Monthly Archives: September 2022

Match Report – Swavesey Spartans Ladies v Lakenheath Casuals Ladies

Sunday 25th September

Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two

Onto the 2nd game from this Sunday’s double header from Cambridgeshire as the action turns to the league and the opening game in Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Two for both Swavesey Spartans Ladies an newcomers Lakenheath Casuals Ladies. A few minutes up the road from Willingham.

The Cambridgeshire Women’s Football league with a new sponsor this season the Alan Boswell Group. The county league seeing a good growth over the past few season’s with a number of new sides entering. Now featuring 3 Divisions, 1, 2, and 3 with 31 sides.

Swavesey Spartans Ladies entering an adult side in the 20-21 season in what was formerly the Championship North enjoying a solid debut season finishing in mid-table. Pushing on in 2021/22 looking like they might pose a threat to those chasing the title getting off to a strong start winning 3 of their opening 4 games, form varying after that winning 8 of their 14 league matches to finish 4th. Lindsey Gassner top scoring with 15 goals. Swavesey Spartans FC is a club with a very strong youth section for both boys and girls with youth sides for the girls entered in U18, 16, 14 & 12 this season. Players moving on and a couple of serious injuries picked up pre-season affecting the side as they ready themselves for a new season.

Lakenheath Casuals Ladies are a new name to the league this season but a familiar side as the bulk to the squad were Mildenhall Town Women last season. Moving to Lakenheath this season a familiar part of Suffolk for myself having lived close to the airbase for work after leaving college for 5 years. Lakenheath taking on a women’s side an opportunity for the game to grow in the area. Starting their season last Sunday at home to another newcomer Ipswich Exiles Ladies in the first round of the Suffolk Women’s County Cup with goals from Annalise Brown, Charlotte Nash, Cassandra Carvalheiro and and penalty from Lauren Deller seeing the sides tied 4-4 going into a penalty shootout. Lakenheath eventually going on to lose 4-2 to make an early exit.

A short trip from Willingham to Swavesey the game taking place on the Recreation Ground situated on the high street in the centre of the village a play area boosting a large and well used grass pitch a wide open space with the Pavilion to one corner of the pitch housing the changing facilities. The weather still pleasant carrying on from the earlier game with  bit more cloud cover and a slight breeze blowing across the pitch. looks a hard surface to play on. 

Swavesey Spartans Ladies starting XI – Kira D’Arcy, Leah Edwards, Ellie Barnes, Liberty Ashdown, Emilia Robinson, Sophie Morrow, Hannah Parish, Emma Smart (C), Kaylee Collier, Kelly Stevenson & Tegan Collier, Subs – Anthea Blackwood & Georgia Wilson.

Lakenheath Casuals Ladies

 Lakenheath Casuals Ladies starting XI – Maranda Santiago, Alejandra Valle-Lopez, Jess Bowman, Christine Cullen, Niketa Carter, Cassandra Carvalheiro (C), Jasmine Luckett, Alex Milner, Annalise Brown, Caroline Limas & Sara jane Langford. Sub – Alicia Olmos.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  Both squads stretched at the start of the season with just 3 substitutes between them as they begin their league campaign. Lakenheath to get the game underway wearing green coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. Swavesey wearing light blue shirts with navy short and socks. A slight adjustment for Lakenheath at the start with Alicia Olmos sent on with Alejandra Valle-Lopez missing the start. The ball played out to the right, Kelly Stevenson looking to get hold of it for Swavesey, Jasmine Luckett closing her down for Lakenheath to get the ball into attacker Sara jane Langford her shot from outside the box blocked spinning away for a corner. Valles-Lopez returning the earliest sub ever on Women’s Football East as Olmos gives way to continue to receive the instructions her coach was trying to pass on before kick-off.

The corner for Lakenheath curled into towards the near post, Swavesey’s captain, Emma Smart there to meet in rising to get a firm header on the ball to clear. Swavesey come right the ball out to Kaylee Collier winning a throw high up the pitch Sophie Morrow sending a cross in along the top of the area cleared by Valles-Lopez for Lakenheath. Annalise Brown with pace on the right attacking for Lakenheath powers on her cross cut into the top of the area her target Langford, Liberty Ashdown stepping in to get it clear for Swavesey at the back. Ashdown closing down Luckett 25 yards out as Caroline Limas aims to lay the ball into the midfielders path as she breaks forwards.

Lakenheath pushing up to halfway, risk the ball in behind as Smart goes in strong to win the ball sends it long out to the right with Kaylee Collier racing clear, Lakenheath central defender and player manager Christine Cullen getting across to force her into the corner an unfortunate slip seeing a corner conceded. An inviting ball flashed in across the face of goal bouncing in the six yard box however it catches everyone flat footed cleared out on the left side. Brown taking the ball on good skill on the ball doesn’t get rid of it before Swavesey’s Ellie Barnes gets back at her in the corner.

Swavesey’s Sophie Morrow

Lakenheath’s Jess Bowman

Tegan Collier in the centre of attack looking to pull off the last defender for Lakenheath, goalkeeper Maranda Santiago moving quickly to the edge of her area to slide in and get her gloves on the ball to neutralise the threat. Swavesey looking to exploit the space offered out wide with long balls sent out to the wings for Collier and Stevenson to attack. Smart clipping a pass long to the right, Santiago is again quick to get to the ball on the edge off her area as Kaylee Collier races forwards. Santiago is busy inside her area rushing to the outskirts to get hold of the ball a rushed clearance however sees her out of position as the ball drops to Smart on half way, she senses the opportunity clipping a ball forwards on target bouncing in front of goal Santiago can’t get back the ball bouncing up to come back off the crossbar.

Swavesey captain, Emma Smart

Swavesey mount an attack on the right, Leah Edwards getting forwards from full back to support Kaylee Collier outnumbering Lakenheath’s Jess Bowman. Edwards getting hold of the ball taking it into the corner before whipping a cross into the near post Tegan Collier close in on goal attacking it, Santiago back on her line with a sharp grab to prevent the ball evading her a smart save. Swavesey winning a free-kick some 30 yards out in a central position, Smart over the ball, a clean strike of the ball isn’t too far over the crossbar. Alot of grass behind each goal ball retrieval a lengthy process.

Lakenheath goalkeeper, Maranda Santiago

Lakenheath battling for possession in a compact midfield, captain Cassandra Carvalheiro with Luckett and Limas in close support goes on as the ball is fed on through to Langford in attack top of the getting the ball down back to goal turns left has Carvalheiro bombing on to her right lays the ball into her feet leaning back as she shoots the midfielder sends her shot over from 18 yards

Santiago continues to race out to the top of her area to get hold of the ball as her defence keep high and Swavesey look to exploit the space in behind. Smart with a good range of passing in her locker looking to send Tegan Collier through on goal from midfield. Edwards coming on with the ball for Swavesey right side plays a diagonal ball infield takes a deflection of a Lakenheath defender to see Kaylee Collier away on the right heading for the box, Santiago rushing out to meet her getting hold of the ball before Collier can capitalise. Langford collects a painful blow to the face as Emelia Robertson goes to clear the ball on half way for Swavesey, stunned takes her a few moments to collect her senses but is okay to play on. 

GOAL! 20 minutes on the clock an the deadlock is broken Smart putting the ball on for Kaylee Collier to attack right side heading for the box Santiago out to edge of her area to claim the ball sliding in outstretched pushes it wide as Collier collides with her this leaves the Lakenheath keeper grounded as the host push players on from the middle, one of those Hannah Parish running on to retrieve the ball wide, an open goal to aim for the angle against her however as the ball skips up off the surface does well to get her foot up over the ball to keep her attempt low as it curls in to the far corner of the goal 1-0. 

Lakenheath making a change bringing Olmos on in attack for Limas.

GOAL! No sooner have Lakenheath conceded a goal, then they quickly fall further behind with a sucker punch the ball being hotly contested in the middle pops forwards for Tegan Collier beating the high line to run on towards the area, opening up her body to play the ball wide past the onrushing keeper from 20 yards out to send the ball home 2-0.

  Luckett brings the ball on through the middle from Lakenheath sending it on out to the right for Brown breaking down the wing takes it all the way to the by-line before turning to cross, the ball curling out of play onto the roof of the net. Santiago furious as she is pulled up for handling the ball in a perceived back pass as Tegan Collier battles through into the box with Valles-Lopez the decision going the other way however with Collier the one penalised for offside. Luckett with Carvalheiro in the middle get Lakenheath moving the ball on for Olmos up top 25 yards out attempts to hook it on for Langford, Robinson getting her foot up to intercept the ball.

Lakenheath’s Jasmine Luckett

  Brown wins Lakenheath a corner as she and Milner swap flanks, the delivery curled in to the near post attacked by Olmos, turned wide of a Swavesey shirt a 2nd corner awarded. Dropping in the six yard box scrambled clear by the hosts. Brown set away with the ball on the left takes it on into the corner as Carvalheiro rushes up to offer support the game stretched for a moment as Swavesey race to get back to defend Brown back for Carvalheiro to cross, Langford the target inside the box her cross stopped by Smart launching the ball up field. 


  Pressure building late in the half by Lakenheath  winning a corner on the right, Smart doing the defending near side the ball behind for a 2nd corner. Into Milner near side close to the by-line nevertheless a good turn to strike the ball over the bar. The visitors getting on well players up around the box but not getting the rub on the final ball with both Ashdown and Robinson strong in defence for Swavesey. Tegan Collier always ready up the other end to pull off the defence as Smart gets hold of the ball, Carter intercepting the pass at the back for Lakenheath. 

Lakenheath’s Niketa Carter

Parish up on the right with Kaylee Collier forcing Lakenheath’s defence to make errors as they struggle to get the ball clear. Carvalheiro covering alot of ground for the visitors tracking back to get hold of the ball. Parish beating Carvalheiro to the ball 25 yards out stretching for it her scuffed ball cut across the top of the area Tegan Collier racing through onto it dragging her shot wide as Santiago comes racing out to close her down. Collier down having picked up a knock a few moments before is a concern but eventually up to see out the closing minutes of the 1st half. Smart coming on right side with the ball for Swavesey wrapping her foot around the ball her cross along the top of the Lakenheath area cleared by Carter.

Half-time Swavesey Spartans Ladies 2-0 Lakenheath Casuals Ladies

  Despite seeing more of the ball it’s Lakenheath who find themselves trailing at the break, Swavesey with a quickfire double to lead 2-0. The hosts defending their box well not allowing Lakenheath to get inside winning the final ball. Looking a threat on the counter attack going long at times using the width and pace of both Collier’s. Lakenheath have been competitive getting the ball down through the middle, finding Brown out wide haven’t used it as well as they could have a blow to concede as they did. A 2 goal lead for Swavesey to defend in the 2nd half. 

 A double switch for the hosts at the start of the 2nd half with Tegan and Kaylee Collier off on Anthea Blackwood and Georgia Wilson to lead the attack. Lakenheath with a tactical change moving to 3 at the back bringing Limas back on for Bowman. The temperature starting to drop a little the breeze picking up in theory should favour Lakenheath in the 2nd half as Swavesey get the game restarted. Lifted on through for Wilson from midfield, too much on the ball safely collected by the keeper.

Swavesey’s Leah Edwards

  Ashdown getting across to move into challenge Brown as the Lakenheath wide player takes the ball right a corner conceded. Put long the ball cleared Swavesey look to counter quickly Ashdown racing on from the back as the ball is played up to Wilson on halfway, Cullen forcing her out wide. Lakenheath keeping a high line still adjusting to having 3 at the back space for Wilson to move into as Morrow with Parish get’s the pass forwards for the attacker to peel left turn towards the box, Santiago racing out to the top of her area saving the shot with her legs well.

  Lakenheath pressing the ball bodies getting about in midfield coming to Limas central has support from Carvalheiro her flick on sending Olmos in behind to the left of goal, Edwards with a great recovery run to get back at her to lung in with the challenge stretching her leg out to take the ball from Olmos, the ball cleared to the right, Smart sending it back in over the crossbar. The clock stopped with referee Marcus Larham having a word with both captains and management having picked up an injury pulling a leg muscle treatment administered the game resumes. 

 GOAL! Lakenheath making a good start to the 2nd half getting the ball forwards winning a free-kick out wide on the right. Langford over it players crowding the box, a lovely delivery played low towards the near post, Milner ghosting in unmarked to get her foot on the end of it to turn into the back of the net from close range 2-1.

  Lakenheath pulling a goal back with the game approaching the hour mark. Taking a gamble at the back, but with the extra body further forwards are pressing well with Carvalheiro in particular getting about the pitch to nip in to win the ball. Playing a high line held well as they catch Wilson offside just over half way. Limas coming right with the ball has Luckett and Brown up with her as the trio look to force an opening, Smart breaking play up for Swavesey. The ball coming straight back though as Luckett hooks a cross into the box, Carvalheiro running on attacking it near side Ashdown going with her to block her shot.

Lakenheath captain, Cassandra Carvalheiro

  Stevenson bringing the ball on left for Swavesey as Morrow looks to provide a run forwards into the left channel, Carter defending for Lakenheath. Lakenheath on top putting the Swavesey defence under serious pressure Luckett spreading play to the right Brown with a strong run to the by-line flashing a teasing cross along the six yard box Carvalheiro clear central can’t quite connect runs to to Milner beyond the back post lifts her attempt over the bar. 

  Brown with some clever footwork on the ball taking it on right side squares a cross into the D, Olmos meeting it not making the contact she wanted the ball scuffed through to the keeper. Robinson and Ashdown working hard to get their tackles in as Lakenheath push on looking for the equaliser the ball quickly coming back as Milner and Brown swap flanks again. Olmos with another opportunity to unleash a strike inside the D drops narrowly wide of the right post. A corner given the faintest of touches from the keeper. Milner moving free at the near post getting onto the end of the corner delivery twisting to drill her header across goal, head in her hands as it cannons off the base of the far post. 

  GOAL! No sooner have Lakenheath come within inches of equalising then Swavesey hit them with a goal out of nothing as they get the ball up on the right a throw taken quickly seeing Wilson take the ball on into the area wide of goal to fire her shot across the keeper to restore the 2 goal lead 3-1.

Georgia Wilson coming off after putting Swavesey into a 3-1 lead

  No sooner has she scored then Wilson needs to come off, Tegan Collier returning to the pitch.

