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Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Tuesday 29th September

FAWNL South East Division One

 First spot of midweek action on Women’s Football East this Tuesday evening and a derby match to boot, the first Cambridge derby of the season as Cambridge City Ladies host rivals Cambridge United WFC in FAWNL South East Division One.

  The games coming thick and fast with both sides in action on Sunday playing again 48 hours later. Have enjoyed a keen and some times contentious rivalry, the past seeing what is Cambridge United WFC now break away from Cambridge City to become an established force the 4th tier of the women’s football pyramid. City getting their women’s side un and running enjoying a rapid rise through the pyramid to achieve promotion to the FAWNL themselves the season before last that one of course curtailed by the COVID outbreak, retain their place for the 20/21 campaign.

   A tough start to the new season for Cambridge City Ladies, beaten 4-0 at home on the opening day by Essex side Billericay Town Ladies. Were looking to make amends away to Norwich City Women this weekend had their chances coming back from 1-0 at half-time to level the scores before the hosts went on to win the game 3-1. Nothing in the board from their opening two games a derby match under the lights a good opportunity to get their season going.  With goalkeeper Dominika Szary leaving the club have recruited Sarah Hudson from Peterborough Northern Star Ladies. Another new signing also from Peterborough North Star is midfielder, Bronwyn Mulheron.

Cambridge United WFC got the new season off to a fantastic start with a 4-1 win at home to Norwich City Women. A trip down to Essex this Sunday to face Hashtag United Women (previously AFC Basildon Women) Like City they had their chances trailing 2-1 at half-time eventually losing 3-1. Have brought in a few new faces to add depth to the squad, attacker Samaira Khan scoring in both opening games, winger Laura Mitchell and centre back Grace Waygood amongst them. A good test of fitness for both sides with a game coming so soon after the weekend.

Ely City FC the venue for tonight derby match, now situated behind a large cinema, restaurant and bar complex on the outskirts of Ely off the A10. Now home for Cambridge City Ladies was once the home for Cambridge United WFC too. A wide grass pitch, an elevated seated stand above the changing rooms the clubhouse and kitchen along side. Hot drinks available. COVID regulations well observed. A pretty miserable day with rain in the morning, softening up the playing surface, a dry overcast evening with a touch of fog around. 

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay (C), Bronwyn Mulheron, Sofia Castiglione, Charlotte Gillies, Freya Standing, Sarah Mosley & Karly Tolentino.  Subs – Shannon Shaw, Amie Fullwood, Grace Stanley, Libby O’Callaghan & Ellie Cullum.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Charlotte Crisp, Carrie Bennett, Grace Waygood, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Gisela Otten, Albany Hodgson, Emma Jenkins, Amy Howlett, Laura Mitchell & Samaira Khan. Subs – Lauren Webb, Tori Lawless, Jemma Moore, Abi Davies & Ella Mercer.

  As with these derbies they’ll be City and United from now on. A late change for United seeing Tori Lawless picking up an injury in the warm up. Albany Hodgson starting alongside Gisela Otten in midfield. It’s City to get the 1st half underway, wearing their home colours, white shirts and black shorts with black and white hooped socks. United opposite wearing amber coloured shirt, black shorts and socks.  The ball put back towards the defence is lifted out long to the right with Charlotte Gillies making a run on the wing, Otten quickly across to tackle and send the ball out for a throw. 

 United’s first attack sees Laura Mitchell fouled wide right an early opportunity for the visitors to get players up into the box the delivery sent in headed away by City defender, Ceri Flye. Up on the left wing Freya Standing looks to get the ball and take on the United defence, captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt across to support Charlotte Crisp the ball regained, United push forwards the ball up on their right win a corner kick.

  GOAL! From the corner United catch City napping with a short delivery up the line the ball put back to the corner taker fired into the box on the angle at the near post is turned home by Otten at close range to open the scoring 0-1.

Cambridge United WFC’s Gisela Otten with the opening goal

  Very much a derby match the pace furious the no time dwelling on the ball both sides looking to get it forwards rapidly, Emma Jenkins with a run on the left side for United, drops her shoulder to come inside, Amy Reed getting her toe on the ball to take it away from her. Sent long up the right wing for Gillies City win a corner deep inside United territory this bringing their 1st corner of the match. The delivery in the area knocked down is pushed out back to the taker, played back in towards the top of the area Karly Tolentino latching onto it, jinks into the area right of the D putting her effort wide at the near post. 

   Jenkins succeeds in getting inside this time advancing up the left 20 yards out lines up a strike the ball put straight at Sarah Hudson back on her line. Amy Howlett is clipped as she comes to the right to receive the ball for United winning a free-kick 25 yards out. Crisp placing the ball down floated her delivery into the box near side attacked a glancing header deflecting it wide of goal a goal kick signalled. Good battles taking shape all over the park, Gillies and Standing on the flanks for City looking lively getting forwards rapidly when their defence regains possession. Jenkins and Mitchell likewise left and right for United, the full backs for both sides are going to have to stay alert. 

  Standing getting away on the left sees United exposed at the back space to run into fires a cross into the area Tolentino heading in down, Carrie Bennett around on the cover half clearing before the visitors are forced to concede a corner. The initial delivery cleared from the corner, City regain possession 30 yards out a powerful strike driven back in Amy Butler covering her near post with a comfortable save taking it high. Sofia Castiglione latching onto a loose pass from United inside their half right side rolls it forwards for Tolentino peeling off the shoulder of her defender in behind squaring the ball across the top of the area Standing arriving left side clipping her first time strike up over the bar. 

 Samaira Khan leading the line for United, is being closely marked by the City centre backs, coming out to the left managing to win a throw the ball touched on is crossed into the box, Howlett inside right of the D letting it come across her to strike a rising shot, not enough to evade Hudson who has come across the Howlett to put herself behind strike and claim comfortably. Standing and Gillies continue to cause problems for United, the latter coming inside as the ball is played up to Tolentino the pair playing a one too to put Gillies into space on the right flashes in a cross the ball swerving through the air seen safely wide at the far post. Can’t take your eyes off the action for a second and there aren’t too many seconds where there isn’t any action. 

  Khan winning a throw deep on  the left, drops it down to Jenkins who squares her pass inside for Otten getting forwards all of 30 yards out isn’t closed down takes on an ambitious effort her shot high, dipping significantly late on Hudson watching it though can see it drop over her crossbar. Very competitive with a few niggly fouls being conceded, very much a derby match the crowd playing there part too. Castiglione is getting hold of the ball winning it for City giving the hosts impetuous in their attacking play out for Gillies racing in to the corner on the right sending a cross in from the by line Tolentino getting across the defence spinning into a shot sends her attempt over the top. 

Cambridge City Ladies, Karly Tolentino

  Sarah Mosley blasting a shot wide from the best part of 25 yards out left side as the ball rebounds back to her with City marauding down the flank. Mitchell gets on down the right winning a corner for United, swung in near post City defending the ball comes straight to Jenkins outside the box, doesn’t need an invite to shot does and powers the ball wide of the mark. Burt up the other end clearing the ball from inside the area as Mosley threading a ball on for Gillies right sees a corner conceded. A proper derby 50/50 between Mosley and Otten on halfway, Otten getting it forwards for Khan, closely marked by Flye can’t get in behind.

   Leading the attack for City Tolentino is prepared to drop deep to receive with Gillies and Standing ready to race on behind to get onto the ball, Tolentino heads the ball on for Gillies right side her cross taken early racing across the top of the area looking to pick out Standing far side, Crisp getting in front of her to cut it out for United. Lauren Tomlinson winning the ball at left back as United come forwards brings it on flashing a cross inside for Standing 20 yards out left of the D, striking it goalwards Butler down low to collect it .Howlett nipping in to win the ball centrally for United looks to make ground, Bronwyn Mulheron going with her catching her to lung in take the ball away from her, Howlett still interested after the loose ball until Tomlinson racing inside from left back launches it upfield. 

 Castiglione lines up a well hit strike from 30 yards out, would have run wide of her left post Butler though diving has it safely in her gloves wastes no time in releasing it as United look to try and reassert themselves on the game. Albany Hodgson wins the ball centrally for United lays it on for Khan in attack, hasn’t had too much support around her with City keeping their opponents full backs occupied looks to go it alone driving at the City defence shifting to her right to open up space for a shot on target Hudson though right behind it. 

  GOAL! City mount a rapid attack down their left Tomlinson getting it back from Standing racing on with the ball down the line cutting inside smashes in a pacy ball to the near post Butler down smartly to glove the ball away, running out to the top of the area Standing after it is shoved to the ground the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Castiglione placing the ball on the spot, a coolly taken penalty sending the keeper the wrong way lifted to into the back of the net 1-1. City equalising with 10 minutes left in the first half.

Sofia Castiglione equalises from the penalty spot for Cambridge City Ladies

   City tails up now having pulled the scores level, Castiglione almost putting Gillie in behind on the right, Bennett reading the pass however sliding in to make a vital interception. Simmering a little bit, fouls given away arms raised in frustration passes going astray. United want to get the ball into Khan so she can turn and take on the City defence, Castiglione and Mulheron first to the ball. 

  GOAL! Just as City look to have the momentum United get forwards with a well played attack to restore their lead. Won by Hodgson central her pass lifted up to Khan to knock down to Jenkins running on to the left plays a good weighted cross into the area, Mitchell getting in from the right flank composed under challenge to strike her rising shot wide of the keeper to score 1-2.

