Norfolk Women’s Football Wrap

Darrell Allen reports on the Eastern Region Premier Division game between Wymondham Town and King’s Lynn Town before rounding up all the tier seven and eight county action (11/1/22).

Above: Wymondham Town’s Hannah Waters wheels away in celebration after scoring against King’s Lynn Town. Photo: Neil Dady.

Wymondham Town 4-1 King’s Lynn Town

Anticipation was high ahead of the top of the table clash at Ketts Park as Tier Five Eastern Region Premier Division league leaders Wymondham Town played host to third place King’s Lynn Town.

Wymondham Town are by far Norfolk’s form team of the season so far and came into the clash at Ketts Park top the table with 10 wins from 13 games and only two defeats all season, 31 points from possible 39 just shows how seriously Wymondham have to be taken this season and which is why they go into every game as clear favourites at the moment. 

King’s Lynn Town is also a huge success story of the season so far, having been promoted from Step Six last season they went into the encounter having played 13, won five, drawn five, and only lost three. A staggeringly brilliant start to the season and exactly why I nominated them in the recent Impetus 2021 writers awards. 

The other added element to today’s game was the impressive victory for King’s Lynn Town over Wymondham in the reverse fixture at The Walks in September. King’s Lynn ran out comfortable and deserved winners on the day having dominated from start to finish.

I travelled to the game at Ketts Park expecting a Wymondham win as I did for the reverse encounter at The Walks. On arrival, it was nice to be greeted by Mark Nicholls who is father to talented Wymondham star Laura Nicholls and always provides everyone with a friendly welcome at Wymondham Town, and it was nice to say hello to Amy Bell, Fran Peeling, and ever-reliable Captain and vice-captain Lynn duo Tiffany Forshaw and Jodie Hopkins. 

I didn’t know the condition of the two teams on arrival but unfortunately discovered due to various reasons mainly due to COVID, King’s Lynn Town only had a squad of 12 players with the only substitute being goalkeeper Amy Bell so it was going to be down to the bare 11 on the pitch to fight for the cause in the toughest away game of the season.

Wymondham on the other hand had all their array of talent to choose from and a bench that any manager would be privileged to have with Hayley Kindred, Katie Knights, Kyla Love, and Jennifer Codman all waiting in the wings to be introduced if needed.

It was a glorious afternoon with the sun coming across the beautiful Ketts Park, it was a chilly but dry afternoon and I was delighted to watch the game alongside fellow Women’s Grassroots Writer Darren Gilham who runs the Women’s Football East website and we have been delighted to use of Darren’s photos in a number of my articles with his blessing. 

In terms of the game itself, once I had established the starting line ups I naturally feared the worst for King’s Lynn but this wonderful group of girls like proving everyone wrong and began the game as the better team.

Even just inside the first minute, King’s Lynn had a good early break which was flagged offside but enough of an alarm bell to make Wymondham realize this was going to be a difficult afternoon. 

Above: King’s Lynn Town’s Jodie Hopkins (left) and Wymondham Town’s Hannah Waters battle for the ball. Photo: Neil Dady.

The visitors did really well early on and it was noticeable that they were trying to get all players a touch of the ball on the impressive 3G surface but King’s Lynn play their home games on grass at The Walks so naturally, this takes some adjusting. 

King’s Lynn did well to stop Wymondham settling and they restricted their hosts to half chances mainly in the early stages of the game, Francesca Catchpole put the ball across the goal in sixth minute but was no trouble for King’s Lynn.

Continued good play from Kings Lynn was noticeable and a good one-touch move in the tenth minute finished with Jodie Hopkins having a chance from distance but this went up in the air and above goal. We all know the talent Jodie is and will be sure to score a spectacular goal or two before the end of the season, she is certainly not afraid to go for goal.

King’s Lynn continued their good early pressure but without really forcing a clear-cut chance which will disappoint them as in these big derby games if you are going to take any points you need to find a way of creating chances and scoring goals. 

Following a Lynn move, Wymondham goalkeeper Chloe Pearce went down which forced the play to be stopped but was soon back up and we were able to re-start. 

After a decent opening 15 minutes from the visitors, it was then the turn of Wymondham Town to go up the gears and they needed to as King’s Lynn were a solid unit working together as a team all afternoon with Tiffany Forshaw and Jodie Hopkins guiding the team in the superb way we all know they do.

