Tie number 10 of this year’s Women’s FA Cup second round is an all-WPL Southern Division affair, as Lewes take on Cardiff City. Both teams reached this stage thanks to big wins over South West Division One sides – Lewes beat Brislington 5-0, while Larkhall Athletic were thumped 6-0 by Cardiff.
The Bluebirds have already equalled last season’s cup progress by reaching the second round. Last year they entered at this stage, and fell at the first hurdle, but this time around they had to win a game to get here due to the restructuring of the event necessitated by Brighton’s promotion to WSL2. The Rookettes made it one stage further last season after hammering Fulham Foundation 10-0 in the second round, before being knocked out by Loughborough Foxes on penalties.
These teams have already met twice in the early stages of this season. The first meeting saw Lewes host Cardiff all the way back in August, when they drew 1-1. The return leg, played a fortnight later couldn’t have been more different – Cardiff won 6-0, thanks to goals from six different players.
Both teams are showing terrific form in knockout tournaments this season. After losing in the Determining round of the WPL Cup, Lewes have made it all the way to the semi-finals of the WPL plate, although amazingly this has been done with just a single win. After receiving a bye in the first round, they were handed walkover wins in both the second and third rounds, meaning they reached the quarter-finals without kicking a ball! Cardiff have reached the semi-finals of the WPL Cup in a slightly more traditional way, but they too received a walkover in the second round. The Bluebirds were actually runners-up in that competition last season, and their semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur, due to be played on 5th March, is a repeat of last year’s final.
Looking at the recent form of both teams, Cardiff have won both their matches since the FA Cup first round – firstly their WPL cup quarter-final, where they beat Liverpool Marshall Feds 2-0, then a 4-1 victory over Charlton Athletic in the league. Lewes have only played once in that period due to their WPL Plate quarter-final against Luton Town being postponed on 11 December. It was re-arranged for a week later, when Lewes earned a comfortable 6-0 victory.
My prediction: Cardiff’s resounding 6-0 victory over the Rookettes in September, combined with their superior league record makes it hard to see Lewes winning this one. I’m going for a Cardiff City win.
FA Women’s Premier League, Southern Division (level 3)
League form: w2 d2 l5 gd-8 = 8th place out of 11
2016/17 FA Cup
1R – Lewes 5-0 Brislington (level 4)
2015/16 FA Cup
2R – Fulham Foundation (5) 0-10 Lewes
3R – Loughborough Foxes (3) 1-1 (aet, 6-5 pens) Lewes
Cardiff City (@CardiffCityLFC)
WPL, Southern Division (level 3)
League form: w8 d1 l0 gd+25 = 3rd place out of 11
2016/17 FA Cup
1R – Cardiff City 6-0 Larkhall Athletic (level 4)
2015/16 FA Cup
2R – Portsmouth (3) 2-0 Cardiff City