Tottenham Women manager Robert Vilahamn believes his side will use their FA Cup final defeat to start something special, rather than ending their good work.

Spurs were hammered 4-0 by Manchester United Women in Sunday's Wembley Stadium showpiece as Ella Toone and Rachel Williams were on target before Lucia Garcia's second-half double.

Vilahamn's side failed to manage a shot on target but the Spurs boss suggested his team will catch up to the women's elite clubs.

"The main thing I said was this is not the end, it is the beginning," Vilahamn said.

"We still have a gap between us and the top teams but that's normal. We are closing the gap but we haven't closed the gap yet."

Tottenham finished sixth in the Women's Super League as well as reaching this final, their first FA Cup showpiece appearance in their short history.

Vilahamn wants his Spurs players to use this defeat as motivation going forward.

"If you take away the feelings right now, you need to look at these players doing some incredible things this year," he said.

"We are at Wembley playing in front of our fans and they are actually enjoying it and staying, and supporting us after.

"We got a good experience today and we are learning how to play at Wembley more times. We need to look at it that way because the players are amazing."

Marc Skinner lauded his Manchester United Women side as "history-makers" after their first FA Cup triumph in history on Sunday.

The Red Devils swept aside Tottenham Women with a 4-0 victory at Wembley Stadium as Ella Toone and Rachel Williams were on target before Lucia Garcia's second-half double.

United missed out in the final of the Women's FA Cup last season, losing to Chelsea 1-0, but produced an emphatic response to secure the first major trophy in their history.

Having lost in Champions League qualifying, suffered group-stage elimination in the League Cup and sitting fifth in the Women's Super League, Skinner was delighted with his side's response in the capital.

The United boss told BBC One: "We are obviously not where we want in the league, right? But we are history-makers for Manchester United.

"I didn't need to remind the owners of that, they know. There is a lot of support and love for our team and the growth.

"We want to compete for titles but you all know how important adding that first piece of silverware is. We've got nothing but growth ahead."

Toone provided the first moment of magic with a rocketed right-footed finish into the top corner from the edge of the area, setting the tone on the stroke of half-time after a dominant opening 45 minutes.

"In all honesty, I felt that first half was just frustration because we didn't score, I thought we offered more of a threat, we controlled most of their threat," Skinner added.

"As much as I am exhausted now, it is a magical feeling. Tooney scored one of those goals at Leicester but it is another thing to do it at Wembley.

"I told her on the podium you have to feel it, remember it because it comes and goes too quick, and that is what she did. Congratulations to her and the team, we are FA Cup winners."

Williams added the second with her headed finish after 54 minutes, though the United forward admitted this season has been far below usual standards.

"We don't like to admit it but it does mask over the issues we've had," Williams told BBC One.

"We have had some ups and downs this year. That's for Marc [Skinner] and the backroom staff to be like 'right this is what we have to do in the summer'.

"We are going to have change things next year. We have had some injuries, three or four ACLs, at the start of the season. That's football, teams go through transition.

"You have a good year, you have a dip. Next year we might just come back bigger, better and stronger and who knows we might just be lifting the league."

Manchester United Women banished last year's FA Cup demons to lift the trophy for the first time in their history after smashing Tottenham Women 4-0 at Wembley Stadium.

United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea Women in the final of this competition last term but exacted revenge after Lucia Garcia scored twice in a comfortable win on Sunday.

Ella Toone's eye-catching strike in the first half set the tone before a goal for Rachel Williams and Garcia's double added gloss to a convincing scoreline, despite Beth England hitting the crossbar for Spurs.

Marc Skinner's side dominated the opening half as Millie Turner saw a header cleared off the line by Martha Thomas, while Williams headed over.

However, there was no stopping Toone on the stroke of half-time as she exchanged passes with Lisa Naalsund before arrowing a rocketed right-footed finish into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Further punishment followed for an underwhelming Tottenham after the interval when Williams headed down from Katie Zelem's free-kick to double United's lead in the 54th minute.

