Category Archives: Match Reports

Match Report – March Town United Ladies v ICA Sports Ladies

Sunday 15th September

Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership

 First taste of county league action this season and we begin in Cambridgeshire a game from the Women’s Premiership, March Town United Ladies v ICA Sports Ladies.

 The 3rd weekend in a row a side from Peterborough has featured in a match report. ICA Sports Ladies the visitors this time around. An large influx of new sides entering the county leagues in Cambridgeshire this season sees the Premiership swell from 8 to 13 sides with a new single division Championship consisting of 15 sides. 

  March Town United Ladies one of the sides sitting out the opening weekend, begin their campaign this Sunday, now an established side in the Premiership finishing comfortably in what proved to be a competitive tussle in mid-table. Now part of a 13 strong Premiership alot more football to be played 6 new sides those promoted starting well March will be looking to make an impact.

  A runners-up finish in the Premiership for ICA Sports Ladies last season, competing within the Peterborough area a hotbed for women’s football, the club both male and female has a very strong youth section always looking to bring players through. Like March well established in the league will be aiming to be as competitive as last season push for the top end of the table. Started their season with a win, although only just letting a 6-2 lead at home to Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds slips to clinch it 6-5 at the final whistle. 

 Didn’t get to see either side in action last season, and it has been a while since I’ve visited March Town United Ladies, GER Sportsground. Boasts the 2nd oldest wooden football stand in existence set back from the pitch, the venue having hosted greyhound racing in the past. A new clubhouse leading into the ground on one corner, the bar and kitchen open for hot drinks. An historic ground, a good sized pitch. A hot and humid day, close with some cloud cover, the sun hot when it breaks through.

March Town United Ladies starting XI – Toni Sharpe, Kayleigh Churchyard, Megan Webb, Louise Billingham, Claire Newton, Megan Tombs, Alexis Waters, Adele Munday (C), Emma Searle, Abigail Grist & Eleanor McLeish. Subs- Naomi McGarvie.

ICA Sports Ladies starting XI – Claire Knibbs, Cara Clarke, Jessica Farchica, Becky Shields (C), Sophie Antonucci, Zoe Leddy, Hannah Murphy, Sarah Rouse, Donna Nicholls, Piper Hebditch & Carmen Herridge. Subs – Tessa Morrison.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Both sides short of numbers naming just 1 substitute each, players unavailable and missing through injury. ICA Sports without their goalkeeper, Claire Knibbs donning the gloves. ICA Sports opting to switch ends at the coin toss with the high sun a factor facing down on one goal. March to get the game underway wearing yellow shirts, black shorts and socks. ICA Sports lined up opposite wearing blue shirts and shorts with blue and white hooped socks. The visitors press from the off forcing a throw left the ball put up the line Donna Nicholls fresh from scoring an opening day hat-trick bursting forwards putting the March defence under pressure gets inside to let loose a shot from 30 yards out her attempt well wide.

   March bring the ball out fro the back Megan Tombs left and Abigail Grist right making runs wide looking for the crossfield pass, the ball played left Tombs bringing it down is challenged by Cara Clarke possession regained for ICA Sports. March win the ball back central forwards with Eleanor McLeish coming inside from the left taking aim from outside the area her shoot low gathered by Knibbs. March with another crossfield pass find Grist breaking in behind right side taking the ball to the byline her cross cut out by Sophie Antonucci for the first corner of the game.

Abigail Grist attacking for March Town United Ladies

  GOAL! An early goal as ICA Sports break from March’s corner kick the ball cleared up-field Nicholls racing away clear on the left drives in field towards the area, the March defence racing to get back plays in central to Carman Herridge, wants to return it to Nicholls but is closed down instead has a 2nd option racing up to support Hannah Murphy receiving the lay off 25 yards out connecting well to fire in a shot past goalkeeper Toni Sharpe before she can set herself. 0-1.

Hannah Murphy (right) opening the scoring for ICA Sports Ladies

  ICA Sports leading within the opening 5 minutes are looking sharp early on breaking quickly Sarah Rouse breaking up a March attack, Nicholls frustrated as she goes a fraction to early the flag raised against her as Murphy central looks to put it on over the top for her. March captain Adele Munday getting hold of the ball looks to carry it through the middle her determined run ended by Rouse. 

 GOAL! The visitors quickly find themselves race into a 2 goal lead. Nicholls a real threat attacking on the left gets away in behind this time pace on the ball travelling into the box left side into the six yard box time to way up her options players racing in central opens up her body to shoot a close range, the ball finding it’s way through the goalkeepers legs as she shapes to block. 0-2.

Donna Nicholls doubles the lead for ICA Sports Ladies

  A great start for ICA Sports 2 goals to the good inside 10 minutes looking lively the ball won high up the pitch play turned around quickly forcing their opponents into rushing their passes. Murphy brought down central 30 yards out players forwards as Nicholls stands over the set piece into the area, headed clear, March unable to break ICA Sports straight back at them, the pass into Nicholls her ball forwards long. March struggling to get any sustained possession early on. A change for ICA Sports Piper Hebditch has taken a slight knock on the right, Tessa Morrison coming on. 

Carmen Herridge holding the ball up

  Murphy attacking for ICA Sports right channel on for Herridge takes the ball on into the area Louise Billingham going with her for March the centre back winning the challenge, the ball gathered by Morrison wide right her cross long across the box Nicholls on it far side shapes to shoot across the keeper, Sharpe with an excellent save throwing out a glove to push the ball away. A slight delay then as for the 2nd week running somebody as left a present on the pitch the duty of clearing it up once again falling to the manager. An appropriate time for a drinks break is hot out there (enjoy it while it lasts).

   ICA Sports on the front foot again from the restart Murphy seeing Nicholls making her move left sides aiming to put the ball over the top, too close to the keeper this time. Munday looks to get things going for March through the middle a strong run forwards Clarke stays with her as they head for the box, Munday getting a shot away 25 yards out runs wide of the goal. ICA Sports caught offside March defender Claire Newton on the free-kick plays a fantastic ball into her opponents half in front of the area Munday bringing it down into the feet of fellow midfielder Emma Searle she lifts a shot over the bar from 25 yards out. 

  March finding their feet growing into the game but ICA Sports remain a threat ready to break on the counter should they commit too many forwards. The ball cleared by the March defence after a spell of head tennis in the final third, Murphy free 35 yards out meeting it on the volley aiming to lob the keeper her strike dropping short safely caught by Sharpe. March make a change Naomi McGarvie coming on for Billingham, the substitution seeing Alexis Waters drop into the back line. 

March Town United Ladies captain, Adele Munday

  Munday back helping her defence as Nicholls looks to put the ball over the top for Herridge running central. Waters winning the race to the ball getting a vital touch inside the area to clear for a corner as Murphy looks to get on through the middle. The ball from the corner put in near side met by an ICA Sports head turned goalwards dropping straight at Sharpe on her line cleanly gathered. 

  Megan Webb brought down getting forwards on the right for March the free-kick 30 yards out Searle over in floated into the area near post, Jessica Farchica tracking the runner to clear behind for a corner. The initial ball cleared back to the corner taker a 2nd cross fired in central into McGarvie back to goal attempts to control and turn to shoot closed down before she can. March enjoying a period of possession within the ICA Sports final 3rd Munday linking up with Searle, another free-kick given on the right deeper this time Newton forwards to take a fine delivery to the back post a March head meeting it falls wide of the post six yards out. Grist winning a corner right ICA Sports defend Herridge on it looking to break central is obstructed by Waters referee Ian Reynolds awarding the free-kick

 GOAL! From the resulting free-kick ICA Sports go on to extend their lead Nicholls over it players forwards into the ball a good floated ball in central captain Becky Shields rising highest to meet it her header taking the ball out to the left where Murphy has strayed unmarked to collect and blast a shot in across the keeper 0-3.

   ICA Sports remain sharp as the first half draws to a close another free-kick given on half-way the ball up towards the top of the area defended by Webb for March. ICA Sports keeping possession right Morrison playing it into the area the March defence stepping out well to leave Herridge offside. Searle with a powerful run on the ball through the middle for March Farchina on her shoulder 20 yards out does enough as the midfielder shoots does get the touch she wanted the ball tame as it is gathered by Knibbs. 

  Moments left in the first period Nicholls alert running in central catches Newton in possession outside the area takes the ball on Sharpe running out to meet her, Nicholls touch taking the ball wide of the advancing keeper momentum taking her wide of goal as she enters the six yard box, Newton haring back to get on the goal line Nicholls again weighing up the options as Sharpe back to closes the angle, Nicholls has Herridge steaming in lays the ball into her path 3 yards out central an opening goal begging manages to send the ball running wide across the face out beyond the far post. 

Half-time March Town United Ladies 0-3 ICA Sports Ladies

  The end to an otherwise dominant first half from ICA Sports, an early lead quickly doubled seeing them on the front foot. Preventing March getting any momentum going closing the ball down well, Hebditch and Nicholls looking to break wide in support of Herridge through the middle, Murphy with some excellent runs to with Rouse and Luddy protecting in midfield. March struggling to get up to the pace of the game, Munday and Searle trying to get things going through the middle, Knibbs though largely untested so far. Alot for March to do if they want to get anything from the game.

Adele Munday and Sophie Antonucci going to win the ball

  Changes for both sides at the start of the 2nd half, Hebditch back on, playing right. Billingham back on to at left back in place of Webb. ICA Sports to get the 2nd half underway. Attacking left Munday across to win the ball back the ball played long to Tombs pushing on down the left she plays another crossfield pass long for Grist attacking right down to the corner finds her way inside Antonucci to play the ball with the outside of her boot across the six yard box, McGarvie meeting it in the middle under challenge fires the ball wide across goal. 

March Town United Ladies, Claire Newton

 A positive start to the 2nd half from March sees a sot fired over from distance. Newton defending at the back chasing back with Nicholls as she looks to get onto the ball. Nicholls remains a threat on the left holding the ball up, Newton and Billingham doubling up on her, she ducks inside to lift a cross into the box the flag up against Hebditch on the right. Munday with a strong challenge getting the ball on for March to Grist right side looking to take the ball on checks back to square across the top of the area with McGarvie making a run so too Rouse in front of her intercepting.

Newton and Sarah Rouse collide

   March looking better at the start of the 2nd half, ICA Sports though with a 3 goal lead can sit back a little. Murphy still prepared to get forwards attacking right shooting from 25 yards out the ball wide at the near post. Rouse putting the ball on from a throw inside her half up to Murphy she see Nicholls ready to go right the flag up against her a close call but just too soon. 

GOAL! March pull a goal back from an free-kick given against ICA Sports inside their own half, Newton on it plays another good delivery in towards the top of the area the ball knocked down central collected by Searle controls moves across the D to the right shift before unleashing a shot put across the keeper strikes the inside of the far post and nestles inside the back of the net 1-3.

Emma Searle pulls it back to 3-1 for March Town United Ladies

   The game more competitive between the pair now March matching ICA Sports earlier intensity. A push in the back spotted against Herridge ICA Sports with a free-kick wide right, Nicholls sends it deep Murphy with a late run, getting onto the end of it her touch pushing it out from her feet puts her shot wide across the face of goal. ICA Sports starting to pick up the pace slow at the start of the first half push players on Luddy getting forwards into a shooting position outside the box 20 yards out fires the ball straight into the keeper. 

  Billingham kept busy by Nicholls on the wing the ICA Sports attacker not finding it so easy to get away 2nd half, far from out of it however. A drop ball as Murphy plays the ball against the back of the referees head trying to launch it forwards. Drop ball not contested this season Shields sends it forwards for Murphy having run up field left side into the box Tombs defends conceding the corner. 

  Combination play on the right between Nicholls and Hebditch on the right before a shot comes fizzing in across the six yard box Sharpe down smartly to push the ball away out to the left, ICA Sports keeping possession the ball flung in headed clear drops to Farchica 25 yards out her attempt back in falling wide of the mark. Lively now the sun hidden by clouds cooling things down. The March defence drawn to the ball a miscued clearance playing it on for Herridge allows the striker to set Nichols away in behind Billingham, Newton does well to get across a tackle to clear for a corner. The delivery long cleared at the far post.

 GOAL! ICA Sports restore their 3 goal lead a throw inside their own half put forwards well by Rouse up to Herridge in attack opens her body to spread play wide left with the ever lively Nicholls bursting forwards clear to race on into the area closing in on goal send her strike in low Sharpe down can’t get there in time as it evades her to cross the line 1-4.

Donna Nicholls scores to restore ICA Sports 3 goal lead

  A drinks break called changes made with Webb back on in place of Churchyard for March and Morrison back on for ICA Sports replacing Hebditch. Grist’s clearance over the clubhouse the ball lost on the road beyond. Grist taking the new ball forwards down the right covering plenty of grass into the corner doing well to win a corner.

ICA Sports Ladies, Sarah Rouse

GOAL! From the corner March score again comes in near side towards the top of the area defended but sliced on across the top of the D, Searle meeting it left 20 out hits it hard and straight through bodies finds its way in 2-4. 15 minutes left to play.

  Nicholls brought down attacking left right on the edge of the area. Taking the free-kick the ball lifted in across goal safe in the hands of Sharpe, March look to counter quickly the ball carried over half way by Munday forwards for McLeish, Shields getting across her as the pair enter the area to safely marshal it back to her keeper. Newton stepping forwards out of the defence well intercepts as Nicholls aims to thread a ball through the middle for Herridge. Herridge herself attacking top of the area receiving the pass from Murphy finds herself crowded off the ball by Waters and Webb.

  ICA Sports upping their intensity once again as they push on late on the game winning a corner on the right put into the box headed towards goal cleared off the line by Newton I think. Herridge after a long ball sent forwards on the right wing collects on the byline the game stretched players out of position Nicholls coming in field clear at the top of the area, Billingham recovers in the nick of time to race across to lung in and intercept the ball. Grist coming off for March with Churchyard back on.  

GOAL! ICA Sports score a 5th goal late in the game counter with the ball up to Nicholls left beating the offside trap plays the diagonal ball into the box for Herridge providing the run right of the D, she shoots early putting the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner.

 March look for an immediate reply Searle fouled brought down central as she and Munday combine well again in attack. The set-piece 25 yards out McLeish to take, doesn’t get the height on the shot to trouble Knibbs. Into the final 5 minutes. Murphy stealing in behind the March defence on the right shoots over the bar. ICA attack Antonucci getting forwards with Rouse played inside to Luddy in to attack, Waters challenging, Luddy gets a 2nd bite shooting across goal, Sharpe down pushing the ball wide collected right Morrison sends a strike back in cannons off the bar. ICA Sports ending the game on the front foot as the final whistle blows.

Full time March Town United Ladies 2-5 ICA Sports Ladies

  Two wins from two for ICA Sports Ladies sees them topping the table albeit very early in the season. Played well on the front foot early 2-0 up inside the opening 10 minutes adding a 3rd goal before half-time. Pressing well, looking to turn play around quickly with willing runners in attack, Rouse and Luddy confident in front of defence. March struggling in the first half in contrast on the back foot going in 3 down at half-time. Responded well 2nd period the game opening up competitive all over the pitch 2 goals pulled back. ICA Sports always lively on the counter biding their time scoring 2 more goals as play became stretched.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few contenders but in the end in came down to two. Hannah Murphy linking up the midfield and attack well passing wide with options available and making some good runs herself to get into scoring positions scoring 2 goals. Ahead of her though is Donna Nicholls, lively right from the first minute looking to get in behind and drive at goal, scoring 2 goals herself clinical and a danger when taking a free-kick.

  An enjoyable first county league game to start the season, glad to have caught up with both sides, have no doubt the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership will be highly competitive this season. My thanks to both teams for the team details today always appreciated.

Match Report – Peterborough Northern Star Ladies v Colney Heath Ladies

Sunday 8th September

ERWFL Premier Division

  A return trip to Peterborough this Sunday to watch my first game of the season from the ERWFL Premier League with Peterborough Northern Star Ladies hosting early leaders Colney Heath Ladies. 

  The standard within the league improving year on year is highly competitive at this level and rarely disappoints in entertainment. Several sides have recruited well over the summer and could will be intriguing to find out who winds up on top. Both of today’s opponents enjoy a good relationship and support from within the wider club. 

  Peterborough Northern Star Ladies moving across to join the ERWFL (Eastern Region Women’s Football League) last season having previously been with the East Midlands regional set-up. A strong outfit pushing towards the top of the league they were among the front runners early on before injuries and lack of numbers took their toll towards the end of the season. A need to recruit and strengthen the first team, they have brought in several new additions with the likes of Kayla Dortch, Kimberly Fairweather, Gabrielle Smith, Eleanor Spendelow and Leah Cudone coming in. The first team backed up by a Reserves side playing in a 13 strong Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership this season. A last gaps goal seeing them lose 3-2 at home to Luton Town Ladies on the opening day. Bounced back with a 3-0 win away to newly promoted St Ives Town Ladies last time out.

  Colney Heath Ladies have made a fantastic start to the season winning their opening two league games scoring 17 goals in the process to top the ERWFL Premier Division one of 3 sides still with a 100% record. A great performance in the Preliminary Round of the Women’s FA Cup last Sunday saw them win 3-1 away to fellow Premier Division side Bedford Ladies. Now entering their 3rd season playing at this level have consolidated well and will be looking to push on. A terrific start last season however they fell away badly losing their manager. Paul Gleeson coming in thing’s began to pick up towards the end of last season, have recruited over the summer too with the likes of Jordan Goddard, Rachel Spendlow, goalkeeper Amy Butler and Samaira Khan joining. 

  The Branch Bros Stadium, Peterborough Northern Star Ladies home ground to the northern end of the city easy to get to. Two large grass area with pitches either side of the main pitch overlooked by the bar and clubhouse on entry. A burger van open to serve hot food and drinks. The pitch with a thick covering of grass two small seated stands available either side of the dugouts. A pleasant day a few dark clouds around but no rain forecast keeping the temperature down, the sun bright when it does poke through.

Peterborough Northern Star Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson (C), Evie Driscoll-King, Samantha Davies, Kayla Dortch, Bronwyn Mulheron, Chanade Henderson, Gabrielle Smith, Leah Cudone, Katie Steward & Emma Pollard. Subs – Frances Peeling, Alexa Hunter, Kimberly Fairweather, Eleanor Spendelow & Georgia Coulson.

