9. West Bromwich Albion v Fylde

Tie number 9 is one of the biggest games in the first round, pitting the top two finishers in last season’s WPL Northern division table against each other: West Bromwich Albion, who topped the table and missed out on the league title and promotion to the WSL in a playoff against Brighton & Hove Albion, and runners-up Fylde.

Neither of these team names appear on the final league tables from last season however, due to them both having re-branded over the summer. WBA were previously known as Sporting Club Albion; Fylde changed from Preston North End after agreeing a merger with AFC Fylde.

These teams are no strangers to each other, having already met three times this season. In the league Fylde ran out 2-0 winners at West Brom back in August, while the return fixture ended in a 2-2 draw. They also faced each other in the WPL Cup in October, when West Brom were the winning side.

West Brom managed to progress as far as the quarter finals in last season’s FA Cup, even managing to take the scalp of WSL side Sheffield along the way. They were eventually beaten by this year’s WSL1 champions Manchester City in their quarter final. Fylde’s cup run was slightly less impressive – after beating Derby County in round two, they were stopped in the third round by Nottingham Forest.

My prediction: This is an incredibly difficult game to call, as illustrated by the fact that the three games between them this season have resulted in one win each and a draw. I’m going to pick West Bromwich Albion for the win, but I’m far from confident in this selection!

The stats

West Bromwich Albion (@WBAWomen)

WPL, Northern Division (level 3)
League form: w3 d1 l4 gd-8 = 9th place out of 11

2016/17 FA Cup
Entered at first round proper

2015/16 FA Cup
2R – Sporting Club Albion 3-0 Long Eaton United (level 5)
3R – Sporting Club Albion 1-0 Coventry United (3)
4R – Sheffield (2) 1-3 Sporting Club Albion
5R – Brighton & Hove Albion (3) 3-4 Sporting Club Albion
QF – Manchester City (1) 2-0 Sporting Club Albion

Fylde (@FyldeLadiesFC)

WPL, Northern Division (level 3)
League form: w4 d3 l3 gd+6 = 3rd place out of 11

2016/17 FA Cup
Entered at first round proper

2015/16 FA Cup
2R – Preston North End 2-1 Derby County (level 3)
3R – Nottingham Forest (3) 2-0 Preston North End

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