Sunday, 26 February 2017

Match Report - Harlow Town Ladies v Lawford Ladies

   A first for the Supporting Women's Football Blog today taking in a new league for the 1st time and a long overdue trip to watch a game in the Essex Women's Premier Division. The venue The Harlow Arena to watch runaway league leaders take on 2nd placed Lawford Ladies.

 Harlow Town Ladies haven't dropped a single league point since they joined the Essex Women's County league last season having previously been the Bury Rangers Girls U17s, winning the Division One title last season going on to complete a Quadruple, with wins in the Essex Trophy, Tiptree & District Charity Cup and Essex Women's League Cup finals. Are going as equally strong in the Premier Division following promotion with a 100% winning record to date 14 games won are 14 points clear of 2nd placed Lawford Ladies. In addition to the 1st team Harlow Town Ladies started a new Reserves and an U18s side this season having a good number signed to the club to play for all 3 sides is a little stretched at the moment with a dozen out injured.

  Lawford Ladies near Manningtree in North Essex are into their 5th season, started this season with a new manager Marc Lawson coming in. Had a very strong start to the season winning their opening 8 games eventually over took by Harlow as postponements as well a cup games halting their momentum in the league. Have played Harlow once already this season knocking the holders out of the league cup with a 3-0 home win. Have games in hand as they look to be the 1st side in the Premier Division to beat Harlow in the league this season.

  The venue for today's game The Harlow Arena, have visited the stadium before for an FAWSL match a coupe of seasons back between Millwall Lionesses and Watford Ladies. Is a new built stadium featuring a top notch 3G pitch that sees plenty of action throughout the week. Has multi teams playing on it regularly including Harlow Town Ladies 3 sides. A good sized artificial surface a large seated stand on one side housing the changing rooms bar and clubhouse with hot and cold refreshments available. A dry day if overcast overhead, a chilly breeze that was swirling about the stadium, no where near as strong as Doris was in the week.

  Harlow Town Ladies starting XI - Kerry Davies, Maisie Ryan, Megan Sende, Fran Gamble, Christie Seakins, Taylor O'Leary, Francesca Tye (C), Nicole Learner, Danielle Hills, Tayla Handscombe & Dempsey Favell.
  subs - Tia Dye, Lucy Sende, Karys Paton & Rhiann Patmore.

  Lawford Ladies starting XI - Louise Murphy, Jo Ribet, Sofia Serghiou, Hayley Chapman (C), Ella Boyden, Lauren Richardson, Sasha McDonald, Sheena Foley, Jade Heath, Jasmine Cox & Daisy Canny.
  subs - Michelle Foley, Codie Laurie, Susie Jackson & Gemma Issacs.

 (roll on roll off substitutes)

  It's Harlow to get the 1st half underway, kitted out in red and white hooped shirts with red sleeves, blue shirts and red socks with Lawford lined up opposite wearing sky blue and white vertical striped shirts, navy shorts and socks. The early play is squeezed both sides pressing the ball in the middle Harlow captain, Francesca Tye getting the ball out to Tayla Handscomb breaking into space on the right wing her early diagonal ball intended for striker Dempsey Favell making a run into the box is intercepted and cleared by Lawford's captain Hayley Chapman playing at centre back.

  Working the ball out to the left wing Harlow get the ball into Danielle Hill, Megan Sende gets forwards to support exchanging passes Lawford prevent the cross coming in, the clearance comes to Lauren Richardson the ball played on Lawford counter attack the ball fired into Jasmine Cox moving left to right across the D has the ball at her feet slips as she shoots the ball running harmlessly wide across the Harlow goal.

Dempsey Favell opens the opening
goal for Harlow Town Ladies
GOAL! 4 minutes played and the opening goal is scored, Harlow launching a counter attack from a Lawford free-kick played up towards the area from the halfway line headed back out of the area by the Harlow defence the ball falls to midfielder Taylor O'Leary, she bursts forwards with the ball at her feet, up top Favell is already on the move O'Leary picking her out with a defence splitting pass, through on goal, Lawford goalkeeper Louise Murphy comes rushing out of her area to close Favell down, she releases the ball early lobbing it over the goalkeeper, into the area beyond and bounces into the goal beyond 1-0. 

 Two committed sides out there some crunching 50/50 balls no one afforded much time on the ball, Lawford win a free-kick on halfway the ball played up to the top of the area is won by Sasha McDonald who heads the ball on into the box, Cox goes after it as goalkeeper Kerry Davies rushing out to claim slides in the pair collide the ball deflected behind goal, play is brought back for a free-kick for Harlow the flag up against Cox. 

 Tye bringing the ball on through the middle of the park for Harlow has Maisie Ryan breaking forwards from right back plays the ball out to her playing the cross into the box early the ball goes long, bouncing in the area is picked up by Hill on the left side inside the box, shoots putting the ball wide of goal. Ryan with another chance to bring the ball on down the right side plays it into Favell outside the area, seeing the ball into her body holds it up well before passing it into the area for Tye making a forwards run on her right closing in on goal looks to square the ball across the six yard box, Lawford's Sofia Serghiou sliding in produces a great tackle the ball going out for a corner on the right. Glanced off a Lawford head inside the six yard box the ball goes out for a throw-in on the opposite side of the pitch. 

Lawford Ladies, Sofia Serghiou
  GOAL! Harlow extend their lead inside the opening 15 minutes, Lawford force Harlow to play the ball backwards from the throw, getting it across the pitch to the right the long ball forwards once again picks out Favell outside the box holding it up right of goal puts the ball into the centre isn't cleared played through into the feet of Nicole Learner left of the D shoots from outside the box the ball past the diving Murphy and into the bottom corner of the net 2-0.