  GOAL! The substitute making an immediate impact as the ball is won back played forwards into her right channel battling forwards riding a challenge on the edge of the area before hitting a sweet strike past the keeper to make it 4-1 taking the game away from  Lakenheath just as they looked likely to equalise.

  20 minutes left to play the game opening up now as Swavesey look to relieve the pressure their defence had been under by getting more players forwards. Collier’s pace likely to test the visitors back 3. Carvalheiro battling for the ball central turning in forwards for Langford the attacker taking the ball into her feet turning inside running for the box, unfortunate as Limas unintentionally gets in her way seeing the attack fizzle out. Lakenheath continue to get at Swavesey forcing them into errors a ball crossed in high for the right hit goalwards as it drops for Olmos inside the D. looping up Newton moving across her goal, doesn’t take it cleanly the ball evading her momentarily as she deflects it down onto the base of her post an is able to grab it on the bounce. 

  The game moving into the final quarter hour both side tiring with out the options to bring on from the bench. Collier spinning off Cullen on halfway left side taking on the early strike the ball bouncing harmlessly wide through the area. Milner chasing the ball on the right getting a cross into the area, Carvalheiro with the run near post winning a corner kick. Played into the box Parish clearing for Swavesey. Barnes  out from the back to close down Langford as Carvalheiro plays the ball on left side blocking her shot. Kaylee Collier back on for Swavesey replacing Blackwood with around 5 minutes left to play. Swavesey look to get the ball up the pitch play stretched.

Lakenheath player manger Christine Cullen

  The ball cleared up to Tegan Collier in attack as she pulls free on the left, players breaking, Stevenson, Parish and Kaylee Collier racing forwards to support, Collier’s cross field ball finding Kaylee widest of the 3 playing it forwards into Stevenson right of the  she turns on the ball sending it back across the top of the area into Tegan Collier left connecting 1st time turns her shot narrowly wide of the post. 

 Lakenheath tiring alot of effort put in frustrated to find themselves 4-1 down having pushed so hard for a reply in the 2nd half. Langford flagged offside. Valle-Lopez defending at the back as Smart looks for Tegan Collier in attack. The hosts with the energy late on a Smart plays the ball out to Kaylee Collier left side, Cullen going across to put in the tackle halt her progress.

Full time Swavesey Spartans Ladies 4-1 Lakenheath Casuals Ladies

  Goals change games and they certainly did this afternoon. Lakenheath with a strong start to the 2nd half having changed formation taking the game to Swavesey pulling a goal back an looking likely to get it back level before being hit with another quickfire double from Swavesey midway through the 2d half to effectively take the game away from them. The hosts having to deal with so concerted pressure for a spell with a good workout for their first competitive game of the season, starting the new campaign with a win as for the 2nd game today the hosts win 4-1 what are the odds of that?

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. A competitive game a few performances to mention. Firstly for Lakenheath, their captain Cassandra Carvalheiro was excellent run of running getting about the pitch to win the ball and made a few great runs into the box. Annalise Brown with good footwork on the ball a outlet out wide, while Niketa Carter made several important tackles at the back. For Swavesey, their caption Emma Smart use the ball well playing it forwards getting back well to help her side defend. Tegan Collier up top causing problems with her movement and pace scoring 2 goals. Both centre backs were superb, Emilia Robinson winning the ball well working well with her defensive partner to prevent Lakenheath getting through on goal, pipped to the award by Liberty Ashdown enjoyed an excellent game in defence reading the game well with some great tackling.

The 2nd game of the day done a busy Sunday with a double does of football from Cambridgeshire checking out 4 new sides for the first time as with the first game only wants me want to see them in action again. Credit to referee Marcus Larham for continuing having picked up an injury. My thank too to both sides for their assistance with the team details much appreciated. Decamped to Swavesey’s Travelodge to write up the reports, getting two done in one evening is certainly a challenge.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Willingham Wolves FC Women v Manea Sirens LFC

Sunday 25th September

Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup

A double dose of football this weekend from Cambridgeshire as Women’s Football East takes a look a four new sides for the 1st time beginning with an early kick-off between Willingham Wolves FC Women and Manea Sirens LFC as they meet in the 1st Round of this season’s Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup. 

  The Cambridgeshire Women’s football league seeing an influx of new sides over the past couple of seasons with both of this morning’s opponents making their debut last season in Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Three. Meeting today in the 1st Round of the county cup competition off the back of a positive start to the season winning their opening league fixtures last weekend. 

  Willingham Wolves FC having a wide ranging youth section with the women’s side backed up by a number of youth teams from U14 down. The club introducing a women’s side last season, found life tough in the 1st half of the season with 7 losses from 9 in 2021, remained positive throughout digging deep and thing’s began to turn around in 2022 with 4 wins and 3 draws seeing the club finish 8th in the Division Three table having found their feet. Kelly Docwra top scorer last season with 11 goals, with Ebony Swann netting 9. Both were on target with a goal each on the opening day of this season in Division Three at home to Chatteris Town Lillies Ladies as Willingham won 6-2. Honor Freeman, Holly Etteridge, Harriet Morse and Harmony Payne the other goals scorers.

  It was an even tougher debut season for Manea Sirens LFC as they made their bow to in Cambridgeshire Women’s Division Three last season ultimately ending bottom picking up just one point along the way several heavy losses too early on sapping the confidence of the squad. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought the club might fold losing their manager a new coach brought in saw the team begin to restore some of their confidence towards the end of the season improved performances eventually bringing a point in their penultimate game. Begin anew this season with a positive outlook new players brought in and a win on the opening day at home against a new side this season, Haverhill Town Women. Kyra Portugal one of the new additions netting a hat-trick with Christine Heslop on target too with her 1st goal for the club in a 4-1 win. Have been working had through close season in preparation for the season ahead.

 3rd and 4th in the fledgling Division Three table respectfully the pair meeting in the 1st Round of the county cup and good opportunity to see both in action buoyed by opening day successes, Willingham having the upper hand in the league meetings last season are facing a different Manea this time around. The venue for today’s match Willingham Recreation Ground in the middle of the village the clubhouse overlooking to grass patches beyond. Housing the changing facilities and the kitchen hatch serving hot and cold drinks. The main grass pitch offering plenty of width, uneven in places particularly in one corner sloping up sharply in great condition otherwise with plenty of grass cover. Large willow trees overlooking one side of the pitch a warm and pleasant morning a few cloud but sunny.

Willingham Wolves Women

Willingham Wolves FC Women starting XI – Abi Newton, Lauren Goodhew, Harri Morse, Honor Freeman (C), Ibble Meadows, Katlyn Petch, Becky Bowen, Harmony Payne, Ebony Swann, Kelly Docwra & Holly Etteridge. Subs – Chloe Smith, Lily Hunnisett, Lydia Carr, Emily Randall-Bowen & Gracie Webster-Spriggs.

Manea Sirens LFC

 Manea Sirens LFC starting XI – Tiff Miller, Chloe Cook, Beth Hodgson, Raechel Luty, Lauren Jordan, Chloe Brown, Beth Skeggs, Christine Heslop (C), Katie Reid, Charlotte Day & Kyra Portugal. Subs – Stacey Graham, Immi Harris & Lauren Barnes.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

  It’s the visitors to get the cup tie underway, Manea wearing mint green coloured shirts with navy sleeves and white trim with navy shorts and socks. Willingham wearing yellow coloured shirts with black shorts and socks. The ball put out to the right at the start into Charlotte Day, Harri Morse closing her down to defend seeing the ball out of play for a throw in. Willingham quick to get the ball moving Harmony Payne helping in on for Morse racing on to the left corner sending a cross into the top of the Manea area, cleared by Beth Skeggs.

Harri Morse getting forwards for Willingham Wolves

  GOAL! A fast start to the game from the hosts with Willingham pressing the ball out on the left Morse getting in behind chasing down to the by-line squaring a cross into the six yard box, goalkeeper, Tiff Miller missing it, as it races past her presenting Holly Etteridge closing in centrally with the simplest of tap ins to score 1-0. Inside the opening 2 minutes.

Holly Etteridge opens the scoring for Willingham

   A strong start from Willingham on the left in attack, Becky Bowen in midfield winning the ball on for Payne, her cross closed down the ball deflected behind of Payne for a goalkick. Ebony Swann getting Willingham a throw high on the right, pulling inside onto the delivered ball into the area lifting it over the advancing keeper her lobbed effort coming down off the crossbar.

  GOAL! All Willingham in the opening exchanges pressing the ball in the final 3rd players getting on from midfield, the ball flung into the top of the D from the right, Etteridge knocking it down into the path of Kelly Docwra her touch taking her to the right of the D before she sends her shot back across the keeper to make it 2-0.

Kelly Docwra putting Willingham into a 2 goal lead

  Willingham strong going forwards have Manea penned in the final 3rd, Payne on the left with Swann wide right looking to take the ball on. Payne crossing from the left, Miller getting it away for Manea before conceding a corner on the left. Bowen found in space outside the area to the left, lines up a shot her strike charged down. Bowen bringing the ball down in the middle flighting a pass out to Swann bursting clear on the right to the by-line her cross in low evading Miller with the same result Etteridge finding the back of the net however this time the goal doesn’t count the flag up. 

Willingham’s Katlyn Petch

  Manea struggling to contain Willingham as they are rushed into releasing the ball in most cases presenting it straight to their opponents rattled by the early goal. A chance to relieve some pressure as Manea get a free-kick high on the right a opportunity to get players forwards, a good ball put into the box near side attacked no one can get a touch however as it races wide for a goal kick. Swann spinning off her marker well on the right to get in behind of a fantastic crossfield pass taking the ball down the line her cross sent in high it claimed well by Miller in her six yard box. 

Willingham’s Harmony Payne on the attack

  Lauren Jordan with a good challenge for Manea to stop Bowen taking the ball on in the left channel. Willingham first to the ball getting the better of Manea as they press inside their opponents half. Payne with support from Morse on the left wing her cross in cleared by Raechel Luty, The ball coming straight back Manea struggling to get it up to their attackers. Miller saving at her near post beating the ball down as Payne on the run with the ball cutting inside 25 yards out lets fly. A poor kick at the back presents Kyra Portugal with a chance to press the Willingham defence, Lauren Goodhew getting back at her to defend for Willingham her clearance up the line putting Swann away in behind on the wing turning into the area shoots low on an acute angle, Miller down quickly to get behind the ball.

Willingham’s Lauren Goodhew with Manea’s Katie Reid

   Willingham with a change bringing on Lily Hunnisett. Manea getting the ball out to the left winning a free-kick inside the Willingham half. Luty over it plays an inviting ball into the area across goal 3 Manea players pulling off the defence after it, goalkeeper, Abi Newton though has it covered. Willingham stretching Manea out on the flanks Hunnisett over on that side now whipping a pacy ball into the six yard box, missed by Etteridge, Payne running onto the ball pulling her strike wide back to the right side Hunnisett stretching for the ball with similar results as her effort is sent wide back across goal. 

 A 2nd change for Willingham with Gracie Webster-Spriggs entering the action. Day battling for the ball on the right wing getting Manea a throw in the corner that brings the visitors a corner kick. Lofted in near side Luty jumping for it her glancing header dropping the ball down in front of Skeggs inside the six yard box, looking to turn and strike has 3 Willingham defenders on her before she came get the ball away the hosts scrambling it clear. Willingham bringing the ball on through the middle Docwra out to the right the cross fizzed back into Etteridge inside the box letting the ball run across her striking the shot up, Miller with an instinctive save getting something on the ball knocking it up onto her crossbar.

Manea’s Tiff Miller

 A corner for Willingham delivered into the area cleared by Luty for Manea. Payne blasting an effort wide across goal from the left taking a nick on the way past the far post a corner awarded. Willingham seeing more of the ball, captain Honor Freeman intercepting a past from Manea captain Christine Heslop looking for Portugal in the middle. 

  GOAL! Willingham further extend their lead as they play the ball form back to front through the middle cutting Manea wide open Docwra running clear to attack the box, Miller starts to come, Docwra coolly picking her spot placing her shot past her to find the ack of the net 3-0.

Kelly Docwra adds a 3rd for Willingham

  Less than 10 minutes of the 1st half left a dominant game so far from Willingham leading by 3 goals with the woodwork struck twice. Skeggs tracking back after Etteridge as she battles her way forwards towards the area riding the challenge to stay on her feet burst on into the box her shot saved a close range by Miller, play however brought back for the free-kick outside the box. Goodhew over the ball right of the D, into the mix blocked then turned over. Stacey Graham on for Manea. 

  The post struck again by Willingham as Etteridge getting the ball from a throw in turns to strike it on the angle. The hosts with a corner on the right, headed out of the area by Manea’s Heslop. Willingham bringing of Etteridge and Bowen, Swann back on along with Emily Randall-Bowen. Heslop lifting the ball over the top for Portugal to attack through the middle, Ibble Meadows with her doing well to shield the ball back to Newton. Up the other end Miller out well to get her gloves around the ball at the feet of Swann as she looks to break into the box. 

  GOAL!  Out of nothing in the final minute of regular play in the first half Manea conjure up a goal, having made a few adjustments to try an get players up with Portugal in Graham who steals into space in on the left channel as the ball is played through a defence splitting ball the attacker knocking it past the advancing keeper going left to send the ball into the empty net beyond 3-1.

Stacey Graham pulls a goal back for Manea

  Willingham getting straight on the counter from the restart the ball missed at the back Payne shooting on the angle in low. A nick off Miller as she goes down for it the ball wide out right for corner. The ball sent in central under Miller’s cross bar the keeper knocking the ball up into the air able to claim it on the bounce as it lands at her feet.

Half-time Willingham Wolves FC Women 3-1 Manea Sirens LFC

  A fast start to the game from Willingham had them straight on the front foot scoring 2 early goals, and coming close on several occasions. Rattling their opponents early on Manea on the back foot pushed back finding it difficult to get any meaningful possession on the all, their attackers having little to feed on. Willingham pressing high using the wide players well finding a 3rd goal. But a life line for Manea late in the first half seeing them pull it back to 3-1. Still a tall order to come back into the tie in the 2nd half need to see more of the ball.

