Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Tuesday Round-Up

The Tuesday Round-Up – Edition Twenty Nine

Sunday 3rd April

Welcome to Edition Twenty Nine of The Tuesday Round-Up, into April a defining month in the women’s football season across the East. Cup Finals to be contested. With a few other finalists to be determined. Pretty much all the leagues across the region have been hotly contested all season and gradually some have fallen away from the title hunt, games though are running out for others to catch the leaders. Not just the battle for the title but promotion too. Finally have an Edition of The Tuesday Round-Up where certainly a few sides can be put out of the running. Others are almost there and one league has a Champion! Plenty to cover April started with bright sunshine a real frustration for those that did see their game called off, but those were few and far between, which of course means we have alot to cover once again so let’s plunge on.

FAWPL Southern Division

 In the FAWPL Southern Division, Brighton & Hove Albion WFC are almost there have one league match left to play and a win away to Tottenham Hotspur Ladies this coming Sunday will see them crowned Champions with none of the chasing sides being able to catch them. Maintain an 8 point lead at the top of the table on Sunday. At home for their final FAWPL league game this season taking on a side who needed a win to keep their own slender hopes of pipping them to the title alive. Portsmouth FC Ladies were in 3rd place in the table 10 points behind Brighton but with 2 games in hand, needed a win and Brighton to lose both their remaining 2 matches to catch them, unlikely as that was it was a win or they were out of the running. 

 Brighton were in no mood to fall at the final hurdle however, Amy Taylor scoring twice to put them 2 up inside the opening 20 minutes. Molly Clark pulled a goal back for Portsmouth shortly after but conceded again in the final minute of the 1st half to go in 3-1 down at the break, Charlotte Gurr the Brighton scorer. No more goals were to follow 2nd half as Brighton celebrated. Win their final game and there’s no one to catch them despite the sides below them all having games in hand. 

Portsmouth FC Ladies weren’t the only side hoping to see Brighton beaten this Sunday, 2nd placed Charlton Athletic Women. 8 points behind, but again with 2 matches in hand could do with the result going Portsmouth’s way. Were taking on a side from the South Coast themselves with Lewes Ladies the visitors to the Sporting Club Thamesmead Stadium. Of course forgetting the Brighton v Portsmouth match Charlton had to get the right result at home, was a disastrous start conceding in the opening 2 minutes, Lewes ladies going ahead through a Sian Heather strike. Lewes lead right up till the end of the 1st half, Kit Graham scoring to put Charlton back on level terms going into the dressing room at half-time. The stalemate held even as Lewes were reduced to 10 players with 10 minutes left, Paige Walder shown a red card. Plenty of injury time was played, and deep into it 90+5 Charlton popped up with a winning goal, Grace Coombs scoring to win the match and take all 3 points.

 Cardiff City Ladies are now the only side who can overhaul Brighton’s points tally, winning on Sunday to climb up to 3rd spot above Portsmouth are 10 points behind Brighton with 12 points left to play for even winning those 4 matches win be futile if Brighton win their remaining match. Still like Charlton it was a case of winning your own match 1st and this Sunday they were away to Tottenham Hotspur Ladies whom they will face in the FAWPL League Cup Final next month. One goal was enough to win the 3 points coming for the Welsh side, Alys Hinchcliffe netting from a free kick in the closing seconds of the 1st half.

   Coventry United Ladies also climb above Portsmouth to take 4th spot with a comfortable 5-0 away win at Queens Park Rangers Ladies. The visitors 1st goal came just after the half hour mark, Jade Brook on target with Marie Gauntlett putting Coventry 2-0 up 5 minutes before half-time. Amber Hughes extended Coventry’s lead 15 minutes into the 2nd half with Gauntlett scoring her 2nd of the game 2 minutes later. Christina Torkildson making it 5-0 with 15 minutes left on the clock. 

FAWPL South East Division One

 Leaders Crystal Palace Ladies keep up their unbeaten lead record but were made to work for it at home against Denham United Ladies on Sunday. The visitors taking a 1-0 lead into half-time Alissa Down scoring screamer of a free kick from 25-30 yards out. Francesca Ali came off the bench to join the action for Crystal Palace early in the 2nd half and was on hand inside the box to score the levelling goal for the hosts. Denham United came back to retake the lead Elisha Allen with a long run to round the keeper inside the box and score. 2-1 down going into the last 15 minutes Crystal Palace scored again Ali with her 2nd of the match. Went on to break Denham hearts and cue wild celebrations as they scored in the dying moments of the 90 to win 3-2, Gemma Bryan’s strike smashing in down off the cross bar and over the line.  Have a 9 point lead with 5 matches left to play.

