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Women's Football News
F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
The southern tie pitches Reading Ladies, of the Southern Region League, with a tricky match at home to Greater London League side Colne Valley.
Reading Ladies FC was formed in 1988 and the club has seen some highs and lows since that time. The club played friendly fixtures before affiliating to the league in the 1991-92 season with sponsorship from CardKey and a brand new red kit. After several years of changing players, kits and fortunes, Reading Ladies finished the 1996-97 season in third place in the Second Division and were runners-up in the Jubilee Cup.
In the 1997-98 season they improved on that performance to become the holders of the Jubilee Cup and take second place in the league. Unfortunately, due to the restructuring of the Region in line with the FA's Pyramid of Football charter, promotion escaped Reading Ladies and they remained in the Central Division of the Southern Region for the 1998-99 season.
Reading won 18 games out of 21 in that campaign and finished top to finally gain promotion to the Premier Division, which they won at the first attempt the following season to gain promotion to the South West Combination. Reading finished seventh in the Combination in the first year and ninth in the second year.
The 2002-03 season ended disappointingly with Reading finishing 11th and narrowly escaping relegation. 2003-04 saw a changed, and enlarged, Club Committee, improved financing and a much more professional approach to coaching with a full time experienced coach on the management team for the first time. All of these improvements were designed to provide the club with a platform to boost their player membership and improve results. An application for a Lottery Grant was successful and they received £4,000 for coaching and indoor training facilities.
The club finished ninth that season but reached the Berks & Bucks County Cup Final for the first time, losing 4-2 to Chesham Utd in the Final. However the following season proved to be a tough year with over 29 players coming and going throughout the season and a lack of player consistency at key times in the season. The club were not able to escape the relegation zones and finished bottom of the table.
Reading returned to the Southern Region League but the following years continued to be difficult times for the club with experienced players retiring or leaving and increased competition locally from other ladies teams for new players. Whilst the team escaped further relegation in 2006-07, they were not able to do so the next season and were relegated to the First Division.
The current Reading Ladies outfit started with Anne Marie Froud pulling together players too old to play in the then Under-16 Reading Royals team. Sponsorship is helping to raise the profile of the club once again with a new two-year deal worth £12,000 with Skills 4 Work Ltd, and the team has taken on new players to start the 2012-13 campaign. Reading Ladies are currently halfway through a five-year plan to establish themselves in the Premier Division with a long term view to promotion to the South West Combination League.
Reading have started the season well and are currently unbeaten after their opening matches. Ben Fabianczyk has been with the Club for two years as manager and has really started to turn the club around on the pitch, as their unbeaten start to the season shows. Ben is a young Level 2 coach, not afraid to try new ideas both on the pitch and at training. Chairman Steve Andrews first got involved with Reading Ladies in 2006 as an assistant to the then manager, Andy Sergent. Since then he has been Coach, Manager, Physio and for the last four years Club Chairman also.
Colne Valley is a club that is heading in the right direction. With a junior section that has six teams aged Under-10 to Under-16 and two ladies teams, Valley has over 100 girls and women competing in the club's fifteenth competitive season.
The first team has gone from strength to strength in recent years since winning promotion from Division Two South of the Greater London Womens League in 2010. The ladies went on the record two successive third place finishes in Division One.
During the 2011-12 season the club entered the FA Women's Cup for the first time in its history, reaching the Second Round Qualifying.
Known for their great passing game, Colne Valley lit up the Middlesex County Cup with some impressive performances on their way to the Final. Despite the difference in playing levels, Colne Valley pushed QPR all the way and lost in the cruellest of fashions when an 88th minute winner sealed the tie, 2-1 to QPR. This left the ladies with a taste for finals and this year they are determined to go one better.
Under the guidance of manager Andy Holdaway, assisted by Rob Manning and with Amy Morris as captain, Colne Valley have made a solid start to the season and are also currently unbeaten.
The match will be played at the Prudential IBIS Club and although Reading will go into the game as favourites, both sides are in good form and should produce a good contest.
Reading Ladies (from): Daniella Alli, Ranai Bird, Rosemary Bowers, Kate Brown, Laura Cooke, Amy Cox, Sarah Davern, Rachel Fabianczyk, Kate Greenacre, Kayleigh Hines, Alison Johnson, Tina Leahy, Charlotte Maskell, Melanie Pope, Natasha Rawlings, Sarah Reid, Rhonda Stewart, Natasha Thompson, Sinead Thompson, Charlotte Wheeler, Beth Williams.
Colne Valley (from): Jemma Moss, Louise Staples, Jenny Thraves, Laura Spark, Siobhan Williams, Mica Powick, Becky Laffan, Natalie Spencer, Elle Cheshire, Debbie Watson, Jade King, Lucy Uttley, Amy Morris, Ashleigh Rackley, Charmaine Benham, Michelle Culver, Louisa Richards, Saffron Hand, Megan Hicks, Kate Dunn-Baker, Vicky Juliff.
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