Laura Mitchell, with Lauren Tomlinson restores United’s lead

  Otten coming across to the right sides stops Reed in her tracks as the full back wriggles free with the ball looks to advance down the wing. Castiglione putting her head on a ball put forwards by United knocks it down and carries it right into space before whipping a cross into the area, Burt clearing for United the final action of the first half.   

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

  An action packed first half, certainly has a derby feel to it, played at a fast tempo, plenty of energy expended by both sides, may well begin to show 2nd half with both sides having been in action on Sunday too. The perfect start for United taking the lead inside the opening 3 minutes from a corner. Took City a little while to get into their stride but have looked a constant threat attacking down the flanks forcing the pace, first to the ball. Equalising from the penalty spot. United showing great character in response restoring the lead minutes later to go in with a 2-1 lead at the break. Suspect City with come out of the blocks with all guns blazing at the start of the 2n half, United if they can can will be looking to nullify that threat with an early goal of their own.

  No changes at the break with United getting the 2nd half underway. Play the ball right as Mitchell runs on her first touch giving Tomlinson the advantage putting her foot in to clear the ball. Castiglione up for Tolentino in attack Gillies up with her, Burt in between the pair getting hold of the ball for United. Gillies full of running on the right for City, Waygood out to meet her this time clearing for a throw in. From the throw City launch a cross into the box, Burt heading it away for United. The visitors look to break the ball up to Khan is fouled 30 yards out from goal right side. Mitchell clipping the ball in towards the far post the ball attacked City scramble it away as Jenkins almost gets there. City hit United on the break, but the visitor get bodies back to slow the ball down

 Remains end to end, United struggling to get it to stick up top, not getting players in and around Khan, Fay on her tackling as she attempts to turn in behind her. Hodgson coming back to get the ball back as Standing aims to get onto a crossfield pass. Butler called into action saving low at her near post as Gillies drives in a shot on the angle from the right. City with the first change of the match Mosley the player off on comes Ellie Cullum. Otten picking the ball up from her defence plays it long towards the top of the area Mulheron lunging to intercept deflecting it to Tomlinson to get City moving on the left. Getting tense between the sides United certainly finding it frustrating the ball not running there way at the moment. Standing getting in behind left side for City puts the ball square in towards the near post Gillies racing into the area not picked up sending it wide.

  GOAL! City have looked the most likely to score there 2nd on 58 minutes attacking the ball right side clipped up to Gillies brings it down into her path driving towards the box drops her shoulder shaping to come inside, drags it away to her right into the area to create the space before smashing a venomous shot past the keeper into the back of the goal 2-2. 

City celebrate as Charlotte Gillies (no 7) equalises to make it 2-2

  City are doing well haven’t dropped the tempo at all the goal giving them renewed energy, Standing coming inside central as Tolentino knocks the ball into her run, her snap shot 20 yards out dipping safely held by Butler. The hosts first to the ball, United getting ragged with their passing, Howlett picking it up in the middle turns well evading a sliding challenge has Khan ahead of her looking to peel of Fay, the pass doesn’t pick her out as Fay intercepts. 

Gillies providing the outlet constantly on the right a looping diagonal ball from Mulheron picking her out takes it on before sending in a 20 yards strike on the angle, Butler down saving at her near post. Mitchell out wide right on for Khan looking to peel in behind Fay again the ball evading her this time Flye is across quickly in support to clear before Khan can strike the ball. 

 United make their first change Hodgson coming off with Abi Davies coming on. Mitchell getting on well right side closer to Khan now putting the ball up into the area the attacker backing up inside the box to break the ball down, slips as she attempts to turn inside with it. Khan fouls Tomlinson as she looks o send the ball upfield. The free-kick from distance evading everyone gathered inside the D, bouncing in as held by Butler beyond. Burt running across the top of her area puts on the blocking tackle on Gillies as she looks to hit it first time as the ball is rolled into her rom Cullum. A few tempers fraying getting a little heated between the sides United looking to be tiring as City retain their furious pace getting first to the ball, Castiglione winning a good share in the middle of the park now with some good passes. Khan going into the book after fouling Flye, joining Mulheron who was booked first half for City. 

  Gillies running onto the long range free-kick taking it on before blasting it into the keeper at the near post from 25 yards. Gillies seems to be everywhere coming central onto the ball top of the circle opens up her body to strike the ball on target through bodies Butler must see it late does fantastically diving to her left pushing it wide behind for a corner. The set-piece defended well United digging deep rallying the ball cleared by Waygood the ball just won’t fall favourably as Howlett races on with Mitchell. Castiglione and Otten grappling for the ball in the middle of the park, Castiglione squeezing it on for Tolentino, 20 yards out shifts to her right sending in a shot Butler right behind it.

  Is a great watch tense City are pushing for a 3rd goal, United backs to the wall at times are rallying Mitchell pushed up to support Khan, Howlett and Jenkins are coming on too. Gillies across to the left Davies stays on her, Burt across to help tackling well the ball fizzed into Otten sprayed out to Jenkins making a run left side sends it on for Khan peeling off the defence the offside flag bringing the move to an end. The game stretched both sides now feeling it’s there for the taking, Cullum central attempting to pick out Gillies on the left, Davies staying with her cutting the pass out. 

 Khan is brought don attempting to get into the box from the right as Davies sends the ball on to her. Mitchell on the set-piece played along the top of the six yard box, cleared by the City defence. The break on City race on the ball central on for Gillies right channel has Reed in support on the overlap, strikes the ball sail over the bar. Otten is fouled inside the City half the free-kick taken quickly out to Jenkins away on the left her shot on the angle wide across the area taking a deflection for a corner kick.

  GOAL! The game entering the final 10 minutes has been an enthralling contest. United have ridden some strong pressure from City now with a corner on the right a chance to bring players forwards. The delivery whipped in chest height along the six yard box, congested deflected back to the top of the area Jenkins on it lays it back to the taker is frantic inside the box the ball coming out to Howlett 25 yards out right of the D, strikes the ball sending it looping high into the air, Hudson back peddling can’t get anything on it as it drops over her into the net beyond for United to take the lead for the 3rd time in the match 2-3.

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

  Controversy as the goal is celebrated however as City have a player Tomlinson down inside the six yard box from the initial ball in City are furious claiming it was a head injury and play should have been stopped it wasn’t however and the goal stands. Tomlinson hurting her ankle in the finish receiving treatment. Frustration for City who had looked more likely to find a 3rd goal serves to display the emotion a derby can bring out in a side. City respond with a 2nd change bringing Grace Stanley on for Tomlinson. 

  GOAL! City pile players forwards as they get straight back in search for a reply with the clock running down, Fay travelling forwards into the United half is a long way out left side when she strikes the ball, if it was intentional it was well disguised a one in a million strike launched up high into the air dropping out of the night sky Butler back on her line can’t keep it out as it drops under the bar inside the top corner to make it 3-3!

  Game on! Both sides going for it United break Jenkins left inside for Otten attempts to thread it through for Khan, Flye clearing for City. United come on right side a cross lifted into the box over Khan central, Mitchell behind her can’t bring the ball down. Into stoppage time. The fouls racking up as first Crisp then Otten are brought down the latter getting a free-kick left side the delivery floated into the box Khan heading down looking for a runner far post City attempt to break the ball sent on into the area safe with Butler as the final whistle blows and the points are shared.

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 3-3 Cambridge United WFC

  Another fantastic derby game between United and City played at a furious pace, would have taken alot out of both sides, United’s fitness certainly tested by their opponents were on the back foot in the 2nd half as City came back to level the scores for a 2nd time. Looking good to take the lead themselves but United showed character to hold them and retake the lead for the 3rd time themselves. City coming straight back to level. The points shared, United will be frustrated having lost the lead 3 times, City themselves thinking maybe they should have nicked the win, certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game. Highly entertaining.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time to pick another Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few contenders once again. For United Amy Howlett was finding space without getting the rewards. For City, Ceri Flye made several important tackles at the back, Freya Standing a threat on the left coming on, and Sofia Castiglione in the middle got onto top in the midfield came very close but is just edged out by Charlotte Gillies pace and energy on the wing linking up with Tolentino up top and made some terrific runs amongst the goals too.

All of the pictures used in this report produced by Gary Reed, does tremendous work helping to picture and promote the women’s game and I thank him for allowing me to use his photo’s

 An enjoyable 1st derby of the season, certainly a great advert for women’s football in Cambridgeshire. Appreciate the help with the team details as always from both clubs (although I do know most of these players pretty well by now) I have seen them several times now and know it’ll always be intriguing.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Women

Sunday 20th September

FAWNL South East Division One

 The new season of FAWNL football starts this Sunday and once again Women’s Football East will be keeping a close eye on both the Southern Premier Division and South East Division One. The 24 sides unchanged from last season due to the COVID outbreak raring to get going once again the leagues promising to be more competitive than ever with some very strong new signing made. Begin the action with a trip to St Neots Town FC to watch Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Women in South East Division One.

 The 20/21 season starting a month later than usual due to the virus that brought the previous season to an early end. A new season played with strict COVID regulations on place to maximise the safety of both players an supporters. South East Division One has seen several strong signings as the whole of the women’s football pyramid strengthens at both ends. The FAWSL just beginning it’s journey as a professional league at the top. Growth is happening too at the base in the county leagues with 3 new divisions created in the East alone this campaign. That in turn will only serve to strengthen the sides already there including the FAWNL sides competing in tiers 3 and 4.

