Tuesday 8th June
Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South
This evening’s match is literally a title decider, the winner takes all in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South as 1st and 2nd meet in their final game of the season with just a point between them, Histon Ladies Development with the slender advantage as they take on 2nd placed Newmarket Town Women Development.
The Cambridgeshire Women’s leagues as you know the only county league within the East to press on with there league campaign after the country emerged from its 3rd lockdown at the end of March due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. Has been a mammoth effort by Cambs FA and the clubs themselves to get the games played. Cardea Ladies wrapping up the Championship North title the weekend before last, earning promotion to the Premiership above. That the prize too for the eventual title winners this evening.
Was touch and go as to whether Histon would be able to field a Development side at the start of the season as a split within the club saw most of the old reserves sides move to become Histon Hornets WFC. The club however felt they had enough to field to sides, the Reserves becoming the Development side. Histon’s first team playing in ERWFL Division One and when there playing season was declared null & void the club opted not to take part in the Challenge Cup set up as a replacement competition by the league, but offered players from that side the option to continue playing with the Development, several going down that route meaning the club has been able to field a mixed side of Development and senior squad players, seeing them push up the Championship South table. Dropped points in their penultimate game meaning Newmarket fast climbing the table themselves with a chance to overhaul them before the pair were due to meet in there final game of the season.
Newmarket Town Women Development keeping faith with their young squad with the senior squad playing with Histon in the ERWFL Division One largely pausing until the new season can commence a handful of seniors coming in to give useful learning experience to the young players around them. Powered up the table due to the goals wracked up by Kaitlin Elsey who has an impressive tally of 30 goals from just 11 appearances. Entering the final straight Newmarket were a point behind Histon with a game in hand that against Histon Hornets WFC on Sunday, victory would have seen them leapfrog Histon to give them the points advantage going into this evenings game, frustratingly suffered from a below par performance that saw Histon Hornet take full advantage of to win 4-0. So a point behind they remain with one game left… now a cup final Newmarket have to win to take the title, Histon prevent that and they will be crowned Champions.
Histon named as the home side the game instead taking place at Newmarket Town FC due to the unavailability of Histon’s home ground. Newmarket’s ground featuring a state of the art artificial playing surface that see’s alot of action during the week. Youth sessions taking place upon it before the game. The kitchen open serving hot food and drink. The weather warm and sunny a pleasant evening with no rain forecast.
Histon Town Ladies Development starting XI – Alison Wright, Katie Webb, Tara Fitzjohn (C), Brie Baker, Georgia Carter, Sophie Lanham, Lauren Martin, Becky Charter, Esther Mctrusty, Jordanne Sillitoe & Molly Blair. Subs – Daisy Barns, Emma Phillip, Rebekah Finch, Naomi Cooper-Jones & Flora Snelson.
Newmarket Town Women Development starting XI – Dominika Szary, Lydia Mason, Kara Wayman, Beth Woodfield (C), Becca Towler, Grace Muffett, Cerys Compton, Hannah Doyle, Leah Harper, Sarah O’Rourke & Kaitlin Elsey. Subs – Ella Cummins, Evie Jakes, Emily Davey, Annabel Cuthbert & Trixie Allsop.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Newmarket to get the game underway, wearing yellow shirts, blue shorts and yellow and blue hooped socks. Histon opposite wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks. The sun setting low behind the main stand across the pitch likely to have an impact players needing to shield their eyes. Histon getting hold of the ball straight from the off central is played into the right channel for attacker and former Newmarket player Jordanne Sillitoe, Cerys Crompton putting out a leg intercepting the ball sent up into the right channel Newmarket switch sides, Kaitlin Elsey after it, Histon captain Tara Fitzjohn at full back across to challenge the ball put out for a throw in.
