Tuesday 22nd March
Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final
Hot on the heels of the 1st Cup Final of the season, comes the 2nd with a Tuesday night trip to the Abbey Stadium for the Final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup sponsored by S-tech insurance. Cambridge City Ladies the current holders taking on Newmarket Town Women reaching their 1st ever county cup final.
Looking back to March 2020 the Women’s Invitation Cup on the 5th was to be the last final of the season with the Covid pandemic hitting, seeing the that and the following campaign cut short. Is great to have finals to look forwards to at the end of the season again a busy spell personally but opportunities to win silverware abound with some great contests to look forwards too.
S-Tech Insurance sponsoring the Invitation Cup competitions have be proud supporters of the woman’s game for close to 15 years now. The Abbey Stadium once again hosting the final, home of Cambridge United FC who have been promoting the woman’s game heavily over the past month with a number of games played at the venue.
Cambridge City Ladies of FAWNL Division One South East missing out in the final last time out back in 2019. Easing through to the final of the competition this time around. Are looking to become an established side in the 4th tier having been promoted in the season the pandemic hit following a rapid rise through the women’s football pyramid. Traditionally a side that thrives on youth bringing players up through the various age groups with 3 senior sides a Reserves and Development side backing up the first team. Getting themselves up into midtable early on are now 8th with recent results going against them find themselves closer to the relegation zone than they would like with sides gaining late season momentum below a win though and everything changes. Grace Stanley their top scorer with 21 goals so far from 24 appearances.
Newmarket Town Women are on course for their highest ever league finish in the women’s football pyramid aswell as reaching the County Cup final for the first time. Plying their trade in ERWFL Division One North, are in 2nd spot in the league table having played out their fixtures with the division dropping down to just 7 sides. Can be caught by Biggleswade United Ladies but can finish no lower than 3rd. Again traditionally a young side bringing players up through there youth set-up with a Development side in the division below, have had to do a little rebuilding in recent seasons with players moving on. Have brought in attackers Katie Hayes from Mildenhall Town Women and Lydia Mykhaylechko from Cambridge University Women both with a good return for the season so far 25 goals between them with Katie Spiers also coming in netting 13 from just 12 appearances.
Road to the Final
A bye for both sides in he 1st round of the Invitation Cup. Cambridge City advancing from the 2nd round without kicking a ball awarded the home win over Leverington Sports Ladies. Newmarket at home to Histon Ladies now of Cambridge Division One after losing a fair number of senior players over the summer. Newmarket strong on the day with Lydia Mykhaylechko scoring a brace along with goal for Jess Linger, Chloe Slater, Katie Hayes, Faith Entwhistle and Katie Spiers in a 7-0 win.
Big wins for both too in the quarter finals of the competition. Cambridge City at home to Cambridge Division Two title challengers Cambridge Rangers WFC. 4 division between the sides Cambridge City racking up a double figure score line with Grace Stanley netting a hat-trick, a brace each for Lauren Tomlinson and Amy Reed whilst there were 7 other scorers in a 14-1 win. Newmarket drawn away to another Cambridge Division One side, March Town United Ladies. Katie Hayes scoring twice along with goals for Mykhaylechko, Katie Webb and Antonia Smith to see Newmarket into the semi-finals with a 5-0 win.
The semi-finals saw Cambridge City drawn away from home to take on Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds of Cambridge Division One. Karly Tolentino scoring a brace with a goal each from Shannon Shaw and Grace Stanley securing Cambridge City’s place in the final with a 4-0 victory. Newmarket at home to Cambridge Division Two side Park Ladies in the semi-finals Katie Spiers bagging herself a hat-trick as Newmarket went on to reach their first ever county cup final in a 5-1 win. Linger and Mykhaylechko with the other goals.
The Abbey Stadium the venue for this evenings final under the lights. Home of League One side Cambridge United FC. The club itself promoting the women’s game strongly over the past month with thier women’s side playing the first of 2 matches here beating Norwich City Women 1-0 and playing again this coming Sunday against Billericay Town Women. The pitch offering plenty of width a great occasion for both sets of players. The weather perfect for a cup final has been a warm day, dry and mild.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson (C), Amy Reed, Jess Evans, Ceri Flye, Mulheron Bronwyn, Hannah Bodily, Ellie Cullum, Lauren Tomlinson, Charlotte Gillies, Amie Fullwood & Grace Stanley. Subs – Karly Tolentino, Freya Goddard, Zynia Delglyn, Bella Ely & Rosie Mead.
