Category Archives: Match Reports

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

Sunday 18th October

ERWFL Division One North

Back on the football trail this Sunday afternoon with a relatively short trip for me up the A47 to King’s Lynn to watch a game from ERWFL Division One North, King’s Lynn Town Ladies hosting Cambridgeshire side Histon Ladies.

  A game between two sides that have barely got their season’s started, in fact for Histon this is their first league game of the season, whilst King’s Lynn themselves have played just the one. ERWFL Division One North now with just 6 sides in it after the withdrawal of newcomer Thorpe St Andrew Women and with their Division One South counterparts also losing a side in Hoddesdon taking them down to just 7 it is frustrating for all sides as most express a preference for a larger single division. Of course ideally and the aim is to have the two divisions up to their full compliment of 12 each. The county leagues are growing that should become a reality in the near future.

 Along side King’s Lynn Town Ladies and Histon Ladies. Cambridge City Ladies Development, Newmarket Town Women, Needham Market Women and newly joined Haverhill Rovers Ladies are six sides competing in Division One North. As thing’s look that is a strong line-up with all of those sides capable of mounting a title push to get themselves into the Premier Division. COVID-19 curtailing last season ending early declared null & void King’s Lynn Town Ladies had gotten themselves into a strong position to challenge Cambridge City Ladies Development at the top, whilst Histon were we placed with games in hand to mount a late push.

  A new season and changes in management for both. Joe Simpson a former assistant coach returning after a spell at Wroxham Women to take the helm of the women’s team amongst his other roles at King’s Lynn Town. Taking over from Michelle Stewart whose hard work for the club over the previous 6 years has build a strong foundation for women’s football in King’s Lynn While at Histon, Matt Phillips moves up to take charge of the 1st team with Matt Payne who has put a great deal of work over the years into ensuring Histon has a great set-up to improve the women’s game. 

  A winning start to the season for King’s Lynn Town Ladies when they eventually got their league campaign underway two weeks ago. A good result 3-0 at home to Suffolk side Needham Market Women. That followed up last weekend with a 2-0 win at home to Wodson Park Ladies in the League Cup 1st Round. Have made a few signings over the summer to strengthen the squad, with Jade Kelly, Emma Bunton and Bryony Russell-Smith all returning to the club this season have also recruit 3 players who were with Peterborough Northern Star Ladies last season, Catherine Ray, Kim Fairweather and Fran Peeling. Also worth noting the club had a number of young players ready to push for a regular place prior to the previous season ending.

 A frustrating start to the season for Histon… or rather no start at all as is the nature of the times with COVID there first game of the season at home against King’s Lynn amongst those called off. There only competitive match to date on the 20th September playing ST Ives Town Ladies in the FA Women’s Cup losing to the ERWFL Premier Division side 4-2. Another frustrating period with the squad needing to isolate. Finally getting their league campaign started today.  During the summer there was some upheaval within the club with several on the Reserves side going with thier manager to form the new Histon Hornets WFC. However the club retained a healthy number of players and adding several new faces have enough to establish what is a new Histon Ladies Development side for the new season. amongst the new signings 4 feature in todays squad, Daisy Barns, Becky Charter, Ester Mctrusty and Abi Molloy.

  King’s Lynn Town Ladies now playing their home fixtures at Lynnsport on their 3G pitch behind their old River Lane grass pitches. The leisure facility host to a number of clubs and sporting activities. The club keen to play here, will no doubt have a few more games at The Walks were times return to normal. The pitch caged can be viewed all round with a small area inside for standing spectators. A cloudy overcast day, shouldn’t be any rain, reasonably mild.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies starting XI – Bryony Robinson, Chloe Burch, Fran Peeling, Georgia Freeman, Shanice Burch, Kirstie Smith, Deva Rawlings, Rachael Skinner, Jodie Hopkins, Tiffany Forshaw (C) & Emma Corbyn. Subs – Amy Cropley, Kim Fairweather, Jade Kelly, Zara O’Neill & Oksana Imanalijeva.

Histon Ladies – Alison Wright, Amie Flack, Abby Laughlin, Brie Baker (C), Tessa Shaw, Lauren Martin, Sophie Lanham, Becky Charter, Daisy Barns, Kirsty Geal & Molly Blair. Subs – Abi Molloy & Ester Mctrusty.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Histon with the kick-off to get the 1st half underway wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks. King’s Lynn opposite wearing blue shirts and shorts with yellow trim with blue and yellow socks. The hosts pressing their opponents from the start closing down their defence preventing the ball going forwards deflected centrally spins to Jodie Hopkins on the left her touch taking it in behind however racing for the ball can’t quite keep it in play to get a cross into the six yard box. 

King’s Lynn fast to close on the Histon defence right from the off forcing passes to be rushed miss their mark the attack coming back, Tessa Shaw central clearing as a deflected ball central threatens to escape in behind with Emma Corbyn looking to go in attack for the hosts. Abby Laughlin defending at right back for Histon preventing King’s Lynn captain Tiffany Forshaw spinning in behind her she recieves a Kirstie Smith pass from midfield having drifted to the right. 

Tessa Shaw clearing the ball for Histon Ladies

 Histon get hold of the ball left a fantastic cross field pass picking out Kirsty Geal outside the right corner of the King’s Lynn penalty box she fires a ball into the box blocked King’s Lynn defence back to Geal has support out wide with Sophie Lanham head of her again the ball fired into the area is blocked then clear King’s Lynn look to break Hopkins on the ball down the left with ground to run into crosses the ball in but races wide across goal. Becky Charter gaining ground with the ball on the left her low ball into the air cut out by Shanice Burch the ball played up to Corbyn on halfway holds it up well as Rachael Skinner comes racing down the right wing attempt put it on for her Histon captain Brie Baker able to get to it first.

  The hosts looking lively early on are quick to get numbers forwards when they regain at the back not let the Histon back line settle on the ball. Forshaw in the right channel 25 out puts it with for the advancing Skinner, plays the return ball to Forshaw top of the area, Hopkins making a superb run in from the left isn’t tracked as she runs into the D, Forshaw looking to roll the ball into the path the Histon defence just get there first to clear. Forshaw lines a shot up from all of 25 yards out her effort not troubling Alison Wright in the Histon goal.

  Charter nips in to win the ball high on the left for Histon getting away from her marker into the ox strikes it low towards the near post Bryony Robinson in the King’s Lynn goal has her angles covered down to get behind it and save. Daisy Barns rolling it into the feet of Molly Blair in attack for Histon, has Geal on her right, Chloe Burch getting in on her to cut out the pass King’s Lynn getting straight on the attack the ball put into the middle with Skinner making a run does well to leap and get her head onto the bouncing ball knocking it on for Corbyn finding a gap in the left channel in behind into the area, Baker getting across her close her down defending well the see Corbyn concede a goal kick. 

King’s Lynn’s Rachael Skinner up to head the ball on

 Chloe Burch coming to close down on the flank gets the ball put straight into her funny bone as she goes to block (it’s not funny when you get struck with a ball at close range), a painful one an as the new handball rules go a free kick to the opposition. Burch okay to continue. Blair getting hold of the ball taking it into the area under challenge, off balance doing well to put a dangerous cross in for Histon the hosts clearing. King’s Lynn advance down the right draw another free kick a chance to float a ball into the area Peeling playing it in a good delivery landing centrally Skinner up to strike first time on the volley doesn’t get a clean connect bounces harmlessly in towards goal for Wright to catch. 

Histon Ladies goalkeeper, Alison Wright

  King’s Lynn keep up their pressing game Smith getting forwards this time form a central position up with Forshaw inside the D, Smith tackling getting hold of the ball nudges it to Forshaw going on looking for the return pass Forshaw quick to react opting the back heal, Shaw between the pair reading it getting her leg out to intercept the ball for Histon. The visitors getting the ball up the other end winning a corner on the left can’t make it count. Is being played at a fast pace King’s Lynn as working hard to close the ball proving hard to get through at the back. Forshaw recieving a pass from the right 30 yards out plays it ahead for Skinner on the move her low strike from the top of the D is straight at Wright.

  Lauren Martin up the other end striking the ball first time from outside the box left of the D as Histon get bodies up on the left the ball spinning into her path directs it on target however Robinson is right behind it down low to save. The hosts making the first change of the game Corbyn coming off in attack with Oksana Imanalijeva. Histon though have a free-kick deep on the right more or less a corner a good delivery in across the face of goal players up to attack in far post, Robinson up well to glove it away from danger. Imanalijeva on the left has pace as she runs to get onto the end of a long pass , puts it cross the top of the area with Hopkins now on that flank closing it, Baker on top of her getting the better of the challenge bringing the ball out. 

Histon Ladies, Lauren Martin

  Deva Rawlings busy in the middle for King’s Lynn challenging for the ball and getting fouled too, the free-kick this time going against her 30 plus yards out left of the area. Sophie Lanham over it has got a good strike on her takes on the shot, not enough loop on it to trouble Robinson drifting cross to her right post to catch high. King’s Lynn winning a free-kick right side of the circle inside Histon’s half, Peeling playing it across to Imanalijeva on the left outside the area a good touch putting her away in behind turning towards the box to close the angle hits it hard more likely meant to be a shot than a cross nevertheless very nearly comes of as Forshaw lunges for it far post can’t deflect it inside the post wide. 

Deva Rawlings bringing the ball on for King’s Lynn

  Histon finding it a little frustrating are getting players in the flanks to cross the final ball not coming off. Charter with excellent work on the left riding a challenge takes the ball on up the line her diagonal cross into the area goes long. King’s Lynn looking the more likely to score Chloe Burch getting the ball at the back the left back on for Imanalijeva top of the area has Skinner in close support the two combining to get Imanalijeva away in behind to deliver a cross in dropping near side Wright stooping to claim, as Forshaw with Baker on her shoulder close her down the keeper does get there in grounded as Forshaw keeps the ball in on the by line the angle against her tries to chip Wright the ball looping up dropping beyond the far post.

Histon Ladies, Amie Flack

 Histon coming close up the other end as Amie Flack wins it on the left sends a diagonal ball up towards the area, Lanham up pressuring the defence getting a shot away from inside the D across goal, Robinson diving at full stretch pushing it wide of a corner. All action King’s Lynn rushing forwards Imanalijeva left side crossing early bouncing in towards Forshaw right of the D, can’t get there before Shaw her slicing clearance pole axing her centre back partner Brie inside the box, Laughlin though round on the cover to put behind for a corner before the hosts can capitalise. From the resulting corner the ball worked short comes to Skinner 25 yards out left side her shot drilled back on runs wide of the near post. Hopkins with a shot over the crossbar from distance right side as Histon are not allowed any time to settle on the ball.

  GOAL! Into the last 5 minutes of the first half and the deadlock is broken. Rawlings up to support on the right side has the ball at her feet strong to hold off her marker as she comes infield nudges it on before reversing the ball into the area laying it on a plate for Forshaw peeling clear into the area to slide the ball wide of Wright who doesn’t move 1-0.

Captain Tiffany Forshaw opens the scoring for King’s Lynn

   The hosts with a strong spell at the end of the first half, Rawlings winning her tackles on for Skinner right is finding space well crosses the ball in Forshaw attacking the near post sends the ball across the face of goal. Rawlings central picks out Imanalijeva’s run on he left in behind has the pace, Wright though stepping up can get her gloves around it safely first. Imanalijeva injecting pace on the left crossing early late in the 1st half her ball dipping as it arrives at Hopkins strikes on the volley just inside the box, too many bodies to get through Histon block.

Half-time King’s Lynn Ladies 1-0 Histon Ladies

      A good first half from King’s Lynn playing with a high tempo from the start closing the ball down creating chances eventually making it count scoring late in the half to lead the match. Have gotten forwards well perhaps not really making it count probably should have another 1 or 2. Haven’t let Histon settle on the ball and pressing high has made it difficult for the visitors to get their own attacks going have found some joy on the flanks with Lanham getting into some good positions central forcing a good save from Robinson so the visitors will know they are by no means out of the game and with just a single goal lead more than capable of turning it around in the 2nd period. 

   Two changes for Histon at half-time with Laughlin and Geal the players off, Abi Molloy coming on at right back whilst Ester Mctrusty takes up position on the left wing. King’s Lynn getting the 2nd half underway. Get straight on the offensive Rawlings up to Imanalijeva left side knocking it on races in behind to cross a high ball in close to goal claimed high by Wright.

King’s Lynn defender Georgia Freeman winning the ball

  The ball rolled on into the feet of substitute Mctrusty left for Histon her first touch taking it beyond Burch looks to get on into the box Freeman coming across obstructing her the free-kick given. A dangerous position 25 yards out left side Flack over the ball her delivery towards the far post long, between them Charter and Lanham keeping the attack active, Charter firing a ball in on the angle, blocked comes back to Lanham she whips a vicious cross through the six yard box, Mctrusty throwing herself at it far post can’t get a touch.

Histon Ladies captain, Brie Baker

   Up the other end Hopkins getting into the box with the ball left side checks back inside to shot leaning back sends it wide of the far post. Mctrusty giving Histon an option on the left taking the ball on jinks left then right, Shanice Burch standing her ground lunging in to nick the ball before the cross can be executed. Skinner off a throw high on the right turns inside on the angle lobs the ball onto the roof of the net. Baker prevents Hopkins getting in behind on the right giving away the free-kick. Forshaw on the delivery high into the air Wright with a confident take. The hosts with a strong start to the 2nd half half prevented Histon gaining any momentum with Hopkins, Skinner and Imanalijeva pressing the defence Forshaw coming back to regain possession.

Jodie Hopkins looking to get past Histon captain Brie Baker

  Skinner from all of 30 yards with a strike fired wide of the target. Forshaw with a similar effort moments later. Hopkins leading the line now. A good contest shaping up between her and Baker, Histon’s captain has been busy in defence but winning her fair share of the ball prevents the King’s Lynn attacker spinning off her inside the D getting in behind with a lunging tackle. King’s Lynn quickly back on the ball winning a throw dropped into Imanalijeva inside the area right corner by the by line holds it up, knocking it back wide to Peeling to fire in the cross chest height near post Wright behind it but under pressure from Forshaw  spills it, Flack clearing the danger.

Fran Peeling with Histon’s Sophie Lanham

   Hopkins shrugging off her marker turning to get into the box right of goal prepares to line up a strike, Baker back on her superbly has to get her tackle right and does to see the ball deflected away. Skinner racing away with the ball at her feet right down the line swings a cross back in towards the top of the area Hopkins bringing it down with her left foot striking the shot, the effort once again finding Wright the Histon keeper saving. Histon making a change bringing Geal back on for Barns with 25 minutes gone in the 2nd half. King’s Lynn also making a change Chloe Burch having picked up an injury a few minutes earlier unable to continue on comes Amy Cropley going it at right back with Peeling switching to the left.

  Forshaw spinning into a shot close range at the near post left sides sends it over the top as she makes the run for Imanalijeva coming down the left. A 2nd change for King’s Lynn sees Hopkins coming off in attack to be replaced by Zara O’Neill. The substitute almost with a immediate impact controlling the ball in space outside the box 20 yards out turning and striking the ball screws wide of the left post. King’s Lynn continuing their pressing in the final 3rd sees Skinner going for the lob 25 yards out, back peddling Wright knows she is beaten if it drops but to her relieve drops over the bar. 

King’s Lynn’s Rachael Skinner

 Forshaw attacking right into the area goes down under challenge with Baker wants a penalty the appeal waved away. Mctrusty taking on the King’s Lynn defence getting a deflected cross into the six yard box Robinson onto it before Charter can make up the ground. Forshaw comes deeper Rawlings picking her out lays it forwards for O’Neill to attack drifting right, Baker cutting the pass out. 

  GOAL! Looking the more likely to score King’s Lynn get a 2nd goal in the 75th minute a surging run on the ball from Imanalijeva wide on the left closing into the corner whipping a dangerous ball in across the face of over the keeper falling far post Forshaw racing in with the lunge to turn it over the line from close range 2-0.

Tiffany Forshaw doubles King’s Lynn’s lead

  Histon respond with a change Blair coming off in attack, Laughlin coming on into an attacking role as the visitors look to find a way back into the match. Forshaw stealing in to win the ball back 25 yards out drives into the box left side Baker covering across to challenge sending the ball out for a corner. A dangerous inswinging delivery into the six yard box dealt with well by Shaw heading it away wide to the right. 

  O’Neill and Skinner combining for King’s Lynn in attack, the striker with the ball at her feet top of the D shifting left then right Skinner the option to her right on the flank sends the ball out wide Skinner looks to go alone her initial effort blocked  rebounds to her sending  a cross in along the top of the six yard box O’Neill arriving looks to turn it wide of Wright not enough to beat the keeper at close range. Kim Fairweather comes on for King’s Lynn.

  Histon haven’t had much to feed on in attack 2nd half, winning a corner on the left through Mctrusty have a chance to put pressure on the hosts inside the box. The corner though goes long beyond the far post his kept alive well headed down to drop inside the six yard box, Laughlin is there lunging to get her foot on it deflected goalwards hasn’t the power behind it to carry it past the defence before the block comes in and it is cleared. 

Histon’s Abby Laughlin with a late chance to score

  King’s Lynn come on Smith forwards for Skinner on for Forshaw in the area left side cuts it back inside for Skinner running in to attack the near post Wright down smartly pulling the ball into her body. Lanham playing a long pass on for Mctrusty to attack through the middle, Burch closing her down to clear the ball. Forshaw blasting a shot behind on the angle from 25 yards out in the closing minutes . Jade Kelly coming on late in the game for King’s Lynn sending a shot wide from the right of the D outside the box as Forshaw coming on with the ball left side rolls a diagonal pass into her. Kim Fairweather and Corbyn back on to see out the final minutes ensure King’s Lynn keep a clean sheet replace Rawlings and Smith. 

Full time King’s Lynn Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies

  King’s Lynn keep a clean sheet and secure the 3 points with a 2-0 victory. Playing a pressing game right from the off, kept Histon on the back foot for much of the game. Rarely letting the ball settle a good test of fitness. A deserved lead at half-time albeit only by a single goal would need another started the 2nd half strongly giving Histon no chance to gain momentum eventually scoring a 2nd. Had more chances so you could argue should have won by a higher score line. Histon can’t argue with the result found it hard to get a foothold in the match the ball coming back all too often keeping their defence busy still at 1 nil at half-time they were never really out of it the 2nd goal coming with 15 minutes to play had they found that all important goal the game might have been turned on it’s head.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few contenders as always to mention. Brie Baker was kept busy in the Histon defence but did her best to rally her side and covered the ground to make some vital tackles. For King’s Lynn it was a solid team performance from back to front pressing high making life easier for the defence. Diva Rawlings putting herself about in midfield with some good runs and tackling. Oksana Imanalijeva made an immediate impact injecting pace on the left. Rachael Skinner was superb pushing the eventually winner all the way until she scored the 2nd goal, therefore today’s award goes to Tiffany Forshaw. Hard for any single player to mark as she moves well across the final third always ready to make a run into the box setting up several attacks too.

 An enjoyable trip to King’s Lynn this afternoon getting back into it after a much needed week off. Still feel this is a league where anyone can take points off anyone else on their day… will that be the case will be interesting to see. My thanks as usual for the clubs for the team details much appreciated.

Match Report – Netherton United Ladies v Leigh Ramblers Ladies

Sunday 4th October

Women’s FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying

Back on the FA Cup trail this Sunday with a game from 1st Round Qualifying. Cambridgeshire Premiership side Netherton United Ladies reaching this stage of the competition for the first time hoping to cause an upset hosting ERWFL side Leigh Ramblers Ladies.

  The Women’s FA Cup now sponsored by Vitality, and whilst Everton Women will face Manchester City Women in the final of last season’s competition at Wembley on the 1st November. This season’s competition is now into it’s 3rd round of games, 84 sides reaching 1st Round Qualifying. 42 ties to be played with Storm Alex blowing in bringing with it alot of rain, promising a wet afternoon everywhere, several games falling by the wayside.

  Netherton United Ladies play on 3G however so there would need to be a heck of a lot of water to see it called off. Has been quite a while since I last visited The Grange to see Netherton play, alot of changes since then. Lee Martin now in charge of the women’s side. A long established side competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership and aiming to challenge for the top positions. Made history in the Preliminary Round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup winning convincingly away to Northamptonshire side Desborough Ladies 10-0. Drawn at home to higher league opposition in 1st Round Qualifying know it will be a tough challenge, recieving video messages of support from Jimmy Bullard and Paul Merson to give the squad added motivation before the game.

  A long journey in the rain from Essex for Leigh Ramblers Ladies. Have made some good memories in the Women’s FA Cup themselves in recent season’s as a county league side knocking out higher league opposition. Successive promotions those results no doubt going a long way in seeing them promoted to the ERWFL themselves. A solid debut season at that level before Covid brought thing’s to an end. Began this season with a 2-1 away win against Chelmsford City Ladies in the Preliminary Round, Rhiana Castle and Chloe Gilligan with the goals. 

  Peterborough a hot bed for women’s footballing talent boasting a number of sides competing at various levels. The venue today The Grange, situated behind a new build estate the facility boasts a number of grass pitches alongside the main 3G pitch, a small stand offering some cover for spectators. A food truck on hand serving hot food and drinks. Various measures in place to make the facility Covid secure. The weather crap, dull and overcast rain forecast and to fall heavily during the match. Multi-tasking skills to the fore today, a notepad and camera to juggle aswell as an umbrella, thankfully little wind about so the umbrella can be stuffed down the jacket

Netherton United Ladies starting XI – Ali Beel, Lucy Johnson, Dita Upesjure, Carmen Giles (C), Klinta Kulite, Megan Strickland, Lauren Laws, Jenna Nairn, Yasmin Green, Emily Johnson & Katie Barber. Subs – Amy Stanyon, Chloe Earth, Sasha Haw, Ellie Gaston, Amber Parkinson, Natalie Gibbs, Tayla Harris & Clare Noades.

Leigh Ramblers Ladies starting XI – Emily Mackler, Rhiana Castle, Jess McGarva, Paige White, Jordan Castle, Rebecca Dalgarno, Georgia Holdaway (C), Rhianne Cunningham, Ria Toovey, Amber Denton & Elisha Turner-Powell. Subs – Chloe Gilligan, Connie Mashford, Molly Giles & Lucy Dalgarno.

  The rain has been steady but the worst is on it’s way. Leigh to have the kick-off in the first half wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. Netherton lined up opposite wearing red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and red socks. Played back to Rebecca Dalgarno she passes it into captain Georgia Holdaway who spreads play out to the left wing with Ria Toovey after the ball, Lucy Johnson back on her in defence the full back conceding an early corner. Put in towards the top of the area Netherton clear and look to break with Emily Johnson racing on with the ball left channel the ball knocked on as she tries to get in behind, Leigh can see it out for a goal kick. 

   Netherton captain Carmen Giles gets across from centre back to tackle Toovey as she attempts to get in behind the full back on the right. Leigh making a bright start winning another corner on the right. A good delivery in from Dalgarno inswinging towards the far post, goalkeeper Ali Beel stretching getting a glove on the ball to punch it away to the left side the visitors winning a 3rd corner in as many minutes. Netherton not settled.

