Wednesday 12th April
Huntingdonshire FA Women’s Senior Cup Final
The cup finals start to come thick and fast now across the East beginning this Wednesday evening with a trip over to Eynesbury Roves FC to watch the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final between St Ives Town Ladies and Cardea FC Ladies.
The Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup still very much in it’s infancy with this being the 2nd season the competition has taken place with Cambridge United WFC beating St Ives Town Ladies with a last gasp winner to win the inaugural final by a single goal.
Cambridge United WFC with a one season stay in the competition re-joining the neighbouring Cambs FA competition, the competition set for a new name on the trophy. A small catchment area with alot of potential for growth within the women’s game, 7 sides across county and regional leagues entering.
St Ives Town Ladies very much the strongest and most established of these sides, enjoying a rapid rise through the women’s football pyramid a 3 season stay in the ERWFL Premier Division coming to an end last season. Looking to bounce back straight away always a challenge with only one promotion spot up for grabs into ERWFL Division One North have been building a strong squad but haven’t had the consistency or luck with injuries to pressure to top two sitting comfortable in 3rd have a solid platform going forwards, a great relationship with St Ives the women’s section very much part of the club, re establishing a 2nd team this season too, playing in Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two. Annie Posnett one of St Ives new signings this season a striker who I have heard talked about highly on several occasions has so far weighed in with 23 goals from 16 appearances. Into the last four of the ERWFL League Plate too with the potential to challenge for more silverware.
Cardea FC Ladies reaching their first ever final, near Peterborough are a side very much on the rise getting stronger each year after initially finding life tough as a new side. Playing in the Cambridgeshire County League are currently top of Division One vying for the title with Histon Ladies both currently on the same points Cardea crucially with a game in hand. The signing of Emma Pollard playing a large role in Cardea’s development over the past few season’s coming to the club form Peterborough Northern Star with both experience in the FAWNL aswell as ERWFL is often amongst the goals, has an incredible 48 goals so far this season from just 15 appearances and will be a player St Ives need to watch. Isn’t the only goal scorer in the side by any means with captain Laura Rudd also weighing in with 16 goals to date along with Georgie Elsom and Courtney Coles on 9 and 8 respectfully. Underdogs in terms of pyramid placings but that gap is a little misleading will fancy their chances. Also through to the final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s League Cup where they with again face Histon Ladies on Weds 10th May at St Neots Town FC.
Road to the Final
Huntingdon Town Ladies with the bye in the quarter finals, St Ives Town Ladies were drawn away to Cambridgeshire Division One side Eaton Socon Ladies who had made a strong start following promotion the following season. Goals from Annie Posnett, Georga Stancombe and Katie Stancombe seeing St Ives through with a 3-1. Cardea FC Ladies at home to Yaxley Phoenix Ladies born from the Netherton United Ladies side that won the Cambridge Division One title last season new to the ERWFL a tough one on paper Cardea coming out on top to win the match 4-2 with goals from Emma Pollard, Courtney Coles, Georgie Elsom and Laura Rudd.
Into the last four St Ives drawn against their 2nd’s team, goals scored by Donna Nicholls, Hannah Seymour-Shove and Sasha Tristram securing a 3-0 victory and a 2nd successive cup final appearance. Cardea drawn away to Huntingdon Town Ladies of Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two. Emma Pollard in fire in front of goal that day scoring a double hat-trick as Cardea run out comfortable winners 9-0 Georgie Elsom also on target with a brace along with a goal or Brooke Ware.
Eynesbury Rovers FC hosting the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final for the 2nd successive season. Features a large grass pitch offering plenty of width and space to stretch an opponent. In good condition the recent heavy rain a concern leading up to the match but thankfully not too much on match day itself. A scaffold seated stand built behind one goal with viewing all round. The clubhouse on one side offering alcoholic drinks and a tea hatch serving hot drinks and food. Build onto that the changing rooms behind another seated stand along one side of the pitch. The weather better than forecast with clouds around but the heavy showers likely to stay away. The setting sun red in the sky over the main stand as the teams are led out onto the pitch by referee Lauren Dobbs heading up an all female officiating team.
St Ives Town Ladies starting XI – Sarah Aftelak, Lauren Fort, Sarah Mosley, Georgia Stancombe(C), Hannah Seymour-Shove, Niamh Sutherland, Jess Perrin, Evonne Yerrell, Katie Stancombe, Donna Nicholls & Annie Posnett. Subs – Claire Stancliffe, Sasha Smith, Jess Conyard, Koren Evan & Jess Didio.
