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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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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”

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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

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz – Week 4

Last week’s round caught a few people out. Top spot has gone from being shared by 7 to 5!. Only 2 more rounds to go!, who can catch Tash?

Here we go with week 4! only 1 round left after this! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CRMHVHK

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz – Week 3

Week 2 provided a couple of questions that tripped some of you up! meaning the league table has thinned out now. Joe and Tash lead the way with only a handful of fans keeping up the pace!.

With plans for the season to be resumed now in place, the final week of the quiz will be posted on the 4th of December and a winner announced on the 11th!. But for now, here is week 3’s questions. Good luck, can anyone keep up with Tash and the boss?……..

Week 3 Questions >>> https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/P2ZSPV2

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz – Week 2

30 of you took part in week 1 and ,judging by the table, week 1 was rather easy!. We even have the gaffer and some players taking part!.

We have had to step up the questions for week 2! same rules apply, only your first submission will be counted. Good luck!

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KX9W8HV

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The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz

Become a True Blue and receive great benefits, including free entry to all ITFC Women home games. Find out more here.

With the season called to a temporary halt, we need some sort of entertainment. SO!! introducing The Big Fat ITFC Women Quiz!.

How does it work?

With the season stopped, we are going to post a weekly quiz of 9 questions each week until the season resumes. We will produce a league table along with the new set of questions each week and whoever finishes top come the resumption of the season, will win an ITFC Women Team Poster signed by two players of the winners choice. Only your first try will be counted.

What if there are joint winners?

In the event of a tie at the top of the table come the end of the quiz, the joint leaders will be entered into a draw and a winner will be picked.

So!! are you ready to test your ITFC Women knowledge?. Let the most knowledgeable fan win!.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS WEEK 1 QUIZ

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East Anglian Derbies – A look back

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It’s the first game fans look for when the fixtures get released each Summer, but this weekends’ meeting between the eastern rivals meets outside of league action. Just like last season, it’s another East Anglian Derby in the Third Round Qualifying of the FA Cup and another highly anticipated clash for the Tractors Girls.

Ipswich are the runaway favourites heading into Norfolk this Sunday, having beaten the Canaries in last seasons’ FA Cup 6-1 at the Goldstar Ground while also winning the league games, 4-1 and 10-0.

Joe Sheehan’s side are yet to concede a goal in league and cup action this season while heading to Norwich on the back of 2 10-0 wins. With Natasha Thomas also firing in two Hat-tricks in as many games, this Sunday’s opponents will do well to keep her quiet.

You have to go back two seasons since the last time Norwich took points off the Tractor Girls when they won 3-0 at Plantation Park during the 18/19 season. Only Natasha Thomas and Paige Wakefield remain with the club from that game.

Meetings between Ipswich and Norwich have always been high scoring games, with the lowest combined goals over the two league games from the past five seasons being 4.

15/16 – 12 goals over 2 games

16/17 – 8 goals over 2 games

17/18 – 14 over 2 games

18/19 – 4 goals over 2 games

19/20 – 15 goals over 2 games

Last season saw the most amount of goals in the league games between the two rivals which Ipswich won 10-0 and 4-1. A standout performance from Ipswich Town fan Eloise King saw the young Midfielder get herself a Hat-trick in the away fixture at Plantation Park.

With Joe Sheehan’s side in the mood they currently find themselves, we could see another high scoring game on Sunday when they travel to Norwich’s new home, The Nest on Sunday afternoon.

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WSL Academy season set to return

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Ipswich Town’s u21 season was set to return this week as they were scheduled to host West Ham u21 at Playford Road, but this has since been called off due to the international call ups.

The young Tractor Girls’ will now have to wait until 4th November before they kick off their new season when they welcome Bristol City u21 to Suffolk. Although, Ipswich do host Kesgrave Kestrels in the Suffolk Cup on the 1st November, the same day the first team head to Norwich to face their East Anglian rivals in the 3rd round qualifying for the FA Cup, so it’s highly likely the team facing Kesgrave will be fully made up of Academy players, as most of the more featured players will head up the A140 with Joe and the first team.

Before last season was cut short, the u21 side were sitting mid-table after 17 games played with 8 wins, 1 draw and 8 losses to their name. They have some tough opposition in their league, facing the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Everton in the top tier of Women’s Academy football.

The West Ham game will now be rearranged but the Tractor Girls’ would have been relishing facing last season’s bottom side, who had lost all 16 of their games before the season was cut short and sat bottom of the league with a -84 goal difference. With the Ipswich first team flying high currently, players eligible for the u21’s currently in the first team would have been looking on keenly at this opening fixture which would have been held at Playford Road behind closed doors.

Instead, the young blues will now await the visit from Bristol City next month, then Reading a week later.