Women’s FA Cup Fourth Round Talking Points

The Saints Go Marching On…

Cup upsets involving teams within the WSL or Championship are quite rare if they even exist at all, at least in recent times. So huge credit must go to Marieanne Spacey-Cale and her team of players and staff for being able to travel away to Championship side, Lewes and beat them two goals to one. 

Simon Parker’s home side had the first opportunity to go ahead but an Ini Umotong penalty was well saved by England youth international keeper Kayla Rendell. Former Lewes forward, Rachel Panting, stated that the save was a big turning point for them and gave them the belief that they could go on and win.

Umotong did get onto the scoresheet, her second-half goal was sandwiched between two unstoppable efforts from Georgie Freeland and Rachel Panting which has secured them a place in the last sixteen of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup against WSL side Birmingham City. 

Spacey-Cale told the Southampton FC website, “It was a performance that showed where these players are at,” said the manager. “The resilience they’ve got, the work they’ve done during lockdown and the belief. Even when it came back to 1-1 we never doubted that we would have something to say during the rest of the game.

“We spoke before the game about the fact we wouldn’t get many chances so we had to put them away. I’m looking forward to watching them back! Two really clean strikes and you get those opportunities because you are organised and defensively we were in such good shape today. We had to be resolute as defenders. We got a little excited at times but you can’t fault that defensive display, it gave us that platform, and we put away those two chances.”

On paper a tier four side being a tier two side is massive but Saints could correctly argue that had it not been for two cancelled FAWNL seasons they’d currently be in a tier three title rage to be promoted to the Championship. The club is clearly ready for the higher levels of the women’s football pyramid, they will just have to bide their time. 

Photo: Isabelle Field (feature) and Sheena Booker (above)

Disrespectful West Ham United?

In the sixty-eighth minute of their FA Cup tie against Chichester & Selsey, the West Ham boss, Olli Harder, made an interesting substitute. He brought on his substitute goalkeeper, Mackenzie Arnold for Laura Vetterlein. This action has split many on social media with one side considering it disrespectful to the opposition. 

Harder discussed the decision after the game, he said, “It was more needs must to be honest, we have five subs and I thought that we needed to use those to keep as many people fresh as possible,” he explained. “Macca was fit enough to go out there and do a job and the scoreline allowed us to do that. In saying that I thought she did quite well in the middle of the park.”

He went on to praise the opposition, “We’ve all been on the end of scorelines we don’t like. I appreciated the way they went about their business and they were very courteous and professional, as well as working hard out on the pitch. Full credit to them and I wish them well.”  Just putting it out there, if Emma Hayes brings on Carly Telford during a WSL spanking then we’d all hear about the move being disrespectful. 

My fellow Since 71 writer disagrees with me somewhat, “We have a small squad and are playing a crucial tie against a fellow relegation side with just a day in between. Mac is still a footballer and I don’t see it any different from starting Denton, Barker and Ramsey. It’s all about game time.” For me, there is no reason why Harder couldn’t have brought on a younger outfield player and give them the experience. 

Chichester & Selsey Secretary Caz Evans commented “It is important for clubs to remember where they came from to get where they are now. Some clubs used to be in our league (Tier 3) until they were given a huge financial backing from either their men’s club or the FA. If all clubs had the financial backing like this then this huge gap in women’s football wouldn’t be so obvious. It is hard for a club like ours to financially make every season and when the team who have worked so hard see clubs doing things like this to them, it is not helping the situation.”

Miedema Marks Her Century With Her 92 Goal

Vivianne Miedema marked her 100th appearance for the Arsenal with a goal, while Jill Roord hit a first-half hat-trick and Anna Patten scored her first in an Arsenal shirt as they brushed aside National League Gillingham.

Some people still beat Viv with the ‘she doesn’t do it in the big games’ stick and to them, I say do one, she is superb. To score 92 goals in one hundred games is super human! That is effectively eight games she’s failed to score in. 

Photos: @ArsenalWFC

On that achievement, Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro said, “Viv just does it week in week out and if you add her assists on top of the goals, she’s a joy because she just finds solutions and I’m honoured and privileged to have been part of it and I am privileged to work with a player like that and I wish her all the best going forward.”