Get about a bit watching women's football all over the country, Peterborough is often somewhere I travel through in order to get somewhere else to watch a match, but itself and the surrounding area has a thriving and developing women's football scene, of which Netherton United Ladies are very much a growing force in the city. Now in their 2nd season playing in the Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership. Had a strong debut season in the league eventually finishing in 3rd place.
Their opponents today Cambridge City Ladies are new entrants to the Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership this season. Won the U18's league last season with a 100% win record as an U17 side and could have competed in the U18's league again this season but chose to take the step up into women's football. Both themselves and Netherton United Ladies have had an unbeaten start to the season but to date have played just 5 league matches between them. Today they meet in the League Cup 2nd Round.
Saw Netherton United Ladies play once last season on the road at Huntingdon Town Ladies an action filled match that finished 5-3 to Huntingdon. Netherton were keen for me to get over to their place and see them in action, that I would like their home The Grange. Has taken me a while but today I've finally gotten there. Is indeed a very nice venue. Might take a bit of finding if you don't take advantage of the very good directions the club provides on its twitter feed and website. At the end of a housing development on Charlotte Way. The Grange is a smart newly built sports facility funded by a lottery grant 2 years old. Has a large fenced 3G pitch that has been built with the spectator in mind, no standing behind the fence here with a small covered standing area inside. Outside the pitch new changing rooms and a tea room with food on offer beside the clubhouse and bar neatly laid out on a park with public access home to both the men's and ladies sides.
Last full weekend in October the clocks have gone back, good to see the weather was still on the football supporters side (it'll never last) a bright and sunny afternoon.
Netherton United Ladies starting XI - Katie Cooper, Rachel Anderson, Amy Lomas, Stacie Boon, Natasha Anderson (C), Megan Parrett, Shannon Hilton, Georgina Parrett, Alice MacNicol, Yasmin Green & Bex Stroud
subs - Natalie Gaches & Jasmine Sheppard.
Cambridge City Ladies starting XI - Emily Bevens, Lauren Ambrose, Anna Wilson, Izzy Broadbent, Lauren Tomlison, Olivia Fraser, Philippa Witherspoon, Grace Stanley (C), Emma Littlewood, Carla Penny & Bronte Rapley.
subs - Ellie Geoghan, Saskia Capetti, Miriam Amrani, Jade Drain & Maddy Molloy.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
Contrasting line ups today, Netherton have a large squad to call upon this season 24 players, however today were ravaged by injury and others being unavailable only able to name 2 on the bench. Cambridge City in contrast had a full squad of players available for selection at the ground.
It's Cambridge City to kick off the 1st half wearing white shirts with black across the shoulders, black shorts and white socks. Netherton are lined up wearing red shirts with a black strip across the front with black sleeves, red shorts and black socks. A fast paced start both sides wanting to win the ball the 1st attack is from Netherton down the left with striker Bex Stroud running into the channel the ball from the centre of midfield is played out to her holding up the ball has Alice MacNicol making the run on the overlap, a clever back heels from Stroud plays her in behind MacNicol crosses the ball into the six yard box, Yasmin Green is looking to get onto the end of the cross turn it home, Cambridge City centreback Izzy Broadbent sliding in with her does enough to take the ball away from her toe before goalkeeper Emily Bevens gets hold of the ball.
Got alot of young legs out there early on it's obvious the ball is going to be turned around quickly from one end to the other. Philippa Witherspoon leading the line for Cambridge City has an early sighter for goal 30 yards out as she makes a central run, the shot lacking the power to trouble Katie Cooper in the Netherton goal. Witherspoon has a goal chalked off for offside a couple of minutes later following good work from Bronte Rapley down the left of the pitch puts the cross into the area Rapley getting ahead of everyone as she turns it in.
Witherspoon is in the heart of the action in the opening minutes closing down the Netherton defence, forces Natasha Anderson the Netherton captain to turn back towards her own goal play the pass back to her keeper, Witherspoon goes after it closing Cooper down she smashes her kick against the attack the ball spinning across the six yard box, is retrieved and cleared before a Cambridge City player can capitalise.
|Philippa Witherspoon on the ball for Cambridge City Ladies|
Through balls are always tricky on an artificial surface the ball doesn't seem to get the carry on the floor it would on grass and both sides defences are cutting out the balls from midfield. A great pass from halfway from Megan Parrett for Netherton looking for Stroud making her move to the left of the D watching the ball as it drops over her shoulder she hits it 1st time inside the box, sends the ball over the bar.