Manea’s Chloe Brown defending against Willingham’s Ebony Swann

  Changes made by Manea at half-time, Immi Harris and Lauren Barnes on, Skeggs dropping back into defence. Willingham having regularly made changes 1st half appear to be the same side that ended the 1st 45 as the hosts get the 2nd half underway Goodhew playing the ball out to the right, the shot put in on the angle claimed comfortably by Miller. Manea moving in to close the ball down faster at the start of the half Barnes into Harris she attempts to play the through ball for Portugal up top, the pass cut out by Goodhew. 

 Morse taking the ball on from the overlap on the left her cross into the box won by Skeggs clearing for Manea. A more open start to the 2nd half Manea better closing down Willingham who remain very much a threat on the counter with Docwra sending a header over as the ball is crossed into her from the left. Miller spilling a cross at the near post presenting Willingham with a corner kick. making amends with a great blocking save on the line as the ball drops down near post barely a yard out. 

 Manea’s changes seeing them more competitive as they look to get hold of the ball in midfield, Heslop finding more space with Day, Graham and Harris all providing good passing options ahead of her. Willingham keeping players up around the area the ball bouncing back and forth. Attacking right, Manea’s defence, Skeggs and Cook blocking shots fired in from outside their box. A strong appeal from Willingham for a handball but nothing doing. 

 Miller out bravely to the top of the area to get down to claim at the feet of Payne breaking clear after the ball, getting a painful knock on her hand for her efforts but okay to continue. The game a little feisty at times but thing’s quickly settled down. A harsh decision going against Manea inside their box as Miller is adjudged to have handled the ball from a back pass on her penalty spot as Etteridge and Skeggs battling to win possession go shoulder to shoulder Skeggs’ tackle seeing the ball knocked on Miller penalised for picking it up. An indirect free kick to Willingham. Everyone back on the line for Manea Docwra with Freeman over it, Freeman’s touch, Docwra hitting it Manea rushing out the ball charged down. 

Manea’s Kyra Portugal

 Etteridge with an ambitious attempt on the angle from distance as shoots wide from the right as Docwra plays the ball into her feet. Portugal getting free of her marker as she sees the ball into her body from a throw in on the right, charging for the area, Goodhew getting back at her to tackle for Willingham. Meadows intercepting the ball central at the back as Harris looks to put Portugal in behind. Barnes across to defend on Swann playing the ball back to Miller to clear as Willingham look to get the ball moving quicker. 

Willingham’s Ibble Meadows

 Cook cuts the ball out as Swann crosses from the left, both sides seeing an urgency to their play now. Freeman getting on with the ball for Willingham going left lifting her cross into the area claimed by Miller. Meadows to Freeman on through the middle up to Etteridge lays it off for Swann 20 yards out digs a shot out of her feet rising not troubling Miller. Midway through the 2nd half an interesting game unfolding, Willingham have been on top, Manea much improved 2nd half the next goal could be crucial, Manea pull it back to 3-2 an it’s suddenly game on, game over you would think if Willingham score again. 

Manea’s Chloe Cook

  Payne latching on to a poor kick out from the back lays it into Etteridge top of the area central, Cook doing fantastically to defend for Manea getting across the attack to regain the ball. Manea better have yet to carve out a meaningful opportunity in front of goal the game stretched at times, Meadows and Goodhew alert to any threat at the back for Willingham. Harris forwards on the left with Graham in support the latter looking to get into the box tackle by Webster-Spriggs. Willingham ringing the changes in attack. Day hurt as she goes after the ball in the middle for Manea but is okay to play on.

  Willingham on the attack Bowen back on played through the middle for Hunnisett, moves right on for Payne up the line her cross flashed into the near post turned behind by Miller for a corner. 

  GOAL! The game stretched late on the ball won at the back by Meadows out to Bowen finding space on the left plays a great ball forwards into Hunnisett forwards left of the D, not giving Miller a chance to set her self strikes the ball from the edge of the area to arrow low past her into the back of the net 4-1.

  A 4-1 lead for Willingham late in the game sees them have control of the game. Swann is down in midfield having taken a knock and needs to come off, Chloe Smith coming on. The hosts with the resulting free-kick clipped into the area Miller calls for it even as Skeggs gets her head on it the keeper able to adjust her arms to claim the headed ball. Jordan for Manea on the right up into Heslop bringing the ball down to shift inside almost working in opening for a shot, Freeman lunging in to take the ball away from her. 

  The clock ticking down Willingham with a corner on the right played in deep crossed back in from the left Skeggs intercepting getting the ball out of the box, Willingham latching onto the strike races wide of the right post. Jordan rolling her ankle over the ball as she attempts to keep it in play off the pitch the game goes on Smith off the resulting throw looks to force her way into the box left side, Cook and Skeggs closing the door getting the ball back to Miller. Jordan taken off Reid back on for Manea. Graham with a chance for Manea inside the box drags her strike wide across goal as the ball in lifted into her from the left. 

Manea’s captain, Christine Heslop

  Manea attacking late into stoppage time Harris pressuring the keeper as she gets forwards with Reid, the ball coming back to Reid top of the D digging the ball out of her feet to plant wide of the goal. 

Full time Willingham Wolves FC Women 4-1 Manea Sirens LFC

  Willingham celebrating at the final whistle as they win the game 4-1 to advance to the 2nd round of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup. A 2nd bite of the cherry for Manea as they go on to compete in the Junior Invitation Cup. A dominant display from Willingham especially in the 1st half two early goals seeing them race into a 2 goal lead. Creating further chances the woodwork struck on 3 more occasions. Getting players forwards looked to have goals in them putting Manea on the back foot adding a 3rd goal before half-time. Stacey Graham pulling it back to 3-1 at the break giving Manea a life line. Rang the changes at half-time the positional adjustments seeing an improved 2nd half performance more competitve, Willingham however continued to look dangerous scoring a 4th late on to secure the win. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time to pick the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match as is often the case not an easy decision. A few performances to mention first. For Manea Chloe Cook grew into the game at the back making some vital tackles especially in the 2nd half. Christine Heslop too finding more room in the 2nd half doing her best to find her attacking players. Willingham with a good all round team performance to take control of the game early on, players getting forwards well. Ibble Meadows and Lauren Goodhew keeping it tight at the back. Becky Bowen in the middle with some clever passes. Out wide Ebony Swann made some great runs on the right as did Kelly Docwra through the middle. Edging it for me though is Harmony Payne. Her attacking play from the start setting the tempo for Willingham getting hold of the ball and making some strong runs forwards.

Always nice to see two new sides for the first time for Women’s Football East. The only thing is whenever I do I want to see them in action again and that list is ever growing. Great to get over to Willingham and see both them and Manea play. An enjoyable first game of the day a swift departure though with the 2nd game kicking off in less than an hour. My thanks to both teams for their help with the teams today much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – East Bergholt United Ladies v Brettvale Women

Sunday 18th September

FA Women’s Cup 1st Round Qualifying

A trip to Suffolk this Sunday for a game from the opening fixtures of this season’s FA Women’s Cup, East Bergholt United Ladies taking on local rivals Brettvale Women in 1st Round Qualifying.

 The start of the competition delayed by a weekend due to fixtures being suspended as a mark of respect after the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II at 96 years of age Britain’s longest reigning monarch and the only one most of us have ever known a grandmother to us all her loss deeply felt. Serving with dignity and devotion a minutes silence will prelude today’s match as with every other across the land.

 The FA Women’s Cup recieving a significant boost in prize money this season adding a huge incentive to the 438 clubs entering and a run in the cup will be a huge boost to a grassroots clubs coffers with today’s winners receiving £1,800 a jump of £1,400 from the previous season with the losing side receiving £450.  Still a long way from the men’s competition but nevertheless a huge incentive for clubs to want to win through to the next round. Not only that the the competition itself still holds great respect for clubs and is recognised around the world not only England and one of the premier cup competitions. The first  step to Wembley.

Tier 6 side East Bergholt United Ladies enjoying a good start to the season starting their league campaign in ERWFL Division One South with 2 wins from 3 to lay 3rd in the very early league table. Fair to say the club has found life tough in the ERWFL since promotion from the Suffolk Women’s County League in 2019. The Covid hit season’s playing there part have struggled for numbers at times in a strong catchment area for players, but have always been a club with a strong youth policy keen to test themselves at a higher level are starting to reap the rewards. Jordan Giddings coming in as 1st team manager,  thing’s looking positive with a good sized squad at their disposal are looking to push on this season with a run in the FA Women’s Cup an added bonus.

For Brettvale Women this is their first competitive game of the season with their county league season yet to get underway. Defending champions in the Suffolk Women’s Premier Division will be strong favourites to retain that title have a very experienced squad. Just 7 teams in the Premier Division with only 6 in the Championship below with 3 late withdrawals recruitment of players does appear to be an issue within the county with Suffolk a long way behind the rest of the counties in the East in terms of women’s sides. An issue certainly, however Essex suffered a similar situation a few seasons back and has come back stronger than ever. Not the bounce from the Euro’s that might have been expected but hopefully that growth will come. In the meantime Brettvale have become an established force within the county in a short space of time now starting a new U13s side as they themselves look to the future.

Gandish Road Playing Field the venue for today’s game the community sports facility offering number of grass pitches, and cricket square. A open space is somewhat exposed to the elements a strong breeze blowing across the pitch from end to end prior to kick-off, a few dark clouds around but no rain forecast. Hot drinks available from the clubhouse. Arrived a bit later due to the A14 being closed but set up in time for kick-off having had a chance to meet both teams.  

East Bergholt United Ladies

 East Bergholt United Ladies starting XI – Zoe Adams, Shannon Cameron, Jess Clarke, Ella  Karkoska, Harriet Meers, Megan Partridge (C), Millie Wilding, Stacey Desborough, Jess Quinsee, Jade Horne & Vic Hall. Subs – Nicole Leppard, Katie Bruce, & Charlie Roach-Smith.

Brettvale Women

 Brettvale Ladies starting XI – Faye Lunn, Chloe Stopher, Coral Young, Kirby King, Rachel White, Robyn McEvoy, Amy Parton, Claire Turnbull (C), Amie Chippendale, Laura Tuley & Tarnya McKew. Subs – Kat Parnell, Leila Poulter, Georgia Lindon, Kristie Turner & Danni Lynch.

A minutes silence held before kick-off in respect and remembrance of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Our longest reigning Monarch may she rest in peace.

  It’s the hosts East Bergholt to get the 1st half underway, wearing green coloured shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and socks with Brettvale lined up opposite wearing blue shirts fading to sky blue, blue shirts with sky blue trim and sky blue socks. The wind has really picked up in the minutes leading up to kick-off with the sky darkening as strong as it blows from one goal to the other, favouring Brettvale as the ball is played back to East Bergholt captain, Megan Partridge in midfield is brought down as she plays the ball an early free-kick for the hosts played out to left back Jess Clark goes forwards playing a one two with Jess Quinsee out with Kirby King comes across to close Clark down send the ball out for a throw in.

 GOAL! A frantic start to the game the ball played on East Bergholt looking to press loose possession, Brettvale turning play around the pass sent out to Amie Chippendale wide right she in turn releasing it forwards quickly over the top with Coral Young peeling in behind on the wing getting hold of the ball as she runs into the box wide on the by-line digs a cross out slicing the ball high over the keepers head at the near post the ball dropping beyond a combination of wind and the spin on the ball seeing it rise up to cross the line drop into the goal 0-1.

  A goal inside the opening 2 minutes for the visitors. East Bergholt looking out of sorts in the early exchanges sloppy on the ball giving away a corner. Played into captain Claire Turnbull top of the area leaning back as she attempts the shot, the ball cleared, Brettvale snapping in to prevent a break get the ball turned around out to Chippendale wide right finds the corner taker Tarnya McKew out wide top of the area her cross into the area wide at the far post.

Brettvale’s Amie Chippendale

  Players closing each other down in the middle, time on the ball at a premium, Partridge breaking forwards gets clear of the centre backs the ball lifted on through the middle into her feet she bears down on the top of the area, goalkeeper, Faye Lunn already there staying big arms out makes a strong blocking save as Partridge strikes the ball, the rebound falling to Jade Horne to the right her 1st time effort on target but lacking the pace to beat Lunn having gotten back into her six yard box to catch the ball. 

  Is an open game as East Bergholt look to get forwards Brettvale are quick to get on the counter McKew up top looking to be the target player, a corner won on the right. Flighted into the middle of the box, Chippendale rising unopposed to head the ball in towards goal, dropping, East Bergholt goalkeeper, Zoe Adams with a sharp save beating the ball away to her right, her defence scrambling it clear at the far post. 

Amie Chippendale heading the ball towards goal

  Brettvale working hard to press the ball are forcing mistakes from East Bergholt as they look to get on the attack Amy Parton finds McKew up top, another corner won on the right the delivery defended at the near post. The wind affecting the flight of the ball at times better left on the ground the pitch is fairly hard which too is affecting the bounce making control tricky Turnbull fouled a free-kick for Brettvale 30 plus yards out to the right of goal. Chippendale’s shot sent in on target not troubling Adams. Partridge going forwards linking up with Millie Wilding the ball forwards into Vic Hall in attack, King getting the foot in to take the ball away from her, on the counter, McKew pulled up for offside as she pulls of the shoulder of the centre back too soon. 


East Bergholt’s Vic Hall

Brettvale’s Chloe Stopher

  Play largely in the East Bergholt half as the visitors win back the ball frustration for the hosts who have not settled into any rhythm. Robyn McEvoy on the ball for Brettvale 30 yards out with a speculative attempt on goal wind assisted dips late almost catching Adams out is saved by the cross bar as the ball cannons off it away to the left. Stacey Desborough turning in the middle attempts to play the ball on for Horne on the right wing, Rachel White stretching into the challenge to put the ball away for a throw.

Brettvale’s Rachel White

  Conditions making the ball lively wrong footing players as they look to get it under control both sides affected. 20 minutes played Brettvale get on down the left Laura Tuley winning a corner. An inswinging delivery near post, Adams getting her fists to it to punch the ball away. Tuley left of goal hooking her shot over the bar. Players drawn to the right of the pitch as Horne presses on with the ball whipping a cross into the D, Chippendale tracking back cutting it out for Brettvale. 