Newmarket Town Women starting XI – Dominika Szary, Jess Linger, Kara Wayman, Becca Towler, Liv Caffarelli, Antonia Smith, Chloe Slater (C), Katie Spiers, Katie Hayes, Katie Walker & Lydia Mykhaylechko. Subs – Grace Joslin, Katie Webb, Annabelle Herring, Alex Milner & Faith Entwhistle.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A decent atmosphere building before kick-off the teams walking out onto the pitch lining up in front of the main stand before shaking hands. It will be Cambridge to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with black trim, black shorts with white trim and black and white hooped socks. Newmarket lined up opposite wearing yellow shirts, blue shorts and white coloured socks. The ball played back to right back Amy Reed sent long up the line for striker Grace Stanley to chase, see out safely out of play by Newmarket’s Kara Wayman.
Cambridge up on the right a throw in pressuring the Newmarket back line. Winning an early corner players up from the back the ball fizzed in towards the near post cleared out to the right for a throw, as good as a corner with the throwing ability of Lauren Tomlinson. Cambridge building on the left the ball out Tomlinson throwing it long into the box for Stanley, Jess Linger getting in close to defend see the ball out for a goal kick. Bronwyn Mulheron with a commanding defensive header to clear the ball for Cambridge at the back as Newmarket play it long up through the middle.
Pace evident in both sides Newmarket looking for the run of Katie Spiers on the right the pass cut out fed into midfield a quick counter launched the ball in behind for Stanley moving into the left channel into the box brings the ball inside before attempting to curl a shot around the keeper, the ball angling into Newmarket goalkeeper, Dominika Szary who catches cleanly. A lively start Cambridge quick to turn play around, Ceri Flye winning the ball at the back out to Tomlinson on the left, Spiers coming back to slide in take the ball away from her.
Tomlinson gets away moment later down the left flank running on with the ball into the box, Linger getting in close to pressure, the ball running out of play. Pressure in attack from Cambridge midfielders Hannah Bodily and Ellie Cullum playing the ball out to the wings Charlotte Gillies and Tomlinson providing good width forcing Newmarket back into their own box. Becca Towler intercepting a cross from the right starting from deep, Spiers on the right and Katie Hayes on the left are trying to provide passing options on the wings but all too often Cambridge are closing the ball down before the pass can be attempted.
Jess Evans heading the ball clear from the top of the area as Katie Walker attempts a diagonal pass long from the left for Newmarket. Spiers through the middle quick on for Hayes who plays it on through aiming for Lydia Mykhaylechko the pass intercepted by Mulheron outside the area cleared forwards. Antonia Smith in front of her defence getting in a timely tackle on Stanley as she snatches the ball and looks to drive forwards break through the defence. Cambridge getting numbers forwards in attack out on the right Gillies cross flung in towards the back stick, Newmarket captain, Chloe Slater there to bring the ball down and clear.
Linger from distance puts a free-kick wide of the Cambridge goal. The ball regained in the final 3rd Spiers on the right drives on before striking a shot on the angle fired in low towards the near post, Cambridge captain and goalkeeper, Sarah Hudson dropping down to easily gather the ball. Spiers looking lively on the right for Newmarket Slater lifting the ball into her, Evens getting across her the ball back with her keeper.
The game quickly switching from one end to the other as both sides break with purpose and pace Newmarket charge the ball down outside their area the clearance seeing Spiers racing after it, Evans with her blocking her early cross. Newmarket’s defence under more pressure with Cambridge regaining possession in midfield with 20 minutes played. Newmarket with a free-kick inside the Cambridge half on the right Linger to float the ball in towards the left, Cambridge defend and hit their opponents on the break, Gillies away on the right with support from Amie Fullwood the pair exchanging passes before Gillies scoops a cross in across goal from the by-line claimed high by Szary.
