It will be a historic moment for two of our local sides, with both Posh Women and Netherton United Ladies competing at this stage of the competition for the first-time in their clubs' history.
However, it has been a remarkable journey for Peterborough-based Netherton United Ladies & Girls, who are not only making their first-ever appearance in First Round but are amongst the lowest-ranked sides left in the competition, outlining their fantastic achievement so far this season.
Netherton overcame Anstey Nomads Women in the previous round, coming back from 1-0 down at half-time to win 3-2, and now welcome West Midlands Regional side Knowle Ladies to Grange Park on Sunday, who are one-step higher and currently second-place in their league.
Manager Lee Martin is excited ahead of the historic weekend for the club, but doesn’t believe there isn’t any expectation on the players to get a result.
Speaking to me via Zoom, Martin said: “The Ladies are looking forward to the challenge, but not overlooking the fantastic achievement to be in the first round of the FA Cup. We’re one of the five tier seven sides left in the competition, but the thought, prospects, and magic of the cup is all building to the excitement to the possibilities of reaching the next round. However, we want to remain grounded and enjoy the experience, if I’m being honest.”
“I guess there’s no expectation from us based on the position we are in, so the pressure is not on us at all. We’re not going into the game relaxed, we’ll be trying our hardest to continue this historic journey, and excluding the excitement, the FA Cup brings coverage and helps get our name out there. I would say there’s no real pressure of expectation to get a result, and that’s a good thing.”
Netherton’s club secretary and midfielder Megan Stickland hasn’t been able to hide her excitement for the game all week, saying it will be the biggest moment of her football career.
“It’s a massive moment for us a club. We never reached the third qualifying round before, let alone the first round. It will be the biggest footballing moment of my career, and I will be honest, I’m living and breathing every moment of the FA Cup this week and just getting so excited and passionate, absorbing every moment.
“All the players are excited for this weekend and share the same passion. We’re more than capable of going out there on Sunday and beating our opposition.”
If it wasn’t already impressive enough, Netherton are also unbeaten this season and currently top of the Cambridgeshire Women & Girls County Football League, winning all four games so far.
Also they announced a new development side for the 2021/22 season, who compete in S-Tech Cambridgeshire Division 2, highlighting the tremendous growth of the club in the last couple of years.
After the incredible start to the season, Martin is proud of the development of the club in the last two years and highlights the achievement of all the players involved at the club.
“We often talk about where we started from, which was about two years ago, when we re-kicked the Ladies team and, at that time, there was about seven of us sat around the clubhouse table just trying to keep the team going.
"Fast forward to now, we have around 40 ladies across the two sides, and to think in that short period with the challenges we have, including the pandemic and cancellation of seasons, the achievement the Ladies have done is unbelievable.
If you’re looking to feed your football hunger this weekend, then make sure to head down to Grange Park, PE3 6HG, on Sunday to give your support to Netherton United in the First Round of the FA Cup.
Also, you can keep up-to-date with Netherton’s season via their Twitter account @Nethertonfemale or visit their website