Wednesday 4th September
FAWNL South East Division One
Derby day and the first midweek match of the season for Women’s Football East making the trip to Ely City FC this Wednesday evening to watch Cambridge City Ladies take on Cambridge United WFC for the first time in the FAWNL.
Cambridge City Ladies winning the ERWFL Premier Division last season part of a league and cup double to earn promotion to FAWNL South East Division One. The two sides once one before going their separate ways have met several times as Cambridge City rose back up the women’s football pyramid now joining United in the FAWNL. A strong youth set-up within the club their Development side winning the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership title last season joins the ERWFL Division One South, whilst the club is to boast a 3rd women’s side playing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership.
Joining the FAWNL, Cambridge City Ladies have moved to a new home, Ely City FC whilst they await completion of their new ground at Sawston. A ground their opponents know well having played their as Cambridge Women before linking up with Cambridge United FC. Good facilities a new cinema and restaurant park build next to the spots stadiums situated just off the A10. Have signed goalkeeper Dominika Szary from Newmarket Town Women with Karly Tolentino and Beatrice Fitzsimons also joining. Sofia Castiglione back too after impressing in a handful of game for City before injury saw her out for a long period. Two losses from their opening two matches away to Leyton Orient and at home to Billericay Town Ladies see them without a point. Better in the FAWNL Cup where they won through to the competition proper beating Southern Premier Division side Chichester City Ladies.
A new home too this season for Cambridge United WFC playing at St Neots Town FC, a new base for games and training for both their senior and Development side. Have lost a few players to other clubs over the close season a small squad with a determined attitude. A new beginning they too find themselves without a point on the board a narrow lose conceding in the final minutes of both their opening league and cup encounters. 2 errors costing them away to AFC Wimbledon at the weekend. A local derby to look forwards to is great for women’s football in Cambridge to see two sides playing as high as the 4th tier. Always competitive games against the pair.
The pitch looking well prepared as the lights start to come on, a good atmosphere building a good sized crowd taking shape. A hint of rain in the air day clouds around, a rainbow over the ground prior to kick-off. A breeze cooling things down. The bar and kitchen open hot and cold drinks aswell as pies on offer.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Becca Fay (C), Ceri Flye, Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Beatrice Fitzsimons, Karly Tolentino & Megan Tonks. Subs – Tee Mhunduru, Shannon Shaw, Robyn Phillips, Laura Mills, & Georgia Day.
Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Emma Jenkins, Charlotte Crisp, Amber Cantwell, Amy Howlett, Faith Hewitt, Kelley Blanchflower & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Verity Crook, Chloe Armstrong, Albany Hodgson & Chloe Smith.
As per usual with these affairs where we have two clubs similarly named they become City and United from now on. It’s City to get the derby match underway, wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. United wearing amber coloured shirts with black sleeves black shorts and socks. City playing the ball back to there defence United close down quickly to put pressure on the ball, rewarded as Amber Cantwell gets hold of possession on halfway and drives through the middle with the ball reaching the area before Ceri Flye partnering captain Becca Fay in defence puts in the challenge the ball ending up safely gathered by Dominika Szary.
GOAL! An early break through from United the pressing game continuing Cantwell again winning it central sending the pass on for striker Kelley Blanchflower she sees fellow attacker Mollie Coupar breaking away into the left channel rolls the ball into her path Coupar taking it on into the box left of goal closing in on the six yard box smashes a shot in under the keeper at the near post 0-1.
Mollie Coupar pressing Amy Reed for possession of the ball
United have started well playing a high tempo, up for the game Blanchflower spreading play out wide right for Amy Howlett making her first appearance for United this season pushes on with the ball into the corner, tackled by full back Lauren Tomlinson to win the ball back for City. The hosts making progress wide left Karly Tolentino looking to create a shot from distance falling wide of the mark.
United bring the ball out Blanchflower up ended wide left inside the City half winning a free-kick. Cantwell over the ball, striking the two player wall deflected left Cantwell able to run onto it to fling a cross into the area, City struggling to clear as United pressure well. Flye busy at the heart of the defence doing well against Blanchflower as the United striker battles her way into the area, back with Szary looks to set up a counter, Charlotte Crisp breaking it up for United.
