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Match Previews

Preview: Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses (A)

1 October 2023

Match Previews

Preview: Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses (A)

1 October 2023

Stevenage FCW enter the Women’s FA Cup this weekend with a second qualifying round match against Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses. With the hope of making the final qualifying round before the first round proper for both sides, this is a game that promises to be a treat and full of excitement.

Background Check

Wootton Blue Cross have existed since 1887 – that’s 136 years! Yet the women’s side only really came to the fore recently. You can go all the way back to 2013/14 when there was a Wootton Blue Cross in the Bedforrdshire and Hertfordshire Women’s Football League Openage Division 1. But that is the only evidence for almost a decade. The true lineage of the team we face today is steeped in the history of Woburn & Wavendon FC Lionesses – Clarets. A side that have lived exclusively in the B&HWFL since 2013. As the pandemic began to hit, we see the emergence of Wootton Blue Cross – a side that had its first season in 2019-20 before the league was cancelled – alongside their County Cup Final against Luton. Since then they have plied their trade in the ERWFL Division 1 North and will go face to face with our own U23s this season.

Head to Head

This will be the first time that the two teams have met with any earlier data than 2013 not readily available. This tie is literally the definition of History In The Making!  

Team News

Of the five games played this season, only Estelle Klausner, Jessica Greaves and Lauren Paul have featured in them all with the latter missing the previous FA Cup match, although all have made at least one appearance from the bench. Kelly Sutton is the only starting ever present and her 5 goals from those 5 games plus two from the previous round, mean she is likely to be the first name on the team sheet. Louise McCay and Freya Opperman are also likely to feature

Boro’ will continue to be without the services of Lucy Webster and Sarah Payne, although both are likely to be in and around the dressing room. On the pitch, last week saw the return to the squad for Amy Makewell who would be likely to be in contention again this week. Boro’ have 7 ever presents this season so far – one of whom will not be playing. Anna Baker-Re will serve her suspension this week, leaving Katie White, Lilia Dempsey, Kelsey Millen, Hannah Nebbitt, Hannah Bodily and Amy Gooderham, hoping they have done enough this week for the call up.


Ones to watch

Being relatively new hasn’t stopped Wootton from looking for some serious talent. Names that may be seen to be prominent – certainly from prior research – are Niccola Henman – an ex Luton and Real Bedford player. Ex-Luton is a theme with Hannah Payne, Morgan Patterson, Gemma Darvill and Estelle Klausner having plied their trade at the ERWFL Premier club.  Giselle Randall could also be a player to watch having scored 11 in 21 career games post pandemic. However, her season with Woburn and Wavendon in 2018-19 saw her net 35 goals in 20 games and she already has 2 in 2 this season.

Amy Makewell continues her march towards 100 appearances for the club while Chloe Gunn is just three away from her 50th appearance. Celine Ray will be hoping to have another good performance between the sticks and add another clean sheet to her season, while the threesome of Lilia Dempsey, Amy Gooderham and Sophie Hendy are all battling for the outright lead at the top of the Boro’ scoring charts this season.


Tale of the Tape – The Season So Far…


It has been a tough start to the season for Wootton, losing a high scoring game at Fakenham 5-3.and following that with another defeat to Thetford Town. Blue Cross fans were delighted to see victory against Colney Heath however, in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup, a result that led to this fixture with a 3-1 win. Wootton have since lost two more league games, in much tighter fashion, 2-1 against Mulbarton Wanderers and Harpenden Town. However, the hosts will be buoyed by their first league win against Newmarket Town and will be looking for the scalp of Stevenage and the £3,000 prize for winning the game to add to the £1800 they will have already taken in from the last round.


A big draw away from home was not really the result Stevenage wanted after their demolition of Kings Lynn that proved to be the final straw for manager Grant Palmer. This match could provide a welcome distraction and breather from the heavy slog in the league and offers an opportunity for progression in a cup where they were dumped out at this round last season against Bowers & Pitsea. Instead, Boro’ will look to the season prior where they defeated Hackney and then Herts Vipers to reach the First Round Proper, where they eventually succumbed to Loughborough Lightning.  


Around the Grounds

The ERWFL will have all of its Premier Division teams in action this weekend, with perhaps the 2 biggest games featuring all Premier Division sides. Bowers & Pitsea will face AFC Dunstable while Royston Town will host St Albans City.

Barking v Dulwich Hamlet

Bowers & Pitsea v AFC Dunstable

Grays Athletic v Luton Town

Hackney v Real Bedford

Haringey Borough v Bex Hill

Kings Lynn v Fakenham

Needham Market v Woodbridge Town

Newmarket Town v Wroxham

Royston Town v St Albans City

Wootton Blue Cross Lionesses v Stevenage FCW


U23 watch

The unbelievable scenes of last week surely will not be repeated here. Previously the U23s were 3-1 down at half time, with Stephanie Fausse pulling a goal back against league leaders Dussindale and Hellensdon. However, goals from Ellie Stammers, Ella Mercer and another from Fausse had Stevenage ahead. The leaders equalised and then got a penalty late on to regain the lead before Remi Martin scored a belter with the last kick of the game to earn a dramatic point.

This week, Boro’ travel to Histon, a side that defeated Boro’ earlier in the season with a 2-1 victory, after Matilda Thomas-O’Keefe had given Stevenage the lead. The youngsters avenged themselves after defeat to Biggleswade United and will look to do the same again here. A win would shoot Boro; up to 4th, ahead of Histon with no other teams playing, due to involvement in the FA Cup. Anything else will see the young side remain in 8th, giving away a game in hand to those around them.  


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