Sunday 11th November
FA Women’s Cup
The 1st Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup this Sunday afternoon and it’s a local derby for Women’s Football East returning to the Trinity Playing Fields to watch Cambridge City Ladies take on rivals Cambridge United WFC.
A contest between the leading women’s football sides in Cambridgeshire, Cambridge United WFC playing in FAWNL South East Division One whilst Cambridge City Ladies compete just one league below the ERWFL Premier Division.
They were once one at youth level, Cambridge Women forming and going on to rise through the woman’s football pyramid reaching the FAWNL, a merger with Cambridge United seeing them become Cambridge United WFC. Several players have since returned to Cambridge City who themselves are rising through the women’s football pyramid. Local rivals their most recent meeting seeing Cambridge City win the Invitation (County) Cup Final last season to end a spell of dominance from United.
A runners-up finish for Cambridge City Ladies in their debut season playing in the ERWFL Premier Division, are looking to go one better this time around win the title and with it join the FAWNL themselves. Have made a perfect start a 100% in all competitions to date including making history in reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup for the 1st time.
Began their FA Women’s Cup campaign back in the Preliminary Round with a away match against Newmarket Town Ladies a 2-0 seeing them draw at home to Cambridgeshire Premiership side Riverside Ladies in 1st Round Qualifying a crushing 14-0 victory setting up another home tie in 2nd Round Qualifying against higher league opponents, Leyton Orient WFC, Women’s Football East was there to watch the match a thriller 9 goals scored Cambridge City 2-0 down late in the 1st half came back to win an exciting 2nd half 5-4! A much different game in 3rd Round Qualifying an away trip to fellow ERWFL Premier Division side, Acle United Women. Laura Mills scoring the opening minutes, Cambridge City defending resolutely as Acle pushed hard for an equalising goal, held out and booked thier place in the 1st Round Proper.
Cambridge United WFC are well established in the FAWNL South East Division One, those clubs entering the FA Women’s Cup in 2nd Round Qualifying. A home draw against ERWFL Premier Division side, Harlow Town Ladies, a comfortable 6-0 win over the Essex side setting up a 3rd Round Qualifying tie at home to fellow South East Division One side Stevenage Ladies. 2-0 up Stevenage came back late on to level the scores send the tie into extra-time, for there penalties Cambridge holding their nerve to win the shootout and reach the 1st Round Proper.
Despite alot of overnight rainfall, knew from previous experience the Trinity Playing Fields will hold out well, the pitch looking in good condition, a local derby alot of interest generated a good number arriving. Hot drinks available plus Cambridge City were laying on hot food for the afternoon. A good atmosphere building, sunny but cloudy a shower possible but unlikely.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Tee Mhunduru, Amy Reed, Lauren Tomlinson, Robyn Phillips, Becca Fay (C), Hannah Bodily, Sarah Mosley, Charlotte Gillies, Laura Mills, Erin Davies & Shannon Shaw. Subs – Bella Simmons, Anna Kanz, Emily Reed & Ceri Flye.
Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Savannah Smith, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Vicky Neal, Fran Gough, Gabrielle Whitehurst, Amber Cantwell, Jade Bell, Becky Shephard, Faith Hewitt & Kelley Blanchflower (C). Subs – Charlotte Crisp, Zoe Lander, Steph Gale, Mollie Coupar & Liz Pamplin.
A moment of remembrance before the match a poignant day, 100 years since Armistice Day that brought an end to World War I. The team captains laying a wreath on the centre circle before a period of silence… Lest We Forget.
There’s a buzz in the air a crowd eagerly gathered to watch surrounding the pitch, no point using Cambridge from here on in, City v United. It’s City to kick-off the 1st half wearing white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. United lined up opposite wearing amber coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball played out to the right side, Gabrielle Whitehurst winning the tackle for United the ball out for a throw.
City attack the ball played out to Charlotte Gillies on the right cuts inside before lifting the ball over the United defence with Laura Mills making the run in behind, Savannah Smith in goal for United able to safely gather inside the box. Derby matches can see some robust and usually clumsy tackles early on and this one is not exception, United right back, Emma Jenkins getting clipped across the ankles, Mill sliding in bring down Jade Bell. The latter resulting on a free-kick wide right the ball into the area knocked on towards goal City goalkeeper claiming the ball as it runs into her six yard box.
