Sunday 25th February
A trip down into Suffolk today to watch a match from the FAWPL South East Division One. with 4th placed Ipswich Town Ladies taking on Cambridge United WFC in 6th.
Been a while since I’ve been to the Goldstar Ground, home of Felixstowe & Walton FC and Ipswich Town Ladies now into their 2nd season as a regular at the venue. Always good to to see a club advertising the presence of a female side at their club too upon entry.
A good season for Ipswich Town Ladies have been in an amongst the top 4 all season, at one point with Leyton Orient WFC and Milton Keynes Dons Ladies looking to push AFC Wimbledon Ladies all the way for top spot. A defeat at Leyton Orient WFC denting their own title hopes earlier in the season AFC Wimbledon have since moved on to take a commanding lead at the top of the table going 11 points clear. Ipswich Town Ladies have games in hand on the leaders but even with maximum points know only a slip up from AFC Wimbledon will let them back into the race now. things ca change however and Ipswich Town are aiming to finish the season as high as they can having won 8 of the 13 games they have played so far. Have Ipswich Town Talk helping with the media and they are doing a fantastic job helping promote them and adding to their exposure.
Cambridge United WFC were in Ipswich’s position last season challenging for the title. This time around with alot of changes at the start of the season haven’t reached those heights are currently 6th in the table with the even record of 5 wins 5 draws and 5 losses from the 15 they have played very tight in the middle of the South East Division One table a late run of form could yet propel them up the table threaten the top 4, whilst keeping an eye on the sides below who fancy their chances of a top half finish.
Both sides are the leading women’s football sides in their respective counties and are going strong to once again retain their County Cups usually a close game between the sides. A win for Ipswich Town Ladies moves them up a place into 3rd.
The last time I was here the new clubhouse and changing rooms were just a building site the foundations barely laid. The finished product is very impressive. The main building housing the bar and kitchen plenty of food and drink to chose from hot and cold. The changing rooms adjoining is an excellent environment for the Ipswich Town Ladies players to call home. Through the clubhouse out onto the pitch nice and wide surrounded by housing lost ball in gardens a highly likely occurrence. Promised to be a very cold weekend so I was fingers crossed Sunday morning the game would be on the Sunday was high in the sky however doing it’s best to warm thing’s up still bitterly cold bright and dry it was a good footballing afternoon.
Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Sian Fagg, Jacqueline Ball, Nicole Pannifer, Lindsey Cooper, Harriet Petley, Cassandra Craddock, Amanda Crump (C), Zoe Cossey, Sophie Welton, Natasha Thomas & Miagh Downey. Subs – Jordan Arnoup, Jade Henry & Gemma Moore.
Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Carolyn Sarafian, Laura Baker, Lauren Cartwright, Faith Hewitt, Amber Cantwell, Laura Bright (C) & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Michaela Dortch, Teonie Peyton & Lauren Gibson.
It’s the visitors to kick-off the 1st half, Cambridge wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks with Ipswich lined up opposite their backs to the sun wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts. A lively start to the game both sides looking to press the ball sees the ball lost by either side, Faith Hewitt looking to get clear down the left the ball out for a throw up the other end Miagh Downey is released into space down the left but can’t keep the ball in play.
Ipswich from a throw in left side work the ball in a neat triangle inside the Cambridge half before the final ball is sent in on the diagonal into the box , an easy gather for Cambridge goalkeeper Savannah Smith making her 2nd appearance since joining from Milton Keynes Dons Ladies. Cambridge win a free-kick wide right on halfway as Amber Cantwell is upended the ball played long up into the area won by Cambridge captain Laura Bright playing up top along side Kelley Blanchflower this afternoon the ball knocked out into the midfield the first time strike looks to be on Ipswich are quick to converge and regain possession.
Cassie Craddock gets hold of the ball in the midfield for Ipswich moving right plays it forwards for Sophie Welton up the line she runs on with it cutting her cross back towards the top of the area, Ipswich captain Amanda Crump jumping to head the ball the looping ball angling towards the goal, Emma Jenkins gets behind it to head the ball away from danger. The tempo is very fast time on the ball at a premium Cambridge press winning the ball can’t keep it for long before Ipswich get back at them a little scrappy at times. Ipswich win a throw on the right side inside the Cambridge half between them Welton and Downey win a corner kick.
GOAL! Coming up to 15 minutes on the clock Ipswich open the scoring from the corner kick Crump the taker a good delivery inswinging into the middle of the six yard box, Smith gets her gloves to the ball knocks it away the ball falling towards the top of the area Natasha Thomas has lost her marker, coming onto the falling ball strikes it first time the ball evading everyone and flying into the back of the net 1-0.