The side most likely to catch them in the FAWPL South East Division One are 3rd placed Gillingham FC Ladies. Have 8 matches left to play due to postponements and cup football early in the season even winning all those games still need to see Crystal Palace’s unbeaten run end. Were on the road at the weekend a long journey north up to the top of the Suffolk Coast to play 2nd bottom side Lowestoft Ladies. Took the early initiative going 2 nil up on the 5th and 6th minute respectfully, Paige Baker-Carroll and Megan Maslak with the goals. On 20 minutes Kallie Balfour made it 3-0. Jade Keogh and Lauren Davis both scoring in the final 5 minutes of the 1st half to take full control of the match. 2nd half saw an improved Lowestoft performance couldn’t keep Gilllingham from scoring again but restricted them to 1 more goal Baker-Carroll with her 2nd of the match on the 63rd minute seeing Gillingham win 6-0 give their goal difference another boost.

4th versus 5th in the FAWPL South East Division One was this weekends featured match on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog, a trip to the Stockwood Park Athletics Stadium to watch Luton Town Ladies play Cambridge United WFC. Two competitive sides this was a fiery encounter with several strong challenges early on that set the tone with the referee letting it go. Luton were to take the lead a well delivered corner to the far post met by the head of the falling Nicola Henman was directed back on target Cambridge failing to keep it out on the post. Was from a corner themselves that Cambridge got it back to 1-1 at half-time, a well delivered ball from Laura Mills which goalkeeper Hollie Staples could only knock down at the far post with Cambridge’s Laura Bright on hand to bundle home. 2nd half Luton were to regain the lead Natasha Fensome getting onto the ball on the edge of the area and driving across goal shooting back across to score. Tensions boiled over ending in a mass confrontation players from both sides joining in took the referee a minute to sort out the repressions seeing Luton’s Zara Carroll sent off. Despite being down to 10 from the remainder of the 2nd half Luton defended well to hold on to the lead and take all 3 points. The full match report can be found on the website below this post.

 Elsewhere it was a trip up to Norfolk for Enfield Town Ladies to play Norwich City Ladies. Nuala McKevitt scored the only goal of the match to see Enfield Town Ladies leave with the 3 points in the bag and move up a place to 7th in the table.

2nd placed Milton Keynes Dons Ladies were involved in a Cup Final at the weekend defending the Berks & Bucks Women’s County Cup against Maidenhead United Ladies whom were also their opponents last season. Was late into the 2nd half before the deadlock was finally broken Andie Dickens heading home in the final 10 minutes for Milton Keynes to see them win. Congratulations to Milton Keynes Dons Ladies on their cup success.

Eastern Regional Leagues

Win the ERWFL Division One Cup group stages out of the way it was back to league action across the 3 divisions. In the ERWFL Premier Division 2nd placed Stevenage Ladies close the gap to leaders Billericay Town Ladies to 2 points with 3 matches in hand with a 3-1 away victory at 2nd bottom side Great Shelford Ladies. A hat-trick scored by Donna McGuigan securing the win. Great Shelford Ladies goal was scored by Samantha Tant her 1st for the club.

Continuing their astonishing form in 2016, AFC Dunstable Ladies are now up to 4th in the ERWFL Premier Division table following another win as they extend their unbeaten league run to 6 matches 5 of those wins. The latest at home this Sunday taking on Acle United Ladies who travelled with just the bare 11 players. Amber Pearson scoring for Dunstable inside 10 minutes the goal proving to be enough to take all the points.

  Haringey Borough Women were 4th themselves at the start of play this weekend, but drop to 6th place their opponents moving above them as they travelled to Colchester Town Ladies with just 10 players available. Kerry Stimson scoring a hat-trick for the home side with Chelsea Forde and Charlotte Bryant also on target in a 5-1 win. Klesha Darroux scoring the goal for Haringey Borough Women.

We have our 1st league Champions of the season in the East. In the ERWFL Division One East, Writtle Ladies have gone the entire season, much like the previous two seasons before with a 100% winning league record. Had 3 more matches to play in the league before the weekend 2 of which were against their nearest rivals Silver End United Ladies, their fellow Essex side 3 points behind with just the 2 matches left both against Writtle, needed victory as they welcomed them onto their patch. Writtle had other ideas Courtney Clarke scoring twice with Georgina Tricker also bagging a goal to win the match and open up a 6 point lead can’t be caught now and will be looking to finish without a loss in their last 2 matches away to Bury Town Ladies and home against Silver End United.

Congratulations to Writtle Ladies, ERWFL Division One East Champions.

Where as their are just a handful of fixtures left to be played in the ERWFL Division One East, their counterparts in Division One West have plenty of football left to play having seen alot of postponements early in the year. 7 sides contesting the league leaders Hutton Ladies have played out their league fixtures 12 played on 20 points have 2 sides with games in hand below who can catch them to win the title. Offley & Stopsley Ladies laying in 2nd place were 4 points back with just this weekends fixture to go, were playing bottom side Colney Heath Ladies at the weekend a reversed fixture saw them travel to Colney Heath to play the match scored the only goal of the game to make it a winning finish end on 19 points, 2nd place for now.

