MATCH REPORT: Crawley Wasps 2 Camden Town 1

Crawley Wasps Ladies survived most of the second half with 10 players to secure victory on the opening weekend of the season.

Wasps were on the front foot from the off against Camden, taking the lead through Charlotte Barnham’s angled shot after Rebekah Dunt’s pass.

But the visitors equalised when Kirsten Morris’ curling effort from the left-hand edge of the area looped in at the far post.

Wasps had several chances in the first half. Lauren Callaghan went close a couple of times, while Barnham had a shot turned behind after a fabulous pass from impressive debutant Hazel Barnett.

The industrious and creative Suzanne Davies set up what turned out to be the winning goal – her superb run took her past several players and to the edge of the box, where she touched the ball off for Callaghan to drill home.

The sending off early in the second half of Roseanne Fine, for choice words aimed at the referee after strong claims for a penalty were turned down, threatened to change things.

But the remaining 10 – plus those who came off the bench – worked hard to keep the ball and deny Camden time and space, although Wasps keeper Catherine Poleykett did make a fine save to prevent an equaliser.

Davies, who almost produced a spectacular goal after another jinking, was nominated as the first recipient of the Thales Player of the Match, supported by the Crawley-based firm who are Wasps’ new main sponsors.

Wasps: Poleykett; Duncan, Barton, Walker, Ward; Villette; Barnham, Davies, Barnett, Tibble, Dunt. Subs: Smith, Elphick, Callaghan, Fine.Camden PoM crop Camden PoM wide

New season kicks off for ladies 1st team

Manager Paul Walker has challenged Crawley Wasps Ladies to hit the ground running when their new season begins this weekend.

Wasps host Camden Town at Oakwood FC’s ground on Sunday (2pm kick-off) as the new London and South East Premier Division campaign gets under way.

Walker’s team play six of their first eight league games at their new ground and he is keen to make the most of home comforts.

“The aim is to get off to a strong start at home,” he said.

“The games we’ve got first – against Camden and Carshalton – are winnable if we take on board what we’ve learned in some of the pre-season campaign.

“We put together a demanding pre-season schedule against some strong sides, including Brighton, Gillingham and Lewes, and we have been challenged in a lot of those games.

“It’s important we learn from playing these games because that’s where we aspire to be.”

Walker’s key recruits this summer have come off the pitch, with former Lewes Ladies assistant manager Dave Cole and former England Under-18 goalkeeper Tom Betts added to the backroom staff, while Wasps announced a major sponsorship deal with locally-based firm Thales in June.

They are also hoping to bolster the squad as they look to improve on a season which saw them finish eighth and reach the Sussex County Cup final, where they were beaten by a Brighton side now in the Women’s Super League.

Wasps’ first team play in the fifth tier of women’s football, alongside the likes of Fulham and Leyton Orient. Walker is backing Orient and London Corinthians to challenge for the title, but is confident his own team can be up there.

“Our aspiration this year is to be in the top three or four,” he said.

“If we can achieve that it will be good progression from last season.”

Crawley Wasps Ladies first team will begin their London and South East Regional League campaign at home to Camden Town on Sunday 21 August.

Six of the first nine matches will be played at our new home at Oakwood FC, in Tinsley Lane.
We host Carshalton Athletic on 28 August and travel to London Corinthians on 11 September.

Watford’s development squad – newly promoted to the division – Fulham,  Herne Bay and Leyton Orient are all opponents for Wasps before October is out.

We face Camden Town again in the League Cup on 6 November and return to league action on 27 November, with Aylesford the visitors.

Fixtures for December and beyond will be released by the league at a later date, while the draw for the qualifying rounds of the Women’s FA Cup has yet to be made.
As soon as these are available, we will announce them on this website and through the club’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

1st Team fixtures

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.

Crawley Wasps Announce Sponsorship with Thales

Crawley Wasps Ladies Football Club are delighted to announce a significant major sponsorship deal with locally-based multinational company Thales.

Thales has signed a two-year agreement to become the first main club sponsor in Wasps’ 25-year history.

It provides a major boost to Wasps’ aims and ambitions on and off the pitch as they look to cement their reputation as one of the most successful all women’s and girls’ football clubs in Sussex.

Wasps will now push forward with a number of immediate priorities, including moving to a modern 3G training venue, upgrading the facilities at Ewhurst Playing Fields in Ifield – where the junior teams play their home matches – attracting more qualified coaches and strengthening their schools liaison activities.

As part of the agreement, teams at Crawley Wasps – from the youngest junior sides through to the two senior ladies squads – will wear Thales-branded kit for the forthcoming 2016-17 season.

Wasps chairman Alan Dunt said: “To have an organisation of the standing of Thales as the club’s first-ever main club sponsor – and for this to coincide with our 25-year anniversary, a milestone of which we are enormously proud – is a fantastic achievement for our club and a major endorsement of what we have created at Wasps.  It is also a major endorsement of our plans for the future.”

Wasps’ 25th anniversary year will also see an expansion of their community objectives, with an increased focus on promoting participation in football, sport, health and wellbeing. They will seek to adopt a like-minded registered charity in support of this important agenda.

Wasps had three teams in their respective County Cup finals last season – including the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final in front of almost 300 fans against Brighton & Hove Albion – and are now recruiting players and coaches at all age groups for the 2016-17 campaign.

Girls from the age of seven can join the club’s development squad and start on a pathway which could lead to first-team football at the age of 16, while Wasps also require FA-qualified coaches for their youth teams. Open trials for the Ladies section will be held at Ewhurst on 12 and 15 June.

If you are interested in getting involved in what will be a landmark season for the club, please email or message via Twitter, @CrawleyWaspsLFC