This Sunday sees the focus in the FAWPL switches from the league to the Cup with all of the 70 sides contesting the 6 Division’s drawn against each other in a Determining Round to decide which competition they will go on to the winners entering the FAWPL Cup competition which was won Tottenham Hotspur Ladies last season the losing sides going on to contest the FAWPL League Plate won by Coventry United Ladies.
Today’s match in the Determining Round sees me travel the short distance to Mildenhall Town FC to watch South East Division One side, Cambridge United WFC as they take on Southern Division side, Lewes Ladies.
Has been a fair amount of player movement at Cambridge United WFC over the close season as the club looks to build on last seasons record points haul in the FAWPL South East Division One and achieve their aim of promotion to the FAWPL Southern Division. Dawn Mallett has joined the club having had a brief spell on loan last season, has plenty of WSL 2 experience and will provide added steel to the midfield a useful player with a dead ball too. Nicole Perschky and Hollie Jardine both join the club from Stevenage Ladies. Evie Gallop comes to the club from the Essex Centre of Excellence. Ashleigh Deacon joins from Watford Ladies and just this week the club announced the arrival of Rosie Kmita having left Tottenham Hotspur Ladies a coup for the club, however she was unavailable to play in today’s cup tie. A good test for Cambridge today in the Determining Round of the FAWPL Cup taking on a side from the league above.
Lewes Ladies have in recent seasons established themselves in the FAWPL Southern Division and this season have gotten their season off to a fantastic start winning their opening fixture 7-2 at home to West Ham United Ladies and holding one of the title favourites Cardiff City Ladies to a 1-1 to lay 2nd in the fledgling table. A good start one to build on as their attention switches to the Cup, a long journey up from the South for today’s Determining Round tie. Have a few new signings in their squad too, Rebecca Carter comes to Lewes from Crawley Wasps Ladies. Kim Stenning has playing experience with both Brighton & Hove Albion WFC and Millwall Lionesses prior to joining Lewes Ladies whilst Fliss Love has signed on having been with Brighton’s Centre of Excellence. Have defender Rebecca Thompson back fit to after being out with a long term achilles injury.
Mildenhall Town FC is the venue for today’s match, Cambridge United WFC’s new home ground for the 2016/17 season. Easy to find close to the town centre, a fantastic playing surface sloping from one end to the other. Nice clubhouse and refreshments are available hot and cold. A fantastic playing surface the grass lush and green a slope on the pitch from one goal mouth to the other, a good size too. Several dark clouds around, threatening a shower or two, the sun eventually breaking through before kick-off.
All clubs across the FAWPL holding a minutes applause before their matches in remembrance of 18-year-old Zoe Tynan who tragically passed away on Tuesday. A young talent gone too soon an U19 England International had recently joined Fylde Ladies. Thoughts are with her family and friends.
|Applause in remembrance of Zoe Tynan before the match
Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Hollie Jardine, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Paige Logie, Tahnee Perfect, Evie Gallop, Laura Mills, Ashleigh Deacon, Becky Taylor & Nicole Perschky.
subs – Carrie Bennett, Dawn Mallett & Faith Hewitt.
Lewes Ladies starting XI – Lauren Dolbear, Hayley West, Charlie Carter, Rebecca Thompson, Kelly Newton (C), Georgia Bridges, Katie McIntyre, Kellie Larkin, Rachel Palmer, Rebecca Carter & Gabby Baldock.
subs – Kim Stenning, Danielle Lane & Fliss Love.
A slight knock for Cambridge’s captain, Laura Bright saw her sit out the match with vice-captain, Kayleigh-Anne Burt wearing the arm band, Paige Logie joining her at centre back for today’s match. A switch of ends at the coin toss sees Lewes take advantage of the slope 1st half with Cambridge kicking off the game wearing the new Cambridge United strip amber shirts with black vertical lines, black shorts and amber socks. Lewes are in their away colours, an all sky blue kit. Referee David Sorensen has a flat whistle as he blows to start the game a vigorous shake later and it’s back in business.
