Notts County Ladies beat top of the league Chelsea!   1 comment

Notts County Ladies FC took a huge step toward Women’s Super League survival last night by beating table topping Chelsea 1-0 at Meadow Lane. The Pies clinched all three points courtesy of a Jess Clarke headed goal in the 40th minute of a momentous game that had the fans on the edge of their seats.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

The warm-up was ominous. I always think we look sharp and accurate in the mini-game warm ups but last night we seemed a little …. careless ….. and flat-footed. Suddenly unbidden thoughts of a drubbing from Chelsea came floating in to mind like a Sophie Walton corner. But that was ridiculous, so what if we were second from bottom and Chelsea were top, we had a much nicer kit and a much better stadium. πŸ™‚

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0025 Β  The girls do the ‘Hokey-Cokey’ or possibly a ‘leg lunge’ during warm ups.

But disaster wasn’t far away…

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0023 … Sophie Walton’s Passion Pink nail varnish hadn’t quite dried yet. …

… and at least one of the ball-girls had already lost interest!

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0073The ball-girls were supplied by Arnold Town FC and West Bridgford.

Here are the officials. I’ve come to realise over time that they are a malleable lot – happy to comply with my requests to ‘stand closer together’, ‘smile’ and look like they are a ‘team’. I think next game I’ll try getting them to stand on one leg with their tongues out. πŸ˜›

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0070The officials – nice boys and so biddable.

A sight for sore eyes! Dunia Susi‘s return from injury.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0030She started on the bench.

So, lets start the game….. and it was Chelsea that started the quicker of the two teams, with Carly Telford being forced to tip over the bar early doors (more footy parlance to follow) …

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0449The first real scare for Notts was when Eni Aluko was left in a foot race with County keeper Telford when she got in behind the Notts defense. Carly somehow managed to get there first and clear the danger (the ball girl was more stressed than anybody about this passage of play).

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0416Telford – quicker than a whippet after drinking a can of Red Bull.

But County eased their way in to the game and started looking value for money. Jess Clarke was back to her best posing a constant threat down the right hand side.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0107Jess in space … lots of space.

Notts were looking good and hitting the channels early. Confidence was oozing through the team when suddenly Danielle Brogan appeared on the edge of the Chelsea 18 yard box. She’d managed to pass the half way line without getting a nose bleed and finding herself with the ball floating towards her she set her self for a spectacular volley…..

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0099

… adopting a shape worthy of Messi himself she swung gracefully at the ball which was now surely destined to fly into the top corner of the visitor’s net…

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0098… but alas it has been raining for the last hour and the greasy surface took away her standing foot before she could make contact……

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0097… I’m sure Daniella will appreciate me posting these pictures. πŸ™‚

I forgot to mention that Fiona O’Sullivan was in the starting line-up and making her home debut. It was a pleasure watching her play.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0430O’Sullivan demonstrates her natural grace in motion.

Here’s a break in the narrative to bring you some ‘hair’.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0428No ball but plenty of golden locks.

Back to the game….

Then injury stricken Notts were ‘strick’ once more! Rachel Unitt was stretchered off in the first half…

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0422Sophie Bradley sits on the bench with a telephone directory and starts to call possible replacement squad players on her mobile.

Unitt’s unfortunate injury saw the introduction of Dunia Susi’s into the fray….

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0424The 4th official checks for illegal ‘levitation’ devices and inexplicably fails to spot Dunia’s.

It was wonderful to see this gracefully skilful player back in action – she’s been badly missed.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0444Susi wrong footing opponents again.

Then it happened.

Aileen Whelan, County’s heroic work-horse, cut through the Chelsea defense like a hot knife through dairy produce, only to be brought down just outside the box by Aluko….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea LOGO 0133Whelan brings a foul from Eniola Aluko in the 40th minute …..

Katie Hoyle stands poised and weighs up her options….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0136Hoyle gazes in to the Chelsea box before delivering an inch perfect free-kick.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea LOGO 0138Clarke get in front of the entire sleeping Chelsea back-four and heads the ball down….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea LOGO 0144… Marie Hourihan in the Chelsea goal is already beaten …..

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea LOGO 0142… 1-0 NOTTS!

