Norwich City Ladies go goal crazy to confirm Norfolk County Cup semi-final place

Nadine Basson hit six goals in Norwich City Ladies' 23-0 win against Aylsham.

Nadine Basson hit six goals in Norwich City Ladies' 23-0 win against Aylsham. - Credit: Archant

While Norwich City failed to find the net against QPR on Saturday, their ladies' counterparts had no such trouble as they thrashed Aylsham 23-0 in the quarter-finals of the Norfolk County Cup.

Norwich City Ladies outclassed their opponents from the very first minute as Vicki Stephens opened the scoring although Aylsham's task was not made any easier when they were reduced to 10 players early on.

The Canaries proceeded to go goal crazy to confirm their place in the last four of the competition where they will face Thorpe United.

Manager Emma Fletcher, 38, admitted the margin of victory demonstrated her side's dominance over proceedings but reserved praise for Aylsham for keeping going until the final whistle. 'To be honest we play in a much higher league than the opposition do,' said Fletcher. 'We did have one of our better games which probably didn't help them. When you come into the County Cup you do play teams from lower leagues and it's an opportunity to get a few goals past them but obviously be respectful. We were firing on all cylinders and we hit them quite hard.'

Nadine Basson hit a double hat-trick along with Anna Larkins whilst Gabrielle Whitehurst notched a treble. Grace Parker, Hayley Collison, Natalie Clarke, Vicki Stephens (two), Kate Parsons (2) and Kyla Love were also among the scorers.

Whilst County Cup success would be nice for Fletcher & Co, like Chris Hughton's side, the main priority for this season is to stay in the league they currently operate at.

City Ladies play in the South East Combination League and after a summer of transition, which saw many player departures, Fletcher's main priority has been to steady the ship.

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'This season has been a transitional one for us - we lost several players to America, to university and one player to a higher league,' said Fletcher, whose side are exceeding expectations sitting in third place. 'We're a very young side and it's been about us maintaining our position in the league which we seem to be doing.

'Our goal has been to stay in the league and looking at it now we will be looking for a top half finish.'

Fletcher believes women's football is on the ascent and is glad girls are getting the opportunities that weren't there for her as a player when she took up the game at 11.

'Things have changed so much since I started,' she said. 'I was only 11 when I started and you could play competitively in the women's game. Now you have to be 16 and the difference between when I played to where we are now is incredible.

'The support the FA have given the women's game is fantastic. The introduction of the women's Super League in this country will hopefully prevent big players from going abroad, which is key to sustain women's football.'

Fletcher, who works as a charity fundraising officer at the Community Sports Foundation, is also grateful for the support from Norwich City Football Club although much of the work she and the rest of the management undertake is voluntary.

'Sometimes because of the name we have and the link to the football club I think some people think we get the support day in, day out,' she said.

'They are very supportive – we have a section on their website and they provide us with a kit every year. But financially we don't receive backing from them although we do receive a lot of things from them which makes a difference for us.'

Norwich City: Coombes, Newcombe, Diston, Parker, Cooper, Collison, Whitehurst, Clark, Basson, Larkins, Stephens . Subs (Roll on Roll off): Gray, Parsons, Love.

è Norwich resume league action on Sunday when they welcome South East Combination team Brentwood to Plantation Park, kick-off 2pm.