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Cambridge United Women’s Under-18s knocked out of Junior Premier Cup by title rivals Derby County

Cambridge United Women Under-18 suffered their first home defeat of the season and were knocked out of the Junior Premier League Cup in the process after a 2-0 defeat to a well-drilled and experienced Derby County side at Cambourne Village College on Saturday.

A goal in each half was enough to see the young U’s eliminated and end an 11-game unbeaten run with the Rams the stronger team and having the majority of territory and possession throughout the 90 minutes.

The first goal came from an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Lily-Grace Cooke after 10 minutes had been played.

Cambridge United Women's Under-18s manager Sean Greygoose. Picture: Andy Wicks
Cambridge United Women's Under-18s manager Sean Greygoose. Picture: Andy Wicks

Her goal-kick fell short of its intended target and straight into the path of an opponent and was finished nicely in the top corner.

The second goal and the killer blow came in the 82nd minute with the U’s committing more players forward. A long ball from defence was picked up and finished at the near post.

Coach Sean Greygoose now has to pick his troops up before what could be a season-defining eight days as they face Derby again on Saturday (10 February) in a potential Junior Premier League title decider before the semi-finals of the Cambs Invitational Cup at Histon Ladies the following Sunday.

Nottingham Forest currently sit top of the league on 21 points but have played one game more than their nearest rivals. Derby are second on 20 points with the United only a point behind in third place with five games remaining.

Greygoose said: “As you can imagine the girls are disappointed with going out of the cup.

“Derby are a really good side and we were a little bit off it in the first half. The second half was better without really creating much and they took their chance when we were chasing the game at the end.”

Greygoose is anticipating the return of defenders Mistie Fox-Barker and Daisy Hay and winger Isabella Gjergji from injury and illness.

Both centre-back Beatrice Rogers and striker Emilia Reinhardt picked up injuries in the weekend’s defeat but the coach expects them to be back to full fitness in time for the upcoming crucial run of fixtures.

“I think the key thing for the girls is how they react and bounce back against Derby in the top of the table clash next weekend,” added Greygoose.

“We are hoping to have a couple back in from injury and I know the girls will be keen to go out and give a performance over the whole game.

“Derby are a really well-organised side with a good pathway and a group that understand how to play, but we want to be playing these sort of teams and face those challenges more often as it gives the girls a better test.

“I think some of the players will have learnt more from Saturday and hopefully use it to get a much better result next weekend and in the remaining fixtures.”

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