Goalkeeper Becky Spencer then handed Skinner's team more joy just three minutes later, mindlessly playing straight to Garcia, who slotted into an empty net.

Garcia capped the scoring after 74 minutes, receiving an offload from Turner before curling a delightful finish past the powerless Spencer as United secured their first major trophy in club history.

Data Debrief: United ease pain of last year

United fell short last year against Chelsea but continued their impressive record against Spurs here, extending to 13 games unbeaten against Tottenham since being founded in 2018.

This defeat will remain painful for Spurs in their first FA Cup final appearance, also ending a seven-game undefeated streak since losing to rivals Arsenal at the start of March.

Manchester United and Tottenham are both looking to win their first-ever Women's FA Cup title when they meet in the final at a sold-out Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

For the first time in 11 years, the trophy will not be lifted by Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City, adding an extra level of excitement to an already historic final. 

United beat Chelsea 2-1 in the semi-final, earning their first-ever victory over the Blues, while Spurs came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 in extra time thanks to Martha Thomas' 118th-minute goal. 

It promises to be a tight contest, with very little to separate the sides in the WSL this season - United are fifth in the table, only seven points ahead of Spurs, who sit below them in sixth. 

The two sides have met 10 times in the WSL since 2019-20 and the Red Devils have come out on top, having never lost to Spurs (W8 D2), although their most recent encounter ended 2-2 in April.

Second time lucky for United?

Manchester United are featuring in the FA Cup final for the second consecutive year, having not reached this stage before 2023, and they will certainly go into this tie as the favourites.

They lost 1-0 to Chelsea last season - the last side to lose their first two finals were Bristol City in 2011 and 2013, and the Red Devils will be looking to avoid matching that piece of history. 

Whoever lifts the trophy will be the 18th different winner of the Women’s FA Cup. It will be the first time since Manchester City beat Birmingham City in 2017 that there has been a new winner in the competition.

Marc Skinner would love to bring the title to the red side of Manchester and told the reporters ahead of the game that his side are unfazed by the favourites tag.

“We have to go into this game and make it very business-related. But enjoy the moment, of course, enjoy. We've got to Wembley," said Skinner. 

"We're playing against a team that will be buoyed by that. You get an energy when it's your first final, so you're going to get an energy for that. I think there are ways that you can counteract that, and we have to try and do that. 

"But I'm not expecting this is an equal playing field going into it. And we cannot and we won't underestimate it. We know the job we've got to do."

Skinner has a strong record in the FA Cup with United, winning nine of their 11 matches, and scoring 30 goals (2.7 per game). Their only two defeats came against Man City in the fifth round in 2021-22 and in last season’s final against Chelsea.

However, Skinner believes defeat will only motivate his side to do better this time.

He added: "We have to use it as 'remember, remember', bring back those feelings and give more and give more and give more. There's nobody guaranteed to win this final. Let me be very clear on that. 

"But what we have to do is give everything in order to make sure the performance is worthy of it. And if we do that and use those experiences, the feelings of it to drive us forward, then, you know, hopefully, that will give us a little edge, and that's what you need to win the game."

Spurs a Maiden adventure

Tottenham were promoted to the WSL just five years ago and, since then, have been building and growing.

Their best-ever league standing came in the 2021-22 season when they finished in fifth. Robert Vilahamn took over as manager in July 2023, with Spurs hoping he could bring the success that he had at BK Hacken to the North London side. 

Vilahamn is no stranger to a Cup final and in his time at the Swedish club, he led them to back-to-back Cup finals. Andy Rogers, Spurs Women's managing director, praised the manager's ability when he brought him into the club, saying: "He has a track record of developing players to international level and competing for both domestic trophies and in the Champions League, demonstrating his ability to match our own ambitions and philosophy."

Spurs will feel vindicated in their choice of manager; the Swede has already improved on last season's league position of ninth - their lowest since promotion in 2019 - while also reaching the FA Cup final for the first time. 

