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Match Report – Norwich City Women v Cambridge United WFC

Sunday 13th October

Women’s FA Cup

Another slice of Women’s FA Cup action this Sunday a trip to Plantation Park for the 2nd Round Qualifying game between Norwich City Women & Cambridge United WFC. 

  An all FAWNL South East Division One clash the clubs from that level entering the competition at this stage the game postponed from last weekend, where absolutely nothing survived in Norfolk last Sunday the county well and truly underwater. An East Anglian derby this afternoon and could potential be the same again in 3rd Round Qualifying of the Women’s FA Cup with today’s winners away to either Ipswich Town Women or Royston Town Women whose game also fell foul to the weather last weekend.

  The 2nd time Norwich and Cambridge have met in the space 4 days having meet in the league at Plantation Park on Wednesday evening, Vicky Lines with Australian side Capalaba FC most recently scoring her 1st goals for Cambridge putting them into the lead twice Norwich coming back to level twice to earn a share of the points with Natasha Snelling and Aimee Durrant scoring. Both sides keen to get points on the board in the bottom half of what is going to be a very competitive South East Division One.

  Changes for both sides over the summer. Norwich changing their name from Ladies to Women a new manager in place Greg Dimsey now head coach. Have lost a few established players particularly in defence have plenty of young talent coming fighting for 1st team places.

  Cambridge moving to a new home over the summer now base at St Neots Town FC both squads for training and games a new start have themselves lost a few experienced players a small squad again with youth coming through to battle it out for a place in the first team. 

  Plantation Park the venue for today’s match. Wet over night the ground came suffer from water logging so it was a case of hedging my bets to see if the game would beat the weather especially with games at either ed of Norfolk called off, but the rain wasn’t heavy and the pitch held up well. Would be soft underfoot and slick plenty of grass cover is a large pitch. The bar open serving hot and cold drinks, a  covered stand offering some protection from the weather light rain at kick-off.

Norwich City Women starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Tigi Robson, Lauren Cullum, Eliza McDonald, Izzy Collins, Angelina Nixon, Reeanna Cook, Millie Daviss (C), Keunna Dill, Aimee Durrant & Natasha Snelling. Subs – Kathryn Stanley, Rosie George, Josie Jarvis, Jodie Drake & Megan Todd.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Liz Pamplin, Jemma Moore, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Albany Hodgson, Faith Hewitt, Charlotte Crisp, Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Vicky Lines & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Gemma Croucher, Grace Camfield, Katie White & Chloe Armstrong.

Both sides missing players most notably striker Chelsea Garrett for Norwich and midfielder Amber Cantwell for Cambridge amongst others. Norwich wearing yellow shirts and socks with green shorts to kick-off the first half. Cambridge in their change strip white shirts with blue design on front blue shorts and white socks. Cambridge quick to close the ball down no head way for Norwich at the start forced to play it all the way back to defence look to go long down the right Aimee Durrant with the run, Carrie Bennett putting the ball out for the throw defending for Cambridge.

  Norwich come right again getting forwards the diagonal ball fired in with pace central met by Keunna Dill her tough taking it to the right looking to strike the shot Albany Hodgson there first to clear for Cambridge at the back. Cambridge counter the ball up to Emma Jenkins on the right up the wing into the corner Lauren Cullum staying with her for Norwich tackling to concede the first corner of the game. Players forwards for the back Cambridge captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt coming to the ball flicking it on with her feet towards the far post the clearance put high before being headed behind for a 2nd corner. Fired in low towards the near post with Vicky Lines making a clever run shoots close range blocked. Norwich clear a rapid counter away on the right side Durrant crossing early the ball into the area gathered safely by Cambridge goalkeeper Liz Pamplin.

    GOAL! A goal inside the opening 5 minutes, Norwich taking the lead Cambridge bringing the ball out from the back Norwich quick to press bringing the error the ball won in the final third fired across the top of the area into Dill left of the D her tough taking it inside central 25 out latches onto the shot struck well sends the ball up over the keeper and into the back of the net 1-0.

Norwich bright at the start of the game pressing centrally getting the ball forwards quickly a free-kick won on half way the delivery into the area defended the head sending the ball high to drop in behind, Durrant lively onto it but the angle against her the cross is put behind. Dill gets away on the left, Jemma Moore recovering well diving in with the challenge taking the ball away for the throw. Pamplin with an excellent save to deny Durrant as she attacks right taking on the shot early driven in across goal rising Pamplin throwing up and arm to push the ball behind for the corner kick. The delivery comes in central knocked down towards goal blocked, Burt then launching it clear. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Jemma Moore.

  Dill lively in attack for Norwich a good ball forwards into her from captain Millie Daviss, Dill getting in front of her marker central to swing her foot into the shot from 30 yards out in a central position, spinning as she strikes it Pamplin can watch it safely wide of her goal. Reeanna Cook and Daviss combine in attack for Norwich getting forwards Durrant the outlet wide right her ball in headed clear by Hodgson for Cambridge. 

Eyes on the ball, Cambridge United WFC midfielder Charlotte Crisp

  Norwich energetic at the start, Cambridge having soaked up the pressure well break the pass forwards seeing Amy Howlett away over halfway on the left races on towards the box coming inside one on one with the keeper commits Hope Armstrong into the dive attempting to block the ball as she travels right knocks it past her shoots trying to cut the ball back into the empty net the ball striking the base of the post. 

  GOAL! The post saving Norwich a moment ago, Cambridge getaway on the left in attack this time and score. Striker Kelley Blanchflower gathering the ball int her feet and driving up the left wing a powerful run on the ball taking it into the box to the byline getting away from a last ditch challenge to come back inside smashes her shot low across the goal to equalise 1-1. 

   Cambridge’s turn to exert some pressure in attack, Moore getting forwards on the overlap to support Jenkins. Lines across to help forces Norwich to give away the throw high up the pitch Moore has a long throw in her arsenal. The ball almost finds it’s way through across the six yard box Norwich struggle to clear eventually put out of the box gathered by Moore to loop a cross in from the right an inviting ball dropping far post Lines arriving late can’t quite get onto the end of it.

Cambridge’s Vicky Lines looking to find away through the Norwich defence

   Norwich look to attack building on the left Dill laying it on for Cook, Cullum racing on to stay with her the pair combining before Cook sends in a waist high cross towards the top of the area, Snelling stooping to head the ball goalwards can’t get enough power on the ball to trouble Pamplin. Ebbing and flowing is an even contest plenty of energy no one allowed time on the ball and the wet surface making the ball tricky to control at times. Cook surging on through the middle looking to get hold of the ball, Burt out of defence making a strong tackle to deny her. 

Izzy Collins clearing the ball for Norwich.

  A good understanding forming between Lines and Blanchflower in attack for Cambridge are playing off one another well Cambridge inviting Norwich on at times drawing their defence forwards are quick to exploit Lines putting Blanchflower away to carry the ball on into the area right side closing it on the six yard box hits it hard rising straight at the keeper nevertheless Armstrong does well to get her gloves up to make the save and take the sting out of the shot able to grab it before Blanchflower can capitalise on the rebound. 

Keunna Dill controlling the ball well on the touchline for Norwich City Women

  A fantastic piece of skill form Dill out wide to bring the ball down on her chest and keep in as it is fired long up to her, plays it inside to Snelling before spinning in behind Moore, Snelling looking to pick her out with the return ball. Moore does well to get back on the Norwich attack to slide in and win the ball back. The light rain that has been falling has stopped the sky looking mildly brighter. Faith Hewitt central plays it on well for Blanchflower beating the offside trap to run at the box, Eliza McDonald with her making the challenge top of the box the ball cleared by Armstrong. Is competitive in the middle Angelina Nixon an ex-Cambridge player lunging in to win the ball against Crisp playing it forwards for Snelling, Burt close in win the tackle for Cambridge.

Cambridge United WFC captain, Kayleigh-Anne Burt

   Durrant on the right wing as Norwich push forwards, Cambridge dropping deep into their box the cross long gathered by Dill plays it central to Snelling, closely marked can’t turn to shoot holds up well though laying it back towards the top of the area for Nixon slight hesitation before shooting gives Hewitt the chance to dive in and charge the ball down. Howlett and Jenkins have switched flanks in attack for Cambridge, Howlett right now up with Lines forcing Norwich to concede a throw deep in their territory, Moore to put long into the six yard box bounces on through with no one getting a meaningful touch before being cleared far side. 

  Time running out in the 1st half Norwich on the attack. From a throw in left Dill plays it into the advancing Nixon left of the box her pass in central for Snelling 20 yards out a tame effort on goal, gathered cleanly by Pamplin. Dill brought down attacking left 30 yards out, Snelling on the set-piece long to the far post headed clear back out to the left Dill bringing it down fouled again another free-kick given.

 GOAL! Norwich retake the lead in the closing moment of the first half Durrant on the free-kick fizzed in with pace a good height Daviss six yards out getting her head on the ball to power her header down wide of Pamplin to score 2-1.  

Millie Daviss making it 2-1 to Norwich late in the first half

Half-time Norwich City Women 2-1 Cambridge United WFC

   Norwich retaking the lead at the death in what was a very entertaining and fast paced half. The rain easing up and eventually stopping. The hosts vocally cheered on well by their mascots Haddenham Rovers Colts U12s treated to fantastic contest so far. The sides fairly even overall play fast little time on the ball. Cambridge soaking up more pressure at times but counter attacking well. Norwich lively throughout looking to get forwards at every opportunity taking an early lead. Cambridge coming back well the post struck before equalising disappointed to concede late in the first half. 

Cambridge attack

Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway extra-time and penalties if needed. Blanchflower putting the ball on for Lines moving right, Cullum staying on her to get the ball away for the throw for Norwich. Norwich bring the ball on through the middle Daviss with Nixon onto Durrant away right a good cross into the box central Snelling moving towards the ball Burt on her shoulder squeezes a cut backed shot under the defender and she challenges, Pamplin central through reacts well to get down make the save.

Angelina Nixon on the ball for Norwich City Women

  Cambridge feed the ball forwards into Blanchflower, determined on the ball getting forwards, Cullum halting her progress the striker sends it across the top of the box with Jenkins racing forwards central her attempt charged down the deflection spinning away to the far post gathering by Lines to hit goalwards, Armstrong across at her post diving getting both gloves securely around the ball. 

Norwich goalkeeper, Hope Armstrong.

  Nixon breaking up a Cambridge attack sends the ball on for the advancing Cook, Crisp across lunging in to tackle the ball won back the game competitive in the middle. Hodgson with a vital interception at the back for Cambridge as Dill aims to send Snelling in behind as she peels away right. Norwich with a ball forwards fortunate as it finds its way through to Durrant top of the area her tough forwards looks to prod it back across the keeper, Pamplin down making a fantastic save with her legs to deny her. 

 GOAL! Cambridge come back to level the scores for the 2nd time in the match. The ball played out from the ball into Jenkins central he helps it’s on its way to Blanchflower pulling away to the left in space she drives on intent on finding her way into the box shoots on the angle pace on the ball races past Armstrong into the goal beyond to score her 5th goal of the season 2-2.

Cambridge United WFC striker, Kelley Blanchflower

   Norwich look for an immediate reply Dill with a burst of pace on the left side travelling to the byline a good ball cut back towards the top of the area, no one making the run however allowing Cambridge to build a move forwards. Norwich making the first change of the match McDonald the player coming off, Kathryn Stanley coming on. A move that sees her go left and Dill drop into central defence. A flowing one two between Nixon and Snelling as the midfielder breaks forwards to the top of the area sees Snelling put a shot wide from inside the area. 

Norwich City Women captain, Millie Daviss

  The game remains open neither side on top both looking like they can score. Daviss with a superb pass forwards to pick out Durrant on the right down the wing a cross flashed in missed by Snelling near post, Pamplin plucking it down central needed with Stanley racing in far side. A 2nd change for Norwich with Cullum coming off, on in her place Rosie George. Norwich pushing up a throw on the right finds Nixon on the byline turns well to play it back to Durrant six yards out shoots, Burt throwing herself into the challenge blocking the ball away for a corner kick. 

Emma Jenkins playing the ball for Cambridge with Norwich’s Aimee Durant closing in

  Cambridge make their first change of the game, Gemma Croucher coming on for Lines in attack. Stanley with a 25 yard shot as Nixon brings the ball on from midfield is tackled. The shot straight at Pamplin. Crisp passing the ball on for Blanchflower pulling away left gets behind Robson, the full back recovering well to lunge in to make the block as the striker shoots from the edge of the box. Norwich with a 3rd change, Snelling the player off on comes Josie Jarvis with the game entering the final 10 minutes.

