Impetus‘ Darrell Allen provides his weekly round-up of all the women’s football action in Norfolk (29/8/22).
Above: Rebecca Russell (second left) celebrates after scoring Norwich City’s winner against Actonians. Photo: Norwich City Women FC.
It was another Sunday of top-class action across Norfolk with Norwich City and Wymondham Town having their latest Step Four contests, King’s Lynn Town and Wroxham having Step Five encounters, and Fakenham Town once again representing Norfolk in Step Six.
Norwich City made all the headlines in Step Four with an impressive 1-0 victory over Actonians in FA Women’s National League Division One South East. The game was played in front of an impressive 389 supporters at their home ground The Nest – a record crowd since they moved there in 2020.
Ellie Smith went closest for Norwich City in the initial phases of the contest but fired her shot wide from the edge of the box. Actonians came into the game and it required brave goalkeeping from Bryony Williams and great resilience from the defence in front of her to withstand the pressure that the visitors were applying although the London side were not able to make anything count and the scores remained level at the break.
The Canaries played superbly together as a team throughout the afternoon and restricted their visitors to nothing more than long-range efforts from distance that Williams had under control. The game’s golden moment came on 70 minutes when Rebecca Russell fired in a rocket from more than 25 yards out which went into the top right-hand corner of the Actonians net to spark wild scenes at The Nest and it proved to be the decisive moment of the contest.
For Russell, this was the moment that gets her time in Yellow and Green off to a perfect start, in just her second game since joining from local rivals Wymondham Town. It sent the near 400 crowd home happy and kept Norwich City near the top of the league after winning both matches so far.
In the day’s other Tier Four encounter, Wymondham Town were beaten 10-0 on the road at title favourites Hashtag United. A hat-trick from Malika Apindia Gillie and further goals from Amy-Leigh Abrehart, Brooke Mya Cairns, a brace from Grace Gillard, plus strikes from Katherine Nutman, Emma Samways, and Hailey Elaina West saw the hosts to an expected comfortable win against the newly promoted Norfolk outfit. The outcome of the afternoon was not a surprise to anybody, but despite missing key players due to holidays Wymondham Town battled through the afternoon and gave everything for their club and the shirt.
Next up for both clubs is the local derby as Wymondham Town entertain Norwich City on Tuesday Night (30th) at the Football Development Centre in Bowthorpe, Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
In the Tier Five Eastern Region Premier Division, it was King’s Lynn Town who were the heroes of the day beating Royston Town 2-1 at The Walks Stadium to respond brilliantly to their opening day setback at Luton Town. King’s Lynn were roared on by mascots from Norwich Wildcats, took the lead when Royston put through their own net around 20 minutes into the contest. In a first half where the visitors dominated possession but failed to carve out any clear-cut chances, King’s Lynn did force the Royston goalkeeper into some great saves in the first half period.
During the second half, the hosts battled hard whilst playing some lovely football and having increased levels of possession which led to Oksana Imanlijeva doubling their advantage. Gemma Croucher got a goal back for Royston but King’s Lynn defended well in the closing stages and ground out the result.
For Alex Cook and his team, this was a huge victory against Royston who finished runners-up last season.
In the day’s other Tier Five contest, Wroxham were beaten 2-0 at home by newly promoted Needham Market at Trafford Park. Wroxham started brightly and forced some early good saves from Emily Cockrill in the Needham Market goal on her debut. The visitors stayed in the game and got their reward on 37 minutes when Jo Brawn rounded Megan Lightfoot in the Wroxham goal and gave Needham Market the lead. Wroxham continued to put pressure on the Needham goal as the clock headed towards half time, but Eleanor Catchpole made a stunning clearance off the line to keep Needham ahead at the break.
Needham Market defended well through the second half and clinched the game when Abbie Fisher crossed to find the head of Lois Balfour who flicked it in to double the advantage in second-half stoppage time and secure Needham’s first-ever victory at this level.
In Eastern Region Division One North, Fakenham Town had their first away game of the season travelling north to face Yaxley Phoenix. Fakenham battled hard but lost the game 4-1. Milly Ramm opened the scoring on 10 minutes for the hosts before Vicky Lubbock found Sophie Lubbock with a delightful through ball to equalise for The Ghosts.
Yasmin Green put Yaxley back in front on the half-hour mark and that’s how it stayed at half time. Green added her second on 51 minutes before Emily Johnson finished the scoring just after the hour mark giving Yaxley the 4-1 win.
For Fakenham Town this was another experience of tier six football and their first away day at this level, as they learn and grow, you can be sure points will arrive.