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Interviews

Interview with Zoe Barratt

It’s been a massively disrupted season from Ipswich Town Women, with games being halted and started, not just for the First Team, but also the u21s’. Zoe has been banging in goals consistently for the youth side and has been award by Joe Sheehan with games in the First Team. The young Attacker, originally from Cambridge, has really stepped up to the plate when called upon and put in some very encouraging displays, even getting herself on the scoresheet. Zoe has formed a really good partnership with fellow Attacker Maddie Biggs in the u21s’ with both players contributing consistently with Goals and Assists.

We caught up with Zoe to take a look at her progress this season.

What team do you support?
Cambridge Utd!

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?
Phil Foden or Fran Kirby, such good decision makers

Who inspires you?
No one in particular, I’ve been going to watch football since I was 4 and just watching the game inspires me – and all I ever wanted to do was play football. However apart from Cambridge Utd players, my favourite player is Lionel Messi!

Do you have any pre match rituals?
Don’t really have any rituals, but I prepare myself so that I can perform to the best of my ability; e.g. what I eat and drink.

Which 4 team mates would you pick in your 5-a-side?
Paige Peake, Molly Sutherland, Sophie Peskett, Lucy O’Brien

As a Cambridge Utd fan, you must be chuffed with the promotion?
Yes I was buzzing! The last few games were nerve racking, but when we won on the last game and I went to the stadium to celebrate, it was amazing!

Are you going to be Blue and White or Yellow and Black when they play Ipswich in League One next season?
I’ve been a season ticket holder for Cambridge since I was 4, so I’m afraid for that game I’m going to have be to be yellow and black!

It’s been a disrupted season, how have you dealt with the interruptions?
It’s been frustrating to not train and play as much as we normally do, but I used the lockdowns as an opportunity to really work on all areas of my game. Saying that we were fortunate as U21s to return to training in January and managed to play a good number of games in the end.

Although the Academy side has only played 4 league games so far, it’s been a good start with 3 wins on the board?
Whilst we’ve only played 4 league games we have also played a lot of friendlies against some good sides like London Bees and finishing off the season with a win against Arsenal. I see it as a successful season and I feel we have really gelled as a team.

You’ve played a fair bit more for the first team this season, how have you found playing for both First Team and Academy?
I want to play as many games as possible so I can develop as a player, so playing Wednesdays and Sundays is something I enjoy.

We’ve seen you play through the middle and out wide, where do you prefer to play?
I don’t really have a preference, I enjoy playing in any of the attacking positions as I feel it is developing my overall game. I just like to be able to create attacks, finish attacks and link up play.

Lucy O’Brien has been making a name for herself this season. She’s bedded into the team fairly well?
Lucy’s a really good player, I know her well from playing with her at Mk Dons RTC and through school football. We know each other’s game really well so it’s good to play with her.

For you personally, is next season about keeping in Joe’s mind and making more movement into the First Team?
All I’ve ever done is just focus on myself and my development as a player. I will just keep working hard and improve my game to see where it takes me in the future.

Do you look up to the likes of Tash and how others play in your position?
I have a lot of respect for Tash, her goal scoring record speaks for itself and she is a great role model for the younger players. I also like to watch lots of players who play in my positions like Fran Kirby and Ellen White and try to learn from them.

What goals are you setting for yourself for next season?
I feel this season I have really developed as a player, and all I am thinking about at the moment is working hard during off season and pre season. Next season is going to be exciting with hopefully playing in the league above against better opposition and I want to be apart of that.

What part of your game do you feel has most improved this season?
I generally feel more confident as a player this season, and I have really worked hard on improving the consistency of my finishing. I feel that this has shown in games this year for both the U21s and First Team.

How have you found Charlie Baxter since he joined the club?
I think we are lucky at Ipswich that we have such great coaches and staff – and Charlie has added to that. I think he’s a really good coach and I already feel he has helped me improve as a player, and helped us develop as a squad.

