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Blues girls make semi-final of FA Cup

Stanway brace secures spot for tie against Chelsea

Manchester City Women v Liverpool Women - SSE Women’s FA Cup Quarter Final Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Man City Women secured their place in the semi-finals of the SSE Women’s FA Cup following their 3-0 win over Liverpool FC Women at the Academy Stadium, thanks to an early goal from Janine Beckie and a second half brace from Georgia Stanway.

The hosts started on the front foot with Keira Walsh sending a long ball for Nikita Parris to connect with, the forward beating Sophie Bradley-Auckland before finding Beckie but the Canadian’s effort went wide of the goal. Minutes later though, Walsh was involved again as she won possession from Christie Murray and played a lovely through ball for her teammates but no one made the run and Anke Preuss collected.

A Liverpool free kick around the ten minute mark saw Coombs send the ball into the area and captain Steph Houghton head it away, Amy Rodgers sending it back in only for Jen Beattie to clear it out to Jill Scott. Former Liverpool player Caroline Weir lost out to captain Sophie Bradley-Auckland, the defender playing in Rinsola Babajide with the England youth international finding former Everton forward Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, however Beattie cleared any danger. Following a tackle from Leighanne-Robe on Stokes on the corner of the area, it was Steph’s turn to step up and take a free kick, the defender sending a lovely curling ball in that went just over the top of the Preuss’s net.

The visitors started putting more pressure on the Blues around the twenty minute mark with Christie Murray playing a ball down the wing for Babajide to connect with, the forward getting a cross in only for Houghton to head it away.

Murray involved once again, sent a long pass forward but it was intercepted by Steph, Jill getting back to cover the run of Sweetman-Kirk and watch Bardsley collect.

The home side went ahead in the 25th minute, Jill beating Laura Coombs to make a run in midfield before laying the ball off wide to Nikita in space, the twenty five year old playing it between Bradley-Auckland and Purfield for Janine. Caroline was waiting in the box and Beckie found the Scot, Niamh Fahey blocking Weir’s effort before Janine pounced on the lose ball and put it into the top of the net; giving City a 1-0 lead.

Walsh made the overlapping run to connect with Weir’s pass on the left wing, Keira playing Parris through only for Coombs to clear the ball with Murray finding Rinsola Babajide, Liverpool’s number 20 losing out to Jen as the Scottish defender made a great tackle to stop the forward. Belgian Yana Daniels brought the ball down well and then played Babajide through, the youngster beating Houghton but Beattie made an excellent tackle to clear the ball away with Daniels collecting on the wing. Stokes was deemed to have pushed the forward and Murray stepped up to take the free kick, Caroline getting her head to the ball with Sweetman-Kirk’s skewed effort going behind Bardsley’s goal.

Manchester City Women v Liverpool Women - SSE Women’s FA Cup Quarter Final
Jen Beattie in action against Rinsola Babajide of Liverpool
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

City’s goalkeeper was called into action again when Babajide sent a shot from range forcing Karen to make a save and put the ball behind for a corner, Christie Murray sending the ball in and Bardsley coming out to punch it away; Jemma Purfield sending a shot behind. The Blues then had a good spell of possession with Keira Walsh playing Demi in on the wing, the defender sending in a cross for Parris to head just over the bar.

A late corner for the home side saw Caroline step up and send a cross in that caused a scramble in the box, Jill playing it wide to Janine but the forward’s powerful effort went the wrong side of the post.

The second half started much the same as the first with both sides keeping hold of possession, however it was Liverpool who had the first shot on goal when Laura Coombs dispossessed Houghton, the midfielder making a run before finding Courtney Sweetman-Kirk with the forward’s effort firing straight at Bardsley. Weir and Stokes played a one touch sequence from the defender’s throw in with Demi playing the ball to Janine who’d made the overlapping run, the two combining only for Beckie’s effort to go behind.

