The FA Women’s National League have published their provisional 2021/22 Constitution ahead of the coming season. The league allocation sees 12-teams elevation between Tiers 3-5 as well as two-name changes. Here’s a look at how each division will look and how teams got on in the combine season tables.
Northern Premier Division
Teams: AFC Fylde, Brighouse Town, Burnley, Derby County, Huddersfield Town, Hull City, Loughborough Lightning, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield FC, Stoke City, West Brom Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers
The Northern Premier Division will see 13-teams battling for the chance to play in the FA Women’s Championship (Tier 2) next season with two new additions.
Sunderland have moved on from the National League and returned to the Second Tier after their application for upward movement to the Championship was approved by the FA. The Black Cats picked up 55 points over the course of two-seasons, after playing 23 games. Their points tally gave them 2.39 PPG, beating Huddersfield to top-spot in the combined season table by 0.44 PPG.
Both Brighouse Town and Wolves have been promoted to the Northern Premier Division from the Division One North and Division One Midlands Respectively. Both sides will look to immediately leave their mark in what is set to be a tough division next season. Brighouse were promoted with a 0.13 PPG while Wolves held a 0.75 PPG in the Midlands Division.
The rest of the division remains the same from the last two-seasons, although Loughborough Foxes have now become Loughborough Lightning. The likes of Huddersfield, Nottingham Forest, Derby and AFC Fylde will hope they can finish towards the top of the table and follow Sunderland into the Championship, while those towards the other end of the table in Sheffield FC, Hull City and Loughborough will hope to have a better season and avoid the drop.
|West Brom Albion||20||33||1.65|
Southern Premier Division
Teams: Bridgwater United, Cardiff City, Chichester & Selsey, Crawley Wasps, Gillingham, Hounslow, Ipswich Town, Keynsham Town, London Bees, Milton Keynes Dons, Oxford United, Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth, Southampton FC
The Southern Premier Division will be extended to 14-teams ahead of the 2021/22 season, as all sides will look to reach the Second Tier, alongside the teams in the Northern Division.
Watford wave goodbye to the National League as they are elevated to the Championship, having just pipped Crawley Wasps to the promotion. The Hornets found themselves 5-points behind the Wasps, having played 2 games less, but both were level on Points-Per-Game after the two-seasons.
London Bees were relegated to the National League after a difficult Championship season, that saw them finish bottom and below Coventry United by 5-points. The Bees had won just three of their 20-games last season, but will hope for an immediate bounce-back at the end of the 2021/22 season. Also joining them in the Southern Premier League is 2-sides elevated from the leagues below; Ipswich Town from Division One South East and Southampton from Division One South West. The Tractor Girls found themselves top of the Division in both seasons, but didn’t get the promotion they were after until they applied for an upward movement. In their application, a 0.40 PPG was enough to see them elevated over Hashtag United. Southampton FC Women beat their closest rivals, Southampton Women FC, to promotion from the South West as the affiliated So’ton side held a 10-point lead and a game in-hand over the course of two-seasons, equating to 0.80 PPG.
Yeovil United will operate under their third name as they feature under the Bridgwater Town name while the remaining side are the same from over the past two-seasons. Crawley Wasps will hope to go one better next term and reach the Championship, although sides like Oxford United and Cardiff City will hope to beat them, and sides towards the bottom end in Hounslow, Chichester & Selsey and Keynsham Town will hope for better seasons to avoid dropping down to Tier 4.
|Chichester & Selsey||19||11||0.57|
Division One North
Teams: Alnwick Town, Barnsley, Bolton, Bradford City AFC, Chester Le Street Town, Chorley, Durham Cestria, FC United of Manchester, Leeds United, Liverpool Feds, Newcastle United, Norton & Stockton, Stockport County
The National League Division One North will also feature 13-teams, looking to reach the Northern Premier Division.
Brighouse Town will move into the Northern Premier Division next season after beating Leeds United to the top-spot by 0.09 PPG and seeing a 0.13 gap over Barnsley.
Replacing them in the Division One North, comes two regional sides in Alnwick Town and FC United of Manchester. Alnwick Town enjoyed a good 2019/20 season in the North East Regional Women’s Football League Northern Division sitting 2nd behind Sunderland West End by 12-points with 4-games in-hand. That season combined with sitting 3rd in the Premier Division during the 2020/21 season was enough to see them elevated, despite being 0.33 and 0.2 PPG behind Hartlepool United and York City respectively. FC United of Manchester found themselves 2nd in the North West Regional Women’s Football League during the 2020/21 season and would have been second behind Morecombe along with PPG, but a combination from the 19/20 and 20/21 seasons were enough to see them elevated ahead of Tranmere Rovers, Morecombe and Crewe Alexander.
The other 11-sides remain the same from last season. Leeds United and Barnsley will certainly be two of the favourites going into the division next season, off the basis of the last two-seasons, but Chester-Le-Street will also hope to compete at the top-end of the table and pick up where they left off last season. Down the other end, Chorley, Bolton and Bradford City will hope for a better term next season as they look to avoid the drop into regional football.
|Norton & Stockton Ancients||18||21||1.16|
Division One Midlands
Teams: Bedworth United, Boldmere St Michaels, Burton Albion, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Holwell Sports, Leafield Athletic, Leek Town, Lincoln City, Long Eaton United, Peterborough United, Solihull Moors, Sporting Khalsa, Wem Town
The National League Division one Midlands will see 13-teams battle for a place in the Northern Premier Division at the end of the next season.
