Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final
Wednesday 4th March
Cambridge City Ladies v Histon Ladies
The first of this season’s Cup Finals this Wednesday night in the East, the Cambridgeshire Women’s S-Tech Insurance Invitation Cup this season being contested between Cambridge City Ladies & Histon Ladies.
The Invitation Cup Final being hosted for the 2nd season at The Abbey Stadium home of Cambridge United FC the counties leading club. Women’s football growing in Cambridgeshire the two county divisions the Premiership and Championship seeing a rapid growth this season. Women’s and girls football in Cambridgeshire supported by S-Tech Insurance along association now into it’s 13th year sponsoring tonight’s final.
The holders of the cup however not taking part this season, Cambridge United WFC dominating the competition on recent season’s moving to a new ground this season St Neots Town FC which falls under the Huntingdonshire FA umbrella they themselves launching an inaugural Women’s Cup this season, that final to be contested by Cambridge United WFC and St Ives Town Ladies. Unable to defend the trophy the opportunity to win silverware going to a new face?
Well not so new in Cambridge City Ladies case as they won the trophy two season’s back beating rivals Cambridge United WFC, the pair dominating the final recently as Cambridge City Ladies rose rapidly through the women’s football pyramid, reaching the FAWNL. Have an equally ambitious Development side new to regional football this season topping the table in ERWFL Division One North and new for this season too a third side Cambridge City Ladies A competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership. Reaching the final of the Invitation Cup yet again it is a distraction from their league woes Cambridge City struggling for points 2nd bottom of FAWNL South East Division One with some crucial games coming up, the chance of winning silverware tonight an excellent opportunity with the added incentive of possibly inspiring the team for tough games to come.
Histon Ladies reaching the Invitation Cup for the first time, although themselves were familiar opponents for Cambridge United… then Cambridge Women before Cambridge City came along. Back then were know as Great Shelford Ladies. That name consigned to history now as the club joined forces with Histon FC and getting good support playing at the club’s Glassworld Stadium are looking to grow become a strong force for women’s football in Cambridgeshire adding a youth section, the 1st team competing in ERWFL Division One North, a Reserves side coming in too to bolster the 1st team playing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership have made it a cup final double by reaching the Junior Invitation Cup Final, where it could yet be a copy of this evenings final with Cambridge City Ladies A meeting Newmarket Town Women Development in the other semi-final. As well as reaching the Invitation Cup Final, Histon are also into the last four of the ERWFL Plate competition.
Road the the Final
Both Cambridge City Ladies and Histon Ladies receiving a bye in the 1st Round of this season’s Invitation Cup progressing to the 2nd Round/Quarter Finals. Cambridge City Ladies were drawn away to Premiership side March Town United Ladies a gap of 4 leagues between the pair. Karly Tolentino joining Cambridge City this season netting a hat-trick as the FAWNL won through to the semi-finals 8-0. Histon Ladies were at home taking on Cambridge Women’s Premiership side and amongst the early table toppers Leverington Sports Ladies a potentially tricky tie, goals from Sydney Graham, Poppy Kelly, Siobhan White and Alison Wright saw Histon safely through winning 4-1.
Onto the semi-finals Cambridge City Ladies were drawn at home to ERWFL Division One North side, Newmarket Town Women. The tie hit by the recent storms eventually switched to Newmarket’s 3G playing surface to complete. Giving up home advantage not affecting Cambridge City, Tolentino on target for another goal along with one each for Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing and Beatrice Fitzsimons returning from injury seeing them through 4-1 to this Wednesday’s final. Histon Ladies were away to Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds in the semi-finals of the competition. The Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side taking the lead from the penalty spot on 17 minutes. Histon coming back to level the scores through Poppy Kelly in the 44th minute went 2-1 up on the stroke of half-time as Kelly fired home her 2nd of the game. Fulbourn coming back to level it at 2-2 on the hour. Histon retaking the lead from a corner in the 69th minute Lauren Martin heading in at the near post. The cup final spot secured in the final minute Kelly clipped inside the box, Alison Wright putting the ball into the back of the net.
A special occasion for both sides this evening getting to play at The Abbey Stadium the main stand open. hot food and drink available. A good crowd building. The pitch in good shape offering plenty of width the surface slickened up as rain began to fall and hour of so before kick-off falling lightly under the floodlights as the two sides were lead out onto the pitch by referee Stacey Fullicks.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Laura Mills & Karly Tolentino. Subs – Becky Langthorpe, Beatrice Fitzsimons & Shannon Shaw.
