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Cup Final Report – Cambridge United WFC v Great Shelford Ladies


Cup Final Report – Cambridge United WFC v Great Shelford Ladies

   Trip to Histon FC this Thursday evening to watch the final of the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup Final sponsored by S-Tech Insurance between Cambridge United WFC and Great Shelford Ladies.

  Something of a regular fixture these days as the 2 leading sides in women’s football in Cambridgeshire contest the final for the 4th consecutive season, Cambridge United WFC, (or Cambridge WFC as they were previously) winning the trophy on each occasion. A rearranged final having been originally scheduled for 2 weeks ago, heavy rain before the match left standing water on the pitch and unsafe travelling conditions led to the match being unfortunately called off.

Road to the Final
  Contrasting season’s for both sides, Cambridge United WFC had a poor start to the season failing to pick up a win and going out of the FA Women’s Cup, turned thing’s around going on an 8 match unbeaten run to climb up the FAWPL South east Division One table have finished top half with their best points haul in the league. Defending the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup entered the competition in the 2nd Round a home win was awarded against opponents Fulbourn Bluebirds. 
  Were on the road in the quarter finals away to Cambridgeshire Women’s Premiership side Newmarket Town Ladies, played at Newmarket Town FC, Cambridge United WFC were far too strong on the day winning the game 9-0. On the the semi-finals and a good test as they were drawn against Cambridge City Ladies young guns hoping to win the Premiership title in their 1st season at that level. Cambridge United WFC won the game 6-2 to reach the final once again.
  Playing in the league below Cambridge United WFC, in the ERWFL Premier Division it has been a tough season for Great Shelford Ladies have been near the bottom of the table all season unable to get a decent run of games in in a stop start season, as they look to bring in a few younger players to build for the future.
   Were away to Cambridgeshire Women’s Championship North side March Town United Ladies in the 2nd Round won the game 4-1 to make the quarter finals and a home draw against Premiership side Bar Hill Ladies. Won the game 5-1 to advance through to the semi-finals. Faced another Premiership side away from home with title ambitions ICA Sports Ladies who had beaten higher league opponents in the quarter finals knocking out Riverside Rovers Ladies in a penalty shoot out. No upset this time around with Great Shelford Ladies winning 3-1 to set up another final with Cambridge.

  The venue Histon FC just off the A14, a good sized non-league stadium with great facilities a large main seated stand overlooking the dugouts, A bar situated at the back. Hot and col refreshments below. Covered stands all around which was just as well as the weather although dry at the start of the game was going to get very wet later, dark clouds filling the sky the wind starting to pick up as the two sides walked out onto the pitch.

Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Lucy Du Plooy, Laura Bright (C), Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Laura Baker, Hannah Goodchild, Laura Mills, Becky Taylor, Faith Hewitt & Paige Logie.
subs – Tahnee Perfect, Carrie Bennett, Isabella Simmons, Monique Christian & Nicola Geoghan.

Great Shelford Ladies starting XI – Laura Gilbey (C), Katie Sims, Katie Webb, Cindy Ponder, Claire Creek, Sophie Lanham, Alison Wright, Jordanne Sillitoe, Sophie Hopkin, Kate Saunders & Rachael Pearce

subs – Natalie Shenton, Abigail Davies, Claire Andrews, Sophie Ugur & Chloe Houston.

