Notts County Ladies beat reigning league champions!   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies closed out the first half of the FAWSL season on Sunday ahead of the World Cup by beating reigning league champions Liverpool 1-0.

10May2015_0213

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

This game was, without doubt, the most atmospheric I’ve witnessed at Meadow Lane. Both sets of supporters sang throughout the match, banged various drums, cheered, clapped and generally made copious amounts of noise right up until the final whistle.

In fact I think I’m correct in saying that this was the biggest crowd yet to attend a regular FAWSL game at 2,057 strong.

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Above, the record-breaking crowd. Can you spot ‘Agent Trenchcoat’?

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Some of our fans. Possibly regulars, I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen them before.

So, what was happening before kick off? Well… Matt (Angry Birds) Rowland threatened to call security on his GI JOE walkie-talkie if Ms Magpie didn’t keep her head this week.

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The ball boys and girls witness ugly scenes.

Lady Pies supporter (#2) goes in search of the stadium acoustics ‘sweet spot’ to maximise his tub thumping.

10May2015_0411

Him with his drum – creator of much of the wonderful match atmosphere.

The girls warm up.

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Fitness coach Paul Campbell introduces wrestling into the mix. The boy is way ahead of his time.

This is Assistant Coach Colin Walker. He had his hair cut for this game. No, I couldn’t tell either.

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Mr Walker deep in thought. I wonder what’s on his mind?

The Mascots are multiplying. And the young lady second from the left looks just like somebody in the team. Maybe we should stage a mini-me ‘player look-ee-like-ee’ competition.

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Loving the game faces.

The two team’s came out. The heroic Pies led by their skipper Laura Bassett.

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Three of these Pies are England players and the other one should be.

Anyway lets not hang about, let’s get the game started. And as is becoming worryingly customary of late, County almost concede in the first few moments of the game.

10May2015_0429

Liverpool’s Asisat Oshoala ghosted past the County defense to test Carly Telford who was forced to make a save at her near post.
Liverpool continued to enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early stages of the first half. They created half chances with England keeper Telford busy whilst restricting County to long distance efforts themselves.
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Another fine display of goal keeping by Carly Telford should demonstrate to England manager Sampson why she should be England’s number 1.

Aileen Whelan relieves the pressure for a while as she goes on a silky run down the line.

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The record crowd watches on in hope and expectation.

Ellen White takes a knock and needs treatment from Physio Krista Van Alten. We’re strangely relieved that it was only a bump to the head instead of anything to do with her knees.

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Krista patches Ellen back up.

County had to endure Liverpool pressure right up to the half with much of it coming down the right flank.

10May2015_0439

Alex Greenwood keeps her eye on the ball as Liverpool probe.

And that just about sums up the first half. Liverpool didn’t score when they might have and County looked rushed when they had possession and gave away the ball cheaply. So we’ll move swiftly on in the interests of biased match reporting.

HT Notts 0 Liverpool 0

The half time entertainment was created by, designed by, and executed by creative marketing genius Matt Rowland; it was the ‘kick-the-ball-at-the-goal-from-increasingly-greater-distances-and-win-a-random-prize’ game.

The young tike and raffle winner hoofs the ball toward the goal being fiercely guarded by Ms Magpie (not pictured).

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He shoots! He scores! He wins…

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… a beautifully photographed picture of the NCL FC squad and a bag of Matt Rowlands old clothes.

The second half began after a small delay whilst the referee signalled in his post-match food order.

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‘Egg and chips twice – over there, when I’m finished’.

The start of the second half saw a completely different County team (metaphorically speaking of course otherwise the ref would have noticed); suddenly the football was flowing. Passes were being found. Suddenly Notts were a slick as an oil spill in an obsidian sea.

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Rachel Williams bursts between two Liverpool defenders to fire in a cross.

Jess Clarke begins to terrorise the red’s defense.

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Clarke gets loose.