Colney Heath Ladies starting XI – Lucy Hancock, Samantha May, Catalina Costas, Annie Hickey, Kelly Glynn, Christina Freestone, Sheree Oliver (C), Samiara Khan, Adi Milton, Charlene Moreton & Rianne Townsend-Brown. Subs – Mel Godino & Rachel Sherlow.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Four of the 12 sides in the ERWFL Premier Division play in a black and white strip, Royston, St Ives Town and today’s opponents. Peterborough with home advantage wearing black and white vertical striped shirts, with black shorts and black and white hooped socks lining up as Colney Heath wearing an all blue away kit prepare to kick-off the match. Pressure from the hosts straight away forcing Colney Heath back towards their own box Katie Steward in to pinch the ball central sees it run on in behind Emma Pollard giving chase moving away from goal the angle against her as she gets her foot around the ball her attempt wide of the near post.

Emma Pollard looking to head the ball on for Peterborough

   Peterborough starting brightly Steward in possession on the right controls well before turning inside to fire a cross in along the six yard box no one attacking it central, goalkeeper Lucy Hancock able to gather at the far post. Christina Freestone on the ball central plays it out wide left for Samaira Khan, 5 goals for the winger since joining the club looks to take the ball on tackled by Peterborough’s Evie Driscoll-King the ball out for a throw. Taken quickly inside the Peterborough half attacker Charlene Moreton coming towards the ball heading it on over the top for Rianne Townsend-Brown she sends it wide to her right with Adi Milton looking to get inside her fullback, strong running into the box, goalkeeper and captain Sarah Hudson out well to close her down makes the blocking save at her feet. 

  Driscoll-King putting in a good tackle to deny Khan again on the wing sends a great all up the right for Steward to chase, gathering the ball takes it on before wrapping her foot around the ball to launch a cross into the area, Hancock up well to claim it. Both sides looking to turn the play around quickly Milton almost succeeds in playing Townsend-Brown through central with a well flighted diagonal pass, the striker halted however by a raised flag. 

Kayla Dortch

 Khan stays onside from a free-kick won on the left played forwards the winger squaring a pacey ball along the top of the area finds its way through to Milton far side meets it first time with the outside of her boot the shot in angling away from goal. Peterborough mount a quick attack of their own from front to back the ball through the middle almost has Steward in top of the area but Hancock out well just about does enough to thwart her as her defence recovers to clear the ball. 

Catalina Costas holding of Peterborough’s Katie Steward

  Chanade Henderson getting hold of the ball in the middle for Peterborough plays a great ball forwards for Steward to attack in behind shoulder to shoulder with full back Catalina Costas the Colney Heath defender doing well to get a toe to the ball before Steward to send it wide of goal, then a controversial decision by the referee in the visitors opinion as goalkeeper Hancock goes out towards the ball is warned not to pick it up but does, Colney Heath complaining it wasn’t a back pass an indirect free-kick awarded against them wide of goal near the edge of the six yard box. A crowded penalty area the intention to smash it across the face of goal the Colney Heath defence charge it down and clear successfully.

Peterborough Northern Star’s Chanade Henderson

  An entertaining opening to the match both sides lively, Colney Heath with the slower start coming into it more as captain Sheree Oliver plays the ball forwards to Milton on the right possession retained, a cross lifted into the box, Khan central rising a tall player, can only get a glancing header the ball over at the far post. A delay in play then as a dogs mess is discovered on the pitch, happens at this level now an again. The task of clearing it up usually the home side managers (although I doubt Emma Hayes had this dilemma at Stamford Bridge this afternoon) Dean Steward managing Peterborough armed with a plastic bag clearing up the offending item and play can resume. 

  The free-kick scheduled to take place nearby as Driscoll-King plays a fantastic ball into the box, Hancock in amongst bodies on the penalty spot with a good punch getting it away. Hancock reacting sharply again moments later as a defensive error puts Leah Cudone in behind on the left of attack into the box the goalkeeper rushing out to gather top of the area. Peterborough upping the tempo attacking with more urgency in the last five minutes get control of the ball inside their opponents half Gabrielle Smith showing fantastic close ball control threading a pass forwards for Cudone playing in in to attack the box central Hancock coming to close her down Cudone looks to place her shot wide of the advancing keeper, not enough however as Hancock throws out and arm to stop the ball. 

  Hancock quick to set up the counter attack the ball up to Milton a threat on the right plays the ball on for Townsend-Brown in behind, the defence caught static, Hudson comes out towards her top of the area right of the D, Townsend-Brown sending the ball past her as the pair collide, Kayla Dortch back by then on hand can clear the ball if needed by can see it safely behind only just mind. Neither side on top, both looking like they will find the opening goal Peterborough regain possession central Smith finding her pass again to see fullback Samantha May outnumbered left side of the area as Cudone and Pollard burst forwards the shot fired in across goal into the bottom corner, the goal though doesn’t stand the flag raised against the pair. 

Rianne Townsend-Brown looking to get in behind the Peterborough defence

  Costas has picked up an injury for Colney Heath the full back struggling can’t continue bringing the first change of the match with Rachel Spendlow joining at right back. Peterborough have a corner on the right the delivery short as Cudone spots makes a run towards the ball turning to shoot from 20 yards out her strike over the bar. A mix-up at the back inside the six yard box from the Colney Heath defence sees Cudone latch onto the ball attempting to turn right side to get a shot away the blocking tackle sees the ball cleared falling to Peterborough’s Faith Horner she shoots 25 yards out the ball safely handled straight into Hancock’s midriff.

   Colney Heath attack right Milton winning her side a corner kick the delivery in central headed clear Cudone bringing it away left play a quality pass on for Steward breaking forwards right channel, Sherlow back with her lunging in to make the tackle top of the area to take the ball away from the attacker. 

  GOAL! Half an hour played and the deadlock is broken, Peterborough on the attack right side, Driscoll-King having made some good runs forwards previously allowed to go on bringing the ball inside from the top of the area hits it hard sending the ball angling in across the face of goal, finds its way past everyone to nestle into the back of the net 1-0. 

Evie Driscoll-King with the opening goal of the game

   A few robust tackles have been a feature of the first half, Freestone upended by Smith in the middle sees the Peterborough player warned. Peterborough enjoying the lions share of the attacking play now, Dortch’s defence clearance turning into a great ball forwards Steward after it looks to lay it off inside for Pollard to shoot, Annie Hickey reading it for Colney Heath the defender in to nick the ball and attempt to set up a counter attack, on to Freestone to Milton away on the right squares a cross in ear side Townsend-Brown going for it so too Dortch the defender sliding in to win the challenge inside the box. 

 Flowing football from Peterborough Henderson with Horner out to Steward right side a brilliant pass long in behind on the diagonal to pick out Cudone nipping into the box left, her first touch taking the ball out from her feet giving Hancock a chance to dive for it, grabbing it into her body Cudone hurdling over her. 

  GOAL! Out of nothing Colney Heath are back on level terms late in the first half. Milton who has carried a threat all through the first half doing well to win a corner on the right players forwards as Charlene Moreton goes across to take it, a fantastic inswinging delivery high, Hudson up for it near post misses the ball past her finds the underside of the ball to nestle into the back of the net 1-1.

Charlene Moreton scores direct from a corner to level the scores for Colney Heath

 The full back have swapped sides for Colney Heath, May over at left back now called into action to make a vital tackle inside the box as the ball is played on through the middle to send Steward away in attack the full back on her shoulder pushing her wide of goal lunging to make the tackle before Steward can unleash a shot. 

Katie Steward attacking for Peterborough Samantha May across to defend for Colney Heath

  GOAL! The game turned completely on its head then as moments after levelling the scores they break to score and take the lead. The ball left side lifted forwards a miscued defensive clearance seeing the ball fall in behind with Milton quickest on the right side latching onto it taking on the shot early from 25 yards out well struck Hudson with little chance as it flies over her into the back of the net 1-2.

  Finding themselves trailing with just a minute of the first half left Peterborough get on the attack good combination play between Driscoll-King and Steward on the right the cross played into the box Pollard right of the D, her effort blocked by Hickey. Peterborough closing the ball down with intensity with the half-time whistle imminent. 

 GOAL! Winning the ball inside the Colney Heath half their defence pushed up Dortch to Mulheron who plays a great ball forwards for Cudone to gather on the left the striker head down with one intent to get inside and take on the shot lets fly from the top of the area the ball angling in over the keeper into the top corner 2-2. The half-time whistle blows.

Leah Cudone scoring a superb equaliser to make it 2-2 on the stroke of half-time

Half-time Peterborough Northern Star Ladies 2-2 Colney Heath Ladies

 An entertaining first half of football, plenty of action, played at a good pace, chances created, a splash of controversy into the mix. Peterborough started well and created opportunities. Colney Heath coming back into the game Both sides making use of their wide players, Peterborough taking a deserved lead, Colney Heath with a fortunate levelling goal but no doubt about their 2nd a quality strike from Milton, Peterborough responding well to level the scores before the break Cudone with a superb strike to make it 2-2. Beautifully poised for the 2nd half.  

The sun starting to poke through more towards the end of the first half now bright and facing the goal Peterborough are defending 2nd half as they get the game restarted. Both sides making a change at half-time Kimberly Fairweather on in place of Smith for Peterborough, Melissa Godino replaced Khan in the wing for Colney Heath. Cudone out on the right attacking sends a driven shot in towards the near post the ball held by Hancock closing the angle. 

  Oliver bringing the ball forwards for Colney Heath up the right into Milton she cuts infield before firing a cross in towards the top of the area met by Moreton her 1st time effort rising towards goal sails over the crossbar. Mulheron picking up the first yellow card of the game for an ungainly tackle on Milton looking to get on 20 yards out on the right. Freestone over the set-piece floated into the area, claimed well by Hudson. A lively start to the 2nd half both sides closing down the ball.

Christina Freestone winning the ball in midfield for Colney Heath

  Townsend-Brown caught just offside as Colney Heath play the ball on through the middle. Peterborough a little sloppy with their passes in the middle, Oliver getting hold of it up for Moreton, Mulheron in to win the ball back. Hancock is having an assured performance in goal for Colney Heath takes a confident catch high above her head as Cudone lifts a cross in from the right. 

Sheree Oliver playing the ball forwards

  A 2nd change for Peterborough with Georgia Coulson coming on for Davies. Peterborough get a corner on the right the delivery in towards the near side punched back to the taker by Hancock, crossed back in dropping in the six yard box, players attacking it none can get a clean strike on the ball, Hickey wining it with a no nonsense clearance. Steward out on the right bursts in behind Hancock coming to meet her one on one Steward jinks left the right attempting to deceive the keeper before trying to shoot across her, Hancock saving once more. 

Peterborough enjoying more of the attack more Colney Heath happy to sit ready to hit on the counter. Oliver bringing it out on for Townsend-Brown, Milton the outlet ready to go on the right, Coulson intercepting the pass for Peterborough. Hancock continues to thwart the Peterborough attack again Cudone clever is through into the box looking to take the ball around the keeper, Hancock down to pinch the ball. Pollard lines up a strike from 20 yards her attempt drilled wide. Fairweather comes off for Peterborough on comes Alexa Hunter. Milton off for Colney Heath, Khan returning with Godino moving to the right. 

Bronwyn Mulheron

  Henderson allowed to travel with the ball 20 yards out goes to pull the trigger Hickey running out to close her down making the block. Into the final 20 minutes the game remains there for the taking. Pollard carries the attack on the right for Peterborough, May holding her up, Cudone joining in support the pair win a corner. The ball in cleared by Hickey, her header falling to Steward 25 yards out does connect with the shot lacks the pace to trouble Hancock. 

Kelly Glynn holding off Leah Cudone

  Colney Heath’s defence the busier a determination amongst them not to concede, Glynn clearing as Hunter almost feds Pollard into the box making a run left channel. Pollard’s last actin of the game as she comes off now to be replaced by Eleanor Spendelow. Cudone looking the most likely to score as she makes another purposeful run on the right her shot fired in low Hancock down to save the ball loose however in front of her Peterborough slow to follow-up as Colney Heath scramble it away. Cudone taking the ball on to the byline right side lifting a cross in central evading Hancock this time, Spendlow jumping in the middle can’t keep her header down. 

Samaira Khan tracking Frances Horner as she brings the ball on for Peterborough

  Mulheron sending a fine pass forwards for Steward breaking right of the D takes aim the ball on target can only pick out Hancock back on her line, The game entering the final five minutes, Colney Heath working hard in defence keen to remain unbeaten allow Peterborough to come on. Coulson playing the ball on for Hunter to release Henderson central, Hickey stepping out of the back line to defend for Colney Heath. Another change for Colney Heath, Coulson departing… Frances Peeling on. 

  Peterborough winning a couple of free-kicks on the right late on Cudone on the first, Hancock claiming. The 2nd taken by Steward with Horner coming for it, Hickey dealing with the threat for the visitors. Moments left Peterborough attacking late on Henderson off a throw left crossing along the top of the area Hunter touching it into the path of the advancing Driscoll-King smashes a ball in towards goal deflected central Spendlow central wrong footed adjusts well to get her head on it turn it back towards goal Hancock across at her left post to save.

Full time Peterborough Northern Star Ladies 2-2 Colney Heath Ladies

  The points shared in an entertaining game, all action from start to finish. No more goals added 2nd half but not for want of trying from Peterborough pushed hard in the 2nd half Colney Heath putting in a solid defensive display thwarting them. Little in attack from the visitors in the 2nd 45 did invite pressure but maintain their unbeaten start to the season with a few players out. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match 

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award not an easy one once again a few contenders certainly. Adi Milton carrying a threat on the right for Colney Heath especially first half scoring a fantastic goal. Lucy Hancock with a confident display in goal reading the game well. For Peterborough, Evie Driscoll-King with good defensive work at full back getting forwards well to linking with Katie Steward. Edging it though Leah Cudone attacking for Peterborough brings a wealth of experience to the side making forceful and clever runs on and off the ball creating chances and always looking to score. Took her goal beautifully. 

An enjoyable trip to Peterborough, the ERWFL Premier Division producing yet another entertaining game full of excitement. Competitive from the 1st minute. My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams always appreciated. 5 games into the season already can’t believe it.

 

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

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.

 

Match Report – Riverside Ladies v Bungay Town Ladies

Sunday 1st September

Women’s FA Cup Preliminary Round

Cup action this Sunday on Women’s Football East, from the Preliminary Round of this season’s Women’s FA Cup and an opportunity to see two sides I haven’t seen play in a while as  Peterborough based side, Riverside Ladies take on Bungay Town Ladies from Suffolk.

  The Women’s FA Cup seeing more entries than ever as the game continues to grow across the country, an extra Preliminary Round already played there are 98 ties taking place this Sunday. Plenty of intriguing match ups too hard to settle on one always throws up some interesting ties.

  Has been a long time indeed since I last saw Riverside Ladies play getting on for 4 years I think. The club enjoying a rapid rise seeing them moving up to the East Midlands regional set-up and out of Women’s Football East’s coverage (can only do so much). Peterborough a hotbed for women’s football with several talented sides in the area, Riverside saw players leaving sometimes poached. Struggling dropped back into the Cambridgeshire Championship a rebuilding process, winning promotion back the the Premiership once again finished bottom as the team was hit once again, now rebuilding again as they prepare for another season in the Premiership the league strengthened now up to 13 sides will be a competitive league. Riverside have a strong youth set-up with U18s ready to step up to the senior side and U15 & U14 that bode well for future development. This Riverside’s first game of the season. 

  Bungay Town Ladies know the feeling of having their side raided for talent have often found themselves having to rebuild themselves. Playing in Norfolk Division One did the double just two season’s ago, last season proving more difficult with the squad suffering losses. Didn’t get to see them play last season much to my disappointment. Jody Wells now assisting manager Graham Purling have assembled a decent squad as they prepare for the new season in Norfolk, like the Cambridgeshire Premiership, Division One seeing an increase in size to 11 as new sides enter the league. Good results in pre-season 5 wins from 5 including a 2-1 win away to Northamptonshire side Corby Town Ladies in the extra Preliminary Round of the Women’s FA Cup.

  The venue for today the Queens Park Pavilion Playing Fields, in Yaxley south of Peterborough itself. A large side featuring two full sized and several youth sized grass patches. Plenty of parking the changing room block before the playing area itself. The surface dry offering plenty of width. Nowhere near as hot as last weekend temperatures down to 20 degrees a fair bit of cloud around some dark, warm when the sun could break through a breeze blowing, pleasant.

Riverside Ladies starting XI – Maxine Wren, Amelia Roberts, Abigail Baker, Elizabeth Walker, Tia Vacca (C), Abigail Baker, Jess Hill, Rachel Burbridge, Gabija Pavlova, Ines Monteiro & Kerry Camwell. Subs – Ella Gaston & Jodie Skells.

Bungay Town Ladies starting XI – Joanne Pipe, Erin Galer, Leah Shephard, Charlotte Power (C), Katie Walker, Charnelle Riggall, Selina Rowland, Shannon Dade, Nicola Hazell, Leanne Smith & Imogen McGregor. Subs – Teodora Ilie, Samantha Penman, Tracey Livingstone & Lindsey Adams.

  Two sides playing in today’s tie who are used to roll on roll off substitutes, not so in the Women’s FA Cup with only 3 substitutes allowed in regular play. Riverside starting with the bare 11 have one substitute not available for kick-off another injured and only to be risked in necessary. Bungay able to name 4 substitutes the visitors have the kick-off first half wearing and all away kit with white trim. Riverside playing on purple coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. The hosts quick to charge the ball down Ines Monteiro charging it down in the centre taking the ball on through the middle stopped at the top of the area as Bungay’s centrebacks close the door. Bungay then caught offside trying to break with Riverside playing a high line.

   Leanne Smith getting control of the ball in the centre of the park for Bungay spreads play out to Nicola Hazell breaking into space on the left wing, taking the ball on up the line is tackled by Abigail Baker the ball out for a throw in as she attempts to cut inside. A long throw put in towards the edge of the area knocked down latched onto by Imogen McGregor her snap shot left of the D dragged wide of the near post. Rachel Burbridge puts the ball on over the top for Riverside, Monteiro looking to peel away in behind the full back just a little too early flagged offside.

Rachel Burbridge winning the ball for Riverside

  Bungay quick to turn play around as Hazell picks up possession on the left provides the ball for Smith this time coming on through the middle put on for McGregor racing into the box, Maxine Wren able to get hold of it first keeping goal for Riverside. Bungay are looking lively early on as they push on through the middle, Selina Rowland on for Smith up to McGregor top of the area looks to play in Shannon Dade getting forwards on the right her shot taking a deflection seeing a corner awarded. The ball in deep touched on safely into Wren’s gloves she looks to set up an attack Monteiro after ball fed into the left channel, Erin Galer defending for Bungay, the counter attack on played up to Dade right she drives forwards before unleashing a shot, Wren down safely gathering.

