Southampton FC Women have regrettably withdrawn from playing in the Hampshire FA Senior Cup final, due to ongoing fixture congestion.

Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s team had progressed to the final, where they were set to face Portsmouth for the second successive season.

However, they have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the competition due to the challenge of scheduling the game at a suitable point in their calendar and also in consideration of the wellbeing of their players.

As well as the Hampshire Senior Cup, Saints also remain in the FA Cup and League Cup, as well as continuing their chase for promotion to the Championship.

Hampshire FA had set the date for the final, which was scheduled to be played at Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium, as Wednesday 30th March.

A request from the club to move this was denied, and with Saints already facing a league fixture on that date and little flexibility left in their calendar due to the volume of remaining fixtures, they have opted to withdraw.

During discussions, the club did suggest the possibility of using RTC Academy players to fulfil the fixture, however they were informed they would be deemed ineligible unless they had played in a previous round in the competition or had played in three competitive matches for the first-team.

With no blank weekends left between now and the end of the league campaign, a series of midweek fixtures, further games to be rearranged due to a number of previous postponements, and the potential for additional progression in the FA Cup and League Cup, it was felt the best decision in terms of the players’ wellbeing and also the team’s league campaign, which must remain its priority, was to withdraw.