Sue and Rachel Brown-Finnis were not kind to the Arsenal as they drew us against Chelsea away in what will be the tie of round five of the FA Cup.
It will a repeat of last year’s final and the game will be played on Sunday 17 February at Kingsmeadow.
Arsenal and Chelsea have already played each other twice in the League this season with the Gunners winning 5-0 away and losing 2-1 at home.
They could also meet in the Conti Cup, should both sides beat their Mancunian opponents this week.
With half of the fourth round tie still to be replayed there are still 24 sides in the hat and some entertaining ties ahead.
Promotion-chasers Spurs will be at home to the tournament favourites. Manchester United will be at home to London Bees and there are rumours the game will be played at Old Trafford.
The fifth round draw in full
- Liverpool or MK Dons v Millwall Lionesses or Lewes
- Bristol City v Durham Women or Cardiff City
- Reading or Keynsham Town v Yeovil Town or Birmingham City
- Chelsea v Arsenal
- Manchester United v London Bees
- West Ham United v Charlton Athletic or Huddersfield Town
- Stoke City or Aston Villa v Loughborough Foxes or Sheffield United
- Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
Ruby Grant was the hat-trick hero as a young Arsenal side defeated fourth tier side Crawley Wasps in a sold-out FA Cup game at the weekend
For this FA Women’s Cup round four tie, the draw had been kind for the Gunners.
They comfortably beat a Crawley side that offered excellent defensive organisation and made Arsenal work hard for their goals.
Squad rotation was the order of the day with seven players still on the injury list and another three rested and not involved in the squad.
Joe Montemurro started the game with four Academy players and finished it with six. It is a credit to the club and the Academy staff, including manager Lauren Phillips, that they did not look out of place once again.
The starting eleven had aexperience:nce : Sari Van Veenendaal; Hannah Dawbarn, Louise Quinn, Janni Arnth, Katie McCabe; Melisa Filis, Kim Little, Danielle Van De Donk; Ruby Grant, Ava Kuyken, Katrine Veje.
Crawley Wasps defended very well as Arsenal tried to find space around a team that was defending deep, meaning a lot of possession. The final third was congested but on the left wing of McCabe and Veje, Arsenal were finding some joy.
The opener came from that side of the pitch after pressing the goalkeeper’s clearance allowed Kim Little to gather the ball. She then beat three defenders and shot low, past Gibbs to make it 1-0 Arsenal.
The second goal came just before half-time and killed the game. Ruby Grant was found on the edge of the penalty are she turned past a defender before unleashing a fierce left-footed shot that went top corner for 2-0.
Ruby added a couple of goals for her hat-trick and also hit the crossbar. The 16-year-old definitely deserved her hat-trick and the Player of the Match award.
For her second she was sent through by a clever reverse pass and hit a low shot past Gibbs. For her hat-trick, she caught an excellent cutback from Veje sweetly and finished from close range.
It was good to see Amelia Hazard and Cat Albuquerque get 40 minutes playing time and to see the team finish the game with six Academy players in a all attacking 3-4-3 system.
Young players need those games to carry on developing their game and to help close the gap between the Academy and Senior performance levels.
We have to remember that all those young women are aged between 16 and 19. They are working hard to reach first-team level. You could see at the weekend that they’ve had a very good football education with their passing skills and movement on and off the ball.
Our friend Neville from the Sent Her Forward website has a more complete match report and yoyu can read that here. He also spoke to Joe Montemurro about the current state of the squad regarding injuries and there is some good news. “We’ve got to a very good point where we know we can control now when players are coming back and when players are recovering and recuperating. So at the moment we’re in a good space, and we’ve actually got some long-term injuries coming back over the next two or three weeks, which is fantastic. So the run home should be exciting.”
With the FA WSL Conti Cup semi-final coming up next Thursday against a Man Utd side that has already beaten four FA WSL teams despite being in the second tier, a full squad will be needed. They are team that is fully professional unlike any other FA WC team.
Basically, United are an FA WSL side playing in the FA WC and it’s a given that they will be promoted at the end of season. Therefore, it will be a difficult test for the Gunners against an opponent that should not be understimated.