The Supporting Women’s Football Blog has covered plenty of teams a different leagues across the country in the past 3 and half years, today it was time to take a look at a new league not covered before which is surprising with it being so close to home, the Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship North to watch the league leaders unbeaten March Town United Ladies take on 3rd place and in form Wisbech Town Ladies.
There are two Championship leagues in Cambridgeshire the North and the South that feed into the Premiership above. The Championship North is not only made up with sides in the northern part of Cambridgeshire but also sides in southern Lincolnshire such as Swineshead Institute Ladies and Boston United Ladies. Is a competitive league with the sides below March Town United Ladies all taking points off each other with just 5 points between 2nd and 7th.
March Town United Ladies are into their 4th season as a team have played in both the North and the South Leagues did see them play a long time ago getting on for 3 seasons now when they were in the South League away to Cambridge Rangers back in the early days of the SWF Blog when I didn’t cover a match as extensively as I do now. Have grown as a side. Finishing 2nd in the Championship North last season are going strong this season leading the table for most of the season 7 straight wins at in the league before they were held to a 1-1 at home to Wisbech St Mary Ladies last weekend. Lead the Championship table by 4 points. Another local derby match today at home as they host Wisbech Town Ladies.
Wisbech Town Ladies come into today’s match in great form having won 4 successive games in league and cup. 9 points from that ru taking them all the way up from 7th into 3rd. Have also reached the semi-finals of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Junior Invitiation Cup for the 2nd successive season having reached the final last time around. Today they travel with just the bare 11 however having several players unavailable fo various reasons.
The venue for today’s game the GER Sportsground, home of March Town FC known as The Hares. An old ground that boasts the 2nd oldest wooden stand in the country. Painted blue the main stand is set a little back from the pitch however this is because the ground also hosted cricket cycling and greyhound racing up until 1960. The ground has a new clubhouse that houses a bar and kitchen along with the changing rooms. Tea and coffee also available. The pitch itself is a good size pretty firm the clocks went forwards this weekend everyone lost an hour in bed but at last it looked like spring was here bright and sunny nice to see able to take the coat off for the 1st time this year.
March Town United Ladies starting XI – Tori Sharpe, Sydney Davies, Claire Newton, Emma Searle, Kayleigh Churchyard, Jade Pointer (C), Georgia Brown, Adele Munday, Shannon Kelly, Emma Frost & Livvi Hodges
subs – Ella Nutter, Sue Bedwell-Byatt, Laura Coe, Gemma Ramsey & Paige Bedwell-Mann
Wisbech Town Ladies starting XI – Abbi Venni, Amy Hepting, Chloe Minall, Kaylie Swinden, Emily Stephenson (C), Polly Norman, Rachael Simpson, Shushannah Feast, Annie Rooks, Zoe Tyhurst & Sophie Gutteridge.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
A switch of ends before kick-off Wisbech opting to have the sun a their backs 1st half. It’s March to get the game underway wearing yellow shirts with a black band across the top and shoulders, black shorts and socks. Wisbech lined up opposite wearing red shirts and socks with black shorts. The visitors press the ball early keeping March pinned back in their own half striker Sophie Gutteridge, Wisbech’s top scorer so far this season with 20 goals closing down the defence getting her side a throw on the right the ball is crossed along the face of the area, with Gutteridge running onto it left of the D gets a shot away but never in control of the ball it rolls wide of the far post.
|Wisbech Town Ladies striker
Sophie Gutteridge has scored 20
goals so far this season
A good start from Wisbech, won’t let March get out of their half winning a throw in on the left the ball is given to Annie Rooks good hold up play before twisting away from her marker playing the ball in across the face of the area with Shushannah Feast in a central position the bounce of the ball doesn’t favour a left foot volley adjusting to strike with her right foot the shot is pulled wide of the far post.
Getting the ball played into her feet on the right for March, Adele Munday drives forwards down the line, Wisbech left back, Chloe Minall gets across her tackling to put the ball out for the throw. Another attack for March the ball played long through the middle, Livvi Hodges with 3 goals in her last 3 league games is after it, Wisbech captain Emily Stephenson gets back with her to throw a leg out and put the ball out for another throw. March work the ball into midfielder Georgia Brown left side comes in field looks for the long diagonal ball in towards the box aiming for Hodges far post the ball is just over her head, beyond her Munday latches onto the ball but is halted by the offside flag.
A good tackle from March’s Emma Searle at the back to thwart Wisbech’s Gutteridge as she threatens to run clear through the middle, the ball out for a throw taken quickly March counter the ball into captain Jade Pointer into midfield plays it on over halfway into space left side with Emma Frost beating the offside trap and running clear heads for the Wisbech box 25 yards out with Stephenson closing the ground lets fly with a shot a swerving ball, goalkeeper Abbie Venni, celebrating her 18th birthday in the week, having initially started to go one way adjusts her body well to stop the ball slipping past her deflects it away for the corner kick.
|An ever present this season, March Town United Ladies, Emma Searle
Played in from the left side whipped in with vicious pace the corner kick flies over Venni is heading straight into the net is blocked on the line by Wisbech midfielder Rachael Simpson chesting the ball down before clearing, March go up claiming it had crossed the line the appeals are waved away play goes on, I’m on the halfway line got a picture but no goal line technology in this league.
|Wisbech Town Ladies, Rachael Simpson stops March’s corner kick going over the line
Both sides are using the width of the pitch, Hodges with space to run into on the right is closed down by Minall can’t squeeze her cross into the area, up the other end Feast with a surging run on the left with the ball fires a vicious cross into the box looking for Rooks running in, Searle gets their 1st slices her clearance high into the air. A good contest developing in the middle of the pitch plenty of energy from both sides.
