The new season is underway and Impetus‘ Darrell Allen returns with his weekly round-up of all the women’s football action in Norfolk. Each week Darrell will bring us an in-depth report from one game and a detailed wrap of all the other matches (23/8/22).
Above: Last-ditch defending from London Seaward’s Lucy Cockerill and Megan Burrows as Wymondham Town get a shot in. Photo: Touch Tight Media.
Game Of The Week:
Wymondham Town 1-2 London Seaward
London Seaward were victorious on the opening day of the FA Women’s National League Division One South-East season as they came from behind to beat newly promoted Wymondham Town.
Wymondham took lead through a Brook Cheal goal but the visitors were level before halftime thanks to a header from Maise Cannon. A second-half penalty from Katherine Long was enough to take all three points back to North East London.
This Tier Four contest played at the headquarters of Norfolk County FA, the state-of-the-art 3G facility the FDC Harrod Sport Arena, which will be Wymondham’s home for the season in the west of Norwich to comply with the ground grading requirements of the FA Women’s National League.
In the blazing heat it was London Seaward who dominated the initial phases controlling possession as they began to close on the Wymondham goal. Katherine Long tried an audacious lob but it went wide of Yaz Walford in the Wymondham goal.
Walford, who had a busy afternoon was a commanding presence at the back for Wymondham constantly instructing her defence and a great voice which will be needed through the season.
Lauren Kett for Wymondham then found Hannah Waters with a delightful ball which Amber Cantwell then received but couldn’t finish. Cantwell, then had a thunderous shot at Alicia Garwood in the Seawood goal as the former Cambridge United star looked impressive and at home in a Wymondham shirt with her brother, Norwich City men’s star Todd and other family members watching on.
The opener came when Mary Croft was free down the left and put in a great ball which was flicked onto the crossbar by Cantwell but Garwood could only turn it onto the bar and Brooke Cheal was in the right place at the right time to give Wymondham the lead.
Seaward produced an onslaught in response, earning a series of corners. Walford punched one away spectacularly before another hit the bar. Leah Newcombe was doing an exceptional job dealing with the threats. However, any team could only resist a barrage of this nature for so long and the visitors levelled when Maisie Cannon rose highest to head home Kayleigh Xidhas’ corner.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first. Sophie Lee forced Walford into a good save with a strike from distance before Long floated a ball across goal.
The game’s winning goal came 18 minutes from time when Seaward substitute Ashleigh Marchant was fouled in the box, Katherine Long stepped up to convert the spot kick.
Wymondham responded positively again to going behind as Cantwell won a free kick which was floated in and cleared away before substitute Sian Douglas had a thunderous shot at Garwood in the Seawood goal.
There were to be no further goals though as the visitors were professional throughout and claimed an important opening day victory on the road.
For London Seaward, this was a case of getting the job done in an awkward fixture on a long trip away to a newly promoted side and they did just that. For Wymondham, there are lots to be learned, but you feel if they play with the same heart and desire, then points will be picked up where required in order to stay in the league.
Teams: WYMONDHAM TOWN: Walford, Osborne, Croft, Kett, Newcombe, Codman, Cheal, Youngs, Cantwell, Catchpole, Waters. Substitutes: Douglas, Shipman, White, Studd, Goodenough.
LONDON SEAWARD: Garwood, Xidhas, Lee, Mcnally, Cockerill, Cannon, Davies, Burrows, Long, Malik, Thomas-Arayo. Substitutes: Mackler, Pace, Marchant, Bracelli, Butler.
Scorers: Cannon, Long (pen).
Referee: Elora Hardstaff.
The weekend saw Norfolk’s most senior teams conduct their opening league fixtures of the season with Tier Four Norwich City and Wymondham Town both involved in their FA Women’s National League Division One South-East openers, King’s Lynn Town and Wroxham getting their Tier Five Eastern Region Premier Division campaigns underway and Fakenham Town began life in the Tier Six Eastern Region Division One North.
It was Norwich City who were the day’s headline makers in Tier Four as they travelled to Cambridge United and produced a stunning performance to run out 4-1 winners in a game played at United’s men’s home at The Abbey Stadium, to increase publicity after the successful summer of the Lionesses. It worked with an excellent crowd of 648 in the ground.
Francesca Partridge gave the hosts the lead on 18 minutes but after that, it was all about the Canaries.
Natasha Snelling scored her first of the afternoon before the break to see the sides go in level. The second half saw Megan Todd tee up Snelling who slotted home to put Norwich in front before Ellie Smith put the game beyond Cambridge. There was time for a penalty for the visitors as Snelling finished from 12 yards to complete her hat trick and a stunning opening day victory for Shaun Howes and his team.
In the day’s other Tier Four contest involving a Norfolk team, Wymondham Town‘s clash with London Seaward is featured in detail above.
In Tier Five, it was Wroxham who produced all the headlines with an emphatic 4-1 win at last season’s Eastern Region Premier Division runners-up Royston Town.
Garden Walk is becoming somewhat of a good ground for The Yachtswomen having won 5-3 on their visit in December 2020 and having won 1-0 on their visit in February 2022.
Joe Simpson’s first game in charge was another Garden Walk triumph as they made it a hat trick of success on this ground as after a goalless first half, the Yachtswomen took control in the second half period.
Holly Connell was first on the score sheet before the experienced Paige Shorten doubled the advantage and then Connell made it a brace for herself and three for Wroxham. Royston pulled a goal back through Amy Cooper before Keela Olive was on hand to make 4-1 and a very happy start to the season for Joe Simpson and his team.
It was different fortunes for Norfolk Tier Five rivals King’s Lynn Town who travelled to face Luton Town at Kenilworth Road in front of a crowd of over 500.
After a goalless first half, Luton took the game by the scruff of the neck and scored three goals in the first ten minutes of the second half period thanks to Adi Milton, Jess McKay, and Elly Wade.
Fi Constable added a fourth for Luton but King’s Lynn played their part in the contest as Deva Rawlings and Samara Nche replied with a goal each to make Luton think.
However, Jess McKay put any lingering Luton worries to bed with the home side’s fifth and final goal of the game.
In the last match this week, Fakenham Town were beaten 5-1 at home by Haverhill Rovers on their debut in Tier Six. Fakenham, who should be applauded for taking the step up of leagues welcomed the Suffolk side to Clipbush Park in the sunshine.
It was Haverhill who quickly got down to business though as Laura Mills opened the scoring. Fakenham were quick to reply thanks to a goal from Vicki Lubbock.
However, it was Haverhill’s afternoon as they regained the lead thanks to Georgia England and then Laura Mills completed her brace. The second half saw Rebekah Finch add a fourth and Jordanne Sillitoe completed the scoring from the spot to make it a commanding win for the visitors.