Speaking ahead of the game, Vilahamn praised his side's progress, saying: "We all, at a big club like Tottenham Hotspur, want to be winning trophies and competing in these kind of games. 

"To get there, you have to be there and practice these things in life. Now we get a good chance in my first year to play in a final, instead of speaking about playing in a final in the future.

"Now we get that experience. The players will learn how to do it. I'm learning how to coach at Wembley. Our staff members, our social media team, everybody is learning by doing right now. I think that's a brilliant way to develop.

"For us to be here, it's not only luck. It's because we have made some really good choices this year, and last year when they started this renewal of the women's team. Everything is proof we are doing good stuff. We are already in a final, and hopefully, we're going to win a trophy already this year."

With a new team in line to win, he also spoke on the strength of women's football in England, adding: "And if you look at the final and your winner, Tottenham or Man United, I think it's a good thing for this country to get more teams in the league to compete for the trophies because you want to have a competitive league, especially in women's football. 

"There are not so many leagues out there that have so many teams that can win a league or a trophy, and that's why most of the players in Europe want to play in England and not other countries. That's why the coaches want to come here instead of other countries, so it's a big thing."

Ones to Watch

Both teams will have dangerous players in this tie and none more so than the Tottenham captain Bethany England, who is Spurs' top scorer in the FA Cup this season with three goals.

The striker has netted seven goals in her last nine appearances in the competition, including her spell at Chelsea. She featured in three previous finals for the Blues, ending on the losing side in 2016 but winning in 2021 and 2022.

Rachel Williams has scored four goals in four FA Cup appearances this season for United and is averaging a goal every 33 minutes.

She won the FA Cup with Birmingham back in 2012, scoring a 90th-minute equaliser to take the game to extra-time and, despite missing her spot-kick during the shootout, they won on penalties to lift the trophy after a 2-2 draw.

The history books

Sunday's showpiece in the capital will be the 54th Women’s FA Cup final, with none of the previous 53 ending goalless.

Only two have been drawn and decided on penalties - in 1996 when Charlton Athletic won the shoot-out after a 1-1 draw with Liverpool, while in 2012, Chelsea were unable to overcome a very strong Birmingham team, drawing 2-2.

Both teams will be looking to strike first and the team who have opened the scoring in this tie have historically gone on to lift the trophy in 23 of the last 25 FA Cup finals – the exceptions are Charlton vs Arsenal in 2007 (lost 4-1) and Chelsea vs Birmingham in 2012 (drew 2-2, lost on pens).

This tie has all the makings of a spectacular fixture for the fans, the teams and their managers, who will be relishing the chance to make history for their club.

Manchester United advanced to an FA Cup final against Tottenham after holding out for an historic 2-1 victory over holders Chelsea at Leigh Sports Village.

In a rematch of last year’s final that they lost 1-0, Marc Skinner’s United went in front in the first minute through a Lucia Garcia header before doubling the advantage midway through the first half when Rachel Williams headed home.

Former United player Lauren James pulled a goal back just prior to the break and the visitors did most of the attacking thereafter but were unable to force extra time, with Mary Earps making a superb save to thwart James and substitute Catarina Macario hitting the bar.

The result is a first victory for United over Chelsea since the team’s launch in 2018 – and they now have a chance to secure a maiden piece of major silverware when they return to Wembley on May 12 to face Spurs, who beat Leicester in the other semi-final earlier on Sunday.

Chelsea, meanwhile, saw a trophy bid end for the second successive game, having lost 1-0 to Arsenal in the League Cup final last time out.

They remain in the hunt for the Women’s Super League – currently topping a table in which United lie fourth – and the Champions League, with a semi-final first leg in Barcelona to come next Saturday, as they seek glory in their final few games before boss Emma Hayes departs to take charge of the United States.

United made a dream start as they grabbed the lead in the opening few seconds, Chelsea full-back Eve Perisset being punished for losing possession with Leah Galton claiming the ball on the left and delivering a cross to far post, where Garcia headed in.