The ball is sent forwards through the middle Blanchflower making a run across the Ipswich defence peels away in behind after it, Sian Fagg comes racing out to the edge of her area sliding in to claim the ball before the Cambridge striker can reach it. Bright and Blanchflower combine as Cambridge regain possession through Laura Baker the ball on by Bright left side Blanchflower in behind crosses into the area the ball going long Cantwell retrieves over on the right help from Jenkins the ball is fired back into the area the header won by Ipswich’s Lindsey Cooper.
Bright and Blanchflower with more good combination play in attack for Cambridge, Bright playing the ball on down the left makes a forwards run into the centre as Blanchflower squares the ball into her the ball is struck early 20 yards out swerves away from goal. Hewitt with a clever pass into Blanchflower who controls on her chest back to goal Lauren Cartwright makes the midfield run going beyond her Blanchflower putting the ball into her, taking it into the area left of goal Jac Ball and Hannah Petley close Cartwright down prevent her getting a shot away.
Welton has swapped sides with Zoe Cossey now on the right she is picked put by Petley bringing the ball out from the back, Cossey checks her run coming inside towards the top right corner of the area her shot/cross goes wide out at the far post. Cossey takes a knock for her efforts as she tracks back well to tackle Bennett as the full back goes past Hewitt on the overlap getting the return pass blocking the cross Bennett catches Cossey in the ankle the winger getting the free-kick.
A wide pitch both sides are looking to cross the ball in more than one cross ending up behind the goal. Runs through the middle are limited, Baker and Cartwright for Cambridge and Craddock and Crump for Ipswich doing a good job breaking up play. Cossey has a go picking up the ball wanting to run with it Hewitt chases her infield and slides in to win the ball. Downey comes deep to receive the ball a good turn and pass out to Cossey on the move down the right screws her cross onto the roof of the Cambridge net. Cambridge are unhappy with so of the refereeing decisions Blanchflower appearing to have her shirt tugged as she tries to spin in behind to attack the box, The referee having a word with the Cambridge bench.
Cambridge press on down the right with the ball Bright with Cantwell win the visitors a corner kick the ball is played out towards the top of the area met by Hewitt her strike is sent high over the crossbar. Cartwright is fouled as she brings the ball forwards taken short into Cantwell right she wins a throw put into Bright she holds the ball up rolled back into Cantwell her cross lifted into the box is won by Cooper.
Late into the 1st half is an even game quality in the final third lacking the hard pressing game continues in midfield, a 50/50 ball is won by Cambridge goes long forwards Blanchflower is onto it running clear of the Ipswich defence into the box right of goal Fagg comes running out sliding in brings Blanchflower down the referee points to the spot, PENALTY! Fagg is carded as Cantwell places the ball on the spot. Looks to place the ball to the keepers left, Fagg reads it however and throwing herself to the left makes a comfortable looking saves holding onto the ball.
The opportunity for Cambridge to level the scores gone the game continues at a furious pace the ball from one end to the other possession lost too easily. Cantwell shes the ball played into her path as she makes a forwards run can’t bring it under control as Fagg closes her down to claim. Kayleigh-Anne Burt with the forwards pass for Bright on for Blanchflower a throw won on the left Cambridge get the ball into the Ipswich area, the home defence scramble it away Cambridge reclaim the ball come on again left side Hewitt on for Bennett the cross in towards the near post, Petley meeting the ball sees it skip up off her body to land onto the roof of her own net. A good delivery from the corner on the left the ball flying across the six yard box Carolyn Sarafain coming in at the far post can’t quite get on the end of it.
Half-time Ipswich Town Ladies 1-0 Cambridge United WFC
A narrow lead for Ipswich at half-time 1-0 thanks to Natasha Thomas. A fast paced first half but overall scrappy the tempo affecting play to a degree no one with any time to settle on the ball. Both managers frustrated few chances in the final 3rd the midfield has seen alot of the action fairly even very finely balanced with the 2nd half to come.
No changes for either side at half-time as Ipswich get the 2nd half underway. Cambridge with an early opportunity to put the ball into the Ipswich box winning a free-kick out wide on the right. Jenkins to take, sends the ball long towards the far post Cartwright with a good jump gets her head to the ball but can’t get enough on it to deflect it in towards goal runs wide out of play for the goal kick. Cambridge have started the 2nd half the better making progress on the left win a corner the delivery towards the top of the area flicked in towards goal, Fagg claims the ball inside her six yard box.
