Sunday 3rd September
The Road to Wembley begins here. The SSE FA Women’s Cup begins this Sunday with 1st Round Qualifying featuring 87 ties as more clubs enter the competition than ever. New entrants to the competition across the East too with 33 sides entering at this. Today’s game is from The Ridgeons Stadium in Newmarket with Newmarket Town Ladies taking on Histon Ladies for a place in the next round.
This is Newmarket Town Ladies 1st competitive match of the season with the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership starting next Sunday. Shane Lebbon takes charge of the 1st team this season. Several players coming in a few moving on. The club as seen a number of players join from the folded Brandon Town Ladies, defender Ellie Marshall along with Frankie Torrance, Brooke Wickens. Jordanne Sillitoe dual signed with opponents Histon last season is on Newmarket’s books alone this season. Youngsters Megan Kane and Laura Bailey also join. Sarah O Rourke, Kate Silver, Cara Ager-Hutty and after today’s match Jennifer Gray formerly of Ipswich Town Ladies is a new addition to the squad. A competitive pre-season schedule against higher league with some good results along the way has given Newmarket confidence ahead of today’s match against higher league opposition.
Histon Ladies are competing in the new ERWFL Division One South following relegation from the Premier Division the previous season their 1st under the Histon banner having previously been Great Shelford Ladies. Despite dropping down a league the club is strengthening building a sustainable pyramid from youth to senior for the future in partnership with Histon FC who had a girls youth set-up the merger with Great Shelford to form Histon Ladies last season is bolstered this season with the formation of Histon Ladies Reserves which will provide competition for places with the 1st team. Both sides getting to play their home matches at The Glassworld Stadium. Have retained much of last season’s squad bringing in Grace Parker from Bar Hill Ladies. Began their league season 2 weeks ago with a god 4-0 win against rivals Cambridge United WFC Reserves.
The Ridgeons Stadium featuring a state of the art cork based all-weather surface a great looking pitch to play on. The kitchen serving food and hot drinks a seated stand beside the changing rooms. An overcast day cooler than in recent days a light breeze blowing across the ground, no rain forecast however. £350 up for grabs for the winners along with a home tie in 2nd Round Qualifying against either Northamptonshire side Oadby & Wigston Dynamo Ladies or Norfolk’s King’s Lynn Town Ladies.
Newmarket Town Ladies starting XI – Eloise Hope, Yasmin Woodfield, Frankie Torrance, Ellie Marshall, Beth Woodfield (C), Jess Linger, Laura Bailey, Abbi Griffin, Abbie Marshall, Chloe Slater & Jordanne Sillitoe. Subs – Antonia Smith, Brooke Wickens, Dominika Szary, Hollie Turner & Lauren Deller
Histon Ladies starting XI – Keeley Robinson, Katie Webb, Lucy Julian, Claire Andrews, Grace Parker, Sophie Lanham (C), Hannah Gordon, Abigail Davies, Charlotte Westrope, Alison Wright & Sophie Hopkin. Subs – Tessa Shaw, Danielle Busby, Georgina Westrope, Harriett Wilkerson & Amanda Binge.
Histon get this FA Women’s Cup 1st Round Qualifying tie underway wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks. Newmarket lined up wearing yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. The ball is played wide to right back Katie Webb she looks to send the ball on down the line for Abigail Davies on the wing ahead of her making the run Davies catches the Newmarket defence flat footed but that goes against her as she has strayed offside the flag up halting her attack.
Histon attack early on a good diagonal ball sent through the middle for striker Sophie Hopkin to attack, Newmarket captain Beth Woodfield at centreback closes her down challenges for the ball pops loose Histon captain Sophie Lanham in close support goes for it as does Newmarket’s Chloe Slater a coming together leaves Lanham n a lot of pain on the floor clutching her ankle. The trainer is sent on takes Lanham a few minutes to get back to her feet walking gingerly in her ankle comes of for it to be assessed the visitors down to 10 for the moment.
