Clinical County Confirm Conti Cup Spot!   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies eased into the final of the Continental Cup on Sunday, beating a dejected Liverpool side 2-0 on their own ‘turf’.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

The Select Security Stadium, an artificial surface home venue shared by Everton Ladies, Liverpool Ladies, Widnes Rugby Club, the Merseyside Women’s Institute and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, was the stage for the semi-final of the Continental Cup.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_38It’s lonely at the top! Early doors County CEO Luke Negus-Hill sees if the pitch will take a stud!

It was a tricky tie as County’s form had slipped during the second half of the season and Liverpool, reigning League Champions had experienced a ‘mare’ of a season, finishing just one spot above relegation.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_5The girls come out for the pre-game warm-up. Leanne (Scotland) Crichton leading the charge.

The ‘Staff’ congregate.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501“Looking good Rick!”, “Feelin’ good Colin!”

Liverpool Ladies Manager Matt Beard is set to leave Liverpool to take over as the boss of Boston Breakers in the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_1Matt Beard, busy thinking about the USA, sits in the wrong dug-out. Paul Campbell forgets his glasses and has to have a pair drawn on with a ‘Sharpie’.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_42Jess Clarke and Desi Scott boogie on down!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_41Paul Campbell tells the photographer to get out of the bloody way! Not sure how he saw me.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_39

The scoreboard reads 0-0! But not for long! About 5 minutes actually.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_6

Colin Walkers informs County Captain Laura Bassett that he’s already lost 8lbs on his Pork Pie diet – Laura can’t quite believe it!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_2Paul Campbell has to feel his way around the pitch as his drawn on ‘Sharpie’ glasses are not performing well.

With the game about to kick off, the question was; could County lift themselves for this game?

The answer was a resounding YES!

In fact I think this was one of the best performances I’ve seen by the Pies all season.

They looked sharp and aggressive; closing down the largely lethargic Liverpool ladies and generally outplaying them in every department on the park. They competently snuffed out any signs of a Reds attack whilst creating chances of their own.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_24

And the game was only a few minutes old when Ellen White put County a goal up after….

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_58…. a Buet free-kick was nudged on by Laura Bassett and Ellen White nodded past the Liverpool keeper.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_59Ellen beats her marker to…

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_60… head home!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_63Get in! Back of the net!

The Lady Pies continued to look bright and business-like all over the park with Sophie Walton and Dani Buet having standout games.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_13Sophie Walton puts the pressure on!

In the 23rd Minute White added a second goal to put County 2-0 up!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_65Ellen White celebrates…. honestly!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_66There you go!

And that’s how the half finished.

The half-time entertainment looked suspiciously like Matt Rowland’s brand of entertainment. Maybe he’s franchised the concept.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_76Not Mrs Magpie but Liverpool’s Fish/Bird thing in goal!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_51I actually found fishbirdthing a little scary! Those predatory eyes and beak and lip licking grin!

Anyway…. the second half saw County continue where they’d left off, something they’ve failed to do on more than one occasion this season.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_67Rachel Williams came close….

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_71

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_72… more than once!

The team put a shift in and defended well when they lost possession and hit Liverpool quickly on the counter-attack. The score-line flattered Liverpool to be honest and I can only recall Carly Telford making one save.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_31Telford blocks a Dowie shots at close range!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_78Ellen in the mix again.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_30Desi shows total commitment! She was actually penalised for handball for this! :)

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_73Jess Clarke was as lively as ever.

The fans were fantastic at this game, outsinging the Liverpool fans, which is hard to do!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_33 - Copy

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_55Wait a minute… who’s that bottom right in with the Liverpool fans?

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_32Alex Greenwood battles with Natasha Dowie.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_21Dani Buet had one of her best games.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_25

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_80Rachel Williams runs down the clock…

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_81… on more than one occasion.

At the final whistle Notts ran out comfortable 2-0 winners and now take on Arsenal in the Final on Sunday the 1st of November in Rotherham.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_34Sophie Walton can hardly contain her excitement!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_35Rick is a little happier!

