Wednesday 18th April
A game under the lights this Wednesday evening a game from the ERWFL Premier Division, and finally an opportunity to see Royston Town Ladies in action as they take on 2nd placed Cambridge City Ladies.
Royston Town Ladies are playing their 2nd season in the ERWFL Premier Division and after a poor start to their campaign losing their 1st 3 league matches have been unbeaten since. Recruited several players from the lower leagues over the summer with plenty of goals between them, Becky Shephard from Hertford Town Ladies and Francesca Smithers playing for Watton Ladies previously amongst their new signings. A high number of postponements have seen Royston Town hovering at the lower end of the Premier Division, but staying in touch with the sides above them and getting the results have climbed up to 5th in the table.
Cambridge City Ladies are newly promoted to the ERWFL Premier Division winning the Division One title at the 1st attempt last season. A couple of losses early in the season Cambridge City then went of a long winning run that propelled them up the table challenging for top spot. Bella Simmons leading the line the Premier Division’s leading goal scorer with 24 goals so far this season. The ERWFL Premier Division originally starting with 12 sides is now down to just 9 following three withdrawals and adjustments as a result.
With two games left to play Cambridge City can’t catch leaders Billericay Town Ladies but can’t finish any lower than 4th going into the game with both 4th placed Acle United Ladies and Royston Town Ladies with games in hand still potentially able to beat their current points tally if either can win enough points from their remaining games. A win over Royston Town Ladies tonight for Cambridge City ensures a top 3 finish with a game against Acle United Ladies under the lights to end their season.
The two sides met just 3 days ago in the reverse fixture on Sunday a good start from Royston seeing them take a 2-0 lead. Cambridge pulling it back to 2-1 Royston again opening up a 2 goal lead. 3-1 up Cambridge came back to score twice and see the sides share the points in a 3-3 draw.
Have been trying to get to a game at Royston Town Ladies, Garden Walk Ground for a while now this season but the weather has been against everyone the pitch water logged due to the excessive rainfall we’ve suffered this winter. Today at last the weather has taken a turn for the better bright, sunny and hot! 24 degrees this afternoon and still warm as kick-off approached. The entrance to the ground can be a little tricky to spot tucked away behind a residential street and especially if you’re not looking on the right side of the road but got there in the end parking the car beside the pitch. A large clubhouse and bar at the top of the ground leading out onto the pitch a wide playing surface. Good weather at last it’s welcome to stay.
Royston Town Ladies starting XI – Emma D’Costa, Emma Slater, Rebekah Fisk, Erin Davies, Amy Cooper (C), Paige Rolfe, Paris Coldicott-Stevens, Angharad Chambers, Sammy Tinsley, Gemma Croucher & Becky Shephard. Subs – Allyson Santini, Andrea Wright, Samantha Edgar, Francesca Smithers, & Megan Evers.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tafadzwa Mhunduru, Lucy Hurst, Lauren Tomlinson, Amy Reed, Becca Fay (C), Anna Kanz, Stacey Fullicks, Laura Mills, Charlotte Gillies, Carla Penny & Bella Simmons. Subs – Sarah Mosley & Yasmin Crow.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It’s Cambridge in their all sky blue away kit to kick-off the 1st half with Royston in their home colours white shirts with a black band across the shoulders and sleeves, black shorts and white socks. The ball won by Royston straight away in the middle the ball played out to right to Sammy Tinsley put long down the line for the attackers to chase, Cambridge goalkeeper Tafadzwa Mhunduru can let it run out for a goal kick.
The home side attack up the right wing Angharad Chambers on the ball the cross swept into the area, Cambridge captain rising highest to head the ball clear for the visitors. Anna Kanz picking up the ball in midfield moves it forwards fro Cambridge, has runners left and right with Carla Penny and Charlotte Gillies, goes right looking for Gillies, Rebekah Fisk coming to close her down win the ball putting it out for the throw in. Royston regain possession captain Amy Cooper playing the ball on for Tinsley breaking away on the left side over the halfway line looks to play the ball through the middle for Becky Shephard, Fay cuts it out.
A ball cleared up the pitch left side isn’t going to quite run out of play as Cambridge try to see it out Tinsley after it hustles the defence the ball played back to Mhunduru her attempted clearance at the near post falls straight to Royston midfielder Paris Coldicott-Smith 20 yards out left of the D ties to open her body up curl a shot into the opposite corner the ball flying wide of the post. Gillies with a run on the right takes the ball on down to the byline cutting the cross back into the middle finding a Cambridge head the ball is sent in towards goal from the top of the area, drops onto the roof of the net.
