SSE Women’s FA Cup preview: Millwall Lionesses v London Bees

We continue our preview of the Women’s FA Cup with a look at the first of the two all-WSL ties in the third round: Millwall Lionesses versus London Bees.

Both teams are back in competitive action for the first time since the WSL season ended some three months ago, so there will no doubt be some cobwebs for the players to shake off in the early stages, but there is an excellent opportunity here to build some confidence ahead of the opening of the WSL Spring Series next weekend.

This game is Millwall’s first at their new home ground in Rotherhithe. The Lionesses have previously had problems with the availability of their former home, The Den, which has seen them forced to play home games at other venues on numerous occasions, and even forfeit one WSL match last season. The move to Fisher FC’s St Paul’s Sports Ground should hopefully solve these issues.

The Bees will be hoping to put the memories of last season’s FA Cup behind them, when they were soundly thrashed 9-0 by WSL2 rivals Durham in what was manager Dave Edmondson’s first game in charge. The team has been strengthened considerably since then however, and they come off the back of the highest ever league placing of their brief history in the WSL, so they will no doubt provide much sterner opposition this time around.

They will also be buoyed by their superb run in the WSL Continental Cup last season, where they progressed as far as the semi-finals (a first for a WSL2 team), even beating Chelsea along the way. All this despite never having won a single game in the competition before last year!

Both clubs have finished in the bottom half of the WSL2 table every year since its inception in 2014, so you might expect this to be a game between two fairly evenly balanced teams. Indeed, the last time these two sides met back in late June the result was a 1-1 draw.

Since Barnet re-branded as London Bees they have only won a single match in the FA Cup – a 3-1 third round victory over Leeds United in 2014. Millwall meanwhile are twice winners of the competition, most recently in 1997, when they lifted the trophy after beating Wembley 1-0 at Upton Park.

My prediction: Since being admitted to the WSL in 2014 the Bees have been one of the weaker teams in the league, but there appears to be something of a revolution occurring under the stewardship of Dave Edmondson. I think we’re going to see a London Bees win this weekend.

The match

  • Date: Sunday 5th February
  • Kick-off: 2pm
  • Venue: St Paul’s Sports Ground, Southwark, SE16 5EF
  • Admission: £5
  • Public transport
    • Train: Nearest station is Rotherhithe (approx 1 km away)
    • Tube: Canada Water (approx 1.25 km away)
    • Bus: Services 381 and C10 stop next to the stadium

The stats

Millwall Lionesses (@MillwallLioness)

FA Women’s Super League 2 (level 2)
2016 final standings: w3 d7 l8 gd-7 = 8th place out of 10

2016/17 FA Cup
Entering at third round

2015/16 FA Cup
3R – Watford (level 2) 1-3 Millwall Lionesses (after extra time)
4R – Loughborough Foxes (3) 1-2 Millwall Lionesses (after extra time)
5R – Reading (1) 2-0 Millwall Lionesses

London Bees (@LondonBees)

FA Women’s Super League 2 (level 2)
2016 final standings: w6 d4 l8 gd-11 = 7th place out of 10

2016/17 FA Cup
Entering at third round

2015/16 FA Cup
3R – London Bees 0-9 Durham

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