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Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

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.

Cambridge United WFC’s Gisela Otten with the opening goal

  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. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Karly Tolentino

  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.

Sofia Castiglione equalises from the penalty spot for Cambridge City Ladies

   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.

Laura Mitchell, with Lauren Tomlinson restores United’s lead

  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 celebrate as Charlotte Gillies (no 7) equalises to make it 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.

Amy Howlett with Sarah Mosley makes it 3-2 to United

  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.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

Wednesday 4th March

Cambridge City Ladies v Histon Ladies

  The first of this season’s Cup Finals this Wednesday night in the East, the Cambridgeshire Women’s S-Tech Insurance Invitation Cup this season being contested between Cambridge City Ladies & Histon Ladies.

  The Invitation Cup Final being hosted for the 2nd season at The Abbey Stadium home of Cambridge United FC the counties leading club. Women’s football growing in Cambridgeshire the two county divisions the Premiership and Championship seeing a rapid growth this season. Women’s and girls football in Cambridgeshire supported by S-Tech Insurance along association now into it’s 13th year sponsoring tonight’s final.

  The holders of the cup however not taking part this season, Cambridge United WFC dominating the competition on recent season’s moving to a new ground this season St Neots Town FC which falls under the Huntingdonshire FA umbrella they themselves launching an inaugural Women’s Cup this season, that final to be contested by Cambridge United WFC and St Ives Town Ladies. Unable to defend the trophy the opportunity to win silverware going to a new face?

  Well not so new in Cambridge City Ladies case as they won the trophy two season’s back beating rivals Cambridge United WFC, the pair dominating the final recently as Cambridge City Ladies rose rapidly through the women’s football pyramid, reaching the FAWNL. Have an equally ambitious Development side new to regional football this season topping the table in ERWFL Division One North and new for this season too a third side Cambridge City Ladies A competing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership. Reaching the final of the Invitation Cup yet again it is a distraction from their league woes Cambridge City struggling for points 2nd bottom of FAWNL South East Division One with some crucial games coming up, the chance of winning silverware tonight an excellent opportunity with the added incentive of possibly inspiring the team for tough games to come.

  Histon Ladies reaching the Invitation Cup for the first time, although themselves were familiar opponents for Cambridge United… then Cambridge Women before Cambridge City came along. Back then were know as Great Shelford Ladies. That name consigned to history now as the club joined forces with Histon FC and getting good support playing at the club’s Glassworld Stadium are looking to grow become a strong force for women’s football in Cambridgeshire adding a youth section, the 1st team competing in ERWFL Division One North, a Reserves side coming in too to bolster the 1st team playing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership have made it a cup final double by reaching the Junior Invitation Cup Final, where it could yet be a copy of this evenings final with Cambridge City Ladies A meeting Newmarket Town Women Development in the other semi-final. As well as reaching the Invitation Cup Final, Histon are also into the last four of the ERWFL Plate competition.

Road the the Final

  Both Cambridge City Ladies and Histon Ladies receiving a bye in the 1st Round of this season’s Invitation Cup progressing to the 2nd Round/Quarter Finals. Cambridge City Ladies were drawn away to Premiership side March Town United Ladies a gap of 4 leagues between the pair. Karly Tolentino joining Cambridge City this season netting a hat-trick as the FAWNL won through to the semi-finals 8-0. Histon Ladies were at home taking on Cambridge Women’s Premiership side and amongst the early table toppers Leverington Sports Ladies a potentially tricky tie, goals from Sydney Graham, Poppy Kelly, Siobhan White and Alison Wright saw Histon safely through winning 4-1.

  Onto the semi-finals Cambridge City Ladies were drawn at home to ERWFL Division One North side, Newmarket Town Women. The tie hit by the recent storms eventually switched to Newmarket’s 3G playing surface to complete. Giving up home advantage not affecting Cambridge City, Tolentino on target for another goal along with one each for Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing and Beatrice Fitzsimons returning from injury seeing them through 4-1 to this Wednesday’s final. Histon Ladies were away to Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds in the semi-finals of the competition. The Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side taking the lead from the penalty spot on 17 minutes. Histon coming back to level the scores through Poppy Kelly in the 44th minute went 2-1 up on the stroke of half-time as Kelly fired home her 2nd of the game. Fulbourn coming back to level it at 2-2 on the hour. Histon retaking the lead from a corner in the 69th minute Lauren Martin heading in at the near post. The cup final spot secured in the final minute Kelly clipped inside the box, Alison Wright putting the ball into the back of the net.

  A special occasion for both sides this evening getting to play at The Abbey Stadium the main stand open. hot food and drink available. A good crowd building. The pitch in good shape offering plenty of width the surface slickened up as rain began to fall and hour of so before kick-off falling lightly under the floodlights as the two sides were lead out onto the pitch by referee Stacey Fullicks. 

Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Laura Mills & Karly Tolentino. Subs – Becky Langthorpe, Beatrice Fitzsimons & Shannon Shaw.

Histon Ladies

 Histon Ladies starting XI – Eleanor Morgan Abby Laughlin, Georgia Huse, Amie Flack, Tessa Shaw, Sophie Lanham (C), Alison Wright, Lauren Martin, Abi Davies, Kirsty Geal & Poppy Kelly. Subs- Kaya Haq, Rebekah Fisk, Sophie Lanham, Tara Fitzjohn & Siobhan White.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 Cambridge City to get this season’s Invitation Cup Final underway kicking of 1st half, wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Histon opposite lined up wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts. The ball played back to the defence captain Becca Fay sending it out to the right Charlotte Gillies on the flank bursting forwards, Georgie Huse in to defend for Histon the ball out for a throw. Cambridge quickly into their stride the ball out to the wings Gillies right and Freya Standing left looking to get on.

 Cambridge come right a throw won high up the pitch working down the line the cross into the box cleared straight to Laura Mills positioned inside the D, free opts to thread the ball low into the six yard box rather than take a strike herself, Amie Flack cutting it out clearing for Histon. Cambridge win the ball back central out to Gillies right down the line pace a cross whipped in near post Mills with the run, Histon goalkeeper, Eleanor Morgan in ahead of her to gather. 

Barely 3 minutes on the clock Histon on the back foot played the ball to their right, Lauren Tomlinson at left back winning it for Cambridge sending the ball on for Standing who has Karly Tolentino making a great run into the channel ahead of her, taking the ball on into the box Tolentino strikes it well from close range rising evades Morgan smashed into the top of the post beyond. Relentless from Cambridge as they win a corner left side the ball coming in low near post Morgan forwards taking it cleanly in her gloves despite a Cambridge attack lunging in in front of her.

Cambridge City Ladies, Freya Standing with Histon’s Abby Laughlin

  Histon need to get hold of the ball in the middle, Alison Wright does just that the ball played high into the box, Cambridge goalkeeper Dominika Szary catching it high under pressure from her left. Cambridge with the ball in the net on 6 minutes as Mills comes away with it on the right side fires in a low cross for Tolentino breaking on to the near post sides foots in across the keeper, but won’t count the flag up against her for offside.

  Cambridge moving the ball quickly Hannah Bodily to Sofia Castiglione in the middle of the park out to Standing on the left, jinks inside but is tackled by Histon’s Abby Laughlin. Played into the middle captain Sophie Lanham on for Wright looks to thread it between the Cambridge centre backs with Poppy Kelly breaking in behind, however Szary is quickly out of her area to sen the ball up field. A free-kick for Cambridge on the left Tomlinson to delivery sent in towards the top of the area, cleared by Histon looking to break sent out to the left wing Kirsty Geal looking to get hold of it take on the full back, Cambridge’s Amy Reed though with a good tackle to halt the advance. 

 Cambridge getting joy in the wings Gillies getting forwards on the right a corner kick won, players up from the back the ball sent in high near post Morgan getting a touch behind for a 2nd corner, this one short up the line to Bodily floats the ball into the six yard box, Morgan rising well to claim the ball. Lauren Martin onto the ball central for Histon releases Kelly in attack right channel in turn out to Abi Davies high on the wing, Histon getting a throw near the corner flag, Wright up towards the edge of the box to receive the ball down into her feet holding off her marker well turns to put in a cross near post Kelly in close meeting it sends her shot up over the bar.

  Reed bringing the ball on right side for Cambridge, played on into Gillies takes on the first time strike on the angle, Morgan down throwing herself into the dive to push the ball behind for a corner kick. The corner taken short again the ball lifted in towards the far post Davies up well to defend for Histon. Play end to end suddenly Histon coming on the pass finding Davies racing on right side her diagonal ball aimed into Kelly’s path, Szary racing out to the edge of her area to launch up field turns into a fantastic ball with Gillies running in behind surges on with the ball into the box, Huse with a great last ditch challenge sliding in to take the ball away. 

  Tolentino making some fantastic runs up top in attack for Cambridge, not staying on any single Histon defender hard to track gets on the move left to right towards the near side as Gillies gets hold of the ball right wing sends her in on goal gets her shot off early beating Morgan coming to close the angle the shot though narrowly wide across goal. Tomlinson making a strong tackle for Cambridge getting hold of the ball put down the left a throw won high, Tomlinson forwards to take has a long throw in her armoury put onto Tolentino’s chest inside the area brought down well.

  GOAL! 22 minutes played and Cambridge take the lead, Tolentino with a powerful run into the box left of goal half a yard clear, Tessa Shaw sliding in to make the challenge gets some of the ball but more of Tolentino as she attempts to close in on goal, the referee pointing to the spot. Shaw yellow carded. Tolentino picking herself up to take it struck well low and hard into the bottom left corner 1-0.

Karly Tolentino opening the scoring from the penalty spot for Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge piling forwards Tolentino lively up top all over the place Morgan exposed as she runs out to the ball right side, can’t pick up edge of the box, Gillies closing in taking the ball past her, Huse getting back to make the challenge clear the threat for Histon. Tolentino moves away to the left Tomlinson on the ball forwards for Standing into Tolentino she goes on towards the area twisting and turning on the ball before getting a high cross away into the six yard box, Huse with a strong header the clear not perturbed by Gillies in close attention. 

 Cambridge very close to being awarded a 2nd penalty the foul mere inches from being inside the box, Tolentino clipped the set-piece left of the D, Castiglione on it a curling shot clearing the wall an excellent save from Morgan back on her goal line tipping it over the bar. Morgan saving well from the resulting corner.

Histon goalkeeper Eleanor Morgan tipping Sofia Castiglione’s free-kick over the bar

 GOAL! Cambridge double their lead with the half hour fast approaching Histon trying to get on up the left the ball lost put down the line into Mills breaking in behind to fizz in a dangerous cross into the six yard box, Histon cut out but don’t clear, Tolentino latching onto the ball shifts it inside to give herself room and blasts it in from close range for her 2nd of the game 2-0.

Karly Tolentino with 2 goals in this evening’s Invitation Cup Final

  Martin does well in midfield for Histon closing in well to take the ball on Davies available to her left squares it in field to Wright 25 yards out central closed down quickly by Castiglione who ends up being awarded the free-kick. Laughlin doing well at the back getting across Standing inside the box left to shield he ball back to Morgan. Playing the ball out from the back Shaw onto Lanham, Histon’s captain aims her pass for Kelly in attack moving left to right, Fay intercepting for Cambridge setting up a quick counter attack. Wright pushing on a bit now from midfield to support the attack for Histon plays it left to Geal is tackled well by Reed. 

 Cambridge quick to turn play around all through the first half get the ball on deep over the top for Tolentino clear left side her cross field ball into the box aimed towards Mills coming in far post, Huse defending for Histon. Davies on the ball right side for Histon travels up the wing cutting infield past Tomlinson towards the box runs onto Ceri Flye the Cambridge centre back winning the ball. Histon able to come on better in the latter stages of the first half Cambridge dealing well at the back won inside the D the ball sent forwards quickly Tolentino available for the pass moving left brings it under control races forwards comes inside travelling across the top of the Histon area, not challenged into the D strikes the shot the ball whipping up over the crossbar.

Histon’s Abi Davies with Cambridge’s Lauren Tomlinson

  Histon chances rare can’t get the ball to stick up top Kelly making some good runs but Geal and Davies are being checked well by Tomlinson and Reed at the back for Cambridge. Wright coming from the middle looking the most likely to make something happen. Risk being hit on the counter Cambridge playing the ball on into Mills central out wide left to Standing gets to the by-line whipping in a cross rising near post Tolentino there attempts to flick it of her boot wide of the keeper but puts it straight into Morgan’s gloves. 

  Late into the 1st half and Szary is called into action to make a save for Cambridge Histon getting hold of the ball in the final 3rd from a goalkick, Wright getting a shot away from around 25 yards left of the D hit low with pace Szary down well to her left to get herself behind the ball. Cambridge bring the ball forwards creating another opportunity late in the half put on down the right into Mills sends it diagonally into the box for Standing forwards left side bearing forwards is closed down by Laughlin and Flack to block the shot. 

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies

  The half-time whistle blows and Cambridge head into the changing room’s under the mainstand leading the Invitation Cup Final 2-0. On top right from the start their pace a movement causing Histon problem’s especially down the wings Standing and Gillies getting forwards at will along with Tolentino through the middle has drifted left and right finding space to exploit. Numerous chances before opening the scoring could be out of sight but for Morgan making a couple of vital saves for Histon, their chances few and far between but at 2 nil are far from out of it need an improved performance 2nd half but the risk is as they search for a reply further gaps open at the back mustn’t concede early you feel.

Sophie Lanham heading the ball clear for Histon Ladies

A triple change for Cambridge at the start of the 2nd half, Becky Langthorpe on to replace Reed at the back, Beatrice Fitzsimons on for Castiglione along with Shannon Shaw going up to replacing Standing with Tolentino moving to the left. Histon to get the 2nd period underway go long straight from the off, the ball off target inside the box Szary out to get hold of the ball. A much quieter start to the 2nd half Histon looking to make progress right side the ball inside dealt with by Fay for Cambridge.

Cambridge City Ladies captain, Becca Fay

Cambridge break away on the left the ball rolled on for Mills to take into her stride carries it inside before firing a crossfield ball into the box picking out Gillies bursting forwards on the right hits her strike early the ball fizzing wide at the near post. 

GOAL! A blow for Histon 5 minutes into the 2nd half as they are caught on the break by Cambridge. Initially winning a free-kick players forwards as Flack delivers the ball in towards the top of the area Cambridge defend and get straight on the offensive Gillies in the clear on the right the ball fired into her takes it on into the Histon box near post closing in on the keeper shoots low pass Morgan in at the near post 3-0.

Charlotte Gillies bearing down on the Histon goal.

Histon respond making a triple change of their own and a formation change too switching to 3 at the back off come Laughlin, Huse and Shaw on to the field enter Kaya Haq, Sophie Hopkin and Siobhan White. Wright into the defence along side Davies and Flack. A good response from Histon to going 3 down get forwards right side a throw won high up the pitch the ball crossed into the box, Kelly wriggling free inside the box gets a shot away puts it straight at Szary the keeper claiming. Kelly with another attempt moments later from 25 yards out as Histon quickly regain position in the middle the shot though finds Szary back on her line. 

Histon’s Tessa Shaw tackling Cambridge’s Beatrice Fitzsimons

 Davies keeping close tabs on Tolentino out wide she manages to squeeze the ball into Mills central, Shaw providing the run through the middle in behind, the pass put forwards too much on it Morgan able to advance off her line and collect. Martin lays it forwards for Hopkin has White to her right feeds the ball into her, Tomlinson in well to regain possession for Cambridge. Winning a corner on the left taken short up the line once more the cross sent in from deep, Morgan rising well at her near post to catch. 

  Histon getting forwards better now though the middle quickly players forwards to support Kelly in attack the striker put through into the box left of goal her shot charged down by Flye the deflection coming straight to Hopkin positioned top of the D lines up a shot fired in a deflection sending it wide of the post. Lanham in to win the ball in the centre circle pushes it into Hopkin 25 yards out goes to shoot Flye closing her down putting in the block. Histon looking sharper now but as they come forward risk being hit on the counter more. 

