We booked our place in the Continental Tyres League Cup final with a hard-fought victory over Manchester City at Meadow Park.
The visitors started brightly and almost took the lead inside two minutes when Jill Scott’s rebounded strike fell to Ellen White, whose low effort from close range was saved well by Manuela Zinsberger.
We immediately went on the offensive and were rewarded when Beth Mead won possession on the edge of the City area. She then found Vivianne Miedema inside the box who shifted the ball onto her left foot and drilled into the bottom corner.
We came close to a second midway through the first half when Miedema got on the end of a whipped corner at the far post, but our striker’s first-time effort was sliced and didn’t trouble Ellie Roebuck.
But on the stroke of half-time we did double our lead and in slightly fortuitous fashion, too. Danielle van de Donk struck the ball towards goal from the edge of the box, and it squirmed under Roebuck and into the net.
We started the second half well and looked to wrap up the victory when Lisa Evans drove into space and teed up Jill Roord on the edge of the box, but our midfielder’s effort looped high over the bar.
The visitors were awarded a penalty after 58 minutes when Lauren Hemp went down under a challenge inside the box, but Zinsberger stood tall and guessed the right way to palm White’s effort around the post.
However, from the resulting corner, Gemma Bonner found herself unmarked and was able to half the deficit with a half-volley from close range.
With 15 minutes remaining, Mead produced some neat footwork to draw a foul on the edge of the box, and from the following free-kick, Katie McCabe fired just wide of the near post.
Despite a late surge of pressure from the visitors, our defence held strong to secure our deserved place in the final.
WHAT IT MEANS
We advance into the final of the Continental Tyres League Cup for the third consecutive season and will face Chelsea, who beat Manchester United in their respective semi-final tonight.
The final will be held at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground on Saturday, February 29.
We’re back in league action on Sunday, February 2 where we travel to face Manchester City again at 2pm (UK time).
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