SSE Women’s FA Cup preview: Keynsham Town v Durham

Those of you who have been with us over the past couple of months will be familiar with our FA Cup previews, but just in case you’re not let me introduce you to what we’re doing here. The FA Cup is a terrific competition, in both its male and female incarnations, but while the men’s competition enjoys widespread coverage (especially from the third round onward) very little attention is paid to the women’s tournament in the mainstream media until the final. In the couple of weeks leading up to each round of the women’s Cup we take a look at every tie, and also predict the result (with varying degrees of success).

We begin our preview of the third round with Keynsham Town versus Durham.

On paper you would expect a tie between teams in WPL South West Division One team and WSL 2 to be a pretty one-sided affair, but as is often the case in sport, there may be a little more than meets the eye to this matchup.

Durham are on a high right now, coming off the back of the best season in their short history. Their fourth place in WSL2 in 2016 was their highest ever league placing and they were in genuine contention for promotion to the top flight until a late-season defeat at eventual runners-up Bristol City. They have managed to keep the core of their squad from last season together too – including last year’s top goalscorer and England youth international Beth Hepple.

The Wildcats have also welcomed a couple of new faces to their squad. Striker Zoe Ness has returned to the club, having played for them in the inaugural WSL2 season in 2014, and experienced defender Grace McCatty has joined from Bristol City. McCatty won’t be available for selection in this cup tie however as she is recovering from surgery, so she will miss the chance to play against several of her former Bristol Academy teammates who are now with Keynsham.

This match will be Durham’s first competitive fixture for three months, while Keynsham’s season is in full swing, so you might expect the Wildcats to have to shake off a few cobwebs. However a 9-0 win over London Bees this time last year shows that they are capable of overcoming any rustyness fairly quickly.

Keynsham Town currently sit in third place in WPL South West Division One with six wins from ten games. This is their second season playing at this level since their relegation from the Southern Division in 2015, but their relatively lowly division belies the strength of their squad. It includes two former internationals in England’s Justine Lorton and Spain’s Cristina Vega, both of whom also have WSL experience. Other WSL players who have featured in the Keynsham team this season include Jade Radburn (ex-Bristol Academy, Yeovil and Doncaster), as well as Alys Hinchcliffe, Stacey Pearson and Katie Cook, who have all represented Yeovil.

The last time Keynsham faced WSL opposition was two years ago, when they were beaten 2-1 by Watford in the fourth round of the FA Cup, while Durham would probably rather forget the last time they played a WPL Division One team – they lost 2-0 to Radcliffe Olympic, coincidentally this was also in the 2014-15 edition of the cup.

My prediction: Keynsham will no doubt give Durham a tough game, helped by the fact that the visitors will have to undertake a 570-mile round trip to fulfil the fixture, and that they have gone for so long without a competitive match. In spite of these handicaps, I think that Durham will be too strong for their opponents today, so I’m going for an away win.

The match

  • Date: Sunday 5th February
  • Kick-off: 1pm
  • Venue: AJN Stadium, Keynsham, BS31 2BE
  • Admission: £3
  • Public transport
    • Train: Keynsham station (approx. half a mile from the ground)
    • Bus: Take service number 39 from Bristol Bus Station

The stats

Keynsham Town (@_KTLFC)

FA Women’s Premier League, South West Division One (level 4)
League form: w6 d1 l3 gd+21 = 3rd place out of 12

2016/17 FA Cup
3Q – Buckland Athletic (level 6) 2-3 Keynsham Town
4Q – Chichester City (4) 1-2 Keynsham Town
1R – Regents Park Rangers (6) 1-6 Keynsham Town
2R – C&K Basildon (3) 1-3 Keynsham Town

2015/16 FA Cup
3Q – Keynsham Town 6-2 Cheltenham Town (4)
4Q – Keynsham Town 5-0 Maidenhead United (4)
1R – Chichester City (4) 6-0 Keynsham Town

Durham (@DurhamWFC)

FA Women’s Super League 2 (level 2)
2016 final standings: w10 d3 l5 gd+11 = 4th place out of 10

2016/17 FA Cup
Entering at third round

2015/16 FA Cup
3R – London Bees (level 2) 0-9 Durham
4R – Durham 3-1 Charlton Athletic (3)
5R – Notts County (1) 3-1 Durham

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