 GOAL! Play compacted at times in the centre of the pitch this allows Bungay to spring away in attack the pass through for Dade she is away taking it in right of goal 25 yards out lets fly with a shot similar to her effort moments ago only this time she puts the ball wide of the keeper into the bottom corner 0-1. 7 minutes played.

  An early lead for Bungay the hosts look for an immediate response, a good run forwards from full back Amelia Roberts gets her in behind to cross inside the area wrong footing the defence she looks to square the ball into the six yard box, too close to the goalkeeper as Joanne Pipe across to her near post claims the ball. Riverside continue to play a risky high line in defence catching Bungay offside almost turn it to their advantage as defender Elizabeth from just over halfway plays a inviting high ball in towards the top of the area the Bungay defence not dealing with it on the bounce Monteiro looks to be in the bounce her undoing too however as she can’t get her foot over the ball for a clean strike.

Amelia Roberts on the attack for Riverside Ladies

  Charnelle Riggall back playing again after being out for a long spell with the dreaded ACL in the middle today for Bungay puts a fantastic ball on for Hazell to chase puts a shot in across goal that is cleared by Riverside’s captain Tia Vacca. Bungay continue to press getting joy on both flanks Dade flashing another strike across the face of goal. 

 GOAL! Bungay double their advantage in 15 minutes winning a corner on the right, the delivery too high for the keeper to claim near post dropping into a congested 6 yard box several players go for it the ball stabbed home, Leanne Smith I think with the final touch 0-2.

  Riverside attack left Gabija Pavlova with great ball control taking the ball on lacks support as she is closed down. Bungay are winning the battle in midfield Riggall and Rowland with Smith prepared to bomb on, McGregor played tries to beat the keeper with a lobbed shot from 30 yards out the effort falling wide. Wren doing well for Riverside in the next Bungay attack coming out towards the top of her area with a good punch on the ball to deny McGregor a chance as Dade crosses from the right. Wren with more heroics in goal to deny Hazell a goal as she cuts inside from the left to have a strike inside the area Riverside’s keeper saving with her legs. 

Charnelle Riggall playing the ball for Bungay Town Ladies

  Bungay getting in behind as Riverside are caught up the pitch playing a good line at times catching their opponents offside on three or four occasions, Bungay are able to come on at will however McGregor providing some good runs in attack, Hazell and Dade left and right ready to go. McGregor attempting to lob the keeper once more sees another effort fall wide of the mark. Smith gets forwards into an attacking position as Hazell holds onto possession left side looking to get inside to shoot, Smith taking on the shot as the ball rolls lose a powerful shot has Wren diving the ball narrowly wide of her right post.

 GOAL! Smith sees Bungay into a 3 nil lead, the ball won somewhat painfully by Rowland in the middle of the park is put on into the path of Smith breaking forwards right she sends her shot wide of the keeper into the back of the net 0-3. 25 minutes played.

  Monteiro chases down a ball put into the right channel cutting in towards the top of the area the Bungay defence converge closed down she lays it off to Kerry Camwell a yard away, she hits it hard, Bungay captain Charlotte Power turning to block. The ball not clear out left side a shot comes in from distance wide of the post. On the counter Bungay look a constant threat Smith through the middle, McGregor ahead of head, the latter away in attack is forced wide of goal by Vacca still manages to squeeze a shot in on the angle rising taken down well by Wren. 

GOAL! Bungay are creating the majority of the chances and as Power brings the ball out from the ball unchallenged they add a 4th the pass on for McGregor in attack the drives on with it forced out wide again nevertheless the cross finds its way unopposed across the six yard box and Smith is there unmarked to bring up her hat-trick from close range 0-4.

GOAL! Moments later it 5, Bungay with no effort easily turning defence into attack burst forwards the ball fed on to McGregor the young striker having come close with a number of chances gets her goal, moving right of goal, her shot taking a deflection inside the area off the defender attempting to block, sending it beyond the keeper into the back of the net. 0-5.

  Katie Walker defends at the back for Bungay following a ball headed on from Camwell that has Monteiro interested as she breaks into the area the defender getting the ball back to Pipe in goal. Riggall plays the ball up to Hazell left side she sends an inviting ball in across the face of goal McGregor can’t get a touch far post, Dade in behind does her shot in saved well be Wren moving across her goal.

GOAL! Bungay are on top no doubt about it as a 6th goal is recorded, McGregor running clear in behind no-one goes with her has time to way up her options, pick a spot Wren exposed by her defence can do little about it as the ball is placed wide of her and into the back of the goal from the top of the area 0-6.

  What follows is brutal (look away now).

GOAL! In quick succession Bungay add not 1, but 3 goals to run rampant at half-time. Smith scoring her 4th of the match as she gets on to support McGregor in attack the strike making a nuisance of herself on the ball not challenged as she takes the ball out to the left, cuts it back into Smith top of the box she sends a looping shot up over the keeper to score 0-7.

Leanne Smith amongst the goals for Bungay Town Ladies in the 1st half

GOAL! Smith nets for a 5th time moments later Riverside losing their discipline totally not tracking her as she runs in behind with ease left of goal six yards out able to come back in across goal and pick her spot to slot home 0-8.

GOAL! Rowland gets in on the goal scoring for Bungay as they hammer home an already insurmountable advantage. Catching the defence static the midfielder is allowed to go on a natural goalscorer she gives the keeper no chance as she smashes the ball past her to score 0-9.

 Pipe forced into a late save at the close of the first half as Jess Hill from 25 yards out drives a low strike in towards goal.

  Half-time Riverside Ladies 0-9 Bungay Town Ladies

  Bungay in complete control a flurry of late goal making the task before Riverside impossible 9-0 down at half-time. The away side have been in control from start to finish getting players forwards at will the advantage in having played 6 games more than Riverside showing. The hosts shell shocked letting the scoreline get out of control a difficult 2nd half looms, what can be said. Got to go back to square on start all over again and try to build some positives.

  Riverside to kick-off the 2nd half. Bungay with a triple change, with Teo Ilie, Samantha Penman and Tracey Livingstone coming on for Riggall, Dade and Smith. Pavlova has come into a more central defensive midfield position for Riverside as they get the ball rolling. McGregor looks to get away in attack on the right, Vacca does well keeping with her to force her to attempt the cross in towards the top of the area then steps up well to leave her offside as the ball is returned.

  GOAL! Far from the start to the 2nd half Riverside would have wanted as they concede early, Livingstone looking to get away left inside the area winning a corner. Is a fantastic ball played in towards the top of the area by Bungay with Rowland rising unopposed left of the D, she plants her header across goal into the far corner for her 2nd of the game 0-10.

Bungay Town Ladies, Selina Rowland

GOAL! This game can be brutal at times an early goal 2nd half for Bungay quickly becomes 2 as they score an 11th. The ball fed out to the right sees Samantha Penman newly arrived to the action away to take the ball on into the area closing in on the six yard box ways up her options spots Livingstone running in far post squares the ball, no one with her Livingstone scores with a simple tap in 0-11.

  Riverside down to 10 as Camwell receives treatment. Vacca with some fantastic defending to stop Livingstone top of the area as the cross is swung in from the right. Camwell able to return. A quieter spell, much needed Riverside have been under the cosh but have had fleeting moments, they look like a side right at the start of pre-season the individual skill is visible but the team play needs alot of work. Hazell gets hold of the ball on the left whips a shot in towards goal for Bungay isn’t far over. 

GOAL! Bungay add to their scoreline and this goal is started and finished by Rowland to bring up her hat-trick albeit via an fortunate take from a misplaced goalkick, falling straight to the midfielder 30 yards out on the right she sends it on down the line for Penman ahead of her down the line Penman crosses the ball well, into the top of the area and who should be there but none other than Rowland, doesn’t get a clean connect on the ball but that works to her favours as the ball runs wide of the keeper into the back of the net 0-12.

  Glimpses of what they can do from Riverside, Pavlova in the middle breaking the attack up much better, Hill on the ball out to Roberts getting forwards on the right sending a great cross in near post Camwell getting in front of her defender with a great turn and hit firing over. Riverside are ready to make a change Walker coming off, as Ella Gaston enters the field.

Riverside Ladies, Gabija Pavlova

  Bungay getting forwards a corner won on the left the delivery into the six yard box a shot blocked a pointblank range as Livingstone shoots inside the six yard box. Deflected out to Penman right she fires a ball back across the face of goal McGregor flinging herself forwards can’t get a touch. The ball still in play gather by Hazell on the left wing she fires over frustratingly.

Ella Gaston looking to get forwards for Riverside Ladies

GOAL! Hazell gets her chance however moments later as Bungay are awarded a penalty, no doubt as Penman is tripped inside the box. Hazell placing the ball on the spot, goes for power hitting the ball hard rising is over Wren has no chance 0-13.

Nicola Hazell smashes the ball in from the penalty spot

  Wren saving soon after as Livingstone scuffs a shot inside the box having been fed in by Ilie. Head naturally have dropped Riverside finding it tough going, Wren spurring then on they know they have been soundly beaten smiles are good to see, keep going. A corner flung in from the left for Bungay Livingstone with the stooping header far post Wren behind holding onto the ball. Ilie looks to combine with McGregor and Penman on the right, Vacca and Heagren doing well in defence get the ball away for Riverside.

Tia Vacca on the ball for Riverside Ladies

 Wren with another save as Rowland moving out to the left plays it through fro Livingstone in the box McGregor close by feeds her the ball, Wren saving at close range going to ground. 

GOAL! Brutal for Riverside as they concede another very unfortunate too, a back pass played to Wren she goes to clear inside her area her kick seeing the ball spin straight up into the air. Livingstone closing in alive to it pressure the striker sees the ball on into the back of the net as Wren is hurt colliding with the post 0-14. 

 Their keeper up but injured Wren is hobbling maintaining good spirits. Hill getting back tracks back well to slide in and deny McGregor as she shoots inside the area the ball out behind for a corner on the right. 

GOAL! The goals keep coming for Bungay taken short the cross coming in for McGregor positioned top of the box right side she lashes a shot in towards goal, Wren unsighted by a defender attempting to block in front of her both miss the ball finding its way in 0-15. 

Imogen McGregor

  Riverside keep battling away are in good spirits despite the scoreline, can do little else might aswell be positive, Wren can hardly move in goal now having taken a knock, Livingstone played in by McGregor, Baker stays with her sliding in to make the tackle the ball loose Hazell latches onto the shot blasting over, it just won’t happen from open play for her today. Penman sending a shot wide across goal in the closing moments.

Full time Riverside Ladies 0-15 Bungay Town Ladies

   A brutal scoreline for Riverside as Bungay Town Ladies advance in the Women’s FA Cup. Out performed their opponents but can only beat what’s in front of them. In good form in pre-season and far advanced than Riverside it showed as they cruised to victory and into the hat for the draw for the next round of the competition where they will have their fingers crossed for a home draw for a change having played 8 out of their previous FA Cup matches away from home with long trips to Essex and Northamptonshire amongst those. Played well, moved the ball and looked sharper. Fair play to Riverside kept going did improve 2nd half despite conceding better passages of play, a result to forget no doubt so it doesn’t help that some bloke from Norfolk turned up to write about it. Got to put it to bed move on can see the talent, this result will hit the belief but it’s just one game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Basically I’m going to discount the last hour of the match and focus on the opening 30 minutes. Early on Bungay got on top in midfield Charnelle Riggall and Selina Rowland winning the ball well, the driving runs and forwards passes of Leanne Smith making a huge difference plus 5 goals to her name giving her today’s award.

  These reports are hard to write, credit where credits due, Bungay played superbly but they themselves would admit they’d rather win a tight game 2-1. It is what it is however. I know Riverside can play better, they have featured in one of my favourite games on the old Supporting Women’s Football Blog afterall. Wishing both well for the new season ahead and thanks for the team sheets as ever.

Match Report – Stevenage FC Women v Yeovil Town Women

Sunday 25th August

FAWNL Cup Determining Round

 A trip down to Letchworth this Sunday for a match form the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup, South East Division One side Stevenage FC Women taking on Yeovil Town Women from the Southern Premier Division.

  The Determining Round now a traditional part of the FAWNL calendar the sides from all six divisions drawn against each other with the winning sides going on to compete for the FAWNL Cup itself the losing sides entering the Plate competition. 

  The draw throwing up many intriguing ties right across the country, can be hard to chose one but settled on this one early on. 

  Stevenage have established themselves within the FAWNL, now linking up with the Stevenage FC Foundation the club has changed name from Stevenage Ladies to Stevenage FC Women to reflect the growing trend within the sport. An large influx of new signings for both the 1st and Development team as the club looks to push on. Amongst the newcomers joining are Lisa Nixon from Luton Town Ladies and striker Jenny Nagle from AFC Wimbledon Ladies. A goal conceded in the 88th minute last Sunday saw Stevenage lose their opening day fixture 2-1 to Actonians Ladies.

 A new beginning to of sorts for Yeovil Town too, albeit one they would have preferred to be somewhere else. One of the founding members of an all professional FAWSL the club struggled to find investment and that brought difficulties that impacted upon their season finishing bottom. An application to join the Championship turned down by the FA the club were relegated back to the FAWNL. Since then investment has come in with Adam Murry becoming the clubs new owner. Re-branded too as Yeovil Town Women. A brighter outlook awaits a positive future for a club that has always been a committed force to women’s football in the South West. Always enjoyed my trips down to Somerset to watch them in my FAWSL supporting days. The squad has seen a few departures but experience has been added with the likes of Dan Carlton and Sarah Wiltshire who returns to Yeovil after playing for Tottenham Hotspur Women. Top the Southern Premier Division after the opening fixtures last Sunday winning 9-0 away to the newly created Hounslow Women.

  The County Ground, Letchworth the venue for today’s game, the home of the Hertfordshire FA, Stevenage’s 1st team will be playing their home matches there this season. The ground undergoing development, first off a brand new 3G playing surface and surround. Alot of rubber laid in it’s construction. A new bar and clubhouse layout too with plenty of potential for more improvements to come. A blisteringly hot August bank Holiday Sunday, 30 plus degrees a blue sky the sun bright, the 3G pitch only adding to the temperature. I’m wearing shorts and I only do that if I absolutely have too! Enjoying it while it lasts however. 

Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Hannah Vandersluis, Kristi Burling, Leah Dunnage, Dominique Godbeer, Amy Notschild, Nicole Dunbar, Cara Breckenridge, Lisa Dixon, Amy Makewell (C), Louise Godden & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Te’a Oldroyd, Hayley Wood-Thompson & Mickie Palfreman.

Yeovil Town Women starting XI – Beth Howard, Harriet Lambe, Rebecca Halford, Thierry-Jo Gauvain, Jodie Chubb, Annie Heatherson (C), Dan Carlton, Kelly Aldridge, Sarah Wiltshire, Megan Wood & Meesha Dudley-Jones. Subs – Elena Pearce, Charlotte Buxton, Alexis Bussell, Maya Ridge & Rosie Kirby.

  It’s Yeovil wearing an all yellow away kit to get the match underway kicking off 1st half. Stevenage lined up opposite wearing white and pale red vertical striped shirts, red shorts and socks. The hosts with a few players unavailable, 5 new signings in today’s squad with, Lisa Nixon, Nicole Dunbar, Leah Dunnage and Louise Godden all starting, Mickie Palfremian on the bench. Stevenage press straight away forcing Yeovil to play the ball back to their defence, played forwards into Yeovil captain Annie Heatherson on halfway she plays a superb long pass out to Sarah Wiltshire over on the left she sends it on through the middle looking to pick out Kelly Aldridge making a run, Hannah Vandersluis with a good starting position top of her area able to gather the ball first.

   Nixon gets hold of the ball in midfield for Stevenage picks out Dunnage bursting on down the left win looks to take the ball infield his clipped and brought down by Yeovil full back Rebecca Halford  a free-kick awarded just outside the area despite her protests. Nixon over it players forwards she squares it towards Godden in a central position she opens up her body attempting to slip it on for Dunnage, Heatherson having read the move tracking Dunnage back on her to put in the tackle regain possession outside the six yard box.

  Yeovil counter attack rapidly the ball taken out wide right a cross flung into the area headed out for a throw. Dan Carlton picks the ball up from the throw right travels infield 30 yards out a one two made with Heatherson, Carlton strikes the ball runs wide of the Stevenage goal. Yeovil have quickly settled winning the ball high play turned around quickly a pass put into the feet of Megan Wood right of goal strikes a low shot in towards goal Vandersluis diving is beaten the ball cannoning off the base of the post. 

Yeovil’s Rebecca Halford with Stevenage’s Louise Godden

  Dunnage with a heavy impact with the surface as she brings the ball out for defence allows Yeovil in behind, Meesha Dudley-Jones sending a high cross into the area Vandersluis making a confident claim. Yeovil’s attacking players harassing the Stevenage defence keep the pressure on. Space opens up on the right for full back Halford to run into given the ball cuts it into Aldridge top of the box her touch taking the ball on into the area ,Dominique Godbeer stays on her shoulder to clear for Stevenage.

  Twisting and turning on the ball outside the area left of goal Wiltshire sets herself to shoot, Godbeer backing off gives herself time to get into position to block the effort.  The danger not cleared a 2nd shot made left of the D driven in low Vandersluis down low to her right saves pushing the ball behind for a corner. A good delivery from the left in high Aldridge up inside the box towards the back post heading the ball into the ground goes after the loose ball herself a stab with her boot deflecting it goalwards rising a smart save from Vandersluis. 

Kelly Aldridge making the tackle

 Is very hot out there the sun beating down. Yeovil despite that are looking sharp at the start of the game continue to attack another corner won left swept into the area falling invitingly inside the six yard box a Stevenage boot making vital contact to launch clear. Aldridge receiving the ball central 25 yards out from goal attempt to play Wiltshire in behind cutting in from the left, Vandersluis sliding in sending up a cloud of rubber balls doing enough to put the attacker off.

 Stevenage attacks rare Nicole Emmings leading the line having very little to feed on, Godden getting up in support when she can, an attack broken up the ball cleared up to Heatherson sees Dudley-Jones moving away into space on the right the pass on the money taken in her stride Dudley-Jones bares down on goal shooting low near post saved by Vandersluis.

    Godden a willing runner given half a chance for Stevenage, captain Amy Makewell playing the ball on through the middle she goes after it, Jodie Chubb dealing with the threat comfortably for Yeovil in the centre of defence playing it back to goalkeeper Beth Howard, Godden stays alert the kick out striking her inside the six yard box could have gone anywhere, the rebound however favouring Howard coming straight back at her to get hold of. 

Stevenage’s Lisa Nixon

 Harriet Lambe at left back for Yeovil plays the ball up field Wiltshire with support for Dudley-Jones left side outside the box, lays the ball back to Dudley-Jones hits it well enough low in towards goal straight at Vandersluis however. 20 minutes played. Yeovil are getting closer Wiltshire has the ball glued to her feet as she jinks and twists avoiding challenges on the left outside the box eventually making room for a shot her looping ball striking the crossbar. 

