Sunday 2nd February
Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership
A top of the table clash from the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership this Sunday and a match between two debutants on Women’s Football East as 2nd placed Haverhill Rovers Ladies host league leaders Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves.
The Cambridgeshire Women’s Football League growing considerably this season and influx of new sides seeing the Premiership expanded to 13 teams, the Championship below starting the season with 15 sides competing. Alot of football to be played. Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves leading the Premiership by a point, Haverhill Rovers Ladies playing catch up a point behind in 2nd with 3 games in hand. Several sides keeping an eye on this top of the table clash too well placed below to mount a challenge on the title themselves.
My first look at Haverhill Rovers Ladies the club re establishing it’s women’s side last season. Strong recruitment seeing alot of experienced and talented players joining the club a 2nd Development side formed originally competing in the Suffolk Women’s Division now in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship. The first team winning promotion from the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South last in their debut season pipped to the title by St Ives Town Ladies Development. Joining the expended Premiership this season have made a strong start just one defeat from their opening 8 matches. Playing catch up just a third of their fixtures played a busy few months loom in what is likely to be a hard fought run for the title.
Peterborough Northern Star Ladies playing in the ERWFL Premier Division forming a new Reserves side last season. One season in the Northamptonshire Women’s Football League they make the switch over to Cambridgeshire this season a strong start winning 7 of their opening 11 games getting their matches in where others haven’t seeing them move to the top of the league. In a good position to push on for the remainder of the season.
The New Croft the venue for today’s match the game played on the 3G pitch beside the main stadium. One the outskirts of Haverhill multiple pitches is very much a community club. The 3G pitch itself a good size offering plenty of width, a wide viewing area for spectators with a small seated stand. Tea and coffee available aswell as hot food. A wet start to the day remained overcast a chilly wind building that would get stronger as the afternoon progressed. The 3G pitch seeing plenty of use games earlier in the day over running delaying kick-off by half an hour to allow the sides to warm-up properly.
Haverhill Rovers Ladies starting XI – Chelsea White, Ella Blowes, Georgina Westrope, Beth Harding, Amy Evans, Julie Brown, Kayleigh Steed, Emma Barnes, Kayleigh Nolan, Joely Kirby (C) & Sian Cottrell. Subs- Clair Andrews, Hannah Doyle, Sophie Wing & Jenna Wright.
Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves starting XI – Karla Durham, Fran Peeling, Demi Fox, Leah Barnes (C), Sarah Beard, Catherine Ray, Eve Lomasney, D’Lacy Phillips, Georgia Clarke, Eleanor Spendlow & Ella Gavaghan. Subs- Shannon Hilton, Kimberley Fairweather & Katie Henry.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Peterborough to get the first half underway wearing black an white vertical striped shirts, black shorts with black and white hooped socks. Haverhill all in red. The ball pressed in the middle early on both sides rushing to get the ball played out with little accuracy in the early exchanges. Eve Lomasney sending it forwards for Eleanor Spendelow to chase up the left side, Ella Blowes back on her to defend win the ball back for Haverhill at the back.
Spendelow looking to make runs out wide left in attack for Peterborough ready to go whenever the midfield regains possession. Haverhill with 3 at the back, Spendelow crossing the ball into the box long across the penalty spot Ella Gavaghan can’t reach it before Haverhill clear.
Haverhill getting numbers back to support the defensive won back Julie Brown carries it forwards left side playing it forwards down the wing Joely Kirby captaining the side giving chase on her shoulder Peterborough captain Leah Barnes a race to the touch line Kirby looking to keep it in Barnes aiming to hold her up run out of room as they come together, Kirby’s momentum seeing her collide with the metal fence surrounding the pitch. Stay’s down hurt play stopped immediately a head injury blood pouring from a wound can’t continue, an early substitution made Jenna Wright on to join Sian Cottrell in attack. Kirby up walking back to the changing room to get her wound attended too.
The early exchanges remain tentative neither side properly settled as they test each other out. Peterborough making ground on the right wing Georgia Clarke racing with the ball to the touchline squaring a cross into the area Spendlow closing far post cushion the ball down to Gavaghan top of the area her first touch heavy allows Georgina Westrope the chance to get to the ball and clear.
GOAL! The hosts open the scoring good work on the right the ball played forwards to Jenna Wright strong on the ball getting it to Cottrell positioned inside the box right of the D, unmarked, sees the ball into her feet tuning into the striking falling back as she does so aiding her strike sending it up over goalkeeper Karla Durham into the back of the net beyond 1-0.
Peterborough get on the offensive straight from the restart Spendelow keeping possession well over halfway left side playing a great crossfield pass spotting Catherine Ray breaking forwards from the middle. Beth Harding standing her ground well top of the area tackling to get the ball away from her. Wright making making an impact since coming on strong on the ball moving out to the left running on flicking a cross into the box with the outside of her boot Kayleigh Nolan closing in on goal from the right the ball too close to the keeper, safely in Durham’s hands.
