NEWS: FA declares season null and void

The FA has today ended the 2019-20 season for tier three and below with immediate effect, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

All leagues below the FA Women’s Championship have been declared null and void with no promotion or relegation.

This affects our first team, reserves and development squad, with all future matches now cancelled.

You can read the full FA statement here: http://www.thefa.com/news/2020/mar/26/national-league-system-womens-football-pyramid-grassroots-covid-19-update-260320

While it is obviously regrettable, particularly given how well our first team were doing at the top of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division, we support the decision taken.

The health, safety and wellbeing of the entire country is of primary importance right now. Football will still be here when the situation has improved.

We thank everyone – players, management, coaches, volunteers, fans and sponsors – for their efforts and support since August.

We will be hungry for success whenever next season starts. But for now – stay home, stay safe, save lives. Please.

REPORT: Crawley Wasps 1 Chichester City 0

Kemina Webber celebrates her goal with captain Naomi Cole (Picture: Alan Sillwood-Brown)

By Tom Scarborough at East Court

Kemina Webber’s strike late in the first half secured Wasps a narrow victory and extended their lead at the top of the FA National Women’s League Southern Premier Division.

The 1-0 win over bottom-side Chichester increased the gap to second-placed Watford to nine points.

Webber’s goal, her third of the season, came on her first home league start of the campaign.

The two sides, meeting for the second time in just six days, battled freezing conditions on Wednesday evening at East Court.

After a penalty shoot-out in Wasps’ County Cup final victory on Sunday, both Crawley and Chichester were eager to get stuck into each other once again.

In the early exchanges, Wasps keeper Frankie Gibbs was called into action to palm behind Gemma Simmonds’ long-range effort, while at the other end Tash Stephens hit low against her former club, but the chance was collected by Chi ‘keeper Issy Foster.

Tash Stephens in action against her former club (Picture: Alan Sillwood-Brown)

Wasps skipper Naomi Cole drove a shot that fell just the wrong side of the post – but just as the first-half looked set to peter out, we struck the crucial blow.

Cole swung in a free-kick from the right and following a short scramble, the ball fell to Webber and last season’s top scorer poked the ball home.

The second half proved to be a quieter affair, with Chi happy to sit deep and Wasps unable to open them up.

Charlotte Owen sent a shot sailing over the bar before Megan Stow’s powerful header was glanced wide. Webber looked to double her tally after turning and shooting in space, but the chance was collected by Foster.

Wasps controlled possession as the match entered the closing stages.

A handful of further half-chances were squandered, including a Chichester corner deep into injury-time, which was defended with purpose as Wasps saw out their 12th league win of the season.

We are next in action on March 8, when we host Keynsham Town at East Court.

Wasps: Gibbs; Nash, Russell, James, Palmer; Cole, Stow; Heather, Owen, Stephens; Webber. Subs not used: Graves, Taylor, Fleischman, Ledezma-Viso.

Summer Tournament 2020 – a festival of youth football

Crawley Wasps LFC will be staging a summer youth tournament in June – and your club can get early-bird prices until the end of next month.

The festival of youth football will take place on Sunday 21 June at Ardingly College.

There will be six-a-side tournaments for U9s, U10s, U11s, U12s, U13s and U14s, and a non-competitive series of matches at U8 level.

Entry is just £45 per team – but this is reduced to £35 if you register before March 31. You can also enter for FREE if you successfully refer a pitchside sponsor to us.

Spectator entry on the day will be: Adults £2, U16s free (includes programme).

To register your team, download the entry form here, fill it out electronically, and email it to jackayles@aol.com.

REPORT & GALLERY: Chichester City 1 Crawley Wasps 1 (Wasps win 4-3 on penalties)

Wasps players and staff celebrate with the trophy, drowned in champagne and confetti (Picture: Alan Sillwood-Brown)

Crawley Wasps  lifted the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup for the first time in their history as they beat Chichester City 4-3 on penalties in a tense final at Lancing on Thursday.