  The visitors on the attack left side Tuley’s early cross into Chippendale 20 yards out right of the D, headed down into the area for McKew left, looking to get onto it get a shot away, Harriet Meers with her for East Bergholt, great defending from the centre back strong to hold off the attacker seeing the ball out of play well.  A bit more urgency creeping into East Bergholt’s game as they look to get the ball on up the pitch quicker, King and White both intercepting the final ball inside their area. The risk they get hit on the counter, but so far Meers and fellow centre back Ella Karkoska are holding a good line catching McKew offside again. 

East Bergholt’s Jess Clark

  A few knocks being taken out there the pitch is unforgiving a hard landing guaranteed. Clarke moving into space on the left sets her sights from all of 35 yards out a viciously hit ball, Lunn scrambling across her goal, is safe as it races wide of the left upright. McEvoy on for Chippendale right side closing in on the top of the area turn inside, Karkoska across to block her cross, Chippendale with a 2nd bite plays the ball low into the six yard box gathered by the keeper. 

East Bergholt captain, Megan Partridge on the attack

  Half an hour played East Bergholt getting the ball forwards, Brettvale defending deeper making it hard to get in behind the right pass could open then up as Partridge brings the ball on, Quinsee and Wilding up with her, the ball into Hall looking to turn, King getting a foot in to take the ball off her feet. McKew is pulled up for a handball inside the D as she looks to get the better of the East Bergholt centrebacks as Chippendale flicks the ball on. Partridge making some strong runs on the ball from midfield, taking the ball out to the left has Clark up in support plays the pass into her the full back putting it inside for Wilding left of the D, turning attempts to drive into the area, King closing her down forcing her wide before clearing.

Brettvale’s Kirby King

  The open nature of the game see’s one East Bergholt attack quickly turning into a counter for Brettvale, Karkoska is exposed at the back with McKew putting her under pressure to get the bouncing ball dealt with, cool with it does well to play it to safety. McKew is putting in alot of running up top for Brettvale pulling into the channels always ready to receive the ball, her cross from the right, deflected behind by Meers for a corner.

 East Bergholt with another killer pass through the middle setting there attacker through on goal, Lunn as she has all game out to the top of her area spreading her limbs as she makes the blocking save the ball spinning out to the right struck 1st time frustration as it spins away from the open goal wide. East Bergholt applying the pressure late the the 1st half winning their fair share of the 50/50 balls looking to get it moving forwards. Young with an attempt from distance keeping the hosts on their toes as it drops over the bar. 

Half-time East Bergholt United Ladies 0-1 Brettvale Women

1-0 the advantage for Brettvale at the break. Coral Young’s cross spinning over the line in the 2nd minute the difference between the sides, Both goalkeepers called into action to make saves to keep the ball out. Brettvale starting the better getting after East Bergholt to press the ball take the game to them for large portions. The hosts looking unsettled taking a while to find their stride, looked better moving the ball quicker ending the half strongly. The conditions not helping with ball control with neither side getting it down and controlling proceedings has led to an open contest, certainly a derby feel to it and with a single goal in it still all to play for.

  Looks like both sides are still the same at the start of the 2nd half, both used to roll on roll off substitutes the FA Women’s Cup with three substitutes meaning changes have to be more calculated. Brettvale too playing their first competitive match will they begin to tire as the 2nd half wears on. The windy conditions in theory favouring East Bergholt 2nd half if they can find a way to exploit them, Brettvale defending deeper trying not to let anything in behind. It’s Brettvale to get the 2nd half underway. Played back into McEvoy in midfield out to the right, the ball lost out of play.

Brettvale attacker, Tarnya McKew

  McKew looking to get hold of the ball turn in behind as it comes to her left channel, Karkoska forcing her wide as Cameron gets back to help her out regain possession for East Bergholt. Coming right the hosts win a corner kick. The ball fizzed in near post is missed by Lunn as she goes to punch, drops for Desborough in the six yard box is quickly closed down, as she goes to strike the ball, hurt in the exchange as Lunn gets her gloves firmly around the ball. Desborough staying down needs treatment is slow to get to her feet but okay to continue. 

 East Bergholt’s Partridge finding room in the middle plays a great pass forwards for Horne releasing the attacker outside the D in behind turns on the ball, Lunn with a starting position often at the top of her area moves up sharply outside to get her foot through the ball to clear out for a throw right. Brettvale winning a free-kick wide left inside the East Bergholt half, McEvoy to play it in a teasing ball into the box bouncing in front of the keeper, Adams taking it cleanly despite runners going for it. Desborough is struggling from her earlier fall and needs to come of East Bergholt making the change bringing on Katie Bruce. Have been a few strong challenges put in from both sides all good natured so far but totting up the referee having a word with Partridge as Chippendale is brought down,

Brettvale goalkeeper, Faye Lunn

  Play is stretched the game open one end to the other a cup tie, East Bergholt coming left Bruce crossing the ball intercepted in the middle by McEvoy cleared up field helped on for McKew to attack right channel, Adams out of her area to clear. Cameron playing a long ball up the right finding Horne out right outside the box sends in a low shot on the angle, Lunn getting down on her line to smother the ball. Moments later Horne is again played in on the right of the D pulling of the last defender to shoot, her strike driven wide of the right post. 

East Bergholt’s Katie Bruce with Brettvale captain, Claire Turnbull

  East Bergholt starting to see more of the ball, Brettvale beginning to tire McKew with the rallying cry continues to get about the pitch in the final 3rd. East Bergholt with a 2nd change, Nicole Leppard coming on in attack for Hall. McKew is caught offside yet again more valuable seconds used up. The game remains open Brettvale knowing they can’t sit back and let East Bergholt come at them need a 2nd goal as much as their opponents need to equalise. Cameron cutting the ball out denying Tuley down the line as McEvoy looks to play her in. 

  Partridge seeing the ball into her feet well 25 yards out central for East Bergholt sliding it into Wilding  right of the D, her 1st time effort blocked by Young going away for a corner. Put into the area from the right a hand ball spotted by referee, Thomas Ling the free-kick going to Brettvale. Wilding battling for the ball central with Quinsee played up top for Leppard to go after, Lunn out to clear put right a corner won. Played in centrally, Karkoska rising gets her head on it but can’t direct on target back to the corner taker closing inside flashes her cross wide across the face of goal.

  Turnbull with a late challenge on Cameron, East Bergholt with the free-kick out wide right. Clark on it, an acute angle but nevertheless goes for goal curling the ball in with a left foot strike over Lunn as she goes for it near post drops onto the cross bar spinning away to the left where Brettvale give away another set-piece. Partridge on this one fired in waist height to the near post, Lunn across taking the ball into her midriff. A change for Brettvale Stopher coming off to be replaced by Kat Parnell.

East Bergholt’s Millie Wilding

  East Bergholt getting players on Cameron and Clark looking to press on from full back to bolster the attack with the clock running down. Tuley does well to regain possession on the left for Brettvale sending the ball on up top for McKew to chase down, Karkoska doing well to win the ball as she get’s round on the cover to clear. Brettvale are tiring a few knocks being picked up, working hard to chase the ball. McEvoy coming across to support Turnbull. Tuley off for the visitors with Georgia Lindon coming on as they look to push on for the final 10 minutes of regular play. 

 Meers with a vital header to win the ball at the back for East Bergholt as Chippendale looks to capitalise in the middle off McKew’s knock on. Soon after McKew herself fires a shot over from the top of the area as East Bergholt fail to clear. Getting a bit feisty late on, McEvoy shown a yellow card. Parnell bursting forwards strong on the ball winning a throw in high. Played into McKew, Karkoska in close stretching to get a foot on the ball as she attempts to hold it up. The hosts attacking left, Wilding and Quinsee looking to combine exchanging passes as they close in on the box, Brettvale closing in to scramble it away.

East Bergholt’s Harriet Meers

  Clark picking up a yellow card for East Bergholt. East Bergholt pressing forwards on the right a cross from the corner, drops to Quinsee clear at the far post six yards out, is this the moment the equaliser is found, NO as the header is agonisingly placed wide of the far post.

  Brettvale are battling hard late on looking to hold onto their narrow lead, Parnell has picked up a knock and struggling has to come off, on in her place going into the back line is Danni Lynch. Lynch able to bring the ball on from the back left side played inside to Chippendale who turning attempts to play it into the feet of McKew pulling into the area from the right, Karkoska going with her shielding the ball well to see it back to her keeper.

  Into stoppage time, Turnbull is down struggling with cramp in her calf, running it off not the most pleasant thing to do but there’s a game to see out. King has been solid at the back throughout for Brettvale and does well as she goes with Wilding as Partridge puts her in through the middle to defend for the visitors who celebrate as the final whistle blows and it’s Brettvale who progress in this season’s FA Women’s Cup. 

East Bergholt’s Nicole Leppard tackled by Brettvale goal scorer, Coral Young

Full time East Bergholt United Ladies 0-1 Brettvale Women

  A trip to Norfolk for Brettvale in 2nd Round Qualifying of the FA Women’s Cup to play Division One side, Sprowston FC Women on Sunday 2nd October. Coral Young’s 2nd minute goal proving the difference between the sides in the finish. Brettvale holding on to their advantage to win through to the next round. Were pushed hard by East Bergholt in the 2nd half who came close to finding the equalising goal the woodwork struck just wasn’t to be their day. Brettvale working hard until the final whistle to hold on for the win looking for a much needed 2nd goal themselves. The time open to the end. 

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

 Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. This is another tough one to call some strong contenders out their and a few performances of note to mention. Firstly for East Bergholt, Megan Partridge with some great tackling and midfield runs looking to create openings for her side. Centre backs Harriet Meers and Ella Karkoska with some vital tackles at the back to ensure the game was never settled. For Brettvale, Amie Chippendale was strong out on the right winning the ball and getting forwards to support McKew in attack. Tarnya McKew herself was fantastic leading the line, a constant outlet for any forward pass showing good movement across the final 3rd and creating opportunities throughout the game. Is narrowly pipped to today’s award by defender Kirby King was brilliant at the back rarely out of position getting in to win the ball as East Bergholt tried all they could to find a way through the middle full of running around on the cover well as play was stretched late on.

  Another enjoyable game from Suffolk, didn’t think there would be much between the sides and that would result in a proper cup tie wasn’t disappointed. Good to catch up with a few familiar faces and my thanks to both sides for their assistance today.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Stevenage FC Women v Colney Heath Ladies

Tuesday 6th September

ERWFL Premier Division

A trip down into Hertfordshire this evening for another game under the lights from the ERWFL Premier Division and a special occasion for Stevenage FC Women as they get to play at The Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage FC as they take on Colney Heath Ladies.

The pair meeting most recently in last season’s final of the Hertfordshire Women’s County Cup, Colney Heath Ladies reaching the event for the 1st time in their history a league below Stevenage FC Women who have regularly reached the final 2 of the competition in recent seasons. A battling performance from Colney Heath, Stevenage FCW  Women going on to win 3-1 to lift the trophy.

 The County Cup the high light of an otherwise difficult season for Stevenage FC Women as they were to be relegated from FAWNL South East Division One despite a late rally to try and avoid the drop with 4 sides going down last season, returning to the ERWFL Premier Division along with Harlow Town Ladies. Planning for an immediate return to the FAWNL know it will be a challenge with only one spot up for grabs and the early signs showing alot of teams can beat the other on their day with Luton Town Ladies the early pace setters. To that end Stevenage have had another busy close season bringing in new faces to the squad, 10 in all.

Amy Gooderham joining from MK Dons, with a trio of players coming in from rivals Harlow Town, midfielder Daisy Jenkins, defender Nicole Farmer and attack minded player, Becky Shephard. Goalkeeper, Celine Ray comes in from Northampton backed up by Mia O’Brien from Royston. Katie White from Cambridge United along with Kelsey Millen from the unfortunately folded Herts Vipers. Erin Price and Ciara Craig joining too. Plenty of options to pick from for manager Fadi Mazloum to choose from. Began the season with a trip to newly promoted AFC Sudbury Women, getting into a 3-0 lead Sudbury fought back to 3-2 before Stevenage held on for the victory. Was also 3-2 in their other game so far this season against local rivals Royston Town Women where they were undone by a late winner after getting it back to 2-2. 

  Colney Heath Ladies have had a frustrating start to the season having suffered a heavy defeat on the opening day losing 8-1 to Bowers & Pitsea Ladies. Postponed games since have left them without a chance to bounce back. Will be buoyed from their performances last season, reaching the County Cup final for the 1st time aswell as a strong finish to their ERWFL Premier Division campaign, looking established at this level now have long been a side that has built on youth bringing players on through the club their Reserves side winning the Beds & Herts Women’s Premier Division last season too.

  Not always a side that makes a lot of new signings close season have strengthened their squad with 7 new faces this season adding experience too. First up Rebecca McShane, lastly with Enfield Town Ladies has played for both MK Dons and Watford. Young player Hollie Thornton coming to Colney Heath after scoring 41 goals in 20 games for Harvesters FC. Paige Pryor is another new addition joining from Stevenage. With a quartet of ex-Herts Vipers players coming in, Rebecca Edge, Natalie Powell, Ciara Meeking and goalkeeper Sophie Harris. 

 A great occasion for both sides as they get to showcase their talents at The Lamex Stadium, home of League Two side Stevenage FC. One of a number of clubs seeing what the Lionesses have done for the game winning the Euro’s and giving their women’s side the opportunity to play at a high profile stadium. Is a nice venue the North Stand open a number of tickets sold in advances hoping for over 300 at least. The tea hut open in one corner offering hot food and drinks a covered stand offering some much needed protection from the heavy rain around the area, torrential down pours driving in and one sending the Stevenage team back to the changing room’s for a few moments. The grass pitch looking superb will be a slick surface with the water falling.

Stevenage FC Women

Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Celine Ray, Nicole Farmer, Dionne Manning, Vicky Neal (C), Katie White, Shianne Swarres, Holly Greenwood, Becky Shephard, Amy Gooderham, Emily Scofield & Susan Uwaifo. Subs – Shakeela Hussain, Stef Paci Kesley Millen, Ceira Craig & Mia O’Brien.

Colney Heath Ladies

 Colney Heath Ladies starting XI – Naomi Swift, Sofia Santangelo, Melissa Godino, Holly Williams, Lucy Hancock, Rebecca McShane (c), Kelly Hancock, Keira Ward, Grainne Kellet, Terri Harvey & Elsbeth Cunningham. Subs – Darci Harwood, Esme Hume, Lily Nellis, Natalie Powell & Hollie Thornton.

(roll on roll off substitutes)

 It’s the visitors to get the 1st half underway, Colney Heath wearing black and white vertical striped shirts with black shorts and socks with Stevenage lined up opposite wearing red shirts with black shoulders and lower half with red short and white coloured socks. The ball going right, Dionne Manning defending on the left side for Stevenage dealing with the ball seen back to goalkeeper, Celine Ray. Stevenage quick to get the ball moving through the middle into Becky Shephard forwards for striker Susan Uwaifo breaking right of the D towards the box, Naomi Swift out towards the top of the box able to see it inside safely gather the ball.

  Katie White seeing the ball into her feet right for Stevenage takes it forwards before threading the pass on up the wing for Amy Gooderham, she turns infield looking to travel into the area, tackled by Colney heath’s Kelly Hancock. Stevenage looking to get on the front foot from the off working the ball on from a throw high up the pitch, turned in towards the keeper, Swift able to pick it up. Keira Ward for Colney Heath on the left wing plays it forwards looking to put Elsbeth Cunningham in in attack, too heavy, Ray able to get out to the top of her area lay claim to the ball. Colney Heath pushed back in defence defending inside their box at time allowing Stevenage to come on, the ball won in the area the clearance falling straight to Shephard 25 yards out top of the D, struck 1st time her shot racing wide of Swift’s left post.

   A bright start from the hosts Shianne Swarres out to White right side plays the pass forwards as Uwaifo makes the run in behind right channel on into the box, Kelly Hancock going with her keeping her wide of, blocking her shot deflecting it behind for the 1st corner of the game. Colney Heath with plenty back to defend the set-piece winning the clearance. Nicole Farmer bringing the ball on from the back for Stevenage with the straight pass on for Gooderham on the move right wing, Melissa Godino getting back at her for Colney heath to play the ball out for a throw in. 

  A free-kick won by Stevenage inside the Colney Heath half in front of the circle to the right, plenty up as Shephard sets it up. A great delivery angled in across the far post, Manning rising well just can’t get her head on the ball, out goal kick. Colney Heath soaking up alot of pressure in the opening 8 minutes a chance to get on in attack as captain Rebecca McShane plays the ball on into the attackers, Terri Harvey racing forwards with Cunningham to her right, Ray out rapidly to the top of her box to slide in get hold of the ball before either can pounce. Stevenage get straight on the counter Swarres with a great ball to find Gooderham moving into space on the right shooting on the angle from outside the box her effort flashing over the crossbar. 

Colney Heath Ladies captain, Rebecca McShane

  Stevenage captain, Vicky Neal at the back with a strong tackle sliding in to deny Cunningham as she looks to get away from her left of the area. Cunningham down for a moment getting up gingerly. The hosts coming left Holly Greenwood up the field with Emily Scofield, Sofia Santangelo defending for Colney Heath giving away a corner. Cunningham down needs treatment comes off the pitch to be accessed. The delivery from the left inswinging missed by Swift drops into the six yard box scrambled clear Colney Heath looking to counter but Ward is flagged offside on the left. Cunningham back on for Colney Heath.

Colney Heath’s Elsbeth Cunningham

  Ray coming out of her area on the right gets herself into trouble as Grainne Kellet drives on with the ball for Colney Heath, the free-kick given away Ray spoken to by the referee. A high ball lifted into the area near side Stevenage comfortable in defence. Manning with a crossfield ball out to Gooderham on the right for Stevenage, Kelly Hancock getting across with the sliding challenge, comes back off the attacker for a goal kick. Colney Heath playing deep is allowing Stevenage to come on but little room to get in behind the back four and keeper, working hard to keep it tight. 

Stevenage captain, Vicky Neal

  Swift alert moving forwards quickly to get her gloves on the ball, deny Uwaifo a chance to shot as Manning dinks one over the top for her. The pitch slick with the rain that has fallen the ball skipping away from players as they look to get on. Swarres free in the middle opening up her body to play the pass long out for Gooderham, Kelly Hancock cutting it out. Stevenage are quick to regain possession back out wide to Gooderham right sends a teasing cross through the six yard box, Swift unconcerned leaving it to go wide of her far post. Ward tackled hard on the left as she looks to travel with the ball for Colney Heath, Stevenage putting it forwards for Gooderham central looking to move right, Lucy Hancock getting across to block her run regain possession.

Stevenage’s Shianne Swarres

   20 minutes played a strong start from Stevenage seeing alot of the ball inside their opponents half. the visitors proving tough to break down. Kelly Hancock blocking a Stevenage shot driven in from distance deflected away for a corner kick. From the right another fast delivery across the penalty spot, no one attacking it. Ray comes racing out of her box again to deal with the threat of Cunningham as she is played on 30 yards out, no need as Neal his gone with her and comfortably deals with threat clearing the ball for a throw on the left as she puts in the tackle. Holly Williams getting across to the left to tackle Stevenage’s White as she takes hold of the ball to the right following good work from Swarres.

   Gooderham seeing a lot of the ball on the right of attack for Stevenage winning a corner kick. Played long across the top of the six yard box, knocked down towards goal, Swift beating it away to the left. Stevenage largely in control taking the game to Colney Heath who are working doggedly in defence, seeing little of the attack Neal and Farmer dealing with most forwards balls. Greenwood getting forwards on the flanks flashing a cross in across the face of goal neither Uwaifo or Gooderham racing in can get a touch. Kellet getting on with the ball left side play brought back for a foul against her. Players up for Colney Heath queueing up along the top of the area as McShane plays a fantastic ball forwards, plyers turning to attack as it lands inside the box, no one making contact as it skips out to the left. 

  Neal bringing the ball on feeding it through to Schofield on the left of attack, played back up the line for Manning to send a cross into the six yard box, cleared at the far post, drops to Swarres free 3 yards out, tries her luck from distance bouncing wide of the near post. Stevenage starting to find space in the box as they look to press the advantage getting on well from the back Manning on for Schofield to send a cross in from the left, Uwaifo central six out looks to have an open goal as she meets the ball knocked up into the air spins out to Gooderham wide of goal on the right getting her foot over the ball to smash a shot goalwards, Swift moving across her line right behind it to make the save.

  Play brought back with no advantage after Manning is bundled over inside the Colney Heath half. To the left is another teasing delivery played into the far post, there to be attack, no one going after it. Stevenage continuing to knock on the door with a little over 10 minutes left to play in the first half. Rain starting to fall more heavily again. Schofield getting Stevenage a corner on the left. Played short into Swarres free 25 yards out to the left corner of the area sends a shot in, racing across gaol wide beyond the far post. 

  GOAL! The pressure Stevenage have been exerting finally bringing a goal, Gooderham a strong threat out on the left played in down the line taking the ball to the by-line drawing players with her lays it back to Greenwood top of the box she in turn crossing to Manning some 30 yards out to the left of the D, struck beautifully, power as it arrows into the goal inside the near post before Swift can get down to it 1-0.

Dionne Manning opens the scoring for Stevenage

  Straight of the restart Harvey looking to get on with Kellet on the left for Colney Heath, Manning getting in between the pair to challenge for the ball winning it back for the hosts. Colney Heath getting a corner on the left moments later. Fired into the middle of goal top of the six yard box Williams gets up well to head the ball down into Kellet two yards out before the right post looking to turn into the shot, is charged down. Colney Heath’s strongest spell coming after conceding the goal winning a free-kick wide left players up into the box another good delivery in curling inside the six yard box, Farmer pulling back getting her head on the ball knocking it up looping back threatens to catch Ray out drop under the bar, the keeper with a brilliant reflex save to glove the ball up over her crossbar. 

  Swarres dealing with the resulting corner inside her own box to send clear. Seeing the ball into her feet Uwaifo turns bursting on inside the left channel carrying the ball on contact as Colney Heath try to get in a challenge, Uwaifo could have gone down stays on her feet driving into the area shooting on the angle, Swift making the save look comfortable at her near post. The game opening up suddenly on the closing stages of the half Swarres is a quality passer of the ball given space in the middle a plays the diagonal ball on for Schofield left side, cutting the cross inside for Uwaifo as she meets it top of the area shoots Swift down well to save it on her line. 

  The rain really coming down now as Stevenage look to counter the ball sent upfield to the left Uwaifo offside but leaves it, as Schofield runs in behind left side, the hosts left frustrated as the flag goes up to halt their progress.

Half-time Stevenage FC Women 1-0 Colney Heath Ladies

  A single goal the difference at the break a superb strike from Dionne Manning in the 37th minute seeing Stevenage leading 1-0. A strong first half for the hosts could well have been leading by more. Not as clinical as they need to be and Colney Heath have been solid in defence deep at time allowing little space in behind limited opportunities has restricted their own opportunities going forwards but overall will be pleased with the score-line at half-time still well in the game a couple of half chances themselves will have to risk opening thing’s up a bit more 2nd half if they want to get a reply is a case of taking their chance when it falls. A double change for the visitors at the break with Cunningham who took a knock 1st half and Kellet coming off. Hollie Thornton and Natalie Powell.

  Stevenage to get the 2nd half underway looking to make a fast start Shepherd breaking forwards the ball though going for a goalkick. The crowd are excited getting behind the team a short lived cheer as they think Uwaifo has doubled the lead. Swarres diagonal ball into the area partially blocked by Lucy Hancock escaping through to the far post Uwaifo throwing her self at it driving the ball into the advertising hoardings. Stevenage starting the 2nd half as they did the first getting on the front foot a free-kick won right on the edge of the box Shephard placing it inside the D taking on the shot, her attempt a foot over the bar. 

  Lucy Hancock giving away the corner as she challenges Uwaifo out left. Placed into the six yard box Uwaifo with the header knocked up into the air, the ball scrambled away as it lands in the six yard box. Shephard looking to break from midfield finding some joy in the left channel getting the ball down to turn and hit a shot 30 yards out, lacks the power to trouble Swift in the Colney Heath goal. Uwaifo sliding in as she looks to pressure the back pass to Swift the keeper getting it away the attacker sliding on the wet ground catches her little she could do to avoid contact Swift bundled over getting the free-kick, no malice is up quickly as play resumes.

  The pitch is slick with the rain just taking the ball on away from Shephard quickly as she makes a couple more intelligent runs into the channels. Powell and Thornton playing through the middle in attack for Colney Heath now linking up Thornton taking the ball on through the middle setting Powell through into the box left of goal, shooting on the angle her rising effort taken cleanly by Ray. 55 minutes played Godino down having picked up a knock  coming off, Esme Hume coming on at right back.  

  Manning getting the ball up top into Uwaifo, has Shephard on the move as she looks to flick it through, the attack scuppered as Shephard is caught offside. Lucy Hancock sliding in has to make contact with the ball to deny Shephard left channel as Swarres plays her in, the defender winning the ball. Shepherd carrying the threat left channel for Stevenage winning a throw high up the pitch, Neal to take has a decent throw in her arsenal launched into Uwaifo inside the area, Lucy Hancock close in not allowing her to turn.

  Is more open 2nd half Stevenage looking to up the tempo find a 2nd goal. Schofield bringing the ball out to the left shifting well to drive into the box wide drives a cross/shot in across goal, Shepherd flinging herself down to try and make contact gets a touch agonisingly though it goes wide of the post. 

  Changes for both sides, Stevenage with a double change, Kelsey Millen and Stef Paci coming on for Greenwood and Gooderham. Darci Harewood on for Colney Heath replacing Williams. Swarres sending a ball forwards escaping in behind, Hume getting to it left to clear before Schofield can get there. Schofield linking up well with Shephard on the left going forwards a cross flashed into the penalty area just beyond Uwaifo on the penalty spot runs through to Millen beyond is closed down quickly as she looks to get hold of the ball. 

 The clearance doesn’t go far Stevenage rapidly turning play around to get back on the attack, Uwaifo pulling off the defence as the ball is dropped over the back line right of the D, Swift rushing out to slide in make the blocking save, the ball loose Uwaifo moving towards it, Swift scrambling across to throw her body in to charge the shot down! The ball turned behind for a corner. Stevenage piling on the pressure, the visitors resilient. Kellet back on for Ward for the visitors.

  Santangelo cutting the ball out knocked behind as another pinpoint pass from Swarres in the middle finds Millen on the move right side. Stevenage coming on looking for a 2nd goal with 20 minutes left to play. 

  GOAL! Have battled hard at one end Swift with a brilliant double save to keep it down to 1-0 have had limited attacks off their own managing to get bodies forwards on the right win a free-kick outside the area. McShane on the set-piece driven into the mix cleared out to the top of the area, Harvey latching onto it outside the D, putting her foot through the ball, rifling it back in towards goal through a crowd, Ray down to her right as it skips up off the grass evades her to go in inside the post 1-1.

Terri Harvey equalises for Colney Heath

  A equaliser for Colney Heath with 18 minutes left to play. A blow for Stevenage who could well have on another evening been out of sight. The visitors ecstatic, as Stevenage go right Millen shifting the ball on for Uwaifo jinking into the area fires a cross in to the far side, with Schofield closing in can’t quite get there. Shephard with a fantastic crossfield pass to find Millen high on the right lifts a cross into the area, Hume needing to get there to clear for a corner kick with Schofield aiming to come in behind her. The corner in from the left headed clear by Lucy Hancock.

Colney Heath’s Lucy Hancock

  Stevenage making a 3rd change with Ciara Craig on for Schofield. Less than 15 minutes to play. An offside flag saving the referee having to make a decision as Uwaifo is blocked inside the box. Colney Heath with their tails up have renewed energy as they look to battle for everything at the back. Swift strong in goal calling and claiming a high cross from Millen on the right. Kelly Hancock putting the ball into Harewood in midfield plays it out to Kellet on the left wing bursting on, Farmer out to close her down putting the ball out for a throw. The sting somewhat taken out of Stevenage’s attack the crowd quietened by the equaliser. 

Stevenage’s Nicole Farmer

  Craig getting up on the right with Millen crossing into the area, Lucy Hancock getting in front of Uwaifo to turn her header back to the keeper. Lily Nellis on for Colney Heath as the game moves into the last 5 minutes Powell coming off. Colney Heath looking strong in the closing stages, Shephard off for Stevenage, Schofield back on. Craig with a good long pass into Uwaifo  top of the D, the ball snatched off her feet before she can unleash a shot. Swarres getting hold of the ball  goes for goal from distance, Swift with the catch.

