FAWNL Division One South East Sun 5 May The Demcom Stadium
Cambridge City
  • Stephenson (31')
  • Worsfold (13')
  • Albuery (71')

Being the final day, a number of players who hadn’t featured as much as some got their chance to shine, literally, on a rare Summer’s day.

Elle Keegan, Izzy Glass-Oliver, Katie Cooper, Emily Linscer, and the legendary Worsfold were the changes to the side that held Champions AFC Wimbledon to a draw two weeks ago. Kate Oakley too made a welcome return to the squad, with the subs bench also featuring Katie Young, Becs Bell, Georgia Tibble and Shannon Albuery.

Despite the match having nothing riding on it, in terms of final placings, it was the hosts who were quicker out of the blocks. Rosy Woodhams caused the Reds’ backline problems by testing the reflexes of goalkeeper Lauren Dolbear in the opening few minutes. Her first shot forcing ‘Loz’ to get down low and hold at the near post, inside the opening sixty seconds, before firing at the visitor’s last line of defence from marginally outside the penalty area.

Having only just recovered, Woodhams was at it again shortly afterwards; pouncing on an errant pass and slipping in Kayleigh Jackson who was denied by the outstretched leg of Dolbear.

Chloe Winchester offered a rapid response, only for a white shirt to block her close-range effort at the far upright, following a Dani Rowe corner.

More set-piece wizardry from Rowe led to the deadlock being broken a mere twelve minutes in. This time, the midfielder’s left wing free-kick was brilliantly held up by Glass-Oliver, then calmly laid off for retiring Skipper Worsfold to lash home.

The lead was very nearly extended two minutes further into proceedings, thanks to Rowe playing in Sammy Quayle via an outside of the boot ball bent perfectly into the striker’s path.
Quayle’s run eventually ended through a combination of Belle Beeson and custodian Meg Frary.

City then upped the ante by taking the game to their guests; a well-worked move on the left concluding via a tip round her front stick by Dolbear to keep out the impressive Jackson.

That acted as a precursor to the home side levelling the scores a tad past the half-hour mark.
Olivia Martin picked out Rebbeca Stephenson on the far side of the eighteen yard box who duly hit a rocket that not even Dolbear could keep out, as a nick off the inside of the near upright contributed to a fine finish.

Stephenson threatened to derail Worthing’s hopes when she stung the palms of their number one again moments later.

However, the next passage of play left players and spectators alike astounded at how the Lilywhite’s goal remained intact.

A delightful reverse touch by Linscer led to Quayle being frustrated by Frary, before the woodwork came to the home team’s rescue to ensure Sammy’s second attempt also stayed out. Linscer herself then took over the peppering and saw Beeson head off the line, as well as hitting the crossbar, resulting in Jackson blocking the forward’s follow up….and breathe !!

Stoppages resulted in one final throw of the first-half dice; Emma Blakley doing well to get her head to another Rowe flag-kick but narrowly unable to keep it down.

Into the second period and it didn’t take long for the Reds to get into their stride. Winchester providing the opportunity for Worsold to double her tally, only for Beeson to get in a good tackle to make sure that she did not.

Glass-Oliver’s cross came back out to Linscer but her shot was blocked and Sophie Humphrey’s excellent delivery from the opposite flank caused Winchester to hook into the hands of Frary, as the temperature continued to rise both on and off the pitch.

Dead ball situations were also a regular source of danger to Cambridge; Blakley timing her run to meet Rowe’s latest offering but somehow diverting over the top again.

Midway through the second forty-five, some intricate one-touch passing just failed to get the rewards it so richly deserved. Winchester, Glass-Oliver and Linscer linking up superbly; the angle proving a tad too tight in the end though.

Finally, the Reds retook the initiative courtesy of the recently introduced Albuery. Twenty minutes were left on the clock when she stooped to conquer and nodded in a flag-kick from fellow substitute Georgia Tibble, The deadly duo introduced to the action at the same time and (immediately) combining to good effect.

That looked like being that until, in the final few throes, Albuery became the provider for Bell who juggled and swivelled, ‘keeper Frary fumbled, only for a corner to be the eventual outcome.

Katie Young, on at the interval, sent in a teasing ball from very near the left-hand corner flag that Quayle dummied at the font stick, Bell played back in from the other side but the chance evaporated.

Even further into added time, Tibble thought she’d teed up Albuery once more, though the assistant referee’s raised flag chalked the strike off for offside.