Notts County Ladies vs Spurs Ladies in the FA Cup   Leave a comment

It seemed like an age coming but finally the first competitive game of the 2015 WSL season at Meadow Lane arrived this Sunday. And it took the form of a FA Cup clash with Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur.

Game faces on… (strap yourselves in because this is a marathon blog)…… here’s the day in words and pictures:

 220315_0057_0007First game of the 2015 season at Meadow Lane and the sun shone as the team warmed up under the watchful eye of Strength Coach Paul (Trump Skill 14) Campbell.

It was a peaceful scene an hour or so prior to kick-off but up high in Row Z skullduggery was afoot: whilst the Gaffer Rick (Trump Speed 15) Passmoor was sleeping off a heavy meal in the dugout……

220315_0031_0004….. assistant coach Colin (Trump Speed 12 [generous]) Walker was plotting to overthrow the Boss and was secretly practicing his interview technique.

The usual suspects we in as soon as the gates were opened….

220315_0035_0005… accompanied by … erm….’lamb-i-pie’??

Back on the pitch and Sophie (Trump Shooting 32 [ironic]) Walton ….

220315_0049_0006… dreams of scoring the opening goal in the FA Cup final.

One half of the ground in bathed in sunlight and nice and warm, the other half is in the shade and 3 degrees below freezing….

220315_0063_0008… and this is a shameless plug for JPro isotonic drink so Matt Lawson can get some freebies.

Reserve keeper Jules (Trump Shooting 37 [ironically higher than Sophie Walton’s score]) Draycott has changed her hair colour for the 17th time this week.

220315_0078_0009 Keeper Draycott is looking for a ‘hair colour’ sponsorship.

On injured reserve this week were Sophie, Laura-Jayne and Ashleigh.

220315_0095_0010#lovingthefootwear

Last minute preparations before kick-off see Marketing Humongous Matt (chickened out of having a Trump card) Rowland deploying ‘Goalcam‘ ….

220315_0114_0011…. Matt carries instruction for Goalcam installation so he no longer has to hold it up for 90 minutes (which he finds more difficult as he gets older).

It’s almost time!

The teams are announced and the crowd roar as they exit the tunnel and take the pitch….

220315_0164_0012…. either the mascot has a two-tone ponytail thing going on or that’s Carly (Trump Power 61) Telford behind her.

220315_0178_0013A final pose for pictures and…. … it’s GAME ON! COYP!

Strangely enough Spurs seemed to start the game with more confidence than Notts; County seemed nervous and a little unsure in the first few passages of play. The combination of the first game at Meadow Lane for many of the starters and the team needing to gel competitively was most likely the cause.

So it was with relief with which the Pies spectators watched Notts begin to string a few passes together. Debutant Rachel (Trump Skill 69) Williams caused Spurs problems early on.

220315_0313_0015

A spluttering start to the game with Notts possibly holding on to the ball a little too long was compounded by Tottenham’s willingness to run and chase and close down like demented rabbits on illegal performance enhancers.

