Sunday 8th October
Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership
A return to county league action this Sunday on Women’s Football East with a trip into Cambridgeshire to watch a game from the Women’s Premiership with Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds taking on Eaton Socon Ladies.
Cambridgeshire like the other county leagues across the East seeing a rise in the number of sides playing as the women’s game continues to grow across the country. The county now featuring 3 divisions with a total of 33 sides. 10 sides competing in the Premiership.
Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds one of the longest established clubs within Cambridge competing in the counties top division. Of course can’t go past this without mentioning the heartfelt loss of Sam Issacson losing her battle with bowel cancer a well loved member of the Fulbourn team, taking part in the Kick Cancer Cup along with her Fulbourn teammates raising money for charity before final succumbing to the decease. A bench erected by the pitches at the Recreation Ground in her honour and the new coaching team of Ashley Hunt and Ryan Lee adding a tribute to the with the words Sam 10 on the shirt sleeves the number 10 shirt retired in her name.
A side that was often amongst the goals last season where they averaged 6.44 goals per game they featured in unfortunately not winning as many as they lost though, to record a 7th place finish. Ebony Crook and Marie Stubbings scoring 40 goals between them last season with Crook getting 18, Stubbings 22. Neither coming close to Ellie Woodley who found the back of the net for 40 goals during the campaign. Just two league matches played so far this season, suffering a 1-0 defeat against Cambridge Rangers WFC before bouncing back well away to Cambridge University Women last time out winning 5-0 with Marie Stubbings netting a hat-trick, Eleanor Woodley and Natalie Wells also on the score sheet.
Eaton Socon Ladies joining the Cambridgeshire Women’s football league back ii the 2019 season, initially affected by the Covid pandemic season’s have progressed up the league’s winning Division One North in 2021. Promoted to the Premiership last season enjoyed a strong debut season at that level unbeaten in their first 6 matches, only losing 5 matches along the way with 4 of those being against the two sides vying for the title finishing 4th overall. Sasha Tristram now out in the US to enjoy her football top scoring during that campaign with 12 goals.
Due to unforeseen circumstances Eaton Socon Ladies having to bringing in a new manager just a few weeks before the season was due to start with Dan Dodson taking charge of the squad. Looking to bring in a different style of play it has been a tougher start to the campaign with 3 consecutive losses beginning with a 1-0 home defeat against Real Bedford Reserves then back to back losses on the road 2-0 and 6-0 away to Cambridge Rangers WFC and Whittlesey Athletic Ladies. Will be hoping to turn their fortunes around with their 3rd successive away trip.
Having not been to the Fulbourn Recreation Ground for a while I was still sure I knew the way, but I didn’t as I turned right at the pub bringing me out behind the pitch so a quick turn around and I sorted thing’s out. A large community facility with numerous sports activities on offer the grass pitches over looked by a large pavilion and cricket square. Today’s game on the pitch furthest from the changing rooms the whole area surrounded by trees. At first appearances the pitch appearing to be covered in dew in places but was in fact a carpet of spiders webs…
…with numerous little arachnids scuttling about getting disturbed by the arrival of the players and supporters alike. The weather remains beautiful for the time of year with it again over 20 degrees, dry and the sun high in a relatively blue sky.
Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds starting XI – Rachel Fallow, Seema Grewal, Julie Brown, Sarah Bodger, Jess Anderson, Dani Quinn, Hollie Turner, Ebony Crook, Katie Luddy, Marie Stubbings (C) & Ellie Woodley. Subs – Jody Hoenink & Gabby Gallegos.
Eaton Socon Ladies starting XI – Keeley Robinson, Abby Jones, Faye Prout, Gemma Cooksley (C), Georgia Bickley, Kelly Bingham, Hannah Hutchinson, Shannah Anico, Charlotte Crisp, Chloe Parncutt & Lily Horsler. Subs – Kayleigh Clarke, Hollie Radford-Dare, Cara Howell, Rebecca Jones & Leah Falzarano.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
The spiders might have enjoyed their Sunday so far, but now 22 football players are about to descend upon them. Eaton Socon doing the league double over Fulbourn last season will be hoping for a victory today to kick start the new campaign the sun moving around the pitch with the tree line leaving one goalmouth in shade with Fulbourn winning the kick-off attacking that end first half wearing sky blue shirts with claret sleeves, claret shorts and sky blue socks. Eaton Socon themselves usually playing in claret colours wearing a white away shirt with red on the sleeves, white shorts and claret socks. The ball rolled back to captain Marie Stubbings to clip long out to the right as Katie Luddy breaks forwards on the wing, Faye Prout clearing the danger for Eaton Socon.