Cardea FC Ladies starting XI – Poppy Halstead, Laura Ramsaran, Fiona Plumb, Sofia Aragosa, Jess O’Sullivan, Helen Buckingham, Laura Rudd (C), Brooke Ware, Olivia Smith, Emma Pollard & Georgie Elsom. Subs – Maisie Homden, Courtney Coles, Titch Abraham, Mia Newman & Charlotte Moffat.
Cardea to get the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup Final underway kicking off the 1st half wearing an all navy kit with St Ives lined up opposite wearing white shirts with black vertical striping on the front, black shorts and socks. The ball played into midfield St Ives rushing in to press the ball forced back to Laura Ramsaran at right back, Katie Stancombe closing her down for St Ives the ball cleared across the defence to Fiona Plumb on the opposite side to send up the line for Emma Pollard to chase, St Ives, Evonne Yerrell sliding in to put the ball out for a throw
GOAL! Cardea taking the lead inside 50 seconds with the ball high on the left Pollard sliding the pass inside for captain Laura Rudd all of 30 yards out to strike a high ball in towards goal, St Ives goalkeeper Sarah Aftelak not on her line back peddling can’t reach it as it drops over her into the back of the net beyond 0-1.
The perfect start for Cardea taking the lead inside the opening minutes need to settle as St Ives get hold of the ball in the middle counter out to Katie Stancombe left she sends it long into the right channel with Annie Posnett bursting forwards, Ramsaran getting in close to challenge the ball out behind for a goal kick. The ball contested in the middle rebounding off plays popping forwards for Pollard pulling away into the right channel space to attack, Yerrell coming across her to put in the block to prevent the cross, Lauren Fort getting across in support clearing the ball.
Cardea making a positive start buoyed by the early goal looking to close St Ives down all over the pitch. Katie Stancombe getting onto the ball left wing brought down by Cardea’s Brooke Ware winning a free-kick 35 yards out, Sarah Mosley over the set-piece going for goal getting her shot over the wall wide of the near post. Cardea working hard at the back to close down the ball, Pollard a ready outlet in attack with the ball cleared up field.
Cardea attacking on the left Georgie Elsom coming back to win the ball forwards for Rudd, attempts the threaded pass forwards into Pollard breaking in behind, Fort with the interception for St Ives getting hold of the ball. St Ives looking to se the width of the pitch with some god crossfield passing coming right to left into Mosley forwards for Katie Stancombe, pace looking to surge down the wing, Ramsaran on her shoulder sliding in to put the ball out for a throw. Is shaping up to be an open and even contest Cardea winning the ball well in the air deeper not wanting to let St Ives find room in behind.
Jess Perrin bringing the ball on in midfield for St Ives aiming for Posnett drifting out to the right, Plumb winning the ball for Cardea. St Ives press through the middle, Posnett looking to force her way through the defence, Sofia Aragosa tackling well for Cardea before the free-kick is given away in a dangerous position 25 yards out right side of the D, Hannah Seymour-Shove over the ball. Attempts the shot curling wide of the top left corner.
Poppy Halstead’s goal kick finding Elsom her flick on looking to put Pollard away in behind to attack the St Ives box a vital interception from St Ives captain, Georgia Stancombe. Another interception form Georgia Stancombe at the back sprays the pass left into Katie Stancombe bringing the ball on comes back inside picking out Niamh Sutherland into Nicholls moving to the right with Seymour-Shove the cross cleared by Cardea’s defence. Yerrell with Nicholls out on the right for St Ives lifting an inviting cross into the area, Halstead with an assured catch in her six yard box with Posnett providing a central run. Yerrell staying down after the attack, assessed need to come off an early change for St Ives Jess Conyard coming on with 20 minutes played.
Cardea pushing on well up the left Rudd on for Pollard winning a corner kick. A vicious inswinging ball into the near post from the left, St Ives dealing with the threat launched clear get on the counter attack winning a corner on the right. Another great delivery from a corner swung in central Halstead rising well in her six yard box to punch the ball away to the right, St Ives looking to keep the pressure on however the ball forwards is over run out for a goal kick. Cardea working hard frustrating St Ives remains open, players often drawn to the ball condensed plenty of space available to run into.