For Stroud that is as good as her afternoon gets as moments later looking to get across a Cambridge City player she goes down and is clearly in a lot of pain. Play is stopped as she receives lengthy treatment has damaged her knee, is something she has done before and it's clear by the amount of concern shown it is a serious injury, she is carried over to the sidelines the knee strapped, will eventually leave to seek medical attention. Jasmine Sheppard is brought on by Netherton to support Green in attack.
|Cambridge City Ladies, Lauren Ambrose|
Cambridge City are starting to get more players involved their build up play increasing as the platers from the back are finding the midfielders moving into spaces to become available and shift the ball quickly. Broadbent brings the ball out of defence hits a fantastic ball along the ground to cut open the Netherton defence play her captain Grace Stanley in on goal. Netherton captain Natasha Anderson gets back sliding in as Stanley goes to pull her foot back to shoot deflects the ball knocking it forwards but safely into the arms of her goalkeeper Cooper as she goes to ground to smother the ball.
GOAL! Cambridge City take the lead in the next attack, didn't see all of the build up but got three different views of it to confirm the details I knew, Cambridge City had plenty of bodies forwards again overloading the left side 6 or 7 short passes are exchanged before Stanley plays the ball into Carla Penny inside the box on the left she shoots sending the ball between the keepers legs to score 0-1.
A goal down Netherton look to attack from the re-start getting the ball into Green 25 yards out see attempts a strike on the half volley can only plant the ball into goalkeeper Bevens chest. Cambridge City win a free kick inside the Netherton half it's Rapley to play it in looks like she's going for goal, I'm behind the shot it looks to be drifting wide, Cooper can't take any chances however with white shirts coming in from her right throws a fist up to knock the ball well clear of danger.
Both Megan Parrett and MacNicol are trying to play the pass over the top looking to get Green in beyond the Cambridge City defence however the ball isn't carrying allowing the visitors to win it back and counter attack. Megan Parrett decides to try something different this time winning the ball inside her own half gets up a head of steam and travels with it getting the best of two challenges as she barges her way to the edge of the area again the tackle drops in her favour the ball deflected into the area now wide right of the goal with the keeper coming to close her down she has Green up with her plays her in only for the offside flag to go up.
|Georgina Parrett attempts to hold the ball up for Netherton United Ladies|
1st changes for Cambridge City as they give Rapley and Witherspoon a rest bringing on Miriam Amrani and Jade Drain. Amrani out on the left side of the pitch works the ball well before playing it into Stanley on the edge of the box, she turns with the ball looking to hit it goal wards, Rachel Anderson throws herself across to block the shot.
Half-time Netherton United Ladies 0-1 Cambridge City Ladies
1 goal in it a the break, Cambridge City have been full of energy moving the ball quickly have had the better build up play without overly testing Cooper in the Netherton goal. The final ball has been an issue for Netherton too though as they have hardly forced a save from Cambridge City keeper Bevens. 1-0 though this cup tie is still very much in the balance as Netherton kick it off.
Cambridge City have rung the changes at the break, Maddy Molloy had joined the action in the closing moments of the 1st half now Saskia Capetti was also in the field in attack with Stanley off. Witherspoon back on the field too. Sheppard and Green try to link up on the left side of the pitch exchange passes looking to get Green in on goal, Broadbent reads it correctly makes a great tackle to take the ball back.
|Netherton's United Ladies, Natalie Gaches|
Working the ball up the left themselves Cambridge City have a throw level with the penalty spot Capetti takes it looking for Witherspoon on the left inside the box has Penny close by as she tries to take the shot on falls, Penny attempts to latch onto the loose ball smashes her shot at pointblank range into defender Amy Lomas blocking on the six yard line at the near post.
