A long journey for Cardiff City Ladies amongst the title challenges in the FAWPL Southern Division currently in 2nd place as they travelled from the Welsh capital east to Suffolk to take on FAWPL South East Division One side Ipswich Town Ladies.
A tough draw for the Suffolk side, but a chance to test themselves against a side from a higher division. The venue for today's match a 3G pitch at Ipswich Academy which meant it would survive the weather although the rain stayed away on a cold and gloomy afternoon. It was disappointing the fans were made to stand behind the tall fence to watch the match, although I can understand the reason for this it is hardly fair to supporter and players alike.
For both sides a place in the last eight of the FAWPL League Cup was up for grabs.
Ipswich Town Ladies starting XI - Chloe Wood, Coral Young, Lucy Du Plooy, Danielle Bitten (C), Aimee Harrison, Lindsey Smith, Sasha Diston, Samantha Carson, Ellie Rossiter, Amanda Crump & Jemma Yarnton.
subs - Roxanne Small, Molly Hall & Emma Goldsmith.
Cardiff City Ladies starting XI - Alesha McGlynn, Abbie Britton, Lauren Townsend, Kayleigh Green (C), Louise Hutton, Laura Williams, Kelly Isaac, Steph Williams, Sarah Wiltshire, Cori Williams & Kelly Aldridge.
subs - Naomi Clipson, Shanelle Edwards & Beth Lloyd.
It was Cardiff all in red (even the numbers on their shirts) to kick off the match against Ipswich lined up in blue shirts and socks with white shorts. Is chilly with a keen wind the floodlights are on early although it would actually brighten as the game wore on. It's Ipswich who start the brighter of the 2 sides working ball out from the back it is played into the feet of Sasha Diston in the centre of the park she spots the run Amanda Crump is making on the right passes the ball into her run, she carries it forwards and shoots from the edge of the box the ball striking the side netting.
The Cardiff player I have seen the most of is on loan striker Sarah Wiltshire, the Welsh international having played for Watford Ladies before moving to Yeovil Town Ladies both in the FAWSL 2 during the summer. Has been on loan to Cardiff before then at Watford the previous season, scores goals where ever she goes and would pose a threat to Ipswich today. Is on the ball out on the right channel, surges forwards looks to cross the ball, it is cut out by defender Aimee Harrison, only half cleared Wilttshire comes inside wins the ball back, works the space to shoot 20 yards out the ball is straight into the gloves of Ipswich goalkeeper Chloe Wood.
Wood is called into action moments later pushing the ball around her post for a corner off a shot from distance by Cardiff's Kelly Aldridge. The corner played in centrally goes over Wood but Wiltshire heads over at close range gets a nick a 2nd corner is given this time Wiltshire has more time to head the ball goalwards but again the attempt is over.
Is a large pitch and both sides are looking to make use of the space, Ipswich are playing a good pressing game early on forcing errors from the Cardiff back line, captain Dani Bitten wins the ball outside the box looks to play it into Crump on the left this time, shots from a tight angle the ball is collected by Cardiff goalkeeper Alesha McGlynn.
The ball is played through to Wilshire, playing off the last defender, she surges forwards looking to make for the by line and cross the ball into the area, Ipswich defender Coral Young makes up the ground to tackle her and win the ball back. Cardiff are starting to find more time on the ball move it forwards at pace and stretch the Ipswich defence, Wiltshire and Aldridge space in the channels up front.
Lindsey Smith brings down, Cardiff's captain Kayleigh Green as she makes a determined run out from the back, 40 yards from goal it's Lauren Townsend over the free kick strikes a low shoot with power against the wall.
GOAL! The visitors are quicker to respond get onto the loose ball as Ipswich look to break out of their area the bal is passed out to Wiltshire wide left, head down she drives into the box, cuts it back into the six yard box where team mate Aldridge has arrived to tap the ball past Wood to give the visitors the lead 0-1.
Diston is unlucky to concede a free kick 40 yards out as she tackles well to win the ball, but her trailing leg trips the Cardiff attacker, same position as the earlier free kick this effort taken by Cardiff's Steph Williams is heading for the back of the net, Wood makes the save pushing the ball around the post for a corner. Wood does well to claim the ball under challenge as it comes into her area.
GOAL! The visitors double their lead, strong running down the left as Cardiff break with pace, Ipswich prevent the cross from coming in, the ball though is won back and played into the feet of Cardiff's Laura Williams on the corner of the penalty area she drills her shot low and hard towards the far post and scores 0-2.
Ipswich have a free kick on the half way line it's Diston who plays the ball forwards for Crump making the forward run on the left she holds the ball up well, turns her marker and charges into the box puts a high looping cross into box looking for Ellie Rossiter making the run towards the far post Cardiff head behind for the corner.
Wood makes a fantastic point blank save off Wiltshire as the Welsh international has the ball at her feet and steals into the box, Wood is quick off her line to close the angle down, Wiltshire strikes her shot against her.
Lauren Townsend is finding alot of space down the right making some good runs from the right back position, a powerful runner, strong on the ball she carries the ball forwards with purpose. Laura Williams plays the ball into her path Townsend surges into the box, Ipswich's Harrison comes across makes an important tackle to deny a goal scoring opportunity.
