U's maintain unbeaten run with goalless draw

Cambridge United Women extended their unbeaten run to five matches in all competitions following a goalless home draw against Denham United Ladies.

The U’s may have felt that they should have sealed the points but lacked a cutting edge in the final third to produce a winning goal.

The home side got off to a strong start and after some great wing play by Laura Mills on the right, her cross found Sophie Thompson in the area whose goal bound shot was diverted away for a corner by a last ditch block from a Denham defender.

The chances kept coming early on in the match with Kayleigh Anne Burt finding herself unmarked at the far post from Emma Jenkins’ free kick and volleying over the bar. Mills continued to look threatening and was involved again when she controlled Verity Crook’s long goal kick, before playing a pass in behind the Denham defence for Jenkins to run onto but her finish was wide of the post.

A nasty clash of heads left Nicola Geoghan with concussion and the stoppage somewhat stemmed the flow of United’s attacks and both sides went in at the half time break deadlocked.

The U’s were first out of the blocks again in the second half and it didn’t take long for Mills to cut in from the left before firing a shot from just outside the box narrowly wide. Minutes later, Becca Fay played a defence splitting pass for Jenkins who found herself one-on-one with the Denham keeper, but her shot was straight at her and smothered comfortably. 

As Cambridge United looked to push for that elusive opening goal, the game became a little more open as the half wore on and Denham were finally able to fashion a chance or two of their own, with their main point of attack coming from their gaol keeper's extraordinarily long kicks. However, the away side early tested Crook in the U's goal.

A wide free kick from Lucy Du Plooy, eventually fell to Laura Bright in the box and her instinctive half volley was tipped over well by the busy visitors’ goalkeeper. Jenkins was still causing the away side plenty of problems down Cambridge’s right flank and twice managed to get to the by-line before putting testing balls into the box that were both narrowly cleared away for corners.

With five minutes remaining, Denham almost made the home side pay for their lack of killer instinct when their forward found herself in space inside the box but Crook’s fine sprawling save denied her and meant the points would be shared.

Manager Steve Edwards rued his side’s lack of finising touches in the game but took the positives from a pleasing defensive display.

He said: "Up until today, we’ve been punished for mistakes at the back while at the same time creating lots of chances and scoring goals. 

"Today, we tidied things up well at the back and I was delighted with Verity and the back four’s performance, we never really looked like we would concede, but it’s a shame we couldn’t just have taken one of the chances we had to seal the points. 

"We're not getting beat at the moment which is important and that resilience will stand us in good stead going forwards, and I believe that if we can maintain these levels, we will start to turn these solitary points into three. 

"The challenge now is to get revenge in our next game against Norwich for our defeat on the opening game of the season. The players will be ready and up for that challenge.”

LINE UP:- Verity Crook, Robyn Phillips, Nicola Geoghan (Becca Fay 18 mins), Kayleigh Anne Burt, Lucy Du Plooy, Laura Bright, Laura Baker, Emma Jenkins (Isabella Simmons 75 mins), Faith Hewitt (Becky Taylor 58 mins), Laura Mills, Sophie Thompson