First half goals from Nikita Parris and Jane Ross were enough to secure Manchester City’s place in the women’s FA Cup Semi Final with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Sporting Club Albion.
Manager Nick Cushing was able to hand full debuts to Marie Hourihan as well as Development squad players Zoe Tynan and Alethea Paul as he rested Toni Duggan, Jill Scott and Karen Bardsley ahead of next Friday’s England game.
City were on the front foot from the first minute as a wonderful pass inside the full back from Daphne Corboz released Nikita Parris one-on-one but the City winger’s shot was well saved at the near post from Rebecca Thomas in the Albion goal. From the corner, City went close again as three attempts on goal were all blocked before Albion were eventually able to clear their lines.
It took just seven minutes for the deadlock to break as Parris burst into the box after a wonderful cross field pass from Kosovare Asllani; Parris beat her marker but had a lot of good fortune in the finish as the clearance was cleared against her and into the top corner.
City continued to press for goals and four minutes later Corboz was given the time and space to turn at the edge of the penalty area but fired her shot just wide of the post. On 18 minutes Parris broke into the penalty area again passing to Alethea Paul but the young winger took a touch too many and Albion were able to clear the ball away.
It was 2-0 on 22 minutes as Parris again was allowed to dribble through the defence, her shot was again blocked by Thomas at the near post but the rebound fell kindly to Jane Ross who rolled it into an empty net. From there City were comfortable as they had further chances to extend their lead in the first half but Sporting Club Albion defended resolutely as the two sends went into half time with the score remaining at 2-0.
The second began in similar fashion to how the first half ended as the influential Corboz was released by an excellent pass on the right hand side with again Albion keeper Thomas forced into a good save at the near post on 47 minutes. Two minutes later Corboz and Parris combined again until as Parris low cross was pulled back to the American under-23 international on the penalty spot but again Thomas was equal to the task.
However, Albion defended resolutely and the avalanche of goals failed to materialise with Daphne Corboz low shot being spilled into the path of Parris, who from a tight angle fired wide of the post from a yard out. Corboz looked liked City’s most likely threat of a goal as she had another strong left footed effort tipped over the bar just after the hour mark.
With injuries and his small squad clearly on his mind Nick Cushing withdrew Corboz shortly after to be replaced by Georgia Stanway recently returned from international duty. Stanway came close herself to increasing the lead on 77 minutes when her volley from 12 yards out was deflected just over.
With nine minutes remaining Sporting Club Albion forced their first effort on goal as Tina Greaves long range effort deceived the otherwise quiet Marie Hourihan with a 25 yarder cannoning back off the crossbar.
However City take their place in the Semi Final of the FA Cup for the second consecutive season
Player of the Match: Nikita Parris (Manchester City)