  GOAL! Norwich have been competitive in the middle all game Daviss supported by Cook and Nixon the ball pressed and won put forwards into the path of Durrant right side of goal 25 plus yards out, strikes it well taken early up and down over the keeper to nestle in the goal beyond and give the hosts the lead late in the game 3-2.

Aimee Durrant playing the ball on scoring the winning goal for Norwich City Women

   Cambridge get on the offensive straight from the restart the ball with Hewitt central on for Jenkins right does well to hold it up in the corner a lack of support doing well to get throw, Blanchflower back to Moore who crosses high into the area Jarvis able to bring it away for Norwich. Cambridge make a change Katie White on for Howlett. Norwich getting forwards looking to keep the ball in the corner Durrant managing to force a corner. A good delivery into the box attacked by George near side can only put her header wide across goal.  

 Norwich frustrating Cambridge late on determined to keep them off the ball Daviss with a looping shot as she gets free right 20 yards out dropping down at a comfortable height in front of Pamplin to claim. Grace Camfield coming on in the closing moments for Cambridge in place of Jenkins. Norwich with renewed energy the winning post in touching distance snapping in to win the ball Stanley shooting over from 30 yards out. Durrant back to help in defence in the closing seconds as Cambridge try to force a path through on the right. The final whistle blows and it’s Norwich who advance in the Women’s FA Cup.

Full time Norwich City Women 3-2 Cambridge United WFC

  An away tie against East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town Women in 3rd Round Qualifying as they comfortably progressed against Royston this afternoon. The tie to be played Sunday 27th October. A late winner this afternoon and to be fair to both sides it could well have gone either way entering the final 15 minutes I felt that whoever scored next would go on to win the game you couldn’t have called it. Highly entertaining, competitive without any over the top challenges. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few contenders once again. Kelley Blanchflower superb leading the attack for Cambridge strong and determined on the ball clinical in her finishing. For Norwich Aimee Durrant was excellent making fantastic runs to receive the ball always providing and outlet a well taken strike to win the game. Keunna Dill lively from the off a great strike to give Norwich the early lead offering a threat on the left. Midfield competitve all round a great contest to watch and coming out on top today’s award goes to Norwich captain Millie Daviss battle well breaking up play making it difficult for Cambridge to play through the middle.

  An entertaining game, always frustrated afterwards because I want more! The weather not dampening things too much. My thanks to both teams for the team details as always appreciated. 

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 – Cambridge United WFC v Enfield Town Ladies

FAWNL South East Division One

Sunday 18th August

  The new season is here and I’m as excited as ever to bring you coverage of football across the East at all levels. Beginning with a game from the opening day of the FAWNL from South East Division One, Cambridge United WFC v Enfield Town Ladies.

 Both sides stalwarts of an FAWNL South East Division One league that has undergone many changes in recent seasons as the women’s game continues to grow across the country. Increasingly more competitive the standards raised season upon season this campaign looks certain to be no different. The newly promoted sides dominating last season with Crawley Wasps Ladies storming to the title and promotion to the Southern Premier Division whilst Billericay Town Ladies finished as runners-up. Cambridge City Ladies and Kent Football United the sides promoted this time around both playing at this level for the first time.

A new era begins for Cambridge United WFC as they move to The Premier Plus Stadium home of St Neots Town FC after spending 3 season playing at Mildenhall Town FC. A move that brings them closer to Cambridge and a centralised base for training and playing. Excellent facilities at their disposal. Whilst the promoted pair were running away with it at the top below it was highly competitive last season a late run of form putting Cambridge within a shout of breaking into the top half tailed off to finish 8th overall, Mollie Coupar top scoring with 13 goals. A few departures over the close season to the squad and coaching staff, Ben Yeomans assisting manager Kevin Hoover this season. Gemma Croucher joining the squad from Royston Town Women with Faith Hewitt also back with the squad.

Enfield Town Ladies long established at this level enjoying a fantastic campaign in the league last season strong all season emerging top of the competitive tussle in the middle of the table to record a 3rd placed finish. Helped in part to 16 goals for Molly Peters the ex-West Ham player moving to Championship side Lewes this season. Enfield have added to their squad bringing in the likes of Anna Re and Beth Lumsden along with Rachel Koskey from Luton Town Ladies and Laura Baker who spent last season with Watford Ladies after having previously played for Cambridge United WFC. Formerly the A10 derby the two sides always enjoy a competitive and hard fought game.

Cambridge initially moving to Mildenhall to take advantage of the excellent playing surface on offer, and the move to St Neots offers another superb playing surface, albeit flatter than the slope they’ve become used too. Perfect for the passing game no excuses to play the ball along the ground and want to. Lush and green at the start of the season offering good with, a main seated stand on one side of the ground, covered terracing at each end, a bar open for hot and cold drinks. The weather bright and sunny although a fair amount of dark cloud around, both sun cream and umbrella in the rucksack. A strong breeze blowing too but all in all perfect weather to begin the season.

The Premier Plus Stadium, the new home of Cambridge United WFC

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abigail Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Jemma Moore, Charlotte Crisp, Amber Cantwell, Faith Hewitt, Emma Jenkins, Kelley Blanchflower & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Claire Kilmartin, Albany Hodgson & Gemma Croucher.

Enfield Town Ladies starting XI – Grace Brooks, Sheryce Slater, Danielle Smith, Claire Ford, Robyn Reardon, Nuala McKevitt (C), Anna Re, Beth Lumsden, Jodie Southby, Laura Baker & Katherine Long. Subs – Tia Bailey, Ayse Mustafa & Rachel Koskey.

Cambridge to get the first half underway sporting their brand new kit, amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Enfield lined up opposite wearing white shirts with blue shorts and socks. Enfield quick to press in the middle Beth Lumsden getting hold of the ball and driving on through the middle passing out wide left for Laura Baker she shoots the ball deflected behind at the near post for an early corner. A crowd of players on top of Cambridge goalkeeper Savannah Smith inside her six yard box as the ball comes in the keeper doing well amongst bodies to get the ball away.

Former teammates Laura Baker and Kayleigh-Anne Burt go head to head

Doesn’t go far cleared up to the left a high ball lifted back in Cambridge captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt heading in behind for another corner. Early pressure from the visitors Cambridge eventually clearing their lines. Pressing right Enfield have a throw in Sheryce Slater sending it down the line for striker Katherine Long, she wins her side another corner kick. A great delivery sent in finding defender Claire Ford rising high at the far post 10 yards out her attempt dropping wide.

  Enfield have made a strong start to the match winning the ball high up the pitch to apply pressure to the Cambridge defence, Long receiving the ball wide left sends in a cross from deep that lands on the roof of the net. Amber Cantwell nipping in to win the ball looks to get things going for the hosts playing the ball up the left for Faith Hewitt her intended through ball cut out the Enfield defence tracking back to save a corner being conceded. A frantic opening to the match both sides beginning to settle into it.

Cambridge’s Carrie Bennett with Enfield’s Beth Lumsden

  Lumsden seeing alot of the ball in the opening 15 minutes sends it on for Slater breaking in behind on the right closing in on the byline gets her foot around the ball to swing in a cross towards the top of the box central Baker sees it into her feet back to goal lays it off for Long behind, she takes on the strike the ball rising Smith diving to her right making a comfortable save. Burt makes a timely intercept in the middle of the Cambridge defence as they are caught with a high line Enfield attempting to break.

   A throw in inside the Enfield half left side played into Kelley Blanchflower the Cambridge striker bringing it infield spots Emma Jenkins making a run wide right plays the diagonal ball, Enfield’s Danielle Smith able to get to it first in defence. The game played at a rapid tempo both sides snapping to win the ball back get it moving. Blanchflower getting hold of the ball 25 yards out turning it left for Hewitt down the wing she sends in a high cross safely collected high in her six yards box by Enfield goalkeeper Grace Brooks. 

 Brooks setting up a quick counter attack the ball left side the shot taken early, Smith making an excellent save down low to her right pushing the ball away to concede a corner. The delivery from the left towards the top of the box dealt with by Cantwell. Enfield come forwards, Cambridge playing a high line at times the visitors working the ball well across the middle to find a way in behind Long in particular moving left then right. Slater breaking clear on the right lifting the ball into the area Smith taking it high.

 GOAL! Cambridge are caught with their defence high as Lumsden flicks the ball on for Long peeling away the the right, a good way out from goal so too is Smith from her area Long striking the ball early to send it past the keeper and on target into the empty net beyond to see Enfield take the lead in the 21st minute 0-1.

Katherine Long opens the scoring for Enfield Town Ladies

Long continuing to be a threat in attack moving to the right once again as Nuala McKevitt captaining the side breaks up a Cambridge attack, the striker getting in beyond fullback Carrie Bennett races towards the area with the ball centre back Jemma Moore getting back on her to clear the ball for the hosts. A free-kick won wide right for Enfield Slater to play the ball, a good delivery into the the area McKevitt on the penalty spot rising gets a glancing header, Smith down sharp to her right to push the ball away, Burt putting it behind for the corner. Enfield a danger from set-pieces the ball in from the left McKevitt heading it up into the air drops for Long outside the area her shot blocked by Moore the danger not gone as the ball is reclaimed on the left a shot driven it, the ball smashing against the crossbar, falls to the right inside the six yard box Baker after it, closed down by defender and keeper puts the ball into the side netting.

Jenkins bringing the ball up the right wing has support from her full back Abigail Davies the cross flung in towards the near post Mollie Coupar arriving, Enfield get it clear. Coupar catching Enfield playing a loose ball across their defence nipping in wins the ball shifting to shoot from 25 yards out Brooks down low makes the save. Coupar in the thick of the action as she sees a pass from midfield into her body turns into the right channel looking to get in behind Ford into the area manages to squeeze a shot away Brooks down to stop it, scrambles it into her gloves with Blanchflower on top of her.

Enfield defender Robyn Reardon tackling Cambridge’s Mollie Coupar

   Cambridge doing alot better now Crisp with Cantwell in the middle winning the ball the latter fouled on halfway, on the free-kick herself  sends it long towards the far post with Blanchflower and Hewitt making runs  ball bouncing through behind at the far post for a goalkick. Jodie Southby back to defend dealing with a cross inside the ball fired in by Coupar as the attacker makes ground on the right. Cambridge are almost undone for a 2nd time as Slater gets away in behind with Smith positioned high, the ball put past her running along the ground towards an empty goal, runs away across the six yards box to strike the base of the far post.

  GOAL! Right on the stroke of half-time Cambridge get themselves back on level terms. Coupar with the ball down in the right corner doing well to win a corner kick the delivery in defended by Enfield put back to the corner taker a 2nd attempt cleared by the defence central Crisp onto it 30 yards out for Cambridge  shifts it before putting her foot through the ball striking it beautifully racing back into the penalty area the ball bouncing before it arrives at the diving keeper finding its way inside the post and into the back of the net 1-1.

Charlotte Crisp with a superb strike levelling the scores for Cambridge late in the first half

 Having rode their luck at times Cambridge find themselves back on level terms strong in the closing moments on the attack a shot taken from distance dropping wide of goal.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-1 Enfield Town Ladies

  Well that was an exciting first 45 minutes and bodes well for the season ahead, as if there was any doubt. The sides drawing 1-1 at the break. Cambridge equalising late on back on level terms might well have found themselves 2 down instead. Enfield were the better side for the majority of the half pressing the ball well in the middle and getting players in behind, a real threat from set-pieces and great movement shown by their attacking players. Cambridge slowly building momentum to create opportunities up the other end beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

  Enfield getting the 2nd period underway attack up the right the ball played out to Long into space the cross put back across the top of the area Lumsden getting hold of it, Cantwell back with her preventing a shooting opportunity. Cambridge bring the ball on rolled into Coupar’s path left channel has Blanchflower ahead of her central Cantwell getting forwards on her right her initial cross blocked has a 2nd go the ball defended by Ford as Blanchflower goes to shoot.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell

 Cambridge positive in attack in the 2nd half come forwards Coupar on the ball left towards the area played inside the Blanchflower central sees Jenkins clear on her right she hesitates for a moment half expecting a flag to go up against her before realising she is in the clear to shoot the ball rising turned behind by Brooks. The corner left side defended at the near post by Reardon cleared back out to the left crossed straight back in Jenkins in to head the ball down Brooks with a fantastic save at close range somehow getting a glove on the ball to keep it out.

Enfield Town Ladies, Robyn Reardon

 Cambridge enjoying a strong spell winning the ball higher up the pitch getting into attacking positions earlier, it’s from a perfectly weighed clearance at the back from Burt that sets up the next attack Blanchflower released away on the right on for Jenkins ahead of her the cross played in high Enfield’s defence heading over for the corner. Baker is all action whatever position she is deployed in an attacking role this afternoon, hard to shake off the ball, Moore does well against her as she looks to force her way into the box the Cambridge defender preventing a cross. 