Something of a bitty start both sides rushing to move the ball not finding there mark, Lauren Martin plays the ball on from midfield for Histon with Sillitoe looking to make a right channel run trying to be behind the defence, Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield getting cross her run, stooping into the header to play the ball back to goalkeeper, Dominika Szary. Newmarket come right a corner won players up into the box from the back the delivery put in central, Woodfield attacks it, doesn’t get a solid connect, Histon scrambling it away to the right winning a throw in.
GOAL! Just 4 minutes on the clock and the deadlock is broken, Histon attack down the right Katie Webb at full back carrying the ball on before sending it through for Becky Charter bursting down the wing to get in behind the defend race into the box and strike the ball hard to send it racing across the six yard box into the bottom corner 1-0.
An early blow for Newmarket, Histon making the perfect start. Hannah Doyle turning on the ball sending it on to the left Elsey racing after it, Webb moving quickly staying ahead of the striker playing it back into the area for goalkeeper, Alison Wright to kick clear. Histon are looking to bring there wide players into the action, Charter lively on the right, Sophie Lanham in the centre puts a diagonal ball out to Esther Mctrusty on the left side, taking it on slips past her marker heading for the area, Becca Towler closing her down defending, Szary beyond her kicking the ball clear for a throw on the left.
The goal has woken everyone up, players snapping at the ball. Moving the ball rapidly through the middle Histon stretch the Newmarket defence as Sillitoe moves out to the left taking the ball on before firing in a cross along the six yard box to be met by Charter at the far post, knocks it back in looping up, Mctrusty in front of goal can’t capitalise before Newmarket’s defence scramble it clear. Bria Baker get’s caught in possession in defence for Histon, attack Sarah O’Rourke spotting Doyle’s run to her left attempts to send her in on goal, Georgia Carter putting a foot in nicks the ball from her.
Lydia Mason makes a good challenge on Mctrusty as the winger tries to take the ball on past the full back, in central to Grace Muffett fed on up to O’Rourke, Elsey makes a run left to right across the D, Fitzjohn in quickly to cut out the passing option to O’Rourke Newmarket are forced to play it back into the middle regroup. One lifted over the top Elsey breaking in beyond the defence after it, Wright coming up to the top of her box untroubled as she sees the ball safely into her gloves.
End to end both sides showing there intent, wanting to score. Histon’s backline each taking the opportunity to get forwards join the attack whenever they have the ball, first Carter, then Baker. Webb full of energy on the right of defence getting up well to support Charter on the wing. A throw for Histon high on the right into Webb top corner of the area hooks it up into the centre falling Mctrusty back to goal sees it across her body looking to turn and shoot, is closely marked, nevertheless wins a corner kick. Sent in deep, Lauren Martin under it beyond the far post puts it over the top.
O’Rourke is pressing the Histon defence in the final third winning her fair share of challenges left side flicks it on for Elsey to latch onto, takes it on into the box, Carter getting in on her to lunge in tackle the ball sent out for a corner kick. The set-piece fired in near side 10 yards out met by Muffett, swings her leg through the ball, Martin in to block it for Histon, the rebound running back to Kara Wayman 20 out shoots striking the ball through the box out wide beyond the far post. Plenty happening barely 15 minutes played, Webb on the move taking the ball on central allowed to travel, Sillitoe giving her an option left channel, sees the ball into her feet turns, Woodfield closing her down before she can carry the threat into the box.
Breaking out from the back Newmarket have O’Rourke on the ball right side sends it long up to Elsey moving into space gets up with her attacking partner the two exchanging passes before Elsey clips the cross in long to the far post spotting the excellent run from Doyle to the far post can’t quite reach as the ball runs wide for a goalkick. Elsey is a pacy player likes to take on a defence, wriggles free central, just a little too much on the ball allows Wright to come out of her six yard box and clear.
Lanham getting into an advanced position for Histon beyond the box right side recieves Mctrusty’s cross from the wing, strikes the ball 1st time whistles wide of Szary’s left post. The Histon defence for the most part keeping close tabs on Elsey don’t want her getting in behind, this though is presenting O’Rourke with more freedom operating slightly deeper picking up the ball, Crompton, Doyle and Muffett all trying to give her an option when they can. Carter keeps tight of Elsey inside the D, stops the striker skipping in beyond her. Fitzjohn with a burst forwards from the back a nutmeg seeing her get in beyond the defence to shoot from the top of the box, rising is straight at Szary, who catches cleanly.
