FA Women’s Cup Fifth Round - Round up: Plenty of drama as the quarter finalists are revealed

Arsenal needed penalties to advance, while Chelsea and Manchester City showed their strength. Sporting Club Albion, meanwhile, continue their Cinderella story as they became the only team from outside the WSL to advance to the sixth round.

FA Women’s Cup Fifth Round - Round up: Plenty of drama as the quarter finalists are revealed
Aston Villa players celebrates Hannah George's winning goal (Photo: Aston Villa LFC)

The fifth round of the FA Women's Cup took place this weekend as the big guns started their campaigns in the competition. 

With some huge names and some huge fixtures, there was plenty to look forward to as the quarter-finalists were revealed.

Last year's top two make it through

The highly anticipated clash between the two WSL 1 sides ended up with Manchester City managing a 2-0 victory over Liverpool. The 743 spectators saw City youngster Georgia Stanway score a screamer from distance in the first half, before Nikita Parris extended the lead in the second half.

Both teams gave their competitive debuts to a number of new signings. For City there were debuts for Kosovare Asllani and Jane Ross, while Liverpool, who have had a bit of an overhaul this off-season, gave debuts to Siobhan Chamberlain, Mandy van den Berg, Alex Greenwood, Sophie Ingle, Laura Coombs, Natasha Harding, Caroline Weir, Emma Lundh and Shanice Van De Sanden.

Chelsea also made it through with a 4-1 win over Doncaster Belles but, despite the score line, the newly promoted side made the Blues work hard for the win.

Doncaster took the lead in the fifth minute through Jess Sigsworth before an own goal levelled up the score. The current holders, Chelsea showed their class in the second half by scoring three goals to secure their advancement. Those goals came courtesy of new signing Karen Carney with a neat lob, Ji So-yun after a well worked Chelsea attack, and lastly Eniola Aluko made it four.

Most WSL 2 sides dumped out - but one progress

Aston Villa are the sole WSL 2 side in the quarter-finals as they beat fellow second division outfit Everton 1-0. Hannah George became the hero for the hosts when she scored her first ever FA Cup goal with a header after 57 minutes.

Everton captain Michelle Hinnigan spoke to the FAWSL website after the game, saying that the team were "disappointed" with their performance as they "didn't take [their] chances" or test Villa's 'keeper "enough." The Toffees will get a chance at revenge on Thursday though when the two sides face off in their first game of the WSL 2 season. 

The rest of the second tier dropped out of the competition though. Sunderland, first of all, beat Yeovil Town 2-0 thanks to two second half goals from Brooke Chaplen.

Sunderland had most of the play in the first half and Stephanie Bannon also had the ball in the net for them, but it was ruled offside. The second half was evenly contested, but the visitors emerged victorious after 90 minutes.

​After nearly two years out with a knee injury, Notts County’s Sophie Bradley-Auckland was back in action. The good news for Notts didn’t stop there. In what was a convincing display, they beat Durham 3-1 with goals coming from Rachel Williams (2) and Ellen White, while Beth Hepple scored the lone goal for Durham.

However, the North-East side were positive despite defeat too, with manager Lee Sanders saying that his team's second half performance was "outstanding" ahead of their big kick-off in the league this week.

Finally, reigning WSL 2 champions Reading started the season strongly by beating Millwall Lionesses 2-0. There were no goals in the first half, but a debut strike from Jade Boho-Sayo put the Royals one up after the break when she latched onto a cross by Lauren Bruton. Emma Folis extended the lead to 2-0 after 73 minutes.

Close encounters elsewhere

Birmingham City surprisingly took Arsenal all the way to penalties, but in the end the Gunners stood victorious after a hard fought battle.

Former Arsenal striker Freda Ayisi claimed the first goal, before Danielle Carter scored to make it 1-1 with 11 minutes to spare. In extra time, the Londoners went close on several occasions through Leah Williamson and Jordan Nobbs, but after the 120 minutes the score was still 1-1.

In the penalty shoot-out Arsenal handled their nerves the best, putting away all five penalties, while Birmingham's Charlie Wellings missed the target.

On the exciting encounter, Nobbs told the FAWSL website that, despite victory, the team "can play a lot better than that." They will hope to do exactly that when they kick off their league campaign this week, but won't be best pleased that they head into that fixture after playing two hours of cup football.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the weekend's affairs saw two third tier teams clash, and it produced perhaps the best match of the weekend as Sporting Club Albion beat Brighton & Hove Albion by a 4-3 scoreline on the road.

Sporting looked to the win secured when Samantha Conroy, Summer Holmes and Abigail Cottham put them 3-0 up after just 17 minutes, but the Seagulls fought back and, with goals from Lisa Fulgence, Sophie Perry and Charley Boswell, they equalised with nine minutes to go.

However, Conroy scored to steal the win just two minutes later, making the FAWPL team, who are associated with West Bromwich Albion, the lowest ranked team left in the competition.

The draw for the sixth round will take place tomorrow.