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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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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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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”

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Match Previews

Match Preview – Norwich City

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Norwich City vs Ipswich Town

Sunday 1st November – The Nest, Norwich, NR10 3AQ – 1pm ko – ticket only.

The first East Anglian Derby of the season is upon us as Ipswich Town head into Norfolk in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round. The two sides faced off in the exact same round last season at the Goldstar Ground where the Tractor Girls run away with the win. This time around, the roles have reversed but Joe Sheehan’s side, who have scored 20 goals in their last 2 games and conceded none, will be very much in the hunt for the same result.

Pre-Match Chat –

As expected with any derby game, every Ipswich fan will be fully up for the visit to Norwich on the back of what has been an amazing start to the season for Town. Striker Natasha Thomas has been in unstoppable form recently and is now only 3 goals away from taking her goal tally for the club to 100. What a game it would be to hit such an achievement.

Team Talk –

Last weeks games at Kent was called off due to international call ups and it seems all the players have returned home without any fresh injuries. Joe Sheehan won’t be short of options for this Sundays’ match. Molly Sutherland and Amy-Leigh Abrehart will be hoping for places in the team after fine performances last time out again Peterborough Northern Star.

The Opposition –

Norwich currently sit 7th in the league after 3 games played, with 2 wins and 1 loss to their name and manager Shaun Howes was pleased with his sides showing in the 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon last weekend. Kathryn Stanley currently sits as the Canaries top scorer with 3 goals.

Players to Watch

With 2 hat-tricks in as many games, and a club centaury on the cards, Ipswich forward Natasha Thomas won’t be letting anything get in her way on Sunday as she looks to get that 100th club goal. Ipswich fan Eloise King got a hat-trick in our last visit to Norwich and will be very much up to repeat that. Midfielder Georgia Allen looks to be part of her first East Anglian Derby since returning to Suffolk and, after some impressive opening performances, could be the key to unlocking the Norwich defence.

From The Squad –

Molly Sutherland’s performances so far this season haven’t gone unnoticed by the Ipswich Town fans and will be hoping to see more of her this weekend. We caught up with Molly to look ahead to this Sundays’ clash.

We have a very good record against Norwich in recent years, so how did the team react to drawing them in the FA Cup?

The team are, for obvious reasons, ecstatic to be drawn against Norwich, it being a derby game really does make it that little bit more exciting.

It’s a shame the game has come at a time where crowd numbers are restricted. Judging by the social media reaction, a sell out is very likely. Having that support for a derby game must give the team a boost, especially away?

The support we receive is always something we are so grateful for as it really does help push us on in times where a game may become stagnant. In recent rival games against Norwich the support has always been crazy, so it will be unfortunate if the expected capacity of fans aren’t all allowed to watch.

We beat Norwich at this stage last season. Should we be weary of a revenge mission this time round?

We take every team as serious as each other, as like I mentioned any side can be deadly with a desire to win. Although we will prepare for a good Norwich team, like all games we will go into it with confidence. We won’t be any more wary because of prior results but will instead just focus on the game at hand.

They say form goes out of the window when it comes to derby games. Is it just about playing our own game and ensuring we don’t get distracted by the occasion?

Exactly that! The game should be treated as any other so that the only thing we’re focused on is our own individual performances and how this can aid the team to victory. We know our strengths, we just need to play to them in the match.

Being a life long Ipswich fan, Eloise will be very much up for this meeting. She bagged a hat-trick last time against Norwich, I’m sure she’ll very much be looking for another this time?

Eloise is always fired up for a game against Norwich and she definitely is this time round. I think with such a good performance last time, she will be wanting to replicate this to help Ipswich produce another derby day win!

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Match Previews

Match Preview – Peterborough N S

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Ipswich Town v Peterborough Northern Star

Sunday 18th October – Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, IP11 9HT – 2pm KO (400 fans limit, first come first served)

The FA Cup brings fond memories for Ipswich Town and their fans after last season’s heroics getting the the last 16 of the competition. Seeing the girls beat teams like Portsmouth and Huddersfield to earn a big last 16 tie at Manchester City where they lost 10-0 to the WSL giants.

A big moment to remember for young Tractor Girl Maddie Biggs in last seasons competition when she scored a hat-trick at Huddersfield to help the Suffolk side into the last 16.

Pre Match Chat –

Fans will be looking for another big cup run for the Tractor Girls this season and will be anticipating the team to get past Peterborough Northern Star easily. Confidence is high within the club after a flawless opening 4 games of the season and still yet to concede a goal.

Team Talk –

Town boss, Joe Sheehan, may see this as an opportunity to give some younger faces a run out and a chance to make their bid for the first team. Players like Lucy O’Brien, Issy Bryant and Zoe Barrett could make an appearance after showing promise in pre season friendlies. Striker Zoe Barrett has already made moves into the first team this season and will be keen to make an impact in the side.

