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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.

Cup Final Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

Thursday 10th May

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

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

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

Road to the Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

(roll on roll off substitutes)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura Baker about to tackle Stacey Fullicks

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

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

Cambridge City Ladies captain, Becca Fay

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

Cambridge City Ladies, Grace Stanley

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

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

Amy Howlett opens the scoring for Cambridge United WFC

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

Cambridge City Ladies midfielder, Anna Kanz

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

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

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

Laura Mills on the attack for Cambridge City

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

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

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

Cambridge United WFC’s Laura Baker

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

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

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

Cambridge United WFC’s Emma Jenkins

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

Cambridge City Ladies, Stacey Fullicks

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

Faith Hewitt on the attack for Cambridge United WFC

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

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

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

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

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 3-1 Cambridge United WFC

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

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

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

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Enfield Town Ladies

Sunday 29th April

A game from FAWPL South East Division One this afternoon on Women’s Football East back to Mildenhall Town FC for one last time this season to watch Cambridge United WFC take on Enfield Town Ladies.

 A change of venue unfortunately Cambridge United WFC as they were scheduled to play at The Abbey Stadium. The pitch deemed unplayable the game switched back to their usual home ground at Mildenhall, that pitch looking in fantastic condition considering the stage of the season at the amount of games played on it. A new metal fence fitted alongside the pitch too since my last visit. 

Today’s contest between the sides currently sitting 8th and 9th in the table. The A10 derby the sides have enjoyed many close contests over recent seasons. Cambridge United WFC have been in the top half of the table for much of the season, a transitional season with several new players haven’t captured the form from last season inconsistent haven’t picked up the points where they should recently dropping down the table as others below them find form at the end of the season, all very close in the middle of the table.

  Enfield Town Ladies themselves have had an up and down season losing games early on have since stabilised and  like Cambridge their results have varied in the bottom half of the table well clear of the danger zone. Playing their penultimate game of the season can’t finish any higher than 9th. Enfield are one of several sides I haven’t been able to get to watch a game this season so will be good to see them today

  The Mildenhall pitch a credit to the club especially with The Abbey Stadium pitch unfit. Described it several times before a slope from on goal mouth to the other. Plenty of width on offer. What’s happened to the weather? This time last week needed the suncream, not it’s back to being wet and miserable. Overcast a chilly a few spots of rain around. A monsoon heading our way tomorrow…wonderful…

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

Enfield Town Ladies starting XI – Kerrie Marlborough, Sheryce Slater, Cally Browne, Laura Elias, Claire Ford, Holly Brandon, Rhiannon Bassett, Olivia Martin, Regan Coleman (C), Lisa Kline & Katherine Long. Subs – Beth Dempsey, Andrea Hunyadi, Kally-Anne Westgarth & Katrina Martin.

  It’s Enfield to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with blue shorts and blue and white hooped socks with Cambridge attacking up the slope lined up opposite wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts black shorts and socks. The ball pinging around in the middle as both sides close the ball down quickly, Cambridge’s Laura Baker knocking it on through the middle for Kelley Blanchflower to run onto peeling away to the right, closed down she takes on the early shot looking to lob the ball in towards goal lacking height and power Enfield goalkeeper can gather safely.

   Cambridge regain possession in the centre Charlotte Crisp with the forwards pass Lauren Cartwright picking it up 20 yards out screws a rising shot wide of the target from 20 yards out. Katherine Long nicks in on Cambridge captain Laura Bright to take the ball in behind heads for the box, Bright quick to recover doesn’t let Long get a shot away stepping into the tackle to win the ball. 

Enfield Town Ladies, Katherine Long

  Cambridge push forwards the ball out to Blanchflower who has moved out to the left turns inside her ball into the area for Cartwright she lays it back to Faith Hewitt outside the area her ball for Amy Howlett to the right just a little too heavy inside the box, Howlett goes after it fires the ball back into the area, the shot is hit the ball heading towards goal Marlborough with the instinctive save stooping to parry the ball back out into bodies in front of her a 2nd shot comes in Marlborough making another reactive save to push the ball away to the left. 

Amy Howlett on the attack for Cambridge United WFC

 Lisa Kline bringing the ball on inside right lays it on for Coleman ahead of her Bright coming across wins the challenge. Cambridge come forwards on the left the ball played across field Emma Jenkins coming on through the middle helping it on for Howlett breaking clear on the right her cross into the box Blanchflower looking to get on the end of it Claire Ford defends for Enfield putting the ball behind for the corner kick. Long defending at the far post heads the ball clear for Enfield. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Emma Jenkins

  Enfield with a counter attack Coleman with the ball on the left her pass inside to Long, all of 30 yards out takes a pop at goal, doesn’t trouble Savannah Smith in the Cambridge goal. Smith creates her own trouble not long after a miscued kick from a pass back by Kayleigh-Anne Burt at the back on her left presents the ball straight to Kline, top of the area she looks to take a touch to round the keeper, Smith dives at her feet snatching the ball from the attacker. The match being played at the god tempo both sides exploiting the width on offer. 

Enfield Town Ladies captain, Regan Coleman

  Howlett with the run forwards the pass on for Blanchflower, Ford in to tackle the Cambridge attacker. Cambridge retain possession in the final third winning a corner on the right. A good delivery into the box Holly Brandon winning the ball for Enfield. Enfield look to build an attack Cambridge win it back turn play around quickly Bright on for Cartwright turning in behind, Laura Elias getting back on her to slide in and tackle. 

  Cambridge are playing well getting forwards win a corner on the left a good delivery in by Hewitt claimed high by Marlborough unchallenged at her near post. Elias with the tackle to take the ball away from Blanchflower on the right channel as Cartwright attempts to play her in on goal. Howlett looking to keep the ball in on the right is tackled by Cally Browne the ball out for a throw in. Cambridge press Enfield at the back the ball worked around the top of the area. Hewitt with a shot on the left 20 yards out falls wide of the near post.

  Enfield chances are rare a spell of possession brings them a corner on the right the ball attacked near post knocked down into the area as Cambridge defend then are awarded a free-kick. Burt defends well up against Kline as high ball is played up to her through the middle. Cartwright on the ball brings it on through the middle, Blanchflower moving right ahead of her helps the ball on for Howlett the cross in too close to the keeper Marlborough gathering at her near post. Hewitt breaking on the left receives a crossfield pass 20 yards from goal attempts to slide Blanchflower in on goal the attacker can’t quite reach it before Marlborough can claim it.

Cambridge United WFC defender, Kayleigh-Anne Burt

Enfield are restricted to shots from distance, Long’s effort charged down by Burt 25 yards out. Sheryce Slater with good defensive work at right back to get her head on the ball stop Hewitt from running in clear behind her. A good contest between Blanchflower in attack for Cambridge and Ford in defence for Enfield, Ford stands off Blanchflower this time as she shifts the ball outside the area left side gets a shot it bouncing wide across goal out the far side. Kline gathers the ball on the right as Enfield attack Carrie Bennett tackles her, Kline retains the ball coming inside Burt closes her down to deny her a shot on goal.

Claire Ford, defending for Enfield up against Kelley Blanchflower

  Elias with a good tackle inside the box as Howlett crosses the ball in from the right looking for Cartwright. Late into the 1st half Cambridge continue to attack Hewitt inside to Blanchflower played on to Howlett right side coming inside Browne puts in the blocking tackle right on the edge of the area, Howlett wriggles free with the ball taking it past her her strike at goal is grabbed by Marlborough. A late free-kick for Enfield inside the Cambridge half a fair way out but that doesn’t stop Slater taking on the shot her effort over.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Enfield Town Ladies

    Goalless at the break. Cambridge with an impressive 45 minutes have created most of the chances attacking well. Not using the ball as well as they could in the final third perhaps should have the lead but at 0-0 Enfield are very much still in the game have worked hard at the back defensively haven’t been able to retain the ball going forwards the game played at a high tempo. Will the chances be taken 2nd half.

  Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway attacking down the slope no changes for either side. Kline with an early opportunity to get on the attack for Enfield on the right receiving the ball from Rhiannon Bassett up the line her cross in won by Bright for Cambridge. The home side counter attack Baker on for Blanchflower her pass inside to Cartwright outside the area, Elias with the tackle for Enfield. A corner kick to Cambridge on the right a good delivery in as players crowd the near post goes long across goal Cartwright there can’t provide the telling touch to divert it over the line. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Lauren Cartwright

  Careless at the back form Cambridge attempting the back pas on the left side again Burt getting the ball back to the keeper, out wide the return ball intercepted by Coleman, Burt quickly on her forced to lunge in concedes the free-kick a dangerous position wide of goal, Slater forwards to take it her ball in across the six yard box Bright stepping out puts her head on it to clear for Cambridge. Get the ball up the other end win a corner on the right taken quickly Browne intercepts the ball turning it behind for a 2nd corner. 

