REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 12: December

In the final part of our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we look back on December

Naomi Cole (l) and Faye Rabson were on target against Chichester City Development

The final month of the year saw just five matches played by the four teams involved in competitive action, with good cup wins for two of the senior sides and the Under-16s.

Goals in either half from Naomi Cole and Faye Rabson were enough for the first team to beat Chichester City’s Development Squad 2-0 in the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

It sealed a semi-final berth against either league rivals Eastbourne Town, or Eastbourne Ladies from the reserves’ league. That tie will be played in February 2018.

The first team closed the year top of the London & South East Premier Division, six points clear of AFC Phoenix, who have a game in hand. They are also guaranteed a semi-final in the League Cup.

Reserves

Zoe Martin scored twice against Maidstone

Simon Pavey’s side have a League Cup quarter-final to look forward to following a 3-2 win at Maidstone United in December.

Zoe Martin’s two headers put Wasps 2-0 up at the Gallagher Stadium, before the Stones – top of the division below – hit back to level before half time. Rosanne Fine got the winner, with Meridian Ladies awaiting in February.

Sadly, their final league game of 2017 ended with a 6-0 loss at Kent Football United, leaving them fifth in the division.

 

Development

Mark Hills’ team rounded off their year with a 4-2 at home by Worthing Town. Tamzin Byworth and Abi Knight scored the goals.

They will begin 2018 in eighth place in the Sussex Women’s League, although this season is as much about giving senior football to 16-18-year-olds.

Under-16s

Supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign

The Under-16s came through a tough test in the Sussex Cup quarter-finals, beating Ringmer Rovers 2-1. Ellie Livingstone opened the scoring, skipper Chanelle Gainsford netted the winner. Mile Oak Wanderers stand between them and the final.

Club news

Holly Walker scored for the Sussex FA in their 4-1 loss against the Army FA. Michelle Ward, Jade Elphick and Ariana Fleischman also featured.

Meanwhile, six of our Under-16s played for the Sussex Schools side in their goalless draw with Essex, held at our own Ewhurst home.

And the club were proud to support Stonewall UK’s Rainbow Laces campaign, to show support for LGBT people in sport.

 

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 11: November

Lauren Callaghan scored Wasps’ goal at AFC Phoenix

Continuing our look back on a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we have reached November

With seven wins from seven, Wasps’ first team began the month top of the London & South East Premier Division.

But hot on their heels were AFC Phoenix and the two sides met in a top of the table clash in Dulwich. Lauren Callaghan gave Wasps a half-time lead but Helen Bellfield cancelled it out immediately after the break and the points were shared, ending our 100 per cent record but maintaining our lead at the top.

 

Next came a 3-1 win at Fulham Foundation in the League Cup, with Danielle Boyd scoring twice and Jenny Drury converting from the penalty spot.

Wasps then did another couple of demolition jobs in the league, winning 7-0 at Eastbourne Town – Faye Rabson and Suzanne Davies both scoring twice – and beating Aylesford 8-0, with Rabson claiming her third hat-trick of the season.

Reserves

Simon Pavey’s side had just two matches in November, with AFC Varndeanians pulling out of the League Cup clash and the game with Chichester City Development being postponed.

They were first beaten 3-1 at home by Eastbourne Ladies, and then lost 4-2 at Meridian.

Ladies development

Wasps’ third team sadly did not enjoy a good month. They lost 6-0 to Saltdean in the League Cup and were then beaten 10-0 by league leaders Newhaven, for whom Chloe Winchester scored seven goals. A couple of further league defeats – 4-1 against Pagham and 3-2 against AFC Varndeanians Development – followed.

In-form Under 16s skipper Chanelle Gainsford was close to England Schools selection

Under-16s

Mark Graves’ youngsters booked their place in the semi-finals of the League Cup at the beginning of the month by beating Rustington Raiders 4-1, with goals from Chanelle Gainsford, Emily Flegg, Chloe Bosher and Sian Maynard.