  Another competitive season promised, two sides looking to improve this season in South East Division On are Cambridge United WFC and Norwich City Women. Cambridge United WFC moving to a new home at the start of the 2019/20 season moving from Mildenhall Town FC to St Neots Town FC. A move which brought both their 1st and Development sides together training at one facility. Lost a few players during the close season and made a slow start to the season. A change of manager saw Ben Yeomans step up to first team manager results beginning to improve before the season was brought to an abrupt end. Have brought in a few new signings over the close season. Attacker Samaira Khan impressing in the ERWFL with both AFC Dunstable and last season Colney Heath Ladies is dangerous in front of goal testing herself now in the FAWNL. Defender Grace Waygood joins having previously Spurs, so to winger Laura Mitchell who has represented Wales at youth level  and young attacker Ella Mercer.

  Norwich City Women too have found themselves at the wrong end of the FAWNL South East Division One table in recent seasons. Several managerial chances haven’t helped there progress. The Norfolk side bringing in Shaun Howe to lead the 1st team this season has a alot of talented youngsters with a mix of good experience . The league getting stronger with every season can hopefully find the winning formula to get them pushing up the table. Injuries to key players another factor hindering the side at times were dealt a blow in pre-season losing goalkeeper Hope Armstrong to an ACL injury. Have brought in Elli-Rai Quinn-Nicholls is a good replacement performing very well for Newmarket Town Women in the ERWFL last season. Defender Alice Parker returns to the club as does full back Anna Larkins, who captained Wroxham Women previously an accomplished defender has a good set-piece on her too.

 Needless to say both sides will be looking for and fancy there chances of achieving an opening day win.

  St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium is situated on a new built estate on the outskirts of the town, featuring a small stadium housing the clubhouse and changing room with a seated stand overlooking one side of the grass pitch. An excellent 3G pitch set behind it. One good thing I suppose about this long lay off from football is the pitches have enjoyed a good rest too. The grass pitch looking superb. COVID restriction in place and well observed. The weather bright and sunny blue skies, drinks breaks needed but I did get a cup of tea before kick-off.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Abi Davis, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Grace Waygood, Tori Lawless, Gisela Otten, Faith Hewitt, Emma Jenkins, Laura Mitchell & Samaira Khan. Subs – Liz Pamplin, Albany Hodgson, Jemma Moore, Charlotte Crisp & Ella Mercer.

 Norwich City Women starting XI – Elli-Rai Quinn-Nicholls, Alice Parker, Anna Larkins, Jordan Arnoup, Laura Thacker, Jodie Drake, Millie Daviss, Josie Jarvis, Lauren Cullum, Kathryn Stanley & Natasha Snelling. Subs – Izzy Collins, Brooke Osborne, Rosie George, Abi Tate & Leilah Gooding.

  Norwich wearing their away colours, green shirt and shorts with yellow socks to get the first half underway. Lining up opposite Cambridge in their home colours amber coloured shirts with black vertical stripes down the front, black shorts and socks. Technically goalkeeper Amy Butler to is a new signing for the hosts having joined from Colney Heath last season and gotten just one game in before it all came to an end one the bench Liz Pamplin ready to make her 496th appearance for the club if called upon.

  The visitors playing the ball back to their defence, centre back Jordan Arnoup playing a long diagonal pass out to the left wing for Kathryn Stanley to attack, knocks it down the line, right back Abi Davies closing in to tackle and clear for a throw in for Cambridge. The hosts looking to get straight on the counter attack the ball up into midfield sent out to the left Emma Jenkins straying offside. A lively start to the game two sides keen to get going, Cambridge on the right Laura Mitchell pushing in through to Samaira Khan attacking the right channel, centre back Laura Thacker sliding in to push the ball away from her for Quinn-Nicholls to clear out to the wing, Mitchell after in gaining possession and lifting a high cross into the box attacking near post Khan rises we to meet it, the ball looping up to and on the roof of the net. 

Emma Jenkins looking to attack on the left for Cambridge United WFC

  Cambridge press on the right Mitchell driving on winning a corner kick. The delivery into the six yard box cleared back to the taker a second ball put in captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt up from the back getting something on it near side sending in goalwards the ball deflected away. Cambridge with intent early on the ball through the middle finding Jenkins left of the area brings it inside across the top of the area eventually getting a shot away blocked by Thacker comes back to Khan who flashes a shot over from the angle. Norwich mount an attack left side Stanley carrying the ball at her feet a determined run her pass forwards into the box looking for Natasha Snelling closing in on the near post , Grace Waygood close on her to defend the loose ball fired back in flashes wide of goal a corner awarded.

  GOAL! Norwich open the scoring from the resulting corner, the delivery played long to the congested far post the ball ending up knocked down into the six yard box in front of goal on a plate for Natasha Snelling standing a half yard out unmarked to turn over the line for Norwich’s first goal of the season 0-1 with 6 minutes on the clock.

Natasha Snelling opening the scoring for Norwich pictured with Cambridge’s Gisela Otten

  Norwich come on in attack getting numbers forwards Lauren Cullum with a cross field ball out to Snelling left of the area plays it wide to Stanley the pair attempting a one two, Stanley’s ball a little heavy Snelling doing well to retrieve on the by-line cuts it back towards the top of the area, Stanley can’t connect with the shot. The visitors regaining possession in the middle Josie Jarvis to captain Millie Daviss coming on sends a great low ball into the Cambridge area a deflection sending it wide for another corner. Another delivery put in invitingly to the far post however it clears everyone this time around. Cambridge gather far side and get straight on the counter the ball sent up the line for Khan looking to get in behind full back Alice Parker doing well tackling to take it away for a throw.

Norwich’s Kathryn Stanley

   Is a fairly even start the tempo quick play turned around quickly exciting to watch Jenkins taking the ball clear on the left into space put through to Khan wriggling clear right of the D, sets herself to strike Quinn-Nicholls quickly out to close her down making a great blocking save. Won in the middle of the park by Gisela Otten for Cambridge looking forwards sees Jenkins making a run on the left her pass threaded through picking her out takes the ball into the box closing in on the keeper aiming to send a shot across her Quinn-Nicholls diving full length getting a glove to the ball stopping it, loose for a moment Jenkins after it, the Norwich keeper grabbing it to pull safely into her body.

  Daviss covering alot of ground in the middle for Norwich brings it forwards right side into the Cambridge half, passes it to Snelling 20 yards out right side of the area, Carrie Bennett getting in on her to tackle going to ground trapping the ball with her feet before being cleared. Norwich sitting deeper are inviting Cambridge on a bit getting players forwards in attack as Khan gets hold of the ball left side fizzes a ball into the penalty spot, Mitchell attempts to bring it under control shifts it between her feet looking to pull the trigger, Thacker getting a foot in to tackle is deflected out towards the top of the area Otten 20 yards out hitting it first time the ball cannoning off the crossbar.  

 GOAL! 20 minutes played and Cambridge draw the scores level. Khan making some good runs into the channels leading the line picked out on the right by Mitchell the ball at her feet drives into the box closing in on the keeper towards the near post opens up her body well to slot the ball past her into the back of her net to score her first and Cambridge’s of the season 1-1.

Samaira Khan scoring the equaliser on her Cambridge debut

  Is a lively game can’t take your eyes off it for a 2nd, Jenkins getting hold of a misplaced pass at the back for Norwich 25 yards out sends her shot back in straight at the keeper. Khan peeling away into the right is tackled by Parker. Norwich are looking very dangerous on the counter attack the midfield getting the ball out to the wings quickly, with Stanley left and Cullum right. Stanley this time getting half a yard on her marking firing in a shot on the angle 25 yards out flies over the keeper to smash down off the crossbar. The ball still in play to the right cut back into the box Daviss racing in tackled well by Tori Lawless tracking back from midfield.

Norwich captain, Millie Daviss being challenged by Cambridge’s Tori Lawless

   Norwich strike the woodwork again moments later a loose ball 30 yards out struck with venom by midfielder Jodie Drake through everyone inside the Cambridge box Butler sees it late doesn’t move the ball thumping against her left post, One end to the other Cambridge advancing on the right a free-kick awarded a yard outside the box close to the by line players coming up from the back. Burt coming into space asking for it right side given it smashes in a shot low racing wide through the six yard box wide at the far post. Time for a drinks break is pretty warm out there and both sides are putting alot of energy into the game. 

Norwich City Women’s Jodie Drake

  Play resuming Cambridge get forwards winning  corner on the left, the ball played deep knocked up into the air by Burt, Quinn-Nicholls getting a merest of gloves on the ball as it comes down out to the right of goal a shot comes in flashed wide. Up the other end Butler with a great save down low getting good hands out to stop a shot fired in from six yards by Jarvis as Stanley plays her in. Waygood getting to the loose ball first clearing the danger for Cambridge. Fantastic combination play between Lawless and Otten in the middle for Cambridge, as Bennett makes a run left side Otten laying the ball into her she sends a looping pass long into the area for Khan to attack closing in on the keeper, Quinn-Nicholls stays big doing enough to see Khan plant her shot wide of goal.

Cambridge United WFC defender, Grace Waygood

  Snelling catches the Cambridge defence playing a high line is clear to attack the area, only a good starting position from Butler stops her the keeper able to get out and put her foot through the ball before Snelling can send a shot wide of her. Out for a throw on the right taken quickly, Stanley and Daviss link up for the visiting side the ball put in to the top of the area Otten back to win it for Cambridge this time is tripped by Stanley as she tries to bring it away. 

  Cambridge are looking dangerous on corners have a bit of height in their side now one won on the left after a driving run from Khan is put into the mix Norwich half clear, Burt has hung back inside the D the ball straight it her is fired in through bodies towards goals blocked and cleared by Larkins  on the post. Daviss is booked as she brings down Jenkins. The free-kick 35 plus yards out on the left taken by Lawless and flighted ball into the rea knocked down by Khan pushed into Otten top of the area lunging into the shot sends it over the bar. 

