When Durham beat Bristol City Women away in the last 16 of the FA Women’s Cup, they were more or less bound to get a big game in the quarter-finals. But, they don’t get much bigger than Chelsea at home! Games like this show just how much Durham have progressed in the past few years. They’ve gone from not being formed to playing against one of the best teams in Europe in only six or seven years. To see so many people at New Ferens Park was brilliant, but it meant I couldn’t get my usual spot on the far side! This game today was the deepest FA Women’s Cup game I’ve ever seen. I had seen a couple of last 16 games before today, but I had never been to a game in the quarter-finals.
Durham Women exit FA Cup despite spirited performance
Durham Women were knocked out of the FA Women’s Cup on Sunday afternoon as the Wildcats fell to a 0-1 defeat to Chelsea Women.
In front of a record crowd of 1,629, Ji So-yun’s 29th minute strike proved the difference between the sides.
A sense of anticipation hung around New Ferens Park before kick-off, but it was a quiet start.
It took until the ninth minute for the first chance, but it was a big chance for Durham. Lisa Robertson’s wide free-kick sailed towards goal, and it had Carly Telford beaten but bounced back off the crossbar. Sarah Robson managed to get onto the rebound, but her header was too high.
It was a good start from Durham who were limiting Chelsea’s chances. Although they were playing a few nice balls, Chelsea created absolutely nothing in the opening 20 minutes.
Zoe Ness fired wide after being picked out by Emily Roberts for Durham in the 26th minute.
With their first chance, Chelsea broke the deadlock in the 29th minute. Erin Cuthbert’s cross wasn’t cleared, and it fell to So-yun to controlled well before firing home from close range.
Other than the goal, there weren’t a great deal of chances in the first half. Durham were defending well, but so were Chelsea.
Just before the break, a Durham corner was flicked onto find Ness, but her effort was blocked.
Durham went into the break behind, but they had limited Chelsea to just one shot in the first half.
Chances fell the way of Chelsea more often in the second half. Millie Bright and So-yun both had efforts come to nothing, before So-yun fired another effort wide after being found by Fran Kirby.
The first half was a tight affair, but Chelsea were well on top in the second half.
England international Bright headed over in the 65th minute, before Kirby and Ramona Bachmann both had efforts that somehow stayed out three minutes later.
Cuthbert latched onto the resulting corner, but her effort bounced back off the post.
Durham’s first real attack of the second half didn’t come until the 75th minute. Substitute Nicki Gears burst down the wing and found room to cross, but it was too far in front of Ness and Beth Hepple.
Seven minutes before time, So-yun went close again. This time, her 35 yard free-kick looked a comfortable save for Hannah Reid, but she spilled it. Thankfully for the Wildcats, Reid pounced back onto the ball before it crossed the line.
Reid was forced into another save shortly after. This time, good work from Ali Riley found Bachmann, but her effort was saved.
In the 90th minute, Chelsea hit the woodwork again. Bachmann connected well with a volley, but it bounced back off the post.
Deep into injury time, Durham went agonisingly close to an equaliser. Gears’ cross found Ness whose effort had Telford beaten, but it was cleared off the line.
That proved to be that and Chelsea progress to the semi-finals where they’ll meet either Reading, Manchester United or West Ham United.
Full-time: Durham Women 0-1 Chelsea Women
Next up for me is Sunderland RCA vs Whickham on Tuesday night.
Durham Women: Reid, Hill, Wilson (c), Christon (Dixon, 87′), Salicki, Holmes (Gears, 53′), Robson, Hepple, Robertson, Ness, Roberts (Cottam, 87′)
Unused subs: Borthwick, Knott
Chelsea Women: Telford, Blundell (Bachmann, 59′), Mjelde, Eriksson, Riley, Carter, Bright (c), So-yun, Kirby, England, Cuthbert (Engman, 87′)
Unused subs: Berger, Carney, Andersson, Cooper, Spence
Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions
Referee: David Richardson