And after unsuccessful attempts at the other end from James and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, the hosts then extended their advantage via another header teed up from the left, Ella Toone this time providing the delivery and veteran forward Williams, brought into the starting XI for Nikita Parris, nodding past Hannah Hampton.

Williams had the chance to make it 3-0 soon after but could not get her shot on target, before James fired into the side-netting.

Chelsea subsequently exerted further pressure as the interval drew near, and following a header from Mayra Ramirez going wide and Earps doing well to turn one from James around the post, the latter halved the deficit as she fired in from Niamh Charles’ cutback.

Earps – who was dropped to the bench for England’s win over the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, with Hampton playing in her place – then pulled off an even better save to keep out another James header six minutes into the second half.

As Chelsea continued to hunt a leveller, Rytting Kaneryd’s claims for a penalty were dismissed after she struck the ball against Katie Zelem, and Earps was in action again to deny Erin Cuthbert and James.

The verdict was no penalty again after a Williams collision with Charles, and Chelsea were then inches away from equalising as Macario’s curling corner connected with the bar.

Stoppage time at the end saw a Parris strike saved by Hampton and fellow substitute Aggie Beever-Jones shoot into the side-netting as Skinner’s team sealed a ground-breaking triumph.

Martha Thomas’ 118th-minute header sent Tottenham into a maiden Women’s FA Cup final after a pulsating 2-1 win over Leicester after extra-time.

Spurs had switched this semi-final tie to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and an attendance of 18,078 was recorded, but the visitors threatened to be party poopers when Jutta Rantala smashed home in the 12th minute.

It looked like being the winner for a Leicester side heavily affected by off-the-field matters this season with Willie Kirk sacked in March and Jennifer Foster in interim charge, but Jess Naz forced extra-time with seven minutes of normal time left.

And Robert Vilahamn’s team produced a dramatic finale when substitute Thomas headed home for her 10th goal of the campaign to send Tottenham through to next month’s final and earn them a first trip to Wembley.

These teams had met last month in a low-key Women’s Super League encounter at Brisbane Road, but Spurs switched this fixture to the men’s stadium and it was given the big-match treatment.

Home fans waved flags as the players entered the pitch, but Leicester almost silenced an expectant crowd inside three minutes only for Sam Tierney to lob wide after she spotted Becky Spencer off her line.

Tottenham soon settled with Grace Clinton pulling the strings and she sent Celin Bizet away for two fine chances, but the Norway international was denied by the legs of Lize Kop before she lifted another effort over.

But it was the visitors who took the lead.

The ball broke for CJ Bott, who recycled possession out to Rantala and she cut inside and unleashed a powerful left-footed strike from 18 yards past Spencer.

It was nearly 2-0 after 16 minutes when Deanne Rose burst down the left and crossed for Tierney, but her weak effort was saved by Spurs goalkeeper Spencer.

Chances were few and far between until Eveliina Summanen headed over from close range after an Amanda Nilden corner, but Leicester’s Lena Petermann had got a slight touch to the ball to put off the Finnish midfielder.

Leicester had penalty appeals waved away when Rose tangled with Ashleigh Neville in the area before the lively Foxes attacker fired wide as it remained 1-0 at the break.

The second period was seconds old when Rantala found Petermann inside the area, but Spurs defender Luana Buhler made a vital block.

Tottenham responded with captain Bethany England and Nilden firing off target before a corner by the latter set up an opportunity for Summanen, but she blazed over from six yards.

Vilahamn had seen enough and introduced top goalscorer Thomas with 23 minutes of normal time left before Kit Graham was also sent on.

The final roll of the dice by Vilahamn was a triple substitution in the 77th-minute and six minutes later they levelled.

It was a moment to forget for ex-Spurs midfielder Josie Green who failed to clear England’s long ball forward and Naz showed supreme composure to slot into the corner.

That goal sparked a dramatic finale with Leicester substitute Shannon O’Brien denied by Spencer, but that was bettered by Kop, who produced an excellent finger-tip save to thwart Tottenham’s Thomas deep into stoppage-time.