Abigail Davies bringing the ball forwards for Cambridge United WFC

  Enfield with the first change of the game Rachel Koskey coming on to join the defence replacing Slater. The visitors finding it harder to break in the 2nd period as Cambridge close them down well. A few tasty challenges coming in as a result, Cantwell prevented from getting away on several occasions. The first booking of the game goes to Ford as she throws out a leg catching Coupar as she looks to spin in behind on halfway. Enfield’s number 10 Lumsden on the receiving end of a few tackles herself breaks right linking up with Long and Baker the attack breaking down.

Enfield Town Ladies captain, Nuala McKevitt

  Long’s last action of the game as she is the next to be substituted with Ayse Mustafa joining the game. McKevitt turning on the ball from all of 30 yards out lets fly with a shot her effort flying over the bar. Coupar brought down wide left in attack Cambridge with a free-kick bring players forwards Cantwell to take. If she meant to play it low across the six yard box she disguised it well nevertheless catches defence and attack out alike as legs lunge for the ball none making contact. Southby combining with Re as Enfield make ground on the right challenges flying in from both sides Cantwell fouled, Baker finds herself in the referees book. 

 Bennett has taken a knock and Cambridge make a change with new signing Gemma Croucher coming on, that sees Jenkins drop to a familiar right back role with Davies switching to the left. Having dealt with the pressure Cambridge applied and their opponents starting to tire Enfield are coming back into it their changes making a difference McKevitt seeing more of the ball supported by Re and Lumsden. Smith takes the ball on into space on the left attempts to slide the through ball in for Baker, Burt intercepting for Cambridge at the back. Re attacking with the ball right twists and turns before sending a shot in the ball wide of the near post a corner signalled. The delivery long Koskey jumping beyond the far post up well sends her attempt over.

Claire Ford defending against Coupar for Enfield

  The game has the potential to go either way both sides getting players forwards in the latter stages. Coupar full of running in attack keeping the Enfield defence on their toes. Moore across to clear the ball as Lumsden moving left gets past Jenkins. From the resulting throw a cross finds its way into the area Burt heading it away drops for Mustafa 25 yards out, Smith keeps her eyes on the ball takes it cleanly despite Southby closing in. 

 Enfield gaining momentum as the game enters the closing stages win a corner on the right players come forwards Smith under pressure near post prevents a shot Ford keeping the ball alive getting it back out to Southby her cross drilled long across goal. Into the final 5 minutes Koskey brings the ball on from the back into the Cambridge half is a goal threat not closed down shoots from distance her strike falling wide of goal. Cambridge’s turn the bring the ball on played forwards early into Croucher right she puts Blanchflower in on the right ahead of her Ford going with her into the area Blanchflower squeezing a shot in across the six yard box Brooks down grabs it into her body with Coupar closing in. 

 GOAL! A late winner! And it’s Enfield celebrating the goal. Come forwards on the left Smith with time on the ball runs clear unchallenged up the line sends in a cross long and high Smith coming attempts to put it out of harms way doesn’t get enough on it the ball dropping far side of the box Re running in late slides in to send it back in across goal Baker central there to met it with her right foot smashing the ball home 1-2.

Laura Baker on target to score the winning goal for Enfield Town Ladies

  Not much time left in the game a hammer blow to Cambridge at the death Enfield come on, energy levels recharged, the ball rolled on for Baker peeling away to the right of the D outside the box is off balance as she puts her foot through the shot screws the attempt wide.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-2 Enfield Town Ladies

  Enfield scored a dramatic late winner to take all three points in a match that looked to be heading for a draw. A strong first half performance from Enfield getting themselves into a 1 nil lead could well have and perhaps should have scored another. Cambridge getting back into it with a wonderful strike late in the half, came out fighting 2nd half attacking and creating chances Enfield coping with the pressure their substitutions bringing them back into it, could have gone either way, a point apiece a far reflection Enfield finishing strong themselves however stretched the Cambridge defence late on to find a late winner.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this season’s first Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award, and it’s a tough one. The rules remain the same however there can only be one. Narrowing it down is hard good performers on both sides, Amber Cantwell in midfield for Cambridge along with Mollie Coupar in attack. For Enfield, Beth Lumsden caught my eye early on and showed great movement, running and vision throughout. Katherine Long a real threat in attack great movement across the line opened the scoring with a great flick on from Lumsden. Just edging it though is Laura Baker have seen her play in a number of positions over the seasons today in an attacking role read the game well, able to bring others into attacking positions and leading the line at the end herself scoring the winning goal.

The first report of the season done and although 3000+ words later it doesn’t feel like it I was feeling strangely nervous about writing this one, perhaps just the events over the past few months affecting me but those nerves were soon gone after the game kicked off. Enjoy it an exciting and well fought game to start the season promising for the rest of the season. My thanks to both sides for the team sheets. Great to get the season started.

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 United WFC v Norwich City Ladies

Wednesday 13th March

FAWNL South East Division One

 A late call this Wednesday evening for a spot of midweek football action under the lights, a trip down to Mildenhall Town FC to watch Cambridge United WFC take on Norwich City Ladies in FAWNL South East Division One. 

   Arriving 20 minutes before kick-off the warm ups well underway, the team line-ups readily available, soon set for kick-off. The two sides currently sitting 7th and 8th in the South East Division one respectfully, Cambridge United WFC moving a point clear of Norwich City Ladies as they became the first side in the league to take points off leaders Crawley Wasps Ladies this season holding them to a goalless draw at home at the weekend. Blustery conditions after heavy rain overnight, Norwich saw there game away to Stevenage Ladies called off on Sunday due to a water logged pitch.

   A win for either tonight pushing them right onto the tails of the sides battling for a top half finish. Cambridge with a confidence boosting performance to get a point against Crawley looking to continue that form as they prepare of next weeks Invitation Cup Final against rivals Cambridge City Ladies being played at the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday evening. Will also want to put in a better performance against Norwich having been beaten by them 3-0 with a few regulars unavailable in the reverse fixture back at the start of October.

  Norwich have saved some off their best performances for thier games under the lights, 3 of their 5 wins so far this season coming in midweek fixtures, all against their East Anglian rivals, once against Cambridge with the double over Ipswich Town Women. Building well this season after a couple of seasons battling at the wrong end of the table, should be safe from getting dragged into the bottom two this season, like Cambridge well placed with a positive result having the same effect. Missing a few experienced players tonight especially at the back however have given several young players opportunities this season and most have performed well when called upon.

  A calm evening the air still after Storm Gareth had blown through earlier. Cool, glad the blustery conditions had passed it wasn’t fun on Sunday. The pitch set on a slope at Mildenhall Town from one goal to the the other, a good size offering plenty of width. The bar clubhouse open.

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

Norwich City Ladies starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Alice Parker, Keunna Dill, Lilly Bueggeln, Tigi Robson, Jodie Drake (C), Eliza McDonald, Aimee Durrant, Natasha Snelling, Reeanna Cook & Chelsea Garrett. Subs – Kathryn Stanley, Kirstie Smith, Rosie George, Louise Kennedy & Elli-Ray Quinn-Nicholls.

 Norwich choose to attack up the slope first half with Cambridge taking the kick off wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Norwich in their away colours green shirts and socks with yellow shorts. The ball moved left as Cambridge attack Jade Bell down the wing winning a throw in the ball played on into the top of the box headed clear by Norwich’s Tigi Robson. Cambridge press Norwich for possession early on closing them down Bell left the cross into the area Mollie Coupar receiving the ball near post back to goal a turn and hit blocked at close range the rebound blasted over at the far post. 

 Aimee Durrant taking the ball on gets in behind on the right wing for Norwich her cross off the mark screwed wide behind the Cambridge goal. Norwich captain Jodie Drake regaining possession right puts in on for Durrant she squares it inside for Eliza McDonald, Coupar coming back to quickly close the midfielder down to win it back for Cambridge the ball played out wide to Bell running on down the left cuts infield, Alice Parker wit Robson closing her down before she can get into the area.

   GOAL! Cambridge take the lead inside the opening 5 minutes, Amber Cantwell on the ball central passing to Bells left, Becky Shephard racing ahead of her down the line fed the ball drives down to the byline cutting inside fires in a pacy cross across the six yard box with Cambridge’s Amy Howlett wearing the captains armband this evening timing her run perfectly to meet the ball and send it low back across the goal into the bottom corner 1-0. 

  A good start to the game from Cambridge pressing Norwich for the ball, closing down and moving forwards with purpose and pace in attack. Keumma Dill with the defending for Norwich at the far post as Cambridge send in another cross from the left. Durrant is clipped as she looks to get in behind on the right a free-kick awarded top of the area Durrant over it lifts a ball up into the area, Drake making the run central can’t reach it, over her Jemma Moore heads clear for Cambridge. 

  A mix-up at the back almost sees Howlett break clear in behind after the ball into the area, Norwich goalkeeper Hope Armstrong alert quickly out to gather the ball before the attacker can get a telling touch. Another free-kick for Norwich left of the D 30 yards out Durrant with it again, goes for goal her strike half a yard over the bar. Good work from Norwich’s Reeanna Cook in midfield the ball put forwards for Chelsea Garrett leading the attack does well to force a throw in in the corner. Garrett receiving the ball from the throw-in on the byline turns well inside the box to send a cross in the ball just behind Natasha Snelling at the far post. 

  The 50/50 battles going Cambridge’s way, Vicky Neal breaking up a Norwich attack as they try to build through the middle. Kayleigh Anne Burt smashing a clearance into Neal it rebounds favourably for Bell to break on the left, Parker tackling to stop the cross. Cook with McDonald on through the middle Durrant making a run on the right, Carrie Bennett intercepting the ball for Cambridge. 

  Breaking up a Cambridge attack Norwich launch a rapid counter attack the ball with Durrant on the right her diagonal ball up towards Garrett central 30 yards out she gets up well to header in down into the path of the advancing Drake, she spots Cook making the run in behind right side the pass put into her inside the area the angle tight she shes it over her shoulder hits it on the volley the strike well over. 

Howlett pressing the ball up front forces an error from the Norwich defence runs through to get hold of the ball inside the area plays it back out to Coupar on her right, holding it up Coupar gets it back to Howlett as she moves out to the right the ball into her run she slips as she pulls the trigger, Armstrong making the blocking save as she comes to narrow the angle. Cambridge get on down their left win a corner kick the delivery high into the angle headed out drops to Bell 20 yards out smashes it back in her shot over the bar. 

  Snelling up on the left receives the ball from Dill, looks to drive on tackled by Emma Jenkins the loose ball gathered by Garrett, Snelling gets inside the ball returned closing in on the area, her shot charged down. McDonald bringing the ball on for Norwich rides Howlett’s challenge, shooting from all of 30 yards out, the attempt not troubling Cambridge goalkeeper Savannah Smith. Cambridge’s pressing game frustrating Norwich as they struggle to get the ball into advanced positions, Neal winning her fair share of tackles the ball inside to Cantwell, forwards for Coupar, Lilly Bueggeln close  preventing the striker turning in behind. 

  Bell away on the left late in the first half a quick counter Norwich stretched cuts the cross into the box from the byline the shot behind, Shephard runs on to Cantwell shoots before Armstrong can get across to her the ball past the keeper is cleared off the line by her defence tracking back. Cambridge finishing the first half well a corner on the right a good delivery in Armstrong up inside her crowded six yard box gets the faintest of touches to the ball to see it run on out the far side for another corner, this again pushed behind by Armstrong coming near post, the keeper laying claim to the 3rd attempt as the whistle blows. 

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

  Cambridge with the early goal holding a 1-0 advantage at the break, started well, closing Norwich down for the ball, quick to attack have frustrated their opponents who have struggled to get anything going in attack. Some last gasp defending preventing Norwich from falling further behind. One goal in it Norwich are far from out of it as the teams emerge for the 2nd half.

  No changes for either side at the break Norwich to get the 2nd half underway, The ball out on the right, Durrant pushing on tackled by Bennett. Cook on the ball central looks to thread a pass on for Garrett in attack, Burt defending well up against her. Both sides looking to be positive at the start of the 2nd half, Norwich trying to spread the play. Parker does well winning the challenge inside her box on Howlett as she is played in by Shephard. 

  A throw high on the right for Cambridge Jemma Moore up from the back to take has a long throw the ball into the area put back to her to cross in Norwich heading the threat clear. Dill showing good pace to get back on Shephard as the Cambridge attacker looks to get away with the ball on the right. Cambridge continue to close down prevent Norwich breaking from inside their own half, Coupar the Neal with the tackles. 

