Cardiff City vs Rugby Borough Women

12th September 2023

Cardiff City vs Rugby Borough line up
Credit: Ian Lovell

With Lily Greenslade missing from the matchday squad, Lee Burch was forced into making at least one change for this fixture. Sarah Essam came back into the starting line-up and, with it being our third game in a week, Burch also shuffled the pack in defence. Liv Milner came in for Mia Malone, who was a substitute.

Despite the heat, the game started extremely fast, with Cardiff having an excellent opportunity to go ahead after less than two minutes on the clock. This kicked Borough into gear, and after just eight minutes, we were ahead! Nicky Potts fired a shot onto the crossbar before the ball bounced up and collided with the bar once more. In the meantime, Essam was there waiting, and headed home her first goal of the season.

Cardiff City vs Rugby Borough
Credit: Ian Lovell
Cardiff City vs Rugby Borough match action
Credit: Ian Lovell

Within minutes, Cardiff were level. A deflected effort left Foley stranded, only able to watch the ball bounce into the empty net. However, before supporters had chance to blink, Borough were awarded a penalty. Morris pounced on a loose ball, only to be caught by the Cardiff defender. The referee pointed to the spot, and Wiseman made no mistake.

Again, it was short lived and after 14 minutes, Cardiff had levelled once more. A long-range effort caught Borough sleeping and although it hit the post, the Rugby defence didn’t react quick enough. Cardiff worked it well, an excellent lofted through-ball and a sweet half-volley left Foley with no chance.

After a crazy 15 minutes, it was soon time for a drinks break. The game mellowed slightly after this, although both teams exchanged half-chances during the remainder of the half.

Similarly, to the first-half, Borough started strongly. As Wiseman found space in midfield, she picked out Nixon who burst into the Cardiff penalty area and slotted the ball in the bottom corner to make it 2-3. Now it was all about holding onto this lead!

Having said that, it was Borough who looked the likely to score again. Malone – who replaced Milner at the break – had two efforts on target between the 59th and 63rd minutes, and will probably been disappointed not to have taken one of them.

As the half progressed, Cardiff pushed to get back into the match – only to be met by some calm and collected defending from the Borough back four. Late substitutions saw S. Morris and Winters replace Nixon and Curwood-Wagner, as well as 16-year-old Eva Cassidy make her Rugby Borough debut.

There was a late scare as Cardiff won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area in the tenth minute of stoppage time, but the shot went straight at Foley and the referee signalled for full-time.

Another excellent result, to finish off a long week of football. The girls couldn’t have hoped for better!

Rugby Borough line-up: Foley, Mann, Milner (Malone 45), Nixon (S. Morris 76), Wiseman, Walker, Potts, Whipp, K. Morris, Curwood-Wagner (Winters 90+3), Essam (Cassidy 85).