The visitors hustling in midfield the ball played out to the right for Shannah Anico to attack up the line whipping a dangerous cross into the Fulbourn six yard box players running no one can get a touch as it bounces on at the far post. Retrieved on the left the cross back in taking a deflection straight into goalkeeper Rachel Fallow’s gloves. Hannah Hutchinson battling for the ball in midfield for Eaton Socon picking out Anico with the diagonal pass out to the right, Fulbourn full back Julie Brown getting across her to take the ball out for a throw.
Eaton Socon looking to make a positive start pushing up into the Fulbourn half to press and win the ball, Anico providing an outlet on the right looking to take on Brown a good contest looming between the pair, Brown throwing a leg out to take the ball away from Anico. A high line from the visitors Fulbourn looking to expose the defence as Hollie Turner gets hold of the ball inside the centre circle attempts to thread it in behind into Stubbings as she pulls into the left channel, Abbey Jones with a timely interception for Eaton Socon.
The Eaton Socon defence back peddling as Fulbourn turn play around with a high clearance from the back players rushing forwards, Georgia Bickley getting her boot up well to hook the ball away to safety.
GOAL! The ball contested hotly in the middle Fulbourn bring it on the attackers combining Woodley on for Stubbings breaking into the area left of the D, goalkeeper Keeley Robinson coming to close her down, saves with her foot as Stubbings shoots the rebound gathered by Stubbings who lays the ball in central for Woodley to turn unmarked and open up her body to slot the ball into the bottom corner 1-0.
A goal inside the opening 5 minutes from Fulbourn, a blow for Eaton Socon having made a positive start winning a free-kick on half way the ball floated in to the top of the area the header won by Fulbourn’s Sarah Bodger.
GOAL! Fulbourn’s attackers carve open the Eaton Socon defence to double their lead as Stubbins picking the ball up on halfway travels on well before threading it through the middle for Woodley to race clear into the box and shoot low wide of the keeper for her 2nd goal in 3 minutes 2-0.
Eaton Socon well and truly on the back foot now, looking for a response as Hutchinson takes the ball on into the right corner before whipping a dangerous back in across the face of goal, no one there to turn it home however. The visitors getting a throw high on the right, Anico and Jess Horsler combining as another teasing ball is flashed across the six yard box, Seema Grewal able to clear for Fulbourn beyond the far post.
Fulbourn winning a free-kick on the left 35 yards out as Crook bringing the ball on is bundled to the ground. Over the set-piece herself strikes the ball in towards goal a curling ball that crashes down off the crossbar, Dani Quinn racing in on the follow up as the ball drops wide of the right post, Robinson on the ground having dived attempting to get to Crook’s effort scrambling up to make the blocking save, Quinn able to get hold of the ball for a 2nd bite looking to drag it round the keeper can’t believe it as she rakes her shot wide past the far post.
The visitors on the ropes coming close to conceding a 3rd scrapping for possession in the middle, Kelly Bingham on for Horsler, turns Bodger in to close her down. Turner and Quinn working together in the middle for Fulbourn the ball lifted forwards, cleared by Eaton Socon captain, Gemma Cooksley as she backs up towards her area, Stubbings racing in to steal the ball finding its way into Crook inside the D, turns inside looking to strike the ball sends her effort wide of the top corner.
Eaton Socon riding their look still aiming to get forwards with Hutchinson carrying the ball out to the right linking up well with Anico on the line to deliver a cross in along the top of the area, Horsler getting up to head the ball down towards goal, drops straight into Farrow back on her line. Hutchinson making some powerful runs on the ball again on the right winning a throw the ball down for Anico to cross, Charlotte Crisp looking to get it under control outside the box, turns into Jess Anderson as she closes her down.