 GOAL! Leigh score from the corner, take it short up the line, the cross then played in along the top of the area runs through to Rhianne Cunningham right of the D 20 yards out striking the ball 1st time lifting her shot up and over the keeper to find the back of the net 0-1.

Rhianne Cunningham opens the scoring for Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  An early blow for Netherton get on the offensive as Emily Johnson on the left has support through the middle with Megan Strickland. Johnson controlling the ball well passing it inside for Strickland to head on into the gap opening on the left Emily Johnson racing into it gathering the ball puts a diagonal ball into the box looking for Yasmin Green coming in far side the ball though ahead of her goalkeeper Emily Mackler not troubled.

  Amber Denton getting hold of the ball travelling down the right for Leigh putting it inside for Toovey 25 yards out goes to strike the ball, Klinta Kulite close into her blocking the ball. Leigh on top in the early exchanges moving the ball through the middle well finding Denton out on the right Toovey along side fellow attack Elisha Turner-Powell making some threatening runs through the middle. Dalgarno attempts to thread a pass through the middle both attackers on the move a vital interception from Kulite. Giles is down in need of treatment after a coming together on the left. Walks off gingerly, the referee allowing her back on as play resumes.

Leigh Ramblers, Jess McGarva defending against Netherton’s Emily Johnson

  Denton with a strong run gets clear on the right into the corner pivots to put a cross in along the face of goal misses Toovey attacking near post, Turner-Powell right behind her connecting lifts her attempt over the bar. Holdaway allowed time on the ball left side sets her sights and takes on the strike from all of 30 yards out, dipping late drops over. Emily Johnson looking to carry the threat in attack of Netherton in the early exchanges wins her side a corner. The ball played in from the right comes through to Emily Johnson far side bringing it back up to the top of the area plays it across, Rhiana Castle getting there to clear before Lauren Laws can arrive from midfield.

Rhiana Castle clearing for Leigh Ramblers

   Giles can’t shake off her knock has to come off handing the armband to Strickland on comes Amber Parkinson at the back. Holdaway scoops a ball over the top for Turner-Powell to chase, a god starting position from goalkeeper Beel allows her to get out to it first and launch clear. Jenna Nairn playing the ball up to Green in attack on the right wins the hosts a corner kick. A good inswinging delivery from the right under the bar, Mackler though is able to claim it high in her gloves without challenge. Leigh a quickly in the attack up the other end as Holdaway releases Turner-Powell into the left channel, challenged by Lucy Johnson the ball spinning behind for a corner. 

  The game is opening up both sides looking to get it on through the middle, Nairn puts Katie Barber in at goal, Jess McGarva on her shoulder, Barber gets the ball out diagonally to the let with Emily Johnson bombing forwards plays it early into the box, Mackler advancing scooping the ball up into her gloves. 

 GOAL! Denton is finding room out on the right the ball played into her takes it further into the corner stretching play drawing players with her as Toovey and Turner-Powell break centrally into the area. Denton’s cross on the money dipping as it arrives into the six yard box straight to Turner-Powell seeing it into her feet turns to guide the ball over the line from close range. 0-2.

  Leigh doubling there lead with a little over 15 minutes played. The visitors making a strong start. Jordan Castle breaking up a Netherton attack at the back gets Leigh going forwards the ball into Dalgarno central she has Cunningham to her left sends it through for Turner-Powell breaking in behind left side, Beel out quickly to the top of her area claiming the ball. Emily Johnson pace on the wing left side gets in behind taking the ball on to the by-line looking to get into the box evades a tackle reaching the top of the six yard box angling to shoot across the keeper, Mackler down sharply to make the save pushing the ball wide, Cunningham and Green coming together far side as the midfielder attempts to clear the ball. Put out as Cunningham recieves treatment back on her feet the corner has been awarded. Sportsmanship from Netherton however as they acknowledge the ball was played out given back to the visiting goalkeeper.

   Nairn brings the ball on from the middle for Netherton left side has Emily Johnson ahead of her as Strickland hugs the line, Johnson spotting her sends the ball out to her as she races forwards to get into the box, Strickland attempts to return the ball read by Jordan Castle who slides in on Johnson to regain possession for Leigh. The rain has eased enough to abandon the umbrella (for now). A free-kick for the hosts on halfway played up for Green right side she crosses early. Mackler holding it cleanly into her midriff at the near post with Emily Johnson running in. Nairn with an ambitious attempt from all of 35 yards out central, clipping the ball up lands on the roof of the net. 

  Denton continues to make good runs into the right has Cunningham making a run across her to get into the right corner picking her out her cross into the area is held well by Beel at her near post. Netherton gaining some momentum as they look to get a foot hold back in the game Emily Johnson recieving the ball inside the area from the advancing Nairn, back to goal lays it back to the midfielder struck on the run from 20 yards her effort straight at the keeper.

 GOAL! Leigh deliver a sucker punch as Netherton go forwards they are hit on the counter the visitors moving the ball quickly lifted over the top as Toovey breaks in behind towards the box, Beel starting to come Toovey connects early striking the bouncing ball to lob her and score. 0-3.

  Chloe Earth is on for Netherton as Nairn puts it on through the middle for Barber strength tries to bulldoze her way through into the area before being stopped by Jordan Castle tackling her inside the D.

 GOAL! Just as Leigh race into a 3 goal lead Netherton hit back with an immediate reply as Emily Johnson is played in on the right side as the hosts spread play across the middle, Johnson taking the ball in into the area head down angling in towards goal has one intent as she smashes it hard over the keeper to pull a goal back 1-3.

  Half an hour played and the game has been all action, Leigh with a strong start capitalising scoring 3 goals Netherton pulling one back.

 GOAL! One becomes two Johnson causing havoc in the Leigh defence the ball played through the middle splitting the two centre backs, the keeper coming Johnson closing her down, takes the ball away from her wide of goal to the right the defence can’t get back as she strokes the ball into an empty net 2-3.

Emily Johnson pulls it back to 2-3 for Netherton

Leigh push forwards winning a corner on the right the delivery dangerous swung in towards the far post Turner-Powell can’t get a telling touch as the defence scramble clear. Nairn getting hold of the ball in the middle for Netherton now setting up an attack coming on through the middle out to Green to her right she switches it to the left for Strickland coming on attempts to play her return ball across the box for Green to run onto, puts it too far ahead of her allowing White to clear. Netherton make another change with Sasha Haw coming on for Barber up top. 

  Leigh find Denton moving clear on the right whips a dangerous ball into the box, players rushing back as Turner-Powell sees it into her feet on the penalty spot, turns into the strike sending it towards the far post, Beel hasn’t much time to react does superbly diving to her right to get her glove to the ball saving well sending the ball away to the left. A race between Turner-Powell and Parkinson through the middle the defender tackling to win the ball outside the box. Good link up play between Emily Johnson and Strickland on the left side attempting the one two outside the area Jordan Castle though has read it for Leigh and gets in between both in intercept the pass.

  GOAL! 3 minutes of normal time left in the first half and Netherton turn things around, fighting back from 3 goals down to level the scores. Emily Johnson playing a big part in all the goals scoring twice turns provider this time setting up Green inside the box to score as the hosts race up the left wing carving open the Leigh defence Johnson’s early cross dissecting the centrebacks as Green central steals into the box to gather the ball into her feet and shoot low wide of the advancing keeper, Mackler terribly unlucky getting a glove on the ball not enough as it escapes to run on behind over the line 3-3.

  One last attack in the half for Leigh the Essex side building with purpose through the middle Cunningham inside to Dalgarno on for Turner-Powell up top spinning lays it in behind for Toovey, Beel quickly out off her line to gather the ball.

Half-time Netherton United Ladies 3-3 Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  An exciting first half of cup football. Leigh starting well on top getting into a 3 goal lead looking strong, Netherton on the back foot and for a little while you’d be concerned they might be overwhelmed but showed good character to get back into the game quickly pegging it back to 2-3 finished the 1st half strong to level the scores. Terrible conditions to play in both sides have coped well showing attacking intent the game open, you feel there are more goals in it yet. Both sides stay out on the pitch during the half-time interval

 Netherton making a 4th change at the start of the 2nd half a change of goalkeepers with Beel off replaced by Amy Stanyon. Netherton to get the 2nd half underway if the scores are level at 90 minutes the tie goes straight to penalties. Leigh comfortable in defence as Netherton put it forwards mount an attack up the right Denton winning a corner. Molly Giles on for McGarva for Leigh. 

GOAL! The perfect start to the 2nd half as Leigh restore their lead. Scoring straight from the corner. Dalgarno’s deliveries have looked menacing all through the first half her inswinging ball whipped in with pace going straight in as the rain starts to fall more heavily 3-4.

Rebecca Dalgarno scores straight from a corner to restore Leigh Ramblers lead

  Has been a good contest in the middle of the park between Dalgarno and Holdaway and Laws and Nairn, the ball exchanging heads outside the Leigh area Nairn directs one down for Emily Johnson to skip onto inside the D, her snap shot looping in low parried away by the diving Mackler. Turner-Powell taking the ball on 25 yards out evading a sliding challenge from Noades shoots the ball put straight at Stanyon. 

Netherton United Ladies, Amy Stanyon

  Green clear out on the right side as the crossfield pass finds her can see it run across her body before hitting it angling in, Mackler moving across her goal looks to be threatening the top corner however she can see it safely over… just. 

GOAL! Again Netherton come back to level the scores, Lucy Johnson with the ball on the right allowed to bring it on before knocking it forwards for Green stealing in behind right of goal the angle closing hits it hard smashing the ball past the keeper to make it 4-4.

Yasmin Green with her 2nd of the game for Netherton makes it 4-4.

 Getting a little niggly out there Leigh certainly frustrated having held a 3 goal lead and getting pegged back. The rain falling heavily now making playing conditions all the harder. Nairn nipping in to regain possession central rolling her pass out to Green right side hits it early sending her attempt wide across the six yard box. The game could go either way Leigh make another change bringing Lucy Dalgarno on for White. Emily Johnson and Greens movement stretching the Leigh defence. Turner-Powell always ready to make the run at the other end. Giles stepping in to tackle Haw as she turns inside the D with the ball rolled into her feet.

Netherton United Ladies, Jenna Nairn

   Turner-Powell central holding the ball up well 30 yards out spins putting in on for Toovey into the right channel Parkinson sliding in forcing her wide top of the area her angled shot back in held by Stanyon at her near post. It’s a good contest despite the weather both sides up for it. Kulite in to block Rebecca Dalgarno as she meets a cross from Rhiana Castle on the left 25 yards out. A double change for the visitors with both Connie Mashford and Chloe Gilligan coming on Toovey and Cunningham coming off.

  Defending one end a hopeful ball forwards see Haw in the clear for Netherton 25 yards out blasts her shot over the crossbar. Holdaway makes a move up the left is picked out by Gilligan holds it up as Gilligan gets up to support her rolled into her feet she crosses into the corridor an inviting ball Turner-Powell is caught static doesn’t move. 

GOAL! midway through the 2nd half and the hosts take the lead for the first time in the tie, pile players forwards in the pouring rain, into the box as the ball out on the by-line right side is flashed into the six yard box players attacking it in front of the goalkeeper, Mackler grounded a shot put in cleared on the line by Lucy Dalgarno pops loose straight back to Haw to smash over the line 5-4!

Sasha Haw fires Netherton into the lead for the first time in the game

  Netherton are full of energy now Nairn laying the ball out to the right Green away down the wing whipping a cross in near post Haw nipping in in front of the keeper lifts her touch over the bar. Mashford lays the ball forwards for a moment Turner-Powell in clear a yard in behind Kulite with the legs to get back on her to tackle and take it away from her before she can get into the area. Lucy Johnson intercepting as Turner-Powell comes into the left channel looking to get onto a Holdaway pass.

Netherton’s Lucy Johnson with Leigh Ramblers Rhiana Castle

  Holdaway herself bursting through the middle into the box as a cross comes in from the right lobs the keeper only to see her attempt land on the roof of the net, however the flag is up against her. Netherton are looking the better side now, pulling Leigh out of shape as the visitors clearly frustrated look to find a response of their own. Are more than capable the rain falling heavily impacting both sides horrible out there. Denton moving clear right side up the line lifts a dipping cross in near post, Turner-Powell lunging for it can’t direct it across the face of goal out for a goal kick.

Leigh Ramblers, Lucy Dalgarno

 Rhiana Castle looking to get forwards more on the left with Lucy Dalgarno behind her. Has the ball at her feet charging into the box, Lucy Johnson sliding into the tackle Castle rides it, had she gone down the referee would have had to make a decision as it is Castle wins a corner. The delivery put in central headed over for another corner, Netherton clearing their lines this time. I’m sure the pictures tell you how tough it is playing out there, hardly what both sides need, Leigh pushing hard risking it at the back, Rhiana Castle and Holdaway looking to join the attack. 

  Mashford central plays it to Lucy Dalgarno advancing up the left her ball played infield finding Rebecca Dalgarno top of the D striking the ball her shot races wide of the post. Haw races onto a pass from Emily Johnson centrally 25 yards out, Lucy Dalgarno getting up with her sticking a leg out to knock the ball on for her keeper to clear. Rebecca Dalgarno coming forwards into the right channel swings a ball into the area, a yard ahead of Turner-Powell. Leigh regain possession quickly Mashford out to Rebecca Dalgarno has space to move into left her diagonal through ball picking out the run of Turner-Powell free to shoot lacks power straight at the keeper from inside the box.

Leigh Ramblers captain, Georgia Holdaway

  The game moving into the closing minutes Netherton bring on Ellie Gaston for Earth as they look to see out the game. Are inviting Leigh on somewhat, the final ball just not happening for the visitors as they try to square things up. The ball missed by the Netherton defence centrally Turner-Powell after it, Kulite gets back in just the nick of time to lung in take it away from the strikers feet. Frustrations boil over as Rhiana Castle and Lucy Johnson get involved in a shoving match after going for a 50/50 ball Johnson ushered away quickly by her teammates both she and Castle receive the first cards of the game.

  Into stoppage time a Leigh attack breaking down Netherton come on with the ball but are reluctant to commit to an attack slow things down the clock ticking down. Leigh get the ball back out with Rhiana Castle right inside for Holdaway through for Turner-Powell, Stanyon out to the top of her area to launch clear as the final whistle blows and the Netherton team rush towards the centre circle to celebrate a memorable victory.

Netherton United Ladies celebrate at the final whistle

Full time Netherton United Ladies 5-4 Leigh Ramblers Ladies

  What a game a nine goal thriller, Netherton United Ladies coming back from 3 goals down to win the tie 5-4 to advance to 2nd Round Qualifying of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. An exciting tie to watch (there are advantages to being neutral). Entertaining despite the awful weather, what an advert for the cup there is something magical about it. Leigh Ramblers will leave the ground highly frustrated at 3-0 up they were cruising and looked in control threatening to pull Netherton apart. The hosts showing great character getting 2 goals back quickly before turning it around to level at 3-3 at half-time. Leigh responding brilliantly to score straight away 2nd half but again Netherton came back to level and from that point with their tails up looked strong threatening the Leigh defence and going on to take the lead for the first time in the match, 5-4 the winning score in the finish as the heavens opened playing conditions hard Leigh pushed them all the way just wasn’t to be.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as per usual several contenders from both sides, starting with Leigh Ramblers, Elisha Turner-Powell never stopped running in attack carving out several opportunities for herself and her teammates. Rebecca Dalgarno too in midfield with some good running and a threat with her delivery on corners. For Netherton Jenna Nairn was influential in midfield getting hold of the ball to set up attacks playing the ball forwards. Yasmin Green a threat on the right scoring two goals. The award though goes to Emily Johnson. No doubt her goals to bring it back to 2-3 were the turning point in the tie a threat taking on the Leigh defence on the left was strong on the ball throughout.

  Despite the awful weather I thoroughly enjoyed the game a highly entertaining contest between two attacking sides. Good to visit The Grange again and will have to do so again when the sun is shining I did fancy something from that food truck bar a cup of tea. My thanks as always to both sides for those all important teams details good to catch up with both sides. Netherton will be eagerly awaiting the draw for the next round.

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Tuesday 29th September

FAWNL South East Division One

 First spot of midweek action on Women’s Football East this Tuesday evening and a derby match to boot, the first Cambridge derby of the season as Cambridge City Ladies host rivals Cambridge United WFC in FAWNL South East Division One.

  The games coming thick and fast with both sides in action on Sunday playing again 48 hours later. Have enjoyed a keen and some times contentious rivalry, the past seeing what is Cambridge United WFC now break away from Cambridge City to become an established force the 4th tier of the women’s football pyramid. City getting their women’s side un and running enjoying a rapid rise through the pyramid to achieve promotion to the FAWNL themselves the season before last that one of course curtailed by the COVID outbreak, retain their place for the 20/21 campaign.

   A tough start to the new season for Cambridge City Ladies, beaten 4-0 at home on the opening day by Essex side Billericay Town Ladies. Were looking to make amends away to Norwich City Women this weekend had their chances coming back from 1-0 at half-time to level the scores before the hosts went on to win the game 3-1. Nothing in the board from their opening two games a derby match under the lights a good opportunity to get their season going.  With goalkeeper Dominika Szary leaving the club have recruited Sarah Hudson from Peterborough Northern Star Ladies. Another new signing also from Peterborough North Star is midfielder, Bronwyn Mulheron.

Cambridge United WFC got the new season off to a fantastic start with a 4-1 win at home to Norwich City Women. A trip down to Essex this Sunday to face Hashtag United Women (previously AFC Basildon Women) Like City they had their chances trailing 2-1 at half-time eventually losing 3-1. Have brought in a few new faces to add depth to the squad, attacker Samaira Khan scoring in both opening games, winger Laura Mitchell and centre back Grace Waygood amongst them. A good test of fitness for both sides with a game coming so soon after the weekend.

Ely City FC the venue for tonight derby match, now situated behind a large cinema, restaurant and bar complex on the outskirts of Ely off the A10. Now home for Cambridge City Ladies was once the home for Cambridge United WFC too. A wide grass pitch, an elevated seated stand above the changing rooms the clubhouse and kitchen along side. Hot drinks available. COVID regulations well observed. A pretty miserable day with rain in the morning, softening up the playing surface, a dry overcast evening with a touch of fog around. 

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Bronwyn Mulheron, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Sarah Mosley & Karly Tolentino.  Subs – Shannon Shaw, Amie Fullwood, Grace Stanley, Libby O’Callaghan & Ellie Cullum.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Charlotte Crisp, Carrie Bennett, Grace Waygood, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Gisela Otten, Albany Hodgson, Emma Jenkins, Amy Howlett, Laura Mitchell & Samaira Khan. Subs – Lauren Webb, Tori Lawless, Jemma Moore, Abi Davies & Ella Mercer.

  As with these derbies they’ll be City and United from now on. A late change for United seeing Tori Lawless picking up an injury in the warm up. Albany Hodgson starting alongside Gisela Otten in midfield. It’s City to get the 1st half underway, wearing their home colours, white shirts and black shorts with black and white hooped socks. United opposite wearing amber coloured shirt, black shorts and socks.  The ball put back towards the defence is lifted out long to the right with Charlotte Gillies making a run on the wing, Otten quickly across to tackle and send the ball out for a throw. 

 United’s first attack sees Laura Mitchell fouled wide right an early opportunity for the visitors to get players up into the box the delivery sent in headed away by City defender, Ceri Flye. Up on the left wing Freya Standing looks to get the ball and take on the United defence, captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt across to support Charlotte Crisp the ball regained, United push forwards the ball up on their right win a corner kick.

  GOAL! From the corner United catch City napping with a short delivery up the line the ball put back to the corner taker fired into the box on the angle at the near post is turned home by Otten at close range to open the scoring 0-1.

Cambridge United WFC’s Gisela Otten with the opening goal

  Very much a derby match the pace furious the no time dwelling on the ball both sides looking to get it forwards rapidly, Emma Jenkins with a run on the left side for United, drops her shoulder to come inside, Amy Reed getting her toe on the ball to take it away from her. Sent long up the right wing for Gillies City win a corner deep inside United territory this bringing their 1st corner of the match. The delivery in the area knocked down is pushed out back to the taker, played back in towards the top of the area Karly Tolentino latching onto it, jinks into the area right of the D putting her effort wide at the near post. 

   Jenkins succeeds in getting inside this time advancing up the left 20 yards out lines up a strike the ball put straight at Sarah Hudson back on her line. Amy Howlett is clipped as she comes to the right to receive the ball for United winning a free-kick 25 yards out. Crisp placing the ball down floated her delivery into the box near side attacked a glancing header deflecting it wide of goal a goal kick signalled. Good battles taking shape all over the park, Gillies and Standing on the flanks for City looking lively getting forwards rapidly when their defence regains possession. Jenkins and Mitchell likewise left and right for United, the full backs for both sides are going to have to stay alert. 

  Standing getting away on the left sees United exposed at the back space to run into fires a cross into the area Tolentino heading in down, Carrie Bennett around on the cover half clearing before the visitors are forced to concede a corner. The initial delivery cleared from the corner, City regain possession 30 yards out a powerful strike driven back in Amy Butler covering her near post with a comfortable save taking it high. Sofia Castiglione latching onto a loose pass from United inside their half right side rolls it forwards for Tolentino peeling off the shoulder of her defender in behind squaring the ball across the top of the area Standing arriving left side clipping her first time strike up over the bar. 

 Samaira Khan leading the line for United, is being closely marked by the City centre backs, coming out to the left managing to win a throw the ball touched on is crossed into the box, Howlett inside right of the D letting it come across her to strike a rising shot, not enough to evade Hudson who has come across the Howlett to put herself behind strike and claim comfortably. Standing and Gillies continue to cause problems for United, the latter coming inside as the ball is played up to Tolentino the pair playing a one too to put Gillies into space on the right flashes in a cross the ball swerving through the air seen safely wide at the far post. Can’t take your eyes off the action for a second and there aren’t too many seconds where there isn’t any action. 

  Khan winning a throw deep on  the left, drops it down to Jenkins who squares her pass inside for Otten getting forwards all of 30 yards out isn’t closed down takes on an ambitious effort her shot high, dipping significantly late on Hudson watching it though can see it drop over her crossbar. Very competitive with a few niggly fouls being conceded, very much a derby match the crowd playing there part too. Castiglione is getting hold of the ball winning it for City giving the hosts impetuous in their attacking play out for Gillies racing in to the corner on the right sending a cross in from the by line Tolentino getting across the defence spinning into a shot sends her attempt over the top. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Karly Tolentino

  Sarah Mosley blasting a shot wide from the best part of 25 yards out left side as the ball rebounds back to her with City marauding down the flank. Mitchell gets on down the right winning a corner for United, swung in near post City defending the ball comes straight to Jenkins outside the box, doesn’t need an invite to shot does and powers the ball wide of the mark. Burt up the other end clearing the ball from inside the area as Mosley threading a ball on for Gillies right sees a corner conceded. A proper derby 50/50 between Mosley and Otten on halfway, Otten getting it forwards for Khan, closely marked by Flye can’t get in behind.

