In 2016 and just one year after Notts County Ladies appeared in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium in front of a record crowd over 30,000 against Chelsea who would unfortunately beat the Magpies on the day 1-0, due to the struggles with the men’s side, then owner Alan Hardy felt forced, at the time to make a cost-effective decision to cut, the women’s team from WSL duties and relieve England internationals such as Ellen White, Alex Greenwood and Jess Clarke, from their regular home playing at Meadow Lane.
Six years on, it’s been tough, really tough, but Notts County Women’s Football Club can finally say they are once again part of the bigger picture, the future of NCFC the oldest professional club in the world, most certainly includes them, under Alexander & Christoffer Reedtz’s ownership, the lady magpies have at least became a ‘part of the team’ again, although there is still much to do to get them back to where they belong.
Notts County Women were set up in 2018 following the untimely demise of the original ladies team which was at the height of its game in the WSL, starting from the bottom they won promotion to the East Midlands Regional League Premier Division under Adam Dunleavy finally, after two covid hit seasons and three years unbeaten, this season they have ‘levelled out’ in the EMRL finishing their campaign respectively in sixth place, and whilst the team have played at Meadow Lane previously, back in 2020, it seems the recent opportunity to not only showcase their skills, but to promote the women’s game in general, has came at a time where there’s no better feeling about women’s football, and hopefully that will lead to more and more occasions like this.
Over 700 fans attended for a Monday night in May and Notts County impressed under the lights at the famous old stadium last night.
After an impeccably observed minutes silence for the recent passings of Sports Gateway’s Jamie Brough, and following the tragic loss of thirteen year old FC Cavaliers footballer Samuel Akwasi at the weekend, Notts got to business in perfect fashion with an early first half strike by Elle Rowson.
The Magpies number ten hitting a rocket shot to give the home side a one goal lead at the interval.
A competitive half saw a number of exchanges, Rotherham aiming to pull themselves level with Notts looking for a second, and as full time neared and the announcement of County’s player of the match, Amy Wells, was made, it was the Magpies who clawed themselves away from the Millers pressure with a second of the game, Summer Gayle off the bench to wrap things up.
The 2-0 victory won’t do much to change the league table, Notts have one game remaining against unbeaten champions Northampton Town to wrap up their campaign, win or lose they’ll finish sixth regardless, a season at learning the level, where Coach Adam Dunleavy and his girls can hold their heads up high.
After the match, was opportunity for fans to meet with players, young girls and boys, pitch side getting autographs and photos with the current crop of County, the class of 22, whilst not yet to the levels of the likes of Ellen White, arguably the greatest of all to wear the black and white stripes, these children watching will still have found their new heroines, the power of football at its finest made possible ‘just because’ it’s the right thing to do. The more Notts play at Meadow Lane in the future the better for all we say, the game is growing, and we all anticipate that to continue, having a good Notts County team will only do good for improving women and girls football in Nottinghamshire moving forward, you never know, the next Ellen White might last night have been sitting in the Derek Pavis Stand?
Notts County: Davies, Crump, Fowler, Kiddle, White, Chambers, Taylor, Reed, Rowson, Stretton, Wells. Subs: Brooks, Gayle, Staples, Holland, Francis.
*Main image @NCFC_Women Meadow Lane had an official attendance of 735 last night.