Histon Ladies starting XI – Eleanor Morgan Abby Laughlin, Georgia Huse, Amie Flack, Tessa Shaw, Sophie Lanham (C), Alison Wright, Lauren Martin, Abi Davies, Kirsty Geal & Poppy Kelly. Subs- Kaya Haq, Rebekah Fisk, Sophie Lanham, Tara Fitzjohn & Siobhan White.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Cambridge City to get this season’s Invitation Cup Final underway kicking of 1st half, wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Histon opposite lined up wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts. The ball played back to the defence captain Becca Fay sending it out to the right Charlotte Gillies on the flank bursting forwards, Georgie Huse in to defend for Histon the ball out for a throw. Cambridge quickly into their stride the ball out to the wings Gillies right and Freya Standing left looking to get on.
Cambridge come right a throw won high up the pitch working down the line the cross into the box cleared straight to Laura Mills positioned inside the D, free opts to thread the ball low into the six yard box rather than take a strike herself, Amie Flack cutting it out clearing for Histon. Cambridge win the ball back central out to Gillies right down the line pace a cross whipped in near post Mills with the run, Histon goalkeeper, Eleanor Morgan in ahead of her to gather.
Barely 3 minutes on the clock Histon on the back foot played the ball to their right, Lauren Tomlinson at left back winning it for Cambridge sending the ball on for Standing who has Karly Tolentino making a great run into the channel ahead of her, taking the ball on into the box Tolentino strikes it well from close range rising evades Morgan smashed into the top of the post beyond. Relentless from Cambridge as they win a corner left side the ball coming in low near post Morgan forwards taking it cleanly in her gloves despite a Cambridge attack lunging in in front of her.
Histon need to get hold of the ball in the middle, Alison Wright does just that the ball played high into the box, Cambridge goalkeeper Dominika Szary catching it high under pressure from her left. Cambridge with the ball in the net on 6 minutes as Mills comes away with it on the right side fires in a low cross for Tolentino breaking on to the near post sides foots in across the keeper, but won’t count the flag up against her for offside.
Cambridge moving the ball quickly Hannah Bodily to Sofia Castiglione in the middle of the park out to Standing on the left, jinks inside but is tackled by Histon’s Abby Laughlin. Played into the middle captain Sophie Lanham on for Wright looks to thread it between the Cambridge centre backs with Poppy Kelly breaking in behind, however Szary is quickly out of her area to sen the ball up field. A free-kick for Cambridge on the left Tomlinson to delivery sent in towards the top of the area, cleared by Histon looking to break sent out to the left wing Kirsty Geal looking to get hold of it take on the full back, Cambridge’s Amy Reed though with a good tackle to halt the advance.
Cambridge getting joy in the wings Gillies getting forwards on the right a corner kick won, players up from the back the ball sent in high near post Morgan getting a touch behind for a 2nd corner, this one short up the line to Bodily floats the ball into the six yard box, Morgan rising well to claim the ball. Lauren Martin onto the ball central for Histon releases Kelly in attack right channel in turn out to Abi Davies high on the wing, Histon getting a throw near the corner flag, Wright up towards the edge of the box to receive the ball down into her feet holding off her marker well turns to put in a cross near post Kelly in close meeting it sends her shot up over the bar.
Reed bringing the ball on right side for Cambridge, played on into Gillies takes on the first time strike on the angle, Morgan down throwing herself into the dive to push the ball behind for a corner kick. The corner taken short again the ball lifted in towards the far post Davies up well to defend for Histon. Play end to end suddenly Histon coming on the pass finding Davies racing on right side her diagonal ball aimed into Kelly’s path, Szary racing out to the edge of her area to launch up field turns into a fantastic ball with Gillies running in behind surges on with the ball into the box, Huse with a great last ditch challenge sliding in to take the ball away.
Tolentino making some fantastic runs up top in attack for Cambridge, not staying on any single Histon defender hard to track gets on the move left to right towards the near side as Gillies gets hold of the ball right wing sends her in on goal gets her shot off early beating Morgan coming to close the angle the shot though narrowly wide across goal. Tomlinson making a strong tackle for Cambridge getting hold of the ball put down the left a throw won high, Tomlinson forwards to take has a long throw in her armoury put onto Tolentino’s chest inside the area brought down well.
GOAL! 22 minutes played and Cambridge take the lead, Tolentino with a powerful run into the box left of goal half a yard clear, Tessa Shaw sliding in to make the challenge gets some of the ball but more of Tolentino as she attempts to close in on goal, the referee pointing to the spot. Shaw yellow carded. Tolentino picking herself up to take it struck well low and hard into the bottom left corner 1-0.
Cambridge piling forwards Tolentino lively up top all over the place Morgan exposed as she runs out to the ball right side, can’t pick up edge of the box, Gillies closing in taking the ball past her, Huse getting back to make the challenge clear the threat for Histon. Tolentino moves away to the left Tomlinson on the ball forwards for Standing into Tolentino she goes on towards the area twisting and turning on the ball before getting a high cross away into the six yard box, Huse with a strong header the clear not perturbed by Gillies in close attention.