They then drew 2-2 with Eastbourne Borough, becoming the first team to take a point off the league leaders this season, before taking full advantage of a short-staffed Cuckfield Cosmos to win 17-0, the team’s biggest win in almost four years.

Club news

Under-16s skipper Gainsford made it to the last 64 players in the trial process for England Schools selection. Despite missing out following the South East v South West trial match, her progress to that stage was a testament to her ability and potential.

The first team quartet of Michelle Ward, Holly Walker, Jade Elphick and Ariana Fleischman represented their county. Fleischman scored one of Sussex’s goals in a 3-3 draw with Essex.

The club held a second successful race night, and marked Girls Football Week with a social media campaign highlighting why our Under-11s love playing for the club.

 

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace

To come…
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 10: October

Hayley Fowle scored a hat-trick against Carshalton

Our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC continues with a look back on October

Crawley Wasps’ first team went on a goal rush in October, scoring 31 times in five matches.

They began the month in blistering form, putting nine past Carshalton Athletic and Fulham Foundation in successive weeks.

The Carshalton game was their first of the season in the League Cup – summer signing Hayley Fowle scored a hat-trick – while Kemina Webber got four and Faye Rabson three in the 9-2 demolition of Fulham when they returned to league action.

The latter game saw a debut for Charlie Carter, signed from Lewes Ladies.

 

Wasps followed that up with an outstanding 4-0 win at London Kent Football United, who as London Corinthians had pipped them to second the previous season. They then won 6-1 at Aylesford – vice-captain Holly Walker and skipper Naomi Cole leading the way with two goals apiece – before rounding off the month with a 3-0 league win over Carshalton.

Wasps ended October with eight wins from eight in all competitions – the club’s best start to a season for 14 years – and Cole had also scored in every game, an excellent return from the former Millwall, Lewes and England Under-23s star.

Young goalkeeper Lauren Graves made her senior debut

Reserves

Simon Pavey’s second string also enjoyed a successful October. They started with back-to-back league wins over Bexhill United’s first team – winning 2-1 at the Polegrove, before repeating the scoreline at home the following week.

They went on to defeat Kent Football United 3-2 later in the month for their fourth successive league win – an excellent result against a previously unbeaten side that put Wasps top of the South East Counties League.

However, they were knocked out of the Capital Intermediate Cup by Clapham United and their league run came to a halt in the final game of October, with a 4-0 defeat at Worthing.

Natalie Stephenson was one of the stars of the month, scoring four of the team’s seven goals, while Lauren Graves – the Under-16s goalkeeper – made her senior debut against Clapham.

Ladies development

Wasps’ third team were given a League Cup walkover at the start of the month but that was as good as it got for them in October.

The Under-16s took four points from two games in October

They lost 3-0 in the league to Montpelier Villa and were dumped out of the Sussex Women’s Trophy by in-form league rivals Newhaven.

Under-16s

There were just two games for Mark Graves’ Under-16s in October. Poppy Nicholls scored twice as they came within a minute of beating league leaders Ringmer, who equalised late on to get a 3-3 draw.

They overcame that disappointment to record their first league win of the season the following week, beating Rustington Raiders 5-3. Alana Delaney and Emily Flegg both netted twice.

 

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start

To come…
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 9: September

Continuing our look back on a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we remember the month of September

Char Terry scored the Ladies’ development side’s first-ever goal

Two new teams played their first competitive matches in September.

The Ladies Development squad, essentially a third team, was formed largely out of last season’s Under-16s coming of age into adult football.

They entered into the Sussex Women’s League and got off to the ideal start, beating AFC Varndeanians’ Development 4-0.

Mark Hills’ side then won 3-2 at Worthing Town but those opening victories were to be their last in the league in 2017 – they lost the next six, including at Saltdean in their final game of September, when defender Jodie Barker had to go in goal.

