Last-minute penalty decides the tie – Arsenal 3-2 Notts County
In the Friday night game, Arsenal took an early lead through a Casey Stoney header inside of ten minutes and full of confidence went on to dictate most of the first-half, but a late resurgence from Notts saw them go in level after Fern Whelan’s header evaded Emma Byrne.
The visitors came out flying in the second-half and took the lead seven minutes after the restart. Jess Clarke worked an inch of space in the box before firing across and curling one inside of the far post. The Gunners moved up through the gears as they hunted for an equaliser but County were matching them every step of the way as the ball travelled from one end of the pitch and back again during a breathless thirty minutes.
With less than ten minutes to play Arsenal drew level as Kelly Smith picked up the ball outside the box and fired into bottom corner, well out of Megan Walsh’s reach. With the game destined for extra time, Laura Bassett was adjudged to have fouled Asisat Oshoala in the box as she slid the ball away. Fara Williams made no mistake from the spot to give Arsenal the lead, and the win, with just stoppage time remaining.
Déjà vu for City – Manchester City 4-1 Doncaster Belles
Over four thousand people tuned into an official Facebook to watch Manchester City beat the Belles to reach the next round.
City set the pace early, dominating from the off, but struggled with their final ball against a well regimented Belles side. Just as they had in their previous game, City took the lead late in the first-half through an Izzy Christiansen header and carried the advantage into the break.
It was more of the same from both after the restart, City dominating and the Belles standing up to the pressure and looking a little dangerous on the counter. As they had against Reading earlier in the week, City added a second late in the game courtesy of a driven effort from an attacking substitute. Georgia Stanway stamped her mark on the game with a peach of a goal, firing low into the far corner from outside the box to beat Nicola Hobbs and all but secure the win.
The goal pushed the Belles into action as Kasia Lipka drew a smart save from Marie Hourihan to force a corner, Marta Mathews the happy recipient as she poked home from close range, but that was where the fight-back ended.
Once againm almost from the restart, the fans were treated to another goal, the Belles unable to clear the ball in front of their box as it fell through to Toni Duggan who rolled it under Hobbs to make it three.
The Citizens put the game to bed when Stanway turned creator to knock the ball down for Jane Ross to prod home.
Stalemate in Solihull – Birmingham City 1-0 Liverpool (AET)
It should have been of little surprise when Birmingham, who’d drawn six games (in all comps), took the game to extra time against a Liverpool team who’d registered four draws in the league.
The 90 minutes ebbed and flowed but neither side managed to take their chances when they came and were resigned to extra time. Extra time continued in the same vein, both sides fully in it but neither able to find that killer last ball to beat two fine keepers.
However, with penalties looming, after two full hours the game finally got it's first goal. Following another smart cross from Jess Carter, substitute Coral-Jade Haines was unmarked and poked past a superb Siobhan Chamberlain with almost the last kick of the game. Liverpool were denied a deserved shootout, while Birmingham’s defence came up trumps once more.
Bees end Sheffield’s unbeaten run – Sheffield 0-2 London Bees
Leading on from their league win over the Bees, Sheffield got the ball rolling against the London outfit again and, although they saw less of the possession in the first half, looked far more dangerous than the visitors.
The Bees sparked into life after the restart though and started to make their possession count as they finally broke the deadlock through Ashleigh Goddard, who nodded the ball past Juliana Draycott following a pin-point cross from Eva Popadinova.
Although Sheffield continued to press, they couldn’t find a way through the Bees defence or past Beth Davies and, after sending too many forward at a late (late) corner, the Bees added a second. Despite a well delivered ball, the visitors broke on them as Arsenal loanee Evie Clarke beat the offside trap to round Draycott before rolling the ball into the net.