Enfield Town Ladies, Sheryce Slater

  Enfield attack the ball on by Martin into Long right for Kline, Bennett clearing the ball, Long retrieves and is fouled another free-kick for Enfield right side Slater comes forwards to take once again a good ball into the area Long up highest heads the ball towards goal straight at Smith the goalkeeper takes the ball down into her body. 

 GOAL! An hour played and the dead lock is broken Cambridge taking the lead the home side with a rapid attack have Enfield stretched at the back the ball on through the middle for Blanchflower, top of the area Slater gets across to get her head on the ball knocking it away to the right Blanchflower goes after it is clipped in the process and although she stays on her feet the referee blows up pointing to the spot a penalty to Cambridge. Baker to take it. Coolly sends it low to the keepers left into the bottom corner of the goal 1-0.

Laura Baker, scores from the penalty spot for Cambridge United WFC

   Crisp is fouled on the left as she brings the ball on a free-kick to Cambridge players up as Hewitt sends the ball into the area Marlborough able to claim at her near post. Cambridge regain possession winning a throw on the right high up the pitch then get a corner the ball played into the six yard box is knocked out to the edge of the area Burt lashes a shot back in the ball charged down the rebound coming to Crisp her strike blocked at pointblank range as Enfield defend. 

  Ford with more good defensive work up against Blanchflower as she almost gets through on goal through the middle. A change for Enfield, Elias comes off Andrea Hunyadi on. Crisp with the pass out to Hewitt plays it on for Blanchflower moving left ahead of her, the cross in cut out by Brandon. A shot out of nothing for Enfield from 20 yards out drops wide of the near post as Long and Kline converge on the ball. A warning for Cambridge that for all their attacking play they lead is a slender one. 

Holly Brandon on the ball for Enfield Town Ladies

  Blanchflower takes the ball on down the left turning inside evading the challenge getting into the box closing in on goal opens up her body to send a shot wide over the keeper, not wide enough as Marlborough is able to pluck the rising ball out of the air. Enfield are pressing more forwards now Hunyadi in midfield getting the ball into Kline on the right, Burt tackling. Kline strong on the ball again the pass inside from the right into Long she chests it down 25 yards out looking to turn and shoot Jenkins gets across to take the ball away from her. Coleman sending the loose ball wide of goal.

   A double switch for Enfield, Browne and Bassett coming off, Beth Dempsey and Kally-Ann McGrath coming on. 10 minutes left on the clock Mollie Cougar being readied for Cambridge to replace Blanchflower up top. Cougar with an immediate impact picking the ball up from a throw on the left takes the ball on into the box the challenge against her deflecting the ball straight into the path of Crisp 20 yards out left of the D the ball not troubling Marlborough. 

Enfield’s Andrea Hunyadi and Cambridge’s Lauren Cartwright challenge for the ball

  Enfield are gaining a little momentum late on sensing they can get something in the closing stages push forwards. Cambridge caught in two minds defend what they have or go for a 2nd goal. Brandon winning the ball at the back on for McGrath she is tackled by Bennett the full back for Cambridge then getting fouled. Enfield on the attack late on win a free-kick on the right wide the ball played into the area plenty forwards Long heading the ball on another touch before Ford sends her header in towards goal Smith catching the ball, the final action of the game as Cambridge win the game 1-0 to secure the 3 points.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Enfield Town Ladies

   A good performance from Cambridge deserving of the 3 points creating plenty of opportunities going forwards unlucky not to be leading at half-time finally broke the dead-lock after an hour awarded a penalty and Baker stepping up to score. A narrow lead however and Enfield were never out of the game and one clinical chance might have been all they needed to take something from the game. Cambridge defending from the front turning play around quickly. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Today’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award goes to Cambridge’s Kelley Blanchflower. Led the line well ready for the ball whenever Cambridge turned play around, running into the channels and bringing others into play. Keeping the Enfield defence busy for the whole time she was on the pitch and winning the all important penalty.

Well it wasn’t The Abbey but good to go back to Mildenhall none the less. My thanks to Enfield for their help with the team details this afternoon. Less than a month of the season left, could say I’m winding down but I’d be lying, the next game will soon be around.

Match Report – Ipswich Town Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Sunday 25th February

A trip down into Suffolk today to watch a match from the FAWPL South East Division One. with 4th placed Ipswich Town Ladies taking on Cambridge United WFC in 6th.

  Been a while since I’ve been to the Goldstar Ground, home of Felixstowe & Walton FC and Ipswich Town Ladies now into their 2nd season as a regular at the venue. Always good to to see a club advertising the presence of a female side at their club too upon entry.

  A good season for Ipswich Town Ladies have been in an amongst the top 4 all season, at one point with Leyton Orient WFC and Milton Keynes Dons Ladies looking to push AFC Wimbledon Ladies all the way for top spot. A defeat at Leyton Orient WFC denting their own title hopes earlier in the season AFC Wimbledon have since moved on to take a commanding lead at the top of the table going 11 points clear. Ipswich Town Ladies have games in hand on the leaders but even with maximum points know only a slip up from AFC Wimbledon will let them back into the race now. things ca change however and Ipswich Town are aiming to finish the season as high as they can having won 8 of the 13 games they have played so far. Have Ipswich Town Talk helping with the media and they are doing a fantastic job helping promote them and adding to their exposure.

  Cambridge United WFC were in Ipswich’s position last season challenging for the title. This time around with alot of changes at the start of the season haven’t reached those heights are currently 6th in the table with the even record of 5 wins 5 draws and 5 losses from the 15 they have played very tight in the middle of the South East Division One table a late run of form could yet propel them up the table threaten the top 4, whilst keeping an eye on the sides below who fancy their chances of a top half finish. 

   Both sides are the leading women’s football sides in their respective counties and are going strong to once again retain their County Cups usually a close game between the sides. A win for Ipswich Town Ladies moves them up a place into 3rd.

  The last time I was here the new clubhouse and changing rooms were just a building site the foundations barely laid. The finished product is very impressive. The main building housing the bar and kitchen plenty of food and drink to chose from hot and cold. The changing rooms adjoining is an excellent environment for the Ipswich Town Ladies players to call home. Through the clubhouse out onto the pitch nice and wide surrounded by housing lost ball in gardens a highly likely occurrence. Promised to be a very cold weekend so I was fingers crossed Sunday morning the game would be on the Sunday was high in the sky however doing it’s best to warm thing’s up still bitterly cold bright and dry it was a good footballing afternoon. 

The new clubhouse at Felixstowe & Walton

Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI – Sian Fagg, Jacqueline Ball, Nicole Pannifer, Lindsey Cooper, Harriet Petley, Cassandra Craddock, Amanda Crump (C), Zoe Cossey, Sophie Welton, Natasha Thomas & Miagh Downey. Subs – Jordan Arnoup, Jade Henry & Gemma Moore.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Carolyn Sarafian, Laura Baker, Lauren Cartwright, Faith Hewitt, Amber Cantwell, Laura Bright (C) & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Michaela Dortch, Teonie Peyton & Lauren Gibson. 

It’s the visitors to kick-off the 1st half, Cambridge wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and socks with Ipswich lined up opposite their backs to the sun wearing blue shirts and socks with white shorts. A lively start to the game both sides looking to press the ball sees the ball lost by either side, Faith Hewitt looking to get clear down the left the ball out for a throw up the other end Miagh Downey is released into space down the left but can’t keep the ball in play. 

  Ipswich from a throw in left side work the ball in a neat triangle inside the Cambridge half before the final ball is sent in on the diagonal into the box , an easy gather for Cambridge goalkeeper Savannah Smith making her 2nd appearance since joining from Milton Keynes Dons Ladies. Cambridge win a free-kick wide right on halfway as Amber Cantwell is upended the ball played long up into the area won by Cambridge captain Laura Bright playing up top along side Kelley Blanchflower this afternoon the ball knocked out into the midfield the first time strike looks to be on Ipswich are quick to converge and regain possession.

