Archives for posts with tag: North Haymarket Ladies

Goodison (unknown game)

The Aintree Munitions Ladies team had spent several months visiting grounds in Wirral, Chester, Wrexham, St Helens and yet they had never actually played a game in the city they lived and worked in, Liverpool.

Touring the more provincial towns did however give the ladies the opportunity to perfect their skills as footballer in front of ever growing crowds. The introduction of the Haymarket Munitions Ladies added a new dimension as the ladies could play a team not handicapped like many of the men’s teams they played.

By April 1918 the Aintree Ladies had raised around £600 for the Sportsman’s Ambulance fund and played in front of an estimated 30,000 spectators over the months. With increasing interest in the ladies game it would only be a matter of time before a ground more use to men’s First Division football would request the lady’s services.

The game at Prenton Park in 1918 had heavily involved the Everton Chairman of Directors Mr W R Clayton and so it was not surprising he arranged for the Aintree Munitions Ladies to play Haymarket Munitions Ladies at Goodison.

The Aintree Ladies would make their debut at one of the county’s great stadiums on Easter Monday with a high attendance expected. The Liverpool Echo carried an article claiming the women had scored 55 goals this season without conceding a single goal. Although completely untrue the Aintree Ladies were the stronger side going into the game.

Unlike previous games the match at Goodison was to raise funds for the Fallen and Disabled Footballers Fund.

Although the local press had lost a fair amount of enthusiasm for the ladies matches they gave the game at Goodison a good billing.

Aintree kicked off and their dominance of the game began as Haymarket struggled to make it past Miss Geddes and Burrows in the Aintree defence. Miss Geddes was described as ‘Thompson like’ and received great applause from the spectators.

Aintree however struggled as the Echo stated the length of the pitch was too much for the ladies who failed to score from their breakaways due to being so tried from the run up field.

By the end of the first half the scored stood at 0-0 with Aintree failing to capitalise on their dominance.

The slightly longer interval however gave the ladies time to regroup and both teams came out with much more vigour. Aintree however came out the better side pressuring the Haymarket defence time after time. But the best efforts of the Haymarket defence could not stop Aintree and Miss Williamson drew first blood for . Molyneux, one of Aintree’s top scorers made it two from a corner and then scored the third.

Aintree won a penalty which Molyneux stepped up to take, however Haymarket’s Miss Blacklock cleared the shot with no difficulty. This did not dampen Aintree though as they scored their fourth from a free kick. Miss Reece eyed up the goal, shot and found the back of the net.

The final score was 4-0 to Aintree.

The attendance of at the game is not clear but according to Everton FC records the gate receipt for the game was £211 13s 4d, which was a considerable sum.

Several days after the game an opinion piece was place in the Liverpool Echo about the game which summed up well the changing attitude towards the ladies game ‘Many must have gone to Goodison Park on Monday Morning for a pantomimical affair, and they had their eyes opened. There were laughable incidents of course but some of the players showed such good form that the possibilities of Ladies football had to be recognised.’

By playing at Goodison the home of one of the biggest men’s team in the country Aintree and Haymarket had come of age in the sporting world. From this one would expect the two teams to go even further…….but did they…..?

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The Aintree Munitions Team after playing men’s teams and themselves would at Prenton Park taken on their biggest challenge as they took on the North Haymarket Munitions Factory Team.

There is not other mention of the Haymarket team in the Press before the game against Aintree but it is likely they too played teams internally at their factory and then men’s teams.

This game would become a turning point in the course of women’s football in the Merseyside area. The reason for this was the involvement of Mr W R Clayton the chairman of directors at Everton Football Club. Clayton helped arrange this and later games for the Aintree team. Why he became interest in women’s football is unclear but he may have seen the numbers who were willing to watch the women’s game and saw there was a profit to be made.

Unlike the Birkenhead North game the local Wirral press did publise the game fairly well. In the day leading up to the game it was said that the completion would be a good one as there was not ‘no love lost’ between the two teams.

There is no image from this game which is a real shame as the kits the ladies wore sound some what outlandish. The Aintree girls wore blue jumpers with red facings and the North Haymarket team worn green jumpers with salmon coloured ties and green caps.

The pitch that day did not sound to be in the best condition but the Birkenhead News reported ‘…the mud did daunt them, and their courage was almost Spartan-like…’ The previous evening had seen very heavy rain and the pitch was little more than quagmire.

From the start Aintree took control of the game and appeared to be more experienced of the two sides. Haymarket attempted to break through the Aintree defence but Nellie Woods beat back the Haymarket girls and ‘dumped’ several players into the mud.

The crowds were in a roar of laughter when players fell into the mud as for many this game was comical event. One player was even seen washing the mud off her face in a dirty pool which had appeared on the pitch over night.

The girls didn’t seem to mind the mud and they could be just as physical as the men. After one girl lost the ball to another she race up to her opponent and pulled at her hair resulting in her losing her hat.

But some observed the skills of the players and saw the women’s game in a new light. One player Clayton for Aintree speed was complimented by the skilful pass she made to Tyson who put the first goal in the back of the net.

The Birkenhead News described the rest of the first half was ‘…a series of bustling tactics without substantial result, and the Grand National crowd finished up with a goal to the good.’

In the second half Aintree showed their dominance with Reece adding a second and third goal for Aintree. With the 90 minutes nearly up Clayton again put an impressive ball into the path of Jones this time who made the final score 4-0 to Aintree.

The Birkenhead Advertiser stated ‘The football abilities of the girls was such that some of the male clubs will have to look to their laurel if they wish to crow over their female rivals.’

Although much of the match reports focused on the comedic value of women’s football the Birkenhead Advertiser also discussed the skills of the women’s teams in the way they did men. The Advertiser stated Haymarket ‘…could not cope with the rushes of this clever quintette of girls…’

Alongside this specific players were being picked out not for their hilarity but their attributes as a footballer. Miss Mabel Wilson and Miss Nellie Woods were singled out for Haymarket who the journalist believed their defensive skills stopped the score being trebled. For Aintree Miss Clayton’s forward skills made her the stand out player.

After playing at Prenton Park the Ladies then moved on to Chester and Wrexham to continue their charity work whilst improving their skills.