Sunday 12th May
ERWFL League Cup Final
Bedford Ladies v Cambridge City Ladies
On to the 2nd final of the day the sun high in the sky to greet Bedford Ladies and Cambridge City Ladies as they step out onto the pitch at The County Ground in preparation for this afternoon’s ERWFL League Cup Final.
Another close looking final on the cards between the two Premier Division sides. Bedford a long established side at regional level a brief spell in the FAWNL coming to an end 3 seasons ago. Currently in mid-table on their day a side capable of beating anyone else have won as many as they have lost often by the odd goal. A strong run in the League Cup aswell as the Bedfordshire Women’s County Cup where they successfully defended the trophy against rivals Luton Town back in March. A tough test today as close as it might appear Cambridge City remain unbeaten in the ERWFL this season.
Cambridge City’s stay in the ERWFL soon to come to an end after 3 season’s a rapid rise in that time losing just 4 league matches along the way. Winning the ERWFL Division One title in their debut season at this level along with a League Cup final appearance. A runners-up finish in the Premier Division following last season. Pushed on again this campaign winning the title with games to spare unbeaten dropping just 2 league points, now looking to follow that up with the double a success acheived two season’s ago by Haringey Borough Women. Promotion to the FAWNL to come the club with a strong youth set up to back up the first and development teams, Goals throughout the side.
Road to the Final
The ERWFL Premier Division sides entering the League Cup competition at the 3rd Round stage. The last 16 Bedford Ladies handed a tough draw at home to Premier Division newcomers Wymondham Town Ladies, a single goal enough to see them beat the Norfolk side. Cambridge City Ladies alos at home in the last 16 hosting Division One side Hutton Ladies with new striker Vicky Kinsman in their ranks firing in plenty of goals. Cambridge City restricting her to just the one however as they found the back of the net up the other end for 8 goals themselves.
Into the quarter finals another tough looking draw for Bedford as they were away to St Ives Town Ladies the Division One newcomers hitting the ground running making an unbeaten start, not conceding many either the tie going all the way to extra-time Bedford finding the crucial winning goal to book a spot in the last 4. Cambridge City at home to Colney Heath Ladies a 2-0 win against their fellow Premier Division side seeing them into the semi-finals.
Into the last 4 and a strong all Premier Division line-up, Bedford on the road again to take on Peterborough Northern Star Ladies the first of 3 encounters they would have over the next four weeks, all close Bedford edging their opponents out 2-1 to reach the League Cup Final. Cambridge City at home once more this time taking on Essex side Harlow Town Ladies like Wymondham promoted to the Premier Division this season, having secured a top half finish proved a tough opponent Cambridge coming through however to reach the League Cup Final courtesy of a 3-1 victory.
Still at The County Ground, Letchworth home of the Hertfordshire FA, the 3G pitch new along with the barriers surrounding it and a redeveloped bar/cafeteria serving hot and col drinks. The sunny still beating down good job I brought my suncream still had the umbrella in the bag too mind the odd black cloud around but these wouldn’t yield anything.
Bedford Ladies starting XI – Lauren Webb, Gemma Franklin, Priya Bhatti, Jodie Molloy (C), Sophie Mulvihill, Michelle Byrne, Jasmine Ajayi, Eden Kibron, Carissa Kaczorowski, Catalina Costas & Mya Sidhu. Subs – Amy Magnus, Lauren Murray, Sector Acolatse, Jessica Bunnage & Sian Beames.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Robyn Phillips, Sarah Mosley, Amy Reed, Anna Goggin, Hannah Bodily, Erin Davies & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Freya Standing, Laura Mills, Carla Penny & Megan Tonks.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Cambridge to get this season’s League Cup Final underway wearing white shirts, black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Bedford lined up opposite wearing blue and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts and blue socks. The ball played long to the left Bedford goalkeeper Lauren Web out to kick the ball clear. Eden Kibron picking up the ball right side for Bedford driving forwards attempts to play Catalina Costas in as she makes a near post run into the box, Cambridge captain Becca Fay intercepting at the back.
