Here is a look at the promotion chasers for the 2015/16 FA WPL season.
First let’s remind ourselves of the rules set in the FA WPL handbook :
“The first placed teams of the Northern and Southern Divisions shall compete in a play-off final match to determine the overall FA Women’s Premier League Champion.
The match will be 90 minutes duration with the addition of extra-time and
penalties if required. This play-off final match date and venue will be decided by the Management Committee. Should either of the first placed teams decline to compete in the play-off final match, the title shall be awarded to the non-defaulting Club.
For season 2015/16 the Champion Club as determined by the Play Off Match
outlined at paragraph (iv) will be promoted to FA WSL subject to eligibility and ability to meet FA WSL Licensing Criteria.”
Teams ranked first to sixth can hope to reach the play-off game at the moment although Derby in fifth place will have a lot of work to do to catch up on the leaders.
1. Nottingham Forest 29 pts +16 pl 13
2. PNE 26 pts +25 pl 12
3. Stoke City 26 pts + 20 pl 12
4. Blackburn Rovers 26 pts + 15 pl 13
5. Derby County 22 pts +4 pl 13
6. Sporting Club Albion 21 pts + 13 pl 9
Forest, PNE, Stoke and SC Albion have only lost two games so far, while Blackburn have lost three and Derby five. Should SC Albion win all their games in hand they would lead the table.
This League might go to goal difference, the next months will be interesting to see if one side manages to get away from the pack.
The top five teams can reasonably hope for promotion although Portsmouth will need a strong run to catch up on the leaders Brighton. Most of the chasing pack have a lot of games on hand from two to four, so although Brighton lead is huge : nine points it is a virtually a small one.
1.Brighton 41 pts +29 pl 17
2. Charlton 32 pts +25 pl 14
3. Cardiff* 30 pts + 29 pl 13
4. Portsmouth 29 pts +20 pl 15
5. Coventry 27 pts +25 pl 13
*Note as far as I know Cardiff are not eligible for promotion to the FA WSL because they are not affiliated to an English County
Brighton, Charlton and Coventry have lost two games so far, Cardiff three and Portsmouth four. Pompey probably need not to loose any more game to finish top.
You have to say, scheduling is curious as Brighton have only five more games to play at the winter mid-season break. They have Portsmouth at home and four away games, including a decisive game away to title contender Coventry on the 31/01/16.
The Championship play-off final is provisonally scheduled on Sunday the 22nd of May 2016 while the FA full-time website indicated final League games to be played on the 20th of March two months earlier.
Saying that we know that cup runs and bad weather will create havoc with the fixture list and therefore will bring the end of the League season closer to the play-off game date.