Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final
Thursday 10th May
Back to Cambridgeshire for more Cup Final action this Thursday evening. To the Glassworld Stadium in Histon to watch this season’s Women’s Invitation Cup Final once again being contested between Cambridge City Ladies & Cambridge United WFC who have held an iron grip on the trophy for a number of seasons.
A league between the sides coming into tonight’s final they have never been closer in terms of position within the women’s football pyramid, Cambridge City Ladies finishing 2nd in their debut season in the ERWFL Premier Division just a point behind Champion’s Billericay Town Ladies. An indifferent season in the league for Cambridge United WFC in FAWPL South East Division One currently laying in 7th place in the table with 2 league games left to play.
Cambridge United WFC beating Cambridge City Ladies 5-1 in last season’s final. The two sides enjoy a bit of rivalry with a number of ex-United players now back with Cambridge City. Both rearing to get going the game having been originally scheduled to be played a month ago the awful weather that has blighted much of the 2nd half of the season putting pay to the game back then. Cambridge United into a 6th successive final have won it for the past 5 season’s once again sponsored by S-Tech Insurance who have supported girls & women’s football in Cambridgeshire for 12 years.
Road to the Final
A bye for the holders in the 1st Round of the Invitation Cup. It was another wet and cold day for Cambridge City Ladies as they clinched a 5-1 win at home against Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side, ICA Sports Ladies.
Into the quarter finals, Cambridge United were drawn away to Championship North side Wisbech St Mary Ladies. There higher league status shining through as they comfortably progressed to the last 4 with a 12-0 victory. A trickier tie on paper for Cambridge City Ladies in their quarter final tie at home to ERWFL Division One North side, Histon Ladies. Cambridge City though was also comfortable winners going through the the last 4 with a 7-0 result.
Home ties for both sides in the semi-finals up against the two sides who would eventually finish as Champions and runners-up in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership saw them both in action just last evening St Ives Town Ladies and Newmarket Town Ladies. A 3-0 win at Mildenhall Town FC for Cambridge United as they beat Newmarket Town 3-0 to reach another final. Cambridge City reaching a 2nd successive Invitation Cup Final with a narrow 1-0 win over St Ives Town Ladies.
Histon’s Glassworld Stadium the venue once again for the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final. The pitch having seen a lot of football over the season it Histon Ladies and their Reserve side amongst those using it. A big pitch with plenty of room on the flanks to exploit one main stand over looking the pitch with covered terraces and seating all around. Much better weather this time around cooler than it has been sunny and cloudy no rain forecast.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Sarah Mosley, Lauren Tomlinson, Amy Reed, Becca Fay (C), Anna Kanz, Stacey Fullicks, Charlotte Gillies, Laura Mills, Grace Stanley & Bella Simmons. Subs – Carla Penny, Emily Reed, Bronte Rapley, Lucy Hurst & Ellie Cullum.
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, Amber Cantwell, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Teonie Peyton & Lauren Gibson.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Strong line-ups for both sides, normally both are abbreviated to Cam in my notes that’ll confuse everybody however so from here on it it’s City and United. It’s United to get the game underway wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks with City wearing white shirts, with black shorts and white and black hooped socks. United playing the all into striker Kelley Blanchflower breaking forwards at the start her ball on for Amy Howlett on bursting down the right, she fouls her opponent trying to get inside to cross the ball.
City break forwards the ball coming on through the midfield Anna Kanz with Stacey Fullicks, the diagonal ball sending Grace Stanley in behind of the left cuts inside and fires a cross into the area Bella Simmons arriving at the near post getting in front of her marker and putting her head on the ball directs it wide of the goal. Right from the off it looks like it’s going to be a feisty contest between the pair.
United get the ball down into the right channel win the first corner of the game. A good delivery into the area the ball falling for Bright at the far post her strike charged down the rebound racing out to Amy Howlett positioned 25 yards out her shot back in claimed by City goalkeeper, Tee Mhunduru.
City build on the right Simmons coming across to offer support for Charlotte Gillies, receiving the ball Simmons shoots from the top right corner of the area her low effort gathered by United goalkeeper Savannah Smith covering her near post. City pressure United at the back bodies forwards win their first corner of the game over on the right the ball played into the middle of the area headed clear by United’s Laura Baker.
