One game away from Wembley!   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies FC tonked (technical terminology) Aston Villa Ladies 5-1 yesterday at Meadow Lane to progress to the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup – just one win away from a Wembley Final!

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Here’s the game in words and pictures:

My day at the Lane for this quarter final game began by jumping in to the ‘way back when’ machine with Goal Keeping coach Bob Widdowson – we did the whole ‘do you remember when’ thing about how back in the day footballs were made of leather, coated liberally with dubbin and weighed half a tonne.

12Apr2015_0001Bob Widdowson ‘remembers when’ goal keeper gloves were green string affairs bought from the CO-OP.

Prior to the game both sets of supporters were well represented….

12Apr2015_0023… some of our lot (minus Harry Secombe this week)…

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… some of their lot, in need of Julie Roberts to sort out their supporters merchandise.

Sophie Bradley and Ashleigh Plumptre with..er…missus Magpie…

12Apr2015_0020… sporting her ‘trip hazard’ right boot!

Just before kick-off I spotted this beautiful young lady in the stands with what was later confirmed to be a …

12Apr2015_0028Magpet on her head – I don’t think she even knew.

Off the back of Ellen White’s set-piece goal against Arsenal going viral on Youtube, tactician and set-piece supremo Colin Walker had been lined-up for an interview after the game with ‘Football Tactics Monthly’… he was very excited about it…

12Apr2015_0002Mr Walker, with a tactical wipe board hidden up his jacket, keeping his new set-piece close to his chest.

The teams came out to line up for the ceremonial hand-shake. I kinda like the randomness of this eclectic gathering…

12Apr2015_0032… especially Ms Magpie strolling past in the background.

The mascot shot, all three of them…

12Apr2015_0036… more than one of these people don’t actually look like they want to be here.

The team huddle needs working on, there just doesn’t seem to be the same commitment there used to be, as …

12Apr2015_0037… apparently Rachel Williams has been going to the Marcel Marceau mime school in her spare time and Leanne Crichton is discussing pedicures with Jess Clarke.

The game got underway with Villa kicking off. Unfortunately for them that was about as close as they got to County’s goal during the first half. Notts enjoyed large spells of possession in their opponents half but struggled to convert this pressure to clear cut chances.

The Pies right winger Jess Clarke probed the Villa defense until eventually winning a free kick.

12Apr2015_0046Clarke is brought down some way outside the Villa box. Free kick Notts….. Colin Walker tenses and began sending in signals from the sideline to Laura Bassett.

White, Basset and Buet (a good name for a firm of solicitors) arranged themselves according to Tactician Supremo Walker’s instructions. Buet runs to the ball, shapes to strike it then steps over it at the last minute…. then Laura Bassett does a backflip whilst Ellen White does a head stand.

12Apr2015_0048Those aren’t shin pads down’s White’s socks, those are Colin Walker’s instructions on how to take a ‘gone viral on Youtube’ free-kick.

Eventually, 3.5 minutes later, after a clown car with 28 midget clowns and a bucket of custard has been on and off the pitch twice, the set-piece comes to an end and the ball is finally touched square for Alex Greenwood to run on to and ….

12Apr2015_0049… have her shot blocked.

The game rumbled on. Notts were guilty of not moving the ball quickly enough, dwelling a little in possession and becoming a little bit sloppy with their passes.

Ellen White ran her heart out with her usual brand of skill and determination and even had time to come over to say hello during the first half…

12Apr2015_0057Hi Ellen. 🙂

The game was beginning to follow the same pattern as the previous tie against Tottenham as it trundled toward half time when to everybody’s surprise Ellen White picked up a ball not far inside the Villa half, turned and smacked the ball on the rise some 30-40 yards over the keeper’s head and into the back of the Villa net!

1-0 NOTTS!  

12Apr2015_0209Ellen white just a little pleased with her sublime strike to put County ahead just before the half.

Half time then… Below is a space where a picture of Matt Rowland would normally be. I know many of you like seeing the Marketing mountain featured in my Blogs…

‘no picture of Matt Rowland here’

… unfortunately the restraining order prevents me from posting any pictures of Matt for the next 7 days.

The game resumed.

County win another free kick – this time fooling their opponents by simply having Alex Greenwood shoot at goal. Her free-kick hits the post, rebounds and presents itself to Laura Bassett …

12Apr2015_0068… who side-foots it home with aplomb into an empty net from 6 yards out.

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Williams intercepts Bassett as she tries to jump into Whelan’s arms.

Villa began to tire and Notts put them to the sword…

One of the saviours of County’s season last year, Aileen Whelan struck next, adding the third…

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… running onto a neat little through ball she stretched to prod the ball past Caitlin Leach in the Villa goal.

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Yes, 3-0 Notts.

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Another fine performance from Aileen rewarded with a goal.

Three goals up and Notts brought on the talented Dunia Susi and it wasn’t long before she had an impact on the game. Her first goal was struck with ferocity from the right of the Villa box and flew into the top left corner.

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Susi rockets an unstoppable shot into the back of the Leach’s net to put County 4-0 up! Or does she?? She got into this position so many times during a space of a few minutes in the second half that I’m not sure which one of these is the one she scored from – answers on a postcard please. I think it might have been this one. I’ve no idea I don’t get to watch the game.

12Apr2015_0133Or was it this one?

Anyway…

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Susi leaves Villa out for the count.

12Apr2015_0114And celebrates her goal.

With 20 minutes to go Notts might have run in another 2 or 3 …

12Apr2015_0108… Clarke’s duck is still to be broken as Leach blocks her shot.

12Apr2015_0099Whelan looks to add to her tally with a deft header over the Villa keeper but Caitlin Leach makes a finger tip save.

As the tackles became a little wild and tired Leanne Crichton picked up a knock that needed the attentions of the Notts Physio Krista Van Alten.

12Apr2015_0232Krista (Smurf) Van Alten waves to friends in the stand.

The wheels really came off Villa’s game when after a rash of bookings…

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Number 15…

12Apr2015_0066Emily Owen

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… was sent off for her second bookable offense.

Which made it all the more bizarre and frustrating for Carly Telford I’m sure, when Villa marched down the other end of the pitch and scored their only goal.

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Villa’s Kerri Welsh heads unopposed past Telford in the County goal to make it 4-1.

Only to see Susi slam home Nott’s 5th goal only minutes after the restart!

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The score remained the same for the last few minutes and the full time whistle put an end to the second-tier visitors best ever FA Cup run. Well done Villa.

There was a mini pitch invasion at the end of the game as fans raced to get pics and selfies with their favorite players.

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And of course there was just time for Colin walker to be interviewed by the editors of ‘Football Tactics Monthly’.

12Apr2015_0176Colin Walker frantically makes notes as the young man in the center reads out another set-piece for Colin to try in training next week. Although Colin was overheard insisted that there be no clown cars and custard pies in this one!

12Apr2015_0179Rick Passmoor is asked what he thinks of Drew Smith’s blog.

Notts reward for brushing aside their opponents is a semi-final tie with Everton on Sunday the 3rd of May.

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and 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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