MATCH REPORT: Crawley Wasps 21 Watford Development 0

Six players scored hat-tricks as Crawley Wasps beat a short-handed Watford Development 21-0 on Sunday to edge closer to promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League.

Skipper Naomi Cole (pictured) led the way with four goals, while Rachel Palmer, Toni Smith, Ariana Fleischman, Faye Rabson and Kemina Webber also hit trebles.

Webber started the rout against her old club, Cole rifled in from 25 yards before Fleischman and Jenny Drury set up Rabson for the third, with 12 minutes on the clock.

Midway through the first half, a fizzing shot from Palmer made it 4-0 before Fleischman scored the fifth and sixth goals, created by Rabson and Smith.

Experienced ex-Brighton and Lewes striker Catherine O’Hagan got her first goal for Wasps, finishing smartly over the keeper, Cole nodded in Palmer’s corner and Rabson netted in the final seconds of the half to leave Wasps 9-0 up at the break.

Cole was the first to complete her hat-trick, driving in from distance three minutes into the second half, before Smith’s persistence in the box got her on the scoresheet.

Palmer scored twice more – profiting after Charlie Carter’s rocket from 40 yards cannoned back off the woodwork, and then finishing from Smith’s ball – before Webber, Drury and Smith netted to take the score to 16-0.

Wasps scored five times in the last 12 minutes as a battling Watford, who had just 10 players throughout, tired.

Smith got her hat-trick, Cole’s corner drifted straight in, Fleischman curled home, Rabson made it 20-0 and Webber fired in from the edge of the box to complete Wasps’ biggest win since defeating Henfield 25-0 in the Sussex Women’s Cup in October 2013.

It could have been more, with Hannah Duncan, Palmer and Smith all hitting the woodwork, but it was not all one-way traffic, with Gibbs making a couple of second-half stops.

Wasps: Gibbs; Duncan, Carter, Palmer, Ward; Elphick, Cole; Fleischman, Drury, Rabson; Webber. Subs: James, Callaghan, T. Smith, O’Hagan.

MATCH REPORT: Crawley Wasps 3 Parkwood Rangers 0

Naomi Cole (l) and Faye Rabson were both on target

Crawley Wasps’ outstanding season continued on Sunday as they reached the final of the London & South East Regional League Cup for the second year in a row.

Their 3-0 win over a resilient Parkwood Rangers earned them a place in the showpiece against AFC Phoenix, at Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium, on May 20.

Paul Walker’s side are unbeaten this season – 17 matches in all competitions – and have a Sussex Challenge Cup final against Lewes and possible promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League to look forward to.

Against Parkwood – fourth in the division – they dominated large spells but lacked a killer touch in front of goal, despite Ariana Fleischman, Faye Rabson and Naomi Cole all testing the keeper.

They almost paid for their profligacy as a defensive slip allowed Parkwood a chance, but keeper Frankie Gibbs made an excellent block.

Wasps broke through in first-half injury-time when Toni Smith got nudged over in the box and Cole despatched the penalty.

Kemina Webber hit the woodwork with a header after the break but made amends by nodding home Cole’s expert delivery to double the lead on 70 minutes.

And Wasps put the game beyond the visitors’ reach as Webber laid the ball off for Rabson to drill home.

They return to league action this weekend, as Watford LFC Development visit Tinsley Lane, Oakwood (2pm kick-off). A win would put them closer to achieving their title ambitions.

Wasps: Gibbs; Duncan, Niamh Stephenson, Carter, Ward; Drury, Cole; Rabson, Fleischman, Callaghan; T. Smith. Subs: Elphick, N. Smith, C. O’Hagan, Webber.

Wasps’ reserves were beaten 3-2 by Worthing in the semi-finals of the South East Counties League Cup. Amy Clark and Natalie Stephenson scored.

MATCH REPORT: Eastbourne Ladies 0 Crawley Wasps 2

Wasps’ Toni Smith evades an Eastbourne challenge (Picture: Andrew Hazelden)

Crawley Wasps booked their place in the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final for the third year in a row – but were made to work hard for a 2-0 victory over Eastbourne Ladies on Sunday.

The two sides are a division-and-a-half apart but for three quarters of this tie, only an outstanding lob by Wasps skipper Naomi Cole could split them.

Suzanne Davies’ goal midway through the second half settled the visitors’ nerves and ensured they will face Lewes on March 22 at Lancing.

It completes the first of three season objectives, with promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League and a place in the League Cup final still on.

