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Wolves and Southampton topple higher tier opponents to progress in Women's FA Cup

Tom Garry
·3-min read
Kelly Darby celebrates after scoring Wolves' second goal against Watford - Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Kelly Darby celebrates after scoring Wolves' second goal against Watford - Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Watford in the biggest shock of the day in the third round of the Women’s FA Cup.

Wolves, who were top of the Midlands region of the fourth tier before every Women's National League division's season was curtailed last month, ran out 4-1 winners away to third-tier Southern leaders Watford in the biggest shock of the day.

A visibly emotional and proud Wolves manager Dan McNamara said: "I thought we’d been disrespected if I’m honest, in their warm-up they [Watford] looked laboured, looked like they thought they were playing an easy side.

"Watford are a great outfit but this is what heart and determination gets you, it’s incredible. These are the moments you cherish."

Southampton, who are also top of their fourth-tier league, enjoyed a 3-0 home victory over Yeovil United of tier three, leaving Wolves and Southampton as the joint-lowest ranked teams remaining in the cup for the fourth round next weekend, when Women’s Super League and Championship clubs will enter the competition.

Burnley earned a glamorous draw at home to Casey Stoney's Manchester United next Sunday as they edged past Sunderland 3-1 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes in their all-National League Northern Premier Division encounter.

Brighouse Town of the fourth tier almost joined Wolves and Southampton in pulling off an upset, but they lost 5-3 on penalties to Huddersfield Town after an engrossing 1-1 draw which saw chances for both sides to win it in normal time.

Gillingham of tier three now face a trip to record 14-time winners Arsenal, after overcoming Cheltenham Town 2-1 after extra time, while tier three Chichester & Selsey will also be away to WSL opposition in the fourth round - West Ham United - after edging past Leyton Orient.

There were also home wins over lower-level opposition for Middlesbrough and Oxford United over Wem Town and Billericay respectively, while Derby won 4-1 away to West Brom to set up the fourth round’s only all third-tier contest, against Huddersfield.

But the day belonged to Wolves and Southampton, who both held 100% winning records in their divisions this season before the pandemic saw their seasons brought to an early end, denying them both promotion for the second year running.

They will have a chance to apply for promotion through an off-field application, after two summers without movement between women’s football’s lower leagues, but their cup runs mean they can continue playing competitively for at least another week.

Their rewards are ties against mid-table, Championship opposition. Wolves will host Blackburn Rovers while Southampton will travel to face Sussex club Lewes, as the fourth round finally gets under way three months after it was originally scheduled to take place, before being delayed when England re-entered lockdown restrictions in January.

Sunday's third-round results:

Huddersfield Town 1–1 (5–3 p) Brighouse Town

Middlesbrough 4–0 Wem Town

Burnley 0–0 (3–1 p) Sunderland

Oxford United 3–1 Billericay Town

West Bromwich Albion 1–4 Derby County

Watford 1–4 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Cheltenham Town 1–2 (a.e.t.) Gillingham

Southampton F.C. Women 3–0 Yeovil United

Leyton Orient 1–2 Chichester & Selsey