Wymondham Ladies have enjoyed their most successful season ever with a haul of trophies and promotion to the next tier of women’s football.
After clinching the ERWFL (Eastern Region Women’s Football League) Premier Division title, the squad made it a double by winning the ERWFL League Cup and are on the verge of a historic treble with the Norfolk County Cup final at Carrow Road on May 25th.
With a compact squad of 22, the team has worked as a strong and unified unit over almost 40 league, cup, and friendly matches throughout the season.
Wymondham Ladies got off to a winning start in the league with a 3-0 away win at Bedford last August and a 7-0 home victory against Colney Ladies, and have rarely looked back.
Their only two defeats were back-to-back in September - against King’s Lynn and eventual runners-up Royston - with a 2-0 away victory against local rivals Wroxham Women in October proving a key moment. Wymondham later beat Wroxham 3-2 in the return league fixture and more recently 2-1 in the League Cup final.
A 2-0 reverse against Norwich City in the First Round of the FA Cup in November failed to halt the momentum.
Yet it was no plain sailing for Wymondham, with several hard-fought and closely contested matches, including games away at Haringey, where they had to twice come from behind to win, and close matches against Luton Town and Bowers & Pitsea.
Promotion was clinched at the end of February with three games remaining (which the team went on to win), amassing 50 points from 20 league games, having won 16, drawn two and lost two.
They scored 63 goals and conceded a mere 23 with a goal difference of +40, and finished 12 points clear of nearest contenders Royston.
Solid at the back with keeper Chloe Pearce in excellent form in goal and a back line that featured Leah Newcombe, Aimee Stretch, Mary Croft, Lauren Kett and Chelsea Clarke, they posted the best defensive record in the league.
The midfielders of Katie Knights, Jen Codman, Becca Russell and Rachel Cossey have been strong defensively when required, but also creative and dynamic going forward.
And the strike force has been prolific in front of goal, led by Hannah Waters (20 league/cup goals), Fran Catchpole (16)and Laura Nicholls (15), seeing the trio third, fourth and fifth in the league top-scorers’ table, with Natasha Youngs also on nine goals.
But what has also been pleasing for manager Alex Guy – who has been supported by his coaching team of Connor Veal, Lee Edwards, and Ollie Sadd - is that goals have been coming from all over the field with Knights netting nine times and Clarke scoring seven, including several memorable free kicks and long-range efforts, and Russell also on seven goals.
The squad has been bolstered by Kyla Love (who scored seven in her nine appearances), Hayley Kindred, Lyla Studd, reserve keepers Jessica Luff and Leanne Smith, Jessica Hawkins and Summer Ward.
Alex said: “Winning the ERWFL Premier Division is a massive achievement as it is a very competitive league with a lot of strong teams.
“We’ve got a fantastic group of players and coaches that have worked hard for each other and believe in each other. We set our target as winning the league at the start of the season and were delighted to have achieved that.”
With promotion to tier 4 of the FA Women’s National League, Wymondham have now set up a development squad to bring on emerging football talent and feed in to the successful first team.
Looking ahead to next season, Wymondham Ladies 1st Team will move from Ketts Park to play home matches at the refurbished pitch and facilities at the FDC Centre in Bowthorpe, Norwich.
In their latest cup win, Wymondham Ladies clinched the ERWFL League Cup on Sunday, May 8, in a hard-fought encounter with Wroxham at The New Croft at Haverhill.
A ninth minute goal from Hannah Waters separated the teams until Chelsea Clarke’s stunning free-kick settled the tie in the 90th minute of normal time, though Wroxham pulled one back with a penalty with virtually the last kick of the match.
Wymondham now go on to meet Norfolk Division One champions Mulbarton Belles in the Norfolk County Cup (The Harrod Sport Women’s Cup) final at Carrow Road on May 25th, kick-off, 7.45pm.