Wasps were well short of their usual performance levels but will have been satisfied to have overcome tenacious and tireless Eastbourne.

There had been very little action in the first 25 minutes until Cole spectacularly capitalised on an error.

Suzanne Davies slots in Wasps’ second goal (Picture: Andrew Hazelden)

A poor clearance from the Eastbourne keeper went straight to the former Millwall and Lewes player, who showed tremendous technique to send it into the net from the edge of the centre circle.

That did not dishearten the hosts nor inspire the visitors and the two sides too often cancelled each other out in a sometimes attritional battle.

Wasps did have the odd chance to settle it before Davies’ goal, with Nicholle Smith putting an effort over the bar from close range after good work from Kemina Webber, while Catherine O’Hagan got clear but shot at the keeper.

Davies doubled the lead after a fine pass from Charlie Carter, while Webber and Ariana Fleischman had chances late on, but a third would have been harsh on Eastbourne.

Wasps: Gibbs; Duncan, Niamh Stephenson, Carter, Ward; Elphick, Cole; N.Smith, T. Smith, Davies; C. O’Hagan. Subs: Fleischman, Webber.

PHOTO GALLERY: For more of Andrew Hazelden’s pictures from the game, click here.

MATCH REPORT: Parkwood Rangers 0 Crawley Wasps 3

Wasps’ first-team boss Paul Walker

Crawley Wasps manager Paul Walker urged his side to keep their focus as their promotion bid continued with a 3-0 win at Parkwood Rangers on Sunday.

Goals from Kemina Webber, Faye Rabson and skipper Naomi Cole means they go into February still unbeaten this season, after 15 matches in all competitions.

More importantly, it puts them eight points clear of second-placed AFC Phoenix and 12 ahead of more likely title challengers London Kent Football United, who have three games in hand.

Wasps meet London KFU on March 18, when a victory could clinch a promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League.

But Walker warned: “It’s not a foregone conclusion. We’ve still got four games left.

“There are banana skins in there. We’ve got to show the same level of application we have all season.”

Webber’s first-minute opener settled any lingering nerves at Parkwood, but Wasps failed to make their dominance count until the second half.

Rabson’s fine run and finish put a bit of daylight between the two sides and she later teed up Cole to make it 3-0 after an excellent team move.

Midfielder Jade Elphick was named the Thales player of the match, while new signing Rachel Palmer made a composed debut at centre-back.

Wasps: Gibbs; Carter, Niamh Stephenson, Palmer, Ward; Elphick, Cole; Fleischman, T. Smith, Rabson; Webber. Subs: Davies, N. Smith.

Wasps’ development squad – the Ladies’ third team – were beaten 4-2 at Pagham in the Sussex Women’s League. Sonia Foster – who was later sent off – and Abi Knight scored Wasps’ goals.

Captain Zoe Martin netted the only goal in the reserves‘ 1-0 friendly win over Lewes Foundation, who are top of the division below.

MATCH REPORT: Crawley Wasps 3 Fulham Foundation 1

Crawley Wasps hit back after falling behind early on to beat Fulham Foundation 3-1 on Sunday and remain third in the London & South East Premier Division.

The visitors took the lead in the seventh minute with a lob from distance, but Wasps levelled almost immediately through Nicholle Smith’s emphatic finish.

And they were in front on 20 minutes when Suzanne Davies released Roseanne Fine in the left-hand channel and she clipped the ball over the keeper from a wide angle.

Opportunities continued to flow for Paul Walker’s side in the first half, the best falling to Davies who beat the keeper to a lofted ball but hit the inside of the far post.

Any concerns over their wasted chances were allayed with a stunning strike seven minutes after the break from midfielder Danielle Boyd, who turned 25 yards out and fired home a fierce shot.

Fine then struck the bar after good work from Smith, and substitute Shinih Tuazon went close on several occasions, including a header just wide from Fine’s cross.

Natalie Stephenson had very little to do in goal during a second half which Wasps entirely dominated, but she did make an important save late on.

Gemma Villette was named the Thales player of the match for a strong performance at right-back and right midfield.

Wasps: Stephenson; Villette, Duncan, Walker, Ward; Elphick; N. Smith, Boyd, Dunt, Davies; Fine. Subs: Porter, Tuazon.


Crawley Wasps LFC match report: Wasps 1 Watford Development 2

Crawley Wasps’ unbeaten start to the season came to an end on Sunday after they were edged out by Watford Development.

