Tie number thirteen of this year’s Women’s FA Cup second round brings together two of the giant-killers from the first round. Cambridge United of WPL South East Division One saw off Southern Division Queens Park Rangers, while even more remarkably Southampton Women of the Southern Region Women’s Football League (one of only two regional league teams left in the competition) managed to knock out Swindon Town, also of the Southern Division.
As well as their impressive cup exploits, both teams are taking their respective league divisions by storm. Cambridge are top of South East Division One, just one point clear of AFC Wimbledon at the moment, but with two games in hand. Southampton are only in third place of the SRWFL Premier Division, but they have a 100% record and three games in hand over the teams above them. Southampton haven’t played a league match since early November thanks to cup runs and postponements, and with their FA Cup game this weekend and a Hampshire county cup game next week, they won’t be back in League action until the second half of January, so they will be playing catch-up on the teams around them for much of the rest of the season.
Cambridge have the home advantage for this tie, as they have had for every game so far in this season’s FA Cup, but Southampton have already won on the road against WPL opposition this season, so they won’t fear their opponents. The arrival of WSL2 teams into the competition at the next round, and the draw moving from a regional to a national format, provides quite the incentive to win this match. I’m sure both clubs would relish the opportunity to host a team such as Everton or Millwall in the third round.
Since their victories in the first round, both Cambridge and Southampton have only played once. Cambridge beat Ipswich Town 5-0 in the league, and Southampton progressed through to the semi-final of the SRWFL League Cup after beating Chesham United 4-0.
My prediction: With both teams playing extremely well, and both having already seen off higher-level opposition it’s clear that either side could take this victory. Even though Southampton have already seen off two WPL teams from the cup, neither of them were in the kind of form that Cambridge are showing right now, and I think that they may well prove that little bit too much for the south coast side to handle. For that reason I’m predicting a Cambridge United win.
Cambridge United (@CambridgeUtdWFC)
WPL, South East Division One (level 4)
League form: w9 d0 l2 gd+16 = 1st Place out of 12
2016/17 FA Cup
3Q – Cambridge United 3-0 Wymondham Town (level 6)
4Q – Cambridge United 3-0 Stevenage (4)
1R – Cambridge United 3-1 Queens Park Rangers (3)
2015/16 FA Cup
3Q – Wymondham Town (7) 1-0 Cambridge United
Southern Region Women’s Football League, Premier Division (level 5)
League form: w6 d0 l0 gd+29 = 3rd place out of 9
2016/17 FA Cup
2Q – Bournemouth Sports (level 7) 0-12 Southampton
3Q – Southampton 5-1 Fleet Town (6)
4Q – Shanklin (4) 0-3 Southampton
1R – Southampton 2-0 Swindon Town (3)
2015/16 FA Cup
1Q – Southampton 7-2 Winchester City Flyers (6)
2Q – Southampton 4-0 Wimborne Town (7)
3Q – Southampton 2-2 (aet, 4-5 pens) London Corinthians (5)