   Leading the attack for City Tolentino is prepared to drop deep to receive with Gillies and Standing ready to race on behind to get onto the ball, Tolentino heads the ball on for Gillies right side her cross taken early racing across the top of the area looking to pick out Standing far side, Crisp getting in front of her to cut it out for United. Lauren Tomlinson winning the ball at left back as United come forwards brings it on flashing a cross inside for Standing 20 yards out left of the D, striking it goalwards Butler down low to collect it .Howlett nipping in to win the ball centrally for United looks to make ground, Bronwyn Mulheron going with her catching her to lung in take the ball away from her, Howlett still interested after the loose ball until Tomlinson racing inside from left back launches it upfield. 

 Castiglione lines up a well hit strike from 30 yards out, would have run wide of her left post Butler though diving has it safely in her gloves wastes no time in releasing it as United look to try and reassert themselves on the game. Albany Hodgson wins the ball centrally for United lays it on for Khan in attack, hasn’t had too much support around her with City keeping their opponents full backs occupied looks to go it alone driving at the City defence shifting to her right to open up space for a shot on target Hudson though right behind it. 

  GOAL! City mount a rapid attack down their left Tomlinson getting it back from Standing racing on with the ball down the line cutting inside smashes in a pacy ball to the near post Butler down smartly to glove the ball away, running out to the top of the area Standing after it is shoved to the ground the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Castiglione placing the ball on the spot, a coolly taken penalty sending the keeper the wrong way lifted to into the back of the net 1-1. City equalising with 10 minutes left in the first half.

Sofia Castiglione equalises from the penalty spot for Cambridge City Ladies

   City tails up now having pulled the scores level, Castiglione almost putting Gillie in behind on the right, Bennett reading the pass however sliding in to make a vital interception. Simmering a little bit, fouls given away arms raised in frustration passes going astray. United want to get the ball into Khan so she can turn and take on the City defence, Castiglione and Mulheron first to the ball. 

  GOAL! Just as City look to have the momentum United get forwards with a well played attack to restore their lead. Won by Hodgson central her pass lifted up to Khan to knock down to Jenkins running on to the left plays a good weighted cross into the area, Mitchell getting in from the right flank composed under challenge to strike her rising shot wide of the keeper to score 1-2.

Laura Mitchell, with Lauren Tomlinson restores United’s lead

  Otten coming across to the right sides stops Reed in her tracks as the full back wriggles free with the ball looks to advance down the wing. Castiglione putting her head on a ball put forwards by United knocks it down and carries it right into space before whipping a cross into the area, Burt clearing for United the final action of the first half.   

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Cambridge United WFC

  An action packed first half, certainly has a derby feel to it, played at a fast tempo, plenty of energy expended by both sides, may well begin to show 2nd half with both sides having been in action on Sunday too. The perfect start for United taking the lead inside the opening 3 minutes from a corner. Took City a little while to get into their stride but have looked a constant threat attacking down the flanks forcing the pace, first to the ball. Equalising from the penalty spot. United showing great character in response restoring the lead minutes later to go in with a 2-1 lead at the break. Suspect City with come out of the blocks with all guns blazing at the start of the 2n half, United if they can can will be looking to nullify that threat with an early goal of their own.

  No changes at the break with United getting the 2nd half underway. Play the ball right as Mitchell runs on her first touch giving Tomlinson the advantage putting her foot in to clear the ball. Castiglione up for Tolentino in attack Gillies up with her, Burt in between the pair getting hold of the ball for United. Gillies full of running on the right for City, Waygood out to meet her this time clearing for a throw in. From the throw City launch a cross into the box, Burt heading it away for United. The visitors look to break the ball up to Khan is fouled 30 yards out from goal right side. Mitchell clipping the ball in towards the far post the ball attacked City scramble it away as Jenkins almost gets there. City hit United on the break, but the visitor get bodies back to slow the ball down

 Remains end to end, United struggling to get it to stick up top, not getting players in and around Khan, Fay on her tackling as she attempts to turn in behind her. Hodgson coming back to get the ball back as Standing aims to get onto a crossfield pass. Butler called into action saving low at her near post as Gillies drives in a shot on the angle from the right. City with the first change of the match Mosley the player off on comes Ellie Cullum. Otten picking the ball up from her defence plays it long towards the top of the area Mulheron lunging to intercept deflecting it to Tomlinson to get City moving on the left. Getting tense between the sides United certainly finding it frustrating the ball not running there way at the moment. Standing getting in behind left side for City puts the ball square in towards the near post Gillies racing into the area not picked up sending it wide.

  GOAL! City have looked the most likely to score there 2nd on 58 minutes attacking the ball right side clipped up to Gillies brings it down into her path driving towards the box drops her shoulder shaping to come inside, drags it away to her right into the area to create the space before smashing a venomous shot past the keeper into the back of the goal 2-2. 

City celebrate as Charlotte Gillies (no 7) equalises to make it 2-2

  City are doing well haven’t dropped the tempo at all the goal giving them renewed energy, Standing coming inside central as Tolentino knocks the ball into her run, her snap shot 20 yards out dipping safely held by Butler. The hosts first to the ball, United getting ragged with their passing, Howlett picking it up in the middle turns well evading a sliding challenge has Khan ahead of her looking to peel of Fay, the pass doesn’t pick her out as Fay intercepts. 

Gillies providing the outlet constantly on the right a looping diagonal ball from Mulheron picking her out takes it on before sending in a 20 yards strike on the angle, Butler down saving at her near post. Mitchell out wide right on for Khan looking to peel in behind Fay again the ball evading her this time Flye is across quickly in support to clear before Khan can strike the ball. 

 United make their first change Hodgson coming off with Abi Davies coming on. Mitchell getting on well right side closer to Khan now putting the ball up into the area the attacker backing up inside the box to break the ball down, slips as she attempts to turn inside with it. Khan fouls Tomlinson as she looks o send the ball upfield. The free-kick from distance evading everyone gathered inside the D, bouncing in as held by Butler beyond. Burt running across the top of her area puts on the blocking tackle on Gillies as she looks to hit it first time as the ball is rolled into her rom Cullum. A few tempers fraying getting a little heated between the sides United looking to be tiring as City retain their furious pace getting first to the ball, Castiglione winning a good share in the middle of the park now with some good passes. Khan going into the book after fouling Flye, joining Mulheron who was booked first half for City. 

  Gillies running onto the long range free-kick taking it on before blasting it into the keeper at the near post from 25 yards. Gillies seems to be everywhere coming central onto the ball top of the circle opens up her body to strike the ball on target through bodies Butler must see it late does fantastically diving to her left pushing it wide behind for a corner. The set-piece defended well United digging deep rallying the ball cleared by Waygood the ball just won’t fall favourably as Howlett races on with Mitchell. Castiglione and Otten grappling for the ball in the middle of the park, Castiglione squeezing it on for Tolentino, 20 yards out shifts to her right sending in a shot Butler right behind it.

  Is a great watch tense City are pushing for a 3rd goal, United backs to the wall at times are rallying Mitchell pushed up to support Khan, Howlett and Jenkins are coming on too. Gillies across to the left Davies stays on her, Burt across to help tackling well the ball fizzed into Otten sprayed out to Jenkins making a run left side sends it on for Khan peeling off the defence the offside flag bringing the move to an end. The game stretched both sides now feeling it’s there for the taking, Cullum central attempting to pick out Gillies on the left, Davies staying with her cutting the pass out. 

 Khan is brought don attempting to get into the box from the right as Davies sends the ball on to her. Mitchell on the set-piece played along the top of the six yard box, cleared by the City defence. The break on City race on the ball central on for Gillies right channel has Reed in support on the overlap, strikes the ball sail over the bar. Otten is fouled inside the City half the free-kick taken quickly out to Jenkins away on the left her shot on the angle wide across the area taking a deflection for a corner kick.

  GOAL! The game entering the final 10 minutes has been an enthralling contest. United have ridden some strong pressure from City now with a corner on the right a chance to bring players forwards. The delivery whipped in chest height along the six yard box, congested deflected back to the top of the area Jenkins on it lays it back to the taker is frantic inside the box the ball coming out to Howlett 25 yards out right of the D, strikes the ball sending it looping high into the air, Hudson back peddling can’t get anything on it as it drops over her into the net beyond for United to take the lead for the 3rd time in the match 2-3.

Amy Howlett with Sarah Mosley makes it 3-2 to United

  Controversy as the goal is celebrated however as City have a player Tomlinson down inside the six yard box from the initial ball in City are furious claiming it was a head injury and play should have been stopped it wasn’t however and the goal stands. Tomlinson hurting her ankle in the finish receiving treatment. Frustration for City who had looked more likely to find a 3rd goal serves to display the emotion a derby can bring out in a side. City respond with a 2nd change bringing Grace Stanley on for Tomlinson. 

  GOAL! City pile players forwards as they get straight back in search for a reply with the clock running down, Fay travelling forwards into the United half is a long way out left side when she strikes the ball, if it was intentional it was well disguised a one in a million strike launched up high into the air dropping out of the night sky Butler back on her line can’t keep it out as it drops under the bar inside the top corner to make it 3-3!

  Game on! Both sides going for it United break Jenkins left inside for Otten attempts to thread it through for Khan, Flye clearing for City. United come on right side a cross lifted into the box over Khan central, Mitchell behind her can’t bring the ball down. Into stoppage time. The fouls racking up as first Crisp then Otten are brought down the latter getting a free-kick left side the delivery floated into the box Khan heading down looking for a runner far post City attempt to break the ball sent on into the area safe with Butler as the final whistle blows and the points are shared.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 3-3 Cambridge United WFC

  Another fantastic derby game between United and City played at a furious pace, would have taken alot out of both sides, United’s fitness certainly tested by their opponents were on the back foot in the 2nd half as City came back to level the scores for a 2nd time. Looking good to take the lead themselves but United showed character to hold them and retake the lead for the 3rd time themselves. City coming straight back to level. The points shared, United will be frustrated having lost the lead 3 times, City themselves thinking maybe they should have nicked the win, certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game. Highly entertaining.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time to pick another Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few contenders once again. For United Amy Howlett was finding space without getting the rewards. For City, Ceri Flye made several important tackles at the back, Freya Standing a threat on the left coming on, and Sofia Castiglione in the middle got onto top in the midfield came very close but is just edged out by Charlotte Gillies pace and energy on the wing linking up with Tolentino up top and made some terrific runs amongst the goals too.

All of the pictures used in this report produced by Gary Reed, does tremendous work helping to picture and promote the women’s game and I thank him for allowing me to use his photo’s

 An enjoyable 1st derby of the season, certainly a great advert for women’s football in Cambridgeshire. Appreciate the help with the team details as always from both clubs (although I do know most of these players pretty well by now) I have seen them several times now and know it’ll always be intriguing.

Match Report – Thetford Town Ladies v Stalham Town Ladies

Sunday 27th September

Norfolk Women’s Division Two

The first taste of county league action this weekend on Women’s Football East and a relatively short journey this one to take in a game from Norfolk Women’s Division Two, Thetford Town Ladies v Stalham Town Ladies.

 19 sides competing across two divisions in Norfolk this season, 10 of those sides playing in Division Two. Today’s opponents will both fancy their chances of challenging for title this season. The COVID outbreak bringing the previous season to an abrupt end declared null & void there has nevertheless been some adjustment to the leagues.

  Thetford Town Ladies drop back down to Division Two this season after being bumped up to Division One last season due to a large increase in new sides entering the women’s league in 2019/20. Had finished 6th in the league in the previous season making their debut in women’s football and moving up to Division One represented a huge jump. Struggled to get points early on, but signs of improvement were being made points were being won prior to the season being ended. A steep learning curve the squad would have gained valuable experience. Dropping back down to Division Two, got off to a flying start  last Sunday in their opening game of the season winning 7-0 away to Red Rose Ladies with Emily Escreet scoring a brace, a goal a piece for Dayna Howard and Rebecca White with Laura Martins scoring an opening day hat-trick. Taking my first look at Thetford Town Ladies today one the closest sides to me less than half an hour away.

 Has been a good while too since I last saw Stalham Town Ladies in action, one of the sides joining the league in the 2019/20 season having spent a couple of seasons away several of their players going to play for Aylsham Ladies in that time. Maintained a presence playing in the popular 7-a-side league that also plays on a Sunday afternoon in Norfolk. Re-established last season returning to Division Two made a very strong start, out in front early on and a long unbeaten record. Amber Mayhew spearheading the attack scoring plenty of goals. That season ending early Stalham Town Ladies will be amongst the favourites this time around and will be looking for another strong start to the season today’s away game against Thetford their first competitive match of the season.

The venue for today’s match Thetford Town FC on the Mundford Road leading into Thetford. Has been a while too since I’ve been here, Brandon Town Ladies having used it for the odd midweek game under the lights. A small stadium fenced off from the larger recreation ground beyond. With a clubhouse beside the main stand offering some cover for spectators. The grass pitch sloping somewhat from one side to the other. COVID regulations in place as at all grounds now. A cup of tea much welcomed the weather a distinct contrast from last Sunday, heavy rain falling for much of Friday and Saturday it remained dull and overcast a chilly breeze blowing across the pitch.

Thetford Town Ladies starting XI – Lydia Ward, Katherine Davies, Emily Bullett, Katie Hardie, Sausha Levy-Twoney (C) Emily Escreet, Mel Boulton, Shannon Richardson, Laura Martins, Erica Camacho-Besa & Becky White. Subs – Coral Ring, Dayna Howard & Kerri Griffiths

Stalham Town Ladies starting XI – Danielle Barnes, Lalaine Davey, Charlotte Darvill, Emma McMillan, Charlotte Crane, Andrea McCombe, Chloe Yarham, Emma Gillespie, Amber Mayhew (C), Sian Clarke & Sophie-Jayne O’Connor. Subs – Becky Houghton, Jade Copeman & Holly Ferguson.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   It’s Stalham to get the first half underway taking kick-off wearing red shirts with white trim, red shorts and red socks with white stripes. Thetford opposite wearing claret coloured kit with sky blue trim, blue numbers fading into claret on their backs too which were going to give the eyeballs a workout. The visitors playing the ball back to their defence right full back Chloe Yarham looks to play it long up the right with Andrea McCombe providing a run, coming to mark her Thetford’s Emily Bullett can see the ball safely out of play.

 Bringing the ball away to their right possession with Laura Martins into the Stalham half puts it on for Shannon Richardson to her right out on the wing goes forwards, Emma Gillespie getting across to close her down blocks as she attempts to fire a diagonal ball into the box. Attacking Thetford have come forwards as a team the defence on half way as Stalham attempt to play it through the middle, captain Sausha Levy-Twoney at the back with a vital interception to prevent Stalham’s captain Amber Mayhew getting clear in behind to run at goal. 

  Lalaine Davey finds space out on the left going forwards as Stalham get forwards quickly the past crossfield picking her out she gets control of the ball before twisting back inside to push towards the area, Martins coming in to close her down making the tackle sending the ball out for a throw in. The game has started at a fast pace, expected little else, Stalham attempting to put the ball on through the middle a couple of times the wind causing it to run on reach the keeper before anyone can capitalise. Thetford bringing the ball down the left Mel Boulton out to Becky White, plays it central looking for Erica Camacho-Besa, Charlotte Darvill steps in to tackle for Stalham top of the area.

Thetford’s Erica Camacho-Besa looking to fight her way into the Stalham box

  Bullett stays on Sian Clarke as the Stalham attacker aims to get in behind with the ball out on the right wing the full back lunging in to make the tackle prevent the cross. Lydia Ward has to come racing out of her area to clear the danger for Thetford as a ball over the top sees both Mayhew and Clarke race clear after it, the goalkeeper launching it upfield, Camacho-Besa up top has close support from Boulton the Thetford pair combining trying to plough there way through into the area, the ball cleared out to the right for a throw. A turn and shot coming in from the right corner of the area the ball racing wide across the six yard box. Stalham attacking the flanks are getting numbers forwards in support up the right across squared into the six yard box, Levy-Twoney defending sends it out for a corner kick.

  GOAL! 10 minutes into the match and Stalham open the scoring netting from the resulting corner. The ball played short up the line to Emma McMillan brings it in closer to the edge of the box before clipping in a ball with the outside of her boot, sends it over the keeper into the far corner of the net 0-1.

  Stalham have looked very dangerous on the break, Clarke getting in behind on the right flashes a cross in towards the near post, Ward down low with a very good take to claim it with a Stalham attacker racing it to meet it. Ward is again called into action to cover her near post saving low as Clarke running with the ball on the right drives an angled shot in. A change for Thetford Camacho-Besa coming off with Dayna Howard entering the game. Thetford gain momentum on the left as Boulton takes the ball out wide loops a ball in towards the D, a difficult one for Richardson to attempt to bring down and control with Darvill close in on her the defence clearing it back out to the left this time the cross in claimed by goalkeeper Danielle Barnes at the top of her six yard box.

Thetford’s Emily Escreet with Stalham’s Charlotte Darvill

  Richardson right side peels in behind her marker making a run as Katherine Davies has possession at right back for Thetford, sending the ball on isn’t enough with on the pass giving Barnes time to come off her line and lay claim to it. Martins is brought down Thetford awarded a free-kick by referee Paul Gibson 30 yards out in a central position. Before it’s taken Stalham make a change bringing on Holly Ferguson for Clarke. Emily Escreet smashes the free-kick straight into the Stalham wall the ball going out to the right for a throw in, collected by Martins turns 25 yards out corner of the area and takes on the strike a looping shot in collected high by the keeper.

Lauren Martins on the attack for Thetford Town Ladies

 Is an entertaining contest, no one dwelling on the ball played at a fast pace, Thetford getting players forwards better now, Stalham continue to look threatening whenever they regain possession. Martins is down feeling the effects of being tackled minutes before needs to come off, Kerri Griffiths comes on going up top in attack. Stalham’s Gillespie making a determined run through the right channel with the ball gets clear before unleashing a 20 yard strike that flies over the crossbar. The visitors build in attack a good diagonal ball from McCombe out to Davey in space wide left, getting it under control turns to attack the area, Thetford getting bodies back on her struggle to clear their six yard box, Katie Hardie eventually stabbing it away falls straight to Sophie-Jayne O’Connor left of the D stabs it back in and over the bar.

Emma Gillespie looking to get hold of the ball for Stalham Town Ladies

  A corner for Stalham on the right put in low by Mayhew into the crowded six yard box Ward down smartly saving at point blank range and again with her legs as the loose ball is hit hard against her, deflected out to the top of the area Stalham are first to it once again the shot hit back in towards goal, Ward quickly back t her feet right behind it catching it low into her body. Thetford get straight on the attack pushing players on well, Escreet with it right side up towards the area whips an inviting cross in, the flag goes up for offside straight away even as Boulton collects it in her stride through the defence and strokes it pass the keeper into the back of the net. It won’t count.

Thetford Town Ladies, Katherine Davies

 Chances for both sides a lively contest still, McCombe on for Gillespie racing into space in the right channel spins with the ball at her feet top of the area shooting on the angle her shot swinging wide out at the far post. Davies gets back to defend well against Mayhew and a viciously bouncing ball evades everyone on the wing. Gillespie left channel puts the ball square to O’Connor in attack through the middle for Stalham controls it well, Levy-Twoney getting a foot in to take the ball away from her before she can shoot, O’Connor retrieves it 20 yards out right corner of the box volleying over the crossbar.

Stalham Town Ladies, Lalaine Davey

  Boulton is looking to get hold of the ball for Thetford and drive on with it central, attempts to thread it through to Griffiths looking for a one two, Yarham tackling to prevent the return ball. Levy-Twoney with another vital interception at the back and Davey’s pass through the middle almost sends Mayhew in behind. Ward with a brave save coming out to close down O’Connor top of the area as she is fed the diagonal pass in from the right, the Thetford keeper down well to save a point blank range. Boulton taking control of the ball in the centre for Thetford brings it forwards travelling into space on the right side able to go on before looping a high ball back onto the area players attacking it near side, Charlotte Crane with a composed header safely guiding the ball back to her keeper. 

Thetford Town Ladies, Melissa Boulton

Half-time Thetford Town Ladies 0-1 Stalham Town Ladies

  An entertaining and fast paced first half sees Stalham Town Ladies hold a narrow 1-0 lead over Thetford Town Ladies. An early lead for the visitors who have looked a threat going forwards throughout. Pacey on the counter attack, took Thetford a little bit of time to get some momentum of their own having a goal ruled out for offside. Lydia Ward in goal making some vital saves to keep Stalham from extending their advantage.

  Thetford to get the 2nd period underway, loose possession on the right as Ferguson carries it on for Stalham angling a ball into the box, Ward able to claim it low. Stalham with a strong start to the 2nd half particularly Ferguson who is again able to run with the ball in behind in the right, Levy-Twoney doing well to get back on her take her to the by-line take the sting off her cross allowing Ward to claim it at her near post. Howard moving to her left out to stop Yarham winning the ball as the full back attempts to get forwards.

Stalham Town Ladies, Chloe Yarham

  Stalham come again the ball out to Mayhew wide clips a diagonal ball in towards the top of the area Ferguson with a central run, Hardie stepping up to clear the ball for Thetford up to Escreet attempts to play it long the wind taking it on for the keeper to clear.

  GOAL! The visitors capitalising on their good start to the 2nd half double their lead attacking with intent down the left the cross fired in low to the advancing Gillespie left of the D 20 yards out hits it first time her rising shot flying in Ward driving t her right the ball striking the crossbar rebounds down and unfortunately straight against the falling Ward to deflect into the goal 0-2.

Emma Gillespie’s shot bringing Stalham a 2nd goal early in the 2nd half

  Boulton is down needing treatment in the middle for Thetford but up on her feet able to continue. Moving out to the flanks more in the 2nd period looking to get on with the ball. Stalham win a corner on the right as O’Connor’s first time strike from outside the box takes a deflection. The six yard box congested as the ball comes in Ward calls determined to claim it an does. The hosts build through the middle the pass laid out to Richardson left side sends it on to Griffiths in attack back to goal she returns it to Richardson moving up the line she sends her strike bouncing wide through the six yard box. 

Thetford Town Ladies, Shannon Richardson

  Richardson with another opportunity for Thetford moments later as Boulton brings it on right side putting it into the middle, struck first time by Richardson looping up is claimed high by Barnes back on her line. Stalham waste no time getting up the other end the ball put on by Gillespie to Mayhew wins a corner. Mayhew to swing the delivery in to the six yard box Ward again up to claim it confidently. Martins having recovered from her knock in the first half returns to the field for Thetford in place of Griffiths in attack. Boulton with a chipped ball from the right looks to put her through on goal, Crane gets there first to clear for Stalham. 

Stalham Town Ladies, Charlotte Crane

  Thetford are looking sharper now having conceded a 2nd goal are coming on well Boulton causing issues out on the right lays it inside for Martins in the area, looking to jink right then left taking on the defence Crane stands up to her putting the foot in to take the ball away from her the pressure stays with the hosts as the ball is put out to Richardson left side in the area aiming to get inside onto her right foot strike the ball, MacMillan closing her down to get it away to safety for the visitors. Thetford lively now moving the ball quickly in the final third pressuring the area the ball played across the D to the right side a shot is struck hard blasted wide of the goal, not sure if it was Howard or Boulton. 

