Thursday 16th May
Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup
Cambridge City Ladies Development v Cambridge University Women
Off to St Neots this Thursday evening for my penultimate cup final of the season, postponed from last week the Cambridgeshire S-Tech Women’s League Cup Final. Cambridge City Ladies Development v Cambridge University Women.
Cambridge City Ladies Development playing their final game of the season, the League Cup final are looking to go one better than their first team and complete the treble having already secured the Premiership title and won the Junior Invitation Cup Final. A successful season for the club at all levels, some from the squad breaking into the first team such as Ceri Flye and Freya Standing along with top scorer Megan Tonks who has 32 goals to her name this season.
Cambridge University Women fielding a side in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership amongst the top sides in recent seasons. Pushing for runners up spot this season with one match left to play. Their 2nd’s playing in the competition otherwise known as The Eagles, whom they shall be referred to henceforth. Starting their fixtures later they are often playing catch up a threat to the sides above without putting them under undue pressure throughout the season capable of beating anyone in the league on their day.
Road to the Final
The League Cup beginning with a mini-league format for the first half of the season, the sides from the Premiership and Championship North and South drawn into 4 groups each side playing the other once. Cambridge City Ladies Development topping Group C with 5 wins from 5. The Eagles in a much tighter Group D one of three sides all finishing on 9 points with 3 wins and a loss each, Haverhill Rovers Ladies top on goal difference, The Eagles pipping Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds to 2nd spot the top two from each group going on t contest the knock out stages.
Cambridge City drawn at home to Championship North leaders Ketton Ladies in fantastic form going into the game a single goal scored by Bella Simmons seeing Cambridge City into the semi-finals. The Eagles away to fellow Premiership side march Town United Ladies, goals from Amanda Wainwright, Freya Ekman and Lu Liu securing a 3-1 victory to send them into the semi-finals.
Cambridge City at home to Championship North title challengers Wisbech Town Ladies. Freya Standing amongst the goals scoring a hat-trick as the hosts ran out convincing winners 8-0. The Eagles at home too taking on the holders ICA Sports Ladies a hat-trick from Eli Cropp seeing them win the match 3-1 to reach the final.
St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium the venue for this evenings final has been a while since I last visited the ground, was hard to find then too, set within the new build properties going up on the outskirt of the town. Once you know where it is though you’re set. Will be hosting women’s football regularly from next season as it becomes the home of FAWNL South East Division One side Cambridge United WFC. Boasts an immaculate pitch in great condition. A seated stand on one side with covered terracing behind either goal. A clubhouse and bar serving hot drinks. A warm evening a bit of cloud cover still.
Cambridge City Ladies Development starting XI- Freya Robson, Rose Jump, Sophie Ingledew, Shona Lester, Carrie Buettner, Matilda Schwefel (C), Eli Cropp, Sara Merican, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge, Amanda Wainwright & Flora Risdill-Smith. Subs – Hannah Sanderson, Charlotte Kenyon, Flora Harpley-Green, Lu Liu & Beatrice Wood.
Cambridge University Women starting XI – Hannah Lock, Becky Langthorpe, Rachel Littlewood, Jade Powell (C), Anna Kanz, Emily Reed, Rachel Pearce, Bella Simmons, Yasmin Crow, Freya Standing & Megan Tonks. Subs – Lucy Hurst, Amy Ozakpinar, Charlotte Gillies & Drew Jenkins.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
City to get the League Cup Final underway kicking off first half wearing white shirts with black shorts and black and white hooped socks with The Eagles lined up opposite wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts with black coloured shorts and socks. The ball closed down straight from the off passes rushed in midfield neither side getting time to find their passes, Lili Donlon-Mansbridge for The Eagles the first to make a meaningful run with the ball gathering it 30 yards out and driving on central the City defence rushing out to charge her down as she goes to pull the trigger.
Eli Cropp playing a pass out to Donlon-Mansbridge attacking right puts the cross into the box early long to the far post City clear. City counter getting forwards on the right Yasmin Crow winning her side a corner kick. The Eagles defence dealing with the delivery lifted in towards the near post. Progress up the right side for City the cross lifted into the near post missed by goalkeeper Freya Robson as she rises to punch it dropping beyond her the ball threatening to dribble over the line the defence have gotten back the ball scrambled up field.
Megan Tonks played in on the right top of the area the ball at her feet turns and shoots, Carrie Buettner blocking at close range for The Eagles the ball with them in the middle captain Matilda Schwefel sending it on for Donlon-Mansbridge through the middle she runs on towards the area, City captain Jade Powell getting back on her in defence to challenge and regain the ball. The Eagles keep up their pressing of the ball disrupting City as they look to send the ball forwards, Donlon-Mansbridge right playing the ball inside to Amanda Wainwright in attack, Anna Kanz tackling for City outside the area.