Captain Naomi Cole tucked away the deciding spot-kick to spark celebrations after goalkeeper Frankie Gibbs had made a crucial save in the shoot-out.

Earlier, Ellie Russell’s bullet header had given Wasps a half-time lead, which could have been greater – Cole’s long-range shot cannoned off the bar, Rachel Palmer was denied by a fine save and Russell nodded against the post.

But cup holders Chi, who had been restricted to speculative long-range efforts, levelled early in the second half when Megan Fox’s shot was parried by Wasps keeper Frankie Gibbs and Rebecca Bell slid in to convert.

Wasps almost went back in front immediately but Emma Plewa’s shot was too close to impressive Chi keeper Issy Foster. At the other end, Gibbs leapt to her right to brilliantly save from Fox’s volley.

Wasps put Chi on the back foot in extra time, with Foster pushing away Cole’s firmly struck shot and denying Sam Pittuck, while Plewa and Kemina Webber both fired narrowly wide of the post.

GALLERY: More pictures from our historic Sussex FA Women’s Challenge Cup win will appear here soon.

It meant the trophy would be decided on penalties, the first shoot-out Wasps have been involved in since a Women’s FA Cup second-round defeat way back in January 2012.

Chi took first and Priscilla Martins scored, but Russell – the goalscorer in normal time and arguably Wasps’ best player over the 120 minutes – sliced wide in response.

However, the scores were then levelled up when Chi’s Jess Burke hit the post and Wasps’ Sian Heather sent Fisher the wrong way.

Gibbs then saved from Sharna Capel-Watson to give Wasps the advantage, strengthened further when Emma Plewa made it 2-1 after three kicks.

Bell and Fox then netted for Chi, but vice-captain Rachel Palmer converted to set up her skipper Cole for the trophy-clinching moment.

Wasps: Gibbs; Russell, James, Palmer; Nash, Owen, Cole, Stow, Stephens; Pittuck, Heather. Subs (rolling): Plewa, Webber, Ledezma-Viso, Fleischman. Unused: Graves.

NEWS: Yeovil match postponed

Regretfully, this Sunday’s FA Women’s National League game against Yeovil Town has been postponed.

The pitch at East Court has standing water in some areas after rain overnight and with more due, courtesy of Storm Ciara, it’s highly unlikely to be playable.

We have taken Yeovil’s travelling into account in making an early decision on the postponement.

A rearranged date will be announced in due course.

REPORT: Hounslow 0 Crawley Wasps 5

Hat-trick hero Sian Heather in action at Hounslow (Picture: Alan Sillwood-Brown)

Sian Heather scored a hat-trick – her first goals since becoming a mother – as Crawley Wasps cruised to a 5-0 win at struggling Hounslow on Sunday.

Charlotte Owen and Kemina Webber also found the target in Wasps’ biggest victory since September, which keeps them top of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division.

Hounslow, formerly QPR, were winless this season, scoring just three goals and conceding 62 in 11 matches, prior to taking on Paul Walker’s side.

And while the hosts threatened occasionally on the break, Wasps were in control from the moment Heather – whose last goal came in January 2019 – tapped in Megan Stow’s 12th-minute cross.

Sam Pittuck saw a shot blocked by the keeper, Ellie Russell hit the bar with a header and Stow fired across goal but Wasps were restricted to the single goal before half time.

GALLERY: More of Alan Sillwood-Brown’s photos from the game will appear here soon

After the break, though, Wasps were more dominant. Owen converted Tash Stephens cross five minutes into the second half and substitute Webber finished from Rachel Palmer’s corner for 3-0.

Heather then showed her poacher’s instinct to net twice more from close range, first after Webber’s sliced shot fell to her and then after Emma Plewa had been denided by the keeper.

With Watford not in action, Wasps are now six points clear at the top but having played two games more than the Hornets.

