Wednesday 10th May
Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup Final
sponsored by the Alan Boswell Group
A trip over to St Neots this Wednesday evening for the final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup, to be contested by the two sides vying for the title in Division One, Cardea FC Ladies and Histon Ladies.
The pair battling for the title in the Cambridgeshire Women’s league top division. Histon Ladies on top for much of the campaign with Cardea FC Ladies behind with their fixtures, have caught their rivals up now and after drawing 1-1 at Histon back in February. Cardea FC Ladies winning 4-2 at home against Histon 10 days ago are now 3 points clear at the top with both having 2 matches left to play.
Cardea FC Ladies reaching their 2nd cup final of the season aiming to repeat the success of their first ever cup final a month ago in the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup a wonderful strike from captain Laura Rudd after just 50 seconds the difference as they turned in a strong performance against St Ives Town Ladies to win the trophy in 2nd season. A league and cup treble on the cards have been steadily improving rising to challenge at the top of the Cambridgeshire County Women’s league with ambitions to move up into regional football next season. Building a strong squad bringing in some experienced players including Emma Pollard with vast experience playing at a higher level with Peterborough Northern Star Ladies has been prolific in front of goal for Cardea, scoring an incredible 54 goals so far this season from just 19 appearances.
Histon Ladies have endured a couple of tough season’s since dropping out of the ERWFL, but have very much turned thing’s around this season with the appointment of Keven Jacklin as 1st team manager. A wealth of experience working with Cambridge City Ladies, chairman at one time as has brought in a few ex-Cambridge City players to bolster the strong core of players already within the club. Hit the ground running with straight wins to top the league a position held until recently after being overhauled by Cardea FC Ladies and will now need their opponents to drop points in their final 2 fixtures to have any chance of regaining top spot. Carla Penny one of the ex-Cambridge City contingent joining Kevin Jacklin at Histon, scoring alot of goals in City colours has continued that form in the red of Histon, scoring 22 in 18 appearances. Amie Fullwood another ex-City player weighing in with 12 goals with Sophie Hopkin also getting to double figures. Like Cardea are keen to get back playing regional football.
Road to the Final
Byes into the 2nd Round for both sides, Cardea FC Ladies entered the competition away to Division Three side Manea Sirens LFC. Cardea racking up a massive score line winning 18-0! With Emma Pollard netting 5 goals, captain Laura Rudd hitting 4 into the back of the net. With Georgie Elsom and Courtney Coles scoring 3 and 2 respectfully with a goal apiece for Charlotte Moffat, Brooke Ware, Sofia Aragosa and Olivia Smith. Histon Ladies too drawn at home to Division Three opposition getting the home win over Deeping United Ladies.
Into the 3rd Round, Cardea FC Ladies facing tough opposition in Division Two newcomers Peterborough Sports Ladies who would go on to win the league. Cardea though win plenty of goal scorers in their ranks as Pollard netted herself a brace with Aragosa, Rudd, Ware and Elsom all on target for a goal each in a 6-1 win. Histon at home to fellow Division One side, Leverington Sports Ladies and although it would prove a different story in the league a month later Histon with a dominant display to win through to the quarter finals with an 8-1 victory. Carla Penny scoring 4 goals, with a goal each for Sophie Hopkin, Katie Levitt, Kirsty Geal and Amie Fullwood.
The quarter finals saw Cardea draw away to Eaton Socon Ladies making a strong showing in their debut season in Division One pushing hard in 3rd spot. It was Pollard inflicting the damage once again as she scored a hat-trick to secure a 3-1 win for her side. Histon progressing to the last 4 without kicking a ball as they were once again awarded the home win this time against Cambridge City Ladies Development
Cardea away from home in the semi-finals taking on another Division One side Fulbourn Bluebirds Institute. Fulbourn possessing a strong goal threat themselves were to get on the scoresheet twice, but as before Pollard was amongst the goals netting another hat-trick with Moffat also scoring to see Cardea into the final with a 4-2 win. Histon at home playing Division Two side Huntingdon Town Ladies in the last 4. goals from Penny, Levitt, Hopkin and Fullwood seeing them into the final winning 4-0.
St Neots Town FC’s Premier Plus Stadium hosting this evening’s League Cup final, no stranger to women’s football as it also serves as the home for Cambridge United WFC and their Development side in the FAWNL. The main grass pitched stadium with a 3G facility beside. The bar and clubhouse beside the main seated stand on on side with covered viewing behind both goals. The grass pitch looking good as it has all season. Several heavy down pours across the region in the hours leading up to this evenings game, the pitch passing a 5pm inspection. Standing water in places would be a slick surface, favouring the sliding challenge, with hopefully no more rain falling.
