Tuesday 29th September
FAWNL South East Division One
First spot of midweek action on Women’s Football East this Tuesday evening and a derby match to boot, the first Cambridge derby of the season as Cambridge City Ladies host rivals Cambridge United WFC in FAWNL South East Division One.
The games coming thick and fast with both sides in action on Sunday playing again 48 hours later. Have enjoyed a keen and some times contentious rivalry, the past seeing what is Cambridge United WFC now break away from Cambridge City to become an established force the 4th tier of the women’s football pyramid. City getting their women’s side un and running enjoying a rapid rise through the pyramid to achieve promotion to the FAWNL themselves the season before last that one of course curtailed by the COVID outbreak, retain their place for the 20/21 campaign.
A tough start to the new season for Cambridge City Ladies, beaten 4-0 at home on the opening day by Essex side Billericay Town Ladies. Were looking to make amends away to Norwich City Women this weekend had their chances coming back from 1-0 at half-time to level the scores before the hosts went on to win the game 3-1. Nothing in the board from their opening two games a derby match under the lights a good opportunity to get their season going. With goalkeeper Dominika Szary leaving the club have recruited Sarah Hudson from Peterborough Northern Star Ladies. Another new signing also from Peterborough North Star is midfielder, Bronwyn Mulheron.
Cambridge United WFC got the new season off to a fantastic start with a 4-1 win at home to Norwich City Women. A trip down to Essex this Sunday to face Hashtag United Women (previously AFC Basildon Women) Like City they had their chances trailing 2-1 at half-time eventually losing 3-1. Have brought in a few new faces to add depth to the squad, attacker Samaira Khan scoring in both opening games, winger Laura Mitchell and centre back Grace Waygood amongst them. A good test of fitness for both sides with a game coming so soon after the weekend.
Ely City FC the venue for tonight derby match, now situated behind a large cinema, restaurant and bar complex on the outskirts of Ely off the A10. Now home for Cambridge City Ladies was once the home for Cambridge United WFC too. A wide grass pitch, an elevated seated stand above the changing rooms the clubhouse and kitchen along side. Hot drinks available. COVID regulations well observed. A pretty miserable day with rain in the morning, softening up the playing surface, a dry overcast evening with a touch of fog around.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Bronwyn Mulheron, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Sarah Mosley & Karly Tolentino. Subs – Shannon Shaw, Amie Fullwood, Grace Stanley, Libby O’Callaghan & Ellie Cullum.
Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Charlotte Crisp, Carrie Bennett, Grace Waygood, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Gisela Otten, Albany Hodgson, Emma Jenkins, Amy Howlett, Laura Mitchell & Samaira Khan. Subs – Lauren Webb, Tori Lawless, Jemma Moore, Abi Davies & Ella Mercer.
As with these derbies they’ll be City and United from now on. A late change for United seeing Tori Lawless picking up an injury in the warm up. Albany Hodgson starting alongside Gisela Otten in midfield. It’s City to get the 1st half underway, wearing their home colours, white shirts and black shorts with black and white hooped socks. United opposite wearing amber coloured shirt, black shorts and socks. The ball put back towards the defence is lifted out long to the right with Charlotte Gillies making a run on the wing, Otten quickly across to tackle and send the ball out for a throw.
United’s first attack sees Laura Mitchell fouled wide right an early opportunity for the visitors to get players up into the box the delivery sent in headed away by City defender, Ceri Flye. Up on the left wing Freya Standing looks to get the ball and take on the United defence, captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt across to support Charlotte Crisp the ball regained, United push forwards the ball up on their right win a corner kick.
GOAL! From the corner United catch City napping with a short delivery up the line the ball put back to the corner taker fired into the box on the angle at the near post is turned home by Otten at close range to open the scoring 0-1.
Very much a derby match the pace furious the no time dwelling on the ball both sides looking to get it forwards rapidly, Emma Jenkins with a run on the left side for United, drops her shoulder to come inside, Amy Reed getting her toe on the ball to take it away from her. Sent long up the right wing for Gillies City win a corner deep inside United territory this bringing their 1st corner of the match. The delivery in the area knocked down is pushed out back to the taker, played back in towards the top of the area Karly Tolentino latching onto it, jinks into the area right of the D putting her effort wide at the near post.
