Cardiff City LFC 2 - 3 Lewes FC Women
Cardiff City Ladies faced a tough matchup against a second placed Lewes side battling for a promotion place at the CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence this Sunday, as a blisteringly cold day greeted both sides as they lined up for what promised to be an interesting encounter.
The game started perfectly for Cardiff, who could not believe their luck when only 32 seconds into the match a routine back pass to keeper Faye Baker was slightly under-weighted, allowing in form striker Cori Williams to pounce. The Captain flicked the bouncing ball past the stopper, whom was ultimately rooted to the spot as she watched the ball hit the right side of the net, giving the home side a very early lead.
Lewes were not to be deterred however, as they quickly regrouped and began to settle into their passing rhythm, and they were quickly able to prove why they are flying high in the league this season, when only six minutes after the restart, Kelly Newton found herself in the right place at the right time for the visitors.
After working the ball around the right side of the field, the opposition’s initial effort from inside the area was brilliantly saved by stopper Estelle Randall, however she could not quite get the ball away from danger, and Newton was able to capitalize, poaching home an effort from six yards into a virtually unguarded net.
After an initial flying start to the affair, the game soon slowed from this point, as the away side seemed content to control possession with Cardiff holding well, keeping their shape and keeping the visitors at bay throughout the first period. Despite this, there were no clear chances for either team, as misplaced passes meant that the first half became a battle between both midfield's that worked tirelessly to cancel each other out.
It took a moment of magic to break the stalemate of the game, when from twenty-five yards, Cori Williams was able to curl home a delightful free kick that clipped the bar on the way in, grabbing her second of the day just on the stroke of half time, giving a huge boost to the home team.
This was boost was evident when only moments after the restart, Laura Williams was able to find some space on the left wing, placing her effort low and hard across the area, watching in agony as her effort slid just past the opposite post, meaning Cardiff City only carried the one goal advantage into the break.
The second half proved to be much the same game as it had been in the first 45, with Lewes holding onto the ball for great spells and Cardiff looking to break on the counter. It was keeper Estelle Randall who shone in the second period however, when a plethora of Lewes chances were thrown her way, only for her to consistently deny each attempt on her goal.
Disaster struck for the home team in the 53rd minute, when a looping cross from winger Avilla Bergin was well met by Kelly Newton, whom guided the ball into the back of the net to grab the equaliser and her second of the day.
Cardiff held on well for most of the match, looking comfortable in dealing with many of the attacks the second placed side were throwing at them. It was unfortunate then, that a momentary lapse of concentration for the defence in the 82nd minute led to the Lewes winner. An effort from a free kick slammed against the Cardiff City Ladies bar, only for substitute Georgia Bridges to react the quickest, pouncing on the loose ball and heading into the left side netting to give the visitors their first lead of the game.
The home side nearly found their equaliser in stoppage time, when Cori Williams nearly got her foot to a low cross from Ella Powell into the six-yard box, but just missed the ball by inches, meaning that the visiting side took all three points in a well-fought game between both sides.
Player of the Match: Cori Williams/Estelle Randall