Coming forwards from the back Fran Peeling looks to combine with Clarke and Ray on the right, Harding breaking up the attack the ball one end than the other neither side holding onto it for long. Lomasney closing down in the middle sending the ball long looking for Spendelow racing on left side into the box, Chelsea White in goal for Haverhill to it first. Kayleigh Steed with a superb pass from midfield Nolan after the ball on the right into the corner, gathers Spendelow tracking back in defence challenging to win the ball.
Between then Steed, Brown and Amy Evans are getting hold of the ball on the middle breaking up Peterborough attacks, preventing players getting up to support Gavaghan leading the attack. The hosts pushing forwards winning a corner, keep the ball in their opponents half Brown out to Wright top of the area right side sends in a low strike, Durham having the angle covered down to collect the ball safely. Gavaghan coming back to steal the ball right side turns and heads towards goal, Harding closing in to tackle for Haverhill. White up to claim the ball at her near post as the ball is swung in from a cross on the right.
Lomasney making several well times tackles to get hold of the ball always looking for a forward option from midfield plays the pass out to Spendelow giving chase on the left, Blowes coming across concedes the throw in. Into Gavaghan’s feet coming towards the ball turns looking to power her way into the box outnumbered the ball with Haverhill the break on the ball launched forwards Wright after it, bouncing an awkward one fro Peterborough full back Demi Fox to deal with keeps her eye on the ball as she jumps in front of the onrushing Wright making the clearance off balance falls bashing her head painfully on the 3G surface. another pause in play. Up after treatment able to continue.
A cagey game neither side getting the better of the other fairly even, Peterborough making runs out wide not capitalising in the middle, congested at times Haverhill constantly looking to spread the play. Both sides quick to recover in defence, Harding coming across the back line to deal with the threat of Spendelow as she gets in behind into the box from another good ball from Lomasney aiming to pick out Gavaghan central, Harding intercepts her block deflecting the ball safely back to her keeper.
D’Lacy Phillips bringing the ball on for Peterborough setting up an attack finding Spendelow left side players rush up from midfield to out number the Haverhill defence Spendelow firing the ball inside taken into her stride by Ray has Gavaghan running ahead of her, feeds the ball on into the box, Westrope having gone with Gavaghan lunging in with the challenge to take the ball away from her. Peterborough prevent Haverhill counter attacking the ball fired into Spendlow 25 yards out on the left of the fires in a shot the ball plucked down and caught by White.
Brown bringing the ball on through the middle played forwards for the pacy Nolan to chase, quick by the ball picks up speed on the 3G and is away from her before she can keep it in play. Peterborough make a double change bringing off Phillips and Fox coming off, Katie Henry and Kimberley Fairweather coming on further positional changes seeing Spendelow pushed up to join Gavaghan in the attack Ray going into the defence. The visiting side applying some pressure towards the end of the first half up on the right the cross into the six yard box Spendelow jumping with the keeper the ball loose a shot fired in on goal blocked on the line.
Emma Barnes on the move with the ball left side for Haverhill her cross in cut out by Sarah Beard deflected behind goal for a corner. Fired in low very nearly an own goal the ball sent in towards goal at the near post cleared straight to Barnes a shot lashed back in Peterborough turn to block on the line. Brown getting across to tackle Ray as she comes on with the ball turning infield, possession quickly regained the ball launched out to the right taken on by Clarke her cross from the byline comfortably dealt with by Westrope.
Half-time Haverhill Rovers Ladies 1-0 Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves
Half-time and Haverhill hold a narrow lead 1-0 up takes to an early goal from Sian Cottrell. Few clear cut chances over all both sides working hard cancelling each other out to a degree, Haverhill strong in the centre of the park making it hard for Peterborough to get numbers forwards Ella Gavaghan often isolated in attack. Peterborough on the whole solid at the back themselves neither keeper tested. Perfectly set up for the 2nd half.
Getting very chilly now the wind picking up swirling across the ground. Peterborough staying out on the pitch during the interval. Haverhill back out taking kick-off no changes for either side. Peterborough quick out of the blocks the ball closed down Fairweather playing it out to the right a throw won inside the Haverhill half from that Henry sending a cross into the area cleared by Westrope. Haverhill bring it forwards, Peterborough across the close down preventing the break Ray played onto the ball left side charges forwards cutting inside into the box run off the ball by Blowes.