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_40And we say goodbye to the Stadium of gloom for the last time!…

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_86… and wish Liverpool well on their own road to recovery from this season’s woes.

Wouldn’t it be nice to pick up some silverware this season! Make sure you are there to cheer the girls on in the final on Sunday the 1st of November at the rather beautiful Aesseal New York Stadium in Rotherham! COYP.

NCL FC vs Liverpool Conti Cup semi 201501_36

(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’ last game of the regular season vs Manchester City   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies played their last game of the regular season against Manchester City at the Academy Stadium on Sunday going down 1-2.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

Arriving at the £200million City Football Academy Stadium it was hard not to be impressed; its snuggled in next to the Etihad stadium, separated only by a few hundred meters and a walk-way. The walk-way is carpeted in red ermine and waiters are available at regular intervals to offer glasses of Dom Perignon champagne and truffles.

NCL FC vs Man City01Palatial surrounds in the changing rooms, even the broom cupboard had a wide-screen TV.

It was difficult to not notice the difference between the two Clubs; they are as you’d expect when viewed in context of the money to which Manchester City have access. However, I think that providing a personal Butler for each City player was going a little too far.

NCL FC vs Man City01_1Individual seats for players in the changing room in a space that rivals Wembley.

And the women’s game seems poised at the moment on some invisible tipping-point; crowd attendance is up almost 50% on last season. TV coverage is up and public interest in the women’s game is also increasing.

NCL FC vs Man City01_54The subs ‘bench’ features vibrating seats with waitress service.

Newly promoted Doncaster Belles FC have announced this week that Carl and Faye Lygo are investing in a multi-million pound state-of-the-art training facility for the club, as well as providing finance for full-time, professional contracts to a number of its players. Chelsea and Arsenal are at the top of their game again and their parent clubs have deep pockets.

NCL FC vs Man City01_48Colin Walker content in the knowledge that he’s already stolen all the complimentary towels and chocolates from the ‘green room’.

There is a very real possibility that the FA WSL Div 1 will become a league of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. And currently Notts have not. County have a talented and capable squad and a back-room staff to match (although the photographer is a bit dodgy) and deserve to do well.

NCL FC vs Man City01_52Mascot number 3 seems to be very popular with the girls!

This season has been a bits of a game of two halves; certainly the team has ‘underachieved’ post FA Cup final, seeing them finish 5th in the league. Still with the semi-final of the Continental Cup only a couple of days away there is a last ‘hurrah’ waiting for them on the side-lines.

NCL FC vs Man City01_69Early doors Parris puts City 1-0 up as Harding and Bronze terrorise County down the right flank.

NCL FC vs Man City01_70She’s a happy camper!

NCL FC vs Man City01_73Jill Scott finds space. Lots of it.

NCL FC vs Man City01_58Rachel Williams equalizes with a trade-mark header just before half-time!

NCL FC vs Man City01_60See, told you she’d scored!

NCL FC vs Man City01_80But City take the lead again on the stroke of half-time through Isobel Christiansen !

NCL FC vs Man City01_79City played their usual brand of possession football but County had their moments too.

NCL FC vs Man City01_74Rachel Williams was as impressive as ever and it can only be a matter of time before an England call-up.

NCL FC vs Man City01_90So the season came to a close with yet another narrow defeat.

The Continental Cup semi-final beckons now against a dejected Liverpool side that could only manage to finish one place above relegated Bristol in the League. Does another Cup Final await the Lady Pies? Lets hope so. COYP!

You can see the League Table here:  FA WSL League Table

(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.

County sucker-punched by Birmingham in their last home game!   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies played their last home game against second from bottom Birmingham City Ladies on Sunday. Unfortunately the chance to thank the 1,300+ home crowd at Meadow Lane for such tremendous season long support with a victory slipped away in the 86th minute.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_48

It was a cloudy yet sunny day. Already Matt Rowland was having trouble communicating the ins and outs of ‘ball person’ duties to his charges:

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_55

Matt explains the delicacies of ball retrieval but has already lost some of his audience.