Dayna Howard getting the ball away for Thetford Town Ladies

 Jade Copeman comes on for Stalham replacing McCombe. Escreet central plays a diagonal ball out to Boulton in the wing with the ball at her feet gets up the line whips a dangerous cross in near post the keeper diving Barnes may have gotten a hand to it enough to deflect it across the face of goal behind Martins racing in central. As much as Thetford are posing a threat now Stalham remain a danger on the counter Mayhew getting a throw deep on the right side the cross fired in by Ferguson into the top of the box the ball deflected out to the left gathered by Darvill 30 yards out brings it forwards couple of yards before lining up a strike angling in low Ward has her near post covered. Becky Houghton is on for Stalham in place of Davey.

  Thetford’s turn to counter the ball rolled into Horward’s feet in the middle releases Martins through on goal, Barnes having started to come for the ball now back peddles rapidly to cover her goal. Martins though doesn’t make the most of the opportunity her shot tame in the finish struck to close to the keeper allowing her to gather. 

  GOAL! A hammer blow then for the hosts up the other end as Stalham go on to score a 3rd goal. Nothing unusual about the attack Stalham have broken well and with purpose all game, O’Connor the furthest forwards this time played in through the middle closing in on the area sends her low strike wide of the advancing keeper to make it 0-3 in the 63rd minute.

Sophie-Jayne O’Connor congratulated by her teammates after scoring Stalham’s 3rd goal

   Thetford building from the back into Martins central lifts it out to Richardson left side taking it on attempts to get inside Yarham aiming to strike a ball in towards the far post Yarham gets a foot on the ball to deflect it up and be caught by her keeper in the box. Clarke returns to the field for Stalham replacing Ferguson. Ward with another excellent save low to her left post pushing it behind for a corner as Clarke is played through into the area for Stalham strikes it hard. The corner put in from the left punched up into the air by Ward at her near post falls to a Stalham player top of the area hit first time low the shot is blocked by Levy-Twoney. 

Thetford goalkeeper, Lydia Ward saving at the feet of Stalham’s Sian Clarke

  Both sides are keeping up a good tempo, despite conceding a third goal Thetford aren’t deterred in attack Howard spraying the pass out to Boulton on the right her cross in defended by Crane. The visitors . Yarham with a crossfield ball to fins Clarke on the left wing the Stalham attacker playing it back to the advancing Darvill, Boulton tracking back with her regains possession for Thetford. The ball played out to the left Martins up with Richardson the cross fired in across the face of goal no one to meet it defected away falls to Boulton top of the box her shot back on lacks power Barnes saving low. McCombe comes back on for Stalham

  GOAL! Thetford’s pressing brings them a deserved goal, the ball with Escreet central plays it wide to Boulton charging on down the right cuts the ball in towards the top of the box White well position meets it first time with a back heel to deflect the ball ninety degrees and in past the diving keeper at the near post 1-3. 15 minutes left to play.

   Stalham make a change bringing off full back Davies and sending attacker Camacho-Besa back on. Martins blasts over from 25 yards after keeping control of the ball well on the right wing for Thetford. O’Connor comes off for Stalham Davey back on. The visitors get a corner kick on the right Mayhew with another good delivery into the six yard box the ball cleared straight back to her floats another ball in Ward rising to claim it. 

Andrea McCombe playing the ball on for Stalham Town Ladies

 Martins away in the left for Thetford racing towards the area strikes the ball on the angle straight into the keepers gloves. McCombe on the ball centrally for Stalham comes to the right on for the advancing Yarham she whips in a diagonal ball looking for the advancing Gillespie, Hardie stepping out of the back line to win in back for Thetford. Thetford get on the attack Boulton away on the right players arriving in the box as the cross comes in a half yard off the ground Richardson going for it can’t make contact to deflect it past the diving keeper at the near post. 

Into stoppage time both sides looking for another goal Thetford attacking, Stalham pounce with a counter Davey getting hold of the ball well central laying it on for Clarke making a run left channel, Levy-Twoney goes with her forcing her to the by-line managing to stop the cross coming in. The ball cleared the final whistle blows and Stalham start their season with a 3-1 win.

Full time Thetford Town Ladies 1-3 Stalham Town Ladies

  Was a highly entertaining game end to end 2nd half, Thetford getting better as the game wore on. Stalham good for their lead in the 1st half getting a crucial early goal in the 2nd half. Thetford rallied well creating opportunities to pull it back a hammer blow to concede a third goal. Weren’t deterred going on to score themselves. On another day might well have been 3-3 the hosts having the better of the 2nd period… perhaps Stalham will argue they were the ones who scored twice though a good contest both sides can take plenty from it.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. These thing’s are never easy to decide and leaving the ground I wasn’t sure. Nevertheless have lots of notes as you know to fall back on so… a few performances to mention. Some fine saves from Lydia Ward 1st half especially keeping Thetford in it. Mel Boulton a threat more so out on the right and Lauren Martins too showing great movement. For Stalham were particularly dangerous on the counter attack getting forwards as a unit well. Lalaine Davey doing alot of work getting about the pitch with some good tackles. Charlotte Crane composed at the back. The award though goes to Emma Gillespie like Davey covered alot of ground making some fantastic forward runs always available for the ball.

  An entertaining game to start my county league season good to season both sides in action Thetford for the first time and Stalham after so long. Thanks for your help in getting me those all important team sheets. Appreciate all the help given today.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Women

Sunday 20th September

FAWNL South East Division One

 The new season of FAWNL football starts this Sunday and once again Women’s Football East will be keeping a close eye on both the Southern Premier Division and South East Division One. The 24 sides unchanged from last season due to the COVID outbreak raring to get going once again the leagues promising to be more competitive than ever with some very strong new signing made. Begin the action with a trip to St Neots Town FC to watch Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Women in South East Division One.

 The 20/21 season starting a month later than usual due to the virus that brought the previous season to an early end. A new season played with strict COVID regulations on place to maximise the safety of both players an supporters. South East Division One has seen several strong signings as the whole of the women’s football pyramid strengthens at both ends. The FAWSL just beginning it’s journey as a professional league at the top. Growth is happening too at the base in the county leagues with 3 new divisions created in the East alone this campaign. That in turn will only serve to strengthen the sides already there including the FAWNL sides competing in tiers 3 and 4.

  Another competitive season promised, two sides looking to improve this season in South East Division On are Cambridge United WFC and Norwich City Women. Cambridge United WFC moving to a new home at the start of the 2019/20 season moving from Mildenhall Town FC to St Neots Town FC. A move which brought both their 1st and Development sides together training at one facility. Lost a few players during the close season and made a slow start to the season. A change of manager saw Ben Yeomans step up to first team manager results beginning to improve before the season was brought to an abrupt end. Have brought in a few new signings over the close season. Attacker Samaira Khan impressing in the ERWFL with both AFC Dunstable and last season Colney Heath Ladies is dangerous in front of goal testing herself now in the FAWNL. Defender Grace Waygood joins having previously Spurs, so to winger Laura Mitchell who has represented Wales at youth level  and young attacker Ella Mercer.

  Norwich City Women too have found themselves at the wrong end of the FAWNL South East Division One table in recent seasons. Several managerial chances haven’t helped there progress. The Norfolk side bringing in Shaun Howe to lead the 1st team this season has a alot of talented youngsters with a mix of good experience . The league getting stronger with every season can hopefully find the winning formula to get them pushing up the table. Injuries to key players another factor hindering the side at times were dealt a blow in pre-season losing goalkeeper Hope Armstrong to an ACL injury. Have brought in Elli-Rai Quinn-Nicholls is a good replacement performing very well for Newmarket Town Women in the ERWFL last season. Defender Alice Parker returns to the club as does full back Anna Larkins, who captained Wroxham Women previously an accomplished defender has a good set-piece on her too.

 Needless to say both sides will be looking for and fancy there chances of achieving an opening day win.

  St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium is situated on a new built estate on the outskirts of the town, featuring a small stadium housing the clubhouse and changing room with a seated stand overlooking one side of the grass pitch. An excellent 3G pitch set behind it. One good thing I suppose about this long lay off from football is the pitches have enjoyed a good rest too. The grass pitch looking superb. COVID restriction in place and well observed. The weather bright and sunny blue skies, drinks breaks needed but I did get a cup of tea before kick-off.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Abi Davis, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Grace Waygood, Tori Lawless, Gisela Otten, Faith Hewitt, Emma Jenkins, Laura Mitchell & Samaira Khan. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Albany Hodgson, Jemma Moore, Charlotte Crisp & Ella Mercer.

 Norwich City Women starting XI – Elli-Rai Quinn-Nicholls, Alice Parker, Anna Larkins, Jordan Arnoup, Laura Thacker, Jodie Drake, Millie Daviss, Josie Jarvis, Lauren Cullum, Kathryn Stanley & Natasha Snelling. Subs – Izzy Collins, Brooke Osborne, Rosie George, Abi Tate & Leilah Gooding.

  Norwich wearing their away colours, green shirt and shorts with yellow socks to get the first half underway. Lining up opposite Cambridge in their home colours amber coloured shirts with black vertical stripes down the front, black shorts and socks. Technically goalkeeper Amy Butler to is a new signing for the hosts having joined from Colney Heath last season and gotten just one game in before it all came to an end one the bench Liz Pamplin ready to make her 496th appearance for the club if called upon.

  The visitors playing the ball back to their defence, centre back Jordan Arnoup playing a long diagonal pass out to the left wing for Kathryn Stanley to attack, knocks it down the line, right back Abi Davies closing in to tackle and clear for a throw in for Cambridge. The hosts looking to get straight on the counter attack the ball up into midfield sent out to the left Emma Jenkins straying offside. A lively start to the game two sides keen to get going, Cambridge on the right Laura Mitchell pushing in through to Samaira Khan attacking the right channel, centre back Laura Thacker sliding in to push the ball away from her for Quinn-Nicholls to clear out to the wing, Mitchell after in gaining possession and lifting a high cross into the box attacking near post Khan rises we to meet it, the ball looping up to and on the roof of the net. 

Emma Jenkins looking to attack on the left for Cambridge United WFC

  Cambridge press on the right Mitchell driving on winning a corner kick. The delivery into the six yard box cleared back to the taker a second ball put in captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt up from the back getting something on it near side sending in goalwards the ball deflected away. Cambridge with intent early on the ball through the middle finding Jenkins left of the area brings it inside across the top of the area eventually getting a shot away blocked by Thacker comes back to Khan who flashes a shot over from the angle. Norwich mount an attack left side Stanley carrying the ball at her feet a determined run her pass forwards into the box looking for Natasha Snelling closing in on the near post , Grace Waygood close on her to defend the loose ball fired back in flashes wide of goal a corner awarded.

  GOAL! Norwich open the scoring from the resulting corner, the delivery played long to the congested far post the ball ending up knocked down into the six yard box in front of goal on a plate for Natasha Snelling standing a half yard out unmarked to turn over the line for Norwich’s first goal of the season 0-1 with 6 minutes on the clock.

Natasha Snelling opening the scoring for Norwich pictured with Cambridge’s Gisela Otten

  Norwich come on in attack getting numbers forwards Lauren Cullum with a cross field ball out to Snelling left of the area plays it wide to Stanley the pair attempting a one two, Stanley’s ball a little heavy Snelling doing well to retrieve on the by-line cuts it back towards the top of the area, Stanley can’t connect with the shot. The visitors regaining possession in the middle Josie Jarvis to captain Millie Daviss coming on sends a great low ball into the Cambridge area a deflection sending it wide for another corner. Another delivery put in invitingly to the far post however it clears everyone this time around. Cambridge gather far side and get straight on the counter the ball sent up the line for Khan looking to get in behind full back Alice Parker doing well tackling to take it away for a throw.

Norwich’s Kathryn Stanley

   Is a fairly even start the tempo quick play turned around quickly exciting to watch Jenkins taking the ball clear on the left into space put through to Khan wriggling clear right of the D, sets herself to strike Quinn-Nicholls quickly out to close her down making a great blocking save. Won in the middle of the park by Gisela Otten for Cambridge looking forwards sees Jenkins making a run on the left her pass threaded through picking her out takes the ball into the box closing in on the keeper aiming to send a shot across her Quinn-Nicholls diving full length getting a glove to the ball stopping it, loose for a moment Jenkins after it, the Norwich keeper grabbing it to pull safely into her body.

  Daviss covering alot of ground in the middle for Norwich brings it forwards right side into the Cambridge half, passes it to Snelling 20 yards out right side of the area, Carrie Bennett getting in on her to tackle going to ground trapping the ball with her feet before being cleared. Norwich sitting deeper are inviting Cambridge on a bit getting players forwards in attack as Khan gets hold of the ball left side fizzes a ball into the penalty spot, Mitchell attempts to bring it under control shifts it between her feet looking to pull the trigger, Thacker getting a foot in to tackle is deflected out towards the top of the area Otten 20 yards out hitting it first time the ball cannoning off the crossbar.  

 GOAL! 20 minutes played and Cambridge draw the scores level. Khan making some good runs into the channels leading the line picked out on the right by Mitchell the ball at her feet drives into the box closing in on the keeper towards the near post opens up her body well to slot the ball past her into the back of her net to score her first and Cambridge’s of the season 1-1.

Samaira Khan scoring the equaliser on her Cambridge debut

  Is a lively game can’t take your eyes off it for a 2nd, Jenkins getting hold of a misplaced pass at the back for Norwich 25 yards out sends her shot back in straight at the keeper. Khan peeling away into the right is tackled by Parker. Norwich are looking very dangerous on the counter attack the midfield getting the ball out to the wings quickly, with Stanley left and Cullum right. Stanley this time getting half a yard on her marking firing in a shot on the angle 25 yards out flies over the keeper to smash down off the crossbar. The ball still in play to the right cut back into the box Daviss racing in tackled well by Tori Lawless tracking back from midfield.

Norwich captain, Millie Daviss being challenged by Cambridge’s Tori Lawless

   Norwich strike the woodwork again moments later a loose ball 30 yards out struck with venom by midfielder Jodie Drake through everyone inside the Cambridge box Butler sees it late doesn’t move the ball thumping against her left post, One end to the other Cambridge advancing on the right a free-kick awarded a yard outside the box close to the by line players coming up from the back. Burt coming into space asking for it right side given it smashes in a shot low racing wide through the six yard box wide at the far post. Time for a drinks break is pretty warm out there and both sides are putting alot of energy into the game. 

Norwich City Women’s Jodie Drake

  Play resuming Cambridge get forwards winning  corner on the left, the ball played deep knocked up into the air by Burt, Quinn-Nicholls getting a merest of gloves on the ball as it comes down out to the right of goal a shot comes in flashed wide. Up the other end Butler with a great save down low getting good hands out to stop a shot fired in from six yards by Jarvis as Stanley plays her in. Waygood getting to the loose ball first clearing the danger for Cambridge. Fantastic combination play between Lawless and Otten in the middle for Cambridge, as Bennett makes a run left side Otten laying the ball into her she sends a looping pass long into the area for Khan to attack closing in on the keeper, Quinn-Nicholls stays big doing enough to see Khan plant her shot wide of goal.

Cambridge United WFC defender, Grace Waygood

  Snelling catches the Cambridge defence playing a high line is clear to attack the area, only a good starting position from Butler stops her the keeper able to get out and put her foot through the ball before Snelling can send a shot wide of her. Out for a throw on the right taken quickly, Stanley and Daviss link up for the visiting side the ball put in to the top of the area Otten back to win it for Cambridge this time is tripped by Stanley as she tries to bring it away. 

  Cambridge are looking dangerous on corners have a bit of height in their side now one won on the left after a driving run from Khan is put into the mix Norwich half clear, Burt has hung back inside the D the ball straight it her is fired in through bodies towards goals blocked and cleared by Larkins  on the post. Daviss is booked as she brings down Jenkins. The free-kick 35 plus yards out on the left taken by Lawless and flighted ball into the rea knocked down by Khan pushed into Otten top of the area lunging into the shot sends it over the bar. 

Cambridge United WFC captain, Kayleigh-Anne Burt

  Mitchell on the right taking the ball on well for Cambridge into the channel for Khan holding it up as Mitchell comes on in support the ball put across the area into Jenkins, Arnoup in to win it for Norwich put on into the middle the counter attack is on for a moment it’s two v two with Cambridge caught on half-way but Stanley can’t pick out Snelling as Waygood sticks a leg out to intercept. Waygood with a good ball on from the back picks out Jenkins running on left side, Larkins though gets back on her well coming across her to roll the ball safely back to her keeper to clear.

Norwich City Women’s, Anna Larkins

  Burt sliding in to tackle gets the ball back to Butler inside the D as Cullum and Stanley come together from the flanks to try and carves the hosts open through the middle. Khan with her weaker left foot does get enough power behind the shot as she tries to put it across the keeper inside the box following a good ball in from Mitchell on the right Quinn-Nicholls down to claim the ball.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-1 Norwich City Women

  An exciting first half comes to an end with the scores level at 1-1 could well have been 3-2 to Norwich if the woodwork counted both sides with some excellent chances. The game played at a very high tempo both sides attacking with pace and purpose getting players forwards. Norwich inviting Cambridge on somewhat the hosts showing good movement in the final third. Norwich dangerous on the counter attack, both keepers called into action making good saves beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

Norwich’s Lauren Cullum tackling Cambridge Tori Lawless

   A change for Norwich at the start of the 2nd half Abi Tate on to replace Thacker in the heart of the Norwich defence.  Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway. Play a little disjointed early in neither side getting to pace Larkins coming to tackle Jenkins as she is played in right side, Burt winning the ball at the back as Drake attempts to slide it through to Snelling. Jenkins is really putting in a shift for Cambridge on the left running on as Bennett sends her pass up the line, Arnoup comes across to support Larkins to close her off win the goal-kick.

Norwich’s Natasha Snelling with Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins

  Davis with a vital interception in the box for Cambridge as the ball in fired in from the wing early for Snelling to attempt to run onto. Jenkins getting hold of the ball left side brings it on Khan giving her the run to the left channel the pass along the ground into her feet Khan taking it on closing in on the advancing keeper, Quinn-Nicholls stays big again Khan knocking it wide of her goes to retrieve it on the by line cutting it back into the box Jenkins arriving to strike the ball blocked well by Tate. 

Norwich centre back, Jordan Arnoup

 A scrappier start to the 2nd half alot of energy expanded in the first half neither side on top yet. Tate gives away a free-kick 30 yards out right side to Cambridge. Lawless over the ball dinks in a shot the ball caught low by Quinn-Nicholls on her line.  Tate sliding in moments later on Mitchell outside her box gives away another foul much to the visiting sides complaints that she’d won the ball. 

 GOAL! this one closer in 20 yards out right of the D, Mitchell and Jenkins over the ball as players comes forwards from the back to load the box. Jenkins with the dummy run, Mitchell striking it in across the area to the far post attacked Lawless emerging from the crowd to turn into the goal to give the hosts the lead on the hour 2-1.

Tori Lawless puts Cambridge into the lead 2nd half has enjoyed a good contest with Norwich’s Millie Daviss

  Cambridge coming on strong attacking tails up, Davis winning it in defence laying it down the line for Khan left side is brought down by Larkins bemused that she doesn’t get anything.

GOAL! Cambridge race into a 2 goal lead overlooking the attack on the right Khan fires a diagonal ball into the D, Hewitt making a great run is well placed to get a shot away hitting it sweetly to send in low swinging wide to the keeper’s right 3-1.

Faith Hewitt extends Cambridge’s lead

  Norwich respond with a double change, Rosie George and Brooke Osborne sent on in place of Cullum and Jarvis. Tate flying on with a sliding challenge once more is shown a yellow card as Cambridge are awarded a free-kick right of centre. Burt to play in in towards the top of the area, Norwich struggling to get the ball clear the hosts can’t capitalise. 

  GOAL! A moment of controversy a hot patch for Cambridge sees them score a 4th much to the visiting sides displeasure. Attacking the ball in to the top of the area Khan I think, Tate goes off her feet sliding in to win in doesn’t make contact with anything, referee Romana Bria has covered alot of women’s football and keeps up with play well close to the tackle the Norwich defence stop concerned I feel that having just been booked Tate might be in trouble, warns her to calm down. Whilst this is going on the ball is put out to the right Mitchell running on free into the area lays it across the face of goal for Jenkins to send it home far side 4-1.

  The Norwich players and bench aren’t happy as the goal stands, the referee though never blew the whistle an as players are told often you play to the whistle. Can see why Norwich stopped but play was never stopped. A hard goal to concede. Cambridge though with 3 goals in nine minutes have gotten themselves into a fantastic position. A crunching 50/50 tackle between Khan and Tate sees the Norwich defender down hurt and play stopped so she can be treated and drinks. 

 Tate is okay to continue Norwich with a chance to regroup. Stanley on the ball 30 yards out right side clips it into George top of the area she connects with the ball flashing her shot wide of the near post. The visitors get forwards winning a free-kick 30 yards out, Daviss an Snelling over the ball, it’s Snelling who takes on the shot up over the wall on target but caught high by Butler drifting across her line. Cambridge make a change Jenkins has ran herself into the ground makes way for Ella Mercer to make her Cambridge debut up front as Khan moves to the left. 

Norwich’s Abi Tate winning the ball from Cambridge’s Ella Mercer

  Lawless feeds a pass through to Khan on the left side she cuts it across the top of the area into the advancing Hewitt to clip her first time strike over the bar. Space beginning to open up as both sides begin to tire, Norwich see an attack break down Mercer making a run into space on the right for Cambridge Hewitt picks her out with the pass takes the ball onto into the box closing in on the keeper sends her shot high beating Quinn-Nicholls but has the angle covered well the rising ball coming back off the post. A second change for Cambridge Charlotte Crisp comes in on place of Lawless. 

  Their lead giving Cambridge renewed energy the hosts push on in attack Otten sending a 20 yard ball into Mitchell closing in n the box she shots her effort rising over the bar. Cambridge winning a free-kick on the right Crisp to play a diagonal ball invitingly into the box Tate rising well to head behind for a corner. The corner on the left in at the near post defended by George out behind for a 2nd corner. This one taken short put up the line before being delivered is deflected behind a goal kick awarded. The game heading into the final minute of normal time. Khan dragging a shot wide as she attacks on the right. 

  Norwich get up the other end George right cutting a ball in towards the top of the area Snelling there right of the D, both Burt and Waygood in to prevent her getting a shot away the ball cleared to the right Norwich keep up the attack another cross comes in Snelling with the shot a combination of keeper post preventing a goal. Cambridge continue to press the attack looking for another goal the ball threaded through into the box Mitchell right squaring it central for Khan her shot blocked at point blank range comes back to Mitchell who flashes a shot wide across the six yard box a corner awarded. The delivery into the six yard box headed over by Khan as the final whistle blows.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 4-1 Norwich City Women

  An opening day win for Cambridge United WFC beating Norwich City Women 4-1. A victory that will give them a great deal of confidence at the start of the season. A strong start to the 2nd half getting getting into the lead and quickly adding 2 more goals to get themselves into a strong position, were fluid in attack creating several chances, there midfield winning the ball more often in the 2nd period. Was a pretty even first half however, both sides attacking with purpose made for an exciting contest Norwich taking the lead, Cambridge coming back well to equalise. 3 goals in 9 minutes in the 2nd half changing the game. The 4th goal controversial no doubt. Cambridge deserved winners in the end. Norwich I suspect will be hit hard by that 4th goal but for an hour I thought the game could go either way looked very dangerous on the counter attack in particular.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, clearly the intent this season is not for it to be an easy decision. Several contenders once again. A few performances to mention, firstly Millie Daviss for Norwich, the amount of ground she covered was superb to try and break up Cambridge attacks. For Cambridge Tori Lawless worked the ball well making some great tackles and runs. Emma Jenkins made herself constantly available on the left side, with Laura Mitchell impressing on her Cambridge debut on the right. The award though goes to another Cambridge debutant Samaira Khan scored her first goal for the club and as the spearhead of the attack made some fantastic runs into the channels to receive a pass.