A fantastic double save from Szary as Lanham carries the ball across the top of the area inside the D left to right getting a shot back in across goal, Szary adjusting well down smartly to her right to push the ball out to the left, Mctrusty latching onto it the angle tight lets loose a strike, Szary moving quickly on her knees gloves it behind for the corner. The delivery from the corner long, Webb beyond the back post up to meet it sends it behind. 25 minutes gone referee Romana Brie pauses play for both sides to take on fluids.
GOAL! Play resumes Newmarket after the ball O’Rourke nipping in to win it 25 yards out right of the D, feeds it into Elsey central before breaking forwards. Elsey is immediately closed down, does well to slips the ball through to O’Rourke who takes it into the box clear she stays composed has time to pick her spot and drives it straight to run past Wright at the near post 1-1.
O’Rourke back to goal inside the D, sees the ball into her feet Doyle making a run left side, O’Rourke plays the pass into her path, Doyle is upended right on the line, the referee trying to play advantage as Elsey goes after the loose ball, nothing doing play is brought back for the foul a free-kick in a dangerous position, Elsey placing the ball goes for goal the shot sailing over the crossbar.
Histon get on right side, Webb to Charter, her progress stopped by Wayman as she gets across her. Woodfield in to tackle Molly Blair as she evades a challenge right side to get into the box. Martin plays the pass forwards into Sillitoe right of the D, has Charter running in behind her from the wide position, her pass however to close to Szary as the Newmarket keeper comes out quickly to deal with it. Ella Cummins has come on for Newmarket moving to a position on the right.
Histon think they’ve retake the lead as Sillitoe moving right runs in beyond the defence as the ball is lifted over the back, strikes it across the keeper into the bottom come only to turn and see the raised flag. The ball brought up on the left by Newmarket squared into Elsey central turns her marker well evading her to take the ball into the area moving right the angle going against her strikes her shot over. Competitive in the middle Martin and Lanham getting hold of the ball for Histon, Martin allowed time on it is forced to play it back, Doyle nipping in to take it, sends it on up the right for Cummins, in a race with Fitzjohn, Histon’s captain dives into tackle the ball out for a throw.
The Histon defence all continue to have a little foray forwards, Fitzjohn this time goes along way before eventually running into traffic, players up with her possession quickly regained put out to Webb forwards on the right 20 yards out fires a shot wide across goal. Elsey escape to attack on the right, Martin does well to get back on her shoulder apply some pressure, Elsey’s shot somewhat scuffed, runs safely through to Wright. The pace of the game and perhaps it’s seeing several unforced errors, Webb taking the ball on right allowed to travel and cross put deep to the far post Mctrusty closing in can’t reach it. Blair on the right fires a cross into the box, Woodfield dealing with it well as Sillitoe goes for it.
Half-time Histon Ladies Development 1-1 Newmarket Town Women Development
A lively contest most certain has a cup final feel about it. Both sides intent on attack, defending well on the whole. Both having strong spells Histon using the ball better getting in some good positions wide looking to stretch the Newmarket defence. O’Rourke finding some great positions for Newmarket in the final 3rd creating opportunities. A good tempo the evening still warm, can both sides keep it up still all to play for.
Histon getting the 2nd half underway. Doyle getting back well on Martin as she makes space for herself 25 yards out looks to tee up Mctrusty on the left wing. Pressure high up the pitch from Histon sees Blair win her side a corner. Webb in the mix gets her head on the delivery but can’t keep it down, Newmarket clear into Elsey outside the area looks to break, Charter with a good turn of pace coming in to tackle keeps Histon in the final 3rd a strong start to the 2nd half. Doyle gets up to support O’Rourke on the left the pair combine exchanging passes, O’Rourke turning to lay it into the middle for Elsey, Carter tight on her doesn’t let Elsey escape her.