Extra-time was required and the visitors were inches away from a second when Rantala’s 99th-minute free-kick rattled the crossbar after a key Spencer save.

It proved decisive as with minutes left, substitute Matilda Vinberg’s whipped cross was flicked on by Buhler for Thomas to head home and spark wild celebrations in Tottenham.

Emma Hayes has insisted Chelsea’s motivation to reach another Women’s FA Cup final is not driven by her imminent exit.

It was revealed last November that the Blues boss will end her trophy-laden 12 years club at the conclusion of this campaign to take over as United States manager.

Hayes has entered the home straight of her time at Chelsea and missed out on silverware two weeks ago when Arsenal beat them 1-0 in the Women’s League Cup final.

The highly decorated Hayes courted controversy afterwards when she appeared to shove Arsenal counterpart Jonas Eidevall, but ahead of Sunday’s trip to Manchester United, the 47-year-old played down the impact of her summer departure.

She told a press conference: “I’m absolutely committed to doing everything I possibly can to help the team achieve these goals and I’m looking forward to the games.

“The team want to win for themselves. They want to win for the football club. They want to win for the families. They want to win because they’re winners.

“They’re sick to death of what they need to do for me and that’s fair, it’s not about me.

“It’s about them and us as a collective making sure we maximise the situations we are in.

“There are three pieces of silverware up for grabs and I’m very grateful to be in the position to be competing for them.”

While Chelsea eye Women’s Super League, FA Cup and Champions League success this season, United’s focus is purely on the domestic cup after an inconsistent campaign.

Marc Skinner led United to last season’s final where they lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Wembley and he knows the size of the task at Leigh Sports Village.

“I think their success over the past seasons and beyond is something that everybody wants to replicate,” Skinner acknowledged.

“It’s a tough, tough ask. Everybody goes, ‘you’ve got to beat Chelsea’… well not many teams do.

“I think, from our perspective, we have to give everything in this game and I believe on our day and when we have our qualities and we work hard, we can beat anybody.

“If we do that, then I believe we’ll be in a position to progress into the final of the FA Cup.”

The winner of Sunday’s other semi-final between Tottenham and Leicester will reach a maiden FA Cup final.


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Spurs switched the fixture to their men’s 62,850-seater stadium and boss Robert Vilahamn is desperate to reach Wembley in his first season in charge.

Vilahamn said: “We started our meeting with the journey we are on and that it ends at Wembley hopefully, but then everything else goes back to normal.

“I think if we have a good performance we have a good chance to win and go to Wembley.

“I just hope we can bring so many fans to stadium and make sure we do this together.

“We play for them, we don’t play for ourselves. We want to make sure we have a lot of fans at the stadium and make them proud.

“If we’re going to reach the final, we need them because they give us that extra energy.”

Meanwhile, ninth-placed Leicester will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper Janina Leitzig, who has not played since February due to a shoulder injury.

The Foxes have endured a difficult season with Willie Kirk suspended in March and subsequently dismissed weeks later, which has resulted in Jennifer Foster stepping up on an interim basis.

Foster revealed: “Janina is back at 100 per cent.

“Lize (Kop) has been playing well but it’s good to have both senior goalkeepers back in contention again to push each other.”

Ange Postecoglou has praised the “outstanding” job of Tottenham Women boss Robert Vilahamn ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Leicester.

Postecoglou’s side are away at Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend, which opened the door for the women’s team to play at the men’s 62,850-seater stadium for only a second time this season.

Spurs have already made history during Vilahamn’s debut campaign after they sealed a maiden FA Cup semi-final appearance last month, but they have been backed to go further and reach Wembley by the men’s boss.

“I think Rob and the girls have been outstanding this year,” Postecoglou said.

“You’ve got to remember that they’ve had a disappointing year last year. Rob has come in and he’s changed a lot of things in terms of their football. I can see that they’re building some real belief.

