Sunday 28th November
Women’s FA Cup
A trip to Ely City FC’s Demcom Stadium this Sunday for a match from the 2nd Round Proper of the Women’s FA Cup. A contest between two sides looking to create history in the competition to as Cambridge City Ladies take on Stourbridge FC Ladies.
28 ties taking place this weekend with the potential of facing a Championship club in the 3rd Round an incentive for the winners as the 12 clubs from the games 2nd tier enter this season’s competition.
Both of today’s opponents looking to create history of their own in the competition. Cambridge City Ladies own history relatively short but on its rise to FAWNL South East Division One have created some memorable moments in the Women’s FA Cup including last minute winners and knocking out higher league opponents, was there for some of those moments too! Cambridge City FC close to completing their new stadium in Sawston the women’s senior team now into their 3rd season in the FAWNL. The COVID pandemic not seeing as much football played as liked in previous seasons, have made a good start to the season this time around laying in midtable.
Entering this season’s competition in 3rd Round Qualifying, Cambridge City Ladies were drawn away to ERWFL Premier Division side St Ives Town Women. Goals from Grace Stanley, Bronwyn Mulheron and Ellie Cullum along with a brace for Erin Davies securing a comfortable 2-0 win to reach the 1st Round Proper. A trip to the capital as the draw pitted Cambridge City against fellow South East Division One side London Seaward. Grace Stanley on target for a brace inside the opening 15 minutes putting Cambridge City in a strong position as they held on to the advantage to book their place in the 2nd Round. Grace Stanley amongst the goals following her return to the club after university, weighing in with 16 goals so far in all competitions. This the furthest Cambridge City have gone in the competition can they go one better today.
Their opponents coming to the Demcom Stadium today full of confidence having been the giantkillers of the previous round as Stourbridge FC Ladies made history reaching the 2nd Round Proper for the first time with a memorable away win against FAWNL Northern Premier Division leaders Derby County Women. Courteney Murphy’s 40 yard lob in stoppage time seeing Stourbridge clinch a 2-3 win. Playing in the 5th tier of the women’s football pyramid Stourbridge FC Ladies currently sit top of the West Midlands Regional Football League Premier Division, winning 6 of the 7 games played so far, ahead of Sutton Coldfield Women on goal difference. Promotion to the FAWNL the prize for all the title winners in the 5th tier.
A strong start to the season no doubt playing a part in their Women’s FA Cup run. Beginning in the 2nd Qualifying Round at home to Kidderminster Harriers LFC. Winning comfortably 6-1 to progress to 3rd Round Qualifying with a trip to Solihull Sporting Ladies were strong once again as they piled on the goals to win the game 9-1. Derby County Women no doubt the heavy favourites when the draw for the 1st Round Proper was made and an early goal for Derby saw them in front inside 2 minutes. Stourbridge responded well coming back with goals from Millie Rogers and Alex Nicklin seeing the visitors leading 2-1 at the break. Derby have assembled a strong squad and got themselves back on level terms with 16 minutes to play through Precious Hamilton. The game heading into stoppage time when Murphy’s lob saw Stourbridge create history as they knocked out a side two leagues above and reached the 2nd Round Proper for the first time. Their giant killing certainly getting plenty of media attention the job now though will be keeping everyone’s feet on the ground more history to be made… maybe.
Ely City Fc’s Demcom Stadium the venue for today’s game. Cambridge City encouraging supporters from the men’s club to come enjoy a ladies game a good crowd building, with Stourbridge laying on a coach for supporters too. Storm Arwen blowing through over the weekend, breaking wet and windy conditions across the country, several games called off as a result the pitch open to the wind holding out well no problems with an early inspection to confirm. A good size offering plenty of width. The main stand above the changing rooms with the clubhouse and kitchen serving hot drinks and food to one side. A bitterly cold day, time to get the hat out.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson (C), Ceri Flye, Lauren Tomlinson, Jess Evans, Bronwyn Mulheron, Hannah Bodily, Ellie Cullum, Amy Reed, Charlotte Gillies, Erin Davies & Grace Stanley. Subs – Becca Fay, Zynia Delglyn, Phillipa Witherspoon & Freya Symonds.
Stourbridge FC Ladies starting XI – Amie Preston, Meg Hadley, Keren Allen, Sophie Heaselgrave, Macey Turvey, Lili-Beth Brown (C), Alex Nicklin, Hannah Fishwick, Esme Moran, Cheryl Edwards & Millie Rogers. Subs – Louisa Butcher, Ruby Meeson, Courteney Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Ellie McGoven, Jess Bate & Gee Thacker.
