Cambridge's Izzy Winnifrith sees off a challenge from WarwickDik Ng with permission for Varsity

The women’s football Blues took a dominant victory over Warwick to reach the next stage of the cup on Wednesday (22/11). The Blues oozed confidence and composure throughout the match, leaving Warwick’s possession next to zero as a result. The 2-0 scoreline doesn’t quite reflect how impressive the Blues side was, with their opposition barely getting a look in, and many more chances just edging wide.

From the first whistle the Blues were challenging Warwick, fighting for every ball and pressing high. Composure in defence meant the Blues could calmly play the ball out from the back, while quickly looking to either of the wings for a quick press forwards. The first big chance of the game came from Cambridge’s Zoe Richardson, whose shot was heading for goal before a lucky goal line clearance from Warwick sent it wide.

Warwick began to settle into the game after a flurry of opening attacks from Cambridge, putting in some dangerous balls forwards. A threatening attack down the left wing was shortly followed by a free kick for Warwick 15 yards from the edge of the box. The Blues supporters on the sideline were left holding their breath as a deflection from Alexia Dengler sent the shot inches over the crossbar. Goalkeeper Emilia Keavney was put to the test as Warwick continued their attacks, but some calmly caught balls and well timed sweeps prevented them from even getting a shot off.

After a flurry of Warwick attacks, it was time for the Blues to have their go, with Izzy Winnifrith sending a shot just wide of the post after a well-worked attack down the left wing. Winnifrith was undeterred by the miss, winning the ball back in a perfectly-timed tackle only a few minutes later to allow a shot from Jasmine Wright that also floated wide. Chances were flying back and forth at this point, with Warwick putting another ball into the side netting and Winnifrith sending a header just clear of the crossbar.

In the dying minutes of the first half, a corner for Cambridge allowed Katie Starling to capitalise on some scrappy defending and bury the ball in the back of the net, making it 1-0 to the Blues. Cambridge were now brimming with confidence, aiming to grab a second goal as the whistle blew for half-time.

This newfound energy was seen again from the first whistle in the second half, the Blues quickly pushing forward to send a well-placed cross past the front of the Warwick goal that just missed Cambridge heads. The Blues were now playing with more freedom than the first half, using the width of the pitch and sending more long balls in behind the defence. Fran Mangeolles capitalised on one of these long passes to slot the ball into the bottom right of Warwick’s net, but was unfortunately deemed offside and the goal disallowed. Mageolles was undeterred by this, her power shot from the edge of the box unluckily deflected off the crossbar only a couple of minutes later.

Dengler, having put in a solid defensive shift throughout the match, continued to stop any Warwick attacks in their tracks, easily picking the ball from their strikers’ feet and making a phenomenal run halfway down the pitch that led to a close chance by Eva Shaw, which ended up in the side netting. Ella O’Connell also fancied a go at goal, her powerful free kick being just about caught by the Warwick keeper to deny the Blues yet again.


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The Blues were not done quite yet though, another goal in the late stages of the game coming courtesy of Wright, who placed the ball in the bottom right hand corner of the net from a well-placed assist by Abbie Hastie, who danced around defenders into the box before lining the perfect cross to Wright. Warwick’s frustration was beginning to show, with free kicks being awarded left, right and centre to the Blues, who continued to threaten right until the final whistle.

Cambridge’s dominant performance sends them through to the next round of the cup and continues their strong run of form in the season so far, leaving things looking positive for another Light Blue win in the Varsity matches this year.