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Interviews

Interview with Lucy O’Brien

Lucy joined the Ipswich Town Academy last summer with a handful of other youngsters looking to kick on with their development and hoping to forge their career in the women’s game. It’s been a stop/start season for the young academy players with Covid stopping their season. We are now in April and the academy side have only played 3 league fixtures all season.

While all other football was stopped, the academy fell under Elite Sport as they play in the WSL academy leagues, so they could continue to train. This has no doubt really helped the younger players, Lucy being one of them. She recently made her first team debut in the FA Cup visit to Billericay and also scored 4 goals against Brantham in the Suffolk Cup.

We caught up with the young Midfielder and took a look at her season so far.

What team do you support?

Tottenham!

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Harry Kane or Kevin De Bruyne

Who inspires you?

I get most inspiration from my team mates – seeing them work had everyday and seeing the success they earn from it motivates me to constantly be better.

3 songs from your playlist?

I have a very random music taste: She’s casual – The Hunna, Don’t Stop me now – Queen, Glorious – Macklemore

Do you have any pre match rituals?

Not really, but I always try to have a good warm up to get myself ready. Scoring some goals in the warm up is always good too.

It’s been a strange first season at the club with the stop and starts, how have you found it so far?

It’s been really good so far! The standard is so high both in training and games which is a great challenge. It’s been hard to find motivation at times without competitive fixtures but we all helped push each other to keep going and the hard work we’ve put in is now showing in the games we are playing.

You were involved early on playing in some pre season games with the senior side, did that help with bedding into the squad having them early games?

Definitely, it was great to get some experience playing with them early on. Everyone was so welcoming that I had no issues settling in and felt a part of the squad straight away.

Did you know any of the players here before joining?

Yep I knew Zoe Barratt as she goes to my school and we played together at MK Dons. I also knew Molly Sutherland from when we played together at Cambridgeshire ACC and there were some familiar faces within the team who had been to the same regional camps as me in the past.

Some fans have tipped you as the ‘one to watch’ from the academy team recently with your current form. What do you consider to be your strengths?

I have always had an eye for goal, and historically have had a good track record with getting on the scoresheet. I also think I am creative in midfield and find good pockets on the pitch which I then exploit to provide goal scoring opportunities for myself or my teammates.

You recently made your first team debut, how did you feel getting the news you were being called up?

I was really excited! I knew that due to the seniors only just coming back to train, I had a good chance of getting some game time so I was really pleased when I was given the opportunity.

Were you nervous leading up to the game and on game day?

Yes I was – though I always feel nerves before a game! But as soon as the game started, the nerves went and I focused on the football.

We didn’t get the result we wanted at Billericay, but were you happy with your performance personally on your debut?

I was gutted with the result but personally I think I held my own in the midfield. I think I created some good chances but when you lose, you always feel like you could have done more.

What positives did you take away from the game?

It was a great experience and one that I have learnt a lot from. Playing against senior women gave me a proper insight into the physical demands of the senior game. Also, coping with losing such an important match is something that I’m sure will help me in the future.

Now you have made your debut, is the next step to cement your place in Joe’s plans?

Yes definitely, for me this year is all about developing my game and performing as well as I can for the U21’s. However, of course I am going to be striving to play for the seniors as much as I can.

Charlie Baxter has recently joined the club as the new assistant. How have you found him so far?

Charlie is a great coach and has a wealth of experience to bring to our squad. It’s been really good to have his input and I’m sure we’ll all learn a lot from him.

Charlie brings lots of experience with him, which should really help the players grown as-well?

Yep, I think his knowledge of the game is something we can really use to help us develop not only as a team, but also individually.

You seem to enjoy scoring goals from midfield, is this something fans can look forward to as you progress towards more first team games?

Yep, hopefully. I used to play as a striker up until a few seasons ago, so naturally I am always looking to score. It’s a bit more difficult from midfield, but I feel I still have that goal scorers instinct and it is a great feeling to get on the scoresheet.

You have been part of England squads previously, how have you found your experiences playing for the national team?

I always really enjoy every camp I go on and learn so much. It’s an amazing feeling to represent your country and I’ve had moments that I won’t ever forget!