Ipswich’s Cassie Craddock with Cambridge’s Laura Baker

   Cassie Craddock gets hold of the ball in the midfield for Ipswich moving right plays it forwards for Sophie Welton up the line she runs on with it cutting her cross back towards the top of the area, Ipswich captain Amanda Crump jumping to head the ball the looping ball angling towards the goal, Emma Jenkins gets behind it to head the ball away from danger. The tempo is very fast time on the ball at a premium Cambridge press winning the ball can’t keep it for long before Ipswich get back at them a little scrappy at times. Ipswich win a throw on the right side inside the Cambridge half between them Welton and Downey win a corner kick.

  GOAL! Coming up to 15 minutes on the clock Ipswich open the scoring from the corner kick Crump the taker a good delivery inswinging into the middle of the six yard box, Smith gets her gloves to the ball knocks it away the ball falling towards the top of the area Natasha Thomas has lost her marker, coming onto the falling ball strikes it first time the ball evading everyone and flying into the back of the net 1-0.

Natasha Thomas puts Ipswich Town Ladies into the lead

   The ball is sent forwards through the middle Blanchflower making a run across the Ipswich defence peels away in behind after it, Sian Fagg comes racing out to the edge of her area sliding in to claim the ball before the Cambridge striker can reach it. Bright and Blanchflower combine as Cambridge regain possession through Laura Baker the ball on by Bright left side Blanchflower in behind crosses into the area the ball going long Cantwell retrieves over on the right help from Jenkins the ball is fired back into the area the header won by Ipswich’s Lindsey Cooper. 

   Bright and Blanchflower with more good combination play in attack for Cambridge, Bright playing the ball on down the left makes a forwards run into the centre as Blanchflower squares the ball into her the ball is struck early 20 yards out swerves away from goal. Hewitt with a clever pass into Blanchflower who controls on her chest back to goal Lauren Cartwright makes the midfield run going beyond her Blanchflower putting the ball into her, taking it into the area left of goal Jac Ball and Hannah Petley close Cartwright down prevent her getting a shot away. 

Ipswich Town Ladies, Hannah Petley

  Welton has swapped sides with Zoe Cossey now on the right she is picked put by Petley bringing the ball out from the back, Cossey checks her run coming inside towards the top right corner of the area her shot/cross goes wide out at the far post. Cossey takes a knock for her efforts as she tracks back well to tackle Bennett as the full back goes past Hewitt on the overlap getting the return pass blocking the cross Bennett catches Cossey in the ankle the winger getting the free-kick.

Faith Hewitt with the ball for Cambridge United WFC

   A wide pitch both sides are looking to cross the ball in more than one cross ending up behind the goal. Runs through the middle are limited, Baker and Cartwright for Cambridge and Craddock and Crump for Ipswich doing a good job breaking up play. Cossey has a go picking up the ball wanting to run with it Hewitt chases her infield and slides in to win the ball. Downey comes deep to receive the ball a good turn and pass out to Cossey on the move down the right screws her cross onto the roof of the Cambridge net. Cambridge are unhappy with so of the refereeing decisions Blanchflower appearing to have her shirt tugged as she tries to spin in behind to attack the box, The referee having a word with the Cambridge bench.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Kelley Blanchflower

    Cambridge press on down the right with the ball Bright with Cantwell win the visitors a corner kick the ball is played out towards the top of the area met by Hewitt her strike is sent high over the crossbar. Cartwright is fouled as she brings the ball forwards taken short into Cantwell right she wins a throw put into Bright she holds the ball up rolled back into Cantwell her cross lifted into the box is won by Cooper. 

Keep your eyes on the ball

   Late into the 1st half is an even game quality in the final third lacking the hard pressing game continues in midfield, a 50/50 ball is won by Cambridge goes long forwards Blanchflower is onto it running clear of the Ipswich defence into the box right of goal Fagg comes running out sliding in brings Blanchflower down the referee points to the spot, PENALTY! Fagg is carded as Cantwell places the ball on the spot. Looks to place the ball to the keepers left, Fagg reads it however and throwing herself to the left makes a comfortable looking saves holding onto the ball.

Ipswich Town Ladies, goalkeeper Sian Fagg

 The opportunity for Cambridge to level the scores gone the game continues at a furious pace the ball from one end to the other possession lost too easily. Cantwell shes the ball played into her path as she makes a forwards run can’t bring it under control as Fagg closes her down to claim. Kayleigh-Anne Burt with the forwards pass for Bright on for Blanchflower a throw won on the left Cambridge get the ball into the Ipswich area, the home defence scramble it away Cambridge reclaim the ball come on again left side Hewitt on for Bennett the cross in towards the near post, Petley meeting the ball sees it skip up off her body to land onto the roof of her own net. A good delivery from the corner on the left the ball flying across the six yard box Carolyn Sarafain coming in at the far post can’t quite get on the end of it. 

Half-time Ipswich Town Ladies 1-0 Cambridge United WFC

   A narrow lead for Ipswich at half-time 1-0 thanks to Natasha Thomas. A fast paced first half but overall scrappy the tempo affecting play to a degree no one with any time to settle on the ball. Both managers frustrated few chances in the final 3rd the midfield has seen alot of the action fairly even very finely balanced with the 2nd half to come. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Carrie Bennett

  No changes for either side at half-time as Ipswich get the 2nd half underway. Cambridge with an early opportunity to put the ball into the Ipswich box winning a free-kick out wide on the right. Jenkins to take, sends the ball long towards the far post Cartwright with a good jump gets her head to the ball but can’t get enough on it to deflect it in towards goal runs wide out of play for the goal kick. Cambridge have started the 2nd half the better making progress on the left win a corner the delivery towards the top of the area flicked in towards goal, Fagg claims the ball inside her six yard box. 

Cambridge’s Lauren Cartwright looking to hold up the ball

  GOAL! Cambridge bright start to the 2nd half is undone as Ipswich get the ball up the other end quickly to double their lead. Cossey winning the ball at the back playing it long up towards Downey in the centre, the Cambridge defence looking to shield the ball as Smith comes racing out to lay claim to the ball. Downey is tenacious as she does well to get around her marker at the top of the area getting her foot onto the ball as she goes to ground pushing it past the advancing Smith and on into the back of the net beyond 2-0. 

Miagh Downey doubles the lead for Ipswich Town Ladies

   Hewitt is fouled in a dangerous position in front of the Ipswich area left of the D 25 yards out, Bright starting the 2nd half deeper in midfield to take goes for goal her effort on target lacking the pace or height to trouble Fagg. Baker is in an advanced position central as the ball is crossed into her from the right goes with the outside of her right foot attempting to play Hewitt in behind her ball going long runs out of play far post. Craddock with a good tackle wins the ball her pass out out to the right Downey gives chase sends her cross behind the Cambridge goal.

  GOAL! 15 minutes into the 2nd half and Cambridge pull a goal back. Players drifting over to the left side as Cambridge build good work from Blanchflower as she receives the ball holding it up before sending a cross in across the top of the area finding Cantwell unmarked 20 yards out makes no mistake as she meets the ball sending her shot angling into the back of the net past Fagg before the keeper can move 2-1.

Ipswich’s Nicole Pannifer with Cambridge’s Amber Cantwell

   Soon after Cambridge make their 1st change of the game bringing Sarafian off sending on Lauren Gibson the striker joining Blanchflower up top Bright who started the game in attack is now back in defence alongside Burt. A handball spotted by the referee as Cambridge attack on the right the free-kick awarded Baker over it as players come forwards from the back the delivery towards the far post the ball knocked down into the middle of the area Bright closest tries to put the ball back over her shoulder in towards goal is blocked rebounds to Gibson right of goal six yards out she gets a shot away too many Ipswich bodies to get through the shot it kept out. Ipswich counter getting the ball up the other end Thomas looking to get into the box left side, Jenkins going with her does enough to put her off checking back Thomas tries to pick out Welton far post Burt with the interception. 

  Cossey on the ball runs forwards taking it a long way before getting into a crossing position left side puts a high ball into the box the target again Welton running in gets her head on the dropping ball but can’t direct it on target. The game is stretched Cambridge after another goal Hewitt lays the ball on for Blanchflower left side her shot in towards the near post covered by Fagg. Downey has a chance to shoot from the top of the box, Smith behind it all the way catches safely. Blanchflower is down far side need treatment. Ipswich make their 1st change, Downey the player giving way. Jade Henry coming on up top. 

Zoe Cossey on the move with the ball for Ipswich Town Ladies

  GOAL! Closing in on the final 10 minutes Ipswich break to extend their lead the ball won in midfield by Crump comes to Thomas she takes it on evading a rash challenge has space to carry the ball into on the left, wide of the area checks her run has time to look up and sends a shoot angling in over Smith and into the goal beyond 3-1. 

