Manchester City headed to Sutton Coldfield Town’s Stadium on the back of back-to-back draws against Liverpool and manager Nick Cushing rang the changes as Karen Bardsley, Toni Duggan, Abbie McManus, Jennifer Beattie and Daphne Corboz were all rested. In their place there were starts for Marie Hourihan, Nikitia Parris whilst Megan Campbell and Tessel Middag were handed their full debuts.
City were handed a gift just three minutes into the game as Elisha N’Dow handled a seemingly innocuous pass inside the penalty area and referee Sarah Garrett pointed to the spot. Nikita Parris made no mistake sending goalkeeper Grace Moloney the wrong way.
The goal gave City confidence and they went close to adding a second with chances from Jill Scott, who fired wide after a long run through the middle, and Middag, whose shot was blocked after a pull back at the far post by Asllani.
On 17 minutes Jane Ross capitalised onto a misplaced Villa pass; the Scottish international raced into the box and tried to round Moloney but the Villa number one recovered to make a superb block. However, the rebound fell kindly to Ross whose second shot was handled on the line by Chloe Jones. Referee Garrett showed the Villa centre back her marching orders and Ross duly dispatched the second penalty.
Virtually from the restart City made it 3-0 as a superbly whipped in cross from Middag on the left found Parris at the far post who volley home from close range.
City almost made it 4-0 on 31 minutes as Middag carved the Villa defence open with a superb through pass to Bronze on the right; the full back squared it to the waiting Ross but only a superb block from Sarah Mayling prevented a certain goal.
The relief was temporary as from the resultant corner, Kosovare Asllani whipped the set piece to far post where it was knocked down by Parris into the path of Middag who clipped it into the net from close range.
Only Villa’s Moloney prevented City from extending their lead further in the first half as first she tipped a superb effort from Parris onto the pass from a narrow angle. She followed this up by tipping Middag’s improvised back heel from a corner round the post just before half time.
The only question that remained to be answered in the second was how many City might add to their talley.
The fifth arrived on 59 minutes when substitute Megan Campbell’s cross from the left evaded both Moloney and Ross in the middle but Parris was on hand at the far post and fired home to claim her hat-trick.
The goal of the match came on 79 minutes when a Steph Houghton free kick deflected off the Villa wall and into the path of Daphne Corboz who unleashed an unstoppable first time effort into the top right hand corner of the goal from 25 yards out.
Arguably the biggest cheer of the day came as news filtered through to the crowd that Chelsea had been beaten on penalties by London Bees. That was moments before Jill Scott made it seven in the 92nd minute when Parris turned provider firing a cross to the fire post where the England international’s header bounced in and over a helpless Villa goalkeeper.
The eighth came almost from the restart as Jane Ross was allowed to turn 20 yards out and powered home a hard low effort into the bottom right hand corner. If not for some strong saves from Moloney in the Aston Villa goal, the scoreline would have been more emphatic but City deservedly take their place in the quarter final on August 8th.