Meanwhile the home crowd settle in with a sing-song…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_66

… ‘One for sorry, two for joy…’

Kick-off then and County set about Birmingham with real Zing and Zest.

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_74

Greenwood with room to attack down the left flank was a thorn in City’s side.

The first half omens were good; County were well organised, confident and stamped their authority on the game from the start….

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_11

… they dominated their opponents in all departments, possession, passing, tackling and chances on goal.

The first 45 minutes saw the Pies shoot wide…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_74

… shoot high…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_92

… hit the bar

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_81

… and hit the post twice.

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_75

Even to the most hardened Birmingham fan it looked like only a matter of time before County opened the scoring and went on to a convincing win!

In other news the ball-girls were following Matt’s orders to the letter…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_6… and having fun covering each other in side-line dirt! :)

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_7As ordered they paid close attention to what was happening in the game…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_21

… and were prepared at any second to retrieve the ball and throw it back to the players to keep the game flowing! :)

The half-time whistle went with the score somehow still at 0-0! But there was no break in the excitement as ‘Win the raffle and kick the ball in the goal with varying rules to win a random prize’ competition began!

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_83Matt Rowland asks the victim lucky winner if he understands the ‘rules’

 NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_85… his response was that he didn’t know there were any rules!

Mrs Magpie was unavailable for goal-keeping duties.

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_84

And when Matt was sure everybody was bemused by what was going on, he stopped the competition…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_86… and awarded the prizes to the overjoyed winner!

Fortunately the second-half came to the rescue!

But unfortunately Rick Passmoor sent out 11 different players for the second period.

Not sure who they were but they were not the players that so overwhelmed Birmingham in the first half.

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_4

Passes went astray as possession was given away cheaply, chances on goal diminished…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_29

… and Birmingham were allowed a foothold in a game that County should have wrapped up in the first 45 minutes.

Even the ref felt an injustice on the cards…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_22… and kindly blocked Potter from getting to the ball.

County’s frustrations were obvious!

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_34

But even the ref and the County defense were seemingly helpless to prevent Birmingham from stealing all 3 points.

A Karen Carney corner looped into the Notts box and was met by Harrop  who guided the ball past Carly Telford…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_35

… and in to the back of the net to put Birmingham 1-0 up with just a few minutes to play.

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_36

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_38

County threw the ball forward then …

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_3

… but shots on goal were either wide of the mark…

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_94

… or saved by the Birmingham keeper!

And that was it.

Game over!

A disappointing end to the final home game of the season.

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_42

That leaves just one game to play away this Sunday at Manchester City!

NCL FC vs Birmingham home 2015001_62

And of course the Semi-Final of the Continental Cup against Liverpool

So…. all to play for!

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.

 

 

Winning ugly – NCL FC 3 – 2 Reading   Leave a comment

Having some of the most beautiful women in the FA WSL in the Notts County team, winning ‘ugly’ can be tricky for Notts at times, but this Sunday they did just that against Reading Ladies to progress to the last 4 in the Continental Cup competition.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

Warm-up stretches take on a new dimension with the super wide 8mm lens as the Lady Pies prepare to do battle with promotion pushing Reading from the FA WSL 2.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_30

Jess Clarke and Alex Greenwood get stretched!

Back by popular demand – Matt (Angry Birds) Rowland.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_5He’s got a little orange note-book tucked under his arm, look. Now what could he be scribbling down in that?

Meanwhile back at the stretches; Aileen Whelan executes a perfect ‘Cockney Knee-up’ stretch …

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_21…. ‘Gertch-ya!’

The pre-kick-off gathering in the center circle is getting bigger and more chaotic. It took several minutes to usher this little lot back off the pitch! :)

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_31It’s a cute motley crew.

A fiendish trap had been set for County by Reading; in a pre-season friendly Reading allowed the Pies to beat them 5-0 thus lulling the unwary into believing this would be an ‘easy’ passage to the semis. But..