Cardea FC Ladies starting XI – Poppy Halstead, Laura Ramsaran, Fiona Plumb, Sofia Aragosa, Brooke Ware, Maisie Homden, Laura Rudd (C), Olivia Smith, Georgie Elsom, Courtney Coles & Emma Pollard. Subs – Titch Abraham, Leah Barnes, Mia Newman & Charlotte Moffat.
Histon Ladies starting XI – Kayleigh Blanchard, Abi Laughlin, Katie Levitt, Ellie Churchill, Laura Leyland, Rachel Pearce, Sophie Hopkin, Emma Todd, Kirsty Geal, Carla Penny (C) & Amie Fullwood. Subs – Freya Goddard, Esther McTrusty, Shannon Chandler, Ellie Laughlin & Shannon Shaw.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Carla Penny captaining Histon, lining up with Cardea captain Laura Rudd with this evening’s referee Nicoleta Bria who is amongst growing list of female officials within the county to go on to officiate in the Women’s Championship and beyond. Histon to get the League Cup final underway kicking-off the first half wearing red coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Cardea lined up opposite wearing navy coloured shirts with blue sleeves, navy shorts and socks. The ball rolled back to the defence put out to the right for Emma Todd to attack, Maisie Homden seeing it out for a throw for Cardea.
Cardea get after the ball on their right pushed forwards into Brooke Ware looks to send it up the line for Emma Pollard, racing forwards sees her cross blocked by Histon’s Katie Levitt the ball out for the throw to Cardea in the corner. From the throw Pollard sees the ball into her feet and turning to attack strikes the ball goalwards from a tight angle, Histon goalkeeper, Kayleigh Blanchard getting down sharply at her near post the save beating the ball wide across her six yard box before being cleared behind for the corner kick. The inswinging delivery flying into the side netting.
Histon surge forwards the ball fed on through the middle, Rachel Pearce laying the ball into Amie Fullwood attacking the right channel, Todd showing a rapid turn of pace to take herself in behind the Cardea defence as Fullwood rolls the ball into her path right of the D, Cardea goalkeeper, Poppy Halstead getting out to the edge of her area rapidly sliding in to claim the ball at Todd’s feet.
Both sides looking to get after the ball in the opening exchanges, Cardea captain Laura Rudd sending the ball on for Pollard looking to pull off the defence left of goal, Laura Leyland getting her foot in to intercept the pass, clear for Histon in defence. Histon on the move left side Levitt on for Kirsty Geal out wide, pace taking the ball forwards fires a stinging drive in towards Cardea’s near post from outside the box, Halstead down sharply stretching to claim the ball with Todd closing in.
Is competitive in the middle, Courtney Coles for Cardea battling for possession with Histon’s Sophie Hopkin. The ball put on down the line right side for Todd presses forwards, Maisie Homden getting back at her well for Cardea to defend in the corner prevent the cross coming in. Pearce getting free in the middle taking the ball forwards a clever pass into Carla Penny as she makes a run across the top of the D moving to the right, chipping the ball over the top of the defence into the area, Halstead rushing out the first to the ball.
Histon looking lively winning the ball in midfield Pearce with options left and right in Geal and Todd with Penny drifting across the defence. Leyland winning the ball at the back for Histon as Cardea attempt to release Pollard up top her clear needing to be intercepted by Homden stretching with Todd running on. Patches of standing water on the pitch, one found by Abi Laughlin as she throws herself into a sliding challenge.
Rudd turning on the ball on for Georgie Elsom on the left forwards into Pollard up the wing her crossfield ball, cut out and cleared by Leyland for the throw in. Histon pressing players on well a throw won high on the left into Penny plays the ball inside of Pearce who in turn lays it out to the left for Levitt bursting forwards has Geal ahead of her looking to break into the box, receiving the pass, Sofia Aragosa, closing her down challenging to win the ball.
Laughlin sending the ball on right side for Todd hurtling forwards on the right her cross from deep swept into the area cut out by Laura Ramsaran cleared out of the area, the shot struck from distance charged down by Elsom. Histon winning the ball looking to take the game to Cardea, Laughlin going past Todd on the overlap right side, Olivia Smith tracking back on her to defend for Cardea the ball put out of play for the corner on the right. The delivery whipped in across goal threating to creep under the crossbar Halstead up well to glove it away to the far post dropping Histon lash a shot in towards goal rising central, Halstead with an excellent reactive save getting her arm up to knock the ball up over the bar.