The club has some really good players in your position. Is that extra motivation to keep developing to pressure those ahead of you?

Yes, definitely. There are some unbelievable players in both the U21 and senior squad so there’s always really good competition. It definitely drives us all to work harder as we know that none of us can afford to get complacent.

Now you have your debut under your belt, is it about keeping form and hopefully keeping getting them call ups?

Yep, it was great to make my debut and now I’m excited for the year ahead. I’m going to focus on working hard and playing as well as I can so I can leave Joe with a decision to make!

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Match Previews

Pre Match Preview – Billericay – FA Cup Second Round

It seems an absolute age since we were heading to our last Ipswich Town Women’s game, just short of 4 months ago. Since then, we have had the arrival of a new Assistant Manager as Charlie Baxter joins Joe Sheehan in the dugout.

With fans not allowed to attend games yet, we’ll be relaying on the media teams to provide our Tractor Girls fix via streams over the coming rounds, if we see off the Essex side this Sunday at New Lodge.

Pre Match Chat –

All eyes on this result as fans look ahead to a tasty tie against Oxford or Cardiff in the next round and then the possibility of hosting Charlton in the 4th round. The 4th Round brings in elite rules, meaning, if Joe Sheehan’s side make it that far, the game is likely to be played at Portman Road. The downside to this is fans are unlikely to be allowed inside elite stadiums by this point and it will be another no entry for Town followers.

Team Talk –

Town captain Amanda Crump is back in training following her spell on the side-lines after having her 2nd child, although not expected to return to action until pre season. Midfielder Eloise King is 50/50 having picked up a knock in training. Maria Boswell is also out of action while Keeper Meollo is also 50/50. Towns u21s played a midweek league fixture against West Ham at Playford Road which saw Striker Maddie Biggs pick up a brace and continue her push for a start. With King likely to be out of action, this could pave the way for other players to make their mark.

The Opposition –

This will be Towns second appearance at New Lodge this season, having already beaten the Essex side here at the start of the season. It was a tough game but they still managed to grind out all 3 points from their visit. Billericay sat in 11th place in the league when the season was curtailed, having picked up 3 points from 3 games. Not to let that fool you as other teams in the league had played a lot more games than Billericay with some playing 7 by the time the season was stopped. Despite Town beating them in the last visit, Billericay were the better side in the first half and could have go into the break ahead. It’s going to be important the girls go into this game fully focused and not to underestimate the challenge Billericay will pose.

Players To Watch –

Town’s Natasha Thomas is currently sitting on 99 career goals for the club and will have every intention of hitting the big 100 before this cup run comes to an end. Georgia Allen has been the creative spark for Ipswich this season and Billericay will do well to keep tabs on the Midfielder. Georgia changed the game in the first meeting this season and really opened up the middle of the park.

From the Squad –

Looking ahead to this Sundays meeting, we caught up with Midfielder Abbie Lafayette to get her thoughts going into the FA Cup clash.

There’s no more league games this season, does that give you more motivation to give the FA Cup more focus?

AL – Yes Defiantly! we want to do well again this season and it’s something we believe we can do, so hopefully we can show that with a good strong performance on Sunday.

We faced a difficult game against Billericay last time, we’ll have to be on the top of our game to make sure we progress into the next round?

AL – Yeah we know it won’t be an easy game but our main focus is on us and playing well and getting a good result in order to progress into the next round.

Is the key to this game the way the team prepares and approaches it given it’s been some time since we were last in action?

AL – The circumstances have been different this time around but we will prepare for this game like any other game to the best we can and try bring back some normality on match day.

How do you feel about the prospect of coming up against Charlton in two rounds time?

AL – It would be a good opportunity to play against a team who are where we want to be in a few seasons time, also it will give us a good understanding of where we are as a club.

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Uncategorized

Tractor Girls season curtailed

After months of uncertainty, the FA have announced plans to curtail the seasons of English Women’s football at steps 3-6.

