THE 2021/22 Women’s FA Cup first round proper takes place today with Essex sides Hashtag United Women and Southend United Community SC set to meet competitively for the first time.

And it won’t just be local bragging rights on the line as both teams are looking to take another step on the road to Wembley by reaching the second round for the first time in their respective short histories.

Jason Stephens’ Tags booked their place in the first round with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Enfield Town, just 12 months after being dumped out of the competition by the same team in their debut campaign.

Goals from Gemma Baker and Amy-Leigh Abrehart were enough to see off a late fightback from their fourth tier rivals.

The FAWNL Division One South East promotion chasers, who remain unbeaten in all competitions, will be in excellent spirits after last weekend’s penalty heroics in the FAWNL Cup against Bournemouth.

However, they know there will be no room for complacency against a team that has already enjoyed an incredible run to reach this stage of the competition.

Having entered at the first round qualifying stage, Lewis Dodds’ Southend secured away wins over Rayleigh Town and Garston before putting in an excellent display to beat Frontiers of the division above via a 3-0 scoreline thanks to goals from Faye Lawrence and an Emily Pert double.

As one of just three teams from the seventh tier left in the competition, the Garon’s Park club will be hoping to cause another upset to keep their magical run going.

With the first round of the cup coinciding with Women’s Football Weekend, Sunday’s clash is undoubtedly one of the biggest in either club’s history.

Not least because the winner will be just two more matches away from a potential dream meeting against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea.

Both teams will be determined to put their name in the hat for Monday’s second round draw.

Elsewhere in the competition, FAWNL D1 South East leaders Billericay welcome fifth tier outfit Luton Town to the New Lodge.

Fans can watch the cup clash between Hashtag and Southend at Canvey Island’s Park Lane ground at 1 pm with tickets priced £5 (£3/£1 concessions) or tune in to Hashtag United’s YouTube channel where the game will be streamed live.