Bedford with a fast start to the game getting the ball into the Cambridge half a throw won on the left headed on by Costas top of the area the ball finding its way through to Cambridge goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru. Bedford win it back in midfield play it wide down the right winning a corner.
GOAL! Bedford take an early lead in the game scoring inside the opening 3 minutes the delivery from the corner flicked on into the middle by Sophie Mulvihill into the six yard box, captain Michelle Byrne free sticking up a leg to bring the ball down well and smashes it into te back of the net 1-0.
Cambridge looking for a quick reply the ball at the feet of Erin Davies attacking left side her cross into the box cut out by Bedford captain, Jodie Molloy.
GOAL! No sooner have Bedford taken the lead then they counter to double thier advantage 2 goals t the good right at the start of the game 5 minutes played the ball put on through the middle into Mya Sidhu 30 yards out to the left flicking the ball over her shoulder inside to drop into the path of Kibron breaking into the box from the right, no need to check her stride meeting the ball she strikes it low and hard from inside the area to send it across the diving keeper into the bottom corner 2-0.
A fantastic opening to the game from Bedford, Cambridge shell shocked 2 goals down inside the opening 5 minutes of the match. Bedford lively early on have come out of the blocks running quick to close the ball down, Kibron making several powerful runs forwards. On for Costas in attack moving wide her cross swung into the box claimed by Mhunduru. Cambridge with a free-kick wide on the right as Gemma Franklin fouls Amy Reed. The delivery in towards the top of the box met by a Cambridge head the ball headed on in towards goal lacking pace gathered by Webb.
Bedford’s turn to have a free-kick inside the Cambridge half, played forwards to drop into the box, Mhunduru coming forwards to claim it not put off by the onrushing Kibron. End the end as a shaken Cambridge look to get back into the game, Bedford winning it through Byrne in the middle as Anna Goggin looks to play the ball forwards. Bedford making ground on the left win getting a corner the delivery in close to goal, Mhunduru up for it is fouled. Kibron right the ball put inside to Costas making the near post run can’t quite get the ball under control as Mhunduru comes to collect.
Sarah Mosley with the ball 30 odd yards out allowed time to line up a shot her strike in looks to be heading over, dipping on Webb late back on her line the keeper producing a fantastic save to tip the ball up over her bar. Th corner played to towards the top of the area headed on wide across the goal. Bedford counter with pace and purpose Kibron forwards inside to Carissa Kaczorowski on for Costas, Robyn Phillips regaining possession for Cambridge. Sidhu with another flicked ball over the top of the Cambridge defence 25 out left to right, Costas the target this time can’t connect with the shot.
Goggin with a good run on the ball central for Cambridge getting forwards is tackled by Bedford’s Franklin. Bedford winning a corner right players come forwards the delivery into the six yard box the attempted clearance by Cambridge struck straight t Kibron 8 yards out closed down as she attempts to get a shot in the ball hustled out to the top of the area met by Bedford Jasmine Ajayi her shot in low has no power safely in Mhunduru’s gloves. Kaczorowski out wide right on the ball in the final third shoots Mhunduru diving in front of her goal to her left to push the ball away.
Davies central looks to combine with Shannon Shaw in attack the attempted one two not coming off as Bedford’s Mulvihill charges the ball down. Bedford appealing for a penalty as Kibron bursts into the box left of goal put in by Sidhu, goes down under challenge but the appeals waved away. Mhunduru with another vital save to keep the scoreline down as Bedford press well getting forwards Costas into the box appeals for a push still managing to get something on the ball Cambridge’s keeper having gone to ground in front of her getting a arm up to pluck the ball down as it threatens to go over her inside the six yard box.