A free kick straight away in the middle for Cambridge as Tahnee Perfect is bundled over a chance to pile players forwards up to the edge of the Lewes penalty box, Kayleigh-Anne Burt over the set-piece flighted up to the top of the area it’s Lewes Charlie Carter who heads the ball clear. Lewes break down the left with Gabby Baldock on the ball taking it into the Cambridge half turns in field, is tackled by Cambridge’s Evie Gallop the ball going out for a throw in. Lewes make headway down the left before the attempted cross goes out of play for a goal kick.
|Cambridge United WFC’s, Evie Gallop contesting the ball with
Lewes Ladies, Katie McIntyre
Kellie Larkin is busy in the middle for Lewes at the start of the match imposing herself on the ball and driving forwards with it at her feet shifts play out to the right with Hayley West coming forwards from right back sends the ball on down the line for Rebecca Carter who whips a cross into box, Cambridge’s Hollie Jardine lunges at the ball turning it behind for the corner kick
GOAL! Less than 5 minutes on the clock and a chance for Lewes who have some tall players in their ranks to bring them forwards to attack the corner kick Kate McIntyre takes the corner is a fantastic delivery whipped into the box with pace, finds Georgia Bridges unmarked facing the near post gets her head over the ball knocking it in past goalkeeper Verity Crook and over the player at the post before she can react. 0-1.
A good start from the visitors are causing Cambridge a few problems, Larkins with support from captain Kelly Newton in midfield in particular with Carter up front moving across the pitch to find pockets of space to receive the ball. It’s Carter in possession around the top right corner of the Cambridge box receiving from a throw-in good footwork as she tries to wriggle her way into the area, Burt comes across to make the tackle the ball isn’t cleared far comes back in Cambridge concede the corner. From the right goes long, however the referee spots a push on Crook the free-kick is awarded to Cambridge.
|Kellie Larkin on the ball for Lewes Ladies
More forceful running from Rebecca Carter down the right wing, drives on before squaring the ball into the Cambridge area, players from both sides have been drawn across the pitch, West has gotten forwards is looking to gt on the end of the cross hit a shot goalwards a yard inside the area, Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins closes her down the opportunity is gone. Cambridge aren’t getting much success up front in the opening 15 minutes Laura Mills right and Deacon left trying to make themselves available aren’t getting much change out of Thompson and West in the full-back positions.
Counter attack for Lewes, Baldock sending Rebecca Carter away down the left flank, races after the ball, wants to travel inside towards goal, Burt getting back on her forces her wide gets into the box the angle is against Carter nevertheless the gets a shot away with the outside of her boot, Crook has gotten across to cover her near post the shot lacking the power to beat her.
|Lewes ladies, Gabby Baldoock
Cambridge having been on the back foot are starting to get some joy on the flanks play drawn inside Jenkins is able to run onto the ball in space on the right side her cross into the box is over Nicole Perschky, is cleared by the defender behind for a throw in the right, put back into the Lewes area West clears out to the middle, Mills latches onto it from 25 yards plus out sends the ball arrowing back in towards goal skims the top of the crossbar as it goes out for a goal-kick.
A fantastic save from Lewes goalkeeper Lauren Dolbear to keep the 1 nil advantage in tack. Lewes are on the attack the ball is won back as Paige Logie tackles Carter at the back sends the ball long over the top clearing the Lewes defence caught static for a moment not Perschky however as she breaks clear getting her foot on the ball a one on one situation with the keeper developing, carrying the ball inside looks to shoot from outside the box curl the shot around the keeper with her left foot, Dolbear flings herself to her right getting a good glove on the ball turning it wide for the corner kick. Lewes defend the corner at the near post.the ball landing straight at the feet of Becky Taylor 25 yards out left of the box hits the shot back in sending the ball wide across the goal face.
This is a busy game alot happening both sides enjoying the pitch the ball travelling well upon it. Baldock has possession wide left for Lewes picks out a great pass to find Larkin central going forwards looks the lift the ball into the area with Bridges trying to steal in behind the Cambridge defence, the lob almost comes off, Logie just stretches her neck muscles to turn the ball away.
