Ladies preview: Familiar foe in the cup

The knockout cup weekend continues this afternoon with Chelsea Ladies hosting Doncaster Rovers Belles in the Women’s FA Cup at Kingsmeadow…



The Blues have been in good form since exiting the Continental Tyres Cup in the middle of January, with three victories and a creditable goalless draw with Manchester City recorded in that time. Our last match saw us travel to Birmingham City last Saturday and goals in either half from Fran Kirby and Ji So-Yun gave us a 2-0 victory, although a dominant display perhaps merited more. 

We booked our spot in the Women’s FA Cup fifth round the previous Sunday with our biggest win of the season, smashing 10 past London Bees at the Hive. Erin Cuthbert netted her first hat-trick for the club in that fixture and Kirby and captain Katie Chapman both recorded a goal apiece.



Ji So-Yun scored a fantastic goal against Birmingham City last weekend after another dominant performance in midfield.

‘I have been training hard and I’m happy with how I am playing at the moment,’ said the South Korean. ‘Obviously I’m happy to score goals! It was a good goal, with my left foot, but I don’t think it’s one of the best I’ve scored for Chelsea. Liverpool was the best [in 2015, for which she won Goal of the Season]! 

‘Now we play Doncaster in the FA Cup. We want to beat them to help us go back to Wembley in the FA Cup, but we know it will be a hard game.’


This is the third straight season in which we have met Doncaster in the Women’s FA Cup, and fourth time overall in the WSL era.

The first of those ties was in 2011, when we fell to a 1-0 home defeat, but the subsequent three have been won by Chelsea. A year later, goals from Gemma Bonner and Dunia Susi helped secure a 2-0 win at Keepmoat Stadium on our way to reaching the final, although the campaign ended with the heartache of a penalty shoot-out defeat to Birmingham City.

We met in the fifth round of the competition in 2016, which was also our first competitive game of the season. After conceding just five minute into the game, the Blues responded through an own-goal by Nicola Hobbs, A debut strike from Karen Carney put us in front in the second half and then a wonderful goal by Ji put us 3-1 up before Eniola Aluko put the seal on a brilliant performance.

It was another fifth-round game last year, this time at Wheatsheaf Park, and once again the Blues recorded a resounding win. We were dominant from the first whistle, with new signings Ramona Bachmann and Crystal Dunn impressing on their competitive debuts for the club (pictured below) and both players finding the back of the net before half-time. In between our first and fifth strikes of an excellent first half was a brace for Ji and an own-goal. The scoreline could have reached double figures in the second half but for the efforts of Donny keeper Nicky Davies, but a Katie Chapman header and a neat finish by substitute Drew Spence made it 7-0.


There are seven other Women’s FA Cup fifth-round ties taking place today. In the only all-WSL1 match, holders Manchester City travel to Birmingham City in a repeat of last year’s final, while both Merseyside clubs – Everton and Liverpool – face intriguing trips to lower-league opposition in the form of Lewes and Chichester City. Elsewhere, two of Katie Chapman’s former clubs meet as Arsenal host Millwall, Charlton Athletic travel to Cardiff City, Aston Villa take on Sunderland and Durham meet Leicester City.