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Birmingham City 1 (Haines 120) Liverpool 0
An injury time winner from Coral-Jade Haines earned Birmingham City a place in the Continental Tyres Cup semi finals and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to twelve matches.
The talented youngster gave a fairy tale finish to her first appearance after coming back from a long term injury and her display lit up a match which had largely been a midfield battle and contained few chances in the 120 minutes.
Liverpool started the brighter of the two sides with Caroline Weir hitting the side netting from Laura Coombs' pass and the Scottish international also saw a shot deflect just wide off Jess Carter.
Birmingham came closest through a cross-cum-shot by Melissa Lawley which had to be punched away by Siobhan Chamberlain but two minutes later, Liverpool came close to breaking the deadlock. Coombs was looking the best player on show in the Reds' midfield and she unleashed a 20-yard shot which crashed against the post.
Liverpool almost took the lead again in the opening minute of the second half, when Shanice van de Sanden exchanged passes with Katie Zelem and beat Ann-Katrin Berger but Carter did well to get back and clear the ball off the line.
This proved to be a rare opportunity at either end as the game continued to be devoid of goalmouth action with both defences looking strong and dominating. A blustery wind was not helping matters as the teams were not finding it easy to keep the ball on the ground.
The arrival of Haines gave Birmingham an extra spark and Lawley once again looked lively but it was Liverpool who provided the next testing effort, a strike from the edge of the area by Zelem which was saved at full stretch by Berger. Birmingham responded with Kirsty Linnett having a shot gathered by Chamberlain but neither side could force a breakthrough and the game drifted into extra time.
The game began to come to life during the extra period as space finally began to open up on the pitch. Haines did well to latch onto an Andrine Hegerberg pass and hold off the attentions of Zelem before unleashing a shot which was well saved by Chamberlain at her near post.
At the other end, Natasha Harding was released down the right and drilled a dangerous low ball across goal but the angle was too acute at the far post for van de Sanden and her effort went into the side netting.
Liverpool were to go even closer as the second period began, Niamh Charles powered into the area and cut the ball back across goal for Emma Lundh who looked certain to score but Carter once again came to Birmingham's rescue, getting across the line to somehow keep out her shot.
Birmingham began to grow stronger as penalties loomed large. Kerys Harrop drove a 25-yard shot which brought out another excellent save from Chamberlain and a scramble in the area ended with Freda Ayisi seeing a hooked volley being charged down by Sophie Ingle.
As the game went into injury time, another Blues attack saw Carter send in a delightful cross from the right, Abbey Leigh Stringer challenged with Ingle and the ball dropped at the feet of Haines, who took a touch before coolly steering her shot past Chamberlain from six yards and sparking off wild celebrations.
There was barely time for Liverpool to kick off again and therefore Birmingham, twice runners-up in the competition, are one stage away from reaching the Final once again.
Birmingham City: Ann-Katrin Berger, Connie Scofield (sub Coral-Jade Haines 66mins), Kerys Harrop, Jess Carter, Emily Westwood, Aoife Mannion, Melissa Lawley, Abbey Leigh Stringer, Kirsty Linnett (sub Chloe Peplow 90mins), Charlie Wellings (sub Freda Ayisi 59mins), Andrine Hegerberg. Subs not used: Sophie Baggaley, Alex Windell, Marisa Ewers.
Liverpool: Siobhan Chamberlain, Satara Murray (sub Ashley Hodson 119mins), Mandy Van Den Berg, Katie Zelem, Gemma Bonner, Sophie Ingle, Kate Longhurst, Laura Coombs (sub Emma Lundh 81mins), Natasha Harding, Caroline Weir, Shanice van de Sanden (sub Niamh Charles 105mins). Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Mollie Green.
(top) Caroline Weir gets in a cross past Aoife Mannion
(middle) Sophie Ingle clears away from Melissa Lawley
(bottom) Coral-Jade Haines steadies herself to score the winning goal for Birmingham
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