The Reds thrashed higher league Sheffield FC 4-0 at Oakwell on Sunday, with Laura Bartup hitting a hat-trick. It was a fifth successive win in all competitions and their 13th out of 15 games this season, with one draw and one defeat. They have won four FA Cup games this season. Manager Chris Hamilton said: “It was a really good day and it’s fantastic to be in the next round. We had a big crowd and it was a massive day for the club.
“We had already got further than ever before in this cup but to reach the third round is excellent. “We’ve been raising the profile of the club for a couple of years now but this cup run is definitely helping with that. The FA Cup is a bonus, because getting promotion is our priority, but it’s a fantastic competition and we want to go as far as possible.”
Barnsley are now due to play in the fourth round on January 5 at the winner of the tie between Brighouse and Chorley who are due to play on Sunday. Should they get through to the fourth round, the Reds could play against a club from the Super League or Championship in the last 32. Hamilton said: “We would love to face one of the really big clubs but we have to get through the third round first. It’s not an amazing draw, because Brighouse and Chorley are both decent teams in our league and we’ll be playing on a tough pitch in early January away from home. It will be a 50/50 game, whoever we play.”
Sunday’s match took place in front of the club’s biggest ever crowd of 302. Bartup opened the scoring in the ninth minute as she headed in Sophie Bell’s corner. It was 2-0 midway through the first half when Kath Smith scored a penalty. Bartup completed her hat-trick late on after errors by the visiting goalkeeper. Hamilton said: “We totally controlled the game and Sheffield didn’t really trouble us. We worked hard on the areas we thought we would get success against them and it worked which is nice.
"It was a big win and clean sheet against a team in a league above us. We have worked a lot on certain parts of Laura’s game, like we do with every player, and it’s great to see her scoring a lot of goals now.”
Barnsley are at home again on Sunday from 2pm when they are due to host Bolton Wanderers in a league fixture. The Reds are currently three points clear at the top of Division One North in the Women’s National League, which is the fourth tier in England. Hamilton said: “We’ll be back to our bread and butter of the league. Bolton can be a really good side on their day so we need another good performance. I challenge the players to work harder in every game than they did in the last one so we want to go up a level from the FA Cup tie.”