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Women's Football News
F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
Our Northern tie is an all-North East League Premier Division affair with newly promoted Sheffield FC taking on Barnsley.
Sheffield FC Ladies were formed when existing team Norton Ladies affiliated with the World's First Football Club in the summer of 2003. Norton had been formed back in 1995 as a split from Chesterfield Ladies and some very successful seasons had seen them rise through the divisions of the East Midlands and then Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Leagues. At the start of the 2002-03 season, having just been promoted to the Y&H Premier Division, the manager decided to leave and one of the players, Helen Mitchell, was nominated by her team mates to temporarily take charge. That first season was an immense struggle but the enthusiasm, commitment and team spirit was rewarded by the side managing to narrowly avoid relegation.
A number of options were available to the team, but an approach to Sheffield FC with a view to affiliation was the overwhelming favourite. The Club had recently had discussions about starting a women's team, and so the timing of Norton's approach was perfect. After several further meetings, the affiliation was completed and Sheffield FC Ladies were formed.
Success on the pitch was limited in 2003-04, but the team gradually improved throughout the season and, towards the end of the year, managed to take points off teams much higher up the division. The arrival of former Men's team captain, Nigel Hughes, at the beginning of 2004-05 brought not only a sponsorship deal for the Ladies team via Hughes' company Body Sculpture, but also support and assistance on the coaching side, albeit limited initially. Jones was finding it hard to meet the increasing demands of the manager's job and in October, parted company with the team and Mitchell was reinstated as manager. 2005-06 saw significant improvement once again in playing standards at the club, and the team soon became one of the favourites for the league title, surpassing previously better sides such as White Rose and Ossett Albion. Some key signings were added to the squad which helped develop a completely balanced team with quality throughout. However, York City proved too strong and too consistent that season, and Sheffield finished as runners-up with an excellent 2-2 draw against the champions being one of the season's highlights.
The following season saw the Ladies aim to go one better, but a slow start and some difficult early fixtures meant Sheffield were constantly playing catch up. But from the beginning of October until the end of the 2006-07 season, the Ladies lost just once, and that accumulation of points booked the team the runners-up spot for the second successive season.
In 2007-08, the Club's 150th Anniversary season, the bar was raised again as the Ladies set out with just one goal: to win the division and so gain that elusive promotion spot. This they did with a series of nine straight victories at the end of the campaign and, in spite of a disappointing 1-1 draw against Keighley on the last day of the season, it was enough to secure the title and promotion to the NERWFL Premier Division. The season will also be remembered for what is surely the Ladies team's greatest moment: a pre-season match in honour of the Club's 150th Anniversary against the reigning European Champions, Arsenal, who brought a fully international side including eight players selected for the England World Cup squad and provided the players, staff and supporters of Sheffield FC Ladies with an evening they will never forget.
Helen Mitchell continues in the role as manager and the side is captained by Lauren Davids.
Barnsley LFC was founded in 1988 after the Lyons Bakery Ladies recreational team made the decision to play at a competitive level. Within four seasons of formation, Barnsley had been promoted to the Premier Division of the Yorkshire & Humberside League from their original position in Division Three.
Their highest league status has been reached on three seperate occasions, when they competed in the Northern Combination. One of the highlights from the club's history came in 2002 when Barnsley won the Yorkshire & Humberside League Premier Division as unbeaten champions and promotion to Combination level. Since their formation, Barnsley are proud to have had several players involved in both Yorkshire and England squads.
Currently, Barnsley compete in the North East League Premier Division, they are managed by Gordon Calvert and captained by Tracy Martin.
Sheffield FC (from): Caz Whiteman, Christina Wright, Michelle Fletcher, Chloe Sutton, Lynne Grainger, Katrina Brett, Rachel Charles, Gemma Gale, Lisa Giampalma, Jodie Crofts, Nell Taylor, Helen Wakefield, Bex Evans, Natalie Crofts, Claire Holmes, Lauren Davids, Lisa Bailey, Marie Widerman, Steph Spence, Claire Cannon, Nicola Cox.
Barnsley (from): Kath Hemingway, Katie Roberts, Rebecca Wilson, Holleigh Marsh, Jade Beckett, Sarah Smith, Laura Burgess, Emily Byron, Jess Moran, Bev Smith. Rebecca Fevers, Tracy Martin, Jess Burton, Nichola Coxhead, Leigh Harvey, Nat Ostcliffe, Emma Poole, Caroline Allott, Nicola Wilde, Rachel Petyt.
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