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Chelsea 5 Sunderland 1
Chelsea eventually cruised into the semi finals of the SSE FA Women's Cup with a 5-1 win, after trailing Sunderland for much of the first half at Staines Town FC.
Doubles from Ramona Bachmann then Hannah Blundell saw the home side take control with Drew Spence's header in the last minute completing the scoring.
In truth, after a stuttering first half hour when it seemed that a resilient Sunderland might upset the hosts, Chelsea clicked into gear and created a regular stream of chances.
Ji So-Yun was Chelsea's main threat in the opening half hour, three times shooting inches wide from distance. At the other end, Danielle Brown earned a penalty for Sunderland, brought down when challenging for a lofted through ball. Lucy Staniforth converted the spot kick to give the Black Cats the lead.
Chelsea were frustrated by good work from the visitors with Victoria Williams and Hayley Sharp solid in central defence. Gradually though, the pressure took its toll. Keeper Anke Preuss denied Jade Bailey from a Karen Carney corner but was left helpless on 39 minutes when Bachmann was sent clear to score after good work by Millie Bright, Blundell and Crystal Dunn.
Bachmann added a superb second with a run from halfway and a one-two with Karen Carney to beat the defence on 44 minutes. The advantage was extended on 49 minutes when Claire Rafferty played in an inviting cross for Blundell to drive home on the half volley at the far post.
The rest of the match was an attacking exhibition from the home team. Williams made a couple of fine interceptions to foil Chelsea and Preuss denied Bachmann her hat-trick with an excellent save. Dunn volleyed over from close range but Carney, outstanding in linking up play all over the pitch, provided the spark to extend the home lead. Blundell added a delightful fourth after an exchange of passes with Carney on the hour.
Sunderland battled hard but were unable to stem the flow of attacks with substitutes Beth England, Erin Cuthbert and Drew Spence providing fresh impetus to the forward play. Preuss saved well again from a Millie Bright drive and it was not till the final seconds that classic wing play from Carney on the right set up Spence for a powerfully headed fifth.
Chelsea entered the semi final draw on Monday on the back of two commanding wins but knowing that three difficult opponents were potentially waiting to challenge them for a return to Wembley.
Hedvig Lindahl, Maren Mjelde, Jade Bailey, Millie Bright, Hannah Blundell, Katie Chapman, Karen Carney, Claire Rafferty, Ji So-Yun, Ramona Bachmann, Crystal Dunn. Subs: Fran Kitching, Beth England, Drew Spence, Erin Cuthbert, Deanna Cooper.
Anke Preuss, Steph Bannon, Hayley Sharp, Victoria Williams, Abby Holmes, Danielle Brown, Lucy Staniforth, Madeleine Hill, Dominique Bruinenberg, Stephanie Roche, Keira Ramshaw. Subs: Sophy Stonehouse, Abbey Joice, Mollie Lambert, Bridget Galloway, Olivia Watt.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Karen Carney and Madeleine Hill go to great lengths to win the ball!
(middle) Maren Mjelde tries to block a clearance from Abby Holmes
(bottom) Stephanie Roche is faced by Jade Bailey and Katie Chapman
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