After last week’s tough game it felt like an extra week of rest would be needed and Notts County Ladies had to dig in deep and produce football to get back in the game today. However as the opposing manager said at the end he had committed daylight robbery as Arnold got themselves a 3 – 3 draw with the last kick of the game. County were more composed early on and determined enough to play the passing game and create chances with Lauren Betteridge and Kirsty Peat’s midfield strength. Defensive positioning of Jade Benniston and Captain Ellie Marriott was very hard today but they competed strongly and pushed the line along with Lucy Harris and Laura Muir.  County used the wings again effectively as Jess Knott pushed forward and lay in crosses that both Sammy Barlow and Charley Maclaren up front tried to convert. Eleanor Brooks was using her creative play to pass and turn on a number of occasions and was helped with her right back of Muir who took up good positions to play neat passing. Arnold had a quick break early on that was thwarted as a quick thinking keeper Kelly Hackman came smartly off her line and denied the chance with a hand around the post. This was a warning sign that County did not learn from and minutes later Arnold scored. The most exciting part of the game then happened as Peat took a good throw that Barlow controlled and unleashed with her non favoured right foot and beat the keeper.  Moments later Brooks this time took the throw, again to Barlow who crossed for Maclaren to brilliantly poach the ball past the keeper. Nik Tomkinson came on alongside Carolanne Clarke and their introduction maintained the County control. Harris was again very strong throughout and made some crucial challenges to force the play in County’s favour and even had a shot just wide as did Brooks and Tomkinson. Beniston had a great free kick just go wide and would you believe it though, County had all the possession and should have held but a lack of concentration allowed the easiest of goals for Arnold for 2 – 2 at the break. The second half was a lighting start for County and if you were still fetching your half time cuppa you missed it. From the kick it went, Barlow to Clarke to Beniston to Barlow to Ashleigh Harris to Peat at the back post for 3 -2. The watch said 25 seconds.County then had to rely on the defensive players for a spell and there were always signs that Arnold would get something. As the game wore on Player of the match Barlow could be seen everywhere as was Tomkinson who came a very close second for the award with her concentration and effort. The remainder of the game was a tense affair as each side tried to keep the ball. As Arnold went for the equaliser County cleared many a chance but a quick shot with 5 seconds to go from the edge of the box went in for 3 -3

Scorers: Sammy Barlow, Charley Maclaren, Kirsty Peat Player of the Match: Sammy Barlow

What a difference a week makes, a disappointing result last week away to Lincoln saw Notts County Ladies bounce back with an impressive display away to Retford United with a convincing 7-1 victory. County without a number of key players had to re-shuffle things at the back which saw Kelly Hackman getting the call up from the clubs development team due to keeper Hazel Clark being unwell and Susan Cronin playing centre back with Alex Johnson at left back. Notts County were quick out of the blocks and immediately went on the attack looking for an early goal which soon came from the penalty spot from an handball. Courtney Walters coolly slotted it into the far bottom right hand corner. On 10 minutes a delightful through ball from Alex Francis found Courtney who was clearly having an eye for goal today picked her spot for 0-2. County were clearly in the driving seat and began to relax on the ball and begin to move it around with ease. County went close when Captain Selina Luciw drove the ball into the area and lobbed the keeper who made a terrific save tipping it over the crossbar. Minutes later on the edge of the box Anna Horton struck a thumping shot which hit the post. It was on 40 mins when Courtney got her hat-trick when a shot again from Anna re-bounded back out off the keeper for Courtney to tap it home 0-3. To wrap the half up on 43 minutes saw a short corner to Alex Johnson who lofted the ball to the far post to find Cath Eyley on the far post who rose above the rest to head the ball into the back of the net 0-4. The second period saw Retford try to shut up shop as they put everyone behind the ball, County were playing the ball nicely around the back enticing Retford forward. Retford’s tactic appeared to work as they counter-attacked quickly and out ran the County defence for a consolation goal 1-4. County replied from a throw in deep in the Retford half which was cut back to Alex Johnson who from the corner of the penalty area smashed it into the near bottom corner 1-5. 2 minutes later a Retford goalkeeper clearance was won in the middle of the park by Susan who’s perfectly weighted lob over the top into the path of Courtney who superbly lobbed the advancing keeper for 1-6. County wrapped up an impressive team display from a free kick to the far post for Selina to play the ball backwards to Alex Francis to fire it home 1-7. Player of the match was awarded to Alex Johnson who was consistently at the top of her game throughout the entire match. Credit to Retford who battled to the final whistle, The team are away next week to Ruddington in the league cup.