Both sides are using the width getting their wide players involved in the action early on United breaking forwards the all into Blanchflower shifted on for Howlett her cross squared in along the top of the area Lauren Cartwright stooping into the header directs the ball in towards goal, Mhunduru right behind the ball takes it into her arms. Lauren Tomlinson at left back for City gets across to take the ball away from Blanchflower as the United striker is played in through the middle.
Fullicks felt the full force of a Baker tackle in last season’s final and the pair come together again this time around a Baker having broken up a City attack lunges in as Fullicks picks up possession. A painful one for the City midfielder, Baker with a talking to from the referee. Fullicks after treatment is okay to continue. A free-kick for City inside the United half the ball played up into the area cleared by Kayleigh-Anne Burt.
A purposeful attack by City Simmons running at the United defence with the ball her shot blocked by Emma Jenkins top of the area the rebound travelling on into the box Laura Mills wants it runs on, United captain Laura Bright with a great sliding tackle to take the ball away from her. A competitive game Blanchflower running into the channels to get onto the ball a cross into the area from the right long to the far side Faith Hewitt with the shot can’t keep the ball down.
Charlotte Crisp with the ball through the middle for United plays it on for Blanchflower she spins away from City captain Becca Fay breaking into the box, Amy Reed coming across to challenge and deny a shooting opportunity. Carrie Bennett tackles Gillies as the City winger comes infield with the ball on the right. City press forwards Mills seeing her shot from 20 yards out right side of the area blocked the ball looping away to Stanley on the left side her header back in met by Bright the ball doesn’t go far fired back in low for Simmons six yards out her near post strike gathered by Smith.
Entertaining the crowd are getting behind the sides, flowing football United clearing a City cross into the box one end, breaking it forwards up the other rapidly Howlett seeing her cross claimed by Mhunduru the centre of her goal. Sarah Mosley getting her head on the ball to clear for City as Howlett surges down the right again. Smith comes racing out of her area as City release Stanley through the middle charging forwards the goalkeeper slices her clearance, luckily for her Stanley momentarily looses sight of the ball players racing back, the winger picks it back up left corner of the area Smith getting back on her goes to ground the ball struck against her United able to nullify the threat.
An injury to Bright bring’s a chance of respite for both sides. Bight is allowed back on after treatment. United attack the ball fired into Blanchflower 40 yards out a drop of the shoulder and she is away in behind the City defence shooting early drills a swerving shot in Mhunduru going for it misses the ball though wide of the post. A free-kick out wide right corner for United after Howlett is fouled, the delivery long Mhunduru taking it high beyond the far post releases it quickly Mills away on the right, Gillies with her the ball crossed in Jenkins slicing the clearance, Smith coming pounces on the ball.
GOAL! The stalemate is at last broken as United score the opening goal of the game. Have a free-kick out wide on the left inside the City half the ball is sent in long towards the far post Blanchflower closing in lets it run on for Howlett to her right a solid connection to smash her shot back across the goal and in 0-1.
The goal firing United up they press on looking for another Tomlinson winning the ball from Cartwright moving to the right. PENALTY! City looking for a quick response build on the right get an opportunity from the penalty spot as Gillies is brought down just inside the area by Burt lunging in try and take the ball from the winger. Simmons placing the ball on the spot runs in and strikes the ball Smith beaten the ball running low past her strikes the base of the post and cannons out to the left.
A spell of City pressure late in the first half Kanz winning the ball played on for Fullicks she combines with Gillies going forwards the cross in too close to the keeper Smith claiming the ball. Gillies with more good running down the right Bennett defending the corner conceded, into the area Burt clears. City come close again to levelling the score Tomlinson getting forwards with the ball into the United half a diagonal ball launched into the area a pointblank header for Simmons six yards out an excellent catch by Smith quick reactions a couple of yards between attacker and goalkeeper Smith gets a firm hold of the ball.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-1 Cambridge United WFC
Plenty happening in an exciting and entertaining first half, pretty even between the sides, United getting their noses in front. City far from out of it creating plenty of opportunities running at the United defence. A penalty missed, Simmons looking a real threat in attack for City. Just one goal in it United know they have plenty of work ahead if they are to keep hold of the County Cup.
The floodlights on for the 2nd half, City get the 2nd half underway, lose the ball United putting it out to Hewitt on the left wing she crosses into the area Fay clearing for City.
GOAL! A couple of minutes gone in the 2nd half and City are back on level terms players breaking forwards Gillies on for Mills inside the area right side falling she cuts the ball back towards the six yard box Simmons on it near post sends the ball across the keeper and over the line 1-1.
