Laura Baker puts on late late show

Laura Baker puts on late late show

Cambridge Women left it late before snatching victory defeating Ebbsfleet United at Little Thetford Rec.

Coming off the back of a great county cup win last week CW faced the task of taking on Ebbsfleet in the unusual surroundings of The Little Thetford Rec home of the Development Squad as their normal home The Unwin Ground was unavailable.

The Skyblues were virtually back to full strength with winger Millie Turner returning to the starting line up and Brown and Geoghan starting again. Captain Hannah Goodchild moved to right back with Emma Jenkins dropping to the bench. Faith Hewitt took her place in the midfield engine room. Sophie Thompson was unavailable so Laura Baker played the lone striker role.

Cambridge were focused for the game but didn’t know what to expect from an unpredictable Ebbsfleet side.

For the first fifteen minutes Cambridge failed to really get into the game and Ebbsfleet enjoyed a period of pressure which the Cambridge defence did well to repel. As the half wore on the possession evened up and Cambridge began to get a foothold in the game.

Both sides had opportunities to take the lead but Cambridge goalkeeper Verity Crook made a fine save and saw another speculative effort graze the bar. Laura Bright came closest for Cambridge but failed to make decent contact on a Millie Turner cross. Cambridge finished the half stronger but the game was tight as was expected.

HT 0-0

Cambridge came flying out of the blocks for the second half, immediately pressing the ball and giving Ebbsfleet no time to settle. Within 2 minutes of the second period starting Cambridge took the lead after Laura Baker found space on the right and squared the ball to Laura Bright on the edge of the area. Bright was closed down quickly but showed great awareness to move the ball on again to Natalie Richardson who had joined the attack from the left wing. Richardson took a touch and fired home from 15 yards to give Cambridge a deserved lead.

Cambridge continued to dominate Ebbsfleet and whilst the defence held firm Laura Brown and Faith Hewitt were in total control in the midfield. Although Cambridge had the greater share of play they failed to test the opposition keeper often enough and we were made to pay midway through the half when they were caught pushing too many players forward and Ebbsfleet got themselves back in the game with a well taken equaliser.

Not to be put off their stride Cambridge continued to press well playing some neat and tidy football. The game wasn’t helped by some strange refereeing decisions that left both sides a little bewildered. After one such incident  there was a quite astonishing outburst from the referee directed at Cambridge manager Kevin Hoover with 15 minutes left after the Kevin appealed for a free kick.

Within ten minutes the referee was centre of more controversy when he sent off Ebbsfleet’s forward for two bookings. The first was by their own management’s admission warranted but there weren’t many people in attendance who thought the second challenge warranted a card. Both bookings came within five minutes of each other and it handed Cambridge the chance to really push for the winner.

The winning goal came deep into injury time. Midfield maestro Laura Brown threaded a great pass through to Laura Baker who, under immense pressure guided the ball past the onrushing keeper and into to bottom corner to secure all three points and send the Cambridge faithful wild with delight. The goal came so late that Ebbsfleet had no time to get a second equalizer.

After the game Cambridge manager Kevin Hoover spoke to about events. Hoover started off by saying

“I was really pleased with the 3 points and the 2nd half performance from the girls today. It was the best 45 minutes of football for a while and to cap it off with an injury time winner was just perfect.”

Hoover added “It’s a shame that I’ve got to mention the referee but I was subjected to an incredibly unprofessional outburst. I can’t elaborate too much as it’s been reported so we’ll wait to see what the outcome will be but I’m sure if it were me who was saying it I’d be in extremely hot water”

The Skyblue coached summed up “All in all I think we deserved the 3 points, Faith Hewitt put in a great shift in the middle of the park and Verity Crook made that vital save in the 1st half to keep it goaless but it really was a great team effort today. Next week will be another tough game though as we host MK Dons who have hit a good run of form of late. “