Nicole Learner makes it 2-0 for Harlow Town Ladies
   A good start to the match for Harlow and they very nearly extend the lead moments later the ball as Fran Gamble wins the ball at the back play it into O'Leary sees Handscombe on the move on the right wing passes the ball out to her carrying it down the line fires a cross in towards Favell making a near post run controls well inside the six yard box adjusting her feet and getting a shot away as she falls, Murphy has the post covered getting across makes the blocking save the ball rebounding out across goal drops to Learner attempts to volley it goalwards flies back across the six yard box grounded Favell uses her studs to knock it back across goal Chapman boots it clear for Lawford.

   Frustrated at conceding 2 early goals Lawford double their efforts to close Harlow down on the ball, McDonald winning the tackle in the middle plays it on for Daisy Canny, the striker charging through the middle towards the Harlow box lifts the ball beyond the defence into the area with Jade Heath looking to get in behind from the right, Davies is off her line quickly out to claim the ball before her goal is threatened. Up the other end a timely challenge from Chapman getting back to tackle Hill breaking down the left channel as the ball is played long to her for Harlow. 

Daisy Canny attacking for Lawford Ladies
  Ryan breaking forwards on the right for Harlow sweeps her cross deep into the Lawford area across the six yard box, Lawford substitute, Suzie Jackson tracking back has to play the ball behind for the corner with Hill behind her on the left. Both sides are using their substitutes, Foley only just taken off comes back on for Ella Boyden who has taken a knock. Tye bringing the ball forwards for Harlow sends it on up into the area for Favell moving to the left, gets her shot away as Murphy comes sliding in to close her down the ball runs wide of goal a corner is signalled played in from the left Murphy coming through bodies near post punches the ball away falls to Hills inside the box but closed down quickly sends her shot wide of goal. Hills comes off for Harlow, Tia Dye coming on with 30 minutes played.

Tayla Handscombe looking to get away from
Lawford's Sofia Serghiou
  Progressive build up play from Harlow looking to play short passes to get the ball forwards then out to Handscombe and Dye on the wings, in defence Chapman and Serghiou dealing with the final ball for Lawford into the box. Hills receives the ball from the left pushing on looks to shoot from 20 yards out, Serghiou rushing to meet her charges the shot down the ball deflects straight to O'Leary 25 yards out her snap shot loops up over the bar. Lucy Sende comes on for Handscombe for the last 5 minutes of the 1st half. 

   Lawford get the ball forwards late in the 1st half Richardson playing it into Canny outside the Harlow area left of the D with Cox in close support between the pair they keep hold of the ball rolled into Cox she shifts it into a central position room to curl in a shot is rising but straight at Davies central in her goal plucks the ball down cleanly into her gloves. A rapid counter from Harlow the ball played on by O'Leary sees Favell in behind left of goal driving on into the box doesn't get much power behind her shot the ball rolling along the ground is easily saved by Murphy coming to close down the angle.

  Lawford attack the ball with Richardson is played out to Canny moving into space on the left side, Gamble goes with her, Canny getting to the ball 1st, cleverly shifts it inside to evade the defenders challenge heading towards the box lifts the ball up into the top of the area Heath coming in with Seakens challenging her, Davies rushing from goal they all meet 12 yards out the ball squirming free rolling towards the six yard box Canny is after in but before she can get there Gamble throws herself at the ball clearing it for a corner kick.

Lawford Ladies, Daisy Canny
  GOAL! From the resulting corner Lawford pull a goal back is a good delivery inswinging towards the near post area inside a yard from goal Canny is there the ball chest height Harlow struggle to clear it ends up diverted into the back of their net Canny pumping her arms in celebration, looked more an own goal and after match this was confirmed 2-1.

  Into injury time in the 1st half Harlow have a free-kick 30 yards out wide left of the Lawford area, Tye over the ball fires in low skipping off the surface in towards O'Leary positioned on the six yard line looks to turn and shoot as the ball crosses her path, Chapman closing her down defends well getting the ball away for a corner on the left. Defending the corner Lawford fail the get the ball away a hand ball spotted by the referee outside the box same side but closer in this time Richardson yellow carded as her protests go in vain. Tye takes on the shot this time the ball sails over the bar. 

Half-time Harlow Town Ladies 2-1 Lawford Ladies

  Having had the better of the 1st half Harlow Town Ladies take a narrow 2-1 lead into the changing rooms at half-time having taken a early 2 goal lead and frustrating their opponents Lawford capitalised late on to pull a goal back get themselves firmly back into the match. A competitve contest intriguing to watch clear to see why both sides are where they are in the league.

  Has gotten alot colder as the chilly breeze picks up strength swirling about the stadium as the two sides come out for the 2nd half Lawford getting things back underway. Karys Patmore is on in place of Ryan at right back for Harlow at the start of the 2nd half as they gain possession and look to make progress on the left side the ball into Lucy Sende wins a throw in. From the throw in Sende receives the ball rolls it across the face of the box where the 1st time shot is smashed in swerving wide of goal. Tye gets hold of the ball in the middle and drives forwards for Harlow, tries to thread the pass in behind the Lawford defence with Sende coming in from the left, Murphy sliding in saves at her feet, the ball is loose for a moment the goalkeeper adjusting quickly on the ground to pull it into her body with Favell closing it down.
Winning the ball in the middle captain Francesca Tye looks to attack for Harlow Town Ladies
  The strength of the wind is apparent as it causes a free-kick played in from the right for Harlow to stand up in the wind headed away by McDonald they look to counter attack, Richardson on the ball but fouls Sende as she attempts to get past her giving away a free-kick 40 yards out, Tye over the ball aims to drop it into the area in front of the six yard box, Murphy confidently catches with runners from Harlow closing in. The home side make full use of their substitutes regularly changing personal Learner and Rhian Patmore given a rest with Megan Sende and Hills returning to the action. A few challenges resulting in free-kicks the referee adding to Lawford's frustration with both Canny and Richardson yellow carded. 

