Cambridge picked up their third win in the space of a week as they moved up to 3 rd in the FAWPL South East Division One with a hard fought 2-0 win at home to Luton Town Ladies.
Both teams had played midweek fixtures and the opening quarter of an hour of the game had a sluggish feel to it but it was the hosts that settled into the game quickest and created a number of chances to score. The first corner of the game saw a well-worked set piece from Becky Russell find Jordan Holland’s head but she directed the header wide of the far post. Unfortunately for her, she landed awkwardly and had to be substituted, with Caitlin Marks coming on in her place. Nuala Wayne was looking threatening in the final third and two efforts forced the Luton goalkeeper into sharp saves, with both Laura Bright and Emma Jenkins both having long range efforts but both went wide of the goal. Midway through the first half a flowing move released Russell on the right wing and she played a perfect ball low across the six yard box that found Wayne but she delayed her shot and had to touch away from the covering defender resulting in her final shot being parried away by the keeper who was having a good half. Cambridge were largely unthreatened at the back and Luton were kept to rare counter attacks which the defence and Liz Pamplin in goal were always alert to.
The deserved goal came on the stroke of half time. Wayne pulled out onto the left wing to receive a pass from Kayleigh Anne Burt and she beat the full back well before delivering a perfect cross for Charlotte Crisp to get in front of her marker and head home past the helpless keeper.
Luton, to their credit, raised their game after the break and Cambridge had to withstand more pressure but by keeping a disciplined shape and some resolute defending as a team, they still restricted Luton to chances, despite their possession. The visitors looked a threat from set pieces but Pamplin’s handling was twice tested, and twice she got it spot on with safe hands. Two vicious Luton corners were also excellently punched away under pressure. Despite Luton’s now more dominant positioning in terms of territory, the home side looked very dangerous on the break and had numerous good chances to kill the game with the second goal. Wayne fired wide of the goal from the edge of the box and Sophie Thompson, who looked lively throughout, tested the hands of the keeper at the near post to force a corner from her snap shot. Faith Hewitt, who came on midway through the second half for Thompson, also forced the keeper into a save. The best chance fell to Crisp again, after Wayne’s ball over the top found her and she poked the ball past the onrushing keeper but it went just wide of the goal. However, an almost identical move resulted in the goal that sealed the points. Another great pick out from Wayne found Crisp’s run centrally and she lifted the ball past the keeper.
A fine end to an excellent week for Cambridge and the first clean sheet of the season as the team continues to improve both defensively and in attack.
CAMBRIDGE:- Liz Pamplin; Emma Jenkins, Jordan Holland (Caitlin Marks 18 mins), Liv Abbott, Kayleigh Anne Burt; Hannah Goodchild, Laura Bright; Becky Russell, Sophie Thompson (Faith Hewitt 68 mins), Charlotte Crisp; Nuala Wayne