The Under-11s began to play matches as well, celebrating their first-ever victory as a team at the second attempt.

September also saw two of the more established teams get their campaigns under way.

The Under-16s returned to girls football, after an experimental year against boys in the Mid Sussex League.

They hit back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Chichester in their opening game, but then lost 9-0 at Mile Oak Wanderers – the first time this set of players had been beaten in girls football since March 2015.

Natalie Stephenson was on target twice against Chichester City Development

There were extenuating circumstances, though, as an early injury reduced them to 10 fit players.

The Ladies’ reserves lost to Ashford and then drew with Worthing before an excellent comeback win over Chichester City Development, courtesy of two set pieces from Natalie Stephenson.

Meanwhile, the Ladies first team had league games against Watford Development and London Kent Football United postponed, before beating Fulham Foundation 7-2 to make it three wins from three.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well

To come…
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 8: August

New captain Naomi Cole got the first goal of the season

Our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC continues with August

The only one of Wasps’ five sides to begin their competitive season in August was the first team.

Manager Paul Walker had already stated his aim was promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League, and the fixture list appeared to be kind with home matches against the two promoted sides – AFC Phoenix and Parkwood Rangers.

Little did they know then that both would be more than comfortable at this level, and that Phoenix would soon shape up as their primary challenger for the title.

Newly appointed captain Naomi Cole opened the scoring against Phoenix just nine minutes into her reign as skipper, but the south London-based side soon showed their mettle to equalise and had chances to go in front.

Eight injury time minutes had been played, and it seemed Wasps would be frustrated on the opening day – but then Cole’s pass released Suzanne Davies and she fired in a dramatic late winner.

The Parkwood fixture was more routine, once Faye Rabson had netted a hat-trick in the first 18 minutes. Lauren Callaghan, Cole and Davies were also on target in a 6-1 win, marred by Parkwood striker Charlie Myhill being taken ill on the pitch in the closing minutes.

The club’s other teams continued their preparations for the new campaign with training sessions and friendlies.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed
August – First team open season with victories

To come…
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Parts 6 & 7: June and July

Michelle Ward won the first-ever Thales Award, while chairman Alan Dunt (right) stood down

Continuing our look back on a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we remember the months of June and July

 

There may not have been any league football over the summer, but Crawley Wasps were still busy.

The 2016-17 season came to a close with the club’s annual presentation night. Holly Walker won both first-team player of the year awards, while stalwart Michelle Ward was honoured for her 20 years at the club with the newly created Thales Award, named after the club’s main sponsor and given to someone who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to Wasps.

Jessica Rippin was named the reserve team’s player’s player of the year award, with Jodie Barker taking the honour for the Under-16s and Chanelle Gainsford and Eleanor Keegan joint recipients for the Under-15s.

For Eleanor, it was to be her last honour as a Wasps player – she joined Millwall Lionesses’ Under-16s squad.

Chanelle and her team-mate Lauren Graves picked up further player of the year titles, this time at the Sussex Schools FA awards.

At the club’s AGM, chairman Alan Dunt and treasurer Rory Church stepped down. Vice-chairman Paul Walker replaced Dunt, while committee members Karen Beckett and Kelly Byworth took on Church’s duties.

Focus then switched to the 2017-18 campaign, with the first team strengthening ahead of a bid for promotion. In came goalkeeper Frankie Gibbs (ex-Millwall), midfielders Jenny Drury (ex-Lewes) and Hayley Fowle (after a spell in the US) and striker Kemina Webber (from Watford Development).

Cottesmore became new partners for the first team

It wasn’t just players, though – Mike Gardner joined as first-team coach to replace the departing Martin Firmo, while Jordan Stannard and Paul Walshe were recruited to take the new weekly strength and conditioning sessions, in association with new partners Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club.

Wasps were also a popular presence at the Horley and Copthorne carnivals, with departing first-team goalkeeper Marie Gillstrom and Under-15s star Lauren Graves going head to head with youngsters of all ages in ‘beat the keeper’ contests.