Pressure building from Histon the corner played in from the left inswinging central Rudd up before the keeper heading it down towards the top of the area Hopkin latching onto the shot inside the box for Histon, smashed over the bar!
Halstead the busier of the two keepers out quickly to the right corner of her box to slide in and claim as Levitt looks to put Geal in behind on the wing after Elie Churchill wins the ball at the back. Todd moving into a central position looking to put Fullwood in to attack right of the D, taking the ball on into the box wide of goal fires a low cross into Penny outside the near post, turns as she shoots the ball struck over.
Histon applying the pressure looking a threat on the right Homden exposed as Todd is played in down the line the Cardea defender doing well getting back on her nevertheless as Smith gets back to help her out the ball cleared for a throw. Pearce into Hopkin central finds Todd with the pass on the right her early cross into the box won by Cardea’s Aragosa. Pearce with time on the ball for Histon central putting the ball into Levitt’s path on the left storming forwards looks to play in Geal, Brooke Ware challenging to prevent the cross for Cardea.
Pushing Cardea back, making it difficult for their opponent to get the ball into Pollard up top Histon continue to press, Hopkin into Fullwood, Penny moving across her wanting the ball, Fiona Plumb tackling for Cardea. Pollard coming into midfield for the ball taking it on central a driving run forwards, Pearce back on her lunging in to tackle get the ball for Histon who quickly turn play around the ball out to Todd right side squared inside for Fullwood 25 yards out rolls it central for Pearce to strike the ball, her shot straight at Halstead the keeper holding onto the ball.
Midway through the first half Cardea looking to up the tempo, Plumb out to Rudd left side, has been closely marked by Histon, Laughlin preventing her turning on the ball, payed inside for Coles attempts to lift the ball over the defence for Pollard bursting in behind, Leyland the tallest of the defends in the way getting her head onto the ball to clear. Histon having the better of the first half coming on with the ball. The pitch slick the challenges coming in the ball cleared out of the ground on several occasions. Penny up with Todd on the right, Rudd getting back to tackle, finds Coles up the left wing sends the ball on for Pollard, again Leyland intercepts.
Todd with the ball on the right 30 yards out stabs it into Hopkin inside the area right of goal, fires the ball across the six yard box with Geal racing in far post, hit goalwards, Halstead with a great low save across her goal mouth quickly. Aragosa fouling Geal out wide left the free-kick awarded. Cardea making a change before it’s taken Leah Barnes on for Coles. Pearce to lift the ball into the box central headed clear by Ramsaran. Histon with a short corner on the left put into the area by Geal, won by Aragosa for Cardea headed out to the left, the ball returned claimed by Halstead.
Aragosa fouled outside the box as she attempts to keep in at her feet under pressure from Penny, the Cardea defence under the most pressure Pollard looking to provide the relief when she can take the ball on out on the right up with Ware the ball struck in viciously on the angle, Blanchard reacting well saving with her feet knocking the ball out towards the top of the area very nearly into the path of Barnes storming into the box.
Histon making their first change bringing on Shannon Shaw for Geal in attack. Histon launching a rapid counter attack Todd on the ball full of pace down the right, Fullwood and Shaw bursting into the box as Todd sends her cross in behind the two attackers comes to Penny inside the D, digs the ball out of her feet hit towards goal lacks the power to trouble Halstead as she catches the ball. Homden getting back on Todd as she threatens to get away on the right support from Shaw before the free-kick is given away. Wide right from a deep position Pearce to curl a high ball in central, Halstead keeping her eyes on the dropping ball not distracted by the runner jumping across her takes the ball down cleanly.
Barnes fouling Penny inside the Cardea half, top of the circle. Players up into the box as Pearce delivers the ball in high, Plumb getting her head on the ball knocked down off Penny challenging the attacker striking the ball wide of the left post. Histon with another change bringing Hopkin off on comes, Freya Goddard. Elsom attempting to pick out Pollard on the right, Levitt sliding in to put the ball away for the throw.
Homden caught by Saw as she slides in to challenge of the ball on the right. Half-time fast approaching Cardea opt to bring the defender off for further assessment send on Mia Newman at the back. Penny up on the right slides the ball into the box for Shaw to attack right side pushed to the by-line no room for the cross lands in the side netting. Into stoppage time Plumb finding a bit of room central for Cardea lifting the pass out for Smith to attack out left, Goddard closing her down to clear the ball out of play.