“It’s the semi-final of a cup and it’s great that it’s at the stadium. I’m sure the girls will get plenty of support and they’ve had a great deal of belief to get to this point.

“You need that for a cup run and hopefully that comes out again at the weekend and they get through to a final, which would be great for them and great for our club.”

A penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester City on March 10 sent Spurs into the FA Cup semi-finals.

Vilahamn added: “I didn’t really realise it when we won the quarter-final that it is huge in this country to be the semi-finals for the first time and I am proud of it.

“The girls this year have been great. We are taking some big steps and also making sure we put Tottenham on the map for women’s football to make sure we are up there competing. I love that.

“When the board told us we could play the game there (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium), I was so happy because we want to be there and they want us to play more and more games there.

“It’s the perfect match this game because it’s a big game and we are feeling that we can perform even better in that stadium.”

A trip to Wembley is within touching distance for Tottenham and Jess Naz, but the forward knows better than most not to take anything for granted.

Spurs host Women’s Super League rivals Leicester at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday in the Women’s FA Cup semi-final and the winner will play at the national stadium for the first time on May 12.

Tottenham won last month’s league meeting between the sides, but the long-serving Naz is determined to ensure the squad’s unwavering belief does not turn into complacency.

“The excitement was there when we got through, but we’ve got to hone down and make sure we turn up on the day,” London-born Naz told the PA news agency.

“It’s one more step to the final. Playing at the stadium will be great. In front of the fans, it will give us another source of energy to go out there, play our football and hopefully win.

“We have got the quality to win a trophy this season. The FA Cup would be a great way to start and then we’ll grow in the league.”

It has been a dramatic cup journey for Spurs, which mirrors the career of Naz given she recently made her 97th appearance for the club but has also fought back from a serious knee injury in 2019.

Tottenham were two down to Sheffield United in round four before scoring a stoppage-time winner. Charlton, another Championship opponent, were narrowly negotiated next before they faced title-chasing Manchester City for a fourth time this season.

After three previous losses by a 10-0 aggregate score, the odds were stacked against Spurs, but captain Bethany England hit a stoppage-time leveller before Becky Spencer’s penalty shootout heroics secured a semi-final berth.

It means Tottenham are one win away from playing at Wembley, something that has always been a dream for Naz – although one that has felt far away at times.

Born into a football-mad family, some of the earliest memories Naz has of the sport are being forced to watch her brothers play from the touchline after she was denied the chance to join in with their team.

Everything changed aged eight when she caught the eye of Tottenham scouts before she spent her teenage years in Arsenal’s academy.

The decision to return to Spurs paid off when she scored the goal to fire them into the WSL in 2019, but disaster struck when she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament and missed the whole of the 2019-20 campaign.

“At the time, I didn’t even know what ACL or MCLs were until I did it,” Naz said.

“I had just come back from the Under-19 Euros so was on a high. It was pre-season, we had just got promoted and it was a dream come true but then it came crashing down.

“It was a long, long recovery but the belief I had – and with the staff helping – got me through.

“There has been ups and downs along the way still with injuries, but I think this season I’ve been in a really good place.


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“I feel confident, which is the best thing for me because when I feel confident I play my best.”


Naz has eight goal involvements from 25 appearances this season, form which puts her in contention for an England call-up.

She added: “Going through the age groups from under-15s all the way through to under-23s, it would be a great honour to represent England.

“I’ll just keep pushing and hopefully it comes.

“When you are younger, going to FA Cup games or watching England play, it is definitely a dream place to play. It would be great to play there one day.”

Jamaican international Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw played a pivotal role in Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final clash against Tottenham, setting up one goal before succumbing to injury in the 70th minute.

Despite Shaw’s early assist to Mary Fowler, City failed to secure victory, ultimately losing in a penalty shootout.

After assisting Fowler’s close-range finish in the sixth minute, Shaw endured missed opportunities on both sides of the halftime break, including a chance created by Filippa Angeldahl’s cross just before halftime and a header over Laura Hemp’s cross shortly after the resumption of play.

