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SSE Women's FA Cup - Road to the Final
Bianca Baptiste scored twice, including an injury time winner, as Tottenham Hotspur edged out Blackburn Rovers in a well contested tie to take their place in the Fourth Round. Spurs are the current leaders of the Southern Division and their next opponents will be reigning Champions Brighton & Hove Albion, now members of WSL2.
Brighton & Hove Albion Women's Football Club are founder members of the Football Association (FA) Women's Premier League. They remained in the league from that point since, moving between National and Southern Divisions, before becoming one of the major contenders in recent seasons.
After finishing as runners-up to Portsmouth in the previous campaign, Brighton enjoyed the best season in their history in 2015-16 when they carried off the Southern Division title. This qualified them for the league's Championship Play-off match and despite having not played a match for several weeks beforehand, they won a thrilling match against Sporting Club Albion at Wycombe and this earned them a place in the FA WSL for this year.
The club played its first ever WSL match last week against London Bees as part of the Spring Series and the match finished in a 1-1 draw. They reached this stage of the SSE Women's FA Cup with a 4-1 victory away to AFC Wimbledon in the last round.
George Parris is the club's Interim Manager, assisted by Amy Merricks. George will also continue his current role as the Regional Talent Club Technical Director, overseeing the development pathway of the women's and girls' programme. The club has been busy strengthening its squad since clinching promotion and the likes of Emma Byrne, Alessia Russo, Jenna Legg and Laura Rafferty have been brought in.
The senior teams benefit from training at Albion's state-of-the-art training complex, the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, alongside the men's first team and academy sides. Underpinning the Women's senior set up is the club's Centre of Excellence, which is one of only 31 FA accredited programmes in the country, and the only FA Licensed Centre within Sussex.
The Centre of Excellence provides training opportunities for elite female players aged 6-17-years-old, and has teams at under-9s, under-11s, under-13s, under-15s and under-17s level that compete in the London and South East Centre of Excellence fixture programme. The club has also created a new academy for 16-19-year-olds in partnership with Worthing College to help bridge the gap between centre of excellence and senior football. This has helped to create an infrastructure that is ready for the Women's Super League.
The academy plays a prominent role in the women's and girls' set up at the club, bridging the gap between the Regional Talent Club and the senior set up.
Tottenham Hotspur (from):
Toni-Anne Wayne, Bianca Baptiste, Kelley Blanchflower, Josie Green, Renee Hector, Lucia Leon, Megan Lynch, Shannon Maloney, Wendy Martin, Sophie McLean, Katie O'Leary, Eartha Pond, Leah Rawle, Rhianna Soobadoo, Jenna Schillachi, Maya Vio, Nikita Whinnett.
Brighton & Hove Albion (from):
Emma Byrne, Jenna Legg, Sophie Perry, Laura Rafferty, Charley Boswell, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Alessia Russo, Kirsty Barton, Amy Taylor, Kate Natkiel, Lucy Somes, Bronwen Thomas, Faye Baker, Ellie Dorey, Amelia Ritchie, Charlotte Young, Lisa Fulgence, Hollie Olding.
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