Wasps: Gibbs; Russell, James, Palmer (Rodrigues Anes 73); Nash, Stow, Fleischman, Owen, Stephens (Plewa 62); Pittuck (Webber 55), Heather. Subs not used: Graves, Ledezma-Viso.

NEWS: Wasps boost with SportShield deal

Crawley Wasps fans can help their favourite club earn money under an exciting new deal announced today with insurance firm SportShield.

The company, soon to be Brighton-based, have agreed to become Wasps’ first official insurance partner.

As part of the agreement, every policy taken out with SportShield that mentions Wasps will earn cashback for the club.

This includes life insurance, serious Illness insurance, income protection, personal accident insurance, personal Insurance, commercial insurance, energy solutions, foreign exchange and all sports insurance.

SportShield are also becoming part of Wasps’ family of sponsors and will launch their support for the club by sponsoring the home match against Yeovil Town on Sunday February 9.

James Laraman, Wasps’ commercial manager, said: “SportShield will be able to offer tailored insurance products to those involved with the club, our sponsors and friends and families.

“Any policies taken out will provide us with a revenue stream, enabling us to continue to grow the most successful women’s football club in the local area.”

Michael Dorrington, SportShield’s regional director, added: “We are delighted to become the official insurance partner for Crawley Wasps.

“It’s a club we are very proud to be associated with as we share the same determination and passion to succeed further. We hope this partnership will provide the club with the support it needs to push up the divisions.”

Wasps currently sit top of the FA Women’s National League South, the third tier of women’s football, three points clear of Watford. They also have two other senior teams further down the pyramid, and six youth teams from Under-14s to Under-9s.

For more on SportShield, visit www.sportshield.co.uk.

REPORT & GALLERY: Crawley Wasps 2 Cardiff City 0

Wasps players celebrate the opening goal with scorer Megan Stow (second left). Picture: Ben Davidson Photography.

Megan Stow’s fine first-minute strike inspired Crawley Wasps to an impressive 2-0 victory over Cardiff City on Sunday.

Fellow midfielder Naomi Cole grabbed the second from the penalty spot as Wasps returned to the top of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division.

They are now three points clear of Watford, who have a game in hand after they were in Women’s FA Cup action at the weekend.

Paul Walker’s team have now won 44 of their last 50 league games, dating back to the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

Stow got the afternoon off to the perfect start when she latched on to a weak defensive header and drilled a first-time shot low into the corner from 25 yards.

GALLERY: For more of Ben Davidson’s photos from the game, CLICK HERE

Wasps had further half chances in the first half, with Rachel Palmer, Charlotte Owen, Stow and Sam Pittuck looking particularly lively.

Cardiff were also a threat on the break, though Wasps’ Darcey James was excellent at the back and keeper Frankie Gibbs gathered in a shot from the edge of the box.

Stow nodded wide from a corner soon after half time, Pittuck drilled inches past the far post and sub Ariana Fleischman had an effort saved as Wasps continued to press.

They got breathing space when player of the match Tash Stephens was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, and Cole netted the penalty.

Wasps were also able to introduce new signing Stephanie Rodrigues Anes late on as they saw out the victory.

We travel to second-from-bottom Hounslow this Sunday (2pm).

Wasps: Gibbs; Russell, James, Palmer; Ledezma-Viso (Nash 55), Stow (Rodrigues Anes 81), Cole, Owen, Stephens; Pittuck, Heather (Fleischman 60). Subs not used: Graves, Webber.

NEWS: Defender Stephanie joins Wasps’ ranks

Stephanie Rodrigues Anes in action for QPR Picture: Ian Randall Photography)

Crawley Wasps have added Stephanie Rodrigues Anes to their squad ahead of Sunday’s game with Cardiff City.

The defender, 26, joins us after leaving our divisional rivals Hounslow. She had been with them since January 2018, when they were QPR.

Prior to that, Stephanie had spells with Fulham, Chelsea’s reserves and Luton Town.

She has also studied and played at Auburn University at Montgomery, in the USA.

Stephanie has been given squad number 24.