Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup
Wednesday 2nd May
The Cup Final action continues this week on Women’s Football East this Wednesday, hot on the heels from watching the Suffolk Women’s League Cup final a trip to Cambridgeshire to watch ICA Sports Ladies versus Newmarket Town Ladies competing for the Women’s League Cup.
An all Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership Clash, Peterborough side ICA Sports Ladies playing the 1st of two finals they have reached this season with the postponed Junior Invitation Cup Final coming up on the Wednesday 16th May at Newmarket Town FC against Championship South side, Isleham United Ladies. This evening though the focus is on the League Cup. Have progressed in the competition as there form has improved through the season picking up well after a slow start losing there 1st 3 league games some notable results along the way to including beating Premiership leaders St Ives Town Ladies in the semi-finals of the League Cup.
Newmarket Town Ladies have had a great season to date, an early run in the FA Women’s Cup knocking out higher league opposition have as a result been playing catch up in the league now into the final run in lay in 2nd spot behind St Ives Town Ladies and a well positioned to challenge should there rivals slip up. Reaching the League Cup Final have scored plenty of goals throughout the season and have several goalscorers in their squad.
Both sides into their 1st League Cup Final.
Road to the Final
A walkover in the 1st Round for ICA Sports Ladies whilst Newmarket Town Ladies racked up a rugby score away to Championship South, Burwell Tigers these score pop up one or twice a season 30-0 to the Premiership side. Into the 2nd Round and ICA Sports were at home taking on Championship North side Wisbech Town Ladies a brace from Donna Nicholls along with a goal each for Hayley Jones, Jessica Farchina and Megan Purnell seeing ICA Sports progress to the quarter finals with a 5-1 win. Newmarket were on the road taking on fellow Premiership side Park Ladies. The goals spread around with Cindy Ponder, Amanda Stacey, Brooke Wickens, Antonia Smith Sarah O’Rourke and Chloe Slater scoring in a 6-1 win.
ICA Sports were at home in the quarter finals taking in Championship South title hopefuls Histon Ladies Reserves. A close game Histon leading 1-0 at half-time a goal from Megan Purnell squaring it up at 1-1 to send the tie into extra-time, no more goals it went to penalties ICA Sports emerging victorious with a 3-2 win to reach the last 4. Another away trip for Newmarket taking on Championship South side Isleham United Ladies. A comfortable win seeing them into the last 4, both Abbi Griffin and Laura Bailey scoring twice with a goal each for Chloe Slater and Jess Linger in a 6-0 win.
Both semi-finals played on neutral territory at the Fulbourn Recreation Ground. A great result for ICA Sports in the semi-finals drawn against Premiership leaders St Ives Town Ladies. ICA Sports in good form the sides were goalless at the break the winning goal coming in the 2nd period, Lorna Hart with the goal to send ICA Sports into the League Cup Final. Newmarket were taking on Cambridge University Women. Newmarket continuing their good form in front of goal reaching the League Cup Final courtesy of a 5-1 win, Jordanne Sillitoe scoring a brace with Abbi Griffin, Amanda Stacey and Chloe Slater all getting a goal.
3 times the sides have met in the league this season Newmarket winning 2 of those encounters 4-1 whilst the other game ended in a goalless draw. League form however goes out the window in any cup game.
The venue for this evenings Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup Final sponsored by S-Tech Insurance The Ellgia Stadium, home of Ely City FC. Has been a while since I was last here, there is now a new cinema and restaurant complex build on the land leading to the ground off the A10. The rugby club, tennis, golf and football ground still beyond. New dugouts, the pitch looking in good condition a little bobbly offers good width. Concerned earlier above whether the game would be on heavy rain falling for a while late morning into the afternoon but it cleared and pleasant and mild afterwards, perfect weather for a game of football… about time too.