Newmarket very nearly capitalise as they attack down the right Abbi Griffin on the ball comes forwards has Jordanne Sillitoe available for the ball top right corner of the area the pair play a one two with Griffin sending in a cross along the top of the area, Abbie Marshall is free to receive the ball inside the D letting the ball come onto her sends it in 90 degrees looping towards goal, has goalkeeper Keeley Robinson beaten smashes against the crossbar bouncing back down into play Histon getting it clear for a throw in on the left.
Lanham is allowed back on her movement much improved. Newmarket have started brightly have the ball right side attacking rolled into Sillitoe shoots from the angle Robinson raising her hands isn’t bothered sees it run wide of her far post. Sillitoe with another strike at goal as Slater winning the ball in the middle brings it forwards rolls it into the striker top of the box right of the D cuts across the ball sending the ball wide of the near post. Histon when they have the ball are looking for find their wide players Davies right and Charlotte Westrope on the left win a free-kick that side 30 yards from goal Lanham over the set-piece drills the ball in towards goal runs wide at the near post.
A good tempo to the match both sides ready to launch counter attacks, Newmarket get forwards on the left Abbie Marshall driving on with the ball at her feet squares a cross in along the top of the box just behind Sillitoe runs on to Griffin arriving late, Histon’s Lucy Julian at left back eases her off the ball. Up the other end Davies is constantly spinning in behind offering an outlet gets beyond Frankie Torrance this time cutting the ball square along the top of the six yard line Hopkin waiting far post, Beth Woodfield lunging for the ball gets there first putting it behind for the corner. Lanham to deliver the corner coming in near post defender Claire Andrews attacks the ball 8 yards out drills her header wide.
The game has settled down a little Histon finding a little more time in possession. Davies is clearly a threat on the right as players are drawn inside with the visitors overloading the left the diagonal ball sees Davies with and open field ahead of her Torrance races to catch the winger as she surges into the box pulling her right foot back puts everything into the shot strikes the ball hard, goalkeeper Eloise Hope dives to her left the ball strikes the post hard spinning out of play.
Great link up play between Abbie Marshall and Laura Bailey as the pair work the ball up the left forcing their way through Histon, Hannah Gordon with the challenge on Bailey 30 yards out the ball squirms on through to Sillitoe in space just outside the D central doesn’t wait to be closed down takes on the shot putting the ball wide of the left goalpost. Slater out for Griffin right side she takes on the defender ahead of her getting past her into the box, Grace Parker dives forwards into challenge the ball sending it out for the throw in. Keeping the ball alive Newmarket flash a cross in towards the near post Robinson claims the low ball well.
A good spell for Newmarket more attacking down the right the high ball into the area is attacked by Bailey getting forwards doesn’t get a clean header the ball remains in play Abbie Marshall sees her shot blocked by Andrews before Robinson grabs the ball into her body. Is an exciting opening half an hour both sides creating chances Histon build from the back the ball into Alison Wright on long for Davies on the right running beyond the Newmarket defend screws the ball back towards the top of the area right side, Gordon advancing looks to get onto the end of it, so to does Newmarket central defender Ellie Marshall the ball is caught in between the pair could go anywhere as it is it loops up and back across the six yard box, falling for Hopkin she attempts to strike it on the volley a difficult chance can’t direct it on target.
Robinson is called into action making a good save for Histon as Newmarket get hold of the ball in the middle Jess Linger on for Bailey sends the ball on for Abbie Marshall coming inside from the left takes the ball across the face of the area moving right 20 yards out finds room for a shot driven in low skipping off the surface Robinson getting down pushes the ball away from her goal. Marshall comes off after the attack as Newmarket make their 1st change of the match early on, Brooke Wickens joining the game taking up the position vacant by Marshall on the left.
