Moneyfields ladies give up home advantage against Southampton FC in semi-final of the Hampshire Senior Women’s Cup
Moneyfields Ladies bid to reach the final of the Hampshire Senior Women’s Cup tonight.
But their bid for a giant-killing of Southampton FC has been hit by having to reverse the fixture to the other end of the M27.
Moneyfields’ hopes of staging their semi-final at Dover Road have been scuppered by the pitch being ruled unplayable.
As a result, Moneys have agreed to switch it to AFC Totton’s ground instead.
‘It’s very, very frustrating,’ said boss Karl Watson.
‘We had mascots sorted out, we had youth teams coming along, and the financial implications of staging it at home.
‘Southampton bring a decent crowd and there was a lot of interest in this tie.’
Both teams were only formed in 2017, but both have enjoyed rapid rises up the women’s football pyramid.
Moneys are currently top of the Southern Region Premier Division, aiming for their third successive promotion.
Southampton are currently top of the division above Moneys, the FA Women’s National Division 1 South West.
Remarkably, Southampton - the women’s team bankrolled by the Premier League club - have not lost a league game since their very first one in September 2017.
And that was a 2-1 home loss to Moneyfields, Sophie Kingsley-Cabell and Paige Seeley scoring.
Saints won their remaining 11 league games that season to win the Hampshire Premier title by two points from the Portsmouth-based club.
Moneys’ only league defeat since they formed was against Southampton - the final game of 2017/18.
Watson said: ‘The Southampton women’s team have had a £1m injection from the men’s club this season.
‘They are getting unbelievable backing. They train three times a week and have access to the men’s team training and sports science facilities.
‘As a Pompey supporter, it’s upsetting to see - but fair play, you’ve got to take your hat off to them.
‘They are run on a very professional basis. They’re not full time, but near as. What they can offer is a very attractive package for players.
‘We only train once a week, or twice if the men’s team have played on a Tuesday.
‘But we’re a lot more prepared and a lot better from when we last played them.
‘I believe 100 per cent we can go there and get something out of the game.
‘It would obviously have been nice to have been at home, but when the game starts it doesn’t matter what end of the M27 the pitch is.’
Southampton are managed by Marianne Spacey-Cale, who won almost 100 caps for England during a glittering playing career.
She has been awarded an MBE for service to the sport, and in 2009 was only the ninth woman inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.
Last Sunday the Southampton team played at St Mary’s for the first time ever - attracting a crowd of over 4,000 to watch an FA Women’s Cup loss to Coventry United.
Moneys had a lot less watching them at Dover Road as they beat Ascot 2-0 thanks to a Sheree Bell-Jack double to reach the semi-final of the Southern League Cup.
Watson’s side are chasing a quadruple - they are also through to the semi-finals of the Portsmouth FA Women’s Cup.
Portsmouth Women are due to host Winchester City in the other Hampshire Senior Women’s Cup semi-final tomorrow at the PMC Stadium.
They are also due to host Southampton FC in the quarter final of the National League Cup this coming Sunday.