ICA Sports Ladies starting XI – Clare Knibbs, Steph Pepper, Holly Partner, Sophie Antonucci, Becky Shields (C), Sarah Rouse, Jess Farchica, Zoe Leddy, Megan Purnell, Donna Nicholls & Lorna Hart. Subs – Rhian Leonard.
Newmarket Town Ladies starting XI – Eloise Hope, Yasmin Woodfield, Brooke Wickens, Beth Woodfield (C), Cindy Ponder, Jess Linger, Laura Bailey, Chloe Slater, Antonia Smith, Abi Griffin & Jordanne Sillitoe. Subs – Sarah O’Rourke, Frankie Torrance, Joeli Kirby, Amanda Stacey & Lauren Deller.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Just the one substitute available for ICA Sports, Newmarket having several attacking options available on theirs. It’s ICA Sports to get the first half kicked off, wearing royal blue shirts with a white and navy band across the top, royal blue shorts and blue and white hooped socks. Newmarket wearing yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts.
ICA Sports put the ball forwards right from the off showing attacking intent, Lorna Hart the target , Beth Woodfield captaining Newmarket heading the ball away at the back. Donna Nicholls receiving the ball form Jess Farchica drives forwards on the right tackled by Newmarket full back Yasmin Woodfield. ICA Sports with a good start lively getting players forwards have Newmarket penned back in their own half.
A throw deep on the left into Hart the striker putting the ball inside for Farchica, Newmarket tackle the ball cleared, ICA Captain, Becky Shields bringing it down on halfway, builds another ICA Sports attack. Newmarket haven’t settled, ICA Sports taking full advantage goalkeeper Eloise Hope rushing out of her area to clear the ball for Newmarket as Hart is put in over the top. Newmarket have the ball the pass out to striker Jordanne Sillitoe moving away to the left, her crossfield ball coming to Abbi Griffin in space on the right takes it forwards her cross into the box gathered by ICA Sports goalkeeper Clare Knibbs at her near post.
Nicholls on the left the ball up to Hart, Cindy Ponder going up for the ball with striker the ball out for a throw-in on the left. Played into Nicholls top of the area, inside for Hart played on across the D for Zoe Leddy, taking the all away to the right making room for a shot sends a low strike angling in towards the far post, Hope is in position to gather the ball. Laura Bailey with the ball inside the ICA Sports half plays the pass out to Brooke Wickens running forwards on the left taking it to the edge of the box the ICA Spots defence close on her no room for a strike a regain possession of the ball.
Counter attacking the ball played up to Hart she knocks it down to Nicholls breaking in behind on the left, Ponder coming across to slide in and take the ball away from her. Hart leading the line for ICA Sports the ball played into her 25 yards from goal central bringing it down turns and strikes the ball in towards goal her effort straight at Hope the Newmarket goalkeeper claiming the ball.
GOAL! ICA Sports capitalise on their good start take the lead as Hart forces a mistake at the back the ball played into the left channel the striker going after it as it runs into the box Beth Woodfield trying to shield it back to her keeper, Hope comes out sliding in, Hart on Woodfield’s back the ball is touched by the defender taking it out of Hope’s path leaving her goal exposed Hart alive getting around the Newmarket pair and sending the ball into the back of the empty net 1-0.
Newmarket were planning a change before the goal do it before the restart Antonia Smith giving way for Frankie Torrance who goes into left back pushing Wickens further up on the wing. Bailey with the ball into Sillitoe left side her lay off to the advancing Torrance 20 yards from goal her attempted strike charged down by the ICA Sports defence. Megan Purnell with the ball attacking on the right wing for ICA Sports screws a shot wide from 25 yards out. The positive start from ICA Sports has them full of confidence, Newmarket rattled are disjointed
Jess Linger with the ball in the centre for Newmarket on for Sillitoe ahead of her spins the ball out to the left with Wickens bombing on, Shields coming across to clear the ball out for a throw top of the area. Sillitoe taking the throw down well into her body turns and sends a cross into the area, Knibbs can easily gather. Getting early goal they were after ICA Sports have settled forming a solid shape at the back not showing as much attacking intent. Nicholls a threat on the left. Ponder tackling in the middle of the Newmarket defence as Hart looks to force her way in on goal. ICA Sports make a change, Rhian Leonard coming on for Holly Partner.