Cullum is clattered in the middle trying to bring the ball on referee Ramona Bria playing a good advantage as the ball runs on through to Gillies right of the D, both Towler and Wayman are quick to close her down, Gillies held up getting the ball across to Fullwood inside the area left of goal, strokes a shot low beyond the far post.
GOAL! Midway through the 1st half and the deadlock is broken Cambridge pressing the Newmarket defence, a misplaced past latched onto the ball fed diagonally out to the left Fullwood getting hold of it turning into the area and moving forwards drilling a shot home on the angle 1-0.
Cambridge quick to get the ball back from the restart keeping the ball inside Newmarket’s half Mulheron stepping forwards to claim it over half way connecting with the shot some 30 plus yards out, dipping late Szary stretching to make a top draw save tipping the ball over her crossbar for a corner kick. A low shot turned goalwards from the resulting corner Szary can see it out.
GOAL! 2 minutes after taking the late Cambridge go on to double their advantage. Coming from an error at the back the ball played out to the left by Szary, lost as Fullwood nips in to get hold of the ball powers her way on into the box then smashes a strike across the keeper into the back of the net 2-0.
A frantic few minutes to say the least Newmarket rocked by two quickfire goal against them find themselves under more pressure getting out of shape at the back as Cambridge’s Bodily puts the ball out to Reed on the right on for Gillies forwards her cross looping into the six yard box scrambled away by Liv Caffarelli back to the right Gillies inside the box catching it on the half volley sending her effort wide across the face of goal.
Slater on the ball through the middle for Newmarket gains ground looking to link with Spiers in front of the Cambridge defence no way through as Mulheron wins the defensive header. Slater looking to try and take the game to Cambridge picking the ball up battling her way on through to the top of the area her scuffed shot running harmlessly through to Hudson. Caffarelli winning the ball at the back well for Newmarket takes it on into midfield, gaining some ground before Bodily closes in with a strong challenge to win the ball.
A double switch for Cambridge then with Tomlinson and Gillies coming off, Karly Tolentino and Bella Ely coming on. Newmarket settling down again after conceding getting players further forwards Slater combining with Walker 30 yards out driving forwards into the left channel riding a tackle sending the ball on into the box for Mykhaylechko to attack, Flye shielding the ball for Hudson to gather.
Spiers using her pace getting back quickly to slide in tackle Ely as she threatens to take the ball on for Cambridge down the left flank. Spiers has space to run into on the right herself as the midfield lift the ball into her path taking it down on towards the Cambridge area unleashes a shot from 25 yards out on target, however Hudson is behind it all the way. Wayman getting up to support Walker and Hayes on the left winning a throw in the corner Cambridge have numbers back preventing the cross coming in launching a counter play spread to the left Linger blocking Ely’s attempted cross.
Smith conceding a free-kick out on the left as she comes across to tackle with Ely linking up with Cullum on the wing. Stanley over the set-piece a good delivery launched in high to the far post a runner late to arrive the ball there to be attacked bounces out of play. Stanley comes off then replaced by Zynia Delglyn. Hayes on the left for Newmarket into Mykhaylechko inside the box back to goal closely marked by Mulheron lays the ball out across the D to Slater bombing on from the middle on the run strikes the ball on target straight at Hudson though the keeper untroubled.
Into the final 5 minutes of the first half Cambridge with a corner on the right, Newmarket defending but not clearing there line put back into the box the shot finding the back of the net, however it won’t counted the flag raised. Cambridge come again on the right another corner played in near side defended sent back out to the taker cut back towards Delglyn 20 yards out right side her shot bouncing through to goal held by Szary.
Spiers continues to look a threat for Newmarket on the right, Slater in the middle picking her out with space to run into pushing forwards from 25 yards sends a shot on the angle over the crossbar. A short back pass to Szary puts the keeper under pressure top of her box as Fullwood comes streaming in her kick charged down flies up, the bounce favouring Szary who is able to get it into her gloves before Fullwood can capitalise. Delglyn with Cullum through the middle plays the ball into Ely’s path as she breaks into the area left of the D, clipping a shot in towards goal rising, Szary batting it away well to concede the corner.
