FAWNL Division One South East Round-up: Dons move up to third

With most FAWNL teams involved in cup action, just three games were played in the FAWNL Division One South East this weekend.

Unbeaten AFC Wimbledon hosted Norwich, AFC Basildon were back at home to entertain Cambridge United and fifth-place Enfield travelled to bottom side, Kent Football United.

AFC Basildon overturn deficit to secure 3 points

After beating Phoenix Sports in the FA Cup and knocking a strong Southampton Women’s side out of the FAWNL Cup, AFC Basildon began the month perfectly and hoped to take that momentum into the league.

They welcomed Cambridge United to Canvey Island, a side that has only managed one win in their previous ten outings; their solitary victory coming against Kent Football United. Most recently though, they faced Norwich in a league and cup, earning a point away from home before getting knocked out of the FA Cup.

Despite controlling the ball for large parts of the half, and an early Abela attempt at goal, it was visitors who took the lead through Blanchflower after 36 minutes. Kelley Blanchflower netting for the fourth time this season for United.

Cerys Adams restored parity after 65 minutes when she bundled in an effort following a corner.

The turnaround was complete shortly after, and once again it was Adams for the home side, striking brilliantly to complete her brace and give AFC Basildon the lead.

Scores remained unchanged as the ref blew his whistle to conclude the game, the Essex side earning another comeback victory to secure a hard-earned 3 points.

AFC Basildon 2-1 Cambridge United

The result doesn’t see any positional changes for either side, but strengthens The Blues’ grip on sixth-place and extends their winning streak to three games. United remain 10th.

Both teams return to cup action next weekend with Cambridge hosting Maidenhead United at the Premier Plus Stadium, while AFC Basildon have business with another Cambridgeshire side, Cambridge City, in the FA Cup.

The Dons move up to third

AFC Wimbledon’s league season has been somewhat understated, and while the focus may remain on Billericay and the Tractor Girls at the top of the division, the fact remains that The Dons are currently unbeaten – a feat only managed by 7 (of 71) FAWNL sides. They welcomed seventh-place Norwich looking to build on a cup win against Cambridge United last time out.

After a somewhat back-and-forth opening 30 minutes, Helen Ogle and Katie Stanley combined to provide for Liz O’Callaghan to give The Dons the lead.

But despite continued pressure from the hosts, it was the Canaries who struck next, equalising five minutes before the interval through Kathryn Stanley. A low driven shot past Ferguson made it 1-1 heading into the break.

There would be one final twist before half-time however when O’Callaghan lobbed Hope Armstrong to score her second of the game and restore the home side’s lead in the 43rd minute.

With just under an hour on the clock, The Dons extended their lead to two goals when Katie Stanley’s cross was met by the head of Hannah Billingham to make it 3-1.

With a few opportunities, but no further goals for either side, the game ended 3-1.

AFC Wimbledon 3-1 Norwich City

The win sees The Dons secure their fourth consecutive win to leapfrog Leyton Orient into 3rd place, while Norwich remain 7th.

Next up, both teams embark on the road to Wembley as Wimbledon travel to Enfield, while Norwich face high-flying Ipswich Town in the FA Cup.

Enfield win on the road

Currently fifth, Enfield came into the game in decent form having won 3 of their 5 most recent matches, with wins coming against Harlow Town, Actonians, and Islington Borough. They also recently managed to take Southern Premier side Yeovil Town to penalties in the FAWNL before losing 4-2 in the shootout.

Hosts Kent Football United currently find themselves pointless at the foot of the table having only won once this season, but those involved with the team have noted continued improvements in recent weeks heading into Sunday’s game.

After a goalless first half, Enfield struck twice to secure victory on the road. The first courtesy of Hannah Baptiste three minutes after the restart to open her account for the season, followed by a second from Tia Bailey in the 53rd minute to earn all 3 points for Town.

Kent Football United 0-2 Enfield Town

The result means no changes in the league table for either side; Enfield remain fifth, while Kent occupy 12th place. But the return of captain Tash Moloney and continued signs of improvement noted from their manager and Becky Mackley give Kent definite cause for optimism going forward.

“Loads of positives and improvements have been evident in recent weeks and I have every confidence in this group we will get the win next week.”