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_33… the Pink Ladies battled and hustled and closed down County all over the park. Last-ditch tackles were the order of the day for Reading …

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_32Clarke is stopped in her tracks!…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_40… again and again.

But Alex – very angry – Greenwood was making regular sorties down the left flank to whip dangerous crosses in…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_41… only to see those crosses valiantly defended in the box.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_35Reading at full stretch to stop County.

Notts didn’t have it all their own way but in the 34th minute Aileen Whelan fired home to settle the nerves.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_45Get in!

Whelan opens the scoring for Notts despite the desperate efforts of the Reading defender.

Fans were able to check the scoreboard just to make sure a GOAL had been scored.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_50

The gulf in budget exquisitely demonstrated here; in the Prem they get replays of the action in super-slow-mo. At Meadow Lane we get the word ‘GOAL’ displayed in 1980’s Amstrad quality animation. :)

Going into the half-time break 1-0 up would have been satisfactory and something to build on for the second half…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup01_1… but Reading had other ideas and just 60 seconds later Helen Ward equalised for Reading after the County defense went AWOL.

Notts 1 – 1 Reading

County’s lead was restored minutes later when Ellen White seemed to be hit in the face by a high boot…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_46… which resulted in a Penalty.

Alex Greenwood stepped up…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_47… and dispatched the kick to make it 2-1 Notts!

Half time and an entertainment treat for the hundreds of fans; the Matt Rowland Rap!

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_52The County Marketing Megalodon raps to the tune of ‘The Sound of Music’s’ The Hills Are Alive (with the sound of music)’. “It was ‘inspirational and very moving” said one fan afterwards.

Despite Matt’s best attempts there is still a movement for a somewhat more dynamic half-time show and some of the County players have been auditioning…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_58

… Carly Telford amazes her fellow subs with a display of juggling using the half-time oranges…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_57

… but… oh dear! And with Colin Walker looking on too.

Further down the stand was..

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_56… half-time Pies!

Second half then…. and the game resumed with County looking to impose themselves on division 2 Reading…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_62‘Are you looking at me?’

… but that really wasn’t happening. In fact Reading played some very good football and to their credit never ran out of steam. Not bad for a semi-pro side.

And in the 67th minute Reading’s Fletcher hit the equaliser to threaten extra time.

So, time to win ugly, because it certainly wasn’t pretty…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_59

Reading not helping their cause as they challenge their own keeper for the ball with no County player in sight.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_63‘Handball ref!’ Who is that County player down there?

With extra time looming (it always seems to ‘loom’ doesn’t it?) in the 88th minute and after a scrappy piece of inter-play on the edge of the Reading box, Alex Greenwood managed to wriggle into enough space to curl a beautiful shot past the despairing Reading keeper.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_64

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_3Greenwood makes it 3-2 Notts!

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_65 The goal that says ‘Hello semi-final!’ :)

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_66Phew!

The final few minutes of the beautiful game played ugly! 4 minutes of injury time draws to a close with Reading’s hopes snuffed out.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_68Rachel Williams makes full use of the entire pitch and her left arm to hold Reading at bay.

Full time and Notts move into the semi-finals of this competition for the 5th year in a row.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_70

Rachel Williams commiserate with a deflated (although she was pumped for the game) Reading FC player.

The players then start the rounds of interviews and autograph signings…

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_86Amy Turner

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_80

TV star Alex Greenwood

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_76

Sophie Walton

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_74

Siobhan Chamberlain

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_72

Leanne Crichton

Of course it’s all about the players, but …

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_84

Rick Passmoors’ middle name is SO long that he needs a back-up pen in case the first runs out!

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_87

Colin Walker signs a pair of Matt Rowland’s Y-Fronts – next home game’s half-time competition prize.

A Reading player contemplates what might have been. And that’s football!

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_69

Reading made a great impression and certainly on this showing wouldn’t disgrace themselves in Div 1 should they win promotion this season.

NCL FC vs Reading conti cup001_55

Reading FC brought quite a few fans and made a lot of noise throughout the game, adding to a great atmosphere!