Cambridge United WFC captain, Kayleigh-Anne Burt

  Mitchell on the right taking the ball on well for Cambridge into the channel for Khan holding it up as Mitchell comes on in support the ball put across the area into Jenkins, Arnoup in to win it for Norwich put on into the middle the counter attack is on for a moment it’s two v two with Cambridge caught on half-way but Stanley can’t pick out Snelling as Waygood sticks a leg out to intercept. Waygood with a good ball on from the back picks out Jenkins running on left side, Larkins though gets back on her well coming across her to roll the ball safely back to her keeper to clear.

Norwich City Women’s, Anna Larkins

  Burt sliding in to tackle gets the ball back to Butler inside the D as Cullum and Stanley come together from the flanks to try and carves the hosts open through the middle. Khan with her weaker left foot does get enough power behind the shot as she tries to put it across the keeper inside the box following a good ball in from Mitchell on the right Quinn-Nicholls down to claim the ball.

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

  An exciting first half comes to an end with the scores level at 1-1 could well have been 3-2 to Norwich if the woodwork counted both sides with some excellent chances. The game played at a very high tempo both sides attacking with pace and purpose getting players forwards. Norwich inviting Cambridge on somewhat the hosts showing good movement in the final third. Norwich dangerous on the counter attack, both keepers called into action making good saves beautifully poised for the 2nd half.

Norwich’s Lauren Cullum tackling Cambridge Tori Lawless

   A change for Norwich at the start of the 2nd half Abi Tate on to replace Thacker in the heart of the Norwich defence.  Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway. Play a little disjointed early in neither side getting to pace Larkins coming to tackle Jenkins as she is played in right side, Burt winning the ball at the back as Drake attempts to slide it through to Snelling. Jenkins is really putting in a shift for Cambridge on the left running on as Bennett sends her pass up the line, Arnoup comes across to support Larkins to close her off win the goal-kick.

Norwich’s Natasha Snelling with Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins

  Davis with a vital interception in the box for Cambridge as the ball in fired in from the wing early for Snelling to attempt to run onto. Jenkins getting hold of the ball left side brings it on Khan giving her the run to the left channel the pass along the ground into her feet Khan taking it on closing in on the advancing keeper, Quinn-Nicholls stays big again Khan knocking it wide of her goes to retrieve it on the by line cutting it back into the box Jenkins arriving to strike the ball blocked well by Tate. 

Norwich centre back, Jordan Arnoup

 A scrappier start to the 2nd half alot of energy expanded in the first half neither side on top yet. Tate gives away a free-kick 30 yards out right side to Cambridge. Lawless over the ball dinks in a shot the ball caught low by Quinn-Nicholls on her line.  Tate sliding in moments later on Mitchell outside her box gives away another foul much to the visiting sides complaints that she’d won the ball. 

 GOAL! this one closer in 20 yards out right of the D, Mitchell and Jenkins over the ball as players comes forwards from the back to load the box. Jenkins with the dummy run, Mitchell striking it in across the area to the far post attacked Lawless emerging from the crowd to turn into the goal to give the hosts the lead on the hour 2-1.

Tori Lawless puts Cambridge into the lead 2nd half has enjoyed a good contest with Norwich’s Millie Daviss

  Cambridge coming on strong attacking tails up, Davis winning it in defence laying it down the line for Khan left side is brought down by Larkins bemused that she doesn’t get anything.

GOAL! Cambridge race into a 2 goal lead overlooking the attack on the right Khan fires a diagonal ball into the D, Hewitt making a great run is well placed to get a shot away hitting it sweetly to send in low swinging wide to the keeper’s right 3-1.

Faith Hewitt extends Cambridge’s lead

  Norwich respond with a double change, Rosie George and Brooke Osborne sent on in place of Cullum and Jarvis. Tate flying on with a sliding challenge once more is shown a yellow card as Cambridge are awarded a free-kick right of centre. Burt to play in in towards the top of the area, Norwich struggling to get the ball clear the hosts can’t capitalise. 

  GOAL! A moment of controversy a hot patch for Cambridge sees them score a 4th much to the visiting sides displeasure. Attacking the ball in to the top of the area Khan I think, Tate goes off her feet sliding in to win in doesn’t make contact with anything, referee Romana Bria has covered alot of women’s football and keeps up with play well close to the tackle the Norwich defence stop concerned I feel that having just been booked Tate might be in trouble, warns her to calm down. Whilst this is going on the ball is put out to the right Mitchell running on free into the area lays it across the face of goal for Jenkins to send it home far side 4-1.

  The Norwich players and bench aren’t happy as the goal stands, the referee though never blew the whistle an as players are told often you play to the whistle. Can see why Norwich stopped but play was never stopped. A hard goal to concede. Cambridge though with 3 goals in nine minutes have gotten themselves into a fantastic position. A crunching 50/50 tackle between Khan and Tate sees the Norwich defender down hurt and play stopped so she can be treated and drinks. 

 Tate is okay to continue Norwich with a chance to regroup. Stanley on the ball 30 yards out right side clips it into George top of the area she connects with the ball flashing her shot wide of the near post. The visitors get forwards winning a free-kick 30 yards out, Daviss an Snelling over the ball, it’s Snelling who takes on the shot up over the wall on target but caught high by Butler drifting across her line. Cambridge make a change Jenkins has ran herself into the ground makes way for Ella Mercer to make her Cambridge debut up front as Khan moves to the left. 

Norwich’s Abi Tate winning the ball from Cambridge’s Ella Mercer

  Lawless feeds a pass through to Khan on the left side she cuts it across the top of the area into the advancing Hewitt to clip her first time strike over the bar. Space beginning to open up as both sides begin to tire, Norwich see an attack break down Mercer making a run into space on the right for Cambridge Hewitt picks her out with the pass takes the ball onto into the box closing in on the keeper sends her shot high beating Quinn-Nicholls but has the angle covered well the rising ball coming back off the post. A second change for Cambridge Charlotte Crisp comes in on place of Lawless. 

  Their lead giving Cambridge renewed energy the hosts push on in attack Otten sending a 20 yard ball into Mitchell closing in n the box she shots her effort rising over the bar. Cambridge winning a free-kick on the right Crisp to play a diagonal ball invitingly into the box Tate rising well to head behind for a corner. The corner on the left in at the near post defended by George out behind for a 2nd corner. This one taken short put up the line before being delivered is deflected behind a goal kick awarded. The game heading into the final minute of normal time. Khan dragging a shot wide as she attacks on the right. 

  Norwich get up the other end George right cutting a ball in towards the top of the area Snelling there right of the D, both Burt and Waygood in to prevent her getting a shot away the ball cleared to the right Norwich keep up the attack another cross comes in Snelling with the shot a combination of keeper post preventing a goal. Cambridge continue to press the attack looking for another goal the ball threaded through into the box Mitchell right squaring it central for Khan her shot blocked at point blank range comes back to Mitchell who flashes a shot wide across the six yard box a corner awarded. The delivery into the six yard box headed over by Khan as the final whistle blows.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 4-1 Norwich City Women

  An opening day win for Cambridge United WFC beating Norwich City Women 4-1. A victory that will give them a great deal of confidence at the start of the season. A strong start to the 2nd half getting getting into the lead and quickly adding 2 more goals to get themselves into a strong position, were fluid in attack creating several chances, there midfield winning the ball more often in the 2nd period. Was a pretty even first half however, both sides attacking with purpose made for an exciting contest Norwich taking the lead, Cambridge coming back well to equalise. 3 goals in 9 minutes in the 2nd half changing the game. The 4th goal controversial no doubt. Cambridge deserved winners in the end. Norwich I suspect will be hit hard by that 4th goal but for an hour I thought the game could go either way looked very dangerous on the counter attack in particular.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, clearly the intent this season is not for it to be an easy decision. Several contenders once again. A few performances to mention, firstly Millie Daviss for Norwich, the amount of ground she covered was superb to try and break up Cambridge attacks. For Cambridge Tori Lawless worked the ball well making some great tackles and runs. Emma Jenkins made herself constantly available on the left side, with Laura Mitchell impressing on her Cambridge debut on the right. The award though goes to another Cambridge debutant Samaira Khan scored her first goal for the club and as the spearhead of the attack made some fantastic runs into the channels to receive a pass.

   A fantastic opening game from FAWNL South East Division One fast paced, between two determined sides, bodes well for the season ahead. As always my thanks and appreciation to both sides for the team info.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage FC Women

Sunday 8th March

FAWNL South East Division One

No storm sweeping in across the country this weekend so for the first time in a month it was nice to make plans early get a game sorted, keen to get some action in from the FAWNL, headed to St Neots Town FC this Sunday to watch Cambridge United WFC v Stevenage FC Women. 

  Battles shaping up well at both ends of the table competitive in the top half for the title race and in the bottom half although no one wants to be there a crucial period coming up for the sides wanting to avoid relegation. The two promoted sides Kent Football United and Cambridge City Ladies positioned in the bottom two are just a couple of positive results (if they can find them) from getting clear of trouble, the sides immediately above scrapping for points themselves to keep clear of danger amongst those today’s opponents Cambridge and Stevenage. Norwich in the mix too and all the sides in the bottom five have crunch games against each other coming up.

