Rain, Wind and ‘Happy Hat’.   Leave a comment

I once skied on the Hintertux glacier in Austria in the middle of December. During a snow storm driven by glacial winds my chair lift stopped half way up an exposed face of  the mountain. That was a cold day. Gresham Park in Wilford Nottingham yesterday, host to the match between Notts County Ladies FC and Reading Ladies, was almost as cold as that day on the Hintertux. Only yesterday we had… ‘Happy Hat’ (and ‘Goal Cam’).

NCL FC vs Reading Ladies friendly_0109This is ‘Happy Hat’. Krista the NCLFC physio is leading a campaign to have it worn for every game this season. Or at least until the Fashion Police arrive.

The game was the first and last home friendly game as County warmed up ahead of their opener at home against Chelsea. The bad news is that we may not see Sophie Bradly in the season opener. She is still rehabilitating the knee injury she picked up last season.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0001Sophie Bradley may miss the season opener – we wish her a speedy recovery.

The pre-match warm-ups had to compete against the icy cold and driving wind and rain.

NCL FC vs Reading Ladies friendly_0091Arty-farty 8mm shot with oodles of post production – for those who care.

The game kicked off with Notts perhaps facing their toughest test to date in the pre-season friendlies – Reading Ladies FC finished 3rd in the FAWSL Div 2 last season notching up some impressive results.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0219New signing; number 18 the admirable Leanne Crichton, battles in midfield.

But Reading hardly had time to wipe the rain from their eyes before County were 2-0 up. Rachel Williams opened the scoring with a well met header and Fiona O’Sullivan doubled County’s lead only a minute or so later with a clinical finish through a tangle of feet 6 inches from the goal line. 🙂

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0046Rachel Williams Celebrates Notts’ opener.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0051Fiona O’Sullivan get’s County’s second….

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0053… it was a poacher’s goal. She doesn’t miss from there!

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0078The Reading sideline looked on with gloomy dispositions.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0079By contrast the Notts sideline looked much happier, stylish and less like the 7 dwarves.

Notts were playing some decent football despite the weather’s best attempts to spoil any kind of passing game.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0290But Ellen White needs to put on a little more weight – she was blown over by the wind several times during the game.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0095Reading went further behind when Ellen White, now playing with weighted boots, pounced to make it 3-0 to Notts.

NCL FC vs Reading Ladies friendly_0162Rick (Happy Hat) Passmoor clutches at two buoyancy aids as the water levels begin to rise at Gresham.

Reading, to their credit, never stopped battling and enjoyed spells of possession in the second half that threatened a goal.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0213  But they never really looked like getting back in to the game….

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0194… against a well marshaled and tactically superior County side.

Fiona O’Sullivan notched her second and Notts fourth as the light began to fade.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0528O’Sullivan and new signing Danielle Buet (whom had a stand-out game) celebrate the goal with an impromptu game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’. Here they can be seen both choosing ‘Paper’.

The Reading sideline became even gloomier in the late afternoon gloom.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0148Here the away team manager points out that O’Sullivan should have chosen ‘scissors’.

As the flood lights came on (which actually made it seem darker) the wind picked up.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0409Jess Clarke is almost blown off her feet.

And there is just time enough in the dying minutes of the game for Aileen (can’t stop scoring if she tried) Whelan to make it 5-0 to County.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0554Goal Machine Whelan looks set to carry on where she left off last season.

The ref blew the whistle for full time and with all thoughts of a ‘warm-down’ forgotten the squad collectively ran for the sanctuary of a hot shower.

It’s a mouth watering prospect to have Ellen White back fit and scoring freely, Fiona O’Sullivan banging them in from two feet, Aileen Whelan still scoring for ‘fun’ (stupid expression) and currently the best striker not starting for England, Jess Clarke in the line-up.

And to finish….

…. Matt (Marketing Gargantuan) Rowland field tested his ‘Goal Cam’ project in this match. The results, which can be seen on the NCLFC website, speak for themselves.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0538 Matt Rowland – dressed sensibly for the weather conditions – goes to retrieve ‘Goal Cam’. When the club is attracting 10,000 per home game he’s been promised a drone quad copter. 🙂

(c) Copyright Drew Smith Photography.

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