(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 Chelsea Ladies   Leave a comment

County traveled to the Capital seeking revenge this weekend against Chelsea for the defeat in the FA Cup Final in August, but despite rallying heroically in the second half they came off second best.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

The warm ups are always fun to watch. Intrigue unfolds and gravity defying feats are performed…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_36… Carly Telford defies gravity to send the ball flying as she practices her clearances.

Whilst the club’s stars of the future and the present reenact a scene from a famous 1992 American neo-noir crime thriller by Tarantino.

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_38‘Reservoir’ reserve and poise.

Meanwhile ‘Chicken-gate’ rumbles on and Colin Walker is authorised to negotiate Bob Widdoson’s new contract…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_23

Bob received the offer with suspicion; will it match Matt Lawson’s deal….

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_24

… Bob reads the contract and….

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_25… apparently it does!

Which leaves Paul Campbell – currently working 3 jobs and a milk round to make ends meet – considering his contract…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_26… Campbell considers renegotiating.

Meanwhile the girls seem to be having trouble with the rubber bands…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_30

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_31

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_32

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_33

Campbell’s revenge!?

The game is almost ready to begin … it’s a beautiful day, warm and sunny… the County faithful are seated…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_2… actually they were seated 6 hours before kick-off but that’s just what they do!

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_21This was taken at 8am.

The games with Chelsea are always feisty affairs and County were looking to right wrongs from the Cup Final …

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_12… but were also in the hunt for 3 points themselves to keep their league aspirations alive.

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_20And in a very physical game County started brightly and matched Chelsea for the first 15 minutes.

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_21

Until a ball whipped into the County box found Claire Rafferty all alone on the back post…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_1

… and she gratefully nodded the ball past the forlorn Telford.

1-0 Chelsea!

This gave Chelsea’s football a lift and for the remainder of the half County were under the cosh…

Carly Telford was pulling off remarkable saves to keep Notts from falling further behind…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_5

… and they were lucky to escape the remainder of the half only 0-1 down.

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_16

Half time then and Chelsea’s entertainment consisted of jellied eel pies and a penalty shoot out for the kids against their mascot ‘Lamey the Lion’ or something like that. Anyhoo it wasn’t a patch on Matt Rowland‘s ‘win a raffle to win a random prize’ penalty competition at the Lane. How could it be?

After all that excitement the crowd settled down for the second half…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_14

Chelsea started as they left off the first half and County had to hang on in there…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_13

… which they did in any way possible…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_4

… but Chelsea’s superior retention and creative midfield play unlocked the Notts’ defense again when Flaherty volleyed in from inside the box through a crowd of players to give Telford no chance.

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_6Flaherty fires home to make it 2-0 to Chelsea.

Remaining defiant the Lady Pies didn’t buckle and only minutes later Clarke picked up the ball in the Chelsea half and driving to the edge of her opponents penalty box she unleashed a drive that found the far corner and put County back in the game!

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_9

Clarke keeps up the goal scoring spree that sees her called up to the England squad again!

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_10

The truly redoubtable Clarke is congratulated by her team-mates!

This sparked a 20 minute onslaught from County. Thoughts of coming back from 0-2 down against Man City began to surface! The kitchen sink was thrown at Chelsea!

Desi Scott was breaking up play and bringing the ball away…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_1

Turner was making her trademark sliding tackles all over the park.

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_8

Amy dispossesses Ji So-Yun.

Meanwhile England’s best goalkeeper was keeping Notts in the game…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_11… making a world-class save from an Aluko free-kick!

County were still looking for the equaliser…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_15Aileen Whelan graceful in attack.

17-year-old Ashleigh Plumptre came on as a sub having scored her first goal for the club against Yeovil and gave a good account of herself…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_10… in exalted company.

With time running out Chelsea began to ease themselves back into the game and a feisty game turned ill-tempered…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_13… Drew Spence goes over the top against Williams – the two had clashed earlier on…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_22… and losing her cool had to be restrained by Chapman.