  The two sides with a chance of catching Hutton Ladies to take the title met at the weekend, Stevenage Ladies Reserves in 3rd place on 16 points had 2 games in hand needed to win both to guarantee the title. Were taking on 4th placed Royston Town Ladies who have only played 8 league fixtures to date. on 15 points with 12 to play for. Beat Stevenage Ladies Reserves and they’d end their rivals title bid. The scores were all level at half-time 1-1, a different story 2nd half with Royston Town Ladies scoring 4 more times to win the game 5-1 leave Stevenage Ladies Reserves out of the running, Leah Littlechild scoring their goal in the 1st half. Royston Town Ladies goals came from Paris Coldicott-Stevens, Samantha Tinsley, Georgia Gannaway and 2 goals for Stacey Little.

Also in the division, Hoddesdon Owls Ladies have a faint shot at the title themselves climbing up to 5th place over opponents Sawbridgeworth Town WFC this Sunday. Taking their recent Division One Cup form into their league campaign had won 3 group successive group matches to finish 2nd in their group. Were at Sawbridgeworth Town WFC at the weekend. Daniela Martucci earning herself a hat-trick scoring all their goals in a 3-1 win. Dempsey Favell with Sawbridgeworth Town WFC’s goal.   


In Norfolk Women’s Division One they have been chasing the leaders all season, their earlier run in the FA Women’s Cup meaning they had fixtures to catch up on. This Sunday Wymondham Town Ladies went top of the league. Unbeaten after 11 played conceding just 5 goals were away to Aylsham FC Ladies at the weekend. Despite taking the lead through a Sally Hammerton goal Wymondham went into the break 3-1 down, Aylsham’s goal scoring machine Abbie Charlton with all 3 goals. Wymondham fought back 2nd half goals from Kelly Ayers and Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris getting it back to 3-3 before Alice Collins scored what would be the winning goal to take it 4-3 and go top 2 points clear of Brandon with 2 games left to play. Are away to 4th placed Thorpe United Ladies this coming Sunday if Wymondham win it’ll will see them crowned champions. Thorpe United however have played just the 9 games with 5 left could with a win push it all the way to the end, a big game, Wymondham want to finish the season unbeaten.

At the opposite end of the table in Division One, Fakenham Town Ladies are enjoying a timely purple patch of results at the end of their season near the bottom the entire campaign a draw and 2 wins have seen them climb up to 5th in the table following a 3-2 home win over Lynn Ladies last time out in the league were on the road this Sunday taking on Bungay Town Ladies. Climb above them as they win again by 3 goals to 2. 4 of the goals coming in the 1st half Emily Leach with a goal for Bungay, Fakenham scoring 3 with Rochelle Woods on target for 2 goals, Natalie Wright scoring too. Leach pulled it back to 3-2 for Bungay 2nd half but it wasn’t enough as Fakenham Town Ladies made it 7 points in their last 3.

No league action in Norfolk Women’s Division Two this Sunday, although 4 sides were in action playing one another in the semi-finals of the Norfolk Ladies Plate, a new competition this season. In the 1st semi-final North Walsham Angels Ladies were at home playing Morley Ladies. North Walsham could only field 10 players on the day, but having already secured promotion to Norfolk Division One had the firepower to best Morley on the day winning the game 4-0, 2 goals in each half, Luci Middleton smashing the ball into the back of the net to score a hat-trick with Emma Allsopp to reach their 1st ever final in just their 2nd season. 

Joining them in the Norfolk Ladies Plate Final will be, Red Rose Ladies, who unless I’m told different are also into their 1st ever final too. Were away to fellow Division Two side Stalham Town Ladies. The game was all square at half-time 1-1, Amber Mayhew scoring for Stalham. Red Rose Ladies winning it 2-1 with a goal in the 2nd half, Sophie and Vicky Lubbock with their names on the scoresheet. The Norfolk Ladies Plate Final is to be played on Sun 1st May at Plantation Park.

 In Norfolk Women’s Division Three, leaders Harleston Ladies were playing their penultimate match of the season knowing they have already secured promotion to Division Two. Had gone unbeaten for so long 11 games 10 of those wins until losing at 2nd placed Gorleston FC Ladies two weeks ago. That defeat was followed by another this Sunday as they travelled to play Freethorpe Ladies who were also playing their penultimate game. Picked up a fantastic 3 points as Chloe Barber netted 3 times for the home side to win the game beating Harleston Ladies 3-2, Lacey Andrews with both of their goals.

