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Barnsley steel up to face Sheffield
 Women's Football News 10 Dec 2010
One of the more intriguing ties in this season's FA Women's Cup sponsored by E.ON First Round proper is Barnsley's match against Sheffield FC.
At the time of writing it is almost certain that the weather will cause a postponement this Sunday, but besides being one of the local derbies in the draw, it also features two sides who top their respective tables, while there is the no small matter of their last meeting to provide Barnsley with added incentive to cause an upset.
Back in May, Barnsley and Sheffield were among five clubs chasing promotion from the North East Women's Regional League Premier Division as the title race headed towards an exciting climax.
Sheffield v Barnsley was the penultimate fixture for both teams and Sheffield were twice behind before hitting back to win 3-2 and all but seal the title (it would have needed a huge goal difference swing for them to blow it). Had Barnsley won, they would have gone into their final fixture knowing that another victory would have seen them finish champions.
This season, Barnsley top the Premier Division having won all eight games played, but with a weakened side due to player unavailability lost to Bradford City A in the League Cup back in August. However they have lost Rachel Petyt, one of their key attacking options, following an early season injury.
Sheffield have taken the Northern Combination by storm, currently sitting top with 34 points from 13 games, their only defeat being 1-0 at neighbours Sheffield Wednesday. They will go into the match on the back of a ten match unbeaten run, having won nine of those games.
Barnsley are enjoying one of their better seasons in the FA Women's Cup and after beating Steel City Wanderers, Stacey Walstow (2) and Nicola coxhead scored the goals as they claimed the Northern Combination scalp of Scunthorpe Utd in the last round while Sheffield were paired at home to Bradford City in an all-Northern Combination tie which they won 2-0, with goals from Steph Spence and Nicolle Jepson, but with less panache than they had shown when beating City 6-0 for three league points in a dress rehearsal a fortnight earlier.
Sheffield have a squad brimming with FA Women's Premier League experience and if they do finish as champions, they should be well equipped to step up.
(Report by Julian Barker)

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