Blanchflower needs to come off for Cambridge as they make their 2nd change Teonie Peyton taking her place. Jenkins is fouled as she looks to get forwards down the right. Wide of goal it’s the full back over it to take sent long towards the far post Ipswich have plenty back to win the ball and get the ball clear. Cambridge make their final change Jenkins coming off to be replaced by Michaela Dortch at right back. Ipswich make another change too Cossey coming off with Gemma Moore entering the field. The home side break quickly Thomas playing Welton in Cambridge recover quickly to win the ball back. 

Ipswich Town Ladies captain, Amanda Crump

  Not long left on the clock the game is scrappy Crump and Craddock breaking it up in the middle free-kick are given away by both sides some frustration on display. Ipswich make their final change Jordan Arnoup introduced Welton giving way. The substitute in to win the ball back as Ipswich finish strongly determined not to concede another goal. Cantwell takes a knock fouled down the right the ball played down the line Pannifer putting it out for the throw. One last attack for Cambridge the ball played into Gibson top of the area lays it back out for Cantwell wide right her long distance strike wide across the area.    

Full time Ipswich Town Ladies 3-1 Cambridge United WFC

   I really enjoyed this game even if ultimately it was a scrappy affair, two energetic and committed sides on display especially in the middle of the park. Few chances created and balls into the final third going to waste. The goals scored were nevertheless very well taken. Ipswich winning 3-1 in the end will be happy with the 3 points that lift them up to 3rd in the South East Division One table. Cambridge will be disappointed in the end the goals they conceded all could have been avoided. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Never gets any easier choosing the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. This afternoon being no exception a real battle in the middle of the park, no time afforded on the ball and although Craddock ran her close today’s award goes to the Ipswich captain Amanda Crump.

My thanks as always to both sides with their help with the team line-ups today although they are two sides who I know very well, always pays to check however. 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Coventry United Ladies

Sunday 28th January

Finally after 4 attempts it’s GAME ON! Originally scheduled for December 10th last year Cambridge United WFC finally meet Coventry United Ladies in the last 16 of the FAWPL Cup.

The good old British weather putting pay to this fixture 3 times! Along with the Christmas break and Coventry United Ladies playing in both the FA Women’s Cup and County Cup has seen this game long delayed. Better weather at last this Sunday at Mildenhall Town FC as these two sides play for a place in the quarter finals of the FAWPL Cup an away trip to in form South West Division One side Plymouth Argyle Ladies waiting.

A test for Cambridge United WFC 6th in FAWPL South East Division One taking on higher league opponents this afternoon. A Determining Round played at the start of the season the winning sides entering the Cup competition Cambridge United WFC went on to beat fellow league side Enfield Town Ladies 2-0 to reach the 2nd Round. Manager Steve Edwards leaving the club after 4 years in charge of the 1st team since then. Reserves and former 1st team manager Kevin Hoover taking over whilst the club look for a successor. 

Coventry United Ladies looking as strong as ever at the start of 2018, 5th in the FAWPL Southern Division but with games in hand on the leading pair Charlton Athletic Women and Crystal Palace Ladies whilst still in contention in 3 cup competition’s the County, FAWPL and FA Women’s Cups. FAWPL Plate winners 2 season’s ago are unbeaten in 6 matches in both league and cup going into today’s tie.

Mildenhall Town FC the venue for today’s game like many others across the country has seen it’s far share of water these past few weeks, despite that looks once again in great condition if not quite a dried out as preferred this is the 52nd match to be played upon it so far this season. A sloping pitch from one goalmouth to the other, the sun bright in the sky beginning to fall behind one end. Positively tropical conditions as a pose to the freezing monsoon I endured during last weekends game, bright and sunny a strong breeze blowing across the pitch as the two sides emerged from the dressing room ready to go.

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

   Coventry United Ladies starting XI – Susan Wood (C), Alexandra Buck, Nikki Miles, Natalie Haigh, Maisie Jerrim, Laura Cooper, Helen Dermody, Jade Brook, Amber Hughes, Marie Gauntlett & Alison Hall. Subs – Elizabeth Steele, Jessica Lundie, Lucy Stead & Rosie McDonnell.

Good to see Carrie Bennett back in the starting line-up for Cambridge after suffering a nasty dislocated elbow on the final day of last season. Up front Kelley Blanchflower leads the line for the home side having been out for a period too with injury. For Coventry United Ladies, Nikki Miles is making her 130th appearance today. Cambridge wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks to kick-off the first half the sun in their faces with Coventry wearing red shirts with green shorts and socks attacking up the slope. 

The visitors press the ball right from the off Laura Cooper winning it in the middle the ball played out to Amber Hughes on the right her ball in cleared by the Cambridge defence. Maisie Jerrim takes a knock for Coventry as she goes up for the ball with Kelley Blanchflower as Cambridge play the ball long up towards her 25 yards from goal, going after the ball Blanchflower wins a free-kick central for Cambridge play stopped so Jerrim can receive treatment. Off the field Cambridge captain, Laura Bright comes forwards to take the free-kick around 25 yards from goal floats the ball in towards the far post players attack the ball, Coventry winning the header the ball clearing the area comes back to Bright she shifts it and shoots her effort wide of goal.

Amber Cantwell, attacking for Cambridge United WFC

Jerrim returns to the field for Coventry, Helen Dermody with the ball in the middle plays it on for Jade Brook ahead of her, Brook passes it on for Alison Hall at the top of the box right side puts a cross into the middle, Bright intercepts clearing for Cambridge. Coventry have started well players forwards, a shot comes in from distance, Shayla Burgess on loan from Watford in the Cambridge goal makes a very good save getting up to tip the ball up over her crossbar. The resulting corner played in from the right a good delivery from Dermody across the face of goal is headed clear by Bright for Cambridge.

GOAL! Coventry’s good start brings an early goal as they open the scoring in the 9th minute. Possession with Marie Gauntlett on the left side powers her way up the line holding off her marker whips in a great cross towards the near post, Hall arriving on cue to head the ball in across the keeper to make it 0-1.

Alison Hall scores the opening goal of the game for Coventry United Ladies

Brave goalkeeping from Burgess soon after prevents Coventry from doubling their lead regaining the ball from the restart push players forwards a good diagonal ball along the ground finds Hughes getting into the box behind the Cambridge defence, Burgess reacting quickly to slide in a smother the ball at the attackers feet. Hughes finding room out wide right again cuts inside sees her shot blocked by Bennett from outside the area. 

A strong midfield run from Brook as Coventry come forwards again a corner won on the right another good delivery from Dermody into the six yard box, the ball attacked and headed down towards goal, Burgess from close range making a fantastic double save, stopping the initial effort then blocking the rebound. The home side under pressure early on. Coventry have another corner right side this effort caught up in the breeze dropping near post defended by Cambridge out of the area dropping to Cooper 20 yards out puts her foot through the ball her effort blocked. 

Cambridge are struggling to settle early on find any meaningful possession as Coventry quickly move the ball around. Little for Blanchflower to work with up top the striker knocking the ball on as both Lauren Cartwright and Cantwell get beyond her into the box look to pressure Coventry, goalkeeper and captain Susan Wood able to kick the ball clear. Brook carries the ball forwards for Coventry getting a shot away from 25 yards out her low strike gathered cleanly by Burgess.

 

Kayleigh-Anne Burt bringing the ball on for Cambridge United WFC

Jerrim intercepts the ball at the back for Coventry as Blanchflower looks to square a cross from the left along the top of the area, up field for Dermody she tries to release Alexandra Buck on the right the full back fouling Hewitt as she tries to get around her. Not long before Coventry have the ball again moving it on Hall on the right swings a cross into the box, Kayleigh-Anne Burt winning it for Cambridge. 

Dermody starts and finishes another attacking move for Coventry bringing the ball up into the Cambridge half plays it out wide for Hughes on the move on the right wing her cut back along the top of the area met by Gauntlett who sends the ball on for Dermody continuing her run pulls the trigger her shot straight at Burgess the keeper holding onto the ball. 

