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Women's Football News
F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
Huddersfield Town made it through to the Second Round by beating Leeds City Vixens - but only just, winning on penalties after the sides had finished level at 3-3. Now Town face another all-Northern Combination tie away to Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough reached this stage of the competition by coming through an awkward tie against North East League leaders Peterlee St Francis, beating them 5-2 with goals from Emily Scott, Ebony Housam, Amy Griffiths, Jess Round and Jas McNaught.
Middlesbrough LFC are one of the oldest women's clubs in the country, having been established in 1976, and they have been playing at Northern Combination level or higher since the league's formation in 1998. In 2001-02, Middlesbrough carried off the league title and were promoted to the Northern Division of the Premier League, where they stayed for five years before being relegated back into the Combination.
Since returning to the league, they have regularly been among the front runners and gone close to promotion on a number of occasions. Two years ago they undertook a historic trip to North Korea, the links of which were forged by that country's stay in Middlesbrough during the 1966 World Cup.
This season has seen an overhaul of the playing squad with an influx of several young players due to a link with Teesside Sport Girls' Centre of Excellence. The club also has a link with Teesside University who provide Sport Science and Strength and Conditioning expertise.
New manager Gemma Grainger has taken over from the long serving Marrie Wieczorek, who is now the club's Honorary Life President, and has set about building a young athletic squad. Gemma is a highly regarded coach and the youngest female holder of the UEFA A-Licence in the country. Club captain is former Leeds United player Sammie Leigh who is one of several new players this season. Long serving players Sarah Manning and Clare Helm are helping to integrate the young players into the club and to the rigours of competitive women's football.
With 'Boro in fifth place and Huddersfield just below them, another very close tie is in prospect. Middlesbrough won 2-0 when the sides met at the start of the season but there is every chance that Huddersfield could go beyond 90 minutes for the second round in succession.
Middlesbrough (from): Ashleigh Coyle, Jenny Dixon, Amy Griffiths, Clare Helm, Ebony Housam, Becky Langley, Samantha Leigh, Sarah Manning, Sophie Matthews, Jasmine McNaught, Emily Newton, Rebecca Norman, Evie Robinson, Jess Round, Danielle Scarr, Emily Scott, Jessica Tait, Laura Wilson, Suzy Winn, Anna Young.
Huddersfield Town (from): Laura Carter, Vicky Abbott, Dominique Balmond, Kate Mallin, Sharone Buckle, Faye Chadwick, Hollie Barker, Rachael Wood, Abbie Mullen, Emily Heckler, Lyndsey Burtonwood, Debbie Hastings, Charlotte Oates, Laura Windle, Katie Nutter, Sofie Armitage, Katy Ballantyne, Raegen Cartledge, Claire Pearson, Siobhan McElhinney.
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