Jenkins succeeds in getting inside this time advancing up the left 20 yards out lines up a strike the ball put straight at Sarah Hudson back on her line. Amy Howlett is clipped as she comes to the right to receive the ball for United winning a free-kick 25 yards out. Crisp placing the ball down floated her delivery into the box near side attacked a glancing header deflecting it wide of goal a goal kick signalled. Good battles taking shape all over the park, Gillies and Standing on the flanks for City looking lively getting forwards rapidly when their defence regains possession. Jenkins and Mitchell likewise left and right for United, the full backs for both sides are going to have to stay alert.
Standing getting away on the left sees United exposed at the back space to run into fires a cross into the area Tolentino heading in down, Carrie Bennett around on the cover half clearing before the visitors are forced to concede a corner. The initial delivery cleared from the corner, City regain possession 30 yards out a powerful strike driven back in Amy Butler covering her near post with a comfortable save taking it high. Sofia Castiglione latching onto a loose pass from United inside their half right side rolls it forwards for Tolentino peeling off the shoulder of her defender in behind squaring the ball across the top of the area Standing arriving left side clipping her first time strike up over the bar.
Samaira Khan leading the line for United, is being closely marked by the City centre backs, coming out to the left managing to win a throw the ball touched on is crossed into the box, Howlett inside right of the D letting it come across her to strike a rising shot, not enough to evade Hudson who has come across the Howlett to put herself behind strike and claim comfortably. Standing and Gillies continue to cause problems for United, the latter coming inside as the ball is played up to Tolentino the pair playing a one too to put Gillies into space on the right flashes in a cross the ball swerving through the air seen safely wide at the far post. Can’t take your eyes off the action for a second and there aren’t too many seconds where there isn’t any action.
Khan winning a throw deep on the left, drops it down to Jenkins who squares her pass inside for Otten getting forwards all of 30 yards out isn’t closed down takes on an ambitious effort her shot high, dipping significantly late on Hudson watching it though can see it drop over her crossbar. Very competitive with a few niggly fouls being conceded, very much a derby match the crowd playing there part too. Castiglione is getting hold of the ball winning it for City giving the hosts impetuous in their attacking play out for Gillies racing in to the corner on the right sending a cross in from the by line Tolentino getting across the defence spinning into a shot sends her attempt over the top.
Sarah Mosley blasting a shot wide from the best part of 25 yards out left side as the ball rebounds back to her with City marauding down the flank. Mitchell gets on down the right winning a corner for United, swung in near post City defending the ball comes straight to Jenkins outside the box, doesn’t need an invite to shot does and powers the ball wide of the mark. Burt up the other end clearing the ball from inside the area as Mosley threading a ball on for Gillies right sees a corner conceded. A proper derby 50/50 between Mosley and Otten on halfway, Otten getting it forwards for Khan, closely marked by Flye can’t get in behind.
Leading the attack for City Tolentino is prepared to drop deep to receive with Gillies and Standing ready to race on behind to get onto the ball, Tolentino heads the ball on for Gillies right side her cross taken early racing across the top of the area looking to pick out Standing far side, Crisp getting in front of her to cut it out for United. Lauren Tomlinson winning the ball at left back as United come forwards brings it on flashing a cross inside for Standing 20 yards out left of the D, striking it goalwards Butler down low to collect it .Howlett nipping in to win the ball centrally for United looks to make ground, Bronwyn Mulheron going with her catching her to lung in take the ball away from her, Howlett still interested after the loose ball until Tomlinson racing inside from left back launches it upfield.
Castiglione lines up a well hit strike from 30 yards out, would have run wide of her left post Butler though diving has it safely in her gloves wastes no time in releasing it as United look to try and reassert themselves on the game. Albany Hodgson wins the ball centrally for United lays it on for Khan in attack, hasn’t had too much support around her with City keeping their opponents full backs occupied looks to go it alone driving at the City defence shifting to her right to open up space for a shot on target Hudson though right behind it.
GOAL! City mount a rapid attack down their left Tomlinson getting it back from Standing racing on with the ball down the line cutting inside smashes in a pacy ball to the near post Butler down smartly to glove the ball away, running out to the top of the area Standing after it is shoved to the ground the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Castiglione placing the ball on the spot, a coolly taken penalty sending the keeper the wrong way lifted to into the back of the net 1-1. City equalising with 10 minutes left in the first half.
City tails up now having pulled the scores level, Castiglione almost putting Gillie in behind on the right, Bennett reading the pass however sliding in to make a vital interception. Simmering a little bit, fouls given away arms raised in frustration passes going astray. United want to get the ball into Khan so she can turn and take on the City defence, Castiglione and Mulheron first to the ball.