And then the goal!
With just over an hour gone Alex (left peg) Greenwood hit a cross into the box aimed for White, Satara Murray beat the striker to the ball to clear for a corner. It was then Greenwood’s corner kick that was met by County’s Fern Whelan to head home from 12 yards out.
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Greenwood delivers the corner kick …
10May2015_0265
… Fern Whelan times her jump…
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… to perfection…
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… to head powerfully past the Liverpool keeper…
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… whom has no chance to react…
10May2015_0269
… before the ball is past her and hitting the back of the net.
GOAL! 1-0 NOTTS!
Jubilation followed…
10May2015_0277
…. Crichton hugs top ‘assister’ Greenwood (who is sporting a new hair style in celebration).
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Now Liverpool have to chase the game!
The county defense came under pressure but was holding fast.
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Telford is fouled as she goes to catch.
The noise level in the stadium went up a notch as Liverpool sought an equaliser and County looked to hit them on the counter.
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Clarke gets to the ball ahead of Keeper Libby Stout but the ball is cleared off the line.
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Aileen Whelan shoots across keeper Stout but the ball flies wide of the far post.
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Williams leads the charge.
With the game clock running down Manager Passmoor makes two tactical substitutions to shut out the game and brings off Aileen Whelan for Dunia Susi and Jess Clarke for Amy Turner.
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Jess Clarke checks out how long is left on the scoreboard as she leaves the pitch.
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Susi gets straight in the thick of it.
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Off the ball Dani Buet is the victim of a brutal attack by the Liverpool number 7 Longhurst.
For some reason being 0-1 down with only a few minutes remaining seemed to irk the Liverpool manager…
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Irritation with the match official boils over for Matt Beard, much to Amy Turner’s amusement.
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Beard appeals to the fourth official (is Passmoor smirking?).
As the game approached 90 minutes Liverpool’s attempts to equalise became more frantic, once again offering opportunities to County.
10May2015_0444
 Rachel Williams out jumps Martha Harris.
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Rick Passmoor urges his team on whilst Beard continues to sulk.
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Telford’s catch eases the pressure late on.
The game hits the 90 minute mark and the fourth official announces…
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… 4 extra minutes – groan! But even that doesn’t cheer Beard up.
County safely negotiate the injury time ….
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… and the ref blows for full-time!
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Good spirited handshakes all round.
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Rick thanks his squad for making his life especially stress free going into the break.
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This hug from Rachel Williams is so epic it turned into a classic black & white almost immediately.
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Carly Telford shows her team mates how to play Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be…’ on her over-sized elastic band.
Interviews then…
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… this is the ‘I scored a bloody great goal but it was a team effort’ interview.
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This is the ‘Yes, I’m a bloody great keeper, but it was a team effort’ interview.
And…
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… this is the ‘We lost and I was NOT sulking’ interview.
The Lady Pies (I’m using that phrase all the time now – grrr) spend time with the fans.
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Fern Whelan signs her programme piccy.
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Dunia Susi’s eyes say ‘Please help me….!’
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And finally the backroom staff catch up on the latest episode of ‘Breaking Bad’.
And finally finally…
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… what was Colin thinking about?
Here’s a foot note: as I write this East Midlands Today sport report has just shown the goal from the game last night vs Liverpool. They also commented on the 2,000 + crowd with a certain degree of incredulity in their voice.

 

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.

Wembley Pies   1 comment

Notts County Ladies Football Team beat Everton Ladies on Sunday 3-0 to book a date with History at Wembley stadium on August the 1st. The match will also be shown live on BBC One.

03May2015_0347

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

First of all the fans: we had more at Goodison Park than they (Everton) did. They were noisier, much more so. To my untrained eye we must have had 400-500 supporters there. Surely the biggest away supporters attendance of the season. Do we get a prize F.A?

03May2015_0871Wem-ber-ley!

The girls all seemed very relaxed and happy in the pregame warm-ups.

03May2015_0579Fern and Aileen enjoying the day.

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Dunia and Ashleigh get all ‘girlie'; “Look, it’s Goodison Park.”

But Paul Campbell soon gets them working and it was game faces on!

03May2015_0383Ellen White and Rachel Williams lead the charge.

03May2015_0603Aileen Whelan scowls through the warm-ups.

03May2015_0604Carly Telford gets in the zone.

03May2015_0439Laura Bassett (on time this time) shakes hands with Michelle Hinnigan and exchanges pennants. Laura is holding our specially designed invisible edition.

The game kicked off with the Goodison pitch looking in superb condition. It’s well-trimmed and expansive surface would surely favour Notts. On a high from 9 goals in the last two games County’s confidence was sky-high, but it was Everton that threatened to take the lead.

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Everton carried a threat in the first few minutes of the contest.

Almost straight from the kick off Everton’s Lucy Whipp hit the bar from 20 yards out with Carly Telford stranded but thankful the ball dropped kindly for her to collect.

County then eased into 5th gear and started to play.

