The Invitation Cup is Cambridgeshire's Women's County Cup competition.
ICA Sports Ladies are a new side competing in the Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership this season. Have made a very good start to their footballing life being one of four sides tussling it out for the title at the top of the table in what is turning out to be a competitive league. Were drawn away to Cambridgeshire Championship North side Wisbech St Marys Ladies in the 1st round of the Invitation Cup won the match 4-2. Another away outing in the 2nd round against fellow Premiership side Huntingdon Town Ladies won the match 3-1 to reach the quarter finals of the competition. Face a side a league above them on home soil in this Sunday's game.
Riverside Rovers Ladies aren't much older than ICA Sports Ladies having entered a women's side into the Cambridgeshire Women's Premiership the season before. A very different season as Riverside Rovers Ladies went through the season undefeated to win the title. Stepping up from county league football into the regional league set up this season based where they are in the Peterborough area they have joined the East Midlands Women's Football League - Division One South, have recovered from a poor start to build a 4 game unbeaten run putting them into the middle of the table. Have also established a reserve side this season which is competing in the Cambridgeshire Women's Championship South. Having a bye in the 1st round of the Invitation Cup, Riverside Rovers Ladies were on the road in the 2nd round away to Isleham United Ladies from the Cambridgeshire Women's Championship South won 10-0 to progress to the quarter finals.
The venue for today's game South Bretton Playing Fields, home to ICA Sports Football Club, a large open recreational area behind a housing which over looks the pitch. Two full-sized pitches, the pitch for today's game sloping from one goal to the other, good grass coverage but looked bobbly through wear and tear. A dry afternoon not overly cold few clouds about there was a strong wind whipping across the pitch that would cause a few issues during the game.
ICA Sports Ladies starting XI - Sophie Antonucci, Becky Shields (C), Adele Teti, Lindsay Short, Cara Clarke, Lorna Hart, Megan Purnell, Sarah Rouse, Rhian Leonard, Louise Burgess & Tash Applegate.
subs - Roni Teti & Carmen Herridge.
Riverside Rovers Ladies starting XI - Sophie Powell, Stacey Schreiber, Charley Ireland, Lianna Bell, Jordan Sampson, Hannah Stubbs, Valerie Smith, Holly Morgan, Brandi Davies, Clare Knibbs (C) & Annie Posnett.
subs - Diana Olahora, Jade Ramm, Amber Pitts & Michelle Bark.
(roll on roll off substitutes)
It's ICA Sports to get the quarter final tie kicked off, wearing blue shirts, blue shorts and blue and white hooped socks, with Riverside line up opposite with the wind behind them wearing purple shirts, black shorts and socks. ICA Sports work the ball out to the right early on the cross sent into the box is too close to Riverside goalkeeper Sophie Powell, who get's her gloves on the ball early on. ICA Sports come again with Sarah Rouse winning the ball back from the goal kick a quick pass cutting open the Riverside defence sends striker Tash Applegate in behind the last defender takes on the shot early right of the D outside the box lifts the ball over the bar.
GOAL! Having had a free kick inside the ICA Sports half 25 yards out after Annie Posnett was fouled trying to take the ball on into the box the ball is back with the ICA Sports defence as it comes to nothing the ball put back out into the middle of the park is intercepted by Riverside's Valerie Smith she fires her pass up to Clare Knibbs in attack wearing the captains armband, Knibbs is a dual signing available to play for both clubs has scored 6 for ICA Sports so far this season, has 4 to her name for Riverside, makes it 5 as she is allowed to turn 20 yards out stroke her low shot across Sophie Antonucci in the ICA Sports into the corner of the net 0-1.
|Riverside Rovers Ladies captain Clare Knibbs with the opening goal|
ICA Sports look to respond have to start from deep as the ball is standing up in the wind, Lorna Hart in the middle of the park for the home side drives forwards on the ball, looks to link up with Applegate feeding the ball into her feet 20 yards out back to goal, Hart runs on, Applegate looks to play the ball through into the box for her, Stacey Schreiber gets across her run to win the ball back for Riverside.
Good foot work from Jordan Sampson on the ball at the back for Riverside see's her bring it forwards up to halfway sends a direct ball up for Knibbs who does well flicking in on for Posnett out to the right driving up the line, Knibbs is racing into the box, Posnett gets the cross in near post area, Antonucci comes and gets between the Knibbs and the ball. Break for ICA Sports the ball put into Tash Applegate coming up to halfway a great turn and pass as she has Megan Purnell bursting into space on the right flank, driving forwards comes inside looks to take the shot on the ball rising is caught by the strong wind that takes it away wide across goal.
|ICA Sports Ladies, Lorna Hart|
ICA Sports captain Becky Shields, wins the ball as they break from another Riverside move, Hart on the ball looks to drop it over the top for Applegate as she runs beyond the Riverside defence, the attempted clearance is missed giving Applegate half a chance as she gets her foot on the ball left of goal is spinning can't direct it on target. Applegate with another attempt on goal outside the box this time as Rouse set's her up plants the ball straight at Powell.