In 2nd place Gorleston FC Ladies are closing the gap on Harleston Ladies at the top, still with a 100% win record having been left with alot of matches to catch up on earlier in the season were at home to 3rd placed Red Rose United at the weekend. Goals from Kayleigh Byrne, Kelly Allen, Molly Sims and a hat-trick from Samantha Hunn saw them win the match by 6 goals to 2 and in the process secure promotion to Division Two. Holly Baker and Charlotte Gardiner-Banks with Red Rose United’s goals.


In Suffolk it’s still all to play for in the title race with 4 of the 7 sides contesting the league still in with a chance of claiming the champions crown. The leading pair of Brantham Athletic Ladies and East Bergholt United weren’t in action this Sunday. That gave their rivals a chance to close the gap. In 3rd place Witnesham Wasps Ladies were taking on bottom side Ipswich Phoenix Ladies for the 2nd time in a fortnight at home that time around won 9-0. On the road this weekend were in merciless form as they prepare for a midweek League Cup Final match against Brantham Athletic Ladies scoring 6 goals in either half won the game 12-0, Emily Steward scoring 8 of the goals taking her tally to 38 in all competitions for the club this season so far. Emma Long scoring a brace with Lauren Page and Alice Rampling also getting goals. 

They are still in 5th place in the Suffolk Women’s Division league table have been behind with their fixtures all season however Copleston Ladies are still very much involved in the hunt for the title, whereas the top 3 sides have 3 matches left to play Copleston Ladies have 6 left to play and moving onto 23 points are 7 points off the leading pair after this Sunday’s result. Travelled to play Bacton United Ladies in 4th place. 2 goals from Sophie Crane plus a goal each for, Amy Trenter, Kristie Turner, Elysia Young and Jade Horne saw them take the points in a 6-2 victory. 


Even as I am putting together The Tuesday Round-Up for Cambridgeshire news comes through of another side dropping out of the leagues in the East and it is sad news indeed to here Huntingdon Town Ladies have pulled out of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership this season, the 2nd side to do so. Having seen them in action it is a real shame but no surprise having been struggling to field a full team in recent weeks. Is heartening to hear the club is looking to regroup and not stay away from the women’s football scene for too long and I wish everyone involved with the club all the best, and hope sincerely to be writing about Huntingdon Town Ladies in whatever guise they return in on The Tuesday Round-Up in the future.

That sad news of course especially this late into a season brings about huge changes to a league table, in this case the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership as Huntingdon’s results are struck off and the table adjusted. Would have started by saying ICA Sports Ladies win to go back to the top of the Premiership beating Bar Hill Ladies at home 6-2. They did win 6-2 Lorna Hart scoring a hat-trick, with a brace for Sarah Rouse and one goal for Emily Woosnam. Bar Hill ladies 2 goals scored by Nadine Wejkins and Natalie Wells. However ICA Sports drop to 2nd in the adjusted table 2 wins against Huntingdon struck off.

That sees Cambridge United WFC Reserves stay top of the table now with a huge 5 point lead at the top of the Premiership having not played Huntingdon. Were away to Netherton United Ladies at The Grange at the weekend. Netherton took the lead Sasha Haw scoring the goal to see them take a half-time lead. Cambridge United WFC Reserves got themselves back on level terms 20 minutes into the 2nd half the goal scored by Emma Roberts to see the points shared

  Also in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership, Newmarket Town Ladies are enjoying a good spell of form have seen points lost having played Huntingdon however that form has seen them pick up a 3 point haul against one of the sides hoping to contest the title as they came away from Cambridge University Women with win, Nadine Basson on target with the winning goal. All means the title mix up looks like this with it being a 14 match season leaders Cambridge United WFC Reserves have one game left can get 28 points. ICA Sports in 2nd have 4 games left can potentially get 32 points. In 3rd Cambridge City Ladies have 6 left to play and can earn 33 points if they win them all. In 4th Cambridge University Women have just the 3 games left and 26 points if earned is unlikely to get them the title.

One game took place in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship North at the weekend with 5th placed Stamford Ladies travelling to 2nd bottom side Hungate Rovers Ladies move up to 3rd with a thumping 7-1 win, whilst Wisbech St Marys Ladies were awarded an away win over Downham Town Ladies.

New leaders in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South as Park Ladies win the battle between 2nd and 3rd to climb above leaders St Ives Town Ladies. Park Ladies were a point behind the leaders with a game in hand going into the match at home against 3rd placed Milton who had 4 games in hand 10 points back on the leaders going into the game. Milton took the lead in the 1st half held the advantage going into the 2nd half. Park Ladies came back 2nd half with Danielle Green and Ebony Bliss scoring before Kirstie Smith settled it from the penalty spot to win the game 3-1 and sent Park Ladies to the top of the league.

