Match Report – Cambridge United WFC v Long Eaton United Ladies


Sunday 12th November

 Returning to the football after a well needed rest the action this Sunday from the FA Women’s Cup the qualifying rounds on to the 1st Round Proper of the competition at Mildenhall Town FC today to watch Cambridge United WFC v Long Eaton United Ladies.

FAWPL South East Division One side, Cambridge United WFC enjoyed a fantastic run in the FA Women’s Cup last season making it all the way to the 3rd Round Proper where they were eventually knocked out by FAWSL 2 side Aston Villa Ladies. Will be hoping for another good run this time around. 5th in the league have a much changed squad from last season several new faces in the side haven’t achieved the consistency of results from last season that saw them amongst the title challengers. 

  My 1st look at Derbyshire side, Long Eaton United Ladies now into their 2nd season in FAWPL Midlands Division One. Currently searching for a new 1st team manager struggled in the league early on losing 5 of their opening 6 games however have recovered recently finding form winning their last 3 matches in league and cup. 

  Both sides entering the competition in the last round, 3rd Round Qualifying faced fellow sides from their respective leagues, Cambridge United WFC  hosting Norwich City Ladies winning 4-0. Long Eaton United Ladies were also at home beat Leicester City Ladies 3-1 to advance into the 1st Round Proper.

  The venue for today’s game, Mildenhall Town FC the pitch as ever looking in fantastic condition, sloping from one goal to the other. A chilly day with a strong breeze blowing down the pitch, cloudy but no rain forecast. 

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Chloe Crook, Nettie Stillinger, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Carolyn Sarafian, Laura Bright (C), Laura Baker, Charlotte Crisp, Emma Jenkins Amy Howlett, Nuala Wayne & Lauren Gibson. Subs – Gabrielle Whitehurst, Lauren Cartwright & Amber Cantwell.

Long Eaton United starting XI – Lia Kellogg, Laura Robinson, Lucie Johnstone, Cala Thornton, Katherine Clarice (C), Amy Pashley, Chloe Dixon, Laura Sears, Jade Arber, Viki Adam & Cara Newton. Subs – Elle Rowson, Suzanne Hart, Jamie Kingham.

A minutes silence observed before kick-off like all matches across the country to mark Remembrance Sunday. It’s the visitors Long Eaton to kick off the 1st half with the wind in their favour. Wear an all navy blue kit. Cambridge lined up opposite wearing amber and black shirts, black shorts and socks. A scrappy opening to the game Cambridge pressing Long Eaton in possession. A ball threaded through the midfield by Long Eaton’s Amy Pashley almost has striker Viki Adams through on the Cambridge goal, a great tackle from captain, Laura Bright playing in midfield she’s the home side regain possession Bright out to Amy Howlett right side her crossfield ball picking out Emma Jenkins on the opposite flank, knocks the ball forwards is stopped by Long Eaton’s captain, Katherine Clarice at the top of the area.

Jade Arber on the ball for Long Eaton United Ladies

The pressing from both sides sees a lack of goalmouth action in the opening minutes. Long Eaton closing Cambridge down in some cases a little to strongly a push in the back on Cambridge striker Lauren Gibson bringing the home side a free kick, a good way out wide right the ball up towards the box standing up in the wind Long Eaton head clear, attack down the other end Pashley running forwards the ball rolled into her uses the momentum to try a shot from distance with the strong wind behind her 35 yards out the effort sails over the Cambridge goal. 

  A free kick awarded to Long Eaton wide left in a good position as Jade Arber is fouled. An attempt at goal sees Cambridge goalkeeper Chloe Crook on loan from Tottenham Hotspur Ladies produce a great save the ball tipped onto the bar, bounces down back into play inside the six yard box right of goal a 2nd shot comes in Nettie Stillinger covering the post rushing out makes the block the rebound hit back in towards goal finds the side netting.

   A clever turn from Gibson as the pass is played into her by Charlotte Crisp the striker’s progress is then halted as she is clipped on the back of the ankle by Pashley the referee awarding the free kick. 35 yards out to the right Bright sends the ball up towards the area another wind affected delivery giving the Long Eaton defence time to get under the ball the visitors counter attack the ball put on for Adams running through the middle 30 yards out pulls the trigger her effort rolling wide across the goal. 

 Excellent hold up play from Jenkins keeping possession on the left side support from Carolyn Sarafain coming forwards to receive the cross a good delivery into the area Long Eaton goalkeeper Lia Kellogg coming confidently through bodies to claim the ball on the penalty spot. Up the other end Long Eaton build Chloe Dixon on for Cara Newton in attack, Arber has space to run into Newton picks her out her cross in sliced is angling towards Crook’s near post the keeper taking the ball high with Adam coming in. 