03May2015_0606Jess Clarke shows the Everton defense a clean pair of heels.

Notts’ well oiled machine purred through the first half creating numerous half chances as Everton tried in vain to match their opponents quality on the ball.

03May2015_0719Williams as is customary now always seemed open for the pass and held up and linked play wonderfully.

03May2015_0619Sophie Walton was a rock in defence.

03May2015_0618Skipper Bassett was formidable (look at that crowd).

03May2015_0626Clarke goes on the attack again much to the delight of the County throng.

03May2015_0616Only desperate defending at times by Everton kept County’s strike forces at bay.

Aileen Whelan is as smooth as silk again in midfield.

03May2015_0648Everton fans can only watch and wish they had such a talented player on their squad.

03May2015_0670Aileen Whelan keeps the County machine turning.

The half drew to a close with the game goalless. County had created chances from which they might have scored but the overall feeling of confidence permeated the team and there was no signs of impatient as Passmoor’s well-drilled team just seemed to be biding their time.

And they didn’t have to bide long when the game restarted. With less than a minute gone of the second half Alex (pocket rocket) Greenwood whipped in a cross that Jess Clarke met with her head to open the scoring for Notts.

03May2015_0076Clarke scores. In fact Clarke scores so early in the half it took almost everybody by surprise (Matt Rowland was still returning to his seat with his prawn sandwiches).

03May2015_0082Ellen White joins in the celebrations.

Everton’s heads dropped at this point. Keeping the game goalless and putting away a half chance might have seemed their best hope and this was now going to be a tough game to get back in to; pushing for an equaliser was going to leave them vulnerable to County’s talented free-scoring strike force.

Instead Everton’s threat fizzled out and in the 55th minute Alex Greenwood was the provider again, crossing for Ellen White to head home athletically past the Everton keeper to put Notts 2-0 up.

03May2015_0103White gets her head to the ball to put County a step closer to Wembley.

03May2015_0108Keeper Megan Walsh and the Everton fans know it’s game over!

And on 81 minutes it was all over, when Dani Buet’s free-kick evaded everybody including the Everton goalie to find the bottom corner.

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3-0 NOTTS! Not even Colin Walker would dare claim this set piece was off the training ground (actually he might).

03May2015_0843Williams hoists Buet on to her shoulders.

03May2015_0777Everton had no reply, even with the ball girls working hard to keep the ball in play as much as possible.

But County keep the pressure on…

03May2015_0755Lineswoman Helen Connely (yeah I know her name) keeps pace with Jess – impressive.

The end is nigh. The staff look on pensively as the clock ticks down. County manager Rick Passmoor can’t take any more and leaves for his ‘Eagle’s Nest’ lookout post in the stand…

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… it must be the prospect of a historic Wembley appearance looking almost inevitable that makes him nervously head for his observation post only to find…

03May2015_0785… Matt Rowland is sitting in his seat playing Angry Birds 3. Rick points this out to Luke Negus-Hill who in turn instructs Matt Rowland to move.

The full time whistle goes and Notts are at Wembley! Chaotic scenes ensue.

The county mascot Ms Magpie loses her head and invades the pitch and loses her head!

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But she’s fine.

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It takes more than decapitation to stop Ms Magpie. :)

The  team celebrate making history.

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Then decide to ceremonially hold hands and run to their adoring fans…

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… at which point Ellen White thinks it a good idea to dive and slide, only the pitch had dried out considerably and she pays the price (far left in picture)!

Jess Clarke gives one of many interviews at the end of the game…

03May2015_0211… and sums up how we all feel about making history.

County march on to the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Soon feet will have to be back on the ground for the home league game at Meadow Lane this weekend against Champions Liverpool. Make sure you don’t miss that game. It promises to be a doozy!

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.

Posted May 5, 2015 by Drew in Uncategorized

Notts County Ladies vs Sunderland at Meadow Lane   1 comment

Notts County Ladies showed their pedigree and class on Wednesday night to hand down another brubbing; this time to Sunderland Ladies FC beating them 4-2.

29Apr2015_0119Here’s the game in words and pictures:

This game against Sunderland FC was the second part of the season defining trinity taking place over a 9 day period. Part one last Saturday saw County dispatch Bristol Academy with aplomb running out 5-2 victors away from home. Part three will be the game this weekend coming vs Everton in the semi of the FA Cup. But shhss, Rick Passmoor has banned any mention of it until after the game against Sunderland.

29Apr2015_0205Matt Lawson (nutritional guru) offers Rick an Everton Toffee.

The Pies fans gather, which sees the return of…

29Apr2015_0260… Harry Secombe Pie.

This is Winston, new kid on the block and all round nice guy.

29Apr2015_0246In his hand he holds the written instruction from Manager Passmoor to eject anybody heard talking about the Everton game. Although I think employing special agents in the stands was going overboard.

29Apr2015_0232Special Agent Trenchcoat has no sense of humour as far as he knows.

With kick-off imminent and Matt (Tweeting Tyrant) Rowland about to enter the Twitters-sphere, he asks to have the off-side rule explained to him just one more time.

29Apr2015_0250Yes Matt, if they’re level they are still on-side.

Kick off then and skipper Basset suddenly realises the game can’t start without the coin toss of which she is an integral part.

29Apr2015_0004Laura leaves the huddle to start the game…

29Apr2015_0005… the ref politely points out they’ve been waiting 10 minutes.

Notts make a bright and breezy start, looking as if they mean business. Their class begins to show and that fiercesome team sheet starts to impose itself on the pitch. Pressing the ball and closing down Sunderland deep inside their own half has the visitors on the back foot…

29Apr2015_0050… until a hopeful punt downfield finds Beth Mead whose determined run gets her the wrong side of Amy Turner and in on goal …

29Apr2015_0011… where she expertly lifts the ball over Carly Telford to give the Black Cats a 1-0 lead.

29Apr2015_0012Not the start Notts wanted.

A nervy few minutes ensued before County began their strangle hold on the game. And as Sunderland gasped for breath keeper Laws was employed full-time in an effort to hold Notts at bay.

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But the Black Cats’ defense was chasing its tail in trying to stifle Jess Clarke who won a free kick some 25 yards out. Dani Buet and Alex Greenwood stood poised to execute another ‘Walker wonder’.

29Apr2015_0299Greenwood ran over the ball, Buet stepped up to strike it (no clown cars appeared) and expertly hit Ellen White with her effort which deflects the shot past the Sunderland keeper. How does assistant manager Walker keep coming up with them?

29Apr2015_0304Buet hits White in the box to equalise. GOAL! NOTTS 1-1.

Moments later County went 2-1 up when Rachel Williams created the chance for Ellen White by winning the ball in midfield and threading a pass through to her strike partner …

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… who took the ball in her stride and poked it past the despairing keeper…

29Apr2015_0315… with ….. APLOMB! 2-1 NOTTS!

White celebrates…

29Apr2015_0048… with characteristic ferocity.

Mid way through the first half Sunderland might have equalised if it weren’t for the cat-like reflexes of Carly Telford

29Apr2015_0057… Sunderland’s number 5 beats Bassett to the ball to head powerfully down into the County goal…

29Apr2015_0052… Telford gets a strong right hand to the header, pushing it upward and onto the bar…

29Apr2015_0060… as it drops Amy Turner finishes the job with an acrobatic clearance off the line.

29Apr2015_0061Phew!

Minutes later Jess Clarke broke her scoring duck!

More good work from Williams made space for Clarke to collect the ball and drive into her opponent’s box before …

29Apr2015_0328… unleashing a shot that beat keeper Laws at her near post.

29Apr2015_0334GOAL NOTTS! 3-1!

Oozing class and now openly terrorising the Sunderland defence County began to show just what a top flight team they could become this season. And to prove the point they went 4-1 up when Sophie Walton crossed for Rachel (can’t stop scoring) Williams to head past the hapless (‘hapless’ like ‘aplomb’ appears rarely outside of football commentary) Laws.
 
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Notts 4 Sunderland 1

Half time entertainment commenced with the ‘Kick the ball in the goal and we’ll give you a random prize’ competition. The Pies’ Mascot goes in goal for this and nerves can get the better of even the best keepers.

29Apr2015_0351 Luke Negus-Hall isn’t pleased about having to follow the mascot around with the poop bag.

The contestant had good form….

29Apr2015_0359…. and wins a signed England shirt for her troubles.

And…

29Apr2015_0362Matt Rowland celebrates finally ‘getting’ the off-side’ rule.

Meanwhile the fans entertain themselves.

29Apr2015_0255No words necessary.

The game restarts and Notts lift their foot off the pedal and slip in to cruise control.

29Apr2015_0157But still keep a firm grip on the game well into the 70th minute.

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With 15 minutes to go Sunderland reduced the deficit to two goals when Rachel Williams has the dubious honour of scoring for both teams. Victoria Greenwell’s cross is deflected by County’s Williams and past the stranded England keeper Telford.

Notts 4 Sunderland 2.
With time dwindling away Notts sat back and closed out the game, much to Sunderland’s frustration.
29Apr2015_0184No amount of encouragement…29Apr2015_0181.. or hurry up came to Sunderland’s rescue.29Apr2015_0193Notts ran out comfortable winners and climbed to 3rd in the league.

29Apr2015_0392Rick and the squad share a joke.

29Apr2015_0424Sophie Walton in repose asks somebody to peel her a grape.

29Apr2015_0427Carly and Amy argue who it’s going to be.

With the usual autograph hunting over the fans take time out to get their picture taken.

29Apr2015_0436Which team are these girls from and whose face is that on the sweatshirt? Answers on a postcard please.

So, that’s two down and one to go. Scoring 9 goals in the last two games is tremendous preparation for the game against Everton on Sunday. COYP.

Wem-ber-ley is only one win away!

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.

Notts County Ladies vs Bristol Academy at Bristol   1 comment

Goals! Goals! Goals! Seven actually.

County secure their first league win by smashing 5 past Bristol Academy.

Here’s the day in words and pictures:

I had the pleasure (and it was a pleasure) of traveling with the NCL FC team on the coach to Bristol for this first long distance away game. 8 hours spent sitting next to Matt Rowland (I’m shamelessly name dropping now) was an edifying experience.

Bristol Academy welcomes you with Tulips.

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Making good time on the journey and arriving rather early left time to kill.

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NCL FC CEO Luke Negus-Hill checks to see if they’ve spelled his name correctly in the match programme.

The Vixens proud, and enormous, promotional poster displays two of their best players – who have unfortunately left the club this season for greener grass.

25Apr2015_0030immortalise your star players on the side of your facilities at your peril.

Hand shakes at the start of the game and it looks like both team captains are eager to get started. As was the rain, which right on cue began to fall and didn’t stop for the entire game.

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McCatty (just a great name) and our own Laura Bassett shake and race off to get the game going.

The Pies started well, grew into the game and looked threatening every time they probed the Bristol defense. So it was no surprise that with a quarter of an hour gone they opened the scoring.
Captain Laura Bassett started a move that concluded with Ellen White squaring the ball to Aileen Whelan whom beat her marker like a bowl of fresh farm eggs and cracked the ball into the bottom corner of the Bristol net.
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Aileen Whelan finishes an impressive County passing move with aplomb. 1-0 NOTTS!

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Aileen Whelan continues to impress in a County shirt.

County were on fire and totally dominating play and went on to double their tally on the half hour. Aileen Whelan found Rachel Williams with a cross and the County number 8 slotted home for what seemed like her umpteenth goal of the season and Notts second. 2-0 NOTTS!

25Apr2015_0649Rachel Williams scores Notts 2nd goal.

Two minutes later Notts pressure resulted in a free kick. Alex Greenwood took it and picked out (sounds better than ‘hit in the general direction of’) Fern Whelan as she made her run into the box. The County central defender got to the ball before Bristol keeper Earps and rocketed the ball into the back of the Bristol net. 3-0 Notts! 

25Apr2015_0151Earps comes to punch but is beaten to the ball by Fern Whelan to claim her first goal for County.

The Bristol goal is continually under siege now.

25Apr2015_0530

Earps clears downfiled to relive the pressure.

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As the rain intensifies the referee gives permission for Amy Turner to use an umbrella.

25Apr2015_0768Turner with a solution to the inclement weather.

County fans like what they are seeing!

25Apr2015_0439

Half time then.

The rain increased in intensity and as the second half commenced County fans might have been forgiven for anticipating a bumper haul of goals.

Instead Bristol hit Notts with two goals in 5 minutes through Ingle…

25Apr2015_0803

… and then Watts to make it 3-2.

25Apr2015_0840

Bristol’s 10, Watts pegs County back to 3-2 and its game on!

Only it wasn’t game on. It might have been easy to see how Bristol with the momentum would then kick on to bring the game level but instead Notts resumed their domination, kept their heads at the back and reestablished their passing game.

With 80 minutes gone Notts struck their 4th goal.

It was Greenwood again in the role of provider …

25Apr2015_0707

… that supplied a deliciously weighted pass to Rachel (can’t stop scoring) Williams to run on to, collect and score past Earps.

25Apr2015_1061Rachel Williams gets her second and Notts fourth to once again prove just how influencial she can be in a game. 4-0 Notts!

County reign supreme as the game runs to its inevitable conclusion of a Notts win.

25Apr2015_0218

Ellen White goes close.

25Apr2015_1067Leanne Crichton picks up a yellow.

25Apr2015_0913Dani Buet rides a tackle.

And as the ref starts to search for her whistle for full time Aileen Whelan is brought down in the Bristol box and she finds a use for it in blowing for a Penalty to Notts.

Alex Greenwood, who has undoubtedly played her best game of the season so far, steps up to take it….

25Apr2015_0286… and hits it high into the Bristol net past the flailing hand of keeper Earps. 5-2 NOTTS!

Full time and County win 5-2 and the long trip home (despite sitting next to Matt Rowland) is so much more bearable. :)

County skipper Bassett and the team go to thank the traveling Notts supporters.

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Hugs and handshakes all round.

25Apr2015_0333

Rick Passmoor gives the post match team debriefing.

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There was a lot of relief in this well deserved result.

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This game and the following 6 days will go a long way to defining NCL FC’s season; a midweek win in the game against Sunderland will capitilise on this win against Bristol and put them back in the title race. A win against Everton in the FA Cup at the weekend will send them to Wembley for a Cup Final in the summer.

So, if you are within striking distance of Meadow Lane on Wednesday evening, get yourself down there and support to the girls, but more importantly treat yourself to what promises to be a great game of football.

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.

Posted April 26, 2015 by Drew in Uncategorized

Notts County Ladies FC vs Birmingham away 23rd April   Leave a comment

Still looking for their first win of the season Notts County Ladies FC went on the road for the first time this year, away to Birmingham at Solihull Moors FC.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

When push came to shove neither team could really afford to lose this battle. With such a short season of only 14 league games and with Chelsea topping the table with maximum points losing at Solihull for either team would make it difficult to stage a serious challenge for the title.

19Apr2015_0084This is the ‘happy face’ pre-game ritual.

With the Matt Rowland images Restraining Order lifted I can exclusively reveal that Matt was actually playing Grand Theft Auto on his laptop and not tweeting to the Notts fans at home.

19Apr2015_0227Matt plays GTA instead of FAWSL.

Notts terrific away support grows larger each season. It must be the burgers!

19Apr2015_0184Couldn’t wait until half time eh? :)

This young lady wins the ‘cutest mascot’ award.

19Apr2015_0199She’s almost as tall as Alex Greenwood. :)

Now then, what can I say about this guy that won’t land me with a legal action? Okay, imagine somebody that is a talented musician and vocalist that is playing upbeat tunes to get everybody in the mood for an exciting game of WSL football. Got it? Okay, now imagine the absolute complete opposite and you’ve just experienced what we had to suffer prior to kick-off.

19Apr2015_0170‘Rick Parfitt’ goes through his complete ‘A-Z’ repertoire (we wish!).

The game kicked-off (thankfully) and almost immediately became an edgy, bad-tempered affair with little quarter being shown in the tackle.

19Apr2015_0120

In fact… I’ll just let the pictures do the talking to give you a feel of the game…..

19Apr2015_0033… ouch…

19Apr2015_0038… bash …

19Apr2015_0037elbows and forearms

19Apr2015_0106pushing and shoving waiting for a free kick…

19Apr2015_0115clattered and bruised

19Apr2015_0108lift off

19Apr2015_0101and carried off – yikes! Fingers firmly crossed for Alex’ quick recovery.

The game had become a really nervous and scrappy encounter that delivered little flowing football. Notts gave the ball away way too often and really had no answer to Birmingham’s hard pressing tactics. Ultimately the game pivoted on two turning points (can you pivot on two turning points?):

The first was a foul on Rachel Williams…

19Apr2015_0057Williams it put clean through and gathers the ball with skill and drives in on goal…

19Apr2015_0056… and is cynically tripped from behind just as she’s about to enter the 18 yard box.

19Apr2015_0059The Birmingham player is booked and a case could be made for a red as Williams was in on goal. The resultant free-kick came to nought.

19Apr2015_0126The second incident was a penalty kick to Birmingham as a result of a mis-timed tackle in the box by Fern Whelan.

