The Rookettes head North this Sunday (7th January) to face a familiar foe, this time in the SSE Women’s FA Cup, writes Ash Head.
With the two sides having remarkably similar records this season, this promises to be one of the ties of the third round.
Lewes will line up against the Terriers in a cup match for the second consecutive season. The two sides met on St George’s Day last year, in the FA Women’s Premier League Plate Final where Lewes ran out 4-0 winners to take their first national title. Goals from Georgia Bridges (2), Dani Lane and Rachel Palmer sealed victory on a memorable day at St. James’s Park, Brackley.
Lewes manager John Donoghue anticipates a very different match this time around. Town are at home, a big advantage with the Rookettes making a 500 mile round trip for this tie. Both teams have strengthened since the Plate final in April. Huddersfield sit third in their division, having taken 23 points from 14 matches. Lewes are 4th in the FAWPL South, with 2 more points from the same number of games. Town have impressed this term. They were the first side in the FAWPL North to beat high-flyers Blackburn Rovers, a 2-0 away win in November, prolific striker Emily Heckler bagging both goals.
In the previous round in this competition, the Terriers tore up West Bromwich Albion with Heckler again scoring twice and Sarah Danby notching a hat-trick. Lewes matched them with an identical result, at home to Enfield Town. Dani Lane scored three with Carleton, Carter, Owen and Katie McIntyre all on the scoresheet.
Lewes boss Donoghue has some decisions to make for this one.
“Huddersfield have added some players, especially in attack, so are more threatening in that area. This shows in their league position, sitting 3rd as they went into the Christmas break. Our squad has improved from last year., too With some of the players we’ve brought in chomping at the bit to start, we have some difficult decisions to make, not only picking the team but the squad for Sunday.”
Leeta Rutherford, cup-tied for last season’s Plate final, is available. Lewes have added Irish internationals Avilla Bergin and Vicky Carleton, former WSL players Faye Baker, Lisa Fulgence, Charlotte Owen and Amy Taylor from Brighton, Darcy James, on return from playing in the USA, joined World Beach Soccer Player of the Year and World Cup winning England Captain Sarah Kempson. Recent signing from Watford and 2015 FAW Player of the Year Kylie McCarthy could make her first team debut.
Lewes next play at home on Sunday 14th January when they host Portsmouth FC Ladies in the third round of the FAWPL Cup. This will be the third in the Unlock The Gate series, aimed at attracting new fans to home matches. The campaign is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act (1918), which gave women the right to vote in the United Kingdom and Ireland.