   Close again from Coupar as she gets up well at the far post to head a cross from the left back in across the face of goal looks destined to lad in the back of the net, Robson doing brilliantly to hook the ball clear off the goal line. Bell linking up with Shephard in attack the latter seeing her shot from outside the area blocked. Neal receives a yellow card aggrieved as she is adjudged to have fouled Armstrong as she and the keeper come together at the top of the area as they both race to win a 50/50 ball. 

  Snelling getting in behind on the left as Burt can’t get the ball down to clear, the attacker taking it on towards the area puts the cross in, Smith down to claim the ball. Cambridge counter the ball up field quickly Shephard onto a defensive mix-up in behind, closing in on Armstrong the keeper going to ground getting something on the ball stopping it, Shephard looking to retrieve, Armstrong stretching out to get a glove on the ball pull it into her body.

  Cambridge make the first change of the game Bennett having picked up a knock coming off, Kelley Blanchflower coming on the switch seeing Bell drop to left back. Cook cutting inside from the left shoots from 25 yards out her effort straight at Smith. Cambridge starting to see more of the ball, Blanchflower working across the defence to receive the ball. Dill doing well up against Howlett on the penalty spot as a cross is delivered into the box from the left. 

  Norwich’s frustrations continue nothing seems to be coming off in the final 3rd. Coupar driving to the byline from the left into the area gets a cross in, Armstrong has it covered claiming at her near post. Neal stops Norwich getting out as they win the ball from a throw put into the area from the right the midfielder tackling playing the ball on for Coupar her touch taking it inside the box from the left blasts a shot goalwards Armstrong saving well as she comes to block. 

  Parker into the book for foul a free-kick wide left for Cambridge the ball up towards the area headed away for a throw, Moore to take, once again gets it returned to put the cross in Armstrong claiming taking it off the head of the advancing attacker. Closing in on the final 15 minutes Norwich with a 2nd change Durrant coming off, Snelling switching to the right on comes Kathryn Stanley. Cambridge press the attack Blanchflower on for Coupar checks her run the ball taken from her won back by Jenkins getting forwards puts it on for Shephard looking to get away right side coming into the box, Drake sliding in to make the challenge blocks her shot with her leg. 

  Coupar is down hurt play eventually stopped after treatment can’t continue on in her place comes Holly Turbill. Starting to get a little nervy out their as much as Cambridge need a 2nd goal they also want a clean sheet, continue to work hard to close the ball down all over the pitch. Howlett fouled by Dill a free-kick for Cambridge right outside the area the delivery in just out of range of Blanchflower jumping central falls unexpectedly to Neal at the far post can’t get it down under control for a shot before the Norwich defence close her down. 

  A second change for Norwich with Rosie George coming on to replace Snelling. Cook bringing the ball on drake ahead of her plays the diagonal ball out t Stanley left, Jenkins in to challenge with the game into stoppage time. Kirstie Smith coming on for Norwich, Robson fouled trying to get forwards 25 yards out, Cambridge back inside their box to defend, a little scrappy the home side manage to get the ball clear. The ball taken into the corner by Shephard late on, the clock ran down, the final whistle blows Cambridge winning the 3 points.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Norwich City Ladies

  A good result for Cambridge, Howlett’s early goal the difference between the sides, Cambridge creating chances to extend the lead Norwich with two goal line clearances to keep them going further ahead. A frustrating evening for Norwich never really got going in attack largely due to Cambridge’s closing down and pressing. All over the pitch kept up the pressure quick to launch attacks the hard work paying off. Nervy towards the end trailing 1-0 Norwich were never out of the game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, good work from the whole Cambridge team to close down the ball, force errors and break up attacks before they could get going. Jade Bell setting the tone, Amy Howlett making some good runs the award though goes to Vicky Neal little got past her winning the ball in advanced positions keeping the pressure on for Cambridge in the final third.

A late call, so didn’t get a chance to say hello to everyone having to dash at the end too. Good to see both sides, an enjoyable game under the lights, the team details readily available with my notepad I’m all set. The first final of the season upon us this weekend, and that signals the beginning of a usually frantic end to the season, where has the time gone?

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v AFC Wimbledon Ladies

Sunday 13th January

FAWNL South East Division One

The football action this Sunday on Women’s Football East from the FA Women’s National League, Cambridge United WFC v AFC Wimbledon Ladies in South East Division One.

The two promoted sides Crawley Wasps Ladies and Billericay Town Ladies getting off to a blistering start, to lead the way Billericay with 5 straight wins to start life at the higher level, Crawley Wasps have yet to drop a point 9 wins from 9 whilst continuing on in the cup competitions. A 5 point lead at the top for Crawley over 2nd placed Billericay, a further 4 point gap to the chasing pack where it is very tight just 3 points separating 3rd to 7th.

Cambridge United WFC would dearly love to be amongst that mid-table cluster but instead find themselves looking nervously over their shoulders 3rd from bottom, they are in need of the league points. Have played less matches than everyone else in the league, largely due to involvement in various cup competitions that have actually seen them play just 3 league matches since the end of September, that coupled with postponements and the sides around them getting games in and picking up points pushing them down the table now into 2019 league points are the priority. Win those games and they are back amongst the mid-table battle.

AFC Wimbledon are the side leading the chasing pack in South East Division One currently in 3rd spot. Finished runners-up in the league last season, leading for the majority before Milton Keynes Dons Ladies winning their games in hand eventually overhauled them to win the title. A slower start this time around, it has been the nature of the league this season that any team getting a run together can propel themselves up the table. Wimbledon doing just that at to climb up to 3rd.

Are enjoying success in both the FAWNL Cup and FA Women’s Cup. Beating higher league sides to progress in the FA Women’s Cup, Southern Premier Division side, Portsmouth FC Women in the 2nd Round and just last Sunday a 3-0 away win against Hull City Ladies of the Northern Premier to reach the 4th Round of the competition for the 1st time in their history where they have been drawn at home to FAWSL side Bristol City Women.

Wimbledon are also into the quarter finals of the FAWNL Cup beating today’s opponents Cambridge United WFC at home 2-1 to advance. The two sides sharing a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season.

Mildenhall Town FC, Cambridge United WFC’s home ground. A sloping pitch from one goalmouth to the other as I’ve mentioned before. A wide pitch plenty of space to exploit. Another gloomy day cloudy, a light drizzle in the air prior to kick-off. The bar open, hot drinks and food available.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abigail Davies, Holly Northfield, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Jemma Moore, Amy Howlett, Vicky Neal, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Kelley Blanchflower (C) & Mollie Coupar. Subs – Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett & Charlotte Crisp.

AFC Wimbledon Ladies starting XI – Edie Kelly, Rosie Russell, Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins, Sarah Wentworth, Hannah Billingham, Kelly Highman, Becky Mclaren-Johnson, Rebecca Sargent, Georgia Heasman, Katie Stanley & Caroline Bisson (C) Subs – Linsey Clarke, Sian Wylie, Megan Kowalski, Jenny Nagle & Hannah Baptiste.

It’s Cambridge to get the 1st half underway attacking up the slope wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks Wimbledon lined up opposite all in blue. The visitors quick to press the ball from the start won in midfield played back to Sarah Wentworth the central defender sending it long, striker and captain Caroline Bisson spinning in behind, goalkeeper Savannah Smith out to the ball early kicking it clear for Cambridge.

Wimbledon busy in the opening minutes of the game pressing looking to move the ball quickly and spread play, Rebecca Sargent putting herself about in midfield, sets up the first opportunity winning the ball in the middle spreading play out to the left wing Katie Stanley coming inside bringing the ball down shapes to shoot 30 yards out the attempt looping up into the air drops wide of the Cambridge goal.

Cambridge struggling to get anything going in the final 3rd in the early stages win a throw high on the right, captain Kelley Blanchflower with a driving run with the ball into the box, Hannah Billingham clearing the ball for the visitors. Wimbledon have Cambridge penned in their own half Sargent with some powerful runs supported by Becky Mclaren-Johnson and Kelly Highman, the ball fed into the left channel, Kayleigh-Anne Burt coming across to defend put the ball out for a throw.

Wimbledon come again building from the ball the defence on the halfway line the pass into Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins left side she attempts a through ball to unleash Bisson, well intercepted by Jemma Moore in the centre of the Cambridge defence. Wimbledon win a corner on the right side the delivery in towards the near post headed on across the area by Billingham looping down at the far post Wentworth stretching for it can’t direct her effort on target behind for a goalkick.

Is developing into a scrappy battle in midfield both sides press the ball pinging back and forth it suddenly squeezes through in behind Bisson latching onto it slides into a shot before Burt can close her down 20 yards out the ball is knocked up and whistles past the top right corner. All Wimbledon have Cambridge pushed back a free-kick won wide right Billingham over the ball a great effort fired in bounces through the six yard box no one able to provide a telling touch.

Billingham is hurt moment later looking to seeing the ball out for a throw Mollie Coupar pressing her for Cambridge sliding in the resulting tangle of legs seeing the Wimbledon defender clatter into the metal railings surrounding the pitch, a blow to the head that sees play stopped for a lengthy period as Billingham receives treatment that ultimately leaves her sporting a unfashionable blue head bandage, thankfully able to return to the action. Cambridge pressure the throw in the ball coming into the area, Edie Kelly taking it cleanly as Coupar closes her down.

Blanchflower has her hands full with Sargent restricting her attacking runs, picking up possession in a favourable position drives forwards sends the ball put to Jade Bell up on the left wing her cross long to Coupar at the far post getting up looks to header it down for Blanchflower the Wimbledon defence crowding her out.

Sargent strong in the challenge wins the ball nips in to get hold of the ball 25 yards out turning well central spaces opens up in front of her she goes for the shot catching the ball well fired over the crossbar. Frustration creeping in from both sides, Amy Howlett fouling Sargent. The free-kick 40 yards out ambitious from Billingham but she sends the ball in towards goal drops kindly for Smith to claim in her mid-riff.

Cambridge are conceding free-kicks the next alot closer to goal, Billingham on it once again 25 out right of the area, the shot narrowly over the crossbar. Another free-kick soon after central Bisson over this one Billingham the target far post the ball flighted in Cambridge manage to deal with the threat. Stanley with a good bit of control as the ball is played into her moving down the left her touch taking it in field 30 yard out turns well and shoots the ball wide of the right post.

GOAL! The visitors have dominated possession but against that it’s the hosts that take the lead. It is a well worked goal nevertheless, Blanchflower getting forwards a throw won high on the left the ball played up into the box dropping into Coupar, shielded by Billingham holds it up well pushed out to the top of the area turns well sending the pass into Blanchflower peeling clear into space inside the box wide right her squared ball across the face of goal, Bell rushing in Kelly blocking her initial effort, the ball skips up wide of the grounded keeper, Bell alert sending it on into the goal 1-0.

Wimbledon have had all the possession are straight back on the attack, Howlett isn’t making any friends with another foul on Sargent. The free-kick wide left, Bisson to delivery a great ball up to the far post Billingham forwards not put off heading the ball whatsoever a stooping header back across the top of the six yard box Sargent there central leaning back catches the ball agonisingly up over the crossbar.

Wimbledon press forwards right side Sargent with a good ball Bisson ready to spring in behind, closing in on the area, Moore sliding in makes a great tackle to take the ball away. Howlett is booked for persistent fouling. Wimbledon remain the sharper to the ball have Cambridge with their backs to the wall at time but despite that the young defence are standing firm. Coupar working hard up front pressing the ball presenting an opportunity on the right for Bell to put a cross in from the byline cut out at the near post.

Abigail Davies wins the ball for Cambridge right side on for Shephard a slight hestitation before putting the cross on allows Billingham the chance to put a foot in win the ball. Sargent plays the pass on for Heasman sending the ball on she releases Bisson in behind, closing in on the box, Moore shows great pace to get back on her make the challenge.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 AFC Wimbledon Ladies

Wimbledon have dominated the play in the first half, seeing the majority of the ball pushing Cambridge back, creating opportunities, could be leading themselves however at half-time they find themselves trailing 1-0. Cambridge have worked hard had their backs to the wall, their defence under pressure has coped well, getting up the other end a well worked move seeing them take the lead. An interesting 2nd half looms.

Cambridge’s Kelley Blanchflower with Wimbledon’s Rebecca Sargent

No changes for either side at the break the light starting to fade the floodlights are on Cambridge attacking down the slope 2nd half as Wimbledon get the game back underway. Cambridge with more intent inside the Wimbledon half right from the off, Neal adjudged to have fouled Highman on halfway. The home side launch an attack the ball flicked on by Neal to Blanchflower breaking forwards her ball down the right channel for Coupar to chase, Billingham across to stretch and cut it out for Wimbledon.

