Manchester City finished the 2020/21 season on a high, booking a place in the quarter-finals of the Vitality Women's FA Cup.

Goals from Ellen White, Janine Beckie, Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis and Lauren Hemp secured the holders’ place in the last eight with a thumping 5-1 win over West Ham, as Gareth Taylor‘s side continued our defence of the trophy to sign off on a fittingly positive note.

An entertaining clash at the Academy Stadium saw the 2019 Finalists lock horns in another action-packed encounter, as the pair met for the second time in a week after last weekend’s thrilling FA Women’s Super League finale.

Although the Hammers produced a spirited display to test the hosts to the limit, immediately cancelling out White’s opener through Anouk Denton, City’s resilience and quality shone through, with a devastating final 15 minutes helping the holders clinch progression.


Up for the Cup

Last Sunday’s league meeting had yielded a breathless affair full of chances - and this cup encounter proved no different.

Within the opening five minutes, City survived a flurry of scares as Maz Pacheco forced Karima Taieb into three super stops in quick succession.

At the other end, Hemp sprinted clear but fired off-target in a frantic, fast-paced start.

The deadlock was broken on the quarter-hour as White netted her third goal against the Hammers in as many games with a poacher’s finish from Caroline Weir‘s pinpoint delivery.

The joy was short-lived though, as the Hammers hit back within a minute when Hawa Cissoko floated a delivery to the backpost where Denton rose to convert.

Stunned by the setback, City sparked into action, stepping up a gear to put the Hammers defence under pressure. Taylor’s side enjoyed plenty of joy down the left flank in particular, as Hemp continued her fine form with another influential display.

The PFA Young Player of the Year produced another key contribution, crossing for Beckie, who slotted home the delivery.

City continued where we left off after the break and Hemp almost found the net herself with an impressive driving run - but shot straight at Arnold.

Chasing another leveller, West Ham rallied in the second half, pressing high and forcing the City backline into mistakes - and the Hammers almost capitalised when Denton fired over and Kenza Dali forced Taieb into three crucial stops.

Leanne Kiernan then also struck the crossbar in a nervy period for the hosts.

Having weathered the storm, City gained some much-needed breathing space when substitute Lavelle wrapped up the win on 74 minutes.

The World Cup winners combined to great effect as the 26-year-old, who celebrated her birthday on Friday, latched on to Sam Mewis’ excellent through-ball and slotted under Arnold.

Mewis almost added a fourth shortly after but was thwarted three times by the Hammers’ shot-stopper, while Lavelle curled over the crossbar.

The Tower of Power would bag her 16th of the season though in the final seconds, smashing beyond Arnold on the turn to cap a fantastic debut campaign.

There was still just enough time for Hemp to get the goal her individual performance deserved, as she smashed a vicious effort into the top corner with aplomb.

While five goals did flatter the home side somewhat, our late flurry ensured City’s campaign ended on a deserved high.

How we lined up

Taylor opted to make just one change to the side that defeated the Hammers on away soil last weekend, as Laura Coombs replaced Mewis in the heart of midfield.

In Ellie Roebuck‘s absence, Taieb took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Georgia Stanway, Alex Greenwood, Esme Morgan and Lucy Bronze.

Keira Walsh protected the back four in her defensive midfield spot, employed behind Weir and Coombs with Hemp and Beckie occupied on the wings. White led the line upfront.

CITY XI | Taieb, Bronze, Morgan, Greenwood, Stanway, Walsh, Coombs (Mewis 65’), Weir, Beckie (Lavelle 58’), Hemp, White (C)

SUBS | Keating, Davies, Dahlkemper, Park

WEST HAM XI | Arnold, Pacheco, Flaherty (C), Longhurst, Dali (Mustafa 90’), Fisk, Cissoko, van Egmond, Vetterlein, Brynjarsdottir (Kiernan 46) (Barker 82’), Denton

SUBS | Brosnan

Player of the Match: Lauren Hemp

Showcasing her blistering pace and trickery, Hemp demonstrated why she’s one of the brightest young talents in the English game.

The majority of City’s best attacking play came through the youngster and she sparkled on the left flank, gaining the goal she deserved with an excellent finish.

Stat attack

City have a 100% record against West Ham, having won all seven of our meetings, since becoming a professional outfit in 2014.

We have scored 27 goals in those six games, conceding just three times.

Having won back-to-back Women’s FA Cups, City are currently enjoying our longest winning streak in the competition, winning our last 12 games - and 18 of our last 19.

Sam Mewis and Chloe Kelly finish the season as the Club’s top goalscorers with 16 goals apiece.

Quarter-final draw

Details for the draw of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup quarter-finals are still to be confirmed.

Stay tuned to and @ManCity on Twitter for updates in due course.

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