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Match Previews

Preview: Wroxham (A)

10 March 2024

Match Previews

Preview: Wroxham (A)

10 March 2024

Boro’ will take part in their rescheduled Semi Final of the League Cup this weekend as they face the long trip to Wroxham. It is the opportunity for the team to make it two League Cup Finals in two years…

First Things First

Wroxham Women began life as Acle United in 2008. The earliest league records available show Acle United in the Norfolk Women’s & Girls’ Football League 2nd Division. In the 09/10 season, they finished second in the league losing just one game and scoring 109 goals with a goal difference of 100. That was enough to earn a promotion to Division One where they finished a respectable 3rd place.  At the end of the 2011-2012 season they won promotion again, this time as champions, again losing just one league match. This time they could only score 108 goals and didn’t quite hit the century goal difference, finishing on 99. The 51 points racked up still stands as the highest points tally in a season for Wroxham. They also won the NWGFL League Cup that year, defeating Hethersett Athletic 5-4.

Acle spent two seasons in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League Division One. The first a midtable finish of fifth, but the second was a celebration as they ran out champions with 42 points. This earned a promotion to the ERWFL Premier Division where they have remained since 2014. Two second place finishes, in 2017 and 2019 remain their highest position, with 2019 being the best season on record with 47 points accumulated and a 37 goal difference thanks to the freescoring Grace Birchall who scored 33 in one season – not all in the league!

Ground Grading requirements forced the team to move to Wroxham in 2019 and the first two seasons were curtailed due to COVID. This season has seen a new management team, led by Adam Race, take over after two top half finishes in the league.

Head to Head

The first available record of the two teams facing off was in December 2013 as Acle travelled to face Stevenage Ladies Reserves in a League Plate First Round fixture. Boro’ ran out the winners that day 5-2.

However, in terms of the first team, only eight fixtures have been played and only two of those have been labelled Wroxham v Stevenage. Boro’ played Acle United five times. 2014 saw two matches within three weeks as Boro won both games; Jenna Thurtle and Donna McGuigan the shining stars for both teams.  

The following season was the one in which Stevenage won the league and moved to the Women’s National League Division 1. However Boro’ remained undefeated with a home victory, courtesy once again of McGuigan and a goalless draw away from home.

2017 still saw another fixture in a cup game. Boro won the game 4-1 but it is one of the lost fixtures of Full Time – so the only facts we can glean are that Lauren Bullard scored for Acle.

There then began a five year gap before the two sides would meet again following Boro’s relegation back to the ERWFL Premier last season. Now, officially Stevenage v Wroxham Boro’ continued where they left off by beating Wroxham home and away with goals from Amy Makewell, Kelsey Millen, Jodie Bellinger and Mathilda Fidler as Boro scored two in each game with Wroxham only scoring once at home with Holly Walker.

This season saw Boro’ win what will be the first of three games this year, as they ran out 3-2 winners at home in the first game of 2024. It was a doozy of a game as Stevenage went two down within seventeen minutes thanks to Holly Connell and Luci Middleton, only to turn the fixture on its head with goals from Amy Makewell either side of half time and a winner from Rebecca Edge.

Games played since 2009

8

Stevenage Wins

7

Acle United/Wroxham Wins

0

Draws

1

Stevenage Scored

20

Acle/Wroxham Goals Scored

8

 

Team News

The biggest change in this game is likely to be in the dugout with David Perry, Terry Harrison and Sam Carrington all otherwise engaged! Aside from that it is a fairly full strength side available for Stevenage with only Lucy Webster and Sarah Payne remaining on the long term sick list.

Wroxham should also be fielding a fairly full strength side, although goalscorer Holly Connell has not featured for the club since scoring at The County Ground. Top scorer Hannah Fuller missed the home game against St Albans, but may be in line for a return, depending on the nature of her absence.

 

Donna McGuigan (Stevenage)

5

Unknown (Stevenage)

4

Jenna Thurtle (Acle), Amy Makewell (Stevenage)

3

Josie North (Stevenage)

2

Hannah Marshall, Alex North, Kelsey Millen, Jodie Bellinger, Mathilda Fidler, Rebecca Edge (Stevenage) – Aishatu Shaiby, Lauren Bullard, Holly Walker, Holly Connell, Luci Middleton (Acle/Wroxham)

1

 

Ones to watch

Wroxham

Goals 23-24 (including County Cup)

 

Name

Appearances

Goals

Hannah Fuller

19

22

Lara Densley

21

9

Rebecca Russell

22

Luci Middleton

20

8

Ella Gambell

16

5

Lauren Bullard

20

4

 

Hannah Fuller is in ridiculous form with 22 goals this season so far, however she has not scored outside of the County Cup match against Caister since her hat trick against Dussindale & Hellesdon in the League Cup 3rd Round at the end of last year. Wroxham have shuffled their side from last season. 16 players departed, while fifteen stayed, including last season’s top scorer – the aforementioned Fuller. Ten new players have been added to the squad with Densley, Middleton and Gambell the newbies from the list above, all of whom have added to their tallies since our previous encounter.