Cambridge United WFC into the 2nd of a 4 game run against the sides in and around them. An Emma Jenkin’s goal enough to secure all 3 points away to bottom side Kent Football United last weekend lifts them up to 8th in the South East Division One table 5 points clear of the bottom two with a trio of home matches to come starting with Stevenage this afternoon, then local rivals Cambridge City and Norwich City Women at The Abbey Stadium on Weds 18th March. The women’s sides making the switch to a new ground this season now at St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium along with their Development side.

New beginnings bringing mixed fortunes, a new era of sorts an great opportunity to grow a new fan base great facilities but a change in coaching set up saw several player departures before the season started the squad smaller struggling for results early on, out of the cups early. A long period without a game more changes in management Ben Yeomans stetting up from assistant to first team coach. New faces coming in the club has never been sort of positively. The move to St Neots seeing Cambridge United unable to defend the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup this season but now within the catchment area of the Huntingtonshire FA have reached the final of the inaugural Hunts FA Women’s Cup, facing St Ives Town Ladies on Thursday 23rd April at Eynesbury Rovers FC.

Stevenage FC Women themselves playing in the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup final next Sunday taking on Watford Ladies U23s for the second successive final. Will be Stevenage’s sixth consecutive County Cup final appearance and will be looking to regain the trophy from their opponents. Joining forces with the Stevenage FC Foundation this season were looking to push on become an established side in the FAWNL having recently gained promotion. Injuries a few long term and being unable to secure a main shirt sponsor hampering their season somewhat falling to 10th spot four points clear of the bottom two have been unlucky with some results scoring goals okay just conceding too many. A narrow 3-2 defeat away to Leyton Orient WFC last time out. Beat Cambridge United comfortably 4-0 in the reverse fixture back in September and have home games against the bottom two to come.

Once I’ve successfully negotiated the roadworks on the A14 at Cambridge the venue for today’s game The Premier Plus Stadium home of St Neots Town FC as well Cambridge United WFC. The entrance to the pitch through the clubhouse hot drinks available onto the stadium itself the grass pitch in great condition offering good width. Dark cloud around and quite breezy didn’t talk of much rain around but short sharp showers would be a feature of the afternoon, one before kick-off as the teams warmed up seeing an early retreat to the changing rooms. Headed to the mainstand myself but the wind blowing straight into it offered little protection. Like to be on the opposite of the pitch however and as the rain died decided to risk it.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Amy Butler, Charlotte Crisp, Carrie Bennett, Albany Hodgson, Jemma Moore, Faith Hewitt, Gisela Otten (C), Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Amber Cantwell & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Abi Davies, Kayleigh-Anne Burt & Katie White.

Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Grace Brooks, Leah Dunnage, Gemma Biggadike, Lucy Webster, Dominique Godbeer, Cara Breckenridge, Amy Josland, Ashleigh Deacon, Tamsyn Sibanda, Amy Makewell (C) & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Charlotte McLucas, Erin Pope & Katie Knell.

Amy Butler making her debut in goal for Cambridge, new arrived from ERWFL Premier Division side Colney Heath Ladies. Allowing Albany Hodgson to rejoin the defence having donned the goalkeeping gloves herself in the last couple of matches, injuries at the back also seeing Charlotte Crisp usually operating in midfield at right back. Stevenage to kick off the first half wearing white shirts with red vertical pinstripes, red shorts and socks. Cambridge opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black sleeves black shorts and socks. Playing the ball back towards their defence Cambridge press high the ball released sent long out to the left knocked on into the box, Butler with an early touch of the ball off her line to kick clear.

 Cambridge work the ball through the middle Amber Cantwell putting it out to the right for Amy Howlett running on up the line cuts inside, Stevenage’s Leah Dunnage closing in to put in the tackle prevent a cross. Pace from both sides going forwards Stevenage come on the diagonal pass into Ashleigh Deacon on the right side, bursts on with the ball travelling into the box players rushing on through the middle to join her the ball squared along the top of the six yard box, Hodgson cutting it out for Cambridge. Deacon a threat on the right side early on getting hold of the ball taking it on fires another ball into the six yard box Nicole Emmings seeing it into her feet laying it back to captain Amy Makewell top of the area strikes it back on on target low but well seen by Butler back on her line down to save. 

Cambridge’s Amy Howlett with Stevenage captain Amy Makewell

 A lively start from both sides Faith Hewitt getting hold of the ball on halfway for Cambridge sending it up field to Emma Jenkins on the right Gemma Biggadike staying with her Jenkins forces a corner. The delivery long through the six yard box before being cleared. A crunching 50/50 ball in the middle between Stevenage’s Amy Josland and Cambridge captain Gisela Otten the rebound favouring Stevenage Emmings getting hold of it on the left jinking her way into the area Butler coming to close the angle takes it around wide on the angle shoots the ball landing in the side netting.

Cambridge United WFC captain, Gisela Otten

  Lucy Webster coming across the back line to tackle Jenkins as she gets free on the left for Cambridge. Emmings causing problems in attack for Stevenage moving out to the left head down on the ball looks to get in behind a good tackle from Crisp to regain possession. A good contest in the middle of the park, the ball closed down Cara Breckenridge this time playing the ball to Deacon on the right has Makewell giving her a run ahead of her into the box laying it into her path, Jemma Moore gets across well to lunge in front of her to take the ball away before the attacker can pull the trigger. 

Ashleigh Deacon taking the ball on for Stevenage

  Cantwell getting forwards with the ball at her feet, is brought down, the advantage played as the ball runs straight to Kelley Blanchflower she plays it across the top of the area to Jenkins left side, upended by Webster, Cambridge get the free-kick this time. Jenkins herself to take floating the ball into the area, Stevenage’s Dominique Godbeer winning the header dropping down outside the box, Cantwell after it puts her foot through the ball her strike charged down. Neither side on top getting forwards quickly Cambridge have it on the right a throw won taken quickly Cantwell laying it on up the right for Blanchflower, strong on the ball takes it in towards goal a defender on her shoulder gets a shot away the ball wide across the face of goal. 

Stevenage’s Lucy Webster

 Blanchflower seeing the ball into her feet right channel 25 yards out takes it on into the area Godbeer sliding in as she shoots the deflection seeing the ball come out to Hewitt 20 yards out top of the D strikes it first time screws it high and wide of the left post. Hewitt with a fantastic tackle to win the ball inside the Stevenage half attempts to thread it through for Blanchflower a little too much on it allows Stevenage goalkeeper, Grace Brooks to claim. Both sides looking to get their wide players on the ball Jenkins is fouled as she tries to get into the box coming in from the left. Jenkins has a go for goal a high ball presenting a danger to Brooks back on her line as it drops goalwards… but lands safely on the rook of the net. 

The ball’s there if you look for it a tricky on for Stevenage goalkeeper Grace Brooks to keep an eye on.

 

  GOAL! 19 minute played and the deadlock is broken, Stevenage getting forwards well pressure in the final third, Deacon with the ball right side takes in on towards the corner, players race on through the middle to support Deacon sends a dangerous ball into the six yard box, Hodgson falling cutting it out central sends it out towards the top of the area, straight to Amy Josland she strikes it first time getting curve on the ball sending it swerving away from the keeper into the bottom corner to give the visitors the lead 0-1. 

Amy Josland firing Stevenage into the lead.

 Stevenage lively getting forwards well Makewell giving an option drifting into the right channel the ball fed to her takes it on Moore closing her down the pair tussling for the ball Makewell fouling the free-kick going Cambridge’s way much to her annoyance. Stevenage on through the middle Sibanda inside for Josland, Hodgson intercepting and sending up field to Howlett on the right goes on finding Blanchflower ahead of her powerful with the ball at her feet holding off her marker the angle tight sends her shot into the side netting. 

  Jenkins with the ball left side Hewitt up with her inside 25 yards out gives her the ball, opens her body to clip it forwards for Blanchflower stealing in behind, Brooks down well to save at the strikers feet. Hewitt involved again winning it central her pass finding Cantwell 30 yards out right of goal takes on the shot the ball held by Brooks. Otten with a couple of challenges to slow Stevenage down before a somewhat out of control tackle by Cantwell sliding in gives the visitors a free-kick 25 yards out right of goal. Sibanda over it goes for goal her effort wide of the near post. 

Stevenage striker, Nicole Emmings

  Stevenage coming on well in the last 5 minutes getting bodies forwards pushing Cambridge back Deacon right side a corner won. A good delivery into the six yard box Otten does well to clear for Cambridge play brought back for a head injury to Hodgson. Josland in quick to win the ball, up to Emmings the striker can’t find the room to get a shot away top of the box before being crowded off the ball. A high ball played forwards into the Cambridge area awkward for Hodgson to deal with Makewell in close attention the ball bouncing, Makewell getting to it first hitting it on the angle towards the near post Butler can’t take any chances down to palm it behind for the corner. From the left inswinging into the six yard box Cantwell doing well getting there ahead of Godbeer to put it behind for a 2nd corner on the right. Another good delivery across six yard box Godbeer free this time at the back stick rising to head the ball her effort coming back off the crossbar. 

 Cantwell and Jenkins combine well through the middle for Cambridge, exchanging passes before Jenkins plays it out to Howlett on the right, takes it on Dunnage in to win the ball back for Stevenage. A good take by Brooks low in her box as Cambridge come on Cantwell into Jenkins coming in from the left her shot taking a deflection, Brooks across down to save. Biggadike gets on right side for Stevenage ahead of Deacon fires in a cross/shot towards the near post Butler keeping her eyes on it well gathered even as Emmings lunges at it in front of her. 