Ceri Flye bringing the ball on for Cambridge right side allowed to travel with it pace to get into the area Franklin sliding in to tackle win the ball for Bedford. Bedford make a change, Kaczorowski the player heading off on comes Sector Acolatse. Mosley peeling away to the left as Cambridge come forwards puts an early ball into the area Davies making the run near side, Webb coming to get to the ball and claim before she can reach it. Cambridge make a double switch bringing Mosley and Shaw off, Carla Penny and Megan Tonks on. Bedford bring on Amy Magnus in attack for Sidhu.
The game played at a furious pace, Bedford putting alot of effort in to keep the ball moving keep Cambridge from getting any momentum going forwards. The sun beating down is hot out there. Lauren Tomlinson defending for Cambridge at left back as Costas tries to get in behind n the right wing. Davies making some great runs forwards for Cambridge through the middle getting into the box as a cross is put in from the left sees it across her body getting a shot away before she can be challenged the ball swerving in the air it favours Webb in goal falling straight to her.
Davies combining with Penny in attack for Cambridge no final ball as Bedford defend the ball cleared straight to Hannah Bodily she strikes it from 25 yards out the shot wide. Cambridge gaining a little bit of the attack the ball forwards win a corner out on the right, the delivery in defended headed away Reed fouled as she looks to retrieve outside the box to the right of goal.
GOAL! Cambridge getting a goal back late in the first half scoring from the free-kick, Reed on the ball looks to play the ball in towards the near post little to aim at finds the target, Webb closed down by players from both sides going to claim the ball squeezing out of her gloves on behind her in front of goal, Tonks on the follow up for Cambridge getting her boot on the ball to send it on into the back of the net 2-1.
Bedford attack coming left the ball inside to Byrne in an advanced position a great touch to lift the ball over the top for Kibron bursting into the area, closing in on the byline the angle against her twists to get the ball in towards goal, landing awkwardly as she does so, too close to Mhunduru the goalkeeper claiming. Kibron up slowly didn’t look good but after treatment as allowed to come back on. Ajayi with a superb ball on for Acolatse through the middle, Mhunduru out to close he down the ball scrambled clear.
Into stoppage time the 1st half racing by Bedford bringing the ball on Acolatse lining up a shot outside the area right of the D, Flye getting a foot in to block.
Half-time Bedford Ladies 2-1 Cambridge City Ladies
A fast paced lively 1st half comes to a close, Bedford making a blistering start to the game getting themselves into a 2 goal lead within the opening 5 minutes, on the front foot for much of the half since, getting forwards well with intent as well as working hard to close the ball down. Cambridge stunned early on far from the start they wanted has taken them a while to get going as an attacking force slowly building momentum in the final 3rd, pulling a goal back late in the half to trail by just the one, Mhunduru in goal keeping the score down.
Bedford out early for the start of the 2nd half Kaczorowski back on the pitch in place of Acolatse Sidhu back on too. Bedford to get the game restarted an early clash of heads between Costas and Flye in the area, both players okay. Byrne winning the ball central for Bedford playing it forwards, Fay stopping it at the back for Cambridge.
Bedford have a throw on the right inside the Cambridge half the ball put inside to Costas helped in field to Sidhu 25 yards out, spots Kaczorowski making the run to her left into the box slides the pass on for her, Mhunduru out quickly to close the single and save at the attackers feet. Davies attempting to carry the ball forwards in attack for Cambridge supported by Bodily in the centre. Davies coming left the ball on for Tonks in attack, Mulvihill with the tackle the ball pushed out wide picked up by Penny her shot back in towards the near post tame gathered by Webb.
Bedford come left the ball hit on the diagonal into the area Kibron lunging forwards getting a touch to send the ball goalwards under diving Mhunduru, to strike the base of the post, the flag up against her however. Davies and Bodily winning more of the ball in central areas now. Penny strong in possession on the left for Cambridge the pass forwards for Tonks holds it up trying to turn get in behind closed down by Molloy who tackles to regain the ball. Cambridge push on the right winning a free-kick put long to Penny top of the box left of goal brings the ball down well to turn into the shot lifting the ball over the crossbar. Freya Standing on for Cambridge in place of Flye.