Winning possession central the ball rolled into Flora Risdill-Smith in attack she spots Rose Jump getting forwards on the right flank the full back taking the ball on down the line, Rachel Littlewood for City preventing the cross. Jump then back on defensive duty does well as Littlewood coming on looks to support Freya Standing on the wing. City bring the ball on through the middle Rachel Pearce getting forwards passes to Bella Simmons peeling out to the right shoots from the angle 25 yards out pace behind the ball, Robson across to cover her near post palming it down and gathering.
Schwefel fouled central a free-kick awarded the ball put on towards the top of the area for runners left side escapes everyone running behind for the goalkick. A competitive start to the game The Eagles working hard to close City down high up the pitch. Tonks showing good movement across the front leading the line for City behind her free-kick being given away disrupting play favouring The Eagles, one coming to Donlon-Mansbridge right of the D sends a shot in towards goal, straight at goalkeeper Hannah Lock she collects the high ball.
Pearce plays the ball up the left for Standing she drives forwards for City, Jump going with her keeps her from getting inside Standing nevertheless squaring a cross into the six yard box the ball cut out near post the clearance just evading Simmons as she bursts forwards to the edge of the box. Becky Langthorpe getting forwards from full back for City on the right with Crow ahead of her the ball put int the box met by Simmons drifting in near side turns the ball goalwards from 8 yards out, Robson down smartly to save. City starting to gain some momentum going forwards.
GOAL! City coming on left winning a corner the ball fired in close to goal near post dropping behind the first City attack landing at the feet of the 2nd a reactive stab sending the ball over the line from close range, Tonks with the touch to put City into the lead 1-0.
City have the ball central, Standing released on the left, Buettner running back to get the tackle in. A throw for City high on the left the ball dropped into Tonks she turns lifting it on into the area, Simmons meeting it near side a first time shot looping high to land on the roof of the net. Schwefel making a good run with the ball for The Eagles sending it on for Sara Merican on the left flank, Risdill-Smith with a run into the left channel ahead of her, Powell sticking out a leg intercepting the pass for City at the back.
Crow attacking right for City, Sophie Ingledew sliding in to dispossess her. City building seeing more of the ball, Tonks laying it on for Simmons racing ahead of her shooting from distance Robson gathering safely.
GOAL! Into the final 10 minutes of the 1st half and City double their lead breaking Standing on the ball central halfway plays it early lifted on for Tonks moving clear off her marker running on shooting from outside the box power behind it the low ball skipping off the surface wide of the keeper into the back of the net 2-0.
City getting the upper hand a diagonal ball left long to the opposite side Robson up to collect with Tonks closing her down spilt on landing Tonks after it, The Eagles defence quick to close her down Robson grounded between the the ball sent behind for a corner. A good delivery fired into the box central Standing on the penalty spot the Littlewood to her right both seeing a shot blocked.
The Eagles make a change with Donlon-Mansbridge coming off on in her place Charlotte Kenyon. City break the ball put on up the right with Simmons racing away the ball cut back towards the top of the six yard box Standing hitting it on the volley seeing the ball smash down off the bar, the attack stopped by a raised flag. Robson with a brave save doing well at the feet of Tonks at the top of her area as Tonks runs through. The ball played through the middle coming to The Eagles Cropp taking it on she shoots from 30 yards out the effort over the crossbar.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies Development 2-0 Cambridge University Women
A good contest so far played in good spirits, The Eagle starting well closing City down disrupting play whilst trying to find openings themselves. City gaining momentum as the 1st half wore on getting Simmons forwards to support Tonks chances created before the opening goal came from a corner. Tonks making it 2-0. More often than not a critical scoreline the next goal and important one.
The Eagles to get the 2nd half underway the floodlights on as the light begins to fade. City having made two changes at the start of the 2nd period, Standing and Crow off, Lucy Hurst and Charlotte Gillies taking up their positions left and right in attack. Risdell-Smith brought down inside the City half bringing the ball forward the delivery on into the area aimed for Lester can’t reach it the ball bouncing through to the keeper, Lock sending the ball up field launching a counter attack Tonks lively looking to get away right fouled. The Eagles defending the resulting free-kick.
Simmons central sends the pass up to Gillies on the right int the corner has Tonks with her the pair looking to combine the flag going up against Tonks. A bright start from City coming on in attack left side a ball squared along the top of the area Simmons central with Reed coming on tees her up The Eagles defence charging her shot down. Buettner doing well in defence for The Eagles defending from a corner put in from the right. Wainwright bringing the ball forwards right for The Eagles support for Kenyon getting on down the wing, Littlewood does well to break up the attack for City.