The Opposition –

Peterborough Northern Star play in the Eastern Region Women’s Premier League, alongside Ipswich Town’s pre season opponents, St Ives Town and a league above last season’s Suffolk Cup Semi finalists, East Bergholt United.

They currently sit 2nd in the league having played 4 games with 3 wins and 1 loss. Their most recent game being a midweek 1-0 win away at St Ives Town. The Cambridgeshire based side currently have 11 goals to their name from their opening 4 games, with 5 conceded.

Joe’s words –

Club Media Officer Kieran Standley spoke to Joe Sheehan before this weeks opening FA Cup game for the Tractor Girls.

“Really looking forward to it but obviously a long way to go before we get to the rounds we did last year”

“We want to progress as far as we can”

“We’ll assess the squad over the week and make some decisions that we feel as appropriate to try and get the result”

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Match Preview – Cambridge United

Ipswich Town v Cambridge United

Sunday 11th October – Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, IP11 9HT – 2pm KO (400 fans limit, first come first served)

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A return to Felixstowe this Sunday as the Tractor Girls return to to their normal home after last weeks game was moved to Playford Road due to the weather. Ipswich are now 1 of only 2 teams in the top 4 leagues to have kept a clean sheet in all 3 of their opening games. Only Everton can boast the same record, and Joe Sheehan will be looking to continue that record as well as extending Town’s impressing early season form when Cambridge United visit the Goldstar on Sunday.

Pre Match Chat –

Fans will be hoping the Tractor Girls can extend their current 100% record to 4 out of 4. The girls have looked deadly going forward in the opening 3 games and have clearly got an eye for goal bagging 8 goals in the process. Cambridge will certainly be looking to upset Ipswich’s golden clean sheet record with Joe Sheehan’s side yet to let a goal in.

Team Talk –

Ipswich welcomed back King, Grey and Allen who all started the season with injuries. Allen made her full debut last weekend and marked it with a goal inside 2 minutes, she’ll be hoping to make the same impact this week as well. Blue Wilson remains the main casualty, with the former Man City player sitting out until December with a Stress Fracture.

The Opposition –

Cambridge United head down the A14 with a win, draw and a loss to their name. Currently sitting 7th in the league, the Amber Army will know what to expect from Ipswich and know beating the current early pace setters will be a big task. But don’t be fooled!, Cambridge United have also scored 8 goals in their opening 3 games just like Ipswich, so Town must not become complacent and not underestimate their opponents. Cambridge’s Samaira Khan currently sits as the Amber Army’s top scorer with 2 goals in 3 games.

Players To Watch –

Winger Anna Grey put in a brilliant performance last week and is becoming a nightmare for defenders to keep tabs on. Both Grey and Peskett on either flank have shown great form in the opening games and Joe Sheehan will be wanting to see it continue. Last weekends’ Player Of The Match Abbie Lafayette controlled the midfield against Cambridge City. Their Cambridge rivals will need to be wise to her on Sunday if they plan on getting close to the Town defence.

From The Squad –

This week, we spoke to Ipswich Striker Maddie Biggs (Full Interview can be found here) about the opening 3 games of the season and looked ahead to this weekends meeting with Cambridge United.

Going into the game against Cambridge United with the confidence gained from them opening 3 games. You’ll obviously be wanting to carry that run on for as long as you can?

Definitely, it would be great to keep this streak going for as long as possible and get back to back wins.

Having this run so early in the season, could be the difference maker come the end?

Ye 100%, getting points on the board early is important as we don’t know what could happen later down the line, they could be deciding points.

Paige Peake is currently the top scorer with 3 goals. She’s making her claim for top scorer early on, are you up for the challenge?

Defiantly, maybe give her my 9 shirt for a run out one game 🤣

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Match Preview – Cambridge City

Ipswich Town v Cambridge City

Sunday 4th October – Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, IP11 9HT – 2pm KO (400 fans limit. first come first served)

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Joe Sheehan leads his team back to Felixstowe this Sunday as they face Cambridge City at the Goldstar Ground. The Tractor Girls go into the game on the back of 2 wins from the opening 2 games of the season match with 2 clean sheets.

Pre Match Chat –

The Tractor Girls new club Membership, True Blue, will be talked about as the club brings out it’s new Season Ticket promotion. Fans will also be pondering if Maria Boswell will keep her place at Right Back after a Player Of The Match performance against Billericay last Sunday on her First Team debut.

Team Talk –

Lindsey Cooper was taken off at Half Time last Sunday at New Lodge after taking a knock. Manager, Joe Sheehan, will be hopeful the big Centre Half will return to action this week. Molly Sutherland and Amy-Leigh Abrehart missed out last week as they joined the Academy side at Needham Market for the Suffolk Cup Final and will be hopeful of a return to the First Team this week.