   A fantastic opening game from FAWNL South East Division One fast paced, between two determined sides, bodes well for the season ahead. As always my thanks and appreciation to both sides for the team info.

Match Report – St Ives Town Ladies v Haringey Borough Women

Sunday 13th September

ERWFL Premier Division

 A new season begins in the ERWFL and it promises to be the most competitive yet. Begin this season with the match I had pencilled in next in the previous season before it was brought to an end by the ongoing COVID outbreak, St Ives Town Ladies at home to Haringey Borough Women. 

  With the 2019/20 season being declared null & void, it is the same 12 sides competing in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League (ERWFL) Premier Division this time around. A bitter pill to swallow for leaders Harlow Town Ladies unbeaten at the top of the league. Luton emerging as their closest rivals 3 points behind with a game in hand. That said it was a hard fought campaign with as many as 9 sides all pushing for a top 4 finish at one point. A new season begins and some big signings have been made by a number of clubs as they look to win the title and achieve promotion to the FAWNL above with it. Will be highly competitive once again.

  St Ives Town Ladies entering their second season at this level having achieved promotion at the first attempt after joining the ERWFL. On a highly successful run since forming earning back to back promotions the young squad used to winning games the ERWFL Premier Division would pose big jump in terms of player performance and was a test right from the off for St Ives, missing a few key players with injury that season to such as goalkeeper Kira Markwell and attacker Tierney Coulson for a good spell. The squad had to adapt every game a battle at the wrong end of the table although well clear of the bottom two signs of progress were being made before the season was brought to an abrupt end. All the better for the experience adding the likes of Abbi Griffin and Ruth Fox to the squad during the season, 2 more Georgina Parrett and Hannah Johnson from Netherton have joined in the close season to add competition for places. 

  Haringey Borough Women are a long established side in the ERWFL, the North London club which cherishes and celebrates the diversity of its teams, had an inspiring season in 2016/17 under the guidance of manager Steve Browne who very sadly passed away from cancer before its conclusion, Haringey nevertheless pushing on together to win the ERWFL Premier Division and achieve promotion to the FAWNL in the process. Proved to be a difficult season at that level with several of that title winning squad departing, coming straight back down Haringey regrouped, finding themselves battling at the bottom of the table for the past two seasons adding a few new faces to the squad will be aiming to make there mark this campaign.

The venue today St Ives Town FC’s Westwood Road stadium, the pitch itself looking superb, lush and green, does have a distinct slope in one corner, but that could be used to your advantage if you can play a good ball down the flank. COVID measures in place as they are in all sporting venues now. Hot and cold drinks available. A bright sunny day, quite muggy although no chance of rain. 

St Ives Town Ladies starting XI – Kira Markwell, Caitlin McGeown, Anna Hicks, Mollie Flack (C), Abbi Griffin, Ruth Fox, Ella Burnley, Hannah Seymour-Shove, Georgia Stancombe & Katie Stancombe. Subs – Tierney Coulson, Tia Everdell, Elisabeth Manuel & Sophie Majoram.

Haringey Borough Women starting XI – Kassandra Rukat, Shanice Nourrice, Charlee Vaz, Shernelle Francois, Valeria Hurtado Duran, Jaidene Browne (C), Lauren Duggan, Aaliyah Boyea, Angie Hernandez, Julia Carruthers & Beatriz Kretteis. Subs – Brooke Hills, Victoria Campbell & Nadine Franklin.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Haringey to kick-off the season opener, wearing yellow shirts with blue sleeves, blue shirts and yellow socks, St Ives in their home colours, black and white vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks. The visitors straight on the attack direct through the middle carve St Ives open Aaliyah Boyea seeing the ball into her feet top of the box looks to turn and shoot, St Ives captain Mollie Flack stabbing out a foot to take the ball away from her deflect the ball behind for a corner on the left. 

Haringey captain Jaidene Browne taking the corner whipped in towards the near post St Ives smuggling it behind for a 2nd corner. Browne with another inswinging ball this time landing in the side netting. Haringey with a strong start push players on through the middle, striker Beatrix Kretteis almost powering her way through into the box. Julia Carruthers moving right as the ball in returned to her is fouled by St Ives Sasha Smith as she attempted to skip past her. The free-kick defended it’s Smith’s turn to be fouled on halfway her shirt tugged as she looks to mount an attack.

Haringey forward Julia Carruthers fouled as she looks to get in behind the St Ives defence

GOAL! Players go up as Smith places the ball down to deliver for St Ives her diagonal ball long picking out Ella Burnley who has made a good run to get in behind the Haringey defence, the angle against her the on rushing goalkeeper makes up her mind as she lobs the ball up over her and into the back of the empty net 1-0. 3 minutes played.

St Ives Town Ladies, Ella Burnley with the opening goal.

  Haringey continue to look strong in the middle good link up play between Browne and Lauren Duggan playing a one two before Browne spotting Boyea peeling away to the right attempts to play her in, Smith able to get across her to play the ball back. St Ives build from the back the ball into midfield out to the right Georgia Stancombe to Burnley the ball cross in central towards the top of the box, midfielder Ruth Fox arriving hits it first time the back blocked at close range deflected away Haringey breaking getting away left side, Caitlin McGeown in to tackle break up the move.

Defender Charlee Vaz winning possession back for Haringey Borough Women

Duggan getting away on the left breaking towards the area gets upended the visiting side awarded a free-kick in  a dangerous position 20 yards out. Browne over it goes for goal, not a bad attempt, close but Markwell can watch it safely over her crossbar. McGeown charges on with the ball right side pushes it on into the path of Burnley, Shernelle Francois comes across well putting in the challenge to send the ball out for a throw in. 

St Ives Abbi Griffin with Haringey’s Lauren Duggan

 Haringey are looking dangerous on the break especially through the middle, direct at times but effective, Kretteis getting into some good positions. Anna Hicks coming out to close her down this time for St Ives. Markwell called into action in the St Ives goal, as Haringey get the ball on through the centre with pace players forwards Duggan to the right of the D, her knock on blocked the ball deflected straight back to her strikes it hard, low racing on towards goal, Markwell down smartly to her left to push the ball to safety.

  Coming through the middle Haringey, Browne sends the ball up to Kretteis who has Boyea close to her looking to get in behind, flicks the ball on looking to pick her out, Flack quickly closing Boyea down the chance gone. Kretteis is causing problems for the St Ives defence pace and power taking the ball on into the box Flack backing off sticking out a boot to take the ball away from her, Duggan racing on to support Kretteis tries to play it back to Kretteis only for Flack to intercept and clear the danger.

Beatriz Kretteis on the attack for Haringey Borough Women

 It’s a good contest St Ives being tested at the back whilst making good use of the wide areas when bringing the ball out themselves. Kretteis is hard to shake off the ball running on takes it into the box held up turns to lay it back for the arriving Boyea she strikes it first time from 20 yards the shot swerving wide of the left post. Backing of from Kretteis 35 yards out she sees an opportunity to let loose a shot the diagonal ball running harmlessly wide across Markwell’s goal. 

  Georgia Stancombe moves away clear on the right for St Ives the ball fed up the line she takes it on well before squaring a cross into the box, Duggan tracking back into the box for Haringey get’s something on it deflecting it high into the air dropping before goal, Fox closing in challenging goalkeeper Kassandra Rukat for the ball, is loose the keeper down Fox can’t get control of it the ball put over for a goal kick. It’s hot out there and with 23 minutes played it’s time for a drinks break.

Haringey’s Aaliyah Boyea with St Ives fullback Sasha Smith

  St Ives get straight on the attack from the restart Griffin playing a good ball out to Burnley on the right wing has another go from the angle this shot narrowly over the crossbar. St Ives beginning to exert some pressure in the final third winning a corner on the left inswinging near post Haringey get it behind for a 2nd corner. The ball into the six yard box this time controlled well by the defence and carried to safety by Boyea. Georgia Stancombe taking the ball on into the right channel gets a shot away the ball blocked deflected away for a corner. Fox isn’t being tracked by the Haringey midfield has made several good runs into the area ready to attack any ball floated in. 

Haringey’s Aaliyah Boyea with St Ives Ruth Fox

  Boyea recieves the first yellow card of the game after a strong challenge on Hannah Seymour-Shove. The 1st half moving into the final 5 minutes St Ives make a change, Katie Stancombe coming off in attack for Elisabeth Manuel. Smith plays the ball up into the left channel as Fox breaks from the middle, Shanice Nourrice getting tight into her ensuring no way past. Boyea seeing the ball well into her body breaks it down turning to play the pass down the line as Kretteis breaks in behind chasing it to the byline crosses the ball landing in the side netting. 

Haringey Borough Women’s Shanice Nourrice

  Fox getting the ball from Griffin turns sees Georgia Stancombe going on the right sends the ball up to her first touch a little heavy giving Vaz the chance to lunge in take it away from her. Georgia Stancombe in the closing seconds with a turn and hit from all of 30 yards out Rukat can watch it over her crossbar.

Half-time St Ives Town Ladies 1-0 Haringey Borough Women

  Ella Burnley’s 3rd minute lob for St Ives the difference between the sides, the hosts leading 1-0. Has been a very competitive and enjoyable first half. Not too many clear cut chances but some good build up play to different styles. Haringey certainly more direct, but that doesn’t mean long balls have got it into feet well, Kretteis in particular a threat looking to take on defenders. St Ives using the width of the pitch better, especially the right, the final ball not finding its mark just yet. 

Hannah Seymour-Shove looking to put the ball on for St Ives

  St Ives enjoying the shade behind one goal during the half-time interval to kick off the 2nd half get straight on the attack Georgia Stancombe inside to Fox 20 yards out to hit on the turn her strike charged down and cleared. Stancombe plays the ball on down the right wing for Mandel to chase, holds it up in the corner as Stancombe gets up with her to offer support, manage to fire a low cross into the box, Duggan intercepting top of the six yard box her clearance almost presents it to the on rushing Fox but deflected back to Duggan she gets it away to safety. 

  Burnley brings the ball down well on the right wing before sending it on for Stancombe up the line she crosses early flashes in Vaz tracking back with Mandel central making a superb trap with her legs falling to nullify the attack. A bright start to the 2nd half from St Ives, Fox on the ball playing it left to Seymour-Shove her knock on cut out by Nourrice. Haringey manage to squeeze the ball through to Kretteis 25 out she turns well right of the area strikes it cleanly races wide across the six yard box.  Burnley getting down the right wins her side a corner kick a good delivery swept into the area attacked by Fox her header sending it away from goal wide. 

 GOAL! 55 minutes played and St Ives capitalise on their good start to the 2nd half to take the lead. The ball pressured well in the middle of the park Seymour-Shove and Fox link up well to carry the ball on Seymour-Shove playing it on into Fox’s path closing in on the box left of the D strokes the ball low and fast wide of the static keeper to score 2-0.

Ruth Fox doubling St Ives lead in the 2nd half

  Fox regaining possession passes it to Manuel on her left as St Ives come forwards, she spots Stancombe racing into the box from the right the cross lofted in towards her, Hurtado Duran with a great last ditch tackle taking the ball away from her conceding a corner kick. Smith with the delivery from the right, again into the run of Fox jumps well but can’t direct it on target. St Ives make a 2nd change Burnley coming off on comes Tia Everdell. 

Anna Hicks defending for St Ives Town Ladies

 Haringey have been on the back foot for a large spell early in the 2nd half St Ives getting control of the middle of the park the visitors still pose a threat however and a snap shot from distance from Kretteis reminds the St Ives defence to stay alert. Carruthers 25 yards out through the middle has support from Boyea look in for a moment as Markwell comes racing out to the top of the area Boyea stabbing the ball past her but can’t direct it on target. Another drinks break called is hot out there, mustn’t complain however.

Beatriz Kretteis looking to flick the ball on for Haringey

  As play resumes Mandel finds herself played through in attack has Fox getting up the park to support the pass towards her cut out, Fox is quickly back to catch and tackle Boyea as she threatens to break for Haringey. Haringey keep possession in the St Ives half winning a corner, is a good delivery in from the left flashing over heads invitingly in the six yard box…

 GOAL! From that corner St Ives break the corner long to their left gathered and played on quickly the home side race on Seymour-Shove on the ball down the wing has support inside from Fox and Mandel to her left. Seymour-Shove and Fox combine exchanging passes before breaking into the area left side the ball blocked skips loose for Manuel to latch onto take a touch and fire cross the keeper low into the bottom corner to score her first goal for the club 3-0.

 St Ives are full of confidence now as McGeown races forwards right side to fire a low cross into the box, Hurtado Duran cutting it out well. Seymour-Shove comes off for St Ives with Katie Stancombe returning to the pitch. The hosts winning a corner on the right an inswinging ball threatening the Haringey goal keeper Rukat gets up well to punch it away behind for a 2nd corner this on taken long is cleared at the far post. For all their attacking, St Ives must stay on the guard at the back as Kretteis let’s a shot fly from distance left of the box shooting for the top corner Markwell must see it late but produces a superb diving save to her left to glove the ball away from a throw. 

Haringey defender Valeria Hurtado Duran

 Fox with the ball at her feet central plays a fantastic ball out to the advancing McGeown on the right side, Hurtado Duran coming out quickly to meet her with a good tackle to win the ball back for Haringey. Haringey get up high on the left side a, Carruthers into Duggan to strike central outside the box the shot blocked by Hicks for St Ives. Markwell sees a ball safely into her midriff moments later as Kretteis has a strike from distance. Burnley returning to the action for St Ives as Georgia Stancombe comes off. Moments after her introduction Burnley wins a penalty as she is brought down clumsily inside the box by Duggan after the Haringey midfielder is caught in possession by the winger at the top of her box.

GOAL! Burnley setting the ball down on the spot hits it low to the keepers right, Rukat goes the right way down sharply makes the save getting her glove on the ball pushed back out into the box St Ives are quickest to react another shot blasted in put across goal Rukat is up quickly making a superb blocking save with her feet but is desperately unlucky then as the ball is put straight into the path of the penalty taker Burnley who makes no mistake this time blasting it high into the roof of the net to score her 2nd of the game less than 10 minutes to play 4-0.

  Haringey look to get on St Ives backing off Hurtado Duran carries the ball into opposition territory, not closed down takes aim from 35 yards out on target the ball not troubling Markwell. The St Ives keeper sharply down at her near post to deny Kretteis from close range soon after as Nourrice wins it on the right for the visitors. The ball sent behind for a corner. Markwell getting a fist on the delivery before her defence send it clear. 

  Flack defending well against Kretteis as the Haringey forward holds the ball up well aiming to turn inside the box looking for power in her strike, Flack getting her leg in to block. Fox coming off in the closing stages replaced by Seymour-Shove. Boyea striking from a long way out for Haringey top of the centre circle Markwell watching it wide of her left post. One last attack for St Ives as Everdell bringing the ball down central puts it into the path of Mandel who strikes it hard Rukat down smartly to push it wide of her goal. 

Full time St Ives Town Ladies 4-0 Haringey Borough Women

 The final whistle blows and it’s St Ives who start their league campaign with a win 4-0 against Haringey. That result coupled with the only clean sheet kept on the opening day puts them top of the ERWFL Premier Division table. A strong 2nd half performance getting hold of the midfield and making good attacking runs seeing the hosts score a further 3 goals. A result that will give them plenty of confidence going forwards. Didn’t have it all their own way Haringey matching them 1st half mounting so good attacks of their own, the 2nd goal early on in the 2nd period seeing St Ives gain more confidence and push on for further goals the clean sheet up the other end just as important. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this weekends Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, these thing’s are rarely easy you know and today is no exception but I do have the benefit of a raft of notes collected to help me out. A few contenders to mention, firstly for Haringey, Beatriz Kretteis fantastic leading the line causing a threat pace and power, good ball control was perhaps unlucky not to have a goal to her name. For St Ives had it down to three, although it was a good all round team performance. Ella Burnley with two goals making some great attacking runs down the right. Georgia Stancombe really shone in the 2nd period edging them out though the award goes to Ruth Fox scored a great goal making a good run through the middle, did so throughout the game and gave her teammates a passing option whenever the hosts were in possession.

  Good to finally see both sides at last has been a while for both enforced or otherwise, an enjoyable game the ERWFL Premier Division is going to be a great watch this season no doubt. My thanks to both sides for the team details much appreciated as always.

 

Match Report – Wroxham Women v Kettering Town Women

Sunday 6th September

Women’s FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

  Dusting down the notepad after 175 days of inactivity the previous season ending abruptly declared null & void as the COVID pandemic spread across the globe. Good to be back and raring to go many sides getting there season underway this Sunday taking part in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Women’s FA Cup, a record number of entrants once again and a whooping 87 ties taking place across the country. Heading to Trafford Park home of Wroxham Women as they welcome Northamptonshire side Kettering Town Women.

 376 sides entering this years FA Cup competition, plenty of sides making their debut in the cup to all taking the first step to Wembley. Today’s clash a meeting between two sides that locked horns in the early stages of last seasons competition, Kettering the hosts that time around getting into the lead before Wroxham came back to win 6-2. Kettering making the trip to Norfolk this time around, both sides playing in the Premier Division of their respective Regional Leagues. 

  Wroxham bringing the already established ERWFL side Acle United Women under their umbrella last season. The club offering plenty of support to the woman’s set-up and have high ambitions for Wroxham Women to go on and achieve promotion into the FAWNL. Manager Rebecca Burton bringing in several new faces to further strengthen the squad amongst them, pacy winger Zoe Cossey who has plenty of experience playing in the FAWNL most recently with Ipswich Town Women. Becky Russell also brings plenty of experience to the side, the ex King’s Lynn Town Ladies captain strong in an attacking midfield role has a decent range for goal from outside the box. Jess Horn another new addition joining from AFC Basildon. Erin Wilson coming to the club from Lincoln with Ellie Prentice adding to the goalkeeping options joining from King’s Lynn too.

   Northamptonshire side Kettering Town Women are established in the East Midlands Women’s Regional Premier Division. Like the ERWFL the regional Premier Division’s are getting stronger year on year offering plenty of competitive action. Kettering have added a few new faces to thier squad prior to today’s match. Centre back Hayley Matthews coming in along with goalkeeper Jade Smallbones. Winger Lauren Adams and Stephanie Gale in attack who has plenty of experience leading the line will pose strong threat for opposing defences.

 Trafford Park the venue for today’s match, my first trip to the ground. On the outskirts of Wroxham coming from Norwich. A large grass pitch sloping from one goal mouth to the other. Plenty of room for spectators a small seated stand one side of the ground the clubhouse and changing rooms situated behind the dugouts on the opposite side. The bar open, tea and coffees also being serves along with food… and although I very nearly did I resisted the temptation to purchase a cheeseburger. Pleasant weather sunny and bright a few clouds around keeping things cooler.

 Wroxham Women starting XI – Cyan Fullbrook, Laura Dawson, Lauren Bailey, Leanne Symonds, Jess Horn (C), Kate Pasque, Broghan Scully, Becky Russell, Kayleigh Holloway, Lauren Bullard & Grace Birchall. Subs – Ellie Prentice, Victoria Pleavin, Amber Rowland, Charlotte Gardiner, Zoe Cossey, Madeleine Pitt, Rhianne Brister, Laura Beevor & Emma Allsopp.

 Kettering Town Women starting XI – Jade Smallbones, Sami Jones, Kylie Evans, Hayley Matthews, Maddie Bates, Jo Brandon (C), Brodie Betts, Lauren Handley, Caitlin Redfern-Christie, Leah Stacey & Stephanie Gale. Subs – Charlotte Hyams, Michelle Smith & Jess Perrin.

Nine substitutes on he bench for Wroxham, this is new for the FA Cup this season still the same number can be brought on during the game however. Wroxham having the numbers available and knowing I was coming knew they’d all get a mention in the match report. Becky Russell and Jess Horn captaining the side making their competitive debuts with fellow new signings Zoe Cossey and Ellie Prentice on the bench. Jade Smallbones, Hayley Matthews and Stephanie Gale all starting for Kettering. The visitors getting the tie underway kicking off first half wearing red and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and red socks. Wroxham opposite wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts blue shorts and socks.

Lauren Handley looking to get the ball away for Kettering

  The hosts pressing the ball straight away inside the centre circle comes to Kayleigh Holloway right side pushed into midfielder Broghan Scully back playing after missing most of last season through injury prods it on for Russell driving on towards the box before sending it out to Laura Dawson on the wing, Brodie Betts in to make the challenge for Kettering the ball going out for a throw. A bright start from Wroxham numbers forwards the ball crossed in from the throw in headed clear by Hayley Matthews for Kettering. A free kick given outside the box in a dangerous position for Wroxham, Scully over the ball hits a good strike goalwards, Smallbones up well on her line to make a confident claim.

Jade Smallbones with a confident take in goal for Kettering Town Women

The ball is quickly regained by Wroxham pushing on with intent in the opening minute, put in from the right headed clear to the left, Lauren Handley attempting to get it up the pitch for Kettering, Leanne Symonds closing her down inside her own half getting Wroxham back on the offensive. Laura Dawson linking well with Holloway on the right, Russell getting on to support Grace Birchall and Lauren Bullard in attack the hosts keeping Kettering penned inside their own half in the opening 5 minutes. Russell bringing the ball on central with the attempted through ball for Birchall top of the area sends to to Dawson deep on the right who lays it back for Holloway to lift a cross into the area Birchall there nipping in to attack it near post getting her boot up to connect with the ball drills it wide of the post.

Kettering’s Hayley Matthews

  A free kick won inside the Wroxham half gives Kettering an opportunity to try and get a foot hold in opposition territory, the ball put in high towards the top of the area defended well by Jess Horn heading clear, Wroxham look to build an attack on the right, Handley over on that side now putting the a good tackle to regain possession. Wroxham look sharp Dawson providing a good outlet on the right, pacy down to the byline wins her side a corner. The delivery into the box won by Matthews she looks to play it up field to Gale in attack, getting the ball into her feet, using her strength to get forwards hasn’t support is eventually crowded off the ball.

Wroxham’s Leanne Symonds coming in to tackle Kettering’s Stephanie Gale

   Getting numbers into the Wroxham half Kettering are caught on the counter attack, Russell getting hold of the ball driving forwards lining up a curler from distance is blocked by the back tracking defence. Frustration up the other end as Sami Jones looks to have gotten Caitlin Redfern-Christie clear on the right wing only for the flag to go up against her. Wroxham setting a good pace building up quickly on the right the ball sent in low central Russell rushing on to strike it goalwards her shot straight into keeper Jade Smallbones. Handley looking a threat for Kettering whenever she gets hold of the ball inside the opposition half holding off her marker spins looking to send it through the middle for Gale, the Wroxham defence moving well to catch her offside.