 Also in the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship South it as the clash of the bottom two, Isleham United Ladies at home to Cambridge Rangers bottom of the league. Isleham won the match 5-0 Shona Kelly and Laura Todd amongst the goals.


Going into the closing fixtures the battle for the Essex Women’s Premier Division looks to be between two sides as they play out their penultimate league games, leaders Chelmsford City Ladies a point clear of 2nd placed Hullbridge Sports Ladies with both having just one match to play. Chelmsford City Ladies were away to Hutton Ladies Reserves on Sunday, won the match 2-1 with a goal each for Ciara Meeking and Lisa Overall to stay a point clear of Hullbridge Sports Ladies who faced a tough trip away to 3rd placed Collier Row Tigers who were playing their last league game of the season couldn’t catch Chelmsford City but could stop Hullbridge Sports doing so. 2 goals put into the back of the net by Broghan Kelly plus another from Danni Dorrington saw Hullbridge Sports Ladies win the game 3-2 and guarantee a minimum 2nd place finish.

  Just the one game played in Essex Women’s Division One with 3rd placed Chigwell Ladies travelling to Valley Green. racking up a 13-1 win Chigwell keep the pressure on 2nd placed Chelmsford City Reserves the gap just a point however Chigwell have played two game more.

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

  The Beds & Herts Women’s Division One has new leaders going into April as Sherrardswood Ladies who have played all their league matches are displaced to 2nd on goal difference by Harvesters FC Ladies who beat Letchworth Garden City Eagles Ladies 3-0 away from home this Sunday, all 3 goals coming inside the opening 25 minutes, a Kayla Johnson goal sandwiched between an Ellie Lovelock brace to take the 3 points. 

Hertford Town Ladies in 3rd place move to within 3 points of both Harvesters FC Ladies and Sherrardswood still with plenty of games in hand following a comfortable 6-0 home win over bottom side Flitwick Ladies. A goal from Kelly Shephard plus a hat-trick scored by Kerry Oldham along with 2 unfortunate own goals by Flitwick saw them to victory have 5 matches to play. Another side with plenty of games in hand is 5th placed Garston Ladies. Were held to a 1-1 draw with 2nd bottom side Sandy Ladies at the weekend, Joanne Sharp scoring for Garston. Chloe Reeves with the goal for Sandy Ladies.

 In Beds & Herts Division Two, Garston Ladies FC 96 close the gap on the leading trio to get themselves in with a good shoot at earning promotion 5 points separating the top 4 now all to play for. Garston Ladies FC 96 were away playing bottom side Evergreen Eagles at the weekend winning the game 4-0 they have a game in hand on 3rd placed Houghton Athletic Ladies and 2 on 2 placed Hitchin Town Ladies with the gap 4 points. Elsewhere in Division Two a 35th minute strike on goal from Jay Birse was enough to earn the win for Woburn Lionesses at home against Royston Town Ladies Reserves to end a run of 3 successive defeats.

A new name at the top of Beds & Herts Women’s Division Three as Evergreen Ladies beat 2nd placed Icknield Ladies to climb to the summit as 3 sides fight for promotion. All Tied on 33 points Evergreen Ladies have top spot. Evergreen Ladies were 3rd going into the weekends fixtures hosting 2nd placed Icknield Ladies had the lead on the half hour mark thanks to a goal scored by Emily Jones, doubled the advantage 2nd half with Louisa Johnson on target to see the 3 points won and set up what is going to be an exciting contest at the top of the league till the end of the season.

Bedmond Ladies consolidate 4th spot in Division Three with a 4-2 away win against Panshanger Ladies who scored through Sophie Whitman and Georgina Harvey. Elsewhere in the division the bottom 4 sides all faced each other with Bedwell Rangers making a late surge up the table with a 3rd successive league win on Sunday at home to Hatfield Town Ladies. An early goal scored on the 4th minute by Jessica Sullivan gave Bedwell rangers the lead were pegged back to 1-1 before taking a 2-1 lead into the dressing room on the stroke of half time Ailish Beadle scoring the goal. 2nd half was a totally different story as Bedwell Rangers took control of the game going on to score 6 more goals to win the game 8-1, Beadle and Sullivan adding another goal each to claim a brace, so too did Leah Tomlin with 2 second half strikes as well as a goal each for Sarah King and Hannah Manton.

Kings Langley Ladies were taking on bottom side Shefford Town & Campton Ladies who at home scored twice for only the 2nd time this season, they lost 3-2 that time this time despite an improved performance lost the game 4-2 with Kings Langley Ladies earning all 3 points with goals from Amber Harris and Mary Hogan plus a brace scored by Kimberley Nield.

