Notts County Ladies Victorious against Everton!   Leave a comment

Aileen Whelan scored twice against the Toffees to secure victory for Notts and another season in the FA Women’s Super League Division 1! Their defeated opponents crash out of the top flight and will spend next season in the 2nd Division after what was effectively a relegation battle at Meadow Lane last night.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

Meadow Lane held it’s collective breath on Sunday evening; a win or a draw assured Notts of continued Division 1 football. A loss to Everton meant the Toffees closed the gap with County to just 4 points and with only 2 games to go, relegation for County would still be a possibility.

The pre-game atmosphere after the defeat of table toppers Arsenal last weekend was an intoxicating mixture of high expectations and nerve jangling tension.

The usual suspects were in early – the fan support has been the best in the league this season.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0204

Not. Missed. A. Game. All. Season!

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0205A Carly Telford fan assures us that at least a point in on the cards.

The match day officials looked very… official….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0282… so much so that I actually balked at asking them to stand on one leg with their tongues out. Okay, maybe the guy on the left would have complied.  🙂

MARKETING NEWS: Apparently Matt Rowland (Notts County Marketing Guru) is all set to release a series of collectable Notts Player ‘TOP TRUMPS ‘cards called ‘TOP OF THE CROCS’!

Here are the current 3 Top Crocs:

The ‘Ellen White‘ card is much prized but she’s well on her way to recovery:

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0231

The ‘Sophie Bradley‘ card- carries extra ‘Skipper’ points.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0227

And latest addition is Rachel Unitt (ACL) comes in at number 3.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0229Can’t help but notice how much more ‘substantial’ Sophie Bradley’s knee support looks compared to Rachel Unitt’s. At the rate our player’s get seriously injured there’s a serious opportunity for a commercial knee brace supplier to step in and sponsor the team next season.

Sophie Bradley comes up with a short list of possible replacement players to join the deleted County roster….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0225… Passmoor is not impressed, as he watches the players on the list warm up….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0207

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0210

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0206

Despite this set-back the pre-game warm up continues with enthusiasm….

…. Ellen White is enthusiastically hit in the groin whilst crossing the ball for keeper Carly Telford…

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0280

Dunia Susi clones herself in a desperate attempt to bolster the player numbers….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0213… but her mini-me is only eligible for the Under 7’s.

The warm-up draws to a close. Target practice ensues for the strikers…

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0292

And at the last Passmoor decides to take a risk; concluding his motivational team talk he sing ‘I dreamed a dream’ (of staying up) from the hit musical ‘Les Miserables’…..

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0283….. although delivered with true passion, some of the girls can’t bear to listen to Rick’s off key melody in the second verse.

The teams leave the pitch for final preparations before kick-off leaving just enough time for Marketing Behemoth-come steward Matt Rowland to organise the ball girls and sign autographs.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0289

Matt Rowland – shocked and stunned to be caught on camera again. 🙂

Then it’s GAME ON!

It’s a nervy start – neither team really playing at their best with so much at stake. Opportunities are scarce but Notts start to make headway ….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0324… Amy Turner is stopped in her tracks by a sliding tackle as she attacks down the wing.

But Everton, in dire straights at the foot of the table, almost open the scoring with 15 minutes gone, when Millie Turner hits the post from 25 yards out! It seems obligatory that the opposing side shall hitheth the county post at least onceth during the game. For it is the law.

Now Notts respond and begin to fire in the crosses….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0334 … but Rachel Brown-Finnis is up to the task and punches clear.

But Notts launch a flurry of attacks as the first half draws to a close – Fiona O’Sullivan goes close as she heads over the bar from inside the box.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0304O’Sullivan leaps like a gazelle to head over.

Aileen Whelan is having an absolute stormer of a game…. she seems to be everywhere.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0313During one spell of play she actually crosses this ball…..

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0307… then sprints into the box and leaps like a salmon to get on the end of her own cross!

Jess Clarke is having a quiet first half but still impacts on the game when she’s on the ball…

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0338… Clarke fizzes.

