Match Preview: Cardiff City FC Women vs. Rhyl Ladies
Cardiff City FC Women host Rhyl Ladies at Cardiff International Sports Stadium in the FAW Women’s Cup Quarter-Final on Sunday, February 10th – 2pm kick-off and free entry!
The sides most recently met in September 2018 at Belle Vue Stadium and the Bluebirds won 4-0, courtesy of four first-half goals through Alana Murphy’s brace and Kelly Bourne and Catherine Walsh’s respective strikes.
City progressed through Round One and Two to reach the last eight, defeating Tredegar Girls 11-1 at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre and Port Talbot Town 3-1 at Cardiff International Sports Stadium. The Bluebirds had nine different scorers over the course of the two encounters and Murphy netted three times, making her the squad’s top scorer in the competition so far.
Rhyl made it to the Quarter-Final stage by winning 5-0 at home to Amlwch Town in the opening round and 2-0 away to Airbus UK Broughton in the second. The Lilywhites currently sit eighth in the Welsh Premier Women’s League standings, 17 points behind City, who are third.
Manager Joel Hutton spoke prior to the Rhyl challenge, discussing the fixture, opposition and tournament ambitions.
“I’m excited and looking forward to the game,” began Joel. “It’s the Quarter-Final of the FAW Women’s Cup, which is a competition that we want to do well in, so we want to make sure that we’re in the Semi-Final draw.
“It’s important that we take Rhyl very seriously because we know that they’ll want to get to the Semi-Final too and cup games are one-offs. They’re a battling team and maybe their league position of second bottom doesn’t reflect how good they are.
“Ultimately, we’ve got to perform well to get through to the last four and we’ll prepare for it like we prepare for any other game. We beat them away quite comfortably earlier in the season and I’m quietly confident that if we play anything like we did last time out against WPWL leaders Cardiff Met, then the game will take care of itself.
“We didn’t play last weekend, so it was a bit of a strange one having a Sunday off. Although, Rhyl lost to Cyncoed at home last Sunday and that may add a little more fuel to the fire, where they’ll want to come to us and make amends for that.
“Traditionally, we’ve done better in the FAW Women’s Cup than in the League Cup and it’s something that we want to keep going. Since I’ve been involved, we’ve reached three Finals, winning one and losing two and we got to the Final last season, losing 2-1 to Swansea, so we want to try and put that one right.
“If we reach the Semi-Final, we’ll be playing at a neutral venue which is quite nice because neither side will have a home advantage and it may give some of the girls a new ground to play in.”
He went on to give an injury update ahead of the clash, saying: “Kelly Bourne’s out with an ankle ligament injury, so we probably won’t see her for a couple of weeks, but other than that we’ve got a fully fit squad.
“There’ll be a couple of decisions to make about who misses out of being in the matchday squad of 16 players and the girls have had every opportunity to ‘throw their hat in the ring’ during the training sessions. We’ve asked them to give us a selection headache throughout the season and they’ve done that, showing that they all want to be playing and that’s a positive.”
Recent signing Zoe Atkins scored her first goal for the Club in just her second appearance last time out against Cardiff Met and she added: “I know Rhyl are below us in the league, but you can’t take any team for granted in the cup, so we’ve just got to play our own game, take what the coaches say and put that into play.
“The League Cup game against Cardiff Met was a big one, so to get the goal to break the deadlock was brilliant and it was my first goal for the Club as well so it was very exciting. Initially, I came here injured and the Club has helped me a lot with my physio and rehab, so I’m very grateful for that and to come back sooner than expected has been great.”
Joel concluded:“Zoe’s come back from injury sooner than we thought, so it was nice to get that boost after Christmas because she’d ruled herself out for the season. She’s still working hard on her fitness and we’re going to gradually increase her match minutes from the two games that she’s been involved in.
“We’ve been trying to sign her for a couple of seasons, but have been unsuccessful, so it’s great to have that additional bit of attacking strength and hopefully she’ll help us kick-on for the rest of the season.”