Half-time Cardea FC Ladies 0-0 Histon Ladies
Goalless at the break, Histon with a strong first half performance getting in to win the ball high put the Cardea defence under pressure forced back, using the width well, Geal and Todd getting on down the line creating a number chances, Poppy Halstead with some great saves to keep the stalemate. Frustrated not to be in the lead. Chances for Cardea limited up top losing the ball in the middle haven’t been able to link up with Pollard up top at all this in turn allowing Histon’s full backs to come on alot to think about as the teams head into the changing rooms at half-time.
Histon bringing on Esther McTrusty at the start of the 2nd half replacing Laughlin. Cardea unchanged from the side that finished the first half as they get the 2nd half underway the floodlights taking full effect now the ball rolled back into the defence played back to the keeper, launches it forwards with Pollard on the move into the right channel, Churchill winning the ball for Histon.
Cardea snapping at the ball in midfield, Smith into Pollard taking the ball on right channel pace letting fly from all of 35 yards out dipping in front of Blanchard at her near post the keeper with a good save diving to push the ball behind for the corner on the right. Cardea looking to get on the front foot at the start of the 2nd half the corner defended at the near post falls to Barnes at the top of the area struck first time riding back in towards goal Blanchard behind with a confident save.
Cardea with a different approach to the 2nd half looking to get into the ball high in the middle feed it into Pollard in attack to run at the defence. Histon though ready to spring the counter the diagonal ball finding Todd wide right driving on, tackled by Newman. Blanchard comes rushing out to the corner of her area to close Pollard down as the is sent on by Elsom into her path left channel, the keeper just about getting there getting something on the ball to prevent Pollard racing in on goal, cleared for a throw on the left.
McTrusty on with Pearce in the middle for Histon out to Penny drifting left played forwards for Shaw to attack, Ramsaran winning the challenge for Cardea. The game more open now Elsom winning the ball well for Cardea a little deeper now out to Ware on the right breaking on looking to put Pollard through, the pass not quite finding it’s mark. A throw won out on the left for Cardea high up the pitch. played into Pollard left outside the box, turns inside the move across the D, McTrusty staying on her, Pollard getting the few inches she needs to turn and strike the ball 25 yards out, flashed in towards goal Blanchard beaten the ball cannoning off the cross bar and over.
Certainly competitive both sides giving fouls away, McTrusty with a clumsy challenge on Rudd. The free-kick inside the Histon half played long to the far post area by Elsom, Blanchard getting up to punch the ball away. Geal coming back on for Histon as Cardea win a corner on the right the ball played in towards, Barnes top of the area, closed down quickly by Histon the ball won back look to get on the break put forwards into Todd, Ramsaran getting in a timely tackle to prevent her stealing in behind.
Ware picking up a yellow card as she commits the foul wide on the left as Histon attack. Pearce to send the ball in cleared by Ramsaran at the near post. Pollard looking to put the ball on for Elsom as Cardea attack, McTrusty winning the tackle for Histon launching a counter attack out for Shaw attacking the left channel wins her side a corner kick. Put in low near side turned behind for a 2nd corner on the hour.
GOAL! Blocking a shot from the top of the area as they defend the corner Cardea hit Histon on the break the ball sent forwards into Pollard making a central run bursting towards the area clear of the defence, Blanchard comes rushing out to the top of her area to close the angle, Pollard shooting early firing the ball past the keeper to find the empty goal beyond 1-0.
Cardea taking the lead capitalising on their positive start to the 2nd half, Pollard mobbed by her celebrating teammates. A blow for Histon look for a quick response the ball fired into Penny’s feet holding it up right of the D lays it wide for Todd to left a curling cross in towards the far post, Shaw stooping to head the ball powers it back across the six yard box narrowly wide of the right post. Titch Abraham on for Cardea taking up a position on the left.
McTrusty up on the right for Histon with Todd played infield to Penny who in turn clips the ball out to Shaw wide left, knocking it forwards, Ramsaran defending for Cardea. The game open now Histon keeping players up forcing the Cardea defence to defend deep however there are spaces at the back for Pollard to exploit, Elsom finding her with the pass on the right, Leyland getting out to her to tackle send the ball out for the throw.
Abraham with a long throw in her locker out left lifted in towards the area, Leyland winning the header to clear for Histon. Out left for another throw Abraham dropping the ball into Elsom, puts it back into Abraham moving inside, stabs the ball into the area, no one gambling, Blanchard claiming it unchallenged. Abraham winning a corner of her next long throw on the left the ball curled into the six yard box won by Churchill for Histon. Headed behind for a 2nd corner. Whipped in high beyond the far post headed wide.