Emma Jenkins bring the ball on for Cambridge United WFC

The pressing game from Long Eaton along with the final ball not finding it’s target sees Cambridge getting a little frustrated, Baker receives a talking to by the referee committing another foul soon after results in her receiving a yellow card. Midway through the 1st half little goalmouth action. No one getting much time on the ball. A free kick for the visitors wide left quite away out with with the advantage of the wind the ball is put in towards the box Crook going for it gets a fist on the ball taking out one of her own players in the process at the far post the ball spins behind for the 1st corner of the game.

  GOAL! A good delivery from the corner finds Clarice central top of the area the ball at her feet not allowed to turn gets the ball back to the corner taker sent back in Cambridge defend near post the ball back out the the right side Long Eaton keep hold of it the cross whipped back in finds Arber unmarked inside the six yard box puts her head onto the ball knocking at down into the back of the net 0-1.

Jade Arber scores the headed goal to put Long Eaton United Ladies 1-0 up

 Howlett finding some space on the right gets up to the corner her attempted cross charged down by Long Eaton left back Lucie Johnstone brings the home side their 1st corner of the game, Baker to play in a good ball in central Nuala Wayne gets her head on the ball knocking it in towards goal too many bodies in the way the ball is launched clear. Long Eaton ready to break whenever Cambridge commit players forwards Arber left and Laura Sears right on the move to support the top two, Adam and Newton. A corner won on the right side. Delivered near post with Sears coming to meet the ball her header deflecting the ball towards goal is straight in to Crook’s gloves. 

Cambridge United WFC’s, Amy Howlett

Long Eaton winning the physical battle are just getting there before Cambridge to most things adding to the home sides frustration. Arber with a great touch as the ball is played into her on the left side, for a moment looks like she might be away, Kayleigh-Anne Burt playing in the centre of Cambridge’s back three across on the cover quickly sliding in with a fantastic tackle to stop the winger. More good link up play between Long Eaton’s Adam and Newton out to Arber left the return ball to Newton looking to get into the box doesn’t quite come off. Keeping the pressure on a throw left side his worked in field to Dixon 25 yards out her shot screws away from target.

Long Eaton United Ladies, Chloe Dixon with Cambridge’s Laura Baker

  5 minutes left to play in the 1st half, Long Eaton working hard to prevent Cambridge any time on the ball win another corner, An inswinging ball, Crook punches well to get it away near post but is fouled doing so. Sarafian bringing the ball on for Cambridge into Jenkins, tacked by Laura Robinson the throw to the home side high up the pitch inside to Wayne allowed a bit of space 25 yards out left of the goal takes on the shot her strike running wide across the goal. 

  Pashley is fouled on the halfway line, with the wind goes for goal the ball over the bar. Cambridge push on late in the half Baker with the run on the ball into Gibson top of the area no room to turn Thornton sending the ball forwards for Long Eaton the break is on Newton with the ball right side two at the back for Cambridge, she takes on the shot from 30 yards out, not seeing Arber in acres of space to the left her strike racing along the ground wide across the Cambridge goal.

Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Long Eaton United Ladies 

  Long Eaton go into the dressing room at half-time with a narrow 1-0 lead. A scrappy 1st half a proper cup tie, the visitors working hard to press Cambridge and with the wind to their advantage have exploited the conditions well. Chances have been few and far between Crook the busier of the 2 keepers, Cambridge yet to test Kellogg up the other end frustrated the final ball just not finding it’s mark. At 1-0 the tie is very much alive with another 45 minutes to come and the rest if needed.

A change in the weather 2nd half the strong wind that has been present throughout the 1st half no longer present as the clouds break up the sun making an appearance doing nothing to warm things up however. Cambridge attacking down the slope 2nd half to kick off the 2nd half no changes for either side. Newton gets hold of the ball for Long Eaton inside the opponents half driving forwards with the ball at her feet looking to get into the box is tackled well by Baker. Cambridge get the ball forwards on the right Howlett putting the ball in early to the middle Jenkins drifting inside with the 1st time strike 25 yards out puts the ball well over the bar. 

  Cambridge starting the 2nd half better getting more bodies forwards, Bright working hard in the middle to keep possession with the home side. Jenkins a hard player to get off the ball when she has it at her feet winning Cambridge a throw left side the ball played into he middle Sarafian with the shot from a long way out over the bar. Cambridge with a corner right side the ball put into the box, Burt closest tries to muscle her way through the Long Eaton defence they scramble it clear. Long Eaton soaking up the Cambridge pressure counter attack Sears getting free on the right wing inside for Pashley 25 yards out lifts her shot wide of the Cambridge goal.

