Semi Final preview

Thursday 28 March 2002

With all the euphoria surrounding the FA Cup semi final against Chelsea it's easy to forget that Fulham have another team on the verge of FA Cup glory - Fulham Ladies take on Charlton this Sunday for a place in the women's Cup final.

Fresh from a 4-1 win over Holland at the weekend, which all but assured England of a place in the play offs for next year's World Cup, Fulham and England winger Rachel Yankey looks ahead to Sunday's big game.

"This is definitely our most biggest game of the season so far," she said. "We played Charlton earlier in the season and beat them 5-1, but it was a lot closer than the score line suggests."

The ladies, you may remember, lost in the final of the FA Cup last season to Arsenal, in front of a record crowd of over thirteen thousand. Yankey, a former Arsenal player, is honest enough to admit that last year's defeat still hurts but she thinks it will make the players even more determined to win the Cup this time round.

"We felt as though we let ourselves down last year as we didn't play the way we can. It was disappointing, especially as so many fans came to watch us. Hopefully we can go one better this year and win the competition- that would be fantastic."

If Fulham beat Charlton on Sunday they will meet either Tranmere or Doncaster Belles, who got the better of holders Arsenal in the quarterfinals.

The Ladies need just five more points from their remaining six league matches to make absolutely certain of winning the Southern Division Championship. They remain unbeaten and are still on course to win all four competitions- the league, FA Cup, League Cup and London County Cup.

"Our aim at the start of the season was to win every competition and we've still got a good chance of doing that," said Rachel.

"The FA Cup is the biggest competition in the world and it would be fantastic for the Club if both the men's and women's teams could win in it the same season.

"I'm sure a lot of the girls will be making the trip to watch the Chelsea game and if we win on Sunday hopefully that will be a good omen for the men."

With the Football Association yesterday announcing a new partnership with Nationwide Building Society worth £30 million pounds, the single biggest ever investment in women's football, the future of the game looks good.

It could look even better for Fulham Ladies come Sunday afternoon if they can beat Charlton and book their place in the FA Cup final on May 6 (Bank Holiday Monday). That's forty-eight hours after the men's FA Cup final on May 4- now what a weekend that could be!

Fulham Ladies v Charlton F.A. Cup Semi Final, Sunday March 31 at Kingfield Stadium, Woking FC. Kick Off 3pm. Admission: £3 Adults, £1 Children/ OAPs Ticket Hotline: 01483 772470 ext 42