Ceri Flye tackling to win the ball back for Cambridge City

 Geal coming forwards left side finds some space as White plays the crossfield pass into her goes on down the line, Langthorpe recovering well to get back on her lung in to make the tackle. Haq defending against Gillies right side as she gathers the ball and charges on. 

GOAL! The final 20 minutes fast approaching and Cambridge get on the scoresheet wit a 4th goal Mills onto the ball out right side playing it in across goal, Shaw closing in central can’t quite get it on the volley as she ends up off the pitch past the right post, wanders back on as Tolentino gathers left side does well to beat a couple of players wriggle free to fizz it back across goal Shaw there unmarked to put into the empty net as it evades Morgan covering the angle 4-0.

 Histon come forwards Geal clear left side the pass into her feet plays it inside for Kelly 20 yards out takes aim her shot dropping wide of goal. Histon make another change Rebekah Fisk on for Lanham. Good work between Hopkin, Martin and Geal left side for Histon coming forwards the pass into Kelly, Cambridge defending top of the area. Geal coming off as Histon send on Tara Fitzjohn with 10 minutes to play.

GOAL! Cambridge win the ball in the middle rolled on for Gillies right holds it up her touch bringing her inside, Mills racing into the space vacated on the wing Gillies playing her in she puts in an early cross, Flack in to clear the ball taking an unfortunate deflection off Wright sending Shaw running clear into the area to place the ball wide of the keeper 5-0.

GOAL! A sixth goal coming soon after, Tolentino and Tomlinson combining out on the left Cambridge closing down the ball well, pushed up Flye onto it playing a fantastic through ball low along the ground for Mills central top of the area t break through onto goal and put her shot to the keeper right into the corner of the net 6-0.

  Mills with plenty of pace late on plays the ball to Standing back on on the right for Gillies, Haq closing her down putting the ball out for a corner. Tolentino coming off Gillies back on. The corner headed up at the near post across the six yard box cleared far side straight to Castiglione top of the D strikes it back in finds it’s way through on target skipping up off the surface but Szary right behind it. Another corner for Cambridge left side taken short up the line before the cross is flung into the box, knocked down straight to a Cambridge player the shot fired wide. 

 Into added time Cambridge finishing strong Mills coming onto the ball left side 25 out turns inside her marker to get a shot away the ball racing wide out at the far post. The final whistle blows and Cambridge City Ladies win this season’s Invitation Cup Final.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 6-0 Histon Ladies

   Cambridge with a god start to the match on the front foot from the off chances created Standing and Gillies getting free on the flanks Tolentino through the middle leading the attack well. Histon not getting much joy in attack themselves finding themselves 2-0 down at the break. Cambridge getting into a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd half Histon made changes to personnel and formation bringing them more joy in the final third, Cambridge though a constant danger on the counter attack defending well. A 4th goal sealing the victory with 20 minutes left 2 late goals making the result comfortable. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few to mention Cambridge featuring Charlotte Gillies getting on well right side always available. Laura Mills with some fantastic runs too. Lauren Tomlinson superb at the back with a fantastic performance, edging it for myself however is attacker Karly Tolentino played brilliantly especially in the first half her runs well timed a real threat Histon struggled to cope with winning and scoring the penalty and putting Cambridge into a 2 goal lead going a long way to securing the cup.

Cambridge City Ladies 2019/20 Invitation Cup Winners

Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.

An enjoyable trip to The Abbey Stadium, a good atmosphere, an entertaining final, my thanks to Cambridgeshire FA for the hospitality in particular Chris Abbott and to both teams for getting those all important team details and to Gary Reed for to photo’s does a fantastic job helping to promote the game. One final down plenty more to come. 

 

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Wednesday 4th September

FAWNL South East Division One

 Derby day and the first midweek match of the season for Women’s Football East making the trip to Ely City FC this Wednesday evening to watch Cambridge City Ladies take on Cambridge United WFC for the first time in the FAWNL.

  Cambridge City Ladies winning the ERWFL Premier Division last season part of a league and cup double to earn promotion to FAWNL South East Division One. The two sides once one before going their separate ways have met several times as Cambridge City rose back up the women’s football pyramid now joining United in the FAWNL. A strong youth set-up within the club their Development side winning the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership title last season joins the ERWFL Division One South, whilst the club is to boast a 3rd women’s side playing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership. 

  Joining the FAWNL, Cambridge City Ladies have moved to a new home, Ely City FC whilst they await completion of their new ground at Sawston. A ground their opponents know well having played their as Cambridge Women before linking up with Cambridge United FC. Good facilities a new cinema and restaurant park build next to the spots stadiums situated just off the A10. Have signed goalkeeper Dominika Szary from Newmarket Town Women with Karly Tolentino and Beatrice Fitzsimons also joining. Sofia Castiglione back too after impressing in a handful of game for City before injury saw her out for a long period. Two losses from their opening two matches away to Leyton Orient and at home to Billericay Town Ladies see them without a point. Better in the FAWNL Cup where they won through to the competition proper beating Southern Premier Division side Chichester City Ladies.

  A new home too this season for Cambridge United WFC playing at St Neots Town FC, a new base for games and training for both their senior and Development side. Have lost a few players to other clubs over the close season a small squad with a determined attitude. A new beginning they too find themselves without a point on the board a narrow lose conceding in the final minutes of both their opening league and cup encounters. 2 errors costing them away to AFC Wimbledon at the weekend. A local derby to look forwards to is great for women’s football in Cambridge to see two sides playing as high as the 4th tier. Always competitive games against the pair.

The pitch looking well prepared as the lights start to come on, a good atmosphere building a good sized crowd taking shape. A hint of rain in the air day clouds around, a rainbow over the ground prior to kick-off. A breeze cooling things down. The bar and kitchen open hot and cold drinks aswell as pies on offer. 

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Dominika Szary, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Becca Fay (C), Ceri Flye, Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Beatrice Fitzsimons, Karly Tolentino & Megan Tonks. Subs – Tee Mhunduru, Shannon Shaw, Robyn Phillips, Laura Mills, & Georgia Day.

 Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Emma Jenkins, Charlotte Crisp, Amber Cantwell, Amy Howlett, Faith Hewitt, Kelley Blanchflower & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Verity Crook, Chloe Armstrong, Albany Hodgson & Chloe Smith.

  As per usual with these affairs where we have two clubs similarly named they become City and United from now on. It’s City to get the derby match underway, wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. United wearing amber coloured shirts with black sleeves black shorts and socks. City playing the ball back to there defence United close down quickly to put pressure on the ball, rewarded as Amber Cantwell gets hold of possession on halfway and drives through the middle with the ball reaching the area before Ceri Flye partnering captain Becca Fay in defence puts in the challenge the ball ending up safely gathered by Dominika Szary.

   GOAL! An early break through from United the pressing game continuing Cantwell again winning it central sending the pass on for striker Kelley Blanchflower she sees fellow attacker Mollie Coupar breaking away into the left channel rolls the ball into her path Coupar taking it on into the box left of goal closing in on the six yard box smashes a shot in under the keeper at the near post 0-1.

Mollie Coupar pressing Amy Reed for possession of the ball

   United have started well playing a high tempo, up for the game Blanchflower spreading play out wide right for Amy Howlett making her first appearance for United this season pushes on with the ball into the corner, tackled by full back Lauren Tomlinson to win the ball back for City. The hosts making progress wide left Karly Tolentino looking to create a shot from distance falling wide of the mark. 

 United bring the ball out Blanchflower up ended wide left inside the City half winning a free-kick. Cantwell over the ball, striking the two player wall deflected left Cantwell able to run onto it to fling a cross into the area, City struggling to clear as United pressure well. Flye busy at the heart of the defence doing well against Blanchflower as the United striker battles her way into the area, back with Szary looks to set up a counter, Charlotte Crisp breaking it up for United. 

Kelley Blanchflower with Cambridge City ladies captain Becca Fay

  Faith Hewitt playing the ball on up the left for United with Blanchflower providing the passing option, Flye going with her tackling to play the ball out for a throw. Crisp coming over to provide support on that side as Blanchflower controls from the throw the ball passed across the top of the City area, Cantwell there looking to get into a shooting position taking the ball wide pressed by Fay the shot miscued. United looking lively Carrie Bennett with the ball on for Hewitt left the ball high across the face of goal, picked up by Coupar far side another ball in across the face of goal, Szary able to lay claim to the 3rd attempt.

   City slow to settle United having given them little time on the ball, Sofia Castiglione on the ball in midfield looks t take players on doing well rides two tackles making ground before releasing Charlotte Gillies on the right, the winger’s ball into the area too close to the keeper at the near post Savannah Smith handling comfortably. City starting to find a foothold in the game Amy Reed winning it at the back an attack launched the ball forwards Megan Tonks with the lay off right into Beatrice Fitzsimons making a central run, her stab forwards almost finding it’s way through into the area for Tolentino cut out by the United defence.

   The game setting down somewhat, both sides wasting passes as they try to maintain a high tempo move the ball quickly no one wanting to keep possession slow things down, lively certainly has a derby feel about it. 

  GOAL! 22 minutes played and City get themselves back on level terms, a fantastic goal from Tonks, the City striker having a fantastic season with the Development side scoring 32 goals from 18 appearances on their way to the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership title last season. Out wide left for City holding onto the ball strong gets inside her marker towards the top corner of the area striking the ball superbly the flight taking it across goal over the keeper into the back of the net beyond 1-1.

Megan Tonks up to win the header for Cambridge City Ladies

  United get forwards a free-kick awarded on the left Cantwell to play the ball in, headed clear inside the box central Crisp moving to intercept the loose ball latching onto the shot hit hard but wide of the goal from 25 yards out. Gillies looks to take on Bennett as she attacks right the United full back getting back at her to win the ball back before the cross can be made. United are away on the right Howlett with Coupar ahead of her, Fay drawn out of the middle to assist Tomlinson in the corner Coupar does well to get the ball back up the line to Howlett she passes central Crisp not afraid to have a crack from distance meeting it once again 30 yards the strike brushes the roof of the net on its way over. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Charlotte Crisp

  Passes continue to go astray starting to get a little scrappy, niggly challenges coming it, Cantwell on the end of a couple of the more robust ones. A driving shot from Castiglione from 30 yards out following good work from Tolentino on the left fall wide of goal. Tolentino showing great close ball control on the left high up the pitch twisting left then right looking to come inside before shifting and getting the ball in behind to cross flashed in Tonks gets something on it near post the ball brushing the chest of a defender for a moment looks like it could be an unfortunate own goal as it goes on across goal, Smith reacting well getting down to stop it.

Cambridge City Ladies, Karly Tolentino

   Castiglione bringing the ball on once more plays a good diagonal ball on for Gillies bursting on right side of the area, Bennett putting in the tackle playing the ball behind for a corner. The ball in towards the top of the area from the right cleared by Cantwell. Look to break the ball on down the right a strong challenge from Tomlinson seeing United awarded a free-kick in the corner. A good delivery in towards the near post Szary doing well for City up to make a confident claim.

  The tackles showing a bit more bite late in the first half Emma Jenkins partnering captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt in central defence this evening bringing the ball out from the ball brought down unceremoniously. Fitzsimons getting a warning from referee Chris Abbott. Moments later Cantwell is floored by Tomlinson as the United midfielder looks to break from a City free-kick, the full back shown the first yellow card of the game. Both benches not happy with decisions the game getting feisty late in the half a late throw on the left high for United played inside across the top of the area Blanchflower looking to see it across her body 20 yards out strikes it on the half volley, the ball already spinning the shot swerving away from goal behind the last action of the first half.  

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 1-1 Cambridge United WFC

  A good first half in the Cambridge derby, United making a fast start bright snapping into challenges and pressing City all over the pitch looking sharp taking an early lead. City taking a little time to settle, United’s intent slowing City able to get back into it get forwards Tonks with a superb strike to level the scores. Scrappy at times with passes rushed going astray, the half ending on and even note could go either way 2nd half.

  United to get the 2nd half underway, neither side making a change. The visitors going long to the left with Coupar on the move, strong holding onto the ball getting into a shooting position fires over the top from 25 yards out. 

 GOAL! City get forwards to take the lead early in the 2nd, bodies forwards as they attack possession on the left Tolentino playing the ball into the middle gathered by Fitzsimons who bursts on towards the area allowed to go on, goes to shoot a miscue the ball turns into a brilliant assist angled wide and on into the path of Tonks right of goal, the striker turning and sending a low ball past Smith before she can adjust 2-1.

   GOAL! All action at the start of the 2nd half as United get up the other end and draw level again almost straight away. Attacking right Howlett’s pass on for Coupar brings United a throw deep in City territory, put on into Blanchflower she turns and heads into the area close to the byline fires a ball in towards goal Szary down to it, a touch but escapes her grasp with Coupar on top of her bundling it over the line to score her 2nd of the match 2-2.

  The game has the early intensity back is a derby game, both sides feeling the game is there to win. United winning a corner right side the ball in towards the top of the area Burt running in to met it near post lifting her shot over. Both keepers called into action running out of there areas to clear first Szary then her kick forwards dealt with by Smith. Passes rushed the tempo remains high no one settling on the ball. City make the first change of the game Laura Mills coming on for Gillies going out to the right. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Lauren Tomlinson

  The substitution injecting some urgency into City’s attacking play the ball spread wide to Mills has Tonks out wide with her the ball crossed into the United box cleared, Reed getting forwards onto the loose ball shoots from distance the ball stopped in the six yard by her opposing right back Davies, a good first touch to bring the ball safely under control. 

 Cantwell with a tame effort that rolls safely through to Szary who sets up Mills on the counter pace taking it on the diagonal ball fired into the area read by Smith coming out to collect. city make a 2nd substitution 2 goals for Tonks her work done for the night she is replaced in attack by Shannon Shaw. The breeze starting to pick up. Cantwell will feel the aftermath of this game as she is bundled to the ground yet again, not deterred however.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell

  United make their first change of the match in attack Blanchflower coming off to be replaced by Chloe Smith. Bodily plays a pass long on for Mills getting on down the right keeping wide well her cross into the box dangerous chested down towards goal by a defender for a moment looks like it might be an own goal gasps from the crowd, by Smith down quickly has it save pulled into her body.Mills adding impetus to the City attack the game wide open entering the final 15 minutes could go either way still. 

  United getting some momentum themselves Coupar with Hewitt, Howlett found on the right the ball in towards the top of the area fired in near post cut out by the City defence. Tomlinson strong on the ball as she battles to bring it forwards. Play from one end to the other Mills crossing from the right United heading the ball clear launching a counter attack, Crisp on for Smith plays the ball to Howlett right takes it inside into the box City conceding the corner. 

  Into the last 3 minutes of the match the ball in from the right cleared long, Davies picking it up for United lifts a high ball back into the area difficult for Szary to judge back on her line dropping late catches by spills for another corner. City dealing confidently Fay determined on the ball carrying it out from the back over halfway but cleared by United City with a throw left Tomlinson’s bionic arms sending it long into towards the top of the area, United winning the header attempt to counter Bodily breaking it up. 

  City mounting one last attack and come very close to claiming the 3 points late on Fitzsimons seeing the ball into her feet outside the United area right off a throw turns and unleashes a shot Smith diving to her left thankful to see the ball run narrowly wide of the post, City with a free-kick on halfway Castiglione to play it up into the United area, Burt dealing with it the final whistle blows.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 2-2 Cambridge United WFC

  Honours even in the first Cambridge derby of the season, on the whole a fair result the points shared and both getting off the mark at last will be a relief. City making a slow start coming back to level after conceding in the opening minutes. Taking the lead early in the 2nd period only to concede straight away. A good watch the crowd entertained, often scrappy niggly at times the temp good what you’d expect from a derby match. Both sides will feel they could have won it and could well have gone either way.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Contenders from both sides, Ceri Flye doing a some great defensive work for City in the heart of defence. Sofia Castiglione too in midfield. Megan Tonks in attack scoring a great first goal levelling the scores then putting them into the lead early 2nd half. Mollie Coupar giving United the early advantage. Kelley Blanchflower with some great runs linking up the midfield and attack. Amber Cantwell edging it for me overall getting about the pitch great first touches and often a the heart of the action.

