A flurry of late goals saw City march into the semi-final of the Continental Cup with a spectacular 7-1 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

Nikita Parris’ 50th goal for the Blues had opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before a brace from Lauren Hemp, plus goals from Caroline Weir, Claire Emslie, Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie capped off a thoroughly dominant display.

What happened

City began the brighter of the two teams and took an early lead when Keira Walsh’s lofted ball, despite the heavy fog, was collected by Parris and the forward effortlessly chipped over Sophie Harris to claim her 50th goal for the Blues.

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It wasn’t all plain sailing, however, and two minutes later Karen Bardlsey was adjudged to have brought down Iniabasi Umotong in the box, enabling Brighton captain Danielle Buet to slot home the equaliser from the spot.

City weren’t fazed though and continued our patient build-up play despite the rapidly deteriorating visibility.

                        Seventh Heaven seals semi-final spot

Quick reactions from the Brighton defence prevented Hemp from capitalising on a goalkeeping mistake on 10 minutes, before Parris’ powerful curling effort on the edge of the box was expertly tipped over.

In the 23rd minute, however, the Blues deservedly retook the lead when a deep cross from Abbie McManus wasn’t dealt with properly, leaving an unmarked Hemp with a simple finish around ten yards out.

City remained on the front foot in the second half and were almost rewarded in the 57th minute when Parris escaped her marker with a darting near post run, but her glancing header from a Hemp cutback flashed just wide of the far post.

However, one minute before the hour mark, it was three as Weir found space on the edge of the box to drill a ferocious effort past the despairing dive of Harris and into the Brighton net.

The game was out of sight by the 86th minute, as Hemp grabbed her second of the evening, racing through to finish coolly, before Emslie curled in a fifth a minute later.

                        Seventh Heaven seals semi-final spot

Substitute Stanway then added further gloss to the scoreline, dancing through a couple of challenges and wrong footing Harris with a low drive.

Beckie completed the scoring right on full time, confidently putting away a one on one opportunity to send City into the semi-finals.

How we lined up

Bardsley took on goalkeeping responsibilities, shielded by a back three of McManus, Steph Houghton and Gemma Bonner.

Melissa Lawley and Emslie flanked them as wing backs, with Jill Scott and Walsh sitting in centre midfield behind Weir.

Beyond the midfield trio, Hemp and Parris spearheaded the attack.

Up next

It’s a quick turnaround for City, as we travel down to the Rush Green stadium to face West Ham United in the FA WSL this Sunday in a 3pm kick off.

The draw for the semi-finals of the Continental Cup will take place at half-time of Sheffield United's Championship clash against Queens Park Rangers at Bramall Lane on Saturday 12 January.