Both sides playing for a place in the 1st Round Proper of the competition the draw already made know their opponents, a home tie against fellow South East Division One side AFC Wimbledon Ladies one of the early pacesetters in the league. Both sides entering the FA Women's Cup in the previous round.
Norwich City Ladies were at home in 3rd Round Qualifying played Peterborough based side Riverside Rovers Ladies playing 2 leagues below them in the EMWFL Division One South won the game comfortably racking up a double figure score 10-0 to advance to the next round. Lowestoft Town Ladies were at home too in 3rd Round Qualifying beating fellow South East Division One side Enfield Town Ladies for the 2nd time in a week 2-0 to reach the next round.
The venue for today's game Plantation Park was touch and go as to whether it would survive the over night storm, hard work in the morning by Norwich Cty Ladies and Norwich United inspecting the ground early saw it go ahead so long as there wasn't anymore heavy rain, leaden skies above didn't look promising but nevertheless the match was on for a 1pm kick-off, extra-time and penalties if required to settle the tie today. Is a small covered stand upon one side of the ground for spectators to watch keep out of the rain.
Norwich City Ladies starting XI - Fiona Coombes, Erin Wilson, Rebecca Russell, Bryony Rapley, Kate Parsons (C), Jodie Drake, Paige Shorten, Brooke Osborne, Kyla Love, Natasha Snelling & Chelsea Garrett.
subs - Ellie Bird, Emily Moerkerk, Ellen Swift & Kayti Simonson.
Lowestoft Town Ladies starting XI - Eilish Brogan, Lindsey Adams, Charnelle Riggall, Abbie Everson, Ellie Froud, Broghan Scully, Cassie Craddock, Gemma Moore, Aimee Durrant, Molly Hall & Hannah Waters (C).
subs - Millie Cursons & Nina Batchelor.
A switch of ends at the start the breeze picking up blowing from one goalmouth to the other across the pitch Lowestoft having it at their backs 1st half with Norwich kicking off wearing green shirts and socks with yellow shorts, Lowestoft kitted out in an all blue kit, both going to have a lot of brown added during the match it's muddy out there pity the kit washers. The ball is out of play straight away for a throw on the left.
Lowestoft are awarded a free-kick jut inside their own half is played long with Molly Hall peeling into space on the right looking to get in behind, can't catch the ball before it runs out of play, from the goal-kick Aimee Durrant wins the ball for Lowestoft coming inside passes the ball out to Hannah Waters Lowestoft's captain drifting away to the right squares the ball back in along the top of the box is cleared by Bryony Rapley for Norwich before Durrant can run onto it. A god start from Lowestoft pressuring Norwich at the back for the ball, Gemma Moore on the left wins her side the 1st corner of the game takes it, lifting the ball into the six yard box Waters jumping near post can't reach the ball.
|Lowestoft Town Ladies|
captain Hannah Waters
A counter attack from Norwich the ball played forwards to Natasha Snelling on the left drills a diagonal ball into the area, is cleared by Lowestoft's Lindsey Adams spinning out into the middle Paige Shorten racing onto the ball goes to hit a shot a bobble sees her slice it horribly wide, turns into a good ball for Erin Wilson the Norwich right back getting forwards lifts a cross up into the area Lowestoft head clear.
Is wet and muddy out there going to ground to make a challenge is risky, Norwich's Rebecca Russell is late with her tackle catches Waters as she tries to bring the ball forwards on the right bringing her to the ground a painful one but Waters is okay. Russell gets yellow carded. The ball is played up into the area the header won by Norwich is knocked into the ground, the home side struggling to clear their lines the ball rebounds to Moore 20 yards out left of the D fires a low shot in through the crowd, Norwich goalkeeper Fiona Coombes dives to her right pushes the ball wide for a corner. The ball goes long towards the far post the ball is headed down Durrant 3 yards out, cleared off the line by Norwich for a 2nd corner. Hall moves towards the ball this time can't direct her header on target comes back to Moore who plays her cross into the side netting.