Wickens 1st taste of the action is to have the ball smashed into her chest from a yard out, the referee stops play seeing she needs a moment to recover clearly winded. Davies remains a handful on the right enjoying a good tussle with Torrance at left back the latter sliding in to give away the corner as Davies drives for the byline. A pacy ball put into a great area by Lanham into the six yard box, Gordon closest can’t untangle her legs to get it turned towards goal. A bit of momentum with Histon as the 1st half draws to a close Hopkins coming deeper for the ball rolled into her feet 25 yards out left of goal turns and strikes it goalwards. A confident save by Hope the ball coming at her with pace head high is well positioned palms the ball down and collects.
GOAL! 2 minutes left in the 1st half and the deadlock is broken. Histon have a free-kick wide on the right after Davies is fouled. Players come forwards as Gordon sets the ball on the ground. Sent in long to the far post a vicious delivery is attacked by Wright from 3 yards out a glancing header it runs on for Westrope beyond her she sends her header inside the post to give Histon the lead 0-1.
Newmarket go on the attack straight from the restart the ball into Wickens on the left her cross is fired in hard across the face of the Histon goal, Robinson going to ground far post does enough to put of Griffin arriving late out of play a goal kick given. Histon with Lanham onto Wright into Hopkin through the middle back to goal Hopkin a long way out rolls her marker and shoots the ball straight at Hope.
GOAL! Newmarket get themselves back on level terms right on the stroke of half-time breaking up a Histon attack at the back counter with purpose Torrance at left back forwards for Wickens she passes it inside for Bailey bombing forwards through the middle outside the D thinks about the shot hesitates a second by then she spots Griffin advancing into the box from the right her pass to her inch perfect Griffin shoots rifling the ball into the top corner 1-1. The final action of the 1st half.
Half-time Newmarket Town Ladies 1-1 Histon Ladies
A really interesting 1st half of football a close contest with plenty of action, Newmarket if anything might have felt they should be leading 1st half only to go a goal down getting back into it with the last attack of the half. All level sets the game up perfectly for the 2nd half. Early on it looked to be shaping up for a close contest which way it will go 2nd half? Could go either way, was excited to find out as the two sides returned for the 2nd half.
No changes for either side at the break as Newmarket get things underway, Histon’s Wright looks to be playing further up the field in support of Hopkin up top. The visitors start brightly on the attack the ball won played up to Wright moving left sends a cross in cut out by Beth Woodfield. Histon regain possession a 2nd ball into the box is cleared for a corner kick on the left. Lanham puts the delivery long towards the top of the area Westrope has a free header sends the ball over the crossbar. Pressing the ball a high tempo Histon push on with Wright again on the left her cross driven in low is collected by Hope covering her near post.
For several minutes Histon have Newmarket back on their heels at the start of the 2nd half the pressure is relieved with a throw won deep on the left the ball throw square squirms through for Griffin to steal into the box turns and unleashes a shot sending the ball up over the crossbar.
GOAL! Histon might have started the 2nd half the better however it is Newmarket who get themselves the goal to lead the game with 57 minutes played. A corner won on the right Linger coming to take it a good delivery sent high into the six yard box, is attacked a yellow shirt leaping high flies on over her and onto Beth Woodfield central who directs the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
A blow for Histon after their good start is further struck after goalkeeper Robinson accidentally handles the ball out of her area as she goes to kick the ball up-field A free-kick awarded to Newmarket right on the edge of the box inside the D slightly to the left. Linger and Sillitoe over the ball, Linger defers to Sillitoe a direct free-kick goes for goal past the wall the ball hit hard runs wide of the far post. Sillitoe with another shot in the next attack Linger with a great ball for her into the area right of goal snatches at the ball pulls the ball wide across the face of goal.
Robinson makes a great save coming out to close down Bailey as she wriggles in behind as a ball played from halfway beats the Histon defence on the bounce the ball put behind for a corner on the left Newmarket load the box as the delivery comes in two players attack the ball for Newmarket close in Bailey connects her effort hitting the crossbar and bouncing down Histon scramble the ball clear play stopped as they have two players down in the box. Histon build Webb on for Davies her diagonal ball in towards the top of the area Beth Woodfield fails to clear Hopkin can’t dig the ball out of her feet for a shot before Yasmin Woodfield gets to her to make the challenge.