 And then Sophie Walton’s dream came partially true – she netted the opening goal in an FA Cup tie!
Ellen (Trump Power 66 [rubbish score – the girl is a footballing tyrannosaurus ]) White was battling everybody on the park and robbing a Spurs defender of possession slipped the ball in to the path of Sophie (Trump speed 64) Walton!
Hiding her sheer terror of being in on goal she sublimely passed the ball into the Spurs net and past keeper Toni Wayne.
220315_0237_0014
1-0 NOTTS and in the background White hits a double-biceps pose in celebration with Sophie.
Curiously this didn’t seem to settle the nerves and County continued to play in ‘fits and starts’ without ever finding a rhythm in their passing. Sporadic play aside Notts still created enough good chances to be 5 nil up at the break, evidenced by Dunia (Trump Skill 84) Susi hitting the post with the ball rebounding to Jess (Trump Tackling 59) Clarke unable to get a clean contact on the ball before it was cleared.
Just before the break an Alex (Trump Passing 99) Greenwood corner and subsequent missed punch by the keeper resulted in a scrabble in the six yard box and the ball careening toward the empty net….
220315_0398_0017
.. but with great lasp-gasp defending by Spurs number 12 Alex Keown the ball was cleared off the line…
220315_0401_0018Close but no banana for Notts.
The half time whistle went and Tottenham trooped off probably the happier of the two teams. Many fans (including me) expected a 4 or 5 nil thrashing but the plucky Spurs outfit really did put on a first half display that belied their lower league status.
Second half then….
… and County were still spluttering but flickered into flame more often than in the first half. And then…
…  making her debut at the Lane (unbelievable for somebody that’s been at the club for over a year) White picked up the ball on the edge of the Spurs box, feigned to shoot, went past the defender and crashed the ball into the back of the net and past the forlorn Spurs keeper.
220315_0433_00192-0 NOTTS! Ellen White showing text book form to score County’s second goal.
220315_1136_0051YES! A year’s worth of side-lined injury frustration gone in a second!
220315_1148_0053
Look at those clenched fists!
220315_1143_0052Fierce! I’m bloody intimidated.
Whilst Notts might not have been a silky smooth purring machine in their play the defense was as mean as ever and only allowed Tottenham rare visits to the edge of their 18 yard box, each one being closely supervised by the imperious Fern (Trump Tackling 89) Whelan and partner in the back four Amy (Trumps Tackling 96) Turner.
220315_1092_0048Spurs striker corralled by the stingy Pies defense.
I may be wrong but I believe that this….
220315_1381_0065… scuffed shot from distance was just about Spurs best chance on goal.

Back on the offensive Greenwood took possession 30 yards out and crashed the ball against the crossbar with the keeper….

220315_0550_0023… stranded like a Pirate without his wooden leg.

In a lull in proceedings ….

220315_1393_0066Rick (Trump Speed 15) Passmoor gives odds of 5 to 1 on Jules Draycott’s changing her hair colour before the end of next week.

220315_1343_0063

… and Turner quietly steals a few extra yards on the thrown in whilst Passmoor distracts the ‘referee’s assistant’.

County began to build pressure with several chances going begging as Spurs inevitably begin to tire.

220315_0515_0022So close….

220315_0569_0024… White heads across goal…

220315_0446_0021… Turner turns the screws.

220315_1329_0062Rachel (Trumps Power 97) Williams shows she needs her Trumps Skill score upgrading.

220315_1105_0049Jess Clarke had one of her quietly influential games  without scoring.

But it wasn’t until the very end of the game that County hit their third goal. With just a minute left on the clock, substitute Fiona (Trump Power 88) O’Sullivan bagged her first goal when she peeled off her defender to latch on to a ball popped up into the six yard box by Leanne (Trump Passing 87) Crichton and finish with a deft little header past the – stranded like a kipper in a smoke house – Keeper Wayne.

220315_0647_0025O’Sullivan peels and scores.

Game over at 3-zip but still just enough time for O’Sullivan to claim her second of the match and Notts 4th.

The striker worked hard to beat the spurs keeper with a lopping header into the far corner of the net.

220315_1480_0068O’Sullivan points the way to the quarter finals and Aston Villa at Home.

Full time and a win for Notts…

220315_0789_0033.. the huddle is a victorious one…

220315_0779_0032… then it’s time to pose for pictures…

220315_0803_0034… sign shirts…

220315_0830_0037… give autographs…

220315_0733_0028… plug sponsors…

220315_0741_0029… and stretch out.

Unfortunately there was almost a nasty incident when this reporter …

220315_0751_0030… suggested that Manager Passmoor now made all his team selections and formations based on the Trumps Cards stats! Passmoor was heard vehemently denying that he’d ever seen a Trump card.

220315_0842_0038Rick writing a cheque for this fan’s Dunia Susi Trump card in case he needs to play her next week. Rick – they’re £2 from the Club shop!

And there was just time for:

Ellen (Fierce) White…

220315_0764_0031… to explain to Matt Rowland what biceps are!

For Rick…

220315_0859_0040… to pose with a Panda…

And for Fiona O’Sullivan to do this…

220315_0816_0036?

See you all again at the lane on the 29th for the game against Chelsea – kick-off 5pm.

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: 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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