Part four of our Women’s FA Cup second round preview focuses on Nottingham Forest of the WPL Northern Division versus Wolverhampton Wanderers of WPL Midlands Division One.
Wolves’ path to the second round has consisted exclusively of matches against teams in their own division, beginning with a 3-2 victory over high-flying Loughborough Foxes in the third qualifying round, followed up with wins over Sporting Khalsa and Solihull. Their sole game against WPL Premier-level opposition this season saw them tied 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion after 90 minutes in the third round of the WPL Cup, before eventually losing 1-0 to a Leigh Dugmore goal in the first half of extra time.
Forest have found the season so far to be heavy going. They currently sit one spot above the bottom of the Northern Division, with just three wins from their first twelve games, but with just one team due to be relegated thanks to Nuneaton Town’s resignation, they can feel a little bit less under threat than they would otherwise have done. Their only FA Cup game to date saw them beat Northern Division One side Guiseley Vixens 1-0 in the first round.
In stark contrast with Forest, Wolves’ league form in the first half of the season has been superb. They have picked up eight wins from nine games, and are second in the table behind Loughborough Foxes.
Looking at the form of the teams since their FA Cup first round victories, Forest lost an eventful Northern Division match 8-3 to Middlesbrough, an Andrea Bell hat-trick accounting for all three of the Forest goals, before following that up with a 6-0 win over Arnold Town of the East Midlands Regional League in the Nottinghamshire County Cup. Wolves have played just a single game in that time, beating Sporting Khalsa 2-0 in the league, with Andrea Whetton and Jade Cross the goalscorers.
My prediction: This is a very difficult one to call. Forest haven’t lost to lower division opposition this season, and Wolves haven’t beaten higher-level opposition, so the form would seem to suggest a Forest win. However, Wolves’ results this season have shown that they are made of stern stuff, so I’m going to go for the upset here and pick Wolverhampton Wanderers to win.
Nottingham Forest (@ForestLadies)
WPL, Northern Division (level 3)
League form: w3 d2 l7 gd-19 = 10th place out of 11
2016/17 FA Cup
1R – Guiseley Vixens (level 4) 0-1 Nottingham Forest
2015/16 FA Cup
2R – Nottingham Forest 3-0 Morecambe (4)
3R – Nottingham Forest 2-0 Preston North End (3)
4R – Everton (2) 5-0 Nottingham Forest
Wolverhampton Wanderers (@WolvesWomenFC)
WPL, Midland Division One (level 4)
League form: w8 d0 l1 gd+19 = 2nd place out of 12
2016/17 FA Cup
3Q – Loughborough Foxes (level 4) 2-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
4Q – Sporting Khalsa (4) 2-4 (aet) Wolverhampton Wanderers
1R – Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 Solihull (4)
2015/16 FA Cup
3Q – Wolverhampton Wanderers 9-0 Handsworth (6)
4Q – The New Saints (5) 0-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
1R – Long Eaton United (5) 3-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers