Notts County Ladies vs Birmingham City Ladies – Continental Cup   Leave a comment

A last gasp winner snatched all 3 points in a stunning start to County’s Conti Cup campaign!

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Going up in the world; the usual suspects get interviewed by Sky’s Rachel Brown-Finnis for TV….

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

…. ‘are you SURE?’ … Brown-Finnis double checks with her producer that he REALLY wants her to interview this lot! :)

The opening round of the Continental Cup gave manager Passmoor an opportunity to rest the likes of Laura Bassett, Ellen White and Rachel Williams and give one or two squad players a run out…

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… Ashleigh Plumptre made the most of her time in the starting line-up…

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… and Laura Jayne-O’Neil relishes her opportunity to impress.

And County looked solid and  composed in the opening exchanges and went ahead early on in the game through Jess Clarke, who has hit a fine vein of goal scoring form.

County go 1-0 up courtesy of another Jess Clarke goal. You’ll notice there’s no pictures of this go-ahead goal. That’s because the photographer was moving position when the goal was scored!

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Clarke scores! Honest!

The game see-sawed back and forth with Birmingham punching above their weight and one or two challenges becoming a little ‘tasty’.

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Clarke is viciously head-butted in the right boot! The ref gave the free-kick the other way!

Clarke is bundled off the ball …

BG1U6295

… Buet is painfully hacked down from behind!

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As the first half eased to a close, County looked bruised but comfortable but with seconds to go conceded a goal at what is classically described in football as the ‘worst possible time’ – just before half-time (personally I think the worst possible time is just about when Birmingham conceded their second goal).

BG1U6335

Remi Allen scores to equalise for Birmingham just before the break.

Half-time entertainment was restored by the magnificently marvelous Master of Ceremonies Matt Rowland; ‘boot the ball in the net’ for a random prize makes a heroic return …

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

MC Matty on the Mic starts to rap much to the amazement of the crowd.

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

The half-time comp kicks off…

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Fervent Lady Pies supporter Tids (or is it Sal) collects her prize from MC Matty; it’s his last week’s ‘pitch & putt’ scorecard.

The second half began and it saw Birmingham match County for effort and creation of chances. Around the 60 minute mark Passmoor brought on Williams and Susi and both had a positive impact and lifted the tempo with County suddenly playing some of their best football.

BG1U6605Williams was influential.

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

… putting herself about…

BG1U6512… and getting booked.

The half rolled home toward full-time like a drunken sailor on shore-leave with the balance of the game see-sawing back and forth.

With only 2 minutes to go of normal time Birmingham were awarded a hotly contested free-kick on the edge of the Notts 18yd box…

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Fortunately for Notts the ball sailed over the bar.

The announcer declared 4 minutes of extra time and on the 93rd minute Dani Buet picked the ball up in midfield, dropped a shoulder and found a meter of space before swinging the ball wide to the left flank to Dunia Susi…

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

… Susi collected the ball and stood her marker up before catching her flat-footed to ease past her and swing a left-footed cross into the Birmingham box…

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

… where it was met by Aileen Whelan to head a looping effort over Birmingham keeper Becky Spencer!

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Spencer and Birmingham are floored by Whelan’s winning goal!

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Williams grabs Whelan to execute one of the more bizarre goal celebrations!

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

The full-time whistle went with no time for Birmingham to reply and Notts snatch all 3 points!

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

With the game over strength coach Paul Campbell sets off on his milk round…

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Rachel Brown-Finnis patiently listens to Rick’s answer to her first question….. then, 7 minutes later….falls…… quietly……. asleep.

Meanwhile…

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

… Aileen Whelan is informed by Desiree Scott that she is needed for an interview.

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

Whelan, clutching her lucky shin pads, nervously gives her ‘it was a team effort’ interview, then …

22.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football,  Notts County ladies vs Birmingham Ladies

… legs it as fast as possible before MC Matty can arrange another interview (or starts rapping)!

(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 July 24, 2015 by Drew in Uncategorized

Notts County Ladies vs Liverpool Ladies July 18th 2015   Leave a comment

The lady pies had the temerity, the talent and tenacity to survive the cauldron of cacophonous rival fans and unyielding heat in Liverpool’s Select Security Stadium to steal all 3 points!

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Here’s the game in unnecessarily multisyllabic words and pictures:

The Pies warmed-up on the baking G3 pitch of the Select Security Stadium; the team was sporting the ‘Stop Hate Crimes’ T-Shirts.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

 Leanne Crichton and Ashleigh Plumptre back the Help Line charity.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

England and County left-back Alex Greenwood stretches into her warm-up.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Returnee Canada world cup star Desire Scott and Aileen Whelan play rubber band skip-rope.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Desi the Destroyer had to dye her boots just the right shade of pink to match her headband.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Standout stand-in on loan keeper Siobahn Chamberlain with a radiant smile on her face.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Reserve Keeper Danielle Hill shows off her footballing skills with a tricky little back-heel.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Here’s the ball-girls for the day. The cheeky number 14 sat behind me in the 2nd half demanding I take a pic of her so that she could ‘be on TV’! :)

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

The teams emerged to the cheers of the fans and to the reds fans singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Apparently you are only allowed to sing if you are holding a scarf aloft.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Here’s our lot. I think we edged it in the ‘scarf’ stakes, complete with advertising for the FA Cup Final, but we really do need a few  songs guys and girls.

Here we go then, prelude to the kick-off is the hand shake between Laura Bassett and Liverpool’s Gemma Bonner. Notts had already relieved Liverpool of all 3 points when these two teams met at Meadow Lane earlier this season and County were hoping for the same outcome in this away fixture.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Bassett & Bonner (actually a firm of solicitors on Merseyside) don’t want to get too close for the hand-shake.

It has become a worrying trend for County to concede an early goal this season, but this time they turned the tables when Greenwood clipped a ball into White who turned it in to Jess Clarke’s path. Clarke, squeezing between the Liverpool defense side-footed home with great aplomb.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

By the look on Laura Bassett’s face she already knows Jess is going to score! Such confidence in the girl. :)

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Jess Clarke makes it 1-0 Notts as Liverpool go to sleep.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Yup = 1-0 to the Pies early doors (more footballing clichés to follow).

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Sophie Walton launches Clarke in celebration.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

County looked comfortable for the next 10 minutes or so but Asisat Oshoala looked a constant threat with her pace down the right but it was Natasha Dowie that instigated Liverpool’s equaliser.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Dowie’s strike on goal is blocked and deflected and …..

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… presents itself to Rosie White (13) on a plate to smash home from 3 yards out.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Liverpool get back on equal terms much to the dismay of the breached County back four (minus one).

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

The game was a fiercely contested affair (they always are against Liverpool) and both Physios were kept busy with Krista Van Alten paying Dani Buet a visit again.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Krista checks to see if Dani can say ‘Goggkle a gear’ without moving her lips!

Asisat Oshoala, the red’s pacey striker was singled out for some enthusiastic and athletic marking during the first half, Amy Turner delivering one particularly ferocious tackle that I felt on the side-line and seemed to diminish Oshoala appetite for further foray’s into the County third.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Jess clarke and contact with the ball isn’t prevented even by Liverpool’s 44 Satara Murray.

The half finished with both team’s missing chances in front of goal when Chamberlain denied Asisat Oshoala and Rachel Williams got ahead of her marker and hit  the foot of the post with a header.

Another half-time passed without event. Zilch entertainment. I’m beginning to miss Matt Rowland’s epic extravagances with bags of his old laundry up for grabs.

The 2nd half then.

And Liverpool’s threat seemed to have fizzled out somewhat and any fire they may have had was, if not extinguished, then certainly covered by a damp cloth thrown from a safe distance when Ellen White squared to Clarke for the 2nd and decisive goal.

A slick move saw White bear down on goal from the right wing, cutting inside and leaving Bonner for dead….

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Ellen White only has eyes for a square pass – but where the heck is Clarke!?
Red’s keeper Libby Stout races out to smother the ball but too late … White has already sent the ball square …
18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Stout is stranded as White squares the pass to…… still no sign of Clarke!!

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Nope …. still no sign of Jess!

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

 THERE SHE IS! :)

Clarke taps in from inside the 6 yard box!

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Stout appeals for off-side. White and Clarke glance over at the linesman …. referee’s assistant just in case.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

But Jess had timed her run perfectly!

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

2-1 Notts!

Shortly after scoring Clarke takes a knock….

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… and is substituted.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Ellen White has time to demonstrate her technical ability before her substitution by deftly bringing a 30 yard crossfield pass under control.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Awesomeness….

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… executed with aplomb.

She even had time to get in on goal one last time to make it 3-1 but her shots was blocked just as she pulled the trigger.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

From this point on the wheel’s seemed to come off for Liverpool; forced and tactical substitutions for the Red’s meant that when they suffered an injury in the closing minutes of the game they had nobody to bring on and were reduced to 10 players.

County supremo Rick Passmoor, on the other hand, timed his substitutions to perfection with Dunia Susi and Aileen Whelan adding fresh legs and…

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… Desiree Scott coming on to close up shop and see out the game and finally snuff out any hopes Liverpool had of equalising.

Rachel Williams was a star again in this match-up, showing serious skill…

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… with a little drag-back …

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

…. that leaves the Red’s defender…

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… stranded!

As the seconds ticked down there was just enough time for assistant coach Colin Walker to throw Gemma Bonner a dummy but she was having none of it.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

‘Oops, I missed it!’ Bonner anticipates Walkers’ dastardly fake attempt at catching the ball thrown back by the crowd.

The final whistle went for full-time to herald County’s 6 pointer over Liverpool.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

Passmoor seems happy.

He certainly seems happier than his interviewer….

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… and, oh dear, much happier than Matt Beard, the Liverpool Manager.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

The TV interviewer takes a moment to pull faces at Beard whilst he’s not looking.

And finally….

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… someone tells Rick Passmoor there are Pizzas on the team bus.

And finally finally….

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

… County goal keeping coach Alessandro Barcherini needs In-Play stats, Luke Negus-Hill AND Google Maps to work out just how to get back to the team bus!

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

18.07.2015. Select Security Stadium,Liverpool, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Liverpool versus Notts County Ladies.

See you all next Wednesday when County return to the Lane. :)

(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 July 19, 2015 by Drew in Uncategorized

Notts County Ladies away to Sunderland – drat!   Leave a comment

Looking to resume where they left off at the mid-season break, Notts County Ladies stumbles to a 1-2 defeat away to Sunderland.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

Goalkeeper Coach Bob Widdowson looks rejuvenated after his break in the States.

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Or more accurately this is Alessandro Barcherini, standing in for Bob for a while.

20150712_0063The NCL FC supporter get themselves on TV, or at least the cutting room floor. :)

20150712_0064Whilst certain Sunderland fans seem to have adopted a more sartorial elegance!

During the warm-up Rick takes time out to explain ‘how to play in goal’ to Siobahn Chamberlain.

20150712_0070On loan signing from Arsenal, County’s keeper pays rapt attention to the Gaffer.

Meanwhile….

20150712_0073…. injured keeper Carly Telford struggles to remove her chewing gum from the railings.

Sunderland showed their class and appreciation in presenting the England girls with flowers prior to kick-off.

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Ellen White Laura Bassett, Alex Greenwood, Siobhan Chamberlain and Carly Telford receive flowers before the start of the game against Sunderland Ladies as NCL FC representatives from the England World Cup team.

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Ellen White Laura Bassett, Alex Greenwood, Siobhan Chamberlain and Carly Telford receive flowers before the start of the game against Sunderland Ladies as NCL FC representatives from the England World Cup team.

Yup – what the caption says. :)

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Sunderland defender Hayley Sharp celebrates heading Sunderlands second minute opener in the first half from a free kick.

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Sunderland defender Hayley Sharp celebrates heading Sunderlands second minute opener in the first half from a free kick.

Kick-off then and 2 minutes later Notts are 0-1 down. Conceding early became a bit of a feature in the first half of the season and the trend continues.

The early goal spurred Sunderland on and the first half was an evenly contested affair…

20150712_0042

… Laura Bassett takes no prisoners.

20150712_0088…. Amy Turner stamps her authority on the game.

Ellen White was full of running and commitment as ever…

20150712_0081

In attack…

20150712_0030

… and in defense!

Mid-way through the half an incisive ball from Leanne Crichton put White through on new signing Hilde Gunn Olsen in the Sunderland goal, and the keeper pulled off a great save low down to maintain the Black Cat’s lead.

Meanwhile…

20150712_0084

… Rachel Williams gave her trade mark 100% for the Pies.

Mounting pressure from County finally paid off when Crichton found Jess Clarke in the box who turned her marker to spin and fire past Olsen into the corner of the Sunderland net!

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Jess Clarke fires home Notts County Ladies equalizer past Sunderland Ladies FC keeper Hilde Gunn Olsen.

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Jess Clarke fires home Notts County Ladies equalizer past Sunderland Ladies FC keeper Hilde Gunn Olsen.

GOAL! 1-1.

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Jess Clarke celebrates scoring the Notts County Ladies equalizer with Ellen White against Sunderland Ladies FC.

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Jess Clarke celebrates scoring the Notts County Ladies equalizer with Ellen White against Sunderland Ladies FC.

Wot the caption sez! :)

Notts began to purr and confident possession lead to another chance for Clarke who was foiled by the keeper.

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Jess Clarke is prevented from scoring her second goal for Notts County Ladies by Sunderland Ladies FC goal keeper Hilde Gunn Olsen

12.07.2015. Hetton Centre, Sunderland, England. The FA Women’s Super League Football, Sunderland versus Notts County Ladies. Jess Clarke is prevented from scoring her second goal for Notts County Ladies by Sunderland Ladies FC goal keeper Hilde Gunn Olsen

I’m liking these captions – saves much typing! :)

Half time crow-barred its way in between the 1st half and the 2nd half. Nothing much happened during this time; no impossible ‘boot-the-ball-in-the-boot’ competitions, no ‘club singers’ not even a mascot to make fun of. So we had to be content with simply waiting for the second half.

Which followed with County assuming dominance in midfield and looking assured at the back.

By now the injured Fern Whelan had been replaced by Dunia Susi, whose silky skills left Sunderland chasing shadows….

20150712_0039… and pulling faces.

Dani Buet was pulling the strings in the middle of the park….

20150712_0045

… and getting her fair share of the knocks for her pains.

20150712_0052Krista Van Alten administers the magic hands.

20150712_0055Chamberlain looked confident in the County goal.

20150712_0087Duni and her Sunderland marker can’t bear to watch as sub Aileen Whelan takes a rap across the shin!

Despite the away side’s dominance, Mead was still looking dangerous up front, and the warning signs were there for County as she almost scored with a curling shot. As the game entered stoppage time the Lady Pies had a big chance to win the game; Dunia Susi slipped a ball through to White who, with just the goalkeeper to beat, could only prod the ball towards goal for Olsen make a vital save.

And with County still looking for the winner they were caught with a sucker punch at the final whistle when Mead picked up the ball inside the County box again. Turning and twisting away from her markers she hit a sweet shoot high and wide past Chamberlain to win the game for Sunderland.

20150712_0056

Mead wins it for the Black Cats with seconds remaining.

A tremendously disappointing result then for County. Although playing well and dominating possession they were punished for not taking their chances and perhaps looking for a winner late on when they might have sat back and defended the point.

But onwards and upwards – it’s difficult to see County finishing outside of the top 3 when they have such quality in-depth this season!

COYP!

(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.

Puffins, Shags and nasty Terns – the Farne Isles!   2 comments

The Farne Isles on the North East coast of England are a haven for Puffin and various other sea birds; and introduced to the prospect of photographing these beautiful birds by a fellow photographer Tesni Ward ( check out her work here: www.tesniward.co.uk  I set off for these wonderous isles early last Sunday morning.

Here’s the day in words and pictures:

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_0862

A 3am start in Nottingham saw us arrive well in time for the boat trip from Seahouses out to the isles sailing at 9:30am. We’d booked the ‘all day’ bird trip which was approximately 6 hours; a 2 hour stay on Staple Island and a 3 hour stop on the second island; Inner Farne.

20150621_1308

Arriving on the islands a first glance gives the impression the scene is idyllic and tranquil…

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… Puffin shuttle from sea to burrow bringing in beak fulls of Sandeels for their chicks…

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_0609… Shag bask in the warming sunshine…

20150621_1300

… Tern protect their chicks and dive bomb visitors as Eider ducks waddle comically around the island…

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_1175

… as strange bespectacled seabird watch the day go by.

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_0641

But all is not as it seems! In fact to sit and watch for a while is to come to the realisation that this is a never-ending battle for life over death!

The Puffin, exhausted from their fishing trips, return to the skies over the island to face a mob of seaguls…

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_0665

… who wait to pounce when the puffin lands to steal their hard-earned Sandeels.

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If they succeed too often the Puffin chicks die in the burrows of starvation.

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_1246

Safety is a hole in the ground…

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… but those feet just aren’t designed for a 100m sprint!

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Tern relentlessly guard their eggs and then their chicks from gulls and Herring Gulls on the island.

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They stoop and dive to drive off the predators from the chicks hidden in the gorse and grasses.

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Sometimes they succeed…

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…. sometimes they don’t.

All in all the visit, as well as offering wonderful photographic opportunities, is quite an eye opener.

Life on the rocks is a day-by-day battle for survival!

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_1140

(C) Copyright Drew Smith Photography 2015

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.

10May2015_0533

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

10May2015_0208

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.

10May2015_0198

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.

10May2015_0424

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.

10May2015_0398

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.

10May2015_0216

Loving the game faces.

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

10May2015_0213

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.
10May2015_0456

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.

10May2015_0448_1

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).

10May2015_0241

He shoots! He scores! He wins…

10May2015_0244

… 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.

10May2015_0506

‘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.

10May2015_0283

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

Jess Clarke begins to terrorise the red’s defense.

10May2015_0496

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.
10May2015_0261
Greenwood delivers the corner kick …
10May2015_0265
… Fern Whelan times her jump…
10May2015_0264
… 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).
10May2015_0313
Now Liverpool have to chase the game!
The county defense came under pressure but was holding fast.
10May2015_0432
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.
10May2015_0539
Jess Clarke checks out how long is left on the scoreboard as she leaves the pitch.
10May2015_0560
Susi gets straight in the thick of it.
10May2015_0510
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…
10May2015_0543
Irritation with the match official boils over for Matt Beard, much to Amy Turner’s amusement.
10May2015_0544
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.
10May2015_0556
Rick Passmoor urges his team on whilst Beard continues to sulk.
10May2015_0525
Telford’s catch eases the pressure late on.
The game hits the 90 minute mark and the fourth official announces…
10May2015_0553
… 4 extra minutes – groan! But even that doesn’t cheer Beard up.
County safely negotiate the injury time ….
10May2015_0565
… and the ref blows for full-time!
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Good spirited handshakes all round.
10May2015_0296
Rick thanks his squad for making his life especially stress free going into the break.
10May2015_0328
This hug from Rachel Williams is so epic it turned into a classic black & white almost immediately.
10May2015_0342
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…
10May2015_0388
… this is the ‘I scored a bloody great goal but it was a team effort’ interview.
10May2015_0384
This is the ‘Yes, I’m a bloody great keeper, but it was a team effort’ interview.
And…
10May2015_0370
… 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…
10May2015_0398
… 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.

03May2015_0580

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.

03May2015_0654

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.

03May2015_0834

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…

03May2015_0894

… 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 …

29Apr2015_0348

… 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.
 
29Apr2015_0331

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.

29Apr2015_0153

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.

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