Preview: Women’s FA Cup Third Round

This weekend sees the return of women’s football after the winter break and it’s only the small matter of an FA Cup third round.
 
This is an opportunity for National League sides (tier three and four) to add themselves into the draw for the fourth round which includes teams from the WSL (tier one) and Championship (tier two) sides.
 
Here is my brief guide of the games and what I believe the outcomes will be.
 
Fylde vs Sunderland
 
Where: Mill Farm Sports Village, Preston, PR4 3JZ
Kick Off: 1pm
Comparison: The home side are currently sitting seventh in the National League North (tier three). Their opponents are currently top of the league and are undefeated, only dropping points against local rivals, Middlesbrough back in September.
Prediction: Sunderland win.
Tickets: £5 or free for season ticket holders.
 
Burnley vs Nottingham Forest
 
Where: Padiham FC’s Ruby Civil Arena, Well Street, Burnley, BB12 8LE
Kick Off: 1pm
Comparison: Only one point separates these two sides in tier three’s National League North, with Burnley sitting second and Forest in fourth place.
Prediction: Burnley win AET
Tickets: £3 adults (£1 concessions)
 
Loughborough Foxes vs Huddersfield Town
 
Where: Holywell Park, Loughborough, LE11 3AJ
Kick Off: 1pm
Comparison: Since Loughborough moved from the National League South into the Northern section they have found life difficult and third from bottom but with a 6 point buffer over Hull City and Sheffield FC. The visitors are sat in fifth with 16 points, two behind Nottingham Forest.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town win
Tickets: Unknown
 
Brighouse Town vs Barnsley
 
Where: The Yorkshire Payments Stadium, Brighouse, HD6 2PL
Kick Off: 2pm
Comparison: Both sides participate in the National League North Division One (fourth tier). Barnsley are sitting top with 28 points after ten games, 7 points ahead of their hosts having played a game more.
Prediction: Brighouse Town win
Tickets: £4 adults, £2 concessions and children are free
 
Ipswich Town vs Portsmouth
 
Where: The Goldstar Ground, Felixstoe, IP11 9HT
Kick Off: 1pm
Comparison: The visitors ply their trade in the National League South (tier three) and are currently seventh, although Pompey have 3-4 games in hand over sides above them and if they can carry their cup form into the league then they’ll soon be competing for a top three finish. Ipswich play in the National League South-East Division One (tier four) and are top after nine games, winning all bar one draw.
Prediction: Portsmouth
Tickets: £3 adults, £1 concessions and children are free
Photo: @JordanHampton
Watford vs Plymouth Argyle
 
Where: The Orbital Fasteners Stadium, Hempstead Road, Kings Langley, WD4 8BS
Kick Off: 2pm
Comparison: Both teams have had great starts to their season. Watford sit top of the National League South with 28 points although Argyle are not far behind with 21 points and a game in hand.
Prediction: Watford win (just)
Tickets: Details unknown
Photo: @aw_images
Cardiff City vs Southampton FC
 
Where: CB Centre for Sporting Excellence, Caerphilly Road, Hengoed, CF82 7EP
Kick Off: 2pm
Comparison: Cardiff City are sitting fourth in the National League South with a steady start to the season. Their opponents are sitting top of the National League South-West Division One (tier four) and have yet to lose a league game in the last two years.
Prediction: Southampton win
Tickets: Details unknown
 
Southampton Women vs West Bromwich Albion
 
Where: Winklebury Football Complex, Basingstoke, RG23 8BF
Kick Off: 2pm
Comparison: The home side are currently sitting second in the National League South-West Division One, behind their rivals Southampton FC (Saints). Their visitors have had a mixed start to the season and are ninth in the National League North, winning three, losing three and drawing one.
Prediction: Southampton Women win AET
Tickets: £4 adults, £2 concessions and children are free
 
Billericay Town vs Actonions
 
Where: AGP Arena, Blunts Wall Road, CM12 9SA
Kick Off: 1pm
Comparison: Both teams compete in the National League South-East Division One. The home side have had more joy so far this season, they sit third on 19 points, while their opponents are in seventh on 17 points.
Prediction: Billericay Town win
Tickets: £4 adults and under 16’s are free
 
Overall, I don’t see too many cup upsets in this round although with the magic of the FA Cup, who knows? If you are within a reasonable travelling distance then I encourage you to get out and support your local team, these games are all set up to be exciting encounters.
 
Every side will know that they are one step away from a glamour tie against the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal in the next round so it’s all to play for. A draw like that is worth a lot to clubs at National League level.