Mulvihill tackling Davies as she brings the ball on a throw out left, Tomlinson with a long delivery to take sends it into the area cleared back to her, moves out towards the top of the area before striking from distance Webb back on her line making the save. Cambridge with a bit more of the ball, Bedford still looking a threat closing down and getting forwards. Priya Bhatti close on Penny to prevent the winger getting forwards. A corner on the right fro Cambridge in high central Webb punching the ball high in the air Franklin seeing it don sends clear. Goggin moving with the ball left pushes it into Penny looking for the return pass top of the area, Byrne charging the shot down.
GOAL! 20 minutes played in the 2nd half and Cambridge come back to level the scores at 2 a piece scoring from a throw wide on the right top of the area put into Davies closing in on the area puts the pass up towards Bodily positioned to corner catching it well lifts a shot in towards goal looping high over the keeper to fall into the bottom corner 2-2.
Cambridge make a change with Mosley back on for Goggin. Davies in to win the ball 20 yards out looks to play in Tonks but can’t get a pass into the box instead plays it out to Penny on the left she switches play putting a cross long to the far post for Standing running in can’t reach it out for the goalkick. Acolatse back on for Bedford attacking left is brought down by Phillips complaints from the Bedford bench about her being the last defender, but 30 yards out players were in a position to get back central. The free-kick a long way out the shot nevertheless taken on put over.
Tomlinson with the ball for Cambridge has space to run into runs unopposed 3 quarters of the pitch getting into the box left of goal sending a shot up over the bar. The game entering the final 15 minutes, tension out there from both sides Cambridge attacking, Bedford defending well especially on their flanks Franklin and Bhatti. Tonks comes off for Cambridge, Shaw rejoining the attack. Bedford with the ball left the cross in low cut out Fay near side her clearance straight to Byrne outside the box she puts it back in for Kibron lunging for it the ball held by Mhunduru.
The play getting scrappy as both sides rush passes late on Penny fouled on the left the ball played down the line Mosley with the run looks to play the return ball to Penny, Mulvihill tackling for Bedford. Tomlinson off for Cambridge Flye back on. Shaw driving on through the middle for Cambridge, Mulvihill out o the area to slide in to win the challenge. Sidhu off for Bedford, Kaczorowski back on. The game looks to be heading to extra-time neither side getting a clinical chance late on Shaw winning Cambridge a late corner the ball in headed on towards goal Webb behind it.
Full time Bedford Ladies 2-2 Cambridge City Ladies
Nothing to separate the sides Cambridge coming back to level the scores 2nd half and send the final into extra-time, both sides putting alot into it especially Bedford some tired legs out there. An extra 30 minutes to play 2 15 minute halves for either side to find a winning goal the temperature remains high.
Cambridge to get extra-time underway, Bedford winning an early free-kick Molloy on it left side played on to Kibron she looks to put Sidhu away on the right side. Mhunduru out to her saves well, Sidhu after the loose ball falling awkwardly and she attempts to put it back in on the angle. After treatment is okay play resuming with a corner the ball in high claimed by Mhunduru.
Franklin does well in defence to get back on Standing as Davies moves over to the right with the ball. Sidhu left plays a low ball into the six yard box, Mhunduru out to claim before Kaczorowski can get there. Lauren Murray coming on for Bedford in place of Sidhu. Standing on the right gets the ball into the box for Davies near post looking to control then shoot is closed down by Franklin and Molloy both sliding in to block a corner conceded the ball in central Shaw goes for it can’t connect half cleared falls straight to Bodily 25 yards out a nick on her shot but Webb can make the save.
