Is a repeat of the same fixture in the FA Women's Cup 3rd Round Qualifying from last season a game that I also covered for the blog. Back then Wymondham Town Ladies took Cambridge all the way to extra-time before the side playing 3 leagues above them eventually went on to score more 3 goals and win the match. Was a great cup encounter and also a very wet one too! Final score back then 1-4 (aet)
A year though is a long time in football and both sides have changed a little since then. Wymondham Town Ladies have a new manager, Alex Guy taking on the role towards the end of last season they went on to win the Norfolk Women's League Cup. Have started this season very well are unbeaten in Norfolk Women's Division One with 3 wins out of 3, 16 goals scored and zero conceded. Have come through the 1st and 2nd Round Qualifying of the FA Women's Cup. At home to Northamptonshire league side Roade Ladies in 1st Round Qualifying won the match 6-2 setting up an away tie away to another Northamptonshire side Moulton Ladies, were the better side from start to finish on the day winning the match 0-3 their reward a home tie and chance to test themselves against higher league opposition.
Cambridge have seen some changes too, have become United for a start merging with the men's club to become Cambridge United WFC. That said a change of colours hasn't brought them a great start to the season are in the position no one wants to be in bottom of the league yet to pick up a win in the FAWPL South East Division One to date. Have been unlucky with injuries and win other players unavailable at times has been a frustrating period. Have though saved their best form for the cup competitions and an FA Cup run might be just what their season needs.
All set up to be an intriguing cup tie and the sun was out, little chance of needing my brolly, the sun was out a chilly breeze in the air heading up the to Kings Head Meadow home of Wymondham Town Ladies and a chance to look round properly rather than shelter from the rain. With plenty of free parking close to the ground I could have had a carvery in the clubhouse prior to the match. The clubhouse itself over looks the pitch from one corner, relatively small in size was in pretty good condition as the referee led the two sides out onto the pitch.
Wymondham Town Ladies starting XI - Gemma Hamilton-Rout, Claire Rennie, Leah Newcombe, Mary Cann, Polly Tarrant, Kelly Ayers, Laura Hammerton, Rachel Cossey (C), Amber Cantwell, Kayleigh Holloway & Sally Hammerton.
subs - Emily Anderson, Gabby Stone, Laura Wiseman, Gemma Sanders & Louise Rout.
Cambridge United WFC starting XI - Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Becca Fay, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Robyn Phillips, Laura Bright (C), Emily Reed, Laura Baker, Lucy Du Plooy, Laura Mills & Becky Taylor.
subs - Faith Hewitt, Nuala Wayne & Hayley Turner.
Wymondham kick off the match wearing red shirts with black shorts and socks with Cambridge lined up opposite in their away strip of light blue shirts, navy shorts and socks. The visitors have Laura Baker pushed up to support Becky Taylor in attack with the width left and right supplied by Lucy Du Plooy and Laura Mills. Look to Mills on the right early on as the ball is fed into Baker's feet she sprays it out to the right for Mills, Wymondham left back Leah Newcombe cuts out the early threat with Kayleigh Holloway looking to get back help out whenever Wymondham lose the ball, likewise on the right Kelly Ayers playing wide right is tracking back to support her fullback Mary Cann whilst Amber Cantwell is the player looking to support Sally Hammerton in attack when they have the ball.
The early attack is with Cambridge, captain Laura Bright getting hold of the ball in the centre lays it out to the right early for Mills she whips the diagonal ball into the box, Du Plooy is racing up into the six yard box at the far post can't get the touch needed to take it past Wymondham's goalkeeper Louise Hamilton-Rout who gathers the ball up into her gloves. The visitors continue to keep hold of the ball inside Wymondham's half, Mills looks to take on Newcombe in front of her is forced inside 20 yards out lets fly the attempt off target.
|Cambridge United WFC captain Laura Bright|
Sally Hammerton comes out to the right looking for the ball getting it looks to slide Cantwell in making the run in front of her, runs into trouble as Cambridge full back Becca Fay stands firm in front of her blocks her attempted through ball, the ball isn't clear Fay is falling as she gets it away 2nd time is down looking in some discomfort looks to have turned her ankle play is stopped, after a pause in play Fay is able to continue.
Wymondham have defended well in the opening minutes have a counter attack on as play is broken up in front of their box is played out to Ayers on the right she looks to fire it into Sally Hammerton on the edge of the Cambridge box her attempt is cleared by Robyn Phillips the defenders ball spinning across the front of the area is picked up by Laura Hammerton charging up from the centre of midfield, she has Holloway out to her left giving her the ball she drives into the box cuts inside beating the defender in front of her and pulls the trigger plays it straight into Cambridge goalkeeper Verity Crook who has the angle covered.
|Amber Cantwell on the attack for Wymondham Town Ladies|
Cantwell latches onto a mis-placed kick out from the back from Crook, 30 yards out she drifts out to the left of the area before taking on the shot powers the ball wide of the goal. Game is a little end to end both sides looking to get it up to their attackers, Cambridge work the ball through the centre one touch, two and Baker finding herself furthest forwards is through on goal right side of the area takes the shot, Hamilton-Rout drops gets something on the ball to turn it wide across the box, no one is gambling from Cambridge which allows Wymondham to regroup.
Newcombe brings the ball out from the back for Wymondham is allowed to travel into the Cambridge half before sliding it forwards with Sally Hammerton looking to make the run across the Cambridge back line get onto it shoots early can only find the gloves of Crook. Cambridge win a series of corner kicks each time the delivery lacks the threat to trouble Wymondham in defence. Bright sweeps in a great ball from wide right for Du Plooy to attack far post again, Ayers is tracking back makes it difficult for Du Plooy to bring down and control prevents her a chance to shoot.