It is the hosts Cambridge to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts and black and white hooped socks with Stourbridge lined up opposite wearing red and white vertical striped shirts, red shorts and socks. The sun is low in the sky but unlikely to cause any problems for the players as the ball put up to the attackers, Megan Turvey heading the ball clear in defence for Stourbridge the pass long out to Esme Moran on the left side, Ceri Flye into her quickly to tackle and send the ball out for a throw in for Cambridge.
The visitors straight at Cambridge pressing them for the ball out for a series of throws on the left, Esme Moran looking to drive on for Stourbridge is challenged by Cambridge midfielder, Ellie Cullum. Stourbridge hustle Cambridge down the flank Millie Rogers winning a throw deep in the corner leading to the 1st corner of the game. Fired in low at the near post defended deflected away to the right. A diagonal pass back to the left finding Charlotte Gillies on the move taking the ball over halfway lays it into the right channel for Erin Davies to chase in attack, Sophie Heaselgrave at the back for Stourbridge getting there first to clear the danger for the visitors.
A frantic start to the tie the ball closed down in the middle of the park, competitive, Stourbridge captain Lili-Beth Brown taking it forwards tackled by Jess Evans outside the area, Stourbridge a quick to win it back out to Cheryl Edwards on the right wing her cross flung into the area headed away at he far post by Flye. Moran fouled on the left presenting Stourbridge with a free-kick inside the Cambridge half the ball curled into the area, bouncing safely through to Cambridge goalkeeper and captain, Sarah Hudson.
A high tempo pressing game from Stourbridge in to close the ball down and immediately spring forwards in attack. Alex Nicklin getting on the ball powering forwards lifting it to Edwards right side, Lauren Tomlinson in ahead of her to carry the ball up the line for Cambridge sends it on for Davies moving into space on the wing, Keren Allen going with her as she runs for the ball, out for a throw in, Davies is down and looks to be in trouble. Looks to be her hamstring can’t continue Cambridge forced into an early substitution, is replaced up top by Phillipa Witherspoon.
Play resumes with a throw to Cambridge on the left (as you’ve read before Tomlinson has an exceptional throw on her) the ball long for Witherspoon, her presence forcing Allen into conceding another throw in the corner. The ball put into the area, dealt with by Turvey. Cullum across on the left slides in on Allen as she looks to come forwards Cambridge with the throw, Sturbridge win possession back and set off on a counter through the middle out to Moran on the left pushing on towards the box her angle shot covered by Hudson at her near post.
Edwards on the right combines well with attacker Millie Rogers the pair winning a free-kick. Wide on the right Allen on the ball as players come forwards. pulls her delivery taking it away from the top of the box to drop near post and be easily taken by Hudson. Edwards in possession on the right as Nicklin makes a run through the middle the ball laid into her path the midfielder takes it on right into the area closing in on the by-line wraps her foot around the ball to send in a cross, Evans back with her sliding in to block take it behind for the corner.
GOAL! The corner on the right sent in by Rogers into a crowded six yard box Hudson going for it does get there the ball dropping cleared back out to the right, the ball sent in across the face of goal Moran rising in the middle getting her head on the ball, Hudson with an arm up a reactive save might have gotten the merest of touches the ball rebounding back of the crossbar, Moran reacting quickest back to her to rise up and nod the ball past the keeper this time to score 0-1.
Stourbridge open the scoring in the 14th minute any traces of nerves well and truly blown away. A bright start Cambridge on the back foot. Stourbridge straight back at their closing game in the middle Brown the Nicklin the pass out to Edwards free on the right, takes the ball down the line before whipping a ball into the near post area. Hudson able to claim unchallenged. Rogers is busy to top moving across the defence to make herself available taking the ball out to the right Evans going with her defends at the cost of a corner. A good delivery towards the pack gathering at the far post someone connecting with the header drilling the ball back wide across goal.
Cambridge getting frustrated Stourbridge not giving them a moment to settle on the ball, can’t get it up to their attackers. Flye into tackle on the right up to Gillies tries an angled pass into Stanley top of the area, Turvey strong at the back winning the header. Decisions going against Cambridge not helping them build any momentum. Hannah Bodily beating Brown to the ball, Witherspoon fouling her marker as she looks to turn in behind. Gillies plays the ball out to Amy Reed getting forwards on the right Meg Hadley in to challenge as she looks to push the ball past her.