Half an hour played and Cambridge have a great chance to pull it back to 1-1 Blanchflower putting pressure on the Coventry defence races onto the ball inside the box left of goal closing down Wood looks to lift the ball over the keeper sees her effort kiss the crossbar ad run out of play. Cambridge opportunities are restricted however as Coventry continue to press players forwards keeping Blanchflower isolated. Between the Bennett and Hewitt stop Hughes on the right getting a cross into the area. Cleared the ball soon comes back an early cross in from the right cleared by Burt at the near post. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Kelley Blanchflower

 A free-kick for Cambridge wide left on halfway as Amy Howlett is brought down. Bright on the ball a good delivery up towards Blanchflower at the top of the area, seeing the ball down across her body intends to turn and take it on into the area, Natalie Haigh reads her intentions and not getting too close comes across to put in the tackle. A free-kick up the other end in a dangerous position outside the D for Coventry as Brook is brought down. Cooper over the ball gets her shot in past the wall heading for goal Burgess shuffling across quickly is able to get her gloves on the ball push it away.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Charlotte Crisp

 Gauntlett on the ball for Coventry coming inside to receive the ball from the left splits the Cambridge defence with a great pass as Hall through the middle beats the offside trap, Burgess with a good starting position however is quickly out of her area to win the kick and clear for the hosts. Late into the 1st half Cambridge get the ball forwards Blanchflower taking it down into the left corner the ball played back up towards the top of the area Charlotte Crisp with the header down looking to put the ball into the path of Cartwright inside the box, the Coventry defence getting in front of her to shield the ball back to Wood. One last attack in the 1st half for Coventry Brook with the strike from 20 yards out sees her effort charged down by Burt.

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

    A strong performance from Coventry in the 1st half. With much of the possession and certainly more chances they will be disappointed not to be leading by a larger margin. Conceding an early goal the game threatened to get away from Cambridge, some excellent goalkeeping from Burgess keeping the score down at 1-0 Cambridge are still very much in the tie however will need to have a much better 2nd half and find some meaningful possession on the ball having not settled at all in the 1st half. 

 No changes for either side at the start of the 2nd half, Cambridge with the kick-off as Coventry attack down the slope the sun settled lower in the sky. Coventry come forwards the ball played up to Hall on the right is clattered into going to head the ball is left in a heap as play goes on the ball taken down the line swung into the box claimed by Burgess at her near post.  Hall is back up on her feet.

Coventry United Ladies, Amber Hughes

Cooper with the diagonal ball to pick out Hughes making an attacking run down the right taking the ball on plays her cross in long to the far post attacked the header is narrowly over, either way play is stopped by an offside flag. Gauntlett running with the ball central lets fly from all of 35 yards out her strike sailing over the crossbar. Hall flings her arms up in the air inside the box wanting a penalty for Coventry as the ball into her is intercepted, the referee not interested.  

GOAL! As with the 1st half, Coventry score early to double their advantage in the 2nd. Play is over on the left side of the pitch as Coventry build an attack the cross played on towards the area Brook getting to the ball before Burgess can come to clear knocked past the keeper a defender attempts to get back to clear the ball but in vain as it rolls into the back of the net 0-2.

A change for the visitors Jerrim comes off at the back with Rosie McDonnell coming on. Going in on the left side of defence Miles moves forwards into an advanced position on the right, Hughes coming over to the left. Buck defends well against Blanchflower at the back for Coventry as Cambridge send the ball long for her to attack. Setting up a counter attack the ball helped on by Cooper is picked up by Hall 25 yards out hits a venomous shot in towards goal from 25 yards out the ball skimming the top of the crossbar. Burt clears with her head for Cambridge as Coventry get the ball in from the right wing. 

Laura Cooper on the ball in midfield for Coventry United Ladies

A good tempo to the game Coventry continuing to push players forwards a few strong challenges coming in. A corner right side for the visitors flung in near post a crowd up to attack the ball put wide of the post a goal kick the end result. 

GOAL! Coventry extend their lead 15 minutes into the 2nd half players up for a corner taken by Dermody on the right the ball cleared out to the left side, Coventry keep possession Cooper with the ball puts in a fantastic cross from the left up jump Haigh in the middle of the box to power her header into the back of the net, Burgess no chance to react 0-3.

Natalie Haigh makes it 3-0 to Coventry United Ladies

   Cambridge make their 1st change of the game, Laura Baker coming on for Cartwright. Good link up play between Miles and Hughes on the right the latter putting her cross wide beyond the far post. Baker with a strong tackle stops Gauntlett as the Coventry attacker looks to push on through the centre. Coventry have the ball in the back of the net but are denied a 4th goal by the offside flag following good build up play from Cooper out to Miles on the right the ball squared into the area Gauntlett running onto it puts the ball in just inside the post only for the effort to be ruled out.

Coventry’s Cooper and Cambridge’s Crisp challenge for the ball

    Blanchflower is taken down by Buck as she looks to bring the ball on into the Coventry half the set-piece in a central position Cantwell over it looks to lift the ball up into the box to be attack, runners closing Wood down she claims comfortably. A 2nd change for Coventry up top Jessica Lundie comes on to replace Hall in attack. 

   A brilliant save from Wood prevents Cambridge from pulling a goal back as the ball is played up field into the box the clearance runs straight along the ground into the path of the advancing Baker 25 yards out she hits it straight back in towards goal racing for the bottom corner Wood dives full stretch to her right to push the ball behind her goal. From the resulting corner on the left side it’s Brook who gets her head on the ball to clear for Coventry. Gauntlett passes the ball inside for Dermody to her left 25 yards out central her 1st time shot is charged down inside the box. 

GOAL! Cambridge have pushed up as they look to get players forwards are hit on the counter the ball cleared back up field Burgess comes racing out of her area to try and win the bouncing ball getting her head on it fall straight into Brook breaking forwards 40 yards out knowing there is a open goal lobs the stranded keeper sees the ball bounce down over the line 0-4.

Coventry United Ladies, Jade Brook

Coventry keep coming forwards putting Cambridge under constant pressure, Miles demanding the ball on the right getting onto space linking up well with Brook. Dermody comes close yet again with another strike from distance central her shot striking the crossbar. A free-kick giving Cambridge a chance to get the ball forwards, Bright’s ball is headed on by Baker into Blanchflower looking to turn into the box is again closely watched by Haigh.

Coventry United Ladies, Helen Dermody

   Not long left to play now Coventry make their final change Elizabeth Steele coming on to replace Hughes. Cantwell breaks forwards for Cambridge the ball in for Hewitt up the left wing her cross into the box looping up is over Blanchflower making a central run, Coventry clear. 

GOAL! Into injury time at the end of the game and Coventry score again, substitute Lundie putting the ball past Burgess from the left inside the box as she receives it from Gauntlett attacking down the right 0-5.

Coventry finish the game as strongly as they started it pressing numbers forwards to the final whistle winning the game 0-5 to set up an FAWPL Cup quarter final away to Plymouth Argyle Ladies. The tie scheduled for Sun 11th February.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-5 Coventry United Ladies 

   A dominant performance from the visitors today. Coventry getting off to a great start and keep up a superb all round team performance all game. Getting players forwards good runs on and off the ball causing Cambridge problems and cool at the back when their opponents were able to get forwards.

   One of those days for Cambridge never really got into the match early on as Coventry prevented them getting forwards, Blanchflower having little to feed on up top. Still keeping the score down to 1-0 in the first half gave them hope of getting back into it 2nd half ultimately not to be as their cup run is over. On to the next game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

    Interesting one today for the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match always a tough choice when you have such a good all round team performance Coventry were strong all over the pitch but particularly in midfield where their attacks often began Gauntlett and Hughes providing good runs left and right, Cooper and Dermody finding them on a regular basis, have all just been edged out by Jade Brook who made some purposeful runs forwards aswell as getting on the scoresheet twice making her today’s Player of the Match.

It’s nice to not feel like a block of ice after a game, roll on summer, my thanks to both clubs for their assistance today is always appreciated.

 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Long Eaton United Ladies

 

Sunday 12th November

 Returning to the football after a well needed rest the action this Sunday from the FA Women’s Cup the qualifying rounds on to the 1st Round Proper of the competition at Mildenhall Town FC today to watch Cambridge United WFC v Long Eaton United Ladies.

FAWPL South East Division One side, Cambridge United WFC enjoyed a fantastic run in the FA Women’s Cup last season making it all the way to the 3rd Round Proper where they were eventually knocked out by FAWSL 2 side Aston Villa Ladies. Will be hoping for another good run this time around. 5th in the league have a much changed squad from last season several new faces in the side haven’t achieved the consistency of results from last season that saw them amongst the title challengers. 

  My 1st look at Derbyshire side, Long Eaton United Ladies now into their 2nd season in FAWPL Midlands Division One. Currently searching for a new 1st team manager struggled in the league early on losing 5 of their opening 6 games however have recovered recently finding form winning their last 3 matches in league and cup. 