GOAL! Just as Cambridge look like they might find a way to level things up, Lewes get down the other end and double their advantage getting the ball down the left deep into the Cambridge half win a throw the ball is played into Larkin inside the box her shot is blocked the deflection sends the ball across the six yard box with Rebecca Carter well placed to hit the ball towards goal and score 0-2.
Half an hour played and their has been little respite from both sides. Larkin pushes on with the ball taking it to the right as she travels deep into the Cambridge half has Rebecca Carter with her charging on down the wing, has kept Jardine busy on that side the Cambridge left back stops the cross putting the ball out for a corner. Carter breaks from the middle of the area towards the near post to receive the corner lifts her boot connecting with the ball places it wide.
Cambridge break the ball fizzed into Perschky back to goal inside the Lewes half, sends the ball out to the right with Mills racing into space getting it onto her feet hits the cross early along the face of the box with players from both sides racing up the pitch, it’s Taylor 20 yards out who latches onto the ball hitting it on the volley, plenty of power in the little chance to control it blasts the effort wide.
GOAL! Into the last 5 minutes of an action packed 1st half, Cambridge regain possession of the ball at the back as Lewes attack, launch a rapid counter move as Taylor brings the ball on picking out Perschky with a brilliant pass the striker turns and sprints towards the Lewes area her run identical to her earlier move only this time travelling into a central position reverses the shot playing it back across the diving Dolbear to her left and scores 1-2.
Cambridge find time for on more attack in the 1st half Taylor bringing the ball on down the right, Perschky makes a move out to the wing wanting the ball, gets it then tries to pick out Mills making a run through the middle to get up into the area, the cross swerves in towards Dolbear who comfortably gathers
Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-2 Lewes Ladies
A busy 1st half full of entertainment, Lewes getting off to a fantastic start taking an early lead and dominating for a spell took Cambridge a little while to get into the game and just when they did they fell 2 nil down. Kept going and pulled a goal back late in the half to keep this Determining Round of the FAWPL Cup very much alive.
Lewes get the 2nd half underway, any chance of rain has gone the sun bathing down now. A double change for the visitors at the start Baldock and Bridges are off with Kim Stenning and Fliss Love coming on. Haven’t even picked up my notepad and Lewes have the ball in the back of the net, Carter free on the right whips a cross into the box, Newton I think is the player who bundles it home, however it doesn’t stand as the linesman’s flag is raised.
Deacon fouls Love wide on the right, McIntyre takes the free-kick playing the ball up the line for West to go after plays an early ball across the top of the box looking for Stenning, instead it’s Logie that gets to it first to head clear. Cambridge bring the ball over the half-way line the pass is to Perschky wide left 25 yards out plays the ball crossfield into Perfect who helps it on to Mills, has Jenkins go beyond her on the overlap plays her puts the ball into the box with Perfect trying to get in there, Charlie Carter charges down the ball and it’s cleared.
|Lewes Ladies, Katie McIntyre gets the ball just ahead of Cambridge’s Ashleigh Deacon
Cambridge are giving a few free-kicks away, gives the chance for McIntyre to play the ball up into the area, is on the ball wide right is virtually a corner kick, is swept into the area at a good height, Taylor back defending for Cambridge heads clear. Love on the ball on the right switches play well putting the ball inside to Larkin who in turn helps it further on for Palmer who strikes from outside the box, slices the ball away from goal. A change for Cambridge as the game approaches the 60 minute mark with Dawn Mallett returning from an injury lay-off coming on to replace Perfect.
Cambridge are getting much more possession of the ball 2nd half attacking down the slope, Perschky with the crossfield ball left to right for Mills rolls it back into the middle for Mallett, returns the pass Mills down the wing plays the ball into the box, Charlie Carter near post heads the ball away. Cambridge make a 2nd change Gallop coming off for Faith Hewitt. Cambridge win a free-kick wide right inside the Lewes half Mallett to put the ball in is cleared from the top of the area by Lewes, Jenkins picks it up for Cambridge on the right sends it back in Thompson heads it out this time the counter is on Love travelling with the ball looks to play it on for Carter, the offside flag stops her in her tracks.