Charter running in behind on the right to the by-line sweeps a cross into the six yard box, deep to the far post Szary is able to claim it unopposed. Newmarket regain possession central Muffett with Doyle put forwards to O’Rourke 25 out left of the D passes across to the right with Elsey on the move, is upended some what clumsily by Baker as she attempts to get in behind, lands heavily, Baker is up immediately knowing she is in trouble as Brie comes running forwards, is fortunate to getaway with a yellow, were covering defenders. Elsey however not so fortunate, is hurt in a lot of pain, has broken her collar bone, (it’s painful I’ve done it.) can’t continue the stretcher brought on not the way she would have wanted her season to end. Annabel Cuthbert coming on in her place to join O’Rourke in the attack.
The free-kick to the right of the area a good position to shoot from, the ball placed, Szary is encouraged forwards from goal to take it, strikes it well racing in on goal neck height, Wright with a brilliant save gloves up up to her right to push the ball wide to safety.
Histon make a change Mctrusty taken off to be replaced by Flora Snelson. Cuthbert well take on any defence onto the ball right jinks one way then the other on into the area before Fitzjohn moves in on her to challenge send the ball behind for a corner. Put into the near post from the right, Muffett heading it on into the middle, half cleared drops for Doyle ready inside the D sends her shot over. Carter intercepting stepping out from the back as Cuthbert recieves and turns 25 yards out. Newmarket enjoying a good spell Cummins getting a corner on the right knocked in near side Muffett there again puts it back wide for Mason drilled in to top of the box a shot taken is high and wild.
Baker cuts out a pass from O’Rourke intended for Cuthbert central. The game free flowing Webb racing on with the ball, needs to be stopped by Towler. Newmarket break right Cummins inside to Cuthbert top of the D forced wide, cuts the pass back for Doyle to have a shot, straight at Wright who plucks it down a comfortable save. Cuthbert’s introduction has given Newmarket fresh impotence the game an hour old, Muffett wins the ball plays it forwards for Doyle on halfway she in turn sends it forwards into O’Rourke available left of the D who helps it on for Cuthbert, runs with it forced wide by Carter left from the angle gets a shot away the ball rising over the crossbar.
Lanham getting about in the middle travels on 25 out on for Sillitoe, Woodfield close in on her tackling, Muffett beyond launching clear. Doyle making some good runs from the middle arrives at the top of the box as Cummins right see fires in a low cross the shot struck first time is high over the target. Into the final 25 minutes signs of nerves from both sides. Sillitoe on the barn turns to lay inside right for Snelson into the box, Towler gets in the challenge.
GOAL! Newmarket get the ball forwards quickly is a fantastic long pass dropped over the top for Cuthbert to peel in behind on taking the ball on into the box fires it in low, skipping up off the artificial surface, Wright is down quickly to her left arms outstretched pushes it away but not far enough as she sees it to her despair trickle in inside the post 1-2, Players rush from all over the pitch to congratulate Cuthbert as they take the lead on the night.
A double change for Histon with Charter and Sillitoe coming off on come Daisy Barns and Naomi Cooper-Jones. Snelson has made a strong impression since coming on for Histon getting into the area right side does well to win a corner. The ball falling to Lanham top of the box, gets her foot under the shot looking to lift it into the back of the net, too much however sends it over.
GOAL! Newmarket’s lead is short lived, Histon having rallied well after falling behind nip in to win it central Lanham on left of the D fed on for Blair to attack in between defender Szary comes out to attempt to close the angle sliding in as Blair pulls the trigger, Szary getting something on the ball deflecting it wide towards the far post is heading out of play, Histon though have a pack racing in on the follow up, Barns in front to tap the ball in from a foot out racing away in celebration, her teammates soon catching up with her 2-2.