  Both sides entering the competition in the last round, 3rd Round Qualifying faced fellow sides from their respective leagues, Cambridge United WFC  hosting Norwich City Ladies winning 4-0. Long Eaton United Ladies were also at home beat Leicester City Ladies 3-1 to advance into the 1st Round Proper.

  The venue for today’s game, Mildenhall Town FC the pitch as ever looking in fantastic condition, sloping from one goal to the other. A chilly day with a strong breeze blowing down the pitch, cloudy but no rain forecast. 

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Chloe Crook, Nettie Stillinger, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Carolyn Sarafian, Laura Bright (C), Laura Baker, Charlotte Crisp, Emma Jenkins Amy Howlett, Nuala Wayne & Lauren Gibson. Subs – Gabrielle Whitehurst, Lauren Cartwright & Amber Cantwell.

Long Eaton United starting XI – Lia Kellogg, Laura Robinson, Lucie Johnstone, Cala Thornton, Katherine Clarice (C), Amy Pashley, Chloe Dixon, Laura Sears, Jade Arber, Viki Adam & Cara Newton. Subs – Elle Rowson, Suzanne Hart, Jamie Kingham.

A minutes silence observed before kick-off like all matches across the country to mark Remembrance Sunday. It’s the visitors Long Eaton to kick off the 1st half with the wind in their favour. Wear an all navy blue kit. Cambridge lined up opposite wearing amber and black shirts, black shorts and socks. A scrappy opening to the game Cambridge pressing Long Eaton in possession. A ball threaded through the midfield by Long Eaton’s Amy Pashley almost has striker Viki Adams through on the Cambridge goal, a great tackle from captain, Laura Bright playing in midfield she’s the home side regain possession Bright out to Amy Howlett right side her crossfield ball picking out Emma Jenkins on the opposite flank, knocks the ball forwards is stopped by Long Eaton’s captain, Katherine Clarice at the top of the area.

Jade Arber on the ball for Long Eaton United Ladies

The pressing from both sides sees a lack of goalmouth action in the opening minutes. Long Eaton closing Cambridge down in some cases a little to strongly a push in the back on Cambridge striker Lauren Gibson bringing the home side a free kick, a good way out wide right the ball up towards the box standing up in the wind Long Eaton head clear, attack down the other end Pashley running forwards the ball rolled into her uses the momentum to try a shot from distance with the strong wind behind her 35 yards out the effort sails over the Cambridge goal. 

  A free kick awarded to Long Eaton wide left in a good position as Jade Arber is fouled. An attempt at goal sees Cambridge goalkeeper Chloe Crook on loan from Tottenham Hotspur Ladies produce a great save the ball tipped onto the bar, bounces down back into play inside the six yard box right of goal a 2nd shot comes in Nettie Stillinger covering the post rushing out makes the block the rebound hit back in towards goal finds the side netting.

   A clever turn from Gibson as the pass is played into her by Charlotte Crisp the striker’s progress is then halted as she is clipped on the back of the ankle by Pashley the referee awarding the free kick. 35 yards out to the right Bright sends the ball up towards the area another wind affected delivery giving the Long Eaton defence time to get under the ball the visitors counter attack the ball put on for Adams running through the middle 30 yards out pulls the trigger her effort rolling wide across the goal. 

 Excellent hold up play from Jenkins keeping possession on the left side support from Carolyn Sarafain coming forwards to receive the cross a good delivery into the area Long Eaton goalkeeper Lia Kellogg coming confidently through bodies to claim the ball on the penalty spot. Up the other end Long Eaton build Chloe Dixon on for Cara Newton in attack, Arber has space to run into Newton picks her out her cross in sliced is angling towards Crook’s near post the keeper taking the ball high with Adam coming in. 

Emma Jenkins bring the ball on for Cambridge United WFC

The pressing game from Long Eaton along with the final ball not finding it’s target sees Cambridge getting a little frustrated, Baker receives a talking to by the referee committing another foul soon after results in her receiving a yellow card. Midway through the 1st half little goalmouth action. No one getting much time on the ball. A free kick for the visitors wide left quite away out with with the advantage of the wind the ball is put in towards the box Crook going for it gets a fist on the ball taking out one of her own players in the process at the far post the ball spins behind for the 1st corner of the game.

  GOAL! A good delivery from the corner finds Clarice central top of the area the ball at her feet not allowed to turn gets the ball back to the corner taker sent back in Cambridge defend near post the ball back out the the right side Long Eaton keep hold of it the cross whipped back in finds Arber unmarked inside the six yard box puts her head onto the ball knocking at down into the back of the net 0-1.

Jade Arber scores the headed goal to put Long Eaton United Ladies 1-0 up

 Howlett finding some space on the right gets up to the corner her attempted cross charged down by Long Eaton left back Lucie Johnstone brings the home side their 1st corner of the game, Baker to play in a good ball in central Nuala Wayne gets her head on the ball knocking it in towards goal too many bodies in the way the ball is launched clear. Long Eaton ready to break whenever Cambridge commit players forwards Arber left and Laura Sears right on the move to support the top two, Adam and Newton. A corner won on the right side. Delivered near post with Sears coming to meet the ball her header deflecting the ball towards goal is straight in to Crook’s gloves. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amy Howlett

Long Eaton winning the physical battle are just getting there before Cambridge to most things adding to the home sides frustration. Arber with a great touch as the ball is played into her on the left side, for a moment looks like she might be away, Kayleigh-Anne Burt playing in the centre of Cambridge’s back three across on the cover quickly sliding in with a fantastic tackle to stop the winger. More good link up play between Long Eaton’s Adam and Newton out to Arber left the return ball to Newton looking to get into the box doesn’t quite come off. Keeping the pressure on a throw left side his worked in field to Dixon 25 yards out her shot screws away from target.

Long Eaton United Ladies, Chloe Dixon with Cambridge’s Laura Baker

  5 minutes left to play in the 1st half, Long Eaton working hard to prevent Cambridge any time on the ball win another corner, An inswinging ball, Crook punches well to get it away near post but is fouled doing so. Sarafian bringing the ball on for Cambridge into Jenkins, tacked by Laura Robinson the throw to the home side high up the pitch inside to Wayne allowed a bit of space 25 yards out left of the goal takes on the shot her strike running wide across the goal. 

  Pashley is fouled on the halfway line, with the wind goes for goal the ball over the bar. Cambridge push on late in the half Baker with the run on the ball into Gibson top of the area no room to turn Thornton sending the ball forwards for Long Eaton the break is on Newton with the ball right side two at the back for Cambridge, she takes on the shot from 30 yards out, not seeing Arber in acres of space to the left her strike racing along the ground wide across the Cambridge goal.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Long Eaton United Ladies 

  Long Eaton go into the dressing room at half-time with a narrow 1-0 lead. A scrappy 1st half a proper cup tie, the visitors working hard to press Cambridge and with the wind to their advantage have exploited the conditions well. Chances have been few and far between Crook the busier of the 2 keepers, Cambridge yet to test Kellogg up the other end frustrated the final ball just not finding it’s mark. At 1-0 the tie is very much alive with another 45 minutes to come and the rest if needed.

A change in the weather 2nd half the strong wind that has been present throughout the 1st half no longer present as the clouds break up the sun making an appearance doing nothing to warm things up however. Cambridge attacking down the slope 2nd half to kick off the 2nd half no changes for either side. Newton gets hold of the ball for Long Eaton inside the opponents half driving forwards with the ball at her feet looking to get into the box is tackled well by Baker. Cambridge get the ball forwards on the right Howlett putting the ball in early to the middle Jenkins drifting inside with the 1st time strike 25 yards out puts the ball well over the bar. 

  Cambridge starting the 2nd half better getting more bodies forwards, Bright working hard in the middle to keep possession with the home side. Jenkins a hard player to get off the ball when she has it at her feet winning Cambridge a throw left side the ball played into he middle Sarafian with the shot from a long way out over the bar. Cambridge with a corner right side the ball put into the box, Burt closest tries to muscle her way through the Long Eaton defence they scramble it clear. Long Eaton soaking up the Cambridge pressure counter attack Sears getting free on the right wing inside for Pashley 25 yards out lifts her shot wide of the Cambridge goal.

Long Eaton United Ladies, Laura Sears

The sun setting low over one corner of the ground not helping Cambridge’s cause the home side with more of the ball in the Long Eaton half. Sears goes down after a challenge needing to come off close to the dug out does so but play goes on the sub not ready. Cambridge are attacking the ball swept in from the right Gibson going for it doesn’t get a touch through to Kellogg. Elle Rowson comes on for Long Eaton to replace Sears.

