Continuing our look at the first qualifying round of this year’s FA Cup, here is who is playing in tie numbers 31 to 40.
The previous parts of our FA Cup preview are here:
Wolverhampton Sporting Community are still a relatively new name to women’s football, although their roots go back as far as 2003 when they were founded as Walsall Ladies. They currently play in the premier division of the West Midlands Regional League, where they finished in eighth place last season with 21 points from their 18 games. Their opponents this weekend, Shrewsbury Town, play one level below them in Division One North of the same league, and they managed a fifth-place finish last time out, which would have been fourth had it not been for a three-point deduction for being unable to field a team against Leek Town in April. Neither side made a huge impact on last season’s FA Cup, with both losing their only match in the second qualifying round. Wolverhampton were beaten on penalties by Leamington Lions after a 2-2 draw and Shrewsbury lost 4-2 to Wyrley.
This is a match between two clubs playing their first seasons under new names. Solihull Sporting (who were known as Marston Green until the summer) are making their first ever appearance in the FA Cup, and Coventry Sphinx are the result of a merger between Kenilworth Town and Rubery. All three of these teams played in the West Midlands Regional League Southern Division One last year, Kenilworth Town finished in sixth place, Rubery fourth, and Solihull Sporting ninth and bottom. Luckily for Sporting, the small number of teams that finished the season meant there was no relegation in the summer. The head-to-head record between Solihull Sporting and Kenilworth Town saw a win and a defeat for each side, with each winning the game on their home ground, while Rubery completed a league double over Sporting, winning 6-1 and 5-0.
33. Crusaders (@CrusadersLFC) v Abbey Hulton United
Abbey Hulton United of the Staffordshire County League travel to West Midlands Regional Premier Division side Crusaders in tie number 33. Both teams finished as runners-up in their respective divisions last season, but Crusaders lost their only FA Cup tie, in the second qualifying round, on penalties to Gornal of the Birmingham County League.
West Midland Regional Division One North sides Shrewsbury Juniors and Brereton Town will face each other in tie number 34. Last season they each beat the other once in the league – Brereton winning 5-3 at home and Juniors taking a 6-2 victory at their ground. Brereton last played in the FA Cup in 2014, when they were knocked out in the first qualifying round by Crusaders, while Juniors’ took park last season. A 5-1 victory over Bradwell Belles in qualifying round two was followed by an extra-time defeat to The New Saints.
Coundon Court reached the third qualifying round of last year’s FA Cup. Having beaten Bilbrook 9-0 in the previous round, they were eventually knocked out by the FA WPL’s Sporting Khalsa. By contrast, their opponents in this year’s tournament, Goldenhill Wanderers, are making their debut in the competition. Goldenhill are the reigning Staffordshire County League champions, and will be playing in Division One North of the West Midlands Regional League during the upcoming season, whereas Coundon Court are well established at regional level, finishing in sixth place of the WMRWFL Premier Division last season.
Rugby Town will face reigning West Midlands Regional League Division One South champions Worcester United in tie number 36. Worcester were unbeaten in the league last season, winning 14 of their 16 games to earn promotion to the Premier Division. Rugby’s league record was also hugely impressive last year, but such was the strength of the teams at the top of the Birmingham County League their 20 wins in 24 games was only good enough for fourth place! Neither team played in last season’s FA Cup.
37. Sutton Coldfield Town v Bedworth United (@BedworthLadies2)
Newly-renamed Sutton Coldfield Town of the West Midlands Regional League Division One North were drawn against Bedworth United, who have moved from the East Midlands Premier Division to the West this summer. Sutton Coldfield, who were known as Boldmere St Michael’s until earlier this year, have the remarkable distinction of never having lost a league match. In the two seasons since they formed they have a combined record of 40 games played, 39 wins, one draw, 340 goals scored and 17 conceded. They are not used to losing! They come into their first season at regional level as champions of the Birmingham County League, while their opposition were runners-up in the East Midlands Regional League. Bedworth beat Stone Dominoes 7-0 in last season’s FA Cup, but lost out to Leicester City Women Development in the third qualifying round. Sutton Coldfield made similar progress, beating Rubery after extra time before being eliminated by the WPL’s Long Eaton United.
West Midlands Regional League Division One South will face Division One North in this fixture, as Gornal take on Stone Domines. Gornal, who were runners up in the Birmingham County League last season, beat two regional league teams in an impressive cup run in 2016. After victories over Crusaders and Stourbridge they were finally stopped in the fourth qualifying round by Radcliffe Olympic of the WSL. Stone Dominoes fell in the second qualifying round of last year’s cup, suffering a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Bedworth United, and ended the season with a mid-table league position – their nine wins from 20 games putting them in sixth place out of 11 teams.
Histon are playing this season in Division One North of the Eastern Region League, having been relegated in the summer after finishing bottom of the Premier Division. They take on Newmarket Town of the Cambridgeshire County League. Newmarket Town ended last season in a respectable mid-table position, finishing fourth of eight teams and winning nine of their 14 matches. Of these two teams, Histon progressed the furthest in the cup last time around – they reached the third qualifying round courtesy of a 5-2 win against Moulton, but lost their next game 5-0 to Peterborough Northern Star. Newmarket’s sole game in the competition was a 7-2 loss to Wymondham Town in Qualifying Round 2.
40. Kettering Town v Woodford United
Tie number 40 brings together Kettering Town of the East Midlands Regional Premier Division and Woodford United of the Northamptonshire County League. Last season’s FA Cup saw Kettering reach the fourth qualifying round thanks to victories over Thrapston Town and Brandon Town, before their progress was stopped by a 3-0 defeat to Peterborough Northern Star. Woodford meanwhile fell at the first hurdle when they suffered a heavy 9-0 defeat to Riverside.