From the left the corner falling far post his defended by Mykhaylechko. Cafferelli across to challenge winning the ball as Fullwood and Ely link up on the left for Cambridge. Szary with another quality save at her near post tipping the ball over the bar, as Tolentino charging forwards on the right drives in a vicious rising shot. The corner from the left fizzed into the six yard box into Cullum’s chest, difficult to get under control before Newmarket scramble it away.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-0 Newmarket Town Women
That the final action of an exciting 1st half. Cambridge going in with a 2-0 lead at the break. Scoring 2 quick fire goals midway through the 2nd half. Could have added more if not for some fine saves from Dominika Szary in the Newmarket goal. Newmarket holding their own against there higher league opponents have been forced back defending deep more often than not making it harder to counter but have soaked up alot of pressure, getting forwards with pace to create a few opportunities of their own none of them troubling Sarah Hudson in goal. A two goal lead at the break as is often the case in a cup tie the next goal could prove crucial.
Cambridge with a triple switch during the half-time interval, Stanley and Tomlinson back on along with Freya Goddard for Evans, Fullwood and Bodily. Newmarket getting the 2nd half underway. Look to play it long through the middle Hayes after it, Flye stepping out of defence the pair collide, Flye coming off the worse, it okay after a pause for treatment. Spiers attacking with the ball at her feet on the right pace her cross in cut out.
Tolentino getting the ball into her feet on the right side for Cambridge driving on, twists and turns getting free to lift a cross on the angle into the six yard box Stanley central chesting it down taking it out to the right of goal turning into the shot charged down by Towler out for a corner kick.
GOAL! An early goal at the start of the 2nd half and it goes the way of Cambridge. From the resulting corner the ball is cleared long out to the left side, retrieved by Cambridge possession kept well played into the box from the top of the area, Szary coming for it, Stanley closing in taking the ball past her and slotting it into the bottom corner 3-0.
A huge blow to Newmarket at the start of the 2nd half, Cambridge showing there intent coming forwards with determination Tolentino right side looking for Stanley, won well by Smith. A free-kick won by Cambridge top of the D, a dangerous position, Stanley on it drags her attempt wide of the far post. Newmarket’s defence under pressure, Linger defending, the ball quickly won back a corner won on the right. Floated into the six yard box Cafferelli clearing to the left, put back in, the offside flag giving Newmarket some respite.
Tolentino looking to drive on with the ball, Wayman stopping one attack, Tolentino is soon after her again into the corner squeezed a cross into the near post from the by line, Ely near post close on goal trying to turn it inside the post, Szary there to bat it away her defence clearing. Newmarket make their first change of the game Mykhaylechko coming off for Katie Webb. The substitute with a good tackle 25 yards out to regain possession right side Walker up with her, curling a shot from outside the box wide of the far post.
Working the ball into the box from a throw on their right Cambridge attack it near post a corner awarded. Defended at the near post cleared outside the box a shot from distance struck back in caught by Szary. Getting out of their half proving difficult for Newmarket Cambridge pressing to quick regain the ball. Newmarket with a 2nd change, Annabelle Herring on for Spiers with an hour played. A free-kick at the back for Cambridge, Cullum helping it on through to the top of the area, Towler does well defending for Newmarket as Stanley closes in.
Tolentino winning a corner on the right, goes long out to the left a shot from distance on the angle driven wide across the face of goal. Cambridge with a double switch bring Rosie Mead on along with Gillies. A deep cross from the left finding Gillies free inside the box, she puts the ball into the back of the net the flag though is already up. Faith Entwhistle joins the action for Newmarket on for Smith. Cambridge strong in the 2nd half dominating play in the final 3rd.
GOAL! That pressure bringing them a 4th goal a corner on the right side played into the mix cleared at the far post falls to Goddard outside the box 25 yards out, wastes no time getting her shot away the ball rising towards goal, Szary stretching to reach it can’t get enough on it as the ball falls beyond over the goal line 4-0.
Few opportunities to get forwards for Newmarket so far in the 2nd half, getting the ball off a thro on the left Walker turns infield sending it out to Hayes on the right of the area, tries to punch her way through the Cambridge defence but too much traffic her progress halted. Cambridge come left winning a corner kick. The ball flighted into the six yard box turned down towards goal, defended well by the defender on the far post the ball skipping up off her foot into Szary’s gloves.