As the first half clock ticks down both teams look like they are relieved to get to half time without conceding. But with just minutes remaining the hapless Gabby George’s shanked her back pass to the Everton keeper and the ball runs out of play for a corner. A buzz of excitement went through the home fans like a swarm of South American Cicada.

Katie Hoyle swings the corner into the Everton box and both Brown-Finnis and Aileen whelan leap to contend it….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0351….. somehow the Toffees’ keeper misses the ball and Whelen THUMPS the ball into the back of the net with her head!

1-0 NOTTS!

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There is much jubilation!

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0353_1Whelan wheels away in celebration from the stricken Brown-Finnis …..

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0366….. the team are overjoyed. Hoyle and Walton are so overjoyed that they start to dance an impromptu Waltz together (far left).

The half time whistle blows minutes later and Notts go in with a crucial one goal lead.

Half time once again lacked the entertainment of Sytner’s ‘boot the ball into the boot’ challenge. So a quick mention that County joined up with the ‘kick it out’ campaign today.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0260The old footy adage: ‘If in doubt…… ‘

The second half resumed with a passion. Some of the tackles got a little feisty too.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0471Jess Clarke is …. prevented from getting anywhere near the ball by an elbow to the throat ….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0419… number 5 Fern Whelan can’t wait til the end of the game to swap shirt with O’Sullivan. The linesman (sorry.. ref’s assistant) isn’t quite close enough to see the infringement.

Katie Hoyle tries her luck from the edge of the box…..

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0405……. with great technique; head down knee over the ball….. surely destined for the top corner….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0406….. but instead it kinda bumbles along the floor….. Katie can already see the funny side but Caitlin Friend (left) still holds out hope for the wounded duck….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0409… it’s actually still slowly rolling in this shot. Very slowly. 🙂

Anyway…. back in the game… and Notts nerves have completely vanished and the game starts to flow. Unfortunately for Everton the play was flowing in their direction….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0415 … Jess Clarke is stopped with a last gasp tackle….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0384….. Brown-Finnis catches under pressure from Clarke….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0390… Caitlin Friend, on as a sub for Susi, fires a cross into the box….

With 10 minutes left in the game it looked like we may be in for a nervy last few minutes, but then Notts strung together a series of delightful passes that found Jess Clarke on the edge of the Everton box having committed the opponent’s last defender she slid a sublime ball in for Aileen Whelan.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0425 Clarke plays Whelan in having committed the last defender (now I’m just repeating myself).

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0428Whelan meets the ball in her stride, ignoring the on-rushing keeper….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0426… the contact is perfect….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0427… and Whelan lifts the ball over and wide of Brown-Finnis in the Toffees goal!

2-0 NOTTS!

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0433Clarke celebrates with Whelan…

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0436…. Caitlin Friend (22) is moderately pleased with Whelan’s efforts thus far….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0438.. Desi Scott offers her congratulations…

.. and then….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0447_1… a ‘happy dance’ breaks out! And about time too. 🙂

Everton Keeper Brown-Finnis looks on and with only minutes of the game left, reflects on life in Division 2.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0448 Notts future looks bright.

A relatively uneventful last few minutes is played out and County greet the full-time whistle with relish.

The party begins….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0485Hoyle and whelan, architects of the first goal, rejoice…

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0480Top class sportsperson Rachel Brown-Finnis is the first to congratulate the Notts players. Although the three County players look like they’ve just staggered in from a night out in Magaluf.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0502There are hugs for Whelan.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0521Passmoor inadvertently joins in.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0538The fans sum up the campaign.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0530And County pull off an escape from relegation in the final stretch (okay, that was pushing it a little).

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0542 And there is just time for big High 5’s for little fans….

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0539… and for Sophie Walton to bomb a young fan’s ‘selfie’.

Notts vs Everton WSL Home_0298And Finally….. the coaching staff… whom unselfishly posed for this heroic picture prior to the game,  knowing in their heart of hearts that we would go on to win 2-0.

(C)Drew Smith Photography

This was a marathon effort – more pics than ever in this ‘issue’. If you’d like to follow this Blog you’ll find a ‘Subscribe’ button somewhere on the left hand-side near the top. Thank you for reading. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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