The FA released a statement this afternoon confirming plans for stop the league season and not move forward with it. Albeit, Town sitting top, there will also be no promotion this season again for Joe Sheehan’s side as promotions and relegations have also been scraped.

This will now be the second consecutive season Ipswich Town have sat top of the Women’s National League South East league without being promoted after last season was bull and void.

Among the doom and gloom of this news is a slight positive. Clubs can apply to be moved leagues as long as they meet the criteria. Ipswich Town should easily meet this criteria but won’t be the only team in the 4th step of the pyramid to be looking to apply. Early indications suggest there is a chance the Women’s National League Premier, which is the league Town would have been promoted to, may expand by 2 places, allowing 2 clubs from step 4 to make the move up, although, this is yet to be confirmed and also approved by the FA.

Many would predict Ipswich would be one of the 2 clubs to move up after proving, this and last season, they are more than ready to make that move. Southampton would be a hot tip to join Town but we would assume there will be many teams looking to challenge for that step up.

As this season has been curtailed and not null/void, team and player stats will remain in place and not wiped like they were last season.

We’re keeping everything crossed that town can have a successful application to be moved into the next league. Keep your eyes on the official club social media accounts for future news on this.

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Welcome Charlie Baxter

Since the departure of Paige Shorten back in October last year, Ipswich Town Women Manager, Joe Sheehan, has been on the hunt of a replacement Assistant Manager to fill the big gap Paige left. Paige moved on to pastures new to take up a role with the FA.

On Wednesday, Ipswich Town Women announced the appointment of Charlie Baxter as Joe’s new Assistant after a 4 month process, not helped by the Pandemic. Charlie joins the Tractor Girls with a wealth of experience of developing players and coaching at the highest level.

One of Charlie’s first steps into the game was with WPL side West Brom, who sit 2 levels above where Ipswich currently find them selves and 1 level below the top flight. Charlie spent just over a year at the midlands side as a Centre Of Excellence Coach, coaching different age groups from u9’s up to u17’s. Charlie left to join fellow midlands side, Birmingham City, in 2015 who currently reside in the top flight WSL. He initially joined as a Girls Centre Of Excellence Coach, but in 2017 was appointed First Team Coach.

Charlie has also been part of the England Regional Development Programme as a Technical Coach since 2017.

Not only does he have first hand experience in coaching players but also comes with the backing of a Masters in Sports Coaching and also a Bachelors in Coaching and Sports Development.

Joe Sheehan has expressed many times his plan for the club moving forward and how he aims to make Ipswich Town into a WSL club in the near future. Having Charlie on board is huge for the club, and is just another step towards achieving what Joe has planned. Given Charlie has already coached in the WSL, this is a big step forward for Joe’s vision and will really help the players achieve their potential.

Ipswich’s young Right Back, Maria Boswell, will know what to expect from Charlie as she was coached by him in the England Regional Development Programmes. Speaking to Maria briefly about her experience with Charlie, she was really happy he has joined the club.

Maria Boswell – “It’s great to have a coach like Charlie join the club, and after working with him previously at Regional Camps, I know how much every player in the team is going to benefit from his experience”

It shows how well respected Charlie has been in his past roles. Following the clubs announcement of the appointment, Birmingham City u14 player Amelie Curtis posted “You’re very lucky to have him. He’s brilliant”.

We’re really looking forward to seeing the girls back in action once the restrictions are lifted, even more so with Charlie joining us. We welcome him to the club and look forward to see what he brings.

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Interviews

Interview with Blue Wilson

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Since joining up with Joe Sheehan for the second time in her career, Town Midfielder Blue Wilson has been ever present in the Ipswich Midfield. Blue previously played under Joe during her time at the Essex RTC and joined up with him again last season when she joined Ipswich from Manchester City.

Not only has Blue cemented her place in the Town side, but also gets regular call ups to England Training Camps. Blue has recently become appointed the Player Ambassador at the club and helping lead the charge with the club’s True Blue membership, where fans can get benefits such as free entry to all Ipswich Town Women home games for a minimum cost of £5 a month.