Wymondham went up the gears though and Chelsea Clarke had a good shot on 16 minutes before Fran Peeling tackled Natasha Youngs. 19 minutes were on the clock when the best free-kick taker in the Eastern Region Premier Division, Becca Russell had her latest go but this one was disappointing from her own high standards. 

It was only a matter of time before the hosts took the lead as the pressure on the visitors’ goal grew as Rachel Cossey went close following a good set-piece move, Becca Russell put a free-kick all the way across the box but there was no end product that the delivery deserved.

Fran Peeling was then taken out by Francesca Catchpole and looked in some pain, playing with already one strapped up knee, Fran fortunately fell on the other one and was able to pick herself up and was screaming to be re-introduced to the pitch. With a squad of only 11 outfield players, Fran knew and wanted to get back on as quickly as she could do help her team in the battle they were in.

Following this re-introduction to the pitch of Fran Peeling, this energy and desire from the defender seemed to give the team a renewed boost with a couple of corners being won that vice-captain Jodie was on the taking of all afternoon. Amy Magnus fired a shot over. 

Above: Wymondham Town’s Rachel Cossey and Kings Lynn Town’s Jodie Hopkins in action. Photo: Darren Gilham

Wymondham Town took the lead on 27 minutes when Hannah Waters tapped in after a scrappy move and a disappointing one for the Kings Lynn defence in which goalkeeper Ellie Prentice will feel she should have done better. 1-0.

The hosts went straight on the attack again as an ambitious shot from Francesca Catchpole went high and over. 

King’s Lynn Town grew more into the game with a couple of corners, Wymondham had to result in kicking of heels to try and stop the visitors in their tracks as it was noticeable that Kings Lynn captain Tiffany Forshaw found the antics of Wymondham’s Francesca Catchpole rather irritating, and that is putting it politely! 

Back to the action and Amy Magnus had a good chance for Kings Lynn before Wymondham began to turn the screw once again.

A beautiful move on 35 minutes saw Hannah Waters feed through Laura Nicholls but the chance was just wide. Three minutes later the hosts doubled their advantage when a beautiful hit from Becca Russell went firing into the net and Wymondham led comfortable.

It should have been three with another delicious Becca Russell corner but there was no end product to another delightful delivery. 

Surely that was game over with a two-goal advantage against depleted visitors? This is King’s Lynn we are talking about and of course, a response was to follow. 

King’s Lynn got what they wanted and what the game needed in the 43rd minute when Ella Gavagan finished well from a delightful Tiffany Forshaw assist. Game back on. 2-1.

The visitors’ confidence and belief continued to grow as Jodie Hopkins had another couple of shots as they believed there was a way back and the ref blew the halftime whistle following another injury stoppage. 

King’s Lynn’s 11 had been fighting all half and they had the goal back their efforts deserved, arguably they deserved to go in level but getting the goal back meant heads were up and lots to look forward to in the second half period.

Wymondham had lots of options on the bench and rang the changes with a new-look midfield as the highly regarded Katie Knights was introduced as well as new signing Kyla Love from Wroxham in a number of chances at the interval from Wymondham Town manager Alex Guy.

The second half began much like the first with King’s Lynn putting in a lot of effort, desire, and commitment for the cause. Goalscorer Ella Gavagan fired a thunderous shot at Chloe Pearce in the Wymondham goal in the 49th minute.

Wymondham Town’s Kyla Love had a good chance a minute later and that was just Kyla getting warmed up as she then scored a goal on 53 minutes after good play from Leah Newcombe and half time substitute Katie Knights resulted in Love finishing on the line after Ellie Prentice did her best to keep it out. 3-1 to Wymondham and a comfortable lead again for the hosts.

King’s Lynn produced an immediate response to conceding as a gliding run and fired shot from Tiffany Forshaw deserved a better outcome. Wymondham then upped the anti again to try and seal the game as Hannah Waters passed to Laura Nicholls but tried to finish on her wrong foot. 

The game was wrapped up on 67 minutes when Hannah Waters finished calmly for her second of the afternoon after good play from Hayley Kindred and Katie Knights. 
Chloe Burch was sent to the sin bin for Kings Lynn Town and then on the way to the sin bin was actually sent off for what I believe was said to the referee although I didn’t hear what was said. 

Not much to write home about from the remainder of the game as King’s Lynn tried so hard with limited resources and kept any Wymondham attack to very minimal chances in the latter stages of the game.