  GOAL! The pressure Yeovil have applied eventually tells as they open the scoring. Aldridge linking up with Wiltshire on the left in attack combination play seeing the ball fired into the area blocked Aldridge back to Wiltshire she squares it to Heatherson central her shot flying in past the diving keeper 0-1.

Yeovil Town Women captain, Annie Heatherson with the opening goal

  Time for drinks, a break in play called. Stevenage make a change, Hayley Wood-Thompson on for Dunnage. Stevenage look to get on the offensive from the restart the ball played into the left channel, Godden after it, Thierry-Jo Gauvain going back with her tackling and winning the ball in the corner. Stevenage keep the ball alive in the final third players up a set-piece lifted into the area the ball knocked down to the top of the area, Nixon top of the D gets her foot up over the top of the ball to strike a shot back in Chubb blocking for Yeovil.

   Wiltshire lines up a shot from distance the strike tipped up over the bar by Vandersluis. A corner on the left defended by Dunnage at the near post. Stevenage can’t break Heatherson supported by Carlton winning the midfield battle. Wiltshire drifting into a central position plays a great ball on for Dudley-Jones away on the left she lifts a cross into the far post, Wood getting a toe on it lifts it over, the flag up against her. 

Yeovil Town Women’s Thierry-Jo Gauvain

  Makewell looks to play Godden away down the left in attack for Stevenage Gauvain pacey back to defend against her sets up the counter attack the ball through the middle into the feet of Wiltshire outside the area left side no power behind the shot comfortably caught by Vandersluis. Wood away right side into the box under challenge gets a shot away saved Aldridge central attempts to score, a glove from the keeper puts it wide for a corner. Stevenage struggle to clear their lies Yeovil all over them Carlton gets a shot away from distance lacks power Vandersluis down to gather. The Stevenage keeper very busy making another double save as the ball is struck at close range. 

 GOAL! Yeovil have a 2nd goal and it’s a great move from back to front, Heatherson on the ball deep her pass out long for Wiltshire left her diagonal ball sending Dudley-Jones through on goal, central strikes it early the shot driven n past the diving goalkeeper 0-2.

  GOAL! Two quickly becomes three! Yeovil awarded a penalty as Aldridge pressing into the area left of goal is upended. Wiltshire placing the ball on the spot a well taken penalty opening up her body to lift the ball wide of the keeper to score 0-3. 

Sarah Wiltshire scoring from the penalty spot.

  A hammer blow for Stevenage they get a free-kick up the other end wide left as Burling breaks forwards trying to link with Godden. Nixon to play the ball into the top of the area, Burling attempting to flick on can’t connect as Yeovil see it safely into the gloves of their keeper. Wiltshire remains a threat out wide or cutting inside no one can stay with her, free in behind Vandersluis takes a risk sliding in well outside her box the ball spinning in behind Wiltshire keeps her footing after it the angle against her as she is closed down fires her shot across the empty goal. 

  Burling with another foray forwards for Stevenage cuts inside the ball defended loose Nixon latches onto it 30 yards out sends a high ball in towards goal, Howard needing to keep an eye on it back on her line sees it over. Up the other end Dudley-Jones stealing the ball off the defence sees a shot whip up over the bar. Wood right drives on with the ball for Yeovil squares it into Aldridge top corner of the area runs on  past her for Dudley-Jones behind she curls a shot past the near post.

Half-time Stevenage FC Women 0-3 Yeovil Town Women

  A dominant first half display from Yeovil sees them leading Stevenage 3-0 at the break. Having created a host of chances eventually opened the scoring midway through the first half. Goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis pulling off a number of fantastic saves to keep her side in in 2 quick fire goals late in the half putting Yeovil in the driving seat. Have moved the ball well and runs off it have been superb through the half despite the heat out there in reply thier defence has been little troubled. 

Yeovil’s Kelly Aldridge with Stevenage’s Cara Breckenridge

  Stevenage making a double change at the start of the 2nd half, Mickie Palfreman on for Notschild in defence and a change of goalkeeper too as Vandersluis is replaced by Te’a Oldroyd, a baseball cap adorning her head as the high sun faces her goal 2nd half. A switch of sides for me too 2nd half need some shade myself. Alot for Stevenage to do if they are to try and get something from the game. The hosts kicking off the 2nd period. Yeovil however are straight into the attack the ball won played wide to Wiltshire left a shot from distance dropping wide across goal. Palfremian in to clear the ball in the heart of defence as another cross is whipped in close to goal form the left.

Stevenage’s Mickie Palfreman

 GOAL! Just what Stevenage would have wanted to avoid as they conceded a fourth goal right at the start of the 2nd half. Caught in possession at the back in front of the D, Dudley-Jones nicks the ball drives on into the box and sends her shot in under the newly arrived keeper 0-4.

  Yeovil starting the 2nd half as they left the 1st get the ball forwards at will, Wiltshire with a diagonal ball left side on for Heatherson moving forwards she crosses into the six yard box Aldridge closing in forcing a save from Oldroyd at pointblank range. Stevenage attempt to counter Breckenridge on for Makewell central on for Emmings in attack, Godden supplying a good run to her left the pass towards her Godden takes it deep before crossing disappointingly into the side netting. A great first touch from Palfreman at the back for Stevenage looks to have put Godden through in behind on the left only for her attack to be thwarted by a raised flag.

   Palfreman making an impact at the back for Stevenage winning challenges sends the ball up field Godden looking to get after it, Gauvain keeping with her defending for Yeovil in the final third. The visitors break quickly as they have all game Dudley-Jones away on the right, whips a vicious cross in across goal Wiltshire close in attacking the far post doesn’t get the contact she wants heavy allows the Stevenage defence to clear. Halford bursting into space on the right side as Aldridge spots her run the cross delivered near post Wiltshire advanced again to attack it under challenge fires wide.

Yeovil attack shows no relenting Dudley-Jones a threat on the right sending a ball in across the six yard box Aldridge throwing a leg at it can’t connect. Wiltshire is everywhere in attack finding herself free in a central position top of the area hits a rising ball in towards goal, a top class save from Oldroyd gloves it up over the bar. 

  GOAL! From the resulting corner Yeovil extend their lead the ball fired in fast near post deflected down into the ground falls to the feet of Dudley-Jones to strike hard from six yards out through feet giving the keeper no chance and complete her hat-trick 0-5.

A hat-trick for Yeovil Town Women’s Meesha Dudley-Jones

   Has been a frustrating afternoon for Emmings in attack for Stevenage the ball played forwards to the right the striker makes a determined run to get forwards flashing a cross from deep across the face of goal, Halford tracking back with Godden swinging a foot to clear the ball before it can be attacked the corner conceded. The ball in a great one falling into the six yard box Yeovil fail to clear an instinctive header from Emmings close in only succeeds in putting it straight into Howard’s gloves.

Nicole Emmings forcing her way forwards for Stevenage

  Oldroyd with another brilliant save as Yeovil mount an attack on the left Wood crossing square to Aldridge who tees up Heatherson to shoot from 25 yards out the ball in low Oldroyd down t stop it. Yeovil make their first change of the match with Aldridge coming off to be replace by Maya Ridge.

  A free-kick inside the Stevenage half for Yeovil presents a further opportunity to attack the box Carlton on the ball lifting it in towards the top of the area, Wiltshire ghosting in between defenders getting a touch to set it up and shoot across the keeper and score, Stevenage immediately appealing for handball! Nothing given by the officials, a moments hesitation between her first and second touches Wiltshire sportingly admits to handling the ball, an action to be applauded and play resumes with a goal kick.

 GOAL! That said a moment later Wilshire is celebrating a goal scored beautifully with her feet, no question about it a fantastic strike as she gets onto the ball wide left isn’t closed down on the angle strikes it well across the keeper from distance and into the top corner 0-6.

  Wiltshire continues to be a threat played in on goal closing down the keeper left side she manages to avoid her diving challenge in behind, Burling gets back on her to make the tackle before she can craft a shot. Wood has support from Halford getting in the clear right side sends in a cross near post Wiltshire close in smashes a rising shot against the bar as Oldroyd leaps grounded the keeper recovers fantastically getting in the way to save as Dudley-Jones coming in far side smashes the ball against her.

Rebecca Halford looking for options for Yeovil Town Women

  Another drinks break called, an injury to Godbeer is unable to continue leaving Stevenage with just 10 on the field. Yeovil make a change Wiltshire coming off Alexis Bussell. 20 minutes left to play. Play resumes Dudley-Jones is put away right side shooting sees her attempt bounce wide across goal.

  GOAL! Halford bringing the ball on down the right miscues her forwards ball intended for Wood down the line instead goes central into Carlton she reacts well aware of Wood’s run flicks the ball out to her charging into the box Wood takes a touch a smashes it over the keeper into the top corner 0-7.

 Yeovil make their final change with Rosie Kirby coming on to replace Halford at right back. Has all been Yeovil have maintained high energy levels despite the heat their younger players encouraged well by the more experienced. Into the final 6 minutes of the game Stevenage are tired been a tough afternoon. Dudley-Jones has pace to burn in behind blasts another effort wide across goal. Carlton with a break forwards with the ball encouraged to go on attempts to lob the keeper her effort falling wide of goal. 

Yeovil Town Women midfielder, Dan Carlton

  Breckenridge back in defence now blocking at the near post as Wood wide left drives a low cross into the box. Bussell beating the offside trap in the closing moments played in by Carlton in central plays her strike wide of goal. The final whistle blowing soon after and everyone can retreat to the shade.

Full time Stevenage FC Women 0-7 Yeovil Town Women

  A comprehensive result for Yeovil Town Women as they dominated from start to finish to beat Stevenage 7-0 in the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup. often a strange game as no one actually exits at this point just know what trophy you will be fighting for. That said a huge confidence boost for Yeovil nevertheless 16 goals scored in two matches. A good performance in soaring temperatures, well worked goals further chances created. Great movement on and off the ball bodes well going into the season. On the flip side a day to forget for Stevenage never got going shaky at the back little to offer in attack must go down as a bad day at the office and galvanise them going forwards.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as you might expect today’s contenders are all from Yeovil. I thought Kelly Aldridge was superb and the driving force early on that set the tome for the visitors with some great attacking runs and interplay. Sarah Wiltshire could have had 5 or 6 goals today created numerous opportunities and she’s a nightmare for defenders to track as she drifts in almost unnoticed at times. Great close control with the ball always looking for an opening. Just edging it though is Meesha Dudley-Jones her movement up front and coming in from the right just as superb netting a hat-trick and like Wiltshire should have had more.

  I’m not a hot weather person but I’m not going to knock it, an enjoyable trip to Letchworth today, the Determining Round is always an intriguing fixture in the football calendar. My thanks to both sides with their help today.  

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Enfield Town Ladies

FAWNL South East Division One

Sunday 18th August

  The new season is here and I’m as excited as ever to bring you coverage of football across the East at all levels. Beginning with a game from the opening day of the FAWNL from South East Division One, Cambridge United WFC v Enfield Town Ladies.

 Both sides stalwarts of an FAWNL South East Division One league that has undergone many changes in recent seasons as the women’s game continues to grow across the country. Increasingly more competitive the standards raised season upon season this campaign looks certain to be no different. The newly promoted sides dominating last season with Crawley Wasps Ladies storming to the title and promotion to the Southern Premier Division whilst Billericay Town Ladies finished as runners-up. Cambridge City Ladies and Kent Football United the sides promoted this time around both playing at this level for the first time.

A new era begins for Cambridge United WFC as they move to The Premier Plus Stadium home of St Neots Town FC after spending 3 season playing at Mildenhall Town FC. A move that brings them closer to Cambridge and a centralised base for training and playing. Excellent facilities at their disposal. Whilst the promoted pair were running away with it at the top below it was highly competitive last season a late run of form putting Cambridge within a shout of breaking into the top half tailed off to finish 8th overall, Mollie Coupar top scoring with 13 goals. A few departures over the close season to the squad and coaching staff, Ben Yeomans assisting manager Kevin Hoover this season. Gemma Croucher joining the squad from Royston Town Women with Faith Hewitt also back with the squad.

Enfield Town Ladies long established at this level enjoying a fantastic campaign in the league last season strong all season emerging top of the competitive tussle in the middle of the table to record a 3rd placed finish. Helped in part to 16 goals for Molly Peters the ex-West Ham player moving to Championship side Lewes this season. Enfield have added to their squad bringing in the likes of Anna Re and Beth Lumsden along with Rachel Koskey from Luton Town Ladies and Laura Baker who spent last season with Watford Ladies after having previously played for Cambridge United WFC. Formerly the A10 derby the two sides always enjoy a competitive and hard fought game.

Cambridge initially moving to Mildenhall to take advantage of the excellent playing surface on offer, and the move to St Neots offers another superb playing surface, albeit flatter than the slope they’ve become used too. Perfect for the passing game no excuses to play the ball along the ground and want to. Lush and green at the start of the season offering good with, a main seated stand on one side of the ground, covered terracing at each end, a bar open for hot and cold drinks. The weather bright and sunny although a fair amount of dark cloud around, both sun cream and umbrella in the rucksack. A strong breeze blowing too but all in all perfect weather to begin the season.

The Premier Plus Stadium, the new home of Cambridge United WFC

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abigail Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Jemma Moore, Charlotte Crisp, Amber Cantwell, Faith Hewitt, Emma Jenkins, Kelley Blanchflower & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Claire Kilmartin, Albany Hodgson & Gemma Croucher.

Enfield Town Ladies starting XI – Grace Brooks, Sheryce Slater, Danielle Smith, Claire Ford, Robyn Reardon, Nuala McKevitt (C), Anna Re, Beth Lumsden, Jodie Southby, Laura Baker & Katherine Long. Subs – Tia Bailey, Ayse Mustafa & Rachel Koskey.

Cambridge to get the first half underway sporting their brand new kit, amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Enfield lined up opposite wearing white shirts with blue shorts and socks. Enfield quick to press in the middle Beth Lumsden getting hold of the ball and driving on through the middle passing out wide left for Laura Baker she shoots the ball deflected behind at the near post for an early corner. A crowd of players on top of Cambridge goalkeeper Savannah Smith inside her six yard box as the ball comes in the keeper doing well amongst bodies to get the ball away.

Former teammates Laura Baker and Kayleigh-Anne Burt go head to head

Doesn’t go far cleared up to the left a high ball lifted back in Cambridge captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt heading in behind for another corner. Early pressure from the visitors Cambridge eventually clearing their lines. Pressing right Enfield have a throw in Sheryce Slater sending it down the line for striker Katherine Long, she wins her side another corner kick. A great delivery sent in finding defender Claire Ford rising high at the far post 10 yards out her attempt dropping wide.

  Enfield have made a strong start to the match winning the ball high up the pitch to apply pressure to the Cambridge defence, Long receiving the ball wide left sends in a cross from deep that lands on the roof of the net. Amber Cantwell nipping in to win the ball looks to get things going for the hosts playing the ball up the left for Faith Hewitt her intended through ball cut out the Enfield defence tracking back to save a corner being conceded. A frantic opening to the match both sides beginning to settle into it.

Cambridge’s Carrie Bennett with Enfield’s Beth Lumsden

  Lumsden seeing alot of the ball in the opening 15 minutes sends it on for Slater breaking in behind on the right closing in on the byline gets her foot around the ball to swing in a cross towards the top of the box central Baker sees it into her feet back to goal lays it off for Long behind, she takes on the strike the ball rising Smith diving to her right making a comfortable save. Burt makes a timely intercept in the middle of the Cambridge defence as they are caught with a high line Enfield attempting to break.

   A throw in inside the Enfield half left side played into Kelley Blanchflower the Cambridge striker bringing it infield spots Emma Jenkins making a run wide right plays the diagonal ball, Enfield’s Danielle Smith able to get to it first in defence. The game played at a rapid tempo both sides snapping to win the ball back get it moving. Blanchflower getting hold of the ball 25 yards out turning it left for Hewitt down the wing she sends in a high cross safely collected high in her six yards box by Enfield goalkeeper Grace Brooks. 

 Brooks setting up a quick counter attack the ball left side the shot taken early, Smith making an excellent save down low to her right pushing the ball away to concede a corner. The delivery from the left towards the top of the box dealt with by Cantwell. Enfield come forwards, Cambridge playing a high line at times the visitors working the ball well across the middle to find a way in behind Long in particular moving left then right. Slater breaking clear on the right lifting the ball into the area Smith taking it high.

 GOAL! Cambridge are caught with their defence high as Lumsden flicks the ball on for Long peeling away the the right, a good way out from goal so too is Smith from her area Long striking the ball early to send it past the keeper and on target into the empty net beyond to see Enfield take the lead in the 21st minute 0-1.

Katherine Long opens the scoring for Enfield Town Ladies

Long continuing to be a threat in attack moving to the right once again as Nuala McKevitt captaining the side breaks up a Cambridge attack, the striker getting in beyond fullback Carrie Bennett races towards the area with the ball centre back Jemma Moore getting back on her to clear the ball for the hosts. A free-kick won wide right for Enfield Slater to play the ball, a good delivery into the the area McKevitt on the penalty spot rising gets a glancing header, Smith down sharp to her right to push the ball away, Burt putting it behind for the corner. Enfield a danger from set-pieces the ball in from the left McKevitt heading it up into the air drops for Long outside the area her shot blocked by Moore the danger not gone as the ball is reclaimed on the left a shot driven it, the ball smashing against the crossbar, falls to the right inside the six yard box Baker after it, closed down by defender and keeper puts the ball into the side netting.

Jenkins bringing the ball up the right wing has support from her full back Abigail Davies the cross flung in towards the near post Mollie Coupar arriving, Enfield get it clear. Coupar catching Enfield playing a loose ball across their defence nipping in wins the ball shifting to shoot from 25 yards out Brooks down low makes the save. Coupar in the thick of the action as she sees a pass from midfield into her body turns into the right channel looking to get in behind Ford into the area manages to squeeze a shot away Brooks down to stop it, scrambles it into her gloves with Blanchflower on top of her.

Enfield defender Robyn Reardon tackling Cambridge’s Mollie Coupar

   Cambridge doing alot better now Crisp with Cantwell in the middle winning the ball the latter fouled on halfway, on the free-kick herself  sends it long towards the far post with Blanchflower and Hewitt making runs  ball bouncing through behind at the far post for a goalkick. Jodie Southby back to defend dealing with a cross inside the ball fired in by Coupar as the attacker makes ground on the right. Cambridge are almost undone for a 2nd time as Slater gets away in behind with Smith positioned high, the ball put past her running along the ground towards an empty goal, runs away across the six yards box to strike the base of the far post.