 Said I wouldn’t get up at 4am and write this but I can’t sleep with a game still rattling around the brain. An entertaining game if scrappy at times the two sides enjoying a good rivalry that will only grow and in doing so increase the interest for the women’s game in the county.  Updated with pictures for last evenings game courtesy of Gary Reed. Grateful to be able to use them Gary is a tremendous supporter of the women’s game and it’s a pleasure to feature his pictures.

 

Match Report – Cup Final Special

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.

ERWFL League Cup

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. 

Eden Kibron with Bedford’s 2nd goal

  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.

Cambridge’s Ceri Flye with Bedford’s Mya Sidhu

   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. 

Bedford’s Jasmine Ajayi

  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.

Erin Davies always looking to get into an attacking position for Cambridge City

   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.

Bedford’s Carissa Kaczorowski tackling Cambridge’s Carla Penny

  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. 

Hannah Bodily with Bedford’s Jasmine Ajayi

  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. 

Carla Penny coming forwards for Cambridge City

  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. 

Extra-time

 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.

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.

Tee Mhunduru saving Bedford’s opening penalty

  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.

Cambridge City Ladies 2018/19 ERWFL League Cup winners

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.

 

Match Report – Royston Town Ladies v Cambridge City Ladies

Sunday 7th April

ERWFL Premier Division

The league action this Sunday from the top of the ERWFL Premier Division. A clash between the top two with 2nd placed Royston Town Ladies at home to newly crowned Champions, Cambridge City Ladies. 

  A bit like After the Lord Mayor’s Show turning up to watch Cambridge City Ladies this Sunday after they clinched the league title at home to Peterborough Northern Star Ladies last weekend with a comfortable 4-0 win. A massive achievement winning the Premier Division title, in just their 3rd season playing regional league football a 3rd league title in 4 seasons, and runners-up in the year they didn’t. A rapid rise through the women’s football pyramid, FAWNL football beckons next season and with it a few local derby matches. 

  Royston Town Ladies, today’s hosts enjoying a great season in the Premier Division themselves, the Hertfordshire side in a strong position to clinch runners-up spot in the league currently 4 points clear of 3rd placed Acle United Women with both having 3 games to play. Amongst the top sides in the league pressurising Cambridge City Ladies at the top. A good start to the season unbeaten in 7 winning 6. The only side to take league points off Cambridge City so far this season drawing away from home 4-4. 

  Cambridge City Ladies joining the ERWFL 3 season’s ago, Division One Champions in their debut season along with a League Cup final appearance. Runners-up in their first season in the Premier Division. Have won the title with 3 games to spare so far unbeaten dropping just 2 points all season from 19 played. Are into the last four of the League Cup once more a double very much possible. An unbeaten league season the icing on the cake as they move up to the FAWNL next season. Their Development side on course to win the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership aswell as two cup final appearances themselves. A strong youth set-up too within the club where it has made it’s name previous, just last Friday their U14s winning their League Cup final.

 The venue for this afternoons match Royston Town FC’s Garden Walk Stadium. The entrance can be easy to miss, but that led me to discover the Civic Car park close by last time so this is where I pitched up this time a short walk to the ground. Nestled behind houses is nevertheless a good sized stadium offering a large pitch looking in great condition offering plenty of width. A clubhouse with bar and hot drinks available. Some covered seating, needed too with the weather forecast predicting rain in the area, wet when I arrived would persist for much of the afternoon, overcast conditions.

Royston Town Ladies starting XI – Yasmine Walford, Katie Seymour, Angharad Chambers, Amy Cooper (C), Beki Fisk, Samantha Edgar, Danielle Carty, Hayley Eldred, Sammy Tinsley, Charlotte South & Jo Rutherford. Subs – Eva Ramsey, Georgia Gannaway, Paris Coldicott-Stevens & Ellie Pickard.

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Ceri Flye, Lauren Tomlinson, Anna Goggin, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sarah Mosley, Erin Davies, Carla Penny, Shannon Shaw & Bella Simmons. Subs – Amy Reed, Freya Standing & Bronte Rapley.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Both sides home colours black and white, Royston wearing those colours today, white shirts and socks with black shorts. Cambridge wearing thier sky blue away kit. The rain falling heavily at kick-off, Cambridge to get the 1st half underway, go left Royston quick to close the ball down, Hayley Eldred backed up by Katie Seymour at full back win the ball played up to the strikers, Jo Rutherford looking to win the head beaten to the ball by Cambridge centre back Anna Goggin. Royston press on the right Eldred forwards looking to put the ball on for Rutherford in attack the Cambridge defence intercepts.

Cambridge City Ladies, Carla Penny holding the ball with Royston’s Angharad Chambers marking

    A positive start from Royston putting the ball forwards looking to attack win a corner out on the right a high ball into the area cleared, Cambridge break through the middle the ball pushed on sees striker Shannon Shaw clear running in behind 20 yards out takes on the shot early, Royston goalkeeper Yasmine Walford back-peddling slightly unprepared reacts well adjusting to dive to her left and get her gloves to the ball push it wide and behind for a corner to Cambridge.

  GOAL! The ball played in towards the near post Walford coming to punch gets something on the ball but only succeeds in knocking it up high into the air and spinning further into the six yard box in front of goal, Cambridge attack it Shaw with the telling header to drive the ball into the back of the net to give the visitors an early lead, just 3 minutes on the clock 0-1.

Shannon Shaw opening the scoring for Cambridge City Ladies

  Cambridge’s turn to press the ball on their right, Erin Davies to Carla Penny moving into the right corner holds the ball up as full back Ceri Flye gets forwards in support the ball put back up the line Flye sends a cross into the area, the flag up as striker Bella Simmons strays offside. Simmons with a great run moving right gets in behind drives on coming in field getting into the area lets fly with a shot racing in near post Walford with a reactive save gloves out to send the ball wide and behind at her near post. Royston dealing with the resulting corner. 

 Seymour recovering well at the back for Royston as Simmons touch sees her get inside her, the full back diving in to make a good tackle win the ball 30 yards from goal. Royston with a free-kick on halfway captain Amy Cooper to play the ball up towards the top of the area, Charlotte South up well to nod the ball down, sky blue shirts reacting quickest to clear the loose ball. Sammy Tinsley lively on the left for Royston is fouled, Angharad Chambers putting the ball up the line, South after it flagged offside. 

Royston Town Ladies, Angharad Chambers

 Flye with a strong run after the ball carries on down the right closing in on the byline squares a cross into the Royston six yard box is behind Simmons, Cooper latching onto the ball clearing it with Shaw behind her.  Is a little scrappy, a few robust challenges coming in from both sides, some decisions angering the Royston bench. Cambridge have the ball on the left get forwards the cross whipped in early Shaw getting in front of her marker near side turns the ball goalwards, Walford can see it safely wide across her goal. 

  A competitive tussle in the middle of the park, Royston looking to find the final ball Cambridge quick to close down just getting hold of the ball first, South and Rutherford looking to combine, Goggin and captain Becca Fay both intercepting to break up the attack. Royston build well on the left Chambers on for Tinsley she plays it in field to Rutherford a clever back heel to tee up South 25 yards out she connects well with the shot, looping in doesn’t have the height to beat goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru as she takes it high. 

Charlotte South on the ball for Royston Town Ladies

  Penny with the ball right wing for Cambridge puts a cross in towards the top of the area central for Davies she lays it to Simmons on her right getting her foot up over the ball she shoots, Walford throwing her arms up makes the blocking save drifting across her goal. Cambridge press the attack numbers forwards through the middle Shaw with it is brought down right on the edge of the box a free-kick right of the D. Penny on it goes for goal her strike over the bar. 

Royston Town Ladies, Danielle Carty

  Danielle Carty winning the ball in the middle for Royston played out to Tinsley left her forwards pass into the run of South the ball getting tangled under her feet she can’t dig it out for a shot before Flye and Goggin close her down. Samantha Edgar through the middle for Royston on for Elderd breaking right she swings a cross in towards the top of the area, Hannah Bodily back to slide in and win it back for Cambridge. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Hannah Bodily

  Royston are hit on the counter Cambridge looking to play Simmons through racing after the ball, Walford comes racing out of her box a long way out but sliding in has to win the ball the clearance could go anywhere falls straight to Shaw she hits it early a long way out central hoping to find the empty net Walford racing back lets out a breath as it runs wide of the post. Royston are attempting all sorts to find a way through the Cambridge back line some good link up play the final ball just won’t come off. Tinsley working hard on the left a cross fired in deep towards the far post Mhunduru jumping to claim it does well under challenge to just about hold onto it. 

Sammy Tinsley

  Simmons gets away on the left in behind shifts inside before taking on a 25 yard shot the attempt bouncing wide across the face of goal. Royston build through the middle Edgar on for South played up to Rutherford in attack, left of the box, Tinsley making a good run to get inside her, Rutherford getting the ball into her run comes further infield looking to shot ends up being upended the free-kick awarded. Carty to take has a shot the ball straight into the arms of Mhunduru. 

Sammy Tinsley battling with Cambridge’s Sarah Mosley for the ball.

   Penny is fouled attacking wide right for Cambridge the free-kick level with the top of the area, players forwards the ball into the area cleared, Cambridge are quick to regain possession keep the attack alive play drawn left the cross comes in central Penny is their top of the six yard box the ball trapped under her feet, Chambers does really well to make the tackle deny the chance the ball cleared only as far as Mosley 25 yards out she shot back on sails over the bar.

  Rutherford charges down a shot at the top of the box defending as Cambridge’s Penny wins her side a corner on the right.. The hosts look to break, Cambridge pressing the ball on halfway progress halted. Tinsley making ground on the left support from Rutherford brings a throw in the ball played in field to South, too far out for a shot looks for options, Cambridge as they have all through the 1st half not let anyone have time on the ball.

Half-time Royston Town Ladies 0-1 Cambridge City Ladies

  An early lead for Cambridge, Shannon Shaw’s 3rd minute goal the difference between the sides going into the half-time interval. The visitors having further chances to extend the lead but none taken. Royston not getting the rub of the green in the final third have had some good build up play but on the whole Cambridge have been quick to close down and have been more rapid in the counter attack. The 1st half flying by, at 1-0 though still all to play for 2nd half.

  No changes for either side at half-time, Royston to get the 2nd period underway, the rain petering out towards the end of the 1st half. The hosts going right look to get Eldred on the ball wins a throw in. Eldred making progress up the wing a low cross driven in towards the near post hits Fay as she races back in defence. Remains scrappy, niggly challenges stopping play. Lively in the centre of the park, Carty and Edgar battling with Bodily, Mosley and Davies.

Samantha Edgar bringing the ball on for Royston Town Ladies

  Appeals for a penalty from Royston a powerful run from Rutherford trying to get the better of Tomlinson as she attacks left the striker into the box shoulder to shoulder with Goggin goes to ground as Mhunduru slides in to claim the ball. The appeals waved away, more frustration from the Royston bench. Royston showing more urgency at the start of the 2nd half, Rutherford supporting Eldred on the right a throw won, Carty receiving her cross charged down.

Royston’s Jo Rutherford with Cambridge’s Carla Penny

  Rutherford leading the line well for Royston looks to spin in behind the Cambridge defence on halfway, Mosley reacting well getting back to help out and regain possession. Decisions continue to frustrate Royston on and off the field. Walford with a good claim from a cross swung in from the right from Penny. The winger substituted soon after on in her place 16-year-old Freya Standing. 

Rutherford looking to spin in behind

  Cambridge doing well to keep Royston from breaking quickly pressing the ball high up the pitch from their own attacking positions. Standing with a burst of pace on the right wing a cross fired in near post Walford coming to punch doing well under challenge to get it away. The rain starting to fall again, Carty coming off worse in a 50/50 challenge in the middle the ball striking her. Edgar with a great pass down the right finding Elderd can’t keep it in to cross on the byline. 

Cambridge full back Lauren Tomlinson clearing the ball before Hayley Eldred can reach it for Royston

  GOAL! Past the hour and Cambridge double their lead and it’s Shaw on the scoresheet for her 2nd goal of the match the attack building left the ball helped on finding Shaw peeling away from her marker driving on towards the area strikes the ball from the top of the area low with plenty of pace, Walford diving can only get her fingertips to it pushing the ball onto the post and into the back of the net 0-2. 

  Royston respond with a double change, off come Carty and Seymour, on in their places, Eva Ramsey and Paris Coldicott-Stevens. Royston’s frustrations continue passes just won’t fall, good runs the ball won by Cambridge, Flye on the right denying Rutherford as Tinsley plays the ball on. 

 GOAL! Cambridge go further ahead 5 minutes after going 2 up add a 3rd goal, have possession high n the left a throw in the ball put inside driven across the top of the Royston area, Standing on the that side gets her foot up over the ball to hit a well taken shot back across the keeper and into the bottom corner to score 0-3. 

  A further blow for Royston another double switch is made Cooper and Edgar the players coming off. Georgia Gannaway and Ellie Pickard coming on. Davies pushing on for Cambridge a diagonal ball fired into the box, Fisk lunging intercepts conceding the corner. The ball in towards the near post defended. Chambers tackling Simmons on the right as she attacks a corner given away, played in higher towards the near post attacked a Cambridge head on the ball sent over. 

Eva Ramsey

  Ramsey with a timely interception as Cambridge attack on their left Davies finding space playing it on for Shaw. The action end to end Royston attacking have a free-kick the ball pinging around at the top of the area a collision between Flye and Tinsley both players down, play goes on though as Cambridge break Simmons racing up the right with the ball at her feet a shot driven in Walford down saves well then scrambling after the loose ball as Simmons goes for it a corner is conceded play stopped and brought back to deal with the still grounded players in the opposite box. Both up after treatment are okay to continue.

Cambridge City Ladies, Anna Goggin

  Up the other end the corner on the right into the area comes out to Mosley 30 yards out hits it back in a good effort straight at Walford the keeper pushing the ball up over her crossbar. Cambridge make their 2nd change Shaw coming off in attack Penny returning. Flye charges forwards with the ball at her feet sends it on for Simmons ahead of her right of goal blasts her shot wide of the mark. Ramsey getting time on the ball for Royston right plays Eldred in down the wing her looping cross into the Cambridge box won by Fay in the middle. Rutherford and Tinsley combine in attack for Royston driving on Rutherford putting the ball on for Tinsley shooting from 20 yards out Flye blocking. 

Royston on the attack

  Tomlinson breaking on the left for Cambridge sees Simmons central feeds her the pass taking in it Fisk with her Walford coming the defender knocks the ball wide of Simmons both going after it Simmons turning back to send a cross into the area, Pickard is there to head clear for Royston. The hosts work the ball well through the middle Coldicott-Stevens on for Tinsley plays it forwards Rutherford into the box has Gannaway to her left sends her the cross the attacker struggling to get the ball out from under her feet to get a shot away Fay closing her down. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Erin Davies

  South plays a dinked ball over the top of the Cambridge defence putting Rutherford through, goes to lob the keeper from outside the box, the right intention just not enough height to trouble Mhunduru. Into the closing minutes of the game a late change for Cambridge Bronte Rapley coming on for Mosley. Goggin tackles Rutherford inside her box late on as she receives the ball from a throw in. A loose goal kick from Walford intercepted by Simmons, Pickard does really well to get back on her make the tackle, Cambridge up attacking late on winning a corner defended but Cambridge prevent Royston from breaking as the final whistle blows and they make it 19 wins and a draw from 20 played. 