Riverside's Hannah Stubbs wins the ball in the middle plays it out to Holly Morgan on the left side taking the ball up the pitch decides to test the goalkeeper, worth the attempt with the swirling wind. lofts the ball up towards goal, won't come down in time and sails over the bar. Riverside make a chance sending on Jade Ramm for Posnett in attack.
GOAL! Play is building on the right for Riverside as they bring the ball up the pitch Hannah Stubbs playing it out to Ramm out wide, her cross meant for Knibbs in the middle of the box is intercepted and cleared by the ICA Sports defence, the clearance though is swept out to the left where Morgan is free to latch onto it finds herself in a similar position to her earlier chance, shoots lifts the ball over the keeper and scores 0-2.
ICA Sports make a chance Carmen Herridge coming on for Louise Burgess. Riverside have upped their tempo looking to close ICA Sports down more inside their own half force errors. Brandi Davies with a strong but fair challenge on the right takes the ball up the line feeds her pass into Knibbs who attempts to send Davies in beyond her, the pass just a touch too heavy Davies can't reach it. Not long after it's Davies who comes off with Riverside sending Posnett back into the action.
Rhian Leonard for ICA Sports sends Applegate away down the right, takes the ball to the corner of the area her marker stands off her, she rolls the ball back across the face of the area with Hart sprinting onto the ball, shoots drags her shot low across the face of the goal and out of play. Diana Olohara comes on for Riverside going into the defence, with Ramm coming off. Leonard carries the ball down the left for ICA Sports swings the cross into the box with Applegate coming across to attack the near post, Olohara get's there first hooks the ball away, but only as far as the area, Hart is there, Olohara follows up and closes her down prevents any shot coming in.
|Riverside Rovers Ladies, Valerie Smith winning the header|
Smith takes the ball on through the middle, releases Posnett in front of her, has Morgan making a run up the left, sweeps the crossfield pass out to her then turns off her marker looking to get into the area Morgan looks to pick her out, great attacking move, Posnett lunges trying to connect with the ball her touch can't turn the ball home but away from goal. Morgan has to come off soon after feeling her hamstring, Davies comes back on. ICA Sports take Leonard off bring on Roni Teti.
GOAL! Closing in on half-time the referee blows for a foul as the ball strikes Riverside's Schreiber's hand 20 yards from goal. Ignoring calls from their bench to take their time ICA Sports take it quickly with Rouse going to take seeing, both Applegate and Hart making runs into the area plays it through to Hart on the left side of goal, stabs the ball towards goal, hits Powell's legs but it isn't enough to stop it going over the line 1-2.
Enough time from the restart for Riverside the mount one more attack get the ball out to Knibbs wide on the right coming inside goes for the early shot looking to go across but is also wide of the goal as the whistle blows.
Half-time ICA Sports Ladies 1-2 Riverside Rovers Ladies
Riverside looked in good shape for a 2-0 lead at half-time a blow to concede so late in the half, the goal in turn has lifted ICA Sports and this quarter final tie is still very much in the balance.
Riverside get the 2nd half back under way Ramm is back on the pitch at the start of the half with Schreiber rested. The visitors attack down the right at the start of the 2nd half Knibbs taking the ball deep into the corner, Ramm comes to offer support the ball rolled into her she tries to back heel it on for Knibbs to attack as she runs into the area, ICA Sports Cara Clarke throws a boot forwards to take the ball away from her inside the box. Riverside keep the pressure up around the box, Stubbs sending a high ball back into the box, is claimed confidently by Antonucci with Posnett closing in.
|Sarah Rouse dealing with the ball in the middle for ICA Sports Ladies|
Knibbs is covering alot of grass is all over the pitch, across to the left is allowed to carry the ball all the way into the box closing in on the near post looks to fire the ball into Posnett in the middle of the six yard box, great defensive work from ICA Sports left back Lindsay Short, keeps the ball away from Posnett the ball isn't cleared Lianna Bell has gotten up to the edge of the box looks to pull the trigger, Rouse gets back to slide in block the ball slices away into the centre, Ramm latches onto it shoots is off target.
