SSE Women’s FA Cup Preview: 3. West Bromwich Albion v Radcliffe Olympic

We continue our 2016/17 SSE Women’s FA Cup second round preview with tie number three, which sees West Bromwich Albion of the WPL Northern Division take on Radcliffe Olympic of Midlands Division One.

West Brom, who have reverted back to their original name this season after a spell playing under the Sporting Club Albion brand, showed some impressive form in their various cup competitions last season. They reached the quarter-finals of both the FA and WPL Cups, and also picked up some silverware in the Birmingham County Cup thanks to a penalty shoot-out victory over Coventry United in the final. They have already repeated their journey to the WPL Cup quarter final this time around, failing to reach the semis after losing on penalties to Charlton Athletic, and are still very much involved in the FA and County Cups.

Radcliffe Olympic have also reached, and lost, a quarter final of a national tournament this season, when they were beaten 3-0 by Actonians in the WPL Plate. They currently sit in fifth place in the league with six wins from nine games, but have games in hand over three of the four teams above them, so expect them to pick up places as the season progresses.

West Brom’s league form has been slightly less impressive, and has put them down in 8th place in a tightly-packed league table. A single win could potentially move the Baggies up to third though so there’s no need for them to be too concerned about their proximity to the bottom at the moment.

Since the FA Cup first round games on 4 December both sides have had a win and a defeat. West Brom’s previously-mentioned WPL Cup quarter-final defeat to Charlton Athletic came on December 11th, then a week later they enjoyed a 5-0 league victory over bottom-placed Newcastle United. Radcliffe Olympic, who haven’t played a league match since the end of November, lost in the WPL Plate and hammered Teversal of the East Midlands Regional League 13-0 in the Nottinghamshire County Cup over the same period.

My prediction: Radcliffe Olympic have had a superb cup run so far, scoring an impressive 20 goals in three games, but these have all been against lower-ranked teams. They are yet to face a team from a higher division this season, and although they are definitely capable of pulling off the cup upset, I think that we’ll be seeing West Bromwich Albion in the draw for the third round.

The stats

West Bromwich Albion (@WBAWomen)

WPL, Northern Division (level 3)
League form: w4 d1 l4 gd-3 = 8th place out of 11

2016/17 FA Cup
1R – West Bromwich Albion 4-1 Fylde (level 3)

2015/16 FA Cup
2R – Sporting Club Albion 3-0 Long Eaton United (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

Radcliffe Olympic (@ROFC1876)

WPL, Midland Division 1 (level 4)
League form: w6 d0 l3 gd+17 = 5th place out of 12

2016/17 FA Cup
3Q – Wyrley (level 6) 1-6 Radcliffe Olympic
4Q – Radcliffe Olympic 8-0 Gornal (7)
1R – Radcliffe Olympic 6-0 Sheffield Wednesday (6)

2015/16 FA Cup
3Q – Radcliffe Olympic 2-1 (aet) Oughtibridge War Memorial (6)
4Q – Burton Albion (6) 1-1 (aet, 3-4 pens) Radcliffe Olympic
1R – Peterborough Northern Star (4) 1-1 (aet, 2-4 pens) Radcliffe Olympic
2R – Leicester City WFC (4) 2-1 Radcliffe Olympic

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