Has a derby feel about it the slippery conditions meaning the challenges aren't well timed or controlled to make matters worse a light rain has started to fall blowing across the pitch. Shorten with a good pass forwards looks to play Chelsea Garrett in behind, Lowestoft's Ellie Froud with a good tackle to get her foot on the ball prevents the striker getting a run at goal. The ball out for a throw on the left is played inside rolled into Shorten's path goes for the long distance pile driver again the spin on the shot seeing it run away from goal.
|Ellie Froud in defence for Lowestoft Town Ladies|
Charnelle Riggall brings the ball on for Lowestoft up the right passes the ball into Cassie Craddock ahead of her flicks it on for Hall moving right, sends the ball into the area, Wilson clearing far post for Norwich. The ball is played up top quickly by Jodie Drake into Garrett good control with her back to goal 25 yards out turns tries to roll it through into the box for Snelling coming in from the left, too close to Brogan the Lowestoft keeper getting her gloves around the ball 1st.
|Norwich City Ladies, Natasha Snelling|
Norwich win the ball at the back, Kyla Love back to support her defence has the ball inside her own half takes it down the right, a storming run carrying it 3 quarters the length of the pitch evading two challenges squares the ball into the area looking to pick out Garrett near post as she arrives in the box, the ball is taken off her toes by Lowestoft's Lindsey Adams getting across from left back to defend. Norwich pressuring the ball is deflected into the middle for Shorten gets the pass in behind for Garrett coming in from the left, Brogan commits early sliding in the pair collide inside the box and Garrett squeezes a shot past her runs wide across goal, both striker and keeper are okay to continue. Both come together in a similar incident moments later this time Garrett is flagged offside moving into the box from the right.
|Norwich City Ladies, Chelsea Garrett with Lowestoft's Broghan Scully|
Broghan Scully gets her foot on the ball in the middle for Lowestoft passes the ball into Hall 25 yards out right of goal, goes to shot Norwich captain Kate Parson's charging the shot down as the rain starts to fall heavily. Durrant carries the ball on up the left side, skipping past a lunging challenge gets into the box pulls the trigger aiming near post Coombes has the angle covered parries the ball down and catches safely. On the opposite flank Waters is played in behind coming in from the right shoots from just outside the box, Coombes across to cover her near post gloves the ball down and saves. Moore with a long range shot sends the ball over the crossbar for Lowestoft from 30 yards out. The rain is getting heavier the wind picking up. Lowestoft are pushing hard as the 1st half moves towards the last 10 minutes, Durrant with the ball on the left rolls it on into the box for Moore to go after, Wilson gets her foot on the ball conceded the corner.
GOAL! Lowestoft take the lead the goal coming from the corner, a great inswinging ball put in by Moore across the six yard evades everyone and goes into the back of the net far post. Moore scoring straight from the corner 0-1.
|Gemma Moore scores direct|
from the corner for Lowestoft
Russell gets the ball back to Coombes at the back for Norwich with Waters giving chase to a long pass on the right the ball cleared for a throw is played into Hall inside the box right of goal 8 yards out holds of Parsons to turn and shoot playing the ball wide of the post.
|Lowestoft's Molly Hall, holds off Norwich's Kate Parsons before shooting wide.|
Into 1st half injury time Snelling is fouled outside the box on the right for Norwich, a chance for Shorten to play the set-piece into the area whips the ball in towards the near post, Brogan unchallenged can see it bounce off the surface into her gloves as the referee brings an end to the 1st half.
Half-time Norwich City Ladies 0-1 Lowestoft Town Ladies
GOAL! Norwich having gotten it back to 1-1 get themselves into the lead catch Lowestoft out from the corner Love free right offers herself for a a ball up the line the ball is whipped into the box from the top of the area a good delivery coming low far post is turned into the back of the net from close range, Snelling the player running out of the area in celebration having scored 2-1.
A 1-0 advantage for Lowestoft as the sides head into the dressing room for half-time have dealt with the difficult playing conditions better than Norwich in the 1st half creating more chances and getting into the lead. Thankfully those conditions have dried up the wind dying down the rain stopping even a peek from the blue sky above the black clouds above. Came Lowestoft hold onto their lead 2nd half or will Norwich step it up get back on level terms it's Lowestoft to get the 2nd half underway.