However, Shaw’s contributions were cut short when she suffered a shoulder injury midway through the second half, forcing her to exit the match.

City manager Gareth Taylor conceded that his team did not deserve to win, citing a lackluster performance following a promising start to the game. Despite their early lead, City’s wastefulness in front of goal proved costly, allowing Tottenham to equalize in stoppage time and ultimately secure victory in the penalty shootout.

With the defeat, Manchester City failed to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, as Tottenham advanced to join Chelsea, Manchester United, and Leicester City in the final four.

Substitute Catarina Macario scored three minutes after her second-half introduction to send Chelsea through to the FA Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over Everton at Walton Hall Park.

The United States international was still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament issue when she signed for the Blues last summer but made an emphatic first impression when she scored on her debut in last week’s Women’s Super League victory over Leicester.

Emma Hayes made six changes from Thursday’s Conti Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City, but Chelsea failed to find an opener in a cagey first half, coming closest with a crossbar-clipping header by Nathalie Bjorn before the centre-back was forced off and replaced by Niamh Charles in the 14th minute.

The Toffees had their chances, Kathrine Kuhl forcing Zecira Musovic into a good save with a sharp effort but could not make anything of a series of set-pieces.

Chelsea wasted their best chance to take the lead before the break when Jelena Cankovic curled wide from a promising position following some good work by Johanna Kaneryd to release the Serbia international.

Macario, one of four second-half substitutions for Chelsea, finally broke the deadlock in the 66th minute when she swept home Aggie Beever-Jones’ cut-back.

Katja Snoeijs was inches away from squaring things up, but Chelsea clung on to keep alive their chances of becoming just the second English side in history to secure a quadruple, with Arsenal having done so in 2007.

WSL leaders Chelsea, who will find out their FA Cup semi-final opponents in Tuesday morning’s draw, face Ajax in their Champions League quarter-final this month before taking on Arsenal for the Conti Cup on March 31.

Women’s Super League giants Arsenal and Manchester City have been drawn together in the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup.

The two clubs currently sit third and second respectively in the league table, with the Gunners narrowly getting the better of their most recent meeting in November.

Leaders Chelsea, looking to sign off the Emma Hayes era with a fourth straight crown, have been drawn at home to Championship Crystal Palace.

Wolves, the lowest-ranked team left in the competition who beat Reading in round four, have been handed a home draw against WSL strugglers Brighton.

Championship leaders Birmingham will travel to Leicester while in-form Charlton, currently second in the second tier, head for a London derby at Tottenham.

Championship Southampton host Manchester United, Nottingham Forest face Everton and London City Lionesses, in the fifth round for the first time, have been drawn at home to Liverpool.

Katja Snoeijs scored a second-half brace to help Everton book their place in the last 16 of the FA Women’s Cup with a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at the Bescot Stadium.

Everton broke the deadlock just before the hour mark when Hanna Bennison found Karoline Olesen inside the box and she unleashed a first-time effort which crashed in off the crossbar.

The visitors made it two with 10 minutes to go following a breakaway, Snoeijs on hand to tuck into the far corner.

Everton added the cherry on the cake three minutes from time as Snoeijs was brought down by Anna Patten inside the area and stepped up to dispatch the penalty down the middle.

If there is one thing about Jamaican international and Manchester City striker Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, it is the fact that she is never shy to give credit where it is due, especially when it comes to her career success.

So, it comes as no surprise that Shaw has now hailed compatriot, retired sprint legend Usain Bolt, whose advice, she said has inspired her current vein of form in front of goal.

Shaw, who currently leads the Women's Super League (WSL) Golden Boot race with nine goals in as many games, and was named the Player of the Month for December, explained how the world's fastest man and many-time World and Olympic champion has helped her this season.

“He [Bolt] has always been supportive. We speak about my progress, and we have a good relationship. When he’s in town he lets me know and we will link up,” Shaw said in a recent interview with Manchester Evening News.

