A wonder strike from Marisa Ewers 13 minutes from time sent Birmingham City into the SSE Women’s FA Cup Semi Finals, as they knocked out holders Arsenal.
The Gunners beat Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley Stadium, connected by EE, in last year’s final and have lifted the SSE Women’s FA Cup on a record 14 occasions but were beaten by a hard-working Blues side.
Birmingham had goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger to thank for keeping the score at 0-0 as she produced a string of impressive saves and fellow German Ewers found the top corner late on, before crediting City’s togetherness for the triumph.
- SSE Women's FA Cup
- Quarter Final
- Sunday March 26, 2017
- Solihull Moors FC
- Jack Muscutt
“I feel happiness and it was a great effort from all of us,” said Ewers. “We managed the game well and we all knew what to do – defensively we are so strong, but also on the ball we can do even better.
“We are just a really close unit, a family. The team spirit helped a lot, everyone was helping each other, even the substitutes.
“We can hear them and our management team when we’re on the pitch and that’s important.
“We can dream of getting to Wembley and playing in the final but we need to do the next step. We need to work hard because it will be a tough game the semi-final no matter who we play”
Arsenal had the better of a goalless first half, creating several clear-cut chances but the holders were unable to find a breakthrough.
Birmingham keeper Berger made a slew of superb stops – denying close-range efforts from Danielle Carter, Danielle van de Donk and Heather O’Reilly.
But the deadlock was broken in sensational style by the hosts on 77 minutes.
Ellie Brazil’s cross from the by-line was met by Ewers, who placed an excellent shot into the top corner giving Sari van Veenendaal in the Gunners goal no chance.
With time running out, Arsenal attacked in numbers but could not find a way through the home defence as Birmingham avenged their defeat to the Gunners in last year’s Fifth Round.
“We are just gutted, we feel that this is our competition, where we feel more comfortable and we were not expecting to be out,” said Arsenal boss Pedro Martinez Losa.
“We made one mistake and that cost us the goal and from then we couldn’t react.
“They stayed in the game at difficult moments and were not good in front of goal and we made it more difficult in terms of when we had our chances we didn’t score.
“That could’ve changed the game and we had the chance to stay in the game to the end, so they deserve to pass to the next round.”
Birmingham City 1
Birmingham City: (4-4-2): Ann-Katrin Berger; Meaghan Sargeant, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Paige Williams; Sarah Mayling, Jess Carter, Marisa Ewers, Abbeyleigh Stringer; Freda Ayisi, Ellen White
Substitutes: Ellie Brazil for Avisi 65, Emily Westwood for Stringer 85
Substitutes not used: Sophie Baggarley, Andrine Hegerberg, Chloe Peplow
Bookings: Ellen White 82
Red Cards: None
Arsenal: (3-5-2): Sari van Veenendaal; Leah Williamson, Fara Williams, Dominique Janssen; Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little, Heather O’Reilly, Danielle van de Donk, Katie McCabe; Danielle Carter, Jodie Taylor
Substitutes: Beth Mead for Taylor 60, Chloe Kelly for van de Donk 82
Substitutes not used: Anna Moorhouse, Carla Humphrey, Anna Patten
Red Cards: None
Referee: Ian Rathbone