Southern Counties Cup action


Jim Taylor

Middlesex Ladies played their second game in this seasons’ Southern Counties Cup Competition on Wednesday last, 1st November at The Robert Parker Stadium, home of Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC. The Competition is being played on a league basis this season, with the Army, Essex and Jersey also taking part.

This was our first meeting with Kent since 11th January 2017, when Kent recorded an exciting 4-3 victory in this competition, at Uxbridge FC. However, our overall record against Kent, before this match was played 14, won 9, drawn 1 and lost 4. We had scored 39 goals to Kent’s 16.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions were almost as bad as those experienced six week’s earlier, during Middlesex’s first match in this season’s competition, at the same venue against the Army.

Once again, the players of both teams defied the appalling conditions and produced a very high-quality match. Middlesex took an early lead, through an own goal and then dominated the proceedings throughout most of the first half. However, they didn’t capitalise on the chances which they created. Kent took advantage of this wastefulness and equalised in the 42nd minute. However, Middlesex hit back in the added time prior to the interval and regained the lead. They sealed their victory with a third goal midway through the second half.

The Middlesex starting 11

Middlesex pressed from the start and went ahead in the third minute, when Mille Waud, under pressure from Shakira Roberts, turned the ball into her own net.

Millie Waud's (far right) own goal puts Middlesex ahead

Shakira made a threatening run through the middle but keeper, Courtney Shanly saved her shot from close range.

A break by the visitors finished with Kaydence Kabadaki shooting over from the edge of the penalty area.

Lavana Neufville was making some promising runs on the left and her low shot produced a good save from the keeper. Unfortunately, Lavana was hurt and had to leave the field soon afterwards.

Jasmine Williamson was tripped in the visitors’ penalty box in the 20th minute. However, Anya Kinnane’s kick went over the crossbar.

Middlesex forced a string of corners and Courtney Shanly was kept very busy. She saved a low shot from Alissa Down and a header from the advanced Anya and was then tested by Guisy Carnevale’s shot. Guisy made several penetrating raids. Mara Bramwell got her head to a corner from Alissa Down but was just wide.

Mara Bramwell (14) heads just wide from a corner

Chloe Francis levelled the scores, in the 42nd minute, with a floated freekick into the far top corner of the home net.   

Chloe Francis' free-kick...

... levels the scores

Sophie Shults saved low down from Kent’s Becky Wyatt.

Jasmine Williamson fastened onto a through ball but was thwarted by Courtney Shanly.

Because of injury stoppages, referee Gemma Day had to add 7 minutes at the end of the first half.   In the 3rd of these Alissa Down restored Middlesex’s lead with a lob over the stranded keeper, which entered the Kent net just under the crossbar.

Alissa Down's lob restores Middlesex's lead

Score at half time: Middlesex 2  Kent 1

The rain increased in its intensity during the evenly balanced second half but the players overcame the worsening conditions to play excellent football right to the end of the game.

The rain intensifies in the second half

Kent’s Kaydence Kabadaki was thwarted by a close-range block for a corner, which was scrambled away.   

Sophie Shults dived to save at Chloe Francis’ feet.

Sophie Shults saves at Chloe Francis' feet

Jasmine Williamson set up Shakira Roberts; whose shot was saved.

Middlesex added a third goal in the 67th minute, through a terrific drive by Zoe Cohen from around 25 yards.

Zoe Cohen shoots...

... to score Middlesex's third goal

A spell of pressure by the visitors followed but the Middlesex defence, marshalled by the dominant Anya Kinnane held firm.   Sophie saved well, low down from Hannah Corlett.

Assia Fatri was brought down just outside the Kent box but Alissa’s freekick passed outside the post.

A long Kent freekick was deflected for a corner by Mara Bramwell, in the defensive wall.

Alissa’s high freekick was turned over the bar by the keeper, after Shakira Roberts was fouled outside the area.

Courtney Shanly turns Alissa Down's free kick over the bar

Sophie Shults left her area to foil a visiting attack in the closing minutes.

Final Score: Middlesex 3  Kent 1

Referee Gemma Day and her colleagues did a great job in very difficult conditions. Our thanks are due to them and to the officials of Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC for their kind hospitality and for the use of their fine facilities.  The tasty hot food, which they provided after the match, was very much appreciated by everyone concerned. They must also be commended on their pitch, which held up superbly, despite the deluge to which it was subjected.


Middlesex: Sophie Shults (Ashford Town (Middlesex)), Zoe Cohen, Ailish Carolan (both QPR Women), Anya Kinnane (Ashford Town (Middlesex)) (capt), Mara Bramwell (Actonians Ladies), Lavana Neufville, Alissa Down, Aimee Durn (all Ashford Town (Middlesex)), Jasmine Williamson (Actonians Ladies), Beckie Currivan (Denham United) and Shakira Roberts (Dulwich Hamlet Women). 

Rolling Substitutes: Guisy Carnevale (Hayes & Yeading Women), Dahlia Salah and Assia Fatri (both QPR Women).

Manager: Craig Nicholson   Head Coach: George Wells   Coach: Sue Kumaning   GK Coach: Jacob Ballheimer   Physio: Scott Everley.

Kent: Courtney Shanly, Becky Burnham, Mille Waud, Vicky Grieve, Milly Penfold, Amy Russ (capt), Hannah Corlett, Kaydence Kabadaki, Chloe Francis, Becky Wyatt, Abbey Davies.

Rolling Substitute: Analice Linsdall, 

Referee: Gemma Day   Assistant Referees: Ahmad Rafique and Tim Guichard (All Middlesex FA).

Historical Note: This match was the 38th in charge for Middlesex Manager, Craig Nicholson (not a bad surname for a manager), since he took over on 24th February, 2011.   This equalled the highest number of managerial appearances by our first incumbent, John Jones, between 10th March, 1998 and 31st October, 2007.

Incidentally, Alissa Down was one of our players in Craig’s first match in charge, a 2-2 draw against the Army at North Greenford United FC.  Alissa, who played her 39th match for Middlesex on Wednesday (by far the most for the County), was making her 8th appearance in that game.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photos: Chris Benn


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