Gillies gets back to support Mosley as Hewitt looks to get in behind her on the left for United. Gillies playing the ball long for Simmons to go after she is brought down 30 yards out right side of the United goal. The delivery long to the far post a glancing header from Simmons touches a United player as it runs out for a corner. The ball into the area defended by United. Hewitt with the ball left side again her early cross in toward Howlett right of the D she shoots first time the ball wide. United make a change Cartwright coming off, Amber Cantwell coming on.
Mosley defending as Baker looks to put the ball into Blanchflower the United striker aiming to spin in behind. City have the advantage a strong spell have United penned around their penalty area.
GOAL! Having levelled the scores City go on to take the lead in the Invitation Cup Final of the net. Breaking up a United attack Gillies brings the ball forward through the middle sliding the ball on for Simmons her touch taking her away from her marker and shooting from the top of the area her low effort runs into the back of the net just inside the post 2-1.
United make a substitution Lauren Gibson on up top for Blanchflower. City are looking strong having started the 2nd half well renewed energy as they press on wanting another. Bennett charging down a shot from the right from Gillies as she takes the ball on down the wing has a second go past the full back this time but not Smith who claims at her near post. Gillies and Simmons look to combine centrally, Jenkins coming in to win the ball for United.
City are on top Mills coming on with the ball into the right channel crosses from the byline the ball flashing across the face of goal runners coming in but no one can get a touch on the ball. A free-kick in a dangerous position for City right of the D 25 yards out Mosley on the ball curls in a shot towards goal Smith jumping up the ball smashes against the crossbar dropping down to the left a shot fired in, Smith already on the ground making the save on her goal line.
Bright having taken a knock needs to come off for United, Teonie Peyton coming on goes into a position wide left. City’s tails are up they are dominant sense they can get more goals pulling the United back line out of shape. Gibson is pulled back as she attempts to get on through the middle a free-kick for United. Jenkins over it a good delivery in towards goal bouncing in front of Mhunduru she lays claim to the ball even as Hewitt lunging for it almost connects. A double change for City, Kanz and Stanley coming off, on come Carla Penny and Ellie Cullum. Reed winning the ball at the back for City as United look to play the ball over the top for Gibson.
GOAL! City extend their lead pressing forwards the ball on the right numbers up pressing United top of the area the ball played across to the left side in front of goal, Gillies right corner inside to Cullum she helps it on to Simmons left side her dipping shot flying into the back of the net 3-1.
City bring on Bronte Rapley in place of Mosley with less than 10 minutes left to play. Fullicks back to help out at the back as Peyton gets free on the left prevents the cross coming in. Gabrielle Whitehurst comes on for United replacing Hewitt. Howlett getting back gets the ball back to Smith as Penny threatens to run in on goal. Reed with another good defensive tackle as United try to bring the ball on through the centre. Peyton with the ball deep in the left cuts the ball back in towards the byline Mhunduru concerned the ball though landing on the roof of the net.
Fullicks is struggling with a knock comes off Emily Reed coming on for City. Blanchflower back on for United, Crisp off. Burt getting the ball back safely to her keeper as City press in attack through the middle. Reed wins the challenge against Blanchflower as Baker sends the ball on into her after winning it on halfway. Blanchflower’s ball lifted on strikes Fay in the back as the defender turns 20 yards from goal. City bring off Simmons in the closing minutes Lucy Hurst on. Look comfortable United rushing their passes in their bid to try and get a goal back late on. Lively late on emotions running high City closing everything down. City celebrate everyone running onto the pitch as the final whistle blows and they win this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies 3-1 Cambridge United WFC
A strong 2nd half performance from Cambridge City getting themselves back on level terms early on. Went on to become deserved winners dominating the game pressing the ball defending strongly and building quickly through the middle. Simmons could have had a hat-trick in the first half instead waited for the 2nd half 3 well taken goals too to comeback from being a goal down after the 1st half. Cambridge United’s long hold on the Invitation Cup coming to an end were outplayed 2nd half.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Picking this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match is fairly straight forwards although their were plenty of other good performances from Cambridge City too, Amy Reed good in the back line. Charlotte Gillies a threat on the right supported by Laura Mills. Stacey Fullicks strong in the midfield. Scoring a hat-trick in a Cup Final though is pretty special and for that and the constant threat she posed Cambridge United all game the award goes to Bella Simmons.
Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies winning the 2017/18 Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.
My thanks to everyone who assisted me this evening and good to catch up with a everyone not many games left to watch now.