Cambridge took on Loughborough at Fitzwilliam Playing Fields James Lee

Cambridge started the 2019/20 season in scintillating fashion with a narrow victory at Fitzwilliam Playing Fields, leaving it to the dying minutes to edge out Loughborough 3rd’s 4-3. 

In a high tempo game featuring seven goals, three changes of lead and two wonderful long-range strikes, the Light Blues emerged victorious to stride out of their first Women’s Midlands Tier 2 fixture with an important three points.

The game started with Loughborough, coming in on the back of a 3-0 win over Warwick 1’s, kicking-off and attacking west to east. Early phases saw the ball reach both penalty areas, with each keeper showing good judgement to shut down any early threats.

Cambridge soon achieved offensive supremacy, with the rapid pace of Number 10 Sophia D’Angelo causing problems for the Loughborough defence. The visitors’ defence initially held strong before a Light Blue breakthrough in the 21st minute.  Receiving the ball on the right flank, D’Angelo charged into the box and unselfishly fed the ball through to Light Blue 8 Emma McLoughlin, whose initial shot was obstructed by the diving keeper; however, she was ultimately unable to prevent it from dribbling under her, allowing Cambridge 7 Molly Woods to tap it in for the first goal of the game. 

Loughborough nevertheless showed no loss of heart and continued their high-intensity play. The Purples surged into Cambridge territory and fed the ball to Number 10 Abi Todd who was able to get it round Robson for a quick equaliser. A sustained  spell of Loughborough possession saw the Light Blue defence regularly drop back in numbers, demonstrating a defensive solidarity that defined their afternoon. 

However, this was not enough to prevent Loughborough taking the lead in the 33rd minute as Hannah’s good vision and delivery fed the left flank for Number 16 Paula Holguin to shoot, with Robson this time spilling the ball behind and leaving the goal open for a tap-in despite calls for offside from the Light Blue bench. 

Cambridge bounced back with good spells of possession and solid build up play which saw the ball being passed confidently around their third. Patient build up was rewarded in offence as D’Angelo returned a cross to Number 9 Sara Merican who bundled the ball past Hannah to draw the score level at 2-2 in the 37th minute. 

As the half drew near its conclusion energy remained high, with both teams looking to reclaim a lead once theirs. Cambridge built well but after conceding a throw-in, Loughborough were able to get the ball to their Number 2, Rosy Wodhams, who produced a top class shot from the edge of the area, curling into the top left corner all the way and leaving Robson with no chance to make the game 3-2.

Cambridge began the second half by making the interesting decision to launch the kick off directly to the Loughborough goalkeeper, but soon won the ball back again for a consistent spell of possession. The Light Blues soon made their first subs of the afternoon, bringing on 17 Jen Atherton for 7 Molly Woods and 6 Ailie Rennie for 8 McLoughlin around the 60 minute mark. The swap proved highly influential, as Rennie promptly launched a delightful dinked ball high over Hannah, bringing the score level again at 3-3. 

Shortly after, the game was brought to a halt by the referee in order to provide treatment for Loughborough goalscorer Wodhams, who encountered breathing trouble. Having already used three subs, Loughborough were forced to play the rest of the encounter with 10 players. 


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Sensing their moment to strike with a numerical advantage in hand, Cambridge played the remainder of the game largely in Loughborough’s final third with numerous threatening balls. Despite some resolute defence, D’Angelo was to have the final word, ultimately receiving the reward for an afternoon of tireless pressure and self-effacing teamwork. A free kick on the edge of the area put the ball on the left flank for the Number 10 to knock the ball beyond Hannah and put the Light Blues back in front for the first time since their initial goal. 

Playing now with nothing to lose the Purples threw all ten women forward, causing some late nerves as a cross came to Holguin who was able to make contact but saw the ball narrowly drift wide. 

This was to be one of the last phases of the game, as the referee blew for time with the score at 4-3 to loud cheers from a Light Blue side who had left everything out on the pitch and had claimed a deserved four points as a result. 

Cambridge are next in action against Leicester 1’s again at Fitzwilliam Playing Fields on Wednesday 30th October 2pm, whilst Loughborough travel to face Oxford 1’s on the same afternoon.

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