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F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
Crewe Alexandra narrowly defeated Chester City 1-0 in their Second Round Qualifying tie, thanks to a headed goal from Michelle Saunders. The draw has handed Crewe a difficult trip in the next round to South Durham RA of the Northern Combination.
In June 2001, Newton Aycliffe ladies team and a girls team based in Darlington amalgamated to form South Durham Royals Female Football Club. During the first season the teams included Under-11s, Under-16s and a young ladies side who finished tenth in the Northern Women's League Division One, while the Under-16s were runners-up in the Tyne Tees Girls league.
The Ladies were promoted to the Northern Combination in 2004-05 and at the end of the 2006-07 season, South Durham Royals became the inaugural winners of the Durham County Women's Cup. The following season, to meet with FA and Northern Combination League ground regulations, South Durham Royals joined up with West Auckland Town AFC to be known as West Auckland Town Ladies FC.
West Auckland Town finished a respectable sixth in the Combination but failed to defend the Durham County Women's Cup, getting knocked out in the semi finals. The 2008-09 season started poorly and at the midway stage of the season, West found themselves bottom of the league and were favourites to be relegated. The second half of the campaign showed the strength of character in the team as they finished in seventh place after being told by West Auckland Town AFC that they could no longer accommodate a Ladies team.
For the start of the 2009-10 season Glaxo Smith Kline sports and social club offered the ladies team the use of their excellent facilities at Barnard Castle. The team changed their name to South Durham GSK Royals. The team won the County Cup and finished third in the league.
The team moved their base to Darlington RA Sports Club and changed their name to South Durham Railway Athletic where they joined together with an already established and respected Darlington RA Ladies. The club now consists of a first team who still play in the Northern Combination and a reserve team who play in the Durham County League.
The team is managed by Colin Harker and Kim O'Connor is captain and longest serving player. Key players within the side include Tracey Swales, Kerry Denham, Kim Wild and Rachael McKnight, who is leading scorer.
The match takes place at Darlington RA Sports Club and the home side will go into the match as favourites but Crewe are in fine form this season and are sure to push them all the way.
South Durham RA (from): Kim O'Connor, Alex Saunders, Amy Westmarland, Becky Pattinson, Caz Ross, Chloe Mackay, Claire Bell, Debbie Stansmore, Emma Douglas, Hayley Pennock, Jade White, Karen Jackson, Kerry Denham, Kim Wild, Kirsty Lincoln, Laura Frew, Michelle Rice, Michelle Watson, Rachael McKnight, Rachel Watson, Sarah Frew, Tracey Swales, Vicky Wray.
Crewe Alexandra (from): Stephanie Gill, Rebecca Sawick, Bethany Oakes, Lisa Harrison, Claire Beresford, Beth Ragdale, Leanne Derry, Kerry Brown, Gemma Edwards, Ann Marie Atherton, Lisa McIvor, Jess Smith, Sarah Gill, Natalie Chapman, Heather Clarkson, Sophie Freeman, Vicky Henderson, Dawn Mallett, Laura Goom, Michelle Saunders, Sara Noori, Katie Nuttall, Jenna Mape.
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