Blue is currently on the road to returning from a spell on the sideline after picking up a nasty injury during an England Training Camp at the back end of last year. We caught up with her as she approaches a return to action.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Steven Gerrard, Thiago or Caroline Weir.

What team do you support?

You can probably tell from the previous question… Liverpool.

Who inspires you?

Jordan Henderson. Great leader and works incredibly hard, it makes a real difference to the Liverpool team when he isn’t playing.

Do you have any pre match rituals?

No I don’t, I normally just relax and make sure I have a lot of touches in the warm up. I try and boost my confidence as much as possible going into the game.

A footballing memory you’ll never forget?

Huddersfield away, FA Cup, 2019-20 season. 4-0 up in 20 minutes. Unbelievable!

Which team mate would you room share with on an away trip?

Emma Wallis, Rehab club sticks together

Which 4 team mates would you pick on your 5-a-side?

Paige Peake at the back, Peskett out wide, Kevin playing 10 pulling the strings and Lauren our physio playing up front – she has an unreal left foot.

Questions

Firstly, how is the injury?

I am definitely getting closer to being back on the pitch. My fitness is building back up and hopefully I should be back soon if Covid allows! The process has been more difficult because of the lockdowns but Lauren and Kevin have been great at supporting me remotely.

Another pause to the season, how does the team deal with the stopping and starting?

Although all of us would much rather be playing, collectively we try and use the time productively and move forwards to hit the ground running when the league does start again. Seeing the stop-starts as an opportunity to improve other elements of the game, I think, is crucial. We would not have had time to look at if lockdown hadn’t happened.

From a players perspective, and taking the current problem into account, what would you consider the best cause of action for the remainder of the season?

From a player’s perspective I think points per game seems a good option. From our point of view we would love there to be a result of this season and avoid another null and void result but some things are bigger than football. I think there are a lot of factors as players we don’t see, one thing is for sure I am not jealous of the people making the decisions! I’m sure the league will make the right decision considering the ever-changing circumstances.

This is your second season with the club, how have you found it so far?

I have loved it so far. Of course last season has been the highlight and was definitely the most exciting season of my footballing career. It had everything possible thrown in and to experience it all with a great group of people really topped it off. The squad and coaching team are fun to be around whilst having a balance of working hard to be a successful team, which hopefully, will continue in years to come.

You’ve recently been appointed the player ambassador, how did that come about? 

It was an idea that came about in the first lockdown when brainstorming how ITFC Women could get from Tier 4 to the WSL (4to1). I then approached the club with the True Blue proposal and they decided to back it! From there we set up the website and launched the scheme which has been a great success with so many fans buying into the vision.

How did the idea of True Blue come about?

Last season a group of players and staff met regularly to research further what it would take for a Tier 4 team to reach the WSL, these conversations sparked 4to1. From 4to1 True Blue was born after more  brainstorming and ideas in lockdown.

The club’s membership, True Blue, has had a good start with many fans signing up. That must be encouraging?

True Blue has been fantastic in terms of the support we have received from so many supporters. It’s really encouraging to know this is just the start and, hopefully, there will be lots more to come. It had been a really strong start, a great shame that there have not been many games to attend due to COVID-19.

What were the goals of setting up the True Blue membership? 

The main aim was to share the team’s vision and offer an opportunity for anyone to become part of the journey from Tier 4 to Tier 1. It has got the ball rolling and encouraged further thinking and ideas into how the 4to1 dream can be made possible.

How does the money from memberships help the club?

The money from memberships pays for staff such as a physio, strength and conditioning coach and technical coaches. It also helps on away trips to provide transport for players to venues further afield and occasionally overnight stays. The money from memberships is so crucial to allow us to continue being successful and striving for the 4to1 vision. As a whole we are hugely grateful for every penny received, it means we get to do what we love and build something which should be entertaining, inspiring and exciting to watch.

Are there plans for future events for True Blue members? When it’s safe to do so of course.

Yes. We can’t wait to welcome True Blue members back into the grounds when allowed to do so. There are definitely exciting prospects in the pipeline!.

How important is True Blue to the future and what the club has planned moving forward?