Bailey plays the ball forwards Sillitoe leaving it to run on through as Wickens runs clear in behind on the left side, Purnell going with her tackles her on the edge of the area. A free-kick wide left for Newmarket, Linger on it a good distance goes for goal the ball wide of the near post. Torrance bringing the ball on down the left on for Sillitoe the Newmarket striker beating a coupe of players before sending a diagonal ball into the box Griffin with the central run the ball too close to the keeper Knibbs down to gather before her goal is threatened.
Hart strong on the ball gets the better of Beth Woodfield wide left puts a cross/shot in towards goal the ball flashing out wide at the far post across the goal face. Bailey opens up her body sliding the ball into Sillitoe to attack the ICA Sports, no shot on as the opposition are quick to converge, Farchica with Sarah Rouse a shield in front of their defence. Newmarket haven’t got going properly at all, attacking room in the final third but closed down quickly passing options aren’t on. ICA Sports bringing it away Hart always ready yo turn in behind up top.
Into the closing minutes of the 1st half, Leonard forwards on the right for Newmarket played in down the line coming inside Ponder tackling the ball out for a corner kick. Defended near post a goal kick awarded. Rouse sending the ball back into the area as Newmarket initially clear it, bouncing Hart at six yards out Hope does well up against her, her punch taking it off her head knocking it to the floor is first to it and gathers. A free-kick inside the ICA Sports half for Newmarket, Linger has Yasmin Woodfield in space to her right she is supported by Griffin working the ball forwards Leddy wins the ball back for ICA Sports before any cross can be delivered.
Half-time ICA Sports Ladies 1-0 Newmarket Town Ladies
A strong 1st half performance from ICA Sports showing attacking intent from the start, got Newmarket on the back foot and getting the goal they were after have sat back since. Newmarket are more often than not a free flowing attacking side, haven’t settled at all in the 1st half on this evening’s final a large part down to ICA Sports, haven’t tested Knibbs with a shot getting the ball in and around the box, Shields and Pepper strong at the back backed up well by Rouse and Farchica in front of them. Chances have been few the difference ICA Sports have taken theirs. A narrow lead to defend but Newmarket need to find more in themselves if they are to find a way back into the game 2nd half.
The floodlights starting to take full effect as the light fades the sides out for the 2nd half. A change for Newmarket who get the 2nd half kicked off, Sarah O’Rourke up top supporting Sillitoe with Bailey off. Ponder moved into midfield, press the ball early Sillitoe inside for O’Rourke the substitute driving forwards to try and get into the box, Farchica sliding in to tackle. A counter attack for ICA Sports the ball played out to Nicholls bursting forwards on the left her pass inside to Hart runs in behind the return pass a little too heavy allowing Hope to come and gather.
Pepper goes in to win the clearance for ICA Sports the ball played long up to Hart moving into the left channel, Beth Woodfield coming across to her to shield the ball out for a goal kick. O’Rourke with the ball deep on the left after a throw-in her cross fired in towards the near post Griffin getting in front of the keeper tries to flick the ball past her with her heel the ball running across the face of goal. Sillitoe with support from O’Rourke right side of the ICA Sports box pushing the ball into her Sillitoe coming inside receiving return ball her shot in curling wide of goal.
Yasmin Woodfield on the overlap in behind as Griffin slides the ball into her run her cross in cleared by Pepper, comes straight to Ponder drives a shot back in towards goal on target but straight at Knibbs the keeper taking the ball safely into her body. Newmarket starting the 2nd period well players forwards into attacking positions ICA Sports remain a tough nut to crack. Hart the outlet up top for ICA Sports the ball played up to her tried to turn in behind is tackled by Slater.