GOAL! It's not long before Cardiff extend their lead however. The build up is quick again the ball won in the centre is played forward into Wiltshire the strike from distance is powerful and kept low past Wood before she can react 0-3.
|Cardiff's Sarah Wiltshire looking for a strike on goal|
Cardiff continue to press forwards getting the ball high up the pitch, Wiltshire sees the run from Townsend on the right plays the long pass to perfection into her feet, the right back has time to put a good cross into the six yard box, high Wood gets a glove to it pushes the ball away, it comes back out to Laura Williams who blasts her shot over from 25 yards.
Half-time Ipswich Town Ladies 0-3 Cardiff City Ladies
Despite a bright start Ipswich find themselves 3 goals down, could have been more, have defended well but Cardiff's movement off the ball has stretched them at times and pushed back the home side has struggled to get the ball up to Rossiter in attack. An early goal is needed if the home side wants to get back into the match as they kick off the 2nd half.
It is McGlynn in the Cardiff goal who is the 1st to be tested in the 2nd half as Ipswich captain Dani Bitten has a pop at goal from 45 yards out a good effort but McGlynn sees it all the way. Not long after McGlynn is called into action again as she rushes off her line to close down Ipswich's Amanda Crump as she is played on goal by Samantha Carson outside the box..
GOAL! The next goal is Cardiff's the visitors mount another rapid counter attack, breaking down the right of the pitch. The ball is clear of the Ipswich defence, Wood comes rushing out of her area is commited has to get to the ball and clear it before the Cardiff attack can nick it past her, does well sending the ball out for a throw, the high fence means the ball hasn't frightened the life out of a squirrel, instead the throw is taken quickly Wood is hardly back on her line as the shot comes in from Aldridge fired across the box towards the far post and in 0-4.
GOAL! Cardiff soon add a 5th goal and it's Aldridge with her hat-trick as she peels off to the left channel as the ball is played into her beats her marker, shifts the ball between her feet 20 yards out and strikes the ball sending her rising shot towards goal, Wood throws herself at the ball but in vain as the ball sails over her and in 0-5.
Despite going 5 goals down Ipswich don't let their heads drop, continue looking to play the ball forwards, Ellie Rossiter holds the ball up well links up well with Bitten in the centre as she comes forwards in support she sprays the ball out to the left for Jemma Yarnton to run onto she breaks into the area strikes the ball goalwards, McGlynn is beaten at her near post but the ball cannons off the base of the post and Cardiff clear.
Cardiff make the 1st change bringing on Naomi Clipson for Kayleigh Green.
GOAL! Cardiff score a 6th goal, Aldridge with her 4th of the match good build up down the left this time the cross is fired in low and hard across the six yard line too strong for Wiltshire coming in centrally to slide onto it comes through to Aldridge at the far post and she slides to meet the cross and send the ball into the back of the net.
Chanelle Edwards comes on for Cardiff. Wiltshire has a goal chalked off for offside as she plays off the shoulder of the last defender puts her shot in the net from distance a good strike but play is pulled back as the linesmans flag is up.
Ipswich make their 1st change bringing on Molly Hall for Jemma Yarnton. Cardiff sub Chanelle Edwards adds extra pace to the visitors attack out on the left is soon on the ball driving at the tiring Ipswich defence. Breaking into the box, she is prevented from putting a ball across goal as Coral Young recovers well to make a brilliant tackle to concede a corner. The ball into the box his headed wide by Wiltshire at the far post. Beth Lloyd comes onto the pitch for Cardiff to replace Abbie Britton.
GOAL! Cardiff bring up their 7th goal good combination play between Wiltshire and Aldridge. Wiltshire having ran into space on the left plays the ball into the middle for Aldridge continues her run looking to get into the box, Aldridge passes the ball to her, Wiltshire looks to shoot from an acute angle, puts plenty of power behind the rising shot Wood get's her gloves to it but can't prevent the shot going in 0-7.
Ipswich make a 2nd change bringing on Emma Goldsmith for Lindsey Smith.
Cardiff's Kelly Isaac having seen the goals going in wants in on the action as the ball rolls loose with Cardiff continuing to press the ball high up the pitch, comes to her outside the area she meets it on the half volley rising the shot strikes the bar, coming down into the area Ipswich clear.
GOAL! This time Isaac get's her goal pressing forwards in numbers Isaac is central as the ball is played into her run 25 yards out from goal, she get's plenty of power and height on the shot Wood has no chance to stop it 0-8.
Ipswich are still looking to create something even as they are conceding goals at the other end, in the middle Diston plays a good through ball into the path of Crump, Cardiff though are always alert to the threat and this time Townsend is round on the cover to win the ball before Crump can get her strike away.
|Cardiff's Lauren Townsend|
Molly Hall holds the ball up well for Ipswich central with her back to goal it's Diston who looks to make the run past her, Hall gets the ball past her marker for Diston to run onto McGlynn is rapidly off her line to come and clear the threat.
GOAL! It's Edwards who scores a 9th goal for Cardiff with a spin and shot from outside the box as the cross is fired into her from the left, as late on Cardiff work the ball up the pitch quickly as they have done all match 0-9.
The final whistle blows and that is the full time score as Cardiff City Ladies win by 9 goals to nil and book their place in the FAWPL League Cup Quarter Final draw. A domiant display from the visitors once they settled into the match worked the ball well and the space on the pitch even better, stretched Ipswich which in turn prevented the home side from getting numbers forwards when they had the ball.
A 9-0 defeat is never great, but it was a good test for Ipswich and credit to the team for not letting their heads drop looked to play the ball.
Best of luck to Cardiff City Ladies in the next round of the League Cup and thanks to both clubs for helping me out with the match day squads.