Mosley closing down Ware of the left to win the ball attacks sending it on for Posnett pulling into the left channel racing into the box, Halstead rushing out to save at her feet, play stopped however by a raised flag. Cardea appealing for a foul at one end on Pollard are nearly caught out at the back by an awkward bouncing ball 30 yards out Aragosa doing well to keep her eye in it with Posnett looking to latch on it steal in on goal wins the free-kick against her. Helen Buckingham playing the ball into Rudd the midfielder breaking forwards through the middle, attempts to get Pollard in on the ball cutting inside from the left, a little too much on the pass as Aftelak rushes out to the edge of her area to claim.
St Ives putting the ball across the pitch from right to left Mosley forwards into Katie Stancombe sending it inside for Seymour-Shove, Rudd snapping back at her to regain possession for Cardea. Sutherland bringing the ball under control for St Ives central puts the threaded pass on for Seymour-Shove to attack, Halstead with a good starting position inside her box racing out to get hold of it first. Pollard coming back to win the ball lays it back for Jess-O’Sullivan picks out Rudd with her pass, finds Pollard racing up the left, is fouled.
Free-kicks given away by both sides a feature of the game with both rushing into one another to try and win the ball. Elsom seeing the ball into her feet well sending the pass infield for Rudd bursting forwards, Georgia Stancombe getting into close her down winning the tackle. Katie Stancombe high on the left putting a diagonal ball out to Nicholls on the right side knocked inside cleared by O’Sullivan for Cardea. Conyard forwards on the right supporting Nicholls and Seymour-Shove, O’Sullivan getting in amongst it to win the ball back for Cardea. St Ives finding it tough to break down a stubborn Cardea back line. Ramsaran with a long throw in her arsenal looking to relief some pressure.
Elsom out on the right for Cardea looking to line one up from distance, charged down by Mosley. St Ives with time to move the ball in front of the Cardea back line going left to right Nicholls lifting a cross into the near post, Katie Stancombe looking to get it down off her chest into her feet and turn to shoot, is quickly closed down by the Cardea defence. St Ives pressing the attack right side Conyard with Seymour-Shove out to Posnett wide the ball sent inside across the top of the area for Nicholls left of the D, Ware back to defend for Cardea getting a toe on the ball to take it away from the attacker, Nicholls still after the ball puts her foot through the ball, Ware with the blocking tackle.
35 minutes played Cardea with the early goal working hard to keep St Ives from finding a reply, Ramsaran cutting out a diagonal ball from the middle as Perrin and Sutherland combine in midfield giving the defence a chance to regroup. St Ives pushing late in the first half winning a throw high on the right the ball inside cleared by Buckingham into Olivia Smith then Elsom, Seymour-Shove getting back to tackle Pollard as Elsom tries to pick her out up top. Nicholls left channel forwards into Posnett top of the area, trying to pull off her marker, O’Sullivan stabbing out a foot to take the ball away from the attacker.
The battle in midfield intense at times Rudd up to Elsom sends the pass into Pollard running into the left channel, Aftelak out well to the top of her area to lay claim to the ball. Nicholls with a good piece of skill to get the ball under control and turn lifting it on for Perrin breaking from midfield, Aragosa defending as she closes her down attempting to get the ball under control inside the D. Seymour-Shove playing the ball forwards to Posnett pulling into the area right of the D, Halstead starts to come for the ball Aragosa struggling to get to the flight of the ball knocking it down away to the right of goal, Posnett lively after it, Aragosa recovering to get across and swing her leg through the ball to clear.
Sutherland into Perrin left in midfield, clipped high into the box, the defensive header from Aragosa to clear. The game moving into stoppage time at the end of the first half, Pollard remains the outlet up top taking the ball on down the left wing, Conyard preventing the cross coming into the area. With St Ives pressing players forwards Cardea’s defence remains solid Ramsaran winning the ball cleared up into the opposition half Pollard out on the right corner of the area unleashing a shot races wide of the far post.
St Ives with a good chances for a counter attack in the closing moments of the half, the ball launched out to the right Posnett racing after it Ramsaran getting across to her to slide in with the challenge knocking the ball out of play. Trouble for Posnett though as she stays down a blow can’t continue is replaced with little time left till the half-time break, Jess Didio coming on. Cardea mounting one last attack the ball sent out to the right for Ware to chase down checks inside to play the ball across the top of the Si Ives area looking for Elsom, Georgia Stancombe with a fantastic tackle, winning a free-kick in the process.
