Manchester City Women were made to work for their passage to the FA Women’s Cup semi-final as Championship side Leicester City were beaten 2-1 at Farley Way.
A first-half penalty from summer signing Chloe Kelly was followed by a neat looping effort from Georgia Stanway to place the Citizens into a two-goal lead before the break.
However, Leicester remained resilient and defended bravely as the current champions showed their quality.
With over 10 minutes left, Charlie Devlin put the host back into the game when she netted from the penalty spot after Millie Farrows was clipped.
Gareth Taylor’s side managed the remaining minutes of the game well and secured a semi-final meeting with Arsenal.
Story of the game
With both sides making a number of changes ahead of the game, there was no surprise when the Citizens started the strongest of the two.
Inside the opening three minutes, Gill Scott could have opened the scoring when Demi Lambourne’s poor pass was intercepted in the middle of the park and nearly punished.
Fortunately for Lambourne, who made her first start of the season, Scott failed to divert her effort into the net with a lacklustre right-footed effort.
Moments later, Taylor’s side was handed another glorious chance but again failed to make the most of the opportunity.
After some good footwork, Stanway broke through the Foxes defence before forcing Lambourne into a smart low save for a corner.
However, as the first half got old, Leicester began to play their own game. Esmee De Graaf’s shot from the corner of the penalty area evaded everyone in Blue following a good spell of possession.
Manchester City continued to pile the pressure of Lambourne’s goal, with the former-Reading goalkeeper denying White before Stanway’s header cannoned off the crossbar.
Just after the half-hour mark, their pressure paid off. Sophie Barker’s trip on the onrushing Caroline Weir handed the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Kelly tucked away from the penalty, despite Lambourne getting a hand to it, to score her first goal for City since her move from Everton.
Almost immediately after falling behind, the Foxes were nearly level through Barker. However, despite being quiet all game, Karima Taieb tipped the ball away from the top corner.
The Champions doubled their lead before half-time courtesy of Stanway’s smart chip over Lambourne, her third goal of the season and her fourth in the FA Cup.
Despite a quiet second half, the game took a turn when Farrows was brought down in the box after a teasing drive through the penalty box.
Devlin stepped up and fired the ball into the roof of the net to halve the deficit, despite the moans from the City dug-out.
This time last year, the Foxes were easily beaten in Manchester in the Continental Cup.
A year later, Jonathan Morgan's side took the Super League side all the way and put in a very impressive performance.
Ahead of the game, the Foxes manager said his main focus in the league as promotion to the Super League is the priority. Following today's performance, Leicester's chances of promotion will be more favourable.