NTU’s women’s football team discovered their next opponents on Tuesday for their third qualifying round tie of the Women’s FA Cup.
They will face a stern test against six-time FA Cup winners Doncaster Rovers Belles, managed by former Doncaster defender Andy Butler. Both sides are now one win away from the proper First Round of the Women’s FA Cup, but what can NTU’s women be expecting from their opponents?
The Belles were exempt from entry until the third qualifying round of the competition, as they are one of the highest-ranked sides in the tournament. The side are currently fourth in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands section, having had an impressive start to the campaign with four wins out of six.
Although they currently reside in the fourth tier of women’s football in England, and are one of only three non-London based teams to have won the FA Women’s Premier League National Division, in 1992 and 1994. They were established in 1969 – originally under the name Belle Vue Belles – and adopted their current name in 1971.
The club went through a reorganisation in 1989, and played two seasons in the North-East League in its existence, winning both of them. They were eventually invited to join the inaugural eight-team National Division in 1991. Whilst the club’s administration is run in Doncaster, the women’s side play their home games in nearby Rossington, which will host NTU’S women’s side on October 24th.
The team have been managed by Doncaster-born Andy Butler since January 2020, who was a former player of his beloved side across two permanent spells, as well as a third spell on loan from Walsall.
The team are currently captained by midfielder Jess Andrew, who was given the role this summer for her hometown club. The club will be hoping to gain promotion this season after a turbulent COVID-hit campaign forced the league to abandon the 2020-21 season, where the Belles were poised in a promising second place. The winners of this tie could face Nottingham Forest Women, which would set up an all-Nottingham affair in the next round.
Photo credit: NTUWFC