GOAL! The deadlock is broken midway through the 1st half Wisbech are awarded a free kick inside the March half left side a good way from goal close to 40 yards Stephenson goes across to take it as players go forwards line up across the top of the March area. Is a sweet strike by Stephenson as soon as it is flight you can tell it’s a great ball plenty of pace the ball flies towards goal a difficult one for keeper Tori Sharpe with runners closing on her the ball flies over her dipping late under the bar to make it 0-1.
|Wisbech Town Ladies captain, Emily Stephenson
opens the scoring with a superb free-kick
The ball is closed down inside the Wisbech half pinging around between feet eventually falls to March’s Shannon Kelly 35 yards out connects with the ball on the half volley sending a looping shot in towards goal Venni has time to set herself catch the ball inside her six yard box. March make a change Ella Nutter recently signed from St Ives Rangers Ladies coming on for Frost up front. Simpson has gotten forwards for Wisbech the ball is played into her at the top of the area back to goal she rolls it into Zoe Tyhurst moving central looks to bring the ball under control shift it inside to shot is closed down by March’s Claire Newton the chance gone.
Hodges is played through on goal by Nutter as March break with purpose taking the ball right clear of the Wisbech defence Hodges pulls the trigger from 20 yards blasts her shot wide of goal. Nutter getting forwards herself on the left is brought down by Wisbech’s Amy Hepting. Searle over the free-kick looks to play the ball in towards the near post runners breaking from the top of the box Venni is distracted sees the ball safely into her gloves. Venni is quickly out of her box soon after to clear the danger as a favourable deflection at the beck sees Nutter race in behind the Wisbech defence can’t reach the ball before the goalkeeper does.
|March Town United Ladies, Jade Pointer with Wisbech’s Rachael Simpson
March make a 2nd change with Churchyard coming off at left back for Paige Bedwell-Mann a former Wisbech Town player. Brown with a powerful midfield run takes the ball on for March rolling it into the path of Hodges ahead of her, Minall gets on her shoulder prevents the striker getting a shot away as they enter the box marshalling the ball into Venni’s gloves as she comes sliding in to gather. The Wisbech defence giving very little away at the back, Brown finding room to get forwards for March lays the pass out to Nutter drifting into space wide left, Hepting gets back on her to close her down, Nutter keeps possession shifts the ball half a yard room to play the ball int Kelly breaking into a central position, Kaylie Swinden gets across her sees the ball back into her keeper.
|Wisbech Town Ladies,
Into the closing minutes of the 1st half March pushing players on the ball from Pointer finds Brown taking it on has Hodges in front of her looking to get into the box on the right side picking her out with the through ball plays it across to Nutter on the penalty spot, shifts the ball between her feet to avoid the sliding challenge before sending the ball in towards goal, lacking pace the low shot is straight at Venni and gathered cleanly.
A 1st half injury time corner for March taken on the right the ball played in towards the top of the area, is won by Wisbech the counter attack on the ball launched up field for Gutteridge to go after, Bedwell-Mann is the last defender has to win the ball and does very well under pressure to nullify the danger. March with one last attack in the 1st half the ball rolled into Nutter looks to send Hodges through on goal, again it’s Stephenson who gets across to win the ball before the attacker can get in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper.
Half-time March Town United Ladies 0-1 Wisbech Town Ladies
A 1-0 lead for Wisbech at half-time in a hotly contested derby without the niggle and arguing off the ball. Played at a good tempo few clear cut chances a great delivery from a set-piece the difference between the sides. Wisbech with a good 1st half have done well to limit the threat from march’s attacks their defenders quickly moving in to close down the threat haven’t let very little get in behind. March’s defence too to their credit have prevented Wisbech getting into too many shooting positions albeit defending a deeper line restricting the space in wide areas. An intriguing 1st half a narrow lead all to play for 2nd half.
Wisbech to get the 2nd half underway, Newton at the back wins the ball for March as it is played forwards sends her clearance back up through the middle, Hodges latching onto the ball 30 yards out has Nutter on the move to her left slides the ball into her run, taking the ball into the area the shot comes in low towards the near post, Venni going to ground makes the save.
|Wisbech Town Ladies, Polly Norman with March’s Shannon Kelly
Norman plays the ball into Feast on the left a clever turn gets the attacker in behind the March defence taking the ball down the wing squares the cross in towards the penalty spot Searle wins the cross getting the ball out of the area for March. Attacking the home side win a corner kick the 1st effort played in from the right is defended at the near post a 2nd corner awarded this one is played deeper in towards the top of the area the knock down out of the box is met by Nutter on the half volley 20 yards out her shot looping up into the air, Venni back on her goal-line sees the ball land on the roof of the net.
|Annie Rooks on the ball for Wisbech Town Ladies
Bringing the ball forwards on the left Bedwell-Mann fizzes a ball in towards goal from 25 yards out straight at Venni the ball momentarily pops out of the goalkeepers gloves, she reacts quickly to pull the ball into her body as Hodges coming in throws a leg at the ball. The game continues to be end to end both sides attacking, Tyhurst away into the left channel, sends a long cross into the area, is dealt with by Bedwell-Mann, counter attacking the ball played into Pointer is helped forwards Hodges gives chase can’t reach it before Stephenson can come across and clear the ball for a throw.