Aluko is substituted and breaks the FA WSL record for the time it takes a player to leave the field of play!

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_12

The County team have time to take on liquids whilst Aluko leaves the pitch…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001… it was a hot day…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_12

… almost there…

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_39… but there is still time for Clarke and Scott to share a joke as they wait for Aluko to leave the pitch.

The game resumed 28 minutes later and Chelsea hang on and run out winners….

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_18… and Notts interest in the League title effectively ends with the final whistle.

Which leaves Rick Passmoor to rally his troops for the game against Reading on Sunday.

Chelsea Ladies FC vs NCL FC 06.09.2015001_17

Notts County Ladies interest now boils down to the Continental Cup and their quarter-final game this Sunday at Meadow Lane (make sure you are there to cheer the girls on) and putting a spanner in the works of title chasing Man City in the last game of the League season away at City.

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.

Notts County Ladies vs Manchester City Ladies   Leave a comment

In undeniably one of the most exciting games played at Meadow Lane this season – the Lady Pies, urged on by almost 2,000 fanatical supporters, come back from 0-2 down to draw against Manchester City in stoppage time!

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

Prior to the start of the game County CEO supremo Luke Negus-Hill is questioned by an agent from the Matrix.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_1Luke Negus-Hill…. deciding whether or not to squeal.

Mrs Magpie (is she married then? If so, does she have a stay-at-home husband-pie?) photo bombs the ball girls pic.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_53Hee hee – cheeky grins and scabby knees abound.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_73

The City girls out on the pitch react with incredulity at the dress sense of some of the Pies supporters….

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_9….. Vogue.

The County fans; simply…….

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_20… THE BEST!

The Notts girls warm up ahead of one of the sternest tests the season has to offer in the form of their well-heeled opponents Manchester City.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_2Jessica Clarke leads the charge … has she done something different with her hair?

In another Negus-Hill initiative the County board agreed to keeping chickens on the Meadow Lane pitch in between games…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_19… the grounds keeper starts putting down the chicken feed a little early … tandoori Chicken Pies are now on the half-time Meadow Lane menu.

Return of the Matt! The County nutritionist spent the summer in the USA coaching ‘little league alligator racing’ in the Everglades.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_13Matt Lawson, tempted back to Blighty by the club, who offered him a lucrative ‘tandoori Chicken’ based deal.

Keeper Coach Bob Widdowson looks on enviously at Matt Lawson …

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_7

Then reassures ‘Mr Ball’ that he’ll demand talks with the management for the same deal as Lawson.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_5Siobahn Chamberlain leaves Bob to it.

Meanwhile a game of football is about to start.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_23Keen, young and eager to get started…. the match day officials.

Laura Bassett waits patiently to get underway…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_24

… but City are talking things at their own pace despite the ref’s whistles they continue to warm-up…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_25

… until eventually City skipper Houghton jogs over to toss the coin of footballing destiny.

Game on (at last) and City start on the front foot but County apply pressure down the left flank (look at that support)…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_47Rachel (can’t take a bad photo of me) Williams finds space in behind the City defense…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_48.. and gets to the line.

It would be misleading of me to say that County had the better of the first half, City played some quality football in a game where no quarter was asked or given..

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_28

… Clarke challenges Bardsley for the ball as Houghton protests.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_32

The ref steps in (as he did quite often) to calm things down.

City’s quality and final ball really put Notts under pressure and on more than one occasion County keeper Telford kept her team in the game…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_94.. Telford saves from Parris at point-blank range.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_100Carly Telford…. easily the best and unfortunately the most frequently employed goalie on the pitch.

But just as it seemed the Pies would see out the 1st half on equal terms Steph Houghton drifted in at the back post and side-footed home past the valiant but vain attempted blocks from White and Crichton.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_120City go 1-0 up!

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_124City celebrate scoring.

Half-time then and the spectators were faced with the dilemma of either grabbing refreshments or staying in their seats for Matt (PT Barnum) Rowland’s half-time entertainment extravaganza!