GOAL!  Cambridge’s bright start to the 2nd half sees them extend their lead have the ball on the left side building down the wing the ball played into Coupar head down she carries it on into the area before firing in a cross along the six yard box, Blanchflower timing her run perfectly ahead of the Wimbledon defence to smash the ball into the back of the net 2-0.

Sargent continues her work ethic in the middle for Wimbledon getting hold of the ball fires a pass up the right channel for Heasman getting forwards she cuts her low cross back towards the D, Stanley closing in on it can’t keep her shot down as she sends her 1st time effort over. Is a bruising encounter between two sides that give as good as they get, largely in good spirit…sort of…

Wimbledon’s Katie Stanley

A busy afternoon for the officials too Wimbledon with a free’kick wide right Bisson over it lifted into the area Billingham escapes her runner near side from close range wide of goal can only find the side netting. Cambridge frustrating their opponents now enjoying more of the ball, Coupar scrapping away up front bundled to the ground.

Mclaren-Johnson pressurising for Wimbledon central with the ball at her feet has support going forwards from Heasman, her cross squared to Stanley cutting inside from the left shoots 20 yards out, Smith diving to her left pushing the ball away from goal. 20 minutes gone in the 2nd period and Wimbledon make a change, Hannah Baptiste coming on for Highman. Cambridge with a throw left inside the Wimbledon half into Coupar 25 yards out a touch taking it inside before curling a shot over the bar.

An open game now a complete contrast to the first half Cambridge coming on more now competitve remains a scrappy affair Holly Northfield preventing a crossing opportunity on the right for Wimbledon. Russell up the other end across as Bell tries to put Coupar away. Wimbledon attack Billingham with a great forwards ball into the area controlled well by Bisson, Cambridge win in the ball sent long…

GOAL! With the game more open and Wimbledon committing more players forwards Cambridge capitalise to score a 3rd goal Coupar getting on the scoresheet after being involved in the hosts opening 2 goals. The ball played long up to her peeling away into the right channel ahead of Billingham, Wentworth comes across pushes Coupar wide right of goal as she enters the box the young striker strong on the ball gets a shot away from the angle firing the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner 3-0.

Neal with a firm tackle to deny Wimbledon building an attack through the middle. Moore with good defensive work at the back as the visitors attack through the right. Coupar tries to burst on with the ball Sargent back to defend against her for Wimbledon. Wimbledon make a 2nd change Jenny Nagle on for Heasman on the right side. A free-kick wide right for the visitors Bisson with the ball up into the area eventually cleared by Burt. Nagle attacking right Northfield sliding in to prevent the cross the ball out for a throw.

Mollie Coupar holding the ball up for Cambridge United WFC

Both sides make a change, Emma Jenkins coming on for Blanchflower for Cambridge. Sian Wylie replacing Hoesli-Atkins for Wimbledon with a little over 15 minutes left on the clock. Wimbledon continue to attack looking to pull a goal back that pressure bringing a corner, Stanley to take it from the right a long delivery to the far post Cambridge winning the header a determination set in to keep a clean sheet.

Smith with a point blank save going to ground in front of Bisson as the striker gets onto the end of a diagonal ball inside the six yard box fired in from the right. Wimbledon pressure late on in the game pushing players on into the last 8 minutes. Cambridge make a 2nd change Carrie Bennett coming on replacing Coupar late on.

Bell doing some vital work in defence late on for the hosts doubling up with Northfield as Wimbledon look to double up on the full backs. Winning the ball tries to release Shephard up front, Wentworth regaining possession for Wimbledon. Moore tackles Stanley a throw deep in the right, the ball kept up top a swerving cross in under the crossbar taken high by Smith.

Little time left now, Wimbledon’s frustrations mount a decision going against them protests voiced results in Stanley and Mclaren-Johnson yellow carded for dissent. A late late corner for Wimbledon right side an inswinging delivery pushed down and away by the jumping Smith falling to Wylie the defended stretching for it sends it across to the far post, cleared Wimbledon appeal for a penalty, nothing doing the final whistle blown soon after.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 3-0 AFC Wimbledon Ladies

A terrific result for Cambridge and 3 valuable points won. Most definitely a game of two halves. Wimbledon dominating the 1st half playing the ball quickly, spreading play and pushing their opponents back, chances created but not scoring paid the price as Cambridge took the lead against the run of play. A different story 2nd half Cambridge battling to defend 1st half buoyed by their goal came out on the front foot 2nd half scoring early. Took their chances well, a competitive tussle, expected nothing less, just adds to the excitement in what is undoubtedly a competitve league, with alot of talented players. Any side can beat the other on their day. That’s why I love it so much.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

On to this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. A few performances worthy of note. Firstly for Wimbledon, Rebecca Sargent was a driving force in the midfield, putting herself about getting forwards too with some timely runs and good passing especially first half. For Cambridge, Jemma Moore the newest face to line-up in defence played well making some great and well timed tackles the back-line on the whole learning alot from today’s game. Jade Bell too using her experience to great advantage opening the scoring for Cambridge and vital in defence late on. Overall though today’s award goes to attacker Mollie Coupar put in a great shift up top for the hosts prepared to get stuck in a willing learner, good hold-up play involved in both the opening goals and great individual skill and strength to score the 3rd.

Another good advert for women’s football in the FAWNL, scrappy yes but played by two committed sides, a good watch. My thanks to everyone for their help today always appreciated.

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 – Norwich City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Wednesday 3rd October

FAWNL South East Division One

A midweek trip East along the A47 this evening to watch some league action from FAWNL South East Division One, Norwich City Ladies hosting Cambridge United WFC.

  A late reversal of the fixture with Norwich City Ladies scheduled to travel to play Cambridge United WFC. The pitch at Mildenhall Town FC unavailable the league asking Norwich if they could host they agreed. A good distance between Norwich and Cambridge for a game under the lights. Both sides looking to get their league campaigns going both with just the single win to date. All very tight in FAWNL South East Division One early in the season the two promoted sides, Crawley Wasps Ladies and Billericay Town Ladies getting off to a flying start below there are just 4 points separating the sides placed 4th to 12th. Actonians Ladies in 3rd spot proving that if you can get a run going you can quickly climb the table.

   Norwich City Ladies started the season with a 5-1 defeat to Enfield Town Ladies, before collecting a point in a 2-2 draw with Denham United Ladies. Changes behind the scenes 1st team coach Grant Palmer adding to the coaching team the club fielding a new Development side this season. Heavy defeats in the cup and league followed, their only league win of the season a memorable one away to East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town Ladies. Although they have progressed in the FA Women’s Cup with a big win, League points haven’t come losing 2-1 at home to Stevenage Ladies last Sunday. After a couple of lethargic seasons fighting at the wrong end of the table Norwich are rebuilding aiming for better results. 

  A promising start to the season for Cambridge United WFC, bringing in several new faces to the squad to away trips down to the capital yielding 4 points. A goalless draw in their previous midweek fixture at The Abbey Stadium against Stevenage Ladies earning them a 5th league point of the season. Does tell the whole story however as they have enjoyed success in both the league cup and FA Women’s Cup the latter just this past Sunday a 6-0 win at home to Harlow Town Ladies. Travel to Norfolk tonight missing a few players unable to get to the rearranged game on time due to work commitments.

  The league interesting this season has the feel that any team on their day can beat the other.  The venue for this evenings fixture, Norwich United FC’s, Plantation Park. It’s a big pitch very wide, under the lights looks even bigger. A bar overlooking one end of the pitch a small seated stand down one side. A mild evening at the start of October, cloud cover but no rain forecast.

Norwich City Ladies starting XI – Hope Armstrong, Alice Parker, Laura Thacker, Sasha Diston (C), Kate Parsons, Ellie Smith, Millie Daviss, Reeanna Cook, Aimee Durrant, Natasha Snelling & Chelsea Garrett. Subs – Tigi Robson, Jodie Drake, Kyla Love, Emily Moerkerk & Rosie George.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Liz Pamplin, Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Fran Gough, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Vicky Neal, Faith Hewitt, Becky Shephard, Kelley Blanchflower (C) & Steph Gale. Subs – Holly Northfield & Charlotte Crisp.

Norwich to have the kick-off in the 1st half wearing yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow and green socks. Cambridge wearing their white away shirts with black shorts and socks. Cambridge press Norwich for the ball straight away get i forwards into Steph Gale in attack, play halted as she commits a foul trying to turn in behind her marker. Both sides snapping at the ball a little disjointed at the start neither side making progress into the final 3rd. Norwich spreading play out to the left wing players drawn across a cross flung in towards the near post Emma Jenkins getting her head on the ball to clear for Cambridge.

Norwich starting to build momentum come forwards Chelsea Garrett receiving the ball just over halfway Aimee Durrant on the right wing looking to get in behind bursts forwards, Cambridge centre back Kayleigh-Anne Burt reading Garrett’s intention backing up giving herself a better angle to intercept the intended pass. A free-kick awarded to Norwich inside the Cambridge half, midfielder Miller Daviss over the ball her delivery lifted into the area attacked the header taking it behind for the 1st corner of the match. A good delivery into the box a high ball dropping into the six yard box, goalkeeper Liz Pamplin getting her gloves on the ball knocking it down the defence able to launch clear.

   Energetic from Norwich at the start of the game pressing forwards have their opponents on the back foot. Jenkins lunging in to tackle Natasha Snelling as the attacker gives chase to a ball played up into the right channel, the left back conceding a corner. Cambridge look to release Becky Shephard on the left wing trues to link up with Gale leading the line, captain Sasha Diston defending for Norwich. Daviss with a great forwards pass has Garrett interested central 20 yards out manages to get in behind her marker through into the area but is halted by the offside flag. 

    Norwich win a corner over on the left another good delivery angling in under the crossbar, Pamplin with another vital save getting her gloves to the ball, knocked down into the congested box, a shot is blocked at close range from Laura Thacker. Appeals for handball from Norwich but the officials not interested. Snelling takes on a shot from distance 30 yards out lets loose a shot, the ball on target is catch low by Pamplin.

 GOAL! Norwich capitalise on their good start to the match taking the lead in the 17th minute the goal coming from another corner on the left the high delivery falling towards the penalty spot is attacked by Norwich’s Kate Parsons getting up well timing her headed connects well the ball looping up and dropping over the keeper into the back of the net 1-0.

   Cambridge get on the attack straight from the restart play broken up in the middle the ball played up to Shephard coming in field a chase for the ball goalkeeper Hope Armstrong coming to close the attacker down the ball struck against her trickles in behind Shephard keeping up the chase the Norwich defence recovering and getting to the goal bound ball to hook clear before she can apply another touch. 

  A free-kick wide left for Norwich as they build on the wing, Durrant and Snelling over the ball 30 yards out is driven in low towards goal Pamplin adjusting her body getting behind it pushes the ball out towards the top of the area, picking it up Garrett right of the D, looks to shoot send the ball in towards the far post across the keeper her strike off cue racing wide is met by a Norwich player the ball turned goalwards lacking power safely in Pamplin’s hands. 

  Parsons defending as Cambridge enjoy a little it of possession on the right wing Amy Howlett playing full back getting forwards to support captain Kelley Blanchflower. Norwich moving the ball well some intricate short triangles in midfield getting players forwards. Fran Gough getting in front of Garrett to defend for Cambridge as Ellie Smith brings the ball forwards. Cambridge struggling to get anything going in attack the passes just not sticking. Vicky Neal winning the ball from Daviss up to Gale closed down quickly. The visitors getting a little frustrated. A free-kick wide right the ball in towards the top of the area held up but not allowed to turn Norwich marking well. Howlett doing well defending against Snelling on the wing as she and Garrett looking to play a one two get Snelling in behind.

    GOAL! Norwich double their lead with the game passing the half hour. Attacking on the left players breaking forwards from midfield overloading the box the cross fired in across the top of the area into Ellie Smith controls the ball before striking a low shot past the keeper into the goal at the near post 2-0. Smith’s first goal for Norwich.

   Cambridge come close to finding a reply a free-kick wide on the left cleared back out to Shephard pressing down the wig sends an inviting cross racing through the Norwich six yard box, no-one gambling central picked up on the far side brought in close to goal the shot goalwards defended in front of goal. Alice Parker coming on to support Durrant the pair combining Garrett looks to spin in behind, Burt close to her making the tackle prevents her making progress into the box.

  Norwich finishing the 1st half strongly Durrant with the ball at her feet 20 yards out driving with it across the Cambridge box on for Snelling far side her shot sliced behind by Burt for the corner. The set-piece defended. Diston misjudging the bounce of the ball as it is played out from the back nevertheless sets up a great attack as it strikes her face, looping on for Durrant on quickly to Garrett, in behind Pamplin coming to close her down, Garrett knocking it past her looking to follow it on into the goal beyond, Gough getting back does enough to get on her shoulder she the striker’s touch take the ball wide for the goalkick.

