The visitors celebrating a goal in front of Bridge Road's away endBen Phillips

Yesterday afternoon (14/08), Cambridge City FC lost 1-2 to Halesowen Town FC in their debut game of the Northern Premier League Midlands Division.

Cambridge City have come off the back of a disruptive last season and summer, as they saw themselves moved to the Northern League Midlands Division in a disappointing league reallocation in May. Despite an unsuccessful appeal, the decision imposes a costly financial situation on the club, with additional costs set to total between an estimated £6,000 and £7,000 a year. These extra charges are far from ideal for the club, given the dramatically reduced revenue streams associated with ground-sharing Bridge Road with Histon FC over the last few years. Nonetheless, the Lilywhites kicked off their 2021-22 campaign in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division by hosting Halesowen Town.

Cambridge City managed to retain all but one of their squad from last year, in spite of the uncertainty that surrounded the league reallocation. With the new, pre-season additions of Tom Hitchcock from Bedford Town and former Royston Town captain Taylor Parr, manager Robbie Nightingale’s team looked strong going into the fixture. However, the travelling side boasted a recent achievement of silverware, winning the Brookes & Clark Charity Shield against Stourbridge FC last Saturday (08/08). The Yeltz were also an impressive outfit last year, as they reached the semi-final of the FA Trophy in what was an unexpected cup run. Before the opening whistle, both sides observed a minute's silence in memory of City fan Nathan Cowell, who sadly passed away in June.

Turning to the game, Lewis Wright opened the scoring for the visitors after just fourteen minutes, placing a low shot past City keeper Dan George. But Cambridge City displayed great resilience by immediately responding through Tom Hitchcock, who kept his composure to coolly lob Halesowen’s Daniel Platt in the opposite net, making it 1-1 with only a quarter of an hour on the clock.

The deadlock lasted all but six minutes, as the attacking vigour of both sides resulted in Kyle Finn restoring the lead for the visitors, after breaking through the City defence with a dangerous ball over the top. Finn latched onto the pass and slotted a well-taken shot past the stranded City goalkeeper, sending the Yeltz fans behind the goal into an excited frenzy.  Looking to build on this frantic start, Halesowen almost made it 3-1 on the 26-minute mark with a converted chance from Paul McCone, but the Lilywhites were saved by the assistant referee’s flag being raised for offside.

Unlike the first 45, the second half was a quieter affair, with the only notable effort coming from City’s Hitchcock, who forced Platt into a smart save to keep the visitors ahead. The remainder of the match proved to be a scrappy affair played in the middle of the park, as the hosts struggled to break down a rigid structure. Despite City making changes, Halesowen were able to ride out some late pressure from Nightingale’s men and take all three points back to the West Midlands. 


Mountain View

Cambridge City FC: A Community Club

After the game, Nightingale commented on his side’s performance: “sadly, we couldn’t get the result we wanted today, but it’s something to build on as we move forward”. He continued: “it’s disappointing that we had six or seven players out and ones that you can change games with at the top of the pitch. We lacked that extra bit of quality today going forward, credit to Halesowen they are a good team”. With 270 returning fans in attendance at Bridge Road, Nightingale also expressed his gratitude to the loyal supporters: “we enjoy playing in front of our fans and we are a well-supported club. They have stuck with us through some pretty torrid times and hopefully we can give them something to cheer about this season”.  

Looking ahead to the rest of this season, Cambridge City will be working with great effort to get their injured players back up to full fitness and kickstart a hopefully fruitful campaign. Meanwhile, the club as a whole is entering exciting times with the development of its new stadium, training facilities, and community areas in Sawston, which will provide inclusive opportunites and create a community hub. The stadium will be a place where Cambridge City can aim to build on their non-league reputation as a local, family-friendly club. Although the Lilywhites have faced tough challenges in recent years, both on and off the field, it’s great to finally see the revival of Cambridge’s grassroots football.


Cambridge City: Dan George, Miles Smith, Seb Simpson, Luke Knight, Jordan Gent, Taylor Parr, Ryan Swift, Tom Wood, Tom Hitchcock, Ryan Sharman, Mikey Davis

Substitutes: Tommy Rigby, Lloyd Barker, David Haynes, Danny Prince-Jones, Collins Nwakor

Halesowen Town: Daniel Platt, Lewis Wright, Brett Lloyd, Joshua Hawker, Paul McCone, Calum Flanaghan, Jack Holmes, Jac Redhead, Harry White, Kyle Finn, Christopher Lait

Substitutes: Robert Evans, Ahmed Ali, Toby Scott, Jamie Molyneux, Richard Gregory