King’s Lynn had a chance themselves when Ella Gavaghan fired again at Chloe Pearce. The game was won comfortably in the end. 

It was a scoreline that looks like a routine comfortable win for Wymondham but it was anything but. With a depleted squad with only 10 outfield players and two goalkeepers, King’s Lynn were warriors, Tiffany Forshaw and Jodie Hopkins guided the side through a challenging afternoon at the league leaders and they can hold their heads high.

Fran Peeling got knocked down but got up again. Ella Gavagan on another day could have had a hat trick and it was a wonderful team effort. Once players return from illness this is a team that will achieve so much and ones to watch in Norfolk football for many years to come. 

From a Wymondham perspective, this was a case of dealing with a Derby Day challenge, a tight first half which they edged 2-1. Alex Guy rang the changes at the interval and a lively and energetic midfield stole the show, spearheaded by the superbly talented Katie Knights who had a hand in two goals. Better options won the day with class and quality coming to the fore as Wymondham continue their incredible stroll towards winning the Eastern Region Premier Division title and at the moment it is being done with relative ease. The result sees Wymondham pull further clear at the top of the table.

Both teams have a break from league action with Norfolk County Women’s Cup Quarter Finals taking centre stage. Wymondham Town and King’s Lynn Town both are set to travel to Norfolk Women and Girls League opposition with Wymondham visiting Step Seven Thetford Town and King’s Lynn Town set to visit Step Eight Caister. A preview of all the weekend’s ties will be published on the site later in the week. 

Teams: WYMONDHAM TOWN: Chloe Pearce (GK), Leah Newcombe, Mary Croft, Rachel Cossey (Captain), Natasha Youngs, Chelsea Clarke, Francesca Catchpole, Hannah Waters, Laura Nicholls, Rebecca Russell, Aimee Stretch. Subs: Hayley Kindred, Kyla Love, Katie Knights, Jenifer Codman.

KING’S LYNN TOWN: Ellie Prentice (GK), Tiffany Forshaw (Captain), Samantha Davis, Frances Peeling, Chloe Burch, Alexa Hunter, Amy Cropley, Ella Gavaghan, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Shanice Burch, Amy Magnus. Subs: Amy Bell.

NWGFL Round up

Division One: 

In Step Seven, the division’s two unbeaten sides Mulbarton Wanderers and Thetford Town had their games postponed as Mulbarton’s trip to North Walsham and Thetford’s big home game with Dussindale both fell victim to waterlogged pitches.

Above: Thorpe St Andrew take inspiration from a previous Impetus Football article by pinning in up on the dressing room wall ahead of the game vs Bungay. Photo: Tony Allen.

That left three games with third placed Bungay claiming an 8-0 win over Thorpe St Andrew, Lucy Eagle the hero of the day with four goals, Selina Rowland with a brace, Gemma Foster and Megan O’Connor with the other goals. Thorpe St Andrew and in particular manager Tony Allen deserve huge credit as due to the inclement weather on Saturday, Tony organized for Thorpe vs Bungay to be played on the 3G surface at Easton College. Fantastic to see this attitude and willingness to play from Thorpe St Andrew in a game where everything is stacked against them and they are clear underdogs to want to play so much is a credit to Tony and their philosophy. 

Fakenham Town were other big winners taking a 9-2 victory at Stalham, Hat Tricks from Sophie Lubbock and Shelly Woods as well as goals from Nicole Costin, Amie Hutchinson and Vicky Lubbock sealed a comfortable win. Amber Mayhew netted both of Stalham Town’s goals.

In the game of the day, an exciting 2-2 draw was played out between Sprowston and Long Stratton with Samantha Walker and Luci Middleton getting the goals for the visitors and Sprowston goals scored by Bryony Brierly and Kate Morris. 

Above: Long Stratton’s Luci Middleton in action vs Sprowston in the NWGFL Division One. Photo: Hardy Scott Photos.

Division Two:
No action took place with the scheduled games UEA vs Caister, Loddon United vs Gorleston, Horsford vs Kings Lynn Soccer Club, and Red Rose vs Freethorpe all postponed and Shrublands were given a home walkover vs FC Viking Valkyries. 
Shrublands and Caister organized a sporting friendly at short notice via Twitter which is worth a mention in what has otherwise been a quiet Division Two day. 

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