Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sunderland Win Sunday Shootout

An Ellison old-school turnstile awaiting its fate
Not an illusion - the cables really do cross the pitch
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 6 March 2011 at the Watkinson Construction Bowl (home of Borrowash Victoria FC of the step 6 East Midlands Counties League)
Result
Derby County Ladies 0  Sunderland Women 0 aet
(Sunderland WFC win 4-2 on penalties)
Competition
FA Women’s Cup Round 4 – a game between teams in the third (Derby Co) and second (Sunderland) tiers of the women’s game in England
Hopping
This match was in just the right time and place on my journey back south.
This match in one sentence
The penalty shootout lottery came up with the right result, after Sunderland had been unable to find a goal despite dominating territory and possession for 120 minutes.
So what?
Sunderland WFC go forward into Round 5 where they will be at home to Lincoln Ladies from the top-tier Super League.
The drama unfolds


Derby County Ladies will be heartbroken.  Their gameplan, whether deliberate or enforced, could so easily have worked on another day.  However, this really was as one-sided as it gets territorially and Sunderland Women really should have scored at least once in the ninety minutes.  Here are two short clips from the opening skirmishes.


Derby had started nervously and their inability to clear their lines meant that the ball kept coming back at them.  Several times their back four blocked goalbound shots and the woodwork helped once too.  They played one up front, Lauren Steadman, who spent most of the half with her back to goal trying to hold possession.  They gradually found more confidence however, and occasionally threatened on the break.  0-0 at half time.



Sunderland’s influential #9 Sophie Williams, yellow-booted for the first half, came out in a salmon-pink pair after the break.  The locals were unimpressed.  “Who does she think she is, Imelda Bloody Marcos?”  The game settled into the same pattern.  Sunderland came close yet again with a looping header off the bar.  Home keeper Jenny Simpson distinguished herself with her shot-stopping, and Suzanne Hart and Nancy Campbell (and others!) did great work in defence.  Sunderland’s fullback Abby Holmes and winger Demi Stokes combined to good effect to create several chances for the visitors.  The latter had licence to roam and popped up all over the pitch – she was probably technically the most impressive player on the day.  This clip is from early in the second half – it really was more of the same.  0-0 after 90 mins.


In extra time, both sides had chances and Sunderland’s keeper Rachael Laws was called into action more than once to deny Hannah Ward.  However, we ended up with a penalty shootout.  0-0 after 120 mins.  Derby rolled their second wide, Sunderland bounced their third off the bar, but then Derby’s fourth was blazed over leaving captain Stephanie Bannon to smack home the winner leaving Derby’s fifth penalty as irrelevant and untaken. Sunderland win 4-2 on pens.
Alternative activity of equal excitement for tourists in Borrowash
Not a lot on Sundays, even though the Co-op was open.  This event was definitely the place to be today.
A snippet from the programme
“The FA is proud to announce that the Ricoh Arena, home of Coventry City FC, will be the venue for the FA Women’s Cup sponsored by E.ON 2011 Final.  It is hoped that the match, taking place on Saturday 21 May, will attract the best-ever attendance for a domestic women’s game in England.  Last year, Everton beat Arsenal 3-2 after extra time at the City Ground (Nottingham) in front of over 17000 fans.”

(The record is 29092 for England v Finland at the City of Manchester Stadium and the Ricoh Arena has a capacity of just over 32000.)
What I learned today
I shall be in the town again at some unspecified time in the future.  Graham Street Prims, also of the Eastern Counties League, play at an adjacent ground and I have not been there yet.  Fair play to the town for sustaining two sides – how do they manage it?  The Vics are higher placed at the moment and host the Derby Co Ladies First XI – the Prims host their reserves.  Pedants will point out that these two grounds are actually in Spondon.
What Next?
Tuesday night is hopping night.

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