Norwich get hold of the ball, Parsons playing it up to Osborne on the right, mis-controls the ball spinning infield, Garrett goes after it looks to get it out to Osborne moving into the area plays is stopped by the assistants flag, Osborne caught offside. Moore gets the ball forwards for Lowestoft, tries to pick out Hall drifting away into space wide left, getting the ball into her feet cuts back inside plays the cross in towards the near post, Coombes claims the ball with Waters running in behind.
A great save from Brogan in the Lowestoft goal keeps their lead intact as Norwich starting the 1st half brightly capitalise on a poor ball out from the back, Garrett latching onto it moving right spins and lifts the ball into the six yard box, Love is there in a central position 3 yards out connects with the ball, Brogan a yard away reacts instinctively falling back it looks a certain goal, however the keeper flings out a glove knocks the ball up killing its pace and as it drops to the floor plucks it into her body before Love and get a 2nd stab at it.
As contrasting as the weather 1st half so is the start Norwich coming at Lowestoft keeping them penned in their own half. Garrett gathering the ball into her body central outside the box sends it across to Osborne on the right moving down the wing cuts the cross back into the area runs behind the Norwich players attacking the six yard box. Garrett on the ball again down the right off a throw for Norwich curls a cross into the box swinging away from goal nestles into the side netting.
Brogan with more goalkeeping heroics as she comes charging out of her area sliding in low saves with her knees off Snelling left side outside the box as Drake gets the ball into her the keepers clearance goes straight to Love however the chance to shoot is on Love takes it with Lowestoft defenders racing back to cover the goal the ball bouncing inside the six yard box runs wide.
GOAL! The positive attacking start to the 2nd half from Norwich tells as they get themselves back on level terms 10 minutes played the ball is lifted up into the area shots are blocked at the top of the area central Lowestoft battling to get the ball away. Pinging around a rebound takes it out of the box 25 yards out Shorten's eyes light up she isn't afraid to have a shot from distance two wayward attempts in the 1st half this is anything but, a belter of a strike nothing Brogan can do as it flies past her into the back of the net beyond 1-1.
|Paige Shorten equalises for|
Norwich City Ladies
Norwich continue to press from the restart winning the ball, Drake takes on a strike from 25 yards out straight at Brogan the keeper parryig it down to claim inside her six yard box. Attacking up the left Norwich fire the ball long into the box for Garrett to chase after right of goal inside the six yard box tries to put her shot back across the keeper, going to ground Brogan throws out her right arm gets it around the ball. Build up through the middle Drake plays the ball into Snelling who helps it into the box for Garrett to her right takes on the shot as the ball rolls across her body slices it off target at the near post.
Lowestoft make the 1st substitution of the game bringing on Nina Batchelor for Scully in midfield. Brogan is at it again for Lowestoft in goal making another instinctive save as Norwich are awarded a free-kick wide on the right, Shorten playing the ball long towards the far post, Parson's jumping heads the ball down from close range, straight at Brogan the goalkeeper saves pushing the ball up over the bar to land on the roof of the net.
|Natasha Snelling puts Norwich|
into the lead
Lowestoft go on the attack from the restart getting the ball in field into Craddock passes to Durrant on the right moving inside lets fly with a shot from all of 30 yards out Coombes getting down low to her left pushes the ball behind for a corner kick.
GOAL! Norwich's lead is short-lived as Lowestoft score from a corner for the 2nd time in the match, Moore to take it from the left another good delivery an inswinging ball flies across the six yard box looks to come back off the far post into the middle of goal, players from both sides converge on the ball, it is stabbed over the goal line Lowestoft running out of the area celebrating, Abbie Everson with the final touch is credited with the goal 2-2.
|Moore's corner flies across goal about to come back off the post before Abbie Everson central scores to make it 2-2|
Everson is booked soon after committing a foul inside the Norwich half on the right, players go forwards, Parsons plays the ball central into Shorten who lays it out to Wilson on the right, marked by Moore, Wilson is clipped as she runs across her the incident just inside the area right corner the referee points to the spot, penalty given! A chance for Norwich to retake the lead. Shorten on the spot-kick g0es for power hitting the ball to the right, Brogan guesses right and diving pushes the ball away making the save the ball cleared for a throw that side.
