Defending champions Manchester City will meet Everton in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup final after Gareth Taylor’s side toppled 14-time winners Arsenal in a pulsating last four duel.
Goals from Sam Mewis and captain Steph Houghton were enough to keep City’s pursuit of a second consecutive triumph alive, after a Jordan Nobbs stunner had levelled for the Gunners at the end of the first half.
But Mewis’ maiden goal in English football just three minutes later proved the difference as Taylor’s team booked a date with Willie Kirk’s Toffees at headquarters on November 1.
- 30 September-1 October 2020
And it was soon captain fantastic Houghton who opened the scoring, curling home a fine free-kick into the corner to give her side the lead.
Arsenal struggled to cope but hit back shortly before the break when Nobbs struck a brilliant first-time shot which looped over a back-peddling Ellie Roebuck.
Parity didn't last long, however, as Mewis rampaged unmarked into the box and smashed home a first-time effort to restore City’s lead.
Arsenal lost Kim Little to injury shortly after half time and while the introduction of Walti restored some midfield balance, the clear-cut chances were still not forthcoming.
Katie McCabe’s last minute free-kick struck the blue wall and City held on to tee up a tantalising Wembley date with Everton, who were in imperious form on Wednesday as they toppled Birmingham City 3-0.
Simone Magill, Nicoline Sorensen and Valerie Gauvin were all on the scoresheet but it was a dominant team performance from Kirk’s visitors as they sent a statement of intent to their north-west rivals.
Everton are two-time competition winners - in 2010 and in their previous guise as Leasowe Pacific in 1989 – and showed all their Cup experience throughout, as two second-half goals were enough to floor Birmingham on home soil.
Hannah Hampton’s heroics, coupled with the woodwork and some last-ditch defending from Birmingham, kept the visitors at bay until the stroke of the interval.
But the Toffees’ half time became a sweet one as Izzy Christiansen’s classy reverse pass split the defence open and Magill advanced to lash home.
City came out rejuvenated after the break, threatening the Everton goal as a Claudia Walker shot was deflected over by Danielle Turner.
But Everton, who shocked Barclays FA Women’s Super League champions Chelsea in the quarter-finals, put the tie to bed on the hour as Sorensen volleyed in Ingrid Moe Wold’s cross from close range.
And the Toffees’ clinical exploits were not finished there as Gauvin added a late third after coolly dinking over Hampton from Molly Pike’s through ball.
The stage is now set for a mouthwatering spectacle at Wembley on November 1, as Taylor’s resurgent City take on an in-form Everton for a place in the storied Women’s FA Cup history books.