8. Middlesbrough v Hartlepool United

Tie number 8 provides a north east derby between Middlesbrough and Hartlepool United. Boro will be strong favourites to take the victory here – they currently sit in second place of the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division, while Hartlepool, also second in the league at the moment, ply their trade three divisions lower down the pyramid in the North East Regional League, Northern Division.

Both teams are on an excellent run of form right now: as well as both lying in second place of their respective divisions, both teams were promoted at the end of last season after both winning their leagues – Hartlepool taking the Durham County League title with 14 wins from 14 games, and Boro topping Northern Division One of the WPL with 17 wins from 22 games.

The three division gap between the teams won’t worry Hartlepool however. In last season’s FA Women’s Cup they claimed the impressive scalp of WPL side Blackpool Wren Rovers in the third qualifying round while they were still playing county league football. That would be the highlight of their cup campaign however, as they were beaten 6-3 by Morecambe in their next game. Middlesbrough were also knocked out in the fourth qualifying round last year, beaten 3-1 by Liverpool Marshall Feds.

My prediction: Middlesbrough to win. Even though Hartlepool overcame a three division deficit to beat Blackpool Wren Rovers last year, to do it a second season running would be a big ask.

The stats

Middlesbrough (@MFCLadiesUK)

WPL, Northern Division (level 3)
League form: w7 d1 l3 gd+18 = 2nd place out of 11

2016/17 FA Cup
Entered at first round proper

2015/16 FA Cup
3Q – Middlesbrough 11-0 Lowick United (level 6)
4Q – Middlesbrough 1-3 Liverpool Marshall Feds (4)

Hartlepool United (@Official_HUWFC)

North East Regional League, Northern Division (level 6)
League form: w6 d0 l1 gd+36 = 2nd place out of 10

2016/17 FA Cup
2Q – Prudhoe Town (level 6) 0-9 Hartlepool United
3Q – Hartlepool United 7-1 Ossett Albion (6)
4Q – Hartlepool United 7-1 Accrington Girls & Ladies (5)

2015/16 FA Cup
2Q – Hartlepool United 2-1 (aet) Redcar Town (6)
3Q – Blackpool Wren Rovers (4) 1-2 Hartlepool United
4Q – Morecambe (4) 6-3 Hartlepool United

Poster advertising Middlesbrough v Hartlepool in the FA Women's Cup

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