Cambridge are applying much of the pressure 2nd half however Lewes are defending well, deep not allowing any way in behind. Jardine able to get forwards a little more 2nd half sends a long ball up into the area, looking for Perschky, West does well against her heads it back out of the area is gathered by Mallett 35 yards out sends the shot back in held by Dolbear. Cambridge continue to pressurise Perschky gathering the ball on the run taking it into the area from the left hits it towards goal is straight at Dolbear.
For a moment there everyone in the crowd thinks Cambridge have been awarded a penalty, as Taylor dribbling the ball towards the Lewes area is fouled by Charlie Carter it’s just outside however inside the D right side. Mallett on the free-kick hit’s it hard and low, the Lewes wall does its job blocking the shot and getting out to clear. Love is energetic finding space with some lively footwork to get clear of her markers for Lewes pushing inside from the right has Newton making a forwards run for her to get into the Cambridge box, Burt stretching just manages to get to it 1st.
With 10 minutes of normal time left Lewes make their final change bring on Danielle Lane for Larkin. The visitors have a corner on the right the delivery into Rebecca Carter a good header from 10 yards out angling for the top corner, Crook shifting to her left jumps and plants her gloves firmly around the ball.Final change for Cambridge a straight swap at left back with Carrie Bennett coming on for Jardine 7 minutes left still 2-1 to Lewes.
|Cambridge captain, Kayleigh-Anne Burt
Cambridge continue to push hard for an equalising have to risk getting hit on the counter
but both sides are tiring. Perschky has been a threat all game for Cambridge manages to get past Charlie Carter at the back for once, Love tracking back lunges in to win the ball put it out for a throw. Left side the ball is played into Mallett central a great turn gives her a half yard of space 25 yards out to shout puts the ball straight into Dolbear’s midriff.
Closing in on the 90 minute mark Cambridge push on the game is stretched, Stenning gets onto the end of a Palmer cross in from the left, looping up Crook holds onto the ball. At the other end Taylor is sent clear through the middle it’s a case of can she be closed down before she gets the ball away into the D, treads on the ball the chance is gone. Into injury time 5 minutes to be added Lewes attack the ball from Lane into Stenning on to Rebecca Carter right she crosses the ball in, Burt gets enough on the ball her deflection taking all the power off the ball runs safely through to Crook.
GOAL! A late, late corner for Cambridge players are sent forwards as Mills sends a fantastic ball into the six yard box is headed out of the area by Lewes Cambridge getting hold of it on the left the ball lifted back in is knocked on Hewitt volleys the ball goalwards it rattle the crossbar drops back down into the area Taylor is sharp nipping in to take it then sends the shot into the back of the net to cue wild celebrations as Cambridge make it 2-2.
|Becky Taylor scores the equalising goal at the death for
Cambridge United WFC to force the game into extra-time
Full-time Cambridge United WFC 2-2 Lewes Ladies
That’s virtually it time for Lewes to get the ball up the other end but not enough time to retake the lead the game ends with the scores level at 2-2 and the game will see another 30 minutes of added time played. Cambridge were the stronger side 2nd half pushing forwards creating chance finding hard to break down a resolute Lewes defence time was running out scoring with their last attack in added time. All substitutes played by both sides which side would find the energy for another goal in extra-time.
|Lewes Ladies and Cambridge United WFC rest and prepare for an additional 30 minutes
Cambridge to kick off the 1st 15 minute period of extra-time attacking back up the slope. Have an early chance as the ball is played out to the right Love onto Carter her cross in towards the near post is met by Stenning sends the ball high over the bar. Hewitt for Cambridge launches a shot goalwards from 30 yards out is off target. Cambridge get the ball in from the right win a corner kick Taylor comes towards the ball inside the box drills a head down towards goal is blocked the deflection taking it behind for another corner.
Charlie Carter goes into the book as she brings down Hewitt in the centre circle the Cambridge attack almost away after she wins a 50/50 challenge. Mallett plays the ball into the box West and Hewitt go up for it the ball is knocked down across goal Mills meets it on the volley drives over the crossbar.
Mallett is fouled in a similar position to the earlier free-kick a little higher up the pitch Players go up into the box, Lewes’ Dolbear claims it they launch a counter attack the ball swept out to Rebecca Carter on the right over half way has support inside from McIntyre plays the ball inside takes on the strike from distance, gets plenty of pace on the ball, Crook leaps across to cover the top corner on her left the shot is just wide.