Full time Royston Town Ladies 0-3 Cambridge City Ladies

  Easy to see on this performance why Cambridge City Ladies are the champions played well throughout the team for the whole 90 minutes working hard to close the ball down, create opportunities, prevent their opponents from breaking. Scrappy at times but nevertheless an enjoyable match. Royston frustrated, some decisions not going their way, some great build up play, easy to see why they are doing so well themselves, it just wasn’t going to happen in the final 3rd today. The gap closed but 2nd position is still in their hands with 3 to play.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. For Royston, Sammy Tinsley was outstanding on the left of attack battling away getting forwards and trying to get the ball into the attackers linked up well with Rutherford. It was a fantastic all round team performance from Cambridge who are determined to try and end the season unbeaten. Worked hard to close the ball down all over the park, preventing Royston from breaking, and closing the door through the middle. Have to pick one however this is very close Sarah Mosley was excellent in midfield just misses out to Erin Davies whose work rate too was superb getting forwards well to support the attack.

  That game flew by highly enjoyable the ball wasn’t still for long, another good advert for the ERWFL. Pleased t have finally gotten to Garden Walk this season even if it was no doubt the result Royston didn’t want me to see. Won’t be long before I’m seeing Cambridge City Ladies again, in midweek, their Development side at least as they begin their quest for a possible treble in the final of the Junior Invitation Cup against Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds on Thursday. My thanks to both clubs for helping me out with the team details today.

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Tuesday 19th March

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

 Back on the road less than 48 hours after watching my first Cup Final of the season, a trip to Cambridge this evening to The Abbey Stadium, home of League Two side Cambridge United for this years Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final, once again to be contested by Cambridge City Ladies & Cambridge United WFC.

  The Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final sponsored by S-Tech Insurance being held at The Abbey Stadium for the very first time. Cambridge City Ladies the current holders winning it for the 1st time last season beating Cambridge United WFC in the final to end a long spell of domination of the County Cup by United. 

Tonight’s prize on display, the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup trophy

  Close rivals and getting closer as Cambridge City Ladies are in a strong position at the top of the ERWFL Premier Division unbeaten with just 2 points dropped in 17 matches to date promotion to the FAWNL for the title winners joining Cambridge United WFC in the 4th tier of the woman’s football pyramid. Into the semi-finals of the ERWFL League Cup too are keen to retain the Invitation Cup for a 2nd successive season. Have goal scorers throughout their squad with Erin Davies leading the way with 22 goals, a further 5 players into double figures. 

  Cambridge United WFC playing in FAWNL South East Division One just as keen to regain the Invitation Cup themselves. Come into final with confidence gained form a good run of form bring 7 points from the last 3 league matches including a point against league leaders Crawley Wasps Ladies who had up till last weekend held a 100% winning record since joining the league. 

  The sides have met… twice this season after the now infamous pitch gate affair. drawn together in the FA Women’s Cup, City beating United in extra-time the game ordered to be replayed at United’s ground after City’s pitch was found to be too small. Tension afterwards United winning the replayed game. Rivals before it only served to rack up the tension but to be fair both clubs since have moved on, several players from both sides knowing each other very well, a number of the City squad having played for United when the club split some years ago. A game under the lights at an opportunity for the leading women’s clubs in Cambridgeshire to showcase the game. A quick turn around for both playing a game on Sunday, City winning 3-1 way to Brentwood. United winning 5-1 at home to Actonians Ladies.

Road to the Final

  14 sides entering this season’s Invitation Cup competition, there were byes for Cambridge City Ladies & St Ives Town Ladies in the 1st Round. Cambridge United were draw away to Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side, Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds progressed with a dominant display winning 11-1. 

  Onto the quarter finals, Cambridge City were away taking on ERWFL Division One side Histon Ladies. A 3-0 win for the visitors putting them through to the last 4 of the competition. Cambridge United on the road too making the trip to Newmarket Town Ladies newly promoted to ERWFL Division One themselves United avoiding a banana skin winning 3-0 too to reach the semi-finals. 

  The pair avoiding each other in the semi-finals, Cambridge City full of goalscorers too strong for Championship South side Wisbech Town Ladies as they won away from home 13-0 to reach the final once again. Cambridge United at home in the semi-finals were taking on an up and coming force in the women’s game in Cambridgeshire, St Ives Town Ladies, unbeaten themselves in the league since joining ERWFL Division challenging for the title, Cambridge United winning the game by a single goal to advance to another final. 

 Tonight’s venue, The Abbey Stadium, home of Cambridge United FC and one of a number of women’s finals to take place at leading stadiums across the East with Portman Road hosting this years Suffolk Women’s County Cup Final and the Norfolk Women’s County Cup Final to e played at Carrow Road for the first time. Great for the game in Cambridgeshire to feature at The Abbey Stadium. A clear, still night starting to cool, the crowd building before kick-off, the pitch looking good offering plenty of width.

The Abbey Stadium pitch

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Ceri Flye, Lauren Tomlinson, Becca Fay (C), Robyn Phillips, Hannah Bodily, Anna Goggin, Amy Reed, Erin Davies, Laura Mills & Shannon Shaw. Subs –  Carla Penny, Sarah Mosley, Bella Simmons, Freya Standing & Megan Tonks.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh Anne Burt, Jemma Moore, Vicky Neal, Amy Howlett, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Mollie Coupar & Kelley Blanchflower (C). Subs – Liz Pamplin, Charlotte Crisp, Kelly Bingham, Fran Gough & Abi Davies.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  United to get the final underway kicking off the first half wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. City opposite wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks. Play out to the left United getting numbers forwards the ball rolled back in central Amy Howlett, space opening up for Emma Jenkins to get forwards from right back 20 yards out aiming to drive in on the area is closed down by City captain Becca Fay the ball won. A positive start to the game from United pressing the ball high up the pitch, Mollie Coupar left and Jade Bell right keeping wide as the ball is fed into the wings. 

   City win the ball central the diagonal pass finding Amy Reed advancing down the right wing, send it on with Erin Davies making the run to get into the area, Jemma Moore coming across to challenge her the ball out for a throw in. Coupar fouled out left a free-kick to United players come forwards from the back the delivery long into the area Coupar can’t quite get her head on it central nor defender Kayleigh Anne Burt as she stretches a leg out at the far post the ball running out of play. 

  A good sized crowd in attendance a buzz in the stand the game has whetted the appetite early on both sides looking to make ground, the pitch in great shape. Becky Shephard races into a gap opening up on the right, Lauren Tomlinson getting back on her the ball out for a throw. The City left back with a long throw in her armoury, so to United defender Jemma Moore as she comes forwards to take it combination play with Vicky Neal top of the area a high ball in drops wide of goal. 

  Anna Goggin in the middle for City wins possession rolls it on to Shannon Shaw in attack spins to get in behind as she lays it wide right to Reed the winger tackled by Bennett before she can deliver the final pass. Reed with the ball in the right for City bursting on does well past a tackle an early diagonal cross into the area low, Shaw coming towards it, Burt does very well to shield the ball as goalkeeper Savannah Smith comes out to dive forwards onto the ball. A lively contest now clear cut openings in the early stages. City push the attack, United dealing with the threat break the ball pushed on up to captain Kelley Blanchflower in attack, a powerful run with the ball turning in field gets a shot away from 20 yards out the ball spinning off the surface City goalkeeper Tee Mhunduru down falling left to claim the ball. 

  Jenkins plays a free-kick on the right halfway up the line, Bell after it does will combining with Blanchflower inside the area the pair win a corner kick, the end product landing in the side netting. A little bit of niggle creeping into the game is a derby after all and players form both sides are up to it. Bell and Tomlinson defused by the referee. City clearing the resulting United free-kick counter attack Reed bursting away on the right rolls it on for Laura Mills moving into an advanced position, a little too much weight on the ball, Moore able to get across Mills see it out of play. 

  Howlett on the ball central spreads play to Coupar left plays a early diagonal ball long into the area Bell after it attacks the goalkeeper near post, Mhunduru doing well to intercept and claim at the 2nd attempt as the pair come together. United’s defence well organised no room for City to turn in behind as the ball is played into the attackers, Mills seeing little of it on the left. Moore stepping out to clear her forwards ball almost playing Blanchflower in behind but not expecting it, City are able to recover. City with a throw on the left Tomlinson with the long throw, Davies with it as United fail to clear central turns inside spots Reed at the far post the ball played on, Smith seeing the threat out to intercept get her gloves firmly around the ball.

  Play brought back for a free-kick for a foul on Coupar with no advantage the high ball into the box won by City centreback Robyn Phillips. United keeping the pressure on play out to the left a high cross into the near post Mhunduru jumping to lay claim. Coupar going for the ball central in front of the keeper fouls her as she attempts to put in a cross from the right. Play paused as Mhunduru needs treatment a word from the referee for Coupar. City’s goalkeeper up gingerly is okay to continue. 

(photo credit Gary Reed)

  Coupar constantly looking to attack with the ball at her feet pushes on down the left wing, Ceri Flye putting in a strong tackle to stop her in her tracks. Switching wings with Bell United with 15 minutes of the first half left, the ball won central the pass forwards, Coupar is obstructed 30 yards out to the right of the area United have a free-kick.

  GOAL! From the set-piece the deadlock is broken, Shephard over it players forwards a gap central Howlett drifts in as Shephard squared the ball to her Howell turning it goalwards with her first touch the ball on low through bodies Mhunduru not getting down quick enough her touch not enough as the ball finds its way home just inside the post, United lead 0-1.

Cambridge United WFC’s Amy Howlett (photo credit Gary Reed)

   United with better openings as the game progresses Shephard away on the right her cross long towards the far post the ball attacked at the far post Coupar heading over. City make the first change of the match with Bella Simmons on in attack for Shaw. Neal committing a foul, City with the free-kick high on the right the ball played on towards the top of the area Simmons back to goal trying to cushion it down and turn in behind closely marked Burt clears for United.

  Phillips with quick reactions top to the area to push the ball of Blanchflower’s foot as she attempts to spin in behind from a pass to her right side. Blanchflower down inside the box receiving treatment can’t continue United making their first change Kelly Bingham the player coming on. City attack left side win a throw in an advanced position the ball on into the area with Hannah Bodily forwards six yards out sees the ball well into her body spins and shoots the ball blocked at close quarters by Burt. 

(photo credit Gary Reed)

  Mills with a menacing run through the middle is brought down as she attempts to play in Simmons the free kick 20 yards out as the first half draws to a close, Mills over it whips it in towards goal on target but lacks the height of pace to trouble Smith back on her line.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-1 Cambridge United WFC

  The two sides head down the tunnel with United holding a narrow advantage leading 1-0. Goal scoring chances have been at a premium for both sides United the better of the two sides creating more especially down the flanks with Bell and Coupar lively. A well worked free-kick the difference between the sides, City not troubling Smith in the United goal the defence well drilled in front of her. A good contest so far.

  City making two changes at half-time Sarah Mosley and Freya Standing on for Bodily and Reed as they get the 2nd half underway. 

  GOAL! A fantastic start to the 2nd half for United as they get forwards in behind City and are awarded a penalty kick. Coupar the player brought down inside the area as she breaks on the left sprinting into the box with the ball a short ball put into towards the near post she his taken out as the crowd goes up in appeal, the referee pointing to the spot Shephard to take fresh from scoring a clinically taken penalty at the weekend, is no less composed as she coolly sends the keeper the wrong way placing the ball into the bottom left corner of the net 0-2. 

Becky Shephard from the penalty spot doubling United’s lead early in the 2nd half

  A great start to the 2nd half for United, the last thing City wanted. Neal sliding in brings down Standing as she attempts to break a yellow card shown to the United player. Howlett going into the book moments later, City with the free-kick right side, United mark closely Bennett winning the ball back. Phillips defending for City heading the ball away inside her area as United have a free-kick out on the right wing. City upping the tempo the game livening up a few rash challenges coming in as a result. 

  The ball put on from a set-piece on the halfway line United’s Neal back to goal controls into her body turning right Bingham with the run receiving the pass blasts over from 25 yards out. Coupar leading the lie with Blanchflower off does well fouled by Fay central another yellow card brandished central the ball put into Coupar top of the area has Shephard in close support pushing the ball into her feet can’t get out of the way as Shephard smashes her shot against her the rebound spinning out right the shot taken first time whistles over the crossbar. 

(photo credit Gary Reed)

  City pushing on trying to find an opening United resolute in defence Coupar the outlet up top after the ball as it is cleared into the right channel, shooting from outside the area the ball bounces wide across the face of goal. Flye getting a good tackle in on Bell as she bursts away wide left. City’s Sarah Mosley on the ball central with a fantastic ball forwards for Mills to attack on the right getting hold of it crosses from the byline a superb ball into the six yard box Standing there gathers, tries to turn Burt brilliant against her defends well to prevent a shot and regaining possession clears. 

(photo credit Gary Reed)

  A double change for City Davies and Flye the players coming off on come Carla Penny and Reed back into the action. Simmons pushing on a good run with the ball making ground central her threaded pass for Standing in behind on the left intercepted. Phillips with a vital intercept at the back for City as United threaten to hit them on the counter the ball up to Coupar 30 yards out. City press in their search for a goal that would get them back into the game. Taking a few risks have too, Bell away as United counter play spread to Bingham right her cross in too close to the keeper. United making a change Howlett off on comes, Charlotte Crisp in the middle. 

  Simmons wide right the ball put inside Mills combining with Standing top of the area a one two Mills in right side a cross driven across the face of goal. Simmons moving about the pitch searching for an opening cuts in from the left a 25 yards strike following no trouble for Smith. Standing out of nothing has the ball at her feet as United fail to clear hooks a shot goalwards from distance 25 yards out her effort caught by Smith. United get away down the left a good delivery into the area from the cross Tomlinson doing well heading the threat away for City at the far post. 

  Roll on roll off substitutes City make a change as Tomlinson comes off at the back City bringing on another attacker with Megan Tonks on. Impressive in front of goal for City’s Development side so far this season with 28 goals to her name. City have to push on now risk gaps opening up at the back. Bell finding room wide left driving on her cross into the box Shephard the target the ball taken off her foo by the City defence a corner conceded. On the right the ball in towards the near post area Neal up to meet it twisting as she looks to put it on towards goal the header wide. 

 Simmons is replaced by Shaw with the clock running down. Fay stops Coupar as the United attacker presses. United remain strong at the back, Burt marshalling the defence well. Coupar having run herself int the ground coming off for United, Abi Davies replacing her. A coming together between Moore and Standing outside the box right of the D the shot blasted wide from 20 yards. Moore down treatment needed a sore one is helped off Fran Gough coming on to join the defence as the game heads towards stoppage time. 

  GOAL! No comfortable finish to the game as City get a goal back in the 90th minute a clearance send back up towards Tonks 20 yards out central isn’t closed down time to pick her spot the ball fired in low, Smith sees it late diving to her right can’t reach it as the ball squeezes inside the post 1-2.

  3 minutes of stoppage time added all of a sudden a nervy finish to the game. Bennett cutting out a past put on down the right for City. Mills booked late on for a foul on Bell as she tries to break. United keep the ball away from City in the closing moments holding onto their lead and celebrating as the regain the Invitation Cup.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Cambridge United WFC

   The goal back coming just too late for City, not enough time to press for the equaliser. The early penalty 2nd half seeing United double their lead and worked hard in defence to keep solid and prevent City getting a goal as they pushed players on, ready to counter when the chance arouse. Comfortable at 2-0. Could sit back an absorb City’s attacks. A good contest between the 2 leading woman’s football sides in Cambridge, a great showcase for the game in the county, watched by a decent number, who enjoyed the contest. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time to pick this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Some notable performances mainly, Jade Bell often sets the tempo for a game and was lively on the wing for United. Kayleigh Anne Burt excellent at the back. The award goes to United’s Mollie Coupar a passionate and committed young player still learning her game a threat driving on with the ball, always looking for an opening and willing runner leading the line making herself available ready whenever United were on the attack.

Cambridge United WFC win this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup

 Congratulations to Cambridge United WFC on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final.

(photo credit Gary Reed)

  A busy old week and it’s only Tuesday!…. well Wednesday now 1:55am as I’m typing this. Good job I love what I do, but best get some sleep. An entertaining final, great to see a decent sized crowd over 500 in attendance. Thanks to Cambridgeshire FA for the hospitality & to Gary Reed for the additional pictures. Two finals down plenty more to come.