Half-time St Ives Town Ladies 0-1 Cardea FC Ladies
Laura Rudd’s speculative strike in the opening 50 seconds seeing Cardea open the scoring and that is how it has remained for first half. Cardea sticking back working hard in defence to win the ball prevent St Ives getting in to expose them. Competitive with a high work rate has been a open game to a degree, St Ives allowed to come on spreading the ball across the pitch frustrated haven’t found the final clinical pass. Losing two players to injury too compounding that frustration yet with just a goal in it still plenty to play for. Cardea putting alot into the 1st a half will aim to do the same 2nd half with space likely to open up.
Appears to be no more chances at half-time St Ives to get the 2nd half underway has become decidedly chilly. The ball rolled back into defence Elsom pressing the full back, Conyard getting back at her to regain possession for St Ives. Cardea looking press St Ives defenders at the start of the 2nd half, Pollard getting hold of the ball top right of the D, Georgia Stancombe getting across her to put in the blocking tackle. Katie Stancombe up top for St Ives now running towards the box jinking left and right on the ball closed down, the loose ball coming to Seymour-Shove sends her cross/shot wide across goal.
Ware winning the ball well for Cardea on the left inside for Rudd tackled by Perrin, St Ives come left winning a throw, work the cross into the area headed clear by Aragosa. Back out to the left St Ives winning the free-kick. Katie Stancombe sending an inviting ball in across the area no one from either side getting a touch as it bounces out beyond the far post for a goal kick. St Ives building momentum in attack getting players up around the box, Katie Stancombe laying the ball back for Perrin to strike up into the area, Aragosa under it for Cardea, the ball going away for a corner kick to the right.
The corner put in towards the top of the area flicked inside the ball struck hard whistling past the keeper into the back of the net St Ives wheel round to celebrate thinking they have the equaliser, but no the assistants flag it up it won’t count!
St Ives need to re focus immediately, Cardea pressing the ball into the middle looking to release Pollard in attack Georgia Stancombe intercepting, encouraging her side to keep going. Ware attacking on the right, Mosley closing her down just about to stop the pass getting through to Elsom in attack. Pollard putting in a shift in attack pulls up suddenly looks serious as play is stopped but as Aftelak comes to offer support it is thankfully just a nasty case of cramp. St Ives nevertheless take the opportunity to make a change bringing on Sasha Smith for Sutherland.
Bursting up the left attacking St Ives win a corner, sending players up into the box is a great ball curled in towards the middle of goal putting the keeper under pressure as Halstead goes down to get hold of it St Ives attempting to force it over the line, appealing it’s over the line but Halstead saves well has it firmly in her gloves. St Ives making a few positional changes taking a few risks at the back bringing more players on looking to find an opening Seymour-Shove pulling right sends a high cross into the box, Halstead up well to pluck the ball down safely in control of the situation.
Perrin frustrated as she’s adjudged to have fouled Buckingham on half way a free-kick to Cardea. Aragosa sending it long up to the top of the area Katie Stancombe back there to head clear. Up to Nicholls as St Ives look to break, Plumb defending well for Cardea. Cardea making a double switch on the hour mark ringing of Ware and Smith on come Mia Newman and Titch Abraham. Perrin clattered down top of the centre circle winning the free-kick for St Ives, Katie Stancombe sending it up towards the top of the area headed clear by the Cardea defence.
Nicholls enjoying a good tussle with Rudd as the pair battle for possession of the ball, Nicholls getting away to run down the line, fouled as O’Sullivan and Abraham converge to close her down. St Ives getting more of the ball Cardea fighting for everything, Perrin driving on central looking for the one two with Didio, the return ball cut out top of the area. Cardea holding their line well as Katie Stancombe tries to pick out Seymour-Shove wide right. Cardea winning a free-kick on half-way make a 3rd change bringing on Courtney Coles for Georgie Elsom who has felt her hamstring tightening up. The ball sent up into the St Ives area won by Georgia Stancombe headed clear.
20 minutes left to go Cardea tiring but resolute fighting hard to close down the ball in the middle of the park take the pressure off the defence. Abrahams getting the ball of Aragosa at the back for Cardea pulling right, with Buckingham coming on in support, Conyard out to close the ball down well inside for Didio, Rudd snapping into the challenge. Coles with the lay off up top into Abraham racing in behind left channel, Fort getting across to challenge for St Ives. The game stretched to substitutes bringing renewed energy onto the field. St Ives with a double change looking to respond, Mosley and Seymour-Shove off, Koren Evan and Claire Stancliffe coming on.