Lawford Ladies, Jade Heath
  Harlow are giving away free-kicks too Lawford awarded on on the top of the circle inside their opponents half the ball is played long to Heath out on the right her touch taking the ball inside towards the top of the box, Seakens can get to it 1st clear for Harlow. Serghiou is yellow carded for Lawford as she fouls Favell just outside the area as she receives the ball from O'Leary breaking through the middle. Is O'Leary with Tye over the ball right of the D, O'Leary's as Tye runs at the ball hits it hard, Lawford's Ribet charging towards the shot blocks taking a painful blow on the side of her head for her troubles the ball cleared for a throw in on the right. The ball helped on into O'Leary outside the box right corner drills a shot is flashing wide across the face of goal. 

   Lawford's McDonald closes Hills down inside the area as the ball is swung into the area from the right, getting the ball away. Harlow are quick to press the ball in the middle of the park regain possession send it long out to Favell on the right looking to turn inside get into the area McDonald is their again getting her body across the attacker and playing the ball into Murphy the keeper kicking the ball clear. A strong start to the 2nd half by Harlow, Lawford unable to get any meaningful possession in the final 3rd.

  GOAL! Midway through the 2nd half and Harlow's pressure counts as they extend their lead. Have a corner on the right after Tye's run into the box sees her tackled strongly by Serghiou. Gamble up from the back heads the ball on at the near post into the middle of the six yard box, drops to Favell her shot is blocked at close range the rebound coming back to O'Leary 12 yards out, Serghiou lunges in to try and win the ball, takes the player aswell the referee pointing to the penalty spot. O'Leary to pick herself up and take the spot kick, sends the keeper the wrong way as she coolly rolls the ball into the opposite corner of the net 3-1.

Taylor O'Leary makes it 3-1 to Harlow from the penalty spot

  Lawford get the ball forwards from the restart Richardson passing the ball up towards the area with Heath coming in from the right, Davies coming out to the edge of her area to slide in and claim the ball at the attackers feet. Cox is fouled inside the centre circle giving Lawford a fee-kick, Ribet playing the ball up towards the top of the area Richardson up to head the ball on towards goal is cleared coming back to Richardson who meets the ball on the volley her strike blocked inside the six yard box. Tye turns and runs at the Lawford back line sliding Favell in behind, clear to attack the box beyond Murphy comes racing out of her area to win the ball send it back up the pitch. Favell comes off for Harlow as Handscombe returns to the action. 

  GOAL! Harlow extend their lead with less than 15 minutes of the 2nd half left to play. Players getting forwards as the ball is carried through the middle by O'Leary, her pass picking out Tye outside the box left side of the D, seeing the ball into her body moves inside finding half a yard to shoot sends the ball arrowing in towards goal rising flies over the keeper and into the back of the net 4-1.

Harlow Town Ladies captain, Francesca Tye 
  A quiet spell follows as both sides compete to stop the other having the ball attacks broken down before they can begin. Hills sees a goal chalked off for offside as she beats the keeper to the ball inside the box having gotten onto the end of a through ball from Learner. Cox then charges down a shot from Learner herself as she looks to take aim from 30 yards out. Codie Laurie comes on late in the game going up top with Chapman coming off at the back as they look to alter formation go 3 at the back. Harlow attack the ball rolled into O'Leary 25 yards out in front of the Lawford box has Dye to her right plays the ball into her feet carries it into the area doesn't shoot 1st time, Serghiou threatens to take the ball from her getting it around the defender shoots the ball coming in centrally easily held by Murphy.

Lawford Ladies, Lauren Richardson with Harlow's Lucy Sende
  Defending a Lawford free-kick Harlow attempt to break from their area, Richardson closing the ball down on the left side wins it back rolls in inside to Canny back to goal holding the ball up looks to roll it into Heath, Seakens can reach it 1st and plays it out from the back for Harlow. Into injury time Dye gets hold of the ball taking it on through the middle, Serghiou across times her tackle well.

Full time Harlow Town Ladies 4-1 Lawford Ladies

  Harlow Town Ladies extend their winning run in the league to 15 games, are in a commanding position at the top of the Essex Women's Premier Division and well on their way to claiming their 2nd league title in as many seasons. A frustrating result for Lawford conceding early were on the back foot for much of the match despite some good build up play were never allowed much time on the ball in the final 3rd. Pulling it back to 2-1 late in the 1st half gave them an opportunity, Harlow coming out the stronger in the 2nd half played some good short passing football looking to use the whole pitch rotating their substitutes to full effect. A great advert for women's football in Essex.

SWF Blog - Player of the Match

A few names in contention for the SWF Blog - Player of the Match today. I've picked midfielder Taylor O'Leary, proactive all game winning the ball for Harlow and looking to turn and attack herself or bring others into play, won and scored the penalty. A good range of passing too.

Harlow Town Ladies, Taylor O'Leary

  Enjoyed my 1st taste of Premier Division football in Essex, my thanks to Harlow for their hospitality and both sides for their help with the teams today.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Match Report - Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  This Sunday's action on the Supporting Women's Football Blog comes from the 4th Round Proper of the FA Women's Cup the entrants whittled down to just 12 sideLondonontest 6 ties to be joined by the sides from FAWSL 1 that will enter the competition in the 5th Round, today it's a trip to Cheshunt FC to watch FAWPL Southern Division leaders Tottenham Hotspur Ladies take on the newest side to join the FAWSL, Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

  Have been trying to get down to see Tottenham Hotspur Ladies play twice so far in 2017 but the weather has put pay to that both times around, they are enjoying a fabulous season so far are undefeated in all competitions with just the one draw in the league to date. Into the semi-finals of the Capital Women's Cup and FAWPL Cup where they are defending the trophy. Have also reached the Boux Avenue Final for the 3rd consecutive season. A tough challenge today against FAWSL opposition in the cup as Tottenham look to be one of the few remaining FAWPL sides to make it into the 5th Round Proper. 