A trying spell for Cambridge, Stourbridge pressing well, decisions going against them, the visitors backing each other up well one loses it, the ball is quickly recaptured. Edwards drifting free on the right as play is drawn to the left, the ball across to her, Tomlinson stretching managing to cut it out. Witherspoon back to win the ball on halfway out muscling her marker looks to release Stanley up top, goes a little too early, the flag up against her.
Hannah Fishwick seeing the ball into her feet central top of the D, turns and unleashes a shot blocked at close range by Mulheron. Cambridge get the ball back on the left Tomlinson looking to run on with it, pace as Rogers goes with her. Turvey comes hurtling out of defence sliding in Tomlinson managing to avoid the challenge as Turvey cleans out Rogers (and the ball) for a throw.
Reed finding a little joy on the right for Cambridge taking the ball on takes on the shot angled in from all of 25 yards, Amie Preston in goal for Stourbridge has the near post covered. Edwards on the right for Stourbridge inside for Rogers holds the ball up well inside the box does well to win a corner. Cullum seeing the ball into her feet turns well lifting it up top to the right, Preston comes racing out of her area intending to clear miscues screwing it high into the air, the ball though not falling favourably for Cambridge as Heaselgrave clears.
Cambridge cannot get a foot hold in the final 3rd Stourbridge fighting for everything, numerous free-kicks given away are leading to more frustration from the hosts. Nicklin into Rogers up to moving right to left across the top of the area twisting and turning looking for an opening. Put back out to midfield another free-kick going against Cambridge to the left, put into the top of the area defended headed behind for a corner on the right.
GOAL! From the resulting set-piece Stourbridge go on to double their lead the delivery in from Rogers coming in close to goal, dangerous the defender at he near post going up attempting to head it up over the bar can’t get enough on it and instead sees the ball lands in the back of her own net. 0-2.
A little under 10 minutes left to play in the first half and it’s Stourbridge who open up a 2 goal lead. Aren’t letting Cambridge settle at all, Allen taking the ball down the right Bodily coming across to slide in and tackle halting her progress. Nicklin has been strong in the centre of the park through getting hold of the ball making forward runs, combining both as she takes it on to the right of goal surging on shifts inside from 20 yards out before striking a low shot wide of the far post.
Preston not afraid to come running out of her area if necessity requires and sees Reed released on the right by Gillies out of her area getting there first to clear the ball for a throw in. Rogers moving out to the right as Allen plays the ball to her level with the top of the area passes inside to Edwards outside the D sees Nicklin coming on from the middle rolls it into her to strike on target towards the far post but no problem for Hudson across to take the catch.
Cambridge get forwards on the right Flye on for Reed deep angles a ball into the area a cross/shot racing across the face of he Stourbridge goal. Cambridge getting more bodies forwards now particularly Tomlinson on the left lays a ball with the outside of her boot into the middle for Cullum inside the D, can’t make anything of it before Turvey and Heaselgrave close her down. Cambridge pressing the ball better themselves now Cullum and Bodily higher up the pitch. Risk getting hit on the counter and that’s exactly what Stourbridge do the ball lifted forwards to Rogers finding space on the right in behind has room to travel, it’s Flye who recovered quickest getting across the box to challenge, Stourbridge forced back working the ball across the pitch to the left a cross hooked into the area headed clear by Evans.
Into the closing stages of the first half Stourbridge break play over on the left the ball finding Rogers to the right of the D 25 yards out drifts inside with the ball looking to line up a strike lets fly, Mulheron jumping central to block the ball taking a wicked deflection of her turning it towards the far post Hudson with an awesome save has little time to react diving low to her right throwing herself full stretch to push the ball away.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-2 Stourbridge FC Ladies
How vital a save in the closing stages of the first half from Hudson with that be for Cambridge who find themselves trailing at home 2-0 in the 2nd Round of the Women’s FA Cup. An excellent first half from Stourbridge however starting the game well high tempo quick to close Cambridge down on the ball not let their opponents settle. Both goals coming from corners have closed the ball down well whilst backing each other up. Alot put into the half will be interesting to see if they can keep it up. For Cambridge alot of work to do if they hope to get back into the tie. The early injury to Davies no doubt affecting their game plan have been frustrated decisions going against them haven’t really got going.
