|Ladies & Girls
SSE Women's FA Cup - Second Qualifying Round
Cambridge City 5 : 4 Leyton Orient
It was one of those 'I was there' sort of moments! A nine goal FA Cup thriller, packed with goals and excitement, where the underdogs continually fought back and eventually won the game in the last few minutes - just like all FA Cup ties should be.
If the rain that was forecast had arrived, then the actual game itself may well have been in jeopardy and we would all have been deprived of the excitement that was ultimately delivered. However, in the end it transpired that umbrellas were not needed and these were swapped for sunglasses.
Although City were officially deemed to be the underdogs, they are currently on a superb run of form, coming into the game having won their opening five matches this season and currently sitting on top of the Eastern Region Women's League - Premier Division. Orient, who have had a mixed start to their South East Division 1 campaign (the league immediately above City) arrived at Trinity occupying fifth spot in their league with seven points from five games.
Let the show begin!
In front of a sizeable crowd, Orient got proceedings under way and it was the visitors who settled first, retaining a decent amount of possession in the early period. Inside ten minutes the Londoners had got their noses in front and on the half hour they had doubled their advantage. Some other teams, facing higher league opposition, may well have dropped their heads at this point - but not City! Going two down was the catalyst for the Lilywhites to come to life and they started to press higher rather than sitting deep and defending. They have an abundance of confidence and ability and it started to show. With everyone just about to make their way to the tea bar, City's Laura Mills received the ball wide left and selected top gear. From a position ten yards inside Orient's half, she drove forward, then cut inside, seeing off three challenges. Now in the box, with the goal in front of her, scoring was never in doubt - she doesn't miss from these positions. It made for a very different half time team talk I'm sure.
Refreshed and having been reminded of their ability, City started the second half upbeat and on the front foot - a mood that was to remain with them throughout the rest of the match. On fifty minutes, Sarah Mosley found space just outside the box in a central position. A perfect pass meant that she had the ball at her feet. With two defenders approaching she pulled the trigger and her left footed shot floated into the top left corner of the net, giving the keeper little or no chance. City were now level and were in the driving seat, or so they thought! Within five minutes though, the visitors had regained their lead from a corner. Not a problem, City would have to bounce back again, which of course they did when Shannon Shaw connected well with a Charlotte Gillies cross to head home. It was now 3-3 and both teams were looking for the win. The tempo of the game increased at this point and thankfully it was City who were at the controls. However, focussing just on scoring can sometimes open up space at the back and Orient were fortunate to see one of their shots trickle over the home goal line with the keeper and defenders exposed. The visitors had taken the lead again.
The author of this story still had a couple of surprises left to keep the excited fans on the edge of their seats (though most were standing!). Up popped Laura Mills again. The ball at her feet, 25 yards out and an eye on that 'Player of the Match' award. The keeper went the right way but the shot was too quick for her. All square again, 4-4.
The Orient keeper is unable to stop City's fourth, scored by Laura Mills, out of shot
Did anyone really want extra time, no! Substitute Bella Simmons was about to seal a stunning, well deserved victory for City with a tap in, but before that, left back Lauren Tomlinson had to deliver one of her trademark, pulsating runs down the left flank, seeing off several unsuspecting Orient defenders (and before that midfielders). Her pin point low cross found Simmons who had bolstered her way into the perfect position.
This amazing turnabout, with only minutes left on the clock, kick started the player celebrations. The couple of minutes that remained seemed like a lifetime, but when the final whistle eventually blew, City were rightfully rewarded for their determination, focus and togetherness. Orient very much played their part in the entertainment, but it is hard to imagine how they could have any complaints with the final score given that they took the lead three times during the match, only to see their advantage evaporate each time.
The Ladies cannot hide their joy having just scored their fifth and deciding goal
Congratulations City, your reward is an away tie against Acle in the third qualifying round on Sunday 7th October. A simple, down to earth victory would suffice!
Hungate Rovers 0 : 12 Cambridge City
The early morning trip to Hungate proved fruitful for City, who returned home from Norfolk with three valuable league points. It took the visitors a good ten minutes or so to settle into the game but once they had, they never really looked back, though they did have a scare immediately after Sasha Tristram had headed home City's opener from a corner, when, within 30 seconds of the restart, City keeper Rachel Barker was called upon to make an excellent diving save low and to her right to prevent the home side levelling. Thankfully, this was the only real danger to the City goal during the first half and by the interval the visitors had chalked up a four nil advantage.
City defender Yara Ghidini making another rapid advance down the right wing
The second half saw City step up another gear and in places they played some exquisite, passing football. By the time the referee blew for full time, the Lilywhites had added another eight goals to their tally, making it a dozen without reply. The City defence, when called upon, showed composure and focus and their distribution was instrumental in forcing the game to be played mostly in the opposition's half. Credit to Hungate too, who never gave up and remained determined right to the end.
The City scorers were: Sasha Tristram (4), Aime Fullwood (4), Maddie McInnes (2) Katie Levitt and Niamh Davies. The Player of the Match award went to Maddie McInnes.
Cup action next Saturday morning for City, when they entertain St Ives Rangers at Trinity Old Field
Cambridge City 7 : 0 Cambourne United (Blacks)
A comfortable home victory for City means that they remain top of their league. Goals from Ruby Austin (3), Rosanna Mead, Hannah Simpson, Ruby Want, and Jada Flatts
Cambridge City 11 : 2 Haddenham
The under 13s took their unbeaten start to the season to the glorious surroundings of Trinity Old Fields to play Haddenham.
With a couple of the squad members away, two under 12 girls where drafted in to help bolster the numbers and to offer them the opportunity to gain some valuable experience.
In a strong start, City played with power and pace, moving the ball quickly through midfield and out wide to set up numerous chances, only to find the Haddenham keeper in sensational form.
Eventually, City got the goals that their play deserved as they took complete control of the match, racing into a 5-1 lead at half time with goals from Emily White, Ania Kasperkiewics (her first competitive goal of City on her full debut) Bella Axelsson, Lucy Short and Daisy King.
The second half saw more of the same with a dominant City team passing the ball around with confidence. Jess Chaloner and Amelia Thompson (the under 12s in the squad) showed confidence on the ball once they entered the field, Amelia playing a part in a couple of the goals, with Bella finishing with 4, Lucy 2, Emily 2 and Leah Holmes rounding off the scoring.
Chesterton Eagles v Cambridge City
City made the short trip across town to Chesterton on Saturday.
Both teams played with smiles on their faces and clearly they all enjoyed the well natured game. Although the Lilywhites still managed to come away feeling deservedly very happy, it was not their most polished performance of the season, but these are games where much can be learned. Some late goals showed their determination to fight to the very end and that effort usually brings rewards. Well done girls.
Win with modesty, Lose with dignity
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