Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Leyton Orient WFC

Sunday 20th August

 The new season is here! The 2017/18 season gets underway in the FAWPL and looks like it is going to be as competitve as ever. Starting the season with a game from FAWPL South East Division One at Mildenhall Town FC to watch Cambridge United WFC who finished 4th in the league last season host newly promoted Leyton Orient WFC.

The past two seasons the league has been won by a runaway leaders Gillingham FC Ladies last season and Crystal Palace Ladies going unbeaten the season before. With no side coming down from the FAWPL Southern Division, South East Division One looks tighter this year. Milton Keynes Dons Ladies slight favourites to finish top there are a host of sides below them who could mount a strong challenge and most sides on their day are capable of beating anyone else. It’s what makes the league so exciting.

  Is a much changed Cambridge United WFC side going into the start of the 2017/18 campaign a few players moving to rivals in the league or taking a break from the game. Goalkeeper Verity Crook hanging up her boots. Are without defender Chloe Bennett for the start of the season as she is still recovering from the dislocated elbow she suffered at the end of last season as well as attacker Becky Taylor who was impressive for the club last season scooping most of the end of year awards out long term with an ACL injury.

  Have brought in goalkeeper Chloe Crook on loan from Tottenham Hotspur Ladies however injury sees her out of today’s league opener. Striker Nuala Wayne returns to the club as does Nettie Stillinger after a spell with Lowestoft Town Ladies. Charlotte Crisp also returns after university having been briefly with the club before. Creative midfielder Amber Cantwell steps up to the FAWPL after constantly impressing for Wymondham Town Ladies. Emma Whitter also joins the striker bringing a wealth of experience with her after spells with FAWSL 2 sides London Bees and Millwall Lionesses. Another new addition with plenty of FAWPL experience is Amy Howlett having played for Charlton Athletic Women aswell as two spells with Ipswich Town Ladies. Lastly joining the club after impressing on trial is Ruth Fox who was with Hitchin Belles last season. A new look side manager Steve Edwards hasn’t set any targets for this season a squad with plenty of potential to develop.

Leyton Orient WFC step up the the FAWPL after winning the London & South East Regional Premier Division title last season finishing 8 points clear at the top winning 16 of their 18 league games with only the one defeat. Have retained pretty much all of the squad that won promotion last season including top scorer Sophie Le Marchand who scored 39 goals during the 2016/17 season. One new addition with Hannah Porter joining from FAWPL Southern Division side C&K Basildon Ladies. Face a stern test as they play their football at a higher level with 3 successive away games against the sides that finished 4th, 5th and 6th.

Cambridge United WFC return to Mildenhall Town FC after playing their home matches their last season taking advantage of an excellent playing surface, the pitch looks as good as ever, Mildenhall Town FC winning promotion to the Bostik North Division. A sloping pitch from one goal mouth to the other some ground improvements made following promotion addition toilet facilities and turnstiles. A good sized clubhouse and hot drinks and refreshments available. A warm August afternoon to start the season a few dark clouds above but no rain forecast.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – MacKenzie McGranor, Emma Jenkins, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Nettie Stillinger, Laura Bright (C), Charlotte Crisp, Amber Cantwell, Laura Mills, Amy Howlett, Emma Whitter & Lauren Gibson. Subs – Nuala Wayne & Ruth Fox.

Leyton Orient WFC starting XI – Naomi Ogunde, Francesca Cagetti, Hannah Porter, Danielle Griffiths (C), Connie Montiel-McCann, Egle Trezzi, Vanessa Wilson, Hayley Barton, Leyre Bastyr, Ella Meadowcroft & Jasmine Campbell. Subs – Olympia Diamond, Belen Ripoll-Douton, Natalie Colangelo & Chanel Richards.

 Both sides are have players unavailable at the start of the season Leyton Orient are with striker Le Marchand away on her honeymoon aswell as last seasons player of the year Ellie Davies. Cambridge have MacKenzie McGranor keeping goal in the absence of Crook and with their Reserves side making their bow in the ERWFL Division One North today can only pull a limited number from that squad with just the two subs on the bench. 