Simmons finding pockets of space in advanced positions sets Gillies away on the right wing, Ingledew doing well in defence for The Eagles. Hurst nicking the ball just outside the area for City is brought down, the free-kick in a dangerous position left of the D, Powell forwards to take it. Hit well Powell sees her strike smash down off the crossbar falling out to the right a shot blasted back in flies over. The Eagles on the back foot seeing little of the attack look to create through the middle Schwefel sending it on Wainwright very nearly sneaking in behind, Powell sticking out leg to make a vital interception at the back. Gillies on the attack right for City sending Simmons away ahead of her, Robson comes racing out of her box to try and close her down Simmons getting her shot away first the ball past the keeper but also wide of the right post.
GOAL! The City pressure in attack bringing a goal with 57 minutes played Simmons getting on down the right firing a shot in on the angle pace on it Robson gloving the ball away straight to Hurst central under challenge getting as shot away to divert the ball back towards goal low wide of the keeper from outside the six yard box 3-0.
City with the upper hand first to the ball 2nd half aren’t letting The Eagles have any time on the ball difficult to find their attacking players. Tonks with a shot from 30 yards out a deflection taking it wide for a corner kick. Schwefel positive looking to bring the ball forwards, Reed backed up by Pearce keeping it tight through the middle winning it back for City.
GOAL! City go further ahead the ball brought on through the middle fired into Simmons 25 yards out central turns well to send the ball into the path of Tonks inside the ball moving left of goal, Robson out to close down the City striker taking it past her in behind composed not rushing her shot plays it in along the ground the ball squeezing in inside the post before the defender sliding in to stop it can reach it Tonks scoring a cup final hat-trick 4-0.
GOAL! No sooner have City scored a 4th goal they get up the other end to make it 5. A corner on the right taken short catching The Eagles off guard crossed in from high a fantastic delivery central into the six yard box, Tonks their free rising to nod the ball down over the line to score her 4th of the game 5-0.
A double change for City now with Langthorpe and Reed the players off on come Drew Jenkins and Amy Ozakpinar with 20 minutes left to play. Tonks flagged offside a Robson comes rushing out of her box just about getting to the ball first. Standing returning to the action as Simmons is brought off. Standing fouled off a throw in high on the left outside the box, Hurst over it sent log to the far post Powell meeting it put straight at Robson at close range the keeper saving.
The Eagles cannot get going in attack few opportunities to get the ball forwards City bristling with confidence. Lock catching comfortably as Kenyon floats a ball on from the right. Wainwright strikes from 25 yards out the City defence blocking. The Eagles keep possession the ball long into the box attacked near post bodies forwards lifted over a corner awarded.
Tonks is applauded off for City as she is substituted Crow returning to the action. Buettner cutting the ball out at the back for The Eagles as Gillies plays it on from the right. Cropp catching a shot well from 25 yards out for The Eagles sees her attempt race wide of goal. Pearce coming off for City with Simmons returning. Jump comes off for The Eagles with Hannah Sanderson coming on. A throw on the right City want to make a change Littlewood called to the bench on the opposite side of the pitch, a false alarm as she is sent back getting a cheer for her efforts.
Gillies bringing the ball on down the right a shot driven in from 20 yards out Robson saving at her near post. A late change for The Eagles Lu Liu on for Kenyon. City continue to press the ball high keeping their opponents back inside their own half a comfortable lead now the final whistle blows on the game and their season and City have done it completed the treble adding the League Cup to the already to the already bulging trophy cabinet.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies Development 5-0 Cambridge University Women
City with a strong 2nd half capitalising on their good finish to the 1st half, creating chances to go further in front Tonks scoring 2 more to take her tally to 36 for the season. Pressing the ball high themselves lively in attack kept The Eagle from getting any foothold in the 2nd period. A bright start from The Eagles playing their part in an entertaining and good-natured final but once City got the lead they were in control. One more game for The Eagles runners-up spot still there for the taking as they play March Town United Ladies on Sunday.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
On to this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, two names above the others and that quickly became one as the 2nd half wore on. Bella Simmons with some great movement in attack creating opportunities for herself and others was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet herself. Megan Tonks did however for 4 goals took her chances well and showed great movement and vision throughout to get herself into space and be available whenever City attacked.
A double for the first team, the Development side go one better to claim a treble and that along with a host of silverware for their youth sides a very successful season as both sides prepare now for life at a higher level.
Congratulations to Cambridge City Ladies Development on this evenings league Cup win and doing the treble.
One more final to come a trip to Essex this Sunday for their league Cup final. The season almost done. Have enjoyed all of this season’s Cambridgeshire finals and my thanks go to Chris Abbott and the rest of the committee for the great work they do throughout the season. Thanks to too both clubs for their help with the team details.