Kelley Blanchflower with Cambridge City ladies captain Becca Fay
Faith Hewitt playing the ball on up the left for United with Blanchflower providing the passing option, Flye going with her tackling to play the ball out for a throw. Crisp coming over to provide support on that side as Blanchflower controls from the throw the ball passed across the top of the City area, Cantwell there looking to get into a shooting position taking the ball wide pressed by Fay the shot miscued. United looking lively Carrie Bennett with the ball on for Hewitt left the ball high across the face of goal, picked up by Coupar far side another ball in across the face of goal, Szary able to lay claim to the 3rd attempt.
City slow to settle United having given them little time on the ball, Sofia Castiglione on the ball in midfield looks t take players on doing well rides two tackles making ground before releasing Charlotte Gillies on the right, the winger’s ball into the area too close to the keeper at the near post Savannah Smith handling comfortably. City starting to find a foothold in the game Amy Reed winning it at the back an attack launched the ball forwards Megan Tonks with the lay off right into Beatrice Fitzsimons making a central run, her stab forwards almost finding it’s way through into the area for Tolentino cut out by the United defence.
The game setting down somewhat, both sides wasting passes as they try to maintain a high tempo move the ball quickly no one wanting to keep possession slow things down, lively certainly has a derby feel about it.
GOAL! 22 minutes played and City get themselves back on level terms, a fantastic goal from Tonks, the City striker having a fantastic season with the Development side scoring 32 goals from 18 appearances on their way to the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership title last season. Out wide left for City holding onto the ball strong gets inside her marker towards the top corner of the area striking the ball superbly the flight taking it across goal over the keeper into the back of the net beyond 1-1.
Megan Tonks up to win the header for Cambridge City Ladies
United get forwards a free-kick awarded on the left Cantwell to play the ball in, headed clear inside the box central Crisp moving to intercept the loose ball latching onto the shot hit hard but wide of the goal from 25 yards out. Gillies looks to take on Bennett as she attacks right the United full back getting back at her to win the ball back before the cross can be made. United are away on the right Howlett with Coupar ahead of her, Fay drawn out of the middle to assist Tomlinson in the corner Coupar does well to get the ball back up the line to Howlett she passes central Crisp not afraid to have a crack from distance meeting it once again 30 yards the strike brushes the roof of the net on its way over.
Cambridge United WFC’s, Charlotte Crisp
Passes continue to go astray starting to get a little scrappy, niggly challenges coming it, Cantwell on the end of a couple of the more robust ones. A driving shot from Castiglione from 30 yards out following good work from Tolentino on the left fall wide of goal. Tolentino showing great close ball control on the left high up the pitch twisting left then right looking to come inside before shifting and getting the ball in behind to cross flashed in Tonks gets something on it near post the ball brushing the chest of a defender for a moment looks like it could be an unfortunate own goal as it goes on across goal, Smith reacting well getting down to stop it.
Cambridge City Ladies, Karly Tolentino
Castiglione bringing the ball on once more plays a good diagonal ball on for Gillies bursting on right side of the area, Bennett putting in the tackle playing the ball behind for a corner. The ball in towards the top of the area from the right cleared by Cantwell. Look to break the ball on down the right a strong challenge from Tomlinson seeing United awarded a free-kick in the corner. A good delivery in towards the near post Szary doing well for City up to make a confident claim.
The tackles showing a bit more bite late in the first half Emma Jenkins partnering captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt in central defence this evening bringing the ball out from the ball brought down unceremoniously. Fitzsimons getting a warning from referee Chris Abbott. Moments later Cantwell is floored by Tomlinson as the United midfielder looks to break from a City free-kick, the full back shown the first yellow card of the game. Both benches not happy with decisions the game getting feisty late in the half a late throw on the left high for United played inside across the top of the area Blanchflower looking to see it across her body 20 yards out strikes it on the half volley, the ball already spinning the shot swerving away from goal behind the last action of the first half.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 1-1 Cambridge United WFC
A good first half in the Cambridge derby, United making a fast start bright snapping into challenges and pressing City all over the pitch looking sharp taking an early lead. City taking a little time to settle, United’s intent slowing City able to get back into it get forwards Tonks with a superb strike to level the scores. Scrappy at times with passes rushed going astray, the half ending on and even note could go either way 2nd half.
United to get the 2nd half underway, neither side making a change. The visitors going long to the left with Coupar on the move, strong holding onto the ball getting into a shooting position fires over the top from 25 yards out.
GOAL! City get forwards to take the lead early in the 2nd, bodies forwards as they attack possession on the left Tolentino playing the ball into the middle gathered by Fitzsimons who bursts on towards the area allowed to go on, goes to shoot a miscue the ball turns into a brilliant assist angled wide and on into the path of Tonks right of goal, the striker turning and sending a low ball past Smith before she can adjust 2-1.
