By Andrew Crawshaw
With the men no longer in the FA Cup this year it is up to our Women to take over the mantle on Sunday afternoon when they have a last 16 tie against Millwall Lionesses. The Women’s version of the Cup is known (this season) as the SSE Cup Final after the sponsors.
The full draw for the fifth round is
- Arsenal v Millwall
- Cardiff v Charlton
- Lewes v Everton
- Sunderland v Aston Villa
- Chichester v Liverpool
- Birmingham v Manchester City
- Chelsea v Doncaster
- Durham v Leicester
Some names there that you wouldn’t expect to see – Lewes, Chichester and Durham being the obvious examples. Here is a quick rundown of the 7 non-Arsenal games :-
Cardiff is the Welsh capital City but as with the Men’s game their women’s team play in the English League. They play in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division which is effectively the third tier of the Women’s game. Charlton are based in South London and are also in the Premier League South. This match could be a close one.
Lewes is a small village in East Sussex, like Cardiff and Charlton they are in the Premier League Southern Division and play their home games at the delightfully named Dripping Pan – I kid you not. Everton are a WSL1 team (two levels Higher) and fully professional, whereas Lewes are all very much part-time players. I would expect this game to be a comfortable win for Everton.
Sunderland are a WSL1 team, Aston Villa are currently in WSL2. There is a very big difference in quality between the top of WSL1 and the top of WSL2 but not so much between the bottom of the higher division and the top of the lower. Sunderland are currently fifth in WSL1 with 4 wins from 9 games And Aston Villa 9th out of 10 ten WSL2. Should be a win for Sunderland
Chichester is a small city in West Sussex in the South of England. They play in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division. If they can get any kind of a result against Liverpool it will be a very major upset indeed. Liverpool are currently one place behind us the the WSL1 so probably the fourth highest ranked club in the country.
Birmingham v Manchester City is an all WSL1 affair. Manchester City have yet to lose a game this season and have only drawn once against second placed Chelsea. They are far and away the class team in the country this year and it would be a major surprise if Birmingham who are a well drilled and hardworking team can change that fact. The gulf in player quality is too great..
Chelsea are the second ranked club in the country this season, like City they are unbeaten but have drawn two matches, the one against City and a second surprisingly away at Reading. Doncaster are the top team in WSL2 and will probably do enough to keep Chelsea ‘honest’ but I cannot see this ending up as anything other than a Chelsea win – again the gulf in quality between the two teams will be too great.
Durham are fourth in the WSL2, Leicester play in the Premier League Northern Division (like the Southern Division the third tier of the Women’s game). I would expect this one to go in Durham’s favour.
Turning now to our match against Millwall.
Millwall are one of the best teams in WSL2 currently sitting in second place behind Doncaster. I would expect them to prove a sterner test than Yeovil did last week. Yeovil are the bottom team in WSL1 and are yet to score a goal in their league campaign this year let alone score a point. Nevertheless they gained promotion from WSL2 at the end of last season ahead of Millwall.
I remember going to Millwall a couple of years ago for a cup tie and watching us run out 7 – 0 winners in an extremely one sided match. Both teams are much changed since then and I will be very surprised if that scoreline will be repeated.
Our team at last seems to be playing more coherently under new Manager Joe Montemurro, than we were under Pedro Losa. We are still not already at our fluent best but there are definite signs that we are now progressing rather than regressing.
Joe joined us at the beginning of November and his first game in charge was our Continental Cup quarter-final in December against Sunderland which we won 3 – 1 (his first scheduled match against Liverpool in the WSL1 had been postponed due to heavy snowfall). Subsequent games against Chelsea (WSL1), Reading (WSL1 and Continental Cup semi-final),Yeovil (SSE Cup and WSL1) and Liverpool (WSL1) have earned us four wins, one draw and a narrow loss against Chelsea and seen us score 15 and concede five.
Our three games in February have seen 3 – 0 wins against both Yeovil (SSE Cup) and Liverpool (WSL1) and last weekend a 4 – 0 win against Yeovil in WSL1. To me it seems inconceivable that we will lose against Millwall today.
It is likely that Anna Moorhouse will start in goal instead of Sari Van Veenendaal. Emma Mitchell will probably continue at Left Back (but it might be Katie McCabe), Louise Quinn and Leah Williamson as the two Centre Backs and Club Captain Alex Scott at right back. In midfield I would expect to see Jordan Nobbs (our stand out player so far this season), Dominique Janssen and Danielle Van de Donk. Up front Danielle Carter and Beth Mead should both start following their two goals each last weekend and either Heather O’Reilly or Vivienne Miedema completing the forward line up.
I am looking for more goals than the four we scored last week and a clean sheet as well. We played Millwall in November in the Continental Tyres Cup and emerged as 5 – 2 winners with three goals in the last 15 minutes. On our own ground we should do better.
The game is at Meadow Park Borehamwood with a 14:00 kickoff. The atmosphere will be friendly, children are encouraged and tickets available on the gate at £10 or £5 for concessions so it won’t cost you a fortune. I would urge you to come along if you can as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. The Hot Dogs are really excellent as well and the tea/coffee much better and cheaper than the Emirates.
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