SIGNING: Wasps add ex-Albion keeper Samain to squad

Crawley Wasps have signed former Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Leah Samain.

The 21-year-old joins on dual registration from Worthing Ladies, as back-up to regular first-team keeper Frankie Gibbs.

She left Brighton last summer and was briefly with Lewes, before switching to hometown club Worthing to enable her to focus on her coaching role with Albion in the Community (AITC).

“I’m delighted to have joined an up-and-coming squad”, said Samain.

“With the dual-signing, I get the best of both worlds – full-time coaching with Brighton and hopefully playing at a good level for as long as possible.”
Wasps manager Paul Walker added: “This dual-signing gives us another very capable keeper to provide back-up to Frankie.

“Leah is proven at a higher level and for us it’s another quality signing. I am delighted that she has chosen to join us.”

Samain played against Wasps for Brighton in last season’s Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final, making superb saves to deny Naomi Cole and Rosanne Fine as Albion won 5-1.

She will, however, be ineligible for this year’s showpiece, when Wasps face Lewes on March 22, having played for Worthing earlier in the competition.

Leah shakes on the deal with first-team boss Paul Walker at Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club, where Wasps players do weekly strength & conditioning sessions

FA Charter Standard boost for Wasps

Crawley Wasps LFC have had their FA Charter Standard status renewed for 2018.

The honour is awarded to football clubs who demonstrate best practice in standards of coaching, administration and child safeguarding.

Wasps were first given Charter Standard status in 2011 and have successfully passed annual ‘health checks’ to have it renewed.

The criteria include having an FA-trained club welfare officer, an FA level one coach for each youth team, ensuring DBS (formerly CRB) checks for all volunteers involved in youth teams, FA emergency aid-trained volunteers for each team and delivery of the FA’s Respect programme.

Wasps’ Charter Standard status has been managed by Dawn Keegan, the club’s welfare officer, and club secretary Karen Beckett.

“We’re delighted to have had our Charter Standard status renewed,” said Karen. “It is something we are very proud of at Wasps.

“It demonstrates to our players and their relatives that the club continues to adhere to the very highest of welfare standards, on and off the pitch.”

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: Crawley Wasps reserves 3 Meridian 0

Rosanne Fine scored twice against Meridian.

A three-goal blast in the first 26 minutes saw Crawley Wasps’ reserves into the semi-finals of the South East Counties League Cup at the expense of Meridian on Sunday.

Danielle Boyd set Wasps on their way in the opening seconds, before Rosanne Fine’s spectacular double before the break.

Simon Pavey’s team will now meet either Chichester City Development or Worthing in the last four.

The result was an impressive one, given Meridian have lost just once in the league this season and eight of the same players were beaten 4-2 by the Chatham-based club in November.

This was a role reversal from the moment Danielle Boyd – one of the three changes – fired home from Fine’s ball after just 45 seconds.

It was not all one-way traffic – home goalkeeper Rachel Hillman had to make a good save to deny Meridian an equaliser – but two crackers from Fine, the reserves’ top scorer from 2015-16, stretched the lead.

First, she lashed in from distance after good work from Lauren Callaghan and Rebekah Dunt, and then hooked in from an acute angle to make it 3-0.

The second half was often a scrappy affair as the Ewhurst pitch – passed playable after a morning inspection – began to get sticky in the middle, but the game opened up later in the half.

Hillman produced two good saves, while Boyd tested the Meridian keeper, who later pulled off an outstanding block to deny Fine.

A couple of crazy, muddy goalmouth scrambles prevented Wasps from adding to their victory margin.

Wasps reserves: Hillman; Richards, Rippin, Bolton, Callaghan; Natalie Stephenson, Tibble; Boyd, Fine, Dunt; Clark. Subs: Terry, Lawrence.

Wasps’ Ladies development side were beaten 2-0 at Montpelier Villa. The games involving the first team and Under-16s were postponed.

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.

SIGNING: Rachel Palmer joins Wasps from Lewes

Crawley Wasps are delighted to announce the signing of Rachel Palmer from FA Women’s Premier League high-flyers Lewes FC Women.

Crawley-based Rachel has made more than 110 appearances for Lewes over the past five seasons and further strengthens a Wasps squad currently top of the London & South East Premier Division, and unbeaten in all 15 league and cup matches this season.

Rachel, 24, will add experience and quality to Wasps’ squad as they pursue promotion to the FA WPL.