City attack on the left Shannon Shaw on for Mills, Jenkins getting in to tackle and put the ball out for a throw. Defending inside their area the ball moved quickly through the middle a United break, captain, Kelley Blanchflower with a powerful run on the ball, central, rides Hannah Bodily’s challenge before running in Robyn Phillips the City centreback regaining possession of the ball inside her box. A good tempo both sides pushing players forwards, United break left, Blanchflower running into the channel as Becky Shephard plays the ball forwards, Mhunduru out to the edge of her area quickly sliding in to claim the ball at the strikers feet.
United’s Amber Cantwell take the ball on through the middle laying it off to Faith Hewitt tries her luck from 30 yards out the ball swinging away from goal. Gillies fouled on the right, a low ball played into the area, Vicky Neal putting in a block before clearing, Jenkins committing the foul 25 yards out City with a chance to shoot. Erin Davies over the ball goes for goal the ball wide past the post takes a clips off a United defender on the way through, the corner given. Mills from the left the delivery long towards the far post, the header sending the ball behind for the goal kick.
Bodily looks to find space on the left as she comes forwards, Jenkins getting support from Bell dealing with the threat. A throw in, you know from the last report that Lauren Tomlinson has a long one in he armoury United winning the ball in the box, Neal clearing. End to end Shaw with Mills in attack for City, United break the counter attack bringing a free-kick 25 yards out left of the D. Jenkins to have a shot on goal, Mhunduru with a fantastic save diving to her right pushes the ball behind for the corner kick.
Bell available on the right for United as they bring the ball forwards, Gillies looking lively on City’s right flank. The niggly free-kicks continue, United showing a little frustration. Good work from Cantwell in the middle winning the ball runs on the pass on for Bell she sends it on for Blanchflower coming over to the right her cross swung into the box cut out by City captain, Becca Fay. Hewitt’s turn to get the ball forwards for United, out to Bell on the right side, a strong tackle from Tomlinson to stop the attack.
A free-kick on halfway for City the ball played long up into the area, Neal backpedalling for United with the header on the six yard line the ball drops straight to the advancing Davies top of the area meets the shot on the volley her effort spins wide of the target. Shaw takes the ball forwards almost succeeds in playing Mills in behind instead the ball is cleared for a throw on the left. Tomlinson goes long the ball inside the area knocked on towards the near post, Smith catches it not put off by Davies attempting to get her head on it.
Mills pulls away to the left wing on the ball down the line swings a cross into the area, Shaw lined up with the far post 12 yards out up to get her head on the ball knocked down, Smith with a slight stumble before getting down to push the ball away for the corner. In towards the near post headed behind for a 2nd corner from 3 yards out. The 2nd corner in from the right, met again near side deeper this time, Phillips sending the header wide.
Shaw with a good run with the ball for City through the middle lays it out to Gillies getting forwards on the left, cuts inside the full back into the area shaping to shoot, Neal racing across gets the challenge in the rob her of the ball. Smith racing out of her area misses the ball as it is played long up to Shaw, the United defence back on the cover clearing the ball long before it can reach the goal. Amy Reed getting forwards from right back for City to the byline with the ball her cross in claimed at the near post by Smith.
Fay receives the first yellow card of the game as she slides in to take out Bell right side. The ball from the resulting set-piece fired in towards the far post area, Mhunduru claiming well not put off by the runners coming in. Davies steals in to win the ball off the United defence right side spots Mills making a run in from the left tries to find her, Smith though can intercept the pass. Bell with a jinking run right side looks to get into the box, the City defence converging running her off the ball. Tomlinson breaking away on the left wing for City, Jenkins doing well up against her preventing the cross before defending and winning the goal kick.
Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-0 Cambridge United WFC
An intriguing 1st 45 minutes, certainly has a derby feel about it two committed sides that have provided the crowd with an enjoyable game so far. Very good numbers in attendance and heard lots of positive comments too. Goalless neither side has gotten on top of the other, spells of pressure short lived, some lively challenges but not malice more niggly, it’s tense out there. An interesting 2nd half to come and extra-time… and penalties should they be required.
It’s United to kick-off the 2nd half the sun low in the sky in Smith’s eyes. City winning the ball in the middle come forwards Davies out to Mills on the left her early cross into the box met central by Shaw knocked down into the ground, Smith right behind it collecting safely. Whitehurst brought down in the middle United awarded the free-kick, Cantwell to put the ball up into the area, Phillips winning the header for City. Phillips defending again as United’s Blanchflower and Shephard look to combine on the right.