Charlotte Crisp getting on with the ball for Cambridge United WFC

 Cambridge picking it up in the closing minutes of the 1st half getting forwards better Hewitt winning it on for Blanchflower right of the D a good diagonal ball picks out Jenkins coming in from the left pushes it in cross the top of the six yard box looking to get a shot way just runs too far allows Godbeer to get across her and clear the ball out for a throw right side. Dropping into Blanchflower the Cambridge attacker turns and strikes the ball her effort a foot over the crossbar. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Stevenage FC Women

  Stevenage slightly edging the 1st half with a 1-0 going into the break. A competitive game a good battle going on in the middle between Cambridge’s Otten and Hewitt up agianst Stevenage’s Breckenridge and Josland. Both sides looking to get forwards quickly use the width Deacon in particular on the right, Emmings in attack showing good movement, Cantwell with good options left and right with Blanchflower up top. One goal in it the 2nd half will be no less eventful. The rain making a return at half-time the reserve umbrella up just another light shower however as the sides return to the pitch.

No changes made, Cambridge to get the 2nd half underway. A early clearance presented to Blanchflower drifting left has support from Jenkins ahead of her rolls her in her cross into the area cut out by Godbeer for Stevenage. Cambridge making a fast start to the 2nd half the ball won back high play turned around Blanchflower left sends it on towards the box, intercepted by Webster deflects off her legs straight to Cantwell inside the D has Howlett free inside the box to her right plays the pass by even as Howlett’s shot nestles in the bottom corner the whistle blows for a raised flag, offside. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Amy Howlett

Under pressure early on the ball cleared up to the left, Makewell does well to bring it down keep in play putting it back to Sibanda a good strike of the ball to send it up the wing for Emmings running in behind takes it on, Moore getting across to challenge the ball behind for a corner kick. Players come forwards a vicious ball fired in low through the six yard box Emmings lunging at it far post isn’t too far away from making a telling contact. 

Gemma Biggadike challenging Gisela Otten for the ball

 Cambridge sharper to the ball now getting their tackles in high Hewitt out for Howlett right goes on with it, Sibanda getting back to tackle her. Crisp fouled as she gets forwards on the right. The free-kick put high into the area headed clear by Godbeer, Stevenage get on he counter attack Deacon out to Emmings moving right, Moore closing down to send the ball out for a throw. The sun making an appearance a rainbow over the ground. The tempo high Cambridge coming on Cantwell clipped top of the D as she looks to get a shot away a free-kick for Cambridge, Jenkins on it hits it low strikes the wall deflected out to the left more Cambridge pressing brings a corner. The ball cleared Stevenage can’t make any head way in attack as Cambridge come straight back, Cantwell left 20 out looks to thread it into Blanchflower inside the box near post, Brooks just about gets there but a deflection sees the ball behind for a corner.

 GOAL! 56 minutes played and Cambridge equalise scoring from the corner, Cantwell to play it in a good inswinging delivery close over the goalkeeper, players attacking it beyond one of those Hewitt getting her head on the ball nodding it down into the back of the net 1-1. 

Faith Hewitt with the header to put Cambridge United WFC level

  Stevenage with a quick response coming close to retaking the lead within seconds of the restart, the ball into Deacon right side hits it on the run her strike clipping the crossbar. Stevenage come again another effort at goal stabbed wide by Josland from 25 yards out. Blanchflower making some great runs in attack for Cambridge now clear to the right takes the ball on into the corner options limited nevertheless spots Hewitt positioned inside the D sends the ball racing into her Hewitt not quite able to connect. Otten with a strong challenge breaking up a Stevenage attack the visitors frustrated now not getting the ball into their attackers as easily as they did first half. 

Amy Josland in to tackle Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins

  Sibanda with some good tackling left side for Stevenage looking to get on up the field attempts to thread a pass through for Emmings in behind but Butler with a good starting position can get there first to claim. Blanchflower fouled on the left a free-kick awarded. Cantwell to deliver put in close to the keeper, Jenkins up with her Brooks gloving the ball up onto the bar before it goes over. A lively contest both sides going for it Stevenage’s Emmings shows good control on the ball to work it out to Deacon to her left, Moore coming in to close down with a good challenge. 

Cambridge’s Amber Cantwell

 Sibanda getting up to support the attack on the left on to Emmings comes inside striking the ball from 20 yards out, Crisp sticking out a leg getting in the block for Cambridge. Sibanda staying up high left winning a throw keeps the attack alive turning inside to get another shot away again Crisp is there to block near post. Stevenage with a good spell of pressure Emmings has it left on the by-line strong to turn inside sends a cross into the six yard box Makewell there gets a touch the ball send wide at the far post. Stevenage make the first change of the match bringing on Katie Knell for Breckenridge as the rain starts to fall again 20 minutes left to play.

Charlotte Crisp getting a leg out to block Emmings shot

  GOAL! Cambridge regain possession in the middle Hewitt on for Blanchflower left channel sends it on for Jenkins racing away down the wing she fires in a fierce ball into the far post Brooks down to save gloves it away loose out to the top of the box, Blanchflower racing in first to it strikes it hard arrowing into the goal beyond 2-1.

Cambridge striker Kelley Blanchflower holding off Stevenage’s Tamsyn Sibanda

 Stevenage make a 2nd change straight away Erin Pope comes on for Biggadike. Cambridge on the attack good work from Otten winning it central puts it to Blanchflower moving left down the line her ball into the box finds its way through to Howlett, doesn’t get a clean strike of the ball, sliced wide. Cambridge make their first change with Katie White coming on for Jenkins. Pope with a snapshot 20 yards out as the ball is deflected into her path sends it wide of goal. Stevenage pushing players on risk leaving gaps at the back Blanchflower ready to exploit the ball over the top seeing her clear through the middle, Brooks comes out of her area attempting to win the race not quick enough Blanchflower attempts to put it past her fortune favours the keeper as it strikes her legs.

  Crisp taking a quick free-kick up to Blanchflower inside the box Godbeer on her shoulder let of goal manages to get a shot away deflected across the face of goal Howlett retrieving right side puts back in Webster intercepting for Stevenage. Cantwell winning a corner for Cambridge on the right puts in another good delivery Hewitt further out winning the header on target down, cleared on the line by Sibanda. Stevenage with a free-kick on halfway the ball finding Pope top of the D gets a snapshot away blasts it wide of the right post. A third change for Stevenage as Godbeer comes off on comes Charlotte McLucas to make her first team debut. 

Stevenage’s Erin Pope in to tackle Cambridge’s Amy Howlett late on

 Hodgson closing down Emmings to concede a throw as the Stevenage attacker looks to get on right side into the box. A few strong challenges coming in late on both sides giving as good as they get Stevenage keen to get on with the clock running down, Cambridge battling to hold onto their lead. The game heading into stoppage time play frantic, Sibanda tackling Howlett puts it inside to Makewell can’t shake off Otten.

  Cambridge trying to get it down into the corners, easier said than done, Hewitt into Blanchflower, Sibanda closing her down to regain possession doesn’t stick up top, Cantwell cleans out Sibanda as she looks to carry it out on the left, earning her the first yellow card of the game. Into the final minute Crisp bringing the ball on rolled into Blanchflower held up in the Stevenage final 3rd no time to mount one last attack as the final whistle blows and Cambridge win another valuable 3 points.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 2-1 Stevenage FC Women 

 Cambridge with back to back wins 6 points seeing them pull further clear of the battle at the bottom, Stevenage now very much in it losing today and seeing Cambridge City Ladies win at home to Norwich the 2nd bottom side closing the gap to just a point. Several crucial games to come. A good first half from Stevenage starting well and stayed on the front foot through out the first 45 minutes taking the lead and creating several good opportunities. Cambridge not out of it by any means with chances of their own. The 2nd half very much Cambridge’s started well he pressure paying off equalising from a corner then going onto take the lead with 20 minutes left. Stevenage make then work hard for the 3 points an intriguing contest, Stevenage had chances to level.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, a few performances of note and a tough one to decide who gets the award. For Stevenage, Ashleigh Deacon was a threat going forwards on the right and Nicole Emmings showed great movement and presence in attack. Tamsyn Sibanda with some fantastic challenges especially 2nd half. For Cambridge Jemma Moore with some timely tackles at the back. Amber Cantwell with good movement and passing spot on from her corners. Kelley Blanchflower in attack always available making good runs creating goal scoring opportunities. Now it gets tough really the final two are neck and neck for me but have to pick one, Faith Hewitt was fantastic in the middle for Cambridge great tackling and good runs forwards supporting the attack, the award though goes to Charlotte Crisp not usually at right back but had an excellent game made several important tackles and blocks.

An enjoyable trip to the Premier Plus Stadium this Sunday, my thanks to both sides for the team details. Will be seeing Stevenage again next Sunday in the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup Final.

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Leyton Orient WFC

Sunday 15th December

FAWNL South East Division One

A trip west to St Neots this Sunday to watch a game from FAWNL South East Division One, Cambridge United WFC taking on Leyton Orient WFC. 

  A highly competitive league once again, Ipswich Town Women’s young guns leading the way as we head towards the end of the year, but the Suffolk side has a host of sides hot on their heels well positioned to challenge for the top, amongst those Leyton Orient WFC in 4th just 4 points off the leaders. 

 Cambridge United WFC  find themselves at the wrong end of the table, 2nd bottom with just 5 points on the board so far this season winning just one league match. Not the start they wanted as they moved to a new home this season, St Neots Town FC hosting their first team and Development sides games now aswell as their new training base. The loss of several key players during the summer hasn’t helped with a few more departures the squad found itself battling for points. Have yet to keep a clean sheet this season whilst frustratingly the majority of their defeat have been by a single goal margin. 