That concludes another packed Edition of The Tuesday Round-Up not many games left to play now, April is often and will be a defining month in the football season. One league title sorted, several others very close to breaking the finishing line tape, will they surge over the line or stumble? With any competitive sport you can never say it’s over till it’s over. Going to be exciting and rounding it up exhausting, but intriguing I am sure, and it will all be covered on here, until the next Edition of The Tuesday Round-Up enjoy your football and thanks for reading.

Match Report – Luton Town Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

 Latest match report on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog, from Sun 3rd April

Match Report – Luton Town Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

   Sunday’s women’s football action comes from the Stockwood Park Athletics Stadium a match in the FAWPL South East Division One with Luton Town Ladies hosting Cambridge United WFC.

  A clash between 4th and 5th in the FAWPL South East Division One table, both clubs enjoying a good league campaign. Luton Town Ladies got off to a flyer unbeaten in their opening 6 league fixtures and were in amongst the top 3 for a good part of the season have fallen out of the race for the title in recent weeks losing crucial games against the sides battling for promotion. Finished 4th last season on 27 points, have gathered 31 points so far this season and with 4 games left will want to push on. Made probably the best signing in the league at the start of the season bringing in Natasha Fensome from local rivals Bedford Ladies. Was one of the best players in the league during the 2014/15 season, a talent that wouldn’t look out of place in the FAWSL, a goal scoring midfielder/attacker has scored 22 goals in all competitions for Luton Town Ladies so far this season.

  Totally the opposite start to the season for Cambridge United WFC, got off to a poor start failing to win any of their opening 8 league matches, the turn around came in October holding league leaders Crystal Palace Ladies to a draw the club then went on a unbeaten 8 match run that included 6 wins to propel them up the league table, smashing their previous seasons 20 point tally along the way, up to 3rd at one point had played more than others around them that has seen them drop to 5th place as games are caught up. On 29 points with 4 games to go will be looking to finish in 4th place too.

  Both Luton Town Ladies and Cambridge United WFC have reached the finals of their respective County Cup competitions.

  The venue for today’s match the Stockwood Park Athletics Stadium situated on the Stoockwood County Park in Luton a multi-purpose facility a large open green space very busy on what was a bright and sunny start to April, 3rd time lucky at reaching the venue bad weather saw the fixture postponed earlier in the year and last season traffic stopped me on the A1 and had to divert but still managed to watch Sandy Ladies in action instead. Here at last the football pitch as you can imagine is in the centre of a running track, seating over looking one side the clubhouse in the corner, under the flight path of Luton Airport planes coming and going overhead. 

  Luton Town Ladies starting XI – Hollie Staples, Rachel Carter, Jessica McKay, Rachel Kosky, Michelle Byrne, Shannon Pratt, Nicola Henman, Zara Carroll, Shanice Jiminez (C), Natasha Fensome & Joanne Rutherford.
  subs – Erica Byron, Kezia Hassell, Samiara Khan, Tamera Bayne & Abbie Luby.

  Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Tafadzwa Mhunduru, Emma Jenkins, Lucy Du Plooy, Laura Bright (C), Kayleigh Anne Burt, Tahnee Perfect, Hannah Goodchild, Laura Mills, Becky Taylor, Laura Baker & Paige Logie.
  subs – Carrie Bennett, Faith Hewitt & Isabella Simmons.

   It’s Luton to get the 1st half under way wearing orange shirts and socks with navy shorts. Cambridge lined up opposite wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and amber socks. 1st team goalkeeper Verity Crook was unavailable which gave Cambridge’s Reserve side goalkeeper, Tafadzwa Mhunduru a chance to start between the sticks.

  The ball goes out for a Cambridge throw early on, taken on their right the ball is played into Hannah Goodchild in the centre then sent on to Laura Baker, she looks to play the ball into the Luton area with Laura Mills making the run on the right wing, the pass a little heavy gives Luton goalkeeper, Hollie Staples an early touch of the ball.Cambridge come again as Tahnee Perfect tackles to win the ball back in the centre of midfield sends the ball out to Mills on the right, takes the ball on into the corner looking for room to cross, doesn’t get it as Luton left back Jessica McKay stays on her challenges and puts the ball out for a throw.

Coming down the other end Luton win themselves an free kick out on the right 22 yards out, have their captain Shanice Jiminez over the ball, sweeps it in along the face of the area, Rachel Kosky up from the back can’t quite get control of the ball to turn it back into the box, is knocked on for Natasha Fensome on the far side of the area, takes the ball into the area looking for a way round Cambridge right back Emma Jenkins, can’t find room the ball running out for a goal kick.