 Swift out to claim the ball at the top of her area as it is played through of a defender, Uwaifo after it, the goalkeeper getting to it before she can latch onto it. Just not happening for Stevenage as they press on in attack in stoppage time Millen’s cross long over Schofield, with Craig beyond deflected off Hume for a late corner. Cleared at the near post back out to the corner taker Swarres, she sends a driven ball back into the six yard box, Swift getting her gloves on the ball to knock down and grab. 

  Uwaifo seeing a shot inside the box blocked spinning away for a corner right. Played long to Swarres outside the box shoots is unfortunate as her strike hits her own player, Craig first to the rebound smashing it goalwards, Swift sharp to get her gloves around the ball. Seconds left to play Colney Heath hanging on as Swarres shoots over from 40 yards out. 

Full time Stevenage FC Women 1-1 Colney Heath Ladies

  The points are shared. Colney Heath battling hard with a resilient performance on the back foot for most of the game soaking up the pressure as Stevenage came at them. A frustrating night for the hosts in the finish as they took the game to their opponents creating opportunities just not clinical enough on the night. Came forwards well, Colney Heath defending deep hard to break down, making vital tackles and blocks, with Swift making a number of saves behind to keep them in the game taking their chance when it came to level the scores and earn their 1st point of the season.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match a few contenders as per the norm. Some performances of note, Shianne Swarres with an excellent range of passes for Stevenage, Dionne Manning strong in defence, getting forwards well to support the attack with a good finish for her goal. Amy Gooderham attacking on the right looked a real threat especially first half while Becky Shephard came into her own in the 2nd half with some fantastic runs into the channel. A dogged performance from the Colney Heath team, the defence solid working hard. Lucy Hancock in particular with some fantastic tackling, winning the ball. The award though goes to goalkeeper Naomi Swift. Gave nothing away, claiming well and getting across her goal, her saves going a long way to keeper Colney Heath in the game and see the point won.

  An enjoyable first visit to The Lamex Stadium, a great occasion for the players and staff on both sides showcasing the women’s game in Hertfordshire. A brilliant crowd of nearly 500 in attendance and having already been at attendances of 435 an 648 this is another fantastic figure and let’s hope Stevenage FC Women play their again soon. My thanks to the staff at Stevenage FC and Stevenage FC Women for their assistance this evening as always much appreciated.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – AFC Sudbury Women v King’s Lynn Town Ladies

Sunday 4th September

ERWFL Premier Division

Back to the ERWFL Premier Division this Sunday after a midweek derby double from the FAWNL. A trip to Suffolk to the MEL Group Stadium to watch AFC Sudbury Women newly promoted to the league taking on Norfolk side King’s Lynn Town Ladies.

 The ERWFL Premier Division representing the 5th tier of the women’s football pyramid in the East of England. 12 sides competing looks to be a highly competitive league already with just 2 weekends played so far.

AFC Sudbury Women promoted to the league along with fellow Suffolk side Needham Market Women after clinching the Division One South title last season. Coming out on top of what proved to be an intriguing 5 way battle at the top. The league title part of a treble as the club also won the League Plate and lifted the Suffolk Women’s County Cup after a long period of dominance from Ipswich Town Women. A young squad striker Jess Allen top scorer last season with 21 goals, has moved on to America to play her football this season.

 Fully integrated with AFC Sudbury FC and their academy the women’s section features two women’s sides, with their Reserves also stepping up to the ERWFL this season playing in Division One South. Looking again to be one of the leading women’s clubs in the county. Lifting the County Cup last season a huge banner to wave in that regards, will be aiming to retain it this season as they look to establish themselves in the Premier Division. Unlucky on the opening day as they lost out at home to Stevenage FC Women, 3-2 with Evie Creaton netting both goals. A trip to Essex last Sunday playing early leaders Bowers & Pitsea Ladies, Sophie Jeffery scoring the only goal of the game to see Sudbury come home with their 1st 3 points of the campaign.

  King’s Lynn Town Ladies enjoying a strong debut season in the ERWFL Premier Division last year. Picking up some good results going on to finish comfortable in mid-table. That despite there being a change of manager through the season with Joe Simpson now at Wroxham stepping down. Alex Cook taking over as 1st team manager. Playing the majority of their games at The Walks stadium are themselves rapidly establishing themselves as one of the leading women’s side in the county. Supporting the Pandora Project, a local charity that offers advice and support to women and children affected by domestic abuse and will be wearing t-shirts promoting that initiative during their pre-season warm-ups.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies wearing their ‘Say No to Domestic Abuse’ t-shirts in support of the Pandora Project.

  A few changes of personnel over the close season with last season’s captain, Tiffany Forshaw, Zara O’Neill and Mary-Ann Hoy following Simpson to Wroxham. Forshaw one on the joint top scorers last season with 9 goals along side Ella Gavaghan who has also moved on and Amy Magnus. Have brought in Norwich development striker Samara Nche with midfielder Deva Rawlings returning to the club. Steph Powell a vastly experienced defender coming in towards the end of last season. Jodie Hopkins taking on the role of captain this season with Fran Peeling vice-captain.

AFC Sudbury’s, MEL Group Stadium the venue for today’s game, the artificial pitch a decent size seeing plenty of action. Hot and cold refreshments available on the way to the clubhouse and bar area with a seated stand beside the changing rooms behind. Covered standing behind both goals with a terraced stand on the opposite side between the dugouts my preferred position from which to watch the game. A pleasant afternoon bright and warm a little cloud cover but still otherwise. 

AFC Sudbury Women

AFC Sudbury Women starting XI – Millie Carter, Jodie Donley, Ashtyn Newley, Ronni Harrison (C), Teigan McHale, Kate Edwards, Emily Smith, Phoebe Guiver, Alex Penny, Holly Kennard & Evie Creaton. Subs – Jess Egan, Alice Bartlett, Aliyat Lambe, Caitlyn Charles.

King’s Lynn Town Ladies

King’s Lynn Town Ladies  starting XI – Alice Collins, Sam Davies, Jodie Hopkins (C), Fran Peeling, Steph Powell, Kim Fairweather, Deva Rawlings, Lily Porter, Rachel Skinner, Oksana Imanalijeva & Amy Magnus. Subs – Tilly Sands, Olivia Skinner-Pelaz & Katie Ward.

 (roll on roll off substitutes)

A few players unavailable for King’s Lynn, including new signing Samara Nche and goalkeeper, Christina Vivas. Outfield player Alice Collins donning the gloves for todays match. The visitors wearing their away colours this afternoon and all pink kit with yellow numbering isn’t the easiest to read and am going to have to fall back on my knowledge of the squad as back up. Looks nice though. Sudbury with the kick-off first half wearing yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. The ball played back into midfield, Kate Edwards putting the pass long to Holly Kennard getting on on the left flank, working her way forwards her cross squared in low 20 yards out, intercepted and cleared by King’s Lynn’s Kim Fairweather.

Oksana Imanalijeva gets hold of the kick out of the back from Sudbury goalkeeper, Millie Carter 35 yards out looks to try and release Amy Magnus in behind the defence, Teigan McHale getting her foot on the ball putting it back to her goalkeeper to clear. Rachel Skinner taking the ball on right side for King’s Lynn, Magnus across offering support, Jade Donley getting a challenge in to take the ball away for Sudbury. The hosts looking to break quickly early on looking for Kennard on the left at every opportunity, Sam Davies up against her defending for King’s Lynn,

Ronni Harrison, captaining Sudbury steps out of the back line to tackle King’s Lynn midfielder Lily Porter as she attempts to make ground through the middle. Sudbury’s manager, Luke Mallet wanting his side to get the ball out to the right side as they come left once again, Evie Creaton in attack taking the ball into the left channel backed up by Phoebe Guiver exchange passes before the crossfield pass is whipped across the top of the King’s Lynn area, Alex Penny out on the right latching onto it blasting a shot goalwards, Collins behind it to save at her near post.

A fairly even start to the game, players from both sides snapping in to win the ball, a few late challenges but this is more from players releasing the ball quickly than anything else. Sudbury getting the ball out to both flanks now with Kennard and Penny looking to get on. Porter threading the ball into Magnus top of the D, attempts to flick it past Harrison close in on her, Ashtyn Newley around on the cover well getting her foot on the ball to help out her captain. Cleared up the left Sudbury break forwards Kennard racing onto the ball taking it on travelling all the way into the box goes down looks like a push Sudbury are certainly questioning it but the referee waves play on seeing a touch to win the ball.

King’s Lynn midfielder, Lily Porter

Magnus seeing the ball into her feet well right channel spinning the pass out to Skinner wide right turning into the area as Skinner crosses for King’s Lynn, McHale clearing the ball for Sudbury. Kennard winning a throw for Sudbury high on the left inside to Creaton she looks to put Kennard in as she runs into the area, Davies tackling well for King’s Lynn. 10 minutes played and Sudbury are finding some momentum quicker to the ball playing it out to their wide players Penny crossing in wide right, Collins claiming at her near post. Both Kate Edwards and Emily Smith in the middle playing the diagonal ball out to the wide players for Sudbury.

Sam Davies with Evie Creaton

Fairweather on for Porter she sends the ball through to Skinner right side, taking the ball on looks to plough her way through the Sudbury defence is eventually outnumbered. Imanalijeva up on the left getting King’s Lynn a corner. Is a teasing delivery in  across the six yard box everyone drawn near side drops far post and out of play.

GOAL! King’s Lynn frustrated after play is brought back for a free-kick wide left close to half way with McHale clipped coming forwards, with Sudbury making no headway in attack. McHale to play the ball in as players go up into the box a great delivery angled in across goal, King’s Lynn’s defence getting a head on it knocking it back down to the top of the box right side 25 yards out, comes to Penny gets her foot up over the ball to lash a powerfully hit ball in back across goal into the back of the net 1-0. 

Alex Penny opening the scoring for Sudbury

Sudbury getting their noses in front with 15 minutes on the clock. King’s Lynn certainly not happy, quickly concede another set-piece on the edge of their box to the left, played in across the penalty spot captain Jodie Hopkins getting hold of it to clear beyond the far post. Another rash challenge giving Sudbury another free-kick a little further back from where the opening goal came from. McHale putting the ball into the box right of the D, a scramble to clear before it pops up for a Sudbury body to smash goalwards driven wide of the far post.

Sudbury captain, Ronni Harrison


The goal giving Sudbury confidence are looking sharper to the ball popping about in midfield the rebound comes on for Kennard drifting central from the right 20 yards out gets control shifting it inside, Fran Peeling coming out to close her down, blocking the shot well for King’s Lynn.

King’s Lynn’s Fran Peeling setting up to block Holly Kennard’s attempt on goal

Plenty happening King’s Lynn losing it going forwards put up field rapidly, dropping into the top of the area Collins getting up to claim it as Creaton closes her down, coming together as Collins drops the ball escapes her gloves, Creaton instinctively attacking it, play stopped with Collins down hurt. The goalkeeper okay to continue after treatment. Magnus again seeing the ball into her feet well spinning inside off her marker presenting the ball at the feet of Imanalijeva inside the D, shifts it to her eft before pulling the trigger, not a strong hit, runs through safely to Carter to collect.

Alice Collins going to claim the ball with Sudbury’s Evie Creaton closing in

Penny fed the ball on the left, doing well riding a couple of rash tackles the advantage played as she drives on into the area firing in a shot close on the angle Collins with a sharp blocking save at her near post the ball spinning out on across the six yard box Creaton after it stretching annoyed as she turns it wide of the far post.  Sudbury stretching their opponents Smith with a great pass wide for Penny to bomb on right side her cross in missed by Collins near side, Creaton retrieving the ball beyond the far post looks to turn inside back to goal, Fairweather getting a foot in to clear taking a painful blow in the process.


Creaton linking up with Penny on the right as the pair come forwards for Sudbury exchanging passes before Penny strikes one over from the angle outside the box. King’s Lynn on the back foot finding it difficult to get their attackers into the game. Sudbury with possession at the back a sloppy ball from McHale off her goalkeeper in the six yard box is presented straight to Skinner 20 yards out right of the D, charges into the box, McHale charging forwards to put in the blocking tackle the hosts very nearly gifting an opportunity to their opponents. .

Sudbury living dangerously, the ball out on the left lost as Hopkins gets up with Imanalijeva to pressure he full back, Imanalijeva turning goalwards powering on into the area, Carter coming missing the ball as it is fired in across the six yard box, Magnus closing in but comes to Donley to put her foot through it her attempted clearance striking the on rushing Magnus could go anywhere for Sudbury’s sake it rebounds wide of the right post for a goalkick. Half an hour played Sudbury very sloppy at the back messing around in possession putting themselves under pressure another loose pass from the box snatched by Porter 30 yards out fed into Magnus right of the D turns aiming to plough a hole though the defence, McHale solid in her challenge as she comes to block.

Teigan McHale in to win the ball for Sudbury

The game opening up Sudbury with a rapid break the ball cleared up to Kennard takes the ball on though the middle, Collins coming to close her down lifts her shot from all of 20 yards over the advancing keeper, drops over her to strike the base of the post spinning inside across goal, Collins scrambling back to lay claim to the ball before it can creep over the line. King’s Lynn gift possession straight back to Sudbury laid into Kennard left on the left into the box, closes in on goal smashes it in low, Collins with a sharp save down to block the ball cleared away for a corner. Played in long clear beyond the far post. 

King’s Lynn goalkeeper, Alice Collins

Imanalijeva in the middle lining up with Skinner inside right giving her back the return pass as she drives on through the middle. Hopkins bursting down the left flank to get into the box, Newley doing the defending for Sudbury. Peeling on the ball going on into midfield for King’s Lynn playing a good ball on into Imanalijeva 20 yards out left of the D, tries to lay it on into the path of Magnus breaking into the box right side, Carter alert quickly out to snatch the ball into her gloves. King’s Lynn have changed formation getting more players Imanalijeva finding a pocket of space between midfield and defence sees a pass from Rawlings into her clips it on into the box for Magnus making the run in behind left of goal wants to strike the ball as it drops across her, Donley racing round on the cover going to clear collides with Magnus as Carter gathers the ball. 

