Sunday 29th April
A game from FAWPL South East Division One this afternoon on Women’s Football East back to Mildenhall Town FC for one last time this season to watch Cambridge United WFC take on Enfield Town Ladies.
A change of venue unfortunately Cambridge United WFC as they were scheduled to play at The Abbey Stadium. The pitch deemed unplayable the game switched back to their usual home ground at Mildenhall, that pitch looking in fantastic condition considering the stage of the season at the amount of games played on it. A new metal fence fitted alongside the pitch too since my last visit.
Today’s contest between the sides currently sitting 8th and 9th in the table. The A10 derby the sides have enjoyed many close contests over recent seasons. Cambridge United WFC have been in the top half of the table for much of the season, a transitional season with several new players haven’t captured the form from last season inconsistent haven’t picked up the points where they should recently dropping down the table as others below them find form at the end of the season, all very close in the middle of the table.
Enfield Town Ladies themselves have had an up and down season losing games early on have since stabilised and like Cambridge their results have varied in the bottom half of the table well clear of the danger zone. Playing their penultimate game of the season can’t finish any higher than 9th. Enfield are one of several sides I haven’t been able to get to watch a game this season so will be good to see them today
The Mildenhall pitch a credit to the club especially with The Abbey Stadium pitch unfit. Described it several times before a slope from on goal mouth to the other. Plenty of width on offer. What’s happened to the weather? This time last week needed the suncream, not it’s back to being wet and miserable. Overcast a chilly a few spots of rain around. A monsoon heading our way tomorrow…wonderful…
Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Laura Bright (C), Charlotte Crisp, Laura Baker, Amy Howlett, Faith Hewitt, Lauren Cartwright & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Carolyn Sarafian, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Lauren Gibson & Mollie Coupar.
Enfield Town Ladies starting XI – Kerrie Marlborough, Sheryce Slater, Cally Browne, Laura Elias, Claire Ford, Holly Brandon, Rhiannon Bassett, Olivia Martin, Regan Coleman (C), Lisa Kline & Katherine Long. Subs – Beth Dempsey, Andrea Hunyadi, Kally-Anne Westgarth & Katrina Martin.
It’s Enfield to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with blue shorts and blue and white hooped socks with Cambridge attacking up the slope lined up opposite wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts black shorts and socks. The ball pinging around in the middle as both sides close the ball down quickly, Cambridge’s Laura Baker knocking it on through the middle for Kelley Blanchflower to run onto peeling away to the right, closed down she takes on the early shot looking to lob the ball in towards goal lacking height and power Enfield goalkeeper can gather safely.
Cambridge regain possession in the centre Charlotte Crisp with the forwards pass Lauren Cartwright picking it up 20 yards out screws a rising shot wide of the target from 20 yards out. Katherine Long nicks in on Cambridge captain Laura Bright to take the ball in behind heads for the box, Bright quick to recover doesn’t let Long get a shot away stepping into the tackle to win the ball.
Cambridge push forwards the ball out to Blanchflower who has moved out to the left turns inside her ball into the area for Cartwright she lays it back to Faith Hewitt outside the area her ball for Amy Howlett to the right just a little too heavy inside the box, Howlett goes after it fires the ball back into the area, the shot is hit the ball heading towards goal Marlborough with the instinctive save stooping to parry the ball back out into bodies in front of her a 2nd shot comes in Marlborough making another reactive save to push the ball away to the left.
Lisa Kline bringing the ball on inside right lays it on for Coleman ahead of her Bright coming across wins the challenge. Cambridge come forwards on the left the ball played across field Emma Jenkins coming on through the middle helping it on for Howlett breaking clear on the right her cross into the box Blanchflower looking to get on the end of it Claire Ford defends for Enfield putting the ball behind for the corner kick. Long defending at the far post heads the ball clear for Enfield.
