The ACN Match Review – Cambridge City (h)


The challengers’ journey continues with a glorious goalfest indeed. Jon Punt reports on the triumph by our ascendant women’s team.

The line-up

An unchanged team from Emmerson, which was somewhat of a surprise given they’d played only two days prior at the Abbey and rotation had been hinted at. The decision seemed fully justified, as City were two goals to the good in quick fashion, Tomlinson opening the scoring in somewhat bizarre circumstances as her pace allowed her to pick up the scraps from her own long throw, before ghosting past a defender and finishing instinctively.

Snelling then scruffily bundled home from a Kennard corner and it was pretty much plain sailing from there.

The atmosphere

A lower attendance than usual, yet the volume was pretty decent and the songbook for this team continues to expand rapidly. Perhaps more pleasing for the club is that clearly new faces were taking in their first women’s match – and based on this display, they’ll be back for more.

Hurrah moment(s)

Lauren Hailes struggled to break into the first 11 for most of the season, but injury and a new head coach’s faith have seen some combative displays which are often allied with moments of real quality. City’s fifth of the night was one of those moments; you can probably stop April’s goal of the month competition right now. Struck from a full 30 yards and arrowing into the top corner at pace, it was just reward for Hailes’ evening endeavours.

Honourable mentions here for Rachel Lawrence and Alice Parker. The former’s well-taken brace settled any nerves either side of half time, while Parker’s beautifully taken knuckleball free kick forced an excellent save from the Cambridge stopper.

Boo moment

When you’ve just won 6-0, asking for more goals is probably pretty churlish, but there were definitely opportunities to extend Norwich’s lead and better the goal difference, which is currently vastly inferior to AFC Wimbledon’s tally. That said, multiple second-half changes disrupted the rhythm of the match but provided minutes for many of the fringe players.

Hero of the match

Holly Kennard continues to improve game by game, and looked particularly imposing at right wing back. Being asked to get up and down the flanks really suited her attributes and gave Norwich an ever-willing outlet to get up the pitch quickly.

In fact, she might at times have been too rapid for her teammates, who didn’t seem quite set for some of her deliveries into the box. More pleasing, though, was her desire to get back and defend. Kennard’s tackling, harrying and physicality for someone so slight was seriously impressive. Take in her talents while you can, Kennard’s ceiling is high and if promotion doesn’t happen this season or next, Norwich may struggle to keep hold of her.

Our post-match takeaway

Norwich ruthlessly continued their unbeaten run, the victory relegated Cambridge City, which has probably felt like an inevitability for them for some time. Next up is bottom side Haywards Heath, and it would be foolish to bet against another goalfest if this level of performance can be replicated.

This looked like the best the team has played under Emmerson. The intensity had definitely returned and the margin of victory will breed confidence for the matches ahead. Norwich still need the league leaders to fluff their lines for a chance at promotion, but they’re doing their level best to keep up the pressure.


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