GOAL! All action at the start of the 2nd half as United get up the other end and draw level again almost straight away. Attacking right Howlett’s pass on for Coupar brings United a throw deep in City territory, put on into Blanchflower she turns and heads into the area close to the byline fires a ball in towards goal Szary down to it, a touch but escapes her grasp with Coupar on top of her bundling it over the line to score her 2nd of the match 2-2.
The game has the early intensity back is a derby game, both sides feeling the game is there to win. United winning a corner right side the ball in towards the top of the area Burt running in to met it near post lifting her shot over. Both keepers called into action running out of there areas to clear first Szary then her kick forwards dealt with by Smith. Passes rushed the tempo remains high no one settling on the ball. City make the first change of the game Laura Mills coming on for Gillies going out to the right.
Cambridge City Ladies, Lauren Tomlinson
The substitution injecting some urgency into City’s attacking play the ball spread wide to Mills has Tonks out wide with her the ball crossed into the United box cleared, Reed getting forwards onto the loose ball shoots from distance the ball stopped in the six yard by her opposing right back Davies, a good first touch to bring the ball safely under control.
Cantwell with a tame effort that rolls safely through to Szary who sets up Mills on the counter pace taking it on the diagonal ball fired into the area read by Smith coming out to collect. city make a 2nd substitution 2 goals for Tonks her work done for the night she is replaced in attack by Shannon Shaw. The breeze starting to pick up. Cantwell will feel the aftermath of this game as she is bundled to the ground yet again, not deterred however.
Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell
United make their first change of the match in attack Blanchflower coming off to be replaced by Chloe Smith. Bodily plays a pass long on for Mills getting on down the right keeping wide well her cross into the box dangerous chested down towards goal by a defender for a moment looks like it might be an own goal gasps from the crowd, by Smith down quickly has it save pulled into her body.Mills adding impetus to the City attack the game wide open entering the final 15 minutes could go either way still.
United getting some momentum themselves Coupar with Hewitt, Howlett found on the right the ball in towards the top of the area fired in near post cut out by the City defence. Tomlinson strong on the ball as she battles to bring it forwards. Play from one end to the other Mills crossing from the right United heading the ball clear launching a counter attack, Crisp on for Smith plays the ball to Howlett right takes it inside into the box City conceding the corner.
Into the last 3 minutes of the match the ball in from the right cleared long, Davies picking it up for United lifts a high ball back into the area difficult for Szary to judge back on her line dropping late catches by spills for another corner. City dealing confidently Fay determined on the ball carrying it out from the back over halfway but cleared by United City with a throw left Tomlinson’s bionic arms sending it long into towards the top of the area, United winning the header attempt to counter Bodily breaking it up.
City mounting one last attack and come very close to claiming the 3 points late on Fitzsimons seeing the ball into her feet outside the United area right off a throw turns and unleashes a shot Smith diving to her left thankful to see the ball run narrowly wide of the post, City with a free-kick on halfway Castiglione to play it up into the United area, Burt dealing with it the final whistle blows.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies 2-2 Cambridge United WFC
Honours even in the first Cambridge derby of the season, on the whole a fair result the points shared and both getting off the mark at last will be a relief. City making a slow start coming back to level after conceding in the opening minutes. Taking the lead early in the 2nd period only to concede straight away. A good watch the crowd entertained, often scrappy niggly at times the temp good what you’d expect from a derby match. Both sides will feel they could have won it and could well have gone either way.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Contenders from both sides, Ceri Flye doing a some great defensive work for City in the heart of defence. Sofia Castiglione too in midfield. Megan Tonks in attack scoring a great first goal levelling the scores then putting them into the lead early 2nd half. Mollie Coupar giving United the early advantage. Kelley Blanchflower with some great runs linking up the midfield and attack. Amber Cantwell edging it for me overall getting about the pitch great first touches and often a the heart of the action.
Said I wouldn’t get up at 4am and write this but I can’t sleep with a game still rattling around the brain. An entertaining game if scrappy at times the two sides enjoying a good rivalry that will only grow and in doing so increase the interest for the women’s game in the county. Updated with pictures for last evenings game courtesy of Gary Reed. Grateful to be able to use them Gary is a tremendous supporter of the women’s game and it’s a pleasure to feature his pictures.