City cruised into the fifth round of the Vitality Women's FA Cup with a sensational 8-0 win over Aston Villa.

A Chloe Kelly hat-trick (her first for the Club), plus goals from Ellen White, Janine Beckie, Georgia Stanway, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis claimed another emphatic triumph, as the holders produced a ruthless display to kick-off our defence of the trophy in style.

Gareth Taylor‘s side, who were dominant from the first whistle to the last, laying instant siege to the visitors’ defence and showing no mercy, issued another strong statement of intent, confidence and quality - a timely boost ahead of Wednesday’s crunch league title showdown against Chelsea.


One-way traffic

Since our first meeting in the Continental Cup back in July 2016, City had vanquished the Villans in ruthless fashion, netting 21 goals without reply in our previous four fixtures - the most recent a 7-0 thrashing in January this year.

On that occasion, Taylor’s side stormed into a comprehensive half-time lead - sparked with a goal inside the opening two minutes - and history repeated itself, as the hosts bagged three in the opening 41 minutes.

It was relentless from the off. Kelly was the first to try her luck, firing over the bar, before one of her many teasing crosses bounced curiously over the bar.

Lauren Hemp - sporting a bandage on her head from a wound sustained on international duty - was then denied one-on-one by Sian Rogers, while Caroline Weir uncharacteristically spurned a hat-trick of chances to score inside the opening quarter of an hour.

City would only have to wait another minute for the opener though, courtesy of a moment of magic from Kelly, who hooked an excellent standing overhead kick into the far corner, after Alex Greenwood‘s corner had fallen to the winger on the penalty spot.

As the onslaught continued, Kelly then forced Rogers into another smart stop and Hemp saw an effort deflected agonisingly onto the post but Caroline Siems.

The second arrived on 34 minutes when White swept home Hemp’s cutback at the nearpost, effectively killing the tie.

Kelly made it three before the break, driving at the Villa defence before firing a powerful effort into the far corner, and half-time substitute Beckie made it four just five minutes after the restart, curling a cross-shot into the top left corner.

The Canadian almost doubled her personal tally a minute later but was thwarted by Rogers, but the Villa shot-stopper could do nothing about Stanway’s strike just before the hour, as the forward smashed home Weir’s low delivery from a well-worked free-kick.

Lavelle then made it seven, converting Beckie’s cut-back with aplomb, and Kelly completed her treble, closing down Rogers and watching with glee as the ball ricocheted off the forward and over the line!

Seeking a consolation, Villa rallied in the dying embers, striking the woodwork through Nadine Hanssen and an otherwise untroubled Ellie Roebuck produced a fine stop to preserve her clean sheet, but the last word would rightly fall to City, as Mewis drove forward and smashed an effort into the top corner to cap a fantastic afternoon’s work all round.

What it means

City progress to the fifth round where we will host West Ham United or Chichester & Selsey on Sunday 16 May.

How we lined up...

Taylor opted to make five changes to the side that defeated Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 before the international break, as Demi Stokes, Greenwood, Lucy Bronze, Laura Coombs and Hemp were restored to the starting XI.

Roebuck took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Stokes, Greenwood, Abby Dahlkemper and Bronze.

Keira Walsh protected the back four in the defensive midfield role, employed behind Weir and Coombs, while Hemp and Kelly occupied the wings. Captaining the side in Steph Houghton‘s absence, White led the line upfront.

CITY XI | Roebuck, Stokes (Morgan 61’), Greenwood, Dahlkemper, Bronze (Stanway 46’), Walsh, Weir (Mewis 61’), Coombs, Hemp (Beckie 46’), Kelly, White (C) (Lavelle 61’)

SUBS | Taieb, Mannion, Davies, Park

VILLA XI | Rogers, Ale, N’dow (Hutton 62’), West, Haigh, Siems, Silva, McLoughlin (Hanssen 61’), Syme, Gregory (Larssen 62’), Hayles

SUBS | Weiss, Franklin-Fraiture, Iwabuchi

Player of the Match: Chloe Kelly

Threatening from the first whistle, the forward dazzled on the right flank, carving some of her side’s best chances.

Her first goal was an exceptional piece of skill, while her second showcased pure desire and expert finishing.

While there was a hint of fortune in her hat-trick goal, the England youngster earned her good luck with another influential display.

The first of many hat-tricks, surely...

Stat attack

• Having won back-to-back Women’s FA Cups, City are currently enjoying our longest winning streak in the competition, winning our 11 games - and 17 of our last 18.

• Taylor’s side have won all five clashes against Aston Villa, scoring an astonishing 29 goals without reply.

• Our return of 96 goals this season equals our Club record since turning professional.

• Standing as City’s top scorer in 2020/21, Sam Mewis has 14 goals in her 28 City appearances.

Ellen White has netted 13 goals in 33 games this season.

Chloe Kelly has bagged 13 goals in her 32 City games.

Janine Beckie has scored three goals in her last three games.

• City’s top scorer against the Villans, Georgia Stanway has netted four goals in her last three games against the Midlands side.

Up next...

Games don’t come much bigger, as City welcome Chelsea to the Academy Stadium in a potential FA Women’s Super League title decider.

The crucial, top-of-the-table clash kicks off at 18:00 (UK time) on Wednesday 21 April - a victory would put City in pole position for the crown with two games remaining.

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