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Preview: Blues Women v Southampton

The game is available to watch live on the Blues Women Facebook page, kick-off is at 12.30pm.

BCFC

Blues Women welcome Southampton FC in the fifth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup on Sunday lunchtime.

The 12.30pm kick-off is the final match of the 2020/21 campaign, with Blues having concluded their Barclays FA Women’s Super League season last weekend.

That ended with Carla Ward’s side securing their top-flight status and the team will be looking to complete another objective this weekend by progressing to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Victory would also make it a winning end to the Head Coach’s tenure after Ward’s decision to resign was announced on Friday.

In the previous round, Blues emphatically beat Coventry United of the FA Women’s Championship and will again be favourites when they host fourth-tier Southampton.

THE OPPOSITION:

Southampton have already upset the odds in the Women’s FA Cup once this season when they overcame Lewes FC of the second tier in round four to earn a trip to the SportNation.bet Stadium. Such progression to the last sixteen is even more remarkable when considering they have only played four league fixtures this season.

However, they were able to display their pedigree by, for the second year running, finishing top of the FA Women’s National League Division One South West standings before it was declared null and void in March.

And Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s side have carried that form into the FA Cup, having already battled through six rounds in the competition. Initially beating Helston Athletic in the Second Qualifying Round, Saints have gone on to overcome Ilminster Town, AFC Bournemouth, Plymouth Argyle and Yeovil United before their historic elimination of Lewes.

That win saw ‘keeper Kayla Rendel save a first-half penalty before Georgie Freeland found the top-corner for an opener just moments later. Despite being pegged back, Southampton went on and shocked their higher-ranked opponents when Rachel Panting put them back in front with what proved to be the winner 12 minutes from time.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues ended the 2020/21 BFAWSL season with defeat in the West Midlands to Tottenham Hotspur but results elsewhere, combined with points earned before the final day, saw safety secured. Claudia Walker came closest for Blues before the break, with the visitors hitting the only goal in the 71st minute when Kit Graham finished neatly.

Southampton have prepared for the FA Cup meeting with a number of friendly matches. The latest of these saw Spacey-Cale’s players push Leicester City all the way. Coming up against the Championship winners, Saints lost out by a single goal away from home. Natasha Flint put the Foxes ahead before Lucia Kendall equalised, only for Sophie Howard to restore Leicester’s lead inside the opening 30 minutes.

WATCH LIVE:

The game is available to watch live on the Blues Women Facebook page, kick-off is at 12.30pm.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee: Cristiana Hattersley

Assistant Referees: Chloe-Ann Anderson and Aimee Keir

Fourth Official: Scott Tallis

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