Whilst Arsenal are the most successful top flight English women's side to date, having won more trophies and titles than any other, Lewes have their own unique story. In 2017, Lewes launched their EqualityFC campaign, which saw the Lewes Women players being paid the same as their male counterparts. At the time of writing, they are the only club in the world to be doing so. Lets hope it's not long before more clubs start to follow suit. Having visited The Dripping Pan in November last year for a women's game, it was a fantastically positive match day experience, with a great atmosphere and attendance. I would highly recommend a visit if you are yet to do so. They are a really progressive club.
|The Dripping Pan|
Despite it being raining on the drive down, by the time we arrived at Borehamwood it had cleared up. Cleared up even so that the yellow object was visible in the sky. I don't mean my photo vest (or hat, for that matter):
Meadow Park is a four sided affair, with two distinct looking stands (one seated along one touchline, one standing at one goal end), another large seated stand (which was almost full by the time the match was underway) and some uncovered more traditional looking terracing at the other one of the ends. This was where the Lewes supporters situated themselves for the first half. The most poignant feature beyond the realms of the ground was the singular tower block behind the main stand. Pollok anyone?!
This game was the designated Heads Up game, encouraging supporters to #KickOffAConversation about mental health. You can read more about the important campaign here. Both teams wore Heads Up t-shirts whilst warming up.
The last time Arsenal and Lewes met was a nil-nine thrashing. Were we going to see a repeat in this game? Perhaps not... Ninth placed championship side Lewes were able to prevent third placed WSL side Arsenal from scoring until the second half. Despite Arsenal obtaining the majority of possession, they were unable to break through Lewes's strong line of defence until the fifty-fourth minute. Indirectly assisted by Danielle Van de Donk, it was Caitlin Foord who knocked in the rebound, scoring on her debut outing for the Gunners. A promising start for the Australian international.
Van de Donk did end up getting her moment too in the eighty-fourth minute, doubling the host's lead. It was almost always going to go Arsenal's way, though I was impressed by the performance Lewes put in. I'm sure the 1,663 spectators would share similar feelings and hopefully found the match a great afternoon's entertainment. Lewes bow out of the cup in the best possible fashion.
Arsenal will take on Spurs (again at home) in their quarter final match on the 15th March. The ties in full are here, with one yet to be decided:
Click here to view the full photo set.