Histon come on with the ball McTrusty sending the pass into Fullwood up top laid back for Pearce advancing, prods it on looking for Shaw cutting in from the left, the pass cut out by Aragosa. Midway through the 2nd half Cardea continue to defend their box inviting pressure but ready to spring the counter Pollard lurking with intent. McTrusty brought down by Rudd as she takes the ball on wide right. Pearce over the dead ball players forwards from the back the ball dropped in central scrambled clear to the top of the of the D the pass fed low into the right side Leyland shooting on the angle six yards out, Halstead down sharply at her near post saving the ball.
Elsom putting the ball on for Pollard out on the right from distance attempts to lob the keeper, doesn’t get her angles right the ball over. Shannon Chandler coming on at right back for Histon. Cardea making another change too bringing on Charlotte Moffat for Smith. Cardea winning a throw high on the right
GOAL! An immediate impact for the substitute as the ball is played into Moffat wide of goal, on the angle sends her shot in looping up over the keeper to drop into the goal beyond 2-0.
A further blow for Histon as they press the ball high out to Shaw left the ball fizzed into the area, beat down by Halstead the Cardea defence working hard to keep their opponents at bay. Cardea straight on the counter the ball into midfield put on for Pollard moving to the left, Chandler tracking back with her defending inside the box as Todd gets back to clear the ball. The game end to end as Histon send players on to attack, Pearce finding Shaw on the left her angled shot in low Halstead down smartly to save pushing the ball wide across her goal.
Halstead coming in amongst a crowd at the near post from a Histon corner to knock the ball behind for a 2nd corner on the right. An inswinging ball the six yard box loaded, Cardea knock the ball down out towards the top of the area the shot flashed back in Halstead somehow behind it saving on the line. Histon bringing Hopkin back on with the clock ticking down. Pressing late on Cardea back defending their box determined in defence bodies in to block.
A free-kick won wide on the right with 5 minutes left to play Rudd shown a card. Played in near post knocked down towards the top of the area, Cardea look to clear the six yard box the ball played back in wide right of goal, Halstead out to clear the ball on the by-line. Leyland putting the ball forwards into Hopkin back to goal top of the D, marked by Abraham can’t turn to release the ball. Cardea break right side Ware on the move with the ball up ended by Leyland eating up time winning the free-kick, Homden comes back on replacing Elsom. The game moving into stoppage time.
Histon regain possession through the middle into Shaw, plays the ball out to Hopkin wide left her inswinging cross defended at the back by Newman for Cardea. Leyland shown a yellow card bringing down Pollard as she looks to burst forwards late on, right of the circle the ball lifted in towards the top of the area, defended as the final whistle blows Cardea cheer in jubilation as they come together to celebrate winning a cup double.
Full time Cardea FC Ladies 2-0 Histon Ladies
Cardea winning the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup Final to go with the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final won last month. Making adjustments in the 2nd half to better get hold of the ball higher up the pitch 2nd half began the 2nd period strongly winning the ball and getting it on into Pollard up top, hitting the cross bar before being put through central on the hour to put the ball past the on rushing keeper to score. With Histon pushing on looking for a reply the game opened up Charlotte Moffat making an immediate impact from the bench to score Cardea’s 2nd goal. Histon continued to create chances and were frustrated by Halstead in goal on a number of occasions. Arguably the better side, certainly first half however Cardea played to their strengths working extremely hard in defence, determined and tenacious to defend their box.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A good contest between the top two sides in the league. Several strong contenders to mention for both sides. Histon will be frustrated they couldn’t find a goal. Emma Todd playing well out on the right in attack getting forwards into some good positions putting the Cardea defence on the back foot. Carla Penny with some good movement in the final 3rd getting into some great positions to shoot. Rachel Pearce with some great passing in midfield spreading play across the pitch. Laura Leyland winning the ball at the back. For Cardea the whole defence as in the Hunts final was superb working hard to defend win the ball and block soaking up alot of pressure from Histon. Georgie Elsom playing a little deeper 2nd half winning the ball finding Emma Pollard in attack, took her goal well making some forceful runs and looking to be available for the pass throughout. The award goes as it did in the Hunts final to goalkeeper Poppy Halstead, hard to believe she’s only 16 years old, commands her area well making a number of quality saves to thwart Histon keeping it goalless at the break pulled off a number of crucial saves in the 2nd half too.
Congratulations to Cardea FC Ladies on winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup
Another entertaining final from Cambridgeshire this evening, well contested between to two strongest teams in the league. My thanks go to Chris Abbott and his team and Cambs FA for all their help and too both sides for their assistance in providing me with the team line ups.
by Darren Gilham