Shepherd’s run in behind halted through the middle the flag up against her following good work form Cantwell in the middle of the park. Carrie Bennett defending at left back stopping Gillies as she tries to cut inside her from the wing. City attack left side the ball played on for Shaw to chase, Gough on her shoulder running towards the box, Smith coming to kick the ball clear, smashes it unluckily against Gough, Shaw alert onto the rebound the keeper out of position she shots from the angle, Bennett racing back to clear if needed the ball striking the outside of the post and out of play.
Shephard gets into space on the left given the ball takes it on in behind her cross squared into the box along the top of the six yard box an awkward height for Bell nevertheless does well the get her leg back enough to get a kick in towards goal, lacking pace however Mhunduru diving it able to smother the shot. Gillies doing well on the right wing for City, support from Reed and Davies playing her in, inside the area, the United defence closing her down Gough winning the tackle. City make the first change of the game, off comes Mosley on comes Bella Simmons.
Gillies with a storming run down the right side plays the cross into the box United defending as Mills tries to turn it in at the near post. City have a corner on the right the ball into the six yard box comes at Simmons quickly can’t direct it in on target. City applying a little pressure now another cross in from the right flashing across the face of goal.
Smith with a fantastic save to deny City the opening goal, pressure around the 18 yards box the cross in central Simmons 10 yards out central shifts the ball well the goal looks there for the taking as she unleashes a shot, Smith throwing herself up to her right full stretch getting behind it gloving the ball away for the corner brilliant. The corner from the right long carries to Mills a the top of the area her strike goalwards charged down the rebound out to the left the cross put back in Smith with the catch.
Bell coming out to the left has support from Hewitt down the line edge of the box, Phillips in with a good tackle to stop Bell turning inside. The ball staying that side United keep it Bell getting another opportunity to send a cross in, very nearly results in an own goal, Tomlinson running a with Blanchflower getting the first touch the ball turned goalwards inside her six yard box, manages to get to it to hook it up over the bar.
Hewitt with a strike on goal from outside the area as the ball comes out to her from the corner, takes a deflection sending it wide for another corner. Swung in under the bar Mhunduru up under challenge does enough to get the ball away from danger. Bell wins a throw on the right the ball played on into the area won by Phillips, City counter attack the ball up to Mills, Gough closing her down does well up against her.
GOAL! Closing in on the final 15 minutes and United break the dead lock, good running from Blanchflower coming out to the left side down the line, checks back inside before looking up and lifting a cross into the area the ball over Shepherd leaping in a central position falls to, Bell at the far post meeting it perfectly to volley back in towards goal and score, her 1st goal for United in only her 3rd appearance 0-1.
United make a change straight after the goal, Charlotte Crisp coming on to replace Hewitt in the middle. City press the ball lifted up through the middle headed out to Gillies coming inside from the right onto the ball fires in a shot races wide across the face of goal. Blanchflower with a driving run bursting towards the area tackled by Reed as the game moves into the final 10 minutes. United make a 2nd change, Mollie Coupar on for Shepherd. Decisions continue to frustrate United, players letting their emotions show.
Gillies still full of running on the right, down the wing sends in and inviting cross low into the six yards box, Smith down low pushes the ball away from danger. City win a free-kick in the corner on the left, the ball high into the six yard box Smith up for it falls awkwardly under challenge, play stopped needs treatment. Jenkins booked for expressing her anger. Shaw gets onto the end of a cross put in from the left plants the ball wide of the near post.
GOAL! Into stoppage time a throw in deep on the left the ball is put into a congested near post area pings around feet before popping loose back to a City shirt, a shot the ball lashed into the back of the net, City equalise, now you try to look for the scorer but she’s currently under the rest of her teammates as they bundle into celebrate 1-1. The goal scored by Bella Simmons.
Smith is struggling in goal for United, Pamplin being readied, carrying injuries herself including a broken finger but that won’t stop her. City pressure late on pushing for a winner, a free-kick on the right Reed to put the ball into the box cleared as the final whistle blows and the game heads into extra-time.
Full time Cambridge City Ladies 1-1 Cambridge United WFC
Momentum firmly with City right now as the teams gather their composure for the extra period of play the sun low in the sky now. A blow for United, Smith cannot continue, Pamplin comes on in goal. United frustrated with the officials too. City to kick-off the 1st 15 minutes of extra play. Gillies winning the ball right side running on her cross high landing behind the goal. City come again right side this time win a throw inside the United half, Bell actually playing the ball off Tomlinson, the fans all knowing the decision is wrong so too the United bench, manager Kevin Hoover getting a talking to from the referee as he voices his complaints.