Norwich with a corner on the left the ball is sliced in towards Love outside the box central running onto the shot hits it into the ground bouncing up swings wide of the Lowestoft goal. The visitors have struggled 2nd half to get the ball into their attackers, Waters kept quiet up top, Durrant makes ground on the right delivers a good ball into the box top of the area Rapley misses her header catches Hall coming in behind by surprise gets her foot onto the ball but before she can shift it to shoot Wilson nips in to tackle win it back for Norwich.
|Lowestoft Town Ladies, Aimee Durrant|
Love is fouled wide on the left for Norwich in a deep position players move up into the area the ball is put high into the near post area, Hall back to defend for Lowestoft jumps highest to head the ball away across the face of goal. Everson gets back on Garrett to take the ball off her toe inside the box after the Norwich attacker gets hold of the ball from a goal-kick drives forwards the ball deflected away for a corner on the left. Moore headers the ball out of the area defending the near post for Lowestoft drops to Shorten who plays it back into the mix Parsons getting jump 10 yards out headers the ball wide.
Snelling is off for Norwich with Emily Moerkerk coming on into midfield. Shorten drifting right for Norwich plays the ball into the area, cleared back to her squares it into Garrett inside the D back to goal shifts the ball to her left turning and hitting a shot rising is wide of the top corner. The final whistle blows and with the floodlights starting to take affect the game heads into extra-time.
Full-time Norwich City Ladies 2-2 Lowestoft Town Ladies
A better 2nd half display from Norwich to get themselves back onto level terms then take the lead. Lowestoft have been on the ropes but got themselves back into it straight away after going behind levelling it up at 2-2 with goalkeeper Brogan pulling off some great saves.
|Lowestoft Town Ladies goalkeeper, Eilish Brogan|
Norwich to get the 1st half of extra-time under way, continue to attack the same goal they did 2nd half. Craddock wins possession for Lowestoft plays the ball out to Durrant on the right driving forwards tries to lift the ball over the Norwich defence into the box with Waters moving in behind, Parsons gets her head on the ball to intercept. Durrant with the ball at her feet on the right again cuts the ball into the box no one gambling as Coombes claims inside her six yard box.
Osborne plays the ball on up the right for Garrett coming across into space taking it on down the wing sends a cross into the box races behind the attackers arriving in the six yard box. Waters is put in over the top on the right for Lowestoft looks to drive infield into the box is tackled by Parsons the ball going out for a throw. The ball is played into the area right side held up by Hall, turns well sends a shot across the face of goal skims off the far post before running out of play for a goal-kick.
GOAL! Lowestoft get themselves back into the lead the ball is on the left from a throw knocking in field outside the area 25 yards out Hall goes after it a crunching 50/50 challenge leaving a Norwich defender grounded the ball runs into the path of Craddock takes on the shot 1st time lifting the ball up and over Coombes into the back of the net beyond 2-3.
|Cassie Craddock gives Lowestoft Town Ladies the lead in extra-time|
Moerkerk plays the ball into Love in a central position inside the D outside the Lowestoft box, holding the ball up is allowed to turn and get a shot away runs wide of the post. Love comes across to the right side telling Osborne to go the other way as she does the ball comes to her in a central position 25 yards out goes for goal Brogan diving to her left pushes the ball wide for the corner kick.
GOAL! Norwich equalise to make it 3-3 from the corner the ball comes in towards the top of the area helped onto Osborne far side fires the cross into the middle, Drake sees her shot blocked the ball cleared out of the area falls to Garrett 30 yards out left sends the shot in flies over the keeper to nestle into the back of the net another quality strike from distance.
Norwich make a change late in the 1st period of extra-time Ellen Swift coming on to replace Garrett.
Half-time extra-time Norwich City Ladies 3-3 Lowestoft Town Ladies
Lowestoft kick-off the 2nd period of extra-time 15 minutes for either side to find a winning goal or it'll be settled by penalties. Lowestoft go long to the right for Durrant from kick-off, trying to get down the line is tackled well by Russell. The ball goes long up field for Drake 25 yards out turns playing the ball into the path of Shorten making a forwards run to get into the area left side of the D, Brogan comes rushing out goes to ground, Shorten gets the ball past the keeper runs wide across goal beyond.