Gutteridge is put through up top for Wisbech gets ahead of Newton as they close in on the box right side of goal, Gutteridge shoots her low strike saved by Sharpe getting down at her near post. Another counter attack from March, Brown through for Hodges in the middle bearing down on the box, Stephenson across to close her down even as Venni comes off her line Hodges squeezes the ball past both her attempt running wide of goal. Feast has the ball 30 yards out from goal opening up her body strikes it goalwards is straight at Sharpe who takes the ball cleanly into her body.
|Shushannah Feast attacking for Wisbech Town Ladies
A double change for March, Frost returning to the action replacing Hodges, Gemma Ramsey comes on in midfield for Pointer. Kelly pushed further forwards now gets onto the ball shoulder to shoulder with Stephenson into the box closing down on the keeper all 3 go to ground in an attempt to win the ball, Kelly sends the ball on Venni makes the save the save blocking the ball it rolls loose across the six yard box, no other March players in the area the Wisbech defence can clear it.
Mid-way through the 2nd half Bedwell-Mann switches over to right back as Davies comes off with Churchyard coming back on for March. Winning a free-kick inside the centre circle March send players forwards a good ball played in by Searle drops into the area with Nutter timing her break perfectly on the end of it left of goal shoots early a low drive in towards the near post, Venni is down smartly to make the save.
|March Town United Ladies, Ella Nutter
A chance for Wisbech to send players forwards as they are awarded a free-kick wide on the right inside their opponents half the ball played in by Stephenson his headed on into the area by Simpson, Gutteridge is clear on the end of it slots the ball past the keeper, however the celebrations are cut short by the offside flag. More changes for March, Ramsey and Nutter off, Hodges returning with Sue Bedwell-Byatt another ex-Wisbech player also coming on.
Rooks bringing the ball on through the middle sends the ball into Gutteridge’s feet inside the D back to goal turns and shoots marked closely the ball is blocked, comes back to Gutteridge on her left gets a 2nd shot away this one off target rolls wide of the post. Pointer is back on the field for March as Wisbech successfully defend a corner kick. Munday brings the ball on through the middle of the park for March looks to send Hodges through in behind, Venni reacts quickly on the move early slides into claim the ball at the top of her area before Hodges can take it round her.
GOAL! A little over 10 minutes left on the clock and March get themselves back on level terms pushing players on in search of the equaliser it’d Brown breaking from midfield who latches onto a lay off on the left side space before lets fly from the top of the area the ball flies over Venni smashes down off the crossbar into the six yard box, Brown following up reaches it 1st stabbing the ball past the keeper who throws her leg at the ball but doesn’t reach it as it nestles in the back of the net 1-1.
|Midfielder Georgia Brown scores the equaliser
for March Town United Ladies
Laura Coe comes off the bench for March to replace Bedwell-Byatt as the game moves into the last 10 minutes. Munday strong on the ball through the middle sends the pass on for Coe ahead of her the 16 year old playing her 1st season of women’s football heads for the box, Swinden coming across forces her left into Hepting who tackles and wins the ball. March able to rotate their subs are seeing more of the ball in the latter stages of the match, still it’s the Wisbech defence quickest to the final ball as they have been all game. Pointer is down struggling with an injury in the middle for March. Stephenson takes the opportunity to rally her side. Pointer can’t continue and his helped off the pitch.
On the attack as the game moves into injury time Frost is put through left side shooting from outside the box her effort is held by Venni. March push bodies on in search of a late winner, Munday rolling it through for Hodges top of the area, Venni comes rushing out to close her down and prevent the shot.
Full time March Town United Ladies 1-1 Wisbech Town Ladies
1-1 the final score the points shared, March remain unbeaten in the league with a 2nd half equaliser from Georgia Brown to extend their lead to 5 points at the top. An unstoppable 1st half free-kick from Emily Stephenson seeing Wisbech go in front defended well all game giving very little opportunity for March’s attackers take home a share of the points which is enough to lift them into 2nd spot over Ketton Ladies on goal difference
SWF Blog – Player of the Match
Today’s SWF Blog – Player of the Match goes to Wisbech Town Ladies captain, Emily Stephenson. With a excellent free-kick to open the scoring, nothing was getting past her at the back today a solid defensive display from the whole defence.
My thanks to March Town United for their hospitality today and to both sides for their superb team-sheets today very much appreciated a nice touch to have a little info about each player. Best of luck to both for the rest of the season.