Bickley clearing at the back for Eaton Socon as she drops back on Woodley as Stubbings attempts to play the ball up to her. Brown lunging in to deny Anico getting in behind on the right. Eaton Socon pressing on the right with Bingham the latest player to take the ball on force her way through into the box, running into traffic. Crisp brought down presenting Eaton Socon with a free-kick 25 yards out to the right of goal. Takes on the shot the Fulbourn wall doing it’s job the ball deflected out to the left as the referee stops proceedings for a drinks break.
25 minutes played a chance for Eaton Socon to regroup. Play resuming with an Eaton Socon throw on the right, Chloe Parnett crossing the ball in high headed clear by Bodger. Bodger then clearing as she closes down Hutchinson looking to drive on with the ball on the left side. Hutchinson sending a ball over the top into the area for Horsler and Crisp to attack, Anderson holding them off to see the ball safely back to her keeper.
Stubbings getting the ball down inside the Eaton Socon half off of their own goal kick knocks it forwards into Woodley inside the D, looking to turn inside to shoot Bickley stretching out a leg for Eaton Socon deflects the ball away. The visitors get on up the left winning a throw high leading to a looping cross dropping into the six yard box, Crisp under challenge trying to get something on it unable to connect as Fallow lays claim to it.
Eaton Socon winning the first corner of the game taken from the right a great delivery curled in across the face of goal over everyone, no one able to connect as it bounces past the far post. Fulbourn happy to drop invite Eaton Socon on defend around their box knowing the counter is always on the ball cleared out to the left with Crook looking to turn the defence, Jones just about staying on her stretching her leg to knock it against Crook to deflect it away to the left corner, then as Crook goes to retrieve it Jones prevents the cross coming in the ball off Crook for the goal kick.
Turner and Quinn putting in a shift to win the ball in the middle for Fulbourn the ball forwards releasing Woodley away through the middle off Cooksley last man she can’t risk bringing her down as Woodley break into the box a chance to net her hat-trick shoots early a tame effort in the finish not troubling Robinson.
Stubbings pulling out to the right wide receiving the ball, held up lays it back up the line for Luddy her cross/shot from deep dropping over the Eaton Socon goal. Woodley put in the clear on the right wing sees the keeper way off her line attempts the chip sending the ball over her to bounce inside the six yard box, up onto the crossbar and behind!
The chances mounting for Fulbourn to extend their lead. Eaton Socon still pushing for a reply however getting another corner on the right, swung into the near post, Farrow punching it behind for a 2nd corner, this one cleared out of the area, no break on as Eaton Socon put a diagonal ball into Horsley who hits the shot on the turn 30 yards out a good effort, but once again straight into Farrow.
The visitors winning the ball central on for Horsley, right going in to challenge with Brown the defender grounded the ball deflected forwards, Bingham racing onto it striking the ball on the angle, Farrow scrambling across her goal seeing it crash into the side netting. Leah Falzarano on for Eaton Socon for Anico, up on the right with Hutchinson cut back inside for Horsler her shot blocked by Bodger.
Eaton Socon overloading the right side getting up the pitch well delivering a dangerous ball into the box bouncing awkwardly at the far post with Parncutt closing down the keeper, Fallow composed taking it high on the bounce. Brown picking up a head injury for Fulbourn in the latter stages of the first half comes off with Jody Hoenink coming on. The game getting a little testy in patches Eaton Socon a little frustrated. The visitors with the opportunity to play the ball into the area off a free-kick on the right Bingham to deliver, Crisp up central can’t get strong contact the ball flicked out to the left gathered by Parncutt who rifles a shot over on the angle.
Cooksley winning the ball as she tackles Stubbings inside the D as she attempt to bring down a cross put in from Luddy on the right. Eaton Socon flabbergasted as they fail to win a corner in the dying seconds of the first half with Bingham and Anderson battling for the ball delivered into the box from the right, Bingham adamant it came off the defender.