  Tottenham Hotspur Ladies entered this season's FA Women's Cup in the 1st Round Proper of the competition were drawn at home to Leyton Orient WFC a single goal scored by Wendy Martin taking the FAWPL Southern Division leaders through to the 2nd Round Proper where they were drawn at home playing FAWPL South East Division One side, Gillingham FC Ladies a much more comfortable result winning 3-0 to set up a long away trip to play FAWPL Northern Division leaders Blackburn Rovers Ladies. The sides level at 1-1 going into 2nd half injury time Bianca Baptiste scored for Tottenham in the 93rd minute to seal a 2-1 victory and a home draw in the 4th Round against Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC did last season what Tottenham are hope to achieve this time around, win the FAWPL Southern Division title. Went on to beat Sporting Club Albion Ladies in the FAWPL Play-off game back in May last year. Making their bow in the FAWSL 2 Spring Series last Saturday earning a 1-1 draw away to London Bees. Played their 1st competitive match of the season in the previous round of the FA Women's Cup before that the FAWSL 2 sides entering the competition in the 3rd Round Proper were drawn away to FAWPL South East Division One side, AFC Wimbledon Ladies won the game 4-1 to advance to the next round.

  Cheshunt FC  the venue for today's FA Women's Cup tie, the pitch a good size showing a little wear has seen alot of football this season, was nevertheless firm and dry underfoot. The weather has been poor at the start of 2017 plenty of matches called off but no danger of that this Sunday a fairly mild day for February dark clouds overhead a hint of a light shower but nothing else as the two sides walked out onto the pitch.

  Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI - Toni-Anne Wayne, Renee Hector, Jenna Schillaci (C), Leah Rawle, Lucia Leon, Josie Green, Sophie McLean, Riana Soobadoo, Bianca Baptiste, Nikita Whinnett & Wendy Martin.
  subs - Megan Lynch, Kelley Blanchflower, Maya Vio & Eartha Pond.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC starting XI - Emma Byrne, Jenna Legg, Sophie Perry (C), Vicki Ashton-Jones, Charlotte Young, Kirsty Barton, Laura Rafferty, Lucy Somes, Alessia Russo, Kate Natkiel & Amy Taylor.
  subs - Leah Samain, Hollie Olding, Bronwen Thomas & Ellie Dorey

   It's Brighton to get today's FA Women's Cup tie underway kicking off 1st half wearing orange shirts, white shorts and socks with Tottenham lined up opposite wearing white shirts, navy shorts and socks. Right from the 1st Brighton touch Tottenham move in quickly to press the ball winning possession the ball is played forwards up to Wendy Martin in attack inside the box is played back to Nikita Whinnett who joined the club from Charlton Athletic Women in the summer, outside the area is closed down go Jenna Legg as she looks to turn in behind the ball lost is picked up by Leah Rawle getting forwards from the back for Tottenham drives with the ball at her feet down the left wing squaring a high cross into the Brighton six yard box is comfortably claimed by goalkeeper, Emma Byrne.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Wendy Martin

  Brighton get hold of the ball as it is played into the feet of Kate Natkiel helps it on out to the right wing with Alessia Russo getting forwards cutting back inside as she reaches the top of the Tottenham box cuts across her shot as she sends the ball goalwards causing it it swerve away from goal landing in the side netting. The game has started at a rapid tempo no one afforded much time on the ball, winning it at the back Tottenham captain Jenna Schillaci plays it long through the middle with Whinnett making a central run getting clear of the Brighton centre-backs, Byrne is well placed at the top of the area to gather before the striker can capitalise.

   Lucia Leon is forwards on the right for Tottenham as the home side builds an attack has support from Sophie McLean they exchange passes 25 yards out before Leon threaded a diagonal ball into the box looking for Martin near post, looks to see the ball across her body intending to take a shot, Whinnett slips her marker making a move for the ball leaning into the shot reaches it before Martin sends her effort curling wide of the post. 

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Nikita Whinnett

  Tottenham playing 3 at the back are playing a high line, looks risky if the opposition can get in behind however they drop back very quickly went their opponents regain the ball and with Josie Green playing just in front of the back 3 the defenders either side of Schillaci, Renee Hector and Rawle can move across to deal with their respective wide players. In attack Whinnett and Bianca Baptiste on the right side are providing the width but the Brighton defence is well organised and the final ball from both sides is being won by a defender in the early exchanges. 

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
captain Jenna Schillaci
Leon get's hold of the ball inside the Brighton half for Tottenham rolls it on for Baptiste down the right wing taking the ball down to the byline into the area her attempted cross is charged down by Vicki Ashton-Jones as she goes to ground the ball rebounding back to Baptiste tries again playing the ball in towards the near post is scooped up on the bounce by Byrne. A quick counter attack the ball played into midfield Laura Rafferty plays it to Lucy Somes on the left side playing it on for Amy Taylor the striker with Hector on her shoulder heads for the box left of goal is past the onrushing keeper but play is brought back as Taylor fouled hector in the process.

  Russo closes down Schillaci taking the ball from the defender as she tries to bring it out from the back running in behind takes on the shot from outside the box, her low drive stopped by goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne diving to her left. Green carries the ball forwards for Tottenham passing it onto Riana Soobadoo ahead of her sends the ball out towards Baptiste on the right a burst of pace before playing a pacey cross in towards martin moving towards the near post, can't get a touch as the ball runs across her races across the face of goal and out of play for a goal-kick at the far post.

  Brighton captain, Sophie Perry is allowed to travel with the ball on the left plays it on for Somes ahead of her comes in field before rolling the ball across to Taylor outside the box, her 1st time strike is blocked by Schillaci. End to end Tottenham soon have the ball up the other end over the top with Baptiste giving chase Byrne plays the ball wide attempting to put it out for a throw is retrieved by Martin who plays it back in to Baptiste 25 yards out takes on the strike her shot sailing over the bar. Brighton are getting a little frustrated are pinned back inside their half with Tottenham pressing all over the park can't get anything to stick higher up the pitch. 

