Notts County Ladies semi disappointment!   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies lost their Continental Cup semi final tie against Arsenal after conceding two goals in extra time!

Here’s the day in words and pictures:

The Arsenal pregame entertainment was Gunner the Dinosaur. Arsene Wenger’s tight financial grip on the club even extends to the women’s team then!

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0054Here’s Gunny threatening County fans with ejection from the ground unless they make a donation to Jack Wilshire’s medical bills for the 2014/2015 season.

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0050

Matt Rowland (County Media Mogul) was present at the game and as was usual found himself quickly surrounded by his adoring fans.

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0066Gunny popped up at the other end of the main stand and regaled the ball girls with jokes and anecdotes about how he turned down the lead role in Jurassic Park.

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0057The ever present usual suspects in the form of the Stalwarts were there to shout the team on. They actually shouted me over to take this picture of them. I’m going to have to start charging them. No idea who the bloke with the goatee on the far left is who bombed the picture.

So, everything was ready and in place. The game was being carried live by BT Sport

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0083BT Sport are so hard up now that they could only afford one mic forcing the poor female commentator to pretend she had a microphone.

Out came the teams….

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0079

… flags were waved, hands were slapped and Captain Rachel Corsie (12) can be seen dealing Gunny the mascot a low blow with her fist.

The first half saw both teams playing attractive football with Notts just shading the play early on.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0328

Katie Holtham bosses the midfield.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0297

Clarke ran and ran. This is a rare picture of her when she is marked by only one Arsenal defender.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0244Early on Notts matched Arsenal stride for stride.

But Carly Telford had a couple of scares…

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0213….  a cross evading everyone rattled of her far post with 18 minutes gone.

The first half came to a close with the game goalless.

Here’s the Stalwarts responding to a request by me to do a ‘Mexican wave’…..

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0082

…. *Sigh…. this is the Pies Mexican wave then… where they all stand up together and wave at the same time. Nice coordinated denim girls. 🙂

With the game resumed nerves were starting to jangle. With County’s injuries the prospect of beating Arsenal away from home in this tie was always going to be a big ask. On the face of it the best Notts could hope for was to get all the luck going and hit their opponents on the break and pinch a goal and hang on for dear life.

And as the second half progressed this seemed to be the unfolding narrative because Arsenal started the second half much brightest than Notts with Jordan Nobbs and Rachel Yankey both going close for the Gunners.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0321England striker number 8 Jordan Nobbs puts a shot just wide of the County post.

County were buckling under the constant Arsenal pressure and a Gunner’s winner looked on the cards. And they thought they had it with 10 minutes remaining. Leah Williamson’s shot was saved by Carly Telford but she picked up the loose ball that had bounced past Telford and slammed the ball in to the net from a couple of yards out!

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0309Number 14 Williamson nets from close range with Telford already appealing for hand ball. The referee agreed that Williamson had indeed used her hand and ruled out the goal.

So as hoped County were riding their luck, or more accurately had used up all of their luck for the whole season and now only needed to pinch a goal to fulfill the script and progress to the final.

And with the final seconds of the 90 minutes ebbing away Jess Clarke beat Casey Stoney to a bouncing ball and it looked as if the story was going to have a happy ending as the ball was pulled back to Katie Hoyle on the edge of the box. The midfielder took the ball past Arsenal Captain Alex Scott….  Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0131… and managed to get her shot off as a desperate Arsenal defender slid in …..

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0132… but the Arsenal keeper Emma Byrne hadn’t read the script and saved Hoyle’s shot.

And there was the game right there…. any real chance of County progressing beyond this semi final had vanished.

Having played Man City mid week the Lady Pies looked tired having chased Arsenals aristocratic passing game for most of the second half.

E-X-T-R-A  T-I-M-E then! Oh crap – we looked knackered.

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0138Skipper Corsie offers words of encouragement

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0135

Sprays were needed…..

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0136… and massages were given.

The first period of extra time began and Kelly Smith looked a threat as she fired off shots on goal.

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0162

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0158But then Kelly Smith turned provider when….

….. moments later Arsenal took the lead as Caroline Weir received a pass from Kelly Smith in her stride and turned the luckless Rachel Corsie inside out ….

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0337…. before hitting an exquisite dipping shot over Carly Telford.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0339Substitute Caroline Weir watches as her shot beats Telford and hits the back of County net to give her team a killer 1-0 lead.

The Gooners celebrate….

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0346….. Weir’s wonder strike.

County were on the ropes now and holding on for the faintest hope of an equaliser as the game entered the final period of extra time. And Arsenal delivered the fatal blow to dash any hopes Notts had when Arsenal’s Danielle Carter was brought down in the Notts penalty area.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0371Carter goes down….

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0373… and appeals for the spot kick.

Kelly Smith steps up for the gunners…. and send Telford the wrong way.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0377 Game over.

The loss was hard to take for some.

Notts vs Srsenal Cont semi_0394

The Notts players thanked the superb County fans for their great support during the campaign.

Notts vs Arsenal Cont semi_0174

It’s easy to think of this as a failure but Notts finished top of their group in the qualifiers and gave a good account of themselves in this tie. Perhaps a more important battle is now at hand with the remaining games left to play determining whether County will still be playing top flight football next season.

I think we’re good enough and determined enough to see the season out and remain where we belong – at the top. COYP.  🙂

(C) Drew Smith Photography

 

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