Whittlesey Athletic Ladies make history following FA Cup tie with Peterborough United
- Credit: Archant
Whittlesey Athletic Ladies began a new era with defeat, but the occasion could have not gone any better.
The club welcomed a healthy 210 supporters to Feldale Field to watch Whittlesey’s 3-1 Women’s FA Cup extra preliminary round defeat to Peterborough United on Sunday, September 6.
Shaun Harley’s team battled against a team two tiers higher in the women’s football pyramid, and looked likely to level after Annie Posnett halved a two-goal deficit in the second-half.
But although they lost on the pitch, Harley believes they were certain winners off it.
“It was fantastic for the area and the community to have Whittlesey in the FA Cup,” he said.
“I think one of the guys at the club messaged me on Saturday night and said he can’t quite wrap his head around Whittlesey Athletic and the FA Cup in the same sentence, so it shows you how nice it is.
“I could not be prouder of how they applied themselves.”
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Harley, who turned ICA Sports Ladies into title challengers last season, moved over to Whittlesey during the coronavirus pandemic and continues to manage ICA’s under 18s side.
Most of those under 18s players have followed their coach to Feldale to play in a squad that also boasts experience, as they look ahead to playing in the Cambridgeshire Women’s County League Premier Division for the 2020-21 season.
Whittlesey have also added an under 18s and Sunday squad as well as improving their facilities, and with a blend of youth and experience, Harley is confident his players can achieve on-field success.
“On the day, the overall winner was probably us from a community point-of-view because we’ve shown the support the club will get, which is fantastic,” he said.
“To be able to compete against a side like Peterborough United with a youthful, inexperienced side bodes well for the future.
“With Whittlesey on my doorstep as I’m living in the town, it just makes sense. I can see from a club point-of-view how much they’re doing and the progress they’re making.
“I’d be disappointed given the talent and ability in the side if we weren’t challenging for the league title.
“I’m quietly confident, but I’m not disrespectful enough of the opposition to say we should be winning the league.”
Whittlesey begin their league season at Cambridge City Ladies 3rds on Sunday, September 20, 2pm.
The club would like to thank Homme Nouveau for sponsoring the ladies’ team’s kits for the new season.
Whittlesey Athletic Ladies vs Peterborough United: Tor Mackenzie; Sophie Ellen, Becky Shields (C), Lauren Fort, Lauren Mapleston, Jessica Farchica, Hannah Murphy (sub Megan Mapleston, 88’), Maddison Moore (sub Nat Follett, 82’), Donna Nicholls, Annie Posnett, Chloe Rumble (sub Megan Purnell, 45’).
Unused subs: Danielle King, Piper Poxon.
Goals: Whittlesey Athletic Ladies – Posnett. Peterborough United Ladies – Donna McGuigan (penalty), Hannah Pendred, Molly Orr-Love.
Cautions: Whittlesey Athletic – Becky Shields.