First off Matt had Mrs Magpie throw heated white towels into the crowd to use after eating their tandoori chicken.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_52Is there a name for those hot little towels? Are they o-shibori ?

Next was the now almost legendary raffle and ‘kick-the-ball-in-the-net-and-win-a-random-prize’ competition. The evening’s winner was Mr West Coast Choppers!

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_54‘shoes!’

This choice of raffle ‘winner’ caused some controversy as Matt Rowland is also well-known as a member of this notorious motor cycle gang.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_56

I have no words!

The second half resumed with the worst possible start for the home team after a free kick was awarded against them on the edge of the box. Steph Houghton stepped up with relish and struck the ball superbly….

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_132… to beat the wall and Carly Telford and put City 2-0 up!

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_133

Unstoppable.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_135

Houghton wheels away to her dugout to celebrate her goal!

The second half remained a competitive affair but City always looked the slicker outfit whilst Notts seemed to struggle to find a pass that would unlock the City defense.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_138

Huff and puff from County.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_140with much endevour.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_106and fighting spirit.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_118City’s Jill Scott out jumps everybody.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_58

Aileen Whelan dons a pair of comedy ears. But County’s inability to breach the Manchester defense was no joke with just 10 minutes left on the clock it seemed a home defeat was on the cards.

And then the tide began to turn….

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_59… Desi Scott, who’d had a brilliantly determined game, picked up the ball on the edge of the City box and hit a shot that was deflected by City’s Lucy Bronze’s hand or arm (who cares) – the referee took a moment to consider his decision and then blew for a penalty!

Clarke is poised… Jill Scott can’t look and strangely sits this one out.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_61

Clarke crashes the ball into the top of the net! County half the deficit.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_64

And the girls can’t get back to restart the game quickly enough.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_66

The crowd was in uproar, urging on their team to do the impossible with only a few minutes of regular time left.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_102But time was running out and City were in no mood to accommodate County’s need for urgency. The clock ticked down. Regular time had run out. Only 4 minutes of stoppage time could now save the Pies and that was rapidly disappearing, when….

… Rachel Williams picked up a clearance….

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_145

… turned on the after-burners and left the City defense standing to bear down on keeper Bardsley…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_147

.. and with just the keeper to beat she dinks it past the outstretched arms and legs of Karen Bardsley with… aplomb.. to make it 2-2!

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_149

Williams celebrates her equaliser and sends the home support into raptures of delight.

The remaining few seconds were played out before the referee blew for full-time.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_153

Clarke and Williams test the tensile strength of the new kit.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_163Desi Scott can’t believe how tough the fabric is and grabs Williams’ shirt just to make sure.

Rachel Williams demonstrates to Carly Telford how she ‘dinked’ the ball past Bardsley.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_161

But Bob Widdowson is having none of it and reminds Williams who it was that showed her how to finish like that…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_164

Bob demonstrates the ‘dink’…

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_166… whilst Matt Lawson licks his lips and thinks about chicken.

And finally….. Matt Rowland refuses fans requests at the end of the game to ‘swap’ jerseys.

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_168

… and  finally, finally …

NCL FC vs Man City - FA WSL 23.08.2015001_69

… back to the fans! Long may the inclusive nature of the FA WSL continue. 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.

Posted August 24, 2015 by Drew in Uncategorized

Notts County Ladies vs Bristol   Leave a comment

Bristol Academy came to Meadow Lane winless and bottom of the league and left with all 3 points!

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

It’s not Wembley but the ‘usual suspects’ were flying the flag anyway.

NCLFC vs Bristol - Copy

The loyal and ever-present Lady Pies fans.

New sponsors NXT Nutrition use NCL FC strength & conditioning coach Paul Campbell as their test pilot for the new ‘Popeye’ Spinach flavoured energy drinks.

NCLFC vs Bristol_1 - CopyPaul (Popeye) Campbell at work.

Jess Clarke fastens her shooting boots and puts Siobahn Chamberlain to the test in the warm-up.

