Women's Team

Houghton: This City needs you

City and England captain Steph Houghton has called upon the City faithful to help cheer the Women’s FA Cup holders back to Wembley.

Gareth Taylor’s side, who won the trophy back-to-back in 2019 and 2020, face League Champions Chelsea in the 2020/21 semi-finals on Sunday, as the familiar foe lock horns for a place in December’s showpiece Final.

Facing last season’s Champions League Finalists, Houghton admits her side face one of the toughest of tests in our biggest game of the season so far but hopes home advantage will play a significant role.


“Everyone is so excited,” she told mancity.com. “Whenever we play Chelsea, it’s always a huge game and this one is even more special because it’s the FA Cup and as the current holders, we’re defending our trophy.

“Playing at the Academy Stadium in front of our own fans will hopefully prove to be a real advantage.

“The fans could be key for us on Sunday. I don’t think they understand just how important their support is.

“Especially in bigger games, it’s tough to be at your best for 90 minutes but when we have the fans behind us, the girls feed off that energy.

“During the game, everyone can play a part to encourage the team – those on the pitch, the fans, the staff and the injured players.

“We all want to achieve success together and we’ll all be doing everything we can to be there for the girls.

“Hopefully, the Academy Stadium is as full as possible.”

Though the London outfit have edged recent encounters, they have only won once at the Academy Stadium but are yet to do so in 90 minutes.

The pair locked horns in the Continental Cup semi-finals in January with City minutes away from progression before an injury-time Niamh Charles forced the game into extra-time where the visitors netted twice to claim victory.

Houghton admits that while that result was tough to take, she was proud of her side’s fighting spirit under difficult circumstances.

With a recent upturn in fortunes, and the same spirit shown to grind out results over the past weeks, the skipper hopes to see the same determination on Sunday.

“Without jinxing anything, we have a decent record here against Chelsea,” she said.

“We came so close in the Conti Cup last season. I remember it was absolutely freezing!

“We played so well and got the late goal but they fought back to take the game to extra-time, which was really frustrating.

“Sometimes, things happen for a reason. I feel like the 2-2 draw at United, where we came back from 2-1 down late on with ten players, brought the team together even more than we already were.

“We did enough to win that game too and put in a really good performance and then we followed it up with a great win over Everton at home in the Conti Cup.

“As a team, we know what we’re capable of and we know what we bring every day.

“Now, it’s about making it count in the big games, starting on Sunday.”


Sunday's semi-final clash is a 12:45pm kick-off at the Academy Stadium.

Tickets are available from just £1 for Under-16s and as the game falls on Hallowe'en, we have tonnes of activities and competitions planned to celebrate.

Secure your seat now and cheer us on to the Women's FA Cup Final!