A fluid attack from Cambridge from back to front 4 one touch passes sending the ball on through to Gillies getting free on the right into the box a shot fired in low on the angle Szary down smartly to save push the ball away the the left. Tolentino on that side now getting hold of the ball wide curling a shot back in Szary can’t doing anything saved by base of her far post before being cleared.
Into the last 15 minutes another triple switch for Cambridge with Evans, Bodily and Fullwood all returning on for Mulheron, Flye and Stanley. Webb on the right looking to get past Evans sending the ball on for Hayes, Hudson able to claim it, play stopped with a player down on the far side. It’s Evans only just on can’t continue, Mulheron’s rest last all of a minute is sent back on. Evans unable to walk unaided with an ankle injury helped round the pitch. 82 minutes played.
GOAL! The changes opening up the game somewhat, Newmarket’s Slater closing the ball down well in the centre coming on before laying it through for Hayes moving left of the D, moving the ball on to get her shot away sends it low under Hudson to score 4-1.
Hayes last action of the game however has picked up a side injury in the process of scoring the goal, with Mykhaylechko coming back on. Alex Milner on too. Cambridge get straight on the attack running down the right a dangerous ball whipped in across the face of goal, Linger with the clearance. Newmarket struggling to clear there lines as Cambridge come on with renewed vigour.
GOAL! Tomlinson getting up on the left to support Tolentino the full back taking the ball on into the corner swivelling well to lift a shot from a acute angle in over Szary to fall inside the goal at the far post 5-1.
Walker getting onto the ball left side for Newmarket sends it on for Mykhaylechko inside the area, looks to shift inside make room for a shot but can’t shake off Mulheron the centre back tackling to clear the ball away to the left. A crossfield ball for Gillies on the right in cut out by Wayman, Fullwood though is quick to snatch the loose ball but attempting to return it to Gillies catches her offside.
Into stoppage time play spread Newmarket giving it a go late on Webb with support from Walker on the right whose angled cross lifted high into the box is claimed securely by Hudson. Caffarelli down having received a head injury but after treatment is okay to come back on. Cambridge with possession on the left see the game out a shot from distance wide across the area.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies 5-1 Newmarket Town Women
A strong 2nd half performance from Cambridge in the 2nd half seeing them retain the Invitation Cup with a 5-1 over Newmarket. A two goal lead from the 1st half quickly extended early in the 2nd half with a 4th goal coming past the hour. Newmarket on the backfoot defended stoutly but struggled to get anything going in attack. A well won ball from Slater putting Hayes through on goal giving them the goal they deserved on the balance of play. Cambridge going on to add a 5th. Looked composed throughout getting players forwards using the flanks well and taking the game to Newmarket who can be proud of their performance in their first County Cup Final a great occasion, mistakes seeing Cambridge score, the defence battled hard throughout Szary with a number of quality saves to keep them in it.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, and boy is this a tough one. Some great performances all over the park. Let’s begin with Newmarket can’t single out a single defender as they all put in a shift keeping Cambridge at bay. Dominika Szary with some great saves. Chloe Slater winning the ball in midfield looking to take the game forwards, Katie Spiers on the right a willing runner with pace offering a pass whenever Newmarket could break. All round it was a strong squad performance from Cambridge which will give them confidence going forwards. Bronwyn Mulheron was strong at the back didn’t give anything away. Ellie Cullum and Hannah Bodily prevented Newmarket getting out through the middle on several occasions. Used the flanks well particularly strong in the 2nd half, and a good portion of that dominance was down to Karly Tolentino with some forceful running on the ball creating a number of chances. This evenings Player of the Match.
Congratulation to Cambridge City Women on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final
An enjoyable evening at the Abbey Stadium an entertaining final. My thanks to both sides with their help tonight along with that of the Cambridgeshire FA, Abbey Stadium staff and particularly, Chris Abbott much appreciated. Updated with photo’s courtesy of Sean Doyle again much appreciated.
by Darren Gilham