Waters beats the Norwich offside trap as Durrant gets the ball forwards into her on the right, Coombes comes out to the edge of her area to clear the ball before Waters can get there puts it back out right Durrant goes after it sees her cross blocked before going down with cramp. Players are starting to tire on both sides a wet and heavy pitch starting to take its toll.
Russell slices a Lowestoft cross behind for a corner kick on the right, the ball is delivered far post from close range the ball is headed down into the ground, Norwich have a player on the line the ball is cleared from danger out for a throw. Play is stretched end to end tired balls however are not finding there mark. Durrant getting onto the ball from a goal-kick turns inside from the right plays the ball into the area just behind Waters running near post falls to Hall behind her stuck under her feet tries to get it under control evades one challenge lines up a shot Parsons lunges in to win the ball put it away to the left for a throw.
Craddock finds the energy to drive with the ball through the middle of the park for Lowestoft lays the pass into Durrant on the right in space goes to shoot, the ball held by Coombes at her near post. Moore passes to Durrant on the right side her cross is headed out of the area is won back by Lowestoft played back into the area, Durrant pressures Russell on the ball inside the six yard box as she comes inside looking to clear, smashes the ball against Durrant who jumps to block, the deflection is flying towards the top corner so is Coombes a spectacular save to take the ball behind for the corner keep the scores level in extra-time.
All action in the closing minutes as the rain returns the light fades quickly the floodlights needed now. Norwich bring on Kayti Simonson for Drake. Durrant on the right latches onto a tired Norwich clearance goes for goal 35 yards out sends the shot over the crossbar. Hall has a strike from 30 yards out central left of goal Coombes dives to her left pushes the ball wide for the corner not long left the referee has his whistle in his mouth. Another great in swinger from Moore on the left into the six yard box, Coombes up gets a fist on the ball knocks it down into the area then saves save Hall getting a touch on the ball prods it straight into the keeper. The match goes to penalties.
Might have mentioned I hate penalties before but that's the way it is been an enthralling contest by both sides contrasting halves both could have won it, fair to say neither deserve to loose it but we have to have a winner.
Norwich to take the opening penalty it's their captain Parsons to take it cool as you like sends the ball to the keepers left into the back of the net 1-0.
Durrant up 1st for Lowestoft places the ball on the spot, Coombes wearing wearing bright pink with alot of movement on her goal line as she goes to strike the ball, sends the ball wide of the post to miss 1-0.
Shorten up next to take Norwich's 2nd penalty saw her strike saved by Brogan in the 2nd half diving to her right, Brogan does the same, Shorten doesn't putting the ball low to her left to score 2-0.
Lowestoft captain Waters up next to take the visitors 2nd penalty powers the spot kick high to the keepers right, Coombes diving gets a glove to the ball but can't keep it out 2-1.
Ellen Swift with Norwich's 3rd penalty kick hits it low and accurate into the bottom right corner to score 3-1.
Hall comes forwards to take Lowestoft's 3rd penalty kick, a short run up 2 steps but plenty of power in her legs drives the ball home high into the net 3-2
Rapley to take Norwich's 4th spot kick goes for height again only this time the ball flies over the bar the score remains 3-2.
Moore comes forwards to take Lowestoft's 4th penalty with a chance to level things up coolly slots the ball down the middle sending Coombes the wrong way. 3-3.
Osborne to take the 5th penalty for Norwich has to score Brogan guesses right dives the right way as Osborne hits the ball in low along the ground but gets enough power on her strike is past the keeper into the back of the net before she can save it 4-3.
Craddock up last to take the 5th Lowestoft penalty scores and it goes to sudden death runs up goes for power and height the ball smashing off the crossbar heartbreak! Norwich rush from halfway in celebration however the referees assistant is waving his flag furiously, the officials consult did Coombes move off her line too early, Parsons goes over to them but the celebration can continue Norwich win the penalty shoot-out 4-3 to advance into the 1st Round Proper of the FA Women's Cup.
A fantastic game for the neutral had it all rather not see a penalty shoot-out but there you go credit to both sides played some great stuff on a difficult surface and rubbish weather. The result both will agree could have gone either way. Norwich will now be at home in two weeks time playing AFC Wimbledon Ladies for a place in the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Women's Cup.
My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams on the day.