  Wanted or not Cambridge United WFC have had an enforced lay off of six weeks without a league game, this though has seen others pulled into the battle at the bottom, A chance to get others back from injury notably midfielder Amber Cantwell. Returning to action last weekend was always going to be a tough ask away to leaders Ipswich who had scored 28 times during Cambridge’s down time come into their final match of 2019 off the back of a 5-0 defeat.

This afternoon’s match is also Leyton Orient WFC’s first in the league for over a month, albeit for different reasons as the London club has been involved in several cup competitions, reaching the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup were knocked out by Southern Premier Division side Portsmouth FC Women last weekend. A strong start to the league season now an established side in South East Division One have lost just the one game so far this season up in 4th amongst the sides challenging the leaders themselves. Otesha Charles amongst the goals for Leyton Orient early in the season top scorer with 14, was unavailable for today’s match.

Knew yesterday as the men’s league game had fallen foul to a waterlogged pitch the game was under threat this Sunday, St Neots Town FC though boasts a large 3G pitch beside the main stadium. The game switched to that pitch the stadium itself situated in a new development on the outskirts of St Neots. The 3G pitch fairly new offering plenty of width and space around it. The weather bright but chilly calm, a few clouds around but no chance of rain the low sun behind one end would cause problems during the match for the players.

  Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Liz Pamplin, Abi Davies, Carrie Bennett, Kayleigh-Anne Burt (C), Jemma Moore, Albany Hodgson, Gisela Otten, Amy Howlett, Emma Jenkins, Amber Cantwell & Kelley Blanchflower. Subs – Jessicer Thsibanga & Chloe Armstrong.

  Leyton Orient WFC starting XI – Latoya Smith, Cheryl Anderson, Jasmine Auguste, Leyre Bastyr, Ria Collins, Egle Trezzi, Lisa Holmback, Francesca Ali, Sophie Le Marchand (C), Hayley Barton & Ellie Stenning. Subs – Connie Montiel-McCann, Michelle Young, Pinja Piira & Allison McCann.

 A change of ends at the coin toss with Leyton Orient captain Sophie Le Marchand opting to have the sun at her sides backs in the first half. Cambridge then to get the first half underway, wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks, Leyton Orient in an all blue kit, The ball closed down quickly by both sides straight away not getting out of the middle third Leyton Orient with a throw in on the right trying to make in roads behind their opponents defence.

The ball staying that side Cambridge get a throw on halfway, into Amber Cantwell she brings it down well turning to pass to striker Kelley Blanchflower central, she sees Amy Howlett breaking away down the right wing into space puts a great diagonal pass into her run takes it on before whipping a cross into the box the ball won and cleared by Leyton Orient’s Cheryl Anderson. A lively start to the game energy from both sides snapping in to make challenges Cambridge coming out on top in the early 50/50 exchanges. 

  Hayley Barton gathering the ball into her feet for Leyton Orient left side plays the pass infield into Egle Trezzi she spreads play up the left for Le Marchand to attack driving on towards the box, Abi Davies tackles for Cambridge to regain possession. Leyton Orient quick to get the ball back a cross fired into the area from the left side, Ellie Stenning up to challenge for it central knocks it down for Le Marchand to hit top of the box left side struck well the ball races wide across goal. 

Hayley Barton in to winning the ball for Leyton Orient

  Cantwell and Blanchflower combining once more the ball passed into the middle as Gisela Otten moves forwards plays a superb weighed pass out to Howlett on the move down the right taking on the full back gets inside to lift in a cross the ball too close to the keeper, Latoya Smith claiming high at her near post. Albany Hodgson does well tackling to prevent Leyton Orient bringing the ball out from the back keeping the pressure on in the final third for Cambridge.

Kelley Blanchflower and Amber Cantwell looking to get the better of the Leyton Orient defence 

  Francesca Ali strong into the challenge winning the momentum for Leyton Orient sets Le Marchand away on the left, Cambridge’s defence pushed back. Barton latching onto a stray goalkick lets fly from the angle a long way out her shot over. Jemma Moore doing the defensive work for Cambridge seeing the ball out on the right for a goalkick as Anderson looks to play in Stenning. A even start to the game both sides competing well Cambridge have a throw left side into Blanchflower the Cambridge attacker turns well and looks to take the ball on a determined run into the area, stopped as Ria Collins goes into challenge the ball deflected out to the right picked up by Howlett who lashes it goalwards, Smith with a smart save a glove up at her near post to tip the ball on away across goal. 

Leyton Orient WFC’s Ria Collins

 Stenning is brought down bringing the ball on through the middle for Leyton Orient a free-kick awarded, Barton over it a floated ball into the box Cambridge captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt up highest getting her head on the ball knocking it down outside the area falls to Lisa Holmback strikes the ball on the volley her attempt over the bar. Cambridge mount an attack Emma Jenkins winning the ball in the middle Cantwell and Blanchflower ahead of her a good one two the ball played out to Howlett right her shot saved by Smith.

Cambridge winning a corner the ball initially defended by Leyton Orient, it’s Hodgson again who prevents the visitors breaking in attack the ball staying in the final third Jenkins is fouled 35 yards out left side, she is up to take it herself goes for goal a curling ball falls wide of the right post. Trezzi battling for possession gets the ball forwards for Le Marchand left side her early cross defended by Cambridge’s Carrie Bennett. Barton does well for Leyton Orient attacking right to win a corner. The ball played in towards the top of the area Trezzi inside the D meets it first time her strike angling wide races past the far post.

Ria Collins and Emma Jenkins challenge for the ball

Le Marchand left side in attack the ball fired up to her controls well on her chest to turn and strike the ball on the angle, read by Cambridge goalkeeper Liz Pamplin down to claim at her near post. Ali with good work in the middle for Leyton Orient looks to pick put Holmback making a run ahead of her, Moore stepping in the tackle and win the ball for Cambridge. Free-kicks being given away Hodgson brings down Holmback central, Trezzi puts her attempt over. Up the other end play is brought back after Cantwell is pulled down with no advantage. Hodgson to play the ball forwards, Leyton Orient defend, somewhat unfairly as far as Blanchflower is concerned protesting she was held down, her appeals waved away.

 One too many for Hodgson as she is eventually booked after a long lecture from the referee. Left side Barton to float the ball into the box, Collins with the run the ball knocked on into the mix scrambled behind for a corner. Taken from the right a good delivery met by Collins 10 yards out a looping header goalwards straight at Pamplin catches it high. Leyton Orient started to get on top getting the ball into the final third well Ali on for Stenning 20 yards out across to Barton right side into the box, Cambridge closing down the hosts looking to attack quickly through the middle Ali in to break it up. 

Cambridge United WFC’s Albany Hodgson

  Leyton Orient’s Holmback getting her side a corner on the right played long to the far post the ball headed clear outside the area picked up by Leyton Orient’s Leyre Bastyr strikes in a low shot Pamplin diving makes the save. Stenning’s turn for a lecture from the referee as she goes into the book. Jenkins fouled for Cambridge on the left Hodgson on the delivery long to the far post runners attacking it Smith with the instinctive save at close range a scramble inside the box the ball coming out to Jenkins her shot blocked. 

  Jenkins on the left turning on the ball good work to get in behind swings in a cross along the face of the Leyton Orient area, Otten racing forward striking it 1st time the Dutch players effort racing narrowly wide. Plenty of energy being put in by both sides Barton bringing the ball on in attack left side looks to come infield taking it across the top of the area looking for room to shoot lets fly the ball taking a deflection off a Cambridge leg the sting taken off the shot Pamplin can safely claim. Leyton Orient pressing late on win a corner on the left put long across the six yard box, Ali beyond the far post heading it back across goal a vital clearance by the defender covering the post for Cambridge.

Francesca Ali’s header put back across goal

Cambridge’s Gisela Otten preparing to tackle Leyton Orient’s Lisa Holmback

  GOAL! Cambridge break late into the first half Howlett away into space on the right Blanchflower with her getting the edge on the defence in the middle the ball from Howlett rolled on into her path right of the D into the box Blanchflower pulls the trigger early to fire her shot low past Smith before she can properly set herself 1-0.

  Time in the first half for Cambridge to mount one last attack Jenkins fouled somewhat painfully a free-kick awarded 40 yards out central, Hodgson on it tries her luck from distance on target Smith moving across her goal needed to keep her eye on it but drops before it an cause her trouble brings it down safely. 

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Leyton Orient WFC

  A narrow lead for Cambridge at half-time, Blanchflower slotting the ball past the keeper late in the first half. A fairly even contest, lively players competitive across the pitch. Several robust challenges nothing malicious however the game played in good spirits. Cambridge gaining confidence Leyton Orient building well creating opportunities nothing clear cut yet though. 

Sophie Le Marchand bringing the ball down for Leyton Orient

No changes for either side at half-time. The sun very low now light starting to fade, Leyton Orient to get the 2nd period underway Cambridge defending a 1-0 lead. Davies at right back for Cambridge dealing with a high ball forwards. Leyton Orient pressing from the off in the 2nd half Trezzi supporting Le Marchand left side the pair getting a throw in deep, put into Le Marchand edge of the box she heads it on into the centre, Burt getting it clear for Cambridge. Up the other end Collins putting in the tackle defending against Jenkins as she looks to break for Cambridge. 

Le Marchand gathering the ball wide left turns infield 30 yards out is lining up a strike, blocked by Otten as she throws herself into the block in front of her. Leyton Orient press the attack left side a cross whipped into the area nodded out by Moore central falling straight to Stenning right of the D her shrike back blocked by Burt deflected out to the left Trezzi latching onto it firing a shot in on the angle Pamplin down at her near post to save.