Great work by Brown strong to win the ball back in front of her defence turn looks up sees Nolan on the move right side sends the diagonal ball in her direction, Durham seeing Nolan’s run to racing out of her area to get her foot through the ball first. Wright is proving a handful in attack for Haverhill strong on the ball shaking off her marker getting on in behind, Beard comes across to challenge put the ball away from a throw. Is becoming an end to end encounter Peterborough launch it forwards through the middle Gavaghan 25 yards out, back to goal with a glancing header to knock it down to Spendlow to her left, the attackers then with a one tow Spendelow into Gavaghan’s feet she lays it back for Spendelow to strike swinging through the air off target White across her line to gather.
Evan’s on the ball for Haverhill coming forwards sends i on for Nolan out wide on the right looks to take on Ray jink inside her the full back sticking a leg across snatching the ball just in time. Peterborough coming forwards better now Gavaghan benefiting from the support able to impose herself on the game more. Haverhill busy in defence but between them, Blowes, Westrope and Harding are standing firm. The hosts make their 2nd change of the game Steed coming off, on in her place club captain Clair Andrews making her return to full fitness after spending the last 5 months out through injury.
Lomasney operating out on the left now picking the ball up running at the Haverhill box lines up a strike from 20 yards out the ball charged down by Westrope. Has been a frustrating afternoon for Nolan so far a willing runner the ball just won’t run favourably for her, a heavy tough letting her down this time. An intriguing contest time running out, Peterborough looking likely to find a goal, Haverhill you think need a 2nd to give themselves some breathing room. A corner won by Wright on the left fired into the area Peterborough defending headed behind for a corner on the right. Put into the six yard box chested down by Brown swings into the shot struck hard blocked, Fairweather onto the loose ball brings it away for the visitors.
GOAL! 15 minutes left on the clock and Haverhill get that much needed 2nd goal. Peterborough are attacking play broken up Evens getting hold of the ball keeping it well before turn and playing a great ball out to the right wing for Nolan, all previous frustration forgotten as she collects the ball into her run surges on into the area and blasts a shot goalwards on the angle driven in low Durham on her line down well to save gloving the ball out towards the top of her area, Wright forwards getting hold of it smashing a shot back in takes a deflection send it past the stranded keeper to nestle in the back of the net… an own goal? I don’t think so and nor does Wright as she celebrates her first goal for the club 2-0.
Peterborough make a change bringing on Shannon Hilton for Spendelow. The visitors awarded a free-kick outside the Haverhill box on the right side Clarke on it attempts for goal her shot wide at the far post. Harlow’s turn to make a change Evans the player coming off on comes Hannah Doyle. Wright lively in attack away in behind as Peterborough push up, Durham out of her box to win the ball. Fairweather in with a strong challenge to win the ball outside the Haverhill box pushed onto Gavaghan, Harding diving in to close her down get the ball for the hosts.
Fairweather in again to get hold of the ball keep Peterborough in the final third out to Lomasney on the left her first touch sending the ball on into the area a race with Westrope the defender winning it concedes the corner kick. Taken short up the line to Peeling, Westrope races out of the box to close her down charging down her attempted cross. Time running out Peterborough with a double change, Phillips and Spendelow back on, Lomasney and Gavaghan taken off.
Game management needed from Haverhill late on keep hold of the ball inside the Peterborough half don’t invite pressure. A quickly taken free-kick on half way from Peterborough launched up towards the area headed out of the box drops straight to Hilton 25 yards out slices her 1st times shot drops wide of goal. Up the field late on in stoppage time Peterborough fire a cross in from the right brought down comfortably by Brown back in defence carries the ball away from danger as the final whistle blows. Haverhill winning 2-0 to return to the top of the Premiership table.
Full time Haverhill Rovers Ladies 2-0 Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves
A hard fought victory for Haverhill Rovers Ladies taking an early lead in the game, Peterborough making them work of the 3 points coming on strong in the 2nd half chances for both Haverhill looking solid in defence really needing that 2nd goal late on to dull their opponents attack. A good contest and both will face several more before the season’s over alot of football still to be played. Haverhill top by 2 points with 3 games over Peterborough others not far behind either the expanded league proving intriguing.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Several contenders once again and like last weekend another tough decision to decide this Sunday’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. For Peterborough, Eve Lomasney was excellent in midfield especially first half looking to get thing’s going further forwards for the visitors. Eleanor Spendelow too lively out wide on the left making good runs and looking to set up others. Haverhill were impressive as a unit especially at the back particularly Georgina Westrope and Beth Harding. Julie Brown in midfield breaking up several Peterborough attacks not letting much get away from her. Today’s award though goes to attacker Jenna Wright coming off the bench early on made an impact straight away strong on the ball good work leading up to setting up Sian Cottrell for the opening goal. A threat all game scoring the 2nd goal.
Enjoyed my first outing to The New Croft. My thanks to both teams for giving me those all important team details always appreciated will be a keen observer watching the battle for the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership title unfold.