The FA Women's Premier League Cup Final - Barnet Ladies vs Nottingham Forest Ladies
Thursday 24th March 2011, KO: 19:30
Adams Park, High Wycombe
Tickets: Adults - £5, Concessions - £2.50
Ticket Hotline: 01494 441 118
By David Brenchley
Barnet Ladies manager Tracey Kevins will be looking to her more senior players as her young side go in search of their first piece of major silverware since 1996 when they take on Nottingham Forest in Wycombe tomorrow.
The last time the Bees were in the Women's Premier League Cup final, they went by the name Wembley Ladies FC and beat Doncaster Rovers Belles in the final at Barnet FC's Underhill stadium.
Since relegation from the top flight in 1998, the club joined forces with Barnet's mens side and had been out of the National division for over a decade until they won promotion back last season.
Despite being bottom of the table all season, they now have the chance to write themselves into the club's history books if they can defeat the Tricky Trees tomorrow.
And Kevins hopes the experience of players like Danielle Murphy and Eartha Pond who, ironically, won this same competition at the same ground (then named the Causeway Stadium) in 2006 with Charlton Athletic will benefit her younger players.
"I look at some of these players and, with possibly the exception of Dan Murphy and Eartha Pond, none of our other players have played in a major final," she told WSR.
"It is a terrific opportunity for some of the players that have never had the chance to play at that level and I am really looking forward to them being able to showcase their abilities and talents on a national stage.
"Having ‘been there, seen it, done it', which [Murphy and Pond] have, it is a great advantage to us. They have a job to speak to the younger players and tell them how you cope with [it].
"Forest and us are both newcomers to that level and I think it will be who can deal with the peripheral things that are going on and just focus on the game and that is where those two's experience will be massive."
The club have ‘targeted' the League Cup this season and it has certainly been a welcome distraction from their league worries - although survival is still the number one priority.
Kevins added: "We just felt it was such a great opportunity and I have been a bit surprised how other teams have treated it. A lot of sides have used it as a chance to play youngsters.
"We have taken it seriously the whole way through; we just felt that, without the Super League sides, it is a great opportunity to get to a final and if we want to progress as a club we have to keep on improving.
"Last year we reached the semi final of a national cup competition so there is only one way to improve on that and that is to get to a cup final. The next way to improve beyond that is to actually win a final."
Skipper Dan Murphy's experience will be key for the Bees.
Stacey Sowden's goalscoring exploits cannot be underestimated either.
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day