Sunday 10th April 2021
Burnley FC Women v Sunderland AFC Ladies
Vitality Women’s FA Cup Third Round
Arbories Memorial Sports Ground
After a solid 5-1 win against Sheffield FC at the Academy of Light last week, Mel Reay’s side are through to the third round of the FA Cup where they face fellow FAWNL Northern Premier Division side Burnley, today.
In their second-round FA Cup fixture, Burnley beat AFC Fylde 1-0 with a goal in extra time.
A fourth-round tie against WSL side Manchester United is on the cards for today’s winner, as well as more prize money and the chance to continue playing football after this season was voided for both sides.
Reflecting on last Sunday’s win, Reay said that she was impressed with her side’s attacking play and are aiming to carry their momentum forward:
We’ve reflected as a squad and as a group of staff and we had some great play [against Sheffield FC] we had some really attacking play.
It’s always a tough battle against Burnley, and travelling away as well, you take that into consideration. We’ll prepare as best we can and hopefully that’s enough for Sunday.
Last Time We Met... at the Academy of Light
20 September 2020
FA Women’s National League Norther Premier Division
Sunderland Ladies 1-2 Burnley FC Women
(Thomas ‘32, Scarr ‘72, Agger ‘83)
Sunderland: Cowling, Herron, Mullen, McCatty, Griffiths, Ramshaw, Scarr, Blakey, Watt, Joice, Beer Subs: Moan, Corney, Warren, McInnes, Studholme
Burnley: Bracewell, Agger, Bickett, Greenhalgh, Hamer, Hope, Owen, Priestly, Thomas, Wilson, Worthington Subs: Gibbins, Rathburn, Shirtcliffe, Tobin
The Opposition: Burnley FC Women
Before the 2020/21 season was curtailed, the Clarets were sat towards the end of the FAWNL Northern Premier Division in eighth. They had ten points from seven games, with the Lasses five points ahead of them in fifth.
However like Sunderland, the Lancashire club has been undergoing massive changes off the pitch.
Burnley were recently bought by Alan Pace, now chairman of the club, who pledged that the women’s team would be incorporated under the same umbrella as the men’s side and are aiming for promotion to the Championship as soon as possible.
Ring any bells?
Manager Matt Bee spoke to the BBC this week about the changes, saying that this incorporation was a question of “when and how”, adding that they are still keen to develop and allow the team to grow into these new changes.
Captain and goalkeeper Lauren Bracewell also spoke to the BBC, adding that having the extra backing from the club “spurs us on”.
With progression through the FA Cup firmly on their radar, the Clarets just edged past Fylde in the second-round last Sunday. Deep into extra time, Nic Worthington converted a penalty to take her side into the next round.
Bee said post-match he was pleased with his side’s performance against Fylde.
“I was pleased with our preparation this week, I knew that the players knew how they had to operate to win the game. The detailed preparation has given them the platform to go and execute a top performance today. Everyone of them dug in.
“Sunderland will be a tough game so it will be a challenge. However, we’re ready to work hard again this week to go again on Sunday and hopefully put in another positive performance in the competition.”
Possible XI: Bracewell, Cooper, Wilson, Brown, Bickett, Hope, Worthington, Hamer, Greenhalgh, Priestly, Thomas
Sunderland Ladies Team News
Mel Reay said that ahead of Sunday’s game her side she has a fully fit squad to choose from. The only omission from the squad is Maria Farrugia, who remains unable to travel from her native Malta due to travel restrictions.
The standout performer from last week’s game was Eve Blakey, who not only scored her first Sunderland Ladies goal, but managed to net three of them to take the Lasses to the next round of the Cup.
Reay was full of praise for the youngster after the Sheffield game.
“I’m delighted for her. She’s waited a long time to score, she’s been frustrated and probably lacked in confidence in some games.
“She’s worked hard, got herself in the right positions and I’m absolutely delighted she’s managed to get a hat-trick.
“I think it shows the fact that she stepped up for the penalty at the end, how confident. She wanted to score, wanted to get her hat-trick and I’m over the moon for her.”
Possible XI: Moan, Beer, McCatty, Herron, Griffiths, Ramshaw, Mullen, Joice, Manders, Scarr, Blakey
Burnley struggled to find the net last week until a last minute penalty saved them, but I feel they’ll still try and test the Lasses today.
Burnley FC Women 0 - 2 Sunderland AFC Ladies