Nikita Whinnett holds Brighton captain, Sophie Perry off the ball

  Somes is fouled wide on the left with around 10 minutes of the 1st half left, Charlotte Young makes a late run to get up into the area from the back as Perry delivers the ball into the area, is over Young dropping for Hector beyond her clearance is picked up by Natkiel 25 yards out drives the ball low into the area, is blocked too many bodies to go through, running out of play the referee gives a goal-kick. The 1st corner of the game doesn't come until the 37th minute going to Tottenham, Martin forcing the error from Young the set-piece comes to nothing. 

Brighton's Amy Taylor looks to get the better of Tottenham's Jenna Schillaci

  Leon steals in to win the ball inside the Brighton half getting it forwards produces a defence splitting pass to thread the ball in towards Martin centrally positioned inside the area, Legg with a superb recovering tackle gets across in the nick of time to take the ball away from Martin's toes Young clearing the ball from the area. The last 5 minutes of the 1st half is full of promising attacks but both defences working hard to stop the final ball see very little action inside the box. Late on into injury time in the 1st half Natkiel getting the ball out to Russo right earns Brighton a throw-in, played in towards Russo outside the Tottenham area turns in field heading for the box jinks right avoiding Rawle's lunging challenge then rifles her shot over the crossbar.

 Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  An intriguing 1st half an entertaining game so far 2 closely matched sides testing each other out, few chances created in the match despite both sides constantly looking for an opening. Tottenham have edged the chances in front of goal although neither goalkeeper has been tested yet. Beautifully poised the 2nd half could go either way. 

  No changes for either side although Rafferty has a bandaged knee following a knock picked up in the 1st half for Brighton. Tottenham to get the 2nd half started. Have the early possession McLean playing the ball forwards into Martin with Whinnett close by, outside the area a shot comes in runs wide of goal.

  Tottenham have a throw-in high up the pitch on the right the ball is played into Whinnett's feet turning inside pushes for the box right of goal unleashes a shot flies across Byrne positioned centrally, strikes the far post and rebounds out towards Baptiste racing into the area throws herself at the ball, flies up over Byrne coming down off the crossbar Brighton struggle to get it clear coming back to Baptiste has another go a wild strike flies high over the bar. 

  Rafferty getting the ball forwards has Somes in space out wide left picks her out with a well timed long pass, Somes looks to control and come inside top of the area thread the ball into Taylor in a central position, Leon has support from Soobadoo as the pair get back to squeeze Somes off the ball before she can deliver the final ball. Brighton push numbers forwards with purpose in the next attack the ball from Barton out to the right lifted into the area Taylor hitting it on the run is blocked at close range the rebound falling favourably for Tottenham to clear. 

 GOAL! 12 minutes played in the 2nd half and the deadlock is broken, Tottenham have a throw up on the the right inside the Brighton half the ball is played into Whinnett who comes inside with the ball 25 yards out across the face of the area rolls the ball into Martin back to goal inside the area turns her shot blocked by Ashton-Jones closely marking her the ball is cleared out to the left going straight to Baptiste, takes on the shot from distance her strike flying over Byrne and under the bar into the back of the net to give Tottenham the lead 1-0. 

Tottenham's Bianca Baptiste with Brighton's Charlotte Young

  McLean is fouled as she holds the ball up wide on the right Tottenham send players forwards into the box as Hector stands over the set-piece the ball is flighted in to the area with Whinnett making a run from the penalty spot to the near post, the delivery too close to Byrne the goalkeeper can get her gloves firmly around the ball 1st. Whinnett on the ball a powerful run on the right lays the pass inside for McLean 25 yards out central sends a high ball into the box, Byrne calls and claims it with Martin in behind her. 

  Young sends the ball long from the back for Brighton with Somes giving chase into the left corner coming back up the pitch plays it across the top of the area into Barton, shifts it looking for room to play a pass sending it on for Natkiel top of the D puts the ball into the area with Taylor after it, Green is ahead of her looks to shield the ball out of play as it runs wide, gets a shove from Taylor a bit of afters sees Taylor yellow carded. Natkiel gets possession of the ball on the right pushing forwards her cross into the area is headed away by Rawle, dropping towards Barton outside the area, has no time to see the ball down onto the floor goes for the acrobatic sends the ball goalwards too high however whistles over the bar.

Brighton & Hove Albion WFC's, Kirsty Barton
 The game is stretched the tempo hasn't dropped in the slightest, Brighton pressing looking for an equaliser, Tottenham wanting a 2nd goal. Ashton-Jones fouls Whinnett on halfway, Baptiste over the ball floats it up towards the top of the area, Young headers clear, falling to Soobadoo hits it back in along the ground, blocked then cleared. Legg is fouled as she brings the ball forwards giving Brighton a free-kick 35 yards out, Perry on the ball goes for goal, Wayne can see the ball run wide of goal. Tottenham make their 1st change on 71 minutes bringing on Maya Vio for Soobadoo. 

Brighton's Jenna Legg is fouled as she brings the ball forwards

  Brighton respond with a double change on 76 minutes with Rafferty and Somes the players coming off, Bronwen Thomas and Hollie Olding. Martin and Whinnett try a one two outside the area Ashton-Jones nips in to tackle and win the ball. Russo is playing through the middle now for Brighton supporting Taylor with Natkiel left, Thomas right win a corner, Tottenham defend well threaten to counter attack, Barton wins the ball back. The ball is played out to Thomas attacking down the right fizzes a cross in towards the near post getting down falling onto the ball Wayne spills her initial save but recovers quickly to get up smother the ball with Taylor closing in. 

Brighton & Hove Albion WFC
captain, Sophie Perry
  Perry brings the ball on down the left for Brighton her cross is cut back towards the top of the area controlled well by Thomas just inside the area plays it back to Natkiel lays it out to Legg coming in from the right her ball lifted into the area runs wide at the near post. Perry again up the left for Natkiel who plays it inside to Russo sees Wayne off her line tries the lob from distance but off target bounces wide of goal. Baptiste run of running gets across from the left to the right winning a throw-in for Tottenham the ball is played into McLean plays it into Whinnett central takes on the shot places the ball straight into Byrne who holds onto the ball. 

  Into the closing minutes Brighton break down the right Russo with the ball at her feet sends in a low drive angling into the bottom corner, Wayne dives full stretch across her goal to get a glove to the ball push it with a vital save to keep Tottenham's lead intact. Tottenham defend the corner kick. Brighton push everyone forwards late into the game everyone bar their keeper in the Tottenham half, risk the counter but need the goal get hit on the break Whinnett getting in behind on the right holds the ball up well before playing in inside to Martin a good turn before playing it on for Baptiste coming in from the left her goal bound effort blocked by Legg. 

  Into injury time and the last place Brighton want the ball is with the Tottenham attackers in the corner. The home side do a great job of keeping the ball there to see out the game and win, Bianca Baptiste's strike enough to see the FAWPL Southern Division side into the 5th Round of the FA Women's Cup.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  A really good contest to watch this one, 2 very good sides, a single goal enough to win the game, Tottenham continuing their excellent run of form, can see why they are doing so well and glad I got down to see them at last this season. Brighton created chances but not much inside the box, prevented very little inside their box as well both sides pressing the ball Tottenham just had the extra bit of movement in their legs to get the result on the day.

SWF Blog - Player of the Match

  A good all round team performance from Tottenham today, a well taken goal from Baptiste, however today's SWF Blog Player of the Match goes to Josie Green in midfield covered plenty of ground in front of the defence stifling Brighton's attack winning the ball and a range of pass to turn a defensive position into a rapid attack.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Josie Green

  My thanks to Tottenham for helping me out with the teams today.

 *UPDATE* The draw for the 5th Round Proper of the FA Women's Cup will see Tottenham Hotspur Ladies play FAWSL 1 side Arsenal Ladies away from home in a North London derby on the weekend of 18th/19th March.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Match Report - Brandon Town Ladies v Bungay Town Ladies

  After a trip to The Hive yesterday to see the opening match in the FAWSL 2's new one off Spring Series competition between London Bees and Brighton & Hove Albion WFC, stayed local for this Sunday's women's football action travelling over the border into Suffolk to watch the Norfolk Women's Division One match between Brandon Town Ladies & Bungay Town Ladies. 

  With snow all around the country the ground already very wet it looked like ti was going to be another weekend full of postponements, even the FAWSL's new Spring Series didn't survive unscathed. Didn't have a Plan A this weekend not committing to game too early having seen 3 called off already this year. Had a short list and Brandon Town Ladies v Bungay Town Ladies was on it 20 minutes away the snow that was on my lawn was thawing rapidly even if it was still bitterly cold, extra layers on hit the road.

  Norfolk Women's Division One is a very competitive league although this season so far it is being dominated by Thorpe United Ladies who have won all 9 of their league games so far and excellent run of form has seen Kings Lynn Town Ladies overhaul newly promoted North Walsham Angels Ladies who lay 3rd going into this weekends match due to play each other this Sunday at North Walsham the game was postponed, giving an opportunity to 4th placed Bungay Town Ladies to move above them.

  Brandon Town Ladies go into today's game in 6th place in the table well clear of the bottom 2 sides, have had a frustrating season so far in the league with 3 wins 1 draw and 4 losses postponements and having players unavailable for some games hasn't helped them build any momentum. Have had a good run in the League Cup competition and will play today's opponents, Bungay Town Ladies away in the semi-finals of the competition. Today is their 3rd meeting in the league with Brandon winning 4-3 at the start of the season at home, then losing away 4-0 back on the 15th January.

  Bungay Town Ladies got off to a bad start in the league this season losing their opening 3 games. Recovered towards the end of 2016 winning twice in the league. Have had an excellent run in 2017 getting regular matches in winning 3 in a row in the league given a home win in the League Cup quarter finals. Spoke to manager Graham Purling during the summer at a pr-season friendly and he was optimistic about the squad the club had assembled this season. 

  Brandon Town Ladies play their home matches at the Brandon Leisure Centre, a multi-sports facility offering several full-sized football pitches. Despite the amount of rain and dusting of snow to hit the country over the past few days the pitch had held up well, looked muddy but had featured a game earlier in the day and despite being cut up it was surprisingly dry underfoot no standing water. A large pitch, it was a bitterly cold afternoon, gloomy with dark clouds all around.

  Brandon Town Ladies starting XI - Shannon Odebrecht, Melanie Talbot, Cassandra Carvalheira, Shanice Burch, Laura Grove, Chloe Slater, Carolyn Sarafian, Ruby Robertson, Frankie Torrance (C), Brooke Wickens & Elicia Cooper.
  subs - Hazel Shepherd, Lauren Riding & Emma Johnson.

  Bungay Town Ladies starting XI - Ruth Smart, Hannah Jones, Kelly Collins (C) Jessica Keeling, Charlotte Power, Inna Marx, Ella Hindley, Nicki Hazell, Lauren Purling, Laura Holden & Stephanie Cool.
  subs - Rebecca Rylott. 

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Both sides had a newly registered signing in their squad for today's game, Elicia Cooper starting in attack for Brandon Town Ladies. Rebecca Rylott, Bungay Town Ladies only available substitute. Bungay to kick-off the 1st half wearing sky blue shirts, black shorts and socks, with Brandon lined up opposite wearing yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. The ball gets played long out to the right for Lauren Purling to chase early on winning a throw the ball is lifted up the line for striker Stef Cool getting into the box her ball forwards his cut out by Brandon's Cassandra Carvalheira behind for a corner kick. Headed out of the area by Brandon they look to counter attack on the right players from both sides racing back towards the Bungay goal as the ball is played into the feet of Brooke Wickens coming in off the wing to get into he area is challenged by Bungay's Charlotte Power winning the ball back for the visitors.