Another drinks break called, Histon back on level terms the title back with them. Newmarket restart moving left Doyle into Jakes pushes on, Webb defending against her for Histon. Wayman misjudges a ball fired in central from Histon to the top of the air swerving goes beyond her Cooper-Jones after it, Wayman though recovers excellent sprinting to catch Cooper Jones tackles the ball deflected back, latched onto by Snelson drills a shot in Szary is well placed to get down and gather it into her gloves. Renewed confidence from Histon are back on the front foot, snapping in to win the ball high up the pitch Newmarket can’t get out.
Into the final 15 minutes a highly entertaining match both sides going for it, the title decider is going all the way. Snelson wining it well 25 out into Barns top of the area, tackled by Crompton out wide left loose, Rebekah Finch on for Histon shoots her angled drive wide. Carter advancing from the back for Histon left clips a great diagonal ball into the area right for Cooper-Jones, catches it well on the half volley loops up and over the bar… but not by much! Histon forcing Newmarket back, Muffett tries to pick out Jakes left, Webb with a good tackle to keep the momentum with Histon.
Snelson getting on the end pf a Lanham pass winning a corner for Histon on the right Awkward for Szary up gloves it down into traffic, Cooper-Jones sees a shot blocked before Szary drops onto the loose ball. O’Rourke comes back on for Newmarket. Trixie Allsop joining the game too for Newmarket in place of Doyle. Histon have kept Cuthbert out the game but can’t do so for long, picking up a pass on the right the striker powers forwards towards the box, she’s two shots blocked by back peddling defenders before getting a third strike away on the angle low, Wright is down to collect back on her line.
5 minutes plus stoppages left, a free-kick central for Newmarket, Szary up to deliver the ball knocked out to the right is clipped back in near side into the area, O’Rourke latching onto it smashes a shot into the back of the net, Newmarket incredulous to see the offside flag raised against her word soon spreading on this side of the ground that O’Rourke was on. The goal however doesn’t stand.
Snelson on for Lanham right linking up 20 yards out Lanham firing in an angled cross long to the far post, Blair jumping can’t keep it down. Time running out Webb up the pitch keeping it in the corner wins a corner. Cleared Newmarket have one last attack winning a corner of there own. Histon think they’ve cleared it a free-kick awarded a Newmarket player fouled right on the corner. Szary forwards to take it right side lines up the target strikes the ball, isn’t far over the crossbar. That the last action of the game the sides drawing 2-2. Histon are the Champions.
Full Time Histon Ladies Development 2-2 Newmarket Town Women Development
The good sized crowd treated to a thoroughly entertaining game, a great advert for women’s football in the county, both sides knew what was at stake and gave it there all. The title swinging back and forth briefly with Newmarket having come back from conceding in the 4th minute to lead 2-1. Histon responded superbly getting straight back on level terms and upped the tempo to keep the advantage. Newmarket having a goal disallowed that would have seen a different outcome nevertheless has been a fantastic effort from a group of young talented players taking the title battle all the way to the last minute of the season. Runner-up could slip to 3rd if Cambridge Rangers Women win there final game by 13 clear goals against Haverhill Rovers Community on Sunday either way a fine effort. Histon are the Championship South Champions winning promotion to the Premiership above in what has been a difficult season.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Have a clear winner but before that a few performances of note to mention. For Newmarket, Sarah O’Rourke was excellent, good positional play getting the ball back high up the pitch and bringing others into play, getting Newmarket back on level terms. Hannah Doyle too with some good runs from midfield. Alison Wright making some important saves in goal for Histon. Sophie Lanham strong in midfield. Was impressed by Flora Snelson and what she added to the Histon attack. The award though goes to Histon’s Katie Webb the full back covering alot of ground, tackling well and finding some great positions throughout the game.
An enjoyable game both sides fully committed a title decider played in the right spirit, all action, couldn’t take your eyes off it. Wishing Kaitlin Elsey my best wishes for a speedy recovery from her injury. My thanks to both managers for there help with the teams always appreciated.
by Darren Gilham