Manchester City Women v Liverpool Women - SSE Women’s FA Cup Quarter Final
Janine Beckie goes up against Amy Rodgers
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Minutes later, Tessa Wullaert had plenty of space to play Nikita in but Amy Rodgers got there first and cleared to Niamh Fahey, Rinsola Babajide making the run to connect with her pass but once again Beattie was equal to her and made the tackle. Sophie Bradley-Auckland stepped up take the following kick, cutting it back to Coombs but her effort was also straight at Bardsley; the City keeper collecting comfortably.

Substitute Georgia Stanway would give the Blues a two goal lead in the 68th minute, Anke Preuss’s goal kick falling to Tessa with the midfielder bringing it down well and finding Nikita, who’d played Stanway through, the youngster collecting and drawing Preuss out of her goal to slot the ball home.

Another substitute by Nick Cushing saw Claire Emslie replace Caroline Weir, the Scotland forward making an almost instant impact when she collected Keira Walsh’s ball wide, making a run down the wing only to be fouled by Leighanne Robe. The following free kick was a smart one and not something City fans had seen the team do before, Emslie rolling the ball to Georgia on the edge of the box and had it gone in, it would have been a brilliant piece of play but sadly her rocket went just wide.

With just under fifteen minutes of normal time left, Claire’s cross into the area was met by the head of Liverpool substitute Leandra Little, Wullaert sending the ball back in for Parris who’d drawn Preuss out to put it past her however it was disallowed for offside. City could have had a third when Stanway switched play across to Nikita, the forward playing in Emslie who was put under pressure from Robe but did well to hold her off before finding Jill in midfield. Walsh played Parris in again and the forward turned in the area to get a shot away but it was blocked and cleared by Fahey.

The team’s third goal did finally come, courtesy of none other than a Georgia Stanway rocket, the forward receiving the ball from Emslie who’d cut inside from the wing, turning inside and letting one fly from the edge of the box to secure the Blues place in the semi.

Manchester City Women v Liverpool Women - SSE Women’s FA Cup Quarter Final
Stanway celebrates her second goal
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Both Claire and Georgia could have added to the score-line in the final minute of normal time, Keira playing through Emslie on the wing, cutting inside to take a shot from the edge of the box which was collected by Preuss. Walsh was also involved in Stanway’s chance as the midfielder played the long ball for Georgia, the forward running behind but her effort was collected in the last serious action of the game.

Man City Women now have a two week break before they take on Liverpool at home again, this time in the FA WSL on Sunday March 31st with kick off at 2pm.

The club also found out their fate for the semi-finals of the SSE Women’s FA Cup on Monday 18th March when the draw was made on BBC Breakfast. The two ties are Reading FC Women v West Ham United Women and Man City Women v Chelsea FC Women, carrying on the fine tradition of the two big clubs playing each other in semi-finals with the difference that the tie is at home not at Kingsmeadow; the games are due to be played on Sunday 14th April, time TBC.

Man City Women

Karen Bardsley, Demi Stokes, Gemma Bonner, Jen Beattie, Steph Houghton ©, Jill Scott, Janine Beckie (Georgia Stanway 65), Nikita Parris, Caroline Weir (Claire Emslie 72), Keira Walsh and Tessa Wullaert (Lauren Hemp 82)

Subs (not used): Ellie Roebuck, Mel Lawley, Pauline Bremer and Abbie McManus

Goals: Beckie 25’ and Stanway 69’, 88’

Liverpool FC Women

Anke Preuss, Leighanne Robe, Niamh Fahey, Sophie Bradley-Auckland ©, Laura Coombs, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Christie Murray (Leandra Little 75), Yana Daniels, Amy Rodgers (Ashley Hodson 90+1), Rinsola Babajide and Jemma Purfield

Subs (not used): Fran Kitching, Missy Bo Kearns and Kirsty Linnett

MCWFC OSC POTM: Jen Beattie

Attendance: 1,366

Referee: Peter Gibbons