Wasps manager Paul Walker said he viewed the signing of Rachel as an excellent addition to the strongest squad in the club’s 25-year history, and a further endorsement of its growing reputation as one of the top sides in Sussex.

“Rachel joins us from a very well-run and ambitious club in Lewes FC Women,” he said.

“She is joining an equally ambitious club in Crawley Wasps, and a squad targeting rapid promotions as we strive to build a top-level semi-professional ladies side for Crawley, one the citizens of the town can be proud of and get behind in earnest.

“I am delighted Rachel is joining our talented squad and look forward to her playing a full part in us achieving our ambitious plans.”

MEDIA RELEASE: Crawley Wasps golf day at Cottesmore

Crawley Wasps Ladies Football Club are hosting a golf day at Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club on Thursday March 29.

It will start with coffee and a bacon roll on arrival, followed by 18 holes of golf on the Griffin course, a two-course meal and prize giving.

Entry is £200 for a team of four and buggies can be arranged with the club shop on 01293 528256.

Cottesmore have been a partner of Wasps this season, hosting weekly strength and conditioning sessions for first-team players.

For more information on the golf day, contact Dave Cole on 07910 848912.

Crawley Wasps LFC youth report: Skipper Chanelle fires Under-16s into final

Chanelle Gainsford hit the winner as Crawley Wasps Under-16s booked their place in the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup final with a 4-3 win over Mile Oak Wanderers on Sunday.

As extra-time loomed, and conditions started to worsen, skipper Gainsford took matters into her own hands with a mazy run in the box before beating the keeper at her near post.

Mark Graves’ side will now meet either Eastbourne Girls or Horsham Sparrows in the final on Sunday March 4.

However, the victory was overshadowed by a broken shoulder sustained by winger Alana Delaney.

The quality of Wasps’ pitch at Ewhurst Playing Fields in Ifield was demonstrated by the fact it was one of few local matches to survive the poor weather – even the first-team’s game, at their home at Oakwood FC, was postponed.

Mile Oak took the lead after a balanced first 20 minutes but Wasps responded and won a penalty as Gainsford was taken out in the box.

She brushed the mud away to smash the spot-kick low and hard down the middle to equalise.

Mile Oak started the second half brightly and regained the lead but a Wasps corner led to a handball in the box, for another penalty, which this time Poppy Nicholls converted.

Nicholls netted again, this time with a deflected drive, to put Wasps ahead for the first time but the Mile Oak were not finished and a through ball was tucked beyond keeper Lauren Graves for 3-3.

But Gainsford – who earlier this season reached the last 64 for England Schools selection – had the last word and Wasps held strong to reach the final.

Nicholls and Macy Watts shared the Thales player of the match award.

Wasps: Graves; Tilford-Carey, Watts, Nicholls, Mullan; Sullivan, Gainsford, Bosher, Delaney (Upton); Flegg, Livingston. Sub not used: Sinden.

MATCH REPORT: Carshalton Athletic 2 Crawley Wasps 5

Kemina Webber scored after just 56 seconds and Jade Elphick hit a brilliant first goal for the club as Crawley Wasps won 5-2 at Carshalton Athletic on Sunday.

Although mid-table in the London & South East Premier Division, Carshalton have one of the league’s best attacks and were always a potential banana skin.

But Wasps had the quality in front of goal to remain unbeaten after 11 games and stay on track for promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League.

To shake off any rustiness following the Christmas period, Wasps took on Reading’s development side and Crystal Palace in friendlies – and they demonstrated their sharpness at Colston Avenue with their quickest goal of the season.

Faye Rabson burned past a defender on the left before crossing for Webber to turn in from close range.

Carshalton levelled, though, on 13 minutes as Tori Adlam latched on to a superb through ball before finishing.

Suzanne Davies fired narrowly wide as Wasps attempted to regain their lead, which they did when Rabson’s low ball was eventually finished off by Webber for her second.

The lively Rabson forced Marlow to tip a shot on to the crossbar just before the break, and immediately after the restart produced a superb run and finish having stolen the ball in the Carshalton half.

Carshalton quickly responded, however, as Laura Curtis capitalised on sloppy defending before blasting home.

But midway through the second half, Wasps extended their lead with Cole controlling Jenny Drury’s pass and clipping into the corner.

Davies’ header brought a good block from Marlow, before Elphick broke her Wasps duck on her 37th appearance, spectacularly beating the keeper from more than 25 yards.

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

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.


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.



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.


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