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Adobe Women’s FA Cup

Wolverhampton Wanderers took the honours in the Fourth Round as they came from behind to knock out Barclays Women’s Championship side Reading FC Women with a 2-1 victory.

Reading, who were playing in the WSL last season, took the lead ten minutes before half time through Madison Perry but after the break, Beth Merrick put Wolves back on level terms and Destiney Toussaint headed in the winning goal for the FAWNL Northern Premier Division side with three minutes remaining (see match report).

Wolves have been rewarded with a home draw in the last sixteen against WSL opposition, in the shape of Brighton & Hove Albion who ended the proud run of Luton Town with a 6-0 victory. The Eastern Region League side, the last remaining Tier 5 club in the competition, battled hard and held out for 34 minutes, until Veatriki Sarri put the Seagulls in front. Vicky Losada added a second ahead of half time and after the break, Tatiana Pinto scored twice and Brighton went on to add further goals through Elisabeth Terland and Pauline Bremer.

Holders Chelsea received a scare against West Ham Utd as they commenced their defence of the trophy but they eventually came through it with a 3-1 victory after extra time. The Hammers led for much of the game through an eighteenth minute strike from Viviane Asseyi, until midway through the second half, when Mia Fishel levelled the scores. Normal time could not produce a winner but in the first period of extra time, two goals in a five minute spell from Erin Cuthbert and Aggie Beever-Jones tipped the game decisively in Chelsea’s direction.

Chelsea will be at home again in the Fifth Round, to Crystal Palace who also recorded a 3-1 win against Blackburn Rovers. Palace also needed to come from behind to finally topple Rovers, who took the lead with a goal from Megan Hornby just before the hour mark. With fifteen minutes left, Hayley Nolan put Palace back on level terms and Elise Hughes added a second shortly afterwards. The comeback was crowned late on when Molly-Mae Sharpe made the game safe with the third goal.

Arsenal meanwhile advanced to the last sixteen as they ran out 5-1 winners over Watford. The Gunners got off to a flying start and were two ahead inside the opening twelve minutes thanks to Alessia Russo and Lia Walti. The third came midway through the second half, scored by Stina Blackstenius, but Watford fought hard and duly pulled a goal back through Michelle Agyemang. This turned out to be a consolation for the Championship side though as Arsenal put the seal on the win with two more strikes in the last four minutes, Amanda Ilestedt and Frida Maanum getting on the scoresheet.

This sets up Arsenal up with a mouthwatering Fifth Round tie against Manchester City, who ended the hopes of Durham Women with a 4-0 victory. In front of a club record attendance of 2,381 at Maiden Castle, Laura Coombs gave the Cityzens a seventh minute lead and Jill Roord made it two ahead of half time. Roord then completed her double midway through the second half and Mary Fowler added the final goal in the dying minutes.

Last season’s beaten finalists Manchester Utd began their quest for a return trip to Wembley by beating Newcastle Utd 5-0. The tie was one of the biggest eyecatchers in the draw but higher status was to tell as Ella Toone gave United the lead just before half time and Nikita Parris added a double, with goals either side of half time. Rachel Williams made it four with twenty minutes remaining and Melvine Malard rounded off the scoring in injury time.

United will be up against lower division opposition again in the last sixteen, this time travelling to Southampton who had a successful long journey themselves on Sunday, winning 2-0 away to Sunderland. A close match was anticipated between two teams who have been amongst the leading sides in the Championship all season and it was the Saints who were to have the edge, a second half double from in-form striker Katie Wilkinson seeing them to a 2-0 victory.

The comeback of the day was staged by Tottenham Hotspur who broke Sheffield Utd hearts with a dramatic 3-2 win after having been two goals down. The Blades took a first half lead through Sophie Haywood and looked to be on their way towards causing a big upset when Jess Sigsworth made it two, early in the second half. Beth England pulled one back for Spurs with twenty minutes left and the England striker then brought the scores level with an equaliser from the penalty spot. Extra time was looking imminent but in the sixth minute of injury time, Rosella Ayane popped up to score the winner.

Tottenham will now face a London derby tie in the next round against former winners Charlton Athletic, who came through a difficult trip to Ipswich Town with a 4-1 victory. Sophie Peskett gave the Tractor Girls the best possible start with she gave them the lead after eight minutes but three goals in a nine minute spell just before half time, Melissa Johnson netting twice and former Ipswich player Freya Godfrey adding the third via a penalty, put the Addicks in control of the tie. Any remaining hopes for the home side were ended with Elisha N’Dow scored a fourth with sixteen minutes remaining.

There was late drama at Ashton Gate where Liverpool advanced to the last sixteen with a 1-0 victory over Bristol City. Gemma Bonner scored the only goal of the game for the Reds with five minutes remaining, after they had been reduced to ten players when Ceri Holland was red carded.

Liverpool will be on their travels once again in the next round, to London City Lionesses who ended the Cup run of Moneyfields by beating them 4-0. The Lionesses took the lead in first half injury time through Ruesha Littlejohn and after the break, the Moneys’ resistance was ended as the Championship side added further goals through Grace Neville, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah and Danielle Carter.

Two clubs from the FA Women’s National League remain in the competition and joining Wolves in the Fifth Round are Nottingham Forest after they made a successful trip to Plymouth Argyle. Two first half goals from Louanne Worsey set Forest on their way towards a 6-1 victory, Holly Manders making it three within four minutes of the restart and they were joined on the scoresheet by Sophie Domingo, Mai Moncaster and Charlotte Greengrass, before Jade Berrow netted a late consolation for Argyle.

Forest have been well rewarded in the draw with a plum home tie against former winners Everton, who started the weekend off with a 3-0 win away to Aston Villa. The third all-WSL clash was goalless at the interval but the Toffees were to break the deadlock through Karoline Olesen, just before the hour mark. Everton went on to crown the win with two goals in last ten minutes from Katja Snoeijs, the second of which came from the penalty spot.

Leicester City made the short trip to Derby County and three second half goals helped them advance with a 4-0 victory. Lena Petermann opened with the scoring with 27 minutes on the clock and after the interval, Janice Cayman doubled their lead. Deanne Rose made it three with twenty minutes remaining and a late Charlotte Steggles own goal rounded off the scoring.

Leicester now face an intriguing tie at home to Birmingham City who negotiated a difficult trip to Burnley FC Women, winning 3-1 after extra time. Libby Smith gave Birmingham the lead midway through the first half and they remained in front until deep into injury time, when Millie Ravening held her nerve to equalise from the penalty spot and send the tie into the extra period. The Blues were to go back in front thanks to Claudia Walker and Jade Moore made the game safe with the third goal.