Berkshire had no less than nine teams competing in last season’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup and what a rollercoaster ride it was with three round reschedules owing to the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic and numerous national lockdowns.
The Cup first kicked off in unison with the beginning of the season as the Extra Preliminary Round took place on the 6th September 2020. The Preliminary round, First round qualifying and Second round qualifying all played out on schedule throughout the month and during October before we were plunged back into isolation and the competition was paused.
The Third Round Qualifying commenced on December 6th before being halted once more as we accommodated the third lockdown. A taste of freedom once more ensued, as we saw the return of grassroots football on the 29th of March and no sooner had we taken a breathe long enough rejoice in the matter, had the First Round Proper kicked off, the Second and Third followed in quick succession with the pyramid’s elite counterparts entering at the Fourth.
The format of the cup means all clubs in the fifth tier or below are drawn to either play in the Extra Preliminary Round or have a bye to the Preliminary Round. Thereafter, there are three qualifying rounds before the First Round Proper. All rounds up until the FA WSL and Championship teams enter in the Fourth Round and are played on a geographical basis e.g. north/south.
The Berkshire sides entered into the Vitality Women’s FA Cup included Wargrave Women FC, Slough Town Ladies, Eversley & California Ladies, Tilehurst Panthers, Ascot United Ladies, Newbury Ladies, Woodley United, Maidenhead United Women and Reading Women.
“Great performance from our young team today against a strong and experienced Slough Town side. We played some lovely passing football throughout the game and deservedly have our name in the hat for the next round.”Rob Page of Tilehurst Panthers
Woodley faced Wargrave Women in the extra preliminary round way back at the beginning of September with Woodley securing the Preliminary spot after a 5-2 victory, with both teams having held one another to a 1-1 at the half time whistle. Whilst Tilehurst knocked out Slough during the preliminary round with a convincing 7-1 wins over the Rebels first team and Eversley & California Ladies saw defeat to Wycombe Wanderers, who our very own Alicia Povey plays for, in a 2-1 knockout.
Newbury also fell foul to the Preliminary round as they were knocked out in a 6-0 drubbing by, current league leaders, Abingdon United. Meanwhile, having beaten Slough, Tilehurst exited at the First Round Qualifying having lost 2-0 to Eastbourne Town, whilst Ascot had provided a convincing 6-0 performance over Swindon Supermarine in the previous round, they were halted by Denham United Ladies here too as they suffered a 3-0 defeat. Much the same for Woodley as they recorded a 5-3 win over Milton United in the Preliminary to then be knocked out by Fulham Women in a goalless performance as the London and South East Regional team slotted 5 past the Reading-based squad.
Entering at the Second Round Qualifying, Maidenhead United played Denham United and secured the slimmest of margins as they nabbed a goal in the 95th to make it 1-0 to the Magpies. They played out Fulham Women to a 2-1 victory in the Third Round Qualifying, but fell victim to Billericay once again in the First Round Proper as the Essex based side secured a 4-0 win over them. Reading Women were the last of our Berkshire outfits to be competing in the FA Cup, but no sooner had they entered, did the Royals see themselves make a swift exit as they lost in extra time to fellow Women’s Super League side Tottenham Hotspur, 2-3.
“We are disappointed to go out the Cup but we lost to the better team on the day and we wish the best of luck to Denham United in the next round. The players were disappointed but we could not of asked for any more from them. Again we would like to thank the 120 plus crowd for coming out to watch the game on a wet, cold miserable afternoon. Now our attention turns to our league campaign which kicks off next weekend.”Darrel Evans of Ascot United
If you’re not sure how all our clubs and teams fit into the Women’s Football Pyramid, check this handy guide out.
Round dates for the 2021/22 Vitality Women’s FA Cup
- Extra Preliminary Round: Sunday 15th August 2021
- Preliminary Round: Sunday 29th August 2021
- First Round Qualifying: Sunday 12th September 2021
- Second Round Qualifying: Sunday 3rd October 2021
- Third Round Qualifying: Sunday 24th October 2021
- First Round Proper: Sunday 14th November 2021
- Second Round Proper: Sunday 28th November 2021
- Third Round Proper: Sunday 9th January 2022
- Fourth Round Proper: Sunday 30th January 2022
- Fifth Round Proper: Sunday 27th February 2022
- Quarter Final: Sunday 20th March 2022
- Semi Final: Sunday 17th April 2022
- Final: Saturday 15th May 2022