Stevenage

Goals 23-24

Name

Club Appearances

Club Goals

Amy Makewell

20

18

Matilda Thomas-O’Keefe

19

8

Kelsey Millen

22

8

Lilia Dempsey

23

8

Amy Gooderham

22

7

Sophie Hendy

11

4

 

Upon last writing, Thomas-O’Keefe was up to three goals before Wroxham. She has had a stunning 2024 adding five more to her tally and beating last season’s haul for the Development Squad. She is now level in the runner up spot to Amy Makewell – who is surely uncatchable – with Kelsey Millen and Lilia Dempsey. Amy Gooderham completes the devastating front line for Boro’ but there have been a number of goals from our defenders with Hannah Nebbitt and Rebecca Edge especially ones to look out for.

 

Tale of the Tape – League Cup Journeys

Wroxham

Having reached the final last year, Stevenage want to go one better and win it. However, Wroxham will be in no mood to roll over. They are one place above Boro’ and four points better off, having played a game less – so the game will not be a walk in the Trafford Park.

They began their campaign with a huge victory over D1 South side – Southend United – currently second in their division. The hosts hit them for six, conceding just one with Connell, Fuller, Dempsey and Bullard all netting as well as one from substitute Keela Olive.

Having travelled in the previous round, they faced a home game against Dussindale & Hellesdon from D1 North. Top of their division currently. They were thoroughly dismantled as Wroxham netted five with a Fuller hat trick, and goals from Ella Gambell and Rebecca Russell. Again though, one goal was conceded.

A clean sheet was kept in their Quarter Final as they travelled to D1 North Mulbarton Wanderers. A singular goal by Tigi Robson saw Wroxham through as they completed their victories against lower league teams to make the semi finals. Wroxham will be looking to make the final and Boro’ will have a game on their hands.

Home games played

9

Won

6

Lost

3

Drawn

0

Goals Scored

19

Goals Conceded

9

 

Stevenage

Boro’ have not had an easy journey into the Semi Finals. Their initial game was a trip to Barking, a side who were flying and indeed, beat Stevenage in the league match the following week. However, on this day, it was Boro who also hit their opponents for six, conceding three in the process. A brace for Dempsey and singles from Gooderham, Gunn, Makewell and Millen completed the victory.

The third round saw Boro’ travel south again to face Haringey Borough. A tight game, that ended in a red card for the Haringey ‘keeper, saw Boro’ advance by two goals to one with both scored by Amy Makewell.

The quarter final saw yet another away fixture as Boro’ travelled to Essex to face Bowers & Pitsea, after a disappointing defeat in the league a few games earlier. It was a comprehensive victory for Stevenage as a Millen brace and a Thomas-O’Keefe goal sent Boro into the semis. Boro’ do want to go one better this season, but it will be another tricky away performance against another Premier Division side to do so.

 

Away games played

13

Won

6

Lost

4

Drawn

3

Goals Scored

38

Goals Conceded

29

 

 

Around the Grounds

Haringey could reduce the gap to Real Bedford to just four points as the leaders are in League Cup action in a tasty game at Luton Town. Bedford will maintain a four game in hand gap also, but with added pressure. Bowers & Pitsea will be looking to jump above Stevenage however and back into the top half of the table. Royston could end the day level with Haringey if they can overcome AFC Dunstable who equally will be searching for a win that could help them to leapfrog St Albans City if they fail to beat Needham Market.

ERWFL Premier League

Haringey Borough v Bowers & Pitsea

Royston Town v AFC Dunstable

Needham Market v St Albans City

League Cup Semi Final

Luton Town v Real Bedford

Wroxham v Stevenage FCW

U23 watch

Following the excellent 3-2 victory last week that ensured the girls made it through to the Semi Final of the League Plate, they have a week off. Goals from Stephanie Fausse – a belter from distance and on the half volley, Matilda Thomas-O’Keefe – her second in two appearances and Ella Mercer means that they maintained their unbeaten run in 2024.


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