  Cambridge quick to get up the other end win a corner on the right, the ball into a crowded six yard box, Smith rising well amongst the melee to punch down the ball still in play inside the box, Auguste blocking Cambridge force a 2nd corner. The ball cleared Cambridge win it back inside the Leyton Orient half Blanchflower and Jenkins combine the latter seeing her shot from 20 yards out blocked. Blanchflower picking out Howlett getting away on the right her low cross cut back across the six yard box snatched into her body by Smith. 

A lively contest still very even, Cambridge can’t afford to sit on a 1 nil lead. Le Marchand providing a good outlet in attack for Leyton Orient on the left Trezzi picking her out with the pass, Davies sticking out a foot just taking the ball away from her as she looks to turn in behind. Leyton Orient’s Holmback right puts the ball into the box for Le Marchand who checks back before shooting a curling effort headed over by Burt for a corner. The corner defended the ball dropping for Holmback right of the D, her shot sliced falls wide of goal.

  Barton bringing the ball on through the middle looks to put Le Marchand through on goal as she breaks central, right side Burt stays on her making a fine tackle inside the box to take the ball away from her. Auguste has a go from distance 30 yards out well struck but not troubling Pamplin in the Cambridge goal. Leyton Orient continue to press breaking quickly right in attack the ball launched into the area Stenning and Le Marchand the runners, Stenning near post looking to shoot on the volley does quite get enough on the ball helping it on towards goal Pamplin is down on it bravely as Le Marchand goes over her.

Jasmine Auguste looking to get in behind for Leyton Orient

 The visitors continue to knock on the door Barton with great work on the ball getting inside the box to shoot from the right her attempt headed away in front of goal by Davies. Trezzi putting the ball forwards for Stenning in the box heads it down for Auguste bombing on from the left her run blocked keeps possession to win a corner. Cambridge look to break Cantwell stooped by Bastyr a good challenge to deny her. Blanchflower patient leading the line for Cambridge ready to go should the ball be presented to her. 

 GOAL! That patience rewarded as Cambridge get the ball out from the back long into her making a run left channel getting free to attack the keeper rushing out to met her corner of the area Blanchflower lifting the ball over Smith, wheeling away in celebration even before the ball has bounced into the empty net beyond 2-0.

Striker Kelley Blanchflower puts Cambridge into a 2 goal lead

 25 minutes left to play Cambridge with a 2nd goal, Leyton Orient look for an immediate response Anderson with a strike from distance wide across the area. Howlett tracking back in defence to support Davies as Le Marchand looks to get the ball down and drive into the area. Alot of effort put in by Cambridge, Leyton Orient creating chances just aren’t getting the rub of the green in the final third. Play paused as Hodgson requires treatment but okay to continue the floodlights switched on getting very dull with the sun fallen below the ground. 

Leyton Orient captain, Sophie Le Marchand

  Cambridge winning a free-kick wide on the right level with the penalty spot Cantwell to take a well struck ball flying in towards goal smashes against the bar an out of play. Le Marchand strong on the ball puts it on for Stenning looking to get into the area, Moore diving in to make the tackle puts it out for a throw in for Cambridge. Blanchflower picking the ball up on halfway turns and looks to drive on with it towards the Leyton Orient area closed down 20 yards out the ball is played back towards Smith picking it up the referee blowing up for a foul handling from a back pass.

 GOAL! Cambridge with an indirect free kick inside the Leyton Orient box left of goal 8 yards or so out Cantwell and Jenkins close by Cantwell with the touch back to Jenkins to smash towards goal, through everybody finding its way into the back of the net putting Cambridge 3-0 up late in the game.

  The visitors straight on the attack Le Marchand left side winning a corner the ball put into a congested six yard box the flag up against Collins as she rises to head the ball. Leyton Orient make the first change of the game Holmback coming off to be replaced by Connie Montiel-McCann she goes to right back Anderson switching to the left.

Abi Davies bringing the ball out from the back for Cambridge

  Cambridge tiring but a call to arms to keep a clean sheet now the game into the closing 10 minutes Leyton Orient comes forwards Barton shooting from outside the box Pamplin down to her left making the save the ball out for a throw left Le Marchand inside the box turning to shoot wide across goal. Leyton Orient bring on Pinja Piira for Barton. Cambridge make their first change, Cantwell coming off to be replaced by Chloe Armstrong. A strike from distance from Cambridge Otten I think 30 plus yards Smith moving across her goal catching comfortably. 

   Armstrong back to defend well for Cambridge initially then commits a foul outside the box left side bringing down Ali. Trezzi on it goes for goal deflected off the wall spins wide across goal for the corner kick. Leyton Orient push on late in the game looking for a goal Cambridge battling at the back, Le Marchand played in by Piira on the left comes inside to shoot Pamplin unsighted as the ball finds it way through her defence with a great save getting down low to her right to push the ball away. 

  The visitors attacking right the cross put in across the top of the area, falls to Le Marchand left of the D strikes it on the half volley fired wide of goal. Into the final 5 minutes, Auguste and Le Marchand combine left side a throw in brings a foul and free-kick in the corner players forwards the ball sent in Moore injured as she goes up to defend for Cambridge play stopped a head injury. After treatment can’t continue brought off on in her place Jessicer Thsibanga. It just won’t happen for Leyton Orient in front of goal as they mount one last attack Auguste left on for Le Marchand puts in inside for Stenning to shoot outside the box her effort wide across the six yard box.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 3-0 Leyton Orient WFC 

  A massive 3 points won by Cambridge United WFC just their 2nd league win of the season enough to lift them 2 places up to 9th in the South East Division One table. Leyton Orient suffering just their 2nd league defeat of the season. A even game for the majority Cambridge capitalising on individual errors from Leyton Orient to score leading 1 nil at half-time needed a 2nd goal to take the pressure off Blanchflower taking her chances well a 3rd goal coming late on and from a defensive perspective a first clean sheet of the season. Plenty of chances created for Leyton Orient it just wasn’t to be their day in front of goal.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match several contenders once again. Picking out a few performances, Francesca Ali and Egle Trezzi in the middle for Leyton Orient, and Sophie Le Marchand really did deserve to be on the scoresheet having carved out several opportunities. For Cambridge the defence with an huge effort, Kelley Blanchflower with two well taken goals had her hand in the third too. Amy Howlett with some great runs on the right in midfield Gisela Otten with solid game but edging it for me is Albany Hodgson put in some good tackles and prevented Leyton Orient getting forwards on a number of ocassions.

 Another entertaining game from the FAWNL, an even contest Cambridge finding the goals to win the game. My thanks to both sides for their help with the team line-ups today. 

Match Report – Norwich City Women v Cambridge United WFC

Sunday 13th October

Women’s FA Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cambridge United WFC’s Jemma Moore.

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

Eyes on the ball, Cambridge United WFC midfielder Charlotte Crisp

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

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

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

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

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

Izzy Collins clearing the ball for Norwich.

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

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

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

Cambridge United WFC captain, Kayleigh-Anne Burt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cambridge attack

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

Angelina Nixon on the ball for Norwich City Women

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

Norwich goalkeeper, Hope Armstrong.

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

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

Cambridge United WFC striker, Kelley Blanchflower

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

Norwich City Women captain, Millie Daviss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full time Norwich City Women 3-2 Cambridge United WFC

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Wednesday 4th September

FAWNL South East Division One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mollie Coupar pressing Amy Reed for possession of the ball

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

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

Kelley Blanchflower with Cambridge City ladies captain Becca Fay

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

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

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

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

Megan Tonks up to win the header for Cambridge City Ladies

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

Cambridge United WFC’s, Charlotte Crisp

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

Cambridge City Ladies, Karly Tolentino

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cambridge City Ladies, Lauren Tomlinson

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

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

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell

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

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

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

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

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 2-2 Cambridge United WFC

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Enfield Town Ladies

FAWNL South East Division One

Sunday 18th August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cambridge’s Carrie Bennett with Enfield’s Beth Lumsden

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

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

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

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

Katherine Long opens the scoring for Enfield Town Ladies

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

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

Enfield defender Robyn Reardon tackling Cambridge’s Mollie Coupar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amber Cantwell

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

Enfield Town Ladies, Robyn Reardon

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

Abigail Davies bringing the ball forwards for Cambridge United WFC

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

Enfield Town Ladies captain, Nuala McKevitt

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

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

Claire Ford defending against Coupar for Enfield

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

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

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

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

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

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-2 Enfield Town Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

Match Report – Cup Final Special

Tuesday 19th March

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final

Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Road to the Final

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

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

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

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

The Abbey Stadium pitch

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

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

(roll on roll off substitutes)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(photo credit Gary Reed)

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

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

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

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

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

(photo credit Gary Reed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(photo credit Gary Reed)

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

(photo credit Gary Reed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-2 Cambridge United WFC

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

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

(photo credit Gary Reed)

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

 

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Norwich City Ladies

Wednesday 13th March

FAWNL South East Division One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Norwich City Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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

Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v AFC Wimbledon Ladies

Sunday 13th January

FAWNL South East Division One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cambridge’s Kelley Blanchflower with Wimbledon’s Rebecca Sargent

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

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

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

Wimbledon’s Katie Stanley

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

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

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

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

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

Mollie Coupar holding the ball up for Cambridge United WFC

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

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

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

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

Full time Cambridge United WFC 3-0 AFC Wimbledon Ladies

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

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

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

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