An estimated 129 supporters attended the heated fixtureBen Phillips

Cambridge United WFC battled to a 1-2 away win over Cambridge City Ladies FC in Wednesday evening’s fixture (29/09), as goals from Emma Jenkins and Gisela Otten sealed the deal in the all-Cambridge affair.

The host side has unfortunately had nowhere to call home since 2013, consequently ground-sharing with Histon FC until the club’s new facilities, expected to be completed early next year, are built in Sawston. As a result, the fixture was hosted at the DEMCOM Stadium, home to Ely City FC. 

There is a lot of history between the two sides, with the derby match always being an exciting occasion in the local women’s football calendar. United are an established outfit who ply their trade in the fourth tier of women’s national football, while the newly-formed Cambridge City side has experienced a rapid rise up the football pyramid, reaching the FAWNL South East Division One to brush shoulders with their local rivals.

Both teams have undergone makeovers in management recently, with the U’s seeing Darren Marjoram join first-team coach Ben Yeoman as manager after leaving St Ives Town over the summer. The pair are aided in the coaching setup by Liz Pamplin, a local ladies football legend who made over 500 appearances for Cambridge United.

Meanwhile, Cambridge City appointed local man Ollie Drake as head coach back in January 2020, assisted in the dugout by manager Tim Rapley. Drake, who is still a relatively young figure in the game, has gained experience through prior jobs as part of the setup at Ipswich Town Ladies.

Going into the derby fixture, both sides had enjoyed solid starts to their respective seasons. The U’s picked up some momentum after winning four games on the bounce, but crashed to a 0-6 defeat against Hashtag United last Sunday (26/09). Conversely, the Lilywhites recorded back-to-back wins against Harlow Town and Stevenage back in August to ensure they currently sit sixth-placed in the table.

Turning to the action on the pitch, the matchup started brightly with plenty of attacking football gracing the field. The feel of a derby match added a competitive edge to the fixture, as both sets of ladies were giving it their all to gain an advantage over their bitter rivals. Despite a couple of great chances at either end, the score remained at a 0-0 deadlock going into the interval.

After the restart, it was United who kicked things off by showcasing their dominance, with Gisela Otten and captain Laura Baker bossing the middle of the park and leading the high-intensity press, leaving City struggling to get the ball into their opponents half. The U’s ladies didn’t have to wait long to garner reward for their impressive performance. Just shy of the hour mark, attacker Emma Jenkins received the ball on the edge of the box, pivoted on one foot, and struck a well-taken shot that left Lilywhites keeper Sarah Hudson rooted to the spot, making it 0-1.


Mountain View

Cambridge City FC alive and kicking

Cambridge City tried to fight back immediately, but saw their efforts stunted when Grace Stanley was sin-binned and shown a yellow card for arguing with the referee. Capitalising on this extra player advantage, the U’s quickly doubled their lead from a pinpoint corner that was neatly converted by Gisela Otten, who rose above a sea of bodies to produce a bullet of a header. Otten was swarmed by her fellow teammates, basking in the elation of derby supremacy.

With just over four minutes of normal time remaining in the game, and players beginning to tire, City managed to grab a consolation goal, with Stanley putting right her earlier absence by rifling a shot past U’s goalie Kira Markwell from distance. Unfortunate not to hold on to a clean sheet, United had little choice but to settle for a 1-2 result.

As the floodlights powered down and spectators piled out of the ground, Cambridge United guaranteed both bragging rights and three points in what proved to be a performance of great character and determination. Looking ahead, the victors will battle it out against Actonians this afternoon (03/10), hoping to leapfrog the fourth-placed side. Elsewhere, the Lilywhites will travel to Park Lane to face Hashtag United, who currently stand unbeaten in the league and will ultimately be a tough test for the visitors. Further on, fans will have to wait until 16th February next year to watch the pair clash in the next local derby.


Cambridge City Ladies FC: Sarah Hudson (C), Ceri Flye, Amy Reed, Bronwyn Mulheron, Jess Evans, Ellie Cullum, Hannah Bodily, Charlotte Gillies, Karly Tolentino, Amanda Crump, Grace Stanley

Substitutes: Erin Davies, Lauren Tomlinson, Lauren Saunders, Zynia Delglyn, Georgia Clarke

Cambridge United WFC: Kira Markwell, Anna Re, Abi Davies, Grace Waygood, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Gisela Otten, Laura Baker (C), Emma Jenkins, Amy Howlett, Faith Hewitt, Laura Mitchell

Substitutes: Carrie Bennett, Libby Fraser, Amy Houghton, Charlotte Crisp, Niamh Day