  Luton get the ball back in midfield play the pass out to Fensome on halfway looks to take on Jenkins, Laura Bright, Cambridge’s captain comes across to help the ball is put out for a corner kick. Played in from the left is a high delivery in swinging towards the far post, Cambridge goalkeeper, Mhunduru goes up for it doesn’t make contact drops down far post the pace takes it out far side before anyone can connect to turn in. McKay wins the ball back from Mills an sets up a rapid counter attack for Luton putting Fensome in down the left, travelling with the ball goes for the early strike long way out sending the ball across goal, Mhunduru dives however the shot is off target going out the far side. A few over zealous tackles are coming in the referee content for now to have a word.

Free kick for Cambridge on halfway, Bright over the ball, Lucy Du Plooy, Cambridge’s left back makes a run up the left side as Bright plays it long to Becky Taylor attacking from that side wins the header, knocks it down for Du Plooy then peels off the Luton defence to get in behind, gets the ball back and flashes a cross along the Luton six yard box, spinning out of play before anyone can arrive to send it in.

  Luton are putting pressure on the Cambridge back line whenever they have the ball their forwards, Fensome left, Jiminez right and Joanne Rutherford through the centre closing the ball down and forcing the error to regain possession, but as yet neither goalkeeper has been forced into making a save. Jiminez slices a shot well wide as she latches onto a header from Kayleigh Anne Burt at the back. Throw for Cambridge on half way the ball put into Perfect onto Taylor left plays it central into Baker up to Paige Logie who holds the ball up long enough for Taylor to make a run to get into the area, tries to play her in, Staples has sharp to it and 1st to the ball. 

Luton’s Zara Carroll with Cambridge’s Tahnee Perfect

Another rapid counter attack Luton work the ball down the other end of the pitch with speed, Zara Carroll onto Jiminez on the right, plays in the early cross sending the ball long to the far post with Fensome having covered alot of ground to get there turns the ball on target dropping inside the post, Mhunduru dives to her right and turns the ball around for a corner kick. Cambridge deal with the initial corner send the ball up to halfway.

   GOAL! No sooner have Cambridge got the ball away from their box from the corner Luton get hold of the ball and sending it back out to the left win themselves another corner. A great delivery swept in across the face of the goal is turned goalwards at the far post headed back in at close range the Cambridge defender covering the post blocks the effort but falling as they do so can’t stop the rebound as it is ends up in the back of the net, Nicola Henman with the headed ball at the far post claims the goal as Luton take the lead 1-0.

  Chance for Cambridge to get straight back on level terms, Perfect playing a great crossfield pass out to Mills on the right gives her a chance to get behind McKay who has offered her little opportunity so far in the match, a good cross fired along the six yard line Logie is there well placed in the centre of goal looks to get her head on the ball turn it wide of Staples, sends it wide at the far post too. Players square up to each other on the far side of the pitch as another strong challenge goes unpunished.

Pressing with the ball in the Luton half, Mills lays the ball into Baker on the right side of the area, she is closed down by  Rachel Carter, the central defender bringing the ball out and setting up a counter attack passing to Shannon Pratt, she has Fensome ahead of her coming inside, given the ball she is allowed to travel along way with the ball, has the option to shoot, instead looks for Rutherford peeling away on the left side of the area tries to pick her out, has strayed half a yard offside.

   GOAL! Another free kick is given away in the middle as Henman fouls Perfect on halfway. Bright delivers the ball long up the right channel looking for Taylor who is peeling round the defence the ball squeezes through players to get to her in behind tries to cross the ball is deflected behind for a corner kick. Mills to take from the left is a fantastic delivery in swinging towards the middle of goal high, Staples goes up for it gets a finger tips to it, not enough as it drops down at the far post where Bright is arriving to bundle the ball over the line get Cambridge back on level terms 1-1.

Michelle Byrne on the ball for Luton Town Ladies

 Michelle Byrne hasn’t had too many opportunities to break from right back for Luton in the game, bringing the ball on over halfway delivers a high ball into the box with both Rutherford and Fensome charging forwards to get into the area, going long Fensome goes up with Bright as both look to get there head on the ball hits one or the others shoulder drops down inside the six yard box, Rutherford gets a foot to the ball trying to get around Burt, can’t get a meaningful touch the ball is gathered by Mhunduru. 