It’s Leyton Orient to get the 1st half underway wearing an all blue kit with Cambridge lined up opposite wearing amber and black vertical stripped shirts, black shorts and socks. Leyton Orient attacking down the slope look to thread a ball through the middle of the Cambridge defence who are playing 3 at the back the ball is won by Nettie Stillinger for Cambridge plays a good ball out to Laura Mills operating on the  left over half way carries the ball in field towards the area before dinking it up over the Leyton Orient defence with Amber Cantwell breaking forwards from midfield getting onto the end of it shoots early firing the ball back across the keeper runs wide of the far post.

Amber Cantwell attacking for Cambridge United WFC

Leyton Orient are awarded a free kick wide on the right around half way the ball played up towards striker Jasmine Campbell 30 yards from goal looks to turn and hit a shot, Stillinger closes her down putting in the blocking tackle to deny the strike. A good temp at the start Leyton Orient pressing Cambridge on the ball win a series of throws in their opponents half without finding a telling ball into the area.

Cambridge captain Laura Bright playing in front of her defence plays a great ball forwards for the strikers to chase, Lauren Gibson who had a great season with the Reserves last season stepping up to the 1st team gives chase left of goal into the area, Connie Montiel-McCann lunges into the challenge to win the ball take it away from the attacker before she can latch onto it. Off the resulting throw in on the left the ball is back with Gibson tries her luck from distance a dipping ball on target goalkeeper Naomi Ogunde parries it behind for a corner kick at her near post.

  The corner taken from the left comes in high far post area Gibson jumps up to try and win the header, Hannah Porter up with her the ball goes behind the final touch off the defender a corner awarded this time from the right, Laura Mills across to take it the ball comes into the area half cleared Kayleigh-Anne Burt up from the back for Cambridge retrieves and gets it back to Mills who drives on towards the by line cutting the cross square in towards the near post Bright closest goes to attack it a Leyton Orient defender slides in to make the challenge Bright goes down another corner is signalled this one cleared by Leyton Orient.

Good build up play from Cambridge on the right the ball played into Emma Whitter holds it up as Cantwell gets forwards centrally the pass played into her crosses it out to the left with Amy Howlett available inside the box gets her head to the ball but can only place the ball straight into Ogunde’s gloves. Hayley Barton takes the ball on down the right wing into the corner crosses it in towards the near post Burt defending wins it for Cambridge. Vanessa Wilson out to Leyre Bastyr finding a little space on the left for Leyton Orient fires the pass into the feet of Campbell outside the box tries to turn but is closely marked by Cambridge’s Emma Jenkins who wins the ball back. 

  Cambridge a temporarily down to 10 with Mills off receiving treatment. Leyton Orient press the advantage Bastyr onto the ball left looks to play Campbell in behind the ball is won back but Leyton Orient don’t left Cambridge get far closing down win a free kick outside the box right of goal 25 yards out Barton to take gets the ball around the wall on target but lacking enough pace as McGranor moves across to safely collect. 

Leyton Orient’s, Jasmine Campbell

  Building some momentum Leyton Orient regain possession in the middle the ball is played in behind into the area seeing Ella Meadowcroft one on one with the keeper right of goal McGranor comes out sliding in to block does enough to put the striker off the ball isn’t clear however Meadowcroft goes after it, Stillinger getting back to win and clear for Cambridge. The action is from one end to the other Leyton Orient attacking right Barton crossing into the box, Cambridge launch clear turns into an excellent ball for Mills giving chase into space on the right looks to curl a cross into the area sees the ball come back into play off as it strikes the near post. Leyton Orient get it up field as Mills stays down after the attack needing further treatment is able to continue.

Egle Trezzi finds the pitch open up in front of her as she brings the ball on time to play the ball she puts in in over the top of the Cambridge defence for Barton moving inside from the right into the area she hits it across the box for Bastyr coming in from the left connects with the header, McGranor scrambles across her goal but can see the ball drop safely a foot wide of the post. Cantwell brings the ball forwards for Cambridge before checking her run and playing the pass to Howlett on the left puts the ball into the area from a deep position, Ogunde claims the ball well as Gibson comes leaping in looking to get onto the end of it. Leyton Orient launch a rapid counter attack Porter on for Bastyr her ball played across the top of the area Barton right of the D launches onto it sends her shot high over the bar.