Bringing the ball forwards Bungay centre back Charlotte Power evades a Brandon tackle
  The action is end to end in the early minutes both sides contesting the ball hard in midfield Wickens plays a great crossfield pass from right to left picking out captain Frankie Torrance on the wing drives forwards looking to get into the box, no way past Bungay right back, Hannah Jones who stands her ground times her tackle well. Both sides looking to exploit the wide players, Inna Marx sends the ball out to Nicki Hazell on the left pushing on crosses as reaches the top of the area the ball angling towards the near post caught by Brandon Town Ladies goalkeeper, Shannon Odebrecht. 

GOAL! The opening goal of the match comes after just 6 minutes of play, Brandon pressing forwards in attack lose possession the ball is played direct through the middle both Cool and Laura Holden are in through on goal as Odebrecht comes racing out to the edge of the area with Cool closest the keepers clearance doesn't go far striking Holden inside the D, gets a shot away, Odebrecht doing well to get a glove on the ball palms it into the ground isn't under control Holden gets to it 1st to send the ball centrally into the back of the net 0-1 to Bungay.

Laura Holden scores the opening goal for Bungay Town Ladies
  Brandon attack from the restart getting a throw deep on the left played into Carvalheira her cross from 35 yards out is a good one coming in high Ruby Robertson gets up to head the ball can't direct her effort on target as it bounces wide across the six yard box. Wickens in possession on the right plays the ball in field to Carolyn Sarafain the midfielder in front of the centre circle decides to have a pop at goal on target is straight at Bungay goalkeeper Ruth Smart who takes it cleanly into her body. Making progress with the ball on the right Brandon have a throw players drift across as the throw is taken is Elicia Cooper squares the ball in towards Torrance outside the area in front of the D, back to goal hits the half volley on the turn her strike bouncing wide past the far post. 

  Another good crossfield ball from Wickens on the right picks out Torrance on the left cuts inside rolling the ball in field to Sarafain outside the area shifts the ball before hooking a shot in towards goal, again her effort drops into the keepers gloves back on her line. Robertson gets back on Cool as she breaks for the Brandon area, tackling concedes the corner kick played in from the right by Hazel his headed clear of the area by Laura Grove coming back out to Hazell sweeps a cross into the box Jones gets her head to the ball 10 yards out sends her effort over the crossbar.

Brandon Town Ladies, Carolyn Sarafain
  Picking the ball up from a throw on the right 30 yards out Ella Hindley turns inside carrying the ball towards the Brandon box, scoops the ball up off the turf sending a shoot in towards goal, isn't too far over as it dips late over the bar. Hindley with a run through the centre of midfield lays the ball on for Purling on the move up the right wing, Shanice Burch comes across to tackle her gets a knock as she puts the ball out for the throw deep in the corner up okay after treatment. A few crunching challenges about the pitch Marx and Sarafain clatter into each other from to try and win a 50/50 ball (poor thing). Pressure on the ball from both sides, Bungay are a little more successful with the final ball isn't coming off for Brandon. The visitors winning another corner on the right the ball is lifted into the centre of the goal Odebrecht calls and take well before being bundled over by the onrushing Bungay attacker to get a free-kick. 

Bungay Town Ladies, Lauren Purling
  A corner from Bungay on the left sees Brandon goalkeeper Odebrecht pull off a superb save the best I suspect I'll see this year! Initially doesn't do so went coming into the crowd at the near post to punch the ball away, instead knocks it down into the ground, players scramble for the ball is squeezed out to Hindley inside opposite the far post, I'm standing on half way behind goal as she shifts the ball with her 1st touch has an open goal to aim at hits the ball goalwards should be a certain goal, however out of no where Odebrecht appears throwing herself full stretch low across her goal-line to glove the ball away for the corner an excellent piece of goalkeeper, had it been Karen Bardsley the Vine loops would be in there thousands as it is you will just have to take my word for it!

  A powerful run on the ball from Brandon's Wickens through the middle moves to the right looking to make the angle for a shot, Bungay captain Kelly Collins gets back at her to slide in to tackle and win the ball back. The counter attacking football keeps coming Brandon's Chloe Slater on the move up the pitch plays it on for Carvalheira ahead of her on the left has Sarafain keeping pace with her lays the ball off into the middle, into the midfielders stride she 30 yards out she goes for the 1st time shot her strike whistling over the bar.

Brandon Town Ladies, Brooke Wickens

  Brandon make a change up top bringing off Cooper and sending on Hazel Shepherd  as Bungay win a corner with Purling played in down the right the ball is played into the six yard box deep knocked out towards the edge of the area Jess Keeling up from the back gathers for the visitors stabs a shot in towards goal his held on the line by Odebrecht. Hazell with a good run up the right side for Bungay lays the ball into Hindley on the move towards the Brandon area gets a shot away as she is closed down by Burch bounces wide of goal. 

  Brandon have upped the tempo as the 1st half moves into the last 5 minutes but have yet to test Smart in the Bungay goal. A throw on the right side is played into Brandon's Shepherd 25 yards out from goal driving forward looks to play in Torrance making a run from the left into the area, Jones throws out a long leg to intercept the ball. One last attack in the 1st half for Bungay Purling on the left forwards for Cool to chase hits the shot from outside the area runs all the way along the ground to be scooped up safely by Odebrecht inside her six yard box. 
Half-time Brandon Town Ladies 0-1 Bungay Town Ladies

 An high paced and exciting 1st half of football, Bungay Town Ladies with the narrow advantage have created the better chances in front of goal. Is bitterly cold however and I can' blame them for wanting to keep the ball moving. A shortened half-time interval as both sides stay by the side of the pitch. The visitors getting into some good attacking positions Purling and Hazell a threat out wide, Holden just 16 with some dynamic runs through the middle supporting Cool in attack. Brandon with some good build up play their final ball just not finding it's mark. 45 minutes left to play.

  A change for Bungay at the start of the 2nd half with Rylott coming on in place of Hazell going into a wide right position. Brandon get the 2nd half underway, Bungay get possession and attack down the right keeping the ball in the final 3rd before the ball is played inside to Cool outside the box slicing across the ball be strike races wide across the area out for the goal-kick. Sarafain gets forwards for Brandon the ball put into her feet by Wickens goes to strike the ball from outside the box a nick off a Bungay defender diverts the shot straight into Smart's gloves. Both sides continue to press the ball keeping up the pace of the 1st half. Shepherd is played on down the right wing by Carvalheira her cross in to the area intercepted by Collins.