Cardea sensing they hold out Ramsaran lunging in to tackle at right back as St Ives get the ball out wide into Smith. Abraham lively on the flank intercepting the ball or Cardea inside the St Ives half on for Pollard wide, Abraham bursting forwards to get into the box as Pollard shifts inside to send the ball into her path Abraham 1st time strike blasted wide of the near post.
Chances opening up for Cardea as the game progresses, Pollard with a shot from wide on the right held low by Aftelak at her near post. St Ives winning a free-kick 35 yards out Perrin over it to the right of goal players lining up to attack the far post Perrin instead puts the ball in towards goal, Halstead not caught off guard catching well. Cardea playing a set-piece from half way into the right channel, Stancliffe getting across to clear for St Ives. O’Sullivan down for Cardea struggling needing to be replaced Charlotte Moffat.
Straight into the action the ball lifted into her left side of attack holding it up well as teammates look to get up in support. The game stretched St Ives looking to get it into their attacking players just can’t get it to stick, Cardea giving no one any time on the ball. Katie Stancombe the most likely to make something happen the ball rolling into her path she unleashed a strike from distance hit well angling in for the top corner, Halstead with a brilliant save throwing her herself up to her right to get a hand on the ball knock it away to the touch line, St Ives retrieving Smith firing a low ball in towards the near post Halstead scrambling forwards to dive on the ball.
The clock running down St Ives still trailing y a single goal the game there to be turned on it’s head if they can find that one all important chance. Abraham closing down Conyard well on the wing as the full back looks to get on. Halstead busy inside her box out well to lay claim to the ball as a shot is driven in from the left, then gives it away kicking the ball straight to Evan 25 yards out, attempting to lob the keeper find the open goal beyond Halstead backing up frantically relieved to bring the ball down safely into her gloves.
Into the final 5 minutes Cardea determined to hold out St Ives pushing on Katie Stancombe finding Conyard up on the right, Plumb preventing the cross coming in closing her down. Georgia Stancombe pushed up field right of the box flashing a cross into the six yard box, Halstead with a good take. Plumb coming off for Cardea late on Maisie Homden coming on. The game moving into stoppage time Pollard experienced looking to take the ball into the corner, one goal for St Ives changes everything, straight to penalties Pollard winning a throw in the ball rolled into Coles outside the box lifted inside Moffat drifting in near post puts the shot wide. St Ives break on with one last attack the ball knocked on Halstead out to the top corner of the area to put her gloves on the ball, cleared the whistle blows Cardea win the cup.
Full time St Ives Town Ladies 0-1 Cardea FC Ladies
Cardea win the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup in their 1st ever final appearance, Laura Rudd’s early strike the difference. Cardea working hard fighting to close down the ball all over the pitch keeping it tight at the back winning some vital balls. Getting tense towards the end a 2nd gaol would have gone along way to relieving that but defended well the substitutes all playing their part in keeping the work rate up. St Ives frustrated losing the final by a single goal for the 2nd year running, back then a late late winner. This time hit with an early goal couldn’t find a reply, had a goal disallowed 2nd half and the keeper holding the ball on the line but couldn’t find the break through injuries not helping. County Cups often throw up rivalries over the season’s and there’s a good chance we’re seeing another one here, these two sides will be regular contenders for the trophy.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this evenings Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. As usual it’s a tough call some great performances out on the pitch. A few to mention, for St Ives Katie Stancombe carried a strong threat in attack, running with the ball and getting into advanced position’s coming close to finding the equaliser with a fine strike. At the back Georgia Stancombe was solid making a number of vital tackles and winning the ball. Cardea were strong from back to front working hard to close the ball down and a whole round team effort including their substitutes. Emma Pollard providing a great outlet in attack always available for the ball. Laura Rudd winning the ball in midfield netting the winning goal. The defence strong in particular Laura Ramsaran and Sofia Aragosa, the award like last year though goes to the keeper, Poppy Halstead with a great display inside her box calling well positionally sound and coming for the ball with a couple of vital saves too.
Congratulations to Cardea FC Ladies on winning the Hunts FA Women’s Senior Cup
An enjoyable evening at Eynesbury Rovers my thanks to the staff their and those at Hunts FA for all their help. So pleased the rain stayed away. Thanks to too both teams for their help with the starting line-ups will update with extra pictures as son as I have them.
by Darren Gilham