Manchester City Women were dumped out of the FA Cup after a succumbing to a 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea. Goals from Erin Cuthbert, Melanie Leupolz and Bethany England saw the London side progress to meet Arsenal in the Final.
City were hoping to retain the trophy they won last season when they beat Everton 3-1 in the final at Wembley, but injuries and a dreadful start to the season that has seen City win just three games this season, with only one victory in the WSL so far.
The blues were again missing goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, captain Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze in defence, while Alanna Kennedy and Ruby Mace were cup-tied. Georgia Stanway was serving suspension after her sending off against United, but Vicky Losada was named on the bench after returning from injury.
Manager Gareth Taylor’s injury concerns were such that he could only name five substitutes as City’s playing staff went down to the bare bones.
However, the blues started brightly and were on the front foot, with Ellen White going close with the score at 0-0. But, with City’s confidence and moral low, Chelsea picked up on the nervousness in the City defence and gradually came into the match, before taking the lead on 23 minutes.
Fran Kirby was set free and her run into the penalty area saw an excellent challenge from the evergreen Jill Scott, who timed her tackle to perfection to put the ball out for a corner. It was a short-lived reprieve though for City as they failed to clear the set piece and Cuthbert touch a touch, before firing though the hands of Karima Taieb. The keeper should have done better, and Roebuck, looking on from the sidelines, must be desperate to get back into the action.
It was another defensive horror show five minutes later as Chelsea went 2-0 up. Demi Stokes weak header out fell to Leupolz, and hesitation in the City defence allowed her time to tee up her shot and fire home, beating Taieb at her near post.
Elation for Chelsea, but despair for City as the blues faced a mountain to climb as the visitors continued to press.
City’s Lauren Hemp, who was involved in almost every City move, tried to take on the responsibility of dragging the blues back into the tie herself, but found herself up against a strong Chelsea backline who were not prepared for anyone to break through.
Hemp fired wide on a couple of occasions, while Caroline Weir saw a shot blocked and Janine Beckie’s attempted chip over the keeper sailed over the bar.
At the other end, Taieb made amends for her earlier errors, saving well from Sam Kerr and Kirby, before denying Cuthbert the opportunity to put the tie to bed with her second and Chelsea’s third.
Substitute Vicky Losada had City’s first meaningful attempt, forcing the keeper into a save, albeit a routine one and youngster Jess Park looked lively when she same on.
But there was always a sense that the visitors would add to their tally, and it duly arrived in the 89th minute. Jessie Fleming’s cross into the box had Taieb in two minds to either come and collect or try to save a shot. In the end, she did neither as England had the time to pick her spot and guide her header into the City goal.
Park forced the Chelsea keeper into a full-length save in injury time to try and add some party to the scoreline. Park’s vicious shot was tipped onto the post and White couldn't control the rebound which really summed up City’s afternoon.
Another miserable afternoon for the faithful to endure and the scoreline was City’s heaviest loss at home since 2014.
The blues must now dust themselves off and prepare for Thursday’s visit of Durham in the League Cup, before travelling to Leicester on Sunday.
Final Score: Manchester City Women 0-3 Chelsea