Lauren Purling & Carolyn Sarafain
   Holden picking the ball up from deep goes on a run through the middle heading for the Brandon box is tracked all the way by Slater who slides in to take the ball play it back to her keeper. Torrance and Wickens link up on the left side the through ball from Torrance just a little too heavy for Wickens running into the box Smart coming off her line can get there 1st. Up the other end Odebrecht is quickly out of her area to kick the ball as Rylott plays Cool in behind the defence. 

Brandon Town Ladies, Chloe Slater

  Bungay break from a Brandon corner the ball played out to Purling on the left side Talbot gets across diving in to put the ball out for the throw. Purling takes a knock in the challenge but is up on her feet from the throw the ball is worked down the line by the visitors finally being played into Purling just inside the box on the left turning she is caught as a Brandon defender lunges in to try and win the ball, the referee stops play Purling clearly coming off the worse, after treatment can't continue and is substituted Hazell returning to the pitch. Brandon also make a switch Cooper returning to the pitch in place of Shepherd.

  Holden nips in to win the ball from the Brandon back line has Cool and Rylott either side of her as she heads towards the box tries to pick out Rylott to her right the pass a little too heavy Rylott keeps it in play before winning a throw level with the box, the ball is played down to Marx's feet puts the pass inside for Holden who seeing the ball into her body turns and hits the ball on the volley her shot angling in at head height towards the ear post, Odebrecht has it covered takes the ball cleanly.

  Brandon have a free-kick wide right outside the box after Hazel handles the ball, Slater over the set-piece sends the ball high into the area Hindley heads the ball clear for Bungay they counter attack the pass out towards Hazel on the left side travelling with the ball turns infield heading for the area pulling the trigger 25 yards out the shot straight at Odebrecht the keeper claiming the ball on her goal-line. 

 GOAL! 20 minutes into the 2nd half and Bungay double their lead pressuring the ball as Brandon try to play it out from the back Holden wins the tackle takes the ball on into the area before prodding it forwards for Cool right side of goal close range rolls the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net 0-2.

 Shepherd returns to the action for Brandon winning a corner on the right side bring players forwards, Hindley defends for Bungay winning the near post header giving away 2 more corners before the visitors break from the 3rd the ball played long out to Cool on the left on halfway gives it to Holden who surges forwards moving left has Hazell with her their runs taking them across each other Holden leaves it for Hazell who strikes the shot from outside the box the ball flying narrowly over the crossbar. 

Laura Holden looking to get past Chloe Slater
  The sun finally makes an appearance late in the day breaking through the clouds, Bungay attack the ball played into Cool's feet outside the area to the right has Hindley making a run towards the area lays the ball into her path Hindley striking the shot 1st time gets plenty of power behind the shot is straight at Odebrecht again and the keeper makes the save. Brandon bring the ball forwards through the middle Shepherds strike is deflected out for a throw level with the top of the area played into Sarafain's feet the midfielder turns and looks to curl a shot in towards goal from inside the D, dips late but not enough to take it below the crossbar. Bungay get the ball up the other end Hindley steals the ball inside the box as it comes in from a throw-in works room for a shot left side the ball is held by Odebrecht as Cool looks to pounce on any follow-up.

Bungay Town Ladies, Ella Hindley

2 goals for Bungay Town Ladies
Stef Cool
 GOAL! Bungay don't let Brandon out of their final 3rd from the previous attack closing players down outside the box, it's Holden who regains possession moving towards the top of the area left of the D rolls the ball into the area for Cool who on the opposite side to wear she scored her 1st goal does exactly the same placing the ball across the keeper from inside the six yard box to score her 2nd a see Bungay take a 0-3 lead with around 15 minutes left on the clock.

  Marx gets hold of the ball for Bungay some 30 yards out from goal time to line up a shot, places her strike wide across the Brandon goal. Bungay are finishing the game strong Purling her knee bandaged up returns to the field in place of Rylott. Brandon keep going forwards when they have the ball getting to the top of the Bungay area the final ball just won't fall to an attacker, Jones blocking a strike from outside the box by Shepherd. Torrance rifles a shot in from the wide left position, Smart coming across to cover her near post can see the ball wide into the side netting.

 Wickens marked by 3 players wide right wins Brandon a throw the ball played into her wide of the box helps it inside to Slater looking to play it across the face of goal, the ball is too close to Smart, spilt however the corner is given away. The delivery from the corner drops into the crowded six yard box Smart can't get hold of the ball dropping down a shot comes in too many bodies in front of goal the ball blocked spins out to the right the shot angled in towards goal Smart gets down sharply on her goal line to make the save. 

 A chance for Cool to claim her hat-trick late in the match as Holden picks up the ball and carries it forwards has Hazell with her, Holden rolls the ball to her, Hazell lays it on for Cool to her right squeezes the ball past the defence to get into the box, can only pick out the goalkeeper as she gets a shot away. 

Full time - Brandon Town Ladies 0-3 Bungay Town Ladies

  A 3-0 win for Bungay Town Ladies sees them keep their winning run in 2017 going and the 3 points moves them level on points and above North Walsham Angels Ladies into 3rd place in the Norfolk Women's Division One table. Kept up a high tempo throughout the 90 minutes closing the ball down getting forwards always looking a threat creating the better chances in front of goal. A good contest that highlights just how competitive the league is.

SWF Blog - Player of the Match

 With a 1st half goal and 2 assists in the 2nd half the SWF Blog - Player of the Match today is Laura Holden, the 16 year old playing just her 2nd game for Bungay not letting Brandon settle on the ball, getting the tackles in to win the ball and carry it forwards.

  My thanks to both clubs for their assistance today.