 

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Sunday 11th November

FA Women’s Cup

 The 1st Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup this Sunday afternoon and it’s a local derby for Women’s Football East returning to the Trinity Playing Fields to watch Cambridge City Ladies take on rivals Cambridge United WFC.

   A contest between the leading women’s football sides in Cambridgeshire, Cambridge United WFC playing in FAWNL South East Division One whilst Cambridge City Ladies compete just one league below the ERWFL Premier Division.

  They were once one at youth level, Cambridge Women forming and going on to rise through the woman’s football pyramid reaching the FAWNL, a merger with Cambridge United seeing them become Cambridge United WFC. Several players have since returned to Cambridge City who themselves are rising through the women’s football pyramid. Local rivals their most recent meeting seeing Cambridge City win the Invitation (County) Cup Final last season to end a spell of dominance from United.

  A runners-up finish for Cambridge City Ladies in their debut season playing in the ERWFL Premier Division, are looking to go one better this time around win the title and with it join the FAWNL themselves. Have made a perfect start a 100% in all competitions to date including making history in reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup for the 1st time. 

  Began their FA Women’s Cup campaign back in the Preliminary Round with a away match against Newmarket Town Ladies a 2-0 seeing them draw at home to Cambridgeshire Premiership side Riverside Ladies in 1st Round Qualifying a crushing 14-0 victory setting up another home tie in 2nd Round Qualifying against higher league opponents, Leyton Orient WFC, Women’s Football East was there to watch the match a thriller 9 goals scored Cambridge City 2-0 down late in the 1st half came back to win an exciting 2nd half 5-4! A much different game in 3rd Round Qualifying an away trip to fellow ERWFL Premier Division side, Acle United Women. Laura Mills scoring the opening minutes, Cambridge City defending resolutely as Acle pushed hard for an equalising goal, held out and booked thier place in the 1st Round Proper.

   Cambridge United WFC are well established in the FAWNL South East Division One, those clubs entering the FA Women’s Cup in 2nd Round Qualifying. A home draw against ERWFL Premier Division side, Harlow Town Ladies, a comfortable 6-0 win over the Essex side setting up a 3rd Round Qualifying tie at home to fellow South East Division One side Stevenage Ladies. 2-0 up Stevenage came back late on to level the scores send the tie into extra-time, for there penalties Cambridge holding their nerve to win the shootout and reach the 1st Round Proper. 

 Despite alot of overnight rainfall, knew from previous experience the Trinity Playing Fields will hold out well, the pitch looking in good condition, a local derby alot of interest generated a good number arriving. Hot drinks available plus Cambridge City were laying on hot food for the afternoon. A good atmosphere building, sunny but cloudy a shower possible but unlikely.

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Robyn Phillips, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sarah Mosley, Charlotte Gillies, Laura Mills, Erin Davies & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Bella Simmons, Anna Kanz, Emily Reed & Ceri Flye.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Vicky Neal, Fran Gough, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Amber Cantwell, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Faith Hewitt & Kelley Blanchflower (C). Subs – Charlotte Crisp, Zoe Lander, Steph Gale, Mollie Coupar & Liz Pamplin.

  A moment of remembrance before the match a poignant day, 100 years since Armistice Day that brought an end to World War I. The team captains laying a wreath on the centre circle before a period of silence… Lest We Forget.

Captains, Kelley Blanchflower & Becca Fay laying a wreath of poppies in Remembrance of Armistice Day

   There’s a buzz in the air a crowd eagerly gathered to watch surrounding the pitch, no point using  Cambridge from here on in, City v United. It’s City to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. United lined up opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball played out to the right side, Gabrielle Whitehurst winning the tackle for United the ball out for a throw.

   City attack the ball played out to Charlotte Gillies on the right cuts inside before lifting the ball over the United defence with Laura Mills making the run in behind, Savannah Smith in goal for United able to safely gather inside the box. Derby matches can see some robust and usually clumsy tackles early on and this one is not exception, United right back, Emma Jenkins getting clipped across the ankles, Mill sliding in bring down Jade Bell. The latter resulting on a free-kick wide right the ball into the area knocked on towards goal City goalkeeper claiming the ball as it runs into her six yard box. 

Charlotte Gillies on the ball for Cambridge City Ladies

  City attack on the left Shannon Shaw on for Mills, Jenkins getting in to tackle and put the ball out for a throw. Defending inside their area the ball moved quickly through the middle a United break, captain, Kelley Blanchflower with a powerful run on the ball, central, rides Hannah Bodily’s challenge before running in Robyn Phillips the City centreback regaining possession of the ball inside her box. A good tempo both sides pushing players forwards, United break left, Blanchflower running into the channel as Becky Shephard plays the ball forwards, Mhunduru out to the edge of her area quickly sliding in to claim the ball at the strikers feet. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Emma Jenkins

  United’s Amber Cantwell take the ball on through the middle laying it off to Faith Hewitt tries her luck from 30 yards out the ball swinging away from goal. Gillies fouled on the right, a low ball played into the area, Vicky Neal putting in a block before clearing, Jenkins committing the foul 25 yards out City with a chance to shoot. Erin Davies over the ball goes for goal the ball wide past the post takes a clips off a United defender on the way through, the corner given. Mills from the left the delivery long towards the far post, the header sending the ball behind for the goal kick. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell with Cambridge City’s, Erin Davies

  Bodily looks to find space on the left as she comes forwards, Jenkins getting support from Bell dealing with the threat. A throw in, you know from the last report that Lauren Tomlinson has a long one in he armoury United winning the ball in the box, Neal clearing. End to end Shaw with Mills in attack for City, United break the counter attack bringing a free-kick 25 yards out left of the D. Jenkins to have a shot on goal, Mhunduru with a fantastic save diving to her right pushes the ball behind for the corner kick.

   Bell available on the right for United as they bring the ball forwards, Gillies looking lively on City’s right flank. The niggly free-kicks continue, United showing a little frustration. Good work from Cantwell in the middle winning the ball runs on the pass on for Bell she sends it on for Blanchflower coming over to the right her cross swung into the box cut out by City captain, Becca Fay. Hewitt’s turn to get the ball forwards for United, out to Bell on the right side, a strong tackle from Tomlinson to stop the attack.

Kelley Blanchflower ready to tackle Cambridge City’s Sarah Mosley

   A free-kick on halfway for City the ball played long up into the area, Neal backpedalling for United with the header on the six yard line the ball drops straight to the advancing Davies top of the area meets the shot on the volley her effort spins wide of the target. Shaw takes the ball forwards almost succeeds in playing Mills in behind instead the ball is cleared for a throw on the left. Tomlinson goes long the ball inside the area knocked on towards the near post, Smith catches it not put off by Davies attempting to get her head on it.

   Mills pulls away to the left wing on the ball down the line swings a cross into the area, Shaw lined up with the far post 12 yards out up to get her head on the ball knocked down, Smith with a slight stumble before getting down to push the ball away for the corner. In towards the near post headed behind for a 2nd corner from 3 yards out. The 2nd corner in from the right, met again near side deeper this time, Phillips sending the header wide.

   Shaw with a good run with the ball for City through the middle lays it out to Gillies getting forwards on the left, cuts inside the full back into the area shaping to shoot, Neal racing across gets the challenge in the rob her of the ball. Smith racing out of her area misses the ball as it is played long up to Shaw, the United defence back on the cover clearing the ball long before it can reach the goal. Amy Reed getting forwards from right back for City to the byline with the ball her cross in claimed at the near post by Smith.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Vicky Neal

   Fay receives the first yellow card of the game as she slides in to take out Bell right side. The ball from the resulting set-piece fired in towards the far post area, Mhunduru claiming well not put off by the runners coming in. Davies steals in to win the ball off the United defence right side spots Mills making a run in from the left tries to find her, Smith though can intercept the pass. Bell with a jinking run right side looks to get into the box, the City defence converging running her off the ball. Tomlinson breaking away on the left wing for City, Jenkins doing well up against her preventing the cross before defending and winning the goal kick.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-0 Cambridge United WFC 

  An intriguing 1st 45 minutes, certainly has a derby feel about it two committed sides that have provided the crowd with an enjoyable game so far. Very good numbers in attendance and heard lots of positive comments too. Goalless neither side has gotten on top of the other, spells of pressure short lived, some lively challenges but not malice more niggly, it’s tense out there. An interesting 2nd half to come and extra-time… and penalties should they be required.

Sarah Mosley getting the ball up field for Cambridge City Ladies

   It’s United to kick-off the 2nd half the sun low in the sky in Smith’s eyes. City winning the ball in the middle come forwards Davies out to Mills on the left her early cross into the box met central by Shaw knocked down into the ground, Smith right behind it collecting safely. Whitehurst brought down in the middle United awarded the free-kick, Cantwell to put the ball up into the area, Phillips winning the header for City. Phillips defending again as United’s Blanchflower and Shephard look to combine on the right. 

Kelley Blanchflower looking to shake of Cambridge City Ladies, Robyn Phillips

   Shepherd’s run in behind halted through the middle the flag up against her following good work form Cantwell in the middle of the park. Carrie Bennett defending at left back stopping Gillies as she tries to cut inside her from the wing. City attack left side the ball played on for Shaw to chase, Gough on her shoulder running towards the box, Smith coming to kick the ball clear, smashes it unluckily against Gough, Shaw alert onto the rebound the keeper out of position she shots from the angle, Bennett racing back to clear if needed the ball striking the outside of the post and out of play.

Erin Davies attacking for Cambridge City Ladies

   Shephard gets into space on the left given the ball takes it on in behind her cross squared into the box along the top of the six yard box an awkward height for Bell nevertheless does well the get her leg back enough to get a kick in towards goal, lacking pace however Mhunduru diving it able to smother the shot. Gillies doing well on the right wing for City, support from Reed and Davies playing her in, inside the area, the United defence closing her down Gough winning the tackle. City make the first change of the game, off comes Mosley on comes Bella Simmons.

Amy Reed dealing with the ball for Cambridge City Ladies

  Gillies with a storming run down the right side plays the cross into the box United defending as Mills tries to turn it in at the near post. City have a corner on the right the ball into the six yard box comes at Simmons quickly can’t direct it in on target. City applying a little pressure now another cross in from the right flashing across the face of goal. 

   Smith with a fantastic save to deny City the opening goal, pressure around the 18 yards box the cross in central Simmons 10 yards out central shifts the ball well the goal looks there for the taking as she unleashes a shot, Smith throwing herself up to her right full stretch getting behind it gloving the ball away for the corner brilliant. The corner from the right long carries to Mills a the top of the area her strike goalwards charged down the rebound out to the left the cross put back in Smith with the catch.

   Bell coming out to the left has support from Hewitt down the line edge of the box, Phillips in with a good tackle to stop Bell turning inside. The ball staying that side United keep it Bell getting another opportunity to send a cross in, very nearly results in an own goal, Tomlinson running a with Blanchflower getting the first touch the ball turned goalwards inside her six yard box, manages to get to it to hook it up over the bar. 

Robyn Phillips tackling Cambridge United’s Jade Bell

  Hewitt with a strike on goal from outside the area as the ball comes out to her from the corner, takes a deflection sending it wide for another corner. Swung in under the bar Mhunduru up under challenge does enough to get the ball away from danger. Bell wins a throw on the right the ball played on into the area won by Phillips, City counter attack the ball up to Mills, Gough closing her down does well up against her. 

 GOAL! Closing in on the final 15 minutes and United break the dead lock, good running from Blanchflower coming out to the left side down the line, checks back inside before looking up and lifting a cross into the area the ball over Shepherd leaping in a central position falls to, Bell at the far post meeting it perfectly to volley back in towards goal and score, her 1st goal for United in only her 3rd appearance 0-1.

  United make a change straight after the goal, Charlotte Crisp coming on to replace Hewitt in the middle. City press the ball lifted up through the middle headed out to Gillies coming inside from the right onto the ball fires in a shot races wide across the face of goal. Blanchflower with a driving run bursting towards the area tackled by Reed as the game moves into the final 10 minutes. United make a 2nd change, Mollie Coupar on for Shepherd. Decisions continue to frustrate United, players letting their emotions show.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Gabrielle Whitehurst

  Gillies still full of running on the right, down the wing sends in and inviting cross low into the six yards box, Smith down low pushes the ball away from danger. City win a free-kick in the corner on the left, the ball high into the six yard box Smith up for it falls awkwardly under challenge, play stopped needs treatment. Jenkins booked for expressing her anger. Shaw gets onto the end of a cross put in from the left plants the ball wide of the near post.

 GOAL! Into stoppage time a throw in deep on the left the ball is put into a congested near post area pings around feet before popping loose back to a City shirt, a shot the ball lashed into the back of the net, City equalise, now you try to look for the scorer but she’s currently under the rest of her teammates as they bundle into celebrate 1-1. The goal scored by Bella Simmons.

Cambridge City Ladies celebrate their late equaliser goalscorer Bella Simmons under there somewhere

  Smith is struggling in goal for United, Pamplin being readied, carrying injuries herself including a broken finger but that won’t stop her. City pressure late on pushing for a winner, a free-kick on the right Reed to put the ball into the box cleared as the final whistle blows and the game heads into extra-time. 

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-1 Cambridge United WFC

  Extra-time

  Momentum firmly with City right now as the teams gather their composure for the extra period of play the sun low in the sky now. A blow for United, Smith cannot continue, Pamplin comes on in goal. United frustrated with the officials too. City to kick-off the 1st 15 minutes of extra play. Gillies winning the ball right side running on her cross high landing behind the goal. City come again right side this time win a throw inside the United half, Bell actually playing the ball off Tomlinson, the fans all knowing the decision is wrong so too the United bench, manager Kevin Hoover getting a talking to from the referee as he voices his complaints.

GOAL! From the throw-in City go on to score a well worked move Tomlinson’s throw down the line good the cross put in early towards the top of the area Mills making a good move getting herself into space inside the D, unmarked hits the ball well rifling it into the back of the net and moments from going out of the FA Women’s Cup, City are in front 2-1.

Laura Mills strikes in extra-time to put Cambridge City Ladies into the lead

  City looking confident have their tails up now the goal restoring energy levels, space opening up Gillies right her cross early long Mills far side turns it goalwards, Pamplin down low easily able to gather. Shaw turning inside with the ball from a throw in foul Cantwell as she tries to get into the area. Coupar winning the ball deep on for Blanchflower left takes on the shot early and attempted lob, doesn’t have enough height on it to worry Mhunduru.

  United pressing forwards room in behind as City counter the ball fed into Shaw, both Simmons and Davies into the area, the latter left side slices her shot wide. Gough defends well as Tomlinson forces her way forwards looking to get in behind her, Neal around on the cover to make sure the ball is cleared. Gillies on the right inside for Shaw she is tackled by Gough outside the box the ball coming back for Gillies she strikes it goalwards from 25 yards out lands in the side netting. 

  A brave save from Mhunduru as Coupar running with the ball left side into the middle sends Bell through into the area left of goal the City keeper rushing in to slide down at her feet the ball deflected away for a corner. The corner is fired in across the face of goal low, Jenkins gets onto it at the far post, a goal line clearance keeping the ball out.

Half-time extra-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-1 Cambridge United WFC

  The sun low in the sky now as United kick-off the 2nd period of extra-time 15 minutes to find a reply. The visitors press forwards Blanchflower with Coupar central moving left, Reed defending for City, Crisp gathers the ball on the wing the cross fired in central, Whitehurst stretching for the ball can’t quite reach it. 

  City break attacking on the right Gillies played on by Mills, Bennett doing well as she stands up against her. Zoe Lander on at right back for United replacing Jenkins. Blanchflower getting hold of the ball takes on 3 City plays manages to get n behind into the area left of goal looks to place the ball high past Mhunduru the City keeper doing well getting a glove to the ball taking it behind for a corner.