   Pamplin saving at her near post coming out to claim the ball low and Garrett slides in for it getting in behind the defence. Faith Hewitt getting forwards as Gabrielle Whitehurst robs Reeanna Cook in midfield tries to get Blanchflower away on the left Thacker, with Parsons supporting preventing the final ball being delivered. Gough stepping out of the back line for Cambridge intercepting the ball up for Shephard central play spread to Blanchflower on the right, Thacker closing her down wins the challenge.

  Cambridge win a throw-in wide right in a deep position play getting drawn across to that side a cross is worked into the area running across the top of the six yard box Shephard free far post, Parker dealing with the threat clearing the ball for a corner. The delivery long to the far post headed wide for the goalkick. A crunching 50/50 in the middle of the park no prisoners taken between Parsons and Neal. The ball just won’t stick for Cambridge, Whitehurst bringing Durrant down as she attacks right side 20 yards out. Taking the set-piece Durrant sends it long to the far post met by a runner turned towards the near post Pamplin well positioned to make the save. 

Half-time Norwich City Ladies 2-0 Cambridge United WFC

   A good 1st half from Norwich, by far the better side attacking well in numbers at times taking an early lead, adding to the lead looking comfortable for their 2-0 lead. A frustrating 1st 45 from Cambridge players out of position haven’t been able to make the ball stick up front get bodies forwards themselves find a way in behind Norwich who have been solid at the back. 2-0 always an interesting lead Norwich look comfortable for it and a much better 2nd period from the visitors will be needed if they wish to get back into the game.

  Positional changes for Cambridge at the start of the 2nd half a switch of flanks for Blanchflower and Shephard no operating on the right wing as they take the kick-off. Paying the ball forwards a hand ball is spotted as Norwich look to win the ball, unfairly, Cambridge have the free-kick 30 or so yards out left of the box Jenkins floating the delivery in towards the far post area Armstrong coming for it makes the catch. Cambridge showing more energy at the start of the 2nd half determined to press Norwich on the all higher up the pitch. Gale fouled on halfway trying to hold the ball up.

   Good work from Gale back to goal holds the ball up Hewitt coming on looks to play her in, Smith getting back to close her down regain possession for Norwich. Neal getting hold of the ball in the middle long for Gale peeling away into space on the left taking the ball up the pitch sends the cross back in across the front of the area Whitehurst brought down in a dangerous position. 22 yards out Jenkins on it is encouraged to have a go gets the ball past the wall but not Armstrong the keeper well positioned beyond.

   Are a few physical challenges both benches showing frustration at some decisions being made, one questioned by the Cambridge management as Howlett is sent sprawling on the right the free-kick played in towards the near post is over Diston, Gale beyond caught a little unaware expecting the defender to get there can’t get off the ground quick enough to meet it. Cook drives forwards with the ball played on for Garrett a dink over the top, Gough doing well getting her head on the ball defending for Cambridge.

  A good start to the 2nd half for Cambridge give away a free-kick wide on the right as Durrant attacks. The delivery defended back with Durrant played inside to Garrett top of the area right side strikes the ball well low in across the keeper, Pamplin down low to her right diving to push the ball away. Norwich make the 1st change of the match, Snelling the player taken off, on comes Rosie George. 

Hewitt coming on with the ball for Cambridge sets up an attack playing the ball out wide right to Shephard, taking the ball to the byline, attacked at the near post, both Neal and Blanchflower closing in Armstrong dong well in between the to claim the ball ends up on the deck, the decision going against Neal, clearly frustrated at being shown a yellow card.

Garrett coming for the ball has Smith running beyond her plays the ball on making a run to the left getting the return pass striking from outside the box the ball racing wide across the Cambridge goal. Armstrong rushing out of her box clears as Gale tries to get to a ball put on by Hewitt for Cambridge. Hewitt finding Gale on the left deep play switched to the right Shephard supported well by Howlett the cross in defended well by Parsons cleared central Cambridge have it back the pass out to Blanchflower on the left her 20 yards strike too high goes out for the goalkick.

The referee getting alot of stick from both sides frustrated at a lack of consistency, challenges coming the decisions being questioned. Cambridge much improved 2nd half, Norwich sitting more have the 2 goal cushion, the visitors needing to find a reply. Hewitt is brought down in a clumsy challenge left side. The ball flighted up into the area a defender missing it drops for Neal stooping low into the header can only drop the ball wide of the far post. Parker getting across in intercept inside the six yard box as Shephard plays the ball in from the right.

Burt is cautioned making a rash tackle on Garrett outside the area a free-kick in a dangerous position for Norwich, Parsons over it has a go for goal on target lacking the pace to trouble Pamplin. Parker is brought off by Norwich, Tigi Robson introduced to the action. The benches continuing to be be unhappy with the officials. Burt getting across to deal with Durrant as Garrett looks to find her on the right.

  Jenkins winning the ball brings it forwards on the left on for Blanchflower, her diagonal ball long to the right picking out Shephard shoots Parsons blocking once then again as Shephard collects the rebound. George gets played in behind by Garrett left of the D shoots, Pamplin holding onto the ball. Norwich make their final change Jodie Drake on for Cook. A double change for Cambridge, Blanchflower having picked up a knock along with Gale coming off. On come Holly Northfield and Charlotte Crisp. Neal and Shephard up into the area the ball played in the knock down back to Whitehurst her shot charged down by Parsons.

  Cambridge having a frustrating night, aggrieved at decisions being made adding to their woes the final ball not coming off, Norwich working hard to defend their lead. Parsons and Diston solid at the back, Garrett always available finding pockets of space ready for any counter attack. Daviss picking up possession on early for Garrett, one on one with the keeper coming to meet her edge of the area the ball past her Gough getting back to put the striker off as they race for goal.  

  Into the final minutes Cambridge cannot find that telling goal put pressure on Norwich risk getting caught on the counter have to commit player forwards. Whitehurst finding Shephard left side her cross driven in cleared by Parsons back to Shephard the 2nd cross deeper Drake heading clear at the far post for Norwich. 

 GOAL! The home side break getting the ball up the park quickly on the left the cross put across the face of the area finding Durrant unmarked shifts and shoots wrong footing Pamplin the ball going past her at the near post 3-0 the 3 points assured with so little time left on the clock. 

  Neal has a strike at goal from distance the attempt over the crossbar. Armstrong dropping a high cross delivered from the right but can pounce on the ball before it is attacked. Hewitt driving on with the ball central on for Whitehurst spreads play right for Howlett her cross in claimed at the near post confidently by Armstrong with Neal closing her down. Crisp getting the ball up into Neal she turns in an attempt to get into the box Parsons getting in the tackle. 

Full time Norwich City Ladies 3-0 Cambridge United WFC

  Norwich get the win their 2nd of the season both coming under the lights, climb all the way up to 7th position as a result. By far the better side 1st half capitalising with 2 goals. Happy to defend more 2nd half were solid coping with the pressure Cambridge applied getting the 3rd goal at the death. A bad night at the office for Cambridge one to chalk off on the back foot from the start the 1st half not good at all improved 2nd half and had they found a reply may well have gone on to get something from the game. Both are at home in 3rd Round Qualifying of the FA Women’s Cup on Sunday, Norwich take on Enfield, Cambridge up against Stevenage Ladies.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Ultimately I’d narrowed this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match down to two contenders by the time the game had finished but not having to choose right away it’s always good to take a look back at the notes still a hard choice Chelsea Garrett doing very well leading the line for Norwich up front creating chances and drawing players out of position, bringing others into good shooting positions. At the back however Kate Parsons was a rock very experienced has been out for Norwich for quite awhile with injury now back she is looking sharp played well putting in the blocks keeping Cambridge’s chances inside the area to a minimum. The Player of the Match goes to the central defender.

   Always enjoy a game under the lights not necessarily getting up early to write the report afterwards though. My thanks to both teams for helping me out with the teams always appreciated. 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage Ladies

Wednesday 12th September

FAWNL South East Division One

Midweek action under the floodlights this Wednesday with a trip to The Abbey Stadium to watch Cambridge United WFC take on Stevenage Ladies in FAWNL South East Division One.

  Cambridge United WFC missing out on the opportunity to play at The Abbey Stadium late last season get an early chance this time round to showcase their talents under the floodlights at the League Two ground. Women’s sides getting more opportunities to play at their respective men’s clubs than ever before.

  4 games into the season and Cambridge United WFC have 4 points from 3 league games played, started the season well with a draw and a win away from home a good result in the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup followed before they suffered their 1st loss of the season at the weekend going down to a stoppage time winner. The two promoted sides, Billericay Town Ladies and Crawley Wasps Ladies getting off to a flyer winning all of their games, Cambridge are amongst a cluster of sides below on 4 points looking to catch them.

   Stevenage Ladies come in to tonight’s game at The Abbey Stadium on the back of 3 straight defeats in all competitions having won their opening match of the season. Like Cambridge are bedding in a few new signings with Mark Dicker taking up the reins as 1st team manager. As great an opportunity this is for Cambridge, their opponents should relish the chance too.

  As you’d expect from a League club ground at the start of the season the pitch is immaculate, no excuses about bobbles tonight. Is a wide pitch so their will be plenty of space to exploit. The mainstand open, hot food and drink available with the Dion Dublin Bar also open. A pleasant evening dry and calm perfect weather for football.

Cambridge United starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Fran Gough, Amy Howlett, Kelly Bingham, Amber Cantwell, Becky Shephard, Vicky Neal & Kelley Blanchflower (C). Subs – Liz Pamplin, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Faith Hewitt, Mollie Coupar & Kirsten Burt.

 Stevenage Ladies starting XI – Hannah Vandersluis, Erin Pope, Paige Logie (C), Dominique Godbeer, Charlotte Ryan, Kristi Burling, Ellie Searle, Shona Chitate, Ashleigh Deacon, Amy Makewell & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Amy Josland, Jodie Whitford-Stark & Poppy Bennett.

The teams lining up before the match

It’s the hosts Cambridge to get the match underway kicking off 1st half, wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Stevenage lining up opposite wearing white shirt with red vertical striping along with red shirts and socks. A couple of strong challenges put in early on from Stevenage as Cambridge look to work the ball forwards, its as the visitors get hold of the ball that Cambridge win it back in the middle of the park Amy Howlett bringing it on central aims to release Becky Shephard making an attacking run on the left cutting inside towards the edge of the area Stevenage goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis alert out to the edge of her area gathers the through ball before the Cambridge winger can latch onto it.

   Play is turned around quickly by Stevenage defending on the left side the ball cleared up to Ashleigh Deacon in a central position she spots striker Nicole Emmings making a run into space on the right sending the ball on for her Emmings takes it on into the box shooting from the angle sends the ball racing low past the the diving keeper Savannah Smith but also wide of the far post. Deacon cutting inside from the right 25 yards out lines up a strike the ball charged down by Fran Gough in the Cambridge defence.

  A good tempo to the match both sides relishing the opportunity Kelly Bingham winning the ball in midfield for the hosts lays it back to left back Carrie Bennett, she goes long with Shephard eager to race in behind for the left the bouncing ball too close to the keeper however Vandersluis positioned high catches the ball. No one spending any time on the ball often leads to defence turned into counter attack, Cambridge captain Kelley Blanchflower has a chance a central run into the box the ball driven into her path taking it left of goal looks to put the shot back across the keeper with the outside of her boot, Vandersluis drifting towards her near post can claim the ball.

  Up the other end Smith comes out to block Emmings as she is played in behind by Deacon taking up a good central position as Stevenage attack. A set-piece for Stevenage wide on the left the ball delivered high towards those gathering at the top of the Cambridge area, it’s Kayleigh-Anne Burt defending for the hosts that headers the ball clear. Cambridge are looking to peel off the full-backs get in behind Vicky Neal up with Blanchflower the latter almost succeeds central only Vandersluis’ quick reactions coming to the edge of her box to slide in to stop the ball prevents a shot, colliding with Blanchflower the contact accidental.

   A good spell from Cambridge, attacking Shephard left sends a pacy ball into the area that evades everyone, the ball retrieved on the right side players are drawn towards it as the driven ball on the diagonal is sent in towards goal running wide Shephard tries to throw herself at the ball with Vandersulis diving for it gets the ball past the keeper lands in the side netting wide. Smith back on her goal line is well placed to catch the ball as Shona Chitate digs a snap shot out of her feet from 20 yards out. Room for Deacon on the right bringing the ball on for Stevenage players breaking into the box her cross sent in low near post is defended by Cambridge out for a corner with Amy Makewell attacking it.