The crowd go wild. The County players go wild. The Notts bench go wild. I went wild.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea LOGO 0153Brogan, Corsie and O’Sullivan chase Clarke in celebration after her goal.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea LOGO 0174Best goal celebration of the season bar none! What a relief.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea LOGO 0171So, 1-0 up with only another 55 minutes to play. Easy.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0460

The ref blew for half time and I changed ends. Then I wandered back to the half way line and waited for the ‘BMW Raffle’ draw. But it didn’t happen. No humiliation for the winning ticket holder. No ball clumped 3 yards in to the ground. Rumour has it that Sytner were so terrified by how close the winning ticket holder came to putting the ball in the boot of the car during the last home game, that they’ve insisted that the car be exchanged for something with a much smaller boot and the ball used be a lace-up, dubbin smothered dead-weight from the 1970’s. πŸ™‚

The second half began and County slipped into a higher gear – something they’ve been unable to do recently.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0414County pressure had Chelsea on the back foot.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0224Corsie goes close….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0227Hourihan punches clear…

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0192… then fumbles badly resulting in a scramble for the ball and Notts almost going 2-0 up.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0500But Chelsea were not out of it….

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0477… with Aluko proving to be a real handful… well TWO hand fulls actually.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0512Chelsea started a concerted effort as the clocked ticked down and pummeled the County defenses; Yuki Ogimi fires a shot on target…

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0514… but Carly Telford is not going to be beaten. Not today!

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0533But then Notts pick up the pace again…. determined to hang on to all three points ahead of their 6 pointer with Everton.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0228Jess Clarke find herself in the Chelsea box … but…. well, I’ve got no idea what’s happening here. πŸ™‚

The 90 minutes are up….. the announcer (who sounds just like the Quidditch commentator in the Harry Potter movies) informs us that there will be …

… a minimum of….

…. FOUR MINUTES of extra time. FOUR MINUTES!! Groan.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0530Carly Telford screams the Notts County battle-cry as she races out to collect the ball ahead of Chelsea’s Blundell.

There’s one minute left…… Chelsea get a corner. (Please… not now!) The Chelsea Keeper goes up for it. Whenever you see two goal keepers in the same 6 yard box you know that somewhere things are desperate.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0550The corner flies past everybody and County breath again.

But Chelsea come back on the attack …. County’s Hoyle gets across the box and hoofs the ball in to Row F of the stadium to waste the precious few remaining moments of the game.

Notts vs Chelsea Home_0528Katie Hoyle introduces the ball to Row F of the Stadium.

Chelsea throw the ball forward again. The referee blows his whistle. The crowd erupts. I run on to the pitch with my camera to catch the elation. …. then I notice the referee hasn’t moved. Neither have the players? Ah… he’s blowing for off-side then. I better get back off the pitch then. #Embarrassed I slunk back to the sideline.

The the free kick is launched forward and this time the referee does blow for full time.

There was a lot of jubilation.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0305

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0329

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0352And hugging.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0300More hugging

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0345

And smiles.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0325I think this is a smile… it could be a grin though.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0324

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0331

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0369

And tears.

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0322Passmoor blubbed like a baby. πŸ™‚

In the aftermath of the victory there was a certain amount of confusion too….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0340Matt Rowland (Notts County Marketing Megalith) was scratching his head, being seriously out of practice when it came to writing up a match report about a County win…

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0353… Matt Lawson suddenly felt the need to be on crutches! Maybe he was feeling left out after all of Notts injuries…

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0365… and when asked in the post match interview what it was like to win, Rick said that he didn’t understand the question. πŸ™‚

As the pandemonium died down the ever-professional Carly Telford went over to thank the ball girls and the awe-struck bunch rushed over to have their pictures taken with the County Keeper….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0379… which provided a moment of hilarity because all the mums and dads were at the side-line ready to take pictures of their little darlings with Carly…. but they all had their mobile’s up taking ‘selfies’….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0381… so Carly took charge and told the girls to lower their phones….

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea_0391.. which they did. And Carly being the true Pro, knew exactly where to look. πŸ™‚ Yup – 1-0.

And this is my favourite image from a wonderful and exciting night of football…

Notts Ladies vs Chelsea Amy TurnerAmy Turner sits on the pitch (she’s actually doing a thigh stretch – but we won’t let that spoil it) and has that dreamy ‘far-away’ look on her face. She is either contemplating the meaning of life, the meaning of 3 points for the win, or what’s she’s going to have for supper. πŸ™‚

Well done girls – it was great to be a small part of it. Thank you.

(C) Drew Smith Photography.


One response to “Notts County Ladies beat top of the league Chelsea!

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  1. Thanks for a great informative and humorous match report! I just wish I’d discovered you were doing them before this, as I’d have read them after every game, particularly the away games as I only get to the home games.


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