Cambridge very close to being awarded a 2nd penalty the foul mere inches from being inside the box, Tolentino clipped the set-piece left of the D, Castiglione on it a curling shot clearing the wall an excellent save from Morgan back on her goal line tipping it over the bar. Morgan saving well from the resulting corner.
GOAL! Cambridge double their lead with the half hour fast approaching Histon trying to get on up the left the ball lost put down the line into Mills breaking in behind to fizz in a dangerous cross into the six yard box, Histon cut out but don’t clear, Tolentino latching onto the ball shifts it inside to give herself room and blasts it in from close range for her 2nd of the game 2-0.
Martin does well in midfield for Histon closing in well to take the ball on Davies available to her left squares it in field to Wright 25 yards out central closed down quickly by Castiglione who ends up being awarded the free-kick. Laughlin doing well at the back getting across Standing inside the box left to shield he ball back to Morgan. Playing the ball out from the back Shaw onto Lanham, Histon’s captain aims her pass for Kelly in attack moving left to right, Fay intercepting for Cambridge setting up a quick counter attack. Wright pushing on a bit now from midfield to support the attack for Histon plays it left to Geal is tackled well by Reed.
Cambridge quick to turn play around all through the first half get the ball on deep over the top for Tolentino clear left side her cross field ball into the box aimed towards Mills coming in far post, Huse defending for Histon. Davies on the ball right side for Histon travels up the wing cutting infield past Tomlinson towards the box runs onto Ceri Flye the Cambridge centre back winning the ball. Histon able to come on better in the latter stages of the first half Cambridge dealing well at the back won inside the D the ball sent forwards quickly Tolentino available for the pass moving left brings it under control races forwards comes inside travelling across the top of the Histon area, not challenged into the D strikes the shot the ball whipping up over the crossbar.
Histon chances rare can’t get the ball to stick up top Kelly making some good runs but Geal and Davies are being checked well by Tomlinson and Reed at the back for Cambridge. Wright coming from the middle looking the most likely to make something happen. Risk being hit on the counter Cambridge playing the ball on into Mills central out wide left to Standing gets to the by-line whipping in a cross rising near post Tolentino there attempts to flick it of her boot wide of the keeper but puts it straight into Morgan’s gloves.
Late into the 1st half and Szary is called into action to make a save for Cambridge Histon getting hold of the ball in the final 3rd from a goalkick, Wright getting a shot away from around 25 yards left of the D hit low with pace Szary down well to her left to get herself behind the ball. Cambridge bring the ball forwards creating another opportunity late in the half put on down the right into Mills sends it diagonally into the box for Standing forwards left side bearing forwards is closed down by Laughlin and Flack to block the shot.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies
The half-time whistle blows and Cambridge head into the changing room’s under the mainstand leading the Invitation Cup Final 2-0. On top right from the start their pace a movement causing Histon problem’s especially down the wings Standing and Gillies getting forwards at will along with Tolentino through the middle has drifted left and right finding space to exploit. Numerous chances before opening the scoring could be out of sight but for Morgan making a couple of vital saves for Histon, their chances few and far between but at 2 nil are far from out of it need an improved performance 2nd half but the risk is as they search for a reply further gaps open at the back mustn’t concede early you feel.
A triple change for Cambridge at the start of the 2nd half, Becky Langthorpe on to replace Reed at the back, Beatrice Fitzsimons on for Castiglione along with Shannon Shaw going up to replacing Standing with Tolentino moving to the left. Histon to get the 2nd period underway go long straight from the off, the ball off target inside the box Szary out to get hold of the ball. A much quieter start to the 2nd half Histon looking to make progress right side the ball inside dealt with by Fay for Cambridge.
Cambridge break away on the left the ball rolled on for Mills to take into her stride carries it inside before firing a crossfield ball into the box picking out Gillies bursting forwards on the right hits her strike early the ball fizzing wide at the near post.
GOAL! A blow for Histon 5 minutes into the 2nd half as they are caught on the break by Cambridge. Initially winning a free-kick players forwards as Flack delivers the ball in towards the top of the area Cambridge defend and get straight on the offensive Gillies in the clear on the right the ball fired into her takes it on into the Histon box near post closing in on the keeper shoots low pass Morgan in at the near post 3-0.
Histon respond making a triple change of their own and a formation change too switching to 3 at the back off come Laughlin, Huse and Shaw on to the field enter Kaya Haq, Sophie Hopkin and Siobhan White. Wright into the defence along side Davies and Flack. A good response from Histon to going 3 down get forwards right side a throw won high up the pitch the ball crossed into the box, Kelly wriggling free inside the box gets a shot away puts it straight at Szary the keeper claiming. Kelly with another attempt moments later from 25 yards out as Histon quickly regain position in the middle the shot though finds Szary back on her line.
Davies keeping close tabs on Tolentino out wide she manages to squeeze the ball into Mills central, Shaw providing the run through the middle in behind, the pass put forwards too much on it Morgan able to advance off her line and collect. Martin lays it forwards for Hopkin has White to her right feeds the ball into her, Tomlinson in well to regain possession for Cambridge. Winning a corner on the left taken short up the line once more the cross sent in from deep, Morgan rising well at her near post to catch.
Histon getting forwards better now though the middle quickly players forwards to support Kelly in attack the striker put through into the box left of goal her shot charged down by Flye the deflection coming straight to Hopkin positioned top of the D lines up a shot fired in a deflection sending it wide of the post. Lanham in to win the ball in the centre circle pushes it into Hopkin 25 yards out goes to shoot Flye closing her down putting in the block. Histon looking sharper now but as they come forward risk being hit on the counter more.
Geal coming forwards left side finds some space as White plays the crossfield pass into her goes on down the line, Langthorpe recovering well to get back on her lung in to make the tackle. Haq defending against Gillies right side as she gathers the ball and charges on.
GOAL! The final 20 minutes fast approaching and Cambridge get on the scoresheet wit a 4th goal Mills onto the ball out right side playing it in across goal, Shaw closing in central can’t quite get it on the volley as she ends up off the pitch past the right post, wanders back on as Tolentino gathers left side does well to beat a couple of players wriggle free to fizz it back across goal Shaw there unmarked to put into the empty net as it evades Morgan covering the angle 4-0.
Histon come forwards Geal clear left side the pass into her feet plays it inside for Kelly 20 yards out takes aim her shot dropping wide of goal. Histon make another change Rebekah Fisk on for Lanham. Good work between Hopkin, Martin and Geal left side for Histon coming forwards the pass into Kelly, Cambridge defending top of the area. Geal coming off as Histon send on Tara Fitzjohn with 10 minutes to play.
GOAL! Cambridge win the ball in the middle rolled on for Gillies right holds it up her touch bringing her inside, Mills racing into the space vacated on the wing Gillies playing her in she puts in an early cross, Flack in to clear the ball taking an unfortunate deflection off Wright sending Shaw running clear into the area to place the ball wide of the keeper 5-0.
GOAL! A sixth goal coming soon after, Tolentino and Tomlinson combining out on the left Cambridge closing down the ball well, pushed up Flye onto it playing a fantastic through ball low along the ground for Mills central top of the area t break through onto goal and put her shot to the keeper right into the corner of the net 6-0.
Mills with plenty of pace late on plays the ball to Standing back on on the right for Gillies, Haq closing her down putting the ball out for a corner. Tolentino coming off Gillies back on. The corner headed up at the near post across the six yard box cleared far side straight to Castiglione top of the D strikes it back in finds it’s way through on target skipping up off the surface but Szary right behind it. Another corner for Cambridge left side taken short up the line before the cross is flung into the box, knocked down straight to a Cambridge player the shot fired wide.
Into added time Cambridge finishing strong Mills coming onto the ball left side 25 out turns inside her marker to get a shot away the ball racing wide out at the far post. The final whistle blows and Cambridge City Ladies win this season’s Invitation Cup Final.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies 6-0 Histon Ladies
Cambridge with a god start to the match on the front foot from the off chances created Standing and Gillies getting free on the flanks Tolentino through the middle leading the attack well. Histon not getting much joy in attack themselves finding themselves 2-0 down at the break. Cambridge getting into a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd half Histon made changes to personnel and formation bringing them more joy in the final third, Cambridge though a constant danger on the counter attack defending well. A 4th goal sealing the victory with 20 minutes left 2 late goals making the result comfortable.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few to mention Cambridge featuring Charlotte Gillies getting on well right side always available. Laura Mills with some fantastic runs too. Lauren Tomlinson superb at the back with a fantastic performance, edging it for myself however is attacker Karly Tolentino played brilliantly especially in the first half her runs well timed a real threat Histon struggled to cope with winning and scoring the penalty and putting Cambridge into a 2 goal lead going a long way to securing the cup.
Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.
An enjoyable trip to The Abbey Stadium, a good atmosphere, an entertaining final, my thanks to Cambridgeshire FA for the hospitality in particular Chris Abbott and to both teams for getting those all important team details and to Gary Reed for to photo’s does a fantastic job helping to promote the game. One final down plenty more to come.