A change for Stourbridge at the start of the 2nd half with Jess Bates coming on at the back replacing Allen. The visitors to get the 2nd half underway defending a 2 goal lead. Both sides in to press the ball straight away, Fishwick tackling Gillies as she tries to get away on the right. Stourbridge come right getting a throw deep in Cambridge territory the resulting cross cut out inside the area by Gillies back to defend.
Stourbridge continuing with their pressing game Nicklin winning the ball in the left channel seeing Rogers move into the area from the left the ball fed into her she opens her body to shoot, Flye lunging in across her taking a painful blow as she blocks to send the ball behind for a corner. The deliveries from corners a real threat for Stourbridge this one into the congested six yard box headed over but not before the referee blows up for a foul against Cambridge.
Nicklin wins the ball for Stourbridge playing it across the top of the box for Fishwick on the left her cross swung into the box claimed by Hudson. Reed on the right for Cambridge taking the ball in moving in field, Turvey stepping up to close her down and halt her progress for the visitors. Rogers coming out to the left flank wide taking the ball playing the ball into the box left side as Fishwick closes in, taking a touch as the Cambridge defence come to close her down goes down, the bench immediately appealing for a penalty, not given.
A visitors making a bright start to the 2nd half looking for a 3rd goal. Plays getting forwards a Nicklin moves on with the ball left channel taking it inside the box her initial effort blocked at close range keeps possession back to goal lays it out to Moran central clipped in from 20 yards out sees her effort come back off the crossbar!
Isn’t long after that, that Moran’s game comes to an end chasing after the ball as Cambridge attack on the right pulls up a problem with her left left needs to come off is replaced by Courteney Murphy. Cambridge get the ball back in the middle Cullum to Bodily out to Tomlinson bombing on down the left racing to the by-line flashing a cross into the near post, Preston behind it spills it momentarily before dropping on the loose ball.
Nicklin central spreads play out to the left for Fishwick to drives forwards her ball played in central intercepted by Bodily forwards for Gillies, Brown in to close her down the ball out to Stourbridge’s right. Edwards with a strike, Flye behind it to block with her head a powerfully struck ball, Flye is down seeing stars for a moment. Stourbridge press forwards players up to join the attack as Murphy right lays it back to the wing to be crossed in Rogers top of the area near post swinging at it missing her kick, runs through to Nicklin beyond her her strike blocked, the rebound fired in collected by Hudson.
Cambridge matching Stourbridge with their pressing game the match more even now. Nicklin still the driving force in the middle, advancing on the right, held back no clear advantage play brought back for the set-piece. Murphy over it 25 yards out lifted into the mix, deflected over the bar, a corner signalled. The delivery into the six yard box dropping down into the mix scrambled away to the right Edwards sending a snap shot wide.
Tomlinson carrying a threat going forwards on the left for Cambridge releasing a diagonal ball early into the area, Preston getting there to catch as Witherspoon closes in. Stourbridge on the right with Edwards succeeds in winning a corner. Evans heading the ball away for Cambridge, Nicklin keeping it alive for the visitors out to Fishwick left side she is fouled. Cambridge making a change before the free-kick can be taken Zynia Delglyn on for Gillies. Murphy to clip the ball into the D, a push on a defender seeing Cambridge given a free-kick of their own.
Cambridge come on with the ball left the cross fired in along the top of the D reaching Stanley to the right of goal, Hadley in to close her down and block the ball spinning away to Reed free on he right shoots her effort wide of the near post. Alot put in by Stourbridge are beginning to drop back as Cambridge press looking to find a way back into the game. Cullum winning the ball central out to Tomlinson left side taking it on shoots from distance an angled drive wide of the near post. Nicklin 25 yards out right of the D puts the ball across to the left for Fishwick moving down the line her cross is cut out for a corner. Cambridge getting plenty back to defend.
GOAL! Cambridge getting players forwards well especially Tomlinson on the left has the ball at her feet play opening up as she gets down the line flashing a cross in low at the near post Preston down to meet it doesn’t get hold of it pushed out loose in the six yard box Stanley is quickest to react blasting the ball into the back of the net to pull a goal back for the hosts 1-2.
A little over 20 minutes left on the clock game on as Cambridge get a goal. Stourbridge go straight on the attack from the restart the ball out to Fishwick on the left her cross in blocked by Flye, the ball finding its way to Murphy top of the box her shot in headed away from a corner kick. Attacked at the near post by Edwards, Cambridge though get to cleared to safety. Delglyn fouled over on the right for Cambridge, Mulheron standing over the set-piece looking at her options as players move forwards. The ball whipped in near side Stanley moving towards it can’t quite get a touch as it bounces through to the keeper.
