Leicester City WFC v Lewes FC Women
Once again the Foxes host the Rookettes in a National semi-final.
A year ago it was Lewes who edged a tight encounter in the Midlands, Georgia Bridges memorably settling the tie with the only goal of the game.
Lewes famously went on to win that title, the FAWPL Plate, beating the Terriers of Huddersfield Town 4-0 in the final. This season has proved just as stern a test for John Donoghue’s players. Lewes have faced all-premier opposition in the competition so far, knocking out Crystal Palace 1-2 away before demolishing Portsmouth 5-1 at the Dripping Pan. The toughest test was again away, this time to then league-leaders Charlton Athletic. With the scores level at 1-1 after 90 minutes, midfielder Sarah Kempson settled the contest with a fabulous 20-yard finish in the second period of extra time.
Last Sunday, Leicester played out a thrilling quarter final, away to Nottingham Forest. The tie finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. With no breakthrough in extra time the Foxes sealed the win 4-5 on penalties. In previous rounds LCWFC knocked out The New Saints LFC 5-2, beat Bolton 3-0 and won the battle of the Foxes to knock out Loughborough 3-1.
Their home record is impressive, unbeaten so far in 2018. Like Lewes, Leicester sit 4th in their division, with 25 points from 13 games, Lewes having chalked up 26 from 14. Both sides are 11 points behind their respective league leaders. A tight contest on paper, then, with Leicester slight favourites given home field advantage and having played last weekend. Lewes saw their league match, at home to Gillingham, called off late, thanks to part of the pitch being deemed unplayable due to frost.
Manager John Donoghue was left frustrated, if philosophical.
‘It’s a shame when both managers are happy to go ahead. We had a big crowd coming in, but we always respect the officials and the referee was very clear he was not happy to continue.
The players are working hard this week in training. They are focused and ready for what promises to be another very tough match against Leicester, who will want to overturn last season’s result. We’ve had a tasted of success in a National competition. The players will want to get to the final and have something to show for what has been an excellent season so far. They are under no illusions as to the size of the task ahead this weekend. They will be ready.’
The other semi-final, another FAWPL North versus South affair, will be between Blackburn Rovers and Coventry City. The final is scheduled for April, venue to be confirmed.
Form guide (all competitions):
Top scorer: Rosie Axten (16)
Top scorer: Rebecca Carter (10)
Photos: Georgia Bridges scores & celebrates v Leicester in last year’s FAWPL Plate semi-final