Sami Jones on the ball for Kettering Town Women

Birchall scores plenty of goals and never needs an invite to shoot, from a throw in on the right the ball is helped on towards her top of the area right side, strikes it on the volley the shot looping up over the bar. Gale is left frustrated again by another offside decision. Handley on the left does well to get the ball up the line to Leah Stacey the Kettering attacker winning a throw in the ball sent in towards the box left hand corner Gale attacking it but can’t turn to shoot as three Wroxham defenders converge on her. 

 A heavy blow to the face for Kettering captain Jo Brandon as she goes up for the ball with Birchall. A pause in play so she can receive treatment, is up and okay to continue, Scully in the wars for Wroxham moments later in a coming together with Gale. 20 minutes played Wroxham with the better start as play stops for a drinks break. Play resuming were Wroxham left off on the attack Russell skipping past a challenge in the middle threading a pass low through to Dawson right side Birchall running in behind her plays a clever back heel to her, her shot blocked by Kylie Evans inside the box, spins out to Dawson wide right driven back in races wide across the face of goal.

Wroxham Women’s, Laura Dawson

   Again Russell finds Smallbones in the Kettering goal as she attempts to dink the ball in high from the edge of the box having been set-up by Birchall receiving the ball after good build-up play on the right between Dawson and Holloway. Brandon sliding in to regain possession in the middle for Kettering onto Handley, drives up the right, Symonds coming in to close her down can’t release the ball as Wroxham get it back and are immediately racing forwards. Birchall peeling away to the left side spins in behind is clear grass in front of her, Bullard racing on through the centre, Birchall finding her, her strike from outside the area charged down by the Kettering defence.

  GOAL! with a little over 10 minutes to play in the 1st half Wroxham get the goal their dominance has deserved. Players rushing on as the hosts attack down the right Holloway down the line for Dawson her cross back in towards the top of the area over Birchall near side comes to Russell top of the D strikes her foot through the ball stroking it past the keeper for her first Wroxham goal 1-0.

A goal for Becky Russell on her debut for Wroxham

 GOAL! One goal brings two as Wroxham immediately double their lead, attacking right side Holloway with a ball lifted into the box initially headed clear falls straight to Russell all of 25 yards out right of the area hits it hard and low into the bottom corner 2-0.

  Birchall on the ball 25 yards out jinks left the right looking to get a shot away, leaning back as she does she sends her strike over the crossbar. Wroxham looking strong in the latter stages of the 1st half Holloway right side drills in a low cross cut out by Matthews. Holloway fed the ball into her feet by Scully moments later sends it central for Birchall who can’t quite tee up Russell bombing on. 

Kettering Town Women captain, Jo Brandon

Kettering haven’t had much of the ball at all in the 1st half in the closing moments win a corner on the left a chance to bring players forwards into the opposition box. The first corner cleared behind at the near post for 2nd take, this one deeper headed high into the air dropping onto the roof of the net a 3rd corner given this one cleared brings with it the whistle for half-time. 

Half-time Wroxham Women 2-0 Kettering Town Women

 Wroxham going into the half-time interval leading 2-0 with Becky Russell scoring a brace on her debut. A dominant display from the hosts during the first 45 minutes on the front foot right from the off, getting players forwards good runs down the right and through the middle. The hosts defence rarely troubled Kettering struggling to match Wroxham’s pace haven’t been able to fashion much in the final third. Have alot of work to do if they want to get back into it and certainly you feel need to keep it tight early on in the 2nd half not concede a third and then hopefully pull a goal back themselves apply some pressure on Wroxham.

The teams back out for the 2nd half Wroxham making a change Zoe Cossey on to make her debut right side replacing Scully with Holloway coming central and Dawson dropping deeper. The hosts kicking off the 2nd period straight on the the attack winning a throw in the right Cossey straight into the action receiving the ball to her feet twisting inside and bursting towards the box, a boot stabbed out tripping her inside the area a penalty kick awarded.

 GOAL! Bullard has the ball under her arm sets it on the spot, deceives the keeper who is wrong footed as the ball is sent along the ground into the opposite corner 3-0. The perfect start to the 2nd half for Wroxham.

Lauren Bullard makes it 3-0 to Wroxham from the penalty spot

  Cossey full of pace and energy as she gets hold of the ball for Wroxham prepared to take players on Betts getting the challenge in to deny her a chance, the visitors get the ball on quickly mounting an attack on their right the cross swung in across the face of goal, Fullbrook snatching it into her gloves. Up the line for Cossey on the right wing her cross into the box just over Birchall near post cleared central by the Kettering defence the visitors on the back foot.

  GOAL! Birchall with a sweet strike from close to 30 yards out as the ball comes to her left of the D connects well the ball up and over the keeper dipping under the bar into the back of the net 4-0.

Wroxham’s Grace Birchall with Kettering’s Jo Brandon

  GOAL! Wroxham going for the kill at the start of the 2nd half scoring 2 quick goals add a 3rd as Bullard nets her 2nd of the game the ball into her top if the area right of the D into the box closing in on the keeper looks to slot the ball past her, Smallbones making an excellent save close in to turn the ball up onto the crossbar, brutal then that it should rebound back into the six yards box and Bullard alert as any attacker shoulder be runs onto it to send into the empty net 5-0.

  Cossey finding herself on the left has the ball played into her feet takes on the Kettering defence lets loose from all of 25 yards out her rising strike saved fantastically by Smallbones diving to her right to put the ball behind for a corner. 

  GOAL! The corner taken short played back up the line left side a diagonal ball sent into the box dipping at the near post Cossey nipping in in front of the keeper to score her 1st goal for Wroxham 6-0. 

Wroxham’s Zoe Cossey with Kettering’s Brodie Betts

  A devastating spell from Wroxham at the start of the 2nd half scoring 4 goals in just 9 minutes to take the game firmly away from Kettering. A further blow for the visitors too as Handley picks up a knock from a challenge and can’t continue Michelle Smith coming on. Wroxham making their 2nd change with Amber Rowland coming on for Lauren Bailey. Russell playing deeper in the 2nd half with a chance to get forwards a good run up towards the top of the box before being tackled by Brandon, Birchall looks to get hold of the lose ball but is quickly closed down by Jones and Evans. 

Wroxham’s Kayleigh Holloway with Kettering’s Lauren Handley

 Holloway coming on central dribbling the ball gains alot of ground before attempting to thread the pass through for Birchall central, Evans doing well to cut it out. Birchall’s not interested in tap ins today as she has another go from 30 yards out her effort whistling over the bar nevertheless getting a loud cheer from the vocal home support from behind that goal. Jess Perrin and Charlotte Hyams are on for Kettering with Gale and Stacey coming off. 

  GOAL! Cossey scoring her 2nd of the game as she makes a great run between two defenders into the box following a fantastic pass from Rowland in the middle, lifts the ball up into the back of the net to make it 7-0.

  GOAL! Wroxham are running rampant Kettering getting pulled out of shape tiring a cross lifted up and into the box from the right, Birchall lively nipping in to attack in near post gets her head down to nod it in before the keeper can claim 8-0.

  Four Wroxham players all on a brace the race is on to see if anyone can claim their hat-trick, energy levels and confidence are high. Kettering reeling trying their best to regroup. Cossey setting up Birchall outside the box opens her body to shoot across the keeper, Smallbones with a wonderful save to deny her. 

Kettering Town Women’s goalkeeper Jade Smallbones

  Smallbones gets exposed by her defence moments later called into action produces a brilliant double save, Bullard running into the box clear left side this time headers the ball from close range Smallbones instinctive gloving it down to the floor, is up quickly as Bullard takes a swing at the loose ball saves with her legs a save of top quality despite the scoreline. 

  Cossey making a huge impact since coming on 2nd half for Wroxham is after a ball played on up the right wing for her by Holloway, cuts inside beating a defender gets her heels clipped but stays on her feet carrying the ball across the top of the box into the D squeezes a shot away the ball screwed wide of the far post. 

  GOAL! Doesn’t take Cossey long to make amends however gathering the ball into her feet having drifted over to the left head down charges towards the box one intent lets fly with a strike curling it low past the diving keeper into the far corner of the goal to make it a hat-trick on debut 9-0.

  Kettering have yet to trouble Fullbrook in the Wroxham goal, get an opportunity when Rowland brings down Brandon 35 yards out central a long way out but the shot is attempted Fullbrook seeing it wide of her right post. Perrin shifts the ball between her feet looking to gain ground attacking left can’t quite find Redfern-Christie with the pass the ball cleared straight to Betts however she has a go from distance the shot on target caught by Fullbrook. 

Wroxham Women’s, Amber Rowland

  Hyams tackles Cossey to concede a corner on the right as Holloway looks to roll the ball on for Cossey. Swung into the box the ball is cleared.

  GOAL! The hosts make it a double figure score-line with the game closing in on the final 5 minutes Russell having scored a brace in the first half with two well taken strikes saves her best  till last time on the ball from all of 30 yards out hits it cleanly sending it flying in over the keeper to complete her hat-trick 10-0.

  Wroxham are full of confidence the stuffing knocked out of their opponents pace in every attack get it out from the back rapidly into Birchall 25 yards out not closed down lines up her shot, Smallbones has had to keep picking herself up and produces yet another excellent save to send the ball wide. Symonds off in the closing stages on comes Victoria Pleavin at the back. Birchall central 25 out receiving the ball into her feet lays it off for Bullard to strike her shot swerving wide of the right post. Evans charging down a shot from Bullard inside the box as the hosts push on looking for more goals. 

  Holloway making some good runs with the ball through the middle sends the pass on for Birchall top of the area right side turns under challenge her shot sent off target behind goal. Cossey with a punt from 30 yard out late on falling wide across goal. The Wroxham attackers getting clear too easily in the closing minutes Kettering down and out, Birchall away, Smallbones not letting her get a strike away rushing out to meet her as she enters the box sliding in to save with her legs. The final whistle blows.

Full time Wroxham Women 10-0 Kettering Town Women

  A comprehensive 2nd half display from Wroxham with 4 goals in 9 minutes at the start of the 2nd period to take the game away from their opponents. Having had the better of the first half eventually going on to lead 2-0. The next goal is often crucial in these games and Wroxham took the game by the scruff of the neck. The display and goals seeing their energy levels remain high an confidence grow. Their defence rarely troubled worked well as a unit throughout the match Kettering finding it tough to break down. The scoreline sapping their energy didn’t offer a threat in attack and inviting Wroxham on made for a tough game came have little complaints, a very harsh scoreline, all you can do is dust yourselves down and move onto the next one, their league campaign is still 3 weeks away no doubt fitness levels played a part. 

Wroxham Women winning their opening game of this season FA Women’s Cup 10-0

  The draw for the next round already made Wroxham will now play King’s Lynn Town Ladies away from home on Sunday 20th September.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto the first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the new season. Rarely is it an easy choice and today is no exception. Several displays of note to mention, firstly for Kettering, Lauren Handley looked like she could cause problems for Wroxham especially first half with some good tackling and runs. Jade Smallbones too I know it sounds odd when a keeper has conceded 10 but she nevertheless pulled off some brilliant saves that kept that score down might well have been 15-0. For Wroxham the team produced a dominant attacking display whilst being disciplined at the back, have laid down a marker for the season already. Kayleigh Holloway was excellent linking up with Laura Dawson who attacked well down the right. Becky Russell with three great strikes on her Wroxham debut making some great runs from midfield, nudging her out though is the other hat-trick debutant Zoe Cossey made an instant impact coming on 2nd half and took the game away from the opposition.

 Great to e back covering games looking forwards to the season ahead, was terribly rusty today my notes more shocking than usual but I wrote far too much as usual. Enjoyed my first trip to Trafford Park and will no doubt be back at some point. My thanks as always to the teams for providing me with the squad details much appreciated.

Match Report – Park Ladies v Pinchbeck United Ladies

Sunday 15th March

Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship

A top of the table clash from Cambridgeshire this Sunday on Women’s Football East, in the Women’s Championship 3rd versus 2nd both sides showing fantastic form, Park Ladies hosting Pinchbeck United Ladies.

  Uncertain times a turbulent weekend in football with the ever growing threat from the COVID-19 virus reaching the UK, all top flight football men’s and women’s suspended on Friday till early April as cases or symptoms were reported present amongst squads. That uncertainty and worry filtering down the pyramid and although not advised by the government at this time various leagues have made the call to also suspend fixtures, rightly or not at this time, everyone’s health and well being at the forefront of everyone’s mind and this is a crisis that is still in it’s infancy and has a long way to go. 

Some leagues were still on and theses affected as teams called of games, no one on either side off the argument for calling games off not taking thing’s seriously and I myself debated whether to attend a game or not, was meant to be attending this Sunday’s Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final that game one of many postponed… possibly indefinitely. 

 One game off though presents another opportunity and deciding to go watch a game didn’t take long to choose another fixture, an opportunity to see two new sides for the first time, have wanted to see both for a while, especially Park who have asked me to attend before but I hadn’t been able to. The Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship expanded this season with an influx of new sides to complement a 13 strong Premiership, 14 sides playing in the Championship below, Park and Pinchbeck two of the more established sides.

 Cambridge Rangers Women leading the way with a long winning streak lasting 12 games, before being brought to an end by Park Ladies. That at the beginning of a wining streak that reached 10 matches in the league last weekend that run sending Park up to 3rd in the Championship table. A return to form after a couple of difficult seasons. Had burst onto the scene with a strong debut season, one season winning the Championship South title as it was then back in the 2015/16. Losing players the squad regrouping has taken time to get back to winning ways regularly the new look single Championship carrying alot of unknowns at the start of the season Park making an indifferent start gaining momentum surging up the table. Vice captain Francesca Plitsch top scorer so far this season with 18 goals.

Pinchbeck United Ladies also in fantastic form this season in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship with a 100% winning record from 13 played, games called off early in the season seeing them always behind in their fixtures, matching Cambridge Rangers results, Park doing them a massive favour ending the leaders winning record. Are closing the gap fast keeping thier winning record going up to 2nd in the table the gap closed to 4 points with 4 games in hand. Joining the Championship North a couple of seasons ago struggled in their debut season, signs of improvement appearing towards the end of last season have added new faces an with it goals to the side this season, Freya Peters top scorer so far with 17 goals, Libby Friel coming up fast on the rails too with 16 goals from just 8 appearances. 

Heading into the Fens this afternoon Park Ladies based in Wimblington, near March, play at Parkfields Sports Centre. A large carpark leading to a new clubhouse building housing a bar serving hot and cold drinks with large glass windows offering a good view of the two grass pitches beyond, a nice set-up. The weather though not playing ball rain due to arrive around lunchtime was meant to blow over but stuck around for the whole match making for muddy playing conditions and trying to do a report whilst juggling a notepad, camera and umbrella.

Park Ladies starting XI – Liv Goode, Tinneisha Mott, Darcy Howe, Nikki Hassock, Lou Davies, Eilish Brown, Danni Green (C), Francesca Plitsch, Sophie Fenner, Georgia Payne & Georgia Stimson. Subs – Liv Pedler, Gemma Hutton & Sian Holdcroft.

Pinchbeck United Ladies starting XI – Lita Abelite, Helen Barker, Alexandra Ferreira Gomes, Rebecca Navarette, Brittany Weaver, Laura Sidajeva, Chloe Gray (C), Victoria Bradford, Holly Coupland, Freya Peters & Libby Friel. Subs – Cayley Ainsworth, Rebecca Rigby, Ana Rodrigues Costa, Annie Vayro & China Smith.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

   Rain falling steadily the pitch wet going to be a muddy one. Park to get the match underway kicking off 1st half wearing navy and red vertical striped shirts with white trim, navy shorts and socks. Pinchbeck in their away colours gold shirts with navy shorts and sock. The ball pressed straight away by Pinchbeck closing do Park in the final third won on the left a diagonal ball put in towards the top of the area Park goalkeeper Liv Goode out well to sliding in and save the ball before it can be attacked.

The tempo fast from the off Park bring the ball on from the back played out to the left long for Sophie Fenner, getting on down the flank is tackled by Pinchbeck’s Alexandra Ferreira Gomes the ball out for a corner kick. The delivery in towards the near post headed clear get straight on the counter the ball gathered into her feet by Holly Coupland drives on before sending a low ball racing into the cut out by Park’s Nikki Hassock conceding a corner. Played in near side attacked but send wide for a goalkick. Pinchbeck coming on well at the start of the game won in the middle Laura Sidajeva passes the ball out to Coupland pushing on down the right flank and early diagonal ball with Freya Peters breaking in behind through the middle, Goode out to close her down quickly get her gloves around the ball.

  Fenner attacking down the left winning a throw high for Park, the hosts bring bodies forwards keeping possession Francesca Plitsch swinging a good delivery into the area, headed clear by Pinchbeck’s Rebecca Navarette. Park come straight back at them Fenner left rolled forwards into Georgia Stimson central she unleashes a strike from 25 yards out the shot wide at the near post. The resulting goalkick played straight to Stimson 25 yards out gets a shot away before she can be closed down 20 yards out left of the D the ball hitting the side netting. 

Pinchbeck United Ladies captain Chloe Gray bringing the ball forwards.

  Park winning a corner on the left the ball played in by Plitsch near side, Georgia Payne getting a touch knocking the ball to the floor, can’t get a shot away before she is closed down the ball launched clear. Hassock getting a foot on the ball as she lunges in to take it away from Libby Friel looking to get on the end of Coupland’s ball fed into the box from the right, a corner awarded. Park defending the attack ending with a goal kick. Pinchbeck’s turn to latch onto a stray kick, as their captain Chloe Gray latches onto the ball 30 yards out, looks to put it straight back in but knocked high over the bar.

GOAL! 11 minutes played and the visitors take the lead Pinchbeck winning the ball in the middle attacking quickly players racing forwards the ball with Coupland on the right getting down the wing lifting a cross in towards the near side, Friel getting clear meeting it her 1st touch chipping it over and wide of the keeper into the back of the net 0-1.

GOAL! Park get straight up the other end an equalise, the ball played into Stimson right side is allowed to come on shifts the ball attacking the area evading a challenge and the top of the area with goalkeeper Lita Abelite coming to close her down gets her shot away across goal on target but has it got the pace? Players racing in, Payne with Ferreira Gomes on her shoulder neither can get a telling touch the ball rolling in to cross the line inside the far post 1-1. Stimson scoring her 14th goal of the season.

Georgia Stimson equalising straight away for Park Ladies

 Despite the rain falling the game played at a furious pace players closing the ball down in the middle, alot of mud collected already the top slick and sticky will take it’s toll on the legs no doubt. Park get hold the ball right side Plitsch sending it on down the line the cross sent in early to the near post Payne escaping her marker get’s a shot away, Abelite down quickly legs split to make a good save send the ball behind for a corner. 

 The ball finding Payne at the near post getting it down can find no way through the ball cleared for a throw out wide Park keeping hold of it in the final 3rd passed in field into Eilish Brown turns into the shot near side the shot straight at Abelite safely held. Park with a good response after falling behind coming straight back to level have Pinchbeck on the back foot. Brittany Weaver winning a tackle at the ball for Pinchbeck plays if forwards up to Peters and Friel in attack the pair look to combine through the middle Hassocks getting her foot in to intercept the ball. Peters after the ball played into her run on the left side, Goode coming out well to the top of her area sliding in to get her gloves around the ball. Gray has a go from 30 yards out her effort wide across the goal.

GOAL! Pinchbeck win a corner ball on the left side, a good delivery put in towards the near post close to goal Coupland free meeting it on the volley to turn the ball in past the keeper to score putting the visitors back into the lead 1-2. 

Holly Coupland restoring Pinchbeck’s lead

  Pinchbeck making a change straight after the goal bringing China Smith on for Sidajeva. A race for the substitute straight away as Plitsch threads a ball in behind for Payne to attack, Smith going with her, Abelite rushing out of her box just about getting there first to clear. Park come straight back the ball fed to Stimson right side top of the area getting a shot away the ball wide across the six yard box. Park with a good response again after falling behind Payne a threat in attack strong on the ball gets it into her feet 20 out running at the box lines up a shot the attempt narrowly over. 

Tinneisha Mott on the ball for Park Ladies

  Pinchbeck playing the ball long have Coupland attacking right a throw won, a high ball into the box headed clear by Park the break on Plitsch linking up with Fenner on the left Abelite coming to clear for Pinchbeck. Helen Barker getting forwards from the back for Pinchbeck on the left rolls it on to Peters, a good shift of the ball taking her in behind to attack the box, Hassock across well lunging in to tackle put the ball out for a corner kick. In again low at the near post Park get it away in the resulting scramble a break on the ball put up into the attackers quickly Pinchbeck’s Smith with the defending putting the ball out for a throw. Players up the ball into Payne sending a shot from the top right hand corner of the box wide across goal.

 Gray attempts one over the top for Pinchbeck with both Peters and Friel breaking in behind, Goode though out well towards the top of her area to claim. A double change fro Pinchbeck with Sidajeva coming back on along with Annie Vayro. Brown receiving the ball in the middle off Plitsch rolls it forwards into Payne’s feet she switches it out to the right quickly for Stimson who squares a cross in back along the top of the area the ball cut out by Weaver and cleared up field. Coupland away on the right wing taking the ball on cuts it back towards the top of the area, finds Peters inside the D her first time strike narrowly wide at the far post. 

  Park make a change, their 2nd actually missed the first as Green who had come off for Sian Holcroft now comes back on Mott. Payne getting hold of the ball outside the box on the right, tackled by Barker slowing her down Payne gets it back to swing in a cross Navarette heading clear for Pinchbeck. Park getting forwards well winning the ball in the middle Brown involved up to Payne 25 out turns looking to plough her way through, Weaver in to challenge. Involved in the action myself as is the risk you take the ball knocked out of play head down in the notepad the calls come but too late, creeping under the umbrella the notepad taking the brunt of the blow gathering some fen land mud as a souvenir in the process. But I’ve had it square in the face from close range before so carry on, the action certainly is.

Pinchbeck United Ladies, Brittany Weaver

  Can see why both sides are doing well this season, the pitch conditions not helping either play their natural game Pinchbeck going long at times, Hassock and Holcroft dealing with it for the most part, Friel always looking to get in behind however. Green threading the ball through for Payne, Weaver on her the final defender as they bear down on the box has to get her tackle right and lunging in takes the ball away from her behind for a corner. Won on the right the ball played on as Plitsch drifts over to the right sends a good delivery into the box, Fenner flying in far side trying to get her leg to the ball can’t quite connect. 

  Rebecca Rigby comes on for Pinchbeck in place of Weaver at the back. Abelite makes the save for Pinchbeck as park play in a free-kick from halfway into the top of the area headed down dropping left side Payne getting hold of it to fire in a low shot, the goalkeeper down at her near post to save. Gemma Hutton entering the action for Park with Howe coming off. Pinchbeck get Coupland on the ball right side fires in a shot on the angle, Goode diving to her left saving well pushing the ball down comes straight to Peters, Goode up quickly as the attacker brings in down, fires her shot over the bar. A good battle going on on Park’s left between Fenner and Pinchbeck’s Ferreira Gomes the ball into the winner following good work from Green, Payne and Stimson in the middle Gomes close in on Fenner getting in a good tackle to break up the attack. 