  GOAL! Right on the stroke of half-time Cambridge get themselves back on level terms. Coupar with the ball down in the right corner doing well to win a corner kick the delivery in defended by Enfield put back to the corner taker a 2nd attempt cleared by the defence central Crisp onto it 30 yards out for Cambridge  shifts it before putting her foot through the ball striking it beautifully racing back into the penalty area the ball bouncing before it arrives at the diving keeper finding its way inside the post and into the back of the net 1-1.

Charlotte Crisp with a superb strike levelling the scores for Cambridge late in the first half

 Having rode their luck at times Cambridge find themselves back on level terms strong in the closing moments on the attack a shot taken from distance dropping wide of goal.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-1 Enfield Town Ladies

  Well that was an exciting first 45 minutes and bodes well for the season ahead, as if there was any doubt. The sides drawing 1-1 at the break. Cambridge equalising late on back on level terms might well have found themselves 2 down instead. Enfield were the better side for the majority of the half pressing the ball well in the middle and getting players in behind, a real threat from set-pieces and great movement shown by their attacking players. Cambridge slowly building momentum to create opportunities up the other end beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

  Enfield getting the 2nd period underway attack up the right the ball played out to Long into space the cross put back across the top of the area Lumsden getting hold of it, Cantwell back with her preventing a shooting opportunity. Cambridge bring the ball on rolled into Coupar’s path left channel has Blanchflower ahead of her central Cantwell getting forwards on her right her initial cross blocked has a 2nd go the ball defended by Ford as Blanchflower goes to shoot.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell

 Cambridge positive in attack in the 2nd half come forwards Coupar on the ball left towards the area played inside the Blanchflower central sees Jenkins clear on her right she hesitates for a moment half expecting a flag to go up against her before realising she is in the clear to shoot the ball rising turned behind by Brooks. The corner left side defended at the near post by Reardon cleared back out to the left crossed straight back in Jenkins in to head the ball down Brooks with a fantastic save at close range somehow getting a glove on the ball to keep it out.

Enfield Town Ladies, Robyn Reardon

 Cambridge enjoying a strong spell winning the ball higher up the pitch getting into attacking positions earlier, it’s from a perfectly weighed clearance at the back from Burt that sets up the next attack Blanchflower released away on the right on for Jenkins ahead of her the cross played in high Enfield’s defence heading over for the corner. Baker is all action whatever position she is deployed in an attacking role this afternoon, hard to shake off the ball, Moore does well against her as she looks to force her way into the box the Cambridge defender preventing a cross. 

Abigail Davies bringing the ball forwards for Cambridge United WFC

  Enfield with the first change of the game Rachel Koskey coming on to join the defence replacing Slater. The visitors finding it harder to break in the 2nd period as Cambridge close them down well. A few tasty challenges coming in as a result, Cantwell prevented from getting away on several occasions. The first booking of the game goes to Ford as she throws out a leg catching Coupar as she looks to spin in behind on halfway. Enfield’s number 10 Lumsden on the receiving end of a few tackles herself breaks right linking up with Long and Baker the attack breaking down.

Enfield Town Ladies captain, Nuala McKevitt

  Long’s last action of the game as she is the next to be substituted with Ayse Mustafa joining the game. McKevitt turning on the ball from all of 30 yards out lets fly with a shot her effort flying over the bar. Coupar brought down wide left in attack Cambridge with a free-kick bring players forwards Cantwell to take. If she meant to play it low across the six yard box she disguised it well nevertheless catches defence and attack out alike as legs lunge for the ball none making contact. Southby combining with Re as Enfield make ground on the right challenges flying in from both sides Cantwell fouled, Baker finds herself in the referees book. 

 Bennett has taken a knock and Cambridge make a change with new signing Gemma Croucher coming on, that sees Jenkins drop to a familiar right back role with Davies switching to the left. Having dealt with the pressure Cambridge applied and their opponents starting to tire Enfield are coming back into it their changes making a difference McKevitt seeing more of the ball supported by Re and Lumsden. Smith takes the ball on into space on the left attempts to slide the through ball in for Baker, Burt intercepting for Cambridge at the back. Re attacking with the ball right twists and turns before sending a shot in the ball wide of the near post a corner signalled. The delivery long Koskey jumping beyond the far post up well sends her attempt over.

Claire Ford defending against Coupar for Enfield

  The game has the potential to go either way both sides getting players forwards in the latter stages. Coupar full of running in attack keeping the Enfield defence on their toes. Moore across to clear the ball as Lumsden moving left gets past Jenkins. From the resulting throw a cross finds its way into the area Burt heading it away drops for Mustafa 25 yards out, Smith keeps her eyes on the ball takes it cleanly despite Southby closing in. 

 Enfield gaining momentum as the game enters the closing stages win a corner on the right players come forwards Smith under pressure near post prevents a shot Ford keeping the ball alive getting it back out to Southby her cross drilled long across goal. Into the final 5 minutes Koskey brings the ball on from the back into the Cambridge half is a goal threat not closed down shoots from distance her strike falling wide of goal. Cambridge’s turn the bring the ball on played forwards early into Croucher right she puts Blanchflower in on the right ahead of her Ford going with her into the area Blanchflower squeezing a shot in across the six yard box Brooks down grabs it into her body with Coupar closing in. 

 GOAL! A late winner! And it’s Enfield celebrating the goal. Come forwards on the left Smith with time on the ball runs clear unchallenged up the line sends in a cross long and high Smith coming attempts to put it out of harms way doesn’t get enough on it the ball dropping far side of the box Re running in late slides in to send it back in across goal Baker central there to met it with her right foot smashing the ball home 1-2.

Laura Baker on target to score the winning goal for Enfield Town Ladies

  Not much time left in the game a hammer blow to Cambridge at the death Enfield come on, energy levels recharged, the ball rolled on for Baker peeling away to the right of the D outside the box is off balance as she puts her foot through the shot screws the attempt wide.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-2 Enfield Town Ladies

  Enfield scored a dramatic late winner to take all three points in a match that looked to be heading for a draw. A strong first half performance from Enfield getting themselves into a 1 nil lead could well have and perhaps should have scored another. Cambridge getting back into it with a wonderful strike late in the half, came out fighting 2nd half attacking and creating chances Enfield coping with the pressure their substitutions bringing them back into it, could have gone either way, a point apiece a far reflection Enfield finishing strong themselves however stretched the Cambridge defence late on to find a late winner.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this season’s first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award, and it’s a tough one. The rules remain the same however there can only be one. Narrowing it down is hard good performers on both sides, Amber Cantwell in midfield for Cambridge along with Mollie Coupar in attack. For Enfield, Beth Lumsden caught my eye early on and showed great movement, running and vision throughout. Katherine Long a real threat in attack great movement across the line opened the scoring with a great flick on from Lumsden. Just edging it though is Laura Baker have seen her play in a number of positions over the seasons today in an attacking role read the game well, able to bring others into attacking positions and leading the line at the end herself scoring the winning goal.

The first report of the season done and although 3000+ words later it doesn’t feel like it I was feeling strangely nervous about writing this one, perhaps just the events over the past few months affecting me but those nerves were soon gone after the game kicked off. Enjoy it an exciting and well fought game to start the season promising for the rest of the season. My thanks to both sides for the team sheets. Great to get the season started.

Match Report – King’s Lynn Town Ladies v Histon Ladies

Sunday 26th May

ERWFL Division One

One more game to end the season a long campaign finally drawing to a close 99% of teams already finished for the season today’s game the only competitive fixture left in the East of England as King’s Lynn Town Ladies and Histon Ladies meet for their final game of the season in ERWFL Division One.

  Far from a meaningless game for both as they can both gain a position with a positive result, Histon Ladies up into 7th spot and King’s Lynn Town Ladies can achieve a 3 placed finish with a win.

  ERWFL Division One highly competitive this season, newcomers St Ives Town Ladies winning the title in their debut season nearly a faultless campaign too, King’s Lynn Town Ladies the side ending their long standing unbeaten league record standing since 2017 with a 4-3 win last weekend to set up a shot at clinching 3rd in the league. A strong 2nd half to the season with 6 straight league wins before today seeing the Norfolk side climb up from 8th in the Division One.

  Histon Ladies likewise with a strong 2nd half to the season just 2 losses in their last 11 games, several battling draws in that run too level on points with 7th place Hoddesdon Town Owls Ladies travelling to King’s Lynn in their final fixture of the season. Postponements and a cup run for both sides seeing their season’s go the distance.

  Both sides reaching a cup final in that period too. King’s Lynn Town Ladies reaching the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final played at Carrow Road for the first time. Despite losing to Wymondham Town Ladies a day to remember for the club. Histon Ladies reaching the ERWFL Plate Final where they were narrowly beaten by Newmarket Town Ladies.

  Riverlane Playing Fields the venue for today’s match, boasting several pitches the grass cover still good for the time of year a lack of rain… well before this afternoon making the ground hard underfoot. Clouds overheard the wind picking up rain forecast for Sunday afternoon it had arrived early raining when I arrived at the ground the wind picking up too would cause issues during the game, not the weather you want to see on the final day of the season.

 King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Ellie Prentice, Lisa Wilson, Chloe Burch, Albany Hodgson, Georgia Freeman, Becky Russell (C), Annie Rooks, Oksana Imanalijeva, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse, Tiffany Forshaw & Olivia Baker. Subs – Chloe Witt, Natalie Wright & Emma Corbyn.

Histon Ladies starting XI – Jennifer Jamieson, Lucy Julian, Kaya Haq, Georgina Huse, Tessa Shaw, Alison Wright, Georgia Day, Katie Seagrave, Annalisa Player, Rebekah Finch & Sophie Lanham (C). Subs – Amanda Binge & Bethany Fisher.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  A bank holiday weekend and the start of half-term both sides missing a few players, Histon in particular travelling with a small squad a few reserves amongst them. King’s Lynn to get the 1st half underway kicking-off wearing blue shirts with yellow shorts and socks. Histon opposite wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks. The visitors press the ball for the off forcing King’s Lynn to play it all the way back to goalkeeper Ellie Prentice to clear up field. That presents an opportunity for Oksana Imanalijeva to break down the left side for King’s Lynn squares a across in along the top of the Histon box, defender Tessa Shaw getting her head on it sending it on, Rebekah Finch too ball put into the path of Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse coming on from the right for King’s Lynn she shoots from 20 yards out her strike over the bar.

Lucy Julian at right back for Histon does well defensively as King’s Lynn striker Tiffany Forshaw receiving the ball into her feet 25 yards out looks to turn get in behind. King’s Lynn press the attack a corner won on the left the delivery inswinging central punched on by Histon goalkeeper Jennifer Jamieson her defence clearing at the far post. The rain falling at kick-off beginning to fade a swirling wind taking it’s place dark clouds all around. Finch getting on the ball inside the King’s Lynn half looks to drive forwards through the middle eventually stopped by Georgia Freeman.

King’s Lynn’s Annie Rooks looking to get the ball, challenged by Histon’s Rebekah Finch and Alison Wright

Alison Wright strong as she gets hold of the ball on the right holding off King’s Lynn’s Annie Rooks wins a throw high up the pitch, Julian up puts in a cross towards the near post a runner for Histon looking to get there, Freeman wins the race for King’s Lynn. Histon enjoying a spell of possession inside the King’s Lynn half attack right Julian up with play getting a cross in along the top of the area, met by Finch central first time her attempt racing wide of the near post.

Imanalijeva with plenty of pace bursts forwards left bringing the ball over halfway for King’s Lynn an early diagonal ball into the top of the area looking for Olivia Baker central, Jamieson out well off her line to close Baker down doing enough to put her off getting the ball away to the left. Kaya Haq at left back for Histon doing well as Hopkins-Duckhouse sends the ball on for Chloe Burch heading past her on the overlap.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Oksana Imanalijeva

Hopkins-Duckhouse attacking right the ball crossed inside to Forshaw outside the box she looks to tee up captain Becky Russell whose shot from 25 yards out is over the crossbar. Histon doing well in the early part of the game to close the ball down high up the pitch and disrupt King’s Lynn as they look to play it out through the middle. Julian with a vital interception a Forshaw attempts to play Imanalijeva in behind on the left. Katie Seagrave taking the ball on down the right wing fouled on the corner of the box a free kick awarded. Haq forwards to take it. Goes for goal her attempt skimming the top of the King’s Lynn crossbar on it’s way over.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies defender, Albany Hodgson

Histon launch a rapid counter attack the ball won back as King’s Lynn attack left numbers committed forwards the ball fired up central into the run of captain Sophie Lanham strikes it on the run early outside the area before she can be challenged the ball racing wide of the right post a touch off a King’s Lynn player spotted somewhere a corner given. Haq to take it a great ball in inswinging evades everyone at the near post, Hodgson beyond not expecting it low clearing the ball off her goal line for another corner, this one long Wright getting her head to it a good distance out the ball dropping wide of goal.

Katie Seagrave attacking for Histon Ladies

Lisa Wilson bringing the ball on for King’s Lynn plays it forwards for Imanalijeva her pace taking her in behind to cross the ball cut out by Seagrave, back with Imanalijeva she wins a throw deep in the corner. Histon regain possession the ball at the back a mis-kick form Julian presents the ball to Imanalijeva to steal in behind on the left and fire a cross into the six yard box, Haq in to close Baker down as she looks to attack it the ball running onto Hopkins-Duckhouse free beyond she shoots wide a nick off a Histon body spotted a corner awarded. Georgia Day central for Histon sliding in to win the ball as Russell attempts to play Baker in through the middle.

GOAL! The game moving past the opening half hour and the dead lock is broken, King’s Lynn attacking Forshaw making a run to the left receiving the ball taking it into the box closing in on goal fires a shot in near post, Jamieson instinctively putting a leg out to block can’t keep it out 1-0.

King’s Lynn push forwards Hopkins-Duckhouse on for Baker central lays the ball off for Forshaw left as she turns in behind, Forshaw putting the cross back in along the top of the area cleared by Shaw. The rain falling heavily once more the umbrella up the notes in even more disarray than usual. King’s Lynn on the left Russell forwards to support Imanalijeva the cross in from deep over Hopkins-Duckhouse central falls to Baker beyond she shoots wide back across goal.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Olivia Baker

Wright with a good ball on up the right for Seagrave to take on, Wilson sliding in to tackle the ball out for the throw. Wright tries her luck from a long way out just in front of the centre circle the Histon midfielders shot bouncing wide of goal.

GOAL! Late in the first half and a blow for Histon as they concede a 2nd goal. Comes from a free-kick, King’s Lynn’s Rooks fouled in front of the centre circle players forwards to line up along the top of the area as Russell stands over the ball, flighted in the ball attacked the header sending it on past the keeper into the back of the net, Chloe Burch the player running away in celebration scoring, her first of the season 2-0.

Chloe Burch with the goal to put King’s Lynn into a 2-0 lead

King’s Lynn with a strong end to the first half Russell getting ahead of Forshaw who heads the ball on throw the middle, the shot sent over from 20 yards out. Forshaw then peeling away to the left into space as Imanalijeva plays the ball into her feet strikes on the angle the shot running wide across the face of goal. Prentice has to get there rushing out of her area to get to the ball as Seagraves takes off after it played forwards on the right a throw bringing a corner. Freeman up to head it away to the left, fired back in central Hodgson this time heading the ball over her crossbar for another corner.

Half-time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies

  King’s Lynn head into the changing room at half-time leading the game 2-0 the goals coming late in the half, have created the better opportunities without being clinical. Histon though staying out will feel unlucky to be 2 goals down after a battling performance first half working hard to close King’s Lynn down, disrupting their build up play early and strong in the middle the defence making some important tackles. 

Histon’s Rebekah Finch with King’s Lynn’s Annie Rooks

  The rain has stopped for a while dark clouds remain, as the players gather for the 2nd half the wind still strong. A double change for King’s Lynn with both full backs off at the start of the 2nd half Wilson and Burch off, Chloe Witt on at right back, Natalie Wright on too taking up a midfield role in front of the defence with Rooks moving to left back. Histon to get the 2nd half underway. King’s Lynn press the ball won central on for Hopkins-Duckhouse she sends a diagonal ball long out to the left for Imanalijeva bringing it down well goes for the cross/shot the ball put over.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse

  King’s Lynn begin the 2nd half strong pushing forwards a corner won on the right Russell to play the ball in defended by Lanham. Histon look to get on through the middle Wright breaking up the attack on to Russell taking the ball on, Georgina Huse in to tackle for Histon. Wright winning the ball once more on for Hopkins-Duckhouse is brought down central caught in the back is in alot of pain needing treatment. Not at all comfortable as she comes off a change thought about before she is allowed back on to see if it can be run off. 

  GOAL! King’s Lynn’s positive start to the 2nd half brings them an early 3rd goal. Wright making in impact having come on getting hold of the ball in the middle playing it forwards to Baker she slides it on through to Forshaw peeling away in behind into the area left of goal she pulls her foot back to strike firing the ball across goal into the bottom corner 3-0. 

Tiffany Forshaw puts King’s Lynn into a 3 goal lead

   A change made Burch is back on for Hopkins-Duckhouse who can’t continue the substitution seeing Witt move further forwards on the right. Russell getting forwards more for King’s Lynn shoots from 20 yards out, caught by Jamieson as it dips in front of her. 

 GOAL! Forshaw like Russell getting forwards more at the start of the 2nd half finding space in behind having scored her 2nd of the game goes on to complete her hat-trick to put King’s Lynn into a 4 goal lead. The ball played on to her left side from a throw in up the line, she takes the ball in close to the area firing in a shot the ball across the face of goal striking the far post and deflected back in over the line 4-0. 33 goals for the season now for Forshaw. 

  A further blow to Histon who have been sluggish at the start of the 2nd half. The ball gathered by Seagrave she drives on coming inside, looking to play in Lanham, Hodgson in to make the challenge. The wind strong blowing the clouds over the ball standing up in the air. Forshaw almost has a 4th goal as she shes a shot central 20 yards out cannon back off the post as she is played in by Russell on the right.

Becky Russell looking to get past Histon defender Kaya Haq

  GOAL! Histon get forwards a promising attack bringing them a goal attacking with pace on the right Seagrave putting the ball in towards the top of the area Wright bursting forwards to receive, Russell back with her lunging in to tackle the ball loose carries on central Lanham there to meet it strikes the ball past the keeper into the back of the net 4-1. 

Sophie Lanham pulling a goal back for Histon Ladies

  King’s Lynn make a change bringing off Baker in attack on in her place Emma Corbyn. Finch central fouled by Hodgson a free-kick for Histon Julian to play the ball into the area sent out to the left post area a good delivery no one on the end of it however as it runs out for a goal-kick. Witt playing the ball into the area right for Corbyn looking to control with her head bring it down to shoot Huse coming to close her down doing well in defence for Histon. 

King’s Lynn Town Ladies, Chloe Witt

  Amanda Binge comes on for Histon replacing Player on the left wing. Prentice saving well pushing the ball wide for a corner as Wright stealing in on the ball left side fires a shot in. The corner cleared, Histon regain possession in the middle looking better now Day combining with Finch, Wright played into the area right of goal sending a shot wide across goal. Forshaw looks to dink a ball over the top of the Histon defence for Corbyn, Jamieson can lay claim to it first. Jamieson saving with her legs moments later as Forshaw fires a shot in as Burch crosses from the right. 

Histon Ladies, Alison Wright

  Imanalijeva out wide left bringing the ball on for King’s Lynn fires a cross in central, Corbyn and Witt making the same run evades both, Huse in to launch clear. Jamieson out to the edge of her area claiming the ball well as she slides in at the feet of Witt as she gives chase to an over the top ball. Binge needs to come off for Histon having picked up a knocking going in for a 50/50 ball with Burch earlier, Bethany Fisher joining the game. 

Jennifer Jamieson out to claim the ball for Histon

  The game has an open feel to it Histon better now pressing on trying to find a further goal risking more space to run into at the back, Forshaw and Russell both looking to exploit it for King’s Lynn Russell with a fierce shot from 25 yards out held by Jamieson at the 2nd attempt as it stings her gloves. The Histon keeper then holding onto a long range pop form Corbyn. 

  Histon with a free-kick won 30 yards out central Lanham over the ball, strikes it well going for goal on target, Prentice moving across her goal face saving well pushing the ball wide for the corner. The corner defended the header putting it back wide to the taker crossed back into the six yard box gathered by Prentice. Black clouds ominous now a heavy shower arrives as the game enters the closing moments into stoppage time.  Play turned around quickly by Histon Lanham up to win the header on for Wright on behind central to run at goal, Prentice out at the top of her area puts her in a good starting position to close the angle as Wright opts to shoot early send the ball past her the keeper flashing put a glove making the save deflecting the ball wide of her goal. 

 Full time King’s Lynn Town Ladies 4-1 Histon Ladies

  A heavy shower at the end of the game the final whistle blows and King’s Lynn have the win that sees them secure a 3rd placed finish in the league as they make it 7 straight wins to end the season. Winning 4-1 score twice in the 1st half having finally breached a stubborn Histon defence late on, capitalised on that with a strong start to the 2nd half to race into a 4 goal lead. Histon doing well 1st half unlucky to find themselves 2 goals down paid for a sluggish start to the 2nd half before getting a goal back and getting back into the match. The season over now for both plenty of positives to take into the new season.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

For the final time this season to choose the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Although Oksana Imanalijeva and Becky Russell performed well along with Natalie Wright making an instant impact introduced 2nd half their was really only on contender today that being Tiffany Forshaw the King’s Lynn striker showing great running and movement through out setting up chances for other is more often than not clinical in front of goal when she is the one receiving the ball, scoring a hat-trick.

  That’s it then another season almost to a close the last game watched the last report written. Has been another enjoyable campaign albeit without a doubt the most challenging I’ve had to date. Not covered as many games as I would have liked, family issues, illnesses and my own health all playing a part. The football keeps me going however love it, a pleasure to do what I do. My thanks as ever to the clubs for the help with the teams today. We all need a rest. Enjoy.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 19th May

Essex Women’s League Cup Final

Leigh Ramblers Ladies v Harlow Town Ladies Development

 One more final before the season draws to a close a trip down to Essex this Sunday to watch Leigh Ramblers Ladies play Harlow Town Ladies Development for the League Cup.

   Finishing one two in the Essex Women’s Premier Division the pair going head to head in their final game of the season. A strong campaign for both, Leigh Ramblers Ladies winning the Premier Division title in just their 2nd season playing women’s football following promotion from Division One as runners-up the previous year. A very young squad too, with just 3 players over 18, thier Reserves side joining Division One this season.

 Starting life in the higher division with a defeat Leigh Ramblers Ladies never looked back after that going on a run of 10 straight league wins before suffering just their 2nd defeat, top of the table for most of the way along with Frontiers Ladies emerged as clear leaders winning their last 5 league games to clinch the Premier Division title. Have applied for promotion to the ERWFL no doubt encouraged by beating higher league Bowers & Pitsea Ladies in the opening round of the FA Women’s Cup. Kate Newton leading their goal scoring charts with 31 goals to her name this season. A hard run to the League Cup Final too taking top half Premier Division sides all the way.

  The last time I was able to attend the Essex Women’s League Cup Final was when Harlow Town Ladies 1st team were a fast emerging force within the women’s game, beating Runwell Sports (Hospital) Ladies as they were then at the end of the 2015/16 Harlow have risen through the pyramid rapidly, a solid top half finish in their debut season in ERWFL Premier Division the first season they have not tasted promotion. Are now well backed up by a fast improving Development side although they are as often referred to as the Reserves, I’ll stick with Development.

  Like Leigh Ramblers Ladies, another very young side, a solid start to the season in the Premier Division the side to beat Leigh Ramblers on the opening day were long unbeaten themselves amongst the top three. Table adjustments along the way saw them lose ground a strong run however towards the tail end of the season sees them coming into this Sunday’s final in strong form winning 6 in a row and scoring 42 goals along the way. Hannah Smith top scorer with 44 goals to her name, Ellie Nicholls wading in with 24 goals herself, most of the squad contributing with goals over the season with 21 of the 30 used on the scoresheet. 

Road to the Final

  A tough draw for both sides in the 1st Round of the League Cup. Leigh Ramblers were drawn at home to play fellow Premier Division side Chelmsford City Ladies a 2nd half goal from Chloe Gilligan enough to see Leigh Ramblers into the 2nd Round. Harlow away to Billericay Town Ladies Reserves who were amongst the title challengers and eventual winners of Division One. A 2-0 lead for Harlow at half-time went on to win 4-2.

   Leigh Ramblers taking on their title rivals Frontiers Ladies at home in the 2nd Round of the competition. Goals from Aimee Skinner, Kate Newton and Amy Jacobs securing a 3-0 victory. Harlow at home to fellow Premier Division side, Silver End United Ladies, Hannah Smith amongst the goals netting a brace in a 4-0 win.

   A trip to play Collier Row Tigers for Leigh Ramblers in the quarter finals. The 2016/17 League Cup finalists capable of beating anyone on their day and it was a high scoring encounter between the sides drawing 3-3 after 90 minutes the game heading into extra-time Collier Row Tigers scoring a 4th goal but so to Leigh Ramblers and another to reach the last 4 with a 5-4 extra-time win. Harlow away to Leigh Ramblers Reserves in their quarter final, Hannah Smith and Ellie Nicholls both scoring 4 each the the game with Jazi Davidson also scoring in a 9-1 win to put Harlow into the semi-finals.

   Leigh Ramblers having home advantage in the semi-finals taking on another top half Premier Division side, Southend United Ladies, a first half brace for Kate Newton seeing them reach their first League Cup Final. Harlow away to Division One side Runwell Sports Ladies in the last 4.Hannah Smith again top scoring in the game netting 4 goals once again as Harlow’s young guns won 8-1 to reach their first ever League Cup Final too, that win at the beginning of their winning run.

The Runwell Sports & Social Club once again hosting the Essex Women’s League Cup final. A new road layout leading up to it easy to find. The large clubhouse serving hot and cold drinks along with food leading onto the playing pitches themselves a large playing field beyond sporting a number of full sized pitches amongst other sporting activities. Goo grass cover on the pitch, like most pitches currently very dry uneven could all do with some moisture the ground hard. The weather muggy, warm, clouds around overcast still the odd spot of rain but nothing more.

 Leigh Ramblers Ladies starting XI – Emily Mackler (C), Megan Thomas, Jordan Castle, Rebecca Dalgarno, Megan Downes, |Cassie Mashford, Sasha Vail, Maddie Archer, Paige White, Amber Denton & Amy Jacobs. Subs – Emily Diwell, Molly Giles, Lucy Dalgarno, Abbi Brown & Aimee Skinner.

Harlow Town Ladies Development starting XI – Josie Burke, Jazi Davidson, Kaydee King, Evie Anderson, Nicole Storey, Savannah Japal, Maisy Wyer (C), Ronni Harrison, Poppy Binding, Ellie Nicholls & Hannah Smith. Subs – Harriet Douglas, Tamsin Turner, Maisie Ryan, Amelia Hall & Ciara Purdue.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Leigh Ramblers without their top scorer for the game Kate Newton unavailable, a couple of others carrying knocks. Harlow the opposite getting back to full strength players returning from injury sustained earlier in the season. A minutes silence held before kick-off as a mark of respect for Daniel Webster one of the league referees who passed away suddenly on 2nd April. Harlow to kick-off the 1st half wearing red shirts with white sleeves and vertical pencil stripes, red and white shorts with red socks. Leigh Ramblers lined up opposite wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. The ball pressed early Leigh Ramblers closing Harlow down in midfield.

Rebecca Dalgarno and Savannah Japal going in for the tackle

  Harlow’s Poppy Binding moves out to the right combines with Savannah Japal on the wing getting forwards the pass inside Binding attempting to get into the box, Leigh Ramblers in to defend the clearance long up top, Amy Jacobs after it, Evie Anderson doing the defending for Harlow. Sasha Vail getting hold of the ball for Leigh Ramblers on the right wing drives on space in front of her, Kaydee King coming across from the centre of defence to make the challenge win the ball. Jacobs chasing another long ball put forwards from the back the Leigh Ramblers attack moving right to the byline flashing a cross back across goal just evading the runners from midfield.

Hannah Smith looking for a midfield runner for Harlow out wide

   Harlow come forwards in numbers Binding moving right combining with Japal forced back but possession kept the ball with captain Maisy Wyer central options ahead of her plays the diagonal ball looking to spread play, Maddie Archer intercepts for Leigh Ramblers. A bright start from Harlow getting players forwards with attacking intent. Hannah Smith pushing on left side sliding a ball through for Binding in attack, chasing it left side, Leigh Ramblers Jordan Castle going with her defending the ball out for a  throw. From the throw in Smith looks to turn top of the area and shoot, Rebecca Dalgarno putting in the blocking tackle for Leigh Ramblers. 

Amber Denton bringing the ball on for Leigh Ramblers

  Binding moving all over the place in the final 3rd in the early stages for Harlow drags a shot wide from 20 yards out as she turns her marker 20 yards out on the right. Leigh Ramblers pushed back by Harlow are struggling to get the ball into their attackers, Jacobs leading the line chasing after long ball as the defence clears, plenty of pace from Jacobs, Harlow goalkeeper Josie Burke able to get there first. Nicole Storey bringing the ball on from the back for Harlow pushed onto Ellie Nicholls ahead of her sends it on for Binding up top, Dalgarno cutting the pass out at the back for Leigh Ramblers.

Harlow Town Ladies Nicole Storey

  Binding put through to attack the goal inside the six yard box right, goalkeeper and captain Emily Mackler making the blocking save at close range, the ball deflected wide across goal, Binding after it retrieves and turning puts the ball back central. Leigh Ramblers clear. Coming left the ball seen into her feet by Jacobs turns in behind left side driving on into the box, tackled by King. Paige White on the ball for Leigh Ramblers takes it forwards 20 yards out sending it on for Jacobs left inside the area moving across to the right, Storey staying with her putting in the blocking tackle as Jacobs goes to shoot. Play stopped as Jacobs is down injured a knee bandaged before the game comes off for further treatment before being allowed back on.

Leigh Ramblers, Maddie Archer

   Nicholls fouled by Megan Thomas outside the box as Binding looks to play the ball into her run central. Nicholls over the set-piece goes for it for a moment looked like it was in certainly the Harlow fans surrounding me thought so but no the ball over the bar. Leigh Ramblers the busier in defence, Castle and Dalgarno with several blocks as they are pushed back into their box. Wyer lining up a shot from distance lacking the power to trouble Mackler. Harlow pressuring the ball well lively showing plenty of energy a throw won left Binding inside to Smith top of the area, drags her shot wide of the near post.

Ellie Nicholls sees her shot fly narrowly over

   Half an hour played Leigh Ramblers all back inside their half, Jacobs breaks after a ball hooked clear by Connie Mashford. Takes the ball all the way into the area, King doing well to get back on her Jacobs hesitating before shooting giving the defender the chance she needs to put the tackle in regain possession. Binding charging down Castle at the back top of the area steals into the box after the deflected ball left of goal looks to come inside her intent to smash it low round the keeper, Mackler doing well however lunging forwards to snatch the ball from the strikers feet. 

  GOAL! Leigh Ramblers counter and somewhat against the run of play find themselves taking the lead, the ball headed on through the middle up to Jacobs in attack shoulder to shoulder with King as they look to control the bouncing ball, Jacobs winning the header the ball struck as it falls sent low past the keeper into the back of the net 1-0.

Amy Jacobs with the opening goal for Leigh Ramblers

  Jacobs is substituted straight after putting Leigh Ramblers into the lead, Emily Diwell coming on. Vail taking the ball on down the right wing covering ground but no cross in as Harlow close her down. A 2nd change for Leigh Ramblers with Downes coming off Abbi Brown coming on. 

 GOAL! Harlow are soon back on level terms just 2 minutes after falling a goal behind get up the other end and equalise Binding on the scoresheet racing onto the ball inside the box central shoots wide of the advancing keeper low to her left shes her effort strike the base of the post the rebound back across goal favouring the attack she meets it in the air to volley home 1-1.

  Leigh Ramblers press forwards from the restart White out to Vail on the right up the line her cross fired into the area met by Diwell her headed ball straight at Burke. Binding shown a yellow card for throwing the ball away after a decision goes against her team. Harlow com on numbers forwards the play with Smith on the left into the area coming across the top of the box goes to shot, Castle putting in the blocking tackle a painful one goes down immediately play stopped much to Harlow’s chagrin, but a serious injury for Castle cannot continue helped off the pitch Lucy Dalgarno comes on in her place. 

  GOAL! Penalty! Leigh Ramblers are awarded the spot kick after Diwell is upended inside the area looking to get in behind as she comes towards Lucy Dalgarno’s cross from the right. Molly Giles on for Leigh Ramblers to take the spot kick a composed finish sending the ball to the keepers left wide into the back of the net to put them back into the lead 2-1.

Molly Giles restoring Leigh Ramblers lead from the spot

   Leigh Ramblers press the attack lead in the first half a throw won on the right the ball into the area for Diwell no shooting option brings it back for White who screws her shot from 25 yards out away from goal. Moments left a free-kick on halfway for Harlow Nicholls to play the ball forwards into the box, Binding can’t bring it down to shoot as she drifts into a gap, Leigh Ramblers clear as the whistle blows.

Half-time Leigh Ramblers Ladies 2-1 Harlow Town Ladies Development

 A narrow lead for Leigh Ramblers at half-time and they would be the first to agree somewhat against the run of play. A lively start from Harlow pushing their opponents back, creating opportunities Leigh Ramblers battling in defence however keeping them out Jacobs up the other end a threat whenever they did get the ball forwards into her taking the opening goal well. Harlow coming straight back into it to level the scores through Binding only to concede a late penalty to see Leigh Ramblers back in front. Alot of energy expanded first half Leigh Ramblers losing Castle to injury a blow.

    Leigh Ramblers to get the 2nd half underway, Harrison in to win it straight away for Harlow playing the ball on for Binding, Thomas intercepting at the back for Leigh Ramblers. The 2nd half starting at the same pace as the first half. Denton pushing on with the ball at her feet for Leigh Ramblers right side getting a throw in, the ball put inside defended by Davidson. 

Maisy Wyer with Molly Giles

  A RED CARD! Harlow’s goalkeeper Burke shown a straight red card for handling the ball outside the area! Leigh Rambler’s Denton sending the ball on through the middle Burke coming  to the top of her area looking to claim, drifts over the line, is extremely unfortunate however, have a picture that clearly shows her outside the box but also shows her slipping as she goes to back peddle her studs sticking in the turf. The decision incensing Harlow but the decision is clear ball handled outside the box Harlow down to 10.

  A free-kick for Leigh Ramblers outside the box a substitute goalkeeper needing to be sorted for Harlow, initially Storey dons the shirt but a change see her come off with Harriet Douglas coming on to go between the sticks. Rebecca Dalgarno over the free-kick her shot taking a deflection off the wall behind for a corner, in from the left across the six yard box over the keeper to the far post no one there however Harlow clear. 

Leigh Ramblers Ladies, Megan Downes

  Harlow attack Smith on the left driving forwards cutting inside to cross central Binding fouled by Rebecca Dalgarno a free-kick to Harlow just outside the box. King forwards to take it curls a shot low and wide. Harlow fired up by the loss of their goalkeeper, pro-active spurred on by King continue their attacking play. Binding coming back into the middle to regain possession out to Smith left up the line wins a corner against Denton. 

Harlow Town Ladies, Hannah Smith

  Leigh Ramblers Diwell running onto a central pass pushing forwards, King staying with her sliding in to take the ball. Harlow quick t turn play around Smith on the left cutting inside lifting a shot over the bar. Archer doing well in defence tackling Smith on the left as she receives the ball from Wyer. Anderson across to block as Diwell and Denton combine in attack for Leigh Ramblers on the right. Thomas coming off for Leigh Ramblers, Downes rejoining the action. Diwell off too with Jacobs back on. 

  King determined at the back for Harlow winning the header the ball on for Smith left support from Nicholls central closed down by Rebecca Dalgarno. Binding put through into the box left of goal rides the challenge staying on her feet as Mackler slides in to try and save at her feet the ball beyond her Binding unable to get a shot away. Brown getting forwards on the right for Leigh Ramblers attempts to play the pass inside for Jacobs the flag up against her. 

Jazi Davidson bringing the ball on for Harlow Town Ladies

  A corner for Leigh Ramblers on the right changes for Harlow before it with Maisie Ryan and Amelia Hall coming on. The delivery flashing in across the face of goal dropping wide at the far post. Harlow push forwards in attack Nicholls away left side shooting from outside the box, Mackler with the save down to push the ball wide. Japal getting into the area right for Harlow sees a shot blocked the ball spinning behind for a corner. Appeals for handball from the resulting corner but nothing given.

   GOAL! 20 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Harlow come back to level the score. Harlow awarded a free-kick wide on the right after Japal is fouled. Nicholls on the ball sends it on into the area, King making the near side run getting to the ball first to turn it on across goal, Mackler diving gets her fingertips on the ball but not enough to keep it out at her far post 2-2.