NCLFC vs Bristol_3 - Copy Get in there!

Having been asked for clarification one too many times; Matt (Overlord) Rowland points out to the ballgirls just where they need to go!

NCLFC vs Bristol_6 - CopyMatt with his plastic ‘Actionman’ walkie-talkie strapped to his snake belt. He was never like this before going to Wembley!

Dunia Susi takes the remaining 3 Spinach flavoured drinks away from Paul Campbell ….

NCLFC vs Bristol_4 - Copy… as she watches him swing from the rafters in the Main Stand.

The match kicked-off with County on the attack from the off – with Clarke causing the Bristol defense problems from the start.

NCLFC vs Bristol_7 - CopyClarke puts pressure on Keeper Earps.

County kept the pressure on the Bristol goal and moments later more good work from Clarke down the left saw Susi shoots just wide from the cross.

NCLFC vs Bristol_11Dunia Susi side-foots just wide for County.

As chances came thick and fast it was Ellen White’s turn to go close as she met a ball in from the right with her head.

NCLFC vs Bristol_8Keeper Earps can only watch as the ball flashes past her left-hand post.

And then chance conspired to create a goal against the run of play; the County defense gave the ball away just outside their box and a shot from Bristol was deflected up into the air and was met on it’s return to Earth by Boho-Sayo who looped a header over the helpless Carly Telford.

NCLFC vs Bristol_46Telford is left stranded.

NCLFC vs Bristol_48Bristol celebrate.

NCLFC vs Bristol_49County go a goal behind against the run of play.

Half time and the rain began to fall and Notts returned to the field to continue to lay seige to the Academy goal.

NCLFC vs Bristol_34Scott was dominating the middle of the park.

Bassett was uncompromising at the back!

NCLFC vs Bristol_42

County again started to create chances and Clarke was making her own … going on a mazey run…

NCLFC vs Bristol_22

… before shooting wide.

NCLFC vs Bristol_23

Moments later Ellen White was in on goal again only to have her shot blocked by a last minute desperate lunge by a Bristol Defender.

NCLFC vs Bristol_20

White denied!

County were creating chance after chance and went close again when Susi met a cross to hit the post.

NCLFC vs Bristol_18

Dunia Susi hits the post and County still can’t find the net!

NCLFC vs Bristol_19So close for Susi and Notts.

County finally get the ball in the back of the net when Aileen Whelan runs on to a loose ball…

NCLFC vs Bristol_13

… and slots the ball into the top corner as Earps watches on!

 NCLFC vs Bristol_14Whelan turn to celebrate…

NCLFC vs Bristol_15… but the ref’s assistant rules it off-side.

Time is running out for Notts who could quite easily have been 3 goals ahead by now.

Then with only minutes left to play the ball runs loose again in the Bristol box and finds its way to Laura Bassett…

NCLFC vs Bristol_27

… from just outside the 6 yard box Bassett swing and connects to send the ball screaming towards goal! Surely this is the equaliser for Notts that earns them a point….

NCLFC vs Bristol_29… the crowd holds it’s breath only to watch as the ball rises over the Bristol crossbar and into the stands! There’s a collective groan from the 1,000 plus crowd!

Moments later the referee blows for full-time and County are defeated and Bristol Academy celebrate their first win of the season.

NCLFC vs Bristol_66

County manager Rick Passmoor has some thinking to do.

NCLFC vs Bristol_67

It wasn’t unexpected that after the defeat in the FA Cup final at Wembley the NCL FC players would be phyiscially exhausted but it is also the mental exhaustion that can be so draining after such an occasion. Tonight’s game against Bristol was always going to be a phycological challenge for the girls.

And in the end the game was decided by a matter of inches; a few inches inside the post instead of outside and a few inches onside instead offside would have made the diffenerce. That’s all there was in it. But that’s football.

With a much needed weekend off  County’s ‘bounce-back-ability’ will be put to the test against the very same opponents on Meadow Lane on Sunday the 16th. Make sure you’re there to get behind the team!

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.

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