GOAL! From the throw-in City go on to score a well worked move Tomlinson’s throw down the line good the cross put in early towards the top of the area Mills making a good move getting herself into space inside the D, unmarked hits the ball well rifling it into the back of the net and moments from going out of the FA Women’s Cup, City are in front 2-1.
City looking confident have their tails up now the goal restoring energy levels, space opening up Gillies right her cross early long Mills far side turns it goalwards, Pamplin down low easily able to gather. Shaw turning inside with the ball from a throw in foul Cantwell as she tries to get into the area. Coupar winning the ball deep on for Blanchflower left takes on the shot early and attempted lob, doesn’t have enough height on it to worry Mhunduru.
United pressing forwards room in behind as City counter the ball fed into Shaw, both Simmons and Davies into the area, the latter left side slices her shot wide. Gough defends well as Tomlinson forces her way forwards looking to get in behind her, Neal around on the cover to make sure the ball is cleared. Gillies on the right inside for Shaw she is tackled by Gough outside the box the ball coming back for Gillies she strikes it goalwards from 25 yards out lands in the side netting.
A brave save from Mhunduru as Coupar running with the ball left side into the middle sends Bell through into the area left of goal the City keeper rushing in to slide down at her feet the ball deflected away for a corner. The corner is fired in across the face of goal low, Jenkins gets onto it at the far post, a goal line clearance keeping the ball out.
Half-time extra-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-1 Cambridge United WFC
The sun low in the sky now as United kick-off the 2nd period of extra-time 15 minutes to find a reply. The visitors press forwards Blanchflower with Coupar central moving left, Reed defending for City, Crisp gathers the ball on the wing the cross fired in central, Whitehurst stretching for the ball can’t quite reach it.
City break attacking on the right Gillies played on by Mills, Bennett doing well as she stands up against her. Zoe Lander on at right back for United replacing Jenkins. Blanchflower getting hold of the ball takes on 3 City plays manages to get n behind into the area left of goal looks to place the ball high past Mhunduru the City keeper doing well getting a glove to the ball taking it behind for a corner.
City make a change, Davies coming off on comes Emily Reed. Mills is booked for a late challenge on Cantwell on halfway. Neal looks to get in behind from the set-piece the flag up for a foul against her. Mhunduru comes for a free-kick into her six yards box on the right pushing the ball down and away gets hurt as she falls the decision going her way, needs treatment looks in pain but thankfully in up shakily and able to continue. Gillies booked late of for a clip on Neal’s heels. The free-kick defended, City counter the ball with Mills on the right wins a throw. No time left for a United counter, as City win 2-1 to reach the 2nd Round.
Full time extra-time Cambridge City Ladies 2-1 Cambridge United WFC
A thrilling game, intriguing a great watch and a god crowd in attendance to see two committed and passionate sides go head to head in the FA Women’s Cup. It’s a relatively new rivalry but these two sides are destined to meet again plenty of times in the future. The momentum with City now and well deserved conceding late they demonstrated once again their ability to keep going keep pressing and got back on level terms late on. Taking the lead early in the 2nd half to win in extra time and keep their 100% record going. Will be eagerly awaiting the 2nd Round draw when the FAWNL Premier Division sides enter the competitions.
Frustrating in the end for United, taking the lead but couldn’t hold out aggrieved at decisions before falling behind only adding to the case. Played their part in a passionate derby however and the game had the feel of a proper cup tie too and who can predict those?
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
On to this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several contenders in what was a really enjoyable game. Savannah Smith with an outstanding save for United, Kelley Blanchflower making some excellent runs using the channels well too. For City, Charlotte Gillies was lively in the right wing some great runs with the ball, bringing others into play, Shannon Shaw with some good hold up play in attack and Robyn Phillips terrific at centre back. Just ahead of those though is Laura Mills excellent in attack finding space on both flanks and through the middle, driving with the ball and a quality strike to win the game wins today’s award.
A great game attracting plenty of interest a good crowd to witness an intriguing encounter between two of the best woman’s football sides in Cambridgeshire. Perhaps one of those rare games where I actually know who the players are, but it always pays to get those team sheets and my thanks as always to both clubs for helping me out. Wishing Cambridge City Ladies all the best for the 2nd Round draw.