O’Rourke fouled by Shield as she looks to force her way forwards with the ball through the middle a free-kick in a dangerous position 25/30 yards out Linger takes on the shot her rising ball parried down and caught by Knibbs. A free-kick up the other end as Nicholls is fouled by Beth Woodfield 22 yards out left of the D. She shot striking the wall the rebound blazed high over the goal.
Pepper comes across to tackle put the ball out for a throw on the right as Griffin is played in behind by Ponder. ICA Sports are standing strong against the Newmarket assault Sophie Antonucci bringing the ball on from the back on for Nicholls on the left the ball put out for a throw level with the top of the Newmarket area.
GOAL! ICA Sports double their lead off the throw in the ball rolled inside for Farchica having gotten into an advanced position 25 yards out no one on her shifts the ball and sends in a great strike towards goal looping up into the air has Hope worried back on her line it dips late on her striking the underside of the crossbar bouncing down and up again the angle taking it into the goal off the side netting 2-0.
A further blow for Newmarket a triple change made Smith back on along with Joeli Kirby and Lauren Deller. Hart strong through the middle, Beth Woodfield doing well up against her to regain possession. Newmarket overloading the left side win a corner the ball curled in towards the near post Rouse defending for ICA Sports. A change for ICA Sports, Leonard off Purnell back on. Newmarket press players on attacking risk leaving gaps at the back, ICA Sports though defending resolutely are camped inside there half defending the box, Farchica cutting out a through ball for O’Rourke from Ponder.
Another strike charged down by Pepper, Linger bringing the ball on. Kirby getting hold of the ball 25 yards out runs towards the area, now way through the ICA Sports defence. Newmarket rotate players in attack desperate to find goal. ICA Sports make a change a slight knock for Nicholls, Leonard returning. Into the final 5 minutes ICA Sports are working hard to keep Newmarket at bay happy for the ball to be played around 25 yards out letting no gaps appear especially through the middle.
Hart up top on her own always ready to go after the ball whenever it is launched clear one on one with Hope as the keeper comes to the top of the area a crunching 50/50 between the pair the ball could have gone anywhere runs out for a goalkick wide of goal as Hope picks herself up. Smith with the ball fr Newmarket forwards for Kirby, Pepper sliding in to tackle for ICA Sports. Into stoppage time all Newmarket, Knibbs claiming the cross has collected everything Newmarket have played into her box. ICA Sports standing firm right to the final whistle celebrate as they win the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup for the first time.
Full time ICA Sports Ladies 2-0 Newmarket Town Ladies
Have seen Newmarket several times this season, and they don’t need me to tell them they can play better. Finals can do that sometimes, have seen it for whatever reason you just don’t have the performance you know you’re capable of there on the day. Disappointment for Newmarket, however take nothing away from ICA Sports Ladies fully deserving of their success came with a plan and executed it perfectly, getting in front early and working hard as a unit to frustrate and prevent opportunities for their opponents. Defending resolutely at times got up the other end to score a 2nd goal wanted the clean sheet up the other end. One final won another to come.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
A tough one this evening singling out just one player for the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. It was a good solid all round team performance from ICA Sports. Lorna Hart leading the line well backed up by Donna Nicholls. At the back Steph Pepper put in some terrific tackles to prevent Newmarket’s attackers running through on goal. Sarah Rouse in midfield breaking up play along side Jess Farchina, excellent in disrupting Newmarket’s flow especially 1st half and with a great strike to score ICA Sports 2nd goal I have chosen Jess Farchina.
Congratulations to ICA Sports Ladies on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup.
My thanks to both sides for there help with the teams this evening. Thanks to Chris Abbott to for asking me to present the players their awards it was an honour one I certainly wasn’t expecting. Back to Ely again tomorrow for my 3rd final of the week the Division One Cup Final.