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Women's Football News
The line up for the semi finals of the SSE Women's FA Cup are all from the FA WSL, but all of the three remaining Championship teams in the quarter finals ensured that none of their higher division opponents had a smooth passage into the last four.
The first teams in action on the day were Durham Women and holders Chelsea, the home side hoping to claim another top flight scalp after victory over Bristol City in the last sixteen.
In blustery conditions and in front of the Wildcats' record attendance, the home side almost made a dream start when Sarah Wilson's free kick was tipped onto the bar by Carly Telford. Durham had the wind at their backs during the first half and pressed hard to take advantage but it was Chelsea who took the lead on the half hour with their first attempt on goal, Erin Cuthbert crossing for Ji So-Yun to score from close range. The conditions did not make it easy for either side to fashion chances with Millie Bright going close for Chelsea from a corner. Ramona Bachmann hit the post late on as Chelsea sought the comfort of a second goal and although that did not come, they were able to keep things tight at the back themselves. Durham go out of the competition with heads held high but Chelsea it is who progress with a 1-0 victory.
There was late, late drama at Reading FC Women where the home side progressed at the expense of Manchester Utd with a 3-2 win.
The game was goalless at the end of ninety minutes, before exploding into life in extra time. Alex Greenwood opened the scoring for United from the penalty spot, with Reading getting back on level terms two minutes later through Remi Allen. United went back in front via an own goal by Natasha Harding but once again, Reading equalised straight away when Rachel Furness swept in from close range and after a Fara Williams ‘goal', direct from a corner, was disallowed for foul, Reading were to have the final say and substitute Rakel Honnudottir scored the winner - the first time her side had led all game - with seconds left on the clock (see match report).
West Ham Utd meanwhile reached the semi finals for the first time in their history as they won 1-0 away to Aston Villa. The home side almost got off to the perfect start as in-form striker Jodie Hutton struck the post early on, but the Hammers settled down and took the lead on 26 minutes through an opportunist finish from Jane Ross. Villa again hit the woodwork, this time and inswinging corner from Amy West clipping the bar, and Nadine Hanssen shot wide when well placed but the Hammers held on to their lead going into the interval and were to hit the woodwork twice themselves during the second half, Alisha Lehmann and Ross were the players going close. Leanne Kiernan twice went close late on for the visitors and Jade Richards almost forced extra time when her header was just off target, but West Ham managed to close the game out for a hard earned victory.
The only all-WSL tie on the day was actually the only one to be settled by a margin of more than one goal, as Manchester City defeated Liverpool 3-0. After a bright start, Janine Beckie fired City in front at the midpoint of the the first half but Liverpool were looking lively themselves going forward and twice Rinsola Babajide was denied by well timed tackles from Jennifer Beattie. After the break, Steph Houghton curled a free kick narrowly over the bar but the introduction of Georgia Stanway as a substitute proved to be a telling point in the game. Stanway doubled City's lead from Nikita Parris' pass and two minutes remaining, the striker produced what is now a trademark 25-yard finish to wrap up the win for her side.
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