Match Report: Cambridge United Women 2-2 Ashford Town Ladies

The U’s hosted Ashford Town in St. Neots in a game played on the artificial pitch due to a waterlogged main pitch.

The visitors started the day 3 points ahead of United in the middle of the FA Women’s National League Division 1 South East. The two teams last met in early October with Cambridge coming out 4-3 winners thanks to a last minute Alysha Stojko-Down strike, following an end to end game.


Goalkeeper Lauren Webb was called into action within thirty seconds, when a speculative long range effort required to be tipped onto the bar with a superb diving save. An early wakeup call for the us who took some time to grow into the match.

Ashford did open the scoring within 15 minutes. A controversial decision from the referee to award a free kick on the edge of the box, which was seemingly a challenge that saw the ball won. The resulting set piece was curled around the wall and into Webb’s bottom corner to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Cambridge United would use a free kick of their own to pull the scores level at 1-1 only minutes later. Abbie Jacksons long ball into the box was flicked on by Alysha Stojko-Down and into the path of Ruth Fox. She had the pace to beat the onrushing keeper and slot the ball into the corner and lift the U’s into action.

Following the goal United had control of the first half, moving the ball well to create chances in behind and being strong in the defence at the same time.

The control would be turned into a lead with 38 minutes played. Stojko-Down, usually amongst the goal scorers, once again with the assist. Capitalising on a poor clearing effort from Ashford’s defence, her lofted through ball was chased down by Bella Simmons, who had the calmness and composure to round the keeper and fire the ball in off the front post and put the U’s ahead going into half time.

There was one final chance to double the lead with the final action of the half, Stojko-Down finding the ball at her feet nearly 45 yards out looked up to see the Ashford keeper well off her line. The lobbed effort would have been goal bound had it not been for the quick back pedalling of the keeper and vertical jump to deny the Cambridge number 8 a magnificent goal.


Ashford came out for the second half in similar fashion to the first, on the front foot and looking to pin United in. This time without the same result as the U’s defence once again standing strong and not letting much through to Webb.

In a game where stoppages for injuries were a plenty a change in personnel was inevitable, and it was shortly after the hour mark when Darren Marjoram made his first substitution. Scorer of the second goal Simmons would make way, and on loan Ipswich player Abbi Smith came on to fill in at full-back, allowing Ella Marden to advance into attack.


The U’s came close to adding to their lead when Marden was quick to close down the Ashford keeper and send the ball bobbling into space, unfortunately the wrong direction from the goal and behind her, with the keeper able to pick the ball up on this occasion.

Cambridge would continue to work hard in a evenly fought second half, but were unable to maintain a lead with less than 5 minutes left to play. A scramble in the box saw the ball fall for an Ashford player who was able to slide the ball past Webb and level the scores at 2-2. A disappointing moment that prompted a positive one.

Following the goal experienced striker Sarah Wiltshire was introduced for her first appearance since the opening day of the season in which she scored all 4 goals in a 4-0 win over Haywards Heath. Double assist maker Stojko-Down making way in a like for like swap.

With the game having an extra 7 minutes of added time there were two more major moments for either team to steal the win. Firstly Lauren Webb made a point blank save from 4 yards out to deny Ashford the comeback, before the U’s could have claimed all the points with the final kick of the game. Ella Marden found herself through on goal and the keeper not central, her effort to the near post mere inches wide.


Final whistle and it would be the visiting team who would be celebrating the point more so, however still a good performance from Darren’s team in the penultimate game of the campaign.


The U's are next in action on Tuesday 30 April as they face Cambridge City in the Adenbrooke's Hospital Cup (KO 19:30pm), and one final time on Sunday 5 May (KO 14:00pm), when they will welcome Chesham United Ladies to St Neots to see out the 2023/24 season.


Lineup: Webb, Rouse, Jackson, Cheale-Ferris, Marden, Edgar, Simpson, Cobb, Simmons (Smith 65’),Fox, Stojko-Down (Wiltshire, 87’).

Unused Subs: Marjoram, Day, Gillies