The game opening up a contrast from the first half as Stourbridge attack on the left the ball slid on for Rogers left into the box where she is tripped the referee pointing to the spot. Penalty! Murphy placing the ball on the spot. Shoots aiming to place it to the keepers right, not enough height on it as Hudson goes the right way down to make the save and deny Stourbridge a 3rd goal.
Both sides putting bodies on the line now in an effort to win the ball, Bodily in hard on Nicklin central to come away with the ball Fishwick blocked as she travels forwards on the left a free-kick awarded. Murphy sending it in headed away by Mulheron. Another change for Cambridge with Bodily the player coming off for Freya Symonds. Murphy goes in the book for a foul on halfway as Cambridge look to press with the clock ticking down. The goal changing things Stourbridge not prepared to commit so many forwards are tiring. Nicklin though with a turn and shot from distance that has Hudson worried for a moment before it lands safely on the roof of the net.
Delglyn bringing the ball under control central on for Cullum in the middle looking to chip it over the defence for Stanley to burst onto, Preston though out smartly to the edge of her area to lay claim to the ball. Moments later Preston is off her line again coming out to block Tomlinson as she travels into the box from the left. Mulheron with a long ball forwards up to Stanley inside the D, Heaselgrave there seeing the ball back to her keeper, Cambridge appealing for a back pass not given.
Tomlinson with an angled drive over the bar from 30 yards out on the left. Cambridge pushing hard have Stourbridge on the back foot for the first time in the game little tine left though to find an equalising goal and force the tie into extra-time. Stourbridge making a change bringing off Fishwick for Ellie McGoven with 5 minutes plus added to play. A vital interception at the back by Hadley as Cambridge sent a diagonal ball in from the left with Stanley looking to run in behind. Preston at her near post behind a shot fired in by Tomlinson on the left.
The host win a free-kick on the right 30 yards out, Stanley coming out to take it, sends it in central attacked well by Turvey getting a good head on it to clear the danger. Totally different game now Stourbridge holding on as Cambridge attack, Stanley with the ball at her feet the attacker moving across the D shoots the effort blocked… a hand ball spotted the free-kick outside the box. In low by Stanley blocked then cleared out to the right for a throw.
The throw bringing a corner kick. Angled in at the near post Heaselgrave defending for Stourbridge. Another corner for Cambridge in deeper this time put over Stourbridge awarded a free-kick however as Flye picks up a yellow card. Stourbridge are looking to get the ball into the corners run down the clock with several minutes stoppage time being played. Rogers doing her best to hold it up. One last effort from Cambridge the ball long up to Witherspoon and Stanley, Heaselgrave has to defend for Stourbridge and does well as the final whistle blows and Stourbridge win to march on to the 3rd Round.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Stourbridge FC Ladies
A memorable day for Stourbridge as they continue to make history in the Women’s FA Cup beating Cambridge 2-1 to reach the 3rd Round. Started the game well pressing Cambridge for the ball not letting them settle on the ball working hard in the final 3rd. Taking the lead from a set play went on to add another before the break. May have been 3 as possibly game over if not for a brilliant save from Hudson. Cambridge never really getting going first half needed a big 2nd half if they were to find a way back into the tie. It was Stourbridge though who created more chances the crossbar struck and a penalty saved could have seen them in control. Cambridge dug in though battling to match Stourbridge pressing for the ball getting it back to 2-1 with 20 minutes left and from there had Stourbridge on the back foot a valiant effort as they tried to get it level Stourbridge working hard in defence, tiring from their earlier efforts. Dug in though to keep Cambridge out and win the game.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Moving onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Another tough on to choose a single player a few performances to mention first though. For Cambridge Sarah Hudson’s saves were crucial to keeping Cambridge in the tie. In defence Ceri Flye put her body on the line with so brilliant defending. Lauren Tomlinson on the left giving Cambridge attacking thrust in the 2nd half. For Stourbridge Esme Moran was a threat attacking on the left scoring the opening goal. In attacker Millie Rogers showed great movement holding the ball up well and made herself available throughout. Today’s award though goes to midfielder Alex Nicklin was impressive in the middle of the park, winning the ball leading the pressing game and made some fantastic runs forwards.
Another entertaining match from the Women’s FA Cup. Best of luck to Stourbridge for the upcoming draw for the 3rd round will be as interested as you to see who you get. Always nice to see a club from another part of the country. My thanks to both sides for their help with the team details today.
by Darren Gilham