Half-time Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds 2-0 Eaton Socon Ladies
Fulbourn in control of the first half, despite Eaton Socon looking to make a positive start the hosts capitalising on errors at the back to break away to score two early goals. Woodley on target for both, could well have added a couple more having created some golden chances and hitting the woodwork. Eaton Socon regrouping well after the drinks break to try and pressure the Fulbourn defence getting after the ball getting into some good positions but not testing the keeper. Still at just 2-0 are far from out of the game and as is often the case the next goal is critical. With the pavilion housing the changing rooms a good distance away both teams staying out in the shade for the half-time break. Spiders everywhere one crawling across my notepad and having left my bag open goodness knows how many I’ll be bringing home with me.
No fresh changes for either side with Jody Hoenink for Fulbourn and Leah Falzarano for Eaton Socon coming on late in the first half. The visitors to get the 2nd half underway. The ball launched forwards out to the right, Hoenink doing the defending for Fulbourn. The hosts straight on the counter with Turner in the centre helping the ball on for Stubbings to race forwards lay the pass out to Woodley on the right her strike on the angle saved low at the near post by Robinson.
Fulbourn pressing the ball outside the box deflected back into the box, Robinson rushed into the clearance as Woodley closes her down. Quinn tackling in the centre playing the pass forwards into Stubbings sprays the ball out to the right for Luddy, her cross swept in towards goal put behind.
Eaton Socon getting up on the right winning a corner the ball sent into Horsley top of the area plays it back to the taker driven in towards the near post cleared by Hoenink, Crisp getting back onto the ball from distance striking a shot wide. Bingham putting herself about to try and win the ball back for Eaton Socon get them on the attack driving a pass into Horsler 25 yards out back to goal controls on the turn striking a shot goal wards, Fallow must have a script for this game because the goalkeepers right behind it again to catch.
Bodger defending as Bingham drives at her getting the ball off Parncutt on the left. Winning a throw on the left level with the top of the area Bingham sees the ball into her before tracking inside to strike the ball, falling back as she does so screws the ball wide of the far post.
Eaton Socon remaining competitive looking to take the game to Fulbourn who allow sitting back remain comfortable in defence. The ball lifted into the six yard box off a throw on the left drops in front of Falzarano, the attacker can’t get a telling touch though before Fallow snatches up the ball. Fulbourn patient in attack ready to hit Eaton Socon on the counter Turner out to Stubbings left plays it forwards early into the channel looking to release Woodley, Robinson racing out to the edge of her box able to gather first.
Horsley controlling the ball 30 yards out putting into the path of Hutchinson bursting away into the left channel striking the ball in towards goal on the angle plenty of power behind it Farrow gets down low to save top of her six yard box the ball split running out to the left, Grewal back to hook the ball away from a throw before Parncutt can pounce. Eaton Socon with a double change the fullbacks Prout and Jones coming off Rebecca Jones and Cara Howell coming on. Brown back on for Fulbourn replacing Luddy.
Fallow down to stop a shot driven in on the angle by Crisp for Eaton Socon. Crook up on the right for Fulbourn whipping a cross in near post, Woodley closing in on the keeper, Robinson staying big making the blocking save holding onto the ball.
Quinn tracking back well from the midfield to put the challenge in on Hutchinson top of the area as she drives on through the middle with the ball. Bickley defending for Eaton Socon at the back as Woodley takes the ball into the box a corner conceded on the right. Played in deep across the six yard box Quinn meeting it heads over. Bingham determined to get forwards on the right winning Eaton Socon a corner kick, this time Quinn is up to win the defensive header, Stubbings bringing the ball away to safety. Midway through the 2nd half. Fulbourn breaking away in attack Crook up with Woodley through the middle the latter running through into the area, Robinson coming to close her down saving the ball beat away to the right…
GOAL! The ball deflected out to the right Crook racing after it the Eaton Socon defence stretched the cross fired in along the face of goal, Robinson can’t get down to it, with Woodley waiting at the far post for a simple tap in to secure her first hat-trick of the season. 3-0.
A drinks break called immediately after the goal remains warm out there. The game restarted from the spot Eaton Socon sloppy in possession giving it away the diagonal ball out to Crook on the right wing hooks a high ball in towards the far post, has Robinson back peddling can’t get to it, close but lands on the roof of the net.