“In certain aspects, when I’m struggling, whether that means strength work, I’ll reach out to him. We had a really good conversation in March, and he told me some things I could work on where I could get an edge over defenders and stuff like that. It's just the little things, and he always says the little things matter the most,” she revealed.

The towering striker has been a goalscoring machine ever since she joined Manchester City in 2021. Last season she scored 20 goals in 22 WSL games, 31 across all competitions, and in the process became the first Jamaican to be nominated for the Ballon D’or award.

For this year, the 26-year-old is aiming to fire Gareth Taylor's side to a first WSL title since 2016. Manchester City are currently second on the WSL table, three points behind leaders Chelsea.

“I think for me the sky’s the limit. I think there’s a lot more room to improve, especially when I watch back my videos. It’s about keeping my head down, working hard on the pitch, building good relationships with my teammates and just keep pushing on," Shaw declared.

After enjoying a winter break, Shaw and her City teammates will return to action on Sunday when they take on Durham in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Their WSL title charge will resume with a home clash against Liverpool next weekend.

“We just have to keep pushing, keep improving, just focus on what we can control, and we’ll see. It’s about being consistent as we’ve had some really good results but let ourselves down in other games. Now we’re in a good place, it’s about just keeping the confidence high within the group,” Shaw noted.


Chelsea boss Emma Hayes feels her side are fully prepared to kick off their FA Cup title defence without prolific striker Sam Kerr, who scored the winner in last year’s Wembley final.

The Australia captain on Thursday underwent surgery for an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The Women’s Super League-leading Blues first have to find their way past West Ham, who have already been active in the transfer window with the signings of Shelina Zadorsky, Katrina Gorry and Kerr’s fiancee Kristie Mewis, while Chelsea have added defender Nathalie Bjorn from Everton.

Hayes, whose trophy cabinet already includes five FA Cups, said: “I know Sam would expect me to say nothing less. Our focus has got to be on the players that are fit and a good challenge for me is to find those solutions.

“I trust in the squad that we have and we’ve added to that as well.”

The competition’s overall prize pot has been doubled to almost £6million this season, with a minimum £54,000 for fourth-round winners while the losing clubs receive £13,000 – up from £15,000 and £3,750 respectively.

West Ham boss Rehanne Skinner said: “The cup is an incentive in itself but the prize money is a huge incentive, because it’s a significant amount of money when you’re talking about players and making additions.

“Increasing the prize money is really important in helping the growth of the game.”

Fifth-tier Luton are the lowest-ranked team remaining and will face WSL competition for the first time when they host Brighton.

Albion head coach Melissa Phillips said: “The FA Cup is such a special event, the history of the tournament, the magic as they say and what a fantastic match-up we have, a tier-five team and a top-tier team. They’ll certainly be up for the game.”

Phillips’ side were beaten in last year’s semi-final by Manchester United, who take on National League Northern Premier Division leaders Newcastle with over 1,000 Magpies fans preparing to make the trip to Leigh Sports Village.

United boss Marc Skinner confessed last year’s 1-0 loss in the final “feels like yesterday” and vowed his side “want to go one better than we did last year”.

Newcastle striker Katie Barker insisted her side are brimming with confidence, saying: “No matter who we play, we always play a game to win and we’ll do everything we can to win the game.”

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall vowed to take the competition seriously, beginning against Watford. He said: “There’s no excuse for not being able to field your best teams in these competitions.”

Durham’s meeting with Manchester City, selected for broadcast on the BBC, will mark the first time the Championship side have been televised.

Durham midfielder Lauren Briggs told the club website: “It’s something we all dream of, a great opportunity, and we’ve worked really hard for this.”

Bristol City host Liverpool in an all-WSL match-up while Championship Sheffield United travel to Tottenham and tier-three Derby welcome top-flight Leicester.

Sunderland face Southampton, Blackburn make the trip to Crystal Palace, Plymouth face Nottingham Forest and Ipswich meet Charlton.

Tier-three Burnley play Championship leaders Birmingham, Reading take on Wolves and London City Lionesses play Moneyfields.

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