The scores remain 2-2 as the 1st half of extra-time comes to an end, Cambridge to attack down the slope in the 2nd period, Lewes kick-off
GOAL! There is a goal right at the start of the 2nd period of extra-time the Lewes are on the attack the ball played into McIntyre in the centre brings it on into the Cambridge half passes out to Palmer free on the left, hits the cross early on the diagonal looping the ball up with Stenning going far post. it’s an own goal as Logie attempting to get her head on the ball can only turn it past the stranded Crook and into the back of the net. 2-3.
12 minutes left to play can Lewes hold on to take the victory. Cambridge come forwards down the right Jenkins plays a long ball up towards the top corner of the area Dolbear coming for the ball claims well with Taylor breathing down her neck.
|Cambridge United WFC’s Dawn Mallett
GOAL! The lead is sort lived as Cambridge winning the ball back inside their own half have Mallett on the ball plays a fantastic long pass over the top towards Perschky drifting left, receiving the ball turns inside heads towards the box seeing the danger Dolbear comes racing out to meet her goes down as she blocks the ball with her feet, the keeper grounded, the trapped ball hasn’t gone anywhere, Perschky has stayed on her feet can knock it past the keeper on the edge of the area and sends it home to equalise, races over to the bench to celebrate. 3-3
Neither side settling for the looming penalty shootout Lewes attack Love with the ball up into Stenning right side into the box her shot straight into Crook across to cover her near post. The ball is soon up the other end the pass long into the box looking for Perschky, Thompson gets back on her to win the ball. Pushing forwards little time left Deacon is played in by Perschky down the left Taylor makes a run through the middle into the box left goes to put the ball across the six yard for Mills, Palmer tracking back defends getting there 1st the ball is cleared but only as far as Mallett who strikes from distance the shot wide.
Full-time extra-time and the game will go to penalties.
Cambridge to get the penalty shootout underway the players opting to walk down the slope and take the penalties that end. Taylor up 1st for the home side hits the ball hard to the Dolbear’s right she guesses right but her dive is in vain 1-0.
Stenning is up 1st to take the penalty for Lewes keeps it low and accurate into the bottom corner to Crook’s left 1-1.
2nd penalty taker for Cambridge is Perschky, hits a high penalty into the back of the net evading Dolbear who again guesses the right way 2-1.
Palmer takes Lewes’ 2nd penalty a good penalty kept down to the keepers left 2-2.
Cambridge captain, Burt to take the 3rd penalty lifts her effort up over the keeper and into the top of the net3-2
Lane to take Lewes 3rd penalty, goes to place the ball low into the bottom corner, Crook guesses right throwing herself to her right gets her gloves on the ball to push it away, save the score remains 3-2.
Cambridge’s 4th penalty taker is Jenkins goes to put the ball down the middle, Dolbear makes a comfortable save stays 3-2.
Charlie Carter up next for Lewes again looks to hit the ball low to the keepers right, Crook throws herself at it and saves another still 3-2.
One penalty of the regular 5 left for Cambridge score it and they win the Cup tie. It’s Mallett to take hits the ball low and accurate into the bottom left corner to win it for Cambridge 4-2.
|Cambridge celebrate after winning on penalties
That’s it Cambridge win the penalty shootout 4-2 to end a cracking game of football the players race into the area in celebration piling on top of Mallett. It’s a tough way to end a match but has to be settled one way. So Cambridge advance to the League Cup proper whilst Lewes will contest the League Plate not too many sides will fancy drawing them. 35 sides contesting each competition a preliminary round will take place to bring it down to 32 for the 1st round proper.
A great advert for women’s football the game ebbed and flowed, drama Cambridge coming back from 2-0 to score an equaliser deep in injury time to force extra-time, both sides going on to score in extra-time then the drama of penalties. I’m exhausted writing this match report so can only imagine how the players feel.
My thanks to Lewes Ladies, Jane Roberts for her help with the team details today. Best of luck to both sides for their respective cup competitions.