Wolves have departed from the league after an impressive record across two-seasons. After 21-games, they fell just short of an 100% record, collecting 60-points from their 21-games. Their points total was enough to see them elevated, holding a 20-point lead over Boldmere St Michaels despite playing two-games more and giving them a 0.75 PPG difference.
Both Peterborough United and Leek Town join the division after also receiving upward movement. Peterborough sat top-of-the-league in both their East Midlands Regional Women Football League seasons. Posh Women collected 50-points over the course of just 19-games, giving them a 2.63 PPG, beating Rotherham to the top-spot by 0.28 PPG and sitting ahead of Oughtibridge Town by 0.48 PPG. Leek Town were also on course a similarly impressive season as they achieved a points total of 44 in 17-games. The Blues beat Sutton Coldfield to the top-spot by 0.15 PPG in the West Midlands Regional Women’s Football League, while also sitting ahead of Redditch United and Solihull Ladies United by 0.27 and 0.58 respectively.
The rest of the division remains the same. Boldmere St Michaels, Bedworth United and Lincoln City will hope they can follow in the path of Wolves and reach the Northern Premier Division, while Solihull Moors, Leafield Athletic and Burton Albion will hope to pick up form next season and avoid the drop down to Regional level.
|Boldmere St Michael||19||40||2.10|
|Long Eaton United||22||33||1.5|
|Doncaster Rovers Belles||23||31||1.34|
Division One South East
Teams: Actonians, AFC Wimbledon, Billericay Town, Cambridge City, Cambridge United, Enfield Town, Harlow Town, Hashtag United, Kent Football United, London Seaward, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Stevenage
The Division One South East is extended by one-side next season as one leaves and two enter ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Ipswich Town finally wave goodbye to the South East Division after two dominate seasons. The Tractor girls had found themselves top-of-the-league over the last two-seasons. They held a 1-point lead over AFC Wimbledon during the 19/20 season after 14-games before they found themselves with a +9 goal-difference over Hashtag United after 4-games, having taken maximum points and played a game less than the Tags. The combination of the two-seasons were enough to see Joe Sheehan’s Ladies promoted to the Southern Premier Division.
The Division welcomes both Harlow Town, from the Eastern Region Women’s Football League, and QPR, from the London & South East Regional Women’s Football League. The Hawks sat top of the ERWFL combine table with 2.55 PPG after collecting 51-points from 20-games over two-seasons, beating Luton Town to the top-spot by 0.08 PPG and Peterborough Northern Star by 0.22. Rangers were elevated, despite not having the best PPG over two-seasons. Dulwich Hamlet topped the charts with 2.29 PPG and sat 0.03 PPG ahead of QPR, but a combination of the PPG table and the off-field factors were enough to see the Hoops joining the Division One South East from the LSERWFL.
The other 10-teams remain the same. Hashtag United, AFC Wimbledon and Billericay Town will hope to be favourites to go up and will hope to follow Ipswich into the Southern Premier Division. Down the other end, Cambridge City, Kent Football United and in particular, Stevenage, will hope to avoid the drop as they look for a better season in what will be another tough division.
|Kent Football United||20||9||0.45|
Division One South West
Teams: AFC Bournemouth, Buckland Athletic, Cheltenham Town, Chesham United, Exeter City, Larkhall Athletic, Maidenhead United, Poole Town, Portishead Town, Southampton Women’s FC, Swindon Town
The FA Women’s National League Division One South West is set to be the smallest division next season as 11-teams battle for promotion.
The most notable absence from the South West Division is Brislington. The club have taken voluntary relegation from the National League after having a difficult two seasons. Southampton FC, affiliated with the Premier League side, have beaten rivals Southampton Women to promotion to the National League Southern Premier Division after finishing 0.8 PPG ahead of their namesake. Despite playing a game less, a 10-point advantage over So’ton Women and a 11-point advantage over Cheltenham Town was enough to see them granted upward movement.
Portishead Town and AFC Bournemouth were elevated from the South West Regional Women’s Football League and Southern Regional Women’s Football League respectively. Portishead found themselves top of the combined seasons table with 26-points in just 10-games, over the course of two-seasons. The 2.6 PPG saw them narrowly beat Ilminster by 0.3 PPG and over Callington by 0.53 PPG. AFC Bournemouth got the nod over Moneyfields, despite Moneys have a perfect 3 PPG with 36-points from the 12-games they played. The Cherries had a PPG of 2.75, but the combination of that with the off-field requirements, saw them promoted to Division One South West.
The remain 9-teams will hope they can have a good season. Southampton Women will hope to follow their namesake after just missing out on PPG. while Cheltenham will also hope to get the promotion next season. Down the other end, Poole Town, Swindon Town and Maidenhead United will look to avoid the drop at the end of next season, as they look to improve on what has been a tough two-seasons.