Notts County Ladies beat reigning league champions!   Leave a comment

Notts County Ladies closed out the first half of the FAWSL season on Sunday ahead of the World Cup by beating reigning league champions Liverpool 1-0.

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Here’s the game in words and pictures:

This game was, without doubt, the most atmospheric I’ve witnessed at Meadow Lane. Both sets of supporters sang throughout the match, banged various drums, cheered, clapped and generally made copious amounts of noise right up until the final whistle.

In fact I think I’m correct in saying that this was the biggest crowd yet to attend a regular FAWSL game at 2,057 strong.

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Above, the record-breaking crowd. Can you spot ‘Agent Trenchcoat’?

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Some of our fans. Possibly regulars, I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen them before.

So, what was happening before kick off? Well… Matt (Angry Birds) Rowland threatened to call security on his GI JOE walkie-talkie if Ms Magpie didn’t keep her head this week.

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The ball boys and girls witness ugly scenes.

Lady Pies supporter (#2) goes in search of the stadium acoustics ‘sweet spot’ to maximise his tub thumping.

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Him with his drum – creator of much of the wonderful match atmosphere.

The girls warm up.

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Fitness coach Paul Campbell introduces wrestling into the mix. The boy is way ahead of his time.

This is Assistant Coach Colin Walker. He had his hair cut for this game. No, I couldn’t tell either.

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Mr Walker deep in thought. I wonder what’s on his mind?

The Mascots are multiplying. And the young lady second from the left looks just like somebody in the team. Maybe we should stage a mini-me ‘player look-ee-like-ee’ competition.

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Loving the game faces.

The two team’s came out. The heroic Pies led by their skipper Laura Bassett.

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Three of these Pies are England players and the other one should be.

Anyway lets not hang about, let’s get the game started. And as is becoming worryingly customary of late, County almost concede in the first few moments of the game.

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Liverpool’s Asisat Oshoala ghosted past the County defense to test Carly Telford who was forced to make a save at her near post.
Liverpool continued to enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early stages of the first half. They created half chances with England keeper Telford busy whilst restricting County to long distance efforts themselves.
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Another fine display of goal keeping by Carly Telford should demonstrate to England manager Sampson why she should be England’s number 1.

Aileen Whelan relieves the pressure for a while as she goes on a silky run down the line.

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The record crowd watches on in hope and expectation.

Ellen White takes a knock and needs treatment from Physio Krista Van Alten. We’re strangely relieved that it was only a bump to the head instead of anything to do with her knees.

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Krista patches Ellen back up.

County had to endure Liverpool pressure right up to the half with much of it coming down the right flank.

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Alex Greenwood keeps her eye on the ball as Liverpool probe.

And that just about sums up the first half. Liverpool didn’t score when they might have and County looked rushed when they had possession and gave away the ball cheaply. So we’ll move swiftly on in the interests of biased match reporting.

HT Notts 0 Liverpool 0

The half time entertainment was created by, designed by, and executed by creative marketing genius Matt Rowland; it was the ‘kick-the-ball-at-the-goal-from-increasingly-greater-distances-and-win-a-random-prize’ game.

The young tike and raffle winner hoofs the ball toward the goal being fiercely guarded by Ms Magpie (not pictured).

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He shoots! He scores! He wins…

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… a beautifully photographed picture of the NCL FC squad and a bag of Matt Rowlands old clothes.

The second half began after a small delay whilst the referee signalled in his post-match food order.

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‘Egg and chips twice – over there, when I’m finished’.

The start of the second half saw a completely different County team (metaphorically speaking of course otherwise the ref would have noticed); suddenly the football was flowing. Passes were being found. Suddenly Notts were a slick as an oil spill in an obsidian sea.

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Rachel Williams bursts between two Liverpool defenders to fire in a cross.

Jess Clarke begins to terrorise the red’s defense.

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Clarke gets loose.

And then the goal!
With just over an hour gone Alex (left peg) Greenwood hit a cross into the box aimed for White, Satara Murray beat the striker to the ball to clear for a corner. It was then Greenwood’s corner kick that was met by County’s Fern Whelan to head home from 12 yards out.
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Greenwood delivers the corner kick …
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… Fern Whelan times her jump…
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… to perfection…
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… to head powerfully past the Liverpool keeper…
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… whom has no chance to react…
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… before the ball is past her and hitting the back of the net.
GOAL! 1-0 NOTTS!
Jubilation followed…
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…. Crichton hugs top ‘assister’ Greenwood (who is sporting a new hair style in celebration).
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Now Liverpool have to chase the game!
The county defense came under pressure but was holding fast.
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Telford is fouled as she goes to catch.
The noise level in the stadium went up a notch as Liverpool sought an equaliser and County looked to hit them on the counter.
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Clarke gets to the ball ahead of Keeper Libby Stout but the ball is cleared off the line.
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Aileen Whelan shoots across keeper Stout but the ball flies wide of the far post.
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Williams leads the charge.
With the game clock running down Manager Passmoor makes two tactical substitutions to shut out the game and brings off Aileen Whelan for Dunia Susi and Jess Clarke for Amy Turner.
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Jess Clarke checks out how long is left on the scoreboard as she leaves the pitch.
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Susi gets straight in the thick of it.
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Off the ball Dani Buet is the victim of a brutal attack by the Liverpool number 7 Longhurst.
For some reason being 0-1 down with only a few minutes remaining seemed to irk the Liverpool manager…
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Irritation with the match official boils over for Matt Beard, much to Amy Turner’s amusement.
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Beard appeals to the fourth official (is Passmoor smirking?).
As the game approached 90 minutes Liverpool’s attempts to equalise became more frantic, once again offering opportunities to County.
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 Rachel Williams out jumps Martha Harris.
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Rick Passmoor urges his team on whilst Beard continues to sulk.
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Telford’s catch eases the pressure late on.
The game hits the 90 minute mark and the fourth official announces…
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… 4 extra minutes – groan! But even that doesn’t cheer Beard up.
County safely negotiate the injury time ….
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… and the ref blows for full-time!
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Good spirited handshakes all round.
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Rick thanks his squad for making his life especially stress free going into the break.
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This hug from Rachel Williams is so epic it turned into a classic black & white almost immediately.
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Carly Telford shows her team mates how to play Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be…’ on her over-sized elastic band.
Interviews then…
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… this is the ‘I scored a bloody great goal but it was a team effort’ interview.
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This is the ‘Yes, I’m a bloody great keeper, but it was a team effort’ interview.
And…
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… this is the ‘We lost and I was NOT sulking’ interview.
The Lady Pies (I’m using that phrase all the time now – grrr) spend time with the fans.
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Fern Whelan signs her programme piccy.
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Dunia Susi’s eyes say ‘Please help me….!’
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And finally the backroom staff catch up on the latest episode of ‘Breaking Bad’.
And finally finally…
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… what was Colin thinking about?
Here’s a foot note: as I write this East Midlands Today sport report has just shown the goal from the game last night vs Liverpool. They also commented on the 2,000 + crowd with a certain degree of incredulity in their voice.

 

(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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