GOAL! Just as City look to have the momentum United get forwards with a well played attack to restore their lead. Won by Hodgson central her pass lifted up to Khan to knock down to Jenkins running on to the left plays a good weighted cross into the area, Mitchell getting in from the right flank composed under challenge to strike her rising shot wide of the keeper to score 1-2.
Otten coming across to the right sides stops Reed in her tracks as the full back wriggles free with the ball looks to advance down the wing. Castiglione putting her head on a ball put forwards by United knocks it down and carries it right into space before whipping a cross into the area, Burt clearing for United the final action of the first half.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Cambridge United WFC
An action packed first half, certainly has a derby feel to it, played at a fast tempo, plenty of energy expended by both sides, may well begin to show 2nd half with both sides having been in action on Sunday too. The perfect start for United taking the lead inside the opening 3 minutes from a corner. Took City a little while to get into their stride but have looked a constant threat attacking down the flanks forcing the pace, first to the ball. Equalising from the penalty spot. United showing great character in response restoring the lead minutes later to go in with a 2-1 lead at the break. Suspect City with come out of the blocks with all guns blazing at the start of the 2n half, United if they can can will be looking to nullify that threat with an early goal of their own.
No changes at the break with United getting the 2nd half underway. Play the ball right as Mitchell runs on her first touch giving Tomlinson the advantage putting her foot in to clear the ball. Castiglione up for Tolentino in attack Gillies up with her, Burt in between the pair getting hold of the ball for United. Gillies full of running on the right for City, Waygood out to meet her this time clearing for a throw in. From the throw City launch a cross into the box, Burt heading it away for United. The visitors look to break the ball up to Khan is fouled 30 yards out from goal right side. Mitchell clipping the ball in towards the far post the ball attacked City scramble it away as Jenkins almost gets there. City hit United on the break, but the visitor get bodies back to slow the ball down
Remains end to end, United struggling to get it to stick up top, not getting players in and around Khan, Fay on her tackling as she attempts to turn in behind her. Hodgson coming back to get the ball back as Standing aims to get onto a crossfield pass. Butler called into action saving low at her near post as Gillies drives in a shot on the angle from the right. City with the first change of the match Mosley the player off on comes Ellie Cullum. Otten picking the ball up from her defence plays it long towards the top of the area Mulheron lunging to intercept deflecting it to Tomlinson to get City moving on the left. Getting tense between the sides United certainly finding it frustrating the ball not running there way at the moment. Standing getting in behind left side for City puts the ball square in towards the near post Gillies racing into the area not picked up sending it wide.
GOAL! City have looked the most likely to score there 2nd on 58 minutes attacking the ball right side clipped up to Gillies brings it down into her path driving towards the box drops her shoulder shaping to come inside, drags it away to her right into the area to create the space before smashing a venomous shot past the keeper into the back of the goal 2-2.
City are doing well haven’t dropped the tempo at all the goal giving them renewed energy, Standing coming inside central as Tolentino knocks the ball into her run, her snap shot 20 yards out dipping safely held by Butler. The hosts first to the ball, United getting ragged with their passing, Howlett picking it up in the middle turns well evading a sliding challenge has Khan ahead of her looking to peel of Fay, the pass doesn’t pick her out as Fay intercepts.
Gillies providing the outlet constantly on the right a looping diagonal ball from Mulheron picking her out takes it on before sending in a 20 yards strike on the angle, Butler down saving at her near post. Mitchell out wide right on for Khan looking to peel in behind Fay again the ball evading her this time Flye is across quickly in support to clear before Khan can strike the ball.
United make their first change Hodgson coming off with Abi Davies coming on. Mitchell getting on well right side closer to Khan now putting the ball up into the area the attacker backing up inside the box to break the ball down, slips as she attempts to turn inside with it. Khan fouls Tomlinson as she looks o send the ball upfield. The free-kick from distance evading everyone gathered inside the D, bouncing in as held by Butler beyond. Burt running across the top of her area puts on the blocking tackle on Gillies as she looks to hit it first time as the ball is rolled into her rom Cullum. A few tempers fraying getting a little heated between the sides United looking to be tiring as City retain their furious pace getting first to the ball, Castiglione winning a good share in the middle of the park now with some good passes. Khan going into the book after fouling Flye, joining Mulheron who was booked first half for City.