GOAL! Cambridge bright start to the 2nd half is undone as Ipswich get the ball up the other end quickly to double their lead. Cossey winning the ball at the back playing it long up towards Downey in the centre, the Cambridge defence looking to shield the ball as Smith comes racing out to lay claim to the ball. Downey is tenacious as she does well to get around her marker at the top of the area getting her foot onto the ball as she goes to ground pushing it past the advancing Smith and on into the back of the net beyond 2-0.
Hewitt is fouled in a dangerous position in front of the Ipswich area left of the D 25 yards out, Bright starting the 2nd half deeper in midfield to take goes for goal her effort on target lacking the pace or height to trouble Fagg. Baker is in an advanced position central as the ball is crossed into her from the right goes with the outside of her right foot attempting to play Hewitt in behind her ball going long runs out of play far post. Craddock with a good tackle wins the ball her pass out out to the right Downey gives chase sends her cross behind the Cambridge goal.
GOAL! 15 minutes into the 2nd half and Cambridge pull a goal back. Players drifting over to the left side as Cambridge build good work from Blanchflower as she receives the ball holding it up before sending a cross in across the top of the area finding Cantwell unmarked 20 yards out makes no mistake as she meets the ball sending her shot angling into the back of the net past Fagg before the keeper can move 2-1.
Soon after Cambridge make their 1st change of the game bringing Sarafian off sending on Lauren Gibson the striker joining Blanchflower up top Bright who started the game in attack is now back in defence alongside Burt. A handball spotted by the referee as Cambridge attack on the right the free-kick awarded Baker over it as players come forwards from the back the delivery towards the far post the ball knocked down into the middle of the area Bright closest tries to put the ball back over her shoulder in towards goal is blocked rebounds to Gibson right of goal six yards out she gets a shot away too many Ipswich bodies to get through the shot it kept out. Ipswich counter getting the ball up the other end Thomas looking to get into the box left side, Jenkins going with her does enough to put her off checking back Thomas tries to pick out Welton far post Burt with the interception.
Cossey on the ball runs forwards taking it a long way before getting into a crossing position left side puts a high ball into the box the target again Welton running in gets her head on the dropping ball but can’t direct it on target. The game is stretched Cambridge after another goal Hewitt lays the ball on for Blanchflower left side her shot in towards the near post covered by Fagg. Downey has a chance to shoot from the top of the box, Smith behind it all the way catches safely. Blanchflower is down far side need treatment. Ipswich make their 1st change, Downey the player giving way. Jade Henry coming on up top.
GOAL! Closing in on the final 10 minutes Ipswich break to extend their lead the ball won in midfield by Crump comes to Thomas she takes it on evading a rash challenge has space to carry the ball into on the left, wide of the area checks her run has time to look up and sends a shoot angling in over Smith and into the goal beyond 3-1.
Blanchflower needs to come off for Cambridge as they make their 2nd change Teonie Peyton taking her place. Jenkins is fouled as she looks to get forwards down the right. Wide of goal it’s the full back over it to take sent long towards the far post Ipswich have plenty back to win the ball and get the ball clear. Cambridge make their final change Jenkins coming off to be replaced by Michaela Dortch at right back. Ipswich make another change too Cossey coming off with Gemma Moore entering the field. The home side break quickly Thomas playing Welton in Cambridge recover quickly to win the ball back.
Not long left on the clock the game is scrappy Crump and Craddock breaking it up in the middle free-kick are given away by both sides some frustration on display. Ipswich make their final change Jordan Arnoup introduced Welton giving way. The substitute in to win the ball back as Ipswich finish strongly determined not to concede another goal. Cantwell takes a knock fouled down the right the ball played down the line Pannifer putting it out for the throw. One last attack for Cambridge the ball played into Gibson top of the area lays it back out for Cantwell wide right her long distance strike wide across the area.
Full time Ipswich Town Ladies 3-1 Cambridge United WFC
I really enjoyed this game even if ultimately it was a scrappy affair, two energetic and committed sides on display especially in the middle of the park. Few chances created and balls into the final third going to waste. The goals scored were nevertheless very well taken. Ipswich winning 3-1 in the end will be happy with the 3 points that lift them up to 3rd in the South East Division One table. Cambridge will be disappointed in the end the goals they conceded all could have been avoided.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Never gets any easier choosing the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. This afternoon being no exception a real battle in the middle of the park, no time afforded on the ball and although Craddock ran her close today’s award goes to the Ipswich captain Amanda Crump.
My thanks as always to both sides with their help with the team line-ups today although they are two sides who I know very well, always pays to check however.