The Opposition –

Cambridge City head to Felixstowe to play their 3rd game in 7 days after having a midweek fixture against rivals Cambridge United that ended 3-3. City like the press and double up on opposition players before hitting a counter attack so the Tractor Girls will need to be quick on the ball to avoid being caught in possession and needing to track back quickly. Noriwch took all 3 points from the Cambridge side last weekend with a 3-1 win. Cambridge City’s Charlotte Gillies has started the season in fine form bagging 2 goals in the opening 2 games.

Players To Watch –

Eyes will be on Maria Boswell after last weeks fine display but also, summer signing, Georgia Allan. The Ipswich Midfielder made her debut coming on at Half Time in last weeks 3-0 win at Billericay and turned the game in Town’s favour with her dominant display in midfield and assist for Sophie Peskett’s goal. Maddie Biggs also come on last Sunday and got herself on the scoresheet while coming close to getting a second shortly after.

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Match Preview – Billericay Town

Billericay Town v Ipswich Town

Sunday 27th September – New Lodge, Billericay, CM12 9SA – 2pm Kick Off

After last Sundays’ 1-0 opening day win at home to Hashtag United, Ipswich Town will be looking to get off to a good start on the road as they travel south to face Billericay Town. The Tractor Girls will face tough opposition as the Essex based club will be full of confidence following their 4-0 win away at Cambridge City last weekend.

Pre Match Chat

All the pre match conversations will be solely focused on the return of injured players as Ipswich had to shuffle the squad on the opening day due to injuries picked up by players while away on an England training camp. It was announced this week that Blue Wilson will be out for 3 months after picking up a serious injury while with England last week.

Team Talk

Centre Half Lucy Egan played as a Defensive Midfielder last week and put in a standout performance as well as scoring Town’s goal. We could see the no nonsense Defender play there again if injured players aren’t fit in time to make a return to the squad. Eloise King should be in line to return while Anna Grey and, new signing, Georgia Allen will be assessed through the week.

Billericay Strong Points

Ipswich will need to be on their guard when defending set plays against Billericay. Last weeks 4-0 win saw them cause big problems for the Cambridge City back line from Corners and Free Kicks. 2 of Billericay’s goals come from Corner Kicks, one of which resulting in winning a Penalty, which they scored, and a second direct from a Corner. They also scored from a Throw In close to the penalty area. Their players move very quick and have an organised system they follow when attacking an incoming set play. The Tractor Girls will need to mark up well to avoid being caught out.

One To Watch

Ipswich fans are still waiting to see new signing Georgia Allen in action after she missed the start of the season with a Knee injury picked up in a friendly at St Ives. Aside from Georgia, youngster Sophie Peskett put in a brilliant performance against Hashtag United last week and Billericay will do well to keep her quite and her time on the ball in a minimum.

Ground Details

Firstly, there is no parking at the ground and fans will need to seek nearby on street parking when visiting New Lodge.

As expected, strict COVID guidelines are in place. NHS Track and Trace is in operation and visitors will be required to give their details. a one in one out operation is in effect with the toilets and masks must be worn as well as social distancing maintained in the clubhouse. There is a one way system in place to ensure everyone remains at a safe distance.

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Match Preview – Hashtag United

Ipswich Town Women v Hashtag United Women

Sunday 20th September – Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, IP11 9HT – 2pm Kick Off (Gates open 12:30pm). Our Ground Guide can be found here

Due to Covid restrictions, this game will be limited to 400 supporters on a first come first served basis.

The Tractor Girls are finally back after last seasons campaign was cut short due to the Pandemic and they start at home against Hashtag United, who were know as AFC Basildon last season. Ipswich will have a chip on their shoulder after missing out on promotion last season, the Tractor Girls were sitting top of the league before the season got cut short. We teamed up with HashtagWomensFootball to look ahead to this Sundays curtain raiser.

Pre-Season

The Tractor Girls have had a really good pre-season, starting off with a win at Needham Market where they easily won 17-1 which undoubtedly gave the girls a huge boost of confidence. This was followed by a 0-2 win away at St Ives Town and a 0-6 win away at MK Dons. Watford proved too strong and beat us 3-0 on their own turf. Last Sunday, the First Team took part in a showcase match against the u21’s which saw some really good performances and a chance for fans to check out the new youngsters Joe Sheehan signed during the Summer.

New Faces

Ipswich have made a handful of new signings during the Summer, the standout one being Georgia Allen who returns to Suffolk after a spell with Arsenal and a Scholarship in the US. Ipswich fans will be itching to see the former Arsenal youth Captain return to where it all started for her and see her back in action in Blue. Georgia has joined the club at a time where Captain Amanda Crump is out of action due to pregnancy which could see Allen step into that Attacking Midfield role, but will face tough opposition from youngster and Ipswich Town fan Eloise King who really staked her claim for the position last season with impressive performances and goals.

Other new faces such as youngsters Issy Bryant and Lucy O’Brien who have put in good performances over pre-season will be wanting to stake a claim for first team places. Ipswich also have a trialist they are currently taking a look at and has played during pre-season fixtures.

Team News

Ipswich manager Joe Sheehan will have a selection headache with such a strong squad available to him and all the players showing good quality. Last season’s top scorer Natasha Thomas will be looking to hit the ground running in her bid for a Golden Boot season and will face tough opposition from youngsters Maddie Biggs and Zoe Barratt who both put in impressive performances last season. Ellie Rossiter, who started out as a Winger, has seemed to have been moved into a RB/RWB role and will be looking forward to getting back into competitive action after spending the back end of last season nursing an injury. Blue Wilson returned from a knock during Ipswich Town’s Showcase match last sunday and Georgia Allen will hopefully be back after missing some of pre-season due to injuries. Emma Wallis is returning from a second ACL injury but is expected to miss the start of the season as she continues her rehab.

Milestone

Lindsey Cooper’s next competitive fixture will be her 200th for Ipswich and, as a regular starter, could be in line to hit this landmark on Sunday. Lindsey was a big player for Ipswich last season, not just at the back, but also causing opposition defenders to have nightmares trying to mark her in the box.

Player focus –

All eyes will be on new signing Georgia Allen as the former Arsenal Captain and England International looks to make her Ipswich Town debut after her return in the Summer. Georgia will be a brilliant leader in a very young, but talented, side and fans will be looking to see where Manager Joe Sheehan fit her into his team this Sunday.

Hashtag United Women’s Pre-Season

Five wins from seven, including a victory against tier three outfit West Bromwich Albion, instantly confirms that it has been a largely successful pre-season on the pitch for the Essex side. Perhaps more pleasing for manager Jason Stephens is that the performances in four of those wins, as well as the narrow 3-2 defeat to Crawley, have set the bar at a very high level heading into the debut league campaign under the Hashtag United name.

The Tags have picked up where AFC Basildon left off, scoring goals for fun with an attacking brand of football that’s sure to be a hit with the new legion of supporters. While Sunday’s clash is, on paper, probably the hardest of the entire season, the visitors will make the trip to Suffolk with optimism.

The Summer Signings

While the bulk of the Hashtag United squad have carried over from AFC Basildon following the merger, several new faces have arrived at Park Lane this summer. Most notably, striker Evie Clarke has joined from tier two side London City Lionesses, to spearhead a frontline that already boasts this division’s top scorer of 2019/20 in Kelly Wealthall. Her quality has been evident in pre-season, and a big season will be expected of the former England youth player.

Clarke is joined by Katie Pounder, Stef Paci, Ella Hill, and Imogen Riches, adding quality all over the pitch. Hashtag United have lost a couple of promising former AFC Basildon players, but the key performers from last season have all remained – except defender Alex Bailess, who was forced into early retirement but now enjoys a non-playing role at the club – and the squad depth certainly looks a lot stronger thanks to the summer recruitment.

Hashtag United Women Team News

In addition to the pleasing performances, the pre-season schedule has been relatively kind to Hashtag United Women in regards to injuries. After coming to terms with the Bailess news, which came a few days before the first pre-season fixture, the club hasn’t been hit with any long-term absences. A couple of players have picked up knocks along the way but should be in contention for Sunday’s trip to Felixstowe. However, Pounder was an early casualty in Sunday’s friendly at West Brom, being replaced through injury just seconds into the contest and will be a doubt for this weekend.

Sunday’s opener is a massive occasion for the visitors, and not only because it delivers their first ever competitive fixture. This is a club that will be gunning for promotion but are all too aware that the talented Tractor Girls are the side to beat. Any team that can topple Joe Sheehan’s ladies will have an outstanding shot at lifting the title. For Hashtag, then, this is the litmus paper that will truly indicate where they currently stand and what improvements – if any – will be required to surmount a genuine push for promotion.

No prizes are given out in August, or rather September in this unprecedented schedule, but this already feels like a six-pointer before a ball has been kicked. For the visitors, the memories of last year’s cup clash provide another source of motivation. While there’s no shame in losing such a difficult fixture, a repeat scoreline won’t be tolerated.

One To Watch

Poppy Binding. Over the past 12 months she has progressed from a technically gifted youngster that could deliver flashes of brilliance to a genuine star that demands the ball, unlocking defences seemingly at will. If pre-season is any barometer, she may find the target with greater regularity over the next few months too.