Plymouth Argyle Ladies will be hoping to continue their giant killing exploits when they meet Leicester City Women in the 4th round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup on Sunday.
Their impressive run in this season’s cup competitions has already seen them knock out four higher ranked sides in Chichester, Cardiff, Gillingham and Fylde – three of these wins coming in the FA Cup.
Goalkeeper and Development Officer for Argyle Community Trust, Michaela Phillips told me the secret of their success this season is their togetherness and team spirit. Michaela has played for the club for ten years and this is the strongest team she has seen; they enjoy every challenge and particularly playing teams from higher leagues – pitting themselves against the best to become the best.
This is the furthest the club has ever gone in the FA Cup as Plymouth Argyle, but the club was formed in 1976 as the Plymouth Pilgrims and, in their very first season, they progressed to the quarter finals where they were beaten 4-3 by Leicester. Let’s hope for a different result on Sunday.
The Pilgrims have high ambitions and are aiming for promotion. They would dearly love to get into the hat for the next round and although they would obviously like to get through and meet a WSL side in reality they would just love to be in the hat for the draw.
The run in the Cup has inspired the whole Club and Michaela is hoping for good home support on Sunday, the fixture has been moved to the county HQ pitch at Newton Abbot and it’s possible the grass will also give them a slight edge as Leicester City normally play on a 3G pitch.
Leicester are the highest ranked team they have faced so far and the manager and coaches will be doing all they can to make sure the team are fully mentally and physically prepared and to ensure they all enjoy the experience. To say the team are excited about the challenge would be an under-statement.
As Women’s and Girls’ Officer at the Argyle Trust Michaela works to give girls the opportunity to play football. This year they have an Academy team and the Club has teams from U10 to U16 with players from the senior team mentoring the youngsters. Recently one of the U16s made her debut in the senior team, illustrating the success of their pathway.
As Michaela herself said: “This is the furthest we have gone in the competition, a win on Sunday would mean everything to myself and the rest of the club, getting through to the SSE Women’s FA Cup Quarter Final would be a dream come true. Our work with Argyle Community Trust focuses on the training and games programme where we are very passionate about developing women’s and girls’ football across Plymouth.”
The FA is looking to shed light on women and girls’ football as part of its Gameplan for Growth – a pledge to double participation of women and girls in football by 2020.
4th February 2018 – SSE Women’s FA Cup Fourth Round fixtures:
1 Durham v Sheffield FC
2 Aston Villa v Middlesbrough
3 Sunderland v Derby County or Brighouse Town
4 Keynsham Town v Lewes
5 Tottenham Hotspur v Doncaster Rovers Belles
6 Liverpool v Watford
7 Cardiff City v Oxford United
8 The New Saints v Chichester City
9 Millwall v Coventry United
10 Reading v Birmingham City
11 Plymouth Argyle v Leicester City
12 Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City
13 Blackburn Rovers v Charlton Athletic
14 Yeovil Town v Arsenal
15 London Bees v Chelsea
16 Everton v Bristol City
The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final will take place at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Saturday 5 May, 2018. Tickets are on sale now, priced at just £15 for adults while children go FREE.