Emma Jenkins brings the ball up the right for Cambridge plays it along the line with Becky Taylor coming across to receive, cutting back inside rolls it across to Emily Reed 25 yards out she goes for goal, places the shot straight into the keepers gloves. Mills manages to get beyond Newcombe as she races towards the area from the right looks to shoot low put it across the keeper, Hamilton-Rout dives pushes the ball wide for a corner kick. Claire Rennie defends very well up against Bright just inside the box as the ball is played into her from Taylor, she looks to turn and hit it, Rennie doesn't give any space.
|Emma Jenkin's looking to win the ball for Cambridge|
The Cambridge bench appeal for handball inside the area as a cross from Mills on the right is cut out the referee isn't interested. Cambridge have had more of the ball in attack with Wymondham working hard numbers back to prevent gaps opening they haven't been so effective going forwards. Baker often in front of their box tries to drive her way through with the ball Polly Tarrant puts the blocking tackle in to prevent the scoring opportunity. Cantwell and Sally Hammerton have had little chance to create something up top late on Cantwell sends Hammerton through into space on the right, Crook comes out to the edge of her area to smother the ball at the strikers feet.
Half-time Wymondham Town Ladies 0-0 Cambridge United WFC
A tense opening 45 minutes as you'd expect a lower league side working hard to defend against a higher league placed opponent. That said Wymondham have done very well in that regards to keep their shape prevent Cambridge from getting in behind too often Holloway and Ayers coming back to support their full backs has been a good battle between Newcombe and Mills with Hamilton-Rout making two important saves. Cambridge have had more of the ball case of being patient as the visitors kick off the 2nd half.
|Cambridge's Laura Mills looking to get past Wymondham's Leah Newcombe|
|Cambridge's Kayleigh Anne Burt with Wymondham's Laura Hammerton|
Good work from Jenkins making the run into the right corner to chase down a long pass, holding it up in the corner lacks support the best she can do is win a corner as she tries to roll her marker break into the area. The corner on the right is taken short by Mills into Du Plooy level with the corner of the area sends the cross in at an inviting height towards the far post Baker rises just not enough to connect with the ball.
Cambridge make a change bringing on Faith Hewitt for Du Plooy. Wymondham are looking to commit a few yards further forwards as the half progresses and the score line remains 0-0, Laura Hammerton now getting on the ball and running it into space in front of the Cambridge defence. Cambridge have another chance to play the ball up towards the far post from a free kick won wide on the right the Baker is up again too high for her once again.
GOAL! Wymondham take the lead. Comes from a error from Cambridge the ball is in the centre rolled back to Crook who calls for it on the edge of her box, instead it's Sally Hammerton who breaks clear and racing after the ball is 1st to it knocking it away from Crook's gloves moving it to her left and hits the shot sending the ball into the empty net beyond to give the home side the advantage with little over a quarter of an hour to play.
Cambridge were already preparing a sub before the goal now they bring on Nuala Wayne for Reed. Cambridge play the ball long into space on the right Mills races after it comes back inside Hewitt has made up the ground to get into the box, the cross picks her out in the centre she gets her head to the ball turns it up into the air, drops gratefully into Hamilton-Rout's gloves. Taylor is the next Cambridge player to test Hamilton-Rout as the goes after the ball put into the right channel getting to it looks to play it into the box early the cross becomes a shot as falling back as she hits it the ball angles in is heading for the far corner Hamilton-Rout raises a glove to punch it away.
With Cambridge pushing bodies up as they attempt to get back into the tie Newcombe almost sends Wiseman through down the centre, Crook is out quickly to the edge of her area to take hold of the ball. Wiseman hooks a shot well wide from 25 yards out minutes later as Cambridge struggle to get the ball out of their box following a free kick. Now playing 3 at the back Jenkins pushed up into the middle to support the attack.
Taylor races after the ball down the right getting hold of it has time to place the cross with both Baker and Wayne up inside the six yard box, Wayne near post, Baker in the middle Hamilton-Rout between the pair, the ball is played into Baker she knocks it down for Wayne looks to have a simple header to turn it home from close range, Hamilton-Rout does brilliantly throwing herself across the make the save turn over for a corner kick.
Sally Hammerton comes off late on for Wymondham Louise Rout coming on. Cambridge push on Wayne coming in from left wins a corner as her cross is deflected behind by Tarrant. The ball delivered long to the far post is headed over by Holloway for a 2nd corner. This delivery is dropped by Hamilton-Rout as she comes through the crowded six yard box to claim, Cambridge can't get a shot away before Wymondham scramble it away. Taylor with a last push down the right puts it into Mills to her left across to Baker in front of the area, Cantwell is the Wymondham player tracking back to put the tackle in nevertheless the ball rolls loose Hewitt is onto it, hits the shot from distance, wide.
Final whistle blows and Wymondham win the tie 1-0 to secure a famous victory knock an FAWPL Division One side out, to send them into the next round of the FA Women's Cup and further in the competition than they have ever been before. A proper cup tie with Wymondham spending a lot of time defending but that said, did very well for much of the game giving little away with everyone doing their job took their chance when it was presented to them and got the win in front of a decent sized crowd at Kings Head Meadow.
Cambridge will be hugely disappointed had the ball and the chances just couldn't make any of them count, Wymondham's Hamilton-Rout with a fine save to deny them the equaliser towards the end.
My thanks to both clubs for their help with the teams today (although for once I think I knew everyone out there). Best of luck to Wymondham Town Ladies in the next round.
*UPDATE* The draw for the 4th Round Qualifying was made earlier today and Wymondham Town Ladies have been handed a home tie will face another side from the FAWPL South East Division One, Bedford Ladies. The tie scheduled to be played Sun 8th November.