FA Women’s Championship
Sunday 31st March KO: 12:00
The Dripping Pan, Lewes
MOTHERS’ DAY SPECIAL: Free chocolate for the first 100 mums through the gate + kids can win a huge bouquet of flowers for mum by designing a Mothers’ Day card at the match!
**This is a 12:00 noon kick-off and the clocks go forward the night before!**
Lewes manager Fran Alonso expects the ‘toughest test’ for his players on Sunday.
Durham, many fans’ favourites for the title before the season started, are on a fine run of form, including a narrow FA Cup defeat by WSL champs Chelsea last time out. The Wildcats sit third in the division, right behind Man United and Spurs, but are clearly in the hunt for a top two finish, with eyes firmly on promotion to the top tier.
The reverse fixture was one-way traffic with the hosts hitting five unanswered goals in a devastating first half that left Lewes reeling.
Lewes fans will be hoping for a continuation of the progress they’ve seen under Alonso that’s seen them comfortably beat Palace away and Millwall at home, and some of the resistance that saw the team hold out for over an hour against rampant league-leaders Manchester United at the Pan.
Lewes have recorded back-to-back FAWC wins for the first time since the opening weeks of the season, finishing off Millwall Lionesses last time out with a stunning goal from Charlotte Owen.
Jess King had given the Rooks an early lead after a misjudgement by the Lionesses’ ‘keeper, showing a keen eye for goal and a poacher’s instinct.
Read Adam Stenning’s full match report here
View match highlights here
Durham manager Lee Sanders was delighted with his side’s showing v WSL Champions Chelsea last time out (SSE Women’s FA Cup).
The Wildcats are still in the thick of the FA Women’s Championship promotion race and will look for a strong end to the season in their pursuit of WSL football next season. Sanders believes the performance against the reigning champions should act as a marker for five crucial fixtures.
“I’m extremely proud,” he admitted, after the narrow 1-0 defeat to the Blues.
“In terms of how they conducted themselves in the build-up to the game, which involves a lot more media coverage, and obviously on the day from the playing perspective.
“I thought they carried out what we wanted them to do immensely well in the first half, and then I made a change 2nd half and they really took the game to Chelsea and were unlucky not to take it into extra time.
“If you look at it overall, we’ve really set a marker for ourselves and for the remaining games of the league season.”
Read more from Sanders here
Wildcats defender Sarah Wilson shares her manager’s view on that game and match ahead.
“We’ve got to keep pushing, we are still in the running.
We’ve put ourselves in a great position and while we have to rely on other results but we’ll keep focusing on our own game-plan and making sure that we keep doing the right things.”
On that 5-0 battering in their home fixture versus Lewes, Wilson knows this could be a different sort of match.
“It was some game, there were no goals in the second half, but sometimes that happens. It will be completely different (on Sunday), teams are progressing week-in, week-out.”
Lewes FC Squad News
“Training has been very good this week. Confidence is high after two wins on the bounce and the players will welcome the challenge of playing one of the best sides in the division” says Lewes manager Fran Alonso.
I’m excited because, like last time, I have friends and family coming from Spain. My family enjoyed the Millwall game, the atmosphere, the crowd. My parents loved it!
We were looking forward to a big week of training. Unfortunately, there has been some illness in the squad this week, so we will need to assess players again on Friday before I can decide on the match-day line-up.”
As always, Alonso wants to test his players against the top sides as he continues to build his squad towards the 2019/20 season.
“Durham are a good team that can play combinative football but also they can play direct. They are very well organised.
It will be a very challenging game, but we are all looking forward to it. You want to test yourself against the best teams, and Durham are right up there for me.”
Gates open at 10:30 for a 12:00 start. Tickets for the match: Adults £8, Concessions £4, Under 16s FREE.
But tickets are cheaper if you buy beforehand, online right here