An attack started from the back for Cambridge city once more as Tomlinson gets hold of the ball and travels out of defence over half way and heading towards the left hand corner of the area, Penny comes inside to make the room for her to run into is given the ball as Tomlinson bombs on, gets the return pass before squaring the ball across the six yard box goes long no one there to turn it in is retrieved on the far side of the area this time the cross back in picks out Witherspoon in space 10 yards out right side of the goal hits the shot, Cooper does well getting everything behind the fiercely struck ball to take the sting off it a drop to make the save.
|Cambridge City defender Lauren Tomlinson breaking with the ball from the back|
Cambridge City with plenty of players available are making good use of the roll on roll off substitutes they are dotted all over my notes keeping track of them isn't easy. Olivia Fraser is back on replacing Jade Drain. A determined run from Witherspoon towards the edge of the area sees her hit the shot in full stride the ball is blocked the deflection falling favourably for Penny 12 yards out she goes for goal smashes the ball against the crossbar. Stanley is back on for Cambridge City, Capetti off.
Soon as she'd back on the pitch Stanley has the ball at her feet and is driving towards the edge of the Netherton area, Cooper comes to close her down stays big gets something on the ball to deny the shot the ball is free rolling across the D, Penny is racing onto it sends her shot sailing over the bar. Cooper is called into action to save again is well positioned in her goal as Rapley is encouraged to have a crack from 25 yards out right side, a dipping effort Cooper keeps her eye on it falls short she brings it into her body.
GOAL! Cambridge City though have been knocking on the door looking the most likely to score again and this time they do. it's Witherspoon making another drive inside the Netherton half who slides the ball into Stanley ahead of her a yard outside the box hits the shot on the turn a low effort that finds it's way into the bottom corner of the net 0-2.
Georgina Parrett tries to get something happening for Netherton as she makes a surge down the left wing keeping the ball running towards the byline puts the cross into the area finds Green, the ball gets trapped under her feet she can't dig it out before Anna Wilson comes in to clear it, comes to a Netherton body the shot comes in no idea who hit it Bevens though is alert and down sharply to save.
Cambridge City ring the changes again Penny and Ambrose off Emma Littlewood and Capetti back on. More bad news for Netherton as they see another player going down injured this time Megan Parrett as she looks to try and stop Witherspoon as she makes a run from the right across the face of the area. Parrett goes down is in agony again play is stopped for a good few minutes as she receives treatment, unfortunately for the 2nd time in the match Netherton have to carry a player off the pitch her angle wrapped with ice Shannon Hilton returns to the field having come off for Natalie Gaches earlier in the match.
MacNicol shows a good turn of pace on left carrying the ball down the left side of the pitch, hits the shot on the run the ball flashing across the six yard box and out wide the far side of the goal. Rapley comes off with Drain returning to the field. Capetti has the ball at her feet 20 yards out right of the D tries to drive her way through the Netherton defence, the ball is knocked away, Drain is right behind her there to hit the shot in towards goal an up and over ball falls kindly to Cooper to gather. Drain has another chance to hit a shot at goal this time as the ball is presented to her from the right 20 yards out goes for goal same result can only present it to Cooper in goal. Might have been a hat-trick on another day as Drain gets onto the ball goes for a little run towards the box and with the Netherton defence stepping off her takes a pop a low attempt along the ground this time Cooper positioning is spot on once more to comfortably save.
2 goals though are enough as the final whistle blows and Cambridge City advance to the quarter final stage of the Cambridgeshire Women's League Cup. With this fixture being one of 2 final 2nd round ties to be completed today the draw for the quarter finals had already been made and Cambridge City will be away to Bar Hill Ladies who also played today winning 6-0 against Swinehead Institute Ladies the tie scheduled for Sun 29th November with a 1:45pm KO. Were the better side on the day created more chances scoring twice making full use of their squad to get the result with some impressive build up play. Best of luck in the competition.
One of those days for Netherton, you get them in all walks of life, football is no exception weren't at their best today their the build up play didn't click and were further beset by injuries to cap it off. I wish both Netherton players Bex Stroud and Megan Parrett a speedy recovery from the injuries they sustained today.
My thanks to both clubs management teams for the help with the team details today enjoyed my 1st trip to The Grange.