  Harlow looking the stronger side now despite being down to 10, Leigh Ramblers tiring, Harlow buoyed by the equaliser and the injustice they feel from the sending off. Giles getting the ball forwards for Leigh Ramblers into the run off Denton right her cross into the box claimed by Douglas. Mackler with another fantastic save diving to her right to deny Nicholls as she shoots from outside the area right set up by Japal. Nicholls showing good movement in the final third playing in Smith left her shot parried up by the keeper collected on the bounce. The game entering the final minutes of normal play. Changes for Leigh, Mashford and Diwell back on. Harlow pressing forwards Binding moving left hits a shot on the turn from the top of the area her effort always rising. 

  GOAL! Harlow launch an attack in the 88th minute Binding bringing the ball on from halfway allowed to travel taking it all the way to the edge of the area left of goal letting fly with a shot a fantastic finish! The ball in over the keeper dropping under the bar to nestle in the bottom corner. Harlow down to 10 have the lead 2-3.

Poppy Binding putting Harlow into the lead late in the game

   Into stoppage time Harlow with the lead Leigh Ramblers with little time to find a reply, Rebecca Dalgarno now in an advanced position. Risk being hit on the counter Harlow with their tails up not interested in defending what they have Binding up on the right cutting a ball back for Nicholls to line up a shot from 25 yards out her strike over. 

  GOAL! The game surely won for Harlow as they score a further goal at the death Nicholls bringing the ball on central forwards for Smith breaking into the box she shoots early putting the ball past the advancing keeper to make it 2-4.

 Leigh Ramblers have a late corner on the left players forwards into the area the delivery in low met by Rebecca Dalgarno at the far post close range she turns to strike, Davidson blocking on the line for Harlow the rebound popping straight to Brown can’t keep it down from close in.

Jazi Davidson with block to deny Dalgarno

  Nicholls bringing the ball on for Harlow in the closing minutes up towards the top of the area strikes the ball the attempt rising over the bar. The final whistle blows and Harlow complete a sensational win having been a goal and player down with 25 minutes left to play, players rushing onto the pitch to celebrate.

Harlow celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Leigh Ramblers Ladies 2-4 Harlow Town Ladies Development

  An entertaining cup final played at a fast temp Harlow on the front foot from the off, Leigh Ramblers not settling early on. Chances created Harlow didn’t capitalise Leigh Ramblers ahead against the run of play soon pegged back a late penalty first half giving them the advantage at the break. The game turned on it’s head early 2nd half with the sending off of Josie Burke that decision galvanising Harlow however as they pushed on getting back on level terms and despite the player disadvantage looked the more likely to find the winning goal as they pressed the attack late on.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

Time to pick this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Was a competitive game with lots of energy expanded. Some notable performances, Kaydee King strong at the back for Harlow so too Rebecca Dalgarno for Leigh Ramblers. Ellie Nicholls impressive in attack bringing the ball on showing good movement throughout. The award though goes to Harlow’s Poppy Binding a threat all game getting forwards making intelligent runs to get into scoring positions and back when needed to regain the ball covered alot of goal and scoring two fantastic goals.

Harlow Town Ladies Development 2018/19 Essex Women’s League Cup winners

 Congratulations to Harlow Town Ladies on winning the Essex Women’s League Cup.

 Not to be for Leigh Ramblers Ladies but a fantastic season nonetheless winning the Premier Division title.

 Two sides that I have covered alot in this season’s Round-Ups always good to see the players and sides you write about in action for the first time. My thanks for the help with the teams and good to meet everyone. Almost done one game to go.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Thursday 16th May

Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup

Cambridge City Ladies Development v Cambridge University Women

 Off to St Neots this Thursday evening for my penultimate cup final of the season, postponed from last week the Cambridgeshire S-Tech Women’s League Cup Final. Cambridge City Ladies Development v Cambridge University Women.

  Cambridge City Ladies Development playing their final game of the season, the League Cup final are looking to go one better than their first team and complete the treble having already secured the Premiership title and won the Junior Invitation Cup Final. A successful season for the club at all levels, some from the squad breaking into the first team such as Ceri Flye and Freya Standing along with top scorer Megan Tonks who has 32 goals to her name this season. 

  Cambridge University Women fielding a side in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership amongst the top sides in recent seasons. Pushing for runners up spot this season with one match left to play. Their 2nd’s playing in the competition otherwise known as The Eagles, whom they shall be referred to henceforth. Starting their fixtures later they are often playing catch up a threat to the sides above without putting them under undue pressure throughout the season capable of beating anyone in the league on their day.

Road to the Final

  The League Cup beginning with a mini-league format for the first half of the season, the sides from the Premiership and Championship North and South drawn into 4 groups each side playing the other once. Cambridge City Ladies Development topping Group C with 5 wins from 5. The Eagles in a much tighter Group D one of three sides all finishing on 9 points with 3 wins and a loss each, Haverhill Rovers Ladies top on goal difference, The Eagles pipping Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds to 2nd spot the top two from each group going on t contest the knock out stages.

  Cambridge City drawn at home to Championship North leaders Ketton Ladies in fantastic form going into the game a single goal scored by Bella Simmons seeing Cambridge City into the semi-finals. The Eagles away to fellow Premiership side march Town United Ladies, goals from Amanda Wainwright, Freya Ekman and Lu Liu securing a 3-1 victory to send them into the semi-finals. 

  Cambridge City at home to Championship North title challengers Wisbech Town Ladies. Freya Standing amongst the goals scoring a hat-trick as the hosts ran out convincing winners 8-0. The Eagles at home too taking on the holders ICA Sports Ladies a hat-trick from Eli Cropp seeing them win the match 3-1 to reach the final.

  St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium the venue for this evenings final has been a while since I last visited the ground, was hard to find then too, set within the new build properties going up on the outskirt of the town. Once you know where it is though you’re set. Will be hosting women’s football regularly from next season as it becomes the home of FAWNL South East Division One side Cambridge United WFC. Boasts an immaculate pitch in great condition. A seated stand on one side with covered terracing behind either goal. A clubhouse and bar serving hot drinks. A warm evening a bit of cloud cover still.

 Cambridge City Ladies Development starting XI- Freya Robson, Rose Jump, Sophie Ingledew, Shona Lester, Carrie Buettner, Matilda Schwefel (C), Eli Cropp, Sara Merican, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge, Amanda Wainwright & Flora Risdill-Smith. Subs – Hannah Sanderson, Charlotte Kenyon, Flora Harpley-Green, Lu Liu & Beatrice Wood.

Cambridge University Women starting XI – Hannah Lock, Becky Langthorpe, Rachel Littlewood, Jade Powell (C), Anna Kanz, Emily Reed, Rachel Pearce, Bella Simmons, Yasmin Crow, Freya Standing & Megan Tonks. Subs – Lucy Hurst, Amy Ozakpinar, Charlotte Gillies & Drew Jenkins. 

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  City to get the League Cup Final underway kicking off first half wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks with The Eagles lined up opposite wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts with black coloured shorts and socks. The ball closed down straight from the off passes rushed in midfield neither side getting time to find their passes, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge for The Eagles the first to make a meaningful run with the ball gathering it 30 yards out and driving on central the City defence rushing out to charge her down as she goes to pull the trigger. 

   Eli Cropp playing a pass out to Donlon-Mansbridge attacking right puts the cross into the box early long to the far post City clear. City counter getting forwards on the right Yasmin Crow winning her side a corner kick. The Eagles defence dealing with the delivery lifted in towards the near post. Progress up the right side for City the cross lifted into the near post missed by goalkeeper Freya Robson as she rises to punch it dropping beyond her the ball threatening to dribble over the line the defence have gotten back the ball scrambled up field. 

Cambridge Universities, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge with Cambridge Cities Freya Standing

  Megan Tonks played in on the right top of the area the ball at her feet turns and shoots, Carrie Buettner blocking at close range for The Eagles the ball with them in the middle captain Matilda Schwefel sending it on for Donlon-Mansbridge through the middle she runs on towards the area, City captain Jade Powell getting back on her in defence to challenge and regain the ball. The Eagles keep up their pressing of the ball disrupting City as they look to send the ball forwards, Donlon-Mansbridge right playing the ball inside to Amanda Wainwright in attack, Anna Kanz tackling for City outside the area.

   Winning possession central the ball rolled into Flora Risdill-Smith in attack she spots Rose Jump getting forwards on the right flank the full back taking the ball on down the line, Rachel Littlewood for City preventing the cross. Jump then back on defensive duty does well as Littlewood coming on looks to support Freya Standing on the wing. City bring the ball on through the middle Rachel Pearce getting forwards passes to Bella Simmons peeling out to the right shoots from the angle 25 yards out pace behind the ball, Robson across to cover her near post palming it down and gathering.

Cambridge University captain Matilda Schwefel

   Schwefel fouled central a free-kick awarded the ball put on towards the top of the area for runners left side escapes everyone running behind for the goalkick. A competitive start to the game The Eagles working hard to close City down high up the pitch. Tonks showing good movement across the front leading the line for City behind her free-kick being given away disrupting play favouring The Eagles, one coming to Donlon-Mansbridge right of the D sends a shot in towards goal, straight at goalkeeper Hannah Lock she collects the high ball. 

Cambridge City goalkeeper, Hannah Lock

 Pearce plays the ball up the left for Standing she drives forwards for City, Jump going with her keeps her from getting inside Standing nevertheless squaring a cross into the six yard box the ball cut out near post the clearance just evading Simmons as she bursts forwards to the edge of the box. Becky Langthorpe getting forwards from full back for City on the right with Crow ahead of her the ball put int the box met by Simmons drifting in near side turns the ball goalwards from 8 yards out, Robson down smartly to save. City starting to gain some momentum going forwards.

Cambridge University goalkeeper, Freya Robson

  GOAL! City coming on left winning a corner the ball fired in close to goal near post dropping behind the first City attack landing at the feet of the 2nd a reactive stab sending the ball over the line from close range, Tonks with the touch to put City into the lead 1-0.

  City have the ball central, Standing released on the left, Buettner running back to get the tackle in. A throw for City high on the left the ball dropped into Tonks she turns lifting it on into the area, Simmons meeting it near side a first time shot looping high to land on the roof of the net. Schwefel making a good run with the ball for The Eagles sending it on for Sara Merican on the left flank, Risdill-Smith with a run into the left channel ahead of her, Powell sticking out a leg intercepting the pass for City at the back.

Sara Merican on the ball for Cambridge University

  Crow attacking right for City, Sophie Ingledew sliding in to dispossess her. City building seeing more of the ball, Tonks laying it on for Simmons racing ahead of her shooting from distance Robson gathering safely. 

 GOAL! Into the final 10 minutes of the 1st half and City double their lead breaking Standing on the ball central halfway plays it early lifted on for Tonks moving clear off her marker running on shooting from outside the box power behind it the low ball skipping off the surface wide of the keeper into the back of the net 2-0.

Megan Tonks taking the ball in behind

   City getting the upper hand a diagonal ball left long to the opposite side Robson up to collect with Tonks closing her down spilt on landing Tonks after it, The Eagles defence quick to close her down Robson grounded between the the ball sent behind for a corner. A good delivery fired into the box central Standing on the penalty spot the Littlewood to her right both seeing a shot blocked. 

  The Eagles make a change with Donlon-Mansbridge coming off on in her place Charlotte Kenyon. City break the ball put on up the right with Simmons racing away the ball cut back towards the top of the six yard box Standing hitting it on the volley seeing the ball smash down off the bar, the attack stopped by a raised flag. Robson with a brave save doing well at the feet of Tonks at the top of her area as Tonks runs through. The ball played through the middle coming to The Eagles Cropp taking it on she shoots from 30 yards out the effort over the crossbar.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies Development 2-0 Cambridge University Women

  A good contest so far played in good spirits, The Eagle starting well closing City down disrupting play whilst trying to find openings themselves. City gaining momentum as the 1st half wore on getting Simmons forwards to support Tonks chances created before the opening goal came from a corner. Tonks making it 2-0. More often than not a critical scoreline the next goal and important one.

  The Eagles to get the 2nd half underway the floodlights on as the light begins to fade. City having made two changes at the start of the 2nd period, Standing and Crow off, Lucy Hurst and Charlotte Gillies taking up their positions left and right in attack. Risdell-Smith brought down inside the City half bringing the ball forward the delivery on into the area aimed for Lester can’t reach it the ball bouncing through to the keeper, Lock sending the ball up field launching a counter attack Tonks lively looking to get away right fouled. The Eagles defending the resulting free-kick.

Simmons central sends the pass up to Gillies on the right int the corner has Tonks with her the pair looking to combine the flag going up against Tonks. A bright start from City coming on in attack left side a ball squared along the top of the area Simmons central with Reed coming on tees her up The Eagles defence charging her shot down. Buettner doing well in defence for The Eagles defending from a corner put in from the right. Wainwright bringing the ball forwards right for The Eagles support for Kenyon getting on down the wing, Littlewood does well to break up the attack for City. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Emily Reed

  Simmons finding pockets of space in advanced positions sets Gillies away on the right wing, Ingledew doing well in defence for The Eagles. Hurst nicking the ball just outside the area for City is brought down, the free-kick in a dangerous position left of the D, Powell forwards to take it. Hit well Powell sees her strike smash down off the crossbar falling out to the right a shot blasted back in flies over. The Eagles on the back foot seeing little of the attack look to create through the middle Schwefel sending it on Wainwright very nearly sneaking in behind, Powell sticking out leg to make a vital interception at the back. Gillies on the attack right for City sending Simmons away ahead of her, Robson comes racing out of her box to try and close her down Simmons getting her shot away first the ball past the keeper but also wide of the right post.

  GOAL! The City pressure in attack bringing a goal with 57 minutes played Simmons getting on down the right firing a shot in on the angle pace on it Robson gloving the ball away straight to Hurst central under challenge getting as shot away to divert the ball back towards goal low wide of the keeper from outside the six yard box 3-0.

Lucy Hurst up for the headed challenge putting City 3-0 up

City with the upper hand first to the ball 2nd half aren’t letting The Eagles have any time on the ball difficult to find their attacking players. Tonks with a shot from 30 yards out a deflection taking it wide for a corner kick. Schwefel positive looking to bring the ball forwards, Reed backed up by Pearce keeping it tight through the middle winning it back for City.

  GOAL! City go further ahead the ball brought on through the middle fired into Simmons 25 yards out central turns well to send the ball into the path of Tonks inside the ball moving left of goal, Robson out to close down the City striker taking it past her in behind composed not rushing her shot plays it in along the ground the ball squeezing in inside the post before the defender sliding in to stop it can reach it Tonks scoring a cup final hat-trick 4-0.

  GOAL! No sooner have City scored a 4th goal they get up the other end to make it 5. A corner on the right taken short catching The Eagles off guard crossed in from high a fantastic delivery central into the six yard box, Tonks their free rising to nod the ball down over the line to score her 4th of the game 5-0.

  A double change for City now with Langthorpe and Reed the players off on come Drew Jenkins and Amy Ozakpinar with 20 minutes left to play. Tonks flagged offside a Robson comes rushing out of her box just about getting to the ball first. Standing returning to the action as Simmons is brought off. Standing fouled off a throw in high on the left outside the box, Hurst over it sent log to the far post Powell meeting it put straight at Robson at close range the keeper saving. 

The Eagles cannot get going in attack few opportunities to get the ball forwards City bristling with confidence. Lock catching comfortably as Kenyon floats a ball on from the right. Wainwright strikes from 25 yards out the City defence blocking. The Eagles keep possession the ball long into the box attacked near post bodies forwards lifted over a corner awarded.

 Tonks is applauded off for City as she is substituted Crow returning to the action. Buettner cutting the ball out at the back for The Eagles as Gillies plays it on from the right. Cropp catching a shot well from 25 yards out for The Eagles sees her attempt race wide of goal. Pearce coming off for City with Simmons returning. Jump comes off for The Eagles with Hannah Sanderson coming on. A throw on the right City want to make a change Littlewood called to the bench on the opposite side of the pitch, a false alarm as she is sent back getting a cheer for her efforts.

Eli Cropp coming forwards for Cambridge University

   Gillies bringing the ball on down the right a shot driven in from 20 yards out Robson saving at her near post. A late change for The Eagles Lu Liu on for Kenyon. City continue to press the ball high keeping their opponents back inside their own half a comfortable lead now the final whistle blows on the game and their season and City have done it completed the treble adding the League Cup to the already to the already bulging trophy cabinet.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies Development 5-0 Cambridge University Women

  City with a strong 2nd half capitalising on their good finish to the 1st half, creating chances to go further in front Tonks scoring 2 more to take her tally to 36 for the season. Pressing the ball high themselves lively in attack kept The Eagle from getting any foothold in the 2nd period. A bright start from The Eagles playing their part in an entertaining and good-natured final but once City got the lead they were in control. One more game for The Eagles runners-up spot still there for the taking as they play March Town United Ladies on Sunday.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  On to this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, two names above the others and that quickly became one as the 2nd half wore on. Bella Simmons with some great movement in attack creating opportunities for herself and others was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet herself. Megan Tonks did however for 4 goals took her chances well and showed great movement and vision throughout to get herself into space and be available whenever City attacked. 

A double for the first team, the Development side go one better to claim a treble and that along with a host of silverware for their youth sides a very successful season as both sides prepare now for life at a higher level.

Cambridge City Ladies Development, 2018/19 Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup winners

 Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies Development on this evenings league Cup win and doing the treble. 

One more final to come a trip to Essex this Sunday for their league Cup final. The season almost done. Have enjoyed all of this season’s Cambridgeshire finals and my thanks go to Chris Abbott and the rest of the committee for the great work they do throughout the season. Thanks to too both clubs for their help with the team details.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Sunday 12th May

ERWFL League Cup Final

Bedford Ladies v Cambridge City Ladies

 On to the 2nd final of the day the sun high in the sky to greet Bedford Ladies and Cambridge City Ladies as they step out onto the pitch at The County Ground in preparation for this afternoon’s ERWFL League Cup Final.

ERWFL League Cup

Another close looking final on the cards between the two Premier Division sides. Bedford a long established side at regional level a brief spell in the FAWNL coming to an end 3 seasons ago. Currently in mid-table on their day a side capable of beating anyone else have won as many as they have lost often by the odd goal. A strong run in the League Cup aswell as the Bedfordshire Women’s County Cup where they successfully defended the trophy against rivals Luton Town back in March. A tough test today as close as it might appear Cambridge City remain unbeaten in the ERWFL this season.