 (roll on roll off substitutes)
   It’s Great Shelford to kick off the 1st half of the final wearing claret shirts with sky blue sides and sleeves against Cambridge lined up opposite wearing amber and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and amber socks. Jordanne Sillitoe is on the ball early played in down the right wing, driving forwards is stopped by Cambridge’s Lucy Du Plooy at left back. 
Winning a free kick on half-way a chance for Great Shelford to play it long into the Cambridge area, Cindy Ponder to put the ball in, goes into the box bouncing Cambridge goalkeeper Verity Crook calls for it and claims. 
  Emma Jenkins is released into space on the right as Cambridge go forwards, Faith Hewitt putting her in to attack, bringing the ball on whips in an early cross long across the Great Shelford box, were Becky Taylor who previously played for Great Shelford is racing in, can’t quite get there to turn the ball home as it runs out of play for a goal kick. On the right side again Laura Mills carries the ball down the flank squaring a cross in towards Paige Logie coming over to receive the ball inside the box, lays it back to the face of the area with Laura Baker running in meets it hitting the shot 1st time sees her effort run wide across the goal.
  Cambridge win a free kick on the left side inside the Great Shelford half the ball played high into the box is sent back out Cambridge get hold of it a strike from distance comes in, goes high and wide, a corner kick is signalled the ball taking a deflection on the way out. Mills on corner duty plays the ball into the centre of the box, Great Shelford’s Alison Wright rises to head the ball away.
 Cambridge are finding space for their wide players to attack have the Great Shelford defence back tracking, Ponder and fellow centre back Claire Creek are dealing with most thing’s flung into the so far. In the centre Wright get’s her foot on the ball and carries it forwards a surge into the Cambridge area, captain Laura Bright gets across to put in the tackle and win the ball putting it out for a corner kick. Played long from the left goes over everyone gathered inside the six yard box out for a goal kick. 
  The wind has been getting stronger and in comes the rain as it starts to fall Baker nods the ball forwards in the midfield getting free plays the ball out to Mills wide right, driving up the pitch cuts back inside trying to take the ball beyond Ponder into the area to shoot the central defender stands firm winning the ball. Taylor coming forwards into the Great Shelford half sends the ball over the top with Mills racing forwards ahead of her meets the dropping ball on the volley drives wide.
  GOAL! 25 minutes into the 1st half the chances have been building for Cambridge as the open the scoring, the ball is played forwards from midfield into the area, bouncing as it comes in Mills is looking to get onto the end of it, comes through to goalkeeper and captain Laura Gilbey, inside her six yard box under challenge manages to pluck it out of the air but drops it as she falls to the ground, the ball spilling out to the left, Baker is up with her and getting onto the end of the ball taps it home 1-0.
  The Great Shelford defence breached Cambridge keep coming a powerful run from Logie moving into space on the right, turns and plays the ball across the face of the Great Shelford box Hewitt gets her foot over the shot to turn it towards goal, runs straight through to the gloves of Gilbey. A mazy run from Mills on the ball sees her come inside her shot from outside the box charged down by Ponder. 
  Great Shelford’s attackers haven’t had much opportunity to link up 1st half getting hold of the ball inside the Cambridge half, Katie Saunders plays the ball out to Rachael Pearce on the left pushes on then looks to put the ball square into Sophie Hopkin coming through the middle can’t quite take the ball on as it just evades her allowing Cambridge the chance to clear. Double change for Cambridge, Isabella Simmons and Tahnee Perfect coming on for Hewitt and Goodchild. 
  Wright is up inside the Cambridge box for a free kick sent in from halfway pulls away right trying to bring the ball down with defender Kayleigh-Anne Burt on her, squeezes a shot away, too many bodies to get through, takes a deflection sending it behind for the corner. Comes in central Crook comes and claims unchallenged. Again Wright is brought down as she tries to carry the ball forwards through the middle of the park, 30 yards out Sophie Lanham takes this one goes for goal gets the ball past the wall, runs wide of goal.
  Taylor attacks up the left for Cambridge pushing on has Logie available inside the box coming out towards the ball, Taylor plays it into her Logie hits the shot on the turn looking to put the ball high into the back of the net, Gilbey has come to close her down gets her gloves on the ball to push it out of her area. 
  Late on in the 1st half, Hopkin gets free into space on the right a chance to take the ball on into the Cambridge box, entering the area evades Bright and shoots, coming across to cover her central defensive partner Burt makes a great block to deny the goal scoring opportunity. Change for Great Shelford late on too Lanham coming off and Sophie Ugur coming on.
Half-time Cambridge United WFC 1-0 Great Shelford Ladies
   Cambridge lead one nil at the break, Laura Baker with the goal. A slender lead, they have had plenty of attacks, getting down the wings and could have had more. Great Shelford will be happy to have kept the scoreline down have worked hard to defend found it difficult to pose a threat up the other end. Cambridge get the 2nd half underway.
