FA Women’s CupMariners’ Park Att:522 Sunday, March 25, 2018 1:00:00 PM
Ross 90′, 96′
City advanced to the semi-finals of the FA Cup after Jane Ross’ late double and another from Ella Toone helped complete a remarkable 4-2 win over Sunderland in South Shields.
The Scot struck in injury time and extra-time, before Toone added gloss to the scoreline, as the holders produced a sensational comeback having trailed 2-1 until the 90th minute.
The Blues dominated the early proceedings. Jane Ross almost broke the deadlock within a minute but fired straight at Anke Pruess.
Georgia Stanway, who proved a major threat in the opening 45, then drove an effort wide on 13 minutes, before Ellie Roebuck was called into action to deny Lucy Staniforth a minute later.
Stanway went close again with a free-kick, as the visitors piled on the pressure, while Claire Emslie headed wide and Beattie was denied at the near post.
Izzy Christiansen almost marked her 100th City appearance with a goal but bent the ball just wide, while Stanway continued to threaten – first with a mazy run into the box and then a trademark piledriver from range.
The Blues were dealt a hammerblow just after the half-hour mark, as a Staniforth free-kick was flicked on by Hayley Sharp and fell kindly into the path of Williams to poke under Roebuck from close range.
The strike arrived very much against the run of play but Cushing’s side once again found themselves needing a response – and quickly.
Emslie almost found one in spectacular fashion with a long-range thunderbolt, which crashed off the crossbar in added time – the last major action of the half.
Sunderland almost doubled their lead shortly after the break, as Sharp planted a bullet header across goal but thankfully, off-target.
Warning heeded, Cushing introduced fresh legs, calling upon on the attacking duo of Nadia Nadim and Nikita Parris.
The substitution bore fruit on 72 minutes, as South Shields-born Stokes levelled the score, heading in Nadim’s cut-back from Emslie’s cross.
The joy would proved short-lived though as Sunderland restored their lead just four minutes later, as Staniforth unleashed a rocket into the top corner from distance.
But Ross gave City a lifeline, scoring from a rebound with seconds remaining and sending the game into extra-time. Cue delirium on the City bench and in the away end.
It was City who were now very much in the ascendancy and we were soon ahead when Ross scored her second of the afternoon. Ella Toone skipped past her marker before cutting back for the Scot, who fired a first-time left-footed strike past Preuss.
City weren’t finished yet, though. Toone, so instrumental in City’s third, made it 4-2 with just six minutes of extra-time left to play.
A breathless, wonderful 120 minutes of football that saw two sides produce moments of magic – but, crucially, it is City are through.
What it means…
City will travel to Chelsea in the semi-finals on Sunday 15 April. Arsenal face Everton in the other last-four tie.
How we lined up…
Cushing made four changes to the side that claimed a 2-0 advantage in the Champions League quarter-final clash with Linkoping, handing well-deserved rests to the England trio of Steph Houghton, Jill Scott and Keira Walsh.
Nikita Parris also dropped to the bench, as Mie Jans and Claire Emslie came in, alongside Tessel Middag – making her first start in ten months – and Izzy Christiansen, making her 100th appearance for the Club.
Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck was shielded by a backline of Demi Stokes, stand-in captain Jen Beattie, Jans and Abbie McManus with Middag employed in the defensive midfield role. Georgia Stanway and Christiansen occupied the midfield, while Emslie and Mel Lawley operated on the wings. Jane Ross led the line upfront.
City travel to Sweden for the second leg of our European last eight tie with Linkoping (Wednesday 28 March, 6pm CET), before hosting Reading at the Academy Stadium on Easter Sunday 1 April (2pm) in the Super League.
Tickets for all home games are available via tickets.mancity.com or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.