City make a change, Davies coming off on comes Emily Reed. Mills is booked for a late challenge on Cantwell on halfway. Neal looks to get in behind from the set-piece the flag up for a foul against her. Mhunduru comes for a free-kick into her six yards box on the right pushing the ball down and away gets hurt as she falls the decision going her way, needs treatment looks in pain but thankfully in up shakily and able to continue. Gillies booked late of for a clip on Neal’s heels. The free-kick defended, City counter the ball with Mills on the right wins a throw. No time left for a United counter, as City win 2-1 to reach the 2nd Round.

Full time extra-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-1 Cambridge United WFC

  A thrilling game, intriguing a great watch and a god crowd in attendance to see two committed and passionate sides go head to head in the FA Women’s Cup. It’s a relatively new rivalry but these two sides are destined to meet again plenty of times in the future. The momentum with City now and well deserved conceding late they demonstrated once again their ability to keep going keep pressing and got back on level terms late on. Taking the lead early in the 2nd half to win in extra time and keep their 100% record going. Will be eagerly awaiting the 2nd Round draw when the FAWNL Premier Division sides enter the competitions.

  Frustrating in the end for United, taking the lead but couldn’t hold out aggrieved at decisions before falling behind only adding to the case. Played their part in a passionate derby however and the game had the feel of a proper cup tie too and who can predict those?

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   On to this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several contenders in what was a really enjoyable game. Savannah Smith with an outstanding save for United, Kelley Blanchflower making some excellent runs using the channels well too. For City, Charlotte Gillies was lively in the right wing some great runs with the ball, bringing others into play, Shannon Shaw with some good hold up play in attack and Robyn Phillips terrific at centre back. Just ahead of those though is Laura Mills excellent in attack finding space on both flanks and through the middle, driving with the ball and a quality strike to win the game wins today’s award.

   A great game attracting plenty of interest a good crowd to witness an intriguing encounter between two of the best woman’s football sides in Cambridgeshire. Perhaps one of those rare games where I actually know who the players are, but it always pays to get those team sheets and my thanks as always to both clubs for helping me out. Wishing Cambridge City Ladies all the best for the 2nd Round draw.

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Leyton Orient WFC

Sunday 23rd September

FA Women’s Cup

  It’s FA Cup weekend 2nd Round Qualifying 60 ties taking place with the FAWNL Division One sides entering the competition, has thrown up several interesting looking ties, Women’s Football East is spoilt for choice, heading to Cambridge this Sunday to watch Cambridge City Ladies v Leyton Orient WFC. 

 So much for summer the first weekend in autumn beginning with a blanket of heavy rain moving across the country overnight and lasting long into the day, the sun should be out by kick-off by it’s a question of whether the pitches will hold up or not? 

Cambridge City Ladies go into this Sunday’s 2nd Round Qualifying tie in fantastic form, leading the ERWFL Premier Division just below the FAWNL with a 100% win rate from 5 matches played 3 league games along with two victories in the earlier rounds of the FA Women’s Cup, a 2-0 success away to Newmarket Town Ladies in the Preliminary Round then a 14-0 win against Cambridgeshire Premiership side Riverside Ladies in 1st Round Qualifying, a few hundred pounds collected in prize money already the winning side receiving £450 today.

   Looking to build on their debut season in the ERWFL Premier Division where they clinched runners-up spot last season, Cambridge City have bolstered their squad bringing in striker Shannon Shaw who was prolific in front of goal for Cambridgeshire Premiership side, March Town United Ladies last season. Hannah Bodily returns after a previously playing for Bedford Ladies as does Sofia Castiglione who was with Ipswich Town Women’s academy side last season.

   Leyton Orient WFC have faced Cambridge City once before in the FA Women’s Cup, a 3-1 success in the 2016/17 season as they went on to achieve promotion to the FAWNL (FAWPL as it was then). Leyton Orient WFC progressing well enjoyed a strong debut season amongst the South East Division One front-runners for much of the campaign. After 5 matches this season are currently fifth in the table early stages the two promoted sides Crawley Wasps Ladies and Billericay Town Ladies setting the pace, those behind such as Leyton Orient more than capable of chasing them down. Entering the FA Women’s Cup in 2nd Round Qualifying along with the rest of the FAWNL Division One clubs. 

  Both sides stronger than they were two seasons ago. The venue for today’s FA Women’s Cup tie, Trinity College Sports Ground. One of several college/university sports grounds dotted about the city. Very much in the heart of the university quarter I’ve seen Cambridge City several times recently but never at home. Must confess to not enjoying driving in Cambridge but I know that part of the city well. Heavy rain falling all morning it was questionable as the whether the game would be on but more or less as I arrived the rain stopped and the sun came out as predicted. A pavilion overlooking the pitch serving hot drinks, the playing surface itself in excellent shape and had absorbed the rain well. The umbrella wasn’t needed afterall.

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tafadzwa Mhundury, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Becca Fay (C), Robyn Phillips, Hannah Bodily, Sofia Castiglione Charlotte Gillies, Laura Mills, Sarah Mosley & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Carla Penny, Anna Kanz, Anna Goggin, Bella Simmons.

Leyton Orient WFC Starting XI – Naomi Ogunde, Francesca Cagetti, Kathryn Canavan, Hannah Porter, Chloe McNee, Danielle Griffiths (C), Lisa Holmback, Tara O’Halloran, Rebecca Hirst, Sophie Le Marchand & Lisa Fulgence. Subs – Connie Monteil-McCann, Belen Ripoll-Douton, Egle Trezzi, Jade Henry & Lydia Cooper.

   Two ex-Cambridge graduates lining up for Leyton Orient this afternoon, club captain Danielle Griffiths and Rebecca Hirst having studied in the city. It’s the visitors to kick-off the first half Leyton Orient wearing an all red kit with Cambridge City lined up in their home colours white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. A cautious start Leyton Orient probing both flanks, Cambridge’s full backs Amy Reed and Lauren Tomlinson dealing with the threat. Lisa Holmback busy in the centre of midfield early on for Leyton Orient winning the ball brings it on before looking to send Sophie Le Marchand through on goal as she makes a run inside from the left the pass a little too heavy allowing Cambridge goalkeeper Tafadzwa Mhundury to collect.

Cambridge City’s, Shannon Shaw contesting the header with Leyton Orient’s, Francesca Cagetti

   Le Marchand looking for the ball on the left wing collects from a throw turning inside shifts the ball, a drop of the shoulder and she moves to the byline, Cambridge captain Becca Fay staying with her prevents the cross coming in. Leyton Orient press the ball Cambridge not getting any momentum going forwards, Tara O’Halloran on for Holmback she lofts the ball forwards into Lisa Fulgence central back to goal holds it up before laying it out to the right for Rebecca Hirst closing in a strike goalwards from outside the area the ball running wide across the six yard box.

Lisa Fulgence looking to hold up the ball for Leyton Orient

  A good start from Leyton Orient, Le Marchand finding space drifting inside especially when the ball is played up to Fulgence. The ball falling to her 25 yards out Le Marchand fires a shot in towards the Cambridge goal dipping Mhundury is right behind it takes it low. Cambridge find a little joy out on the left as Shannon Shaw comes across to pressurise the Leyton Orient defence, does well as Laura Mills coming in nips in to steal the ball running in behind lifts a cross into the box the ball intercepted and cleared by Chloe McNee for Leyton Orient.

   GOAL! Leyton Orient capitalise on their good start to the game by taking an early lead in the 7th minute, attacking push bodies forwards from midfield overwhelming the Cambridge defence Le Marchand inside to Holmback strikes the ball form 20 yards her vicious effort blocked rebounds back out to O’Halloran to her right she fires in another shot, Mhundury having reacted to Holmback’s effort is unable to adjust getting a glove to the ball can’t keep it out at the near post 0-1.

  Holmback very influential in the early stages for Leyton Orient winning the ball in the middle Cambridge are struggling to get anything going, direct in their approach it is effective from the visitors Hirst and Le Marchand getting forwards quickly. A following attack from Leyton Orient as Le Marchand comes on with the ball left twists and turns coming in field laying the ball into Fulgence central held up the striker plays the ball back to Holmback who in turn has O’Halloran in support to her right giving her the ball O’Halloran has seen Le Marchand’s run into the box look to play the ball over the top of the Cambridge defence, just a little too much on it for Le Marchand to turn home as she can’t gather the ball before it runs out of play, a good attacking move.

Leyton Orient WFC’s, Lisa Holmback with Cambridge City’s, Sarah Mosley

   Trying to build going forwards Cambridge are frustrated nothing coming off, Kathryn Canavan and Francesca Cagetti both tackling to prevent crosses. Mills puts a ball in early from the left Charlotte Gillies out wide right gathers looks to send a cross in along the goal face Canavan blocking the ball behind for a corner. Leyton Orient deal with the Cambridge set-piece. Mills holds up the ball on the left wing as Tomlinson comes racing past her gathering the ball heads for the byline, Cagetti staying with her slides in to make the tackle.

Charlotte Gillies attacking for Cambridge City Ladies

    Le Marchand always ready to go on the left claims the ball turns and runs into the corner whips a great ball in across the face of the Cambridge goal no one there to turn it home. Fulgence comes deep to the halfway line to receive the ball, tries to flick it on for Le Marchand catch Cambridge with a high defensive line, Robyn Phillips does well making the challenge to prevent Le Marchand getting away with the ball. Shaw moving into the left channel gathers the ball tries to send it back inside towards Sofia Castiglione making a central run, McNee stepping out of the Leyton Orient back-line to deny her a strike.

  A good tempo the the match Leyton Orient controlling it is limiting Cambridge’s effectiveness going forwards play mostly to their left. Chances few and far between Shaw collecting from a throw on the left spins and shoots from the angle her shot half blocked deflected wide across Ogunde’s goal. A free-kick wide left for Cambridge in the corner played back up the line to Tomlinson she hits it hard, the only reason I know that is because Leyton Orient’s O’Halloran rushing towards her blocks it and needs treatment as a result. But she is okay to continue.

  GOAL! Closing in on the half hour and Leyton Orient double their lead. Le Marchand the scorer Leyton Orient counter attacking get the ball up front quickly central a difficult bouncing ball to deal with at the top of the area Le Marchand in close making thing’s difficult muscles her way past the defence the ball at her feet drives it low past Mhundury into the back of the net 0-2.

   Nothing Cambridge try will come off, Shaw looks to link up with Gillies on the right as Castiglione plays the ball forwards, Canavan getting hold of the ball setting Leyton Orient on the counter through the middle up to Le Marchand sweeps the pass out to Fulgence right side top of the area her strike goalwards claimed by Mhundury at her near post. Again Leyton Orient break from a Cambridge corner Le Marchand left firing a diagonal ball into Fulgence, Fay nipping in to push the ball away O’Halloran picks it up drives forwards top of the area looking for options over taking a shot tries to slip the ball in behind for Fulgence right can’t find her, the ball cleared only to Hirst wide right her cross in lands on the roof of the net.

Cambridge City Ladies, Amy Reed up against Leyton Orient’s, Sophie Le Marchand

    Reed defends up against Le Marchand as she tries to get inside her on the left in attack. Getting numbers forwards Leyton Orient press high. Sarah Mosley back to defend for Cambridge clears the long on the right Gillies giving chase, Hannah Porter getting across her does well to see the ball back to her keeper. Holmback fouled on halfway, Griffiths to play the ball long up towards the top of the Cambridge box, Fay with a commanding header clears the threat. Le Marchand with a strong run inside from the left into Fulgence back to goal attempts to flick it on into the box with Holmback making a good run doesn’t quite come off.

Leyton Orient WFC captain, Danielle Griffiths

  GOAL! 2 minutes of normal time left in the first half and Cambridge pull a goal back with their first shot on target. A superb run and goal from Laura Mills on the left picking the ball up wide left drives forwards coming infield towards the area rides two challenges powering her way into the box before striking the ball past the static Ogunde into the back of the goal 1-2. More or less the last goal mouth action before the end of the half.   

Laura Mills pulling it back to 21 late in the 1st half for Cambridge City.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Leyton Orient WFC

  A vital goal for Cambridge City coming right at the end of the first half to pull it back to 2-1. Leyton Orient by far the better starting well and taking an early lead pressed the ball well, direct at times but effective, attacking quickly in numbers, Le Marchand in particular finding room using the ball well. Set the tempo and Cambridge struggled to get anything going their late goal altering thing’s dramatically going into the half-time break. All to play for 2nd half.

  No changes for either side Cambridge getting the 2nd half underway. Castiglione putting a ball long for Hannah Bodily to give chase to through the middle, dissecting the Leyton Orient defence, but not fooling Ogunde who is positioned well to gather. A blow to the head for McNee she needs treatment but can return to the pitch. O’Halloran with a shot well of the mark as Fulgence wins the header forwards knocking the ball into her 30 yards out. Shaw plays the ball out to Gillies deep on the right wing she is tackled by Canavan the throw-in conceded.

   GOAL! Cambridge equalise bringing the scores back level 5 minutes into the 2nd half the goal coming from the throw-in the ball crossed in along the top of the area Mills getting in front of her marker left side knocks the ball down sees Mosley in a great position 20 yards out lays the ball into her Mosley strikes the ball sweetly it flies in towards goal past Ogunde before she can get anything on it. 2-2.

   Tomlinson with an important interception getting her foot up to cut out a lofted ball forwards from midfield from Leyton Orient with Hirst all set to run clear in behind. The visitors with a golden chance to restore their lead Le Marchand running in on the ball played into her as she breaks in behind left, Mhundury coming out to close her down Le Marchand clever knocks the ball past her towards goal. Hirst is central inside the six yard box, can’t dig the ball out of her feet to get the shot away before Phillips closes her down makes the challenge.

    GOAL! Leyton Orient do succeed in retaking the lead the goal coming from a corner won by Le Marchand on the left as Griffiths sends the long diagonal pass out to her. Players forwards inside the box as the delivery is put in a great ball across the face of goal, O’Halloran clear at the far post nodding the ball in from close range to make it 2-3.

Tara O’Halloran heading the ball in from the corner

  Leyton Orient look to press their advantage coming forwards win a free-kick wide right inside the Cambridge half Griffiths to put the ball into the box good flight on the ball Mhundury is able to catch the ball unchallenged. Le Marchand with the ball, draws the foul wide left this time another good ball into the area a crowd around the penalty spot a Leyton Orient head connects with the ball the attempt dropping wide of the far post. Leyton Orient make the first change of the match bringing on Lydia Cooper for Hirst on the right. Cooper involved straight away as Holmback plays the ball out to her on the wing she gives chase but a good starting position from Mhundury sees her able to gather the ball first. 

Leyton Orient WFC substitute, Lydia Cooper trying to get in behind

  GOAL! Cambridge come back to equalise again 6 minutes after conceding they build on the right side Gillies having more of the ball 2nd half gets on down the line getting her foot around the ball sends a dipping cross into the six yard box, Shaw timing her run perfectly getting in to met the ball low and turn it into the back of the net from close range 3-3.

   Leyton Orient have a free-kick wide left. Cambridge make a change before it is taken Mosley coming off on comes Carla Penny taking up a role wide left. The free-kick played down the line the cross put in near post Fulgence can’t bring down for a shot instead lays it back towards the top of the box with McNee running in her strike wide across the goal.

  GOAL! For the 3rd time in the match Leyton Orient take the lead O’Halloran sending a long ball out to the left for Le Marchand to race onto in behind Mhundury comes racing out to close her down once again, the attacker taking on the shot early gets it in on target may have taken a slight deflection off the keeper as it runs slowly towards the open goal but despite the best efforts of the Cambridge defence none can catch up to it before it crosses the line 3-4.

Leyton Orient WFC’s, Sophie Le Marchand

Gillies with a long range pop sends a low strike from 30 yards out on the right wide across the Leyton Orient box. Mhundury gets down sharply inside her box to claim the ball as Leyton Orient create on the left the ball helped in by Fulgence, Holmback behind knocking the ball into the box as she looks to beat her marker. Griffiths across well on the cover to defend as Mills sends a ball long up the right for Shaw to chase the defender playing the ball safely back to her keeper.

