After Reading claimed the first spot in the semi-finals with a shoot-out win over Everton, both Arsenal and Chelsea reigned supreme at home as Manchester City found their way past a stubborn Bristol side.
Kirsty Linnett was the hero for Reading as they triumphed from the spot after 90 goalless minutes in Widnes. The former Birmingham City player the one to finally break the deadlock four minutes into extra time with a clean strike from 25-yards before Chloe Kelly restored parity in the second-half of ET.
With the pressure then put on the ‘keepers, Grace Moloney came out on top, saving both Kelly’s and Dan Turner's efforts from 12-yards, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Millie Green and Chaney Boye-Hlorkah successful from the spot. Having been beaten by Brooke Chalen and Melissa Fletcher, Kirstie Levell denied Lauren Bruton before Remi Allen gave the Royals the edge, Linnett’s penalty the decisive one.
Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
There could only be one winner when Sunderland returned to one of their least favourite WSL grounds, Arsenal impressing under new manager Joe Montemurro. Jordan Nobbs found the opener fifteen minutes in when she fired Lisa Evans's smart cross past Rachael Laws, the Sunderland stalwart beaten again 20 minutes later by a neat Vivianne Miedema header.
Looking better after the break, the Lady Black Cats cut the deficit in half when Bridget Galloway grabbed her third in three just before the hour though it was for naught as Beth Mead sealed the tie with a powerful effort fifteen minutes from time.
On top from the off, Fran Kirby’s fifth minute goal set the pace in London as the hosts cut into their opposition time and again, Kirby and Ramona Bachmann working the Reds defence all the way through the first half. Quick-fire goals from the attacking duo half-way through the first half saw Liverpool three goals down before the half hour, the visitors doing what they could to rally after the break.
A Casey Stoney goal at a corner the consolation for the visitors who soon reverted to their first half form after Kirby fired in her third, their heads low as substitute Erin Cuthbert fired in a sublime fifth.
A team who’ve shown huge improvements over the course of the year, Bristol were unperturbed by the task at hand, the first team to come close over the 90 minutes. Dropping into a smart defensive shape, the Vixens thwarted City at every turn before Nikita Parris broke the deadlock just after the hour, when she headed Abbie McManus’s cross home. Sophie Baggaley continued to impress on her loan-spell with Bristol, the young ‘keeper keeping the score beyond respectable, Jen Beattie’s towering header three minutes from time doing little to diminish her fine day in the office.
Chelsea vs Manchester City
Reading vs Arsenal
Semi finals are scheduled to be played over the weekend of 13-14 January