GOAL! Another free-kick awarded to Newmarket right on the edge of the area as Robinson in adjudged to have handled the ball out of her area going to take another goal kick. This time it is costly, Linger told to take this one taking instructions from the bench with her sets the ball down and puts her low driven shot into the bottom corner of the net to extend Newmarket’s lead 3-1.
Goals bring confidence and Newmarket are energised after going 3-1 up can’t rest on their laurels however as Histon have a renewed resolve of their own Davies surging on down the right crosses Hopkin in the box sees the ball all the way onto her foot shaping to shoot only for Beth Woodfield to slide in to take the ball away from her for the throw in. Wright pushing forwards with the ball has a shot from 25 yards out puts the ball straight at the keeper. Newmarket make a 2nd change Slater coming off to be replaced by Antonia Smith. Histon make their 1st change of the game Julian replaced by Tessa Shaw at the back.
Wright is sent clear through the middle for Histon with the game stretched in a race for the ball with Yasmin Woodfield, Hope has already made the decision to come goes to clear the ball comes off Wright runs on behind into the box Wright after it but play is brought back by the referee a hand ball spotted. Westrope in a central position puts the ball on for Wright into the area hesitation from the Newmarket defence gives her a half yard running at the ball stabs a shot wide of Hope’s right post.
A few excitable challenges flying in players diving in the midfield hotly contested but both sides enjoying the scrap the referee has thing’s well under control a few words an play goes on. The final changes for both sides Newmarket making their 3rd change sending on Lauren Deller up front for Sillitoe. A double switch for Histon as they switch t a 3-4-3 formation Lanham and Westrope coming off for Georgina Westrope and Harriett Wilkerson coming on.
GOAL! Game on as Histon pull a goal back straight after play resumes the ball put out to Davies on the move on the right carries it on strikes the ball a cross/shot doesn’t matter as the ball flies over Hope coming towards her near post and finds the side netting inside the far post 3-2. 15 minutes plus stoppage time to play.
GOAL! Soon after conceding Newmarket get up the other end and regain their 2 goal cushion. Have a free-kick awarded on the left side outside the box 25 yards out Linger over the ball with another confident strike blasts the ball in striking the near post rebounds back into play coming straight for Deller 8 yards out reacts instinctively sending the ball back towards goal and scoring 4-2.
Histon keep going frustrated but determined the ball put up into the box Beth Woodfield conceding a corner on the left. The delivery goes long Wright far post gets up to attack the ball her header driven down back across goal Hopkin at the opposite post close in can’t get a clean connection on the ball as she turns. A few tempers frayed but again a few words by the referee and things are calmed down. Griffin and Wickens switch sides late on for Newmarket.
Deller thinks she has scored again and all the players from Newmarket rush to congratulate her thinking a 3 goal lead has won them the tie. The ball is played through the middle with Histon high up the pitch Deller is clear running for the ball Robinson is out of her area sliding in attempting to get there the ball is deflected past her Deller running on to score a wheel away in celebration however I’m standing behind the linesman this side and his flag was up before she and the keeper came together the goal disallowed the Newmarket bench desperately trying to get the team back into position with only stoppage time left. Newmarket keep Histon at bay until the final whistle blows and they can celebrate reaching the next round of the FA Women’s Cup.
Full time Newmarket Town Ladies 4-2 Histon Ladies
A great watch today very entertaining and might well have gone either way. Histon never getting on top of Newmarket who grew in confidence an intriguing contest some well taken goals. A good result for Newmarket to carry into the season. They will face King’s Lynn Town Ladies in 2nd Round Qualifying after they beat Oadby & Wigston Dynamos Ladies 3-1. I like the sound of this tie too so I’ll be back at The Ridgeons Stadium for the game in 2 weeks time on Sun 17th September.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
This afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match goes to Newmarket Town Ladies Jess Linger confident and composed in midfield breaks up more opposition attacks than you realise. A good set-piece taker scoring a goal and another off the post.
Got to love a cup game, whatever competition it is. My thanks to both sides for their help today.