Chelsea and Birmingham City have history in the Women’s FA Cup, with the latter winning its first and thus far only major trophy over the Women’s Super League defending champions almost 10 years ago. A lot has changed ever since, with the Londoners growing in squad strength and trophies won.
For a few minutes from kick-off, all of that was forgotten. Birmingham City tried to show the hosts at Kingsmeadow they were out to play for the win, making goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger keep her eyes peeled by winning several challenges for the ball in our defensive third. That however would last only a couple of minutes as Chelsea would quickly rearrange and assert themselves as the serial trophy winners that they are.
Many were our chances to score in the first half but the Blues either lacked aim to keep their shots goalwards, or space with Birmingham entrenching themselves in defence and trying to block everything coming their way. Their resistance would eventually falter after a late first half free kick from Jonna Andersson, meeting Bethany England on the far post. The striker squared the ball to the box and captain Magda Eriksson, returning to Chelsea’s starting lineup after three months sidelined due to injury, put it past goalkeeper Marie Hourihane to get us ahead in the scoreline.
One thing that makes this Chelsea team special is that one goal is never enough for them. The home advantage is always played to the fullest, with the Blues looking to add as many goals to the scoreline as they can, and often only limited by their own tiredness.
Such was the case in the second half. Drew Spence scored her 50th Chelsea goal with a neat finish from outside the box, and then assisted Beth England with a backheel pass. Niamh Charles would add a fourth goal with a header, and Beth England would net a brace shortly after.
Many would stop at five-nil, but not Chelsea — nor Beth England, trying to climb her way back into regular football in this very talented squad. She got quite close to a hat-trick, but lacked perhaps a bit more time to do full damage to a battered Birmingham City defence.
- Ann-Katrin Berger is back on goal, as Zecira Musovic has had most of the workload between Chelsea’s posts as of late. And captain Magda Eriksson is back on the starting lineup after three months of absence due to injury, deputising in defence with Jess Carter and Millie Bright.
- Subs are Lauren James for Ji So-yun, Maren Mjelde for Niamh Charles, and Alsu Abdullina for Jessie Fleming.
- This first half had signs that it was going to be one of those days where we just don’t have any luck. Happy to be proved wrong by our captain!
- It’s becoming harder to define a “main” starting lineup for this team, if there’s any need for such a thing.
- And to the semi-finals, we go!
- Next up: Tottenham at home in the Women’s Super League.