Having won three and drawn one of their first four league games, Wasps finally tasted defeat in a competitive game that could have gone either way.

The two sides drew 0-0 at Watford earlier this month but any threat of another stalemate vanished after just three minutes when the visitors took the lead, a free-kick from wide on the left being turned in from 10 yards out.

The goal settled Watford down and they looked the more threatening side, but the tide turned around the 20 minute mark.

Danielle Boyd and Suzanne Davies both fired just over before Wasps deservedly equalised on 34 minutes.

Rebekah Dunt cut inside and unleashed a shot that the keeper could only parry and Boyd put in the rebound.

Wasps were in the ascendancy as the first half wore on, with Davies being denied by the keeper and Gemma Villette firing wide from a corner.

After the break, Davies broke through a couple of challenges before seeing a shot held, but the second half yielded few chances until the Hornets regained the lead.

A through ball split the Wasps defence and a shot was placed between defender Holly Walker and keeper Natalie Stephenson and in at the far post.

Stephenson did make a fine save late on, tipping an effort over the top, but despite some late pressure, Wasps were unable to test the Watford keeper.

Wasps: Stephenson; Villette, Duncan, Walker, Ward; Elphick; N. Smith, Boyd, Davies, Dunt; Fine. Subs: Porter, Barnett, Tuazon.

MATCH REPORT: Crawley Wasps 3 Carshalton Athletic 2

Two goals from Lauren Callaghan set Crawley Wasps Ladies on their way to another victory on Sunday as they edged out Carshalton at Tinsley Lane.

Winger Callaghan struck either side of half-time before Suzanne Davies put Wasps 3-1 up with 13 minutes to go.
Despite conceding a late goal, the Wasps defence – marshalled superbly by player-of-the-match Kelly Barton – dug in to make it two wins out of two in the London and South East Premier Division.

Carshalton began brightly, with Wasps keeper Catherine Poleykett saving from Robins skipper Tamara Graham, but the home side soon began to get on top and went in front on 36 minutes.

Callaghan’s pressure on the Carshalton defence saw her snap up the ball before beating the keeper with a left-footed shot.
However, the visitors levelled a few minutes later, as Breeze Carmichael stayed just onside to latch on to a header and guide the ball over Poleykett, who then had to be quick off her line to snuff out another chance soon after.

Wasps were immediately on the front foot in the second half, with Callaghan’s cross just evading the foot of debutant Shinih Tuazon, and the pair combined for the second goal as Tuazon got a touch on to a cross that Callaghan converted from close range.

The third Wasps goal, like the first, came from a defensive error, this time forced by the tenacity of Davies, who beat Carshalton keeper Katie Wadsworth.

Carshalton did hit back through a fine strike from Laura Curtis – who last season spent a brief spell at Premier League West Ham – but some brilliant defending and brave goalkeeping kept the Robins at bay and lifted Wasps up to third.

Wasps: Poleykett; Duncan, Barton, Walker, Ward; Villette; N. Smith, Elphick, Davies, Callaghan; Dunt. Subs: Currier, Porter, Stephenson, Barnham, Tuazon.

Carshalton PoM

Mixed fortunes for Wasps against Old Actonians

Holly Walker’s second-half goal could not inspire a comeback in Wasps’ latest friendly, which ended in a 3-1 defeat to Old Actonians at Ewhurst.

However, in the reserve-team encounter between the two sides , we ran out 6-2 victors, helped by Natalie Stephenson’s brace.

After defeats to Gillingham and Brighton in the last seven days, Wasps faced yet more higher-level opposition as part of a testing start to our pre-season schedule.

Old Actonians were promoted from the London and South East Premier Division in 2014-15 and last season finished 10th in the Women’s Premier League, beating Wasps in the FA Cup.

But it was the hosts who started the brightest in the first 20 minutes and had the best early chances, Walker hitting the underside of the bar with a header from Stephenson’s corner, and Rosanne Fine forcing a save from Rachel Hillman – the Wasps keeper guesting for Old Actonians in the first period. The visitors also had a goal ruled out late in the half for offside.

Old Actonians did break through in the second half, though, a cross eluding the Wasps defence before being swept in and when they doubled their lead the game appeared to be safe.

But Wasps kept plugging away, Kelly Barton striking the bar with a free-kick, and Walker’s effort from the edge of the box gave hope of a comeback.

That was not to be though as, virtually straight from kick-off, a long ball dissected the Wasps defence and left the Old Actonians forward with a simple finish.

