Barnsley Women's FC in spat with local FA as another team take their place at Premier League stadium

Barnsley instead played against Huddersfield Town in the County Cup final at 10:30am on April 30

Barnsley Women's Football Club are blaming Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA's lack of communication and understanding for them not appearing in front of a record-breaking 22,000-plus crowd at Newcastle United's St James' Park stadium.

Reaching a County Cup final should have been a cause for celebration for Barnsley, but caused them to miss out on a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience after their fourth-tier league fixture was chosen for a special bumper weekend on Tyneside with the Newcastle's men's team playing Liverpool the day before. Winning the cup semi-final saw them miss out.

With Newcastle unable to move their fixture due to the season coming to a close and the operational difficulties of a late change, Barnsley asked the Sheffield CFA on two occasions if their cup final with Huddersfield could be moved. Their Yorkshire rivals agreed but after already moving the date once from April 24 to April 30, Sheffield CFA did not reschedule for a second time.

Alnwick Town were drafted in to take their place at St James' Park, playing in one of the highest-ever league attendances in the women's game.

Losing 5-0 to third tier Huddersfield Town in their County Cup final was not unexpected, but the Barnsley players felt further aggrieved knowing that they could have made history elsewhere.

Barnsley players had taken headshots to feature in the men's match day programme and booked hotels and travel for an end-of-season weekend.

Goalkeeper Serena Clarke said: "After witnessing the turnout at St James' Park we are utterly heartbroken that the Sheffield CFA have robbed us of this opportunity, credit to Newcastle for making it such a memorable day."

Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA released a statement on April 29 on their website saying that a clash of fixtures with Huddersfield also reaching the League Cup final was responsible. They said a suitable alternative date was not available.

Part of a statement from Sheffield CFA

Speaking to Calendar upon reading this, Barnsley women FC CEO Steve Maddock said that he has booked Doncaster's Eco-Power Stadium for May 8 for a South Yorkshire school football competition, "to prove a point".

Barnsley player Eve Marshall also wrote a letter to the CFA. She said: "This has left our squad massively disappointed, with a sense that we have been let down and overlooked...in our view, the Sheffield FA arranged the women's final on a day that was always going to clash with a key league fixture, being the last weekend of the season."

Barnsley sit eighth in the fourth tier of women's football and are set to face fellow Yorkshire sides Leeds United and Bradford City once more next season.