Sam MacNeil – Manager, Kent Football United.

How things stand

Southampton Women’s FC vs AFC Basildon Women Match Report

South East met West as AFC Basildon came from behind twice to knock Southampton Women’s FC out of the FAWNL Cup.

With the weather wreaking havoc across the country, claiming many games in the process, a waterlogged Romsey Town pitch meant a late change of venue, Southampton Women’s doing well to secure an alternative to ensure the game was played.

The visitors made just one change to the side that saw them secure a comfortable 8-2 victory to progress into the next round of the FA Cup, while Southampton Women’s, who have enjoyed a very strong season to date, made five changes to their starting eleven.

Southampton got the game underway amid damp and windy conditions in Basingstoke.

The opening exchanges were evenly contested, with both teams creating chances, the ‘keepers and their backlines besting their attacking counterparts to keep the game goalless.

An early Southampton free-kick came to nothing and Yeates was denied by some resolute defending before Turner was unable to test Kite at the other end.

Further chances were created, but once again Kite and Bolland came out on top, Vokes first denied brilliantly by Blues’ shot-stopper, followed by saves from England’s U19 Rose Kite to maintain parity after 25 minutes.

With Southampton looking to exploit space down the wings, the ball found its way to Emily Wernham whose precision defence-splitting cross was met by Vokes to prod the ball into Bolland’s net giving the hosts the lead in the 29th minute.

Shortly after Rose Kite pulled off an incredible save, before Basildon eventually levelled through a fantastic Holly Turner strike from 20-yards just before the interval.

The referee blew his whistle to conclude the first half with the score one a piece.

Half-time: 1-1

Blues made a tactical adjustment at half-time, switching to 4-4-2; a decision that proved to be immediately effective for the Essex side.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half was mostly controlled by Basildon, winning aerial battles and pressing from the front limiting Southampton’s options to play out from the back, frustrating Kite when looking to distribute.

Turner, playing with confidence and proving difficult for Southampton’s backline to handle, cut inside on her left foot before unleashing a powerful shot that was met by a huge Kite hand, an unbelievable save to keep the scores level.

But for all the Blues’ hard work, it was Southampton who survived the early pressure and started to get a foothold in the game to begin to create chances of their own.

After 25 minutes of the second half, Southampton looked to have restored their lead through Lauren Clark before Mollie Debell cleared the ball off the line, the defender showing great awareness and dexterity to deny a certain goal.

Moments later and Laura Vokes connected with Samuels’ cross to score her, and Southampton’s, second goal of the afternoon.

Rose Kite did brilliantly to tip the ball onto the bar but was helpless to prevent Sophie Spencer-Webb from following up, the 17-year-old side-footing the ball into the back of the net to restore parity once again in the 78th minute.

With fewer than 10 minutes remaining, the referee adjudged a Basildon player to have handled the ball in the area and pointed to the spot.

Jane Yeates stepped up and struck the ball well, but Bolland was equal to it – a superb save to keep things all square late on.

Into the 91st minute with extra-time looking likely, substitute Courtney Clarke swung in a dangerous corner that looped high into the air and fell to a Basildon player, who managed to bundle the ball into the back of the net through a crowded six-yard box.

Full-time: 2-3

AFC Basildon progress to the Second Round of the FAWNL League Cup.

Post match thoughts

  • An excellent game of football, an emotional back-and-forth, and plenty of drama. Other than a dog or squirrel on the pitch, I’m not sure what else the game could’ve had. Cup football at its finest!
  • My Player of the Match was Holly Turner. If it wasn’t for the heroics of Kite she would have scored more, but her general play caused Southampton’s backline a lot of problems. Lots of energy, backed her ability to create chances, and contributed with a goal of her own.
  • Although five goals were scored, both keepers did exceptionally well, pulling off a number of very good saves. Rose Kite was Southampton’s best player in my opinion. Very impressive performance.
  • AFC Basildon showed a lot of spirit and fight to get back into the game twice, and eventually go on to win it. Heads didn’t drop. For a team as young as Blues’ that has gone through – still going through? – a transition period, they genuinely impressed me. Especially against a strong and experienced Southampton team.
  • Ref was so-so.