Chelsea 5-0 Birmingham City
Words and EXCLUSIVE Photos From Ben Gilby at Kingsmeadow (20/3/22)
Above: Chelsea celebrate Magda Eriksson’s opening goal this afternoon. Photo: Ben Gilby for Impetus.
Chelsea gained a comprehensive victory over Birmingham City in the FA Cup Quarter-Finals, but it took a spell of four goals in seventeen second-half minutes to turn their dominance into a scoreboard lead.
The home side brought back talismanic captain Magda Eriksson for her first start after recovering from a long-term ankle injury. Sam Kerr was rested on the bench with an eye on the club’s midweek game in hand against Tottenham Hotspur which could send Emma Hayes’ team top of the FAWSL.
Chelsea dominated the first half and their one-touch passing football was a joy to behold, but 76% possession only led to one shot on target until the final minute of the half. That was Millie Bright’s sensational long-range effort which cannoned back off of the crossbar. The pressure finally told just before the break when Beth England’s ball was headed home by Eriksson to the relief of all inside Kingsmeadow.
The second half continued in a one-sided manner and Chelsea effectively made the game safe with 55 minutes played thanks to a superb long-range effort by Drew Spence. Within seven minutes a piece of genius from Spence, who backheeled delightfully to Beth England to sweep home from close range made it 3-0.
There were two further goals, a header from Niamh Charles and another low long-range effort from England which completed the scoring.
There was the welcome return to the Kingsmeadow turf of Maren Mjelde from the bench, who was back after a devastating injury in the 2021 Conti Cup Final almost 12 months and one week ago.
Birmingham had a few attacks towards the end, but Ann-Katrin Berger had only one shot to save on target all afternoon and Jess Carter put in some absolutely superb tackles to keep City at arms-length.
The final whistle saw the Blues into yet another FA Cup Semi-Final. With Arsenal, Manchester City, and West Ham United the potential opponents, it will be a tough path to another Wembley Final for Emma Hayes’ side.
Ben Gilby’s EXCLUSIVE Photo Gallery From Kingsmeadow for Impetus:
Click on the arrow on the right-hand side of the image to advance to the next photo.
Teams: CHELSEA (3-5-2): Berger, Bright, Eriksson, Carter, Charles, Spence, Ingle, Ji, Andersson, Fleming, England. Substitutes: Musovic (GK), Nouwen, Reiten, Mjelde, James, Kerr, Cuthbert, Abdullina.Scorers: Eriksson 45′, Spence 55′, England 62′, 72′. Charles 65′.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-5-1): Hourihan, Cowie, Lawley, Quinn, Robertson, Ryan-Doyle, Finn, Murray, Sarri, Quinn, Smith. Substitutes: Simkin, Ramsey (GK), Jenner, Jones, Wildgoose, Cole.
Referee: Lauren Impey.