Half-time Luton Town Ladies 1-1 Cambridge United WFC

    Been a lively 1st half, play disrupted by a number of free kick, some robust challenges from Luton in particular but as yet the referee has been happy to keep his cards in his pocket. Luton have pressed the ball well and defending deep, Cambridge have found little opportunity to get in round the back. The full backs on both side having a busy game but for the large part winning the battle.
  Cambridge to kick off the 2nd half. Look for Mills wide right straight from kick off the ball runs long out for a goal kick. Luton play the ball out from the back, McKay sends the ball up the left for Fensome ahead of her, squares the ball early across the face of the area, catches Rutherford by surprise, improvises trying to side foot the ball on into the area, runs out of play on the right for a goal kick. Attacking down the right, Jiminez wins Luton a corner kick. The ball is delivered towards the near post area, Henman goes up for it getting her head on the ball lifts the shot over the crossbar. Fensome has taken up a higher attacking position joining Rutherford up top early in the 2nd half.
Luton Town Ladies, Jessica McKay
  Byrne on the right comes again for Luton up the pitch comes inside plays the ball on to Henman in the centre of the Cambridge half, looks to play the pass into Rutherford ahead of her back to goal, outside the area the striker is looking to hook the ball on into the area send it to her left, Bright is positioned well behind her to intercept the ball play it out into Goodchild to send long for Taylor on the left. Puts the cross into the area near side for Logie, good turn from the striker to deceive her marker, looks to play in Baker free on the edge of the area, the pass is short gives Carter a chance to get her foot on the ball 1st. 

   GOAL! Busy in the midfield, Henman gets hold of the ball bringing in on plays the pass out wide right to Jiminez, she looks to play the early cross in towards the face of the Cambridge area Rutherford and Fensome are inside the D, Rutherford plays a good dummy ducking under the ball letting it fall to Fensome beyond, the no 10 takes the ball on into the area, Jenkins is with her does her best to force her wide of goal as she takes the ball out to the right the angle against her Fensome still manages to get the shot away cutting the ball back across goal, going down Mhunduru gets a glove to the ball but isn’t enough to stop it rolling over the line2-1 Luton retake the lead.

Natasha Fensome with the goal
to put Luton 2-1 up

Free kick for Cambridge wide right, Baker to take 20 yards out, sends it into the area with good height and pace, it’s Carter who rises highest to head the ball clear for Luton. Cambridge make a change bringing off Perfect, sending on Isabella Simmons to join the attack.

   Mass brawl! It had been bubbling up the tackles hadn’t been stamped on by the referee players have been snapping at each other it boils over in the middle, Baker and Pratt go for each other pushing, then everyone else rushes in, ugly scenes totally unnecessary don’t want to see it. Goodchild joins in is shoved to the ground by Carroll, Bright ends up on the ground too, everyone’s there takes the referee a minute to sort it out, going to be repercussions as he talks to his officials, case of what stood out in the melee. Carroll and Goodchild are called over the latter receiving a yellow card, Carroll is shown a straight red as Luton are reduced to 10. Tensions are high all over the park.

  Back to the football. Jiminez goes down in the middle looked innocuous but she appears to be in some discomfort and needs to come off. Luton make the change sending on Erica Byron. Shouts for a penalty from Cambridge as Mills plays a long pass down the centre of the pitch for Logie whose touch places the ball out wide right for Simmons to attack entering the area Carter lunges for the ball, Simmons goes over the ball travels out to Byrne further right, Carter having gotten to it 1st. Byrne clears the ball up the line, Cambridge win it back send it long again Carter needs to keep watch for Simmons closing in Staples as she sets herself to claim the falling ball inside her box. Cambridge bring on Faith Hewitt for Goodchild the move seeing Logie drop into a deeper role.

   Jenkins looks to play the ball across the park pick out Taylor on the far side the ball is intercepted by Luton but knocked down into the path of Baker 25 yards out, looks to lob the ball high into the area, ends up lobbing it over. Cambridge build another attack down the right side Jenkins bringing it on passes into Simmons on the centre sends the ball out to Mills on the wing and turns to head in towards the area. Mills holding the ball up on the wing has Jenkins up with her 20 yards out gets the ball back turns and rolls it into Simmons ahead of her, takes on the shot inside the D with the outside of her boot sending it in on target, Staples is well placed to make the save.

Cambridge United WFC right back, Emma Jenkins

Less than 10 minutes left Cambridge are pushing forwards a free kick on the right put into the area by Baker, once again it’s one of the 2 Luton centre backs who get’s their head to the ball Kosky this time the ball put out of play for a corner. Mills plays the ball long towards the far post, Burt sees her shot blocked at close range. Still the risk of a Luton counter with Rutherford staying up top as Cambridge pile players forwards the home side defend well bodies behind the ball no space available behind. Send the ball long Burt can only get a glancing header on the ball carries through to Rutherford edge of the area, Jenkins gets across in front of her to win the ball prevent the shot.

   Cambridge can’t find a way back into the match late on as the referee blows the final whistle and Luton win2-1 to take all 3 points to open up a 5 point gap over Cambridge to consolidate 4th spot in the table with 3 league games left to play. A scrappy game, competitive shame tempers boiled over but with passionate and committed players on both sides always likely. Two sides that will feel they have the platform to kick on and aim higher. 
Speaking to Luton manager Nikki Baker after the match she certainly feels Luton have had opportunities this season to improve on last seasons 4th placed finish push for the top of the table.

   Good to have finally gotten this match in, thanks to both sides for their help with the teams as always.