19Apr2015_0128Yup – that’s how we all felt.

Birmingham’s number 8 Allen steps up to take the penalty and…

19Apr2015_0138Carly Telford saves! Thank heavens she’s making a habit of this.

Late in the game Notts might have snatched it when the Birmingham keeper lost a cross in the air….

19Apr2015_0213… and Jess Clarke was just too far away to be able to poach the dropped ball as it bounced goalward before being cleared on the line.

The fulltime whistle went and the points were shared.

19Apr2015_0229Rick (Passmoor) gives the obligatory interview. One is left wondering if he felt it was a point won away to a tough team that finished 3rd in the league last season or two points dropped by a squad of players that are undoubtably, on paper, a team to fear?

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.

One game away from Wembley!   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies FC tonked (technical terminology) Aston Villa Ladies 5-1 yesterday at Meadow Lane to progress to the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup – just one win away from a Wembley Final!

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Here’s the game in words and pictures:

My day at the Lane for this quarter final game began by jumping in to the ‘way back when’ machine with Goal Keeping coach Bob Widdowson – we did the whole ‘do you remember when’ thing about how back in the day footballs were made of leather, coated liberally with dubbin and weighed half a tonne.

12Apr2015_0001Bob Widdowson ‘remembers when’ goal keeper gloves were green string affairs bought from the CO-OP.

Prior to the game both sets of supporters were well represented….

12Apr2015_0023… some of our lot (minus Harry Secombe this week)…

12Apr2015_0024

… some of their lot, in need of Julie Roberts to sort out their supporters merchandise.

Sophie Bradley and Ashleigh Plumptre with..er…missus Magpie…

12Apr2015_0020… sporting her ‘trip hazard’ right boot!

Just before kick-off I spotted this beautiful young lady in the stands with what was later confirmed to be a …

12Apr2015_0028Magpet on her head – I don’t think she even knew.

Off the back of Ellen White’s set-piece goal against Arsenal going viral on Youtube, tactician and set-piece supremo Colin Walker had been lined-up for an interview after the game with ‘Football Tactics Monthly’… he was very excited about it…

12Apr2015_0002Mr Walker, with a tactical wipe board hidden up his jacket, keeping his new set-piece close to his chest.

The teams came out to line up for the ceremonial hand-shake. I kinda like the randomness of this eclectic gathering…

12Apr2015_0032… especially Ms Magpie strolling past in the background.

The mascot shot, all three of them…

12Apr2015_0036… more than one of these people don’t actually look like they want to be here.

The team huddle needs working on, there just doesn’t seem to be the same commitment there used to be, as …

12Apr2015_0037… apparently Rachel Williams has been going to the Marcel Marceau mime school in her spare time and Leanne Crichton is discussing pedicures with Jess Clarke.

The game got underway with Villa kicking off. Unfortunately for them that was about as close as they got to County’s goal during the first half. Notts enjoyed large spells of possession in their opponents half but struggled to convert this pressure to clear cut chances.

The Pies right winger Jess Clarke probed the Villa defense until eventually winning a free kick.

12Apr2015_0046Clarke is brought down some way outside the Villa box. Free kick Notts….. Colin Walker tenses and began sending in signals from the sideline to Laura Bassett.

White, Basset and Buet (a good name for a firm of solicitors) arranged themselves according to Tactician Supremo Walker’s instructions. Buet runs to the ball, shapes to strike it then steps over it at the last minute…. then Laura Bassett does a backflip whilst Ellen White does a head stand.

12Apr2015_0048Those aren’t shin pads down’s White’s socks, those are Colin Walker’s instructions on how to take a ‘gone viral on Youtube’ free-kick.

Eventually, 3.5 minutes later, after a clown car with 28 midget clowns and a bucket of custard has been on and off the pitch twice, the set-piece comes to an end and the ball is finally touched square for Alex Greenwood to run on to and ….

12Apr2015_0049… have her shot blocked.

The game rumbled on. Notts were guilty of not moving the ball quickly enough, dwelling a little in possession and becoming a little bit sloppy with their passes.

Ellen White ran her heart out with her usual brand of skill and determination and even had time to come over to say hello during the first half…

12Apr2015_0057Hi Ellen. :)

The game was beginning to follow the same pattern as the previous tie against Tottenham as it trundled toward half time when to everybody’s surprise Ellen White picked up a ball not far inside the Villa half, turned and smacked the ball on the rise some 30-40 yards over the keeper’s head and into the back of the Villa net!