The reserves, however, enjoyed better fortunes after two emphatic strikes from Stephenson.

Charlotte Barnham, Rebecca Dunt, Faye Charles – on her debut after signing from Shoreham & Adur – and Zoe Martin were also on target as the reserves followed up last weekend’s 1-0 loss to a youthful Gillingham.

Ladies 1st team Sussex FA Challenge Cup Final

There was no trophy for Crawley Wasps but they won numerous admirers after a fine performance against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Sussex FA Challenge Cup final.

While the 5-1 scoreline may seem emphatic on paper, Wasps had been 4-0 down at half-time and yet more than held their own after the break against a side destined for the Women’s Super League next season.

In front of 282 fans at Culver Road, Lancing, Wasps were also responsible for the best goal of the night – a 30-yard strike from Rebecca Carter – and the best save, as Colleen Donovan palmed away a shot headed for the top corner.

With containment in mind initially, Wasps boss Paul Walker opted for a 4-5-1 formation. Catherine Poleykett started in goal, with Natalie Stephenson, skipper Hannah Duncan, Gemma Villette and Michelle Ward in front of her.

Former Lewes striker Faye Rabson played out wide, with Sarah Roberts, Jade Simmons, Suzanne Davies and Aston Worsfold making up a combative five across the midfield and Carter working hard on her own up front.

Albion fielded five of the first-team squad that currently sit top of the FA Women’s Premier League. But it was 16-year-old Bronwen Thomas who did the most damage with a well-taken hat-trick, breaking Wasps’ resistance after 16 minutes.

Brighton had already had the ball in the net a couple of times, denied by the linesman’s flag on both occasions, and had struck the woodwork, before Premier League regular Kate Natkiel slipped in Thomas for the opener.

Another first-teamer, Lucy Somes, then crossed for Ellie Dorey to net Albion’s second before Natkiel again set up Thomas for the third goal. The teenager completed her treble five minutes before half-time.

With two quality goalkeepers on their books, Wasps opted to replace Poleykett at the break and give Donovan a chance, while a tactical tweak saw Rabson join Carter up front to pose Brighton more problems.

The change worked, as Wasps won the ball higher up the park and made Brighton work harder for every opportunity – and when they had efforts on goal, Donovan dealt with them.

Eight minutes from time came the reward. Carter picked up a loose ball and, spotting keeper Nina Wilson off her line, clipped a fine effort over her head, to rapturous cheers.

Albion may have had the last word, when Kim Stenning added a fifth goal late on, but to draw the half was just reward for 45 minutes of hard graft.

Afterwards, Walker said: “I think we did ourselves proud. In the second half we were tactically a lot sharper.

“At 4-0, the game was gone from us so we had to refocus at half-time and try and get back to some of the tactical play we’d worked on before the game.

“We’ve got an excellent squad at Wasps and our challenge in the league is to bring that performance out consistently.”

Walker added he hoped reaching the final would raise the profile of the club, whose reserves and under-14s have also reached their County Cup finals.

He said: “What I hope it has done is showcase our footballing ability, which should help us attract new players, and make us more attractive to sponsors as we go into our 25-year anniversary.

“I hope it also gives the current squad a real confidence in their ability to perform at that level.”

Crawley Wasps: Poleykett (Donovan 46); Stephenson (Tibble 54), Duncan, Villette, Ward; Rabson, Worsfold (Dunt 78), Davies, Simmons, Roberts; Carter. Subs not used: Walker, Tubb.

Ladies 1st Team Hit 5 before the Christmas Break

Crawley Wasps returned to winning ways with a fine 5-1 victory over last season’s league runners-up Carshalton Athletic.

Wasps recovered from conceding an early deflected goal to dominate proceedings at Ewhurst, and got their reward before the break, when a Natalie Stephenson penalty and a thundering header from Jade Simmons put them 2-1 in front.
And they didn’t look back as the second half got underway, scoring early through Rebecca Carter to extend their lead, as the striker’s wide effort snuck in the far post with the Carshalton goalkeeper stranded.
Wasps made it 4-1 shortly after through Faye Rabson and then survived a spell of Carshalton pressure, in which the visitors hit the post, before Carter put the result beyond any doubt with a deft chip over the Carshalton goalkeeper.
Lauren Callaghan was inches away from making it six with a fine first-time strike from distance, but Wasps will be happy with their performance and go into the Christmas break on a high.
Man of the Match: Gemma Villette