It felt slightly bittersweet.
Although it was great getting back into the women’s football coverage for 2024, it’s never nice seeing games being abandoned, especially given how much time in the game had passed.
For those that don’t know, their game against Cambridge United was abandoned after 87 minutes when the U’s Brooklyn Cheal-Ferris suffered a serious injury. It goes without saying that all of us here at MyFootballWriter wish her all the best and a speedy recovery.
Despite how late on into the game it was, it was unquestionably the right decision to abandon it.
Football may be the beautiful game that we all love, but player safety is of paramount importance and ultimately makes and result on the pitch irrelevant.
When Cheal-Ferris’ injury occurred, City were leading 3-2 in what had been a nail-biting contest.
The Canaries were 2-0 up within the first 25 minutes through Ellie Smith and Natasha Snelling from the spot.
Both attackers started the year as they mean to go on, with the pair becoming ever-reliable in front of goal last year and a big reason for City being where they are in the league standings.
The bond between the two is evident as both goals came from the Cambridge United keeper trying to play out from the back. After rounding Lauren Webb in the U’s goal after 13 minutes, Smith then turned provider after a crucial tackle on the edge of the area saw City regain possession and Smith giving Snelling a chance she couldn’t miss.
The hosts weren’t deterred however and soon found a way back into the game through defender Rachel Kosky, who was able to poke the ball past Sarah Quantrill in the Norwich goal after another Cambridge player saw their effort rattle the crossbar.
Half-time seemed to come at the perfect time for Cambridge, who were rejuvenated at the start of the second period.
It only took three minutes after the restart for the hosts to level the game, with the club’s top scorer Alyssa Stojko-Down steering her header past Quantrill.
The game was then flung wide open, with both sides having opportunities to take the lead.
Firstly, defender Millie Daviss almost restored the Canaries’ lead ten minutes after the equaliser, forcing Webb into a fine save to keep the score level.
It then fell to Cambridge to go close, with the hosts seeing a good effort fizz wide of the post just after the hour mark.
Minutes later City countered at pace and won a penalty, which Hope Strauss calmly dispatched to get back amongst the goals and restore Norwich’s advantage.
But once again the hosts dug in, forcing two superb saves from Quantrill to the frustration of the home fans at the Premier Plus Stadium.
It was shortly after this when Cheal-Ferris went down with her injury, which forced the abandonment of the fixture.
After the announcement that the game would not resume, the hosts released an update on their X account revealing that Cheal-Ferris suffered “serious tissue damage in her left calf but no break”.
The league will now decide the outcome of the fixture, but when player safety is on the line, the result doesn’t really matter.
Much to the delight of Norwich fans, it was revealed on Monday morning that Martin Herdman’s side will once again grace the Carrow Road turf this season when we host Queens Park Rangers on March 24th.
With the success of the side in the National League Division One South East this season, it was inevitable that City were destined to play at the home of the Canaries again.
It’s fitting that the announcement was made after playing Cambridge, who were the first side Norwich hosted in NR1 this season in a 1-1 draw.
Not only will playing at Carrow Road again help grow the women’s side through increased revenue from the fixture, but it will also provide a great opportunity for those who have never seen the side play to become supporters and follow their successes as well.
After a four-week break over Christmas, Norwich now face yet another week off. They are back in action on January 28th as they welcome Actonians to The Nest for the first home fixture of 2024.