SSE Women’s FA Cup preview: Brighouse Town v Everton

The lowest-ranked team left in the FA Cup, Brighouse Town, hit the jackpot in the third round draw when they were paired with former winners Everton.

The Toffees won the trophy as recently as 2010, beating Arsenal 3-2 after extra time in the final. The same year they were league runners-up behind their cup opponents, which qualified them for the 2010/11 UEFA Women’s Champions League, where they progressed as for as the quarter-finals.

After a couple of strong finishes in the early days of the WSL, they ended the 2014 season at the foot of WSL1 having failed to win a single game and were relegated to WSL2, where they have remained ever since.

I don’t think it’s unfair to Brighouse to describe their history as being slightly less storied than that of Everton, but they are certainly a club on the rise. Since their formation in 2013 they have never finished outside the top two of their division, twice winning promotion along the way. Prior to this season they had only ever had a total of three defeats in league football, but life in the WPL is somewhat more demanding than in the North East Regional League and they find themselves looking at a bottom-half finish for the first time ever.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is possibly the biggest game in Brighouse Town’s brief history. It’s their first match against WSL opposition, and the furthest they have ever progressed in the competition to date.

My prediction: Brighouse have done superbly well to get this far into the cup, but I think their run will be ending here. Everton just missed out on promotion back up to the top flight last season, and will be too strong for their West Yorkshire opponents.

The game

  • Date: Sunday 5th February
  • Kick-off: 3pm
  • Venue: Dual Seal Stadium, Hove Edge, HD6 2PL
  • Admission: £5
  • Public transport
    • Train: Nearest station is Brighouse (just under 2 miles away)
    • Bus: 549 or 688 to Spout House Lane

The stats

Brighouse Town (@BrighouseTLFC)

WPL, Northern Division One (level 4)
League form: w2 d3 l7 gd-8 = 10th place out of 12

2016/17 FA Cup
3Q – Stockport County (level 5) 1-2 Brighouse Town
4Q – Brighouse Town 5-0 Blackpool Wren Rovers (4)
1R – Brighouse Town 3-2 Peterborough Northern Star (5)
2R – Long Eaton United (4) 3-4 Brighouse Town

2015/16 FA Cup 
2Q – Brighouse Town 4-0 Brighouse Athletic (7)
3Q – Brighouse Town 6-1 Winterton Rangers (6)
4Q – Chester-le-Street Town (4) 3-1 Brighouse Town

Everton (@EvertonLadies)

FA Women’s Super League 2 (level 2)
2016 final standings: w10 d4 l4 gd+17 = 3rd place out of 10

2016/17 FA Cup
Entering at third round

2015/16 FA Cup
3R – Everton 7-0 Stoke City (3)
4R – Everton 5-0 Nottingham Forest (3)
5R – Aston Villa (2) 1-0 Everton

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