Sudbury’s Ashtyn Newley

 Skinner with the ball 30 plus yards out cuts inside looking for an opening strikes the ball on the run with the outside of her boot the effort bouncing wide of Carter’s left post. Is a physical encounter, Sudbury especially not happy with some of the challenges. Rawlings striking a shot wide from distance for King’s Lynn as Porter and Magnus pressure the defence right side. Guiver with a clever turn on the ball central looks to send Penny through on the right is a vital interception from Hopkins at the back. 

A little over 3 minutes left in the 1st half Sudbury have been guilty of giving the ball away in their final 3rd this is giving King’s Lynn opportunities they shouldn’t have had as they look to find a reply. Skinner getting forwards nicks the ball off McHale in the box as she attempts to play it out, the attacker driving for goal closing in on Carter at the near post pulls the trigger, Carter getting down quickly getting hold of the ball well. King’s Lynn knocking on the door late in the 1st half Hopkins up on the left catching the ball on the turn a half volley from 25 yards out that drops wide of Sudbury’s goal. 

King’s Lynn’s Rachel Skinner

 Sudbury with a late corner on the right put in by Penny, cleared behind for a 2nd corner this one put back to the taker, Penny playing it back in Guiver at the far post, the ball not cleared sent wide. A late charge from Sudbury Kennard over on the right now with Guiver squared inside for Edwards, lining up a shot on goal, Fairweather rushing out to charge the ball down.

Half-time AFC Sudbury Women 1-0 King’s Lynn Town Ladies

 Alex Penny’s strike on 15 minutes the difference between the sides at the break. The hosts growing into the game after a fairly even start. Taking confidence from the goal came on well finding their wide players Penny and Kennard strong going forwards right and left. King’s Lynn struggling to get any rhythm until the hosts became a little sloppy in their play mistakes at the back presenting opportunities, a change of formation seeing King’s Lynn get players on better half chances created. Sudbury with a strong appeal for a penalty turned down creating some good chances of their own unfortunate not to hold a bigger lead. At 1-0 though it remains very much everything to play for.

  Sudbury out for the 2nd half early appear unchanged. King’s Lynn with a double change with Davies and Fairweather the players off, Katie Ward going to right back on, along with Tilly Sands joining the attack. King’s Lynn to get the 2nd half under way the ball in the centre before being released to Skinner on the right, her early cross into the box dealt with by Harrison. King’s Lynn pushing on right side Magnus out wide with Skinner linking up the pass into Sands right of the D 20 yards out, takes on the shot angled in low towards goal Carter down to get her body behind the ball.

  A good start to the 2nd half from King’s Lynn coming right the ball swept into the area left side collected by Imanalijeva her touch seeing her shift inside looking to turn into the shot, the ball striking Harrison as she blocks, the referee pointing to the spot for penalty, Harrison adjudged to have handled the ball. 

  Magnus over the penalty a chance early in the 2nd half for King’s Lynn to level up the scores, hit low lacks the power to beat carter as she goes the right way makes the save. A let off for Sudbury with the half 3 minutes old, break down the left Kennard, Ward getting in to make the challenge as she attempts to push past her. The foul count is stacking up Sudbury not happy with some of the challenges. Harrison with a timely interception to stop Magnus stealing in on goal through the middle off a Porter through ball.

Millie Carter saves the penalty for Sudbury

  GOAL! Moments after King’s Lynn see a penalty saved to equalise then Sudbury get up the other end to double their lead attacking on the right Penny inside, Guiver pressuring the King’s Lynn defence on the ball, stealing possession inside the box right side strikes a rising shot in, Collins throwing her gloves up to block might have gotten a glancing touch the ball beyond her cannoning down off the cross bar dropping far post, Creaton attacking it, Collins across sliding down attempting to block stops her initial attempt the ball loose Creaton grounded does well to swing out a leg to cut the ball back over the line to score 2-0.

Evie Creaton double Sudbury’s lead

  A blow for King’s Lynn get on the attack from the restart, Rawlings on through the middle looking to pick out Magnus, Harrison blocking to stop her getting into the box. Carter alert to take the ball at her near post as Skinner flashes a cross in on the angle from the right. Hopkins on the move with the ball left for King’s Lynn up with Imanalijeva the crossfield pass cut out by Sudbury’s Smith. A change for Sudbury, Aliyat Lambe entering the pitch. Harrison continuing to frustrate King’s Lynn at the back as she cuts out another attempted ball through the middle.

King’s Lynn attacker, Amy Magnus

  An hour gone by no means a classic both sides sloppy at times, Sudbury guilty of over playing at the back, whilst King’s Lynn cannot find any rhythm at all, leaving them frustrated as decisions go against them. Smith on the ball through the middle for Sudbury forwards well for Creaton peeling off Powell at the back, racing on, Powell reading the move giving herself room to make the recovering run take the ball away from the striker. Kennard racing on with the ball left side getting all the way into the box closing in on the six yard box before Peeling gets across to clear behind for a corner, which is successfully defended at the near post.

Sudbury’s Emily Smith

  Penny over on the right racing onto a cleared ball from the back digging the cross out from the by-line, back across the top of the area is just over Creaton rising centrally cleared by the King’s Lynn defender beyond Sudbury immediately go up in protest claiming a handball, not a penalty in the referees opinion. Mallett getting a talking too for voicing his protests too loudly. McHale coming on down the line for Penny, Powell getting back on the right sided player to tackle put the ball out for a corner. The ball put into the six yard box headed back out to the right by Magnus, Penny back on it as Magnus’s momentum sees her close the winger down bringing her down just outside the box, earning her a yellow and a free-kick to the hosts. Same result though Penny’s delivery cleared by Magnus’ header for another corner. 

Aliyat Lambe

Olivia Skinner-Pelaz

Penny sending her corner arrowing in low to Lambe top of the area, no shot on lays it back to Penny wide her 2nd attempt cleared back to her in the corner where she sends a dangerous looping ball in across the face of goal dropping far post both Creaton and Kennard there bounces over. Sudbury livening up pressing the ball better winning in on the left of the box 25 yards out a shot racing in has Collins diving across her six yard box, the ball though runs wide of the far post. Kennard running at the King’s Lynn defence on the left rides one challenge then another, play brought back for the first challenge. An inviting ball in drops wide past the far post.

Alex Penny with King’s Lynn captain, Jodie Hopkins

 20 minutes left on the clock Sudbury make another change with Jess Egan coming on for Newley. McHale putting in the tackle as Sands and Skinner look to combine right side for King’s Lynn. Imanalijeva off for the visitors, Olivia Skinner-Pelaz coming on. The game stretched at times as King’s Lynn taking a few risks get on looking to find Skinner on the right. Davies and Fairweather being prepared to come back on Rawlings and Magnus coming off. Penny finding space to run into on the right after a spinning clearance whips a ball in across goal Davies putting it behind for a corner. A great ball in from the left through everyone in the six yard box no one gambling at the far post. 

Oksana Imanalijeva

  King’s Lynn have a player down far side, Ward I think is struggling, Imanalijeva sent back on with a little over 10 minutes to play. 

 GOAL! The game is stretched players tired on both sides, Sudbury’s diagonal balls have been a threat all game, Kennard now over on the right side seeing a good delivery into her find inside the box, her control seeing her beat her marker, shift inside to shoot, rising into Collins quickly doesn’t get hold of it as it slips out of her gloves to run on into the goal behind 3-0.

Holly Kennard scores Sudbury’s 3rd goal, Caitlyn Charles in the background

  Straight on the attack, King’s Lynn out to Skinner racing forwards right shoots on the angle fired in low Carter saving low at her near post. A triple change from the hosts with Creaton, Edwards and Harrison coming off. Caitlyn Charles, Alice Bartlett and Newley the players coming on. Kennard full of running for Sudbury moving right with the ball her cross cut out by Peeling. A brief rest for Edwards and Creaton for Sudbury as they return to the field, Smith and Penny giving way.

 GOAL! Into the final minute of regular play Kennard racing clear to the by-line on the right has the legs to get to the ball flashing in a ball across the face of goal has teammates lining up to meet it inside the box, turned home from close range, Caitlyn Charles with the all important touch 4-0. On late so I don’t have a better picture of Charles than the one with Kennard above.

  Carter out well to claim at the feet of Skinner late on a King’s Lynn send it long to her on the right. Imanalijeva’s ball in from the right put behind by McHale for a corner. Carter with another acrobatic save off Skinner as the ball is blasted into her from the right turned behind for the corner. Carter up well to claim from the set-piece. 

Sudbury’s Jess Egan

  Deep into stoppage time King’s Lynn flat having conceding twice late on to see the game slip away. Sudbury continue to snap into their challenges, Imanalijeva coming on right side sending a cross into the area won well by Egan conceding a late late corner. Sudbury clearing push out celebrating as the final whistle blows.

Full time AFC Sudbury Women 4-0 King’s Lynn Town Ladies

  A 4-0 win lifting Sudbury up into 3rd spot in the early Premier Division table. Rode their luck at times and know it wasn’t their best performance, a bright start to get their noses in front in the 15th minute. Fell away first half with some poor play at the back giving King’s Lynn encouragement as they changed thing’s around. 1-0 at the break an early penalty giving the visitors a chance to level the scores early in the 2nd half, Carter saving, a further blow as they went on to concede a 2nd. Sudbury having an appeal for a penalty themselves 1st half with another strong shout 2nd didn’t get it but with their wide players a threat through out looked goo for their lead adding a 3rd and 4th goals late on to claim the 3 points. A disappointing afternoon for King’s Lynn struggle to get going find any rhythm that said created opportunities and weren’t totally out of the game until the final 10 minutes.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Time for this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award, a relatively easy decision except for the fact there were two very strong contenders for it. A few performances to mention though. For King’s Lynn, Oksana Imanalijeva did well finding some good pockets of space between midfield ad defence and on another day she sets up a goal or two. Amy Magnus up top providing a good target to put the ball too got others into play with her hold up play. For Sudbury, Teigan McHale and Ronni Harrison put in some great challenges to stop King’s Lynn getting in behind. Emily Smith in midfield broke up play well shoeing a great range of passing. Evie Creaton strong in attack. It comes down to splitting two players for Sudbury, Alex Penny and Holly Kennard both where excellent on the flanks getting into good positions for the hosts taking the ball on and setting up openings both scoring too. Comes down to who got the most mentions in my notes and that is Holly Kennard well done.

  Another enjoyable trip over to the MEL Group Stadium, is a nice venue and improving all the time a warm welcome from the club. My thanks to both clubs for the help with the team details today. More ERWFL Premier Division action to come on Tuesday evening with a trip to the Lamex Stadium home of Stevenage FC as there women’s side host Colney Heath Ladies.

by Darren Gilham

Match Report – Cambridge City Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

Weds 31st August

FAWNL South East Division One

No sooner has the match report been written up for the 1st of this weeks derby double from FAWNL South East Division One it’s onto my 2nd. Cambridgeshire this time with Cambridge City Ladies hosting rivals Cambridge United WFC.

  Often a hotly contested affair since Cambridge City Ladies achieved promotion to reach the FAWNL three season’s ago. The two clubs originally one with Cambridge United WFC starting as Cambridge Women breaking away from City. Cambridge City bouncing back strongly with a robust youth set-up to see their women’s side rise rapidly through the leagues to reach the 4th tier.

  Their 1st two season’s in FAWNL South East Division One affected by the Covid pandemic, Cambridge City looked comfortable in the league season, flirting with the danger of dropping into the relegation zone late on. Led to some managerial departures the club digging itself out of a hole to become safe a late season derby win against United going a long way to seeing them finished above their rivals in the table. A reshuffle within the club over the summer including the 1st team management team now fronted up by Rob Coles and Darren Fairbrass.

  A few players departing have retained a large chunk of their squad from last season and with a good back up of youth coming through to the women’s team have made half a dozen new signings bringing Becca Stephenson a former, Harlow and Billericay player. Ellen Marson joins from Peterborough United. Oliva White and Lexie Pryke formerly Ipswich youth players. Goalkeeper Ellie Sarter, from AFC Leyton a former Watford women youth player. Jenny Moore joining in the summer having previously been with QPR and Spurs. A great win on the opening day of the season at home to QPR Women. Grace Stanley the clubs top scorer last season getting her campaign off to a flying start netting a hat-trick with Bella Simmons also celebrating a goal in a 4-2 win. 

  Cambridge United WFC losing on the opening day of the season beginning at the Abbey Stadium with a 4-1 loss to early pacesetters, Norwich City Women, cheered on by a crowd of 648. The women’s side now enjoying closer ties with Cambridge United FC, a new women’s board established at the League One club with 4 games planned at the Abbey Stadium throughout the season. A disappointing run towards the end of last season putting a dampener on the season and has led to some player departures over the summer, development players coming through ready to challenge for places in the senior team.

  Cambridge United have brought in a few new signing over the summer and continue their search for players they feel will enhance the team. Sarah Wiltshire joining the club after a previous spell on loan, is vastly experienced having starred for Yeovil, Watford and Spurs in recent seasons carrying a huge threat in attack. Francesca Partridge also coming in the attacker with Northampton previously opening her account for the club with a stunning strike on the opening day. Sammy Edgar is a tough tackling midfielder joining from Royston Town Women and has a good range of passing in her artillery. Nikolett Szabo also joining the goalkeeper providing good back-up for Lauren Webb. Away to newly promoted Ashford Town Women at the weekend United found themselves trailing 3-1 before battling back to earn a 3-3 draw with Alysha Stojko-Down scoring a brace to open her season’s account. 

  Ely City FC’s Demcon Stadium the venue for this evening’s derby contest the football club surrounded by a number of other sporting facilities and a large restaurant and cinema complex built besides off the A10. Spent the past 2 and a half hours in the carpark typing out last evening’s report. In need of food and a portion off chips and a cup of tea was sorely needed. The bar open too, the large grass pitch offering viewing on all sides. The seated stand situated above the changing rooms. A familiar ground for United too having played here for a number of seasons themselves. Cambridge City Ladies temporary home as the await the completion of the new stadium at Sawston. Another dry evening a little chill starting to creep into the evening but otherwise pleasant. 

Cambridge City Ladies

 Cambridge City Ladies starting XI – Sarah Hudson (C), Lauren Sander, Jess Fitzpatrick, Bronwyn Mulheron, Millie Struthers, Fran Steele, Erin Davies, Jenny Moore, Karly Tolentino, Bella Simmons & Grace Stanley Subs – Ellen Marson, Becca Stephenson, Charlotte Gillies, Hannah Bodily & Paige Gardener.