GOAL! Riverside have had ICA Sports under pressure early in the 2nd half however the home side go up the other end and get themselves back on level terms. Herridge has the ball on the left takes it along way into the Riverside half before looking to send her pass into Applegate in a central position 20 yards from goal, isn't closed down, allowed the time and space to shoot sends a curling shot sailing in to the top corner of the net 2-2.
|Tash Applegate with the goal to get ICA Sports Ladies back on level terms|
From 2-0 down ICA Sports have pulled it back to 2-2 and are looking to attack again Hart has the ball in the middle 25 yards out drives her shot in towards goal Powell parries the all away to her right, Purnell is racing into the area is first to the loose ball smashes her shot against the base of the post, ICA Sports keep the ball, brought up the right is worked across the pitch, coming out to Herridge on the left players looking to break into the box her cross dissects the six yard box Hart lunges for the ball a the far post can't connect. Schreiber is back on for Riverside.
Adele Teti has a shot on the Riverside goal from a long way out the ball coming in low bounces just before Powell who dives low to her left to push the ball wide, Herridge racing up the pitch sniffs a chance looks to smash the ball home, Schreiber gets back across her shot blocking it away for a corner kick which is safely dealt with.
Stubbs and Smith link up high up the pitch for Riverside, from a throw on the left side, the ball is played into Stubbs, turning inside her excellent pass picks out Smith pulling off the defence to get into the box, hits her shot first time lifting it up it smashes against the cross bar and goes over. Is an end to end battle 2nd half Knibbs always a threat on the break, has Shields keeping her company now. Herridge comes off, Leonard is back on for ICA Sports.
Purnell hits the post again as ICA Sports build on the left win a throw, is put into Rouse on the edge of the area can't find room to turn into the box lays it back to Purnell 20 yards out hits her shot hard across the goal beating the keeper, but comes back off the far post across the six yard box, is put behind for a corner.
Charley Ireland stops Applegate in her tracks as she looks to take the ball up the left side the right back instead brings the ball forwards over halfway Stubbs comes across wants the ball played down the line, gets it carries it into the corner, crosses Knibbs is coming towards the ball but Antonucci has the near post area covered pulled the ball into her midriff. Riverside have started to get more possession of the ball having it around the ICA Sports area are taking on the early shot, 2 efforts are sent out of play. Knibbs is put through by Smith into the box right of goal, Shields stays on her shoulder to shoulder the defender wins the tackle.
Posnett wins her side a corner on the right is up there with Knibbs who takes it short passing it into her feet then looking to go Posnett gives her the ball, Knibbs works it to the edge of the area, shifts it providing the half a yard to shoot, sends the ball in towards goal, Antonucci gets down low to smother the shot, 12 minutes left on the clock Riverside have ICA Sports on the ropes a free kick on the left Knibbs to loft the ball into the box drops over Ramm on the penalty spot, dropping for Smith behind bouncing Smith looks to lift the ball over the keeper, not enough height Antonucci plucks it down. Burgess comes back on for ICA Sports.
Smith is finding some space in the middle now bringing the ball on fizzes the pass into Posnett her back to goal holds it up well with Knibbs making the run calling for it to be put in behind her, Posnett gets it through, Shields is with Knibbs again and the shot is deflected away for a throw. Knibbs higher up the pitch spins on the ball beating her marker this time and releases Posnett left side to attack the area Roni Teti is with her, her keeper is coming but risky waiting for the clearance Posnett on her back Teti gets it away for the throw. Knibbs gets the ball from the throw edge of the area left slips just as she shoots the ball rolling in tamely to Antonucci
The final whistle blows ending the 90 minutes and the quarter final heads into an extra 30 minutes of extra time. Great game to watch so far is a tie which could go either way although Riverside were turning the screw late on having lost their 2-0 lead. Slight concern for the visitors is their goalkeeper Powell looks to be struggling with an injury late on have seen a few had to come off with knocks already.
ICA Sports get the 1st 15 minute period of extra time under way. Attack down the left with Burgess combining with Applegate win a throw deep in Riverside territory then a corner, the ball into the box is good across the face of goal, Bell gets it clear at the far post.
With ICA Sports attacking early in extra time Riverside launch a counter attack the ball fed into Posnett just over halfway she turns and runs up the pitch, Clarke is tries to stay on her Posnett has a half yard advantage keeps it her run and Clarke's presence take her out to the right side of the box, nevertheless she gets the shot away sends the ball over the bar.
Riverside with a throw inside the ICA Sports half on the left, the ball drops into Knibbs' feet rolls off her marker to shot towards the near post Antonucci gets down late but manages to push the ball across her six yard box Short plays it behind for the corner, Bell to take from the right has Smith coming towards the ball near post tries to help it on drops in the six yard box, Antonucci is the first to pounce upon it. Antonucci has to come racing out to the edge of her box to clear the danger on the right then as Posnett is put through on her goal by Davies on the wing.