Soon enough, training began again and pre-season campaigns got up and running. For the youth teams, there were also summer tournaments – the Under-16s were runners-up at Maidenbower, while the Under-15s were finalists at the Anchorians tournament and at Broad Oak.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…

August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 5: May

Our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC reaches May

For the second time in two months, Wasps’ first team had a showpiece final to contest.

This time, the team travelled to Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium to face title-winners Leyton Orient in the London & South East Regional League Cup final.

They had warmed up for the game with friendlies against QPR, West Ham and AFC Wimbledon, but did not get the fast start they desired as Orient went in two goals up at half time.

Naomi Cole gave Wasps hope by reducing the deficit 13 minutes from time but Orient struck again in injury time to seal victory.

Despite the defeat, an encouraging season which saw Wasps finish third in the fifth tier of women’s football, and reach two cup finals.

Under-16s

The only other team in action during May was Mark Hills’ Under-16s, who had the misfortune in their final game of coming up against one of the two outstanding teams of the division.

Ferring Divas had pushed Chichester City all the way at the top – both teams had won 16 of 17 matches going into the final month – and went on to beat Wasps 5-1, with Topaz Luxford scoring for the hosts at Ewhurst.

While Ferring were pipped to the title the following weekend, as Chi beat Southdown, Wasps finished fourth.

 

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…

August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 4: April

Continuing our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we look back on April

Chanelle Gainsford scored the Under-15s final goal in a boys league

The decision made last summer to test Wasps’ Under-15s against the boys of the Mid Sussex Youth League certainly created headlines.

The many who backed it knew it would have long-term gain in terms of development, but possibly short-term pain in terms of results – and so it proved, with 17 defeats from 18 games, 193 goals conceded and only five scored.

But the raw stats do not do the girls justice. They competed well in many of the games, and often played the better football, only to be outdone by the sheer greater power, pace and height of the boys.

They did get one draw, earned by Chanelle Gainsford’s free-kick against Lindfield, and in April concluded their historic season with a loss, but a goal – scored again by Gainsford.

First team

The league campaign over, focus switched to the League Cup semi-final with London Corinthians. The Kent club had pipped Wasps to second place but revenge was on the cards once goals from Faye Rabson, Suzanne Davies and Holly Walker made it 3-0 at half-time.

The game ended 6-2, setting up a final against Leyton Orient in May.

Megan Hannah, a 17-year-old goalkeeper, made her debut off the bench against Corinthians and then performed superbly in a friendly match playing against Wasps for QPR – the Women’s Premier League side winning 6-3.

Reserves

Simon Pavey’s side ended their first season in the South East Counties Premier Division in style with a 6-2 win at Hassocks. Faye Rabson scored a hat-trick, with Rosanne Fine, Natalie Stephenson and Carys Dunn also on target. It meant they finished eighth.

Under-16s

Lily Beckett was U16s player of the match against Withdean.

The Under-16s lost to Cuckfield Cosmos, a result that would cost them a shot at third place, but did beat Withdean in their penultimate game of the season, thanks to a hat-trick from Lily Beckett.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 3: March

As we look back on a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we reach March

For the second year running, Wasps had made it into the showpiece Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final – once again, they played Brighton & Hove Albion and, just as in 2016, lost 5-1.

But this time they faced a stronger, more experienced Seagulls side – seven had started their previous WSL2 game against Millwall – and yet had more chances than in the previous final.

In fact, had Naomi Cole’s free-kick just after half-time gone in, rather than been excellently saved by Leah Samain, they would have trailed 3-2 and been back in the game.

As it is, a slow start cost them as they found themselves 3-0 down after 12 minutes. Suzanne Davies clipped in a superb response, after Faye Rabson’s run, but further Albion goals after half time spoiled an otherwise creditable display.

