U’s denied first win of the season
Cambridge United Women fell to an agonising 2-1 home defeat at the hands of a clinical Ipswich Town Ladies side, who came back from a goal down to clinch the points.
The U’s were cruelly denied their first win of the season, despite controlling large periods of the game but were unable to register the goals to reflect their efforts.
An explosive opening to the match saw United take the game to the away side from the off and with only 12 minutes played take a deserved 1-0 lead.
Nuala Wayne, who had already produced two purposeful crosses into the box from the left that had caused the Ipswich defence problems, was this time the recipient of a pinpoint through ball from Laura Mills after a flowing move and she finished past the keeper calmly from 12 yards.
The U’s came close to doubling the advantage moments later after a defence splitting pass from Laura Baker found Mills’ run into the box, who placed her shot a fraction wide of the far post. Ipswich continued to struggle to contain the pace at which United were playing at and Becky Taylor came equally close to scoring from a curling effort outside the 18 yard box.
There were to be further chances for the hosts, with the Blues failing to register a single shot on target in the first half. Another excellent cross from Wayne just evaded Lucy Du Plooy at the far post, and then Baker struck a sweet drive just over the bar after a swift counter attack.
More of the same followed after the half time break, as the U’s went in search of a goal that would conclude the result. Another fantastic counter attacking break involving Mills and Wayne found Taylor’s run and her shot was just off target and then Ipswich goalkeeper Bird instinctively stuck out an arm to divert Taylor’s volley wide after Wayne’s through ball. Some heroic defending then saw Taylor’s header cleared off the line with Bird beaten after Du Plooy’s corner.
However, despite their best efforts the goal would not come for United and the away side made them pay. Wayward possession of the ball from Cambridge saw Town counter attack quickly and take advantage of an out of balance shape, before Olivia Dixon levelled the scores from inside the area as the clock ticked into the final ten minutes.
Momentum in the game shifted instantly and disaster was to strike for the U’s during injury time. Ipswich had already cracked the woodwork with a header from a set piece as a final warning, but an inability to clear lines from United saw Ipswich midfielder Molly Hall get on the ball and hit an opportunistic effort from long range that dipped just below Verity Crook’s crossbar.
It was a harsh piece of luck for the home side and their performance did not warrant a defeat but no-one could argue that the game should have been out of sight of Ipswich as early as half time.
Manager Steve Edwards was quick to look at the positives but conceded that his side need to learn from the errors that cost them, he said: “It’s a really hard defeat to take as I asked for a reaction from the players after last week’s defeat at Norwich and they gave me a very pleasing performance both from a defensive and attacking point of view.
“But if you don’t score goals in games while you’re enjoying long spells of dominance then there’s always a chance it can come back to haunt you as it did today. We were a little bit more wasteful in possession as the game wore on and we’d attacked with such gusto that some tiredness crept in which resulted in a few lapses of concentrations but another day we’d be three or four goals ahead and would have been able to shut up shop a little more.
“This is a very unforgiving league and we need to harden up from experiences like these and use them to improve from. We’re not quite where we want to be yet but this game was a big leap in the right direction.
“We’ll pick ourselves up and continue to work on the positives that we showed in the match.”
LINE UP:- Verity Crook, Hannah Goodchild, Nicola Geoghan, Becca Fay, Emily Reed (Faith Hewitt 62 mins), Laura Baker, Laura Bright, Laura Mills, Lucy Du Plooy (Hannah Bodily 72 mins), Nuala Wayne (Isabella Simmons 85 mins), Becky Taylor. Subs not used – Liz Pamplin, Tahnee Perfect