Cambridge turn play around quickly Fay breaking up a Royston attack the ball on through the middle into Stacey Fullicks she sends it forwards her low ball looking to put Bella Simmons through on goal, Emma Slater at right back defending for Royston. Calls for handball off Royston’s Cooper from Cambridge as she intercepts Gillies knock forwards through the centre looking to release Simmons, play waved on. Both sides looking to use the full width of the pitch, Slater with another good defensive tackle to stop Carla Penny putting a cross in from the left. Mhunduru with a good claim inside her box as Tinsley with a central run looks to close her down inside the box.
15 minutes payed neither side has settled into the game a passes not quite finding there mark. Paige Rolfe gets hod of the ball in the middle plays the pass into Chambers to her right her ball back inside for Shephard she is fouled five yards in from of the centre circle. A free-kick to Royston an ambitious effort from Shephard as she takes on the shot plenty of pace on the ball is a couple of yards wide of the post. Coldicott-Stevens almost gets Tinsley through in behind to attack the ball top of the area with a low diagonal pass, Mhunduru reading the threat comes rushing to the edge of her area to slide in and claim the ball at the attackers feet.
Cambridge get numbers forwards possession around the Royston box, the ball rolled into Simmons central 20 yards out isn’t closed down her scooped shot is straight at Royston goalkeeper, Emma D’Costa she parries it down safely and claims. Rolfe breaking with the ball through the centre looks to release Gemma Croucher ahead of her on the right channel just a little too much on the pass. Erin Davies with good defending in the centre to stop Simmons running clear into the area. Fullicks comes across well then to the right to tackle Tinsley on half way and prevent the home side hitting them on the counter.
Croucher receiving the ball into her feet as she moves to the left 30 yards out looks to drive at the Cambridge defence running inside beats two before being stopped at the top of the area by Lauren Tomlinson. Penny attacking down the left wing plays the cross into Simmons inside the box left of goal controls with her chest looking to bring the ball down and turn and shoot Cooper is on her the central defender blocking the ball deflecting off her for the corner.
GOAL! As the opening half hour passes the dead lock is broken Cambridge opening the scoring. From a throw in on the left the ball carried back into the middle then hooks back over the top with Simmons running clear left side into the box, D’Costa coming to close her down Simmons stays on her feet well keeping her composure to evade the challenge and rounding the keeper sends her shot into the goal beyond 0-1.
Lucy Hurst gets in between the Royston attackers as Shephard and Croucher look to combine on the left side the full back nipping in between them to win the ball. Fullicks with a challenge in the centre plays the ball out wide to Gillies right side knocking the ball on Fisk has the legs to get onto it first and clear for the throw. Chambers plays the ball from the right inside to Croucher her pass picking out Shephard breaking clear through the centre is stopped by the offside flag. Tinsley over on the right tries to force her way into the box Fay getting across her can shield the ball for Mhunduru to gather.
Rolfe tracking back into the area is well positioned to head the ball away as Simmons holding it up well in the left corner flights a cross into the area. A free-kick to Cambridge wide on the left Fay to play the ball in near post D’Costa is unchallenged as she calls and claims the ball. Royston with some promising combination play as they attack Coldicott-Stevens on for Tinsley, the Cambridge defence intercepting the final ball yet again as Shephard makes the central run Tomlinson in to deny her with the challenge.
Kanz stops Royston breaking clear after the ball is won in the area from a Cambridge corner kick on the left. A triple change for Royston late in the first half, Rolfe, Tinsley and Chambers coming off to be replaced by, Samantha Edgar, Francesca Smithers and Megan Evers. The home side press on the left Shephard up the line for Croucher, Hurst winning the ball back for Cambridge. Smithers with the ball from a right attacking position into Edgar central, Amy Reed tackling for Cambridge.
Into stoppage time in the 1st half Royston on the attack a defensive mix-up central sees Croucher pounce on the ball in space on the left her early cross fired into the area Smithers running in Mhunduru saving from close range as Smithers strikes the ball, parried out to the right Evers onto it for Royston drives a 25 yard shot back in towards goal Mhunduru back pedalling to her near post can palm the ball down safely. Cambridge with one last attack first half Gillies down the right her cross in out behind at the near post the corner conceding played high in towards the top of the area Simmons with the shot puts the ball wide of the top corner.
Half-time Royston Town Ladies 0-1 Cambridge City Ladies
A narrow lead for Cambridge at the break Simmons with her 25th goal of the season putting the visitors in front. Neither side has properly settled into the game the chances fairly even Cambridge doing well cutting out Royston’s final ball. Fullicks disrupting their build up play in the middle.
A change for both sides at half-time with Sarah Mosley on at right back for Hurst for Cambridge. Andrea Wright on for Croucher for Royston as they get the 2nd half underway. Evers with a nice forwards pass through the centre looking for Shephard, Kanz tracking back makes the tackle winning the ball. Royston press the ball high up the pitch at the start of the 2nd period winning it back left side passed inside to Shephard her shot from the corner of the area flashes wide of the far post across the Cambridge goal.