Gillies running onto the long range free-kick taking it on before blasting it into the keeper at the near post from 25 yards. Gillies seems to be everywhere coming central onto the ball top of the circle opens up her body to strike the ball on target through bodies Butler must see it late does fantastically diving to her left pushing it wide behind for a corner. The set-piece defended well United digging deep rallying the ball cleared by Waygood the ball just won’t fall favourably as Howlett races on with Mitchell. Castiglione and Otten grappling for the ball in the middle of the park, Castiglione squeezing it on for Tolentino, 20 yards out shifts to her right sending in a shot Butler right behind it.
Is a great watch tense City are pushing for a 3rd goal, United backs to the wall at times are rallying Mitchell pushed up to support Khan, Howlett and Jenkins are coming on too. Gillies across to the left Davies stays on her, Burt across to help tackling well the ball fizzed into Otten sprayed out to Jenkins making a run left side sends it on for Khan peeling off the defence the offside flag bringing the move to an end. The game stretched both sides now feeling it’s there for the taking, Cullum central attempting to pick out Gillies on the left, Davies staying with her cutting the pass out.
Khan is brought don attempting to get into the box from the right as Davies sends the ball on to her. Mitchell on the set-piece played along the top of the six yard box, cleared by the City defence. The break on City race on the ball central on for Gillies right channel has Reed in support on the overlap, strikes the ball sail over the bar. Otten is fouled inside the City half the free-kick taken quickly out to Jenkins away on the left her shot on the angle wide across the area taking a deflection for a corner kick.
GOAL! The game entering the final 10 minutes has been an enthralling contest. United have ridden some strong pressure from City now with a corner on the right a chance to bring players forwards. The delivery whipped in chest height along the six yard box, congested deflected back to the top of the area Jenkins on it lays it back to the taker is frantic inside the box the ball coming out to Howlett 25 yards out right of the D, strikes the ball sending it looping high into the air, Hudson back peddling can’t get anything on it as it drops over her into the net beyond for United to take the lead for the 3rd time in the match 2-3.
Controversy as the goal is celebrated however as City have a player Tomlinson down inside the six yard box from the initial ball in City are furious claiming it was a head injury and play should have been stopped it wasn’t however and the goal stands. Tomlinson hurting her ankle in the finish receiving treatment. Frustration for City who had looked more likely to find a 3rd goal serves to display the emotion a derby can bring out in a side. City respond with a 2nd change bringing Grace Stanley on for Tomlinson.
GOAL! City pile players forwards as they get straight back in search for a reply with the clock running down, Fay travelling forwards into the United half is a long way out left side when she strikes the ball, if it was intentional it was well disguised a one in a million strike launched up high into the air dropping out of the night sky Butler back on her line can’t keep it out as it drops under the bar inside the top corner to make it 3-3!
Game on! Both sides going for it United break Jenkins left inside for Otten attempts to thread it through for Khan, Flye clearing for City. United come on right side a cross lifted into the box over Khan central, Mitchell behind her can’t bring the ball down. Into stoppage time. The fouls racking up as first Crisp then Otten are brought down the latter getting a free-kick left side the delivery floated into the box Khan heading down looking for a runner far post City attempt to break the ball sent on into the area safe with Butler as the final whistle blows and the points are shared.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies 3-3 Cambridge United WFC
Another fantastic derby game between United and City played at a furious pace, would have taken alot out of both sides, United’s fitness certainly tested by their opponents were on the back foot in the 2nd half as City came back to level the scores for a 2nd time. Looking good to take the lead themselves but United showed character to hold them and retake the lead for the 3rd time themselves. City coming straight back to level. The points shared, United will be frustrated having lost the lead 3 times, City themselves thinking maybe they should have nicked the win, certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game. Highly entertaining.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Time to pick another Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few contenders once again. For United Amy Howlett was finding space without getting the rewards. For City, Ceri Flye made several important tackles at the back, Freya Standing a threat on the left coming on, and Sofia Castiglione in the middle got onto top in the midfield came very close but is just edged out by Charlotte Gillies pace and energy on the wing linking up with Tolentino up top and made some terrific runs amongst the goals too.
All of the pictures used in this report produced by Gary Reed, does tremendous work helping to picture and promote the women’s game and I thank him for allowing me to use his photo’s
An enjoyable 1st derby of the season, certainly a great advert for women’s football in Cambridgeshire. Appreciate the help with the team details as always from both clubs (although I do know most of these players pretty well by now) I have seen them several times now and know it’ll always be intriguing.