   Cambridge break forwards Howlett central carrying it into the Stevenage half has Shepherd ahead of her cutting in behind from the left, Charlotte Ryan defending centrally for Stevenage gets in front of the Cambridge winger inside the area shielding the ball well allowing Vandersluis to gather safely. Neal’s turn to get in behind on the left holding up the ball sends the cross in long across the face of goal Blanchflower coming in far post the target, Stevenage captain Paige Logie does well to intercept and putting behind for a corner so close to her goal. 

   Neal once again moving to the right  to receive the ball wide has Abi Davies breaking forwards inside her lays the ball into the speeding full backs path Davies shot from range charged down the ball rebounding away for a corner on the right. A good deliver in central under the bar Vandersluis doing well to glove the ball up and on towards the far post, Cambridge’s Gough leaping heads the ball back in towards goal blocked Stevenage defend the ball eventually behind for the goalkick.

  Is a good contest both sides looking to attack quickly sees the attackers from both sides looking to exploit pockets of space. Dominique Godbeer sliding in to challenge Howlett outside the box left of goal as she looks to burst inside receive the return ball from Shephard on the left. Neal charges down Vandersluis as she attempts to kick the ball long from the top of the area, no control over where the rebound goes it’s deflected behind wide of goal. Bennett with a vital interception as Stevenage play the diagonal ball long from the left with Deacon away on the right.

   Breaking Stevenage’s Kristi Burling on for Chitate the pass forwards into Emmings, tries the back heel to try and put strike partner Makewell in behind the Cambridge defence, Gough isn’t fooled turns and cuts the ball out. Shephard and Neal combine in attack Shephard coming forwards passing the ball inside to Neal 25 yards out continues her run past her Neal shifting the ball on into her path edge of the area central Shephard looks to place her shot past the advancing keeper places the ball wide of the goal beyond.

   Howlett brought down as she tries to get forwards left side combine with Neal. A good position 25 yards out left of the D, Cantwell on the ball sends a rising ball in towards goal, off target however as Vandersulis coming across to the near post can watch in drop harmlessly wide. Emmings coming near post sees the ball into her low from Ellie Searle on the left, attempting to control and turn goalwards Gough gets the tackle in. 

A throw in for Cambridge left as they come forwards the ball finding it’s way into Blanchflower controlling inside the box turns her marker making room for a shot plays the ball straight at the keeper. Burling and Searle working together left side a cross squared inside to Makewell 20 yards out her shot charged down by Burt. Stevenage pressing late on in the first half win a corner right side a good delivery in close to goal Smith gloving the ball away dropping far post little time to react volleys the ball up over the crossbar. 

  Attacks in the closing moments of the 1st 45 a free-kick played in from wide left for Stevenage Chitate stooping to header the ball right on the edge of the area sees her effort take a deflection wide. Howlett leaning back to strike the ball coming into her from 20 yards out as Cambridge attack across the face of the Stevenage area sees her effort swerve wide of target. A late break Blanchflower picking up the ball looks for options Shephard with a central run Blanchflower tries to play her in Logie doing well for Stevenage sliding in to intercept the ball. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage Ladies

  A good contest ends in stalemate at the break neither side finding a clinical edge both attacking with purpose with no one taking time on the ball a high tempo has seen passes rushed and quality through the middle at a premium defences doing well. The attackers all wanting to drift into space haven’t been able to combine where it matters inside the box. Will that change in the 2nd half?

2nd half huddles

Stevenage to get thing’s underway in the 2nd period. Cambridge get hold of the ball and coming forwards win themselves a corner on the left. A long delivery Stevenage can’t get the ball away as Howlett plays it back in towards Blanchflower comes in, Ryan defending for the visitors to prevent a shot on goal. A shirt pull spotted by the referee earns Abi Davies a card for Cambridge joining the Makewell in the book who was cautioned first half. The set-piece wide right driven in low towards the near post Emmings there can’t get a clean connection the chance gone.

   Searle picks up the ball driving forwards attempts the diagonal pass out for Deacon on the right, Burt making the interception for Cambridge. Neal is a presence for Cambridge up front working hard to pull the Stevenage defence towards her, her persistence on the left bringing a corner kick. Cantwell to play the ball into the area, Burt coming towards the ball plays it back to the corner taker Cantwell dropping her shoulder cutting past a challenge sends a low cross in towards the near post Gough is there can’t quite get the ball out from under her feet before Stevenage’s Ryan closes her down.

    The ball given to her as she breaks clear on the left Stevenage’s Searle looks to strike the ball in towards goal from the top of the area, Smith with the save diving to her right to push the ball away. The tempo reduced 2nd half both sides still attacking and counter attacking the ball is rarely still. Gough fouls Makewell in a dangerous position central 20 yards out. It’s the Stevenage striker to take it striking the ball in low towards goal finds it’s way through unimpeded straight at Smith however back on her line the keeper coming forwards to gather the ball.

   Both sides make a change within minutes of each other Deacon coming off for Stevenage is replaced by Amy Josland. Faith Hewitt on for Cambridge replaced Shephard. Blanchflower looks to get in behind on the left Pope and Ryan closing her down. 

  Penalty! Cambridge are awarded a spot kick as Neal s checked inside the box as she goes to strike the ball played into her from Hewitt on the left. A chance for taker Howlett to put the hosts into the lead, looking to place the ball high to the right misses the score remains 0-0. 

   Stevenage are fired up now feel aggrieved with the penalty award, Howlett gets back on the ball a strong run into the area right of goal fires a squared ball across the Stevenage six yard box, Ryan clearing for Stevenage. Closing in on the final 15 minutes Cambridge probing put a few long range balls into the Stevenage area, Godbeer and Ryan both winning it for the visitors. A second substitution for Stevenage, Pope coming off with Poppy Bennett. Attacking right side the diagonal ball finding Searle coming in field from the left strikes the ball from the top of the area her effort narrowly over the bar, a corner awarded nicking off a Cambridge body on it’s way through. Gough winning the ball for Cambridge from the set-piece.

  Blanchflower breaking away into the clear on the right as the diagonal pass put long picks her out taking the ball on into the box strikes across the ball on the angle Vandersluis throwing her gloves out to make the save deflects it central, Neal in on the follow up, so to is Ryan the defender doing superbly to get the ball clear in front of goal. 

  A goal now would surely be the winner both sides thinking it is there for the taking Howlett with Cantwell in the middle played on for Blanchflower to the right brings the ball inside across the top of the area determined to get a shot away fired in towards the Stevenage goal Bennett blocks for the visitors. Jodie Whitford-Stark comes on as Stevenage make their final substitution Burling coming off. The substitute with a chance to strike the ball early on laid back to her from inside the box off a throw on the right the ball won’t sit for her as Whitford-Stark sends it over. 

  A free-kick awarded on half way for Cambridge, Cantwell with a good delivery into the area for a moment it looks like Burt might have stolen in behind to attack the far post, Vandersluis managing to get the ball away. Cambridge come close to breaking the stalemate once more Neal with the chance stooping into a header as she positions herself near post the cross played in from the right, Vandersluis diving for it the ball evading her skips out of play off the base of the post. 

  Cambridge press late on Stevenage hit them on the break the ball fired long up field Emmings getting the better of the defence to strike the ball from just inside the box sees her attempt whistle over the crossbar. Ryan defending up the other end as Howlett looks to break forwards onto the ball played in from the right the Stevenage centre back putting in the tackle as Howlett lines up a shot. 

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Stevenage Ladies

  The final whistle blows and it’s a point a piece as the sides play out a goalless draw. Another point on the board for Cambridge, Stevenage ending their run of losses. Neither side with be happy with the result as both should feel they could have won the game. Cambridge coming the closet. More clinical finishing was needed however defences on top with little time was devoted to the ball in the middle of the park. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a difficult one, defenders on top ultimately especially through the middle. All did a good job, one edging it for me and that is Stevenage Ladies, Charlotte Ryan who made some well timed and important challenges throughout the match.

Nice to see a game under the lights, a great venue and hopefully Cambridge United WFC will get another opportunity to play there soon. My thanks to everyone for their help this evening.

 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v C&K Basildon Ladies

Sunday 2nd September

FAWNL Cup Determining Round

 The sun has made a welcome return for the start of September as the FAWNL Cup begins with it’s traditional Determining Round all the FAWNL sides contesting the winners going on to compete for the Cup the losing sides going on to play for the Plate. A trip to Mildenhall Town FC this Sunday, the home of South East Division One side, Cambridge United WFC as they take on Southern Premier Division side, C&K Basildon Ladies.

  The FAWNL the new name for the league known as the National League now as a pose the previously being called the FAWPL (Premier League) the format of the leagues still the same two ‘Premier’ Divisions, Northern and Southern and four regional Division One’s, South East, South West, Midlands and Northern. 72 sides in all. Alot of changes in regards to the teams within following the restructure and new licences issued to clubs joining the FAWSL. Player movement on the whole has been at it’s highest levels too this close season. 

Cambridge United WFC amongst those that have brought in several new faces which include Vicky Neal who has played for Watford FC Ladies whilst they were in FAWSL 2. Attacker Becky Shephard who has scored plenty of goals at every club she’s been at rising through the women’s football pyramid was at ERWFL Premier Division side, Royston Town Ladies last season. Kelly Bingham joins having played for the likes of Watford and MK Dons previously. Steph Gale has 8 years playing experience in the USA, was at Luton Town Ladies for a spell last season. Abi Davies enjoyed a good season with Histon Ladies last campaign. Emily Smith from Peterborough United Ladies and Albany Hodgson with King’s Lynn Town Ladies will also be looking to progress.

Cambridge’s reserves squad will be playing in the FAWNL Southern/South East Reserves league this coming season. The First team has started the season well unbeaten in their opening two league games a draw and a win against AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Leyton Orient WFC who were both in the hunt for the title last season.

A whole new era for C&K Basildon Ladies, the Essex side making a rapid rise through the leagues, achieved their highest ever finish last season, runners-up to Charlton Athletic Women in the FAWPL Southern Premier Division. For all that time the club has been well supported financially by Peter King, whose passion for the side saw it become one of the leading forces for women’s football in Essex. Peter King has now retired and this signals a new beginning for C&K Basildon Ladies, not that Peter won’t be around.

  Gone is manager Steve Tilson and almost all of the 1st team squad from last season. A new side, players brought in the emphasis very much on youth. A good base for this is last season’s Development squad that won the FAWPL Southern/South East Reserves league last season. Les Thompson managing that side is joined Luke Pierre in managing the new look team. Alex Bailess handed the captain’s armband. Courtney Clarke is the latest addition to the squad the former Writtle forward adding a goal threat up front. Two big losses to begin the new league campaign against Portsmouth and Cardiff a team that has to hit the ground running alot to ask, but confidence is high within the squad that is getting to grips with what the management team is asking of them.

 The FAWNL Cup Determining Round a distraction from the league clubs have approached it in various ways in the past, with no one knocked at this stage, and ending up playing for the Plate is no less important, silverware is silverware just as Lewes FC Women and West Ham United Women.

  Mildenhall Town FC the venue for today’s match, been here several times before but for anyone who hasn’t it is distinctive for its sloped pitch from one goal mouth to the other. An immaculate playing surface too offering plenty of width. New dugouts a clubhouse beside the pitch. A contrast from last Sunday, raining everywhere, today the sun is high in a clear blue sky. 

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Fran Gough, Kelly Bingham, Amy Howlett, Amber Cantwell, Becky Shephard, Kelley Blanchflower (C) & Steph Gale. Subs – Emma Jenkins, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Holly Northfield, Faith Hewitt & Mollie Coupar.

C&K Basildon Ladies starting XI – Chelsea Hinz, Grace Gillard, Danielle Sillitoe, Nicola Moore, Alex Bailess (C), Madelyn Thomas, Sophie Rhodes, Gemma Abela, Katie Whitehead, Courtney Clarke & Ella Tooley. Subs – Jodie Osborne & Madelene Wright.

  It’s Cambridge to get the game underway attacking up the slope in the 1st half, Vicky Neal out and Emma Jenkins on the bench, Fran Gough and Abi Davies make up the right side of the defence for today’s game. Wearing their home colours amber shirts with black shorts and socks. Basildon have a few players unavailable for the match themselves, are kitted out in an all blue kit. The ball played up the left by Becky Shephard her through ball gives Basildon goalkeeper Chelsea Hinz an early claim inside her box.

  At the other end Cambridge goalkeeper, Savannah Smith is quick to race out of her box clear the threat as Basildon build with pace on the right Courtney Clarke looking to play the ball on for Ella Tooley trying to break in behind. The game has started at a quick pace Cambridge attack Gale coming to the halfway line to receive the ball tries to get Kelley Blanchflower away into the right channel, Hinz reaching the ball first. The ball fired into the Cambridge area from the left a deep cross, Kayleigh-Anne Burt clears for a throw on the left. Katie Whitehead and Gemma Abela combine from the throw-in Whitehead sending a cross into the area claimed by Smith.

