Loughborough Foxes might not be having an easy first season in the Premier League Northern Division but have set up an FA Cup 4th Round tie with Millwall Lionesses, after defeating Lewes on penalties. We found out more from Head Coach Jenny Sugarman.

SK: Can you describe the game’s two goals?
JS: Lewes scored after just 12 minutes, we failed to deal with a long ball over the top of our defence and Danielle Lane finished well. We responded just before half time when our forward Audrey Moore put the Lewes defence under pressure and capitalised on a mix up between their keeper and centre back.

SK: Lewes gave you some scares (disallowed goal and hit the bar), did you do likewise?
JS: They certainly did, it was a really open, end to end game. Both teams struggled to find consistency but we created enough opportunities to feel we could have won the game. We controlled the first half reasonably well but really didn’t show up in the second half until the 80th minute.

SK: Who do you feel was on top in extra-time?
JS: Again extra time was probably a tale of two halves with Lewes edging the first and us the second. It was very nervy and both teams were tired by then, which showed. We were happy to go to penalties, as we have practiced and I had a lot of confident and experienced players ready to step up.

SK: What were the highlights of the shoot-out drama?
JS: The penalties were of the highest order, with both keepers struggling to make an impact. It felt like the shoot-out could go on forever as the quality of each penalty was incredible, I’m glad we won it on the sixth, as I had no idea who was taking the next one at the time! It was a game that both teams did enough to win and neither team deserved to lose but that’s cup football and we are delighted to go through.

SK: What’s the feeling about the home tie with Millwall?
JS: We are really excited to play Millwall in the 4th round, especially as it’s another home fixture at our great stadium. When I saw the draw it added a little extra motivation to go head to head with a coaching friend, Rebecca Sawiuk, after she was recently appointed Millwall manager. We made history for Loughborough Foxes by making the 3rd round for the first time ever, so to be in the 4th round now is a dream for us all! It’s been a quick rise for a small club after our promotion to the FAWPL Northern Division this year, we have had to adjust quickly and the players have been exceptional in taking on board our new ideas. Playing a WSL side is a prestigious occasion for us and we hope to enjoy it but also to do ourselves proud. We are confident that on our day we can compete.

SK: Have you cup exploits given you a boost in your battle to stay up?
JS: Most definitely! Our cup and league form could hardly be more different, we have just reached the final of the Leicestershire County Cup beating FAWPL Midlands Division 1 runaway leaders Leicester City Women 3-1 in the semi-final and play Enfield Town in the quarter-finhal of the League Plate this Sunday, as well as our FA Cup exploits. Our most recent league performances have actually been much better than in the cup but we seem to have found a way to win which we hope to continue in all three cup competitions and when we resume league action in March. Winning is a habit!

Action images by Jackie Gilligan

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