Pinchbeck United Ladies, Helen Barker

  Green furthest forwards for Park and she runs on through the middle the ball put over the defence into her path Abelite coming to close the angle, Green looking to chip her from 20 yards out, Abelite tall though gets an outstretched arm to the ball gloving it away  from her goal beyond. Ana Rodrigues Costa on late in the first half for Pinchbeck replacing Sidajeva. 

GOAL! Park have been strong since falling 2-1 behind Payne a threat in attack taking players on the ball out right side slipped through to her moving into the box clear pace taking her on wide of the near post shoots the ball racing in low is past Abelite before she can get down to it inside the post to level the scores right at the end of the 1st half 2-2.

Half-time Park Ladies 2-2 Pinchbeck United Ladies

  A highly entertaining match so far despite the rain, the pitch muddy cutting up making playing conditions difficult a good start and tempo to the game through out from both sides, Pinchbeck opening the scoring conceding straight away, Park with a good response, Pinchbeck getting themselves back into the lead. Park coming on well again on top for much of the half after the goal, Pinchbeck playing the ball long limiting their opportunities in attack, a threat on the counter nonetheless, Park coming back to level it up for a 2nd time late on, all square the only thing guaranteed in the 2nd half is more rain. 

Muddy out there, not the weekend to be the one assigned to wash the kits.

 Roll on roll off substitutes used frequently by both sides the pitch sapping legs highly muddy now, glad I’m not the one washing those kits. Pinchbeck to get the 2nd half underway. Attack down the right, Liv Hedley closing down Coupland slowing her down Hassock coming across to clear. Park send the pass out wide to Plitsch out on the right looks to take players on as she seeks to get into the box, play brought back for a free-kick on her with no advantage. The delivery in towards the near post safely gathered into her midriff by Abelite. 

GOAL!  Park take the lead early in the 2nd half the move starting at the back as Goode gathers it inside the box with Pinchbeck on the attack, kicking out of her hands the ball long finding Payne clear right side takes it down well knocking in on driving forwards shooting on the angle across the keeper, Abelite gets her finger tips to it but not enough to divert it past the far post 3-2. 

Georgia Payne putting Park Ladies into the lead early in the 2nd half

 Coupland working hard on the right for Pinchbeck back to win the ball turning play around on for Peters right ahead of her, Park defending as she tries to come in field. Park pressing the ball well keeping a good shape at the back, Plitsch covering alot of ground as well as gathering alot of mud in the middle. Brown in to win the ball left side and Pinchbeck look to gain ground. On for Payne the ball put into the box, Abelite punching it clear, Park keep alive in the final 3rd Green getting hold of the ball winning a throw high up the pitch.

Park’s Francesca Plitsch enjoying the sliding tackles this afternoon

GOAL! Park doubling their advantage early in the 2nd half the hosts coming on through the middle the ball fed into Payne 30 yards out central has Stimson making a run left of her into a central position top of the area the pass perfect getting her in behind Abelite racing out to close her down Stimson shooting a clinical finish past the keeper to find the goal beyond 4-2.

  Pinchbeck bring on Cayley Ainsworth for Navarette at the back. Coupland pressing on the right side playing in Peters, looks to burst into the box, Holcroft getting onto her shoulder making the tackle inside the box for Park. Payne and Stimson with some good link up play in attack for Park finding gaps in the Pinchbeck defence, Payne left side slipping Stimson in Abelite racing out of her box, just about getting there to clear. 

Pinchbeck United Ladies, Freya Peters

GOAL! Pinchbeck get hold of the ball in the middle Peters to Coupland a superb ball forwards into Friel 25 yards out a good touch seeing her skip in behind the defence to take the ball on into the area one on one with the keeper takes the shot early putting it wide of her to score 4-3.

  Pinchbeck with a good response to having fallen 2 goals behind pulling one back getting more of the play in the middle, Coupland doing well on the right. Ainsworth tackling Payne as the Park attacker aims to break into the box central a throw won high on the right. Playing conditions really difficult now the steady rain making the pitch tough to play on both sides for their part though keeping energy levels high the action not slowing down at all. Friel leading the line for Pinchbeck giving Hassock and Holcroft plenty to think about. Holcroft this time going with Friel as she gives chase to a forwards pass getting it back to Goode to kick up field. 

  Barker winning the ball back on the left for Pinchbeck sending a good ball up to Friel in attack left side cheating it down to turn into the box, Holcroft recovering quickly to slide in put the ball. Ainsworth cutting the ball out twice in quick succession in the box as Plitsch tries to fed the ball into Payne from the right.

GOAL! Friel completing her hat-trick to bring Pinchbeck back on level terms finds room out on the left as the ball is won in the middle send in low into her path escaping the Park defence closing in on the box Goode coming to close her down, Friel takes on the early shot sending the ball racing past the keeper to find the bottom corner 4-4.

19 goals for the season for Pinchbeck’s Libby Friel

   An action packed encounter the momentum back in Pinchbeck’s favour fighting back to level the scores Friel now has 19 goals from 9 played. Mott back on for Park getting up on the right a cross in near side held by Abelite. Goode saving low at her left hand post as Friel out wide fires in a shot from the angle. Smith coming back on for Barker. Brown to Fenner on the left in behind, Abelite out of her box to get her foot on the ball, the clearance straight to Stimson holding it up as players race forwards sends in from the right Abelite back across her goal holding at the near post. Coupland has ran herself into the ground picking up a knock comes off for Pinchbeck, Bradford coming back on. 

Francesca Plitsch sliding in to tackle Pinchbeck’s Annie Vayro

   Hassock just about gets her toe on the ball an outstretched leg to take the ball away from Friel inside the box as she lines up a shot, goes after it collecting on the byline to fire a ball across the face of goal, Hedley defending at the far post for Park. Green back on for Park as Payne has to come off to have a bleeding knee seen too. Ferreira Gomes fouling Fenner this time out on the left as she looks to get past her. Holcroft with the set play 30 yards out angles a shot in towards goal falls safely into Abelite’s gloves. 

 Into the final 10 minutes both sides tiring gaps opening up both intent on finding a winning goal whilst weary of making a mistake at the back. Peters gets in behind the Park defence right side of the D closing in on the box Goode coming to close the angle Peters shoots looking to put it through the keepers legs, skips up however allowing Goode to close her thighs make the save. The loose ball coming to Friel central Park defenders racing back her attempt on goal block the rebound looping back up to Gray 25 yards out left side blasts her shot wide. 

Park Ladies goalkeeper, Liv Goode

 Payne back on the field replacing Hutton. Plitsch spreading play to the right with Green finding space to get on down the line whips in a cross Abelite claiming at her near post with Fenner making a fantastic run in behind. 5 minutes left players struggling to keep up the pace now as both press on Pinchbeck get on down the right a throw high up the pitch turned on in towards the top of the area Holcroft and Hassock defending against Friel. The game stretched now end to end, Hassock tackling Friel as the ball fired into her from halfway. The result could yet go either way. 

Freya Peters clearing for Pinchbeck late on

 Park with a late corner on the right Green getting forwards the ball put in high, headed clear, Park keeping possession back to Green on the right fires in the cross, Abelite collecting it for Pinchbeck. It ends all square the points shared.

Full time Park Ladies 4-4 Pinchbeck United Ladies

 A highly entertaining match to watch fantastic for the neutral played at a good tempo both sides giving it their all in difficult playing conditions. Park the first side to take points off Pinchbeck this season. The visitors with the opening goal, Park coming back straight away a good response Pinchbeck though getting back into the lead. Park coming back late in the first half going on to get themselves into a 4-2 lead early in the 2nd period Pinchbeck’s turn to fight back quickly getting it back to 4-3 conditions sapping energy gaps appearing at the back Friel exploiting them well to get her hat-trick level it up at 4-4. Both sides searching for a late winner Goode with a couple of good saves to deny Pinchbeck. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A few to give mention too from both sides hard to pick one, Holly Coupland with great work and energy on the right for Pinchbeck, Libby Friel in attack finding the space as the Park defence tired to score a well taken hat-trick. For Park, Georgia Payne in attack caused the Pinchbeck defence problems all game scoring twice. Francesca Plitsch superb in the middle covering alot of ground getting across the park to win the ball. The award though goes to Park’s Nikki Hassock had a great game at the back making several crucial and well times tackles throughout.

An enjoyable first trip to Parkfields despite the weather, good to see both sides for the first time, my thanks to both for helping me with the team details always appreciated. 

 Uncertain and worrying times ahead as the country fights the COVID-19 outbreak. Will continue to follow the advice given and not panic. Concerned of course, take care of yourselves and look out for each other.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage FC Women

Sunday 8th March

FAWNL South East Division One

No storm sweeping in across the country this weekend so for the first time in a month it was nice to make plans early get a game sorted, keen to get some action in from the FAWNL, headed to St Neots Town FC this Sunday to watch Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage FC Women. 

  Battles shaping up well at both ends of the table competitive in the top half for the title race and in the bottom half although no one wants to be there a crucial period coming up for the sides wanting to avoid relegation. The two promoted sides Kent Football United and Cambridge City Ladies positioned in the bottom two are just a couple of positive results (if they can find them) from getting clear of trouble, the sides immediately above scrapping for points themselves to keep clear of danger amongst those today’s opponents Cambridge and Stevenage. Norwich in the mix too and all the sides in the bottom five have crunch games against each other coming up.

Cambridge United WFC into the 2nd of a 4 game run against the sides in and around them. An Emma Jenkin’s goal enough to secure all 3 points away to bottom side Kent Football United last weekend lifts them up to 8th in the South East Division One table 5 points clear of the bottom two with a trio of home matches to come starting with Stevenage this afternoon, then local rivals Cambridge City and Norwich City Women at The Abbey Stadium on Weds 18th March. The women’s sides making the switch to a new ground this season now at St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium along with their Development side.

New beginnings bringing mixed fortunes, a new era of sorts an great opportunity to grow a new fan base great facilities but a change in coaching set up saw several player departures before the season started the squad smaller struggling for results early on, out of the cups early. A long period without a game more changes in management Ben Yeomans stetting up from assistant to first team coach. New faces coming in the club has never been sort of positively. The move to St Neots seeing Cambridge United unable to defend the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup this season but now within the catchment area of the Huntingtonshire FA have reached the final of the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Cup, facing St Ives Town Ladies on Thursday 23rd April at Eynesbury Rovers FC.

Stevenage FC Women themselves playing in the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup final next Sunday taking on Watford Ladies U23s for the second successive final. Will be Stevenage’s sixth consecutive County Cup final appearance and will be looking to regain the trophy from their opponents. Joining forces with the Stevenage FC Foundation this season were looking to push on become an established side in the FAWNL having recently gained promotion. Injuries a few long term and being unable to secure a main shirt sponsor hampering their season somewhat falling to 10th spot four points clear of the bottom two have been unlucky with some results scoring goals okay just conceding too many. A narrow 3-2 defeat away to Leyton Orient WFC last time out. Beat Cambridge United comfortably 4-0 in the reverse fixture back in September and have home games against the bottom two to come.

Once I’ve successfully negotiated the roadworks on the A14 at Cambridge the venue for today’s game The Premier Plus Stadium home of St Neots Town FC as well Cambridge United WFC. The entrance to the pitch through the clubhouse hot drinks available onto the stadium itself the grass pitch in great condition offering good width. Dark cloud around and quite breezy didn’t talk of much rain around but short sharp showers would be a feature of the afternoon, one before kick-off as the teams warmed up seeing an early retreat to the changing rooms. Headed to the mainstand myself but the wind blowing straight into it offered little protection. Like to be on the opposite of the pitch however and as the rain died decided to risk it.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Charlotte Crisp, Carrie Bennett, Albany Hodgson, Jemma Moore, Faith Hewitt, Gisela Otten (C), Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Amber Cantwell & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Abi Davies, Kayleigh-Anne Burt & Katie White.

Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Grace Brooks, Leah Dunnage, Gemma Biggadike, Lucy Webster, Dominique Godbeer, Cara Breckenridge, Amy Josland, Ashleigh Deacon, Tamsyn Sibanda, Amy Makewell (C) & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Charlotte McLucas, Erin Pope & Katie Knell.

Amy Butler making her debut in goal for Cambridge, new arrived from ERWFL Premier Division side Colney Heath Ladies. Allowing Albany Hodgson to rejoin the defence having donned the goalkeeping gloves herself in the last couple of matches, injuries at the back also seeing Charlotte Crisp usually operating in midfield at right back. Stevenage to kick off the first half wearing white shirts with red vertical pinstripes, red shorts and socks. Cambridge opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black sleeves black shorts and socks. Playing the ball back towards their defence Cambridge press high the ball released sent long out to the left knocked on into the box, Butler with an early touch of the ball off her line to kick clear.

 Cambridge work the ball through the middle Amber Cantwell putting it out to the right for Amy Howlett running on up the line cuts inside, Stevenage’s Leah Dunnage closing in to put in the tackle prevent a cross. Pace from both sides going forwards Stevenage come on the diagonal pass into Ashleigh Deacon on the right side, bursts on with the ball travelling into the box players rushing on through the middle to join her the ball squared along the top of the six yard box, Hodgson cutting it out for Cambridge. Deacon a threat on the right side early on getting hold of the ball taking it on fires another ball into the six yard box Nicole Emmings seeing it into her feet laying it back to captain Amy Makewell top of the area strikes it back on on target low but well seen by Butler back on her line down to save. 

Cambridge’s Amy Howlett with Stevenage captain Amy Makewell

 A lively start from both sides Faith Hewitt getting hold of the ball on halfway for Cambridge sending it up field to Emma Jenkins on the right Gemma Biggadike staying with her Jenkins forces a corner. The delivery long through the six yard box before being cleared. A crunching 50/50 ball in the middle between Stevenage’s Amy Josland and Cambridge captain Gisela Otten the rebound favouring Stevenage Emmings getting hold of it on the left jinking her way into the area Butler coming to close the angle takes it around wide on the angle shoots the ball landing in the side netting.

Cambridge United WFC captain, Gisela Otten

  Lucy Webster coming across the back line to tackle Jenkins as she gets free on the left for Cambridge. Emmings causing problems in attack for Stevenage moving out to the left head down on the ball looks to get in behind a good tackle from Crisp to regain possession. A good contest in the middle of the park, the ball closed down Cara Breckenridge this time playing the ball to Deacon on the right has Makewell giving her a run ahead of her into the box laying it into her path, Jemma Moore gets across well to lunge in front of her to take the ball away before the attacker can pull the trigger. 

Ashleigh Deacon taking the ball on for Stevenage

  Cantwell getting forwards with the ball at her feet, is brought down, the advantage played as the ball runs straight to Kelley Blanchflower she plays it across the top of the area to Jenkins left side, upended by Webster, Cambridge get the free-kick this time. Jenkins herself to take floating the ball into the area, Stevenage’s Dominique Godbeer winning the header dropping down outside the box, Cantwell after it puts her foot through the ball her strike charged down. Neither side on top getting forwards quickly Cambridge have it on the right a throw won taken quickly Cantwell laying it on up the right for Blanchflower, strong on the ball takes it in towards goal a defender on her shoulder gets a shot away the ball wide across the face of goal. 

Stevenage’s Lucy Webster

 Blanchflower seeing the ball into her feet right channel 25 yards out takes it on into the area Godbeer sliding in as she shoots the deflection seeing the ball come out to Hewitt 20 yards out top of the D strikes it first time screws it high and wide of the left post. Hewitt with a fantastic tackle to win the ball inside the Stevenage half attempts to thread it through for Blanchflower a little too much on it allows Stevenage goalkeeper, Grace Brooks to claim. Both sides looking to get their wide players on the ball Jenkins is fouled as she tries to get into the box coming in from the left. Jenkins has a go for goal a high ball presenting a danger to Brooks back on her line as it drops goalwards… but lands safely on the rook of the net. 

The ball’s there if you look for it a tricky on for Stevenage goalkeeper Grace Brooks to keep an eye on.

 

  GOAL! 19 minute played and the deadlock is broken, Stevenage getting forwards well pressure in the final third, Deacon with the ball right side takes in on towards the corner, players race on through the middle to support Deacon sends a dangerous ball into the six yard box, Hodgson falling cutting it out central sends it out towards the top of the area, straight to Amy Josland she strikes it first time getting curve on the ball sending it swerving away from the keeper into the bottom corner to give the visitors the lead 0-1. 

Amy Josland firing Stevenage into the lead.

 Stevenage lively getting forwards well Makewell giving an option drifting into the right channel the ball fed to her takes it on Moore closing her down the pair tussling for the ball Makewell fouling the free-kick going Cambridge’s way much to her annoyance. Stevenage on through the middle Sibanda inside for Josland, Hodgson intercepting and sending up field to Howlett on the right goes on finding Blanchflower ahead of her powerful with the ball at her feet holding off her marker the angle tight sends her shot into the side netting. 

  Jenkins with the ball left side Hewitt up with her inside 25 yards out gives her the ball, opens her body to clip it forwards for Blanchflower stealing in behind, Brooks down well to save at the strikers feet. Hewitt involved again winning it central her pass finding Cantwell 30 yards out right of goal takes on the shot the ball held by Brooks. Otten with a couple of challenges to slow Stevenage down before a somewhat out of control tackle by Cantwell sliding in gives the visitors a free-kick 25 yards out right of goal. Sibanda over it goes for goal her effort wide of the near post. 

Stevenage striker, Nicole Emmings

  Stevenage coming on well in the last 5 minutes getting bodies forwards pushing Cambridge back Deacon right side a corner won. A good delivery into the six yard box Otten does well to clear for Cambridge play brought back for a head injury to Hodgson. Josland in quick to win the ball, up to Emmings the striker can’t find the room to get a shot away top of the box before being crowded off the ball. A high ball played forwards into the Cambridge area awkward for Hodgson to deal with Makewell in close attention the ball bouncing, Makewell getting to it first hitting it on the angle towards the near post Butler can’t take any chances down to palm it behind for the corner. From the left inswinging into the six yard box Cantwell doing well getting there ahead of Godbeer to put it behind for a 2nd corner on the right. Another good delivery across six yard box Godbeer free this time at the back stick rising to head the ball her effort coming back off the crossbar. 

 Cantwell and Jenkins combine well through the middle for Cambridge, exchanging passes before Jenkins plays it out to Howlett on the right, takes it on Dunnage in to win the ball back for Stevenage. A good take by Brooks low in her box as Cambridge come on Cantwell into Jenkins coming in from the left her shot taking a deflection, Brooks across down to save. Biggadike gets on right side for Stevenage ahead of Deacon fires in a cross/shot towards the near post Butler keeping her eyes on it well gathered even as Emmings lunges at it in front of her. 

Charlotte Crisp getting on with the ball for Cambridge United WFC

 Cambridge picking it up in the closing minutes of the 1st half getting forwards better Hewitt winning it on for Blanchflower right of the D a good diagonal ball picks out Jenkins coming in from the left pushes it in cross the top of the six yard box looking to get a shot way just runs too far allows Godbeer to get across her and clear the ball out for a throw right side. Dropping into Blanchflower the Cambridge attacker turns and strikes the ball her effort a foot over the crossbar. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Stevenage FC Women

  Stevenage slightly edging the 1st half with a 1-0 going into the break. A competitive game a good battle going on in the middle between Cambridge’s Otten and Hewitt up agianst Stevenage’s Breckenridge and Josland. Both sides looking to get forwards quickly use the width Deacon in particular on the right, Emmings in attack showing good movement, Cantwell with good options left and right with Blanchflower up top. One goal in it the 2nd half will be no less eventful. The rain making a return at half-time the reserve umbrella up just another light shower however as the sides return to the pitch.

No changes made, Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway. A early clearance presented to Blanchflower drifting left has support from Jenkins ahead of her rolls her in her cross into the area cut out by Godbeer for Stevenage. Cambridge making a fast start to the 2nd half the ball won back high play turned around Blanchflower left sends it on towards the box, intercepted by Webster deflects off her legs straight to Cantwell inside the D has Howlett free inside the box to her right plays the pass by even as Howlett’s shot nestles in the bottom corner the whistle blows for a raised flag, offside. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Amy Howlett

Under pressure early on the ball cleared up to the left, Makewell does well to bring it down keep in play putting it back to Sibanda a good strike of the ball to send it up the wing for Emmings running in behind takes it on, Moore getting across to challenge the ball behind for a corner kick. Players come forwards a vicious ball fired in low through the six yard box Emmings lunging at it far post isn’t too far away from making a telling contact. 

Gemma Biggadike challenging Gisela Otten for the ball

 Cambridge sharper to the ball now getting their tackles in high Hewitt out for Howlett right goes on with it, Sibanda getting back to tackle her. Crisp fouled as she gets forwards on the right. The free-kick put high into the area headed clear by Godbeer, Stevenage get on he counter attack Deacon out to Emmings moving right, Moore closing down to send the ball out for a throw. The sun making an appearance a rainbow over the ground. The tempo high Cambridge coming on Cantwell clipped top of the D as she looks to get a shot away a free-kick for Cambridge, Jenkins on it hits it low strikes the wall deflected out to the left more Cambridge pressing brings a corner. The ball cleared Stevenage can’t make any head way in attack as Cambridge come straight back, Cantwell left 20 out looks to thread it into Blanchflower inside the box near post, Brooks just about gets there but a deflection sees the ball behind for a corner.

 GOAL! 56 minutes played and Cambridge equalise scoring from the corner, Cantwell to play it in a good inswinging delivery close over the goalkeeper, players attacking it beyond one of those Hewitt getting her head on the ball nodding it down into the back of the net 1-1. 

Faith Hewitt with the header to put Cambridge United WFC level

  Stevenage with a quick response coming close to retaking the lead within seconds of the restart, the ball into Deacon right side hits it on the run her strike clipping the crossbar. Stevenage come again another effort at goal stabbed wide by Josland from 25 yards out. Blanchflower making some great runs in attack for Cambridge now clear to the right takes the ball on into the corner options limited nevertheless spots Hewitt positioned inside the D sends the ball racing into her Hewitt not quite able to connect. Otten with a strong challenge breaking up a Stevenage attack the visitors frustrated now not getting the ball into their attackers as easily as they did first half. 

Amy Josland in to tackle Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins

  Sibanda with some good tackling left side for Stevenage looking to get on up the field attempts to thread a pass through for Emmings in behind but Butler with a good starting position can get there first to claim. Blanchflower fouled on the left a free-kick awarded. Cantwell to deliver put in close to the keeper, Jenkins up with her Brooks gloving the ball up onto the bar before it goes over. A lively contest both sides going for it Stevenage’s Emmings shows good control on the ball to work it out to Deacon to her left, Moore coming in to close down with a good challenge. 

Cambridge’s Amber Cantwell

 Sibanda getting up to support the attack on the left on to Emmings comes inside striking the ball from 20 yards out, Crisp sticking out a leg getting in the block for Cambridge. Sibanda staying up high left winning a throw keeps the attack alive turning inside to get another shot away again Crisp is there to block near post. Stevenage with a good spell of pressure Emmings has it left on the by-line strong to turn inside sends a cross into the six yard box Makewell there gets a touch the ball send wide at the far post. Stevenage make the first change of the match bringing on Katie Knell for Breckenridge as the rain starts to fall again 20 minutes left to play.

