This weekend Hull City Ladies take on Women’s Premier League Southern Division side West Ham Ladies for a place in the final of the Women’s Premier League Plate. This is another massive match in a potentially ground breaking season for the Tigresses as they look to secure a spot in the final of the Plate. Obviously the Beast from the East and Storm Emma may well have their say on whether this match goes ahead but we really hope it does! The game also represents a chance for the Tigresses to test themselves against opposition who play at the level they hope to be at next season should they achieve their main aim of promotion which they are still well on course for.
The Tigresses have held their nerve so far this season and it’s getting to the stage now when every game is massive especially in the league. Promotion is certainly the priority but Rachel Gay and Danny Johnson have fostered a winning mentality in the dressing room this season and the Ladies will be solely focused on beating West Ham this week to earn a shot at some silverware after going back to the top of the league last weekend with a win over Newcastle.
The Tigresses have already had a chance to test themselves against higher ranked opposition this season when they took on Derby County Ladies in the FA Cup. They gave a great account of themselves that day despite losing on penalties and indicated that the squad would be more than good enough to cope week in week out against teams like Derby if they are promoted. This weekend’s game represents another chance to show their credentials with the carrot of a cup final being dangled in front of the players.
So what can we expect from West Ham? The Hammers Ladies currently sit 8th in the Southern Division with four wins and 14 points from 16 league games this season. The southern sides have clearly not been as badly affected by the weather as the northern sides as West Ham have played 5 more league games than the Tigresses so we should expect City to more than match their visitors fitness wise.
The Hammers are clearly not as used to winning as Rachel Gay’s side however they play in a higher division against quality players on a week in week out basis so they should not be underestimated. They are however not as free scoring as City Ladies, they have scored 8 goals less than the Tigresses despite playing 5 games more in the league this season. Their top scorer is Molly Peters who has just 7 goals to her name this season compared to Hope Knight, City Ladies top scorer, who has notched 13 goals already this season.
This all sounds very promising for City Ladies and if bookies offered odds on the game they would probably be favourites despite sitting in the league below their opponents. The coaching staff will not be letting such thoughts get to the players though. They will be keen to drill the message home to the players that this is a great chance to reach a National final and to prove themselves against a team from the level of football they hope to be playing at next season.
As mentioned earlier the weather that has battered Britain this week means the game going ahead is far from certain and we hope West Ham have a safe journey up to Hull. If the game gets the green light we will be there providing all the updates and reaction as usual!