Cambridge make a double substitution, Crisp and Wayne coming off for Lauren Cartwright and Amber Cantwell. Cantwell is fouled out wide left Cambridge awarded the free kick. The shot is taken the ball hit over the crossbar. Jenkins spins in behind turning her marker on the left taking the ball in field an unorthodox piece of defending from Long Eaton’s captain Clarice as she falls over before Jenkins gets to her grounded the attacker runs straight into her the ball deflected away to be cleared. 

   A good run and pass from Cartwright to put Jenkins away on the left wing, Thornton coming across on the cover to put the ball behind for the corner kick. The delivery fired in with pace finds Cartwright 10 yards out the ball headed down towards goal cleared off the line, play is stopped however as the referee spots a foul on the keeper. Into the last 20 minutes of the game. Jenkins moving into a central position the ball rolled into her from the left flank 25 yards out strikes the ball sweetly angling towards the far post an excellent save from Kellogg diving to her right to push the ball away. 

Long Eaton United Ladies goalkeeper Lia Kellogg

   Long Eaton play the ball out from the back Adam into Rowson central into the Cambridge half her threaded pass finding Newton central at the top of the area puts her shot narrowly wide of the post with Burt closing her down. Pashley goes into the book for a foul on Cartwright. 35 yards out Baker over the ball goes for goal her curling strike safely taken by Kellogg. Both sides are showing frustration a difficult game with on one getting any time on the ball. Jenkins is yellow carded as she lets her emotion out. Cambridge make their final change Gabrielle Whitehurst coming on to replace Gibson. The cloud cover starting to return the wind is beginning to pick up once again.

Cambridge United WFC’s Kayleigh-Anne Burt

   Arber left side 25 yards out has a shot for Long Eaton her effort over but not by much. Bright pushed forwards now working with Howlett on the right wing the ball fired back into Bright inside the box six yards out right side of goal hits the 1st time shot another fantastic save from Kellogg down low to her right the ball deflected back into Bright to Howlett on the byline hits it back towards her but the flag is up for offside. Into the final 10 minutes of the game Cambridge pushing hard for an equaliser. Cantwell with a strike from distance another good save from Kellogg.  

Cambridge United WFC captain, Laura Bright

A card is shown to both Bright and Johnstone a free kick to Cambridge wide left Cantwell on the ball. Not much of the 90 left. Cambridge flood the box Cantwell’s delivery on the spot falls for Sarafain her header over the bar. Into stoppage time 4 minutes to be played. Cambridge break from a Long Eaton free kick the ball with Bright onto Howlett right the crossfield pass finding Jenkins left side taking the ball into the corner works free of her marker to send a testing ball in towards the near post Kellogg making another fine save under pressure with Cartwright coming in the corner conceded. The final whistle blows and Long Eaton go through to the 2nd Round Proper thanks to Arber’s 1st half goal.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Long Eaton United Ladies

    A scrappy cup tie, Long Eaton working hard all over the pitch to win the ball a little stronger than Cambridge especially 1st half. Getting the goal and defending well on the whole 2nd half soaking up the pressure Cambridge tried to assert. Some fine saves from Kellogg keeping their narrow lead intact. A frustrating day for Cambridge one of those days where it looks like you’re never going to score their FA Cup run comes to an end this season.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match 

    Games like this it’s hard to pick a single stand out performer a gritty hard working team effort from Long Eaton United Ladies everybody played their part from front to back line to press the ball the centrebacks giving nothing away through the middle, but although she had nothing to do in the 1st half her saves were crucial to keeping that 1-0 lead intact late in the 2nd half as Cambridge pressed on so this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match goes to Lia Kellogg.

  My thanks as always to both sides for their help today. Best of luck to Long Eaton United Ladies for the next round the draw to take place on Monday. 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Milton Keynes Dons Ladies

Wednesday 11th October

A midweek trip to Mildenhall Town FC to watch a game under the lights from the FAWPL South East Division One with 6th placed Cambridge United WFC hosting 4th placed Milton Keynes Dons Ladies. 

Shaping up to be an interesting league at the top with the lead changing hands several times early on. Milton Keynes Dons Ladies amongst those looking to challenge for the title. Cambridge United WFC having had a lot of new faces come into the squad well placed to get amongst the top teams. Both sides in good form come into the game on the back of a home win in the FA Women’s Cup at the weekend.

  A bit of rebuilding going on at Cambridge United WFC as they look to bed in several new players, quality signings started the season with a 0-0 draw at home to newly promoted Leyton Orient WFC who have since gone on win 5 league games in a row to top the table. Cambridge were unbeaten in their 4 opening league game a win and 3 draws their unbeaten run coming to an end away to tonight’s opponents, Alice Hughes scoring a late winner for Milton Keynes. Cambridge bouncing back are 3 games unbeaten in league and cup since. Have further added to their squad bringing in goalkeeper Shayla Burgess on loan from Watford. Striker Kelley Blanchflower ex-Tottenham and West Ham brings experience and skill to the attack. Lauren Cartwright is another new addition to the squad from Watford making her debut at the weekend.

  Milton Keynes Dons Ladies are on a run of wins 5 in a row in league and cup going into tonight’s match beating Cambridge in that run too. Manager James Honeyman has brought in players with FAWSL 2 experience to strengthen the squad that finished runners-up last season defender Mollie Burgess ad midfield Dawn Mallett who had a spell at Cambridge last season. Most recently the club as signed another Cambridge player, attacker Laura Mills moving on scored at the weekend in the FA Women’s Cup for her new club.

As ever the pitch at Mildenhall Town FC looked immaculate sees plenty of action is well maintained sloping from one goalmouth to the other. A hint of rain in the air a breeze keeping the clouds moving quite mild and fingers-crossed in stayed dry.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Shayla Burgess, Nettie Stillinger, Carolyn Sarafian, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Laura Bright (C), Laura Baker, Lauren Cartwright, Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Amber Cantwell & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Faith Hewitt & Lauren Gibson.

 Milton Keynes Dons Ladies starting XI – Savannah Smith, Leanna Doyle (C), Vicky Holland, Sasha Newsome, Mollie Burgess, Charley Clarke, Dawn Mallett, Charly Wright, Alice Hughes, Amelia Hazard & Laura Mills. Subs – Sammy Gillings, Kerry Newman & Lauren Goodier.

Its Milton Keynes in their all white away lit to get the 1st half underway attacking down the slope. Start at a furious pace pushing players forwards to join Laura Mills in the central attacking role. A through ball has her in behind right side to attack, Shayla Burgess comes racing out to the edge of her area to meet her sliding on the ball is knocked past her, no pace on it however the Cambridge defence recovering can get to the ball Kayleigh-Anne Burt clearing it out to the right wing. Milton Keynes regaining possession Alice Hughes firing a cross into the area the ball bouncing across the six yard box is claimed by Burgess.

Cambridge are penned back in their own half early on Milton Keynes committing numbers forwards, pressing the ball well in the middle of the park, Charley Clarke with a strong challenge gets hold of the ball drives forwards puts the ball into the path of Hughes wide right the cross fired into the box taken cleanly by Burgess. 

Milton Keynes with a free-kick on half-way left side Charly Wright to play the ball in high into the box Cambridge get a head on the ball the clearance falling to Clarke outside the area lays the ball off to Hughes wide right closer she takes on the shot a vicious drive in towards goal, Burgess makes a fantastic save throwing herself up and tipping the ball wide across her goal conceding the 1st corner of the game. A good inswinging delivery into the middle of the six yard box from the left a good fist on the ball from Burgess to get the ball out of the area dropping to a white shirt the shot is taken on the volley the ball flying over the crossbar. 

  Cambridge relieve the early pressure Milton Keynes have put them under the ball played up field Kelley Blanchflower chasing the Milton Keynes defence forces an error as the ball played forwards falls goes straight to Emma Jenkins operating in a left side attacking role tonight, 25 yards out goes to shoot doesn’t get a good connection the ball running wide of goal. 

  Wright, Clarke and Mallett all press forwards from midfield to join the attack for Milton Keynes whenever they have the ball making it difficult for Cambridge to get out of their half  the game played at a furious pace, a few out of control tackles being made decisions not being made by the referee in the middle upsetting the Cambridge bench. Hughes breaking clear of her marker on the right plays an early cross into the area coming to Mills the attacker lets the ball run across her as she holds off her marker knocking it on for Amelia Hazard inside the box with her, leaning back into the shot as the ball comes to her Hazard sends her effort high and wide of the top corner.