  GOAL! For the 3rd time in the tie Cambridge come back for score the equaliser. Comes from a free-kick wide on the right the ball played up towards the top of the area several forwards for Cambridge. Blocked by Canavan the rebound runs back to Mills 25 yards out strikes the ball well on the angle driving it low across the keeper and into the far corner 4-4.

  Cambridge make a 2nd change Bella Simmons entering the action replacing Shaw up top. Leyton Orient bring off Canavan, send on Egle Trezzi. Tomlinson has bionic arms (maybe) nevertheless has a good long throw in her armoury when Cambridge can get her into an advanced position she offers an added threat gets the ball into Mills top of the area she turns inside closely marked plays the ball on, Griffiths intercepting hooks the ball clear for Leyton Orient. 

Carla Penny bringing the ball under control for Cambridge City.

Up the other end Tomlinson gets back in support of Fay as her captain is muscled off the ball by Fulgence looking to turn and run in behind the fullback making a good challenge. The game naturally becoming a little stretched late on both sensing they can score another, Leyton Orient feed Le Marchand on the left driving down the wing squares the ball in near post Fulgence with the run is closed down by Mhundury the keeper doing enough as Fulgence puts the ball wide.

Lauren Tomlinson winning the ball for Cambridge City

   Tomlinson with another chance to deliver a long throw Leyton Orient wary of the threat the ball comes in Gillies gets her head on it directs the attempt wide of goal. A free-kick wide left for Leyton Orient, Griffiths to play the ball in sends it long across the six yard box no one gets a head on it as it runs out of play far post. A final change for Leyton Orient in attack, off comes Fulgence replaced by Jade Henry. Le Marchand always ready to break in behind off the shoulder of the last defender on the left the ball long up to her Mhundury comes again, Le Marchand shoots, the keeper making the save with her legs as she jumps in front of the attacker.

   GOAL! Cambridge take the lead for the first time in the tie! The game stretched in the closing minutes Leyton Orient pressing Tomlinson gathering the ball at left back sees space open up in front of her goes on a brilliant run carrying the ball 3 quarters of the pitch up the left crossing from the byline a fizzing effort racing across the face of goal, Simmons sliding in at the far post turns the ball in at close range 5-4.

Scorer of Cambridge City Ladies, 5th goal Bella Simmons holding the ball up

  For the first time in the game Leyton Orient are behind with minutes left on the clock push forwards attacking left side the cross swung in Henry with the knock down near side to Le Marchand top of the area she puts her foot through the ball but can’t keep the effort down as it flies over the crossbar. It’s all about composure now Cambridge are looking to seeing it out the adrenaline pumping not an easy thing to do into stoppage time Leyton Orient come on can find no reply as Cambridge complete a memorable result to win the match.

  Full time Cambridge City Ladies 5-4 Leyton Orient WFC

  What a game! That 2nd half was something else I’m perhaps the only neutral there but how can you not be emotive watching games like that. Cambridge coming back to equalise 3 times in the match before going on to score what proved to be the winning goal themselves to advance in the FA Women’s Cup. Showed good character to keep coming back were lacklustre in the first half not getting anything going but never out of the tie. Leyton Orient will be deflated, can only be so after taking the lead 4 times in the match and failing to go on and win it going behind themselves with so little time left. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several good performances from both sides, Le Marchand excellent for Leyton Orient a threat all game, Holmback in the middle especially 1st half, O’Halloran too. Tomlinson was excellent at left back for Cambridge and a great run and cross for what proved to be the winning goal. It was another goal that changed the course of this tie however and that was Cambridge’s first coming so late in the 1st half was vital pulling it back to 2-1 was so critical gave Cambridge that belief, and for that plus another and an assist today’s Player of the Match award goes to Laura Mills.

   What an exciting game to watch a privilege and it’s why I love the sport so much. My thanks to both managers for their help with the teams and Cambridge City for their hospitality. Thanks to for the weather a bright sunny afternoon after such a dismal start a welcome bonus. 

Cup Final Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

Thursday 10th May

 Back to Cambridgeshire for more Cup Final action this Thursday evening. To the Glassworld Stadium in Histon to watch this season’s Women’s Invitation Cup Final once again being contested between Cambridge City Ladies & Cambridge United WFC who have held an iron grip on the trophy for a number of seasons.

   A league between the sides coming into tonight’s final they have never been closer in terms of position within the women’s football pyramid, Cambridge City Ladies finishing 2nd in their debut season in the ERWFL Premier Division just a point behind Champion’s Billericay Town Ladies. An indifferent season in the league for Cambridge United WFC in FAWPL South East Division One currently laying in 7th place in the table with 2 league games left to play. 

  Cambridge United WFC beating Cambridge City Ladies 5-1 in last season’s final. The two sides enjoy a bit of rivalry with a number of ex-United players now back with Cambridge City. Both rearing to get going the game having been originally scheduled to be played a month ago the awful weather that has blighted much of the 2nd half of the season putting pay to the game back then. Cambridge United into a 6th successive final have won it for the past 5 season’s once again sponsored by S-Tech Insurance who have supported girls & women’s football in Cambridgeshire for 12 years. 

Road to the Final

  A bye for the holders in the 1st Round of the Invitation Cup. It was another wet and cold day for Cambridge City Ladies as they clinched a 5-1 win at home against Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side, ICA Sports Ladies. 

  Into the quarter finals, Cambridge United were drawn away to Championship North side Wisbech St Mary Ladies. There higher league status shining through as they comfortably progressed to the last 4 with a 12-0 victory. A trickier tie on paper for Cambridge City Ladies in their quarter final tie at home to ERWFL Division One North side, Histon Ladies. Cambridge City though was also comfortable winners going through the the last 4 with a 7-0 result.

  Home ties for both sides in the semi-finals up against the two sides who would eventually finish as Champions and runners-up in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership saw them both in action just last evening St Ives Town Ladies and Newmarket Town Ladies. A 3-0 win at Mildenhall Town FC for Cambridge United as they beat Newmarket Town 3-0 to reach another final. Cambridge City reaching a 2nd successive Invitation Cup Final with a narrow 1-0 win over St Ives Town Ladies.

Histon’s Glassworld Stadium the venue once again for the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final. The pitch having seen a lot of football over the season it Histon Ladies and their Reserve side amongst those using it. A big pitch with plenty of room on the flanks to exploit one main stand over looking the pitch with covered terraces and seating all around. Much better weather this time around cooler than it has been sunny and cloudy no rain forecast. 

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Sarah Mosley, Lauren Tomlinson, Amy Reed, Becca Fay (C), Anna Kanz, Stacey Fullicks, Charlotte Gillies, Laura Mills, Grace Stanley & Bella Simmons. Subs – Carla Penny, Emily Reed, Bronte Rapley, Lucy Hurst & Ellie Cullum.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Laura Bright (C), Charlotte Crisp, Laura Baker, Amy Howlett, Faith Hewitt, Lauren Cartwright & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Amber Cantwell, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Teonie Peyton & Lauren Gibson.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Strong line-ups for both sides, normally both are abbreviated to Cam in my notes that’ll confuse everybody however so from here on it it’s City and United. It’s United to get the game underway wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks with City wearing white shirts, with black shorts and white and black hooped socks. United playing the all into striker Kelley Blanchflower breaking forwards at the start her ball on for Amy Howlett on bursting down the right, she fouls her opponent trying to get inside to cross the ball.

   City break forwards the ball coming on through the midfield Anna Kanz with Stacey Fullicks, the diagonal ball sending Grace Stanley in behind of the left cuts inside and fires a cross into the area Bella Simmons arriving at the near post getting in front of her marker and putting her head on the ball directs it wide of the goal. Right from the off it looks like it’s going to be a feisty contest between the pair. 

Grace Stanley on the attack for Cambridge City, Emma Jenkins in defence for Cambridge United

  United get the ball down into the right channel win the first corner of the game. A good delivery into the area the ball falling for Bright at the far post her strike charged down the rebound racing out to Amy Howlett positioned 25 yards out her shot back in claimed by City goalkeeper, Tee Mhunduru. 

  City build on the right Simmons coming across to offer support for Charlotte Gillies, receiving the ball Simmons shoots from the top right corner of the area her low effort gathered by United goalkeeper Savannah Smith covering her near post. City pressure United at the back bodies forwards win their first corner of the game over on the right the ball played into the middle of the area headed clear by United’s Laura Baker. 

  Both sides are using the width getting their wide players involved in the action early on United breaking forwards the all into Blanchflower shifted on for Howlett her cross squared in along the top of the area Lauren Cartwright stooping into the header directs the ball in towards goal, Mhunduru right behind the ball takes it into her arms. Lauren Tomlinson at left back for City gets across to take the ball away from Blanchflower as the United striker is played in through the middle.

  Fullicks felt the full force of a Baker tackle in last season’s final and the pair come together again this time around a Baker having broken up a City attack lunges in as Fullicks picks up possession. A painful one for the City midfielder, Baker with a talking to from the referee. Fullicks after treatment is okay to continue. A free-kick for City inside the United half the ball played up into the area cleared by Kayleigh-Anne Burt.

Laura Baker about to tackle Stacey Fullicks

 A purposeful attack by City Simmons running at the United defence with the ball her shot blocked by Emma Jenkins top of the area the rebound travelling on into the box Laura Mills wants it runs on, United captain Laura Bright with a great sliding tackle to take the ball away from her. A competitive game Blanchflower running into the channels to get onto the ball a cross into the area from the right long to the far side Faith Hewitt with the shot can’t keep the ball down. 

 Charlotte Crisp with the ball through the middle for United plays it on for Blanchflower she spins away from City captain Becca Fay breaking into the box, Amy Reed coming across to challenge and deny a shooting opportunity. Carrie Bennett tackles Gillies as the City winger comes infield with the ball on the right. City press forwards Mills seeing her shot from 20 yards out right side of the area blocked the ball looping away to Stanley on the left side her header back in met by Bright the ball doesn’t go far fired back in low for Simmons six yards out her near post strike gathered by Smith.   

Cambridge City Ladies captain, Becca Fay

Entertaining the crowd are getting behind the sides, flowing football United clearing a City cross into the box one end, breaking it forwards up the other rapidly Howlett seeing her cross claimed by Mhunduru the centre of her goal. Sarah Mosley getting her head on the ball to clear for City as Howlett surges down the right again. Smith comes racing out of her area as City release Stanley through the middle charging forwards the goalkeeper slices her clearance, luckily for her Stanley momentarily looses sight of the ball players racing back, the winger picks it back up left corner of the area Smith getting back on her goes to ground the ball struck against her United able to nullify the threat.

Cambridge City Ladies, Grace Stanley

   An injury to Bright bring’s a chance of respite for both sides. Bight is allowed back on after treatment. United attack the ball fired into Blanchflower 40 yards out a drop of the shoulder and she is away in behind the City defence shooting early drills a swerving shot in Mhunduru going for it misses the ball though wide of the post. A free-kick out wide right corner for United after Howlett is fouled, the delivery long Mhunduru taking it high beyond the far post releases it quickly Mills away on the right, Gillies with her the ball crossed in Jenkins slicing the clearance, Smith coming pounces on the ball.

   GOAL! The stalemate is at last broken as United score the opening goal of the game. Have a free-kick out wide on the left inside the City half the ball is sent in long towards the far post Blanchflower closing in lets it run on for Howlett to her right a solid connection to smash her shot back across the goal and in 0-1.

Amy Howlett opens the scoring for Cambridge United WFC

The goal firing United up they press on looking for another Tomlinson winning the ball from Cartwright moving to the right. PENALTY! City looking for a quick response build on the right get an opportunity from the penalty spot as Gillies is brought down just inside the area by Burt lunging in try and take the ball from the winger. Simmons placing the ball on the spot runs in and strikes the ball Smith beaten the ball running low past her strikes the base of the post and cannons out to the left.

Cambridge City Ladies midfielder, Anna Kanz

 A spell of City pressure late in the first half Kanz winning the ball played on for Fullicks she combines with Gillies going forwards the cross in too close to the keeper Smith claiming the ball. Gillies with more good running down the right Bennett defending the corner conceded, into the area Burt clears. City come close again to levelling the score Tomlinson getting forwards with the ball into the United half a diagonal ball launched into the area a pointblank header for Simmons six yards out an excellent catch by Smith quick reactions a couple of yards between attacker and goalkeeper Smith gets a firm hold of the ball. 

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-1 Cambridge United WFC

  Plenty happening in an exciting and entertaining first half, pretty even between the sides, United getting their noses in front. City far from out of it creating plenty of opportunities running at the United defence. A penalty missed, Simmons looking a real threat in attack for City. Just one goal in it United know they have plenty of work ahead if they are to keep hold of the County Cup. 

Laura Mills on the attack for Cambridge City

The floodlights on for the 2nd half, City get the 2nd half underway, lose the ball United putting it out to Hewitt on the left wing she crosses into the area Fay clearing for City. 

GOAL! A couple of minutes gone in the 2nd half and City are back on level terms players breaking forwards Gillies on for Mills inside the area right side falling she cuts the ball back towards the six yard box Simmons on it near post sends the ball across the keeper and over the line 1-1. 

Gillies gets back to support Mosley as Hewitt looks to get in behind her on the left for United. Gillies playing the ball long for Simmons to go after she is brought down 30 yards out right side of the United goal. The delivery long to the far post a glancing header from Simmons touches a United player as it runs out for a corner. The ball into the area defended by United. Hewitt with the ball left side again her early cross in toward Howlett right of the D she shoots first time the ball wide. United make a change Cartwright coming off, Amber Cantwell coming on. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Laura Baker

  Mosley defending as Baker looks to put the ball into Blanchflower the United striker aiming to spin in behind. City have the advantage a strong spell have United penned around their penalty area. 

 GOAL! Having levelled the scores City go on to take the lead in the Invitation Cup Final of the net. Breaking up a United attack Gillies brings the ball forward through the middle sliding the ball on for Simmons her touch taking her away from her marker and shooting from the top of the area her low effort runs into the back of the net just inside the post 2-1.

United make a substitution Lauren Gibson on up top for Blanchflower. City are looking strong having started the 2nd half well renewed energy as they press on wanting another. Bennett charging down a shot from the right from Gillies as she takes the ball on down the wing has a second go past the full back this time but not Smith who claims at her near post. Gillies and Simmons look to combine centrally, Jenkins coming in to win the ball for United. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Emma Jenkins

City are on top Mills coming on with the ball into the right channel crosses from the byline the ball flashing across the face of goal runners coming in but no one can get a touch on the ball. A free-kick in a dangerous position for City right of the D 25 yards out Mosley on the ball curls in a shot towards goal Smith jumping up the ball smashes against the crossbar dropping down to the left a shot fired in, Smith already on the ground making the save on her goal line. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Stacey Fullicks

  Bright having taken a knock needs to come off for United, Teonie Peyton coming on goes into a position wide left. City’s tails are up they are dominant sense they can get more goals pulling the United back line out of shape. Gibson is pulled back as she attempts to get on through the middle a free-kick for United. Jenkins over it a good delivery in towards goal bouncing in front of Mhunduru she lays claim to the ball even as Hewitt lunging for it almost connects. A double change for City, Kanz and Stanley coming off, on come Carla Penny and Ellie Cullum. Reed winning the ball at the back for City as United look to play the ball over the top for Gibson.

Faith Hewitt on the attack for Cambridge United WFC

 GOAL! City extend their lead pressing forwards the ball on the right numbers up pressing United top of the area the ball played across to the left side in front of goal, Gillies right corner inside to Cullum she helps it on to Simmons left side her dipping shot flying into the back of the net 3-1.