Enfield with a counter attack Coleman with the ball on the left her pass inside to Long, all of 30 yards out takes a pop at goal, doesn’t trouble Savannah Smith in the Cambridge goal. Smith creates her own trouble not long after a miscued kick from a pass back by Kayleigh-Anne Burt at the back on her left presents the ball straight to Kline, top of the area she looks to take a touch to round the keeper, Smith dives at her feet snatching the ball from the attacker. The match being played at the god tempo both sides exploiting the width on offer.
Howlett with the run forwards the pass on for Blanchflower, Ford in to tackle the Cambridge attacker. Cambridge retain possession in the final third winning a corner on the right. A good delivery into the box Holly Brandon winning the ball for Enfield. Enfield look to build an attack Cambridge win it back turn play around quickly Bright on for Cartwright turning in behind, Laura Elias getting back on her to slide in and tackle.
Cambridge are playing well getting forwards win a corner on the left a good delivery in by Hewitt claimed high by Marlborough unchallenged at her near post. Elias with the tackle to take the ball away from Blanchflower on the right channel as Cartwright attempts to play her in on goal. Howlett looking to keep the ball in on the right is tackled by Cally Browne the ball out for a throw in. Cambridge press Enfield at the back the ball worked around the top of the area. Hewitt with a shot on the left 20 yards out falls wide of the near post.
Enfield chances are rare a spell of possession brings them a corner on the right the ball attacked near post knocked down into the area as Cambridge defend then are awarded a free-kick. Burt defends well up against Kline as high ball is played up to her through the middle. Cartwright on the ball brings it on through the middle, Blanchflower moving right ahead of her helps the ball on for Howlett the cross in too close to the keeper Marlborough gathering at her near post. Hewitt breaking on the left receives a crossfield pass 20 yards from goal attempts to slide Blanchflower in on goal the attacker can’t quite reach it before Marlborough can claim it.
Enfield are restricted to shots from distance, Long’s effort charged down by Burt 25 yards out. Sheryce Slater with good defensive work at right back to get her head on the ball stop Hewitt from running in clear behind her. A good contest between Blanchflower in attack for Cambridge and Ford in defence for Enfield, Ford stands off Blanchflower this time as she shifts the ball outside the area left side gets a shot it bouncing wide across goal out the far side. Kline gathers the ball on the right as Enfield attack Carrie Bennett tackles her, Kline retains the ball coming inside Burt closes her down to deny her a shot on goal.
Elias with a good tackle inside the box as Howlett crosses the ball in from the right looking for Cartwright. Late into the 1st half Cambridge continue to attack Hewitt inside to Blanchflower played on to Howlett right side coming inside Browne puts in the blocking tackle right on the edge of the area, Howlett wriggles free with the ball taking it past her her strike at goal is grabbed by Marlborough. A late free-kick for Enfield inside the Cambridge half a fair way out but that doesn’t stop Slater taking on the shot her effort over.
Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Enfield Town Ladies
Goalless at the break. Cambridge with an impressive 45 minutes have created most of the chances attacking well. Not using the ball as well as they could in the final third perhaps should have the lead but at 0-0 Enfield are very much still in the game have worked hard at the back defensively haven’t been able to retain the ball going forwards the game played at a high tempo. Will the chances be taken 2nd half.
Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway attacking down the slope no changes for either side. Kline with an early opportunity to get on the attack for Enfield on the right receiving the ball from Rhiannon Bassett up the line her cross in won by Bright for Cambridge. The home side counter attack Baker on for Blanchflower her pass inside to Cartwright outside the area, Elias with the tackle for Enfield. A corner kick to Cambridge on the right a good delivery in as players crowd the near post goes long across goal Cartwright there can’t provide the telling touch to divert it over the line.
Careless at the back form Cambridge attempting the back pas on the left side again Burt getting the ball back to the keeper, out wide the return ball intercepted by Coleman, Burt quickly on her forced to lunge in concedes the free-kick a dangerous position wide of goal, Slater forwards to take it her ball in across the six yard box Bright stepping out puts her head on it to clear for Cambridge. Get the ball up the other end win a corner on the right taken quickly Browne intercepts the ball turning it behind for a 2nd corner.