Cambridge United WFC

 Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Lauren Webb, Abbi Griffin, Abi Davies, Grace Waygood, Lauren Rouse, Gisela Otten, Sammy Edgar, Alysha Stojko-Down, Sarah Wiltshire, Ruth Fox & Francesca Partridge. Subs – Nikolett Szabo, Elsie Barker, Daisy McGregor, Albany Hodgson & Ella Marden.

United captain, Gisela Otten with City captain, Sarah Hudson

As is the norm for these derby games both sides are now City and United. Jenny Moore in the starting line-up for City with two more of their new signings Ellen Marson and Becca Stephenson on the bench. United’s new signings, Sarah Wiltshire, Francesca Partridge and Sammy Edgar all starting with Szabo on the bench. It’s City to kick-off the 1st half with the floodlights starting to take effect wearing white shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and black and white hooped socks. United lined up opposite in their away kit of all sky blue. Played back to Erin Davies in midfield puts the ball out to left back Laure Sander, United rushing on to press the ball City get it out to the right side looking to put the ball on for Bella Simmons looking to get in behind, Abbi Griffin intercepting the pass at right back for United.

United with a fast start to the game getting after City in possession forced into rushed passes the ball given away put over the top for Sarah Wiltshire to chase, Millie Struthers at centre back defending for City the ball going for an early corner. Played in across the six yard box, Bronwyn Mulheron rising highest for City to head the ball on across the box out for a corner on the right. Another inviting delivery in across the six yard box Francesca Partridge getting up just under it, drops to Grace Waygood beyond the far post, the United defender firing her strike over.

  GOAL! United pressing the ball in the middle captain Gisela Otten to Sammy Edgar plays the pass forwards through the middle, a great ball dropping in front of the D to the right, a wicked back spin on the bounce wrong footing Sanders going with the run of Wiltshire the attacker reading it well to turn onto the ball knock it out to the left into the box before striking in a venomous shot on the angle across the keeper to score her 1st goal of the season for Cambridge 0-1.

Sarah Wiltshire with the opening goal for Cambridge United

  4 minutes played the perfect start for the away side in a derby match. United lively getting after City, something their opponents have often done to them. Davies creating a bit of room for herself in the middle for City looking to put Simmons through on the left wing again, Griffin cutting the pass out again. Alysha Stojko-Down looking to thread a pass through the middle for Partridge, Mulheron winning it back for City. The hosts looking to go right the pass sent on for Karly Tolentino on the wing cutting inside to shoot on the angle driven in near post, comes at Lauren Webb fast covering her near post gets down to make the blocking save before scrambling up to get her gloves on the loose ball.

  Simmons likewise on the left for City looking to find a way in behind is found by Fran Steeles through ball, Webb though getting across to take the ball before she can capitalise. United continue to press determined not to let City settle on the ball. Mulheron with a vital interception getting her foot up to bring the ball down as Edgar attempts to send Wiltshire attacking through the middle on goal. A free-kick awarded to United on the right 25 yards out, players up as Griffin sends an inviting ball into the area across goal, Partridge after it but the flag immediately goes up offside. 

United’s Ruth Fox with City’s Jenny Moore

  United’s Griffin sending the pass forwards for Partridge in the centre, Ruth Fox having drifted in from the right going with her the pair look to overwhelm, full back Jess Fitzpatrick as she squares up to both attackers doing well to get her foot in to knock the ball away across the top of the D, Stojko-Down having gotten into an advanced position latching onto the ball sending her strike wide from 25 yards out. 

Cambridge United’s Alysha Stojko-Down

  With United getting at City they visitors push up there defence at times finding little joy through the middle with United’s Waygood and Lauren Rouse winning the ball well City look to the flanks Simmons ready to go on the left is picked out Webb rushing out to the top of her box to try and intercept Simmons gets there first to take the ball past the keeper, down to the by-line cutting back to shoot the angle acute but on target looks to be creeping inside the near post but for a brilliant last ditch sliding tackle from left back Abi Davies lunging in to take it wide for a corner kick. 

Cambridge City’s Bella Simmons

  City are finding it difficult to break United up through the middle but Simmons and Tolentino are getting joy on the wings and look a threat. A throw won high on the left worked on into the box for Davies trying to get it down can’t make it count as United close in to defend. Webb alert to come and claim as United are caught high up the pitch with Simmons breaking in behind left. 20 minutes gone in the 1st half United with the brighter start, City getting to grips with their opponents game plan looking to adjust theirs winning a free-kick outside the box to the left despite strong protests from United. The ball in striking the wall cleared up to Partridge can’t dig it out of her feet get away before being tackled by Fitzpatrick. 

 Tolentino on the ball for City down in the right corner lifts a cross into the box for Grace Stanley to hit on the volley, Webb back on her line getting her gloves up to save bring the ball down safely. Jenny Moore on the left taking the ball on from a throw in playing it on for Stanley pulling into the left channel taking on the shot arrowing in, Rouse getting her head on the ball knocking it up into the air, Webb claiming it beyond her. 

  Mulheron is shown a yellow card as she cynically pulls down Partridge as the striker looks to get away from her to the right of the area. Partridge taking a blow as she went down needing treatment but is okay to continue. Wiltshire going for goal from the set-piece angled in goalkeeper and City captain, Sarah Hudson with a comfortable save. Wiltshire tracking back to harry the ball nicks it played into Stojko-Down who looks to release Partridge through the middle, caught a little flat footed Partridge can’t capitalise inside the D. 

Cambridge City midfielder, Erin Davies

  Another good opportunity for City as they get players forwards from midfield to overload the box as Tolentino out on the right draws players to her before sending a great cross into the six yard box Steele rising unchecked powers her header back across Webb’s goal, bounces wide of the post. Stojko-Down with a brilliant pass finding Wiltshire pulling in behind inside the City box right of goal comes back inside looking to put her shot over the keeper the ball landing on the roof of Hudson’s net. 

  Waygood blocking for United top of her area, the rebound loose in the middle struck goalwards, Webb back on her goal line right behind it. Webb then pulling off a fantastic save off a Tolentino strike as she gets hold of the ball on the right drills a shot in, Webb falling back to tip the ball wide behind for a corner. Put in from the left the ball defended at the near post. City beginning to find a little momentum towards the end of the 1st half. 

Cambridge United goalkeeper, Lauren Webb

  United responding with Fox getting forwards on the right cutting the ball inside to Stojko-Down 20 yards out pivoting onto the shot blasting it goalwards takes a wicked deflection of the defender as the block is put in forcing Hudson into a smart save getting down to smother the ball on her goal line. Little time left in the 1st half United continuing to battle of possession, Otten, Edgar and Stojko-Down all after the ball the latter brought down by Davies going on the advantage played as Wiltshire gets hold of the loose ball pulling the trigger from 25 yards her shot straight at Hudson. Griffin getting forwards on the right with Fox playing a cross into the area Partridge going for the header can’t quite get there.

Half-time Cambridge City Ladies 0-1 Cambridge United WFC

  A fast start to the game from United getting after City to score an early goal. Sarah Wiltshire’s strike in the 4th minute the difference between the sides at half-time. Have looked to hustle City in possession all game. The home side finding little joy through the middle. Have looked dangerous on both flanks with Simmons and Tolentino looking to make something happen and have come close to equalising on a few ocassions, Webb making a couple of good saves to ensure United didn’t concede. 1-0 the score a narrow advantage City far from out of it.


No changes for either side at the break United to get the 2nd half underway. Otten putting the ball on for Stojko-Down getting up with Wiltshire on the left getting a throw, looking to work an opening outside the box, Steele into block the ball, deflected on to the keeper. Moore going down as she release the ball looks in some discomfort as City get on the attack Stanley dispossessed by Davies. Moments later Stanley is caught marginally offside as the ball from Simmons is rolls into her left channel.

Cambridge United attacker, Francesca Partridge

Partridge coming over to the left side sees the ball into her feet before moving inside to lift a great pass on for Wiltshire racing on through the middle scissor kicks the dropping ball goalwards from outside the D, sending it narrowly over the bar. Not as intense a start to the 2nd half as the first both sides guilty of being a little sloppy on the ball. Edgar getting free in midfield with a great pass forwards for Stojko-Down who in turn finds Wiltshire pulling out right, Fox up with her, the shot on the angle claimed well by Hudson in the City goal.

Cambridge City’s Fran Steele

City making a change Moore the player coming off replaced by Paige Gardiner with 10 minutes gone in the 2nd half having pulled up a few minutes previously. Partridge clattered into as she looks to get the ball down inside the centre circle. Waygood across to block as City find Tolentino on the right. Certainly feel that United need to find another goal to settle thing’s down, Davies with a clever through ball for Stanley breaking into the area, Waygood doing well in defence pushing her wide giving Webb the opportunity to get out to lay claim to the ball.

Grace Waygood

Edgar down in pain as she collects some City studs on her ankle as she and Stojko-Down close down to prevent Gardiner breaking the long pass up to Stanley, Waygood up against her to win the ball. Edgar left hobbling is up and getting back into position to try and run it off. Having down it once in the 1st half City manage to overload the six yard box breaking forwards in numbers 3 players lining up in front of Webb’s goal as Tolentino manages to lift a cross in from the by-line met at the far post but turned wide. Davies in the middle looking to pick out Tolentino, Edgar tracking back on the wide player winning the ball for United.

Cambridge United’s Sammy Edgar

Pressing City win a corner on the left played into the box inadvertently knocked on to the far post comes down for Stanley who fires her volley wide. Wiltshire all over the place in the final 3rd for United chasing after the ball not letting City’s defence have a moments rest. Tolentino carrying City’s threat in attack looking a constant threat is fouled out wide a free-kick to the hosts. Fizzed in across the top of the box the shot struck racing through bodies low on goal, Griffin on the back post there to make the goal saving block.

Karly Tolentino

Partridge having been brought down on a couple of ocassions carrying a knock does well to hook the ball on for Wiltshire attack the pair exchanging passes with Otten getting forwards to offer support the midfielder brought down United with a free-kick 30 yards out. Wiltshire taking on the shot is a comfortable catch for Hudson. Partridge being substituted for United midway through the 2nd half with Ella Marden coming on.

GOAL! United get the 2nd goal they were looking for coming from a ball winning tackle from Waygood at the back, the visitors setting up a quick counter getting the ball up the pitch for Wiltshire running on right channel getting her head on the ball before it can be cleared taking it past the defence into the box wide of goal to smash her shot wide of the advancing keeper into the bottom corner 0-2.

Webb needing to come out to the top corner of her area to get hold of the ball as City look to release Tolentino on the right. Straight away United look to adjust things getting everyone behind the ball with Wiltshire now the lone attacker. City respond with a double change bringing on Becca Stephenson and Charlotte Gillies for Davies and Sanders. City winning a corner on the left the box packed the delivery cleared at the near post, Gardiner getting hold of the ball a rash tackle upending her 30 yards out. Stanley on the set-piece hits the United wall.

Wiltshire harries the defence her pressure allowing Fox to steal onto a loose pass run on towards the City box, Marden coming round on the left, Fox finding her in the box her left footed shot on the angle, Hudson down sharply on her goal line to save. Tolentino and Steele coming off for City with a little over 10 minutes left to play with Ellen Marson and Hannah Bodily coming on the hosts look for a way back into the game.

United working hard as a unit to keep City at bay, Wiltshire tireless up front. Fox on the right the crossed ball into Marden outside the D, a clever ball as she attempts to dink it over the defence into Wiltshire’s path as she break right of goal, just runs out of room to get hold of the ball before in runs out of play. City are finding thing’s frustrating United proving hard to expose as they get players behind the ball Rouse and Waygood having been coached by manager Darren Marjoram prior to the match about not letting anything go over them have won pretty much everything thrown at them.

Wiltshire taking the ball into the corner as the game moves into stoppage time has little support but is running down the clock. City looking to push up Marden getting up to help Wiltshire on the left as a high ball is played to her controlled on the by-line, Wiltshire slips inside to shoot the ball deflected wide for a corner. Keeping it in the corner, City wrestle the ball back attempt to break in number the ball lifted on Waygood winning the header, comes back to Marson in midfield launches a hopeful ball forwards into the box claimed by Webb.

Defender Albany Hodgson coming on to bolster the midfield in the dying minutes with Fox coming off. City going for it a corner won right side fired into the box, Gardiner slipping as she goes to strike the ball right of near post, Edgar cutting it out cleared to the right, Bodily getting hold of it cutting inside to blast her shot against the upright the rebound sent over!

Full time Cambridge City Ladies 0-2 Cambridge United WFC

  Late drama but no reply for Cambridge City as they are beaten 2-0 by Cambridge United who claim their first win of the season to climb to 4th in the fledgling South East Division One table. Making a fast start to the game getting after their opponents on the ball, getting early joy with Sarah Wiltshire striking in the 4th minute to put them in front. Sticking to their game plan giving nothing away through the middle City adapting getting some joy on the flanks with Simmons and particularly Tolentino on the right Lauren Webb making a couple of vital saves Abi Davies clearing one off the line. At 1-0 City were always in it and you felt United needed that 2nd goal, came midway through the 2nd half with Wiltshire’s movement causing City’s defence problems getting in behind to nab her brace. Everyone behind the ball after that battling for the clean sheet, the post coming to the rescue at the death.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  Onto this evening’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match. Several performances of note and a tough one to call in some regards easy in other. For City, Erin Davies produced some good passes to release both wide players. Bella Simmons looking to get behind on the left create opportunities and Karly Tolentino was brilliant on the right if City were going to score she was the most likely carving out some great chances. For United it was a dogged performance with a well worked game plan. City getting nothing through the middle with Lauren Rouse and Grace Waygood superb in defence. Sammy Edgar with some quality passes setting up Wiltshire for the opening goal. Alysha Stojko-Down providing a good link between midfield and attack winning her fair share of tackles. The award though goes to the scorer of both United goals Sarah Wiltshire. Both well took, her energy up front along with movement to hustle the defence on the ball a constant menace working hard on her own towards the end up front to ensure United got the 3 points.

  Another enjoyable evening at the Demcom Stadium for my 2nd derby of the week but boy am I tired now. My thanks to both sides for their help with the teams. Now to decide where I’m going at the weekend the games coming thick and fast now. 

by Darren Gilham