C&K Basildon Ladies, Sophie Rhodes

  Despite the heat both sides are attacking the ball, pressing time to settle at a premium, Nicola Moore breaking up a Cambridge forward move the ball played out to Whitehead on the left, her pass forwards cutting open the Cambridge defence no one there to attack the ball as Fran Gough sweeps the ball away. A hopeful effort from Alex Bailess a long way out on the left side falls wide of Smith’s far post.

C&K Basildon Ladies captain, Alex Bailess

  Davies with a great ball forwards causes problems for the Basildon defence as Steph Gale strong outwits her marker and getting free for a shot on the edge of the box can’t open up her body enough to curl the ball in on target as it spins out of play for a goalkick. Cambridge are beginning to build some momentum Davies able to get ahead of the attackers to put a cross in sees her initial effort blocked by Grace Gillard the ball coming back out to Amy Howlett wide on the wing a dangerous ball flighted high into the box, Hinz is able to claim it high without challenge on her goal line.

Basildon have tried it a couple of times already and this time it almost comes off as they build on the right Clarke deeper playing the ball through for Tooley running clear can reach it just before the onrushing Smith can close her down outside the area, lobbing the keeper is always a heart-stopping moment when the ball goes over the keeper, turning though Smith sees Tooley’s effort sail over her crossbar.

Kelly Bingham is reading the game well in the middle of the park, Basildon are looking to attack quickly the midfielder breaking up play setting Cambridge up for an attack of their own. The ball played forwards is retrieved by Gale on the touchline left side of the area, time to place her cross Blanchflower is making a good near post run, the ball coming into her, closely marked by Gillard the Basildon defender does brilliantly to deny the chance.

  Blanchflower and Gale are looking a threat up top for Cambridge linking up well both searching for pockets of space to run into, combine on the right as they bring the ball forwards a one two on the corner of the area Gale’s cross in sliced lands in the side netting. Clarke hasn’t had much opportunity to get into the box for Basildon early on does so as the visitors have a throw in the left the cross fired into her left side a good first touch to evade her marker half a yard for a shot on target but straight down Smith’s throat.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell

  Now my handwriting is abysmal at the best of times but today it’s suffering badly no sooner has one attack finished the ball is down the other end, high tempo Cambridge get a corner, Amber Cantwell over the ball a great delivery long dropping at the far post Gale I think gets something on the ball to divert it goalwards from inside the six yard box Basildon though have numbers back somehow they keep the ball out. Basildon break on the left, Whitehead with Tooley inside her have Davies outnumbered the right back reading the situation perfectly to cut it Whitehead’s intended through ball. A free-kick almost in the corner right side for Basildon the ball stood up across goal Smith goes to glove it away misses as does Clarke jumping unmarked behind her.

   GOAL! 20 minutes played and Cambridge take the lead it’s Cantwell on the ball in the middle of the park with a fantastic diagonal pass to send Blanchflower clear on the right shooting from the top of the area sends the ball up over Hinz to drop into the back of the net 1-0.

Cambridge United WFC captain and goalscorer, Kelley Blanchflower pictured with C&K Basildon’s Grace Gillard

   Basildon press the ball Madelyn Thomas getting clear in the middle to play the ball on for Tooley in attack 25 yards from goal Abela is close by given the ball she takes on the shot a curling effort that falls wide of the goalpost. Cambridge are looking the stronger of the two sides Shephard, Cantwell and Howlett through the middle all looking to support Blanchflower and Gale in attack. Cantwell drifting into space on the right sees her cross deflect of Gillard favourably for Hinz to claim in the box. 

  Howlett with a diagonal ball out to Shephard on the left on with the ball swings in a cross Blanchflower attacking it far post her header downwards taking the ball wide of the upright. Bailess comes left to intercept as Blanchflower looks to run clear on the right. Cambridge press the attack Shephard’s cross almost headed in off a Basildon head as the clearance is made but an offside flag would have saved the day. 

  Bingham bringing the ball on looks to combine with Blanchflower and Gale, Basildon getting numbers back, as Moore clears the ball. Gillard defends well nipping in between Blanchflower and Gale on the right as they look to get into the area. A few tackles coming in but nothing malicious such is the high tempo of the contest. Howlett sliding in on Bailess one such example but little complaint from either side. 

Tackles, Cambridge’s Amy Howlett slides in to win the ball from Alex Bailess

  Cantwell with an ambitious effort all of 40 yards out perhaps intended for Gale left of the D the striker dummies letting the ball run on towards goal, Hinz though has time to set herself to gather cleanly inside her six yard box. Cantwell is upended inside the Basildon half top of the circle picks herself up to take a god delivery into the box Cambridge have runners one connects with the ball Blanchflower I think but the effort is over so she might say it was somebody else.

  One last attack in the first half for Basildon Gillard getting down the left to support Whitehead, getting her return ball the full back sends a cross in deep towards Clarke, outside the area right of the D good control the attacker spins into the shot, her low effort seeing Smith produce an excellent save diving to her left to push the ball away from goal then scramble to smother the ball.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 C&K Basildon Ladies

  A narrow lead for the lower league side at the break, Cambridge go into the dressing room 1-0 to the good following Blanchflower’s 20th minute strike. Have been the better side pressing the ball all over the pitch ad finding space to exploit. Bingham breaking up attacks regularly in the middle. Basildon have worked hard themselves high tempo looking to get the ball into their attacking players whenever they can just haven’t found the room on the the wings Cambridge have. Still with such a narrow lead Basildon are far from out of it and you feel Cambridge need another goal to press home their advantage.

 

 Needed to retreat to the shade 2nd half or risk becoming a lobster so to the stands on the opposite side, sheltering from the rain last Sunday I suppose I shouldn’t complain. No changes for either side during the interval, Basildon to get thing’s underway attacking up the slope. The visitors making ground on the left Whitehead getting a throw in. Whitehead does well to get a cross into the area high at the far post Burt gets her head on it and knocking the ball up does well defensively as Clarke puts pressure on her getting the ball out to Shephard to launch clear.

 Strength shown by Blanchflower in attack as play s stretched Basildon players caught up-field as the ball is driven forwards at pace along the ground 25 yards out robs the Basildon defence and heads for goal left side Hinz comes to close the angle sliding saves with her legs as Blanchflower unleashes a shot saved the rebound comes to Gale central, little time to adjust sends her effort over.

C&K Basildon Ladies goalkeeper, Chelsea Hinz

A free-kick for the home side as Bennett is fouled coming forwards, wide on the left Shephard rises to head the ball down top of the area, on for Gale, she can’t shake off Bailess as she aims to take a shot from the top of the area, the Basildon captain having none of it. Is a big pitch and with so much put into the contest first half more space is opening up. Clarke strong on the right side for Basildon tries to power her way forwards Bingham getting across to support Bennett and Burt.

C&K Basildon Ladies, Madelyn Thomas, looks to get away from Cambridge’s Abi Davies

Whitehead attacking left side has a throw moves into the area herself as the cross is played into her tries to drag the ball under her feet turn into a shot Cambridge defend close quarters the ball coming to Thomas at the top of the D, takes on the shot slices her effort wide across the Cambridge goal. Smith is called into action racing out to close Tooley down on the right side of her box as the attacker looks to burst in on Clarke’s forward pass, the goalkeeper sliding in to make the vital touch. Gale finds herself free on the right space to run into fires in a dangerous ball full of pace across the Basildon goal, Blanchflower attacking it but excellent defending from Moore the ball out for a corner.

Cambridge United WFC goalkeeper, Savannah Smith

GOAL! Cambridge get the goal they needed taking a 2-0 lead in the match 10 minutes into the 2nd the ball to be played in from the left into a crowded six yard box. Gale central gets her head on the ball turns it goalwards the ball is scrambled off the line but far from safety as players from both sides go for it the ball popping up kindly for Burt at the near post, Cambridge United’s club captain heading home from close range for her 2nd goal of the season.

The scorer of Cambridge United WFC’s 2nd goal. Kayleigh-Anne Burt

Cambridge are looking strong in attack Shephard bringing the ball on down the left plays the ball inside to Blanchflower, twice she takes on the shot, both times the Basildon defence block. A corner won taken short up the line the ball swung into the area Hinz claims it well under pressure as Burt closes her down at the near post. Davies sends the ball out to Gale moving right coming inside the attack the area Moore stands up well against her to win the ball. Cambridge are enjoying a dominant spell Basildon have let their heads drop a little.

Gough defends inside her area as Clarke coming left with the ball looks to play Whitehead on on goal. Getting forwards down the left Shephard is tackled b Rhodes before she can line up the cross. Howlett comes forwards with the ball for Cambridge into space before setting up Blanchflower for a shot inside the box coming in from the right, Hinz saving well at her near post conceding the corner, a long delivery from the right goes all the way out to the left before being played back in towards the near post Hinz running in to catch the ball low.

Basildon keep attacking when they can get the ball forwards, Clarke looking the most likely to make something happen as she and Tooley drift across to the left side of the Cambridge area as Whitehead surges forwards with the ball at her feet on the left her pass inside finding Clarke positioned just outside the area, she aims to set up Tooley for a shot, Cantwell back in the box defending intercepts launching the ball out of the ground for what must be the dozenth time. (was Cantwell every time mind you).

 Cambridge make the first change of the game, Gale the player coming off, Mollie Coupar the player coming on Shephard switching to the right. Clarke coming deeper for the ball powers on through the middle moving left the pass played on for Whitehead playing off the shoulder of Davies at right back strong cuts inside and despite being challenged gets a shot away from the top of the area her low drive held by Smith. Bailess takes on a very ambitious lob from distance with Smith well off her line and backpedalling Smith isn’t sure where its going to land until it lands behind her goal.

Cambridge’s Abi Davies with C&K Basildon’s Katie Whitehead

  Gillard gets her head on the ball as Howlett runs into the space vacated by Shephard on the right as she takes the ball inside before laying it off for Blanchflower who has seen Howlett’s run. A vital header by the defender. Cambridge are getting a little sloppy giving the ball away Basildon are pushing on are leaving space in behind now but can sense they might get a goal back. The visitors with a free-kick wide on the right players forwards into the box, Tooley near post the target Burt defending well for Cambridge. 

  Basildon hit the woodwork a fantastic strike from distance on the right side as Thomas allowed time on the ball lays the pass across the Sillitoe on the right hits it well racing in across the Cambridge goal throwing herself at it Smith is beaten, the ball cannoning off the woodwork. Basildon press the ball high up the pitch a free-kick won on the left 30 yards from goal a chance for Abela to play it in the delivery long to the far post is unchallenged runs out of play. 

 With Basildon attacking in force as the game nears the end Cambridge have the opportunity to hit them on the counter the ball won on the left played on for Coupar making a run into the area gets her shot up over the keeper as she comes sliding in to close her down, the attempt fired over the bar. A 2nd change for Cambridge Howlett the player coming off, on comes Gabrielle Whitehurst into the midfield. 

C&K Basildon Ladies, Courtney Clarke

  Clarke on the ball right side takes on the shot from all of 30 yards her effort bouncing harmlessly wide of the Cambridge goal. Clarke with energy to take on the Cambridge defence late on in the match fires a cross in from the top of the area a favourable deflection off a Cambridge defender almost sends it into the path of Whitehead clear at the far post but she cannot get a touch on the ball. One last effort to pull a goal back Basildon pushing Cambridge back Bennett is adjudged to have handled the ball (just) outside the area central inside the D the ball is placed Clarke on it goes for goal on target Smith is right behind it.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 2-0 C&K Basildon Ladies

  2-0 win for Cambridge they advance to enter the FAWNL Cup proper C&K Basildon will now contest for the Plate. A fast paced game especially first half, everyone pressing the ball little time given in possession affected the quality somewhat but nevertheless highly entertaining. I watch the game once and can pick the tempo right up again with my notes it felt like I was writing this at a higher tempo too. Cambridge were the better side deserved the win but certainly needed the 2nd goal. Basildon never lost faith kept attacking rather than settle deep and defend at all costs credit to them, will grow as a team. Need to get a win under their belts to bolster the confidence. Cambridge  

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Picking today’s  Women’s Football East – Player of the Match is a relatively straight forwards affair looked good in attack players getting forwards to support Gale and Blanchflower. It was central midfield however where they had their linchpin new signing Kelly Bingham breaking up a tremendous amount of Basildon attacks which ultimately prevented the visitors getting forwards with the numbers they would have liked.

  Am enjoying the start to the season another enjoyable match report to write-up. My thanks to both sides for the team details and Les Thompson and Luke Pierre of C&K Basildon Ladies for taking the time to chat before the match.