Kaczorowski striking a shot on the half volley right of the box the ball held by the keeper. Both sides working hard to stop the other cancelling each other out a 2nd ball thrown onto the pitch as Bedford look to get forwards, play stopped the referee having words with the Bedford bench. The fist half of extra-time comes to an end the sides still level.
Tomlinson returning to the field for Cambridge as Bedford get the 2nd period of extra-time started. Phillips defending for Cambridge as Kibron plays the ball on. Sian Beames on for Bedford played on by Kibron on the right crossing the ball early cut out Phillips. Murray bringing the ball on for Bedford support from Beames played out to Ajayi moving clear on the left her cross in met be Kibron central her touch too strong allowing the Cambridge defence to clear.
Play scrappy players giving away free-kicks tension showing passes going astray. Flye cautioned for a foul on Kaczorowski. Standing coming off Tonks back on. Beames conceding a corner on the right the delivery in central under the bar Webb punching the all landing amongst a crowded far post the ball lifted over the bar. Tomlinson sees a ball fired into her inside the box as Cambridge attack right she prods her shot wide of the near post.
Cambridge make one last push winning a corner the ball defended near post another corner won, this one flicked on by Phillips a shot blocked from close range at the far post. Reed comes on for Cambridge, Bedford defend. A late goal ruled out for offside. Cambridge come right a cross into the box put on to Tomlinson far post her shot striking the upright before being scrambled clear. The final whistle blows this season’s ERWFL Cup Final to be settled on penalties.
No fan of a penalty shootout but a game has to be decided somehow. Five for each side if still not decided it then goes to sudden death.
Cambridge up to take the first penalty, Mosley placed the ball on the spot, scores sending a pacy ball wide to the right evading the diving keeper 1-0.
Magnus to take Bedford’s opening penalty Mhunduru saving superbly as she dives to her left to keep the low strike out 1-0.
Shaw up next for Cambridge, a composed finish straight through the middle the keeper rooted to the spot 2-0.
Mulvihill up next for Bedford opts for power her rising shot cannoning down and in off the crossbar 2-1.
Tomlinson forwards to take Cambridge’s third penalty kick goes for placement sending the ball low racing into the bottom left corner to make it 3-1.
Jessica Bunnage on late on to take Bedford’s third penalty shoots to the right Mhunduru getting her fingertips to it but not enough to keep it out 3-2.
Tonks placing the ball on the spot for Cambridge’s fourth a cool finish finding the bottom corner to score 4-1.
Bedford have to score to keep themselves in the shootout, captain Byrne up to take the penalty, agony as she sends it wide of the post to see Cambridge roar in celebration and rush from the halfway line to Mhunduru winning the shootout 4-2 to win the ERWFL League Cup and do the double.
Joy for Cambridge heartbreak for Bedford a cruel finish to an entertaining final, both sides playing their part. Bedford racing out of the blocks taking a 2 goal lead early in the match putting Cambridge on the back foot, slowly they came back into the game pulling it back to 2-1 before half-time scoring the leveller in the 2nd half the game getting tense late on scrappy neither side on top chances for both. Extra-time unable to separate them.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto the 2nd Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award of the day. Another competitive final with a few contenders from both sides. Eden Kibron setting the tone early on for Bedford helping them get off to a fantastic start. At the back Gemma Franklin was strong nothing much getting past her. For Cambridge City, Erin Davies making some positive forward runs looking to get on in attack. Carla Penny making a huge impact coming on, Hannah Bodily supporting Davies playing well too. The award though goes to Cambridge City goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru pulling off some vital saves as Bedford started strong commanding her area and the all important save in the penalty shootout.
Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies on winning this season’s ERWFL League Plate Final and on the double.
Another highly entertaining match, great to see to competitive finals today a fantastic advert for the ERWFL. An enjoyable but tiring day, thanks to everyone for their help today. Alot of kind comments too much appreciated, will be tired once the dust has settled on another busy Sunday not many to go now however the season soon coming to an end.