True Blues are so crucial to our plans moving forwards, the support we receive at games and on social media is unreal. We couldn’t ask for a better, more supportive fanbase. My aim of starting True Blue was to incorporate the fans into being part of the journey. We hope to make lots more history that we want to share with the people who support us most.

Are there plans for more initiatives and benefits for True Blue members?

We are always brainstorming ideas for True Blues, a lot of which will come into play when we restart matches. I think the addition of livestream access has been great, thanks to Kieren, Ross and Tom for their persistence!

How have you found the England camps you’ve been part of?

They’re a great environment showcasing the top talents in the country which is amazing to be a part of. They are normally intense but enjoyable and provide lots of opportunity to progress and develop as a player.

Does having players from the same club help when going on the England camps?

It’s great. It’s comforting to see familiar faces around camp, especially when there are so many of us. Proportionately we normally take over a quarter of the U19’s camps – the highest number of players from one club on camp. It shows how aspirational ITFC Women are as a club and has definitely turned a few heads.

How did you feel when we drew your former club Man City in the FA Cup last season?

I could not believe it to be honest. It took me 3 or 4 days to actually comprehend what it meant, a real shock. I was hoping we’d get a big team (preferably City) but wanted the game to be at home. Although we had so many fans travel up it almost felt like a home game!.

Did you catch up with any former team mates at Man City?

I know a few of them were watching in the stands. Emma Bissell who was in the U21 squad with me 2 years ago came on in the second half which was good to see. It was definitely a strange feeling going back!

You don’t usually stay overnight for away games. We did it twice last season with Huddersfield and City, how did you find the experience of having the overnight stay and preparing on match day?

It doesn’t really affect me that much, it’s definitely beneficial to not travel 3 hours + on the day of a game. It’s something I have got used to through England camps and doesn’t phase me now. It’s good fun to spend more time with the team than normal and chill in the hotel.

What personal goals have you set yourself for this season?

My goals have definitely changed from the start of the season! The main goal is to get back match fit without any recurring issues or injuries. I have just done my first session of non-contact training this week with the U21 Academy, so it’s looking good so far, but of course I am prepared for more hiccups.

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Match Previews

Pre Match Preview – AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon v Ipswich Town

Sunday 20th December – 2pm KO – No fans allowed.

True Blue members will receive an exclusive livestream of the game. Get signed up here https://www.itfcwomen.co.uk/true-blue.html

And just like that, we’re back to square one!. Unfortunately we won’t be attending this weekends League fixture as Ipswich head into London to face AFC Wimbledon due to the tier 3 restriction in the area. The club are looking to provide True Blue members with a stream of the game, but this depends if the ground can provide the facilities to make this happen such as internet ect.

This will be a tough fixture for the Tractor Girls, and Joe Sheehan’s side will most certainly be gunning for revenge after last season’s visit ended in Ipswich’s first loss of the season, and not forgetting THAT shocking refereeing display that was on show.

Pre-Match Chat –

Disappointment at the fact no one can attend this fixture, which Wimbledon will see as a big positive considering the good following Town usually attract!. This weeks FA Cup Draw which handed Ipswich with another away trip to Billericay has also caused conversation after most of Essex has been moved into tier 3 also!.

Team Talk –

Blue Wilson is on the road to recovery along with Emma Wallis, but this fixture will come too soon for them. Apart from them, Joe Sheehan has a fresh side to select from. Youngsters Maddie Biggs and Zoe Barratt both appeared in the 9-2 win at Harlow last weekend and will both be hoping to be part of the squad at Wimbledon given their recent goals in u21 games. Joe named a strong side at Harlow last weekend and would expect pretty much the same side to appear this Sunday too.

The Opposition –

Lets not be fooled by the table!. Wimbledon currently sit 6th in the league and have played 1 more game than Town, but this is one of the toughest teams we faced last season and were up there with us when the season was stopped.

Jessica Lewry and Katie Stanley currently sit as Wimbledon’s top scorers with 4 goals each this season in their opening 5 games. They also, just like Ipswich, have goals from all over the pitch and not just reliant on their strikers, so the Town defence will need to be on their toes to keep the Dons at bay.