Highlights of the final can be found here: http://crawleywasps.com/highlights-albion-women-5-1-crawley-wasps-sussex-womens-challenge-cup-final/

Sadly, the league campaign ended with a defeat – 4-2 by London Corinthians – amid a flurry of late goals. It cost them second place but was to be their only league loss of 2017.

Reserves

Simon Pavey’s second string had an important game of their own in March, a South East Counties League Cup semi-final with Worthing.

However, they were beaten by a solitary goal against a side who would go on to win Division One West and be promoted to the reserves’ division.

The defeat did not affect their league form as they secured victories that effectively sealed their survival. Toni Smith’s hat-trick, and Charlotte Barnham’s brace, helped Wasps hammer struggling Long Lane 5-1, while Amy Clark’s goal was enough to earn them a 1-0 win at Abbey Rangers.

Under-16s

Mark Hills’ Under-16s were in a Sussex County Cup semi-final in the first weekend of March, but ended up losing 4-0 to Withdean. However, they responded with league victories over Ringmer Rovers and Newhaven to move up to fourth, Lily Beckett and Nicky Durling both scoring twice in the latter victory.

Under-15s

The Under-15s’ tough but rewarding campaign mixing it with the boys in the Mid Sussex League continued with three more big defeats, but they did have a goal to celebrate.

Poppy Nicholls was the scorer, against Withdean, of Wasps’ fourth goal of the season.

Club news

Defender Holly Currier was selected for the Welsh Universities side to compete at the Home Nations Tournament in April, after coming through a selection process involving 70 trialists.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 2: February

We continue our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC with February

A leading contender for player of the month was Faye Rabson.

She scored six goals in three games in February, her doubles helping the reserves to a South East Counties League Cup win over Meridian and a vital league victory over Hassocks.

In between, she also made her return to the first team, scoring twice in an 8-0 thrashing of Fulham Foundation, her first senior game in almost a year.

First team

Paul Walker’s team began the month with a scrappy 1-0 win at Eastbourne Town, secured by Danielle Boyd’s penalty. The more significant result that day came with Leyton Orient’s first defeat of the season, against London Corinthians. It could have been a twist in the title race – in the end, it cost Wasps second place.

Against Fulham, in addition to Rabson’s two goals, Holly Turbill scored twice and Suzanne Davies, Rosanne Fine, Nicholle Smith and Holly Walker were also on target.

They then beat Eastbourne Town again – this time at home, this time in the League Cup group stage, and this time by a more convincing margin. Boyd and Naomi Cole scored twice in the 5-0 win that put them into the semi-finals.

Reserves

Hope Laker was excellent against Charlton (Picture: Dave Burt)

 

Although Wasps led at half-time in the League Cup game against Meridian, through Rabson and Amy Clark, the tie went to extra-time. Rabson restored the Wasps lead before Tracey O’Hagan netted to earn a semi-final with Worthing.

But the stand-out game of the month was the Capital Intermediate Cup quarter-final with Charlton Athletic’s reserves. The star turn in the first half was 18-year-old goalkeeper Hope Laker, who repelled the Addicks and kept it goalless at half-time. Pressure after the break told, though, and Charlton ran out 4-0 winners.

They returned to league action at the end of the month, needing results to keep them out of relegation trouble. One duly arrived, as they won 4-3 at Hassocks – their first league win since mid-December. Natalie Stephenson’s penalty and Rabson’s brace put them 3-1 up, but they were pegged back to 3-3 before a late own goal gifted Wasps the points.

Under-16s

Just one game in February for Mark Hills’ side and it ended in a 3-0 defeat by unbeaten league leaders Chichester.

Under-15s

The Under-15s, playing in a boys’ league after several seasons of unmatched dominance in local girls football, suffered three heavy defeats but were more competitive than the scorelines suggested.

Club news

February also saw the first of two successful race nights in 2017. Organised and hosted by first-team assistant boss Dave Cole, plenty of the club’s players, officials and friends joined in with the fun at Oakwood FC.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves