by Darrell Allen (17/2/23)
Above: Norwich City, who welcome King’s Lynn Town to The Nest on Sunday, seen here in action against Queen’s Park Rangers earlier in the season. Photo: Norwich City Women.
This weekend, the Norfolk Women’s Cup ramps up with the Quarter-Final stage. This is where teams from the FA Women’s National League and Eastern Region League Premier enter the fray in the form of Norwich City, Wroxham, and King’s Lynn Town.
The draw this year has paired the regional sides together in two ties with the local league sides facing each other in the remaining games.
Here, I preview all four ties as the eight teams look to take another step towards the final at Norwich City’s Carrow Road stadium on Friday 19th May. Last time round, a crowd just shy of 1,000 people watched the showpiece between Mulbarton Belles and Wymondham Town.
All ties are scheduled to take place at 2.00pm on Sunday 19th February.
Norwich City v King’s Lynn Town
Tier four highflyers Norwich City host bottom of tier five King’s Lynn Town who are having a wretched season on the pitch.
Norwich City were embarrassed at this stage of the competition last year by Norfolk Women and Girls League side Mulbarton Belles who came to The Nest and dumped the Canaries out on penalties.
However, despite a 7-1 loss to Hashtag United last week, this year’s Norwich City are a different set of Canaries altogether: fully integrated into the main club and run from inside the walls of Carrow Road. Expectations are high that they will, at least, reach a ‘home’ final.
King’s Lynn Town may be one of the friendliest clubs around who are impressively engaged with their community but, on the pitch, they are struggling with just one league win all year. Their priority must be the league with this being a bonus game and free hit for the West Norfolk side.
There won’t be an upset here though. City’s manager, Shaun Howes knows he simply has to navigate this game although he won’t treat it any less seriously than any League assignment.
It might start slowly and they can always ship a goal but Norwich City will win comfortably.
Prediction – Norwich City 5-1 King’s Lynn Town.
Wroxham v Fakenham Town
The Quarter-Final stage has been Wroxham’s undoing in the last two seasons with Mulbarton Belles putting out the Yachtswomen 1-0 in 2021 and Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers beating them on penalties last season. This year, tier Six’s Fakenham Town are the ones looking to end Wroxham’s Cup exploits.
Fakenham Town have won many plaudits for their bold decision to take the step up from Norfolk Women and Girls League Football to challenge themselves in Eastern Region Football this campaign.
Three wins and eight defeats from their 11 games to date sees them in the lower reaches of the table but they are really starting to get themselves together at this level.
Wroxham are similarly on a rise after a challenging season to date and Joe Simpson has got the team gelling together. A recent double victory over Colney Heath and a positive performance over League giants AFC Sudbury in which they led 2-0 before a 4-2 reverse sees The Yachtswomen in a positive frame of mind at exactly the right time.
Wroxham chairman Lee Robson loves Cup football and has targeted trophies for his club and with a striker like Hannah Waters in their line-up the Yachtswomen really do have every chance in this competition.
Fakenham will battle hard but again there will be no upset here. Wroxham will simply have enough firepower to overcome their visitors.
Prediction – Wroxham 3-0 Fakenham Town.
Mulbarton Belles v Thetford Town
Two tier seven sides go head to head in what could be the most competitive tie of the round.
Mulbarton Belles blew off their rust after a month’s break with a hard-earned 2-0 League win over the University of East Anglia (UEA) last weekend, meanwhile Thetford Town are having a fabulous season despite much disruption in their coaching staff.
Luke Pickford took over after David Skipp and Stuart Terry moved on at the start of the year, and he promoted Amber Browne from coach to Assistant Manager. They have progressed to the semi-finals of the Norfolk Women & Girls League Cup where they will face UEA next weekend and also have this tie with the Belles to look forward to in the County Cup.
Mulbarton are favourites and rightly so as they are 100% in the league to date, but they are beatable, as UEA showed by knocking them out of the League Cup. This will no doubt provide confidence and belief to Thetford who themselves have defeated the University side twice already this season.
If Thetford Town play to their full potential they have a fabulous chance in this game but Mulbarton Belles have been there, seen it, and got the t-shirt when it comes to County Cup progression. They are used to being the ones trying to cause an upset having knocked Wroxham and Norwich City out at this stage in the past two seasons.
They will be desperate to avoid being on the wrong end of an upset and Thetford provide the ultimate banana skin game. If they have their shooting boots on they should squeak through.
Trust me: If you are a neutral this is the tie for you.
Prediction – Mulbarton Belles 2-1 Thetford Town.
King’s Lynn Soccer Club v Dussindale and Hellesdon Rovers
Another all-Norfolk Women and Girls League affair as Division Two King’s Lynn Soccer Club welcome Division One leaders Dussindale and Hellesdon. Both of whom are enjoying highly successful seasons so far.
Until last Sunday’s defeat to Aylsham, King’s Lynn were unbeaten in the league. Added to that, they have good cup form, beating Division One Stalham Town out in the last round in a scintillating 4-3 victory.
Dussindale and Hellesdon are a different level though and Adrian Tinks’ team are on fire with nine wins from their ten league games to date.
Shanice Sutton is in imperious form with Victoria Leyer not far behind. They are a deadly duo against any side and expect both to be heavily involved in this game.
King’s Lynn will have plenty of fight but Dussindale and Hellesdon will have too much and nothing other than an away victory is on the cards here.
Prediction – King’s Lynn Soccer Club 0-4 Dussindale and Hellesdon Rovers.