GOAL! Riverside get themselves back in front late in the 1st period of extra time. Again the build up is on the right, the ball is won back by the visitors in the middle, fed out to Davies on the wing, Posnett is already on the move with space available, the ball is put forwards for her to chase, Antonucci starts to come, not going to get there Posnett shoots the angle acute wide of the area gets it on target across the goal aiming for the par stick and in 2-3.
|Annie Posnett with the goal for Riverside Rovers Ladies in extra time|
Riverside continue to push late into the 1st period of extra time, Ramm carrying the ball from a central position out to the right whips a high ball into the area, Smith has arrived in the middle, too high for her, defenders get attracted to her leaving Posnett unmarked, gets to the ball, places her shot straight into the goalkeepers gloves.
Half-time extra time ICA Sports Ladies 2-3 Riverside Rovers Ladies.
Riverside have the lead with 15 minutes of extra time to play kick off the 2nd period. Start brightly Smith going forwards plays the ball into Posnett she looks to spin off her marker get into the box, Clarke is on her and throws the foot out to prod the ball away from her as Teti launches clear.
ICA Sports are looking a little flustered rushing their passes since conceding the goal. Breaking up a Riverside attack on the right the home side have a chance to build from the throw, put into Burgess she uses her strength to bring it over halfway plays it forwards into Rouse who coming central has Hart making a fantastic run through the Riverside defence, playing her in she runs for the area, has company on her shoulder, opts to pulls the trigger early outside the box bobbles it's way through to the keeper.
|Riverside Rovers Ladies, Jade Ramm|
Ramm has acres of space to run into down the right, reaching the box cuts back inside, has Knibbs making a diagonal run in front of her giving her the ball Knibbs knocks it into the area, just a touch too heavy giving Clarke the chance to lunge put it behind for the corner. In from the right from Bell gets good distance aiming far post in swinger, Antonucci is allowed to claim unchallenged.
GOAL! There is barely a minute left on the clock, ICA Sports with one late push, up the right Rouse out to Burgess the cross is put back across the front of the area where Applegate wants it, gets it right of the D is allowed too much time and space, hits it hard into the centre of the goal low Powell doves to her right pushes the ball away only Herridge has gotten all the way up on the left has the simplest of tap ins scored to make it 3-3 at the death. And that is it the game will be settled by the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Anyone who reads the Supporting Women's Football Blog knows I hate penalties but that's that a thrilling cup tie in the quarter finals of the Cambridgeshire Women's Invitation Cup will be settled by a shootout, five penalties each and then sudden death if required.
Both sides change their goalkeeper for the shootout, Powell is struggling with her injury, Schreiber dons the shirt and gloves for Riverside with Hart putting on the goalies kit for ICA Sports. Here we go....
Riverside go 1st, Smith with the kick sends the ball high to the left of the keeper and scores 1-0
Up 1st for ICA Sports is Purnell, she sends the keeper the wrong way putting the ball in low to the left 1-1
2nd penalty taker for Riverside, is their captain Knibbs, sends the ball up to the right, but Hart guesses right and saves it 1-1
Rouse steps up to take ICA Sports 2nd penalty, hits it high through the middle, Schreiber had started to drift to her left, puts a glove up somehow turning the ball over.. save 1-1
3rd up for Riverside is Posnett, Hart saves for the second time guessing right as she dives to her right pushes the ball away 1-1
Applegate with ICA Sports 3rd penalty, disaster missed the target 1-1
Penalty taker number 4 for Riverside is Bell, Hart guesses right diving to her left, but Bell's kick it too accurate finding the corner just inside the post 2-1
Adele Teti with ICA Sports 4th spot kick, keeper doesn't move as she buries it high to her left 2-2
5th penalty for Riverside, taken by Olohara, comes in low too close to Hart who get's down on her knees to save it 2-2
One penalty left the 5th for ICA Sports, Burgess to take, put it away and they are through to the quarter finals. Runs from the edge of the box hitting it hard lifting it high to the keepers left to score and win the shootout 3-2 as her team mates run from halfway to celebrate.
|Louise Burgess hitting the winning penalty to send ICA Sports Ladies into the semi-finals|
ICA Sports Ladies win the penalty shootout 3-2 after it ended all square 3-3 after extra time to book their place in the Cambridgeshire Women's Invitation Cup semi-finals. Was a thrilling game great for the neutral (I suspect I was the only one there). A proper cup tie played in the right spirit both sides doing well considering the wind playing some good football enjoyed it.
My thanks to both clubs for all of their help with the teams today. Look forwards to seeing both again at some point in the future and best of luck to ICA Sports Ladies in the semi-finals.