Woodley lining up a strike from 25 yards out as the ball deflects into her feet, races wide of the right post. Eaton Socon with another double switch bringing on Hollie Radford-Dare and Kayleigh Clarke for Horsley and Parncutt off. Crisp curls the ball forwards looking to drop it into the path of Falzarano racing towards the box, Farrow quickly forwards to claim.
Hutchinson upended as she drives forwards with the ball the free kick awarded 20 yards right of the D. Crisp over it her shot deflected up off the wall falling to Hutchinson beyond the right post can’t sort out her feet before she is closed down snatches the ball wide.
Grewal winning the ball at the back for Fulbourn hooking it into the middle for Stubbings to who in turn feeds the ball up the left channel into Woodley in space the keeper off her line takes on the shot early slotting it past Robinson but too past the outside of the far post. Fulbourn gaining momentum as Eaton Socon tire Turner into Stubbings she and Woodley combine through the middle bringing the ball on played wide to Crook breaking away on the right fires a pacy ball low into the six yard box, Robinson down well to grab with a smart save with Woodley rushing to close her down.
Fulbourn making a change at left back bringing on Gabby Gallegos for Grewal with a little over 10 minutes left to play. The hosts in control as Quinn is fouled on halfway. Bodger to send the ball on up into the area, Cooksley clearing for Eaton Socon. Anderson can’t help but collide with her keeper as Fallow makes the decision to come and claim the ball low off an Eaton Socon free-kick from halfway. Down for a moment is okay to continue. Howell picking up a knock on her knee (I know what they feel like) is taken off with Anico back on for the visitors.
Fulbourn working hard towards the latter stages of the game to keep their clean sheet intact. Hutchinson pushing on with the ball right side winning a corner off Anderson. Into the last 5 minutes, Hoenink out to Quinn on for Stubbings through the middle on for Woodley left of the area 25 yards out her shot wide of the far post taking a nick off a defender the corner awarded. Swept in across the face of goal claimed confidently by Robinson. Crook taking the ball into the corner with the clock ticking down.
Radford-Dare took out by Anderson a heavy challenge, the free-kick awarded, Bingham getting a warning from the referee after voicing her complaints. Crisp over the ball to the left swept in central one bounce and claimed by the keeper. Crook taking the ball away to the corner getting a late corner deep in stoppage time, the shot from the edge of the box held by the keeper.
Full time Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds 3-0 Eaton Socon Ladies
Full time and Fulbourn come away with the 3 points and a 2nd successive clean sheet, Ellie Woodley with all three of their goals. Breaking away to get in behind the Eaton Socon defence to score two early goals in the first half. Creating more good opportunities to extend their lead. Eaton Socon competing for the ball looking to press high making mistakes at the back letting their opponents in. Enjoyed good spells without really testing the keeper. At 2-0 however weren’t out of the game by any stretch and came out strong at the start of the 2nd half looking for a reply, Fulbourn happy to sit back defending comfortably waiting for the right moment to attack getting the crucial 3rd goal to seal the result.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto this afternoon’s Women’s Football East – Player of the Match award. Once again not a straight forwards decision a few contenders and some performances of note to mention. First up for Eaton Socon. Hannah Hutchinson looked to be the driving force through the middle getting hold of the ball and making several good runs. Shannah Anico providing a great outlet on the right in the first half, while Kelly Bingham got about well covering the ground looking to win possession and take her team forwards. For Fulbourn Dani Quinn and Hollie Turner with a composed display in the middle of the park. The front 3 outstanding 80 goals between them last season, Marie Stubbings getting onto the ball carrying it forwards well with two assists. Ebony Crook out on the flanks offering some great runs and getting the ball into the attackers well with the other assist. The award though goes to the hat-trick scorer herself Ellie Woodley clinical in her finishes pulling into the channels well and reading the game developing behind her.
Great to be back at Fulbourn again, has been a while but I can say that about several places, good to catch up though and pleased to finally see Eaton Socon even if they didn’t get a positive result stick together and the results will come. Appreciate the help given by both teams today. I dare say we’ve all taken a spider home with us but they don’t mean us any harm.
by Darren Gilham