1-0 NOTTS!  

12Apr2015_0209Ellen white just a little pleased with her sublime strike to put County ahead just before the half.

Half time then… Below is a space where a picture of Matt Rowland would normally be. I know many of you like seeing the Marketing mountain featured in my Blogs…

‘no picture of Matt Rowland here’

… unfortunately the restraining order prevents me from posting any pictures of Matt for the next 7 days.

The game resumed.

County win another free kick – this time fooling their opponents by simply having Alex Greenwood shoot at goal. Her free-kick hits the post, rebounds and presents itself to Laura Bassett …

12Apr2015_0068… who side-foots it home with aplomb into an empty net from 6 yards out.

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12Apr2015_0070

Williams intercepts Bassett as she tries to jump into Whelan’s arms.

Villa began to tire and Notts put them to the sword…

One of the saviours of County’s season last year, Aileen Whelan struck next, adding the third…

12Apr2015_0084

… running onto a neat little through ball she stretched to prod the ball past Caitlin Leach in the Villa goal.

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Yes, 3-0 Notts.

12Apr2015_0089

Another fine performance from Aileen rewarded with a goal.

Three goals up and Notts brought on the talented Dunia Susi and it wasn’t long before she had an impact on the game. Her first goal was struck with ferocity from the right of the Villa box and flew into the top left corner.

12Apr2015_0110

Susi rockets an unstoppable shot into the back of the Leach’s net to put County 4-0 up! Or does she?? She got into this position so many times during a space of a few minutes in the second half that I’m not sure which one of these is the one she scored from – answers on a postcard please. I think it might have been this one. I’ve no idea I don’t get to watch the game.

12Apr2015_0133Or was it this one?

Anyway…

12Apr2015_0234

Susi leaves Villa out for the count.

12Apr2015_0114And celebrates her goal.

With 20 minutes to go Notts might have run in another 2 or 3 …

12Apr2015_0108… Clarke’s duck is still to be broken as Leach blocks her shot.

12Apr2015_0099Whelan looks to add to her tally with a deft header over the Villa keeper but Caitlin Leach makes a finger tip save.

As the tackles became a little wild and tired Leanne Crichton picked up a knock that needed the attentions of the Notts Physio Krista Van Alten.

12Apr2015_0232Krista (Smurf) Van Alten waves to friends in the stand.

The wheels really came off Villa’s game when after a rash of bookings…

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Number 15…

12Apr2015_0066Emily Owen

12Apr2015_0081

… was sent off for her second bookable offense.

Which made it all the more bizarre and frustrating for Carly Telford I’m sure, when Villa marched down the other end of the pitch and scored their only goal.

12Apr2015_0236

Villa’s Kerri Welsh heads unopposed past Telford in the County goal to make it 4-1.

Only to see Susi slam home Nott’s 5th goal only minutes after the restart!

12Apr2015_0134

The score remained the same for the last few minutes and the full time whistle put an end to the second-tier visitors best ever FA Cup run. Well done Villa.

There was a mini pitch invasion at the end of the game as fans raced to get pics and selfies with their favorite players.

12Apr2015_0164

And of course there was just time for Colin walker to be interviewed by the editors of ‘Football Tactics Monthly’.

12Apr2015_0176Colin Walker frantically makes notes as the young man in the center reads out another set-piece for Colin to try in training next week. Although Colin was overheard insisted that there be no clown cars and custard pies in this one!

12Apr2015_0179Rick Passmoor is asked what he thinks of Drew Smith’s blog.

Notts reward for brushing aside their opponents is a semi-final tie with Everton on Sunday the 3rd of May.

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.

Owl be back!   Leave a comment

Those wonderful enigmatic Barn Owls – as frustrating as they are beautiful. This week I found a new location that has a pair of Barn Owls hunting through a wide area of connected strips and patches of meadow grassland.  On my first two visits one of the pair obliged by turning up to hunt and offering me a tantalising glimpse of what great shots I might get on later visits.

So typically I spent the last 3 evenings standing quietly, for several hours each time, on my own, completely on my own, in the meadow waiting for the arrival of one of them. But to no avail. The little rascals.

But I’ll be back.

Here are some pics from our first encounter earlier this week:

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Barn Owl Bulcote_0005

Barn Owl Bulcote_0003

(C) Copyright Drew Smith Photography

 

Posted April 10, 2015 by Drew in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

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