Ladies report: Chelsea 6 Doncaster 0
news Sun 18 Feb 2018
Five second-half goals gave Chelsea a resounding victory over Doncaster and booked our place in the Women's FA Cup quarter-finals.
Ji So-Yun opened the scoring 12 minutes into our FA Cup debut at Kingsmeadow as Chelsea took the initiative in the first half without quite dominating the in-form second-division side.
In a stunning start to the second half, Fran Kirby and Drew Spence both benefited from assists by the South Korean midfielder to put us in control and the scoring was rounded off late on courtesy of a fine brace from substitute Erin Cuthbert, who has now scored five times in the competition this season, either side of a penalty from Ramona Bachmann.
Emma Hayes tinkered with the team who took three points from Birmingham City last weekend, handing Anita Asante the captain’s armband for the first time. Maren Mjelde came in for Katie Chapman as one of three changes to the line-up who impressed in our 2-0 win at Solihull Moors, playing alongside Ji in central midfield with Spence given a more attacking brief. Carly Telford was back in between the posts after overseeing our 10-0 win at London Bees in the fourth round, while Magdalena Eriksson returned in defence.
Ji created the first real chance of the afternoon following some patient build-up from the Blues, as the WSL 2 leaders tried to adjust to a more cautious set-up than usual, before she eventually blazed the ball over the crossbar. Doncaster may have survived once, but they needed to do better than offer the South Korean a second bite of the cherry straightaway, when Ji broke through again and made no mistake for her third goal in as many games.
The Belles goalkeeper Bethan Davies, the hero of our penalty shootout defeat to London Bees two seasons ago, pulled off a couple of vital saves to prevent Chelsea from running away with the cup tie early on. Eriksson did very well to flick the ball on target from a corner by Bachmann towards the back post, but Davies was equal to it. The 20-year-old then stopped a rocket from Kirby before Mjelde hooked the rebound onto woodwork.
It was nearly all Chelsea in the first half, but there was still the faint scent of a potential upset in the air when the two teams walked back out after the break. It did not take much longer, however, for Kirby to bring the game beyond doubt with her fourth goal in three weeks. Ji turned the provider, holding up play brilliantly before teeing up our top goalscorer for the most straightforward of finishes.
Spence capped a superb start to the second half with another goal soon afterwards. The attacker would have found it more difficult not to score from another magical pass from Ji, giving our No24 all the time and space in the world to plan her lofted, left-footed strike.
The two most recent goalscorers made way for Eni Aluko and Erin Cuthbert, the hat-trick hero of the fourth round, with an hour played as Hayes looked to consolidate our lead. Cuthbert promptly added her name to the scoresheet as Chelsea started to tear through a rapidly thinning opposition defence. The two substitutes combined when Aluko, who looked lively since her introduction, clipped an inviting cross towards the back post and the Scottish youngster came steaming in to head home her fourth goal of this FA Cup campaign.
A repeat of our 7-0 defeat of Doncaster in the fifth round last year was becoming a distinct possibility as Aluko, an FA Cup winner with Chelsea, Birmingham and Charlton, continued to bear down on goal. The England striker played a peach of a ball across the line for Hannah Blundell to bundle towards goal, but Davies somehow succeeded in palming it clear.
There was no stopping Aluko when she was fouled inside the penalty area with 11 minutes remaining. Bachmann did the honours from the spot, slotting the ball high to the left of the goalkeeper as Chelsea continued to share the spoils of a deflated WSL2 outfit, who would not be adding to their historic haul of six FA Cup titles this season.
Not content with her solitary strike, Cuthbert added a second to her tally in the closing minutes with arguably the goal of the game. The Tartan trickster showed unbelievable technique to turn and dribble through to net a sixth of the afternoon for the Blues.
Victory leaves Chelsea only two wins away from a place at Wembley in the FA Cup final on 5 May, with the draw for the quarter-finals taking place on Monday morning.
Big matches against Manchester City and Montpellier are already on the horizon, starting with our trip to the league leaders this Saturday, which kicks off at 12.30pm. First up is another away day as we take on Yeovil Town under the lights on Wednesday.
Chelsea (3-4-1-2) Telford; Bright, Asante (c), Eriksson; Blundell, Ji, Mjelde (Thorisdottir 71), Dunn; Spence (Cuthbert 61); Kirby (Aluko 61), Bachmann
Unused subs Spencer, Andersson
Scorers Ji 12, Kirby 49, Spence 53, Cuthbert 66, 88, Bachmann 79
Doncaster Rovers Belles B Davies; Roberts, Bradley-Auckland, Little (c), Pacheco; Walton, Whittle; Simpkins, Rayner, Hanson (Smith 79); Sigsworth
Unused subs Batty, Watson, Barker, Cook