Players To Watch –

Georgia Allen’s hat-trick at Harlow will have given the midfielder a massive boost after recovering from a knee injury at the start of the season. Anna Grey has attracted the attention of the fans with her recent performances and assists. And Sophie Peskett, who scored a brilliant goal at Harlow and has been pivotal in the Tractor Girls wins this season will certainly be looking to add to her goal tally.

Milestone –

Town Striker, Natasha Thomas, is 1 goal away from entering the 100 club. Her next goal will be her 100th Ipswich Town goal. The girl loves to see the net bulge!!.

From The Squad –

Town winger, Sophie Peskett, spoke to Media Manger Kieren Standley before this weekend’s meeting.

“We know it’s a big game and we’ve got to respect them a lot”

“We can’t underestimate anyone”

“Last year we were really disappointed with that result. We’ve been looking to get back at it and we’ll be looking to get back at them”

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Post Match Verdict – Harlow Town (A)

Sunday 13th December

Harlow Town 2-9 Ipswich Town

Ipswich Line-Up –

Williamson (GK), Hubbard (c), Egan, Peake, Rossiter, Lafayette, Allen, King, Grey, Peskett, Thomas

Subs – Meollo, Sutherland, Barratt, Cooper, Biggs, Abrehart, Adamson, Wakefield, Billson.

A highly anticipated game as Joe Sheehan’s side return to action after a second lockdown. Just over a month has passed since we last saw the girls in action in the last round of the FA Cup at Norwich. A good crowd followed the Tractor Girls over the Essex and Suffolk border to face a Harlow Town team as they look to carry on their FA Cup run.

Scoring early has been something of a habit for Ipswich this season and that continued here. Town took the lead just 5 minutes in when Paige Peake’s cross found the head of Natasha Thomas whose flick found the far bottom corner. It only took Ipswich 2 minutes to double their lead when Georgia Allen took advantage of the Harlow goalkeeper’s mistake, and tucked the ball home.

Harlow certainly weren’t letting themselves go down easy, fighting for every ball and chasing down the Ipswich defence at every opportunity. The third goal came after 17 minutes when town hit the hosts on the break from a corner kick. Anna Grey used her pace to carry the ball down the left, seen her shot blocked and crossed the rebound to Eloise King who was more than happy to slot it in to make it 3-0.

Anna Grey was involved again as Ipswich went on the attack. Grey’s low cross was fumbled by the keeper and landed perfectly for Georgia Allen to tap into the empty net for 4-0.

Harlow heads didn’t drop, a cross from the right side found Manning on the far post to head the ball home and the Essex side believing a comeback was on. Harlows’ constant pressure and closing down the ball paid off after 26 minutes when a sloppy back pass put former Tractor Girl Georgia Box through on goal who chipped the ball over the onrushing Lucy Williamson to make it 4-2 and giving the hosts a huge boost.

Town found the ascendency and took back control of the game just after the half hour mark. Peake’s cross was flicked on my Natasha Thomas and Eloise King was more than happy to fire it past the keeper and give Joe Sheehan’s side the momentum again. This paid off massively as Georgia Allen completed her first half Hat-Trick, getting on the end of Anna Grey’s cross and turning the ball into the top corner. This was just 1 of 3 goals before the break!. Next up was Sophie Peskett, with what I would say is the goal of the game. A short corner from Paige Peake allowed Sophie to turn inside and past her marker, make a run into the box and bend the ball into the far top corner. And just before the break, from another Paige Peake corner, a bullet header from Abbie Lafayette, to give the Tractor Girls an 8-2 lead at half time.

A slugish second half saw only 1 goal, which come from Natasha Thomas, who is now only 1 goal away from her 100th Ipswich Town Goal. Paige Wakefield, Amy-Leigh Abrehart and Livvy Billson come on midway though the second half and later joined by Lindsey Cooper and Maddie Biggs as Ipswich looked to get goal number 10.