At last the biggest test of this development season was upon us today and as expected this young Notts County side showed their talent in abundance and temperament in a 3-2 defeat. This was not a loss but a moral victory. Mansfield who had not lost all season knew they were up against it when County took the lead but were the eventual winners as they wore County down. Notts were on fire to start and played some crisp football whilst being secure at the back with Ellie Marriott and Jade Beniston in the centre and Lucy Harris at left back and Laura Muir at right back. County were without their first choice keeper Kelly Hackman today as she had to step up to the first team due to their keeper being ill. Charley Maclaren stepped up to the plate in goal and her previous years of goalkeeping were evident with her great strength, long kicks and handling. She pounced and chased at every opportunity and was a credit to the team. And that is what we are and showed today, a team. We work hard for each other everywhere. Kirsty Peat caused havoc up front with Carolanne Clarke and in midfield Sammy Barlow was instrumental with Lauren Betteridge. Barlow was literally kicked to pieces today and should have had more decisions her way but she kept cool and focused sufficient enough to cause that many problems that the opposition were uncertain who should be picking her up. Watching the wingers of Ashleigh Harris and Eleanor Brooks was like being at an airport as the pace they have is like watching a plane take off. Fed by great passes from Lucy Harris and Muir was sufficient to see both players get chances and shots on goal. After 20 mins the tactics of Mansfield was their downfall after being challenged in their own area their line of defence pushed Clark to the ground to concede a penalty that as sure as eggs was coolly converted by Beniston. A shuffle of players to create more chances saw Nic Tomkinson come on alongside Jess Knott and Elle Croucher. This is a great asset to County as we have players that can move positions and work just as hard. Mansfield plugged away with the ball over the top that in fairness will get you chances despite it being dull and before the half they were on level terms despite player of the match Lucy Harris diving attempt to clear it on the line. The second half saw County more on the back foot but still the desire to play football and create opportunities comes from their passing game. A few corners were unlucky not to be converted and still Maclaren maintained her positioning with her defence and worked hard. Betteridge had a spell on the bench after a succession of headers that made her see stars, but she was soon back on working hard. Mansfield had the advantage of the slope and quick throw and cross was cleverly met by a fast moving striker to guide it in the net for 2 -1 .Never say die County continued to impress and the Marriott, Knott, Tomkinson and Beniston made endless challenges and clearances to help keep County in it. With the clock ticking Barlow was man handled after beating 2 defenders with her trickery, sufficient enough for County to be awarded a penalty. Benniston cooly stepped up, but before the kick the referee booked the opposition for name calling, a 3rd yellow for the hosts, Benniston was not phased and smacked the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-2. Celebrations were appropriate and well deserved but as in most games you do lose a bit of concentration. This happened and Mansfield quickly replied to make it 3 -2. County kept passing the ball to the end and Mansfield will know that despite their table topping position they were under pressure from this young and developing team. Mansfield 3 – 2 Notts County. Scorers: Jade Beniston (2 pens)  Player of the match: Lucy Harris.

A comedy of errors, with too many players far from their best resulted in a poor performance from Notts County Ladies 1st team as they had to endure a 5-1 defeat away to Lincoln Ladies Development team in the East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League. The game was played without a league appointed referee and it was soon clear that County were going to have to be at their best today to get something from this game. The game was played at a high tempo with both teams creating goal scoring chances, County’s backline saw two new additions in Cath Eyley at left back and Susan Cronin playing in an unfamiliar centre back position as the team were missing Robyn Henton due to suspension and Kayley Shaw to illness. Keeper Hazel Clark was in top form as she dealt with a number of corners and was quickly showing good hands and quick thinking with her distribution. Mid-way through the first period County were slow to close down Lincoln in dangerous areas and soon paid the price conceding two goals in quick succession. County pulled a goal back just before the break when Cath Eyley from deep played the ball into April Bingham who hit a long curved ball into the path of Courtney Walters to slot it into the near bottom corner 2-1. The second period saw Notts uncharacteristically play far too many poor passes which resulted in giving possession back to Lincoln who increased their lead early on and soon knocked another two goals in. Credit to the eleven County players who travelled to Lincoln, they played with passion and worked hard to the final whistle. In the words of the Lincoln manager “the result flattered us” Player of the match was awarded to defender Serena Mason. The team are away next Sunday to Retford.


This was destined to be a tough game today at home to Bingham, following a two week layoff without a game and a lack of training for some players. However the grit and determination for Notts County Development team was to their credit as they were the victors with a great 3 – 1 win. It was great to see and hear the comments of people today about the County back line that started today with ever present captain Ellie Marriott and Jade Benniston in the centre and superbly assisted by Lucy Harris at left back and super cool Laura Muir at right back where she stayed all game. If memory serves no one and we mean no one got past her. The left back was also filled by Kirsty Peat for a spell and ever improving Nic Tomkinson who also played a great part as left winger for spells of the game. Eleanor Brooks was playing today despite only stepping off a plane at 8am this morning following her international duties in Florida. Her efforts were not in vain and her new boots were to set up the first goal as she played in Benniston at an indirect free kick and she accurately fired it home. The midfield consisted of no fewer than 6 different players as the team expertly moved their positions to confuse the opposition. Lauren Betteridge was her usual defiant self and alongside Peat she can control the game for County. Sammy Barlow was twisting and turning up front for periods of the game as well as helping the midfield. County should have extended their lead after a succession of corners but Brooks could only fire over, a shot by Jess Knott was saved and Carolanne Clarke was unlucky with efforts. The pressure continued with Ashleigh Harris on the left wing who also came close with an effort from a tight angle. The first half saw goalkeeper Kelly Hackman very busy and following some good saves she was faced with a penalty after she brought down the Bingham striker. However she stood strong and got both hands to it and was relieved the rebound was cleared by Marriott at the second attempt. Minutes later a fingertip save form Hackman was the telling point as it was enough to put off the oncoming striker. Half time a very edgy 1 – 0. The second half saw more of Charley Maclaren and Knott showed terrific class and skill in midfield with good tackling and passing. Muir continued to hold her ground and both Harris players worked hard along with Tomkinson and Brooks.  Bingham always believed that they could get back in the game and made County work hard. But sure as eggs Barlow was in full flow with her skill and trickery along with the defensive hard work County continued to pass and move really effectively. In fairness Bingham got their efforts rewarded with a well taken goal that could have spelled disaster for County but their never say die attitude held firm and their lead was restored minutes later as player of the match Benniston got her second with a cool penalty strike. This seemed to be a blow for Bingham and County maintained the advantage. With 5 minutes remaining and a succession of corners and throw ins the pressure was rewarded when Betteridge brilliantly fed Maclaren who beat her defender and smashed home the clincher in style. Many thanks to Gabi Oxley for coming to support her team today now she is side-lined with an injury. Great determination today and a fantastic team performance. Scorers: Jade Beniston 2, Charley Maclaren. Player of the Match awarded to Jade Beniston.

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