Cambridge’s Amy Howlett

Cambridge are awarded a free kick on half way right side the ball fired up towards the top of the box, Leyton Orient captain Danielle Griffiths gets a foot on the ball but can only push it out of the area Cantwell is onto it under challenge shifts the ball to her right gets a shot away the ball racing wide of the post from 22 yards. Is shaping up to be a physical encounter both sides prepared to stand their ground Gibson turns and plays the ball out wide right Mills gives chase getting it crosses early low comes in central Howlett tries to get onto it, Griffiths is their 1st to win the tackle and cancel the threat. 

Leyton Orient WFC captain, Danielle Griffiths

A corner on the right for Leyton Orient as the 1st half moves into the last 5 minutes comes in near post put behind looks a goal-kick however another corner is awarded this one comes in deeper is cleared out of the area falls to Porter 30 yards out central looks to strike the ball in towards goal a Leyton Orient attacker is offside as the ball bounces through obscures McGranor’s view for a moment but seeing it late gets across to make the save palming the ball initially before gathering.

Meadowcroft brings down Burt as the defender looks to carry the ball out from the back from the resulting free kick the ball is played long up to Gibson back to goal who helps it on with her head for Whitter to her right the striker peeling away finds some space driving into the area shapes to shoot back across the keeper gets it to close to Ogunde who drops low to make the save.

Cambridge’s, Emma Whitter with Leyton Orient’s, Francesca Cagetti

Into 1st half stoppage time a corner for Leyton Orient on the left played in long is attacked far post Campbell up gets hurt as she knocks the ball down into the six yard box, for a second it looks like Bastyr can latch onto it before Mills stabs the ball away to safety. A break as Campbell receives treatment is okay however and shows it as the game resumes retrieving the ball from the top of the Cambridge area bringing it under control and hitting a shot straight into McGranor.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Leyton Orient WFC

 A competitive 1st half to start the season defences have been busy on both sides and for most of the 45 minutes doing well chances limited both defending deep chances to run in behind few. Mills getting some joy from Cambridge on the right. Competitive and physical newly promoted to the higher level Leyton Orient will have gained alot of confidence as both sides head into the dressing rooms.

Cambridge attacking down the slope get the 2nd half underway. The sun blazing high in the sky. Leyton Orient press right from the start preventing Cambridge getting the ball out of their half. Play broken up little attacking in the opening exchanges. The visitors are given a free kick wide left is a great delivery into the area McGranor comes leaping into the crowd in front of her looking to punch the ball away misses it as it flies over everyone and bounces wide at the far post. 

Leyton Orient’s high tempo and pressing taking advantage of a sluggish start to the 2nd half from Cambridge. Barton playing the ball into the box from the right Stillinger in to win it from Meadowcroft. Winning a corner on the left Griffiths to take for Leyton Orient plays it down the line for Porter to cross in, Bright winning the ball launches it clear turns into a good ball as the counter attack is on Mills furthest forwards picks it up goes on a dribbling run pulling the trigger from outside the box her shot held well by Ogunde. 

Leyton Orient’s Hayley Barton

The Leyton Orient defence are keeping a good shape Whitter is closely marked by Cagetti not giving her room to turn in behind when the ball is played into her feet. Campbell heads the ball on for Barton who in turn puts it into the box for Meadowcroft can’t get her shot away, Stillinger regain possession but fails to get rid of it as Leyton Orient continue to press. Crisp is forwards for Cambridge in position central outside the D as the ball is rolled into her from the right, Wilson goes to ground tackling to win the ball before a shot can be lined up.