Charlotte Crisp getting a leg out to block Emmings shot

  GOAL! Cambridge regain possession in the middle Hewitt on for Blanchflower left channel sends it on for Jenkins racing away down the wing she fires in a fierce ball into the far post Brooks down to save gloves it away loose out to the top of the box, Blanchflower racing in first to it strikes it hard arrowing into the goal beyond 2-1.

Cambridge striker Kelley Blanchflower holding off Stevenage’s Tamsyn Sibanda

 Stevenage make a 2nd change straight away Erin Pope comes on for Biggadike. Cambridge on the attack good work from Otten winning it central puts it to Blanchflower moving left down the line her ball into the box finds its way through to Howlett, doesn’t get a clean strike of the ball, sliced wide. Cambridge make their first change with Katie White coming on for Jenkins. Pope with a snapshot 20 yards out as the ball is deflected into her path sends it wide of goal. Stevenage pushing players on risk leaving gaps at the back Blanchflower ready to exploit the ball over the top seeing her clear through the middle, Brooks comes out of her area attempting to win the race not quick enough Blanchflower attempts to put it past her fortune favours the keeper as it strikes her legs.

  Crisp taking a quick free-kick up to Blanchflower inside the box Godbeer on her shoulder let of goal manages to get a shot away deflected across the face of goal Howlett retrieving right side puts back in Webster intercepting for Stevenage. Cantwell winning a corner for Cambridge on the right puts in another good delivery Hewitt further out winning the header on target down, cleared on the line by Sibanda. Stevenage with a free-kick on halfway the ball finding Pope top of the D gets a snapshot away blasts it wide of the right post. A third change for Stevenage as Godbeer comes off on comes Charlotte McLucas to make her first team debut. 

Stevenage’s Erin Pope in to tackle Cambridge’s Amy Howlett late on

 Hodgson closing down Emmings to concede a throw as the Stevenage attacker looks to get on right side into the box. A few strong challenges coming in late on both sides giving as good as they get Stevenage keen to get on with the clock running down, Cambridge battling to hold onto their lead. The game heading into stoppage time play frantic, Sibanda tackling Howlett puts it inside to Makewell can’t shake off Otten.

  Cambridge trying to get it down into the corners, easier said than done, Hewitt into Blanchflower, Sibanda closing her down to regain possession doesn’t stick up top, Cantwell cleans out Sibanda as she looks to carry it out on the left, earning her the first yellow card of the game. Into the final minute Crisp bringing the ball on rolled into Blanchflower held up in the Stevenage final 3rd no time to mount one last attack as the final whistle blows and Cambridge win another valuable 3 points.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 2-1 Stevenage FC Women 

 Cambridge with back to back wins 6 points seeing them pull further clear of the battle at the bottom, Stevenage now very much in it losing today and seeing Cambridge City Ladies win at home to Norwich the 2nd bottom side closing the gap to just a point. Several crucial games to come. A good first half from Stevenage starting well and stayed on the front foot through out the first 45 minutes taking the lead and creating several good opportunities. Cambridge not out of it by any means with chances of their own. The 2nd half very much Cambridge’s started well he pressure paying off equalising from a corner then going onto take the lead with 20 minutes left. Stevenage make then work hard for the 3 points an intriguing contest, Stevenage had chances to level.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few performances of note and a tough one to decide who gets the award. For Stevenage, Ashleigh Deacon was a threat going forwards on the right and Nicole Emmings showed great movement and presence in attack. Tamsyn Sibanda with some fantastic challenges especially 2nd half. For Cambridge Jemma Moore with some timely tackles at the back. Amber Cantwell with good movement and passing spot on from her corners. Kelley Blanchflower in attack always available making good runs creating goal scoring opportunities. Now it gets tough really the final two are neck and neck for me but have to pick one, Faith Hewitt was fantastic in the middle for Cambridge great tackling and good runs forwards supporting the attack, the award though goes to Charlotte Crisp not usually at right back but had an excellent game made several important tackles and blocks.

An enjoyable trip to the Premier Plus Stadium this Sunday, my thanks to both sides for the team details. Will be seeing Stevenage again next Sunday in the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

Wednesday 4th March

Cambridge City Ladies v Histon Ladies

  The first of this season’s Cup Finals this Wednesday night in the East, the Cambridgeshire Women’s S-Tech Insurance Invitation Cup this season being contested between Cambridge City Ladies & Histon Ladies.

  The Invitation Cup Final being hosted for the 2nd season at The Abbey Stadium home of Cambridge United FC the counties leading club. Women’s football growing in Cambridgeshire the two county divisions the Premiership and Championship seeing a rapid growth this season. Women’s and girls football in Cambridgeshire supported by S-Tech Insurance along association now into it’s 13th year sponsoring tonight’s final.

  The holders of the cup however not taking part this season, Cambridge United WFC dominating the competition on recent season’s moving to a new ground this season St Neots Town FC which falls under the Huntingdonshire FA umbrella they themselves launching an inaugural Women’s Cup this season, that final to be contested by Cambridge United WFC and St Ives Town Ladies. Unable to defend the trophy the opportunity to win silverware going to a new face?

  Well not so new in Cambridge City Ladies case as they won the trophy two season’s back beating rivals Cambridge United WFC, the pair dominating the final recently as Cambridge City Ladies rose rapidly through the women’s football pyramid, reaching the FAWNL. Have an equally ambitious Development side new to regional football this season topping the table in ERWFL Division One North and new for this season too a third side Cambridge City Ladies A competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership. Reaching the final of the Invitation Cup yet again it is a distraction from their league woes Cambridge City struggling for points 2nd bottom of FAWNL South East Division One with some crucial games coming up, the chance of winning silverware tonight an excellent opportunity with the added incentive of possibly inspiring the team for tough games to come.

  Histon Ladies reaching the Invitation Cup for the first time, although themselves were familiar opponents for Cambridge United… then Cambridge Women before Cambridge City came along. Back then were know as Great Shelford Ladies. That name consigned to history now as the club joined forces with Histon FC and getting good support playing at the club’s Glassworld Stadium are looking to grow become a strong force for women’s football in Cambridgeshire adding a youth section, the 1st team competing in ERWFL Division One North, a Reserves side coming in too to bolster the 1st team playing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership have made it a cup final double by reaching the Junior Invitation Cup Final, where it could yet be a copy of this evenings final with Cambridge City Ladies A meeting Newmarket Town Women Development in the other semi-final. As well as reaching the Invitation Cup Final, Histon are also into the last four of the ERWFL Plate competition.

Road the the Final

  Both Cambridge City Ladies and Histon Ladies receiving a bye in the 1st Round of this season’s Invitation Cup progressing to the 2nd Round/Quarter Finals. Cambridge City Ladies were drawn away to Premiership side March Town United Ladies a gap of 4 leagues between the pair. Karly Tolentino joining Cambridge City this season netting a hat-trick as the FAWNL won through to the semi-finals 8-0. Histon Ladies were at home taking on Cambridge Women’s Premiership side and amongst the early table toppers Leverington Sports Ladies a potentially tricky tie, goals from Sydney Graham, Poppy Kelly, Siobhan White and Alison Wright saw Histon safely through winning 4-1.

  Onto the semi-finals Cambridge City Ladies were drawn at home to ERWFL Division One North side, Newmarket Town Women. The tie hit by the recent storms eventually switched to Newmarket’s 3G playing surface to complete. Giving up home advantage not affecting Cambridge City, Tolentino on target for another goal along with one each for Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing and Beatrice Fitzsimons returning from injury seeing them through 4-1 to this Wednesday’s final. Histon Ladies were away to Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds in the semi-finals of the competition. The Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side taking the lead from the penalty spot on 17 minutes. Histon coming back to level the scores through Poppy Kelly in the 44th minute went 2-1 up on the stroke of half-time as Kelly fired home her 2nd of the game. Fulbourn coming back to level it at 2-2 on the hour. Histon retaking the lead from a corner in the 69th minute Lauren Martin heading in at the near post. The cup final spot secured in the final minute Kelly clipped inside the box, Alison Wright putting the ball into the back of the net.

  A special occasion for both sides this evening getting to play at The Abbey Stadium the main stand open. hot food and drink available. A good crowd building. The pitch in good shape offering plenty of width the surface slickened up as rain began to fall and hour of so before kick-off falling lightly under the floodlights as the two sides were lead out onto the pitch by referee Stacey Fullicks. 

Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Laura Mills & Karly Tolentino. Subs – Becky Langthorpe, Beatrice Fitzsimons & Shannon Shaw.

Histon Ladies

 Histon Ladies starting XI – Eleanor Morgan Abby Laughlin, Georgia Huse, Amie Flack, Tessa Shaw, Sophie Lanham (C), Alison Wright, Lauren Martin, Abi Davies, Kirsty Geal & Poppy Kelly. Subs- Kaya Haq, Rebekah Fisk, Sophie Lanham, Tara Fitzjohn & Siobhan White.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Cambridge City to get this season’s Invitation Cup Final underway kicking of 1st half, wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Histon opposite lined up wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts. The ball played back to the defence captain Becca Fay sending it out to the right Charlotte Gillies on the flank bursting forwards, Georgie Huse in to defend for Histon the ball out for a throw. Cambridge quickly into their stride the ball out to the wings Gillies right and Freya Standing left looking to get on.

 Cambridge come right a throw won high up the pitch working down the line the cross into the box cleared straight to Laura Mills positioned inside the D, free opts to thread the ball low into the six yard box rather than take a strike herself, Amie Flack cutting it out clearing for Histon. Cambridge win the ball back central out to Gillies right down the line pace a cross whipped in near post Mills with the run, Histon goalkeeper, Eleanor Morgan in ahead of her to gather. 

Barely 3 minutes on the clock Histon on the back foot played the ball to their right, Lauren Tomlinson at left back winning it for Cambridge sending the ball on for Standing who has Karly Tolentino making a great run into the channel ahead of her, taking the ball on into the box Tolentino strikes it well from close range rising evades Morgan smashed into the top of the post beyond. Relentless from Cambridge as they win a corner left side the ball coming in low near post Morgan forwards taking it cleanly in her gloves despite a Cambridge attack lunging in in front of her.

Cambridge City Ladies, Freya Standing with Histon’s Abby Laughlin

  Histon need to get hold of the ball in the middle, Alison Wright does just that the ball played high into the box, Cambridge goalkeeper Dominika Szary catching it high under pressure from her left. Cambridge with the ball in the net on 6 minutes as Mills comes away with it on the right side fires in a low cross for Tolentino breaking on to the near post sides foots in across the keeper, but won’t count the flag up against her for offside.

  Cambridge moving the ball quickly Hannah Bodily to Sofia Castiglione in the middle of the park out to Standing on the left, jinks inside but is tackled by Histon’s Abby Laughlin. Played into the middle captain Sophie Lanham on for Wright looks to thread it between the Cambridge centre backs with Poppy Kelly breaking in behind, however Szary is quickly out of her area to sen the ball up field. A free-kick for Cambridge on the left Tomlinson to delivery sent in towards the top of the area, cleared by Histon looking to break sent out to the left wing Kirsty Geal looking to get hold of it take on the full back, Cambridge’s Amy Reed though with a good tackle to halt the advance. 

 Cambridge getting joy in the wings Gillies getting forwards on the right a corner kick won, players up from the back the ball sent in high near post Morgan getting a touch behind for a 2nd corner, this one short up the line to Bodily floats the ball into the six yard box, Morgan rising well to claim the ball. Lauren Martin onto the ball central for Histon releases Kelly in attack right channel in turn out to Abi Davies high on the wing, Histon getting a throw near the corner flag, Wright up towards the edge of the box to receive the ball down into her feet holding off her marker well turns to put in a cross near post Kelly in close meeting it sends her shot up over the bar.

  Reed bringing the ball on right side for Cambridge, played on into Gillies takes on the first time strike on the angle, Morgan down throwing herself into the dive to push the ball behind for a corner kick. The corner taken short again the ball lifted in towards the far post Davies up well to defend for Histon. Play end to end suddenly Histon coming on the pass finding Davies racing on right side her diagonal ball aimed into Kelly’s path, Szary racing out to the edge of her area to launch up field turns into a fantastic ball with Gillies running in behind surges on with the ball into the box, Huse with a great last ditch challenge sliding in to take the ball away. 

  Tolentino making some fantastic runs up top in attack for Cambridge, not staying on any single Histon defender hard to track gets on the move left to right towards the near side as Gillies gets hold of the ball right wing sends her in on goal gets her shot off early beating Morgan coming to close the angle the shot though narrowly wide across goal. Tomlinson making a strong tackle for Cambridge getting hold of the ball put down the left a throw won high, Tomlinson forwards to take has a long throw in her armoury put onto Tolentino’s chest inside the area brought down well.

  GOAL! 22 minutes played and Cambridge take the lead, Tolentino with a powerful run into the box left of goal half a yard clear, Tessa Shaw sliding in to make the challenge gets some of the ball but more of Tolentino as she attempts to close in on goal, the referee pointing to the spot. Shaw yellow carded. Tolentino picking herself up to take it struck well low and hard into the bottom left corner 1-0.

Karly Tolentino opening the scoring from the penalty spot for Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge piling forwards Tolentino lively up top all over the place Morgan exposed as she runs out to the ball right side, can’t pick up edge of the box, Gillies closing in taking the ball past her, Huse getting back to make the challenge clear the threat for Histon. Tolentino moves away to the left Tomlinson on the ball forwards for Standing into Tolentino she goes on towards the area twisting and turning on the ball before getting a high cross away into the six yard box, Huse with a strong header the clear not perturbed by Gillies in close attention. 

 Cambridge very close to being awarded a 2nd penalty the foul mere inches from being inside the box, Tolentino clipped the set-piece left of the D, Castiglione on it a curling shot clearing the wall an excellent save from Morgan back on her goal line tipping it over the bar. Morgan saving well from the resulting corner.

Histon goalkeeper Eleanor Morgan tipping Sofia Castiglione’s free-kick over the bar

 GOAL! Cambridge double their lead with the half hour fast approaching Histon trying to get on up the left the ball lost put down the line into Mills breaking in behind to fizz in a dangerous cross into the six yard box, Histon cut out but don’t clear, Tolentino latching onto the ball shifts it inside to give herself room and blasts it in from close range for her 2nd of the game 2-0.

Karly Tolentino with 2 goals in this evening’s Invitation Cup Final

  Martin does well in midfield for Histon closing in well to take the ball on Davies available to her left squares it in field to Wright 25 yards out central closed down quickly by Castiglione who ends up being awarded the free-kick. Laughlin doing well at the back getting across Standing inside the box left to shield he ball back to Morgan. Playing the ball out from the back Shaw onto Lanham, Histon’s captain aims her pass for Kelly in attack moving left to right, Fay intercepting for Cambridge setting up a quick counter attack. Wright pushing on a bit now from midfield to support the attack for Histon plays it left to Geal is tackled well by Reed. 

 Cambridge quick to turn play around all through the first half get the ball on deep over the top for Tolentino clear left side her cross field ball into the box aimed towards Mills coming in far post, Huse defending for Histon. Davies on the ball right side for Histon travels up the wing cutting infield past Tomlinson towards the box runs onto Ceri Flye the Cambridge centre back winning the ball. Histon able to come on better in the latter stages of the first half Cambridge dealing well at the back won inside the D the ball sent forwards quickly Tolentino available for the pass moving left brings it under control races forwards comes inside travelling across the top of the Histon area, not challenged into the D strikes the shot the ball whipping up over the crossbar.

Histon’s Abi Davies with Cambridge’s Lauren Tomlinson

  Histon chances rare can’t get the ball to stick up top Kelly making some good runs but Geal and Davies are being checked well by Tomlinson and Reed at the back for Cambridge. Wright coming from the middle looking the most likely to make something happen. Risk being hit on the counter Cambridge playing the ball on into Mills central out wide left to Standing gets to the by-line whipping in a cross rising near post Tolentino there attempts to flick it of her boot wide of the keeper but puts it straight into Morgan’s gloves. 

  Late into the 1st half and Szary is called into action to make a save for Cambridge Histon getting hold of the ball in the final 3rd from a goalkick, Wright getting a shot away from around 25 yards left of the D hit low with pace Szary down well to her left to get herself behind the ball. Cambridge bring the ball forwards creating another opportunity late in the half put on down the right into Mills sends it diagonally into the box for Standing forwards left side bearing forwards is closed down by Laughlin and Flack to block the shot. 

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies

  The half-time whistle blows and Cambridge head into the changing room’s under the mainstand leading the Invitation Cup Final 2-0. On top right from the start their pace a movement causing Histon problem’s especially down the wings Standing and Gillies getting forwards at will along with Tolentino through the middle has drifted left and right finding space to exploit. Numerous chances before opening the scoring could be out of sight but for Morgan making a couple of vital saves for Histon, their chances few and far between but at 2 nil are far from out of it need an improved performance 2nd half but the risk is as they search for a reply further gaps open at the back mustn’t concede early you feel.

Sophie Lanham heading the ball clear for Histon Ladies

A triple change for Cambridge at the start of the 2nd half, Becky Langthorpe on to replace Reed at the back, Beatrice Fitzsimons on for Castiglione along with Shannon Shaw going up to replacing Standing with Tolentino moving to the left. Histon to get the 2nd period underway go long straight from the off, the ball off target inside the box Szary out to get hold of the ball. A much quieter start to the 2nd half Histon looking to make progress right side the ball inside dealt with by Fay for Cambridge.

Cambridge City Ladies captain, Becca Fay

Cambridge break away on the left the ball rolled on for Mills to take into her stride carries it inside before firing a crossfield ball into the box picking out Gillies bursting forwards on the right hits her strike early the ball fizzing wide at the near post. 

GOAL! A blow for Histon 5 minutes into the 2nd half as they are caught on the break by Cambridge. Initially winning a free-kick players forwards as Flack delivers the ball in towards the top of the area Cambridge defend and get straight on the offensive Gillies in the clear on the right the ball fired into her takes it on into the Histon box near post closing in on the keeper shoots low pass Morgan in at the near post 3-0.

Charlotte Gillies bearing down on the Histon goal.

Histon respond making a triple change of their own and a formation change too switching to 3 at the back off come Laughlin, Huse and Shaw on to the field enter Kaya Haq, Sophie Hopkin and Siobhan White. Wright into the defence along side Davies and Flack. A good response from Histon to going 3 down get forwards right side a throw won high up the pitch the ball crossed into the box, Kelly wriggling free inside the box gets a shot away puts it straight at Szary the keeper claiming. Kelly with another attempt moments later from 25 yards out as Histon quickly regain position in the middle the shot though finds Szary back on her line. 

Histon’s Tessa Shaw tackling Cambridge’s Beatrice Fitzsimons

 Davies keeping close tabs on Tolentino out wide she manages to squeeze the ball into Mills central, Shaw providing the run through the middle in behind, the pass put forwards too much on it Morgan able to advance off her line and collect. Martin lays it forwards for Hopkin has White to her right feeds the ball into her, Tomlinson in well to regain possession for Cambridge. Winning a corner on the left taken short up the line once more the cross sent in from deep, Morgan rising well at her near post to catch. 

  Histon getting forwards better now though the middle quickly players forwards to support Kelly in attack the striker put through into the box left of goal her shot charged down by Flye the deflection coming straight to Hopkin positioned top of the D lines up a shot fired in a deflection sending it wide of the post. Lanham in to win the ball in the centre circle pushes it into Hopkin 25 yards out goes to shoot Flye closing her down putting in the block. Histon looking sharper now but as they come forward risk being hit on the counter more. 

Ceri Flye tackling to win the ball back for Cambridge City

 Geal coming forwards left side finds some space as White plays the crossfield pass into her goes on down the line, Langthorpe recovering well to get back on her lung in to make the tackle. Haq defending against Gillies right side as she gathers the ball and charges on. 

GOAL! The final 20 minutes fast approaching and Cambridge get on the scoresheet wit a 4th goal Mills onto the ball out right side playing it in across goal, Shaw closing in central can’t quite get it on the volley as she ends up off the pitch past the right post, wanders back on as Tolentino gathers left side does well to beat a couple of players wriggle free to fizz it back across goal Shaw there unmarked to put into the empty net as it evades Morgan covering the angle 4-0.

 Histon come forwards Geal clear left side the pass into her feet plays it inside for Kelly 20 yards out takes aim her shot dropping wide of goal. Histon make another change Rebekah Fisk on for Lanham. Good work between Hopkin, Martin and Geal left side for Histon coming forwards the pass into Kelly, Cambridge defending top of the area. Geal coming off as Histon send on Tara Fitzjohn with 10 minutes to play.

GOAL! Cambridge win the ball in the middle rolled on for Gillies right holds it up her touch bringing her inside, Mills racing into the space vacated on the wing Gillies playing her in she puts in an early cross, Flack in to clear the ball taking an unfortunate deflection off Wright sending Shaw running clear into the area to place the ball wide of the keeper 5-0.

GOAL! A sixth goal coming soon after, Tolentino and Tomlinson combining out on the left Cambridge closing down the ball well, pushed up Flye onto it playing a fantastic through ball low along the ground for Mills central top of the area t break through onto goal and put her shot to the keeper right into the corner of the net 6-0.

  Mills with plenty of pace late on plays the ball to Standing back on on the right for Gillies, Haq closing her down putting the ball out for a corner. Tolentino coming off Gillies back on. The corner headed up at the near post across the six yard box cleared far side straight to Castiglione top of the D strikes it back in finds it’s way through on target skipping up off the surface but Szary right behind it. Another corner for Cambridge left side taken short up the line before the cross is flung into the box, knocked down straight to a Cambridge player the shot fired wide. 

 Into added time Cambridge finishing strong Mills coming onto the ball left side 25 out turns inside her marker to get a shot away the ball racing wide out at the far post. The final whistle blows and Cambridge City Ladies win this season’s Invitation Cup Final.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 6-0 Histon Ladies

   Cambridge with a god start to the match on the front foot from the off chances created Standing and Gillies getting free on the flanks Tolentino through the middle leading the attack well. Histon not getting much joy in attack themselves finding themselves 2-0 down at the break. Cambridge getting into a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd half Histon made changes to personnel and formation bringing them more joy in the final third, Cambridge though a constant danger on the counter attack defending well. A 4th goal sealing the victory with 20 minutes left 2 late goals making the result comfortable. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few to mention Cambridge featuring Charlotte Gillies getting on well right side always available. Laura Mills with some fantastic runs too. Lauren Tomlinson superb at the back with a fantastic performance, edging it for myself however is attacker Karly Tolentino played brilliantly especially in the first half her runs well timed a real threat Histon struggled to cope with winning and scoring the penalty and putting Cambridge into a 2 goal lead going a long way to securing the cup.

Cambridge City Ladies 2019/20 Invitation Cup Winners

Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.

An enjoyable trip to The Abbey Stadium, a good atmosphere, an entertaining final, my thanks to Cambridgeshire FA for the hospitality in particular Chris Abbott and to both teams for getting those all important team details and to Gary Reed for to photo’s does a fantastic job helping to promote the game. One final down plenty more to come.