Play continues to be turned around quickly Mhunduru gathering at one end has a good kick on her the ball up field Simmons racing clear D’Costa sliding in saves at her feet. A good start to the 2nd half by Royston upping the tempo aiming to press the ball higher up the pitch. Edgar on for Smithers right, Fay cutting out her diagonal ball into the area. A short corner from Cambridge on the left the ball drilled low into the area, cut out and cleared by Davies.
Royston make more changes a double substitution Shephard and Copper the players rested, On come Allyson Santini with Tinsley returning to the pitch. Tinsley with a volley from outside the box her effort straight at Mhunduru the keeper holding onto the dipping ball. A purposeful break through the centre for Cambridge Fullicks using her strength to win possession and drive forwards plays the pass on for Simmons ahead of her the Royston defence stretched for a moment, Slater does well getting close to challenge and get the ball top of the area, Simmons down afterwards having gone down with cramp.
Painful for Simmons she hobbles off the pitch, as Cambridge decide to make a change, Yasmin Crow coming on to join Penny in attack. Royston bring the ball on Wright out to Tinsley on the left, Fullicks coming across to challenge breaks up another attack. Tinsley on the ball comes away from the challenge this time and lays the ball into Smithers her back to goal 25 yards out, shielding it with her body shifts to her left creating room for a strike slicing the ball it angles away from goal as it flies wide of the post. The same players combine again as Royston attack the roles reversed this time Smithers central with a clever turn before sending the through ball into the area left side for Tinsley to close down, Mhunduru coming out quickly slides in to save at the attacker feet gets clattered as she takes out Mosley in the process. Play stopped as she receives treatment but is alright to continue.
Tinsley latches onto a loose kick out from Mhunduru and taking the ball left then right creating room for a shot strikes the ball in towards goal. Arrowing in on target, Mhunduru back on her line by then is right behind the rising ball can palm it down and gather. Into the final 15 minutes. Royston are frustrated as decisions don’t seem to be going their way. Cambridge defending well Fullicks covering alt of ground across the middle breaking up attacks.
Evers with a long pass forwards Fay winning the header for Cambridge the home side regain possession Coldicott-Stevens fouled by Kanz as she bursts forwards through the middle. More changes for Royston with Chambers and Croucher coming back on. Reed tracks back to tackle Tinsley as she makes a run through the centre looking to get on the end of a cross fired in from the left. A free-kick wide right inside the Royston half for Cambridge Fay to play the ball in Penny attacking it near post the ball off a defender for the corner. Wright heading the ball out of the area for Royston falling to Fay outside the area her low shot driven in blocked. Davies and Shephard return to the pitch for Royston.
GOAL! Into the final 5 minutes of the game and Cambridge double their advantage. Attacking down the right players breaking forwards through the middle Royston drawn across as Gillies fires the ball in towards the top of the area Crow knocks it on for Penny in the clear behind her, time to pick her spot connects with the ball well lashing it past D’Costa into the goal to make it 0-2.
A blow for Royston the home side press forwards Smithers moving right with the ball flashes a cross along the top of the area, Tinsley the target, Reed sticking a leg out to intercept. A free-kick for Royston 35 yards out central, Shephard on it not afraid to have a shot goes for goal again frustration showing as she fires the ball up over the crossbar. The game moves into added time. Kanz riding a challenge goes on through the middle laying the ball out to Gillies wide right, Slater defending against her. A late late free-kick to Royston left of the area the ball fired in towards the near post Edgar rising Mhunduru comes to punch the ball away from her cleared only as far as Tinsley she strikes the ball back in is straight at the keeper once again Mhunduru saving as the final whistle blows.
Full time Royston Town Ladies 0-2 Cambridge City Ladies
Cambridge win their penultimate league game of the season a top 3 finish assured, have to wait a while before their last league match against Acle United on the 2nd of May. Depending on how results for Acle United go between now and then will determine where Cambridge can finish. Have a County Cup Final to play before then up against rivals Cambridge United WFC on Thursday 10th May.
The game passed really quickly a good tempo to it throughout neither side really getting into their full stride, the rhythm broken up with the ball pressed quickly little time allowed on it especially through the middle. Chance wise it was fairly even, Cambridge with the clearer opportunities in front of goal capitalising with 2 goals. Royston frustrated with their performance especially after the game on Sunday. Still have 4 games left to play next up at home to Acle United, Cambridge wouldn’t mind them getting a positive result there.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Tonight’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award goes to Cambridge City Ladies midfielder Stacey Fullicks. A commanding presence in the centre of the park covering alot of ground closing the ball down, strength on the ball and some useful forward runs to create openings for attacking options.
Good to get a game in under the lights and to get to see Royston in action at last. My thanks to both clubs for their assistance tonight as always it’s appreciated.