  Sillitoe has been looking to take on players every time she has the ball at her feet get’s fouled by Du Plooy this time free kick awarded wide right around 25 yards out. Saunders is over the ball, plays in a great delivery towards the far post Great Shelford have two runners coming in, the ball lands favourably for the defender in between them and the ball is headed away. 
  Simmons has been lively in attack for Cambridge since coming on 1st half, seeing shots blocked from outside the area. The ball is played into her in a central position this time from the left side, going for the shot the ball takes a wicked deflection spinning away for a corner kick. Put in to the plays coming to attack the near post is met by a Cambridge head the ball turned across goal goes over the crossbar.
 Bright is booked as she fouls Wright halfway inside the Cambridge half, the ball is played high into the Cambridge area, calls for hand ball as the ball drops for Burt then runs out of play, the crowd and Great Shelford bench have a better angle to see it than the referee on the other side of the play who awards a goal kick. 
  A shot from Taylor coming into the box from the left following good play between Simmons and Logie in front of the Great Shelford area rolling the ball into Taylor’s path she shoots the ball held by Gilbey. Perfect coming forwards lays the ball into Mills out on the right sends the cross in to the area, Taylor the target, Ponder gets her head on it 1st behind for a corner.
Paige Logie
  GOAL! Mills to take the corner plays it in to the near post area the ball is headed away by Great Shelford outside the box Cambridge retrieve play the ball back out to Mills who stands the ball up into the area, near side again the ball is met by Simmons headed on into the six yard box where it is met by Logie who heads home from close range to make it 2-0.
   Great Shelford make a double change Chloe Houston and Abigail Davies coming on for Hopkin and Katie Sims who is struggling with an earlier knock. Carrie Bennett comes on for Du Plooy for Cambridge.
Laura Baker scoring
twice in the final
  GOAL! Cambridge extend their lead as they get bodies forwards have Taylor on the ball surges down the left wing, looking to get around the player in front of her and turn into the area, doing so squares the ball along the face of the box with Baker timing her run to perfection hitting the shot 1st time angles low and accurate inside the post squeezing past the diving keeper. 3-0.
 Cambridge corner on the right the ball put high into the box Gilbey jumps to catch it looses it as she is knocked to the ground, Logie gets hold of the lose ball inside the six yard box, looks to smash it goalwards, Great Shelford block the ball landing for Gilbey to pull into her body, gets the decision this time around. Mills bursts into the Great Shelford area as the ball is played long, hits the shot on the run, Gilbey gets down sharply makes the save pushing the ball out to the left, Ponder is back help out and gets the ball up the field.
  Logie comes off for Cambridge as they bring on Monique Christian. Ponder comes off for Great Shelford, Andrews going back on. Cambridge win a couple of corner kicks that sees the ball headed over the cross bar then put wide of goal. As the rain starts to fall heavily across the ground, Cambridge bring off Burt and Baker send Goodchild and Hewitt back into the action. A fantastic run by Sillitoe on the ball carrying it half the length of the pitch darting inside to run at the Cambridge area, goes to shoot the ball blocked by Goodchild. 
 More changes as the game goes into the final 10 minutes, Wright and Ugur off, Lanham and Pearce return to the pitch. Simmons and Hewitt both see shots from outside the box charged down by Creek and Webb. Jenkins getting forwards has a go from further out the ball is gathered by Gilbey. Closing minutes and a touching gesture from Cambridge late on named amongst tonight’s substitutes Nicola Geoghan is brought on replacing Taylor. Geoghan has unfortunately had to retire from the game having sustained a concussion early in the season and following doctors advice has decided to hang up her boot, highly thought of at the club she will be greatly missed on the field. 
  Hopkin back on for Great Shelford almost steals in behind the Cambridge defence but Crook has seen the threat and is out of her area early to close the ball down launch it clear. Last chance of the match falls of Geoghan up in attack the ball squared across the face of the area, she and Gilbey slide in for it Gilbey managing to claim the ball. That signals the end of the game and Cambridge celebrate retaining the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup in the pouring rain. Their 1st trophy as United.
  Were the dominant side on the night created plenty of chances although Great Shelford did well to keep the scoreline down to 1-0 at half-time had few chances to score themselves. Will be hoping for better thing’s next season although they won’t be doing it as Great Shelford Ladies. Histon FC will be their new home as they are to become Histon Ladies adopted by the men’s club helps to ensure a lasting future for the club.
Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup winners, Cambridge United WFC
 Congratulations to Cambridge United WFC  on retaining the Cambridgeshire Women’s Invitation Cup once again. My thanks to Cambridgeshire FA’s Chris Abbott for his help tonight.