The Ups and Downs

It was probably expected to have some cobwebs to brush off after having a month away and no games to play but we could also say, maybe we have been spoilt and expecting perfect football each week is being a bit selfish. Harlow put a good account in for themselves and can take solace in being one of only 2 teams to score past Lucy Williamson this season, we won’t mention who the other one is though!.

Despite the result, Town didn’t look as sharp as they have been, but are we maybe expecting perfect football week in week out after having such a good start to the season?.

Player Of The Match –

Georgia Allen got our vote this week after a brilliant display, not just her Hat-Trick, but a brilliant display all round. Controlling the midfield and spraying the ball about the pitch, finding team mates in space to maintaining control regardless of pressure from the opposition. Georgia’s late runs into the box saw her cause problems for Harlow’s Centre Backs that they simply couldn’t stop. Performances like this will put her right up there with Natasha Thomas come the end of the season in the race for the Golden Boot.

A special mention also to Anna Grey, who played brilliantly, and was simply unstoppable. Her assists in this game proved massive and seems to be really enjoying her game at the moment.

Post Match With Joe –

Joe Sheehan has seen his side come away with multiple clean sheets this season while also scoring plenty of goals. But the Town manager was pleased with the show at Harlow despite not keeping a clean sheet.

“We’re delighted to have a positive result and progress into the next round”

“I was intrigued to see how we would react off the back of conceding two”

“It can be difficult to find that edge when you’ve got a comfortable lead”

Categories
Match Previews

Pre-Match Preview – Harlow Town

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Harlow Town v Ipswich Town

Sunday 13th December – Harlow Arena, CM19 5BE – 2pm KO – Free entry, maximum 400 fans.

Sunday’s certainly haven’t been the same since that 3-1 win at Norwich back in November, it almost feels like the start of a new season!. Joe Sheehan’s side continue where they left off, in FA Cup action as the Tractor Girls cross the border into Essex to pay a visit to Harlow Town, who have been gaining some attention recently.

Pre-Match Chat –

Probably not a lot since we haven’t played in nearly a month and a half, but fans will be happy to be back following the girls. Although the news of Paige Shorten’s replacement as Assistant Manager being whittled down to 2 applicant may cause a conversation.

Team Talk –

This could be a tricky to predict. Town fielded a rotated side against Peterborough Northern Star two rounds ago, who play in the same league as Harlow Town. But some may argue that, after soo long without a game, Joe may field his strongest side to get them gelled again and back into the rhythm of things. Pictures of Midfielder, Blue Wilson, back in training this week after an injury she picked up during an England Training Camp, look positive that we could see her back soon.

The Opposition –

Dean Perrett’s side currently sit 6th in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League, 1 level below Ipswich Town. After 5 games, they have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1, scoring 14 goals in the process and conceding 9. Harlow currently occupies a few former Tractor Girls, including Georgia Box and Amy Nash. Georgia is currently sitting as the sides top scorer with 7 goals in 10 appearances while Amy occupies the captaincy for the Essex side.

Players To Watch –

This is difficult to say as we don’t know if Joe is going to stick or twist from the Norwich game. Either way, the squad has an abundance of talent. Amy-Leigh Abrehart starting in the Peterborough Northern Star game and put in a brilliant performance to match!. And with Zoe Barrett bagging 2 goals in midweek for the u21 side at Brighton, could that give her a chance in the first team?, Zoe also started against Peterborough NS.

From The Squad –

Joe Sheehan looked ahead to Sunday’s game with club Media Manager and Club Secretary, Kieren Standley.

“We’re looking forward to playing, we like playing, we like winning games and that’s something we hopefully pick up again when we return”

Categories
Uncategorized

The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz – Final Round

Another one bites the dust at the top of the league, only 4 remain. Can they hold on, or will there be a twist in the final round.

If there is a tie remaining come the end of the final round

If we have a tie come the end of the final round, we will determine a winner by calculating how long each person has taken to complete the five rounds combined and the one with the quickest time will win.

Good luck, you’re going to need it! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/676F8RY