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Women's Football News
The weather intervened in the Women's FA Cup over the weekend with three of the five scheduled ties on Sunday being postponed.
One of those three games was re-arranged for Thursday night and produced one of the biggest shocks of the tournament this season as Leicester City defeated Reading FC Women 2-1 after extra time. Reading took the lead on the stroke of half time when Maz Pacheco scored from the penalty spot but after the break, Leicester hit back and with eleven minutes remaining, drew level when Paige Bailey-Gayle fired home a shot from 25 yards. This took the match into extra time and, with the game just five minutes away from a penalty shootout, Bailey-Gayle struck again with another shot from the edge of the area which hit the underside of the bat and bounced over the line. There was not enough time for Reading to recover and Leicester became the first Championship side into the last eight.
Amongst the games which did go ahead on Sunday was the tie between holders Manchester City and Ipswich Town, the last remaining Tier 4 side in the competition. The Tractor Girls remained on terms for the opening nineteen minutes but goals in quick succession from Laura Coombs, Pauline Bremer and Jess Park ensured that City were three ahead at half time. After the break, City continued to dominate against a valiant Ipswich side with Georgia Stanway hitting a hat-trick, whilst Bremer and Park both completed their own personal trebles to wrap up a 10-0 victory for City.
The other match to go ahead on Sunday was in the north east, where Sunderland played host to Birmingham City. In a game played in a strong wind, the Blues had the better of the first half but Sunderland came more into if after the break but neither side could make a breakthrough. Five minutes from time, with extra time looming, the deadlock was broken when Lucy Staniforth scored against her old club from a free kick. The England international was actually red carded before play could resume and Birmingham needed to negotiate eight minutes of injury time before they could finally celebrate a 1-0 win.
Three games were played on Monday evening, including at Ashton Gate where Everton ran out 5-0 winners away to Bristol City. The home side were without a number of players but Everton produced a stylish performance, Lucy Graham giving them an early lead against her old club and Esme Morgan quickly adding a second. Graham headed in from a corner to leave her side three ahead at half time. In the second half, Inessa Kaagman poked in the fourth after being set up by Hannah Cain who then completed the scoring with an acrobatic volley from a Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah cross.
Chelsea played host to Liverpool at Kingsmeadow and booked their place in the last eight with a 1-0 victory. Chelsea started the game strongly and were rewarded midway through the first half when Guro Reiten volleyed in from Sophie Ingle's flick. The Blues could not add to this strike but it was enough to take them through, whilst Liverpool went down to a defeat by the odd goal once again (see match report).
Tottenham Hotspur meanwhile equalled their best run in the competition to date when they won 5-0 at Coventry Utd. Siri Worm gave Spurs the lead with a shot from distance and Rianna Dean made it two from the penalty spot after being brought down in the area by Hayley Crackle. Dean then scored a second penalty on the stroke of half time following a foul on Angela Addison. Coventry continued to battle hard after the break but could not find a way back into the game and Lucia Leon made it four with twelve minutes remaining, before Dean headed in from a Lucy Quinn cross to complete her hat-trick.
Two games still remain; Arsenal will be at home to Lewes on Sunday whilst Crystal Palace take on Brighton & Hove Albion next Tuesday night.
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