Long Eaton United Ladies, Laura Sears

The sun setting low over one corner of the ground not helping Cambridge’s cause the home side with more of the ball in the Long Eaton half. Sears goes down after a challenge needing to come off close to the dug out does so but play goes on the sub not ready. Cambridge are attacking the ball swept in from the right Gibson going for it doesn’t get a touch through to Kellogg. Elle Rowson comes on for Long Eaton to replace Sears.

Cambridge make a double substitution, Crisp and Wayne coming off for Lauren Cartwright and Amber Cantwell. Cantwell is fouled out wide left Cambridge awarded the free kick. The shot is taken the ball hit over the crossbar. Jenkins spins in behind turning her marker on the left taking the ball in field an unorthodox piece of defending from Long Eaton’s captain Clarice as she falls over before Jenkins gets to her grounded the attacker runs straight into her the ball deflected away to be cleared. 

   A good run and pass from Cartwright to put Jenkins away on the left wing, Thornton coming across on the cover to put the ball behind for the corner kick. The delivery fired in with pace finds Cartwright 10 yards out the ball headed down towards goal cleared off the line, play is stopped however as the referee spots a foul on the keeper. Into the last 20 minutes of the game. Jenkins moving into a central position the ball rolled into her from the left flank 25 yards out strikes the ball sweetly angling towards the far post an excellent save from Kellogg diving to her right to push the ball away. 

Long Eaton United Ladies goalkeeper Lia Kellogg

   Long Eaton play the ball out from the back Adam into Rowson central into the Cambridge half her threaded pass finding Newton central at the top of the area puts her shot narrowly wide of the post with Burt closing her down. Pashley goes into the book for a foul on Cartwright. 35 yards out Baker over the ball goes for goal her curling strike safely taken by Kellogg. Both sides are showing frustration a difficult game with on one getting any time on the ball. Jenkins is yellow carded as she lets her emotion out. Cambridge make their final change Gabrielle Whitehurst coming on to replace Gibson. The cloud cover starting to return the wind is beginning to pick up once again.

Cambridge United WFC’s Kayleigh-Anne Burt

   Arber left side 25 yards out has a shot for Long Eaton her effort over but not by much. Bright pushed forwards now working with Howlett on the right wing the ball fired back into Bright inside the box six yards out right side of goal hits the 1st time shot another fantastic save from Kellogg down low to her right the ball deflected back into Bright to Howlett on the byline hits it back towards her but the flag is up for offside. Into the final 10 minutes of the game Cambridge pushing hard for an equaliser. Cantwell with a strike from distance another good save from Kellogg.  

Cambridge United WFC captain, Laura Bright

A card is shown to both Bright and Johnstone a free kick to Cambridge wide left Cantwell on the ball. Not much of the 90 left. Cambridge flood the box Cantwell’s delivery on the spot falls for Sarafain her header over the bar. Into stoppage time 4 minutes to be played. Cambridge break from a Long Eaton free kick the ball with Bright onto Howlett right the crossfield pass finding Jenkins left side taking the ball into the corner works free of her marker to send a testing ball in towards the near post Kellogg making another fine save under pressure with Cartwright coming in the corner conceded. The final whistle blows and Long Eaton go through to the 2nd Round Proper thanks to Arber’s 1st half goal.

Full time Cambridge United WFC 0-1 Long Eaton United Ladies

    A scrappy cup tie, Long Eaton working hard all over the pitch to win the ball a little stronger than Cambridge especially 1st half. Getting the goal and defending well on the whole 2nd half soaking up the pressure Cambridge tried to assert. Some fine saves from Kellogg keeping their narrow lead intact. A frustrating day for Cambridge one of those days where it looks like you’re never going to score their FA Cup run comes to an end this season.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match 

    Games like this it’s hard to pick a single stand out performer a gritty hard working team effort from Long Eaton United Ladies everybody played their part from front to back line to press the ball the centrebacks giving nothing away through the middle, but although she had nothing to do in the 1st half her saves were crucial to keeping that 1-0 lead intact late in the 2nd half as Cambridge pressed on so this afternoons Women’s Football East – Player of the Match goes to Lia Kellogg.

  My thanks as always to both sides for their help today. Best of luck to Long Eaton United Ladies for the next round the draw to take place on Monday.