  Cambridge City’s stay in the ERWFL soon to come to an end after 3 season’s a rapid rise in that time losing just 4 league matches along the way. Winning the ERWFL Division One title in their debut season at this level along with a League Cup final appearance. A runners-up finish in the Premier Division following last season. Pushed on again this campaign winning the title with games to spare unbeaten dropping just 2 league points, now looking to follow that up with the double a success acheived two season’s ago by Haringey Borough Women. Promotion to the FAWNL to come the club with a strong youth set up to back up the first and development teams, Goals throughout the side.

Road to the Final

  The ERWFL Premier Division sides entering the League Cup competition at the 3rd Round stage. The last 16 Bedford Ladies handed a tough draw at home to Premier Division newcomers Wymondham Town Ladies, a single goal enough to see them beat the Norfolk side. Cambridge City Ladies alos at home in the last 16 hosting Division One side Hutton Ladies with new striker Vicky Kinsman in their ranks firing in plenty of goals. Cambridge City restricting her to just the one however as they found the back of the net up the other end for 8 goals themselves.

Into the quarter finals another tough looking draw for Bedford as they were away to St Ives Town Ladies the Division One newcomers hitting the ground running making an unbeaten start, not conceding many either the tie going all the way to extra-time Bedford finding the crucial winning goal to book a spot in the last 4. Cambridge City at home to Colney Heath Ladies a 2-0 win against their fellow Premier Division side seeing them into the semi-finals.

  Into the last 4 and a strong all Premier Division line-up, Bedford on the road again to take on Peterborough Northern Star Ladies the first of 3 encounters they would have over the next four weeks, all close Bedford edging their opponents out 2-1 to reach the League Cup Final. Cambridge City at home once more this time taking on Essex side Harlow Town Ladies like Wymondham promoted to the Premier Division this season, having secured a top half finish proved a tough opponent Cambridge coming through however to reach the League Cup Final courtesy of a 3-1 victory.

  Still at The County Ground, Letchworth home of the Hertfordshire FA, the 3G pitch new along with the barriers surrounding it and a redeveloped bar/cafeteria serving hot and col drinks. The sunny still beating down good job I brought my suncream still had the umbrella in the bag too mind the odd black cloud around but these wouldn’t yield anything.

 Bedford Ladies starting XI – Lauren Webb, Gemma Franklin, Priya Bhatti, Jodie Molloy (C), Sophie Mulvihill, Michelle Byrne, Jasmine Ajayi, Eden Kibron, Carissa Kaczorowski, Catalina Costas & Mya Sidhu. Subs – Amy Magnus, Lauren Murray, Sector Acolatse, Jessica Bunnage & Sian Beames.

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Robyn Phillips, Sarah Mosley, Amy Reed, Anna Goggin, Hannah Bodily, Erin Davies & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Freya Standing, Laura Mills, Carla Penny & Megan Tonks.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   Cambridge to get this season’s League Cup Final underway wearing white shirts, black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Bedford lined up opposite wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts and blue socks. The ball played long to the left Bedford goalkeeper Lauren Web out to kick the ball clear. Eden Kibron picking up the ball right side for Bedford driving forwards attempts to play Catalina Costas in as she makes a near post run into the box, Cambridge captain Becca Fay intercepting at the back. 

 Bedford with a fast start to the game getting the ball into the Cambridge half a throw won on the left headed on by Costas top of the area the ball finding its way through to Cambridge goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru. Bedford win it back in midfield play it wide down the right winning a corner.

  GOAL! Bedford take an early lead in the game scoring inside the opening 3 minutes the delivery from the corner flicked on into the middle by Sophie Mulvihill into the six yard box, captain Michelle Byrne free sticking up a leg to bring the ball down well and smashes it into te back of the net 1-0.

  Cambridge looking for a quick reply the ball at the feet of Erin Davies attacking left side her cross into the box cut out by Bedford captain, Jodie Molloy. 

 GOAL! No sooner have Bedford taken the lead then they counter to double thier advantage 2 goals t the good right at the start of the game 5 minutes played the ball put on through the middle into Mya Sidhu 30 yards out to the left flicking the ball over her shoulder inside to drop into the path of Kibron breaking into the box from the right, no need to check her stride meeting the ball she strikes it low and hard from inside the area to send it across the diving keeper into the bottom corner 2-0. 

Eden Kibron with Bedford’s 2nd goal

  A fantastic opening to the game from Bedford, Cambridge shell shocked 2 goals down inside the opening 5 minutes of the match. Bedford lively early on have come out of the blocks running quick to close the ball down, Kibron making several powerful runs forwards. On for Costas in attack moving wide her cross swung into the box claimed by Mhunduru. Cambridge with a free-kick wide on the right as Gemma Franklin fouls Amy Reed. The delivery in towards the top of the box met by a Cambridge head the ball headed on in towards goal lacking pace gathered by Webb. 

   Bedford’s turn to have a free-kick inside the Cambridge half, played forwards to drop into the box, Mhunduru coming forwards to claim it not put off by the onrushing Kibron. End the end as a shaken Cambridge look to get back into the game, Bedford winning it through Byrne in the middle as Anna Goggin looks to play the ball forwards. Bedford making ground on the left win getting a corner the delivery in close to goal, Mhunduru up for it is fouled. Kibron right the ball put inside to Costas making the near post run can’t quite get the ball under control as Mhunduru comes to collect.

Cambridge’s Ceri Flye with Bedford’s Mya Sidhu

   Sarah Mosley with the ball 30 odd yards out allowed time to line up a shot her strike in looks to be heading over, dipping on Webb late back on her line the keeper producing a fantastic save to tip the ball up over her bar. Th corner played to towards the top of the area headed on wide across the goal. Bedford counter with pace and purpose Kibron forwards inside to Carissa Kaczorowski on for Costas, Robyn Phillips regaining possession for Cambridge. Sidhu with another flicked ball over the top of the Cambridge defence 25 out left to right, Costas the target this time can’t connect with the shot.

  Goggin with a good run on the ball central for Cambridge getting forwards is tackled by Bedford’s Franklin. Bedford winning a corner right players come forwards the delivery into the six yard box the attempted clearance by Cambridge struck straight t Kibron 8 yards out closed down as she attempts to get a shot in the ball hustled out to the top of the area met by Bedford Jasmine Ajayi her shot in low has no power safely in Mhunduru’s gloves. Kaczorowski out wide right on the ball in the final third shoots Mhunduru diving in front of her goal to her left to push the ball away. 

Bedford’s Jasmine Ajayi

  Davies central looks to combine with Shannon Shaw in attack the attempted one two not coming off as Bedford’s Mulvihill charges the ball down. Bedford appealing for a penalty as Kibron bursts into the box left of goal put in by Sidhu, goes down under challenge but the appeals waved away. Mhunduru with another vital save to keep the scoreline down as Bedford press well getting forwards Costas into the box appeals for a push still managing to get something on the ball Cambridge’s keeper having gone to ground in front of her getting a arm up to pluck the ball down as it threatens to go over her inside the six yard box. 

 Ceri Flye bringing the ball on for Cambridge right side allowed to travel with it pace to get into the area Franklin sliding in to tackle win the ball for Bedford. Bedford make a change, Kaczorowski the player heading off on comes Sector Acolatse. Mosley peeling away to the left as Cambridge come forwards puts an early ball into the area Davies making the run near side, Webb coming to get to the ball and claim before she can reach it. Cambridge make a double switch bringing Mosley and Shaw off, Carla Penny and Megan Tonks on. Bedford bring on Amy Magnus in attack for Sidhu.

   The game played at a furious pace, Bedford putting alot of effort in to keep the ball moving keep Cambridge from getting any momentum going forwards. The sun beating down is hot out there. Lauren Tomlinson defending for Cambridge at left back as Costas tries to get in behind n the right wing. Davies making some great runs forwards for Cambridge through the middle getting into the box as a cross is put in from the left sees it across her body getting a shot away before she can be challenged the ball swerving in the air it favours Webb in goal falling straight to her.

  Davies combining with Penny in attack for Cambridge no final ball as Bedford defend the ball cleared straight to Hannah Bodily she strikes it from 25 yards out the shot wide. Cambridge gaining a little bit of the attack the ball forwards win a corner out on the right, the delivery in defended  headed away Reed fouled as she looks to retrieve outside the box to the right of goal. 

  GOAL! Cambridge getting a goal back late in the first half scoring from the free-kick, Reed on the ball looks to play the ball in towards the near post little to aim at finds the target, Webb closed down by players from both sides going to claim the ball squeezing out of her gloves on behind her in front of goal, Tonks on the follow up for Cambridge getting her boot on the ball to send it on into the back of the net 2-1. 

  Bedford attack coming left the ball inside to Byrne in an advanced position a great touch to lift the ball over the top for Kibron bursting into the area, closing in on the byline the angle against her twists to get the ball in towards goal, landing awkwardly as she does so, too close to Mhunduru the goalkeeper claiming. Kibron up slowly didn’t look good but after treatment as allowed to come back on. Ajayi with a superb ball on for Acolatse through the middle, Mhunduru out to close he down the ball scrambled clear. 

 Into stoppage time the 1st half racing by Bedford bringing the ball on Acolatse lining up a shot outside the area right of the D, Flye getting a foot in to block. 

Half-time Bedford Ladies 2-1 Cambridge City Ladies

  A fast paced lively 1st half comes to a close, Bedford making a blistering start to the game getting themselves into a 2 goal lead within the opening 5 minutes, on the front foot for much of the half since, getting forwards well with intent as well as working hard to close the ball down. Cambridge stunned early on far from the start they wanted has taken them a while to get going as an attacking force slowly building momentum in the final 3rd, pulling a goal back late in the half to trail by just the one, Mhunduru in goal keeping the score down.

   Bedford out early for the start of the 2nd half Kaczorowski back on the pitch in place of Acolatse Sidhu back on too. Bedford to get the game restarted an early clash of heads between Costas and Flye in the area, both players okay. Byrne winning the ball central for Bedford playing it forwards, Fay stopping it at the back for Cambridge. 

   Bedford have a throw on the right inside the Cambridge half the ball put inside to Costas helped in field to Sidhu 25 yards out, spots Kaczorowski making the run to her left into the box slides the pass on for her, Mhunduru out quickly to close the single and save at the attackers feet. Davies attempting to carry the ball forwards in attack for Cambridge supported by Bodily in the centre. Davies coming left the ball on for Tonks in attack, Mulvihill with the tackle the ball pushed out wide picked up by Penny her shot back in towards the near post tame gathered by Webb.

Erin Davies always looking to get into an attacking position for Cambridge City

   Bedford come left the ball hit on the diagonal into the area Kibron lunging forwards getting a touch to send the ball goalwards under diving Mhunduru, to strike the base of the post, the flag up against her however. Davies and Bodily winning more of the ball in central areas now. Penny strong in possession on the left for Cambridge the pass forwards for Tonks holds it up trying to turn get in behind closed down by Molloy who tackles to regain the ball. Cambridge push on the right winning a free-kick put long to Penny top of the box left of goal brings the ball down well to turn into the shot lifting the ball over the crossbar. Freya Standing on for Cambridge in place of Flye.

Bedford’s Carissa Kaczorowski tackling Cambridge’s Carla Penny

  Mulvihill tackling Davies as she brings the ball on a throw out left, Tomlinson with a long delivery to take sends it into the area cleared back to her, moves out towards the top of the area before striking from distance Webb back on her line making the save. Cambridge with a bit more of the ball, Bedford still looking a threat closing down and getting forwards. Priya Bhatti close on Penny to prevent the winger getting forwards. A corner on the right fro Cambridge in high central Webb punching the ball high in the air Franklin seeing it don sends clear. Goggin moving with the ball left pushes it into Penny looking for the return pass top of the area, Byrne charging the shot down.

  GOAL! 20 minutes played in the 2nd half and Cambridge come back to level the scores at 2 a piece scoring from a throw wide on the right top of the area put into Davies closing in on the area puts the pass up towards Bodily positioned to corner catching it well lifts a shot in towards goal looping high over the keeper to fall into the bottom corner 2-2. 

Hannah Bodily with Bedford’s Jasmine Ajayi

  Cambridge make a change with Mosley back on for Goggin. Davies in to win the ball 20 yards out looks to play in Tonks but can’t get a pass into the box instead plays it out to Penny on the left she switches play putting a cross long to the far post for Standing running in can’t reach it out for the goalkick. Acolatse back on for Bedford attacking left is brought down by Phillips complaints from the Bedford bench about her being the last defender, but 30 yards out players were in a position to get back central. The free-kick a long way out the shot nevertheless taken on put over.

  Tomlinson with the ball for Cambridge has space to run into runs unopposed 3 quarters of the pitch getting into the box left of goal sending a shot up over the bar. The game entering the final 15 minutes, tension out there from both sides Cambridge attacking, Bedford defending well especially on their flanks Franklin and Bhatti. Tonks comes off for Cambridge, Shaw rejoining the attack. Bedford with the ball left the cross in low cut out Fay near side her clearance straight to Byrne outside the box she puts it back in for Kibron lunging for it the ball held by Mhunduru. 

Carla Penny coming forwards for Cambridge City

  The play getting scrappy as both sides rush passes late on Penny fouled on the left the ball played down the line Mosley with the run looks to play the return ball to Penny, Mulvihill tackling for Bedford. Tomlinson off for Cambridge Flye back on. Shaw driving on through the middle for Cambridge, Mulvihill out o the area to slide in to win the challenge. Sidhu off for Bedford, Kaczorowski back on. The game looks to be heading to extra-time neither side getting a clinical chance late on Shaw winning Cambridge a late corner the ball in headed on towards goal Webb behind it.

Full time Bedford Ladies 2-2 Cambridge City Ladies

  Nothing to separate the sides Cambridge coming back to level the scores 2nd half and send the final into extra-time, both sides putting alot into it especially Bedford some tired legs out there. An extra 30 minutes to play 2 15 minute halves for either side to find a winning goal the temperature remains high. 

Extra-time

 Cambridge to get extra-time underway, Bedford winning an early free-kick Molloy on it left side played on to Kibron she looks to put Sidhu away on the right side. Mhunduru out to her saves well, Sidhu after the loose ball falling awkwardly and she attempts to put it back in on the angle. After treatment is okay play resuming with a corner the ball in high claimed by Mhunduru.

  Franklin does well in defence to get back on Standing as Davies moves over to the right with the ball. Sidhu left plays a low ball into the six yard box, Mhunduru out to claim before Kaczorowski can get there. Lauren Murray coming on for Bedford in place of Sidhu. Standing on the right gets the ball into the box for Davies near post looking to control then shoot is closed down by Franklin and Molloy both sliding in to block a corner conceded the ball in central Shaw goes for it can’t connect half cleared falls straight to Bodily 25 yards out a nick on her shot but Webb can make the save. 

  Kaczorowski striking a shot on the half volley right of the box the ball held by the keeper. Both sides working hard to stop the other cancelling each other out a 2nd ball thrown onto the pitch as Bedford look to get forwards, play stopped the referee having words with the Bedford bench. The fist half of extra-time comes to an end the sides still level.

   Tomlinson returning to the field for Cambridge as Bedford get the 2nd period of extra-time started. Phillips defending for Cambridge as Kibron plays the ball on. Sian Beames on for Bedford played on by Kibron on the right crossing the ball early cut out Phillips. Murray bringing the ball on for Bedford support from Beames played out to Ajayi moving clear on the left her cross in met be Kibron central her touch too strong allowing the Cambridge defence to clear. 

  Play scrappy players giving away free-kicks tension showing passes going astray. Flye cautioned for a foul on Kaczorowski. Standing coming off Tonks back on. Beames conceding a corner on the right the delivery in central under the bar Webb punching the all landing amongst a crowded far post the ball lifted over the bar. Tomlinson sees a ball fired into her inside the box as Cambridge attack right she prods her shot wide of the near post. 

 Cambridge make one last push winning a corner the ball defended near post another corner won, this one flicked on by Phillips a shot blocked from close range at the far post. Reed comes on for Cambridge, Bedford defend. A late goal ruled out for offside. Cambridge come right a cross into the box put on to Tomlinson far post her shot striking the upright before being scrambled clear. The final whistle blows this season’s ERWFL Cup Final to be settled on penalties.

Penalties

  No fan of a penalty shootout but a game has to be decided somehow. Five for each side if still not decided it then goes to sudden death.

 Cambridge up to take the first penalty, Mosley placed the ball on the spot, scores sending a pacy ball wide to the right evading the diving keeper 1-0.

  Magnus to take Bedford’s opening penalty Mhunduru saving superbly as she dives to her left to keep the low strike out 1-0.

Tee Mhunduru saving Bedford’s opening penalty

  Shaw up next for Cambridge, a composed finish straight through the middle the keeper rooted to the spot 2-0.

  Mulvihill up next for Bedford opts for power her rising shot cannoning down and in off the crossbar 2-1.

  Tomlinson forwards to take Cambridge’s third penalty kick goes for placement sending the ball low racing into the bottom left corner to make it 3-1. 

  Jessica Bunnage on late on to take Bedford’s third penalty shoots to the right Mhunduru getting her fingertips to it but not enough to keep it out 3-2.

   Tonks placing the ball on the spot for Cambridge’s fourth a cool finish finding the bottom corner to score 4-1.

  Bedford have to score to keep themselves in the shootout, captain Byrne up to take the penalty, agony as she sends it wide of the post to see Cambridge roar in celebration and rush from the halfway line to Mhunduru winning the shootout 4-2 to win the ERWFL League Cup and do the double.

Joy for Cambridge heartbreak for Bedford a cruel finish to an entertaining final, both sides playing their part. Bedford racing out of the blocks taking a 2 goal lead early in the match putting Cambridge on the back foot, slowly they came back into the game pulling it back to 2-1 before half-time scoring the leveller in the 2nd half the game getting tense late on scrappy neither side on top chances for both. Extra-time unable to separate them.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the 2nd Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the day. Another competitive final with a few contenders from both sides. Eden Kibron setting the tone early on for Bedford helping them get off to a fantastic start. At the back Gemma Franklin was strong nothing much getting past her. For Cambridge City, Erin Davies making some positive forward runs looking to get on in attack. Carla Penny making a huge impact coming on, Hannah Bodily supporting Davies playing well too. The award though goes to Cambridge City goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru pulling off some vital saves as Bedford started strong commanding her area and the all important save in the penalty shootout.

Cambridge City Ladies 2018/19 ERWFL League Cup winners

Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies on winning this season’s ERWFL League Plate Final and on the double.

Another highly entertaining match, great to see to competitive finals today a fantastic advert for the ERWFL. An enjoyable but tiring day, thanks to everyone for their help today. Alot of kind comments too much appreciated, will be tired once the dust has settled on another busy Sunday not many to go now however the season soon coming to an end.