to get bodies behind the ball. Gibbons is fouled in a central position a little closer to goal this time striking distance Bowers goes for goal sends her shot over the bar. A clash of heads between Howes and Chapman sees Milton Keynes down to 10 whilst the defender receives treatment for a small cut on her mouth. Attacking Hannah Barrett gets the ball over the top for Vass, Vicky Ashton-Jones tackles getting the ball into Chapman left driving forwards with the ball sends the ball in field is helped on to the right of the pitch the cross swept in near post Gibbons arriving leaps heads the ball down towards goal, Kirby saves getting down low to get hold of the ball. 

Rebecca Vass attempts to control the ball before Vicky Ashton-Jones can make the tackle
  Milton Keynes, Hannah Barrett nipping in to win the ball inside her own half lifts it forwards over the top Vass breaking clear of the Gillingham defence gives chase, Startup is quickly off her line to come out of her area to kick the ball clear. Rachel Ahern brings the ball on up the right attacking for Gillingham crosses early the ball into Chapman coming central closing in on the D, hits the shot on the turn blasting it against a Milton Keynes defender the block rolling towards Bowers 25 yards out hits the shot 1st time races wide of the target.

  Despite all of the chances in attack Gillingham have created so far 1st half the best one falls to Milton Keynes as they win a free-kick inside the Gillingham half inside the centre circle an opportunity to bring players forwards from the back, Barrett to deliver the ball lifts it high towards the players gathered left of goal inside the area, Doyle with a great run peels in behind the back jumping gets her head to the ball drives it goalwards, Startup near post makes an excellent save pushing the ball into the air falling back across the goal Vass following in leaps up trying to nod it home from close range her attempt cannoning off the crossbar bounces down into the six yard box, Gillingham scramble it clear.

Milton Keynes Dons Ladies, Leanne Doyle

 Milton Keynes come forwards again the ball with Heather McDonnell in midfield played on to Charly Wright left her pass forwards into the middle picking out Vass central 25 yards out gets the shot away angling away to the left Startup shifting across gets her gloves firmly around the ball. Cudone finding herself out on the left side has the ball at her feet drives forwards towards the Gillingham box rides 2 challenges before pulling the trigger 20 yards out pulls her strike wide of goal. 

  Charlie Thurston fouls Vass up near half-way the free-kick awarded another chance for the visitors to bring players forwards, Barrett plays the ball long up towards the D, Wright goes up to head the ball, doesn't get a good connection, instead it is deflected wide right into the box, Holland gets hold of it plays the ball back in to Wright who wraps her foot over the ball meeting it on the volley her effort sails high over the crossbar. Late into the 1st half Milton Keynes make a change, Barrett can't continue is replaced by Louise Naylor.

  Cudone still out on the left gets forwards, Milton Keynes captain, Charley Clark giving her the ball moving forwards tries a 1 2 with Vass outside the box shooting sends the ball wide past the post from 25 yards out. Up the other end Gillingham are awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position on the left 22 yards from goal. Bowers over the ball goes for goal getting the ball over the wall, it falls straight into the gloves of Kirby. A late corner on the left for Milton Keynes following good work from Wright on the left the ball is angled in towards the near post headed on across the face of goal and out for a goal-kick far side. The last action of the 1st half.

April Bowers goes for goal from the free-kick late in the 1st half for Gillingham FC Ladies

Half-time Gillingham FC Ladies 0-0 Milton Keynes Dons Ladies

  Gillingham have been the dominant side in the 1st half having had more of the ball and the attack however haven't a goal to show for it. Milton Keynes have sat back in defence and wit no room to get in behind have dealt with most things well played up into the box, have struggled to get their strikers into the game defending so deep waiting for Gillingham to make an error then nipping in on the ball sending it forwards, have had the best chance of the half hitting the crossbar.

  Anna Loftus is on for Milton Keynes at the start of the 2nd half with McDonnell the player off. Gillingham make a change at half-time too with striker Kallie Balfour coming on for midfielder Hardaker. A change of formation for the home side going to 3 at the back Gibbons dropping deeper with Balfour now leading the attack. The ball is with Balfour straight away down the right moving into space taking it on to the byline cuts her cross back into the six yard box is cleared behind for a corner by Holland. Coming towards the ball Balfour receiving the ball inside the box plays it back to Gibbons the corner taker, from the angle she sweep a shot in towards the far post, the Milton Keynes defender covering the post clears the ball. The clearance lands outside the box, Seely latches onto it her strike low into the crowded area is blocked then cleared.

Charley Clark and Kallie Balfour contest the ball
  GOAL! Barely 5 minutes into the 2nd half and Balfour's introduction makes the difference the ball given to her as she moves to the left side turns and heads for goal a powerful run with the ball at her feet entering the box from the left gets the shot away firing the ball across Kirby at the near post and into the back of the net beyond 1-0.

