A quick look at what to expect if any matches survive the weekend weather
It’s another big cup weekend for women’s football, with the excitement of last Sunday’s FAW Cup drama replaced by the anticipation of a place in the final for teams at the sharp end of the region’s county cup competitions.
A number of sides from the local and regional leagues are still in their respective county cups, and many of them are due to play on Sunday – although very few are likely to survive the forecast deluge and freeze on pitches already soaked by this week’s downpours.
The Kent Women’s Cup has reached the semi-final stage, with holders Gillingham facing the county’s rising stars, Herne Bay.
The game is scheduled for Chatham FC, but is dependent on the pitch coping with whatever Storm Rachel throws at it in the next 48 hours.
The Gills have won the Kent Cup for the past three years and have featured in four of the past five finals. But they under-estimate their opponents, who play three tiers below them, at their peril.
Anthony Deer’s side have taken Kent football by storm, winning virtually every competition they have entered in their three seasons in existence.
And they are destined to become a major force in regional women’s football.
The other semi-final, between Aylesford and London Corinthians, has already been called off and rescheduled for next weekend.
In Hampshire and Surrey they’re at the quarter-final stage, with Portsmouth providing the Premier League interest.
Pompey have won the Hampshire Women’s Challenge Cup six years in a row and look nailed on to make it seven. But first they have to overcome the challenge of Shanklin, who play in the FAWPL Division One South West, one tier below the Blues.
Shanklin are having a moderate season in the league, with a backlog of fixtures piling up for the Isle of Wight side. They will have to be at their very best to have any sort of chance against Portsmouth, who are enjoying another storming campaign.
They are currently fourth in the Premier League, with – like Shanklin – games in hand of all their rivals. They have not lost since the opening day, back in August, and are still in the FAW Cup and Premier League Cup, as well as the county cup.
The match has been rescheduled for an all-weather surface at Park Community School, Havant.
The prospects of a Portsmouth v Southampton final look reasonable, with Southampton Saints – Shanklin’s league stablemates – hosting Fleet Town, from the Southern Region Women’s Football League Division One North, in another of the quarter-finals.
Saints are currently second in Division One South West, although they’ve played more games than most of their rivals, while Fleet have been struggling in their league.
Surrey’s county cup quarter-finals feature a couple of sides from the London & South East Regional Women’s League.
Holders Carshalton Athletic are due to visit Chobham & Burymead, from Greater London Women’s League Division Two South. Carshalton have adapted brilliantly to the higher grade of football following promotion last season, and are currently fourth in the L&SERWL, with games in hand of all those above them. Chobham are second in their league.
AFC Wimbledon, one of the three above Carshalton, host Crystal Palace, from the FAWPL Division One East, while South Park‘s home tie against Godalming Town ensures at least one side from below the L&SERWL in the semi-finals.
Old Actonians and KIKK United each play Premier League opposition in their Capital Cup ties against Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers respectively.
Back in Kent, it’s quarter-final time in the Women’s Plate, too. Both Anchorians and their second string are at home – against Castle Colts and Faversham Elizabethans respectively.
The top two in South East Counties Division One East are both at home. Leaders Prince of Wales are due to play Teynham Gunners, from the Kent Division, and Ashford host Bromley, of the Greater London Women’s League Division One.
FAW Premier League
Only one FAW Premier League Southern Division match is scheduled – table-topping Brighton are at home to Tottenham Hotspur at the Withdean Stadium.
In Division One South West, Chichester City travel to St Nicholas while Swindon Town, the runaway leaders, are at home to Cheltenham Town.
It’s unclear how many of the Premier Reserves League matches are likely to survive, but if they do go ahead, West Ham will fancy their chances of maintaining their two-point lead at the top when they host Chichester City Development.
Chichester have improved noticeably in the past couple of months since their baptism of fire in the tough league, but despite a decent performance against second-placed Brighton last week, they still lost 6-0. Now they play the league leaders, looking more for another decent display than an unlikely win.
Brighton will bid to keep the pressure on West Ham when they play Portsmouth on a 3G artificial pitch at the club’s Lancing training ground.
Charlton Athletic, who are third, are due to play at C&K Basildon.
Rest of the fixtures
Further down the grassroots chain, there are likely to be a lot more casualties.
In the London & South East Regional Women’s League, Crawley Wasps are due to host bottom club Hassocks, and FAW Cup giant-killers Eastbourne Town look to catch up on the league backlog that has seen them fall to second-bottom, at home to Maidstone United.
Dartford Royals hope to keep the pressure on South East Counties League Premier Division leaders Meridian at home to Long Lane. Meridian visit bottom club Crockenhill.
The other two games scheduled feature mid-table clashes between Parkwood Rangers and Eastbourne and – according to the FA’s Full-Time website, Burgess Hill Town and Anchorians, despite the latter’s scheduled involvement in the Kent Plate.
In Division One West, in the highly unlikely event of the weather relenting, bottom club Dorking are due to visit Abbey Rangers, while Bexhill United Reserves, who are just one place above Dorking, host all-conquering Worthing Minors, who last week extended their winning start to the season to 11 games.
Seahaven Harriers bid to maintain the pressure on Minors at home to Burgess Hill Town 2nds, while Milford & Witley are due to play Worthing Town.
With many Kent sides tied up in the Plate competition, there are no scheduled fixtures in Division One East and only two in the Kent Division.
Long Lane Reserves aim to extend their run to 12 wins from 12 games, at home to Swale, and in contrast, University of Kent seek their first point of the season, at home to second-placed Barming.
In the Sussex County Women and Girls Football League Women’s Division, leaders Crawley Wasps are due to play third-placed Lewes, but I understand the match has been switched from Lewes to Ewhurst Playing Fields, Crawley.
Rottingean Village are at home to Henfield and Jarvis Brook play Hurstpierpoint.
Fixtures courtesy of clubs or FA Full-Time and are subject to late cancellation. Please check with clubs for up-to-date information.
Sent Her Forward will bring you news of those games that do survive on Sunday.