Enfield attack the ball on by Martin into Long right for Kline, Bennett clearing the ball, Long retrieves and is fouled another free-kick for Enfield right side Slater comes forwards to take once again a good ball into the area Long up highest heads the ball towards goal straight at Smith the goalkeeper takes the ball down into her body.
GOAL! An hour played and the dead lock is broken Cambridge taking the lead the home side with a rapid attack have Enfield stretched at the back the ball on through the middle for Blanchflower, top of the area Slater gets across to get her head on the ball knocking it away to the right Blanchflower goes after it is clipped in the process and although she stays on her feet the referee blows up pointing to the spot a penalty to Cambridge. Baker to take it. Coolly sends it low to the keepers left into the bottom corner of the goal 1-0.
Crisp is fouled on the left as she brings the ball on a free-kick to Cambridge players up as Hewitt sends the ball into the area Marlborough able to claim at her near post. Cambridge regain possession winning a throw on the right high up the pitch then get a corner the ball played into the six yard box is knocked out to the edge of the area Burt lashes a shot back in the ball charged down the rebound coming to Crisp her strike blocked at pointblank range as Enfield defend.
Ford with more good defensive work up against Blanchflower as she almost gets through on goal through the middle. A change for Enfield, Elias comes off Andrea Hunyadi on. Crisp with the pass out to Hewitt plays it on for Blanchflower moving left ahead of her, the cross in cut out by Brandon. A shot out of nothing for Enfield from 20 yards out drops wide of the near post as Long and Kline converge on the ball. A warning for Cambridge that for all their attacking play they lead is a slender one.
Blanchflower takes the ball on down the left turning inside evading the challenge getting into the box closing in on goal opens up her body to send a shot wide over the keeper, not wide enough as Marlborough is able to pluck the rising ball out of the air. Enfield are pressing more forwards now Hunyadi in midfield getting the ball into Kline on the right, Burt tackling. Kline strong on the ball again the pass inside from the right into Long she chests it down 25 yards out looking to turn and shoot Jenkins gets across to take the ball away from her. Coleman sending the loose ball wide of goal.
A double switch for Enfield, Browne and Bassett coming off, Beth Dempsey and Kally-Ann McGrath coming on. 10 minutes left on the clock Mollie Cougar being readied for Cambridge to replace Blanchflower up top. Cougar with an immediate impact picking the ball up from a throw on the left takes the ball on into the box the challenge against her deflecting the ball straight into the path of Crisp 20 yards out left of the D the ball not troubling Marlborough.
Enfield are gaining a little momentum late on sensing they can get something in the closing stages push forwards. Cambridge caught in two minds defend what they have or go for a 2nd goal. Brandon winning the ball at the back on for McGrath she is tackled by Bennett the full back for Cambridge then getting fouled. Enfield on the attack late on win a free-kick on the right wide the ball played into the area plenty forwards Long heading the ball on another touch before Ford sends her header in towards goal Smith catching the ball, the final action of the game as Cambridge win the game 1-0 to secure the 3 points.
Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Enfield Town Ladies
A good performance from Cambridge deserving of the 3 points creating plenty of opportunities going forwards unlucky not to be leading at half-time finally broke the dead-lock after an hour awarded a penalty and Baker stepping up to score. A narrow lead however and Enfield were never out of the game and one clinical chance might have been all they needed to take something from the game. Cambridge defending from the front turning play around quickly.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award goes to Cambridge’s Kelley Blanchflower. Led the line well ready for the ball whenever Cambridge turned play around, running into the channels and bringing others into play. Keeping the Enfield defence busy for the whole time she was on the pitch and winning the all important penalty.
Well it wasn’t The Abbey but good to go back to Mildenhall none the less. My thanks to Enfield for their help with the team details this afternoon. Less than a month of the season left, could say I’m winding down but I’d be lying, the next game will soon be around.