Cambridge United Women began their FA Women’s National League season with defeat to East Anglian rivals Norwich City…
Played at the Abbey Stadium in-front of a crowd of 648, United got off to the perfect start as new-signing Francesca Partridge fired in a long-range stunner to get the home fans off their feet.
It was the Canaries who came away the victors though, as a hat-trick from Natasha Snelling in addition to a goal from Ellis Smith proved too much to overcome despite the best efforts of Darren Marjoram’s players.
After a slow start to the game where the U’s struggled to find their rhythm and Norwich were on top, the ignition was lit in some style on 18 minutes when Francesca Partridge took aim from 20+ yards, letting off a superb strike to give United the lead.
Norwich’s threat never waned though and on 32 minutes, the visitors drew level after a mistake at the back allowed Symonds in on goal, and despite Webb making a fine initial stop, the rebound came out to Snelling who had the simple task of bundling the ball home.
The U’s almost immediately responded through Fox, who forced Williams into a smart reaction save from her downward header off a corner.
Both teams back and forth throughout the remainder of the half with little in terms of goalscoring chances, but with just seconds left to go, Symonds should have put the Canaries ahead. After jinxing inside one U’s defender, a super piece of defending from Waygood took the sting out of her shot, which allowed Webb the opportunity to dive across to the right and claw the ball away off the line.
Eager to get back on top, the U’s saw a gilt-edged opportunity go begging within minutes of the restart, as Sammy Edgar headed a matter of inches over the bar from just a few yards out.
It was a chance that United were made to pay for, as Snelling grabbed her second of the game just after the half hour mark following a slick move down the left hand side.
The U’s pushed for a route back into the match but with ten minutes remaining, Ellie Smith got Norwich’s third goal, a neat finish on the rebound Fox’s initial save.
With time dwindling down, Snelling grabbed her hat-trick from the penalty spot to ensure that all three points would be heading East.
Next up for United is a trip to Ashford Town a week on Sunday as they look to bounce back with immediate effect.