The four home sides progressed to the final four of the league cup after successfully navigating their midweek ties.
The only second tier side to make it to the last eight, United took advantage of an off-colour West Ham side to stamp their dominance at home. A goal to the good less than 20 minutes in when Lauren James’ teasing ball ricocheted off of Kate Longhurst’s ankle, leaving Becky Spencer rooted. Keeping Spencer busy, the Red Devils found a second early in the second half when Jess Sigsworth tussled with Longhurst to come away with the ball and wrap it between Spencer and her near post. The goal allowed to stand despite the strong protestations of the Hammers as Sigsworth’s challenge appeared far from legal. The hosts never a long way from a third though it refused to come.
Having been run close in their last meeting with the Royals last month, the Blues made no mistakes as they ran out 4-0 winners at Kingsmeadow. Up and running in the third minute when Fran Kirby was left alone to sweep home from ten-yards out, the hosts never looked back. With one player returning from injury and finding herself on the scoresheet, long term absentee Anita Asante finally opened her account for Chelsea with an angled finish in her third start since last February.
Defensively slack in the first half, the Royals did well to dig in and keep themselves alive in the tie, the pressure from Chelsea telling once more, three minutes from time as Kirby bested Grace Moloney for the second time. The match rubberstamped in stoppage time as Ali Riley slotted the ball in the far corner from Kirby’s square pass.
Arguably off of the pace for the majority of the match, the Gunners pulled off a late snatch and grab at home to keep their hopes of retaining the trophy alive. Following on from Aoife Mannion’s first half penalty miss, the visitors continued to dominate, finally getting a goal for their troubles when Lucy Quinn raced between Dominque Bloodworth and Sari van Veenendaal to send the ball rolling home. With slightly more presence in the box than their opposition, Arsenal pounced of a piece of slack defending from the blues as Vivianne Miedema teed up Daniëlle van de Donk six minutes from time. Back in the game and pressing for a last gasp winner, a threaded ball from Katie McCabe gave Miedema something to chase onto the striker pulling Hannah Hampton out far enough to roll the ball into the unguarded net and knock the visitors out.
A slow burner with a rip-roaring finale, the Citizens were the fourth and final team to book their spot in the semi-finals with a hearty win over Brighton. Off the mark six minutes in when Nikita Parris chipped Sophie Harris, the hosts were soon pulled back after Karen Bardsley and Ini Umotong tangled in the box with Dani Buet converting the subsequent penalty.
The lead restored midway through the first half when Lauren Hemp’s shot deflected beyond Harris, the hosts forced to wait until after the hour for a third, Caroline Weir’s bullet from range enough of a cushion. Well on top and having worn the Seagulls down, City added a fourth five minutes from time when Hemp danced through the defence before rolling the ball home. Four became five two minutes later as Claire Emslie got in on the party before Georgia Stanway hit her own shot from range in the closing stages to make it six all before Janine Beckie wrapped up proceedings.
The semi-final draw will be made at Bramall Lane at half time between Sheffield United and QPR this weekend with ties scheduled to be played around 6 February.