  Whitter comes deeper to win the ball strong on the ball slides it into Cantwell going forwards looks to pick out Gibson ahead of her, Cagetti is quick to close her down win the ball. The ball played forwards both Cambridge strikers get their heads to the ball a one two with the ball in the air moving towards the box before Gibson takes on the shot top of the box in low but without pace gathered by Ogunde. Cantwell surges forwards into space with the ball through the middle plays it forwards for Whitter to chase ahead of her has half a yard on Cagetti into the box left of goal looks to poke it across the keeper towards the far post succeeds but sees her effort run narrowly wide.

Whitter is getting frustrated she and Cagetti are talked to by the referee. Burt bringing the ball out from the back wide left sends t on for Howlett her diagonal ball into the D needs to be kicked clear by the onrushing keeper as Whitter threatens to get onto the end of it. Leyton Orient make the first substitution of the match Meadowcroft coming off up top to be replaced by Belen Ripoll-Douton. 

Cambridge’s Kayleigh-Anne Burt

Crisp wins the ball on for Cantwell who drives forwards plays the pass up to Whitter has Gibson to her right headers the ball down into her taking it on Gibson crosses into the box far side Cagetti wins the header before Howlett. Leyton Orient don’t get the ball away however Cantwell gets it back and shoots from 25 yards her low shot put straight at the keeper. Another change for Leyton Orient, Olympia Diamond coming on for Wilson. Cambridge make a change too Nuala Wayne coming on for Gibson in attack. 

Cambridge’s Nuala Wayne with Leyton Orient’s Egle Trezzi

A few tired legs out there and a few tired challenges remains a physical contest the referee having a word with a few players without yet brandishing a yellow card. That changes when Diamond new to the action dives in somewhat rashly on Howlett in the middle of the park over competitive it didn’t look pretty but Howlett just dusted herself down and it’s a yellow card for Diamond. Bastyr drives towards the box with the ball left side is marshalled wide by Jenkins, wriggles free and fires a cross in no one attacking far post as the ball runs wide.

Bright with a good pass picks out Howlett free on the left gets forwards rolls the ball into Whitter top of the area left side the striker turns intending to push through the Leyton Orient defence towards goal is closed down by 3 defenders no way through the ball deflected clear of the area drops to Crisp bursting forwards she shots wide from 25 yards. The midfielders last act of the game as Cambridge bring her off and send Ruth Fox on. 

Cambridge United WFC captain, Laura Bright

Late into the game Leyton Orient with a free kick inside the Cambridge half on the right as Whitter tangles with Barton. Griffiths on the ball plays it up towards the far post misses by McGranor falls to Campbell closed down quickly inside the six yard box Burt is clattered goes down play stopped so she can receive treatment is okay. McGranor is floored as she and Campbell come together in the box following a late corner for Leyton Orient the foul given the goalkeeper is okay to continue. 

  Leyton Orient make their final change as the game moves into the closing minutes bringing Trezzi off in midfield send on Natalie Colangelo. Cambridge switch to a back four in an attempt to find a late winner push forwards without getting in behind the visitors defence the final whistle blows and both sides share the points in their opening game.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-0 Leyton Orient WFC

  Overall probably a fair result a good start to the game from Cambridge creating openings, Leyton Orient were solid and grew into the game started the 2nd half the better pressed hard and both sides might well have claimed the win but the longer it remained 0-0 it looked the most likely result. A point on the board for both sides. Cambridge with alot of new faces in their side looked comfortable enough a few thing’s to work on but a solid defensive performance overall. Leyton Orient will be happy with the point always important for any newly promoted side to put in a competitive performance early on to settle them down build confidence were like Cambridge solid defensively giving little away and their pressing game brought opportunities up the other end.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

  A tough one today for Women’s Football East, Player of the Match defensive on top so it has to be a defender Stillinger made some good tackles for Cambridge, Bright ahead of the back three was influential on the ball too. For Leyton Orient, their captain Griffiths put in a good performance but I have to pick one so today’s Player of the Match goes to Francesca Cagetti good positioning and some clever defending on show too.

Good to get back in the groove feels odd writing the match reports here instead of on the SWF Blog but I’ll get used to it the season has started a competitive game if no goals I’ve missed it.