  Coming forwards from the back Ahern covers alot of grass before delivering a cross into the box from the right on the diagonal in towards Gibbons who jumps for the ball but can't make contact as the cross flies over her. A sloppy ball at the back by Gillingham allows Wright to steal in take the ball on the left pushes on up the wing, Ashton-Jones gets back on her to tackle put the ball out for a throw. Taken quickly Wright throws it back to Gillings coming up to support the full-back sweeps a cross into the box players running in it's Ashton-Jones who gets her head to the ball to clear for Gillingham.

Charly Wright on the ball of Milton Keynes Dons Ladies

  Getting forwards down the right, Seely now playing wing back has Balfour making a run out to this side rolls the ball into her run the striker taking the ball on down the wing squares a pacey ball in along the face of goal, running along the ground Chapman has gotten into a central position the ball just evades her feet before being cleared far post.

  GOAL! Gillingham extend their lead as the 60th minute arrives the ball is brought into the Milton Keynes half by Keogh her forwards pass picking out Gibbons outside the area left of the D helps the ball on into the area with Balfour peeling off her marker into space right of goal, strikes the ball in centrally is straight at Kirby who gets down to gather the ball is unfortunate as the ball squirms through her gloves and under her body to roll into the net beyond 2-0.

2nd half substitute Kallie Balfour
scores twice for Gillingham
  Naylor plays the ball forwards in beyond the Gillingham defence for Vass to chase into the box, Ashton-Jones on her shoulder, Startup looks to come forwards, Ashton-Jones takes no chances slides a foot in to push the ball away from Vass send it out to the left where it is picked up by Wright whips the ball back into the area, Vass dropping away to the far post area stoops to head the ball is off target but deflects off a defender for a corner.

  Vass plays the ball forwards for Cudone this time to chase into the area hesitation between Startup ad Thurston allows Cudone a chance to get a shot away is off balance however and can only prod the ball straight at Startup who pushes it away with her feet, the ball cleared to the right beyond. Wright gets her foot to the ball as it is delivered long into the box from the right, falling back as she volleys the ball left of goal sends her shot over the bar. Playing in a deeper role 2nd half, Gibbons comes on with the ball, no one closing her down lets fly from 30 yards out her shot flies over the crossbar. 

  Gillingham make their 2nd change with Ahern coming off for Bethany Nugent a straight swap at the back. Keogh carrying the ball forwards passes to Balfour moving left in front of her, turning with the ball at her feet drives into the box shooting the ball lacks any pace doesn't trouble Kirby at her near post the keeper gathering the ball. 

Milton Keynes Dons Ladies, Samantha Gillings
  Gillings bringing the ball on from the back up the left plays it on for Wright her pass forwards sees Cudone after the ball, shoulder to shoulder with Ashton-Jones the defender ends up on the ground as the ball runs behind a corner kick awarded. Is a great delivery from the left played in towards Clark inside the bx at the near post jumping gets a firm header on the ball turning it towards goal, Startup throws her gloves up the ball past her strikes the crossbar, deflected out to the left and cleared for a throw.

Milton Keynes Dons Ladies captain, Charley Clark watches as her header heads towards goal
  A long crossfield ball plays Seely into space on the right taking the ball down into the corner puts the ball into the area a good delivery inswinging central under the bar 2 Gillingham plays closing in on her Kirby going up for it loses it under challenge dropping is cleared off the line by Howes at the far post. Kirby holds onto a powerful strike from Gibbons inside the box as Balfour plays her in receiving the ball on the left sending in on across the D into Gibbons whose shot is angled straight at the keeper.

Gillingham FC Ladies captain, Jade Keogh
  A good tackle from Ashton-Jones at the back for Gillingham to concede a throw on the left as Loftus goes forwards for Milton Keynes looking to get in behind as Wright sends the ball on up the wing. With Milton Keynes pushing players on late into the game Gillingham aren't interested in running the ball into the corner counter attack Keogh on the ball moves to within 25 yards of goal fires a low shot into the box is cleared the ball coming back to the Gillingham captain hits a swerving shot back in towards goal, moving across her line Kirby gets hold of the ball. As Milton Keynes blast a long range strike wide of goal up the other ed the referee blows the final whistle and it's Gillingham who advance to the last 16 of the FAWPL Cup.
Full time Gillingham FC Ladies 2-0 Milton Keynes Dons Ladies

  A good contest, Gillingham eventually coming out on top adjusting things 2nd half after a goalless 1st 45 minutes. Dominated play but couldn't break down a well drilled Milton Keynes defence sitting deep. The introduction of Balfour 2nd half altering things found space and with it 2 goals. Milton Keynes were 2nd best today despite hitting the crossbar from a set-piece in each half had less of the attack and few chances for their attackers to test the Gillingham goal. 

 My thanks to Jenny and Julian from Gillingham as well as Laura from Milton Keynes for their help with the teams today, always appreciated.