In the Mixx: Caitlin Kemp stars but Caversham United fall short in Women’s FA Cup

Caversham United Women's Caitlin Kemp. Photo: Rob Mellor.
Caversham United Women's Caitlin Kemp. Photo: Rob Mellor.

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The 2023/24 season is well and truly underway and we headed to Mapledurham Playing Fields to take in the First Round Qualifying of the Women’s FA Cup.

Caversham United v Camden & Islington United – FA Cup

The game might’ve taken place in the heights of Caversham but an early exit in the Women’s FA Cup saw feeling less than elated as they were dumped out of the First Round Qualifying by an enthusiastic Camden & Islington United. With a blanket of drizzle falling over Mapledurham, it was perfect conditions for some quality slide-tackling and Caitlin Levy was the first to intercept a Camden attack with brilliant timing with less than ten on the clock.

The Goats certainly looked the more assertive side in the first half with Freya Jenkins & Caitlin Kemp both with some slick turns to dazzle the Candi defence but neither could quite feed the ball through to an anticipant Steph Nelson. Jenkins had the first big chance as Kemp’s inch perfect pas found her striding down the left wing but a valiant save by the Camden keeper kept them out. A frenzied five minutes followed which saw Camden net twice with one well executed counter attack and an unfortunate hesitation for Charlie Kirk, in goal, that saw Camden’s pacey number ten catch her out and the ball rebounded into the net.

Caitlin Levy scores for Caversham United in the First Round Qualifying tie for Caversham United in the Women's FA Cup (Photo Rob Mellor)
Caitlin Levy scores for Caversham United in the First Round Qualifying tie for Caversham United in the Women’s FA Cup (Photo Rob Mellor)

Levy did well to pull one back and it looked like penalties could be pending if the Goats could keep up the burst of energy they seemed to have garnered but Camden found the back of the net after some very composed passing across the field and the game looked all but done. Levy had the chance to claw one final goal but her freekick had just a little bit too much on it and it dipped beyond the crossbar.

We’re not sure if the ref was using Bernard’s Watch but there seemed an exponential amount of extra time which no doubt was a slog for both sides in the now very muggy conditions. Camden were a credit to themselves in their FA Cup debut and the Goats will no doubt be disappointed with such an early exit but a proper battle from both squads made the soggy open air of Caversham a worthwhile visit.

Star Player: Caitlin Kemp

FT Caversham United 1-3 Camden & Islington United

Haddenham Youth v Slough Town – FA Cup

An Alice Heady hat trick plus goals from Natalie Richardson and one from Hannah Summers secured Slough Town place in the Second Round Qualifying of the Women’s FA Cup, they’ll face Oxford City on Sunday 1st of October.

FT Haddenham Youth 2-5 Slough Town

Related: Briefing: Slough Town and Reading FC Women make it double delight in Kent

Barclays Championship & National League

Reading FC Women continued their unbeaten start to life in the Barclays Championship as they headed down the M25 to London City Lionesses for game three of the season. The Pride came a convincing third in the 2022/23 season and have been collecting former Royals over the summer with Grace Moloney, Emma Mukandi, Danielle Carter and Tinaya Alexander all agreeing deals with the Millwall breakaway club.

A very happy Lauren Wade. Photo: Neil Graham.
A very happy Lauren Wade. Photo: Neil Graham.

If the highlights are anything to go by, it was yet another convincing defensive performance from Reading as try as they might, London City struggled to break through that backline with Rachel Dugdale putting pressure on each cross and Easther Mayi Kith nullifying a charging Danielle Carter whilst Emily Orman with confident ball gathering to command her goal.

It was a determined strike from former Villa striker Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah that broke the deadlock just before the half-time whistle. But Reading did as Reading do and a ball cleared by Moloney dropped into the path of debutant Freya Meadows-Tuson who headed back towards the Royals attack and Lauren Wade opened her account for the season with a rifling half volley at the stroke of death, in the 96th minute, to spoil the three points and clean sheet for the hosts.

Reading make that three draws from three with two games netted collectively.

We are however at risk of being nick-named the draw specialists again, a moniker I thought we’d shaken off after the 2021/22 season, so a win is very much on the cards soon.

FT London City Lionesses 1-1 Reading

The Magpies Goals from a Thrilling 3-3 FAWNL Draw with Torquay United – Maidenhead United Women YouTube

Maidenhead United’s First Team have got themselves off to a flying start in Division One South West of the National League as they welcomed Torquay United to York Road in their most recent outing. The six goal thriller ending all square at 3 goals apiece.

Manager Ed Jackson-Norries was full of praise in his post-match interview commenting, “We’re delighted that the girls have shown the character & the mentality to still be able to rescue a point from the game having gone behind in injury time, to be able to do that and still show the belief and the positivity to still look to try and play forward and force something from the set piece at the end is brilliant”.

Just us who thinks Torquay’s badge looks like the Motorola logo?

FT Maidenhead United 3-3 Torquay United

Maidenhead United reflect on their 6 goal thriller with Torquay United in the FA Women's National League 2023:24 (Photo Neil Maskell)
Maidenhead United reflect on their 6 goal thriller with Torquay United in the FA Women’s National League 2023:24 (Photo Neil Maskell)

Meanwhile, their Reserves, who are newly founded and competing in the Reserve South East & Central Division of the National League, secured their first ever competitive win in the FAWNL Reserve Cup as they faced Cheltenham Town Reserves in the Determining Round. It was goalkeeper Kenny Clarke who deserves the headlines as the 1-1 draw (Ashlee Withers for the Magpies) took the game to penalties which saw her save two and score one herself.

A victory of justice one might say as the Firsts were dumped out of the League Cup in their second game of the 2023/24 season by Cheltenham’s flagship side.

SRWFL & TVCWFL

Woodley United got their Premier Division season underway with a 2-1 win over Badshot Lea with Sarah Lawrence and last season’s top goalscorer, May Hamblin, both on the scoresheet. Ascot United Reserves debuted in Division One North of the Southern Region Women’s Football League with a 1-1 draw against Abingdon United Development.

May Hamblin. Photo: Andy Wicks.
May Hamblin. Photo: Andy Wicks.

Meanwhile in the Thames Valley Counties Women’s Football League, new look Ashridge Park Women saw out a 2-2 draw with Goring United Women. Wargrave also did well to reverse their fates after an opening day thrashing to Goring, winning 5-1 away at Procision Oxford. Burghfield were the right end of a 6-2 score line against Summertown Stars in Division Three West whilst Finchampstead lit up their first ever competitive start with seven goals netted against Barton Rovers in Division Three South.

Wokingham & Emmbrook have returned after a hiatus and hit the ground running in the Development Division with three goals for Longford Park Vixens two.

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Upcoming fixtures

Wednesday 22nd May 2024

Stoke Poges Stoke Poges Reserves FC18:00KS Gryf
Southcote Colts18:00Old Windsor
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