Lewes will have already made history as they step out at the Dripping Pan to take on Manchester United in the Women’s FA Cup quarter-finals.
It is the first time the club have played at this stage of the tournament, and tickets for the encounter were quickly snapped up by enthusiastic fans.
Lewes defeated Cardiff City 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals, with midfielder Ellie Mason scoring an impressive five goals.
Speaking to GiveMeSport Women, Lewes player Lauren Heria revealed the reaction to the team’s victory in the fifth round.
“Honestly, it was excitement,” she said. “I remember our pre-game talk. We had a really good crowd for Cardiff and our manager stood there and told us that the crowd wasn’t just there for that game, they were there for the quarterfinals.
“They were there for what it could mean for the club. We knew we had the opportunity to go out and make history, and we knew we wanted to do it for the fans.
“The Pan for us is such a fortress, and we get great crowds every week. We have incredibly passionate fans. So to do it at home in front of that fan-base was incredible.”
The support was so crucial that the Lewes players were left hoping for another home draw, which is exactly what they got.
“As soon as the final whistle blew, we were just hoping to get a big team at home,” Heria said. “There’s a quite nice video of our players when we hear the draw.
“The players are really celebrating when we come out at home because we know what it means to play here at the Dripping Pan. We know whoever we face here, it’s going to be a tough game for them.”
Manchester United will certainly be a massive test for, with stars such as Mary Earps, Alessia Russo, Ella Toone and Ona Batlle currently helping the side push Arsenal and Chelsea for the Women’s Super League title.
Lewes understandably have an underdog status for this particular encounter, but Heria claimed there were benefits to this.
“I think for us internally, we expect ourselves to go out and perform,” she explained. “We’ve been preparing for Manchester United in the same way that we would prepare for any league game.
“Making sure we know the details, making sure we know our opponents, know our game plan. So the preparation doesn’t change.
“But I think being the underdog gives you freedom as a player, because maybe there are expectations that might be there if you’re going out against a lower ranked opposition. I think that’s why teams can come unstuck in the FA Cup.
“If you’re going out as the favourites, you have all these expectations on you, and I think sometimes that makes you stop playing as freely as you usually do.
“I just think we’re in a really good position where we’re preparing well, we’re a really strong squad in terms of ability and also in terms of our togetherness. I truly believe if anyone can bring a bit of FA Cup magic, it’s Lewes.”