Another out of control tackle infuriates the Cambridge bench but such is the pace of the game little time to dwell the ball up the other end it’s the Milton Keynes benches turn to protest at another down the other end. Burt with a headed clearance as Hughes puts another cross from the right into the box following good work from Clarke in the middle. Cambridge play the ball out from the back Lauren Cartwright into Jenkins then Amy Howlett, Blanchflower making a run into the left channel ahead of her receiving the ball takes in on down the line evading a tackle on the byline comes back up the line to the top of the area taking on the shot is gathered on the bounce by Milton Keynes goalkeeper Savannah Smith covering her near post.

GOAL! Almost 20 minutes played in the 1st half and Milton Keynes high tempo start brings them the opening goal winning a free-kick wide on the right inside the Cambridge half players come forwards from the back loading the area is a great ball in Hughes escaping her marker inside the six yard box gets her head on the ball knocking it past Burgess into the back of the net to score 0-1.

Cambridge look to get forwards from the restart Amber Cantwell’s ball played into the middle from the right intercepted by Sasha Newsome at the back for Milton Keynes. Laura Baker with a strong challenge brings the ball on trough the middle sending it forwards is knocked on almost putting Blanchflower in on goal through the middle her 1st touch too heavy Smith with a good starting position is able to gather. The goal scored Milton Keynes are sitting back as a unit the midfield not looking to get up field with such intensity. Howlett strikes the ball on the half volley left side 30 yards out as Jenkins gets forwards on the wing her shot off target.

  Both sides demanding more from the referee Cambridge win a free-kick inside the Milton Keynes half top of the circle, captain Laura Bright to play the ball into the box, headed clear by Mollie Burgess for Milton Keynes, Cambridge regain possession, Hazard working hard to win the ball back on the right as Cantwell looks to link up with Blanchflower. The game continues to be lively Cambridge growing a little frustrated. A throw in on the right Baker with a one two with Nettie Stillinger the full back takes the ball in field driving into the middle fires it forwards into the area with Jenkins making a left side run into the box, closing in on the keeper she forces the error Smith spilling the ball running behind for the corner. 

Possession for Cambridge in and around the Milton Keynes area however there is little room in front of them Milton Keynes keeping a disciplined shape not leaving the slightest pocket for a shooting opportunity. Launch a counter attack the ball with Mallett in the centre she surges forwards Mills ahead of her peels right the pass finding her inside the box shoots 1st time her effort lacking pace is straight and Burgess the Cambridge goalkeeper behind the ball dropping forwards to claim.

Clarke is booked for a robust challenge as she attempts to prevent Cambridge bringing the ball out from the back. Getting forwards on the right side Stillinger cuts inside and fires a diagonal ball into the area Smith just about has the ball in her gloves as the challenge comes in from the left side on her the ball knocked out of her hands the referee awards the free-kick in the keepers favour.

Mallett comes on for Milton Keynes with the ball through the middle sends the pass out wide to Wright moving down the left wing she fires the ball in towards Mills positioned inside the box seeing the ball into her body work it out to Mallett closing in on the top of the area right of the D shot shoots pulling her effort wide across goal. Late into 1st half stoppage time Cambridge work the ball up the left Blanchflower moving into space on the left channel again puts a great ball into the box runners there near and far post it’s Mollie Burgess in between the Cambridge attackers that wins the header 2 yards from goal to clear the threat for Milton Keynes.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Milton Keynes Dons Ladies

 1-0 lead for Milton Keynes who started the game at a furious pace pressing bodies forwards attacking Cambridge keeping them pinned in their own half eventually bringing the goal then with the lead have settled back keeping a solid shape not committing so many forwards ready for the counter attack. Cambridge having the ball but not doing much with it little room in behind the fast pace of the game hasn’t allowed them to settle down but with just a 1 goal lead all to play for 2nd half.

No changes for either side as Cambridge get the 2nd half underway attacking down the slope now the breeze has picked up but still very mild. A relatively quiet opening to the 2nd half compared to the 1st Cambridge looking to build down the left Milton Keynes captain Leanna Doyle breaking up the attack. The visitors get forwards Mills picking up the ball as she comes over the the right turn looks to feed the pass central into Mallett as she makes a good forwards run Stillinger sliding in tackles well to stop the midfielder getting into the box with the ball.

  Cambridge coming onto Milton Keynes more in the 2nd half as the visitors are prepared to sit deep soak up the pressure. Blanchflower receiving the ball from Jenkins on the left side drives towards the box looking to plough her way through the Milton Keynes defence, Newsome tackling wins the ball back. A free-kick awarded to Cambridge inside the D numbers forwards is taken quickly passed to the right the shot comes in Smith right behind it can gather cleanly. 

 GOAL! For all Cambridge’s positive endeavours at the start of the 2nd half they are hit on the counter attack Milton Keynes getting up the other end to score and double their lead. The ball played up into the Cambridge half, bouncing Sarafian comes to get the ball moving into the middle is challenged by Hazard the attacker winning the ball, sends in through to Mills who has made the run into the space vacated by the left back driving forwards into the box right of goal shoots putting the ball across the keeper and into the far corner of the net 0-2.

Not long after going 2-0 up Milton Keynes make a change bringing of Hazard sending on Lauren Goodier to join Mills in attack. Normal service resumed as Milton Keynes sit back invite Cambridge onto them. A good run from Blanchflower getting free on the right receives the ball takes on the shot running along the ground is straight at Smith. Cartwright getting further forwards screws a 25 yard shot wide of target. Howlett with the ball right side crosses the ball into the box Blanchflower letting the ball roll across her body turns and sends a looping ball in towards goal on target but a save catch for Smith. 

Cambridge make a substitution Sarafain coming off as Cambridge go to 3 at the back bring on another attacker striker Lauren Gibson who scored twice in Cambridge’s 4-0 FA Women’s Cup win on Sunday. Milton Keynes bring on Sammy Gillings the defender going into right back as Newsome moves forwards into a midfield role. Further forwards Newsome wins the ball higher up the pitch plays it forwards for Mallett ahead of her Goodier breaking into space wide right Mallett plays the ball onto her Goodier taking the ball on inside the area right of goal Stillinger recovers the ground sliding in to take the ball away from Goodier behind for the corner kick. A inswinging delivery into the middle of the area Cambridge head clear.

  Baker is cautioned after diving in to try and regain the ball after losing possession. Cambridge are able to get forwards but finding it tough to break down the wall of white shirts in front of them. Cantwell to deliver the ball into the area from a free-kick won on the right wing. Newsome back to defend gets up highest to head the ball behind for the corner. the game moving into the last 15 minutes Cambridge’s Blanchflower is down struggling a little after treatment comes off Faith Hewitt joining the action. 

Mallett is tugged back as she threatens to counter attack for Milton Keynes the free-kick in a central position 40 yards out the shot is attempted a dangerous ball looping in towards goal dropping fast but no enough to creep under Burgess’ crossbar just over. Milton Keynes make a 3rd substitution Mallett coming off Kerry Newman coming on with around 8 minutes left. Gibson breaking down the right with the ball sends the cross in square to the near post defended the ball drops for Baker top of the box, rushing to shoot before being closed down slices the ball wide of target. 

It’s all Cambridge in the final minutes pressing forwards Milton Keynes looking composed and comfortable. Cantwell inside to Bright the ball played wide for Howlett on the right down the line sweeps the cross into the area Smith confidently claims it with Gibson rushing in.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-2 Milton Keynes Dons Ladies

  A good result for Milton Keynes winning the 3 points away from home with a superb performance from start to finish. Came with a game plan and sticking to it with a disciplined and solid shape. Started at a breakneck tempo pushing forwards getting the goal they desired then prepared to sit back from then on soak up the pressure not committing too many forwards from then on in. Just went Cambridge looked to be getting on top 2nd half Milton Keynes hit the home side on the counter and presented with the chance Mills took it well. Move onto 16 points stay 4th in the FAWPL South East Division One table as both Ipswich Town Ladies in 3rd and AFC Wimbledon Ladies taking over top spot also won this evening just 2 points separating the top 4 however the battle for top spot come the end of the season will be very interesting. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   Tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match goes to Milton Keynes Dons Ladies, Sasha Newsome thought she was excellent in the heart of the defence with great position and timing of challenges then pushed into midfield later on helped disrupt Cambridge’s build up play through the middle.

Good to get a game in under the lights after missing a few. Thanks to both clubs for their help tonight.