A Cup Final hat-trick for Cambridge City Ladies, Bella Simmons

City bring on Bronte Rapley in place of Mosley with less than 10 minutes left to play. Fullicks back to help out at the back as Peyton gets free on the left prevents the cross coming in. Gabrielle Whitehurst comes on for United replacing Hewitt. Howlett getting back gets the ball back to Smith as Penny threatens to run in on goal. Reed with another good defensive tackle as United try to bring the ball on through the centre. Peyton with the ball deep in the left cuts the ball back in towards the byline Mhunduru concerned the ball though landing on the roof of the net. 

Fullicks is struggling with a knock comes off Emily Reed coming on for City. Blanchflower back on for United, Crisp off. Burt getting the ball back safely to her keeper as City press in attack through the middle. Reed wins the challenge against Blanchflower as Baker sends the ball on into her after winning it on halfway. Blanchflower’s ball lifted on strikes Fay in the back as the defender turns 20 yards from goal. City bring off Simmons in the closing minutes Lucy Hurst on. Look comfortable United rushing their passes in their bid to try and get a goal back late on. Lively late on emotions running high City closing everything down. City celebrate everyone running onto the pitch as the final whistle blows and they win this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 3-1 Cambridge United WFC

  A strong 2nd half performance from Cambridge City getting themselves back on level terms early on. Went on to become deserved winners dominating the game pressing the ball defending strongly and building quickly through the middle. Simmons could have had a hat-trick in the first half instead waited for the 2nd half 3 well taken goals too to comeback from being a goal down after the 1st half. Cambridge United’s long hold on the Invitation Cup coming to an end were outplayed 2nd half.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Picking this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match is fairly straight forwards although their were plenty of other good performances from Cambridge City too, Amy Reed good in the back line. Charlotte Gillies a threat on the right supported by Laura Mills. Stacey Fullicks strong in the midfield. Scoring a hat-trick in a Cup Final though is pretty special and for that and the constant threat she posed Cambridge United all game the award goes to Bella Simmons.

Cambridge City Ladies 2017/18 Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Winners

Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies winning the 2017/18 Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup.

  My thanks to everyone who assisted me this evening and good to catch up with a everyone not many games left to watch now.

Match Report – Royston Town Ladies v Cambridge City Ladies

Wednesday 18th April

 A game under the lights this Wednesday evening a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, and finally an opportunity to see Royston Town Ladies in action as they take on 2nd placed Cambridge City Ladies.

 Royston Town Ladies are playing their 2nd season in the ERWFL Premier Division and after a poor start to their campaign losing their 1st 3 league matches have been unbeaten since. Recruited several players from the lower leagues over the summer with plenty of goals between them, Becky Shephard from Hertford Town Ladies and Francesca Smithers playing for Watton Ladies previously amongst their new signings. A high number of postponements have seen Royston Town hovering at the lower end of the Premier Division, but staying in touch with the sides above them and getting the results have climbed up to 5th in the table.

 Cambridge City Ladies are newly promoted to the ERWFL Premier Division winning the Division One title at the 1st attempt last season. A couple of losses early in the season Cambridge City then went of a long winning run that propelled them up the table challenging for top spot. Bella Simmons leading the line the Premier Division’s leading goal scorer with 24 goals so far this season. The ERWFL Premier Division originally starting with 12 sides is now down to just 9 following three withdrawals and adjustments as a result.

  With two games left to play Cambridge City can’t catch leaders Billericay Town Ladies but can’t finish any lower than 4th going into the game with both 4th placed Acle United Ladies and Royston Town Ladies with games in hand still potentially able to beat their current points tally if either can win enough points from their remaining games. A win over Royston Town Ladies tonight for Cambridge City ensures a top 3 finish with a game against Acle United Ladies under the lights to end their season.

The two sides met just 3 days ago in the reverse fixture on Sunday a good start from Royston seeing them take a 2-0 lead. Cambridge pulling it back to 2-1 Royston again opening up a 2 goal lead. 3-1 up Cambridge came back to score twice and see the sides share the points in a 3-3 draw.

 Have been trying to get to a game at Royston Town Ladies, Garden Walk Ground for a while now this season but the weather has been against everyone the pitch water logged due to the excessive rainfall we’ve suffered this winter. Today at last the weather has taken a turn for the better bright, sunny and hot! 24 degrees this afternoon and still warm as kick-off approached. The entrance to the ground can be a little tricky to spot tucked away behind a residential street and especially if you’re not looking on the right side of the road but got there in the end parking the car beside the pitch. A large clubhouse and bar at the top of the ground leading out onto the pitch a wide playing surface. Good weather at last it’s welcome to stay.

Royston Town Ladies starting XI – Emma D’Costa, Emma Slater, Rebekah Fisk, Erin Davies, Amy Cooper (C), Paige Rolfe, Paris Coldicott-Stevens, Angharad Chambers, Sammy Tinsley, Gemma Croucher & Becky Shephard. Subs – Allyson Santini, Andrea Wright, Samantha Edgar, Francesca Smithers, & Megan Evers. 

Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tafadzwa Mhunduru, Lucy Hurst, Lauren Tomlinson, Amy Reed, Becca Fay (C), Anna Kanz, Stacey Fullicks, Laura Mills, Charlotte Gillies, Carla Penny & Bella Simmons. Subs – Sarah Mosley & Yasmin Crow.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s Cambridge in their all sky blue away kit to kick-off the 1st half with Royston in their home colours white shirts with a black band across the shoulders and sleeves, black shorts and white socks. The ball won by Royston straight away in the middle the ball played out to right to Sammy Tinsley put long down the line for the attackers to chase, Cambridge goalkeeper Tafadzwa Mhunduru can let it run out for a goal kick. 

The home side attack up the right wing Angharad Chambers on the ball the cross swept into the area, Cambridge captain rising highest to head the ball clear for the visitors. Anna Kanz picking up the ball in midfield moves it forwards fro Cambridge, has runners left and right with Carla Penny and Charlotte Gillies, goes right looking for Gillies, Rebekah Fisk coming to close her down win the ball putting it out for the throw in. Royston regain possession captain Amy Cooper playing the ball on for Tinsley breaking away on the left side over the halfway line looks to play the ball through the middle for Becky Shephard, Fay cuts it out. 

A ball cleared up the pitch left side isn’t going to quite run out of play as Cambridge try to see it out Tinsley after it hustles the defence the ball played back to Mhunduru her attempted clearance at the near post falls straight to Royston midfielder Paris Coldicott-Smith 20 yards out left of the D ties to open her body up curl a shot into the opposite corner the ball flying wide of the post. Gillies with a run on the right takes the ball on down to the byline cutting the cross back into the middle finding a Cambridge head the ball is sent in towards goal from the top of the area, drops onto the roof of the net. 

Cambridge turn play around quickly Fay breaking up a Royston attack the ball on through the middle into Stacey Fullicks she sends it forwards her low ball looking to put Bella Simmons through on goal, Emma Slater at right back defending for Royston. Calls for handball off Royston’s Cooper from Cambridge as she intercepts Gillies knock forwards through the centre looking to release Simmons, play waved on. Both sides looking to use the full width of the pitch, Slater with another good defensive tackle to stop Carla Penny putting a cross in from the left. Mhunduru with a good claim inside her box as Tinsley with a central run looks to close her down inside the box. 

15 minutes payed neither side has settled into the game a passes not quite finding there mark. Paige Rolfe gets hod of the ball in the middle plays the pass into Chambers to her right her ball back inside for Shephard she is fouled five yards in from of the centre circle. A free-kick to Royston an ambitious effort from Shephard as she takes on the shot plenty of pace on the ball is a couple of yards wide of the post. Coldicott-Stevens almost gets Tinsley through in behind to attack the ball top of the area with a low diagonal pass, Mhunduru reading the threat comes rushing to the edge of her area to slide in and claim the ball at the attackers feet. 

  Cambridge get numbers forwards possession around the Royston box, the ball rolled into Simmons central 20 yards out isn’t closed down her scooped shot is straight at Royston goalkeeper, Emma D’Costa she parries it down safely and claims. Rolfe breaking with the ball through the centre looks to release Gemma Croucher ahead of her on the right channel just a little too much on the pass. Erin Davies with good defending in the centre to stop Simmons running clear into the area. Fullicks comes across well then to the right to tackle Tinsley on half way and prevent the home side hitting them on the counter. 

Croucher receiving the ball into her feet as she moves to the left 30 yards out looks to drive at the Cambridge defence running inside beats two before being stopped at the top of the area by Lauren Tomlinson. Penny attacking down the left wing plays the cross into Simmons inside the box left of goal controls with her chest looking to bring the ball down and turn and shoot Cooper is on her the central defender blocking the ball deflecting off her for the corner. 

 GOAL! As the opening half hour passes the dead lock is broken Cambridge opening the scoring. From a throw in on the left the ball carried back into the middle then hooks back over the top with Simmons running clear left side into the box, D’Costa coming to close her down Simmons stays on her feet well keeping her composure to evade the challenge and rounding the keeper sends her shot into the goal beyond 0-1. 

Lucy Hurst gets in between the Royston attackers as Shephard and Croucher look to combine on the left side the full back nipping in between them to win the ball. Fullicks with a challenge in the centre plays the ball out wide to Gillies right side knocking the ball on Fisk has the legs to get onto it first and clear for the throw. Chambers plays the ball from the right inside to Croucher her pass picking out Shephard breaking clear through the centre is stopped by the offside flag. Tinsley over on the right tries to force her way into the box Fay getting across her can shield the ball for Mhunduru to gather. 

  Rolfe tracking back into the area is well positioned to head the ball away as Simmons holding it up well in the left corner flights a cross into the area. A free-kick to Cambridge wide on the left Fay to play the ball in near post D’Costa is unchallenged as she calls and claims the ball. Royston with some promising combination play as they attack Coldicott-Stevens on for Tinsley, the Cambridge defence intercepting the final ball yet again as Shephard makes the central run Tomlinson in to deny her with the challenge. 

Kanz stops Royston breaking clear after the ball is won in the area from a Cambridge corner kick on the left. A triple change for Royston late in the first half, Rolfe, Tinsley and Chambers coming off to be replaced by, Samantha Edgar, Francesca Smithers and Megan Evers. The home side press on the left Shephard up the line for Croucher, Hurst winning the ball back for Cambridge. Smithers with the ball from a right attacking position into Edgar central, Amy Reed tackling for Cambridge. 

 Into stoppage time in the 1st half Royston on the attack a defensive mix-up central sees Croucher pounce on the ball in space on the left her early cross fired into the area Smithers running in Mhunduru saving from close range as Smithers strikes the ball, parried out to the right Evers onto it for Royston drives a 25 yard shot back in towards goal Mhunduru back pedalling to her near post can palm the ball down safely. Cambridge with one last attack first half Gillies down the right her cross in out behind at the near post the corner conceding played high in towards the top of the area Simmons with the shot puts the ball wide of the top corner.

Half-time Royston Town Ladies 0-1 Cambridge City Ladies

  A narrow lead for Cambridge at the break Simmons with her 25th goal of the season putting the visitors in front. Neither side has properly settled into the game the chances fairly even Cambridge doing well cutting out Royston’s final ball. Fullicks disrupting their build up play in the middle. 

  A change for both sides at half-time with Sarah Mosley on at right back for Hurst for Cambridge. Andrea Wright on for Croucher for Royston as they get the 2nd half underway. Evers with a nice forwards pass through the centre looking for Shephard, Kanz tracking back makes the tackle winning the ball. Royston press the ball high up the pitch at the start of the 2nd period winning it back left side passed inside to Shephard her shot from the corner of the area flashes wide of the far post across the Cambridge goal. 

   Play continues to be turned around quickly Mhunduru gathering at one end has a good kick on her the ball up field Simmons racing clear D’Costa sliding in saves at her feet. A good start to the 2nd half by Royston upping the tempo aiming to press the ball higher up the pitch. Edgar on for Smithers right, Fay cutting out her diagonal ball into the area. A short corner from Cambridge on the left the ball drilled low into the area, cut out and cleared by Davies. 

  Royston make more changes a double substitution Shephard and Copper the players rested, On come Allyson Santini with Tinsley returning to the pitch. Tinsley with a volley from outside the box her effort straight at Mhunduru the keeper holding onto the dipping ball. A purposeful break through the centre for Cambridge Fullicks using her strength to win possession and drive forwards plays the pass on for Simmons ahead of her the Royston defence stretched for a moment, Slater does well getting close to challenge and get the ball top of the area, Simmons down afterwards having gone down with cramp.

Painful for Simmons she hobbles off the pitch, as Cambridge decide to make a change, Yasmin Crow coming on to join Penny in attack. Royston bring the ball on Wright out to Tinsley on the left, Fullicks coming across to challenge breaks up another attack. Tinsley on the ball comes away from the challenge this time and lays the ball into Smithers her back to goal 25 yards out, shielding it with her body shifts to her left creating room for a strike slicing the ball it angles away from goal as it flies wide of the post. The same players combine again as Royston attack the roles reversed this time Smithers central with a clever turn before sending the through ball into the area left side for Tinsley to close down, Mhunduru coming out quickly slides in to save at the attacker feet gets clattered as she takes out Mosley in the process. Play stopped as she receives treatment but is alright to continue. 

Tinsley latches onto a loose kick out from Mhunduru and taking the ball left then right creating room for a shot strikes the ball in towards goal. Arrowing in on target, Mhunduru back on her line by then is right behind the rising ball can palm it down and gather. Into the final 15 minutes. Royston are frustrated as decisions don’t seem to be going their way. Cambridge defending well Fullicks covering alt of ground across the middle breaking up attacks. 

Evers with a long pass forwards Fay winning the header for Cambridge the home side regain possession Coldicott-Stevens fouled by Kanz as she bursts forwards through the middle. More changes for Royston with Chambers and Croucher coming back on. Reed tracks back to tackle Tinsley as she makes a run through the centre looking to get on the end of a cross fired in from the left. A free-kick wide right inside the Royston half for Cambridge Fay to play the ball in Penny attacking it near post the ball off a defender for the corner. Wright heading the ball out of the area for Royston falling to Fay outside the area her low shot driven in blocked. Davies and Shephard return to the pitch for Royston.

GOAL! Into the final 5 minutes of the game and Cambridge double their advantage. Attacking down the right players breaking forwards through the middle Royston drawn across as Gillies fires the ball in towards the top of the area Crow knocks it on for Penny in the clear behind her, time to pick her spot connects with the ball well lashing it past D’Costa into the goal to make it 0-2. 

A blow for Royston the home side press forwards Smithers moving right with the ball flashes a cross along the top of the area, Tinsley the target, Reed sticking a leg out to intercept. A free-kick for Royston 35 yards out central, Shephard on it not afraid to have a shot goes for goal again frustration showing as she fires the ball up over the crossbar. The game moves into added time. Kanz riding a challenge goes on through the middle laying the ball out to Gillies wide right, Slater defending against her. A late late free-kick to Royston left of the area the ball fired in towards the near post Edgar rising Mhunduru comes to punch the ball away from her cleared only as far as Tinsley she strikes the ball back in is straight at the keeper once again Mhunduru saving as the final whistle blows.

Full time Royston Town Ladies 0-2 Cambridge City Ladies

  Cambridge win their penultimate league game of the season a top 3 finish assured, have to wait a while before their last league match against Acle United on the 2nd of May. Depending on how results for Acle United go between now and then will determine where Cambridge can finish. Have a County Cup Final to play before then up against rivals Cambridge United WFC on Thursday 10th May. 

   The game passed really quickly a good tempo to it throughout neither side really getting into their full stride, the rhythm broken up with the ball pressed quickly little time allowed on it especially through the middle. Chance wise it was fairly even, Cambridge with the clearer opportunities in front of goal capitalising with 2 goals. Royston frustrated with their performance especially after the game on Sunday. Still have 4 games left to play next up at home to Acle United, Cambridge wouldn’t mind them getting a positive result there.

 Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award goes to Cambridge City Ladies midfielder Stacey Fullicks. A commanding presence in the centre of the park covering alot of ground closing the ball down, strength on the ball and some useful forward runs to create openings for attacking options.

 Good to get a game in under the lights and to get to see Royston in action at last. My thanks to both clubs for their assistance tonight as always it’s appreciated.